The Potter’s Promise: A Biblical Defense of Traditional Soteriology

“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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This is a 6-Session study on the biblical doctrines of salvation (Soteriology) with Dr. Leighton Flowers.

In this study we unpack the key errors of the “limited” 5-point Calvinistic perspective as contrasted with the “provisional” corporate perspective that has been more traditionally held by many Christian pastors and theologians.

The student will learn the main distinctions between the “limited” (Calvinistic) doctrines and the “provisional” (Traditionalist) doctrines regarding salvation. Dr. Flowers teaches students how to respectfully disagree with Calvinistic believers and answer the most common objections surrounding the topics of predestination, election and soteriology. There are 6 videos along with a printable student guide that will lead students through the popular Calvinistic acronym TULIP in a side by side comparison of the two main theological perspectives in dispute.

531 thoughts on “The Potter’s Promise: A Biblical Defense of Traditional Soteriology

  1. For anyone who really cares to understand Roman’s 9, understand first that you can’t read it in isolation, with a 21st century mind and hope to understand what Paul is saying. Go back and read Mal. 1:2. Read Gen. 25:23. Read Romans 10 and 11. And especially, take the verses that the Calvinists constantly quote, like “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy and read the OT counterparts. Like Ex 33:19, where Moses is bargaining with God, for goodness sake! Read about the potter and the clay and then read Jer 18:6, Which the verse refers to. and the verses after these.
    6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

    7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

    8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

    9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;

    10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

    ?Do you see how God is not arbitrarily picking who to punish and who to reward, but that it depends on their response to him!

    1. wildswanderer writes, “Do you see how God is not arbitrarily picking who to punish and who to reward, but that it depends on their response to him!”

      Is it true that “it depends on their response to him”? Calvinists asked the question, “How come people do not respond alike to God? How is it possible for one person to believe God while another does not believe when the two people are basically the same in that both are depraved sinners? The answer that the Calvinists came up with was TULIP.

      You don’t like that conclusion. So, how do you explain it? What conclusion have you come to?

      1. I’ve already explained my conclusions numerous times. It’s called previnent grace. My response to God matters not one wit if grace is irresistible. Because I can make no response unless he forces it. And if he doesn’t force it, hell is my destination and I can do nothing to change that. So, why care about anything? C’est la vie. And as far as sin goes, who cares? Because if Jr. is right, sin is non-existent. Bad becomes good, because God ordained and decreed it so. I really believe this is why so many serious Calvinists come off so arrogant. They think they can do no wrong. Being elect, there is no reason not to be nasty, because all their nastiness is ordained by God, and must be righteous. Quite a contrast to the clear teachings of scripture.

      2. wildswanderer writes, “I’ve already explained my conclusions numerous times. It’s called previnent grace.”

        Even prevenient grace is irresistible because no one can refuse it can they? Prevenient grace takes totally depraved sinners and gives them the ability to accept or reject salvation. However, it makes all sinners equal giving each the same ability to accept or reject the gospel.

        Prevenient grace does not explain what makes one person accept the gospel and another reject it. Unless prevenient grace grants more to one than another, all should either accept the gospel or all should reject the gospel. If one accepts and one rejects, then prevenient grace is nothing more than irresistible grace having the effect of drawing some to Christ while passing over others.

        You express opinions; you never explain anything. Now, I don’t even think you understand grace – you seem somewhat ignorant of prevenient grace.

      3. rhutchin, as long as you look at prevenient grace through your TULIP lenses, of course you won’t see how one person can accept and one reject. Because of your doctrine, you must deny that man has libertarian free will, and can make a genuine choice for or against God, once his eyes are open to his sinful state. Your TULIP lenses complicate the simple truth of the gospel.

      4. wildswanderer writes, “Because of your doctrine, you must deny that man has libertarian free will, and can make a genuine choice for or against God, once his eyes are open to his sinful state.”

        Of course, Calvinism says that God grants libertarian free will to certain people by grace and these people exercise that freedom to accept the gospel. Doesn’t prevenient grace say the same thing except that God irresistibly gives libertarian free will to all people? How is it that some people with LFW accept the gospel and some don’t? You have no answer. You have no idea what prevenient grace is all about (or irresistible grace for that matter). You only seem able to repeat what people tell you but never able to understand what it is that people say.

      5. If you research, you will find that neither Calvin nor Calvinists came up with TULIP. It was actually Arminius who arranged the doctrines of Grace that he objected to in a way in which the anacronym, TULIP could summarize it. And of course you may know that Arminius also rejected the idea that once a person is born again he can never lose his salvation. Tell-tale!

      6. Scott Leonard
        If you research, you will find that neither Calvin nor Calvinists came up with TULIP. It was actually Arminius who arranged the doctrines of Grace that he objected to in a way in which the anacronym, TULIP could summarize it. And of course you may know that Arminius also rejected the idea that once a person is born again he can never lose his salvation. Tell-tale!

        br.d
        Hi Scott and welcome!!

        Can you provide citations to confirm that Calvinists did not come up with the TULIP?
        Here is my understanding:
        – Arminius himself spent a great deal of time, effort and writing, trying to show he was a follower of Calvinism.
        – After Arminius’ death – some men who considered themselves followers of Arminius “the Remonstrants” – presented to the States of Holland and Friesland five articles formulating their points of disagreement with Calvinism.
        – Five points were then presented as a rebuttal. The origins of these five points and the acronym TULIP are uncertain, but they appear to be outlined in the Counter Remonstrance of 1611, a less known Reformed reply to the Arminians that occurred prior to the Canons of Dort.

        Blessings!

    2. 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

      1. I see you posted this more than once Roy, so I will repost my answer in each place for you! 🙂

        Roy, I prefer not to reply to you because of previous interaction where clear presentation of Scripture with normal grammatical, contextual meaning was still rejected by you for your “Calvinistic-like” beliefs. I answer only because of your challenge and the importance of these texts which have been twisted away from their normal contextual meaning.

        IJohn was written to help professing believers test to see if they are truly born again (5:13). John gives many tests throughout the epistle and here in 5:1 he says that if one has truly been born again, he will continue believing. You correctly understood the grammar, but not the implication. John is not trying to teach that regeneration proceeds the commitment of faith. Believing is necessary before regeneration and will continue after it. Scripture consistently puts the commitment of faith before the reception of salvation (cf. Eph 1:13-14), and regeneration is salvation, not a pre-salvation work.

        Even the sequence of John 1:12 proves this – which is 1. receiving Christ (the same as believing in His name) precedes 2. being given the right to become the child of God (the same as regeneration). It would be silly to say regeneration is not the same as becoming a child of God or that one gets the right to become a child of God after being regenerated! But that is what you and Calvinists do, Roy! My prayer is that you will become teachable and enlightened by the plain meaning of Scripture (2Tim 2:15).

      2. brianwagner writes, “Even the sequence of John 1:12 proves this – which is 1. receiving Christ (the same as believing in His name) precedes 2. being given the right to become the child of God (the same as regeneration). ”

        I think this identifies the point of disagreement. Calvinists say that regeneration is a “change” to the person that must be made in the depraved person to enable the person to believe. You say that a person is required to believe and that this belief then entitles the person to be regenerated (to be changed into a child of God).

        The Calvinist definition of regeneration explains how it is that two people can hear the gospel and one believes and the other does not. Under your system, the response of one to believe while another does not cannot be explained – it’s magic (or as Pastor Flowers might say, It’s a mystery).

      3. It’s not a mystery. It’s enlightenment, which is universal (Jn 1:9) but not continuous (Heb 3:7-8). It’s God’s lovingkindness for all who bear His image to have at least one opportunity to accept the salvation since He paid for all the sins of the whole world (1Jn 2:2).

      4. brianwagner writes, “It’s not a mystery. It’s enlightenment, which is universal (Jn 1:9) but not continuous (Heb 3:7-8). It’s God’s lovingkindness for all who bear His image to have at least one opportunity to accept the salvation since He paid for all the sins of the whole world (1Jn 2:2).”

        So, God gives everyone at least one opportunity to accept salvation. If they all blow that opportunity, do you allow God to choose among those rejects some to give a second chance, or third chance, or fourth..until He gets the ones He wants to save or does God keep giving everyone additional chances until He gets fed up with them or they die?

        Of course, this still does not explain why one person would accept salvation while another person rejects salvation when both presumably get the same enlightenment. Maybe God gave a tad more light to those that He favored or maybe some were just sleeping when their enlightenment came and never knew they had it or maybe someone stole their enlightenment when they weren’t looking.

  2. 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.

    1. Roy, I prefer not to reply to you because of previous interaction where clear presentation of Scripture with normal grammatical, contextual meaning was still rejected by you for your “Calvinistic-like” beliefs. I answer only because of your challenge and the importance of these texts which have been twisted away from their normal contextual meaning.

      IJohn was written to help professing believers test to see if they are truly born again (5:13). John gives many tests throughout the epistle and here in 5:1 he says that if one has truly been born again, he will continue believing. You correctly understood the grammar, but not the implication. John is not trying to teach that regeneration proceeds the commitment of faith. Believing is necessary before regeneration and will continue after it. Scripture consistently puts the commitment of faith before the reception of salvation (cf. Eph 1:13-14), and regeneration is salvation, not a pre-salvation work.

      Even the sequence of John 1:12 proves this – which is 1. receiving Christ (the same as believing in His name) precedes 2. being given the right to become the child of God (the same as regeneration). It would be silly to say regeneration is not the same as becoming a child of God or that one gets the right to become a child of God after being regenerated! But that is what you and Calvinists do, Roy! My prayer is that you will become teachable and enlightened by the plain meaning of Scripture (2Tim 2:15).

      1. John 1 reads–
        11 [Jesus] came unto his own, and his own received him not.
        12 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:
        13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

        We have a contrast. Some did not receive Christ but some did. Those who received Christ are described as those who believed on His name. Such were uniquely born of the will of God (by God’s willful decision) – not born of human parents (not gained by being born a Jew) or by a willful decision by the person.

        The issue concerns the meaning of the phrase, “to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” How does this apply to those who already are born of the will of God and who already believe on the name of Christ. It is the same as saying to the person after he has been saved – Now, you have the power to become a son of God. If a person believes on Christ, isn’t he already a son of God? Why does John say that it is only after the person comes to believe in Christ that he then has the power to be a son of God?

        If one views this “power” as the freedom to choose whether to believe in Christ, he upsets all that John says because the person is already believing in Christ. This “power” is exercised by the person after they come to believe in Christ.

        On this Calvin explains, “…Christ gave to the unclean and the uncircumcised what appeared to be impossible; for an incredible change took place when out of stones Christ raised up children to God, (Matthew 3:9.) The power, therefore, is that fitness (hikanotes) which Paul mentions, when he  gives thanks to God, who hath made us fit (or meet) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints, (Colossians 1:12.)”

        Until a better explanation comes along, I’ll go with Calvin on this.

      2. That’s the problem Roger, you go with Calvin to make “right to become a child of God” to mean inheritance. I’m going to stick with John (the apostle) who consistently makes it mean the immediate result of regeneration.

      3. brianwagner writes, “I’m going to stick with John (the apostle) who consistently makes it mean the immediate result of regeneration.’

        All agree to that – the immediate result of regeneration is that the believer now has the power to become a son of God. Calvin went further and described what “the immediate result of regeneration” meant. Can you expand on what you think “the immediate result of regeneration” means?

        A person comes to you and says, “I am now a believer.” You respond, “That’s great! You now have the power to become a son of God.” He asks, “What do you mean – I now have power to become a son of God?” You respond….

      4. Only God can bring about regeneration and form the new life in a believer, John 1:13. God sees the faith and grants the new birth which is regeneration, not regeneration first then faith. I pray Roger that the scales will fall from your eyes on this.

        I also pray that you will read through the OT with view to see how God’s intention and plan has always been to declare His name throughout the earth, not just through making Israel as a light to the nations and a kingdom of priests for the world. See Acts 17: 26-27 where Paul clearly reveals that intention and the possibility of its fulfillment in individuals lives since the dawn of creation.

      5. brianwagner writes, “..read through the OT with view to see how God’s intention and plan has always been to declare His name throughout the earth, not just through making Israel as a light to the nations and a kingdom of priests for the world.”

        The issue is whether Israel was to do this. Obviously, you have not yet found any verses that tell us they were. Thus, your deflection. So, should I start with Judges and work from there? Perhaps the Psalms. Maybe Jonah given his eagerness to evangelize Ninevah.

        brianwagner writes, “See Acts 17: 26-27 where Paul clearly reveals that intention and the possibility of its fulfillment in individuals lives since the dawn of creation.”

        Here we have:

        26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
        27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

        This would have been a good opportunity for Paul to give a nod to the Jews. The burden is on the people – “…that men would seek him…” Maybe Paul meant to say, “That the Jews would encourage men to seek God.” Perhaps the Holy Spirit was otherwise occupied and missed this opportunity to tell us about the Jews role in evangelizing the gentiles.

      6. I’m sorry Roger, I thought you would recognize the allusions to OT passages in the phrases light to the nations and a kingdom of priests. Do you need me to give you the references to these well known phrases? How would you understand these phrases as to Israel’s responsibility?

        Also you ignored the point I was making from Acts 17:26-27, that God was not just using Israel. Why did you ignore it and what do you think of those verses proving God’s intention and provision for men to seek and find Him?

      7. brianwagner writes, “I thought you would recognize the allusions to OT passages in the phrases light to the nations and a kingdom of priests. Do you need me to give you the references to these well known phrases? How would you understand these phrases as to Israel’s responsibility?”

        References would be nice. The only references of which I am familiar regarding Israel being a light to the nations occurs in the prophets and the context was a prophetic reference to Christ. So, it would be nice to see what you are referencing.

        By kingdom of priests, I understand that Israel was to keep the laws God commanded. By being light to the nations, other nations would be able to observe Israel. In neither case was Israel commanded explicitly (and I don’t think implicitly) to evangelize the nations. Israel was specifically commanded not to have any dealings with the nations they drove out of Canaan.

      8. brianwagner wrote, “See Acts 17: 26-27 where Paul clearly reveals that intention (God’s intention and plan has always been to declare His name throughout the earth) and the possibility of its fulfillment in individuals lives since the dawn of creation.”

        Then he wrote, “you ignored the point I was making from Acts 17:26-27, that God was not just using Israel. Why did you ignore it and what do you think of those verses proving God’s intention and provision for men to seek and find Him?”

        What’s to ignore? Paul does not speak of Israel being the vehicle to accomplish this by evangelizing the nations. Paul is speaking to the Greeks and the whole context relates solely to the Greeks. Paul says nothing about Israel and context does not imply, or require, a connection to Israel.

        Nonetheless, Pastor Flowers needs to address this in his book since his whole argument stems from his claim that Israel was to evangelize the nations. If he really thinks Acts 17 helps his case (I don’t see how it would) then he can offer it up.

      9. Roger – Ex. 19:6, kingdom of priests – For whom do you think they were to be a kingdom of mediators if not the other nations? Is. 42:6 – light to the nations – The NRSV is probably correct in seeing all the imperfects as consecutive (translated as past) in agreement with the first perfect verb in the verse. This has always been Israel’s purpose, and yes it will be again in the Millennium! See their correct evangelistic zeal in Ps 96 (cf. 67, 117). The nations in Canaan were under the judgment of God and Israel was the executioner (Gen 15:16, 9:4). But don’t forget Rahab.

        And then there was the inspired story of Ruth… preserved to demonstrate to Israel that while they were doing what was right in their own eyes, their God was still effectively reaching out to the Gentiles. And don’t forget the part of Solomon’s dedication prayer which was for the Gentiles who responded to Israel being an effective light for God (1Ki 8:41-43). Remember the Queen of Sheba? Even Solomon’s book of Ecclesiastes was written as an evangelistic reasoning for the Gentile mind.

        There was never a man born that God did not want to show His mercy unto salvation, using creation and conscience from the beginning until now (cf. Rom 10:18), and Israel throughout the OT and the Church since Pentecost. I hope this helps.

        And I was not mentioning Acts 17:26-27 to support Flowers’ thesis from Rom. 9. I was just interested in expanding the conversation to included God’s ultimate purpose of showing mercy to the Gentiles in OT times, even without Israel (His elect nation), and to see your response. Do you have any? That passage indicates clearly the God’s intention was for them to seek and to find, correct?

      10. brianwagner writes, “Ex. 19:6, kingdom of priests – For whom do you think they were to be a kingdom of mediators if not the other nations?”

        The role of the priest in Israel is described in Leviticus in great detail. They were mediators between Israel and God and such gentiles who came into Israel and were circumcised. No where do we read of the priests evangelizing the nations. Who does God send to evangelize the nations? – the prophets, Jonah being a good example. The priests were mediators under the Old Covenant; Christ is mediator under the New Covenant. It is Christ who commanded, “Go into all the world…” Nowhere do we read of the priests of Israel commanded to do this. As Paul writes in Ephesians 3, this was the great mystery not revealed to Israel – that the gentiles were fellow heirs of salvation.

        brianwagner writes, “Is. 42:6 – light to the nations – The NRSV is probably correct in seeing all the imperfects as consecutive (translated as past) in agreement with the first perfect verb in the verse. This has always been Israel’s purpose,…”

        Isaiah 42 obviously deals with Christ – even you cannot deny that. The question is whether it also applies to Israel. Considering v1 alone, one might draw this conclusion. However, v1 is modified by the following verses, and it is clear that Isaiah certainly speaks of Christ but nothing supports the idea that Israel is also in view. If you want, you can try to make that argument – but not without assuming much I suspect.

        brianwagner writes, “See their correct evangelistic zeal in Ps 96 (cf. 67, 117).”

        Psalm 96
        1. Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
        2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
        3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples.

        Comment: Some say this psalm is a prophecy of the coming Messiah. It is consistent with that view. Does it also apply to Israel? If so, the meaning need only be that Israel do these things by their obedience to God’s commands – especially through the sacrificial system. As is true today, evangelism is the living of a godly life so as to be seen by the lost and then to “…be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” The failure of Israel in evangelization was its failure to obey God.

        Psalm 67
        1. May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, Selah
        2 that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
        3 May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.
        4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. Selah
        5 May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.
        6 Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us.
        7 God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

        Comment: Note the first line, “May God be gracious to us and bless us…” The Psalm appeals for God’s blessing, and it is through this blessing “…that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.” In other word, the nations would observe God’s blessing of Israel and by that blessing come to know God and praise Him. The intent of the Psalm is not to encourage Israel to evangelize the nations and no one in Israel took it to mean such – from what we read in the OT.] Perhaps you can demonstrate otherwise; but I am doubtful.

        Psalm 117
        1 Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.
        2 For great is his love towards us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures for ever. Praise the LORD.

        Comment: I don’t see any connection to the issue. The Psalm encourages the nations to praise God because of the way He treats Israel (and by blessing Israel, all nations benefit).

      11. brianwagner writes, “And I was not mentioning Acts 17:26-27 to support Flowers’ thesis from Rom. 9. I was just interested in expanding the conversation to included God’s ultimate purpose of showing mercy to the Gentiles in OT times, even without Israel (His elect nation), and to see your response. Do you have any? That passage indicates clearly the God’s intention was for them to seek and to find, correct?”

        Salvation has always been available to the gentiles from the beginning. According to Paul in Ephesians 3, this was a mystery hidden from the Jews and only revealed to Paul. As it was God who hid this from the Jews, it cannot be true that God intended the Jews to evangelize the world.

      12. brianwagner writes, “Scripture consistently puts the commitment of faith before the reception of salvation (cf. Eph 1:13-14), and regeneration is salvation, not a pre-salvation work.”

        We read in Ephesians 1–
        13 In whom you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
        14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

        Consistent with that which he writes in Romans (Faith comes by hearing), Paul here says that a person exercises faith (believing) after hearing the gospel. Then the person is sealed with the Holy Spirit. Thus, the person is said to be saved – the person receives the salvation offered by God and God installs His Spirit into the person to help the person.

        Regeneration is not specifically addressed, so Paul does not tell us, “regeneration is salvation.” That is an assumption you make isn’t it? Titus 3 gives the impression that regeneration is part of the process that brings a person to salvation – the washing of regeneration (whatever that means). For Arminians/Calvinists, the washing is of grace and enables a person to exercise faith.

        I have not run across an argument from Scripture that allows a person to be dogmatic in stating that regeneration is salvation. Have you developed such an argument? If so, can we see it?

      13. REGENERATION= BIRTH= LIFE= SALVATION Calvinists have confused regeneration with the pre salvation work of enlightenment and have twisted the Scriptures to limit that gracious work of enlightenment by God as only for a few, thus denigrating His character and the scope of His mercy!

      14. brianwagner writes, “REGENERATION= BIRTH= LIFE= SALVATION Calvinists have confused regeneration with the pre salvation work of enlightenment…”

        The translated term, “regeneration,” is not used very many times in the Scriptures. How were you able to nail down the definition to mean “salvation.” Can you give me a brief explanation of the verses you used and how that led you to this conclusion.

        RC Sproul has a definition of “regeneration,” and I still can’t figure out how he arrived at his definition (he writes well and he still confuses me).

    2. So do you think Jesus was mocking Nicodemus’ complete inability because of the predetermined fate to never be born again by Jesus himself? Jesus spent all that time with Nicodemus, personally instructing him about the ways of God, just to mock the fact that Nicodemus had absolutely no potential to respond? Or when Christ called the rich young ruler, looking at him with real love, was he mocking a vessel created unto damnation with no chance of ever responding? Or when Christ preached to the crowds to be his disciple, eat his flesh and follow him, was Christ asking his own vessels of damnation to do something he knew they could never respond to? It makes no sense what a crazy confusing mess Calvinism makes of Scripture as well as vilifying the very character of God when it removes a real autonomous ability of God’s creation to respond to him. And all for the man-exalting and man-centered motivation that Calvinists can feel selfishly secure in their destiny, instead of letting God go outside their man-made deterministic box. Just take the words “whosoever” and “if” give them their true meaning of a universal condition going out to all who hear the word, and Bible is full of these conditional calls to all who hear, and you’ve easily and entirely defeated Calvinistic denial of autonomy.

    3. Roy,

      1 John 5:1 has nothing to do with the order of salvation. It has to do with identifying a brother in Christ and because of that we are to love him because we love Him who begat. If we love Him who begets, we will also love who is begotten of Him. The only way for us to know who is begotten of God is by what they believe.

      1. Don Johnson writes, “1 John 5:1 has nothing to do with the order of salvation. It has to do with identifying a brother in Christ…”

        I don’t see that. John summarizes in v13, “These things have I written unto you that believe [so that] you may know that you have eternal life,…” John is writing to the individual believer to give the believer himself assurance of his salvation. His purpose is not to enable believers in general to identify other, or “true,” believers in their midst.

  3. t” 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.”
    What? Now we can do our own thing? Not according to every Calvinist author ever. Make up your minds!

    1. wildswanderer writes, “What? Now we can do our own thing? Not according to every Calvinist author ever. Make up your minds!”

      Calvinist all say that man is a slave to sin until regenerated by God. So, man “does his own thing” which is to sin. I don’t know what your issue is here? What Calvinist author are you reading who says otherwise?

  4. “How is it that some people with LFW accept the gospel and some don’t?”
    You seem incapable of understanding that free will really does imply that men can determine their destiny by a choice. Why do some people choose to commit adultery and others choose faithfulness? Step outside of your “everything is predetermined” mindset.

    1. wildswanderer writes, “You seem incapable of understanding that free will really does imply that men can determine their destiny by a choice.”

