Answering the Calvinist’s Most Popular Argument

“Why did you believe the gospel, but your friend did not? Are you wiser or smarter or more spiritual or better trained or more humble?”

This is typically one of the first questions a Calvinist will ask a non-Calvinist when attempting to convince them of their doctrine.[1] In fact, when I was a Calvinist, I used this argument more often than any other, and it was quite effective. However, I have come to believe there are at least four significant problems with this line of argumentation:

1) Question Begging Fallacy:

As we have discussed HERE, this is a game of question begging because it presumes a deterministic answer is required. It is tantamount to asking, “What determined the response of you and your friend?” As if something or someone other than the responsible agents themselves made the determination. The question presumes determinism is true and that libertarian free will (self-determination) is not possible. [2]

I believe that the cause of a choice is the chooser (or the cause of a determination is the determiner) and accept the mystery associated with the functioning of that free will in making its own determinations.[3] Now, Calvinists will often challenge my appeal to mystery at this point as if it is a weakness unique to my libertarian worldview. This is a very shortsighted argument, however, which will be made abundantly clear in the next point.

2) Calvinists Ultimately Appeal to the Same Mystery:

While the Calvinist may feel he has the “upper hand” when asking about the “decisive factor” in man’s choice to reject God’s words, the role reverses quite dramatically when the conversation shifts to man’s first choice to reject God’s words. Whether discussing Satan’s first act of rebellion or Adam’s first choice to sin, it becomes quite evident that the Calvinist has painted himself into a corner by denying libertarian free will.

While on the one hand arguing that mankind will always act in accordance with his nature (assuming the nature could not be libertarianly free, mind you), the Calvinist has no rational answer as to why Adam (or Lucifer) chose to rebel. [4] For instance, John Piper openly admits:

How God freely hardens and yet preserves human accountability we are not explicitly told. It is the same mystery as how the first sin entered the universe. How does a sinful disposition arise in a good heart? The Bible does not tell us.”[5]

And RC Sproul similarly teaches,

“But Adam and Eve were not created fallen. They had no sin nature. They were good creatures with a free will. Yet they chose to sin. Why? I don’t know. Nor have I found anyone yet who does know.”[6]

As you can clearly see, the Calvinist has just “kicked the can down the road,” so to speak, when it comes to appealing to the mystery of free moral will.[7] They eventually appeal to the same mystery that we do, all the while thinking they are taking the higher moral ground by giving God all the credit for the Christian’s choice to repent and trust in Christ. In reality, however, by not accepting the mystery of man’s free will, the Calvinist has created a new mystery that is simply not afforded by the text of scripture.

This problem is made evident by turning the question around and asking this of the Calvinist:

Why has your lost friend continued to hate and reject God?

Most Calvinists do not want to admit that the reprobate of their system ultimately hates and rejects God because God first hated and rejected them. Calvinists would rather focus on the elect who are saved by deterministic means while ignoring the inevitable conclusions about the non-elect who remain damned for the same deterministic reason. In my opinion, this is a dilemma unique to their worldview, not a tension created by the teachings of scripture.

So, the Calvinist rejects the mystery of libertarian freedom only to adopt another even more difficult mystery. One that arguably brings into question the holiness, righteousness and trustworthiness of our God — namely the suggestion that God is implicit in the determination of moral evil, as evidenced by John Calvin’s own teachings:

“…how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice afforded by the suggestion that evils come to be, not by His will but by His permission…It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing, but the author of them…Who does not tremble at these judgments with which God works in the hearts of even the wicked whatever He will, rewarding them nonetheless according to desert? Again it is quite clear from the evidence of Scripture that God works in the hearts of men to incline their wills just as he will, whether to good for His mercy’s sake, or to evil according to their merits.”[8]

Which mystery is more difficult to swallow? One that seemingly suggests mankind might have some part to play in reconciliation (the bringing together of two parties) or the one that suggests God is the author of evil (that which divided to two parties to begin with)? More importantly, which of these mysteries does the Bible actually afford? (Listen to THIS PODCAST to better understand why a defense of free will is actually a defense of God’s Holiness, not merely an appeal to mystery.)

