What Love Is This?

John MacArthur wrote, 

“How we address the misconception of the present age is crucial. We must not respond to an overemphasis on divine love by denying that God is love. Our generation’s imbalanced view of God cannot be corrected by an equal imbalance in the opposite direction, a very real danger in some circles. I’m deeply concerned about a growing trend I’ve noticed — particularly among people committed to the biblical truth of God’s sovereignty and divine election. Some of them flatly deny that God in any sense loves those whom He has not chosen for salvation.

I am troubled by the tendency of some — often young people newly infatuated with Reformed doctrine — who insist that God cannot possibly love those who never repent and believe. I encounter that view, it seems, with increasing frequency.

The argument inevitably goes like this: Psalm 7:11 tells us “God is angry with the wicked every day.” It seems reasonable to assume that if God loved everyone, He would have chosen everyone unto salvation. Therefore, God does not love the non-elect. Those who hold this view often go to great lengths to argue that John 3:16 cannot really mean God loves the whole world. …

The fact that some sinners are not elected to salvation is no proof that God’s attitude toward them is utterly devoid of sincere love. We know from Scripture that God is compassionate, kind, generous, and good even to the most stubborn sinners. Who can deny that those mercies flow out of God’s boundless love? It is evident that they are showered even on unrepentant sinners.”

Many Calvinistic brethren, like MacArthur in the quote above, when discussing the sincerity of God’s love for all people, seems to distance themselves from the inevitable conclusions drawn by the implications of their own systematic. While attempting to maintain some semblance of divine love for those unconditionally rejected by God in eternity past, they appeal to God’s common provisions such as rain and sunshine. But can such provisions be deemed as genuinely loving given the Scripture’s own definition of love found in 1 Corinthians 13?
Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, clearly explains what love is not when he writes,
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:1-3)

So we can conclude love is not:

  • Having the power and ability to do all things (vs. 1)
  • Having knowledge of all things (vs. 2)
  • Giving gifts and showing kindness to the weak and poor (vs. 3)

Omnipotence without love is impotent. Omniscience apart from love is worthless. And even benevolent gifts, like the provisions of rain and sunlight, apart from love are nothing. We know that God is omnipotent, omniscient and graciously benevolent to all humanity, but we also know that these characteristics do not necessarily reflect the true nature of love. God, through his servant, tells us what true love is:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8)

No Bible believing Christian questions the truth that “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8). “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” (Ps. 145:9). This biblical truth is simply undeniable, which is why many Calvinists attempt to offer these types of rebuttals in defense of God’s love for all people from their Calvinistic worldview. But, can one objectively conclude that God’s treatment of the reprobate within the Calvinistic system is truly “loving” according to God’s own definition above?

  • Is God patient with the reprobate who he “hated” and rejected for salvation “before he was born or had done anything good or bad.”
  • Is God kind to those he destines to torment for all eternity without any regard to their own choices, intentions, or actions?
  • Does God honor the non-elect by allowing them to enjoy a little rain and sunlight before they spend an eternity suffering for something with which they had absolutely no control over?
  • Is God not easily angered by those who are born under His wrath and without hope of reconciliation?
  • Does God keep the record of wrongs committed by reprobates?
  • Does the so-called “love” of God for the non-elect fail or does it persevere?

I must ask, as Dave Hunt so succinctly inquired, “What love is this,” and by what measure can it ever be deemed “great!?”

Lest someone accuse me of being uncharitable, it should be noted that some “higher” forms of Calvinism do not even attempt to defend the idea that God sincerely loves everyone. In a work titled, The Sovereignty of God, by A. W. Pink, he wrote, “God loves whom He chooses. He does not love everybody.” He further argued that the word “world” in John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world…“) “refers to the world of believers (God’s elect), in contradistinction from ‘the world of the ungodly.’”[1]

 The issue comes down to how one defines the characteristic of love. According to Paul, “love does not seek its own,” and thus it is best described as “self-sacrificial” rather than “self-serving” (1 Cor. 13:5). As Jesus taught, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” It seems safe to say that love at its very root is self-sacrificial. Anything less than that should not be called “love.” One may refer to “kindness” or “care” in reflection of some common provisions for humanity, but unless it reaches the level of self-sacrifice it does not seem to meet the biblical definition of true love.

Given that biblical definition of love as “self-sacrifice,” let us consider Christ’s command to love our enemies. Is this an expectation Christ himself is unwilling to fulfill? In other words, is He being hypocritical in this command? Of course not. The very reason He told His followers to love their enemies is “in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…” (Matt. 5:45).

The meaning is undeniable. We are to love our enemies because God loves His enemies. He loves both “the righteous and the unrighteous” in exactly the same way we are told to love our enemies. The greatest commandment instructs us to “love our neighbor as ourselves” (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:37-38). “And who is our neighbor?” (Lk. 10:29). The pagan Samaritans, who were detested as enemies of God.

In short, Jesus is teaching us to self-sacrificially love everyone, even our worst enemies, because that reflects the very nature of God Himself.

Now, we know that Jesus perfectly fulfilled the law in every way (Matt. 5:17-18), which would have to include the greatest commandment. Christ’s self-sacrificial love for His enemies was certainly as encompassing as what He demanded from His followers in Luke 10. Without a doubt, Jesus loved everyone, even His greatest, most undeserving enemies; otherwise, He would have failed to fulfill the demands of the law.

Paul taught, “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” And again in Romans 13:8: “He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” Thus, to deny Jesus’ self-sacrificial love for everyone is to deny that He fulfilled the demands of the law. This would disqualify Him as the perfect atoning sacrifice.

If we accept that Jesus fulfilled the demands of the law by self-sacrificially loving all people, then how can we conclude that God’s love is any less far-reaching than that which is reflected in the Son? Would God expect our love to be more encompassing and self-sacrificial than His own?

When God invites His enemies to be reconciled (Isa. 1:18; 2 Cor. 5:20; Mt. 11:28-30), He is making an appeal from a sincere heart of self-sacrificial love. “‘As surely as I live,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’” (Ezek. 33:11). “The Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods…” (Hosea 3:1). Obviously, God does sincerely love even those who turn from His provision and grace.

121 thoughts on “What Love Is This?

  1. So true this, Leighton.

    MacArthur had no idea what he was fomenting when he joined the Calvinist ranks in the 80’s (no indication of that from him before).

    Now he wants to issue a warning of calm, but too late, that rabid cage-Calvinism train has left the station. Get ready to be called a heretic.

  2. I will repost (and adapt) here what I said elsewhere on this blog. MacArthur helped create this mess and now he wants to call the rabid back from the brink.

    The Calvinism that I espoused (while studying Greek, Hebrew, and Reformed theology) and left:

    God, before the foundations of the world, chose to elect some and refuse (pass over) others. These were created for eternal destruction (no chance ever given or intended). After their 40-70 years of sinful (potentially miserable: Africa, Middle Ages, human trafficking, slavery, etc) existence, they will pay for eternity with conscious eternal punishment. All this for ‘refusing’ a God that created them for destruction. All this for God’s glory. The elected people are told to love all people… some of whom are NOT the object of God’s love because they were created for destruction. The question is how do Calvinists expect us to love someone and lay ourselves down for someone, when God did not do it himself. And why?

    What do we tell the nations? Rejoice…God thinks about you, and created you for destruction or redemption, but we dont know which. Can we (I have been an overseas missionary for over 25 years) tell them God loves them? Not according to Calvinists. Can we tell them Christ died for them? Not according to Calvinists. What do we tell them? According to Calvinists we say “repent” but of course if they can’t then God is sending us on a fool’s errand.

    Calvinists (MacArthur) have lately started to say “You can say ‘God loves you’ because he does love all people in a certain way. He makes the rain and sunshine for them all and gives them food.” This is mostly spoken by westerners with season tickets to Dodgers and a new Camry in the driveway.

    There is no such thing as “he at least got to enjoy life” for the starving Sudanese boy carried off into slavery and starvation.

    There is no such thing as “she at least got to enjoy life” for the Bangladeshi girl sold into prostitution at 9, dead of disease at 30.

    “She may not be chosen, but she was loved in a certain way by God.” What way was that?

    Now MacArthur wants to say …..”Who can deny that those mercies flow out of God’s boundless love? It is evident that they are showered even on unrepentant sinners.” Oh yes…..that is love showered on the thousands of girls from 5 yr old sold into sex slavery.

    Sorry John, get in line with the rest of the newly-inflamed YRR and declare that He does not love them. That is very disingenuous of you to insist that their painful, horrid existence was the “love” that you are talking about.

    No love in this short life and not chosen for the next.

    That is the Good News we are to preach?

    1. Thank you for your comments. You understand the bone chilling nature of “God’s love” for the reprobate of Calvinism very well. May God open the eyes of Calvinists to see that they are not representing Him rightly.

  3. I thank God for the work of Leighton Flowers.
    I have been learning about reformed theology over the past several years. Some of my family members have been leaning toward it. One thing, of many concerns, that I have is that when I listen to them speak/ teach and then I repeat it , I am told I don’t understand it and that what I have stated is not what they believe. I see a big struggle with their words what they really mean. Do words even matter?

    I was saved when I was very young and have been a pastor for over 30 years. Having learned from the Bible ,God’s – mercy, kindness, goodness, long suffering, justice, provision, judgement, wrath, no respect of persons, truth, purity, holiness, power, wisdom, glory, (to name a few ) and the LOVE of GOD .

    I have to be honest , if accept reformed theology, everything I learned about God would change. Since this is about “The love of God” I will try to explain what I mean, when I was in the 3rd grade in an Oklahoma rural school I sat next to the pencil sharpener , a certain girl who came to sharpen her pencil had a very bad smell, as young boy ,I would say “she stunk”. My mother taught me about Jesus and His wonderful salvation and she said “if I was going follow Jesus I would have to LOVE EVERYONE “, and I said , “but mother she stinks ” and she would say, ” Jesus loves everyone and we must too. ” She told me to pray and God would fill my heart with His love.
    Jesus taught us to love the Lord God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength ,this is the first commandment and the second is to love our neighbor as our self and on these two hang all the law and the prophets. And then
    he taught us who our neighbor is, you know, the stranger we find dying by the way (The stinky girl).
    Jesus died for sinners, not just elect sinners, not just some sinners but all sinners, if you are a sinner the Bible tells us Jesus died for you, because He loves you!
    For over 50 years I have told sinners God loves them. In my ministry I have taught christians to love everyone as the Bible teaches us and to think otherwise changes everything!
    At times I try to think what it would be like to be a reformed Christian and live in that systematic , this is what happens, I feel confused, I don’t know the God of the Bible, the love of God I have known and understand begins to fade away, I don’t feel like person anymore, I feel disconnected and afraid to get close to God and ,if the God of Calvinism is true ,nothing really matters any way, we are just here for the ride. God has it all planned out , a few saved and the most damned,Oh well. But something in me rebels against this new idea of God (new to me). What is it? Is it me? All of these years ,have I read the Bible wrong? Have all of my prayers for God’s truth been invain?

    I understand this debate is about God’s love for the elect and God’s lack of love for the reprobate. There seems to be quite a struggle even among the reformed.
    Here’s some food for thought:
    John Piper told of his great struggle with this issue for several weeks, praying and crying until finally accepting it. RC Sproul had similar trouble at first and he also said most students struggle with it. Now I would assume Piper, Sproul and all other students were already believers when in Bible school and for the first time hereing about “election and reprobation”. Could it be that the Spirit of Christ in the believer was saying ” No , No , No ” to this doctrine yet they were finally won over. I mean ,why would a regenerated believer have such a struggle with this doctrine except that it seems so against the nature of God. GOD is LOVE and we are called to walk in that Love. We are not called to LOVE a few and HATE the most. We are called to love as God loves!

    1. Very well stated! I too believe that the revulsion and grief that Calvinists feel when they come to understand “the dreadful decree” as Calvin called it, is the Holy Spirit within them crying NO! This is NOT who I am! It never ceases to amaze me how this devilish teaching has taken such a foothold.

      1. aburns67 writes, ““…the dreadful decree” as Calvin called it,…”

        The “dreadful decree” was God’s decree that the corruption Adam incurred when he sinned would be inherited by his progeny. It is the Holy Spirit that then causes people to agree that they are as sinful as Adam and in need of salvation. Only the non-Calvinist thinks the Holy Spirit is trying to tell them that they are not as bad as Adam. Of course, both you and the Calvinist can say, “It never ceases to amaze me how this devilish teaching has taken such a foothold,” but from radically different perspectives.

      2. The idea of Adam freely sinning would hardly constitute dread.
        But the idea of a god who would as Calvin states “by his own pleasure arrange it” – that would understandably cause Calvin dread.

        And that explains perfectly – why Calvinists are obscurantists and masters of double-speak.

      3. Perhaps the same way it took a foothold like Joseph Smith’s doctrines did – with massive followers totally convinced theirs’ is the golden standard. Christian Gnosticism spread like wild-fire throughout the ancient world via traveling missionaries. By the time Miltiades was declared the first pope of Rome (311-314) , there had long been established Christian Gnostic monasteries. Gnosticism and especially its theological neighbor – NeoPlatonism, constituted a primary influence on Augustine’s perceptions of god and the cosmos.

  4. I am reading a little book by John MacArthur, entitled “Being a dad who leads”. Many parts of the book are utterly inconsistent with Calvinistic presuppositions. How can JMac not see that, is beyond me.

    1. Hi Vincenzo,
      Your observations are right on!!

      Logical inconsistency is the consistency of the Calvinist’s psychology.
      This is because moral dualism is an inherent constituent within the system.
      Moral dualism is mostly non-problematic within the context of Greek deities.
      But a Christianity moral-dualist has to express evil conceptions as good.
      And that requirement results in logical inconsistencies which manifest as double-speak.

  5. I suspect Mr. MacArthur isn’t really concerned about Calvinists expressing a conception of God’s disposition, which manifests moral-dualism. Since moral-dualism is an inherent, and unique fundamental distinction of Calvinism.
    I suspect Mr. MacArthur would be perfectly happy with this sentiment, if it weren’t for a concern over its negative impact on Calvinism’s marketing image. I suspect that is, in fact, the true basis of the concern.

    It’s easy to suspect this, when we look at the marketing language Calvinist mentors teach the disciple.
    Interestingly, this type of language is the same type of language criminals use under deposition.
    Its a language designed to present a positive image, while carefully withholding facts that wouldn’t.
    It is the language of obscurantism.
    It is designed to present Calvinism in a way that will be accepted within the greater Christian population, and maximize recruitment.
    It learns to present the appearance of communicating in an open and forthright manner.
    Calvinist disciples are mentored in this language and it is a unique aspect of their system.
    Learning to discern Calvinism’s language is a critical part of understanding the Calvinist’s psychology.

    We are however occasionally rewarded by those hard-core Calvinists whose patriotism to doctrine supersedes the marketing image.
    We are thankful to these Calvinists, because they allow us to see through the veil of double-speak.

  6. Dr. Flowers writes, “Many Calvinistic brethren, like MacArthur in the quote above, when discussing the sincerity of God’s love for all people, seems to distance themselves from the inevitable conclusions drawn by the implications of their own systematic.”

    This is the Calvinist systematic:

    1. God is omniscient and knew, when He created the world, those who would come to salvation and those who would not.
    2. God is sovereign and has the power to save all if He chose to do so.
    3. Scripture tells us that God will not save all.

    The difficulty in the “God is Love” issue is to explain why God does not save all people when He could. Let’s imagine a farmer with a pond in which several children jump in and all begin to drown. The farmer has the ability to save every one of those children but chooses to save some but not all. Do we conclude that the farmer loved all the children equally?