      So, given free will and the choice between eternal life and eternal death, what do people choose? The answer is obvious – the person always chooses eternal life. To do otherwise is to make an irrational choice which denies free will. If a person is not able to make rational choices as is characteristic of those enslaved to sin, then God has not granted that person free will (whether through prevenient grace or irresistible grace).

      Issues of sin that plague believers after God regenerates them are explained by Paul in Romans 7. Thus, no believer is perfect and lives a life without sin. No believer chooses faithfulness to God all the time, but we do see believers choosing faithfulness more and more as they grow in faith.

      Nonetheless, the salvation decision – eternal life or eternal death – is a no-brainer for the person with free will; he easily chooses eternal life. I don’t think you understand the concept of “free” in free will.

      1. Could you explain your argument that people can only choose what you view as rational? If a will is free, why can’t it choose to be irrational, I don’t get that logical connection at all. Then it ends up sounding like you are arguing that for a will to be free, it can’t be free. Self-determinition is freedom (freedom from God’s causal decree), and this results in a true optional self-determining choice between option A and option B. You can’t argue that because you think option B is worse, the choice is therefore not free, because that is a non-sequitor (it does not logically follow in the conclusion from the premises). But you’ve used this several times now, and I’d like to hear a real justification for the argument that free means you can’t be irrational if you want.

      2. The term, “rational,” refers to reason and understanding. The person with free will understands that he has a choice – eternal life or eternal death – and is able to think/ reason about that choice – discern the difference between the two; that difference being great and not insignificant. The person then makes a choice that is consistent with his understanding – it is reasonable for him to choose as he does.

        If a person does not know that he has a choice or understand the choice before him and is prone to making an irrational choice, then his will is not “free” in the LFW sense. LFW is often described as “contra-causal” choice. The idea behind contra-causal choice is that the person is able to make a decision on his own and no one makes the decision for him. He can choose which way to go and makes his decision consistent with his understanding of the facts. Nothing causes him to choose one way or the other, but his choice can be influenced by outside factors/information.

        Self-determination is freedom from God but it does not mean free will.

        So, what does “free” mean to you?

      3. Free will means that a choice is, in its most fundamental essence, not controlled by the choice of any other will outside. That is the meaning of freedom (no other thing controlling). There are things that can influence you, but you have to decide to let them influence you. I’ll be honest that your point carries a little weight with me, in that, you would think, if a person saw all the ramifications of one choice or the other concerning eternal destinies in heaven or hell, that no sane person could choose hell. However, I think a choice can be required even with incomplete information (enough information to understand, but not fully and vividly feel the ramifications of). So you have immediate counter-temptations (one marshmallow now or two later?). Also if the choice of heaven also fundamentally includes a change in your nature that, as a free choice, you do not like or desire, even irrationality of choosing pain. And you’re making a huge assumption that logic alone guides people’s decisions. For me, that is mostly true, because logic has played a very strong factor in my life. But trust me when I say, I’ve seen people freely act irrationally. I personally can’t relate to that, but I wouldn’t therefore say it can’t happen.

      4. dizerner writes, “…I think a choice can be required even with incomplete information (enough information to understand, but not fully and vividly feel the ramifications of).”

        The issue is not one of “choice” but “freedom of choice.” What do you mean by incomplete information?

        Do you mean that the person does not have to know that he has a choice? If a person only knows that he will die one day and knows nothing of eternal life, does he have free will with respect to determining his destiny?

        Maybe, you mean that the person does not have to know how the options differ. If a person thinks that eternal life and eternal death are essentially the same, is he free with respect to determining his destiny?

        Again, I don’t think you have grasped the concept of “free” in free will. You only seem to be saying that a person is free so long as he is not coerced. Is that what you are saying?

      5. You said:
        Do you mean that the person does not have to know that he has a choice?

        Of course not. Never implied that.

        You said:
        ? If a person only knows that he will die one day and knows nothing of eternal life, does he have free will with respect to determining his destiny?

        No, he can’t make a choice for that which he is unaware.

        You said:
        Maybe, you mean that the person does not have to know how the options differ.

        What? No, not even close. I never implied anything about “not knowing how the options differ.” Incomplete knowledge is not an absence of knowledge.

        You said;
        If a person thinks that eternal life and eternal death are essentially the same, is he free with respect to determining his destiny?

        No. He has to know there is a difference between his choices.

        You said:
        You only seem to be saying that a person is free so long as he is not coerced. Is that what you are saying?

        Yes, but it’s not like a game show where you pick what’s behind door number 1 or door number 2 and don’t know which is which. God’s Word clearly describes our choices, even if we don’t know exactly what heaven and hell will feel like (incomplete knowledge, but *some* knowledge and *enough* knowledge).

      6. dizerner writes, “Yes (a person is free so long as he is not coerced), but it’s not like a game show where you pick what’s behind door number 1 or door number 2 and don’t know which is which. God’s Word clearly describes our choices, even if we don’t know exactly what heaven and hell will feel like (incomplete knowledge, but *some* knowledge and *enough* knowledge).”

        Then considering that the person can think rationally as part of the freedom he enjoys, everyone with LFW will choose eternal life. That’s the conclusion of the Calvinists. Consequently, if a person is rejecting eternal life, he is still depraved and enslaved to sin and continues in that state until God extends grace to him.

      7. Again I will admit your argument has some force rhutchin (especially since I heartily agree with the logic that eternal life is a wiser choice, lol). *However,* and this a big however, I don’t think people’s autonomy means they are forced to act logically. Think of this—the very author of evil and sin (under my Arminianism) is Satan’s first decision to “become like God,” and to me that is *the* most irrational decision anything could ever make. Perhaps that is why, in essence, all sin *is* irrational, yet our fallen nature and the deceptive powers of Satan, can make the irrational seem desirable. Or again, what to me is the *second* most irrational decision ever made, Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey God’s clear command and thereby commit treason, is completely illogical in the light of their having a complete paradise and no reason to distrust God. But the irrationality of these acts does not convince me of Divine determinism, that God somehow initiated their irrational decision (why would God be irrational?) but rather convinces of me of true autonomy, the only thing that ever *could* be irrational when a good Creator made a good creation.

      8. dizerner writes, “I don’t think people’s autonomy means they are forced to act logically.”

        If a person cannot reason, he is not free in the LFW sense of “true” or “genuine” freedom. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has this, “‘Free Will’ is a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives.” And “…one acts with free will when one’s deliberation is sensitive to one’s own judgments concerning what is best in the circumstances, whether or not one acts upon such a judgment.”

        So, why should we care what you think. You think one thing, another thinks another thing, a third thinks a third thing, etc. Personal opinion gets us nowhere. Maybe you don’t like definitions because you just want to think things that catches your fancy.

        Dizerner writes, “the very author of evil and sin (under my Arminianism) is Satan’s first decision to “become like God,” and to me that is *the* most irrational decision anything could ever make.”

        Why is that irrational? Does not God say to Israel, “I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” Through Peter, “just as [God] who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;”

        Maybe you could explain Satan’s problem in more depth?

        dizerner writes, “in essence, all sin *is* irrational, yet our fallen nature and the deceptive powers of Satan, can make the irrational seem desirable.’

        People sin because they have been deceived and believe a lie. That voids contra-causal freedom – freedom requires truth. Jesus said, “you will know the truth [from the Scriptures], and the truth will set you free.” It is through regeneration that the depraved person is freed from sin and able to see the truth of the Scriptures – they then choose consistent with that truth (or so the Calvinists have concluded).

      9. _So, why should we care what you think. You think one thing, another thinks another thing, a third thinks a third thing, etc. Personal opinion gets us nowhere. _

        Oh come on, this is completely stupid to argue. Everything anyone anywhere says is just what they think. All that any human has is his mind. You want to use solipsism to argue that I’m wrong? That’s a completely different topic. Don’t bring hardcore skepticism about epistomology and philosophy and ontology into a discussion about Biblical free will to think you show I’m wrong? Its stupid to argue that merely because I think something, and that’s all that I have, that I’m wrong. I’m seriously disappointed in your lack of logic, respect and willingness to think over someone else’s thoughts. The argument you made here shows you are not dealing honestly about ideas, but just want to make me look bad through any means you can find. That’s not honest discussion, brother.

        You say:
        “become like God,” and to me that is *the* most irrational decision anything could ever make.”
        Why is that irrational? Does not God say to Israel, [be holy as I am.]

        How can you not understand that “like” does not mean emulate in that sentence. Satan wanted to be the equal of God or even replace him. I assumed you’d know the original passages describing his rebellion (have you even studied Scripture)? It’s impossible to talk to someone who constantly twists, misdirects, misrepresents and is so misinformed. Satan was not wanting to “be holy like God is holy.” That’s a no-brainer.

        I can’t continue this discussion with someone so irrational (and who also, like so many immature debaters on the internet, wants to simply declare they are right every other sentence, which is not even an argument).

      10. dizerner writes, “The argument you made here shows you are not dealing honestly about ideas, but just want to make me look bad through any means you can find. That’s not honest discussion,…”

        Honest discussion is when we get our ideas from the Scriptures. That way everyone is on the same page. The goal here is not to show that you are wrong but to discover what is right.

  5. “Nonetheless, the salvation decision – eternal life or eternal death – is a no-brainer for the person with free will; he easily chooses eternal life. I don’t think you understand the concept of “free” in free will.”

    That’s funny, because you are the one who keeps insisting that the free will will always choose God, which cancels out any concept of freedom. This is the weakness of your systematic theology. It cancels out the beauty of grace, the free gift that can be accepted or rejected.

    1. wildswanderer writes, “It cancels out the beauty of grace, the free gift that can be accepted or rejected.”

      Grace is not the free gift that can be accepted or rejected. Grace enables the free gift of salvation to be accepted or rejected (where before it could only be rejected).

      Are you proposing that prevenient grace can be rejected?

      1. “Are you proposing that prevenient grace can be rejected?”

        Of course it can be rejected. But, just so we know we are talking about the same thing, how about a definition of sorts…..”The illumination does not guarantee the salvation of anyone, but it makes the choice of salvation possible. John Wesley described “the first wish to please God, the first dawn of light concerning his will, and the first, slight, transient conviction of having sinning against him. All these,” said Wesley, “imply some tendency toward life, some degree of salvation, the beginning of a deliverance from a blind, unfeeling heart.”

        The trouble with these discussions is that they soon become vain debates about the meaning of words and have little to do with the reality of what actually takes place in men’s hearts. People reject God’s grace by ignoring it, drowning it out, surrounding themselves with noise, and friends and concentrating solely on the cares of this world. The Holy Spirit is patient, but if there is anything He’s not, it’s irresistible. Why do we sing songs and say prayers asking the Spirit to fall on us, renew and revive us? Precisely because we know that we are capable of ignoring Him.

      2. wildswanderer writes, “Of course [prevenient grace] can be rejected…how about a definition of [prevenient grace]…..”The illumination does not guarantee the salvation of anyone, but it makes the choice of salvation possible. John Wesley described “the first wish to please God, the first dawn of light concerning his will, and the first, slight, transient conviction of having sinning against him. All these,” said Wesley, “imply some tendency toward life, some degree of salvation, the beginning of a deliverance from a blind, unfeeling heart.””

        Read Wesley carefully as he has done you a service in defining what the Arminian believes. Prevenient grace is the illumination; it is conferred on the individual irresistibly. The person goes to bed one night and wakes the next morning knowing something is different but not what. While unaware of what God has done, he only knows he sees things differently. Thus, God has undone that depravity that prevented him having any desire for salvation. But, Wesley says, this illumination “does not guarantee the salvation of anyone.” It only allows salvation to be considered. It is salvation which can then be accepted or rejected. The illumination of salvation (prevenient grace) cannot be accepted or rejected – only that which is illuminated, salvation, can be accepted or rejected. God has kick-started the process – “the first wish to please God, the first dawn of light concerning his will, and the first, slight, transient conviction of having sinning against him. All these imply some tendency toward life, some degree of salvation, the beginning of a deliverance from a blind, unfeeling heart.” In other words, the person realizes that he has sinned against God and he is able to consider Christ as the remedy for his sin.

        The Calvinist says that prevenient grace is only extended to God’s elect and that it does guarantee the salvation of His elect as God cannot open a person’s eyes to see Christ and Christ not be irresistible to the person.

        So, irresistible grace – the illumination of which Wesley speaks – is not resisted; that which is resisted is the salvation that is illuminated.

        wildswanderer writes, “People reject God’s grace by ignoring it, drowning it out, surrounding themselves with noise, and friends and concentrating solely on the cares of this world. The Holy Spirit is patient, but if there is anything He’s not, it’s irresistible.”

        The claim is not that the Holy Spirit is irresistible; the claim is that the grace is irresistible. The Arminian claims that the Holy Spirit gives the person the ability to accept or reject salvation but does not complete the process. That ability is not resisted but is applied to accept or reject salvation – it allows for salvation to be resisted. The Calvinist says that the Holy Spirit reveals Christ to the person sufficient to draw the person to Christ and be saved. The critical question is why one person accepts salvation and another does not; the Calvinist pursued an answer; the Arminian buried his head in the sand.

        If you are concerned about the meaning of words and concepts thinking how they contribute to vain debates, then you should not engage those debates. You cannot subscribe to universalism, Calvinism, Arminianism, etc. without understanding the claims each makes and this requires that words be properly defined to avoid misunderstanding. You do not seem to understand either Calvinism or Arminianism, yet you want to discuss these things as if you do understand them – thus promoting vain debates. Don’t you find that curious?

  6. “Do you mean that the person does not have to know that he has a choice? If a person only knows that he will die one day and knows nothing of eternal life, does he have free will with respect to determining his destiny?”

    The person who does not know the choice yet, still has eternity in his heart. He is capable of searching and seeking to know what that yearning for something more then this life is all about. Jesus said that those who hunger and seek for righteousness will be filled. He didn’t tack on any qualifications. Once a person has sought long enough and hard enough, God will at least send something into his life to illuminate his will enough to know what the choice is. Then, he can make a genuine choice to accept or reject God’s drawing.
    John1:9 “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
    Every man.

    1. wildswanderer writes, “The person who does not know the choice yet,…God will at least send something into his life to illuminate his will enough to know what the choice is. Then, he can make a genuine choice to accept or reject God’s drawing.”

      So the person does have a choice – his will is illuminated so that he chooses between eternal life and eternal death. If a “genuine choice” then the person understands how the choices differ – the great gain to eternal life and the great loss from eternal death. If a “genuine choice” then the person rationally considers those options. The person with “genuine choice” will choose eternal life – to do otherwise is neither rational and reflects no understanding of the choices voiding any “genuineness” in choice.

      Christ does light every man as John writes but John is promoting the theme that Christ did not come to save just the Jews but the gentiles also. Thus, by “every man” is meant both Jews and gentiles. This is not the grace (prevenient, whether irresistible or not) necessary to undo depravity and enable a person to respond to the light of Christ. This is explained later by John – “…his own did not receive him.
      Yet to all who received him…[were]… born of God.”

  7. “The illumination of salvation (prevenient grace) cannot be accepted or rejected – only that which is illuminated, salvation, can be accepted or rejected.”
    Again, you are splitting hairs, and assuming that man can reduce the working of the Spirit to a formula, which is not only unrealistic, it also wrongly assumes we can understand God’s prompting, as if He can only work in a textbook fashion.
    The Holy Spirit gives grace, so if you are rejecting grace, you are rejecting Him.

    And, yes, we can quench His work at any point in the process, before or after full illumination, we can even choose not to believe after being Christians for 50 years. That’s the reality in the real world, which does not operate on formulas that men dream up to try to explain the unexplainable.

  8. The “decision” to accept Christ certainly has to happen on a level deeper then logic. Men can use logic to talk themselves into or out of anything. We can’t ignore the spiritual dimension and hope to understand what is going on. A person’s understanding of his condition doesn’t save him and even mental ascent that Jesus was who he said he was doesn’t save anyone, IMO. There has to be a submitting of our spirit to the working of God before regeneration can happen. And the flesh is still working at odds to God’s leading while all this is taking place. Which is why logic and rationality have little to do with it. There are likely many people who think they are Christians because they have mentally admitted that Jesus is God, but they never took the step of allowing him to do any work on a deeper level then the mind.
    “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”

    1. wildswanderer writes, “There has to be a submitting of our spirit to the working of God before regeneration can happen.”

      Then you cannot be Arminian. Arminianism says that a person cannot respond to God absent prevenient grace by which a person is enabled (regenerated) to respond to the gospel. So, you are neither Calvinist nor Arminian.

      wildswanderer writes, “The “decision” to accept Christ certainly has to happen on a level deeper then logic.”

      Deeper level?? The Holy Spirit convicts the person of sin and presents the person with two options – eternal life and eternal death. How much deeper do you think we have to go?

      wildswanderer writes, “A person’s understanding of his condition doesn’t save him…”

      It puts him on the road to salvation. Once a person understands his condition (the work of the Holy Spirit convicting him of sin), he need only hear the gospel to which he responds by believing.

      wildswanderer writes, “There are likely many people who think they are Christians because they have mentally admitted that Jesus is God, but they never took the step of allowing him to do any work on a deeper level then the mind.”

      According to Paul, “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

      “…as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”

      God begins a work in His elect and God completes that work – He gives His Spirit to a person to make it happen.

  9. One man’s logic is another man’s fruitcake. For example, rhutchin’s logic is not logical to my way of thinking. Constantly appealing to man’s logic in a discussion of the workings of man’s spirit with God’s Spirit, well, that’s not logical!
    So, we pick out verses that seem to support our position, while ignoring those that don’t. Is that logical? There are plenty of warnings about falling away in scripture, and I could list them all, but you would only find a way to twist their meaning. I don’t follow Arminius, I try to follow Christ. If someone asks what my view is on how salvations happens, saying “arminian” is shorthand for saying I reject Calvinism, it doesn’t however mean, that Jacob Arminius was right about everything. Although, I don’t see how stating that
    “There has to be a submitting of our spirit to the working of God before regeneration can happen.” contradicts anything that arminians typically believe.
    Mentally admitting that Jesus is God does not necessarily mean a person is being led by the spirit. Again, you are trying to put God in a box, and pretend that he can only work in ways that line up with your doctrine.
    These verses are for those who may be on the fence, and truly seeking truth:
    “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32″And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”John 12:32
    \
    Titus 2:11-14King James Version (KJV)
    11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

    12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

    13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

    14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
    Also see:
    John 16:8-11

    1. wildswanderer writes, “For example, rhutchin’s logic is not logical to my way of thinking. Constantly appealing to man’s logic in a discussion of the workings of man’s spirit with God’s Spirit, well, that’s not logical!”

      According to “human” logic, a person with free will choosing between eternal life and eternal death makes the obvious, rational choice – eternal life. Now throw in the influence of the Holy Spirit and the outcome is even more certain (as if it were not before). Even more support for the Calvinist conclusion. What point are you trying to make?

      wildswanderer writes, “There are plenty of warnings about falling away in scripture, and I could list them all, but you would only find a way to twist their meaning.”

      That is not disputed. However, there are verses that speak to God’s preservation of His elect. So, we take all the verses together and draw a conclusion. The Calvinist conclusion says that those verses guaranteeing that God preserves His elect and direct, to the point and certain. Those verses speaking to a falling away are more wishy-washy suggesting that those who fall away were never saved in the first place. What conclusion did you reach when you looked at all the verses together? And if you concluded that believers can fall away, how did you override those verses so vividly describing God’s preservation of His elect?

      wildswanderer writes, “Although, I don’t see how stating that “There has to be a submitting of our spirit to the working of God before regeneration can happen.” contradicts anything that arminians typically believe.”

      Do you see prevenient grace effecting a change in the lost person to enable them to believe (the basic Arminian position as I understand it)? If yes, how do you conclude that this “change” should not be called regeneration which, by definition, describes change?

      wildswanderer writes, “you are trying to put God in a box, and pretend that he can only work in ways that line up with your doctrine.”

      I merely have God doing that which the Scripture He wrote says He is doing.

      So, what is your definition of “all” in the verses you cited and where from Scripture did you pull this definition?

  10. “What point are you trying to make?”
    Simply, that man does not always make logical choices when presented with the options. And as for what preveniant grace does, it opens ones eyes to his need. It’s not regeneration.
    Conviction, not salvation. Otherwise, you have regeneration happening twice. Which is where your position gets weird. It’s as if God has to regenerate us to regenerate us, which as far as I can tell is pretty much the standard Calvinist belief. I’ll try to address the verses later, when I have more time.

    1. wildswanderer writes, “…man does not always make logical choices when presented with the options.”

      OK, but that’s not the issue. We both agree that people do not always make logical choices when presented with options. The issue is whether people who make irrational choices are “free.” Certainly they are “free” in the sense of not being physically coerced to make an irrational choice. Do they have LFW freedom (genuine or true free will)? If they did, they would not make irrational choices. So far, you are have not been able to argue against this conclusion.

      wildswanderer writes, “…as for what preveniant grace does, it opens ones eyes to his need. It’s not regeneration.”

      If a person’s eyes are closed to the gospel and grace open’s his eyes, he has been changed. The language you use is describing a change. All regeneration says is that a person has changed in some manner. I don’t understand why you are saying regeneration is not a change in a person who goes from having closed eyes to open eyes. Can you explain what you are thinking on this?

      wildswanderer writes, “Conviction, not salvation. Otherwise, you have regeneration happening twice. Which is where your position gets weird. It’s as if God has to regenerate us to regenerate us,…”

      Regeneration can have several parts. You have identified one – grace opens a person eyes to the gospel. Of Lydia in Acts 16, we read, “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Colossians 1 says, “[God] rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,…” That action by God is not a physical change in location but a spiritual change – and regeneration. John 3 says, “…no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Being born again his is another change – regeneration. God has to dramatically change people to bring them into His kingdom and this can require several specific changes as can be seen in these verses. Why do you describe these things as “weird”?

  11. In the verse in John, Jesus predicts what kind of death he will have, then, predicts what effect his sacrifice will have-to draw all men to himself. Since we have plenty of evidence in scripture that not all will believe, this drawing must refer to all men being given the opportunity to accept his sacrifice for them.

    In Titus, we are first told who the grace that gives salvation appears to-all men. And since we know that not all men accept it, we know that the next verse is talking about what that grace teaches those who do accept and begin to mature in Christ.

    1. wildswanderer writes, “In the verse in John, Jesus predicts what kind of death he will have, then, predicts what effect his sacrifice will have-to draw all men to himself. Since we have plenty of evidence in scripture that not all will believe, this drawing must refer to all men being given the opportunity to accept his sacrifice for them.”

      One major theme John develops is that salvation is not for the Jew only but also for the gentile. The drawing described in John 12:32 (” I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”) refers to Christ drawing both Jews and gentiles to Himself. In John 6, John describes another drawing – that of God who draws people to Christ and in that context we know that God draws His elect to Christ and this drawing is their salvation.

      wildswanderer writes, “In Titus, we are first told who the grace that gives salvation appears to-all men. And since we know that not all men accept it, we know that the next verse is talking about what that grace teaches those who do accept and begin to mature in Christ.”

      Specifically, the verse says, “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” “All men” here refers to both Jew and gentile. Salvation is not just for the Jew; it is for the gentile also. This grace “brings” salvation but does not “confer” salvation on anyone. The question we then ask is, “What is this grace?” I think it is the preaching of the gospel to all the world as the preaching of the gospel is necessary to the exercise of faith. What do you think this grace is? All people do not accept salvation because “not everyone has faith.” (2 Thessalonians 3:2) – especially wicked and evil men (which describes all people at one time until God changes them).