3) Better by Choice or Divine Decree is Still Better:

Calvinists seem to think there is something morally wrong with admitting that a believer is better than an unbeliever. Of course it is better to believe than it is to “trade the truth of God in for lies.” Whether one believes because they were sovereignly made to do so or simply given the ability to do so freely does not change the fact that believers are doing something “better.” But, as we will discover in the next point, better does not mean worthy of salvation. So, even if the non-Calvinist were to say, “Yes, I’m more humble or smarter,” he would ultimately be saying the exact same thing a Calvinist has to say. The only difference would be that an unbeliever could rightly say to the Calvinist, “How arrogant of you to think that God made you more humble or smarter,” whereas if they said that to the non-Calvinist, we could rightly answer, “No he didn’t, you have no such excuse. You have just as much ability to humble yourself and understand the gospel as I have.”

We (non-Calvinist) are too often accused that we could/would boast in our salvation because we affirm that it is our responsibility to freely respond in faith to the gracious Holy Spirit wrought gospel appeal.

Is this really boast worthy?

We are the ones who teach that anyone can believe the gospel. Why would we boast in doing something anyone is able to do?

It’s the Calvinists who believe this ability is uniquely given to them and not most people. It makes much more sense for a Calvinist to boast in an ability granted to him that has been withheld from most others.

A great singer, for example, is a given a rare gift from birth and can often become proud or boastful due to that unique gift. But if everyone was born able sing that well whenever they wanted, then boasting in that ability would not make any sense. Thus, Calvinism leaves more room for boasting than does our soteriological perspective. (Though I don’t believe true Christians from either soteriological system would boast in such things: SEE HERE)

This speaks to the biblical teaching on the attainability of goodness or righteousness, which we will discuss in the next point.

4) A Decision Does Not Merit Salvation:

What is the underlying motivation for asking the question, “Why you and not another?” The implication seems to be that one who makes the libertarianly free decision to accept the gospel appeal is meriting or more deserving of salvation? As if the decision to repent somehow earns or merits one’s forgiveness.

Think of it this way.  Did the prodigal son earn, merit or in any way deserve the reception of his father on the basis that he humbly returned home?  Of course not. He deserved to be punished, not rewarded.  The acceptance of his father was a choice of the father alone and it was ALL OF GRACE.  The father did not have to forgive, restore and throw a party for his son on the basis that he chose to come home. That was the father’s doing.

Humiliation and brokenness is not considered “better” or “praiseworthy” and it certainly is not inherently valuable.  In fact, one could argue that it was weak and pitiful of the son to return home and beg his daddy for a job instead of working his own way out of that pig sty.  The only thing that makes this quality “desirable” is that God has chosen to grace those who humble themselves, something He is in no way obligated to do (Is. 66:2).  God gives grace to the humble not because a humble response deserves salvation, but because He is gracious.

Calvinists often conflate man’s choice to confess with God’s choice to forgive while labeling it all “salvation.”  They go on to convincingly argue that God is “sovereign over salvation” which actually means “God is as much in control over His own choice to forgive as He is over man’s choice to confess in faith.”  It’s difficult to argue with someone who is making the case that God is “in control of salvation” and is “the One who gets all credit for salvation,” but that difficulty only exists due to the conflating of man’s responsibility to believe/confess with God’s gracious choice to save whosoever does so.  Of course Salvation is all of God, but that is distinct from man’s responsibility to humbly trust in Him for salvation.

We all affirm that Salvation belongs to the Lord, but that does not mean sin and the responsibility to repent from sin does not belong to the sinner.