    The non-Calvinist never addresses the elephant in the room – God can save everyone and does not. Then they complain about the Calvinists for taking on a difficult issue and trying to resolve God’s love with God’s actions to save. Let’s see Dr. Flowers, or anyone else, take this issue head-on and explain it any better than the Calvinists and do so without resorting to the Universalist conclusion (that the God of Love will indeed save each and every person)..

    1. The ancient Christian Gnostics and Christian NeoPlatonists made the same boast.
      Every tree brings forth fruit after its own kind.

      1. br.d writes, “The ancient Christian Gnostics and Christian NeoPlatonists made the same boast.”

        Even the pagans get some things right. It was a pagan king who correctly said, “[God’s] dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. “And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What hast Thou done?’” (Daniel 4)

    2. God’s universal love, saving will and provision do not equal universalism because by God’s sovereign and free will, He chose to include an “if”. God has decided the condition of salvation which is believing in the Lord Jesus. While He has graciously calls all and has enabled all to believe, this drawing is not irresistible. God can and does save whoever He wants to save, and from scripture we see that He wants to save all that believe in the Lord Jesus. The idea of pre-faith magic wand regeneration to save certain people is foreign to scripture.

      Nowhere in scripture do I see a verse that says that the application of the atonement is automatically applied to all for whom it was intended. I do understand that in your system that is the case, which is problematic because that would mean that the unconditionally elect have always been in a state of blessed savedness (with your faulty understanding of Eph 1) and were never under the wrath of God, which the Bible makes clear that we all were. In fact, repentance and faith wouldn’t really play a role in salvation because the atonement was applied to the arbitrarily picked special people long before they ever showed up on earth. Faith and repentance then would just be symptoms of God zapping them with “regeneration” which is never a conclusion one would come to by a common sense reading of scripture. We believe that the atonement is applied when a sinner repents and believes. This ordo salutis is repeated many times throughout the Bible. This is the gospel message 101.

      1. aburns67 writes, “God has decided the condition of salvation which is believing in the Lord Jesus. While He has graciously calls all and has enabled all to believe, this drawing is not irresistible.”

        You say that God calls (or draws) each and every person (which is irresistible), conveys faith to each and every person (which is irresistible) and then has the Holy Spirit convict the person of sin (which is irresistible). These things must be irresistible because God, “…has enabled all to believe…” Right?? Your contention is that people then “decide” whether to accept Christ on their own after God has irresistibly enabled them to make that decision. Isn’t it? I don’t think you understand your own position.

        Then, “Nowhere in scripture do I see a verse that says that the application of the atonement is automatically applied to all for whom it was intended.’

        “…[God] saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,…” (2 Timothy 1)

        “[Christ] who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” (Romans 4)

        “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5)

        “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,…” (1 Corinthians 15)

        “God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.” (1 Thessalonians 5)

        “Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God,…” (1 Peter 3)

        “This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,…” (Ephesians 3)

        Seems like God had a plan.

      2. RHUTCHIN: Only Calvinists teach that God’s drawing, convicting, grace,etc is irresistible. The Bible teaches the opposite: people can and do resist God. That is why they are not saved.

      3. mm writes, “Only Calvinists teach that God’s drawing, convicting, grace,etc is irresistible. The Bible teaches the opposite: people can and do resist God. That is why they are not saved.”

        Calvinists also understand the Scriptures to tell us that, “…people can and do resist God.” This is the normal reaction of the unregenerate mind to the things of God. Paul, in Romans 8, writes, “…the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;” So, the Calvinist agrees with you, “That is why they are not saved.”

        So, how do we explain the ability of some people to break loose from a mentality of hostility to God and resistance to His word? Obviously, God is involved in helping a person to do this. We say that God’s help is “irresistible.” For example, God “opened [Lydia’s] heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.” (Acts 16) Lydia was unaware that God had done this to her – it was an irresistible change wrought in Lydia by God. All Lydia knows is that the things Paul is telling her now make sense, and she wants to respond to them. The Psalmist declares, “Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law.” (Psalm 119) We do the same but are unaware how or when God does this – He does it irresistibly – but we begin to discover wonderful things from God’s law (the Scriptures) that escaped us previously.

        Regarding salvation, we know that the Holy Spirit initiates a new birth in the unsaved person per John 3. The unsaved is not presented with a choice on this but finds that his perspective on the Scriptures has changed suddenly – the Holy Spirit having wrought an irresistible change in him. In Ephesians 2, Paul describes the new birth in this manner, “…when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] made us alive…” That change – to make us alive – was an irresistible action by God of which we had no awareness of what God was doing until we sense that something is now different. In John 6, we read, ““No one can come to [Jesus], unless the Father who sent [Jesus] draws him;…” A person is not aware that God is drawing him to Jesus – it is done irresistibly – the person only knows that his perspective of Jesus is, or has, somehow changed.

        I don’t think people generally oppose the idea that God works irresistibly in the heart of the unsaved; they object to the idea that God does this just for certain people and not all because, to them, not doing it for all is not fair.

      4. Hi maggie matheson,

        Great to see you here!!
        Just wanted to warn you up front – with rhutchin you are guaranteed to get alot of evasions, diversions, red herrings, and especially the “dancing boxer waiting for an opening to get a jab” routine.

        Just wanted you to be aware.

        ur frnd,
        br.d

  7. Dear Rutchin

    It is not that it is unfair but that it is untrue. Calvinists believe everything is predestined to happen according to God’s decrees,etc. I am well aware of what you believe. I just think that many of your presuppositions are wrong. It would take too long to reply in depth here. The true Gospel is for every sinner. There are many verses that support this. Hope you are set free from the Calvinist plantation one day. Sincerely, MM

    1. MM writes, ” I just think that many of your presuppositions are wrong.”

      A major presupposition is that God is omniscient. Apparently, we disagree on that.

  8. WHAT LOVE IS THIS?

    Dr. Flowers writes that 1 Cor. 13:1-3 tells us examples of things that are not love. While I like the remainder of this article, I think this part is not correct. Those three verses are not examples of by nature unloving things. Instead they are things that can be accompanied by a loving attitude – and then they are great, or they can be accompanied by a selfish and unloving attitude – and then they are “nothing”. Hence, it is not logically sound to use 1 Cor. 13:1-3 to deny that “provisions such as rain and sunshine” are expressions of divine love. Instead of claiming that those are not loving, Dr. Flowers could state that those do not cover the full extend of God’s love and that the key issue with the Calvinist interpretation is that it denies the other aspects of God’s love.

    Revised as such the article would not alienate Calvinists right up front with a strawman and get them to take the remainder more serious. It would also be more in sync with Dr. Flowers own advice to represent the other side as charitable as possible. Doing so we can still justify the same conclusion then it is so much more compelling.

    1. in9mar writes, “Those three verses are not examples of by nature unloving things. Instead they are things that can be accompanied by a loving attitude…”

      This is a good point, but I understand Dr. Flowers to say the same thing when he wrote, “Omnipotence without love is impotent. Omniscience apart from love is worthless. And even benevolent gifts, like the provisions of rain and sunlight, apart from love are nothing…” Dr. Flowers argumentation can be a little uneven.

  9. Been reading about intra-Trinitarian love between God the Father and God the Son. According to Dr. Flowers they have LFW so they would have the choice to reject the love they have for one another and actually hate each other. But of course it seems Dr. Flowers has many definitions of LFW depending on who it apply for so the definition I gave above he would probably reject.

    God the Father and Jesus DO NOT have FREEDOM to HATE each other. It is an impossibility due to their nature. Thus they are determined to love each other willingly and delightfully without compulsion.

    They love each other necessarily because their character and nature compel them to do no other.

    Both WILLINGLY LOVE with irresistibly intentions, and that is what makes the relationship significant.

    1. Hi Kevin – you’ll want to review a definition of a divine sovereignty is reduced to the point where it limits god’s liberty concerning his own actions or dispositions – or gives him no say in the matter them.

      I find it hard to believe – John Calvin for example – would take a position that the most sovereign being in the universe has no say in the matter of any action or disposition concerning himself – or anyone else for that matter.

  10. Hi BRD, thank for responding,

    I am so sorry for not understanding. I will need you to clarify what you said in your comment as to how it relates to what I said in my comment.

    For this does not have to do with anyone else at this time but only the Godhead.

    In the article “Piper takes on Prevenient Grace” Dr. Flowers defines Libertarian freedom as, ” (the word “libertarian” simply means they had the moral capacity to choose otherwise).

    So if God can “not sin” he can also “sin” and if Christ while on the earth he could also “sin” which does away with the impeccability of Christ.

    Thanks once again.

    1. Kevin,
      So if God can “not sin” he can also “sin” and if Christ while on the earth he could also “sin” which does away with the impeccability of Christ.

      br.d
      On the issue of what god “cannot” do – can we first distinguish the difference between what one “cannot” do based upon “inability” vs what one “cannot” do based upon it being against one’s will.

      For example, Martin Luther said “Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God”
      By this language he is not indicating that he is “unable” to do otherwise – but that he is “unwilling” to do otherwise.
      So this position essentially asserts a limitation on man’s abilities.

      When we say god “cannot sin” are we saying god is “unwilling” to sin – or are we saying he is “unable” to sin.
      I cannot speak for Dr. Flowers – but I think he is alluding to the former and not the later.

      Now – one of the logical consequences of Theological Determinism is that it renders man “unable” to do otherwise.
      It thereby limits one’s abilities.

      Most Theological Determinists do not want to limit god’s abilities.
      So they hold that god himself does have LFW – he just does not grant LFW to his creatures..
      By holding to this position – they evade the problem of putting limitations on gods’ abilities.

      However there are a few Theological Determinists who may hold that god himself also does not have LFW.
      And as such he is also limited in his powers – by virtue of not having LFW he is “unable” to do otherwise.

      I think we can see that one should approach this second position with extreme caution – because it raises the specter of man who is a fallible being – setting limitations on god – who is an infallible being.
      And that is why most Theological Determinists ( John Calvin included) would probably not go there.

      1. BRD,

        In Libertarianism, to be free is to express a certain degree of indifference about the choices that one makes. You must have the power to choose one action or another such that no action carries any particular compelling preference. This is the logical conclusion.

        If this is true, and it seems so, then no action carries any action worthy of any notice either. Bad choices could not justly blamed, and good choices could not be justly be praised because neither would be preceded by sufficient causal intentions of the person making the choice.

        We praise a man’s good actions because they proceed out of a good heart with intentions. In the same way we blame him for his evil actions because his heart has evil intentions.

        In meaningful relationships love is praised not because it is expressed as an indifferent duty, but it comes from a heart overflowing with affectionate desires.

        Loraine Boettner said, “if after every decision the will reverted to a state of indecision and osclissation equipoised between good and evil, the basis for confidence in our fellow man would be gone.”

        The praise or blame that men receive from God is directly tied to their hearts, not their freedom of contrary choice or moral abilities.

        This applies to God’s actions as well. The fact that God necessarily acts righteously and cannot sin does mean that he is somehow undeserving of praise. We magnify God and praise His worthy deeds for the precise reason that he acts with unwavering righteousness and incapable of acting any other way. That is Otherwise!! God does not have LFW!! But we still praise and glorify him for His character and nature daily!! Even though God is determined by His Holy Nature to do that which is complete agreement with his Holy Nature and has a complete inability to sin.

      2. br.d writes, “Now – one of the logical consequences of Theological Determinism is that it renders man “unable” to do otherwise.
        It thereby limits one’s abilities.”

        As the Scriptures affirm in Romans 8 – “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” And John 6, where Jesus said, “No one can come to me…” Theological Determinism is the logical expression of the Scriptures.

        Then, “Theological Determinists…hold that god himself does have LFW – he just does not grant LFW to his creatures..””

        God has LFW by virtue of His infinite understanding. Man does not have infinite understanding so he cannot have the degree of LFW that God has. In addition, man is born without a faith that can produce salvation, so he is further limited in whatever LFW God might convey to him.

        Then, “And as such he is also limited in his powers – by virtue of not having LFW he is “unable” to do otherwise.”

        God does all things through the counsel of His will pointing to an unwillingness to do otherwise and not an inability to do otherwise.

      3. br.d
        Now – one of the logical consequences of Theological Determinism is that it renders man “unable” to do otherwise.
        It thereby limits one’s abilities.”

        rhutchin
        As the Scriptures affirm in Romans 8 – “the carnal mind is enmity against …….etc

        br.d
        This commits the FALLACY of false dichotomy – as this scripture also affirms “inability” without Theological Determinism.

        A man cannot turn himself into a frog – and that “inability” does not necessitate Theological Determinism :-]

        rhutchin
        God does all things through the counsel of His will pointing to an unwillingness to do otherwise and not an inability to do otherwise.

        br.d
        Well – at least we agree that god has Libertarian Free will
        Else his choices and actions are determined by forces outside of his control.

      4. br.d writes, “This commits the FALLACY of false dichotomy – as this scripture also affirms “inability” without Theological Determinism.”

        That’s the key take-away from this. The Scriptures affirm inability. It doesn’t matter whether one is Calvinist or non-Calvinist, determinist or indeterminist – it is that which the Scriptures say that matters. Despite this, Dr, Flowers denies inability. Calvinists attribute the inability to Adam’s sin and the consequent corruption of the person’s nature and the loss of faith. The corrupted nature is addressed by the new birth and the lack of faith is addressed through hearing the gospel.

        Then, “Well – at least we agree that god has Libertarian Free will Else his choices and actions are determined by forces outside of his control.”

        Nothing outside God affects any decision God makes. When God made man in His image He gave man an independence and self-determining ability to make decisions apart from influences outside his control. Calvinists say that this means man can choose consistent with his desires. Those who advocate LFW say this means man has LFW – but, as above,. without the new birth and faith, no one is able to choose salvation, so no one has LFW relative to salvation decision before that..

      5. br.d
        This commits the FALLACY of false dichotomy – as this scripture also affirms “inability” without Theological Determinism.”

        rhutchin
        That’s the key take-away from this. The Scriptures affirm inability. It doesn’t matter whether one is Calvinist or non-Calvinist, determinist or indeterminist – it is that which the Scriptures say that matters.

        br.d
        AH! but since Calvinism is predicated on Universal Divine Casual Determinism – the “inability” I was referring to is specifically a consequence. Calvin’s god does NOT PERMIT the creature to do otherwise. So the “inability” is CAUSED solely and exclusively by Calvin’s god. So therein lies the difference.

        rhutchin
        Despite this, Dr, Flowers denies inability…..

        br.d
        Silly bird!
        This simply shows us that Dr. Flowers (unlike someone else) is smart enough to discern between the two
        So the “inability” he is denying – by virtue of rejecting Theological Determinism – is that which is a consequence of Theological Determinism

        rhutchin
        Calvinists attribute the inability to Adam’s sin and the consequent corruption of the person’s nature and the loss of faith.

        br.d
        And every time they do – they are hiding the *WHOLE* truth about Calvinism
        Because the loss of faith is itself part of that consequence of Theological Determinism.

        So the Calvinist ends up both affirming and denying his own Theology.
        Another good example of how the Calvinist has a LOVE-HATE relationship with Theological Determinism.

        rhutchin
        The corrupted nature is addressed by the new birth and the lack of faith is addressed through hearing the gospel.

        br.d
        An in Theological Determinism – the state of nature at any time – is determined at the foundation of the world.
        And NOTHING about it is UP TO man.