  12. I just have a couple of questions: Why are you concerned about people in North Korea and other countrys where the gospel is not preached? According to your beliefs, everyone who God wants to save, will be saved. Why send missionary’s, why even plant churches? Under Calvinism, its all wasted effort. God will do all the work. There are people being saved in these countries through radio and through other means, but yes, the gospel has to go out. Although it is possible for a man to be reached without preaching, it is a rare soul who seeks that hard after righteousness. No one seeks God when he is totally blinded by sin, but again, man can respond to the evidence of God, which is found in creation and men who are made in his image.
    God is sending dreams to those in Arab countries. He does work in ways other then preaching, but he has chosen the foolishness of preaching as a main vehicle. People are dying because they haven’t heard, but under Calvinism, those people were never meant to be saved anyway, so why even pray for them? This is one of the things that I find so repulsive about determinism. The fatalism that says: Whatever will be will be. And this is the first reaction people have when they encounter Calvinism. “Then why do anything? What’s the point?” It’s a very demotivating view of life and God.

    Second question: Why do you all assume that you are part of the elect? Calvin had to come up with a reason that some seem to fall away, so he made God an even greater monster by claiming that God enlightens some people for a time, maybe even for most of their lifetime, then takes his enlightenment away, but that those people were never actually saved. Under your view, you can never know if you are among the elect, or God is just messing with your head. How can anyone have an intimate relationship with that kind of God?
    As for the question of how a person can choose irrationally when he has libertarian free will, that’s like asking how a person can make free choice if he is free. That question totally escapes me. You might as well ask why unicorns don’t dance on pins when the moon is full.

  13. wildswanderer writes, “According to your beliefs, everyone who God wants to save, will be saved. Why send missionary’s, why even plant churches? Under Calvinism, its all wasted effort. God will do all the work.”

    The system God has set up is to call His elect out of the world through the preaching of the gospel. Thus, Christ commands, “Go into all the world…” The firm belief of the Calvinist is that the preaching of the gospel will always be effective and everywhere the gospel is preached, people will come to Christ. The Calvinist considers this to be certain. So, Calvinism says that we are to preach the gospel in every corner of the world, and that God has His elect in every corner of the world.

    Wildswanderer askes, “Why do you all assume that you are part of the elect?”

    Never assume anything. If God had made me perfect and without sin, then I might assume with great certainty that I am one of His elect. For now, my testimony is that of the Thessalonians, “the gospel came not to me in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” I cannot go through the day without pondering the gospel and all that it entails. I actually could argue with God that He has not saved me when I consider the sin that still resides in my life because I am constantly asking Him for forgiveness. In the end, if I am one of God’s elect, it is purely by God’s grace – so I don’t worry about it. God can do with me as He pleases.

    wildswanderer writes, “As for the question of how a person can choose irrationally when he has libertarian free will, that’s like asking how a person can make free choice if he is free.”

    I describe the freedom of libertarian free will as the following–
    1. The person is aware that he has a choice – eternal life and eternal death.
    2. The person understands the difference between eternal life and eternal death as it affects him.
    3. The person is able to think rationally and make decisions consistent with that which he knows and understands.

    Because of this, I conclude that true or genuine free will (LFW) precludes a person making irrational choices, so that the person who makes an irrational choice – choosing eternal death over eternal life – demonstrates that his will is not free.

    Perhaps you describe LFW such that a person can make irrational choices. It seems obvious that LFW, as you conceive it, is something entirely different than what I describe it to be above. Perhaps, you can explain your concept of LFW.

  14. “I describe the freedom of libertarian free will as the following–
    1. The person is aware that he has a choice – eternal life and eternal death.
    2. The person understands the difference between eternal life and eternal death as it affects him.
    3. The person is able to think rationally and make decisions consistent with that which he knows and understands.”

    There’s nothing wrong with your definition per say, but as I said before, it seems to assume that this is all taking place mentally. When you factor in the reality of the spiritual war that is taking place in a person’s spirit, that affects his mind and soul, it’s not as simple as: “Ok, let’s see, eternal damnation behind door #1 or eternal bliss behind door #2? I’ll take door #2, Monte! Believe me, I was under the conviction of the Spirit literally dozens of times and picked door #1 dozens of times because I irrationally convinced myself each time that I didn’t need God. Or I could choose him another time. Or, I just chose to distract myself until God ceased to convict me. Your scenario seems to assume that the devil gives up when God opens a person’s eyes to his condition. On the contrary, he doubles his efforts. Again, to state that all men will choose right, tells me that you are still unable to divorce preveniant grace from your concept of irresistible grace. I’m convinced that I could have continued to reject God and choose selfishness, which ironically, always ends in misery, even in this life. Which brings me to another point. I don’t think choosing Christ mainly to get a “get out of hell free” card is a very stable foundation for a lifetime commitment. Many pastors tried to literally scare the hell out of us. ( I went to a Christian school with a lot of old fashioned fire and brimstones pastors on chapel day.) The kids who got saved under that kind of preaching often strayed and had a roller coaster relationship with God. It is better to choose Christ for Himself then for the fringe benefits.

    I remember hearing a pastor say once that when you are convicted and choose not to respond, that you should thank the Holy Spirit for His prompting, because He is not obligated to keep convicting you. He is only obligated to give you one chance. I would actually do this in my mind and heart each time after that when I refused to accept His offer. I feel that this kept me from becoming hard hearted toward God, and I hope to thank that pastor for his wise advice when I meet him in heaven.

    1. wildswanderer writes, “When you factor in the reality of the spiritual war that is taking place in a person’s spirit, that affects his mind and soul,…”

      All you say by this is that a person’s “free” will can be compromised. That is what the Calvinists say. The will of the unbeliever has been compromised so that he no longer has a “free” will. You are arguing the Calvinist position with you as the example. Had God made you free – pulling you out of the spiritual war – you would have chosen salvation sooner. Instead, God let Satan toy with you for a while. I suspect God did this so that you would recognize that your dependence on God never stops as Satan is always asking God for permission to sift you.

  15. Lol, no I didn’t say that my free will or anyone else’s was compromised. It’s precisely because of free will that we can choose whose influence to follow. Under you assumption of how God woks, He’s really just playing both sides of the board and all spiritual warfare is just God messing with us. God never pulls us out of the war until heaven. Why not just admit that you really don’t have any such thing as free will in your doctrine?

    1. wildswanderer writes, “It’s precisely because of free will that we can choose whose influence to follow.”

      Technically, if we “follow” some influence, that influence then becomes the determiner of our choice. I don’t think you mean that.

      The idea behind fee will is that a person considers all the information he has and makes a decision that is consistent with that information. In the choice between eternal life and eternal death, the person reasons that one choice provides some “good” and the other does not. He understands that there is a great gulf between the two. His reasons that there is no basis to choose eternal death. It is God who frees a person to reason like this. Even you now reason like this. As Colossians tells you, “God rescued you from the dominion of darkness and brought you into the kingdom of the Son.” In doing that, God freed you to “hear” the gospel and once you heard the gospel, you easily accepted His salvation. Without God, you would still be in the dominion of darkness.

      We are born into the midst of a spiritual war and we grow up in the dominion of darkness. Until God removes us, we have no hope and our only hope (a hope that we are ignorant of) is that God will rescue us. Think of people born into Islam. Fortunate are those who have parents, friends, and even strangers praying for them.

  16. Every time you claim to believe in LFW, you add a caveat that cancels out that free will. God’s rescue depends on faith. We do none of the work in salvation, but He will not force us to choose Him. You create a scenario where a person who has heard the gospel his entire life, knows it inside and out, is only still an unbeliever because God really doesn’t want him to be one. It’s a scenario where, when I was very close to surrendering and then Satan put a temptation in my path, I would have to say, no, God put that temptation there by moving Satan’s arm. This is dangerously close to dualism. God with a light and dark side. Star Wars, anyone?

    1. wildswanderer writes, “You create a scenario where a person who has heard the gospel his entire life, knows it inside and out, is only still an unbeliever because God really doesn’t want him to be one.”

      The bottom line: We are saved by grace. If God does not free a person, the person cannot escape slavery. It is God who enables; the person quickly takes advantage of his new freedom.

      How can it be that a person “has heard the gospel his entire life, knows it inside and out” yet rejects eternal life unless Satan rules over him. It is only when God rescues a person from Satan’s dominion of darkness that the person sees clearly that his sin has doomed him – the result: he runs eagerly to Christ for salvation.

  17. No, your bottom line is that God loves some and hates others, and only saves the ones he loves. Or, as John Piper has supposed, God has two wills, one that wants to save everyone and one that doesn’t. Dualism again.
    I think by now it is clear to all other participants that your definition of free will does not include the ability to make real choices. How can man choose to continue to be enslaved? The same way a Christian can choose to sin after experiencing freedom from sin. They both do what Adam did, they weigh the options and choose irrationally, because God has left that option open to them. Time for me to move on…I have other Calvinists to annoy. All in good fun, of course.

    1. “No, your bottom line is that God loves some and hates others, and only saves the ones he loves.”

      “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

      “Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”

      God says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

      If God saves some but does not save all when it is within His power to save all, then those whom God does not save can say that God did not love them. God never said that He wanted to save each and every person; He did not even say that He would save all the Jews. God said that He would save His elect. Men make God to have two wills but God has one will.

      “I think by now it is clear to all other participants that your definition of free will does not include the ability to make real choices.”

      Clever, when it is you who deny people free will. But let the reader decide.

      1. dizerner writes, “Since when did “free” mean you have “one” option, that makes no sense.”

        That a person has more than one option but one option stands out as the preferred choice does not negate the freedom with which a person chooses. A person coming inside after working several hours under a hot sun in a dusty environment may be offered several choices of liquids to quench his thirst, including water and hot coffee, and may be drawn to water as much as repulsed by hot coffee yet his choice is still free – He can choose either one. Similarly, with salvation, one is still free to choose between eternal life and eternal death even though he is attracted to life and repulsed by death. Freedom to choose does not negate differing appeal of the options available – a person does not have to be equally likely to choose A over B in order to be free, he just needs to have the option to choose any one over the other.

      2. God does have two “wills” if we take the English word in the Scriptures and see the two original words that have been translated “will”. One means desire, and God does desire all to be saved (1Tim 4:4). He did not make all His love and hate choices before creation, for He did not will (plan) to bring into existence all the human individuals that would ever exist. He was able to, but He just didn’t.

        He left Himself the freedom to choose between possibilities after creation, even who could be born. But He did will (plan) that whoever was born would be brought to a place of repentance (2Pet 3:9), where they could make a free decision for or against His offer of salvation. What a wonderful, merciful, just God!

      3. – God does desire all to be saved and we are to understand that “all” means “not the Jew only but the gentile also.” This is the great declaration of John 3:16 – God loved the world (not just the Jews as Nicodemus would have thought) and a central theme of John – that salvation was for the gentiles as well as the Jews.

        – “He did not will (plan) to bring into existence all the human individuals that would ever exist. He was able to, but He just didn’t.” It is impossible for God not to have planned to do so. God is all wise; His understanding is infinite. It is impossible for God to be other than wise and to have less than infinite understanding. God cannot make a decision with regard to an event without knowing all the ramifications of that decision. When God decided to let Satan enter the garden to tempt Adam/Eve, He knew the outcome and had even planned for that outcome by already decreeing the death of Christ that would certainly come many years later. God also knew that He would expel Adam/Eve from the garden, that Cain would murder his brother, and that evil would multiply until He destroyed the world with the flood of Noah. If God could not know the ramifications of His decisions, he could not make decisions that reflected accurately His perfect wisdom or infinite understanding – in effect, He would not be God.

        – It is true that God “did will (plan) that whoever was born would be brought to a place of repentance (2Pet 3:9), where they could make a free decision for or against His offer of salvation.” It is also true that God knew who would be born and the decisions they would make. If not because God is all-wise and infinite in understanding, it is because God determines who is born (having the ability to open or shut the womb), it is God who sustains the life of every person so that a person does not die until the day God has decreed for their death; it is God who calls men to preach and directs their paths to this person or that. When an evangelist preaches at a church, we say that God has drawn those who attend while leaving many others outside pursuing their desires without hearing of salvation.

      4. Hi Roger, God is all wise and does know all the ramifications of all His and man’s decisions. The Calvinist needs to explain what was the ratification that made God choose to predetermine all His and man’s choices before creation and then reveal in Scriptures that all His and man’s choices have not been predetermined?

        Why would God want to present Himself to most people in Scriptures as one freely interacting and showing salvation mercy to all mankind, but reveal His true plan to a few “smart” philosophical theologians?

      5. brainwagner writes, “The Calvinist needs to explain what was the ratification that made God choose to predetermine all His and man’s choices before creation and then reveal in Scriptures that all His and man’s choices have not been predetermined? ”

        Or perhaps the person who thinks God has left the future unsettled needs to explain why the Scriptures present God as knowing the future and making decisions that necessarily must include the future to the extent that nothing is left unsettled.

        The Scriptures are very clear in saying that God does not purpose to save all people where we define “all” as meaning each and every individual. The Scriptures are clear in saying that God purposes to save all people where “all” is defined to mean “both the Jew and the gentile.” Maybe , those who think God wants to save “all” have a definition problem with the Scriptures.

      6. Roger, Feel free to call me Brian! I know I am a brain! But that is compliment that is not necessary! 🙂 And typing from my phone in the morning and not proofreading is what caused my use of “ramification” to turn into “ratification”. Thank you for kindly overlooking my misspelling and assuming correctly what I meant.

        It was you who mentioned God’s knowledge of the ramifications of His decisions. I still await your naming one. But instead of offering a response to my challenge to suggest a reasonable ramification that made Him decide to predetermine all His choices, and man’s, forever, and then to provide Scripture that present things differently, you just return the challenge declaring – “Scriptures present God as knowing the future and making decisions that necessarily must include the future to the extent that nothing is left unsettled.”

        All the Scriptural conditional statements, invitations, universal commands, and statements of God’s post-creation decision making prove God NOT having predetermined all things. His revelation of any future detail in Scripture does guarantee those future details, but Roger, you know “some” does not guarantee “all” in logical reasoning. And all the things that I just mentioned logically preclude all the future as being predetermined.

        You then, I think, try to give one of the examples that you say “present God… making decisions that necessarily must include the future to the extent that nothing is left unsettled.” You point to – “the Scriptures are clear in saying that God purposes to save all people.” You intimate that this must be a predetermined set of individuals from before creation. Unfortunately you have only begged the question. God’s purpose, if open and conditional, would include a desire for all to be saved, but not a plan to force all to be saved, but a plan to provide a possibility of any to be saved. If God’s purpose is closed and unconditional, then of course, it would include a desire for a distributive “all” to be saved, and must include a plan to force just those in that limited “all” to be saved, with no plan to provide any possibility for anyone else bearing His image to be saved. That divine purpose is not in the Bible I am reading! I hope this helps.

      7. brianwagner writes, “It was you who mentioned God’s knowledge of the ramifications of His decisions. I still await your naming one. But instead of offering a response to my challenge to suggest a reasonable ramification that made Him decide to predetermine all His choices, and man’s, forever, and then to provide Scripture that present things differently, you just return the challenge…”

        A good treatment of the issue of omniscience was prepared by Stephan Charnock. I’ll assume that you are familiar with it, maybe even have read it, but have not been impressed by it. On the other hand, I have been impressed by his effort. So, we will never agree on the issue of omniscience.

        That leaves those verses which appear to indicate that God has not determined all things. If God is omniscient as argued by Charnock, then God does know His will and knows it perfectly so He has determined what He will do and brings about that which he has determined in the course of time.

        Elsewhere, I think you, following others, purposely misrepresent the situation saying that God must “force” people to be saved. If by “force,” you mean something similar to that which God did to Paul on the road to Damascus or that Christ did in calling Lazarus from the tomb, then there is no problem. I get the impression that you do not – but why not?

        The definition of “all,” is important as you note above. While the Calvinists can point to Ephesians 3 and other verses noting the “Jew and gentile” purpose for the gospel, the non-Calvinist has yet to offer an argument for “all” to mean each and every person in the critical verses (at least, I am not aware of it being done but maybe you are and will share).

      8. Good Morning Roger, So you decided to ignore my challenge again. The reader can decide if such a good “ramification” would actually exist that would cause God to choose to predetermine before creation all His and man’s choices forever. And you are welcome to stick with Charnock’s understanding of omniscience; though I choose what I believe defines omniscience is a logically consistent understanding that reflects Scripture’s revelation better.

        God did miraculously force Paul to freely face his rejection of the truth concerning Jesus’ Messiahship. God did miraculously force Lazarus to rise from the dead. Calvinists love to use unrelated illustrations to try to prove their theology at the expense of ignoring clear teaching passages of Scripture. Their theology is that man’s will does not want anything salvific from God. That would include, logically, that he does not want his will changed. But the Calvinist has to have God forcefully go against that will of man and change man’s will so that it will irresistibly accept God’s salvific efforts. “Force” is a very appropriate word, because man’s will has no alternative in the Calvinist’s view.

        I am sure Roger, you and I have gone over the passages where the context deals with the word “all”. My age prevents me from remembering exactly which post!  Those uses of “all” would be taken by the normal first readers, without needing any outside definitions brought to it (necessitated by one’s theology), to indicate “all” has a universal meaning and not a distributive one (cf. John 1:9, Acts 17:30). But the best example is the universal meaning of “all” in 1Tim 4:4 and 6 is made clear by Paul’s universal meaning of that word “all” used four times in the previous three verses.

      9. brianwagner writes, ” So you decided to ignore my challenge again.”

        I guess that means I don’t understand the challenge. What is the challenge and how do I respond to it to your satisfaction?

        Also, “…the Calvinist has to have God forcefully go against that will of man and change man’s will so that it will irresistibly accept God’s salvific efforts. “Force” is a very appropriate word, because man’s will has no alternative in the Calvinist’s view.”

        Even the non-Calvinist requires that God forcefully go against the will of man. I think everyone pretty much agrees that the initial condition of the unsaved is that “none seeks God.” Thus, the preaching of the gospel (with God calling people to preach and putting on their hearts those to whom their are to preach) forces itself onto the will of the unsaved and forcefully causes them to consider things that they would not otherwise consider in their unsaved desires.

        The issue is the degree to which God is involved in the salvation of any person. At the least, the Calvinists and Arminians say that God must enable a person to believe – which I see you defining as God forcing Himself on the unwilling sinner – that the person has options to accept or reject does not negate the initial force required to give the person those options. Except for the Pelagians, does anyone exclude the initial action by God to force a change on the unsaved to cause them to consider their need for salvation? Isn’t the issue generally one of degree of force required and not force alone?

        Regarding the definition of “all,” the issue is where to condition the context of its meaning. Even you allow that the definition of “all” in v4;6 (chap 2 rather than 4) is derived from the earlier uses. We can go back to Ephesians 3 for context – and thereby establish consistency across Paul’s writings – that is one exegetical methodology to follow. One may also exegete a passage withing itself without regard to that which one reads in other letters/passages. If one is consistent in doing this across the board on any issue, two unique theologies will arise. In the end, your complaint is with the exegetical methodology (i.e., systematic) followed by the Calvinists. Let’s recognize this.

      10. Hi Roger, I hope this clarifies the challenge.

        You said – God cannot make a decision with regard to an event without knowing all the ramifications of that decision.
        I said – The Calvinist needs to explain what the ramification was that made God choose to predetermine all His and man’s choices before creation and then reveal in Scriptures that all His and man’s choices have not been predetermined?

        You did not explain such a ramification that would make God choose to be portrayed in Scriptures as so inconsistent with the reality of predeterminism as Calvinists see it.
        You said – “Even the non-Calvinist requires that God forcefully go against the will of man.”

        I will concede that God does guarantee to present to every man’s head the enlightenment (Jn 1:9) that is needed and to every man’s heart the conviction (Jn 16:7-8) that is needed, even though his will does want those things initially, at least not for the right reasons. That could be called, perhaps, a forcing of divine opportunity upon a person, presented to enable the will to make a free choice for or against God’s saving grace. But it is not a forcing of an obstinate will to change coercively without prior enlightenment or conviction and providing a free response-able choice to change itself (repent) to receive God’s grace.

        You are correct that our disagreement over the meaning of “all” in 1Tim 2:4 and 6 is one of exegetical methodology. The reader can decide if local context can sufficiently determine the meaning of “all” as universal in 1Tim 2:1-6 or whether a theological concept from an outside passage should make this word “all” distributive instead of universal. Certainly God is going to make sure that representation of both Jews and Gentiles and even every tribe will be in glory. (I personally believe that this will also be accomplished including the salvation of infants who have perished in infancy). But the correct hermeneutic is that local context determination of meaning trumps theological eisegesis. In fact, all the “all’s” in Eph 3 appear to be universal in meaning also. The distributive meaning is rare, though it does exist in Scripture, but the Calvinist certainly would not want it to be used in one of his favorite passages – Eph. 1:11! 🙂

      11. brianwagner writes, “The Calvinist needs to explain what the ramification was that made God choose to predetermine all His and man’s choices before creation and then reveal in Scriptures that all His and man’s choices have not been predetermined?”

        I think that is the wrong question for the Calvinist, but we will work with it.

        Charnock has done a sound analysis on omniscience. He focuses on one verse, “God’s understanding is infinite” – Psalm 147.

        Understanding encompasses knowledge and “infinite” understanding must include complete/perfect knowledge. We agree, I think, that God has a perfect knowledge of the past and present so God has perfect understanding of everything that happened in the past and of that which happens in the present. The question is whether “infinite” understanding requires a perfect knowledge of the future.

        Understanding requires a knowledge of the future ramifications/impacts of present actions. So any action God takes in present time – e.g., impregnating Mary – by His infinite understanding, He knows all that comes in the future because of this action. For any action taken by God, infinite understanding tells us that God knows all the future ramifications/impacts of whatever action he takes. So, starting at the beginning, “God created the heavens and the earth; God created man.” Infinite understanding tells us that God had knowledge of everything after that action and following as a consequence of that action.

        If the above is not true, then we must be mistaken about the meaning of “infinite” understanding.

        So, your question, “what the ramification was that made God choose to predetermine all His and man’s choices before creation.” In other words, what action did God take made God choose to determine all His and man’s choices? That action was God’s decision to create the heavens and the earth. When God decided to create, He had infinite understanding – and perfect knowledge – of all that would follow after that creation. We might use the analogy of a line of dominoes. Once God sent the first domino falling into the next, He knew the final outcome because it was all before Him.

        It is the concept of “infinite understanding” that necessitates that God have perfect knowledge of the future.

        As to your second question, “…and then reveal in Scriptures that all His and man’s choices have not been predetermined?” Given that infinite understanding cannot be separated from a perfect knowledge of the future, the only explanation is that you have misunderstood those Scriptures that you read to say that some events in the future are undetermined.

      12. Good morning Roger. If God with His infinite understanding did not have to determine to create, then logically it can not be a necessity that when He does determine to create He does not have to determine everything in that creation. Your implication does not follow necessarily but only as a possibility because of God’s freedom of will working with His infinite understanding. If creation was only a possibility in God’s infinite understanding and the it became a determination within God’s infinite understanding, then it follows that other things can now be just possibilities within God’s infinite understanding only later to become determinations after God’s and man’s free interaction.

