Total Inability: Responding to An Arminian

Written by Eric Kemp

I do not learn something new every day; I’m not that studious. But the other day I learned that Arminians agree with Calvinists in affirming Total Inability. I was linked an article directly responding to my soteriological viewpoint and so I thought I would take a crack at it.

Those who deny the doctrine of Total Depravity, and especially its corollary Total Inability, demand we show them from Scripture where an inherent inner inability to freely believe in Jesus Christ and His Gospel is taught — why there must be an inner work of the Holy Spirit in the freeing of one’s will from the stranglehold that is our sinful nature.

Yes, that’s what we want. I appreciate this author’s acknowledgment of the request (edit: I have since been informed that the author of this article is William Birch). This is the first accurate framing of the discussion that I have read. Unfortunately, in my view, he is unable to do so in his article but I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

 Arminians affirm both Total Depravity and Total Inability.1 We affirm not free will but freed will — freed by the Holy Spirit in order to freely respond to the Gospel.

So there must be some sort of prevenient grace that enables men to believe, but they can still reject if they so choose. Understood.

 Whether mortals are born guilty of the sin of Adam is not under scrutiny here. What does possessing a sin nature entail? Or, better, what effects does possessing a sin nature produce? Can a sinful person perform a good act? Yes.

I completely agree.

But what of the spiritual realm? What can a sinful mortal accomplish spiritually? The simple answer: nothing.

Where, from the Bible, does he get the idea that there is a stark duality between the physical and spiritual realms? Mankind, as made in the Image of God, is both a physical and spiritual being whether we believe we are or not. I do not believe there is a single deed a human person could perform that does not have a spiritual component to it. Spirit is a part our nature. If a Christian volunteers at a soup kitchen and helps provide for the needy, in what way is that deed spiritual in a way that the exact same deed from an unbeliever is not spiritual? Do not evil deeds also have a spiritual component to them? The ghastly effects of rape cannot be seen as divorced from the spiritual realm. This idea seems to come out of an unbiblical anthropology.

Regarding the act of believing in Christ, the condition required of God for His saving of the soul, Jesus Himself confesses: “No one can [i.e., has the capability to] come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44); “no one can [i.e., has the capability to] come to Me unless it has been granted [to give, offer] him from the Father” (John 6:44, emphases added).

Later on in the article, much to my delight, the author accurately quotes and directly responds to Dr. Leighton Flower’s position on Total Inability. He takes his discussion opponent head on. This is what great discussions are made of. Yet, when it comes to John 6 and the “draws” and “grants”, the author seems unaware if Traditionalists like Flowers have a position on those passages nor what it is if they do.

What Does it Mean for God to “Draw” and “Grant”?

So I’ll do the work the author does not. First, let’s point out the structure of the argument he is making.

  1. The author assumes that the drawing and granting is the salvation-enabling prevenient grace without showing it from the text.
  2. This interpretation is only necessary if one assumes Total Inability. His argument is circular. The author is using John 6 as evidence for Total Inability but his take on the passage requires the assumption of Total Inability to work in the first place.

If one does not assume Total Inability then “grants” and “draws” can have other meanings. If natural man is not unable to respond to the teachings of Jesus, then the “grants” and “draws” can be contained in the teachings themselves.

For example, let’s consider the pilot of a commercial aircraft. The pilot has a flight plan that goes from Houston to Chicago. By opening the door of the aircraft and lowering the ramp, he grants the passengers who climb onto the plane the ability to travel to Chicago. By proclaiming that the plane is now seating passengers, he is drawing passengers to the flight. It is not required to see the pilot as picking which passengers would board his plane, or him carrying unable to walk comatose passengers onto his plane, to accurately see him as drawing and granting passage.

In our estimation, this is a more biblical view of what Jesus is talking about in John 6. The Gospels see Jesus as actively hiding his identity from the Jews (Mat 16:20; Mark 9:9, 3:12, 8:30, 4:11-12; 33-34). Let’s look at that last reference.

“The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, ” ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’ …With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.“ (Mark 4:11-12; 33-34, emphasis mine)

Jesus sees the Jews He is hiding the truth from as able to “turn and be forgiven” because if He did not hide it from them “otherwise they might” do so! This is how Dr. Flowers puts it:

We believe that Jesus is only revealing His identity to His closest followers and hiding the truth from the rest . . . We understand that Jesus is using parabolic language to blind the self-righteous Jews of that day from recognizing Him as their long awaited Messiah. . . That, and that alone, is the reason His Jewish audience was incapable of coming to Him in faith (John 12:39-41).