        At least we agree that god has Libertarian Free will -else his choices and actions are determined by forces outside of his control.”

        rhutchin
        Nothing outside God affects any decision God makes. When God made man in His image He gave man an independence and self-determining ability to make decisions…..etc

        br.d
        FALSE
        Calvin’s god determines *ALL* things determined – thus leaving ZERO left over for anyone else to determine.
        But thank you for another example of the Calvinist denying his own theology. :-]

        rhutchin
        Calvinists say that this means man can choose consistent with his desires.

        br.d
        Yes – they point to the EFFECT of the state of nature at any time – in order to obfuscate Calvin’s god as its CAUSE

        They do this in order to ardently follow Calvin’s DOUBLE-THINK instructions:
        -quote
        “Go about your office *AS-IF* nothing (in this case the state of nature at a given time) is determined in any part.”

        So thank you for showing us how the Calvinist lives in a DOUBLE-THINK world – with Calvin’s *AS-IF* thinking pattern :-]

        rhutchin
        Those who advocate LFW say this means man has LFW – but, as above,. without the new birth and faith, no one is able to choose salvation, so no one has LFW relative to salvation decision before that..

        br.d
        Well that as we already know – is your own personal philosophy.
        Nowhere will you find it anywhere in any official literature on Theological Determinism or Libertarian Freedom.

      6. br.d writes, “AH! but since Calvinism is predicated on Universal Divine Casual Determinism – …”

        Calvinism is predicated on the truth of the Scriptures. In this case, Calvinism must incorporate the doctrine of the inability of man to choose salvation.

        Then, “…the “inability” I was referring to is specifically a consequence. Calvin’s god does NOT PERMIT the creature to do otherwise. So the “inability” is CAUSED solely and exclusively by Calvin’s god. So therein lies the difference.”

        Here, the issue id God’s knowledge before He created the world of all events that were to take place in that world. As God had a perfect knowledge of those future events, then necessarily, God decreed those events by creating the world. So, Calvinism includes a doctrine of God’s omniscience. Those opposed to this doctrine would be Open Theists and similar. When Calvinism says that God does not permit any event X, it means that part of His decree to create the world was the decree not to permit event X. For example, God decreed not to permit Joseph’s brothers to kill Joseph but only to sell Joseph to the Midianite traders. God is the ultimate cause as He created the world knowing this outcome; Joseph’s brothers were the nediate cause having been created in the image of God and thereby able to act independently of God and in a self-determining manner without God having to coerce their actions.

        Then, “An in Theological Determinism – the state of nature at any time – is determined at the foundation of the world.
        And NOTHING about it is UP TO man.”

        This being necessarily true as God determined that, subsequent to Adam’s sin, all people would be born with corrupted natures and lacking faith. No other outcome was possible – br.d did not have otherwise choice as to his nature or lack of faith or many other variables over which he had no choice or control. You are not denying this or offering a plausible alternative – just stating the truth.

        Then, “Calvin’s god determines *ALL* things determined – thus leaving ZERO left over for anyone else to determine.”

        Under Calvinism, God created man in His image thereby conveying to man the ability to determine (at least, partially) his actions apart from God having to force him to those actions.

        Then, “Yes – they point to the EFFECT of the state of nature at any time – in order to obfuscate Calvin’s god as its CAUSE”

        Let me know when you come up with an alternative that includes God being omniscient. For now Calvinism rules the day and does so consistent with the truth of Scripture.

      7. br.d
        AH! but since Calvinism is predicated on Universal Divine Casual Determinism – that is the difference

        rhutchin
        Calvinism is predicated on the truth of the Scriptures. ……

        br.d
        Well that’s a claim the Calvinist shares with the Jehovah’s witness! :-]

        rhutchin
        In this case, Calvinism must incorporate the doctrine of the inability of man to choose salvation.

        br.d
        Here is wisdom
        Never hold your breath waiting for the Calvinist to tell the *WHOLE* truth about his doctrine.

        Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism’s) doctrine of “inability” is as all the official literature on Theological Determinism acknowledges
        The state of nature at any given time within the human timeline is PREDETERMINED and FIXED at the foundation of the world.
        And as all official literature acknowledges – NOTHING about ANYTHING is UP TO man
        *ALL* things without exception are UP TO Calvin’s god.

        In Theological Determinism – the “inability” referred to is specifically a consequence of Calvin’s god’s determination
        Calvin’s god does NOT PERMIT the creature to do otherwise.
        So the “inability” is CAUSED solely and exclusively by Calvin’s god.
        So therein lies the difference.

        rhutchin
        Here, the issue id God’s knowledge before He created the world of all events that were to take place in that world.

        br.d
        FALSE
        The issue is what Calvin’s god DETERMINED at the foundation of the world .

        That’s why its called Theological “DETERMINISM” :-]

        rhutchin
        As God had a perfect knowledge of those future events,

        br.d
        Because every microsecond of them is FIRST-CONCEIVED (like a computer program) – in his mind at the foundation of the world.

        Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin
        – quote
        “God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions”
        (The Doctrine of Divine Decree)

        rhutchin
        then necessarily, God decreed those events by creating the world.

        br.d
        Here you go Kevin – this is a good example of a Calvinist appealing to Luis De Molina’s doctrine of “Middle Knowledge” – which facilitates Libertarian Freedom for the creature.

        The Calvinist appeals to it as a way of escaping Theological Determinism.
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god “merely” permits events that would occur – to occur!
        Which of course is totally rejected by John Calvin himself.

        Thus another example of the Calvinist’s LOVE-HATE relationship with his own theology. :-]

        And we know in Theological Determinism – the state of nature at any time – is determined at the foundation of the world.
        And NOTHING about it is UP TO man.”

        rhutchin
        This being necessarily true as God determined that, subsequent to Adam’s sin,

        br.d
        FALSE
        Adam does not exist at the foundation of the world in which Calvin’s god determined every neurological impulse that would appear in Adam’s brain.

        In Theological Determinism – Calvin’s god:
        1) DOES NOT LEAVE anything about anything to be UP TO the creature (i.e. Adam)
        2) DOES NOT PERMIT the creature (i.e. Adam) to do otherwise – at pain of falsifying the decree
        3) DOES NOT MAKE AVAILABLE any ALTERNATIVE POSSIBILITY to the creature (i.e. Adam)

        rhutchin
        all people would be born with corrupted natures

        br.d
        The scripture does not state this about Adam.
        Calvin’s god make Adam’s nature corrupt by infallible decree – and nothing about it was UP TO Adam.

        In Theological Determinism “Calvin’s god determines *ALL* things determined
        Tus leaving ZERO left over for anyone else to determine.

        rhutchin
        Under Calvinism, God created man in His image thereby conveying to man the ability to determine (at least, partially) his actions apart from God having to force him to those actions.

        br.d
        To bad – this fails elementary school math!

        – Take the sum total of all things determined
        – Subtract *ALL* from it (i.e. that which Calvin’s god determines at the foundation of the world)

        How much do you have left over for anyone else to determine?
        ANSWER:
        ZERO! :-]

        Calvinist constantly want to point to the EFFECT (i.e. of the state of nature at any time) – in order to obfuscate Calvin’s god as its CAUSE

        rhutchin
        Let me know when you come up with an alternative that includes God being omniscient. For now Calvinism rules the day and does so consistent with the truth of Scripture.

        br.d
        How ironic that the Calvinist will punt to Luis De Molina’s doctrine of “Middle Knowledge” (the alternative to Calvinism) in order to evade the moral consequences of Theological Determinism – and then MAKE-BELIEVE the alternative he punted to – doesn’t exist.

        But it is easy to understand the why the Calvinist uses this as an evasion tactic. :-]

      8. br.d writes, “The state of nature at any given time within the human timeline is PREDETERMINED and FIXED at the foundation of the world.”

        This because God id omniscient. Again, you state the truth and do not deny this conclusion.

      9. br.d
        The state of nature at any given time within the human timeline is PREDETERMINED and FIXED at the foundation of the world.”

        rhutchin
        This because God id omniscient. Again, you state the truth and do not deny this conclusion.

        br.d
        The conclusion of Theological DETERMINISM is easy
        Its a THEOS who DETERMINES all things.

        That’s why its called Theological DETERMINISM :-]

        Additionally – Calvin’s god is omniscient enough to know what he PREDETERMINES – WOULD/WILL be
        And omniscient enough to know that what he PREDETERMINES – will infallibly be the case.
        And omniscient enough to know that he leaves ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about ANYTHING – UP TO the creature :-]

      10. br.d writes, “And [God is] omniscient enough to know that what he PREDETERMINES – will infallibly be the case.”

        Again you express the truth tied to God’s omniscience. In creating the universe, the omniscient God determined all that was to happen and nothing would happen outside than that which God knew would happen. Most seem to agree with that.

      11. br.d
        And Calvin’s god (we hope) is omniscient enough to know that what he PREDETERMINES – will infallibly be the case.”

        rhutchin
        Again you express the truth tied to God’s omniscience. In creating the universe, the omniscient God determined all that was to happen and nothing would happen outside than that which God knew would happen. Most seem to agree with that.

        br.d
        AH! But the language of my statement does not attempt to subtly SMUGGLE “mere” permission back into Calvinism – which rejects it.

        And therein is the difference :-]

  11. BRD,

    I am not going to answer you point by point at this time by may later on. I just want to reply back with a comment. There are things about Determinists at the end of your comment that I think I might disagree with but want to meditate on a little longer.

    I am sure Dr. Flowers does hold to the fact that according to God’s character and nature he does not have the ability to sin. But that is part of the point here.

    Dr. Flowers has given this LFW many definitions depending on whom it is applied to.

    The sinner with LFW can choose good or evil, accept or reject Christ. It seems the wicked sinner could just live a good life for a long period of time. All the sinner has to do is stop sinning and choose to do otherwise.

    Dr. Flowers has said that “ought” when referring to God’s command means “can” that one does have the ability to obey and keep the commandments of God.

    Really?

    Jesus said,

    Matthew 5:48 – Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

    If what Dr. Flowers is saying is true and there are sinners and saints who can and do have the ability to keep this command, and “be light and have no darkness in them at all” then it is possible we could have a bunch of little demi-gods running around on earth.

    Then there is the Christian with LFW that Dr. Flowers asserts. Before he was saved the sinner could have accepted or rejected Christ. But when the sinner accepted Christ, the option of ever rejecting Christ is taken away according to Dr. Flowers. Is God now causing them to be effectual to be saved? And this is so in heaven also according to Dr. Flowers. Christians can never reject his or her love for Christ.

    Dr. Flowers would boil all this down to options for God, Christians, and sinners. Well, That is true for God as it is His Nature and Character that is the very reason he cannot sin and do otherwise but that which is Holy and Just. Nothing to do with LFW.

    As far as the Christian and sinner, I can hardly make a distinction between them when Dr. Flowers describes them.

    More to say in another post BRD. Hope you are having a good day!!

    1. Kevin
      I am sure Dr. Flowers does hold to the fact that according to God’s character and nature he does not have the ability to sin. But that is part of the point here.

      br.d
      Can you provide the exact quote from Dr. Flowers that you interpret to assert that?

      Kevin
      The sinner with LFW can choose good or evil, accept or reject Christ. It seems the wicked sinner could just live a good life for a long period of time. All the sinner has to do is stop sinning and choose to do otherwise.

      br.d
      If you listen to the youtube interview with Dr. Oliver Crisp – you will notice he acknowledges DO OTHERWISE is applicable for the sinner. He uses an alcoholic as an example – who can either drink himself into unconsciousness or refrain from doing so.

      Kevin
      Dr. Flowers has said that “ought” when referring to God’s command means “can” that one does have the ability to obey and keep the commandments of God.

      Really?

      br.d
      Yes – this is acknowledged by all Christian philosophers.
      “Ought” LOGICALLY infers “can”

      For example – If we make the statement:
      Kevin “ought” to pray for his family

      This statement LOGICALLY infers that Kevin “can” pray for his family

      Now take the statement:
      Kevin “ought” to turn himself into a frog
      This statement is logically FALSE – because Kevin “can’t” turn himself into a frog.

      Kevin
      Jesus said,
      Matthew 5:48 – Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

      br.d
      Do you think god is commanding people to do something that they are unable to do?
      What sense would there be for god to do that?

      Kevin
      Then there is the Christian with LFW that Dr. Flowers asserts. Before he was saved the sinner could have accepted or rejected Christ. But when the sinner accepted Christ, the option of ever rejecting Christ is taken away according to Dr. Flowers.

      br.d
      Can you provide the exact quote from Dr. Flowers that you interpret to assert that?

      Kevin
      Dr. Flowers would boil all this down to options for God, Christians, and sinners. Well, That is true for God as it is His Nature and Character that is the very reason he cannot sin and do otherwise but that which is Holy and Just. Nothing to do with LFW.

      br.d
      Have you ever considered the logical argument that RATIONAL thinking is logically impossible without LFW?

      Lets say you are asked to determine through rational reasoning whether a statement is TRUE or FALSE
      How can you do that – if you are not permitted to choose between those two options?

      That is why Christian Philosophers acknowledge that RATIONAL reasoning and discerning between TRUE and FALSE logically requires the ability to choose between them – which can only be the case when LFW actually exists.

      If an external mind determines your every choice – then you really don’t have the ability to discern between TRUE vs FALSE
      Because doing so would be a Libertarian choice.
      If Determinism rather than LFW exists – then someone else is making that choice for you.

      So if you argue that LFW does not exist for you
      Then you are arguing that you don’t have the ability to discern between TRUE and FALSE.

      Give yourself some time to think about how that is a logically valid point.

      1. Sorry BRD,

        I know I am way behind but I have been so busy and my wife has the flu and her Uncle just passed away.

        But briefly, remember I am just challenging LFW with theories using material that I have read. I will send them to you and it will seem as if I am against LFW.

        Right now you know I am on the fence about the whole matter. There is no way I understand all of this. LFW does seem to be the way we live so I lean in that direction. But I want The Word of God to determine my philosophy. I do not know when I will make an absolute decision.

        I want to mention one thing you mentioned.

        You quoted me saying below:

        Kevin
        I am sure Dr. Flowers does hold to the fact that according to God’s character and nature he does not have the ability to sin. But that is part of the point here.

        br.d

        Can you provide the exact quote from Dr. Flowers that you interpret to assert that?

        I can’t. I was giving Dr. Flowers the benefit of the doubt but I guess I should have stuck with what I was orginally saying that I was right about when relating LFW to God. That as Dr. Flowers and yourself believe God has LFW he can do otherwise than “not-sinning and always eternally never-ending and alway-ening being Holy because it is His very nature and character of the Eternal God in whom there is light and no darkness at all. This is absolutely shocking to me that LibFreedom or LFW would be attributed to the

        Most Holy God in this manner which I reject absolutely and emphatically.

        It’s as if you are saying, God can sin, he has that abilty to do otherwise, but he chooses to be unwilling.

        On this point BRD, I am quite sure there is nothing you can say using philosophy that could change my mind. It would have to come from the authority of the Word of God!!

        BRD. I find this a very serious problem and isssue. Even a Gospel issue which you know what that means. You know ultimately where this leads. That would mean that you and Dr. Flowers believe that it would have been possible for Christ to have sinned while here on earth and not been obeident to the point dying on the Cross. Christ had the ability to do otherwise, just like any fallen sinful man, although he Christ was perfect and sinless. He could have chosen to be disobedient to the will of God.

        I can produce so many verses cannot be frustrated or defeated and God can do as he pleases among the inhabitants of man. You say the almighty LFW that can do otherwise could have utlimately destroyed what God intended in His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus.

        But I think you would not take these verses serious because of the weight and the constant argument you put forth to value of LFW over and above God’s eternal purpose. And he did have an eternal purpose in Christ. As Christ you know was prophesied before the foundation of the world to be a redeemer and a Savior.