        The Scripture reflect this reality in its normal reading, with the future already partly determined and partly with open possibilities, all understood within God’s infinite understanding. I hope this helps.

      13. I don’t think your logic is sound. Once God makes any decision e.g., the decision to create the universe – He has an infinite understanding of all that will happen once He creates the universe and therefore a perfect knowledge of whatever His understanding encompasses – necessarily, this understanding includes a perfect knowledge of all future events following His creating. I think you must disagree at this point to pursue your conclusion.

        Is it possible for God might not determine everything in that creation? Infinite understanding says No. God’s infinite understanding encompasses an understanding of His will for that creation. As God should not be thought to create without purpose, His understanding of His purpose for creating is perfect. In the mind of God everything is understood and His freedom of will expressed fully both in its freedom and that which God wills and this is in His understanding.

        Let’s review some things God decides. It is God who opens or closes the womb, thus no person is born except God determines that they should be born. God understands – thus knows – how every person’s life and every decision a person makes fits His purposes. It is God who sustains the life of the person and a person only dies when God withholds life thereby calling the person to stand before Him. Thus, God’s understanding of the place any person has within His purposes includes a perfect knowledge of that person’s life.

        To say that God does not determine everything in His creation is to deny His sovereignty – what is there that God does not determine and in what sense can we say that God does not determine? Can God not “know” what he will do if He has infinite understanding? Can God not “know” what people will decide if He has infinite understanding? If God does not “know” what people will decide or what He decides, then He cannot be said to have infinite understanding nor could we say that God is omniscient.

        The only sound conclusion that we can draw is that God has an infinite understanding and this precludes God not knowing and determining all things. Your interpretation of certain passages in the Bible to conclude that God has not determined all things can only reflect a wrong understanding of those passages – one that conflicts with the Biblical teaching that God has infinite understanding. At least, you don’t explain how God can have infinite understanding without also having determined all things.

      14. So are you saying, Roger, that God’s infinite wisdom only knew human creation as a predetermination from all eternity and not just as a possibility that He then freely chose to make a determination? If so, wouldn’t that make human creation an eternal necessity?

      15. OK, now you are deflecting and not saying anything substantive regarding God’s “infinite understanding.” That’s fine so long as you know that you have no real counter argument to deal with infinite understanding – your position does not work with infinite understanding. I have yet to read anyone who really takes Charnock head-on, so I don’t see you getting help from others on this. If you find something, let me know.

        Creation was a possibility until Genesis 1; then, creation became an actuality from beginning to end – that is the effect of infinite understanding and that is the way the Calvinist approaches it.

        I diverge from those who make everything God knows an eternal necessity. I think we have to allow God to have an original thought just because He is a free being/entity – as impossible as that may seem; after all what could God really think that He had not already thought?

      16. So Roger, does God still have the ability for original thought within His infinite wisdom?

      17. I like to think so. However, even an original thought is accompanied by infinite understanding, so once God acts on a thought it is defined fully. So, let’s say that God had an original thought to create the universe. Once God actually decides to create, then that universe is determined fully from beginning to end because God does not create without purpose and that purpose would be carried out. Thus, we would not have God creating the universe and then changing His purpose – by an original thought – as that would invalidate His infinite understanding.

        The Bible does not really address the issue of God having an original thought, so I think we are on shaky ground trying conceive of how it might work with God and then trying to build something on it.

        But, again, you deflect. I take that to mean that you have never read anything to counter Charnock’s argument for omniscience based on infinite understanding and how it proves God’s omniscience of even future events. If you run across anything, let me know. Omniscience seems to be the toughest issue for the non-Calvinist, and I can see why you have concluded – similar to the Open Theists – that God cannot be allowed to know the future if one is to develop a viable theology to counter Calvinism.

  18. CALVIN’S GOD – AND THE FATED DOUBLE-BIND

    A husband takes his blind wife to the ocean, arranging for her to walk near a cliff. As she steps to the edge he says: “Let’s go out to a nice restaurant tonight honey”. After her death, he blames the event on her selfish and disobedient nature.

    A father hands his little boy a grey tie and a dark-blue tie and tells him he would love to see him wear either one. When the son wears the dark-blue tie, the father punishes him with a rod.

    A father brings his little girl out on a boat in the ocean. From a gust of wind, she loses her balance falling into the water. The father puts his hands behind his back and calls for her to reach out to be saved. She desperately reaches, but his hand is not there. He calls her ungrateful and attributes the event to her sinfulness.

    Psychologists call these: “Double-Binds”. A Double-Bind is a malevolent intention which threatens survival, but which is cloaked/disguised within a benevolent message. The phrase “Double-Bind” was coined by Gregory Bateson, English anthropologist, social scientist, linguist and visual anthropologist. Bateson classified the “Double-Bind” as an example of schismatic thinking, enunciated by schismatic communication.

    When the Calvinist says Calvin’s god -quote “wills for ALL men to be saved”.

    When the Calvinist says Calvin’s, god makes a -quote “genuine offer of salvation”.

    When Calvin says his god – quote “holds out salvation as a savor of greater condemnation” after having deceived believers into believing they are saved, and then -quote “strikes them with even greater blindness on account of their ungratefulness”.

    When the logic of Calvinism stipulates, Calvin’s god as the source and origin of every evil sinful thought and desire, causing these to be fated (inevitable and unavailable) on persons.

    When Calvin’s god commands Adam to obey while secretly decreeing his disobedience as that which will come to pass.

    These are indeed examples of a “Double-Bind”.
    Calvin’s god is schismatic.

    The human capacity for trust and trusting is founded upon “A Posteriori” (empirical) knowledge. Two critical components of the human capacity to trust are consistency and repeatability over time. A wife wants to trust her husband when he tells her he loves her, but when she randomly catches him in lies, she realizes she would simply be deluding herself to believe there is anything to trust.

    Communicating one thing, while secretly holding to its opposite is a form of behavior and communication that does not support trust. Consistency and repeatability over time are absent, replaced by arbitrariness which is unknowable. This type of behavior and communication simply do not support real genuine human trust.

    I believe the Calvinist wants to trust his god. And I think Calvinists work very hard at maintaining an attitude of trust. But what can one trust Calvin’s god for? That he will always do right? In the Calvinist’s case, “right” could mean good, and “right” could mean evil. The Calvinist cannot know which one it is – because that which according to the “secret will” of his god.

    A Calvinist can easily be a “vessel of wrath” without knowing it.

    It should be obvious then, the Calvinist’s trust in his god is based on faith. But it is a DOUBLE-SIDED faith, the dark side of which the Calvinist’s mind must learn to block.

    If the SECRET will is for his election – he’s fine.
    If not – what Calvin’s god has fated for him is a “Double-Bind”

    1. br.d writes, “When the Calvinist says Calvin’s god -quote “wills for ALL men to be saved”.”

      …The Calvinist means that God wills both Jew and gentile to be saved.

      Then, “When the Calvinist says Calvin’s, god makes a -quote “genuine offer of salvation”.”

      …The Calvinist means that any one who believes on Christ can be saved.

      Then, “When Calvin says his god – quote “holds out salvation as a savor of greater condemnation” after having deceived believers into believing they are saved, and then -quote “strikes them with even greater blindness on account of their ungratefulness”.

      …Calvin refers to the laying open of the wicked heart.

      Then, “When the logic of Calvinism stipulates, Calvin’s god as the source and origin of every evil sinful thought and desire, causing these to be fated (inevitable and unavailable) on persons.”

      …The Calvinist understands the wickedness of the depraved heart and that it cannot change without God changing it.

      Then, “When Calvin’s god commands Adam to obey while secretly decreeing his disobedience as that which will come to pass.”

      …Calvinism reveals that (1) God is sovereign and (2) people must always seek God in every decision they make and not seeking their own despite the freedom God gives them to do as they desire.

      1. br.d writes, “When the Calvinist says Calvin’s god -quote “wills for ALL men to be saved”.”

        rhutchin
        …The Calvinist means that God wills both “Jew and gentile” to be saved.

        br.d
        Right – but not ALL “Jews and gentiles”
        That logic makes NOT ALL equal ALL – which turns scripture into Calvinistic double-speak.
        What happens to the conscience of a person who learns to distort scripture.

        br.d
        “When the Calvinist says Calvin’s, god makes a -quote “genuine offer of salvation”.”

        rhutchin
        …The Calvinist means that any one who believes on Christ can be saved.

        br.d
        What happens to the conscience of a person who learns to speak half-truths?
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god wasn’t the sole determiner of that – causing it as one’s fate

        br.d
        “When Calvin says his god – quote “holds out salvation as a savor of greater condemnation” after having deceived believers into believing they are saved, and then -quote “strikes them with even greater blindness on account of their ungratefulness”.

        rhutchin
        …Calvin refers to the laying open of the wicked heart.

        br.d
        Blatantly false.
        This was determined at the foundation of the world.
        Calvin’s god does not save/damn persons based upon anything having to do with the person.

        br.d
        “When the logic of Calvinism stipulates, Calvin’s god as the source and origin of every evil sinful thought and desire, causing these to be fated (inevitable and unavailable) on persons.”

        rhutchin
        The Calvinist understands the wickedness of the depraved heart and that it cannot change without God changing it.

        br.d
        What happens to the conscience of a person who learns to speak half-truths?
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god wasn’t the sole determiner of that – causing it as one’s fate

        br.d
        “When Calvin’s god commands Adam to obey while secretly decreeing his disobedience as that which will come to pass.”

        rhutchin:
        …Calvinism reveals that (1) God is sovereign and (2) people must always seek God in every decision they make and not seeking their own despite the freedom God gives them to do as they desire.

        br.d
        What happens to the conscience of a person who learns to speak half-truths?
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god wasn’t the sole determiner of that – causing it as one’s fate

        Calvin’s god determines ALL things which come to pass – including Adam’s disobedience.
        People cannot “do otherwise” than what Calvin’s god determines they do.

        Scripture tells us – a sign of those who are in Christ – is that they do not continue in sin.
        I wonder if speaking half-truths over a prolonged period of time would constitute “continuing in sin”

      2. br.d writes, “Right – but not ALL “Jews and gentiles”
        That logic makes NOT ALL equal ALL – which turns scripture into Calvinistic double-speak.”

        Not really. “Men” can be divided into Jews and gentiles. To say “All men” would include both Jews and gentiles. The Universalist would go one step further as br.d has done and say that “all men” means “all Jews and gentiles” or each and every Jew and gentile. So, we have a distinction between the Calvinist view and the Universalist view. In either case, “all” still means “all” but can have different contexts.

        Then, “*AS-IF* Calvin’s god wasn’t the sole determiner of that – causing it as one’s fate”

        This is a point disputed. Calvinists say that God is the sole determiner of who is saved. The non-Calvinist says that such determination is a joint effort between God and man. In each case, it is true that, “any one who believes on Christ can be saved.” The distinction made is regarding the extent to which God must necessarily be involved in producing that outcome. Even allowing for the non-Calvinist position that people are saved through a joint effort between God and man, that allows for some not to be saved unless, as the Calvinist hold, God brings about that outcome. The ongoing issue is whether a joint effort is possible.

        Then, “Blatantly false.
        This was determined at the foundation of the world.”

        That may be, but the issue here is Calvin’s commentary and what Calvin meant by what he wrote. br.d is going off on a rabbit trail.

        Then, “Calvin’s god does not save/damn persons based upon anything having to do with the person.”

        Not exactly. In Philippians, “God began a good work in you,” so God does save/damn based on what He is doing with the person. Salvation has everything to do with God’s elect and damnation has everything to do with the non-elect. What br.d means to say is that the individual really has no say in this as God does as He pleases with the individual. God, as sovereign, does as He pleases and does so according to the counsel of His will. Even br.d cannot argue against this, even though he complains about it.

        Then, “*AS-IF* Calvin’s god wasn’t the sole determiner of that – causing it as one’s fate.”

        We find that this situation resulted from Adam’s sin, so God was not the “sole” determiner. Of course, God is the one who decreed the penalty for sin – death – when He could have determined a different outcome.

        Then, “Calvin’s god determines ALL things which come to pass – including Adam’s disobedience.
        People cannot “do otherwise” than what Calvin’s god determines they do.”

        This is not unique to Calvinism. In all theologies, God determines all things that come to pass as God is sovereign and rules over His creation. The argument is over the nature of man and whether man can overcome his nature and “do otherwise.” br.d cannot argue that man can do so but he can complain about it.

  19. br.d writes, “Right – but not ALL “Jews and gentiles”
    That logic makes NOT ALL equal ALL – which turns scripture into Calvinistic double-speak.”

    rhutchin
    Not really. “Men” can be divided into Jews and gentiles. To say “All men” would include both Jews and gentiles.

    br.d
    Yes really.
    I let the reader recognize the Calvinist rendering makes the word ALL mean ALL but NOT-ALL.
    When the Calvinist says “Not really” what he means is “We don’t say it that way” – hence the double-speak

    br.d
    Then, “*AS-IF* Calvin’s god wasn’t the sole determiner of that – causing it as one’s fate”

    rhutchin:
    This is a point disputed. Calvinists say that God is the sole determiner of who is saved……..

    br.d
    Ah the pathology of Calvinism – double-speak.
    The doctrine asserts every aspect of the creature at every microsecond – the direct byproduct of fated decrees.
    The poor Calvinist is forced to assert it out of one side of the mouth while denying it out of the other.

    br.d
    “Blatantly false.
    This was determined at the foundation of the world.”

    rhutchin
    That may be, but the issue here is Calvin’s commentary and what Calvin meant by what he wrote. br.d is going off on a rabbit trail.

    br.d
    What Calvin wrote is so clear – no clear thinker need be deceived by Calvinist double-speak.
    Calvin’s god deceives people into believing they are saved – quote “Holding out salvation as a savor of greater condemnation”

    br.d
    In Calvinism a persons salvation/damnation has nothing to do with the nature of the creature

    rhutchin
    Not exactly. In Philippians, “God began a good work in you,” so God does save/damn based on what He is doing with the person.

    br.d
    This is another good example of Calvinism’s double-speak.
    “IS DOING” infers present tense.
    In Calvinism everything that “IS DOING” is/was FIXED in eternity past
    Wen the Calvinist says “Not exactly” what he means is “We don’t say it that way” – hence the double-speak.
    The rest of the comment is superfluous filler.
    (or should I say “without substance”) :-]

    br.d
    Calvinists double-think “*AS-IF* Calvin’s god wasn’t the sole determiner of that – causing it as one’s fate.”

    rhutcnin
    We find that this situation resulted from Adam’s sin, so God was not the “sole” determiner. Of course, God is the one who decreed the penalty for sin – death – when He could have determined a different outcome.

    br.d
    Now here the Calvinist finds he is able to equivocate on the word “sole” in “sole determiner”.
    Any way the Calvinist can wiggle out of his conundrum – he will.

    The immutable decree was obeyed – Adam’s disobedience was fated to come to pass before Adam was created.

    The pathology of Calvinism is double-speak.
    The doctrine asserts every aspect of the creature at every microsecond – the direct byproduct of fated decrees.
    The poor Calvinist is forced to assert it out of one side of the mouth while denying it out of the other.

    br.d
    Then, “Calvin’s god determines ALL things which come to pass – including Adam’s disobedience.
    People cannot “do otherwise” than what Calvin’s god determines they do.”

    rhutchin
    This is not unique to Calvinism. In all theologies……

    br.d
    False
    This is unique only to Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism)

    The creature’s inability to “do otherwise” is a logical consequence of Theological Determinism
    Dr. Linda Zagzebski -“Eternity and Fatalism.”

    The ability to “do otherwise” in a given situation is a necessary condition of libertarian freedom.
    Dr. William Lane Craig #563 I, a Compatibilist?

    Again, the rest of the comment is superfluous filler
    I think the readers by now can see how Calvinist double-speak works. :-]

    1. br.d writes, “In Calvinism everything that “IS DOING” is/was FIXED in eternity past”

      So, by “doing” is meant executing that which had already been decided.

      Then, ‘The creature’s inability to “do otherwise” is a logical consequence of Theological Determinism”

      “Doing otherwise” implies nothing about the freedom one has in “doing otherwise.” A person sitting down may “do otherwise” by standing up. A person in bed may “do otherwise ” by getting out of bed. There is nothing magical about “doing otherwise.” As Craig has shown, prior knowledge by God of the actions people will take does not determine that they do those things, Prior knowledge affords God the opportunity to intervene to prevent that which will occur naturally, but does not require any action by God to affect those things that occur naturally.

      1. br.d writes, “In Calvinism everything that “IS DOING” is/was FIXED in eternity past”

        rhutchin
        So, by “doing” is meant executing that which had already been decided.

        br.d
        Right – ALREADY DECIDED by Calvin’s god and not by the creature.

        br.d
        Dr. Linda Zagebski: ‘The creature’s inability to “do otherwise” is a logical consequence of Theological Determinism”

        rhutchin
        “Doing otherwise” implies nothing about the freedom one has in “doing otherwise.”

        br.d
        False:
        One does not have “freedom” to do something when that something cannot/will-not exist.
        Adam’s disobedience was decreed as what would exist and not its alternative.
        “do otherwise” therefore did not exist.

        Dr. Alvin Plantinga likens Calvinist logic to: “Putting a man in a prison cell and telling him he is as free AS-IF he were outside of the cell”

        Adam does not have the freedom to be a frog if Calvin’s god does not decree Adam to be a frog.
        Whatever is not decreed to exist (in this case obedience coming to pass) is not available for Adam.

        rhutchin
        A person sitting down may “do otherwise” by standing up. A person in bed may “do otherwise ” by getting out of bed.

        br.d
        Welcome to IN-determinism. :-]

        Peter Van Inwagen calls word jugglery a “deceptive hidden counter-factual”
        In order to show this as true in Calvinism you will have to show how a person can “do otherwise” than what Calvin’s god has already determined/fated them to do.

        Unfortunately for the Calvinist, IN-determinism cannot exist within Theological Determinism any more than sound can exist in a perfect vacuum. The poor Calvinist is forced to wear a mask of IN-determinism in order to appear biblical.

        For further reading on this issue see: Calvinism and the Unliveability of Determinism (William Lane Craig)
        https://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer/P140/calvinism-and-the-unliveability-of-determinism

  20. So… What is the Potter’s promise in Romans chap.9 ? = The answer is God’s provision of Salvation to the elect Jacob-Israel. (Esau and the Edomites were not included here). The Potter’s promise has been also extended to the elect Gentiles. v. 24 says : “Even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles”. (only the elect Gentiles, not the entire Gentile race on earth, the false prophets, the annihilated Canaanites during the time of Joshua, the rest of mankind who have been swept away by the global flood, the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah burned with fire-, etc… Jesus Christ never offered His life for them. Jesus Christ according to Him, He only lay down His life for the sheep – John 10:11, 15)

  21. CALVINISM’S AUTHOR OF EVIL – AND ALTRUISTIC DISHONESTY

    Dr. Bella DePaulo, – Ph.D., Harvard, is a Social Psychologist with extensive research on how people justify various forms of dishonesty. In her book: “The how’s and why’s of lies” she reports, a high percentage of people who rationalize their use of dishonest language, experience some sub-level degree of discomfort, which is effectively outweighed by rationalizations. And they generally do not regard their lies as lies.

    This is especially true with people who are working to protect a “target”. These are called “other-oriented” or “altruistic” dishonesties. Protecting the “target” allows them to perceive themselves as honest rather than dishonest. For the sake of protecting the “target”, a high percentage report they would have felt worse if they had been honest, because honesty would have revealed things about the “target” they did not want people to see.

    DePaulo’s research is consistent with scholars dating back centuries. This supposed protection of a “target” the vast majority of the time actually functions as a mask for self-serving motives, and the honored perception of being a protector of the honored “target”, is in itself, another layer of deception, which can actually give the person a sense of pride.

    CALVINISMS AS-IF THINKING PATTERN
    It is well recognized here at SOT101 that Calvinists manifest an unique thinking pattern called: “AS-IF” thinking.

    – [Determined] AS-IF [Not Determined]
    – [Caused] AS-IF [Permitted]
    – [Infallible] AS-IF [Not Infallible]
    – [True] AS-IF [NOT True]
    – [Calvin’s god rendered-certain Adam have a prevailing inclination towards sin] AS-IF [he didn’t]
    – [Calvin’s god wills SOME men saved] AS-IF [he wills ALL men saved]

    When the Christian observer comes to recognize this [True] AS-IF [False] thinking pattern which forces the Calvinist into the realm of the irrational – its quite natural for the observer to ask the question – how Calvinists function in the real world where True does not equal False?

    Dr. William Lane Craig – a Christian scholar philosopher, internationally recognized for precision in rational thinking, is frequently asked this question. Here is an example from his web-site:
    “Dr. Craig, I am troubled at the mass amount of Calvinists I see who are intelligent, even Christian leaders. What I mean is that so many of them seem to be capable of great analysis (far beyond myself), but stick their head in the sand when it comes to the problem of evil.”

    The Calvinist problem is two pronged. There is, as we’ve seen, the problem of irrational [True] AS-IF [False] thinking. But there is also an ethical problem as well – since AS-IF thinking will be expressed in Calvinism’s language.

    For generations, Calvinists have become quite refined, in the craft of word-smithing – so as to camouflage as much as possible, this AS-IF thinking model, to make it appear as normal as possible. But this can be accomplished only to a point – and observers can see Calvinist statements often appear as spider-web semantics.

    For example, word-smithing to hide the fact that Calvin’s god supernaturally RENDERED-CERTAIN Adam’s sin – can be crafted as: “Calvin’s god was CERTAIN by divine omniscience that Adam sinned”.

    Here Calvin’s god’s *ACTION* of applying overwhelming supernatural power – to ensure Adam’s inclination to sin – as the only actualizable outcome is obfuscated by masquerading the event as Calvin’s god knowing by omniscience that Adam sinned. So here we have [Active] AS-IF [Passive]. And we can see this is as the language of obfuscation.

    As to how Calvinists can consider their mode of thinking and mode of language ethical – again we can turn to Dr. Bella DePaulo’s research on ALTRUISTIC DISHONESTY for the answer.

    The Calvinist perceives himself as the “honored protector” of god. He is protecting his god from the specter of blame.

    As Dr. DePaulo notes:

    – Protecting the ‘target’ allows them to perceive themselves as honest rather than dishonest.
    – For the sake of protecting the ‘target’, a high percentage report they would have felt worse if they had been honest, because honesty would have revealed things about the ‘target’ they did not want people to see”.

    Additionally, the protecting of the ‘target’ facilitates underlying self-serving motives. It allows the protector to perceive himself as providing a critical service – in this case – a critical service to the ruler of the universe. And the outworking of that will quite naturally lead to pride.

  22. JOHN CALVIN’S EXAMPLE OF CALVIN’S GOD CONTROLLING A PERSON’S MIND

    Within his voluminous writing, John Calvin details an example – of how he conceives the exercise of divine control over men.
    -quote:
    “For example a merchant, after entering a forest…..strays….and wanders….till he falls into a den of robbers and is murdered. His death was not only foreseen by the eye of God, but had been fixed by his decree. (Institutes 1.16.9)”

    Now Calvin’s’ example of this merchant’s murder – we shall soon see – cannot simply be attributed to man’s fallen human nature – because nothing within human nature could guarantee the merchant end up in the robber’s den.

    There are 360 decrees in a circle – and as such this merchant, from the moment he strayed, throughout the whole period of time and distance in which he wandered, could have gone in one of 360 different directions. The average man takes 2000 steps to walk one mile. And even if this merchant were to walk a mere quarter mile, that would approximate at least 500 steps. And after each and every step there would be another 360 possible directions in which he could have turned.