Clearly scripture calls us to humility and there is nothing which suggests we cannot respond in humility when confronted by the powerful clear revelation of God’s convicting life-giving truth through the law and the gospel.  Consider what our Lord taught us in Luke 18:10-14

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’  “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’  “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Did the tax collector deserve to go home justified because of his humble admission of guilt? Of course not. If that were so, then his confession would have merited his salvation and there would be no reason for Christ’s death to atone for his sin. He went home justified because of God’s grace and provision alone! Maintaining man’s libertarianly free responsibility to repent and believe does not negate the truth that salvation is completely and totally of God alone.

Throughout the scriptures we see examples of God “finding favor” in believing individuals (Job, Enoch, Noah, Abram, etc), but these men, like all of humanity, still fell short of God’s glory and were unrighteous according to the demands of God’s law. They needed a savior. They needed redemption and reconciliation. Even those who believe the truth of God’s revelation deserve eternal punishment for their sin.

What must be understood is that no one was righteous according to the demands of the law. However, that does NOT mean that all people are unable to believe God’s revealed truth so as to be credited as righteous by God’s grace. Paul taught that no one was righteous in Romans 3, yet he turns around and declares in the very next chapter that, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (4:3).

How can that be? Has Paul contradicted himself? First he declares that no one is righteous and then he tells us that Abraham was righteous? Which is it?

Paul is drawing the distinction between righteousness by works (Rm. 3:10-11) and righteousness by grace through faith (Rm. 3:21-24). The former is unattainable but the latter has always been very much attainable by anyone, which again, is why ALL ARE “WITHOUT EXCUSE!” (Rm. 1:20)

God can show mercy on whom ever he wants to show mercy!  We happen to know, based on Biblical revelation, that God wants to show mercy to those who humbly repent in faith, which is man’s responsibility not God’s!

If you wait on God to effectually humble you, it will be too late.

1 Peter 5:5-6:  “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Isaiah 66:2: “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.

James 4:10: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

2 Kings 22:19: “Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord.”

2 Chronicles 12:7: When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak.

2 Chronicles 12:12: Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed.

Psalm 18:27: You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.

Psalm 25:9: He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.

Psalm 147:6: The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.

Proverbs 3:34: He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.

Zephaniah 2:3: Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.

Matthew 18:4: Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3:  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 23:12: For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Luke 1:52: He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

Luke 14:11: For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 18:14: “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

James 4:6: But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

 


The Bible Brodown guys discuss this question HERE in a great podcast.

[1] John Piper said, “More specifically, I rarely meet Christians who want to take credit for their conversion. There is something about true grace in the believer’s heart that makes us want to give all the glory to God. So, for example, if I ask a believer how he will answer Jesus’s question at the last judgment, “Why did you believe on me, when you heard the gospel, but your friends didn’t, when they heard it?” very few believers answer that question by saying: “Because I was wiser or smarter or more spiritual or better trained or more humble.” Most of us feel instinctively that we should glorify God’s grace by saying: “There but for the grace of God go I.” In other words, we know intuitively that God’s grace was decisive in our conversion. That is what we mean by irresistible grace.” (http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-we-believe-about-the-five-points-of-calvinism#Grace)

[2] Libertarian Free Will is “the categorical ability of the will to refrain or not refrain from a given moral action.” See: https://soteriology101.com/2016/05/11/philosophical-reflections-on-free-will/

[3] Question begging is the logical fallacy of presuming true the very argument up for debate. By asking what determined a man’s choice, the questioner is presuming someone or something other than that man made the determination, thus presuming true the foundation for deterministic logic (i.e. “a theory or doctrine that acts of the will, occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws [or Divine decree].” Merriam-Webster Dictionary). While a determiner may state reasons or influential factors for his or her own determination (i.e. I chose to overeat because it tastes so good) that does not mean the factors listed effectually caused the determination (i.e. the taste of food determined the agent’s choice to overeat).  The agent alone made the determination based on the factors taken into consideration and deliberated upon. To presume without proof that something or someone outside the agent himself made the determination (i.e. was the “decisive factor”) is question begging.