        Ephesians 3:11 – according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,

        What do you mean God is just “unwilliing to sin” Is he being tempted” I do not think so’ God does tempt men with sin and cannot be tempted’ There is no evil desire in the God of heaven or when Christ was here on earth. I am not talking about John Calvin respectfully.

        Jesus said the “Prince of the world has come and has found nothing within me.” When he was tempted in the wilderness. Not tempted due to a sinful nature. Christ never had a sinful nature and could not be tempted that way. Being cold, hunger ect. In that way.

        Your quote”

        When we say god “cannot sin” are we saying god is “unwilling” to sin – or are we saying he is “unable” to sin.
        I cannot speak for Dr. Flowers – but I think he is alluding to the former and not the later.

        I whole heartily reject this as humanizing God again. God is not just unwilling to sin. What does that even mean. He is all pure and most holy there is not even the slightest hint of desire in God to sin. He has a complete inablility to sin.

        Did not Jesus say, “You shall know the “truth” and the truth shall make you FREE!!

        Truth is holiness and it makes you free.

        Holiness is true freedom!! Not the ability to do otherwise! And there is no other being in existence more free than the Eternal God of my Salvation who in HIM IS LIGHT AND NO DARKNESS AT ALL!!

        Is it not true God cannot lie. Not that God is “unwilling to lie” But that he “cannot” is unable to lie

        When the saints of God are glorified they will be unable to sin. They will be like their Savior Christ. Not a future eternity of uncertainty that they can still sin and fall away.

        BTW, FLowers has a whole article on why Christians cannot lose their Salvation. Those professing Christians who say Christians can lose their salvation are those who are their own saviors by doing good works and keeping themselves saved.

        Holiness is true Freedom!!

        I have gave this analagy before but it seems to be ingored and rejected when I know the force of it to be true.

        When I was in school. I would raise my hand and ask my teacher. “Can I go to pencil sharpener and sharpen my pencil?” She would reply, I am sure you are able, you have to legs to walk to the sharpner, to hands to accomplish the task.” Then the would say, “The correct way is to say (May I go to the pencil sharpner)” Asking for permission.

        God cannot lie. That is inability!!

        No man can come to me UNLESS the Father draw him, and will raise that man up on the last day.

        “Can” speaking of ability. Something that cannot be done (UNLESS) the Father draws. And the same (MAN) drawn is raised up on the last day.

      2. No problem Kevin
        Take care of your sweet wife!

        You are a good husband!
        We’ll be here when you have time to return and chat

        Be well! :-]

      3. Thanks BRD

        Hey remember, please do take that my tone as being disrespetful in anyway when I disagree. I enjoy our cordial discussions. How many times have you changed my mind?? 🙂

      4. I think our dialogs have been very cordial Kevin – so please don’t worry about it – but thanks for being so thoughtful about it.

      5. justIntime2442 writes, “I want The Word of God to determine my philosophy.”

        You might have meant, “I want The Word of God to determine my theology.” Theology relies on the truth of Scripture. Philosophy relies on man’s understanding of truth whatever the source..

      6. rhutchin to Kevin
        You might have meant, “I want The Word of God to determine my theology….

        br.d
        I like Dr. Alvin Plantinga’s statement:
        -quote
        Philosophy is simply thinking deeply and truthfully about a thing.

      7. Philosophical theology

        Philosophical theology is both a branch and form of theology in which philosophical methods are used in developing or analyzing theological concepts. It therefore includes natural theology as well as philosophical treatments of orthodox and heterodox theology. Philosophical theology is also closely related to the philosophy of religion.

        To read more and understand this branch of philosophy go here:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_theology

        So actually both

        Thanks BRD

      8. I do understand what you are saying rhutchin, and agree to a degree. But even when Dr. Flowers and his colleague was debating Dr. Sean Cole and His colleague, Dr. Sean Cole admitted that everyone puts forth their philosophy to some degree, although I think the Word of God determines it as it does our theology,

        But, I undertand your point. Not to get up in Philosophical battles at the expense of God’s Word that is the final authority,

        Where have you been, could have used your imput over here 🙂

      9. Kevin
        Jesus said,
        Matthew 5:48 – Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

        br.d
        Do you think god is commanding people to do something that they are unable to do?
        What sense would there be for god to do that?

        Kevin My Response
        I must say BRD, I find this one of the most astounding and shocking statements you have ever said. Are you saying this of a Christian in a state of saving grace or of a sinner still alienated from Christ? That question does not even matter because they both have LibFreedom or LFW.

        You are actually saying that right now on earth, that wicked sinners or Christians can with this LFW or LibFreedom be perfect and as Holy as the God of Heaven is. In whom there is light and no darkness at all.

        1 John 1:5 – This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

        Jesus was the Lamb of God without spot or blemish. Perfectly sinless.

        God is the thrice Holy God. Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty!!

        But you declare that the commandment that Jesus gave which is something actually attainable here on earth in the here and now.

        That there are and have been people with this LibFreedom or LFW have accomplished this perfect and attained having light and no darkness at all within them, they are without spot or blemish, are they just as perfect as God the Father in heaven is perfect.

        There seems to given a whole lot of power to this LFW you speak of here.

        Yes, I do think God is commanding something that ought to be done but cannot be done in this age. We achieve this perfection and righteousness by grace through faith in Christ Jesus alone in this age.

        But we strive to work out our salvation with fear and trembling while here on earth, in time and history, to bring our salvation to its ultimate conclusion. That being Christlikeness. The very thing we were predestined for.

        Romans 8:29 – For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

        It is not talking about the Jews that God formerly knew. God formerly knew everyone. It is talking about those who will be conformed to the image of God’s son and who Christ will be the firstborn among MANY BRETHREN.

        But how do we work out our salvation with fear and trembling? This Sanctification process is a slow gradual process.

        You would say LFW or LibFreedom.

        I say what the Word of God says.

        Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

        13 because it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

        It is BECAUSE GOD IS WORKING IN US and giving us both the willingness, the very desire and the enabling power to do those things that are pleasing in his sight and bring pleasure to His heart.

        Perfection is the goal of BRD. God is not going to lower the bar or the goal or his standard just because we are not able to reach it or accomplish it. But we all still fall short of his glory every day.

        Do you know people who are sinless and perfect in Holiness as the Eternal God in Heaven who always was and always will be?

        Here I find a problem with Libfreedom or LFW if you use it in this manner.

        I spoke of Positional and Progressive Sanctification in this comment.

        God bless BRD.

      10. Kevin
        Jesus said,
        Matthew 5:48 – Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

        br.d
        Do you think god is commanding people to do something that they are unable to do?
        What sense would there be for god to do that?

        Kevin
        I must say BRD, I find this one of the most astounding and shocking statements you have ever said. Are you saying this of a Christian in a state of saving grace or of a sinner still alienated from Christ? That question does not even matter because they both have LibFreedom or LFW.

        br.d
        The question is generic in nature and doesn’t apply to any particular person or that person’s condition.

        Lets say you are a father with a 5 year old daughter
        Would it be conceivable to command her to obtain a college degree within a week knowing that is logically impossible?

        A man is unable to turn himself into a frog.
        Is it your view that it is a biblical view of god – that he command a man turn himself into a frog – knowing that is logically impossible?

        The examples are really not important – what is important is the principle behind the question.
        What reason would there be for one to command another to do something one knows is logically impossible?

      11. br.d
        Do you think god is commanding people to do something that they are unable to do?
        What sense would there be for god to do that?
        Kevin
        I must say BRD, I find this one of the most astounding and shocking statements you have ever said. Are you saying this of a Christian in a state of saving grace or of a sinner still alienated from Christ? That question does not even matter because they both have LibFreedom or LFW.
        br.d
        The question is generic in nature and doesn’t apply to any particular person or that person’s condition.
        Lets say you are a father with a 5 year old daughter
        Would it be conceivable to command her to obtain a college degree within a week knowing that is logically impossible?
        A man is unable to turn himself into a frog.
        Is it your view that it is a biblical view of god – that he command a man turn himself into a frog – knowing that is logically impossible?

        Kevin My Response
        I must say response, the examples you give only give credence to what I have already have said. No one can be perferct as the Father in heaven is in perfect, It is the goal, what we “ought” to strive for, but what we cannot achieve in the here and now in this life to and in this age.

        According to LFW or LibFreedom one should be able to keep the commandments.

        But I showed you in my other comments God is not so much concerned with outward external keeping of ethical standards as he is the intentions of the heart. It is from the very heart that evil and good desires flow and from which we will be judged.

        Once again BRD, God will not lower his standard of perfection of holiness even though we cannot attain it in this life. His command will stand firm.

        But Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who is saved by grace through faith. Christ did in his walk while here on earth achieve and accomplish that command of perfect that he himself gave. He was obedient in perfection even to the point of death.

        When we embrace Christ by grace through faith and not of works, his perfect righteousness is reckoned to our account, and praise to God’s glorious grace we are accepted into the beloved (Jesus) in whom God was well pleased.

      12. Kevin
        I must say response, the examples you give only give credence to what I have already have said. No one can be perferct as the Father in heaven is in perfect, It is the goal, what we “ought” to strive for, but what we cannot achieve in the here and now in this life to and in this age.

        br.d
        That would be the case if you take the Greek word τέλειοι as a reference to divine perfection.
        There are Greek scholars for example – who argue – that the rendering of that word as “perfect” was a derivative of the Latin Vulgate translation. And the do not believe the command for people to be divinely perfect.

        Kevin
        According to LFW or LibFreedom one should be able to keep the commandments.

        br.d
        That is not an entailment of Libertarian Freedom that I have ever seen in any literature on the subject.

        What Libertarian Freedom does is permit the creature choose from a range of options which exist as real options.
        The whole business of keeping the law is a topic that believers debate over perpetually.

        I personally don’t link LFW with keeping the law.
        I see these as totally different concerns.

        Kevin
        But I showed you in my other comments God is not so much concerned with outward external keeping of ethical standards as he is the intentions of the heart. It is from the very heart that evil and good desires flow and from which we will be judged.

        br.d
        Yes – I agree with that – and I do see that logical.

        Kevin
        Once again BRD, God will not lower his standard of perfection of holiness even though we cannot attain it in this life. His command will stand firm.

        br.d
        Again – I think this assumes that god commands people to be divine.
        And I don’t see that as the case.

        Kevin
        But Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who is saved by grace through faith. Christ did in his walk while here on earth achieve and accomplish that command of perfect that he himself gave. He was obedient in perfection even to the point of death.

        br.d
        A great verse to come into this point – because I the word “end” in that verse is also derived from the Greek τέλειοι.
        This is where we get our English previx “Telo” We use it in the word “Tele-scope.

        Kevin
        When we embrace Christ by grace through faith and not of works, his perfect righteousness is reckoned to our account, and praise to God’s glorious grace we are accepted into the beloved (Jesus) in whom God was well pleased.

        br.d
        Yes – but that is “accounted” to us by God himself – by virtue of his recognition of Jesus.

        Now I do understand that we are judged for not meeting God’s expectations.
        But those expectations are not irrational or illogical.

        I see Jesus as the answer which meets God’s expectations.
        And God’s expectation is that we believe upon Jesus as the Christ – or we will die in our sins

      13. Well – a few years ago I acquired a serious urge to read the NT in the original Greek.
        So my knowledge is extremely shallow on the subject.

        Brian is the grand master here! :-]

      14. Yes I know, he has pulled that weapon out on me a few times in the past!! I would love to learn Greek but do not feel I have the discipline to pursue it.

      15. For me there are two levels of knowing the Greek.
        The first level is simply learning to read it – which is what I pursued.

        I even dabbled with the idea of developing and marketing a software product that would make learning to read it fun.

        The software would display verses with a mixture of Greek and English words in the text.
        The easy words would be displayed in the Greek, and the more difficult words displayed in English.

        Then the user could control what words would be displayed in Greek vs English.

        For example, some of the easiest words to learn and remember are proper-nouns.

        So for Peter we have petros
        And for Matthew we have maththaios
        And instead of Paul going to Antioch – he goes to antiochea

        Once one learns the basics – these words become easily recognizable.
        So these could be the first words dispersed within verses displayed in the Greek.
        And the reader would get used to reading them that way.

        Then the user could select other types of words to be also displayed in the Greek.
        After a while the user would learn to easily recognize more and more Greek words
        And eventually they would be reading the whole text in the Greek.

        I’ve invented a few electronic devices in the past – and that would be an interesting product.
        But alas – I didn’t have the time or discipline to pursue it.

        The much deeper level of knowing the Greek is learning all of the grammatical rules.
        And I think that takes one into an area of a specialty.
        And that degree of specialty is where Brian is comfortable.

        But I must tell you – I get a real thrill every time I read the first verses about Jesus – within the Gospel of John – in the Greek!

      16. br.d
        That would be the case if you take the Greek word τέλειοι as a reference to divine perfection.
        There are Greek scholars for example – who argue – that the rendering of that word as “perfect” was a derivative of the Latin Vulgate translation. And the do not believe the command for people to be divinely perfect.

        I can almost agree with this BRD. But the text ends speaking of the “perfection” being as your Heavenly (Divine) Father is perfect.

        In what way is God perfect that is not divine?

        Now I admit, I have now taken a good look at the surrounding and immediate context of this verse. So there could very well be something I am missing.

      17. Your question is makes an excellent point!
        And yes I agree – God is obviously divine.
        But prior to the fall – was Adam divine?

        So by this reasoning – there are scholars who – for example – understand this text as Jesus telling us to hold the Character and Nature of God as the golden standard of our own character and nature.

        Of course we can’t be without sin – and we are warned that if we think we can be without sin – then we deceive ourselves.
        So in that way the scripture is telling us that that is an attribute of God that is impossible for us – at least in this life-time.

        I am reminded of what Paul says.
        Not that I have reached perfection.
        But I keep pursuing it – even while I know at the same time – I deceive myself if I think I’ve reached it.

        Perhaps that is the point you were originally making on this topic?

      18. Adam did not possess the same righteousness or holiness that God did, His was a created righteousness, As God created man upright but man sought out many inventions,

        I guess maybe I am speaking of more of the moral standard and perfection of holiness of God’s law. I know there are those on here who disagree. But even as Christians we are still to obey God by the indwelling power of the Spirit.

        Romans 8:4 – that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

        Not to be saved, but out of heart of loving obedience to the Holy Loving God who Saved us,

        The Word commands us to be Holy as God is Holy.

        We are commanded to meet moral Holy perfection in the Love of Christ.

        I do not think that is attainable in this life. But it is always the goal we are striving for. As you spoke of the Apostle Paul not yet having arrived or reached perfection. Of course I have not looked and that could just be speaking of maturity.

        But God is not going to lower the Bar of His standard of Holiness and Glory which we fall short of everyday.

        But the very fact that we cannot keep the law of God, that is a reflection of God’s character of Holiness, is the very reason Jesus came and died for us on the Cross.

        He became our sacrificial substitute on the Cross. And His perfect righteousness is reckoned by grace through faith to everyone who believes upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

        Romans 3:For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

        What we cannot do, keeping the perfectly, continually. and perpetually, Christ accomplished for us as He walked this earth in perfect obedience even unto His death on the Cross. “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased”

        “Praise to the glory of God’s grace by which he has accepted us into His beloved Son Jesus” Ephesians 1

      19. Thanks Kevin – and I agree.
        But with the additional caveat that God doesn’t give commands that are irrational or logically impossible.
        Every command is logically possible “with God as the means” to make it logically possible.

        For example:
        Moses is not commanded to part the red sea – he is commanded to lift up his rod.
        Upon obeying that command – God himself parts the sea.

        The 10 lepers are not commanded to heal themselves – they are commanded to show themselves to the priest.
        Upon obeying that command – God himself performs the healing.