    This equates to 180,000.00 possible instances in which this merchant could have gone in any direction whatsoever. And yet every step he took led him one step closer to one very meticulously precise location.

    In mathematical probability, this merchant had approximately 0.002% chance of ending up at the murder’s den. There is absolutely nothing attributable to human nature that could guarantee such a precise outcome.

    If there were anything that could be attributed to nature to guarantee this outcome – John Darwin, hoping to support his doctrine of natural selection would have certainly seized upon it!

    This merchant’s navigation could only be attributed to a supernatural cause. So we are left with either the possibility that Calvin’s god either prompted the merchant’s brain in the taking of each specific step – to so exactingly ensure he navigate through the maze of the forest, to end up at this precise location.

    Or, more logically consistent with this doctrine – Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world rendered-certain every neurological impulse this merchant’s brain would ever have. And thus each specific impulse functioned like the staff of a shepherd, to supernaturally and divinely guide this sheep – one step at a time – directly to this one specific location and not to any other.

    Calvin’s example requires a model of highly meticulous supernatural control over every thought that can occur in the human brain.
    Further, Calvin’s example does not allow for direct supernatural manipulation to be ruled out.

  23. A TESTIMONY FROM AN EX-CALVINIST:

    While I was still a Calvinist, I listened to the audio book of Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig.

    I mentioned to an elder at my church how impressed I was that Dr. Craig used all of his skilled arguments as an opportunity to present the Gospel through the Four Spiritual Laws.

    He gave a slight sneer and said, “It was ONLY the Four Spiritual Laws”

    Given the social nature of the discussion, I refused the temptation to say:
    That’s more than I’ve seen from every Calvinist book and audio that I’ve come across put together!

  24. TWO TESTIMONIES FROM EX-CALVNISTS

    -quote
    After I renounced Calvinism, I noticed a significant increase in my emotional self-control.

    -quote
    In a conversation – a sister in the Lord told me – after rejecting Calvinism she observed – her newly formed belief in libertarian free will had a seriously unexpected affect on her self-discipline. She looked at me and said: “hugely—huge, huge!”

  25. FOH, TSOO and LAMPSTAND

    Can I ask you to watch this youtube video when you have a chance and provide your analysis?

    The video describes the primary strategy observed with argumentation.
    Especially their accusatory arguments based on fabricated straw-men

    Go to youtube and type in: Calvinism: Same Tactics as Political Liberalism

    The video is produced by “Beyond The Fundamentals”

  26. WHEN EUPHEMISM WORKS TO HIDE EVIL

    Law enforcement agents analyze oral or written statements looking for dishonesty by way of euphemisms.

    Statements designed to protect a guilty party will often contain terms designed to portray the guilty party’s actions in a favorable light – in order to distance the guilty party from the acts he committed.

    Examples:
    The word “missing” instead of “stolen”
    The word “borrowed” instead of “took”
    The word “bumped” instead of “struck”
    The word “warned” instead of “threatened”

    And in Calvinism’s case:
    The word “permitted” or “did not restrain” instead of “caused” or “rendered-certain”

  27. GIVE TO CALVINISM WHAT BELONGS TO CALVINISM

    But Jesus discerning trickery said: “Show me the institutes of the Christian religion – whose inscription is on its face?”
    And they said: “It is John Calvin’s”.

    And Jesus answered saying: “Give to Calvinism what belongs to Calvinism – and give to the Holy Spirit what belongs to Holy Spirit – but do not conflate the two”.

    Now the TRUE Apostle teaches you to: “Follow a man AS that man follows Christ”.
    But the FALSE Apostle teaches you to: “Follow a man while DECLARING that man follows Christ”.

    The first puts the responsibility of choice squarely on you. And is impossible to accomplish without you holding Christ as the golden standard against which every man is measured. And that process requires you exercise and grow in personal discernment – into the measure and stature of Christ.

    The other puts no more responsibility on you then to blindly assume every foot-step established in Calvinism is the foot-step of Christ. In that condition you do not grow in the measure and stature of Christ. You grow into the measure and stature of Calvinism. And you do not obey Jesus’ commandment.

    So give to Calvinism what belongs to Calvinism – and give to Jesus what belongs to Jesus. And do not conflate the two.

  28. LET YOUR YES BE YES AND YOUR NO BE NO

    And Jesus said: Let your YES be YES and your NO be NO – for everything else comes of evil. Matthew 5:37
    And whatever is not of faith (that comes from above) – is sin.

    YES and NO are mutually exclusive.
    So to obey Jesus – one has to make a choice between two mutually exclusive conclusions.
    1) Everything is: (Predestined, Determined, Fixed, Settled in the past, Unpreventable, Unrestrainable, Immutable) and in every part.
    2) Nothing is: (Predestined, Determined, Fixed, Settled in the past, Unpreventable, Unrestrainable, Immutable) in any part.

    John Calvin:
    -quote:
    Hence as to future time, because the issue of all things is hidden from us, each ought to so to apply himself to his office, AS THOUGH NOTHING WERE DETERMINED ABOUT ANY PART. ” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God – pg 171)

    Now here it is obvious Calvin teaches his disciples effectively -to embrace both conclusions (1 & 2).

    If one chooses both – as Calvin teaches, then the conclusion one embraces is: YES=NO
    And YES=NO is not of the faith, which comes from above, and is therefore sin.
    And no one who is born of God will continue in sin.

    Now Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions?” 1 Kings 18:21
    A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:8

  29. EVERY SYSTEM OF THEOLOGY IS BY ITS VERY NATURE A TRADITION

    A system of theology is by its very nature, a tradition of interpretation, as well as a tradition of orthopraxy.

    Jesus: Making void the word of God with your παραδόσει – Mark 7:13

    Nominative, accusative and vocative plural form of παράδοση (parádosi).
    Paradosi = Goods, parcels, traditions, teachings, – (and explicitly, such things which are handed down)

    Paul to the Corinthians:
    “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the TRADITIONS just as I handed them on to you” (1 Cor. 11:2).

    Paul to the Thessalonians: “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the TRADITIONS that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter” (2 Thess. 2:15).

    To make-believe the group I belong to, and its system of interpretation, is not a tradition, is simply an act of voluntary blindness.

    Any believer who asserts his group’s theology is not a tradition – is deceived either by self-deception or group leadership.

    When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11

    Any believer who refuses to acknowledge his group’s tradition of interpretation does not in some way compromise or make void scripture – has not put away childish things.

    1. br.d writes, “Any believer who refuses to acknowledge his group’s tradition of interpretation does not in some way compromise or make void scripture – …”

      Most people let Scripture interpret Scripture.

      1. br.d
        “Any believer who refuses to acknowledge his group’s tradition of interpretation does not in some way compromise or make void scripture – …”

        rhutchin
        Most people let Scripture interpret Scripture.

        br.d
        I’ll let that statement speak for itself! :-]

      2. Any believer who refuses to acknowledge his group’s tradition of interpretation does not in some way compromise or make void scripture – has not put away childish things.

        rhutchin
        Most people let Scripture interpret Scripture.

        br.d
        I’ll let that statement speak for itself! :-]

  30. A CALVINIST’S TEA LEAF READING SESSION

    After the Calvinist sipped the last drop of his tea, he dutifully gazed down into the cup to read the divine patterns – exactly as he had been taught to do.

    The patterns he read included the following:
    T – he saw 3 of these
    U – he saw 6 of these
    L – he saw 2 of these
    I – he saw 4 of these
    P – he saw 5 of these

    Gratified with what he saw – he thanked God that Calvinism taught him the divine way to read.
    He then picked up his Bible, and dutifully continued his reading session.

    1. br.d writes, “After the Calvinist sipped the last drop of his tea,..”

      Again we see that br.d has an active imagination and just makes up things about Calvinism for no reason other than that he doesn’t like Calvinism (perhaps, he is revolting against truth). How about something substantive!!

      1. br.d
        “After the Calvinist sipped the last drop of his tea,..”

        rhutchin
        Again we see that br.d has an active imagination and just makes up things about Calvinism for no reason other than that he doesn’t like Calvinism (perhaps, he is revolting against truth). How about something substantive!!

        br.d
        Following this logic:
        Jesus would have had a -quote “active imagination….makes up things” about the condition of people.
        Jesus simply – quote “didn’t like those people (perhaps he was revolted against the truth…how about something substantive Jesus!!”

        I’m happy to let the SOT101 reader decide for himself whether they find my post “substantive” or more precise “insightful” :-]

      2. br.d writes, “Following this logic: Jesus would have had a -quote “active imagination….makes up things” about the condition of people.”

        Only if br.d were Jesus. Jesus was perfect and makes sense; br.d is imperfect and does not.make sense.

      3. br.d
        “Following this logic: Jesus would have had a -quote “active imagination….makes up things” about the condition of people.”

        rhutchin
        Only if br.d were Jesus. Jesus was perfect and makes sense; br.d is imperfect and does not.make sense.

        br.d
        I do love the way Jesus used parables.
        And I can understand how it wouldn’t make sense to you – that’s the way human biases work.
        After all – your job here is to keep Calvinism’s cup clean on the outside.

        So as I said – I’m happy to let SOT101 readers decide for themselves its insight-fullness as well as its humor. :-]

      4. Br D and his god, the Neurological Impulse man” posted this one:

        “BR.D
        DECEMBER 6, 2018 AT 7:51 AM
        A CALVINIST’S TEA LEAF READING SESSION”

        “After the Calvinist sipped the last drop of his tea, he dutifully gazed down into the cup to read the divine patterns – exactly as he had been taught to do.”

        “The patterns he read included the following:”
        T – he saw 3 of these
        U – he saw 6 of these
        L – he saw 2 of these
        I – he saw 4 of these
        P – he saw 5 of these

        “Gratified with what he saw – he thanked God that Calvinism taught him the divine way to read.”
        “He then picked up his Bible, and dutifully continued his reading session.”

        ————– Here’s My Response —————

        The “Neurological Impulse man” is now in desperate condition in that he is being visited in his nightmares about his indignance to Calvinism. He cannot help but to reflect them here to be known by the readers. That’s not a good sign of the state of his condition nowadays. This could be the result of his claim that God loves all people on earth and that he also love his neighbor equally as he love himself. Perhaps this is the revelation of the amount love he gives to himself and to the Calvinists.

        What is the Promise of the Potter to the Clay? – Is it Conditional Salvation? ; Man has the ultimate choice in Salvation? ; Election for service-Not Salvation?

      5. jtleosala
        The “Neurological Impulse man” is now in desperate condition

        br.d
        How can one not laugh at this!! :-]

        jtleosala
        This could be the result of his claim that God loves all people on earth

        br.d
        We’ve seen your post where you listed all of the people Calvin’s god doesn’t love.
        That simply shows how Calvin’s god hardens the hearts of Calvinists.

        And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Matthew 24:12

        jtleosala
        and that he also love his neighbor equally as he love himself.

        br.d
        This one really knows how to point the finger of judgement at himself – and keep on doing it.
        I don’t think I’ve ever seen the sin of hypocrisy over such a prolonged period of time.
        The scripture tells us that TRUE Christians don’t continue in sin.

        jtleosala
        What is the Promise of the Potter to the Clay? – Is it Conditional Salvation? ; Man has the ultimate choice in Salvation? ; Election for service-Not Salvation?

        br.d
        It is said – Augustine drank too deeply from the well of Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism
        Calvin drank too deeply from the well of Augustine
        Today there are people who drink too deeply from the well of Calvin.

        There but for the grace of God go I!

  31. THE FOUR MAJOR TYPES OF DOUBLE-SPEAK
    1) EUPHEMISMS
    – Euphemisms are generally harmless because they are words selectively chosen to soften a harsh reality or lighten a dark reality. Euphemisms are used in this way to save people from emotional distress. But Euphemisms can also be used for deceptive means. To hide a HARSH REALITY behind a softer word. Or to hide a DARK REALITY behind a lighter word. When euphemisms are used to deceive – they are often called “weasel” words. In the German translation of the N.T. – Revelations where the Dragon spoke – the German rendering indicates “Out of the Dragons’ mouth came SOFT language”
    – In Calvinism for example “Doctrines of GRACE” functions as a euphemistic phrase – SOFT language.

    2) EQUIVOCATIONS:
    – Words and terms that are strategically used equivocally are also a form of deceptive language. The communicator wants to be true to his own belief system – but at the same time masquerade his belief system as something it is not. Or he may wish to MASQUERADE his belief system giving it the very attributes of the belief system he calls heresy. He does this because there are aspects of his belief system that are unpalatable.

    – In Calvinism for example: Calvin’s god may decide to “RESTRAIN”, “PREVENT”, “INTERVENE” in certain events – which the Calvinist secretly knows are UNRESTRAINABLE, UNPREVENTABLE, etc. These are all equivocal terms which are designed to MASQUERADE attributes of IN-determinism which doesn’t exist in their system.
    – The phrases “come to pass” and “fall out” are often used equivocally. They actually mean the same thing – but “come to pass” is used in reference to events which occur FIXED IN THE PAST and (consistent with Determinism) while the phrase “fall out” is used to MASQUERADE events AS-IF they are not FIXED IN THE PAST. Here “fall out” is actually the logical negation of “come to pass” for the Calvinist – and as such “fall out” functions as nothing more than an illusion of IN-Determinism for the Calvinist.

    3) JARGON:
    – Jargon is terminology which is especially defined in relationship to a specific activity, religion, profession, group, or event. In this image we see how they are using different terms along with the simplified version of what they could have easily stated.
    – Jargon is used as a form of PUFFERY.
    – In Calvinism for example: We find EULOGISTIC JARGON within the reformed creeds. This is used to hide HARSH or DARK REALITIES behind lofty flowery eulogistic language.

      1. Br.D… I had to think of a way to get back into the response loop notifications by email! ;-p

  32. Professor Christine Hayes – Harvard University – Hebrew Scholar

    Topic: The “Dynamic” God of scripture vs. the “Static” God of Plato

    1. The beginning analysis she gives is good, but then her evaluation of God “needs”, as in God “needs sparring partners”, goes too far away from the biblical revelation of the Godhead being self-sufficient… not static… but indeed self-sufficient.

      1. Good comment!
        Perhaps its her use of the word “need”?
        Sometimes this term is figuratively meant – where it reflects “desire” more than a “lack” of something.
        Surely God is self-sufficient – he would have had the same “need” (or desire if you will) prior to making creatures.
        And surely she wouldn’t presuppose that God created creatures because without them he “lacked” something.
        In my mind – He had the ability to create them out of himself – so it logically follows he didn’t lack them.

        I suppose the Calvinist could use the same sense by stating Calvin’s god “needs” to exercise sovereignty – (in the way they conceive)

      2. Br.D. Don’t be less critical of her just because she agrees with you on some things! 😉 She is a scholar/professor in philosophy at Harvard, I believe, and therefore does not have the luxury of not being precise on the use of the word “need”.

  33. THERE IS NOTHING TO TRUST ABOUT CALVIN’S GOD – EXCEPT HIS GOOD PLEASURE

    In 2019, a few months before his body was found in a shallow grave, a 5-year-old Illinois boy told a doctor:
    “maybe Mommy didn’t mean to hurt me”

    In Jeremiah – the God of scripture relates his position on the throwing of children into the fire of Moloch
    -quote
    “I had NOT COMMANDED them nor had it ENTERED MY MIND that they should do this abomination”

    Obviously the God of scripture is not indicating that he did not have foreknowledge of these event.
    But did he CAUSE these events for HIS GOOD PLEASURE?

    Calvin’s god can only foreknow: [X] = TRUE – as a byproduct of his RENDERING-CERTAIN [X] = TRUE.
    And the creature CANNOT refrain from – or escape from – that which Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN
    Therefore man is not in control of what Calvin’s god CAUSES man to be/do.

    John Calvin
    -quote
    “it is quite frivolous refuge to say that God ‘merely’ permits them when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the author of them.”

    It logically follows:
    – Calvin’s god AUTHORED/CAUSED and thus MEANT for Mommy to hurt her 5-year-old boy – and did not permit her to refrain.
    – Calvin’s god AUTHORED/CAUSED and thus MEANT for babies to be thrown into the fire of Moloch – and did not permit parents to refrain.

    These events represent the THEOS’ GOOD PLEASURE.

    The unfortunate Calvinist – like our 5-year-old boy – may want to MAKE-BELIEVE that Calvin’s god does not mean to hurt him.

    But somewhere in the back of the Calvinist’s mind – he must know:
    There is NOTHING TO TRUST BUT CALVIN’S GOD’S GOOD PLEASURE.

  34. The Potters Promise of Salvation to the elect is sure and can be relied upon. It is permanent and is being maintained by God Himself in the believer’s life until the end. It was already determined before the foundations of the world that will come to pass. It’s reality was obtained through Christ’s offering His life for the sheep according to John 10:11, 15-16

    1. Yes – we understand that Calvinism (via Augustine) incorporates Gnosticism’s “Good-Evil” Dualism.
      And this is why so many things in Calvinism appear in “Good-Evil” pairs.

      In this case the divine potter DESIGNS the MANY for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure
      And the divine potter DESIGNS the FEW otherwise.
      Thus we have another example of Calvinism’s “Good-Evil” Dualism.

      1. brdmod writes, “In this case the divine potter DESIGNS the MANY for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure
        And the divine potter DESIGNS the FEW otherwise.”

        As affirmed by Jesus when He said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Paul then adds in Romans, “Therefore God has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens…Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”

      2. br.d
        Yes – we understand that Calvinism (via Augustine) incorporates Gnosticism’s “Good-Evil” Dualism.
        And this is why so many things in Calvinism appear in “Good-Evil” pairs.

        In this case the divine potter DESIGNS the MANY for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure
        And the divine potter DESIGNS the FEW otherwise.
        Thus we have another example of Calvinism’s “Good-Evil” Dualism.

        rhutchin
        As affirmed by Jesus when He said, “……etc

        br.d
        Thank you – as a Calvinist – for affirming my post. :-]

      3. rhutchin: As affirmed by Jesus when He said, “……etc
        br.d{ Thank you – as a Calvinist – for affirming my post

        I just quoted Christ. I always affirm that which Christ said. Glad to see you affirming Christ also.

      4. rhutchin: As affirmed by Jesus when He said, “……etc
        br.d{ Thank you – as a Calvinist – for affirming my post

        I just quoted Christ. I always affirm that which Christ said. Glad to see you affirming Christ also.

        br.d
        As I’ve said – I never conflate Calvinism with scripture – it contorts it into an IRRATIONAL pretzel.

        But I can see -unlike myself – the Calvinist and the ancient Gnostics get along with it just fine! :-]

      5. br.d writes, “As I’ve said – I never conflate Calvinism with scripture – it contorts it into an IRRATIONAL pretzel.”

        No problem. It is good to see you affirming Christ. No objection from the Calvinists there.

      6. br.d
        You are funny rhutchin! ‘

        rhutchin
        It is still good to see you affirming Christ. And that is no laughing matter.

        br.d
        Affirming Christ and LOGIC and rejecting Calvinism :-]

      7. br.d writes, “Affirming Christ and LOGIC and rejecting Calvinism”

        At least you agree with the Calvinists in affirming Christ. Even if you don’t like what Christ said as recorded in John 6:37.

      8. br.d
        Affirming Christ and LOGIC and rejecting Calvinism”

        rhutchin
        At least you agree with the Calvinists in affirming Christ. Even if you don’t like what Christ said as recorded in John 6:37.

        br.d
        Now that is an excellent example of Calvin’s god giving you a FALSE perception. :-]

      9. rhutchin: “At least you agree with the Calvinists in affirming Christ. Even if you don’t like what Christ said as recorded in John 6:37.”
        br.d: “Now that is an excellent example of Calvin’s god giving you a FALSE perception.”

        Not a false perception of the Scripture for John 6 is clear, “All that God gives Jesus will come to Jesus,..” Is is a false perception to say br.d does not like this? Yes, according to br.d. So, my apology to br.d. From his many comments, I had concluded otherwise. It is good to see br.d affirm the truth of John 6:37.

      10. rhutchin
        At least you agree with the Calvinists in affirming Christ. Even if you don’t like what Christ said as recorded in John 6:37.”

        br.d
        Now that is an excellent example of Calvin’s god giving you a FALSE perception.”

        rhutchin
        Not a false perception of the Scripture for John 6 is clear, “All that God gives Jesus will come to Jesus,..” Is is a false perception to say br.d does not like this? Yes, according to br.d. So, my apology to br.d. From his many comments, I had concluded otherwise. It is good to see br.d affirm the truth of John 6:37.

        br.d
        Well I guess then – Calvin’s god determined you to change that perception.
        As a Theological Determinist – its good for you to affirm Calvin’s god can determine you to have false perceptions.

        Now:
        As I’ve detailed how Calvin’s god determines the Catholic’s, the Seventh Day Adventist’s, the Jehovahs Witness’s, and the Calvinist’s perceptions – it is LOGICAL to acknowledge they are all in the same boat in terms of NOT being the determiner of their perceptions.

        Thus LOGIC shows – Calvin’s god determines the Catholic to perceive his perceptions TRUE and the others FALSE – the Seventh Day Adventist to perceive his perceptions TRUE and the others FALSE – the Jehovahs Witness to perceive his perceptions TRUE and the others FALSE – and the Calvinist to perceive his perceptions TRUE and the others FALSE.

        Conclusion – In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Calvin’s god is the ONLY ONE who knows whether or not any of the perceptions he determines humans to have are TRUE or FALSE perceptions.

        And that is why Christian Philosophers like William Lane Craig and Calvinist Gregory Koukl note – Libertarian functionality does not exist in Determinism – which means no human has the ability to weigh multiple (TRUE vs FALSE) options and make a LIBERTARIAN choice between one or the other – since even their very perception is not determined by themselves – but rather by Calvin’s god.

        And as your previous perception of me shows – only Calvin’s god knows whether he has determined a given perception to be a TRUE or FALSE perception.

        And that answers the question of what Christian Philosophers mean when they say – human arguments for determinism are self-defeating.

        Now a person can be either “merely permitted” or “divinely determined” to think LOGICALLY and follow those dots.

        One has to ask the question of which world he would rather live in.
        A world in which a person can apply LOGIC to recognize a FALSE perception
        Or a world in which FALSE perceptions are RENDERED-CERTAIN by an external mind.

        And that is why Determinist John Calvin and Determinist Stephen Hawkin both agree.
        They must go about their office *AS-IF* determinism is FALSE.

      11. br.d writes, “it is LOGICAL to acknowledge they are all in the same boat in terms of NOT being the determiner of their perceptions. ”

        They are given that their perceptions derive from their sin nature. They are not because God decreed that they be born with a sin nature. Yet, God still holds them accountable for their actions. Thus, Joseph says to his brothers, “You meant it for evil,” Of the Assyrians, Isaiah says, “when the LORD has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.” For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, And by my wisdom, for I am prudent; Also I have removed the boundaries of the people, And have robbed their treasuries; So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.”

        Then, “Conclusion – In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Calvin’s god is the ONLY ONE who knows whether or not any of the perceptions he determines humans to have are TRUE or FALSE perceptions. ”

        That is why God provided the Scriptures – so that we would know true perceptions and the true perceptions are perceived by those to whom God gives faith. So, in the Proverbs, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.”