[4] On the one hand, Calvinists argue that mankind always chooses according to their greatest inclination which is ultimately determined by their God given nature, yet on the other hand they affirm that Adam “was perfectly free from any corruptions or sinful inclinations,” and that he “had no sinful inclinations to hurry him on to sin; he did it of his own free and mere choice” Jonathan Edwards, ‘All God’s Methods Are Most Reasonable’, in Sermons and Discourses: 1723-1729, ed. by Kenneth P. Minkema, Works 14 (1997): 168.)

How does the affirmation of Adam’s freedom to sin or refrain from sin not violate the Calvinists own definition of human will and choice? For Adam to choose to sin he must violate the law of his own nature, as defined by the Calvinistic systematic.

[5]John Piper: http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/the-hardening-of-pharaoh-and-the-hope-of-the-world))

[6] RC Sproul, Chosen By God, p.31

[8] John Calvin, “The Eternal Predestination of God,” 10:11

 

340 thoughts on “Answering the Calvinist’s Most Popular Argument

  1. Leighton,
    This was a sound and excellent argument and frankly one that I think reduces the Calvin/non-Calvin debate to its most divided root cause and topic of importance. The nature of God’s Character. I say this because I absolutely agree with you that Humility is a characteristic that man has choice over. Plenty of places you cited mention the emphasis of Man (not God) needing to humble himself. Not safe himself either for having humbled himself. But the choice of humbling one’s self strikes to a very important element that also speaks to the nature of God and this debate.

    All the characteristics of God are important in cohesively understanding who he is, as best we can this side of eternity that is.

    But the observation i have made of Calvinists is that they hold the “Holiness” virtue of God’s character over and against any of his other characters. Particularly, even his “loving” nature. And this is where I find the debate needed acknowledgment and careful introspection.

    God is holy, but “God is Love” (1John). When it comes to God doing what mysterious works he does in the heart of the hardened or in the heart of the called he must be doing it on the basis of Love as it is the nature of who he is. But that brings up a very specific nuance when it comes to the individual responding to the appeal to repent. Love from scriptures (1Corinthians, Philemon and sooo many places elsewhere) strongly defines itself as not being rude, not seeking self, not being something that obligatorily forces itself on others, or demands itself. Onesimus’s free return of philemon, giving your gifts to God not out of grudging complain or obligatorily but out of a cheerful and self-donating heart. one could go on and on.

    I’m sure you systematic guys are likely to feed off what I just wrote like piranha with contending zeal, but my simple point is that if God is loving, If he desire’s us to choose him freely (because he is NOT nervously pacing heaven alone and desperately needing validation) then man’s desire to say I am not able to do anything about my condition but I acknowledge my utter sin, and I autonomously and self-donatedly give you myself is NOT a thing a person has any boast in. To boast about being Humble actually denies the nature about what humility is in the first place. What’s the permutation of this for the Calvinist that threatens him…?

    Is it something like this kind of dialogue, “Hey dude, how did you come to Christ? OH man let me tell you. I just took a look at my miserable life and how utterly empty, self-centered, ungoverned, basically evil I was and I realized you know I just need to humble myself and if I do the hard work of humbling myself then I know God is required to deservingly accept me.” Ummm news flash that was just a description of self-righteousness regardless of how people use phrasing. Instead that description sounds a lot like the Pharisee scripture noted above.

    I find it funny that Calvinist don’t have an answer about Adam’s choice to sin though he was perfectly sinless in nature and will. Here’s a simple answer. God made man able to choose or reject him because the “insoluble nature of love is distinct in that it is the other’s CHOICE FREELY to walk in harmony with another or not”. God wasn’t surprised that Adam would sin either, but he had to make him able to freely choose to want to serve and love God back. If he made Adam incapable of having a choice he would have been deterministically ordered to never sin. Basically a robot. Which honestly Calvinist doctrine reduces its arguments to this base view anyway.