This is much more consistent with Jesus’ own teaching in John 6. The Arminian article quotes John 6:44 but does not quote v. 45 where Jesus explains what He means by “draws/grants”. Look at the half the paragraph and see the flow of John’s thought:

41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—” (emphasis mine) 

So the Jews are disbelieving and grumbling about Him and Jesus explains why they are disbelieving. He doesn’t say “because God has not given you the grace to believe”. He says “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me”. So if they had done their homework on the Prophets they would recognize Jesus as the Messiah and come to him. They have not and we see through out the Gospels that Jesus hides further revelation from them so they will not.

The Power of Words

The Arminian author goes on to make a strange argument that I have yet to hear in this discussion. I appreciate his direct approach in dealing with Dr. Flower’s actual position, something I have rarely seen.

Someone who denies this understanding of prevenient grace may argue, as does Leighton Flowers, “we must not presume that just because man is born fallen that the gospel is not up for the task of enabling the fallen man to respond to its appeal for reconciliation from that fall.” (link) (emphases added) But the message or words of the Good News are not magic words: words do not enable a person to believe in Jesus.

If “magic” accurately describes Dr. Flower’s position that the words of the Gospel enable, then I do not see how “magic” does not also apply to the super secret inner prevenient grace that comes with the proclamation of the Gospel. But, of course, Dr. Flowers does not mean to say that the words are a magic spell, but that men cannot believe in what they have not heard (Rom 10:14), and by hearing are thereby enabled to believe.

Now comes the author’s strange argument about words:

Words can inform an individual regarding information, but they cannot spiritually enable a person to assume action, and spiritual enablement is in focus here, since a carnal or natural person “does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness” to that person; indeed, that individual cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised, examined, or discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).

This is some philosophical gobbly-gook right here. He has accepted a philosophical presupposition, without biblical evidence, about what words can and cannot do. I cannot give some specific exegetical rebuttal because these are philosophical distinctions without reference in the Scriptures. Words can inform but do not spur people onto action? That’s silly on its face. Every political movement in the history of mankind, including the Church, has assumed that words can move people to action. He is forced to create a category of “spiritual action” to not make it sound silly and it fails.

Rom 10: 17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

The word of Christ is the means by which faith comes. Seems like words are powerful.

His 1 Cor 2:14 reference is Paul talking to Christians about gaining spiritual wisdom and he’s saying that Christians who are living according to their nature will not gain that wisdom. “The things of the Spirit of God” are not code for “repentance unto salvation”. Paul tells us what he means in the previous paragraph and it is wisdom, not accepting the message of the Gospel.

I called this argument strange because, perhaps without realizing it, the author has admitted that he believes the Gospel is not powerful enough to accomplish what it was sent to do (1 Cor 15:1-2; 2 Cor 5:20). The Gospel just informs, it can do nothing else. This view is consistent with prevenient grace, I have just never heard someone who believes in Total Inability admit it before. I respect the consistency.

I have good reasons why I think the Bible teaches that men can and must respond to the Gospel. Here are some passages that teach that unregenerate men can and must seek God. Does this seeking earn him salvation? Of course not. Does this seeking mean he can fulfill the law? Nay. But it does mean that the unregenerate are not corpses.

“At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, 2 a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.  3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” 4 And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.”” – Acts 10: 1-6

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,”‭‭ – Acts‬ ‭17:26-27‬ ‭

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”‭‭ -Isaiah‬ ‭55:6-7‬ ‭

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord.”‭‭ -Zephaniah‬ ‭2:3‬ ‭

“And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.”  -‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭12:14‬ ‭

“Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O Lord.” –‭Psalms‬ ‭83:16‬ ‭

“Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”‭‭ -2 Chronicles‬ ‭20:3‬ ‭

“For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” –Luke‬ ‭12:30-31‬ 

‭“He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”‭‭ -Romans‬ ‭2:6-8‬ ‭

“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” –‭‭Psalms‬ ‭9:10‬ 

“And those who had set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their fathers.” –2 Chronicles‬ ‭11:16‬ ‭

Putting Blindfolds on Dead Men

The author goes on to further argue his case for Total Inability. I would like to contrast two statements he makes:

 …we are born innately incapable of responding willingly to the Gospel apart from the inner work of the Holy Spirit. This is part of what being “dead in sins” entails. (Eph. 2:1)


St Paul teaches that, with regard to the Jewish people, their minds are hardened; even to this very day a veil remains unlifted over their minds (2 Cor. 3:14), by which veil they are incapable of freely trusting in Christ.

So which is it? Are the unregenerate Jews capable of respond to the Gospel so that God must put a veil over their eyes so they do not? Or are they “born innately incapable of responding willingly to the Gospel”? It cannot be both unless you are picturing God putting blindfolds on dead men. What is God veiling if not eyes that can see? What is God hardening if not hearts that were softer before He did so? Why is Jesus hiding the truth of the Gospel from men who could not see if if He showed it to them plainly?