        I see that pattern throughout the whole of scripture.
        So for me – we are not commanded to be divine – we are commanded to obey, just as Moses and the 10 lepers were.
        And God does the divine stuff! :-]

        But that doesn’t let us off the hook.
        If we don’t obey – then we reap what we sow.

        But notice how that logically requires that we have the ability to choose between multiple options.
        If Libertarian Freedom does not exist – then it is a logical impossibility for us to disobey the divine will.
        Because nothing about what we do or don’t do is UP TO us.

      20. BRD
        I see that pattern throughout the whole of scripture.
        So for me – we are not commanded to be divine – we are commanded to obey, just as Moses and the 10 lepers were.
        And God does the divine stuff! :-]
        But that doesn’t let us off the hook.
        If we don’t obey – then we reap what we sow.
        But notice how that logically requires that we have the ability to choose between multiple options.
        If Libertarian Freedom does not exist – then it is a logical impossibility for us to disobey the divine will.
        Because nothing about what we do or don’t do is UP TO us.

        Kevin MY Response
        I see your point BRD and I agree. I should not have used the word “divine” That would be what God does and not us. Thank you for showing me that.

        But Moses “lifting up the rod and the ten lepers being commanded to heal themselves” is not a “moral spiritual commandment by God in the same sense. I am talking about when he gave us “The Ten Commandments” There may be people who seemingly obey these as sinners perfectly externally, outwardly. But we both have agreed that God ultimately judges the heart. Is a person being a godly Father to the glory of God. A godly daughter to the glory of God. A godly employee or boss to the glory of God.

        As we are commanded that whatever we do, to the smallest things and details like eating and drinking, do all to the glory of God.

        1 Corinthians 10:31 – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

        Now the things I mentioned above about Fathers, daughters, employees bosses, you may say they are not in the ten commandments. If you have ever heard the Ten Commandments expounded upon and preached. They touch every part of our lives.

        The Ten Commandments are the Standard of God’s Holiness, His very Glory, the exact written representation of His Holy Character and Nature.

        Which no one is “able to do otherwise” within their heart, keep them perfectly, without interruption, and always in a godly holy manner within their hearts.

        BRD
        But notice how that logically requires that we have the ability to choose between multiple options.
        If Libertarian Freedom does not exist – then it is a logical impossibility for us to disobey the divine will.
        Because nothing about what we do or don’t do is UP TO us.

        Kevin My Response
        In this comment about you speak of Libertarian Freedom as if it is a separate entitenty free from all internal influences of the heart, That is the will of indifference. There may be competing desires but none of them prevail ultimately over what the LFW ultimately chooses. If one does then the LifFreedom of the will has been caused and determined.

        The reason the will of a wicked sinner does not obey is because it is free. Yes that is right because it is free. It does according to its nature. The sinner sins. Yes I am speaking of Total Depravity and Moral Inability.

        John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
        20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

        John 8:Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is the slave of sin.

        Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
        8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

        Enmity against God, hatred and hostility toward God and an inability to be reconciled. Not on God’s Part but on man’s part. Who in his wicked hatred of God has no desire to do so and can do nothing in contributing anything morally or spiritually toward his or her Salvation.

        I ask you BRD. You say the will is free in the sense of LibFreedom. In what sense as Scripture tells us is he a slave. I give you a hint, a slave to sin. Are you saying that the will is unaffected?

      21. Kevin
        But Moses “lifting up the rod and the ten lepers being commanded to heal themselves” is not a “moral spiritual commandment by God in the same sense.

        br.d
        Are you sure?
        If Jesus commands the 10 lepers to go and show themselves to the priest – and they do not obey that command – aren’t they in disobedience? And aren’t there moral implications for disobedience to god?

        Kevin
        I am talking about when he gave us “The Ten Commandments” There may be people who seemingly obey these as sinners perfectly externally, outwardly. But we both have agreed that God ultimately judges the heart. Is a person being a godly Father to the glory of God. A godly daughter to the glory of God. A godly employee or boss to the glory of God.

        br.d
        Yes – but my question is – does god make commands that are irrational or logically impossible?

        I think this is where we see the difference between Theological Determinism and IN-determinism.

        In Theological Determinism the THEOS does make commands that are logically impossible.
        For example:
        He makes Adam eat the fruit – while commanding him not to.
        He makes Cain kill his brother while communicating the opposite
        They were not permitted to make their own choice – but their choice was made *FOR* them.
        They are judged for doing the very thing they were made to do.

        But with the LFW view – Adam is permitted to do-otherwise, and Cain is permitted to do otherwise.
        They are both judged for choices they alone made.

        Kevin
        In this comment about you speak of Libertarian Freedom as if it is a separate entitenty free from all internal influences of the heart, That is the will of indifference. There may be competing desires but none of them prevail ultimately over what the LFW ultimately chooses. If one does then the LifFreedom of the will has been caused and determined.

        br.d
        Here I think you are alluding to the fact that there are mysteries in LFW.
        And that is why I’ve said that most people (i.e. non-determinists) do acknowledge that choices are determined by the strongest inclination.

        What Christian philosophers – such as Plantinga, Dr. Craig, and Peter Van Iwagen consider in regard to that, is that even in the face of mystery, the LFW view makes the most logical and moral sense.

        When you consider the fact that in Theological Detrerminism – absolutely nothing is UP TO YOU – then it is really not you that makes any decision. All of your decisions are made *FOR* you by a THEOS.

        As Dr. Craig says:
        God would be like a child who sets up his toy soldiers and moves them about his play world, pretending that they are real persons whose every motion is not in fact of his own doing and pretending that they merit praise or blame for what he makes them do.

        So we have to ask if fits the biblical model?

      22. I see your points on both comments BRD. I do wish you would engage with the verses of Scripture I give and the questions I ask about them though. But other than that, for now, point taken.

      23. John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is the slave of sin.

        br.d
        Correct – and in the LFW view – the Alternative Possibility (i.e. divine deliverance) is made available to the creature.
        But in Theological Determinism – the Alternative Possibility (i.e. divine deliverance) is not made available to the “MANY”.
        And they are thus judged for not having what was not made available for them to have.

        Kevin
        Galatians 3:10 – For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

        br.d
        Correct – and in Theological Determinism – the THEOS sets man up for failure.
        The first example being Adam in the garden who is made to eat the fruit while being commanded not to.

        Kevin
        It is the very truth of Holiness that sets us free.

        br.d
        Holiness surely has a “directive” power.
        Those who are “directed” by it don’t fall into various sins.
        But again – in Theological Determinism – nothing about that is UP TO YOU.

        Kevin
        John 8:32 – and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

        br.d
        Yes – truth is liberating
        But liberating from what?

        How is it logically possible for one to be “liberated” within the view of Theological Determinism?
        It is a logical impossibility to be “liberated” from the divine will.
        So when the divine will is for you to sin – or to believe falsehoods – then there is no such thing as “liberation” from that.

        Kevin
        Not to mention that wicked evil sinners are not just slaves of sin but they are willing voluntary slaves of sin as we are told in the Gospel of John. They Hate the Light of Christ and love the darkness of their sins.

        br.d
        Yes – and we believers also cannot say we are free from sin.
        So we face the same dilemma
        And the answer for the dilemma is for us to look to Jesus – which in the LFW view is made available to us.
        But in the Theological Determinism view – we may be made to do the opposite.

        Kevin
        John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
        20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
        Men loved darkness, the very darkness of their sin rather than the light of Christ.

        br.d
        Yes – and with the LFW view – men are given the Alternative Possibility.
        But in the Theological Determinism view – they may be judged for doing the very thing they were made to do.
        And nothing about it was UP TO them.

        So (if we have LFW) then we are permitted to decide which view better fits the Biblical model. :-]
        If we don’t have LFW then we are only permitted to have mental perceptions about scripture that have been determined *FOR* us.
        And thus we are not permitted to discern TRUE from FALSE.

      24. So LFW is the answer and Savior for man being a slave to sin. The LFW of man is not affected by sin. Even though I have shown in Galatians where the Spirit wars against the flesh the seat of evil and flesh against the Spirit with the result being “the Christian “cannot do otherwise” or the things the Christian would.

        Galatians 5:17 -For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

        Here we have the Ultimate Authority of God’s Word saying there are times the Christian “cannot do otherwise”

      25. Kevin
        So LFW is the answer and Savior for man being a slave to sin.

        br.d
        I don’t think is accurate to say LFW is the answer from being a slave to sin.
        But it better fits the Biblical model.
        Because in Theological Determinism – people are designed to function as puppets.
        They are slaves yes – but their actual slavery is to the divine will.

        Kevin
        The LFW of man is not affected by sin.

        br.d
        I don’t see where this notion comes from.

        LFW doesn’t have any power in and of itself.
        It represents the PERMISSIVE will of the THEOS.
        The creature is PERMITTED Alternative Possibilities.
        Whereas with Theological Determinism the creature is NOT PERMITTED Alternative Possibilities.

        Kevin
        Galatians 5:17 -For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

        Here we have the Ultimate Authority of God’s Word saying there are times the Christian “cannot do otherwise”

        br.d
        Are you sure that is what it is saying?
        Yes – without God’s provision we “cannot do otherwise” – but with God’s provision we can.
        Walk in the Spirit – and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

        So again we have two views to examine:
        1) In Theological Determinism:
        – Nothing is UP TO US
        – We are not given any Alternative Possibilities
        – We cannot do otherwise

        And whatever the state of nature is at any point in time (including our flesh) – is PRE-DETERMINED *FOR* the us
        And nothing about it is UP TO us.

        2) In LFW view
        God makes a provision for us.
        – Whether we choose that provision is UP TO us
        – Alternative Possibilities (i.e. walking in the Spirit) is made available to us
        – We are permitted to do otherwise (than walk in the flesh)

      26. Kevin
        Galatians 3:10 – For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
        br.d
        Correct – and in Theological Determinism – the THEOS sets man up for failure.
        The first example being Adam in the garden who is made to eat the fruit while being commanded not to.

        Kevin MY response
        You answered this with a negative response instead of a positive affirmation.

        The reason the Apostle Paul made this statement that cursed is everyone does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them. Is because they were not able to. The law had be kept perfectly to obtain right standing with God and Israel was unable to do that. They were constantly in disobedience. They were unable to do “OTHERWISE” and obey it perfectly. Thus the very reason for Christ.

      27. Kevin
        Galatians 3:10 – For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

        br.d
        Correct – and in Theological Determinism – the THEOS sets man up for failure.
        The first example being Adam in the garden who is made to eat the fruit while being commanded not to.

        Kevin
        You answered this with a negative response instead of a positive affirmation.

        The reason the Apostle Paul made this statement that cursed is everyone does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them. Is because they were not able to. The law had be kept perfectly to obtain right standing with God and Israel was unable to do that. They were constantly in disobedience. They were unable to do “OTHERWISE” and obey it perfectly. Thus the very reason for Christ

        br.d
        I’m curious now to know if that statement has no merit for you?

        The positive affirmation of it would be that God makes a provision for the problem
        And permits man to accept that provision or reject it.

      28. BRD, I will come back later and respond. As I see some issues and problems with your assertions and statements.

        Like you do not see how the will is in slavery to sin.

        As I have stated before in the Original languages the word “heart” within the Word of God speaks of the “mind. the affections. the disposition and yes the WILL”

        So how is it do you not believe the will remained intact and untouched from sin when I showed you in John 3:19-20 that man’s affections and desires that determine his will hate the light of Christ and love the darkness of sin.

        Then you say things like “I am making your case for you and that my statement has no merit for myself” without explaining why.

        This does not make any sense and leaves me to fill in the blank

        Speaking of only Soteriology, not of everyday choices, if a person can do “otherwise” why need is there of grace, of Christ or of the indwelling of the Spirit?

        You argue continually and strongly at the expense of what God through Christ has accomplished for LFW or LiBFreedom and now it seems you want to go back on it and say that LFW cannot always to otherwise it needs Christ. It seems you are straddling the fence somewhat. Now you know me BRD. I may be completely confused so i mean that respectfully.

        Because when I said the Spirit wars against the flesh and the flesh against the Spirit so that you cannot do the things that you wish. in Galatians

        That is a strong verse declaring that LFW cannot always do otherwise in the life of the Christian as the flesh prevents this from happening. YOU CANNOT DO THE THINGS THAT YOU WOULD

        YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THE THINGS YOU WOULD, WITH LFW YOU CAN DO OTHERWISE

      29. I think you misunderstand my position.
        Its not that LFW has any power in and of itself.
        It is simply the THEOS making a provision – and granting the person the liberty to have access to that provision.

      30. Yes I do understand that position and maybe I should have clarified it. But as you know the Calvinists do not believe the wicked sinner has that ability due to Total Depravity and moral inability. Thus the rejection of LFW

        That would be a subject we would have to enter into. The very fact a Calvinist believes the sinner’s will is free to do according to his nature. as I have shown you in John 3:19-20 and he needs a radical release from that bondage of sin is the difference between us. God not only provides the provision of Christ but Sovereignly applies it through the Spirit. This is where we will disagree.

      31. Yes – but please remember in Theological Determinism – the state of nature at any given time – is totally pre-determined – and fixed at the foundation of the world.

        So we have to ask the question – which is more truthful to say:
        – A person’s thoughts, choices, actions are determined by nature
        or
        – A person’s thoughts, choices, actions are determined by a THEOS

      32. br.d writes, “So we have to ask the question – which is more truthful to say:
        – A person’s thoughts, choices, actions are determined by nature
        or
        – A person’s thoughts, choices, actions are determined by a THEOS”

        The conclusion: A person’s nature is determined by God. This is confirmed by the Scriptures–

        “The burden of the word of the LORD against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:” (Zechariah 12)

        “”The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men…He fashions their hearts individually;” (Psalm 33)

        “the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel;” (Exodus 14)

        “I have put wisdom in the hearts of all who are gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you:” (Exodus 31)

        “it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them,” (Joshua 11)

      33. br.d
        So we have to ask the question – which is more truthful to say:
        – A person’s thoughts, choices, actions are determined by nature
        or
        – A person’s thoughts, choices, actions are determined by a THEOS”

        rhutchin
        The conclusion: A person’s nature is determined by God. This is confirmed by the Scriptures

        br.d
        Dr. William Lane Craig:
        -quote
        “It needs to be kept in mind that Universal Divine Causal Determinism is an *INTERPRETATION* of Scripture.
        An interpretation that some Reformed divines themselves regard as irreconcilable with other clear teachings of Scripture.

        When one’s INTERPRETATION leads one into this sort of Cul-de-sac (i.e. A LOGICAL DEAD END), it is a good idea to reasses whether one has indeed rightly interpreted scripture.

        Dr. Ravi Zacharias
        -quote
        Here me carefully. If you are totally determined, then you are pre-wired, to think the way you do.
        Your nature is that you are hard wired to come out to a single conclusion.
        What is input into the computer is what ultimately comes out.
        This is the bondage of total subjectivity.

      34. brd

        Just so I understand

        When it comes to the wicked sinner being in bondage and in slavery to sin as revealed to us in verses like

        John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

        And

        John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.

        In what manner do you believe a person is in slavery and in bondage to sin.

        Matthew 5:28 – But I say unto you, that every one who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 

        Below all is important

        Greek for Heart
        OF THE WILL AND CHARACTER
        the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors
        of the understanding, the faculty and seat of the intelligence
        of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a bad way or good, or of the soul as the seat of the sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires, appetites, passions
        of the middle or central or inmost part of anything, even though inanimate

      35. In my LFW view – a person who is not saved is in total bondage to sin.
        And the believer also cannot say that he is without sin
        But he can say that God has given him an Alternative Possibility – he has a way of escape from sin.