    But if this is the case then why does anyone argue about any of this stuff. It seriously would be a ridiculous endeavor. What I’m saying is, if everything is deterministic with no choice of self donation to a creator mattering because ultimately God is only working strangely, unknowingly and secretively to have force his hand then fate of all kinds is God’s actual secretive doing. So sin is as much his choice, in fact all his choice then it is any of ours. Of course I don’t believe this but that’s the logic of Hyper Calvinism.

    Also, here is really a simple thing that I seriously ask everyone of you guys reading this. Look at the person of Jesus Christ. If God so “loved” the world that he gave his son to save us.. Do any of you seriously see that form, action and demeanor of Love in Jesus’s every choice and motive ever dominating others hearts and demanding others because he was desparate for his “holiness” to be respected, bowed to or regarded as an imperative requirement. NO.

    In fact the argument that Calvinists have that justify why holiness matters the most is because God deserves if not demands his Glory. But what is God’s idea of Glory? He doesn’t need man’s accolades to be Glorious. Here is Glory for you. Imagine the Creator of the universe although deserving acknowledgment for his unmatched splendor of goodness, beauty and charity becoming in nature the very thing he created in a gentle kind appeal to accept him for having made us with autonomy to reject him with our “free will”. For after all if he didn’t make us with free will we would neither reject him, but we also would neither respond to him freely. Ok so what does this mean???

    Well here is the motive of God’s heart. The word says “he has consigned all men over to disobedience so that He may have mercy on them all”. I think God wanted the experience of free will being quite beautiful from the position of man seeing how far choice had led him from relationship with him. You can’t know necessarily how Good a thing is without contrast and perhaps having lost that thing. There is more Glory in the nature of God by the distance he will travel to choose us when we reject him then if he made us never to freely desire him back. He must savor and value the choice the believer has when they finally give themselves away, not in boasting but in nature being made in the same image as their creator saying receive me I am lost. But it is the sinner who confesses it, woo’ed him or her, made unimaginable means of circumstance to reach out to them. They must give themselves over, freely, for Love is only respected as love at all if it is freely given.

    1. Hi David
      I really appreciated this post.

      And I also agree with you how-be-it in a slightly different way on one point you made.

      You gave this insightful observation:
      -quote:
      “But the observation i have made of Calvinists is that they hold the “Holiness” virtue of God’s character over and against any of his other characters.”

      For me its not actually Holiness – but Sovereignty – that Calvinists place at the top of their totem-pole of divine attributes.

      Blessings and thanks for your post!

      1. Indeed…. good eye br.d.

        If it were Holiness above all else they would not be constantly implying that God is the author of all things—even sin, rape, torture, etc. That aint very holy.

        It is indeed His Power that they emphasize, dealt with in their personal definition of sovereignty. But power makes sense and Calvin wielded it mercilessly. River-dunking or stake-burning anyone? So that fits perfectly for them.

  2. In Salvation the Gospel message uses the law to bring light to our condition of sin, helplessness, hopelessly lost, bankrupt and unable to merit salvation or forgiveness mush less Love BUT God in His mercy, grace and His Agape Love has provided the full payment…His Condition is simply agree with Him that you are helplessly lost, bankrupt and do not merit even mercy then depend on HIM (Faith) that HE has already done it on your behalf. We come empty handed and depend on His Supply (Faith). How can that be construed as MERIT? It can’t ! Even though there are things about Spurgeon I disagree with when he illustrates Faith it is very much in line with Provisionalism.
    “Faith which receives Christ is as simple an act as when a child receives an apple from you, because you hold it out and promise to give him the apple if he comes for it. The belief and the receiving relate only to an apple; but they make up precisely the same act as the faith which deals with eternal salvation. What the child’s hand is to the apple, that your faith is to the perfect salvation of Christ. The child’s hand does not make the apple, nor improve the apple, nor deserve the apple; it only takes it; and faith is chosen by God to be the receiver of salvation, because it does not pretend to create salvation, nor to help in it, but it is content humbly to receive it. “Faith is the tongue that begs pardon, the hand which receives it, and the eye which sees it; but it is not the price which buys it”
    Spurgeon speaks of his journey to Faith like this:
    “Oh, the many times I have wished that the preacher would tell me something to do to be saved! Gladly would I have done it, if it had been possible. If he had said, ‘Take off your shoes and stockings and run to John o’ Groats,’ I would not even have gone home first, but would have started off that very night if I might win salvation. How often have I thought that if he had said, ‘Bare your back to the scourge and take fifty lashes,’ I would have said, ‘Here I am. Come along with your whip and beat as hard as you please, so long as I can obtain peace and rest, and get rid of my sin.’ Yet the simplest of all matters—believing in Christ crucified, accepting His finished salvation, being nothing and letting Him be everything, doing nothing, but trusting to what He has done—I could not get hold of it.”