In our view, the biblical narrative is that the Jews were hardened for a particular time for a particular purpose. 1 Cor 2 tells it nicely. If the Jews had understood that it wasn’t about the political power to overthrow the Roman empire, but instead it was about the power of God made manifest in human weakness, they wouldn’t have killed Jesus and we would not have been saved from our sins.

But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. – 1 Cor 2:7-8

So that is why God blinded them for a time, to accomplish Calvary. Explaining the reason why Jesus hid is identity, and shockingly did not preach the Gospel He brought, is called the Messianic Secret. We can explore this doctrine at another time.

It’s strange that this author thinks that the Jews are beyond help, when Paul does not. Paul’s entire argument starting at the end of Rom 10 and all of Rom 11 is that God has not cut off the Jews from salvation.

But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” – Rom 10:21

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham,a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.” Rom 11:1-2

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! – Rom 11:11-12

And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. – Rom 11:23

So the Arminian author frames the discussion fairly and makes an honest crack at it. However, he starts with the assumption of Total Inability in order to use passages to prove Total Inability. Then he uses an a-biblical philosophical assumption about the power of words, completely misunderstands the Messianic Secret, and unbiblically sees the Jews as beyond hope of salvation. For these reasons, I remain still have not seen a biblical passage that clearly teaches Total Inability and therefore I do not see the purpose for prevenient grace.

222 thoughts on “Total Inability: Responding to An Arminian

    1. It’s a well written article and I too would finally like to get a biblical rebuttal from our Arminian friends. Maybe this will help. 🙂

      1. I think the guy takes a fair stab at it but I’m surprised at what he takes for self-evident. Would love to hear a response on those things as well.

      2. I don’t think I realized it was to the same article. Crazy. I just checked and it looks like the links to the articles by William Birch are broken. Was he the author of the article I was responding to? I didn’t see an author posted.

      3. A year is a long time on the internet. And it looks like I’m over a year behind on this discussion! I remember reading this article at some point. Did he respond to this one?

      4. This is only from some brief internet digging, but I think that article is his latest. His profile has been removed from the SEA website, maybe also explains why doesn’t exist anymore. Looks like he’s not active in this space anymore. A response will have to come from somewhere else.

      5. Unfortunately, I have a guess based upon something else I found, but I do not want to slander him here if it is unrelated. I hope it is.

      6. Maybe William Birch is no longer an Arminian! 😉 People do change Leighton! lol

      7. From what I heard, William is no longer a part of SEA and may be leaning toward open theism, but I can’t confirm that. It certainly looks like he wrote that article based on its style.

    2. That was a well written article and defense of Leighton’s position, Eric! Thanks. The truth has its own power to set free. The Word is living and sharp to divide thoughts and intents of one’s heart. And Jesus confirmed that His words are spirit and life! So why wouldn’t one expect the Word to always have its own innate power to change a person if they would freely let it.

      The evil one certainly knows of the Word’s innate power, and thus tries to steal it even from hard hearts – “lest they believe and are saved” (Luke 8:12). Lucifer must have missed the session on “inability” taught in angel’s school! 😉

    3. Great article! Regarding the “philosophical gobbly-gook” on 1 Cor 2, Completely agree with Romans 10:17. However, I wanted to respond to this: “I cannot give some specific exegetical rebuttal because these are philosophical distinctions without reference in the Scriptures.”

      Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

      So the Gospel WORDS do have power to save those who are willing to believe it! it not magic but power from above!

      1. br.d
        Hello Ken and welcome.
        I am reminded about the times in which Jesus told someone “your faith has made you whole”
        Now how are we to understand that?
        I do not think Jesus is indicating or inferring that a fallible person has the power to change their bodies molecular structure. But certainly the God of the universe who created every atomic particle has the power to do that.
        So Jesus cannot be telling the person that their faith had the power to do supernatural things..
        And I notice that Jesus is not telling the – the faith that was supernaturally implanted into their brains made them whole.
        And Jesus never says a word or never infers that faith had to be supernaturally given to them at that instance.
        If I take the language of Jesus’ statement as it is – what he appears to be inferring is that person did in fact have faith.
        That person made a decision between [BELIEVE] vs [NOT BELIEVE]
        That decision was what the loving God who wanted to heal them – required of them.
        They were able within their own power of choice – to choose [BELIEVE] rather than [NOT BELIEVE]
        That is what Jesus was referring too – when he said “YOUR” faith has made you whole.
        So I think you are correct when you say:
        The Gospel WORDS do have power to save those who are willing to believe it!

      2. br.d,

        Matthew 14:29
        And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

        To add to that, Peter walked on water… for a brief moment.

        He was able to do that due to his own belief, aka faith that he could do it.

        But he lost that faith to continue.