        The Theological Determinist cannot say that he has an escape from sin.
        Because it is really not sin that he is in bondage to
        He is in bondage to whatever the THEOS determines.

      36. BRD
        In my LFW view – a person who is not saved is in total bondage to sin.
        Kevin
        Can you clarify in what sense a wicked sinner person is in TOTAL BONDAGE TO SIN. AND HOW AND WHY LFW IS LEFT UNAFFECTED FROM THE WORD OF GOD?

        brd
        The Theological Determinist cannot say that he has an escape from sin.
        Because it is really not sin that he is in bondage to
        He is in bondage to whatever the THEOS determines.

        Kevin
        Oh my, You planted on me here. Something I will have to think about BRD. Thanks. I guess it does not just apply to the natural but also to the spiritual.

        Thanks again

      37. Kevin
        Can you clarify in what sense a wicked sinner person is in TOTAL BONDAGE TO SIN. AND HOW AND WHY LFW IS LEFT UNAFFECTED FROM THE WORD OF GOD?

        br.d
        I see it the same way that Dr. Oliver Crisp in his interview described it.
        An alcoholic for example is in bondage to the addiction and cannot do otherwise than drink.
        But he does have LFW in that he can choose to drink at 10AM or he can choose to drink at 11AM
        Or he can choose to drink one type of alcohol over another.

        So LFW is not affected – but the options which are available to choose are affected.
        The more he sinks into the sin – the fewer the options are available.
        Before he became addicted – he probably had thousands of options open to him.
        But as he became addicted those options started to become less and less viable.
        At some point in time – his options will dry up – which may be seen in the collapse of his internal organs.

      38. I will speak of Dr. Oliver Crisp Tomorrow. Who said he does hold to Calvinistic Determinism and I would say he probably holds to Calvinistic Soteriology.

        So the alcoholic analogy probably does not fit concretely with what he believes with what I mentioned above.

        But to be for sure BRD, I will go back and listen to that interview again.

        Thanks

      39. He uses that example to describe a conceptual view of LFW.
        And yes – he doesn’t believe in it – but for me it was a logical example.

      40. br.d writes, “The Theological Determinist cannot say that he has an escape from sin.
        Because it is really not sin that he is in bondage to
        He is in bondage to whatever the THEOS determines.”

        God, the Theos of the Scriptures, determined that man would be in bondage to sin as a consequence of Adam’s sin. God provides the escape from bondage to sin through the gift of faith.

      41. br.d
        he Theological Determinist cannot say that he has an escape from sin.
        Because it is really not sin that he is in bondage to
        He is in bondage to whatever the THEOS determines.”

        rhutchin
        God, the Theos of the Scriptures, determined that man would be in bondage to sin as a consequence of Adam’s sin. God provides the escape from bondage to sin through the gift of faith.

        br.d
        Since the Theological Determinist cannot choose between TRUE and FALSE- because that would represent a Libertarian choice – then he has no ability to affirm whether his theos is a TRUE theos or a false theos.

        He is only permitted to have perceptions in his brain – which a THEOS determines him to perceive as true
        His not permitted to discern for himself whether they are true or false.

        Dr. William Lane Craig
        -quote
        Theological Determinism….cannot be rationally affirmed, since its affirmation undermines the rationality of its affirmation.

      42. br.d writes, “Since the Theological Determinist cannot choose between TRUE and FALSE- because that would represent a Libertarian choice – then he has no ability to affirm whether his theos is a TRUE theos or a false theos.”

        This because of the lack of faith. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Proverbs tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,” and “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,” and “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom.” In Romans, Paul describes the unsaved this way, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” A person can only know the truth – the true God – through the Scriptures and then only through faith.

        Without faith, br.d is correct in saying, “[The unsaved] is only permitted to have perceptions in his brain – which a THEOS determines him to perceive as true. His not permitted to discern for himself whether they are true or false.”

      43. br.d
        Since the Theological Determinist cannot choose between TRUE and FALSE- because that would represent a Libertarian choice – then he has no ability to affirm whether his theos is a TRUE theos or a false theos.”

        rhutchin
        This because of the lack of faith……etc

        br.d
        Calvinists do love their DOUBLE-SPEAK!

        John Calvin
        -quote
        “go about your office *AS-IF* nothing (in this case faith or lack of faith) is determined in any part (by the theos).

        rhutchin
        Without faith, br.d is correct in saying, “[The unsaved] is only permitted to have perceptions in his brain – which a THEOS determines him to perceive as true. His not permitted to discern for himself whether they are true or false.”

        br.d
        FALSE
        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Libertarian choice is ruled out *COMPLETELY*
        Therefore the Theological Determinism has no ability to discern between TRUE and FALSE because doing so would entail a Libertarian choice which (faith or no faith) is a LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITY for him.

        Not hard to understand the Calvinist’s continual LOVE-HATE relationship with his own theology! :-]

      44. br.d writes, “In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Libertarian choice is ruled out *COMPLETELY*

        Yes, because of the lack of faith.

        Then, “Therefore the Theological Determinism has no ability to discern between TRUE and FALSE because doing so would entail a Libertarian choice which (faith or no faith) is a LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITY for him.’

        The Scriptures discern between true and false, With faith, a person is then able to discern the Scriptures and to know true from false.

      45. br.d
        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Libertarian choice is ruled out *COMPLETELY*

        rhutchin
        Yes, because of the lack of faith.

        br.d
        That is of course your personal philosophy.
        No where found in academic literature on Libertarian Freedom or Theological Determinism

        Then, “Therefore the Theological Determinism has no ability to discern between TRUE and FALSE because doing so would entail a Libertarian choice which (faith or no faith) is a LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITY for him.’

        rhutchin
        The Scriptures discern between true and false, With faith, a person is then able to discern the Scriptures and to know true from false.

        br.d
        FALSE
        This seems to be going over someone’s head! :-]

        In Theological Determinism – Libertarian Freedom is DOES NOT EXIST in any form.
        And since the ability to choose between TRUE vs FALSE for any proposition is the quintessential definition of a Libertarian function – it LOGICALLY FOLLOWS – that ability also DOES NOT EXIST in any form either.

        In other words – faith ain’t got nothin to do with it! :-]

      46. br.d: “Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Libertarian choice is ruled out *COMPLETELY*
        rhutchin: “Yes, because of the lack of faith.”
        br.d: “That is of course your personal philosophy.”

        No. It’s my worldview and you have a different worldview. You approach the issue of the “theos” from the viewpoint of philosophy and do not generally incorporate Scriptural truth into the conclusions you draw. I approach,”God” from the viewpoint of the Scriptures relying on the truth of the Scriptures to tell me about God. I use philosophical rules of logic to arrange the truths of the Scriptures to develop additional truths. That is why you reject my argument using faith because, as you say, faith is “No where found in academic literature on Libertarian Freedom or Theological Determinism.” However, “faith” is key to understanding Scripture and necessarily forms an important part of my arguments. We will always disagree because you appeal to human wisdom (philosophy) to frame your arguments about the “theos,” and I appeal to the truth of Scripture to frame my arguments about “God.”

        We both describe Calvinism as Theological Determinism but your “Theological Determinism” is a philosophical,, human derived concept, and is different from my “Theological Determinism” that is a Scripturally derived concept. Consequently, we are saying, and arguing, different things. That is why I can say, “The Scriptures discern between true and false, With faith, a person is then able to discern the Scriptures and to know true from false.” and you can reply, “FALSE.” Two different worldviews are colliding in our discussions.

        Thus, you can say, “In other words – faith ain’t got nothin to do with it!” and I can say, “Faith has everything to do with it.” You are correct under your philosophical worldview and I am correct under my Scriptural worldview.

      47. br.d
        Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Libertarian choice is ruled out *COMPLETELY*

        rhutchin
        Yes, because of the lack of faith.

        br.d:
        That is of course your personal philosophy.

        rhutchin
        No. It’s my worldview and you have a different worldview.

        br.d
        Calling it a “world-view” is simply SEMANTICS

        its still a personal philosophy – contrived by you – and not accepted in any academic literature – both Reformed and non-Reformed – having to do with Theological Determinism and Libertarian Freedom.

        The reason your “world-view” is rejected is because it represents a SELF-CONTRADICTION.

        Square-circles and married-bachelors, etc.

        Therefore it is rejected as LOGICALLY INCOHERENT
        For example by Calvinist Paul Helm’s, and Dr. James N. Anderson, and Dr. Oliver Crisp to name a few.

        And you will find Libertarian Freedom (in any way shape or form) absolutely rejected at Monergism.com.

        Academic Reformed literature rightly acknowledges “Compatibilist” freedom as compatible with Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism)
        In which Libertarian freedom is NON EXISTENT – (faith or no faith).

        Sorry to say – you are on your own with your customized personal philosophy – or “world-view” if that’s the label of preference.

      48. br.d: “Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Libertarian choice is ruled out *COMPLETELY*
        rhutchin: “Yes, because of the lack of faith.”
        br.d:: “That is of course your personal philosophy.”
        rhutchin: “No. It’s my worldview and you have a different worldview.”
        br.d: “Calling it a “world-view” is simply SEMANTICS”

        Of course, it is. There are two meanings here, or worldviews. Your worldview begins with Philosophy and makes Theology subordinate to Philosophy. My worldview begins with Theology with Philosophy being subordinate to my Theology (essentially Calvinism). You don;t begin with the truth of Scripture as the basis for your worldview and I do. If you actually begin with the truth of Scripture and make your philosophy subordinate to Scriptural truth, then correct me on that point. Your comments do not indicate this.

        Then, “its still a personal philosophy – contrived by you – and not accepted in any academic literature – both Reformed and non-Reformed – having to do with Theological Determinism and Libertarian Freedom.”

        No, my philosophy is pretty standard. A person has a corrupt nature and lacks faith. Consequently, no one can choose salvation absent a work of God to change their situation. This is why your statement, “And you will find Libertarian Freedom (in any way shape or form) absolutely rejected at Monergism.com.” is true. Without faith, it is not possible to be saved and faith comes through hearing the gospel.

        Then, “The reason your “world-view” is rejected is because it represents a SELF-CONTRADICTION.”

        Your conclusion reflects your worldview: Philosophy first, Theology subordinate to Philosophy. If we start with Theology,and make philosophy subordinate to Theology, there is not self-contradiction – at east, none you can support. This is not rejected by anyone who takes philosophy to be subordinate to Theology.

        Then, “Academic Reformed literature rightly acknowledges “Compatibilist” freedom as compatible with Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) In which Libertarian freedom is NON EXISTENT – (faith or no faith).”

        No. Even academic reformed literature presupposes two essentials – God’s sovereignty and man’s faith. Leave those doctrines out (as you do with your worldview) and you will misunderstand reformed writings.

        Then, “Sorry to say – you are on your own with your customized personal philosophy – or “world-view” if that’s the label of preference.”

        Sorry, but you don’t seem to understand how you treat the Scriptures – making the Scriptures subordinate to philosophy. If this were not true, y0ur comments would show a greater dependence on the Scriptures as the basis your arguments.

      49. br.d
        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Libertarian choice is ruled out *COMPLETELY*
        It is NON-EXISTENT (faith or no faith)

        rhutchin:
        “Yes, because of the lack of faith.”

        br.d
        Well – that is of course your personal philosophy.

        rhutchin
        No. It’s my worldview and you have a different worldview.

        br.d
        Calling it a “world-view” is simply SEMANTICS – its still a personal philosophy

        rhutchin
        Of course, it is. There are two meanings here, or worldviews. Your worldview ….etc

        br.d
        Sorry – you may claim to have a world-view – but you can’t speak for others – especially me – and I don’t have one.
        What I have is an understanding of what is held in both Reformed and Non-Reformed academia on the subject of Theological Determinism – in which Libertarian Freedom is NON-EXISTENT (faith or no faith)

        So its still a personal philosophy – contrived by you – and not accepted in any academic literature – both Reformed and non-Reformed – having to do with Theological Determinism and Libertarian Freedom.

        rhutchin
        No, my philosophy is pretty standard. …..

        br.d
        Standardly REJECTED by Reformed and Non-Reformed academia
        But of course what is rejected by academia can be “standard” for anyone else..

        The reason it is rejected is because it represents a SELF-CONTRADICTION.”
        Square-Circles, Married-Bachelors – etc.

        rhutchin
        Your conclusion reflects your worldview: Philosophy first, Theology subordinate to Philosophy. If we start with Theology,and make philosophy subordinate to Theology, there is not self-contradiction – at east, none you can support. This is not rejected by anyone who takes philosophy to be subordinate to Theology.

        br.d
        That is simply more self-contradicting Philosophy

        I can understand why someone needs a world which contains square-circles, married bachelors and Libertarian Freedom within Theological Determinism.

        Calvinists often remind me of the Solipsist believer who wonders why there aren’t more Solipsistic believers! :-]

        However, Academic Reformed literature rightly acknowledges “Compatibilist” freedom as compatible with Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) In which Libertarian freedom is NON EXISTENT – (faith or no faith).”

        rhutchin
        No. Even academic reformed literature presupposes two essentials – God’s sovereignty and man’s faith. Leave those doctrines out (as you do with your worldview) and you will misunderstand reformed writings.

        br.d
        Then you can easily give a quote from Dr. Paul Helms that unequivocally states that Libertarian Freedom exists within Theological Determinism.
        Good luck with that one! :-]

        Sorry to say – you are on your own with your customized personal philosophy – or “world-view” if that’s the label of preference.”

        rhutchin
        Sorry, but you don’t seem to understand how you treat the Scriptures – making the Scriptures subordinate to philosophy. If this were not true, y0ur comments would show a greater dependence on the Scriptures as the basis your arguments.

        br.d
        Dowsing for square-circles and married-bachelors within scripture is an IRRATIONAL agenda
        That’s why you won’t find any official quotes from Reformed academia asserting that Libertarian Freedom exists within or is compatible to Theological Determinism.

        Which confirms – the assertion of it represents a personal philosophy :-]

      50. br.d writes, “That is simply more self-contradicting Philosophy”

        Self-contradicting humanist philosophy. Not self-contradicting theology.

        Then, ‘Then you can easily give a quote from Dr. Paul Helms that unequivocally states that Libertarian Freedom exists within Theological Determinism. Good luck with that one! ”

        Helms is a theologian and understands that the lack of faith negates LFW (at least, with respect to salvation). Otherwise, LFW is an imaginary concept that has never been shown to operate in the real world where a person’s decisions reflect his desires.

        Then, ‘Dowsing for square-circles and married-bachelors within scripture is an IRRATIONAL agenda”

        LOL!!! You ignore my comment, “Sorry, but you don’t seem to understand how you treat the Scriptures – making the Scriptures subordinate to philosophy. If this were not true, y0ur comments would show a greater dependence on the Scriptures as the basis your arguments.”

        Your continual reference to the “THEOS,” is not a reference to the God of the Scripture but to the imagined generic god of humanist philosophy. Your idea of the “THEOS” contradicts the God of the Scriptures. This is obvious by your inability to harmonize your philosophy with the example of the Assyrians in Isaiah 10.

      51. br.d
        That is simply more self-contradicting Philosophy

        rhutchin
        Self-contradicting humanist philosophy. Not self-contradicting theology.

        br.d
        A rose by any other name is still a rose :-]
        And self-contradictions are a manifestation of IRRATIONAL thinking.

        You could easily give a quote from Dr. Paul Helms that unequivocally states that Libertarian Freedom exists within Theological Determinism.