        Then, “that is why Christian Philosophers like William Lane Craig and Calvinist Gregory Koukl note – Libertarian functionality does not exist in Determinism – which means no human has the ability to weigh multiple (TRUE vs FALSE) options and make a LIBERTARIAN choice between one or the other – since even their very perception is not determined by themselves – but rather by Calvin’s god. ”

        This is true because without faith Libertarian functionality cannot exist. It is only when God gives faith to a person that his heart is open to the gospel and to truth so that Libertarian functionality can exist.

        Then, ‘And that answers the question of what Christian Philosophers mean when they say – human arguments for determinism are self-defeating.”

        And arguments from Scripture are not self-defeating. Thus, the importance of studying the Scriptures.

        Then, “One has to ask the question of which world he would rather live in.
        A world in which a person can apply LOGIC to recognize a FALSE perception
        Or a world in which FALSE perceptions are RENDERED-CERTAIN by an external mind.”

        The latter world being devoid of faith (and RENDERED-CERTAIN by God) and the other and the former characterized by faith.

      12. br.d
        it is LOGICAL to acknowledge they are all in the same boat in terms of NOT being the determiner of their perceptions – as Calvin’s god is the SOLE Determiner of all things without exception”

        rhutchin
        They are given that their perceptions derive from their sin nature.

        br.d
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god “merely” permits anything – in this case your or their perception or aspect of nature.

        More precisely in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) every micro-part of your sin nature and theirs as well as each specifically unique perception is AUTHORED and RENDERED-CERTAIN by Calvin’s god.

        But thank you for another example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking pattern. :-]

        rhutchin
        They are not because God decreed that they be born with a sin nature.

        br.d
        As Calvin’s god DECREED you be born with a sin nature and he DECREED every micro-part of each one’s sin nature including yours.

        Conclusion – In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Calvin’s god is the ONLY ONE who knows whether or not any of the perceptions he determines humans to have are TRUE or FALSE perceptions. ”

        rhutchin
        That is why God provided the Scriptures – so that we would know true perceptions and the true perceptions are perceived by those to whom God gives faith.

        br.d
        *AS-IF* you or they can make a Libertarian Free choice between one perception concerning scripture vs another perception.

        Just like Calvin’s god DECREED you have a FALSE perception of me the other day.
        Calvin’s god DECREES your perception of your reading of scripture to be TRUE and theirs FALSE.
        Calvin’s god DECREES their perception of their reading of scripture to be TRUE and yours FALSE

        You are both reading the same scripture – and Calvin’s god determines what your perceptions of it will be.
        Therefore only Calvin’s god knows which perceptions he’s given you are FALSE.

        That is why Christian Philosophers like William Lane Craig and Calvinist Gregory Koukl note – Libertarian functionality does not exist in Determinism – which means no human has the ability to weigh multiple (TRUE vs FALSE) options and make a LIBERTARIAN choice between one or the other – since even their very perception is not determined by themselves – but rather by Calvin’s god. ”

        rhutchin
        This is true because without faith Libertarian functionality cannot exist. It is only when God gives faith to a person that his heart is open to the gospel and to truth so that Libertarian functionality can exist.

        br.d
        FALSE
        In Theological Determinism Libertarian free functionally does not exist in any form – being mutually excluded by Determinism and compatiblist free-will ..

        The Information Philosopher – On Free Will
        Compatiblist free-will and Libertarian free-will are mutually exclusive. Where one exists the other does not.

        rhutchin
        And arguments from Scripture are not self-defeating. Thus, the importance of studying the Scriptures.

        br.d
        By this point it becomes obvious you are following John Calvin’s instructions – going about your office *AS-IF* none of your perceptions – in any part – including your perceptions concerning scripture – are determined by Calvin’s god. :-]

        Thanks for that example :-]

        Then, “One has to ask the question of which world he would rather live in.
        A world in which a person can apply LOGIC to recognize a FALSE perception
        Or a world in which FALSE perceptions are RENDERED-CERTAIN by an external mind.”

        rhutchin
        The latter world being devoid of faith (and RENDERED-CERTAIN by God) and the other and the former characterized by faith.

        br.d
        After this conversation no one could ever believe a Calvinist could ever boast he applies LOGIC to scripture or anything for that matter!

        Calvin’s god RENDERING-CERTAIN you have a FALSE perception of me
        If that reveals – as you say – a world devoid of faith – that puts you into an interesting world.

      13. br.d writes, “More precisely in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) every micro-part of your sin nature and theirs as well as each specifically unique perception is AUTHORED and RENDERED-CERTAIN by Calvin’s god.”

        Because you do not define what you mean by “author” and “rendered-certain” this statement, seems devious to me, in seeking to imply something about Calvinism that is false.

        Then, ‘Conclusion – In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Calvin’s god is the ONLY ONE who knows whether or not any of the perceptions he determines humans to have are TRUE or FALSE perceptions. ””

        This is true because God created the universe and set in motion all subsequent cause/effect relationships.Surely, you must know this is true, but you can deny it if you want and describe an alternative position.

        Then, “*AS-IF* you or they can make a Libertarian Free choice between one perception concerning scripture vs another perception.”

        This statement seems to be an attempt to make a claim about LFW without defining what you mean by LFW. Don’t cop out and say you already defined it – that is subject to debate and you can easily repeat your definition to move discussion forward.

        Then, ‘Just like Calvin’s god DECREED you have a FALSE perception of me the other day.”

        How about stating that false perception and provide your true position?

      14. br.d
        “More precisely in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) every micro-part of your sin nature and theirs as well as each specifically unique perception is AUTHORED and RENDERED-CERTAIN by Calvin’s god.”

        rhutchin
        Because you do not define what you mean by “author” and “rendered-certain” this statement, seems devious to me, in seeking to imply something about Calvinism that is false.

        br.d
        The word AUTHOR in Calvin’s French is the word “Auteur” directly from the Latin “Auctor” which means: Originator, Producer, Progenitor; ……literally “one who causes a specific thing to grow”.

        RENDERED-CERTAIN is Calvinist language – and refers to Calvin’s god who DETERMINES with micro-specificity whether one event will come to pass vs an alternative. The term “Certain” refers to Calvin’s god’s CERTAINTY that ONLY what he specifically DECREES is permitted.

        Conclusion – In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Calvin’s god is the ONLY ONE who knows whether or not any of the perceptions he determines humans to have are TRUE or FALSE perceptions. ””

        rhutchin
        This is true because God created the universe and set in motion all subsequent cause/effect relationships.Surely, you must know this is true, but you can deny it if you want and describe an alternative position.

        br.d
        This for the Calvinist represents a TRUTH-HIDING statement.
        Its simply just an attempt to evade the *UNIVERSAL* nature of Universal Divine Causal Determinism – in which every micro-part of every event is meticulously FIRST-CONCEIVED in the mind of Calvin’s god and then RENDERED-CERTAIN such that nothing more and nothing less than what is DECREED is permitted.

        Due to it being mutually exclusive to determinism – Libertarian Free choices does not exist for the Calvinist in any form
        But he crafts statements *AS-IF* Libertarian Free choice between one perception concerning scripture vs another perception exists in his world.

        rhutchin
        This statement seems to be an attempt to make a claim about LFW without defining what you mean by LFW. Don’t cop out and say you already defined it – that is subject to debate and you can easily repeat your definition to move discussion forward.

        br.d
        A Libertarian Free choice occurs when a person has set before them multiple options – all which exist as real – and all which exist as available to the person – and that person functions as the SOLE determiner in choosing one vs another.

        Libertarian Free choice does not exist in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) because Calvin’s god is the SOLE Determiner of *ALL* things UNIVERSALLY.

        Calvin’s god DECREED you have a FALSE perception of me the other day. –

        rhutchin
        How about stating that false perception and provide your true position?

        br.d
        Here it is below
        —————————————————————————————————
        rhutchin – September 26, 2019 at 7:00 am
        Even if you don’t like what Christ said as recorded in John 6:37.”

        br.d: “Now that is an excellent example of Calvin’s god giving you a FALSE perception.”

        rhutchin
        ….So, my apology to br.d. From his many comments, I had concluded otherwise.
        —————————————————————————————————-

        br.d
        Thanks for the apology – and acknowledging you had a FALSE perception.
        Good example of how Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN you will have a FALSE perception.

        Now back to your statement that a world in which FALSE perceptions are RENDERED-CERTAIN by an external mind is a -quote
        “world devoid of faith” – since that was the case for you – what does that say about your world?

      15. brd. writes, “The word AUTHOR in Calvin’s French is the word “Auteur” directly from the Latin “Auctor” which means: Originator, Producer, Progenitor; ……literally “one who causes a specific thing to grow”.”

        Short form – God created the universe and thereby authored all subsequent events.

        Then, “RENDERED-CERTAIN is Calvinist language – and refers to Calvin’s god who DETERMINES with micro-specificity whether one event will come to pass vs an alternative. The term “Certain” refers to Calvin’s god’s CERTAINTY that ONLY what he specifically DECREES is permitted.”

        Short form – God is sovereign and nothing happens unless He decrees it to happen.

        Then, “Conclusion – In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Calvin’s god is the ONLY ONE who knows whether or not any of the perceptions he determines humans to have are TRUE or FALSE perceptions. ”

        This by God’s gift of faith. Without faith people have false perceptions of God and His actions. With faith, people believe the Scriptures and have true perceetions of God and His actions.

        Then, ‘A Libertarian Free choice occurs when a person has set before them multiple options – all which exist as real – and all which exist as available to the person – and that person functions as the SOLE determiner in choosing one vs another.”

        Avtually, LFW refers to an A or ~A choice. The person is doing A and choose whether to change course and do ~A. As Salvation is the focus here, a person is in the condition of not believing and choose whether to believe. We know that a person cannot believe without faith, so LFW does not exist without faith. Thsi agrees with Calvinism.

        Then “Libertarian Free choice does not exist in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) because Calvin’s god is the SOLE Determiner of *ALL* things UNIVERSALLY.”

        br.d seems to be deceptive on this point. He knows that faith is necessary to believing and that God determines how a person choose regarding belief by giving or withholding faith. When he says, “Calvin’s god is the SOLE Determiner” he either means that God is the sole determiner of a person’s faith or he is being deceptive.

        Then, ‘Calvin’s god DECREED you have a FALSE perception of me the other day.”

        You have a clear antipathy to Calvinism that permeates all your comments, and God has given me, and others, a true perception of this.

      16. brd
        “The word AUTHOR in Calvin’s French is the word “Auteur” directly from the Latin “Auctor” which means: Originator, Producer, Progenitor; ……literally “one who causes a specific thing to grow”.”

        rhutchin
        Short form – God created the universe and thereby authored all subsequent events.

        br.d
        Here the term “subsequent” is used in an equivocal manner – and can INFER – a specific event can come to pass without Calvin’s god SPECIFICALLY DECREEING that specific event.

        Calvinist R.C. Sproul
        -quote
        “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, God is not God.”

        Paul Helm’s
        -quote
        “Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by God, but every TWIST AND TURN of each
        of these is under the *DIRECT CONTROL* of God.”

        John Calvin
        -quote
        “Men may not even agitate anything in their deliberations but what he *INSPIRES*.

        RENDERED-CERTAIN is Calvinist language – and refers to Calvin’s god who DETERMINES with micro-specificity whether one event will come to pass vs an alternative. The term “Certain” refers to Calvin’s god’s CERTAINTY that ONLY what he specifically DECREES is permitted for any given event

        rhutchin
        Short form – God is sovereign and nothing happens unless He decrees it to happen.

        br.d
        In Calvinism this is TRUE

        Conclusion – In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Calvin’s god is the ONLY ONE who knows whether or not any of the perceptions he determines humans to have are TRUE or FALSE perceptions. ”

        rhutchin
        This by God’s gift of faith. Without faith people have false perceptions of God and His actions. With faith, people believe the Scriptures and have true perceetions of God and His actions.

        br.d
        A silly argument – when one realizes that faith is a byproduct of perception. It is a LOGICAL impossibility to have faith in [X] when one does not have any perception of [X]. And ONLY Calvin’s god knows which perceptions he gives to the Calvinist are TRUE or FALSE perceptions.

        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) faith is not a NECESSARY condition for Calvin’s god to determine anything.
        The DECREE is.

        A Libertarian Free choice occurs when a person has set before them multiple options – all which exist as real – and all which exist as available to the person – and that person functions as the SOLE determiner in choosing one vs another.”

        rhutchin
        Avtually, LFW refers to an A or ~A choice.

        br.d
        Not necessarily – there can be other options besides A – that’s why my statement was precise enough to stipulate that.

        rhutchin
        The person is doing A and choose whether to change course and do ~A.

        br.d
        Using a person’s perception of [A] as an example – in Theological Determinism Calvin’s god DETERMINES whether or not a person’s perception of [A] will be a TRUE or FALSE perception – in lieu of the person.

        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Libertarian free choice between [A] and [NOT A] does not exist in any form.
        All creaturely choices are EXCLUSIVELY determined by Calvin’s god – for the person.

        rhutchin
        As Salvation is the focus here, a person is in the condition of not believing and choose whether to believe. We know that a person cannot believe without faith, so LFW does not exist without faith. Thsi agrees with Calvinism.

        br.d
        Firstly – all Calvinist perceptions have been in focus here from the very beginning of this thread and not salvation.
        So salvation is superfluous

        Secondly Theological Determinism/Compatiblism (aka Calvinism) mutually EXCLUDES Libertarian freedom in any form.
        One’s existence MUTUALLY EXCLUDES the other.

        But we can understand why the Calvinist both rejects it and and then tries to SMUGGLE it into his system – in camouflaged form. :-]

        Therefore “Libertarian Free choice does not exist in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) because Calvin’s god is the SOLE Determiner of *ALL* things UNIVERSALLY.”

        rhutchin
        br.d seems to be deceptive on this point. He knows that faith is necessary to believing and that God determines how a person choose regarding belief by giving or withholding faith. When he says, “Calvin’s god is the SOLE Determiner” he either means that God is the sole determiner of a person’s faith or he is being deceptive.

        br.d
        How difficult is it to understand the term *UNIVERSAL* – it means EVERYTHING WITHOUT EXCEPTION.
        As has been posted everywhere at SOT101 – and a RATIONAL mind could understand it.
        So far – it appears Calvin’s god has determined your mind not to understand it.

        And thus it happened Calvin’s god DECREED you have a FALSE perception of me the other day.

        rhutchin
        You have a clear antipathy to Calvinism that permeates all your comments, and God has given me, and others, a true perception of this.

        br.d
        So Calvin’s god determined you have a FALSE perception of me the other day – and yet now you are persuaded your current perception is TRUE! It is said: “insanity is repeating the same thing while expecting a different result” :-]

        As I’ve stated – in Calvinism:
        Calvin’s god determines the Catholic to perceive his perceptions TRUE and yours FALSE.
        Calvin’s god determines the Jehovah’s witness to perceive his perceptions TRUE and yours FALSE.
        Calvin’s god determines the Seventh Day Adventist to perceive his perceptions TRUE and yours FALSE.
        Calvin’s god determines you to perceive your perceptions TRUE and others FALSE.

        And ONLY Calvin’s god knows whether the perceptions he’s given you are TRUE or FALSE.
        In other words – you don’t.

        Its just that simple :-]

      17. rhutchin: “Short form – God created the universe and thereby authored all subsequent events.”
        br.d: “Here the term “subsequent” is used in an equivocal manner – and can INFER – a specific event can come to pass without Calvin’s god SPECIFICALLY DECREEING that specific event.”

        “subsequent” means all events following after. God created the universe and thereby authored all subsequent events. By His infinite understanding, God knew what would happen after the creation. By creating the universe, God decreed all that was to follow. God could not have misunderstood the implications of His creation.

        Then, “A silly argument – when one realizes that faith is a byproduct of perception. ”

        Faith is a byproduct of God’s teaching. It is assurance of eternal life and conviction of Christ’s return.

      18. rhutchin
        Short form – God created the universe and thereby authored all subsequent events.”

        br.d:
        Here the term “subsequent” is used in an equivocal manner – and can INFER – a specific event can come to pass without Calvin’s god SPECIFICALLY DECREEING that specific event.”

        rhutchin
        “subsequent” means all events following after.

        br.d
        Perhaps you’re not aware that “equivocation” occurs when a term as more than one meaning.
        My statement stands.

        rhutchin
        God created the universe and thereby authored all subsequent events.

        br.d
        Calvin’s god AUTHORS every SPECIFIC event such that an atom cannot move to the left unless Calvin’s god DECREES it move to the left. As Paul Helm’s states it – Every thought and desire is under the DIRECT CONTROL of Calvin’s god.

        For a Calvinist to imply a human eye can blink without Calvin’s god DIRECTLY CONTROLLING when/where/how it blinks – is deceptive language.

        rhutchin
        By His infinite understanding, God knew what would happen after the creation. By creating the universe, God decreed all that was to follow. God could not have misunderstood the implications of His creation.

        br.d
        Again – this language works to INFER Foreknowledge via observation – and that is not by accident.

        rhutchin
        Libertarian free will – This by God’s gift of faith. Without faith people have false perceptions of God and His actions. With faith, people believe the Scriptures and have true perceetions of God and His actions.

        br.d
        A silly argument – when one realizes that faith is a byproduct of perception. It is a LOGICAL impossibility to have faith in [X] when one does not have any perception of [X]. And ONLY Calvin’s god knows which perceptions he gives to the Calvinist are TRUE or FALSE perceptions.

        rhutchin
        Faith is a byproduct of God’s teaching. It is assurance of eternal life and conviction of Christ’s return.

        br.d
        Calvinists with all of their square-circles, married-bachelors, and FALSE-TRUTHS – are the only ones I know who want to insist a person can have faith in [X] without the prerequisite of perceiving [X]. :-]

      19. rhutchin – I removed one of your posts which you put words in my mouth – “br.d realizes xyz”
        I’ve warned you multiple times – you are free to represent yourself – but you are not free to put words in other peoples mouth – or assume to represent them or speak for them – what you assume for yourself.
        Try to make you point while staying within proper boundaries.

      20. brdmod writes, “I’ve warned you multiple times – you are free to represent yourself – but you are not free to put words in other peoples mouth…”

        I can draw conclusions from your statements especially where you waffle and don’t state positions clearly. You need only deny what I have concluded (which you never seem to do) and make your position clear. So, will you stop drawing conclusions about Calvin’s positions and continue to ignore Scriptures put forth by people in their arguments? How about following Brain’s example and make arguments from Scripture.

      21. brdmod
        I’ve warned you multiple times – you are free to represent yourself – but you are not free to put words in other peoples mouth…”

        rhutchin
        I can draw conclusions from your statements especially where you waffle and don’t state positions clearly. You need only deny what I have concluded (which you never seem to do) and make your position clear. So, will you stop drawing conclusions about Calvin’s positions and continue to ignore Scriptures put forth by people in their arguments? How about following Brain’s example and make arguments from Scripture.

        br.d
        If you want to make a LOGICAL argument – about what is LOGICAL to affirm – then do that.
        But don’t put yourself in the place of another person posturing yourself as their representative – speaking for them – putting words into their mouth.

        Much of this has to do with Calvinist SEMANTICS. A person who understands Calvinists craft trick statements – are not going to want those statements to be attributed to themselves. They are your statements. You would not want someone else speaking on your behalf. So putting yourself in their place where you are speaking for them is inappropriate.

      22. br.d writes, “Much of this has to do with Calvinist SEMANTICS. A person who understands Calvinists craft trick statements ”

        I see this as a clear bias that shows my statements about you to be true. Why you get upset when someone discerns your antipathy to Calvinism escapes me.

      23. br.d
        Much of this has to do with Calvinist SEMANTICS. A person who understands Calvinists craft trick statements ”

        rhutchin
        I see this as a clear bias that shows my statements about you to be true. Why you get upset when someone discerns your antipathy to Calvinism escapes me.

        br.d
        Perhaps its a good time for me to post these quotes from Christian authors again on Calvinist SEMANTICS.

        Here is the link – Christian authors who recognize Calvinism’s reputation for language tricks and DOUBLE-SPEAK

        CALVINIST MISLEADING SEMANTICS – UNINTENTIONAL AND YET OBVIOUS
        https://soteriology101.com/2018/01/29/calvinisms-conflation/#comment-41827

        I’m happy to let RATIONAL thinking SOT101 readers read my posts and discern for themselves if what I and many others observe about “Calvinist SEMANTICS” is simply “antipathy” :-]

      24. I hope he will and will no longer dispute with Jesus. [the narrow gate vs. the wide gate; He offered His life for the sheep] These verses stands on its own as we claim it and will pierce even to the bones and marrow. Augustine has been put onto those verses and honestly, I can never see it in those verses.

      25. Of course no Christian in his right mind disputes the words of Jesus. The idea is pretty silly.

        What is refuted of course is one’s tradition of INTERPRETATION.
        And that in Calvinism’s case evolved through Augustine.

  35. FOH argues that Augustine do worship Mary. But no one from among the Calvinists ever do that cultic adulation and worship given by the RC to Mary. It is absolutely against the beliefs and practices of the Calvinists. I guess FOH really do worship Mary before that is why he is insisting and bringing that issue here. I categorically deny such “argumentum ad hominem” being placed on the Calvinists side.

    1. I hardly think FOH is suggesting that Calvinists practice Mary worship.
      The reference to Mary worship – as well as Augustine’s other errors – is to show that John Calvin was not wise to put his faith in Augustine. You may know that Calvin held Augustine in such high esteem that he granted a similar authority to Augustine that he granted to scripture. That becomes pretty obvious when we find Calvin uses Augustine as his authority of reference over 400 times in the institutes.

      All academia recognizes Gnostic and NeoPlatonic influences brought in by Augustine.

      If you haven’t seen the interview with Dr. Ken Wilson “Did the Early Church Fathers teach “Calvinism?” here at SOT101 – you can get a sample of that.

      But it would be understandable if a Calvinist would not allow his mind to think about such things.

      1. br.d writes, “John Calvin was not wise to put his faith in Augustine.”

        Calvin clearly placed his faith in Christ yet recognized that Augustine was well versed in the Scriptures and cited Augustine’s commentary on many occasions. Nothing wrong with citing arguments made by others, including Augustine, when commenting on the Scriptures. Calvin recognized that he did not see anything new in the Scriptures that others had not already fleshed out.

      2. br.d
        John Calvin was not wise to put his faith in Augustine. You may know that Calvin held Augustine in such high esteem that he granted a similar authority to Augustine that he granted to scripture. That becomes pretty obvious when we find Calvin uses Augustine as his authority of reference over 400 times in the institutes.

        rhutchin
        Calvin clearly placed his faith in Christ yet recognized that Augustine was well versed in the Scriptures and cited Augustine’s commentary on many occasions. Nothing wrong with citing arguments made by others, including Augustine, when commenting on the Scriptures. Calvin recognized that he did not see anything new in the Scriptures that others had not already fleshed out.

        br.d
        As all academia knows – there is nothing wrong with referring to a human as an authoritative reference. But raising that person’s writings to the authority of scripture is another matter.

      3. Br.D also cited several times his fav idol William Lane Craig in his attempt to dispute with the Calvinists. Sadly, it does nothing effect on the opponent because the opponent never recognize that fellow as an authority.

        The Potter’s promise of eternal redemption has nothing to do with man’s free will at all. The truth about the matter is that, it has something to do with the unconditional decision made by God Himself before the foundation of the world.

        Calvinists view God as an active and omniscient God even before Creation. He is not bounded by time. Scripture reveals God’s actions outside of time from eternity past. i.e.:

        1. I have declared the former things from the beginning; they went forth from My mouth, and I cause them to hear it. Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. Isa. 48:3.