    NOW most Calvinist’s don’t like how Spurgeon makes Faith as something Non-meritorious.

    1. GraceAdict,

      Spurgeon (like Piper) contradicts himself in dozens of his messages.

      I have listed dozens of his non-Calvinist sayings elsewhere, but this is a good one, thanks. It shows that he was not “dead” (incapable, blind, a God-hater) until the second before he was converted. No, he, like Cornelius, Lydia, and even many in Athens were reaching out to their Creator God.

      What they were doing was not enough….. but it certainly was not “being dead”.

    2. GraceAdict writes, ‘NOW most Calvinist’s don’t like how Spurgeon makes Faith as something Non-meritorious.”

      Calvinists make faith non-meritorious saying that it is gift from God and not something that a person is born with.

  3. Absolutely true…not corpse like dead… It is interesting that everyone has faith even the unsaved they are simply placing their faith in something or someone other than God and His Word… The Atheist believes Darwin. People can and do believe (have faith in) a lie. Notice in v 11 below, after rejecting the truth they “believe” a lie — same word that brings salvation if placed in the right object. Faith is not unique to Christians the OBJECT of our Faith is unique – Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. Same greek word in v 11 and 12

    2Th 2:9  The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 
    2Th 2:10  and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 
    2Th 2:11  Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 
    2Th 2:12  in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 

    What I find with Most Calvinist is they are really double-minded. Holding on to two opinions. In the first hand they Hold TULIP, they actually hold TULIP with greater commitment than anything else BUT in the other hand they really do hold the WORD and, at times they just can’t help but say what the WORD actually says. BUT most of the time they are trying to make the WORD agree with TULIP their 1st commitment. So they have to introduce: 1. New Definitions to Words 2. Create new terms 3. Appeal to “mystery” when even they can’t escape the plain meaning of text which obviously contradictions their TULIP. 4. However, Some times we can catch them teaching what the WORD actually says. I rejoice when that happens… I only wish it would happen more often.

    1. GraceAdict
      What I find with Most Calvinist is they are really double-minded. Holding on to two opinions.

      br.d
      Bulls-eye! You hit it perfectly! :-]

    2. GraceAdict writes, ‘It is interesting that everyone has faith even the unsaved they are simply placing their faith in something or someone other than God and His Word…”

      The faith that the unsaved place someone else is not the faith that Paul speaks of when he says, ” faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ,” or “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Calvinists are right to distinguish that faith conveyed through the gospel from that human faith of which you speak. You can complain that Calvinists have made a new definition of faith, and thereby reject it, but your philosophy then becomes heretical.

      1. It is the OBJECT of ones Faith/Belief that makes the difference. Faith in the Gospel comes from hearing the Gospel.
        Notice below the exact same greek word is used for Believing a Lie as is used for Believing the Truth that saves…. The object of ones Faith is critical thing.