        Good luck with that one! ”

        rhutchin
        Helms is a theologian and understands that the lack of faith negates LFW (at least, with respect to salvation). Otherwise, LFW is an imaginary concept that has never been shown to operate in the real world where a person’s decisions reflect his desires.

        br.d
        No such quote exists – as I knew the case would be.
        Another IRRATIONAL claim bites the dust! :-]

        Additionally – since for you -quote “LFW is an imaginary concept not show to operate in the real world” then your assertion that it exists within Theological Determinism is even more IRRATIONAL. Why am I not surprised. :-]

        And dowsing for square-circles and married-bachelors within scripture is an IRRATIONAL agenda.
        So not something I have a need to do.

        rhutchin
        LOL!!! You ignore my comment, “Sorry, but you don’t seem to understand how you treat the Scriptures – making the Scriptures subordinate to philosophy. If this were not true, y0ur comments would show a greater dependence on the Scriptures as the basis your arguments.”

        br.d
        One can imagine whatever makes one feel better.

        rhutchin
        Your continual reference to the “THEOS,” is not a reference to the God of the Scripture but to the imagined generic god of humanist philosophy. Your idea of the “THEOS” contradicts the God of the Scriptures. This is obvious by your inability to harmonize your philosophy with the example of the Assyrians in Isaiah 10.

        br.d
        And square-circles and married-bachelors are not humanist philosophy I suppose!
        Too funny! :-]

        IRRATIONAL thinking will always result in an IRRATIONAL interpretation of any data
        Whether that data is scripture or not.

        Bottom Line:
        Libertarian Freedom doesn’t exist within Theological Determinism any more than air exists within a perfect vacuum.
        One can call that humanist philosophy all they want to
        But that fact is acknowledged by all academia – Reformed and Non-Reformed.

        So like I said – you’re on your own with a philosophy that deviates from what is acknowledged.

      52. rhutchin: “Helms is a theologian and understands that the lack of faith negates LFW (at least, with respect to salvation). Otherwise, LFW is an imaginary concept that has never been shown to operate in the real world where a person’s decisions reflect his desires.”
        br.d: “No such quote exists – as I knew the case would be.”

        I don’t read Helms, so I don’t know if a quote exists. My guess is that you don’t read him either and just get quotes from someone else – so even you don’t knwo.

        Then, “Additionally – since for you -quote “LFW is an imaginary concept not show to operate in the real world” then your assertion that it exists within Theological Determinism is even more IRRATIONAL’

        LFW under Theological Determinism is tied to the Scriptures and faith, both ignored by your humanist philosophy. The Scriptures are rational and promote rational thinking.

        Then, “And dowsing for square-circles and married-bachelors within scripture is an IRRATIONAL agenda.”

        Dousing for the truth is rational and something you should do. It would lead you to reject your humanist philosophy.

        Then, “One can call that humanist philosophy all they want to”

        We know this so far.

        – Your reference to the “THEOS” is your comments is not a reference to the God of Scripture.
        – Theological Determinism under your humanist philosophy is not the same as Theological Determinism based on the Scriptures.
        – The Theological Determinism of Calvinism is based on the Scriptures and not your humanist philosophy.
        – LFW is an imaginary concept under your humanist philosophy and could only exist when the faith of the Scripture enables it.

        Your humanist philosophy, often contrary to the Scriptures, is often on display.

      53. rhutchin
        Helms is a theologian and understands that the lack of faith negates LFW (at least, with respect to salvation). Otherwise, LFW is an imaginary concept that has never been shown to operate in the real world where a person’s decisions reflect his desires.”

        br.d
        No such quote exists – as I knew the case would be.

        rhutchin
        I don’t read Helms, so I don’t know if a quote exists. My guess is that you don’t read him either and just get quotes from someone else – so even you don’t knwo.

        br.d
        Helm’s or any other Reformed academic – what you call your “humanist philosophy” is not going to be there.

        Additionally – since for you -quote “LFW is an imaginary concept not shown to operate in the real world” then your assertion that it exists within Theological Determinism is even more IRRATIONAL’. How am I not surprised! :-]

        rhutchin
        LFW under Theological Determinism is tied to the Scriptures and faith…etc

        br.d
        And at the same -quote “not shown to operate in the real world”
        A wonderful example of Calvinist DOUBLE-SPEAK

        And you say I make stuff up! :-]

        Dowsing for square-circles and married-bachelors within scripture is an IRRATIONAL agenda.
        Not something I need to do.

        rhutchin
        Dousing for the truth is rational and something you should do. It would lead you to reject your humanist philosophy.

        br.d
        And mutually exclusive things (i.e. Theological Determinism and Libertarian Freedom) existing together are “so called” truths to dowse for! *AS-IF* square-circles and married-bachelors are not someones humanist philosophy! :-]

        rhutchin
        We know this so far.

        br.d
        You are speaking for yourself here.
        There is no “we”

        rhutchin
        – Your reference to the “THEOS” is your comments is not a reference to the God of Scripture.
        – Theological Determinism under your humanist philosophy is not the same as Theological Determinism based on the Scriptures.
        – The Theological Determinism of Calvinism is based on the Scriptures and not your humanist philosophy.
        – LFW is an imaginary concept under your humanist philosophy and could only exist when the faith of the Scripture enables it.

        br.d
        Considering the source – I’ll take those statements as compliments – thank you!

        And on Theological Determinism – what you “know” is determined *FOR* you by Calvin’s god.
        You can only have thoughts he determined to activate within your brain.
        And he does not permit you to determine whether those thoughts are TRUE or FALSE.

        Since that is the case – you’re opinion of me cannot be rationall affirmed anyway.

        But alas – you still have the issue – of a philosophy – which desires Libertarian Freedom to exist in a world which mutually excludes it
        As is recognized by all Reformed and Non-Reformed acedemia.

        One can only embrace just so many square-circles and marrie-bacholers! :-]

      54. rhutchin: LFW under Theological Determinism is tied to the Scriptures and faith…etc
        br.d: “And at the same -quote “not shown to operate in the real world” A wonderful example of Calvinist DOUBLE-SPEAK”

        LFW under a humanist philosophy has not been shown to operate in the real world. Sorry you did not understand.

        Then, br.d: “You are speaking for yourself here. There is no “we”
        rhutchin: ” – Your reference to…”
        br.d: ‘Considering the source – I’ll take those statements as compliments – thank you! ”

        Guess there is a “we,” after all.

        Then, ‘And on Theological Determinism – what you “know” is determined *FOR* you by Calvin’s god.
        You can only have thoughts he determined to activate within your brain.”

        This is true for a Theological Determinism derived from your your humanist philosophy. Where the Theological Determinism is derived from Scripture, God made man in His image so that God does not then have to activate thoughts within the human mind. However, as God made man, He understands the man perfectly and thereby can know the man’s thoughts before the man thinks them and by His sovereignty, decrees those thoughts.

        Then, “And he does not permit you to determine whether those thoughts are TRUE or FALSE.”

        Through knowledge of the Scriptures, a person can know whether certain thoughts are TRUE or FALSE. Thoughts related to mathematics, etc can also be known as true or false as one increases knowledge of mathematics, etc.

        Then, “Since that is the case – you’re opinion of me cannot be rationall affirmed anyway.”

        You took the above comments as complimentary. My opinion of you, based on that, is rationally affirmed.

        Then, “But alas – you still have the issue – of a philosophy – which desires Libertarian Freedom to exist in a world which mutually excludes it”

        I said that your humanist philosophy advocates a libertarian freedom that it cannot prove to exist. If you can prove LFW exists under your humanist philosophy, do so, and I will reassess my conclusion.

      55. rhutchin
        LFW under Theological Determinism is tied to the Scriptures and faith…etc
        LFW under a humanist philosophy has not been shown to operate in the real world. Sorry you did not understand.

        br.d
        Sorry – this is of course your philosophy – as I’ve said – its totally rejected by all Reformed and Non-Reformed academia.

        rhutchin
        Guess there is a “we,” after all.

        br.d
        Except I don’t AUTO-MAGICALLY take without question everything that comes into your imagination

        And on Theological Determinism – what you “know” is determined *FOR* you by Calvin’s god.
        You can only have thoughts he determined to activate within your brain.”

        rhutchin
        This is true for a Theological Determinism derived from your your humanist philosophy. Where the Theological Determinism is derived from Scripture, God made man in His image so that God does not then have to activate thoughts within the human mind. However, as God made man, He understands the man perfectly and thereby can know the man’s thoughts before the man thinks them and by His sovereignty, decrees those thoughts.

        br.d
        This reminds me of the proverb about one who “believes every word” :-]

        In Theological Determinism – where the THEOS determines *ALL* things at the foundation of the world
        he thus does not permit you to determine whether those thoughts are TRUE or FALSE.

        rhutchin
        Through knowledge of the Scriptures, a person can know whether certain thoughts are TRUE or FALSE.

        br.d
        Well – I can certainly see you have a need to find a way to have Libertarian Functionality.
        And as I’ve said – since LFW is mutually excluded by Theological Determinism as acknowledged by all Reformed and Non-Reformed – you have your own “so called” scriptural belief system.

        br.d
        Now we already know Calvin’s god has given you numerous FALSE perceptions – determining you to perceive them as TRUE.
        Mr. Spock has counted around 14 so far.

        So that blows your philosophy!

        But alas – you still have the issue – of a philosophy – which desires Libertarian Freedom to exist in a world which mutually excludes it
        As is acknowledged by all Reformed and Non-Reformed academia.

        rhutchin
        I said that your humanist philosophy advocates a libertarian freedom that it cannot prove to exist. If you can prove LFW exists under your humanist philosophy, do so, and I will reassess my conclusion.

        br.d
        Sorry – the burden here is yours
        And making square-circles and married-bachelors out of scripture verses is not going to work.

        Provide some quotes that explicitly assert that Libertarian Freedom exists within Theological Determinism.
        Paul Helms, Dr. Oliver Crisp, or Dr. James N. Anderson would be fine.

        Otherwise – all you have is what you call – your “humanist philosophy”.

      56. Kevin
        I am talking about when he gave us “The Ten Commandments” There may be people who seemingly obey these as sinners perfectly externally, outwardly. But we both have agreed that God ultimately judges the heart. Is a person being a godly Father to the glory of God. A godly daughter to the glory of God. A godly employee or boss to the glory of God.
        br.d
        Yes – but my question is – does god make commands that are irrational or logically impossible?

        But BRD, can one obey God’s Commands perfectly from the heart where we both have agreed ultimately that is what God is going to judge?

        I do not think so.

        Even God’ Word agrees with this.

        Galatians 5:17 – For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

        You see even as Christians with the indwelling presence and person of the Holy Spirit, the Flesh which is the seat of evil prevents the individual from doing “otherwise” “So that you cannot do the things that you wish”

        Jesus told his disciples, “without me you can do “NOTHING” NOTHING DOES NOT MEAN A LITTLE SOMETHING” That even means the ability to do otherwise. Only through Christ can they bear fruit pleasing to God. John 15

        Now if the disciples who Jesus said “were clean through the word he had spoken to them” (could do nothing pleasing to God apart from Christ) what can a sinner do who is completely alienated from him and loves the darkness of his sin and hates the light of Christ?

      57. Kevin
        But BRD, can one obey God’s Commands perfectly from the heart where we both have agreed ultimately that is what God is going to judge?

        I do not think so.

        br.d
        Certainly we are not divine – and we cannot obey perfectly.
        But does God make commands without making a provisions for what he commands?
        Isn’t Jesus Christ our provision?

        Kevin
        Jesus told his disciples, “without me you can do “NOTHING” NOTHING DOES NOT MEAN A LITTLE SOMETHING” That even means the ability to do otherwise. Only through Christ can they bear fruit pleasing to God. John 15

        br.d
        I think you are making my point for me.

        Kevin
        Now if the disciples who Jesus said “were clean through the word he had spoken to them” (could do nothing pleasing to God apart from Christ) what can a sinner do who is completely alienated from him and loves the darkness of his sin and hates the light of Christ?

        br.d
        He can obey the gospel – right?
        Now in Theological Determinism – it is a logical impossibility to disobey the divine will.
        So in the case of the MANY who do not obey the gospel – they are actually obeying the divine will.

        What kind of father locks his 8 year old daughter in to a closet – commands her to come out under penalty of death – and then throws her into a fire pit because she did what he wanted her to do – but not what he commanded?

      58. Say a police officer stands by and watches and old disabled man get beat to death and does nothing about it. He Just permits it and watches.

        Is this not what you believe God did, permitted sin and watches the old disabled man gets beat to death and God just permits it and watches because he sees LFW as more valuable? What purpose is this? You see the LFW God is not free being guilty of sin by association. No matter how you try to argue your way around this, the strength of this stands. The most shocking and devastating evils permitted by the LFW God is He permitted evil and wickedness for the sake of LFW and so that the LFW GOD could have what is called a “Genuine real relationship”

        Those who have been the victims of these evils and the family members of the victims, well I do not think they would understand the LFW God’s irrationally of evil without purpose for them but only to protect the the “ability to do otherwise” and have that genuine real relationship”

      59. Kevin
        Say a police officer stands by and watches and old disabled man get beat to death and does nothing about it. He Just permits it and watches.

        br.d
        Do you mind if we change the police officer above to a hypnotist?
        We then have two scenarios:
        1) The hypnotist stands by and watches the bully beat the old man to death
        2) The hypnotist uses his powers – and makes the bully beat the man to death.
        The hypnotist then condemns the bully to death – for the very thing he made the bully do.
        In this scenario both the bully and the old man function as puppets under the power of the hypnotist’s will.
        The hypnotist could have beat the old man to death himself
        Why did he need the bully to do it for him?
        To give him a way of escaping the crime?

        Kevin
        Is this not what you believe God did, permitted sin and watches the old disabled man gets beat to death and God just permits it and watches because he sees LFW as more valuable? What purpose is this?

        br.d
        In scenario (1) yes
        Because when I compare it to scenario (2) it is the lesser of the two evils

        Kevin
        You see the LFW God is not free being guilty of sin by association. No matter how you try to argue your way around this, the strength of this stands.

        br.d
        That is correct. It is a logical implication.
        However, when we compare the two scenarios – there is a difference in that association.

        In our system of laws – which evolved through the Mosaic laws – scenario (2) is considered a much greater evil.
        Therefore I see the LFW view as the more Biblical and ethical view.

        Kevin
        The most shocking and devastating evils permitted by the LFW God is He permitted evil and wickedness for the sake of LFW and so that the LFW GOD could have what is called a “Genuine real relationship”

        Br.d
        I don’t think its accurate to say he permits evils “for the sake of LFW” in and of itself.

        But rather that he permits evils, and with the LFW view – his association to those evils is much more in line with Biblical ethics.

        Kevin
        Those who have been the victims of these evils and the family members of the victims, well I do not think they would understand the LFW God’s irrationally of evil without purpose for them but only to protect the the “ability to do otherwise” and have that genuine real relationship”

        br.d
        BTW there is great irony for me on this subject.

        if you read rhutchin’s exculpatory posts concerning Calvinism’s problem of evil – you will eventually observe his strategy is to always use misleading or equivocal language to present an APPEARANCE of a world in which LFW exists.

        In other words – in response to the problem of evil – it is very common for a Calvinist to SMUGGLE (in camouflaged form) various aspects of LFW into their explanations.

        This clearly shows that while they claim to reject LFW – they actually rely on it.
        Attempts to make scenario (2) APPEAR as scenario (1)

        When I observe Calvinists doing that – it raises the specter of a lack of intellectual honesty.
        And how can a theology possibly be of god – if that theology seduces believers into being intellectually dishonest?