        2. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying: My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure. Isa. 46:10

        3. Who has declared from the beginning that we may know ? and former times that we may say He is righteous? Surely there is no one who knows, surely there is no one who declares, surely there is no one who hears your words. Isa. 41:26

        4. Who has performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning?, I the Lord am the first and with the last I am He. Isa. 41:4

        5. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood them from the foundations of the earth?. Isa. 40:21

        6. I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning before there was ever an earth. Prov. 8:23

        7. So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by the Lord who does all things. Known to God from eternity are all His works. Acts 15:17-18

      4. jtleosala
        Br.D also cited several times his fav idol William Lane Craig in his attempt to dispute with the Calvinists. Sadly, it does nothing effect on the opponent because the opponent never recognize that fellow as an authority.

        br.d
        As noted prior – all academia recognizes referencing persons – without canonizing that person’s writings as Calvin does.

        jtleosala
        The Potter’s promise of eternal redemption has nothing to do with man’s free will at all. The truth about the matter is that, it has something to do with the unconditional decision made by God Himself before the foundation of the world.

        br.d
        Yes – and in Calvinism the potters promise is that he DESIGNS the vast majority of his creatures specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

        What an wonderful promise! :-]

        jtleosala
        Calvinists view God as an active and omniscient God even before Creation. He is not bounded by time. Scripture reveals God’s actions outside of time from eternity past. i.e.: – sighting various scripture verses

        br.d
        Calvinism of course is ALONE – in its tradition of interpretation – making all scripture affirm Universal Divine Causal Determinism – along with DUALISM – in which the THEOS is “Good-Evil”.

        As Jon Edwards would say “The glory of Evil must needs be else the glory of Good could scarce shine forth”

      5. Br. D posted this one:

        “Calvinism of course is ALONE – in its tradition of interpretation – making all scripture affirm Universal Divine Causal Determinism – along with DUALISM – in which the THEOS is “Good-Evil”.”

        ——–Here’s My Response———

        As a Calvinist, I categorically deny such an “argumentum ad hominem” hurled against our side. Calvinists always confess and believe and maintain a God who is IMMUTABLE, ALL KNOWING, SOVEREIGN, SINLESS and ABOVE ALL else. Jesus Christ cannot qualify as a Savior if He is a sinner. He became a sinner due to a substitutionary atonement that He had done for the ones that were chosen, – for those names that were written in the book of Life of the Lamb before time begun.

        Many are protesting about God’s unconditional decision that He had made for Himself, yet God is not liable nor accountable to anyone even to all of His creations.

        Good and evil are opposite and it does exists naturally in the world. God did not create evil because according to God Himself, “All things that He had created are “ALL GOOD” – as He viewed them on the 7th day that He rested.

        Evil has no identity in itself. It came out as a result of Lucifer’s pride and rebellion while in heaven. As a result, Lucifer was thrown to earth and tempted Eve in the garden of Eden. With this facts… how can ever the opponent will have a nerve to charge a Holy God consisting of a bipolar or dualism personality?

      6. jtleosala,

        You ask
        ” how can ever the opponent will have a nerve to charge a Holy God consisting of a bipolar or dualism personality?”

        My response:
        Because YOU PEOPLE tell us that God is (YOUR DEFINITION) sovereign, meaning that he ORDAINED everything that will ever happen. And, if IF IF IF that be true, then HE ORDAINED evil. How can you claim ad homonym here? If by YOUR DEFINITION, sovereignty means that GOD IS IN CONTROL, then he’s in control of every minute thing that ever takes place, then it is your side that admit that God is of a bipolar or dualism personality. God controls the evil anyone ever does, at all times. No one can do evil, unless God ordained it. YOU Calvinists are the ones who tells us this. According to you people, God wrote the play, and we are acting it out. God is enjoying the show. He’s eating pop corn. Drinking a coke. And a box of Junior Mints.

        It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

        Ed Chapman

      7. Oh… here you are Ed C., and by the way, how do you define for yourself God as Sovereign? and LFW? – Let me see, I’ll wait…

      8. jtleosala,

        I will define it… as soon as you tell me I’m right in what I just said.

        By the way, I’ll get back to our previous conversation tomorrow on the other post. I’m not working tomorrow.

        Ed Chapman

      9. No problem Ed C. just enjoy the show, eat pop corn too and drink a can of coke during break time, but don’t eat a box of junior mint together with the pop corn.

      10. Br. D posted this one:

        “Calvinism of course is ALONE – in its tradition of interpretation – making all scripture affirm Universal Divine Causal Determinism – along with DUALISM – in which the THEOS is “Good-Evil”.”

        jtleosala
        As a Calvinist, I categorically deny such an “argumentum ad hominem” hurled against our side. Calvinists always confess and believe and maintain a God who is IMMUTABLE, ALL KNOWING, SOVEREIGN, SINLESS and ABOVE ALL else……etc

        br.d
        You have a few problems maintaining that as a Calvinist:

        First it is futile for a Calvinist to deny Universal Divine Causal Determinism
        Calvinist; Dr. James N. Anderson, of the Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte NC:
        -quote
        “It should be conceded at the outset, and without embarrassment, that Calvinism is indeed committed to divine determinism”

        Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
        -quote
        “Contemporary Theological Determinists also appeal to various biblical texts and confessional creeds – for example the Westminster Confession of Faith.”

        Now on the business of DUALISM – and a THEOS who is “Good-Evil”

        All academia acknowledges Calvinism evolved by the influence of Augustine. And all academia knows Augustine retained elements of Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism – hence the DUALISM.

        Here again is the quote from Jonathon Edwards concerning the necessity of Evil
        -quote
        God’s glory would be very imperfect both because the parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the other do, and also the glory of his goodness…..they could scarcely shine forth at all.”

        That is about the clearest enunciation of Moral DUALISM you’ll ever hear from a professing Christian.

        That “Good-Evil” dualism can be consistently observed as a prominent Calvinist characteristic – in number of things which consistently appear in “Good-Evil” pairs.

        jtleosala
        Many are protesting about God’s unconditional decision that He had made for Himself, yet God is not liable nor accountable to anyone even to all of His creations.

        br.d
        Here we should notice the careful wording of this statement.
        What is REALLY being said here is Calvin’s god AUTHORS and CAUSES – but is not accountable for what he AUTHORS or CAUSES.

        jtleosala
        Good and evil are opposite and it does exists naturally in the world. God did not create evil because according to God Himself, “All things that He had created are “ALL GOOD” – as He viewed them on the 7th day that He rested.

        br.d
        Augustine was consistent with the NeoPlatonists in calling “Evil” beautiful
        -quote
        “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”. (ord 1.7.19)

        jtleosala
        Evil has no identity in itself. It came out as a result of Lucifer’s pride and rebellion while in heaven……etc

        br.d
        John Calvin
        -quote
        “The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly,……..can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far a……..He COMMANDS; that they are not only bound by His fetters but are even FORCED to do Him service.” Institutes I, 17, 11.

        -quote
        Men can deliberately do nothing unless He *INSPIRE* it. (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God pg 171–172)

        The Calvinist is free to deny these things – and Non-Calvinist observer is free to understand why the Calvinist makes those denials. :-]

      11. br.d writes, “First it is futile for a Calvinist to deny Universal Divine Causal Determinism
        Calvinist; Dr. James N. Anderson, of the Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte NC:
        -quote
        “It should be conceded at the outset, and without embarrassment, that Calvinism is indeed committed to divine determinism””

        This based on Ephesians, “God works all things according to the counsel of His will,” That counsel reflecting God’s infinite understanding of His creation, then Romans, “God works all things together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

        br.d may be trying to make this concept appear to be derived from human philosophy when it has a clear, direct Scriptural basis. If br.d is trying to make this a human philosophical invention (who really knows what br.d thinks) then JTL’s complaint is justified. If br.d only means to enunciate that which the Scriptures teach, then JTL has misunderstood him.

        Then, “That “Good-Evil” dualism can be consistently observed as a prominent Calvinist characteristic – in number of things which consistently appear in “Good-Evil” pairs. ”

        Moral dualism says that God identifies some actions as good and some as evil and He does this through His law. It is consistently observed even in a casual reading of the scripture. If br.d’s purpose is to confuse people to think that “Good-Evil” dualism is a human philosophical concept and not a celar Scriptural principle, then he is being deceptive. Thus, JTL’s complaint of “an “argumentum ad hominem” hurled against our side.”

        Then, ‘What is REALLY being said here is Calvin’s god AUTHORS and CAUSES – but is not accountable for what he AUTHORS or CAUSES.”

        Here, br.d’s definition of “AUTHORS or CAUSES,” may be different than the Calvinist. Becuae br.d does not provide his definition of “AUTHORS or CAUSES,” we don’t know, but because he seems to eb arguing against Calvinism, one can conclude that br.d is purposely confusing the situation by using a personal definition opposed to the Calvinist definition.

      12. br.d
        First it is futile for a Calvinist to deny Universal Divine Causal Determinism
        Calvinist; Dr. James N. Anderson, of the Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte NC:
        -quote
        “It should be conceded at the outset, and without embarrassment, that Calvinism is indeed committed to divine determinism””

        rhutchin
        This based on Ephesians…..etc

        br.d
        If that is what the Calvinist ACTUALLY believes – then denying it is DOUBLE-SPEAK.
        Thank you for helping to show that.

        rhutchin
        br.d may be trying to make this concept appear to be derived from human philosophy when it has a clear, direct Scriptural basis.

        br.d
        A human INTERPRETATION of any data is either TRUE or FALSE.
        A FALSE INTERPRETATION of philosophy is just as FALSE as a FALSE INTERPRETATION of scripture.
        But is a Calvinist Philosophically RATIONAL enough to connect those dots?

        rhutchin
        If br.d is trying to make this a human philosophical invention (who really knows what br.d thinks) then JTL’s complaint is justified.

        br.d
        With that DOUBLE-THINK logic it follows JT’s denial of what you affirm is justified :-]

        rhutchin
        If br.d only means to enunciate that which the Scriptures teach, then JTL has misunderstood him.

        br.d
        If JT doesn’t know what UNIVERSAL DIVINE CAUSAL DETERMINISM means – then JT isn’t much of a Calvinist :-]

        In Calvinism “That “Good-Evil” dualism can be consistently observed as a prominent Calvinist characteristic – in number of things which consistently appear in “Good-Evil” pairs. ”

        rhutchin
        Moral dualism says that God identifies some actions as good and some as evil and He does this through His law. etc

        br.d
        I already provided quotes from Augustine and from Jonathon Edwards on Dualism that make it EXPLICITLY clear.
        From their quotes we can see Calvin’s god is “Good-Evil”
        And that is why so many things in Calvinist conceptions appear in “Good-Evil” pairs.

        rhutchin
        If br.d’s purpose is to confuse people to think that “Good-Evil” dualism is a human philosophical concept and not a celar Scriptural principle, then he is being deceptive. Thus, JTL’s complaint of “an “argumentum ad hominem” hurled against our side.”

        br.d
        This is fallacious from beginning to end.

        Firstly, it becomes clear the Calvinist has a need to assume hidden meanings in every statement anyone makes – no matter how clear and RATIONAL statements are.

        Secondly – an ad-hominem is an attack on the PERSON who is presenting a position
        Any RATIONAL thinker who reviews JT’s posts can see his consistent trend is to attack PERSONS – and he’s been warned about it.
        And any RATIONAL thinker reviewing my posts can tell they provide a LOGICAL analysis of a position.

        What is REALLY being said here [by the Calvinist] is Calvin’s god AUTHORS and CAUSES – but is not accountable for what he AUTHORS or CAUSES.”

        rhutchin
        Here, br.d’s definition of “AUTHORS or CAUSES,” may be different than the Calvinist. Becuae br.d does not provide his definition of “AUTHORS or CAUSES,”

        br.d
        How many SOT101 participants have told you they recognize your “you didn’t explain it” argument as an evasion strategy.
        BTW: You may not know it – but ascribing “hidden meanings” to things is a known practice of the Gnostics.
        Another dot to connect to Calvinism! :-]

  36. John 6:37a – NKJV – “ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVES ME WILL COME TO ME,..”

    Who comes to Jesus? – None other than those who have heard and learned from the Father comes to Him. (Jno. 6:44-46)

    How do we hear and learn? – 2 Timothy 3:15,16 – “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” – Therefore we can only be taught through God’s word.

    God wants all men to hear and learn and be saved: – 1 Timothy 2:4 – “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    Jesus said that the gospel was to be preached to – all the world – to every creature – to all nations – (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:8).

    Since the gospel was to be preached to all men, i.e. (every creature), it is evident that He wants “all men(every creature)” to be saved: – Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

    “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
    “because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

    Indeed, the gospel message is for every creature, namely, – All men everywhere – because God wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    THE GOSPEL IS THE POWER OF GOD TO SAVE “EVERYONE” WHO IS WILLING TO BELIEVE.

    1. Aidan,

      You might be surprised by me saying this, but RIGHT ON DUDE! I could not have said it better than you just did, and you used scripture to back it up, too.

      Our differences are minor compared to what you just said here. Good job!

      Ed Chapman

      1. Thanks Ed,

        I’m just hoping there are at least some who are willing to take an honest look at these scriptures, and accept the truth that God loves every single person, and wants them to be saved. I’m not looking to fight with anyone, but that they might be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)

        Aidan

    2. Aidan McManus writes, “THE GOSPEL IS THE POWER OF GOD TO SAVE “EVERYONE” WHO IS WILLING TO BELIEVE.”

      As Aiden has shown from Scripture, those willing to believe are those given by God to Christ whom God brings to a willing belief through hearing and learning from God (e.g., from the Scriptures) this hearing and learning accounting for their coming to Christ. Those who are not given by God to Christ will never willingly believe no matter how many sermons they hear of Bible studies they attend. Jesus describes these people in Matthew 7, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

      1. Those who are not given by God to Christ will never willingly believe no matter how many sermons they hear of Bible studies they attend. Jesus describes these people in Matthew 7, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
        ————————————————
        YES… amen to that. As stated by an authority Jesus Himself that: “No one can come to Me unless MY Father in heaven draws them to the SON”

      2. Rhutchin writes: “God brings to a willing belief through hearing and learning from God (e.g., from the Scriptures) this hearing and learning accounting for their coming to Christ.”

        My Response: I am glad that you can see that God persuades men only through His word. That they only come to a – willing belief – through the hearing of His word. That the Spirit convicts us only through the instrumentality of the word(Heb 4:12). That the Word is the only medium He uses in conversion, to bring us to faith in Christ (Rom 10:17). Which allows for nothing distinct from it, or above it.

        And, that the scriptures show that God does not call men irresistibly, but allows men to come of their own free will (Matt. 23:37; John 5:40; Rom 10:21).

        And finally: That God is not willing that any should perish, and yet some shall perish (2 Peter 3:7-9). God calls according to His will, and He is willing for all to be saved. Thus the fact that some hear and do not heed the call is due to their unwillingness, and not to an unwillingness on God’s part.

        “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands ALL MEN EVERYWHERE to repent,..” (Acts 17:30).

      3. Catching up on old comments:

        Aidan wrote, “the scriptures show that God does not call men irresistibly, but allows men to come of their own free will (Matt. 23:37; John 5:40; Rom 10:21). ”

        The distinction being that those to whom God gives faith are attracted to Christ and those without faith are not. Thus, Paul in 1 Corinthians, “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

        Then, ‘Thus the fact that some hear and do not heed the call is due to their unwillingness, and not to an unwillingness on God’s part.”

        Unwillingness result from a lack of faith. As God is the source of faith, if God is unwilling to give a person faith, then that person will be unwilling to come to Christ. As Christ explained, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me,…”

      4. Aidan
        The scriptures show that God does not call men irresistibly, but allows men to come of their own free will (Matt. 23:37; John 5:40; Rom 10:21). ”

        rhutchin
        The distinction being that those to whom God gives faith are attracted…….

        br.d
        A Calvinist way of describing a DIVINE IRRESISTIBLE FORCE
        Which of course is SUPERIMPOSED into the Calvinists mind as he reads.

        rhutchin
        Unwillingness result from a lack of faith….if God is unwilling to give a person faith…., then that person will be unwilling….etc

        br.d
        Firstly:
        Since Calvin’s god (as the divine potter) DESIGNS the VAST MAJORITY of his creatures for eternal torment in the lake of fire – it would LOGICALLY follow he will NOT PERMIT them to have faith or exercise any attribute of faith given to all at birth
        Doing so would indicate a house divided against itself

        Secondly:
        Since in Calvinism faith functions as nothing more than a MEANS to an end – and all MEANS are discretionary for Calvin’s god.
        It LOGICALLY follows – Calvin’s god can bring about his end using any MEANS he chooses – faith or no faith.
        To disagree with this is to claim Calvin’s god is not omnipotent enough to use any MEANS he chooses.

        LOGIC then shows that faith (or any other MEANS) are simply a red-herrings.

      5. rhutchin: “The distinction being that those to whom God gives faith are attracted to Christ and those without faith are not. Thus, Paul in 1 Corinthians, “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
        br.d: “A Calvinist way of describing a DIVINE IRRESISTIBLE FORCE”

        Yes. Faith is an irresistible force per Hebrews 11 – faith is assurance and conviction (faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”) That assurance and conviction is a DIVINE IRRESISTIBLE FORCE.

        Then, “Firstly: Since Calvin’s god (as the divine potter) DESIGNS the VAST MAJORITY of his creatures for eternal torment in the lake of fire – it would LOGICALLY follow he will NOT PERMIT them to have faith or exercise any attribute of faith given to all at birth.”

        By divine potter, br.d refers to Romans 9, “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” The answer is Yes. Then br.d refers to John 6, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me…everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” br.d errs in referring to a “faith given to all at birth.” The faith that leads to salvation is derived from the word, as Paul explains in Romans 10, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” br.d does not argue against my point – those to whom God gives faith are attracted to Christ and those without faith are not.

        Then, “Since in Calvinism faith functions as nothing more than a MEANS to an end – and all MEANS are discretionary for Calvin’s god.
        It LOGICALLY follows – Calvin’s god can bring about his end using any MEANS he chooses – faith or no faith.”

        God could use any means He wanted, but God chose to use faith. Thus Paul explains in Ephesians 2, “…by grace you have been saved through faith…” We have God’s exercise of His free will to choose to use faith in the process of bringing His elect to salvation.

        Then, “LOGIC then shows that faith (or any other MEANS) are simply a red-herrings.”

        Don’t know what br.d means by this as he does not explain himself what he means in saying, “red-herrings.”

      6. rhutchin
        The distinction being that those to whom God gives faith are attracted to Christ and those without faith are not……etc

        br.d
        A Calvinist way of describing a DIVINE IRRESISTIBLE FORCE – and attributing it to scripture.

        rhutchin
        Yes. Faith is an irresistible force per Hebrews 11 – faith is assurance and conviction (faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”) That assurance and conviction is a DIVINE IRRESISTIBLE FORCE.

        br.d
        So in Calvinism we have an IRRESISTIBLE FORCE – that according to the Calvinist – is a force that forces without forcing.

        Calvinists do love their square circles! :-]

        Now:
        Since Calvin’s god (as the divine potter) DESIGNS the VAST MAJORITY of his creatures for eternal torment in the lake of fire – it would LOGICALLY follow he will NOT PERMIT them to have faith or exercise any attribute of faith given to all at birth.
        To do so would be to assume he is a house divided against itself.

        rhutchin
        By divine potter, br.d refers to Romans 9,…..etc

        br.d
        Not quite!
        By “divine potter” br.d refers to the Calvinist *INTERPRETATION* of said scripture.

        And
        Since in Calvinism faith functions as nothing more than a MEANS to an end – and all MEANS are discretionary for Calvin’s god.
        It LOGICALLY follows – Calvin’s god can bring about his end using any MEANS he chooses – faith or no faith.
        Otherwise we have a god who is not omnipotent enough to bring about his ends with any other MEANS.

        rhutchin
        God could use any means He wanted, but God chose to use faith…..etc

        br.d
        Which makes faith a red herring – because Calvin’s god can use any MEANS he wants to – faith or no faith.
        What is LOGICALLY NECESSARY is Calvin’s god’s DECREE – which is enforced with a DIVINE IRRESISTIBLE FORCE

        rhutchin
        Don’t know what br.d means by this as he does not explain himself what he means in saying, “red-herrings.”

        br.d
        Red herring:
        A red herring is designed to mislead or distract one from the critical point – (i.e., that which is LOGICALLY NECESSARY).
        Since in Calvinism faith is NOT LOGICALLY NECESSARY – it is not the critical point – and is thus a red-herring.

      7. br.d writes, “Since in Calvinism faith is NOT LOGICALLY NECESSARY – it is not the critical point – and is thus a red-herring.”

        Under Calvinism, if there is no faith, there is no salvation. Thus, faith is not only necessary to salvation but logically necessary to salvation. As brd. notes, “What is LOGICALLY NECESSARY is Calvin’s god’s DECREE – which is enforced with a DIVINE IRRESISTIBLE FORCE (i.e., faith).” As faith is the means God uses to enforce His decree, it is both necessarily and logically necessary. Take away the enforcement of the decree and the decree becomes null so what purpose is served by the decree.

        Perhaps, br.d should define his terms, so we can understand what he is trying to say.

      8. br.d
        Since in Calvinism faith is NOT LOGICALLY NECESSARY – it is not the critical point – and is thus a red-herring.”

        rhutchin
        Under Calvinism, if there is no faith, there is no salvation.

        br.d
        Only if Calvin’s god is not omnipotence enough to bring salvation about using a different MEANS.

        rhutchin
        Thus, faith is not only necessary to salvation but logically necessary to salvation.

        br.d
        Sorry – you need to take a course in elementary LOGIC.
        And at the same time concluded Calvin’s god is not omnipotent enough to bring X about with any MEANS he chooses. :-]

        What is LOGICALLY NECESSARY is Calvin’s god’s DECREE – which is enforced with a DIVINE IRRESISTIBLE FORCE

        rhutchin
        As faith is the means God uses to enforce His decree, it is both necessarily and logically necessary.

        br.d
        See answer above.

        rhutchin
        Take away the enforcement of the decree and the decree becomes null so what purpose is served by the decree.
        Perhaps, br.d should define his terms, so we can understand what he is trying to say.

        br.d
        rhutchin – perhaps you need a coffee?
        Taking away the FORCE that moves the hammer does not make that hammer itself null
        But it does make the EFFECT the hammer can produce (e.g. pounding in a nail) null.
        Elementary LOGIC shows what the purpose of the FORCE and the purpose of the hammer are.

      9. br.d writes, “Only if Calvin’s god is not omnipotence enough to bring salvation about using a different MEANS.”

        All understand that God is omnipotent and can do what He wants. You appear to focus on God’s exercise of His omnipotence to get His will. In this case, God has established His purpose to use faith as the means to bring His elect to salvation. That is not at issue.

        Then, “Taking away the FORCE that moves the hammer does not make that hammer itself null”

        Sure it does, Without a force acting on the hammer, the hammer loses its value as a hammer and might as well not be a hammer.

        Then, “But it does make the EFFECT the hammer can produce (e.g. pounding in a nail) null.”

        Sure.. Remove the force that makes a hammer work, or anything else, and anything the hammer might affect disappears.

        Then, “Elementary LOGIC shows what the purpose of the FORCE and the purpose of the hammer are.”