        2Th 2:10  and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because They Refused to love the truth and so be saved. 
        2Th 2:11  Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may BELIEVE what is false, 
        2Th 2:12  in order that all may be condemned who did not BELIEVE the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 

        Notice above in the very same sentence the greek word used for Believing what is False and Believing what is True is the exact same word. It is also the same word used below. Nothing different. Same greek word below as well. Believe a Lie or Believe in Him and have eternal life.

        Joh 3:15-16  that whoever BELIEVES in him may have eternal life.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever BELIEVES in him should not perish but have eternal life. 

        I realize for the “TULIP – Calvinist worldview” to hold together it requires Redefining a host of Biblical terms that is Calvinism but that is NOT proper interpretation of scripture. What good is it to say you believe in Sola Scriptura and then proceed to redefine the very WORDS of scripture. You can make the bible support anything if you do that… Absolutely anything. You can even make God the Author of Evil. This is a very dangerous path to be on.

      2. GA,
        Well said.

        Even just the one verse would do….

        2 Th 2:10 They refused to love the truth and so be saved.
        ———-

        In theory, you cannot “refuse” something that is not offered. Calvinists are clear that unbelievers are not “refusing” since the offer is not even being made. (i.e. If Christ was “really offering” they would irresistibly come). Once again Calvinist contradicting direct Scripture.

        That is the same idea with my post asking how Calvinists explain that Christ was “Despised and Rejected”? Despised….yes. But not rejected, since (according to them) He was never offered to them.

      3. FOH writes, “Calvinists are clear that unbelievers are not “refusing” since the offer is not even being made.”

        You must do this on purpose. FOH formerly mingled with Calvinists, so he knows that Calvinists believe the offer of the gospel goes into all the world. Per 1 Corinthians, “we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” Why is it that the gospel is power to the “called” ” It is because they “hear” the gospel (having previously been born again) and receive faith. Christ is always rejected by those who have no faith. As Dr. Flowers has argued, it is not whether the gospel is offered but whether people are able to accept the offer that is at issue.

        If FOH is so certain that Calvinism is wrong, why does he keep distorting Calvinist theology? Very suspicious. Wake up, FOH!!

      4. FOH
        “Calvinists are clear that unbelievers are not “refusing” since the offer is not even being made.”

        jtleosala
        December 10, 2018 at 9:45 pm
        “Non-Elect were not misled because the legitimate offer of the gospel was not intended for them”

      5. br.d
        Excellent job with that br.d!

        JTL admits what the rest dance around. They say “external call” and “internal call”

        Meaning…He is externally calling everyone but only allowing (“internally calling”) the elect.

        To-mat-to, to-mah-to. They say He is calling everyone and His call is irresistible…. but not that offer…only the “internal” call offer.

        You cant make this stuff up!

      6. Yes isn’t it amazing! – making stuff up is the Calvinists primary past-time.

        You know how they say – “bad company promotes bad manners”.
        Some Calvinists are so prolific at making stuff up – they remind me of religious con-artists.
        The interesting thing is how they can make up stuff out of the blue – and do it without blinking!
        Assuming people are simply naive enough to “believe every word”.

      7. GraceAdict writes, “It is the OBJECT of ones Faith/Belief that makes the difference. Faith in the Gospel comes from hearing the Gospel….Notice above in the very same sentence the greek word used for Believing what is False and Believing what is True is the exact same word.”

        You make “faith” and “belief” the same thing and then recognize that one faith/belief is true and one faith/belief is false. This is the same basic point the Calvinist makes. There is a faith/belief derived from the gospel and this is true faith/belief. There is also a faith/belief not derived from the gospel that is false. That’s fine – that’s the essential point on which we both agree.

        Then, “What good is it to say you believe in Sola Scriptura and then proceed to redefine the very WORDS of scripture.”

        Given that we both understand that there is a true and a false faith/belief, I don’t see the problem with Calvinism separating one from the other using different terms to make arguments easier to understand. You seem to have a problem with this. Such is life. Your position on faith/belief is no different than the Calvinist view from what you describe in your comment.

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