      60. Kevin
        Is this not what you believe God did, permitted sin and watches the old disabled man gets beat to death and God just permits it and watches because he sees LFW as more valuable? What purpose is this?

        br.d
        In scenario (1) yes
        Because when I compare it to scenario (2) it is the lesser of the two evils

        This really speaks volumes and you are making MY case for me.

        You changing the Police Officer to a Hyponists allows you to escape the fact that as the Corrupt Police watch as evil men beat an old disabled man to death and just watch with permission is the same as God allowing wicked sin to enter the world and at random for not purpose whatsoever, but using my analogy here LFW God watches as a disabled old man gets beat to death because he sees that it LFW is the lessor of the two evils and value of LFW. It makes God guilty of sin by association.

        Kevin
        You see the LFW God is not free being guilty of sin by association. No matter how you try to argue your way around this, the strength of this stands.
        br.d
        That is correct. It is a logical implication.
        However, when we compare the two scenarios – there is a difference in that association.

        You know (I am going to call you friend) I have tried to get you to admit this for some time. I understand you are to clarify below. But this is at least some progress. It seems you are saying God permits the lessor of two evils.

        BRD
        In our system of laws – which evolved through the Mosaic laws – scenario (2) is considered a much greater evil.
        Therefore I see the LFW view as the more Biblical and ethical view.

        Kevin My response
        That is the question I am seeking and wanting to know for sure. Your arguments are cogent. It does seem we live like we have LFW and that is what causes me to lean in that direction. But I will continue to seek and research what the Calvinist say in response.

        BRD, feel free to call out me being double minded or having a lack of intellectual dishonesty at anytime. I will not be offended. Because more than likely I probably will not know I am doing it. This is a confusing subject. And I am not just playing dumb

      61. Kevin
        This really speaks volumes and you are making MY case for me.

        You changing the Police Officer to a Hyponists allows you to escape the fact that as the Corrupt Police watch as evil men beat an old disabled man to death and just watch with permission is the same as God allowing wicked sin to enter the world and at random for not purpose whatsoever, but using my analogy here LFW God watches as a disabled old man gets beat to death because he sees that it LFW is the lessor of the two evils and value of LFW. It makes God guilty of sin by association.

        br.d
        The association in the case of scenario (1) is that he could have stopped it and didn’t.
        The association in the case of scenario (2) is that he actually did the beating – using an instrument – so that he could blame his own crime on someone else.

        Which one do you consider the more evil?

        Kevin
        You see the LFW God is not free being guilty of sin by association. No matter how you try to argue your way around this, the strength of this stands.

        br.d
        That is correct. It is a logical implication.
        However, when we compare the two scenarios – there is a difference in that association.

        Kevin
        You know (I am going to call you friend) I have tried to get you to admit this for some time. I understand you are to clarify below. But this is at least some progress. It seems you are saying God permits the lessor of two evils.

        br.d
        Oh absolutely!
        I see no problem with acknowledging that.

        Kevin
        That is the question I am seeking and wanting to know for sure. Your arguments are cogent. It does seem we live like we have LFW and that is what causes me to lean in that direction. But I will continue to seek and research what the Calvinist say in response.

        Feel free to call out me being double minded or having a lack of intellectual dishonesty at anytime. I will not be offended. Because more than likely I probably will not know I am doing it. This is a confusing subject. And I am not just playing dumb

        br.d
        Actually I can clearly say that about others Calvinists that post here
        And RH has certainly been sighted by myself and others for consistently relying on subtle language tricks to make determinism APPEAR to be less deterministic.. But I’ve not seen that with you in this case.

        And I thank you for considering me your friend!
        That is very gracious of you – and I’ll say the same in return :-]

      62. br.d asks Kevin, “Do you think god is commanding people to do something that they are unable to do? What sense would there be for god to do that?”

        LOL!!! Like when God gave the Ten Commandments and expected Israel to obey.

      63. BRD,

        I must say that Rhutchin makes a good point here, because they whole point of the first few chapters of Romans is the fact that no one could be righteous before God by self-effort (which you would call LibFreedom or LFW) to be righteous before God.

        Actually anyone under the law as a way of Salvation before God was under a curse because they could not with their will that Jesus declared was in bondage to sin keep the law perfectly, without interruption and interruption and perpetually. Holiness of heart and life is true freedom. Freedom is Holiness of heart and life. God is the most free being in the Universe as in Him there is light and no darkness at all.

        John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is the slave of sin.

        Galatians 3:10 – For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

        It is the very truth of Holiness that sets us free.

        John 8:32 – and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

        Not to mention that wicked evil sinners are not just slaves of sin but they are willing voluntary slaves of sin as we are told in the Gospel of John. They Hate the Light of Christ and love the darkness of their sins.

        John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
        20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

        Men loved darkness, the very darkness of their sin rather than the light of Christ.

        And this “will of indifference” we will talk more about bc I think it has value and importance to what we are talking about.

        Thanks BRD. I know this was Rhutchin posts, but I am sure you will read it. God bless to the both of you. Welcome to the conversation Rhutchin.

      64. Kevin
        I must say that Rhutchin makes a good point here, because they whole point of the first few chapters of Romans is the fact that no one could be righteous before God by self-effort (which you would call LibFreedom or LFW) to be righteous before God.

        br.d
        Lets use the 10 lepers as an example.
        Lets say the 10 lepers were permitted to make a Libertarian choice between multiple options (i.e.obey vs not-obey)
        When the 10 lepers used that LFW to obey Jesus we have two questions
        1) is it correct to say they healed themselves through self-effort?
        2) Is it correct to say they obeyed Jesus through self-effort?

        Kevin
        Actually anyone under the law as a way of Salvation before God was under a curse because they could not with their will that Jesus declared was in bondage to sin keep the law perfectly, without interruption and interruption and perpetually. Holiness of heart and life is true freedom. Freedom is Holiness of heart and life. God is the most free being in the Universe as in Him there is light and no darkness at all.

        br,d
        I think we can agree that people are under bondage to sin and are thus unable (in and of themselves) to obey.
        We also agree this is the condition of the believer who is deceived if he says he does not sin.

        Now in Theological Determinism – which rules out Libertarian Freedom – the THEOS leaves absolutely nothing UP TO the creature
        So on that view there is no such thing as disobedience to the divine will.

        So lets take an example:
        Lets say the THEOS at the foundation of the world – infallibly determined that you will commit a hideous sin tomorrow at 10AM.

        With Theological Determinism we know the following:
        1) Nothing about that is UP TO YOU
        2) No Alternative Possibility is made available to you
        3) You are not permitted to be or do otherwise

        Since (1-3) are TRUE – and since it is a logical impossibility for you to falsify an infallible decree – do you have any way of escape from what the THEOS infallibly decreed concerning you?

  12. BRD,

    IN connection with my last post.

    Do not forget. Dr Flowers says in his article “John Piper takes on Prevenient Grace”

    “(the word “libertarian” simply means they had the moral capacity to choose otherwise)”

    Does this apply to God or not. Does the definition change for him as it is normally talked about when discussing the word. If you can sin you can not sin.

    1. Kevin
      “(the word “libertarian” simply means they had the moral capacity to choose otherwise)”

      br.d
      Yes – it is well established that Theological Determinism eradicates the ability to “do otherwise”
      So yes – it is logically coherent that “do otherwise” exist within LFW

      Kevin
      Does this apply to God or not. Does the definition change for him as it is normally talked about when discussing the word. If you can sin you can not sin.

      Br.d
      Its not exactly clear what you are asking here.
      But if you are asking the question – does god have LFW – then all IN-determinist Christians would say “yes”

      And most Theological Determinists would also say “yes”.

      Otherwise you have the logical consequences of Determinism affecting god
      Which would mean that his abilities are limited
      And his choices and actions are controlled by external factors and are therefore out of his control.

    2. Kevin
      In Libertarianism, to be free is to express a certain degree of indifference about the choices that one makes.

      br.d
      It has never been described that way – so its uncertain what you mean by this statement.

      BTW: You seem to have a big objection to LFW.
      You do know that if you don’t have LFW – then you don’t have the ability to choose between TRUE and FALSE.
      Which means you don’t have the ability to discern between TRUE and FALSE.
      Somehow I don’t think you see yourself that way.
      So while you are objecting to LFW – you appear to perceive yourself has having it.

      This reminds me of the farmer who drives around on his tractor trying to convince people that tractors don’t exist.

      Kevin
      You must have the power to choose one action or another such that no action carries any particular compelling preference. This is the logical conclusion.

      br.d
      Yes – but most people don’t see this as a reality all of the time.
      And that is why – for example – Dr. Robert Kane speaks about what he calls “self-forming actions”
      These are occasional actions in which a person can choose one way or the other.
      But in so doing – that choice results in a reduction of that person’s LFW.
      For example, making the choice to rob a bank may have the consequence of putting one into prison.

      Kevin
      If this is true, and it seems so, then no action carries any action worthy of any notice either. Bad choices could not justly blamed, and good choices could not be justly be praised because neither would be preceded by sufficient causal intentions of the person making the choice.

      br.d
      I don’t think anyone I know of would agree with this line of reasoning.
      The idea of LFW is that it serves as the most prominent argument for responsibility and accountability.

      For example, Jesus says: “Does the master praise his servant for simply doing what the master made him do?
      No. Why? Because the servant doesn’t have the liberty to “do otherwise”.

      Kevin
      We praise a man’s good actions because they proceed out of a good heart with intentions. In the same way we blame him for his evil actions because his heart has evil intentions.
      In meaningful relationships love is praised not because it is expressed as an indifferent duty, but it comes from a heart overflowing with affectionate desires.

      br.d
      Yes – and this one of the reasons that Theological Determinism is rejected as Biblically ethical.
      Remember – in Theological Determinism nothing is UP TO YOU.
      So in Theological Determinism – you don’t have any intentions that you can call your own.
      The intentions in every case are those of the THEOS who is the one who determines them.
      So the person to praise or blame is the THEOS

      Kevin
      Loraine Boettner said, “if after every decision the will reverted to a state of indecision and osclissation equipoised between good and evil, the basis for confidence in our fellow man would be gone.”

      br.d
      Well this just further makes the case against Theological Determinism
      Because the “decision” in this case is not that of the man’s but that of the THEOS who makes the man’s decisions *FOR* him.
      So there would be no such thing as having confidence in a man – when one knows nothing is UP TO that man.

      Kevin
      The praise or blame that men receive from God is directly tied to their hearts, not their freedom of contrary choice or moral abilities.

      Br.d
      This argument is self contradicting.
      Remember in Theological Determinism – nothing is UP TO the man.
      So there is no such thing as a man having “his” own heart.

      If every aspect of your heart is out of your control – being determined by someone else – then it would be irrational to attribute your actions to you – because nothing about your actions is UP TO YOU.

      If a person commits a crime while being controlled by a hypnotist who determines that man’s actions – we don’t blame that person for those actions – because they were determined by the hypnotist.

      Kevin
      This applies to God’s actions as well. The fact that God necessarily acts righteously and cannot sin does mean that he is somehow undeserving of praise.

      br.d
      You still don’t seem to be able to differentiate between “unable” to sin and “unwilling” to sin when it comes to god.
      I would never say god “cannot sin” and in so doing – mean by that that god is “unable” to sin.
      That would be me – a man – assuming to put limitations on god.

      Kevin
      We magnify God and praise His worthy deeds for the precise reason that he acts with unwavering righteousness and incapable of acting any other way. That is Otherwise!! God does not have LFW!! But we still praise and glorify him for His character and nature daily!! Even though God is determined by His Holy Nature to do that which is complete agreement with his Holy Nature and has a complete inability to sin.

      br.d
      I don’t know who is influencing you with the idea that god doesn’t have LFW.
      But You don’t seem to recognize what you are asserting is that god is not in control of his own choices and actions.
      If he is unable to determine his own choices and actions – then who determines them *FOR* him?

  13. Wouldn’t it be nice if Reformed sites such as gotquestions.org would answer such questions truly transparently instead of with carefully worded responses designed to conceal the theology’s implications and teachings?

    https://www.gotquestions.org/does-God-love-everyone.html

    Just four words in it has to start with the caveats (“There is a sense…”) but can never bring itself to just pour the coffee black and straight-up. Words such as those below would be far truer to their doctrinal beliefs:

    “No – God does not love everyone the same. In fact, just so you understand unmistakably the difference in ‘love’ we are talking about, He decrees from eternity past that particular individuals are unalterably destined to the lake of fire and they have absolutely no say in the matter. This is why we used the word ‘sense’ because the loves are quite dramatically different and the poor wretch destined for the lake of fire is ‘loved’ only in the sense of earthly enjoyments he may or may not experience while on earth – much as a tormented victim enjoys a brief respite during his tormenter’s coffee break. This is the only ‘love’ the wretch can expect.

    Indeed, it’s quite silly that we are working diligently to make our answer here as palatable and non-offensive as possible lest we offend the reader and drive him/her away from God. It actually makes no difference what we say or really even how we say it when it comes to the matter of salvation. God’s eternal decree regarding salvation is that His hand-picked elect will receive it – no matter what – while eternal damnation is the only possible outcome for his hand-picked non-elect – no matter what. Indeed, neither of the two outcomes can be altered in the slightest by anything you – or we – say or do. It has already been decided from eternity past because this brings God glory. Those who believe are not exercising choice. They are merely reflecting a choice God unalterably made for them. So it isn’t a choice in any real sense of the word. Have a nice day, and remember: God might love you in the way that the one asking this question would expect. But statistically speaking, it’s unlikely. Refer also to our answer on ‘Wheat, Tales, and Relative Proportions of Each’.”

    —- Have more questions? We can help! We strive to weave Reformed theology into each answer wherever applicable. You can rest assured that each answer is carefully vetted for doctrinal alignment, but without ever coming out and transparently disclosing our full doctrine or the auto-immune response it would elicit. We endeavor to always speak part of the truth in love. —-

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “God’s eternal decree regarding salvation is that His hand-picked elect will receive it – no matter what – while eternal damnation is the only possible outcome for his hand-picked non-elect – no matter what.”

      This is based on the notion that God is omniscient – and knows the future perfectly – so that He knew the identities of the elect and non-elect before He created the world. God’s eternal decree was established before He created the world and takes effect the minute God creates the world so now all events are playing out exactly as they were recorded in God’s omniscience. Thereby it is true that “God’s eternal decree regarding salvation is that His hand-picked elect will receive it – no matter what – while eternal damnation is the only possible outcome for his hand-picked non-elect – no matter what.”

      Does Steve propose to deny that God is omniscient and knows all future events perfectly?

      1. Calvinist False Dichotomy fallacy:
        Does Steve propose to deny that God is omniscient and knows all future events perfectly?

        br.d
        Everyone here already knows – the way Calvin’s god knows the future is by decreeing ever nano-second of it.
        Outside of Calvinism divine omniscience is not limited to that.

  14. This article sums it up quite nicely, along with the horrifying nuances and implications:

    https://medium.com/@roywoll/the-love-of-god-calvinist-perspective-81696f6a2497

    “Does God love everyone the same?” is not really the question. God loves everyone uniquely is perhaps a cliché but nonetheless biblical and true; this is certain: He loves in a manner perfectly consistent with 1 Cor 13 and certainly sufficiently to want to save everyone.

    This is biblical theology that even a 5-year old can understand: “For God so loved THE WORLD…”

  15. Calvinists seek to control the definition of words and know that the debate is essentially over if they can succeed in this endeavor. James White is a master at this. It also helps to have an abrasive, pit bull personality as well. And to put words in people’s mouths so they are constantly playing defense.

    Refer to guidelines #1 and #2 here: https://soteriology101.com/2020/05/07/calvinism-and-pastoral-care/comment-page-2/#comment-50268

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