        Elementary logic is a truth system. It presumes the truth of a hammer. It then presumes the truth of what the hammer could affect if a force is applied. It then draws a conclusion from those truths that you seem to call, “purpose.”

        Applied to this discussion. God’s decree salvation. God then implements His decree. The conclusion (or purpose) follows from God’s decree and it’s implementation.

        So, God decrees the salvation for people. God implements that decree by giving His elect faith. The conclusion (or purpose) is to gain the salvation of His elect.

      10. br.d
        Only if Calvin’s god is not omnipotence enough to bring salvation about using a different MEANS.”

        rhutchin
        All understand that God is omnipotent and can do what He wants.

        br.d
        Then it LOGICALLY follows your argument fails – as you concede Calvin’s god can bring about salvation through any MEANS he chooses – faith of no faith. :-]

        rhutchin
        You appear to focus on God’s exercise of His omnipotence to get His will.

        br.d
        FALSE
        Will and omnipotence are two different things – to conflate the two is fallacious thinking.

        rhutchin
        In this case, God has established His purpose to use faith as the means to bring His elect to salvation. That is not at issue.

        br.d
        So again you concede that Calvin’s god uses faith as a MEANS to get what he wants.
        And above – you acknowledge that he can use any MEANS he chooses.

        Thus it LOGICALLY follows – if Calvin’s god cannot use any MEANS he chooses (faith or whatever) then he is not omnipotent.

        rhutchin
        Then, “Taking away the FORCE that moves the hammer does not make that hammer itself null”
        Sure it does, Without a force acting on the hammer, the hammer loses its value as a hammer and might as well not be a hammer.

        br.d
        Its not unusual for you to say one thing and then follow that with an argument that proves yourself wrong
        if you nullify the hammer itself then you no longer have any hammer to use.
        If you take away the FORCE that moves the hammer – you still have the hammer.

        rhutchin
        Remove the force that makes a hammer work, or anything else, and anything the hammer might affect disappears.

        br.d
        An elementary course in LOGIC would really be a benefit to you.
        Just because one takes away the FORCE that moves the hammer – does not AUTO-MAGICALLY make the nail disappear.

        Elementary LOGIC shows what the purpose of the FORCE and the purpose of the hammer are
        As well as the existence of the nail.

        rhutchin
        So, God decrees the salvation for people. God implements that decree by giving His elect faith. The conclusion (or purpose) is to gain the salvation of His elect.

        br.d
        If you had made that statement in the first place – you wouldn’t be in trouble.
        Instead you went the way of fallacious thinking – making a MEANS logically necessary – which (as you concede) would only be the case if Calvin’s god is not omnipotent enough to use any other MEANS.

      11. br.d writes, “If you had made that statement in the first place – you wouldn’t be in trouble. Instead you went the way of fallacious thinking – making a MEANS logically necessary – which (as you concede) would only be the case if Calvin’s god is not omnipotent enough to use any other MEANS.”

        If you could explain why that is true, you might have a point. God’s ability to use any means and then choosing one means does not say that God is not omnipotent enough to use any other means. It just says that any other choice would be less than optimal so that God would not exercise His omnipotence to affect a different means to bring His elect to salvation.

        However, you are not contesting the main point of the discussion – God chose to use faith as the means to bring His elect to salvation.

      12. br.d
        “If you had made that statement in the first place – you wouldn’t be in trouble. Instead you went the way of fallacious thinking – making a MEANS logically necessary – which (as you concede) would only be the case if Calvin’s god is not omnipotent enough to use any other MEANS.”

        rhutchin
        If you could explain why that is true, you might have a point.

        br.d
        I can’t be responsible for anyone not wanting to acknowledge what has been clearly explained.
        If you want to go into your tail-chasing mode again – you’ll have to do that alone.
        But its always fun to watch :-]

        rhutchin
        God’s ability to use any means and then choosing one means does not say that God is not omnipotent enough to use any other means.

        br.d
        DUH!
        What it shows is that means is *NOT* logically necessary
        But I understand that is the LOGIC you have a need to evade.

        rhutchin
        However, you are not contesting the main point of the discussion – God chose to use faith as the means to bring His elect to salvation.

        br.d
        How is it RATIONAL to think I would contest a MEANS – after having been the one to point out and clearly explain it as a MEANS? :-]

        So Calvin’s god (metaphorically speaking) takes out of a person’s brain – a floppy disk containing his “Totally Depraved” program.
        He exchanges that disk for another one which contains the “Elect” program.

        That person is then said to have faith
        Or at least a computer SIMULATION of it! :-]

  37. Ed C. writes to Aidan :

    “You might be surprised by me saying this, but RIGHT ON DUDE! I could not have said it better than you just did, and you used scripture to back it up, too.”

    “Our differences are minor compared to what you just said here. Good job!”

    ———-Here’s My Reaction———-

    ED, do you think AIDAN is in agreement with the doctrine loaded on your backpack about the Pharaoh of Egypt and Judas Iscariot? been given a free pass/ticket to heaven; both enjoying in heaven now?, the former drinking fine wine with Jesus while the later doing snow skiing and drinking a cup of hot cocoa with Jesus?

  38. Aidan Posted this ones:

    1. “John 6:37a – NKJV – “ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVES ME WILL COME TO ME,..””

    2. “Who comes to Jesus? – None other than those who have heard and learned from the Father comes to Him. (Jno. 6:44-46)”

    3. “How do we hear and learn? – 2 Timothy 3:15,16 – “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” – Therefore we can only be taught through God’s word.”

    4. “God wants all men to hear and learn and be saved: – 1 Timothy 2:4 – “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    5. “Jesus said that the gospel was to be preached to – all the world – to every creature – to all nations – (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:8).”

    ———–Here’s My Response————

    1. If you mean the “ALL” mentioned in John 6:37 would refer to the entire humanity on earth, then you are presenting a weak god who is a loser and had to beg for people to come to Christ.and still does not get what He wants. That idea presents the view of LFW, idolizing too much the fallen man that becomes more powerful than God.

    2. The fallen man who is spiritually dead is morally incapable to come to Christ and cannot learn from the Father except when they are first regenerated. That idea of coming to Christ when they are spiritually dead is just an illusion.

    3. 2 Tim. 3:15-16 as cited is applicable only to those who are already saved [believers in Christ] and have come to acknowledge Christ as their Savior. It is out of context when applied to the unbelievers. I don’t know why Ed C. reacted with this this post as “good job”

    4. The term “ALL MEN” is just an illusion…. and still the truth cannot be tampered – that many are still thrown to hell.

    5. The mandate is universal, yet the words that fell on the good ground are only the ones that prosper. All the rest of the types of soil are all failure.

    1. jtleosala
      The term “ALL MEN” is just an illusion…etc

      br.d
      I appreciated JT saying this about Calvinism
      It is a TRUE saying – there are many things in Calvinism that Calvinists hold as REAL but which are just ILLUSIONS

      For example – the ILLUSION that a Calvinist who doesn’t have Libertarian-free functionality – yet has the ability to make a Libertarian choice between a TRUE perception and a FALSE perception.

      Or the ILLUSION that John Calvin teaches – quote “go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part – by Calvin’s god.”

      Or the ILLUSION that in a world where NOTHING can come to pass without Calvin’s god DECREEING it – when Calvin’s god prevents an event – hes is NOT in fact simply preventing himself from DECREEING that event.

      Or the ILLUSION that when Jesus says “my sheep hear my voice” they have CERTAINTY that that statement applies to them.

      Or the ILLUSION that some attribute of the creature caused some attribute of the creature caused some attribute of the creature – and on into infinite regress.

      So many ILLUSIONS – who wouldn’t want to sign up for that! :-]

      1. Br.D posted this one:

        “For example – the ILLUSION that a Calvinist who doesn’t have Libertarian-free functionality – yet has the ability to make a Libertarian choice between a TRUE perception and a FALSE perception.”

        ———Here’s My Response———-

        Those are realities in Scripture that both exists, but the final dead end result God gets all what He wants, The Calvinists just accepts it as it is. Anti-Calvinists cannot help but to accept the same

      2. br.d
        For example – the ILLUSION that a Calvinist who doesn’t have Libertarian-free functionality – yet has the ability to make a Libertarian choice between a TRUE perception and a FALSE perception.”

        jtleosala
        Those are realities in Scripture

        br.d
        Thank you JT – this makes perfect sense – that for the Calvinist scripture teaches him to believe ILLUSIONS.

        jtleosala
        but the final dead end result God gets all what He wants, The Calvinists just accepts it as it is.

        br.d
        If the Calvinist REALLY accepted the “Good-Evil” nature of the doctrine – 90% of the dialog here at SOT101 would not have happened.

        Here is what the Calvinist would accept:
        (1) That Calvin’s god gets everything he wants
        (2) Calvin’s god DESIGNS the vast majority of people (which includes the Calvinist) for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure
        (3) The Calvinists status of election is a divine SECRET and therefore he does not know if his salvation is a divine ILLUSION.
        (4) The Calvinist has the same probability of being TOTALLY DEPRAVED that he has for being saved.
        (5) The only thing the Calvinist can trust – (concerning Calvin’s god’s will for the Calvinist) is that Calvin’s god gets what he wants.

        Now let the RATIONAL thinker discern – whether those things represent “good” or more precisely “Good-Evil”.
        And thus we have yet another example of the Gnostic element of “Good-Evil” Dualism inherent within Calvinism.

      3. Br.D posted these items below: My Response are the ones enclosed inside the bracket at the end of the orig statement of Br.D.

        Here is what the Calvinist would accept:
        (1) That Calvin’s god gets everything he wants – [That is given, no dispute on that]
        (2) Calvin’s god DESIGNS the vast majority of people (which includes the Calvinist) for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure – [YES, majority in torment, but Calvinists not included. How can God do that to His elect? Permanent Salvation of the elect is strongly supported by scriptures- which Br.D seems to disagree]
        (3) The Calvinists status of election is a divine SECRET and therefore he does not know if his salvation is a divine ILLUSION. – [NO secret, I deny this. The words of God affirms our claims, yet Br.D still oppose]
        (4) The Calvinist has the same probability of being TOTALLY DEPRAVED that he has for being saved.- [Calvinists teaches Total Depravity of the fallen man. That is very obvious and you know that]
        (5) The only thing the Calvinist can trust – (concerning Calvin’s god’s will for the Calvinist) is that Calvin’s god gets what he wants. – [The God presented in Scripture is a supreme God who is above all else and is SINLESS and a perfect God. The scripture also says that this God can even use evil in order to accomplish His will, but it does not mean that He is the evil one. Here, the opponent accuses God as evil. We never recognize other deities except the only God who created the Universe – the God of Abraham and Jacob and the Lord Jesus Christ.- This is the same God that Calvin adheres, serve and worship – and Br.D often affirms this in his posts by saying “Calvin’s God”]

      4. br.d
        (3) The Calvinists status of election is a divine SECRET and therefore he does not know if his salvation is a divine ILLUSION.

        jtleosala
        [NO secret, I deny this. The words of God affirms our claims, yet Br.D still oppose

        br.d
        Sorry JT but that is LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE in Calvinism

        Calvinism incorporates the doctrine of the VISIBLE and INVISIBLE church
        The VISIBLE church is defined as those who are members the church (i.e. living physical bodies).
        The INVISIBLE church is defined as those members who have “ELECT” status among those physical bodies.

        The ELECT status of every Calvinist is VISIBLE only to Calvin’s god and therefore INVISIBLE to the Calvinist.

        Additionally Calvin’s god -quote “Holds out salvation as a savor of condemnation” to a -quote “LARGE MIXTURE” of Calvinists – and he will eventually -quote “strike them with greater blindness”.

        As rhutchin says – these Calvinists THINK they are saved.
        But it should be obvious they are deceived into THINKING they are saved by Calvin’s god as part of his holding out salvation as greater condemnation.

        And as this LARGE MIXTURE of Calvinists are not ELECT – then it LOGICALLY follows they are TOTALLY DEPRAVED.

        That being the case the Calvinist doesn’t know whether he is ELECT and he doesn’t know if he is TOTALLY DEPRAVED.
        For all he knows Calvin’s god could be holding salvation out to him as a savor of condemnation.

        (4) The Calvinist has the same probability of being TOTALLY DEPRAVED that he has for being saved.

        jtleosala
        [Calvinists teaches Total Depravity of the fallen man. That is very obvious and you know that]

        br.d
        Right – and the ELECT status of each member of the VISIBLE church is INVISIBLE.
        Therefore those Calvinists who are NOT ELECT are TOTALLY DEPRAVED while they THINK they are saved.

        5) The only thing the Calvinist can trust – (concerning Calvin’s god’s will for the Calvinist) is that Calvin’s god gets what he wants.

        jtleosala
        [The God presented in Scripture is a supreme God who is above all else and is SINLESS and a perfect God.

        br.d
        The topic is on what aspect of Calvin’s god the Calvinist can trust
        Calvin’s god may have DESIGNED you for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure – whether you call him sinless or not has nothing to do with what you can trust about his will concerning your eternal fate.

        jtleosala
        The scripture also says that this God can even use evil in order to accomplish His will, but it does not mean that He is the evil one.

        br.d
        What does that have to do with what you can trust about Calvin’s god concerning his will specific for you?

        You can trust that every evil that happens to you and every sin you have ever committed were IMMUTABLY DECREED and RENDERED-CERTAIN at the foundation of the world.
        And you can trust that there is no escape from what is DECREED.
        In other words – you can trust – Calvin’s god always gets what he wants.

        jtleosala
        Here, the opponent accuses God as evil. We never recognize other deities except the only God who created the Universe – the God of Abraham and Jacob and the Lord Jesus Christ.- This is the same God that Calvin adheres, serve and worship – and Br.D often affirms this in his posts by saying “Calvin’s God”]

        br.d
        Why should a person unquestionably consider Calvin’s god to be the god of scripture?

      5. jtleosala
        Calvin’s god DESIGNS the vast majority of people (which includes the Calvinist) for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure – [YES, majority in torment, but Calvinists not included. How can God do that to His elect? Permanent Salvation of the elect is strongly supported by scriptures- which Br.D seems to disagree]

        br.d
        Sorry JT – Calvin’s god determines who is elect and who is not elect – and the elect represent the SECRET church – so you don’t get to say who they are. Unless you want to claim Calvin’s god lets you in on his SECRETS.

        Secondly – Per Calvin – Calvin god holds out salvation as a -quote “savor of condemnation” to a -quote LARGE MIXTURE of Calvinists.

        Consequently – since out of the whole population of the human race Calvin’s god DESIGNS the MANY for eternal torment in the lake of fire and the FEW for election – then it LOGICALLY follows FEW Calvinists are actually elect.

        This means the MANY within Calvinism’s VISIBLE church are deceived by Calvin’s god into believing they are elect when they are not.

        Bad news for you I’m afraid!

      6. And Jesus said:
        What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard these words they said: God forbid!

        Interesting response isn’t it.
        They were totally happy to have everyone else be condemned.
        Everyone except for themselves of course.

        These people were so confident they were “elect” that on the conception of them being cast out they said “God forbid”

        Pretty easy to see anyone who parallels this behavior is in fact in the same position.
        Including Calvinists who claim they can’t be cast out cuz all Calvinists are auto-magically elect.

      7. Aidan posted these ones. The ones that are typed inside the bracket are my Response to him below.:

        I liked your last point, so I’ll start with that; namely, that “The mandate is universal, yet the words that fell on the good ground are only the ones that prosper. All the rest of the types of soil are all failure.” –

        My Response : [This is acknowledge by Me]

        In principle, I think we are both in agreement here, that the mandate is indeed universal in scope; but we differ in one critical point . The terms that Jesus used was, – all the world – to every creature – to all nations – (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:8).” So, yes, the mandate is truly “universal” (all the world – all nations),- but the target is “every creature” according to Jesus in Mark’s account. Unfortunately, not all will believe, not all will obey: Only the good ground will prosper and bear fruit (Lk. 8:15). Therefore, if “ALL” mentioned in John 6:37 referred to the entire humanity on earth, then “ALL” would have come to Christ – which we know is not true. –

        My Response : [There is no problem with me if the term used differs such as : all the world”, “every creature, “all nations”. Preachers of the gospel are not omniscient.God did not reveal to them exactly who are the elect from among the vast audience that’s why the offer is universal, but only the legitimate beneficiaries are the ones who are truly saved, Those who are pseudo or “nominal Christians” are still perishing. They have not actually possessed the gift of Salvation at all that is why nothing was lost to them.]

        I think you are mistaken in saying that, 2 Tim. 3:15-16, – “as cited, is applicable only to those who are already saved [believers in Christ] and… is out of context when applied to the unbelievers.” Otherwise, how do you explain Paul’s statement in (v.15) ? “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”?

        My Response: [Probably, Timothy has known Jesus as His Savior at an earlier age. God used the Grandma as an instrument
        for his spiritual second birth]

        First of all, I cited that passage to show that the word of God is the medium through which God instructs or teaches. The written word is the voice of God (Matt. 22:31). The written word is the Spirit filled word (John 6:63; 2 Cor 2:13; Eph. 3:4,5; 2 Pt 1:21). The Spirit convicts us through instrumentality of the word ( Heb, 4:12,13). The written word can instruct us in the will of God (Eph. 3:4); it can teach us, reprove us, correct us and instruct us in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16); – but it can also lead us to a saving faith in Jesus (John 20:30-31). In fact, the word of God is the only medium to bring us to faith in Christ (Rom 10:17). Christians are begotten through the Gospel ( 1 Cor. 4:15), brought forth by the word of truth ( Jas. 1:18); born again, through the word of God which lives and abides forever (1 Pet. 1:23).

        My Response : [I have no counter argument of your ideas concerning the words of God as God’s medium. I believe that the word of God is powerful, however God made it not to work effectively to the other types of soil or the reprobates. Remember the parable of the sower? It was the same seed (word of God) that fell on them. This means that the word of God alone is not enough for those who are spiritually dead and are not truly the beneficiaries of Christ’s death on the cross]

        This provides for the Word only as the medium of conversion. To say otherwise, is to contradict what the Holy Spirit has said in these passages. The burden of proof remains with those who disagree. –

        My Response : [Disagreement in between of us disappears when only applied to the elect sinners]

        That was the whole point in saying that the gospel needed to be preached to – all the world – to every creature – to all nations – (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:8).” Please tell me, What does “every creature” mean?

        My Response : [For me, “every creature” that you asked: That is in reference to all human beings, not to other living things, angels and satan not included]

        And, If God, “.. desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) What does it mean if we say, that the devil, “..desires all men to be lost and not come to the knowledge of the truth?”

        My Response : [Conflict will then arise in between of us if the idea that “God desires all men to be saved” will be used in reference to the salvation of the entire humanity. No disagreement if the idea is on “Particular Redemption”. God can even use satan to further unveil what has been decided for the reprobates. I think satan is not omniscient – no complete knowledge about the identity and the totality of the elect from those who are not elect in the planet that’s why he also desires all men to be lost. Actually satan according to scriptures that he blinded the people so that they will not perceive the truth. Satan did this thing only once at the garden of Eden. Thus Eve as the mother of all offspring, her offspring when born on this planet were also sin infected and are blind spiritually]

        Thanks and God bless you…

      8. br.d writes, “For example – the ILLUSION that a Calvinist who doesn’t have Libertarian-free functionality – ”

        This is confused. Without faith, no one has Libertarian-free functionality to not sin. They have the freedom to do as they desire
        (compatibilist freedom). Even br.d should understand that Libertarian-free functionality is not possible without faith.

        Then, “…yet has the ability to make a Libertarian choice between a TRUE perception and a FALSE perception.”

        I don’t know what br.d means by this. People make choices every day from among real offerings. People can taste food and choose what to eat, Nothing false about that.

      9. br.d
        Calvinist ILLUSIONS
        For example – the ILLUSION that a Calvinist who doesn’t have Libertarian-free functionality can exercise a Libertarian free choice – for example – choosing between TRUE vs FALSE”

        rhutchin
        This is confused. Without faith, no one has Libertarian-free functionality to not sin.

        br.d
        Well first of all you need to come to grips with the position concerning Libertarian Free will in TRUE CALVINISM.

        Since Calvinism is predicated on Theological Determinism – a position in which Libertarian Free will does not exist – but rather Compatbilistic free-will exists – your current thinking regarding how Libertarian free will can be available with some kind of “faith” is totally maverick to Calvinism.

        John W. Hendryx of Monergism for example – gives 11 reasons to reject Libertarian Free will. The Calvinist web-site Puritan boards suggests Jonathan Edward’s “Freedom of The Will” as the most decisive rejection of the existence of Libertarian Free will for the Calvinist.

        And every Christian Philosopher who is worth his weight in salt knows that Theological Determinism and Libertarian Free will are mutually exclusive. As William Lane Craig states it – “Theological Determinism eradicates Libertarian Free will”

        So your current position has evolved – and now you appear to assert some form of Libertarian Free will existing in Calvinism due to some kind of “faith”. And that is a fairly recent change on your part from my observation. I could probably find numerous historical posts from you asserting that Libertarian Free will is incoherent. And that position I would expect from you since it is consistent with TRUE CALVINISM.

        So that is a confusion you need to sort out first.

  39. Hi, JTLEOSALA,

    I’m hoping we can have a reasonable discussion together with kindness and respect.

    I liked your last point, so I’ll start with that; namely, that “The mandate is universal, yet the words that fell on the good ground are only the ones that prosper. All the rest of the types of soil are all failure.”

    In principle, I think we are both in agreement here, that the mandate is indeed universal in scope; but we differ in one critical point . The terms that Jesus used was, – all the world – to every creature – to all nations – (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:8).” So, yes, the mandate is truly “universal” (all the world – all nations),- but the target is “every creature” according to Jesus in Mark’s account. Unfortunately, not all will believe, not all will obey: Only the good ground will prosper and bear fruit (Lk. 8:15). Therefore, if “ALL” mentioned in John 6:37 referred to the entire humanity on earth, then “ALL” would have come to Christ – which we know is not true.

    I think you are mistaken in saying that, 2 Tim. 3:15-16, – “as cited, is applicable only to those who are already saved [believers in Christ] and… is out of context when applied to the unbelievers.” Otherwise, how do you explain Paul’s statement in (v.15) ? “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”?

    First of all, I cited that passage to show that the word of God is the medium through which God instructs or teaches. The written word is the voice of God (Matt. 22:31). The written word is the Spirit filled word (John 6:63; 2 Cor 2:13; Eph. 3:4,5; 2 Pt 1:21). The Spirit convicts us through instrumentality of the word ( Heb, 4:12,13). The written word can instruct us in the will of God (Eph. 3:4); it can teach us, reprove us, correct us and instruct us in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16); – but it can also lead us to a saving faith in Jesus (John 20:30-31). In fact, the word of God is the only medium to bring us to faith in Christ (Rom 10:17). Christians are begotten through the Gospel ( 1 Cor. 4:15), brought forth by the word of truth ( Jas. 1:18); born again, through the word of God which lives and abides forever (1 Pet. 1:23).

    This provides for the Word only as the medium of conversion. To say otherwise, is to contradict what the Holy Spirit has said in these passages. The burden of proof remains with those who disagree.

    That was the whole point in saying that the gospel needed to be preached to – all the world – to every creature – to all nations – (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:8).” Please tell me, What does “every creature” mean?

    And, If God, “.. desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) What does it mean if we say, that the devil, “..desires all men to be lost and not come to the knowledge of the truth?”

    Thanks,
    Aidan

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