        30  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

      3. br.d
        Excellent Ed!
        So did Peter within himself – have the power to alter the laws of physics?
        Or did Peter operate in collaboration with God – who had the power to alter the laws of physics?
        God commanded Moses to hold up his rod – and the red sea was parted.
        Did Moses have the power to alter the laws of physics?
        Or did Moses fulfill a certain condition required by God – and God altered the laws of physics?

  1. The Traditionalist view of salvation will NEVER be taken seriously because it’s simply untenable. The Traditionalist has an erroneous view of total depravity and believes that mankind does not require a separate work of the Holy Spirit to believe the Gospel. Instead, they believe that mankind only needs to use their autonomous free will to believe in a Holy Spirit-inspired Gospel without any additional action of the Holy Spirit. This view of salvation is not biblical and can be EASILY refuted if we carefully exegete Scripture.
    Let’s go to some of the passages that Traditionalists simply misinterpret to support their false teachings about the ability of mankind to believe absent the working of the Holy Spirit.

    John 6:
    The Traditionalist would have you believe that Jesus’ teaching in John 6 is narrowed down to the judicially hardened Jews because they insert this “historical context” into every text that promotes universal depravity/inability.
    The fact is that Christ is teaching His Jewish audience universal truths about the spiritual condition of mankind (that transcends judicial hardening). Prof. Flowers and other Traditionalists have the bad habit of conflating contexts in order to prove their false presuppositions/doctrines. Their views on John 6 is quite indicative of this fact.
    Jesus is clearly teaching that MANKIND (NOT JUST HARDENED JEWS) has a natural and innate inability to respond to Him outside of the supernatural drawing of the Father. There’s just no denying this fact considering both the immediate context of John 6 and the broader context of tota scriptura. When Christ says, “no man” in v44 He’s speaking of ALL of fallen humanity; not just judicially hardened Jews! The fact that Jesus is addressing a group of judicially hardened Jews is immaterial to His teaching about all of mankind (which those Jews are apart of). He’s telling them (the Jewish audience) that the reason why they’re rebelling against His message is because they’re apart of fallen humanity who lacks the spiritual ability to accept His message outside of the supernatural “drawing” of the Father.
    V45 further proves that “no man” in v44 is referring to all of humanity as Christ states, “Every man” that has heard/learned from the Father will respond to Christ. So if we can conclude that Christ is using universal terms here to speak of all of humanity, then we can rightly conclude that all of humanity is born with an innate inability to respond to Christ, which has nothing to do with judicial hardening. It’s therefore incumbent upon the Traditionalist to prove that “no man” in v44 is only speaking of hardened Jews.

    1 Corinthians 2:14-16:
    Prof. Flowers is famous for stating that, “if you can say the same thing about a believer that you can about an unbeliever, then the argument for inability is not compelling enough to teach total inability”. Prof. Flowers likes to conflate the context of 1 Corinthians 2 and Romans 8 with that of 1 Corinthians 3.
    The fact is that 1 Corinthians 2 is teaching a dichotomy between the ability of mankind before and after salvation. Before salvation, mankind can’t “receive” or “know” spiritual things (i.e. the Gospel). However, post salvation they can “judge all things” because they have “the mind of Christ”.
    Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is directed to a problematic church in Corinth (1 Cor 1:10-17). It’s a mixed church (like all churches) consisting of both believers and unbelievers. In 1 Cor 3 Paul is addressing the specific problem of carnality (acting fleshly/unspiritual) amongst the Corinthians. They’re acting AS IF they’re unbelievers (v3). However, this is not to say that they’re like unbelievers who BY NATURE can’t receive “spiritual things” in a salvific sense. To “receive” or “know” the spiritual things of God is equivalent to salvation!
    We must be careful not to conflate contexts in order to prove a presupposition, especially if it’s false.

    Romans 8:4-9:
    The pivotal verse in this passage is v8, “So then they that are in the flesh CANNOT please God”. Prof. Flowers will say that this verse can also apply to believers since believers are mentioned in 1 Cor. 3 as acting “carnal” or fleshly. So since Romans 8:8 APPEARS to apply to both believers and unbelievers, then, according to Prof. Flowers this disproves total inability. But, once again, Flowers is confusing contexts. I’m Romans 8, God is presenting us with the same dichotomy as He presents in 1 Cor. 2:14. In both passages we see that to be “in the flesh” is equivalent to not having the indwelling Spirit and if one does not have the Spirit they are UNSAVED (v9)! So Romans 8:8 can be paraphrased to read, “So then they [mankind] that are void of the Spirit cannot please God”.
    So is Prof. Flowers correct in stating that Romans 8:8 could also refer to believers by pouring the context of 1 Cor. 3 into its meaning? Of course not! Because those in 1 Cor. 3 have the Spirit which means that, according to Romans 8:8, they do possess the capacity to please God. The problem is that they’re BEHAVING like those who can’t please God (1 Cor. 3:3). But I reiterate the fact that 1 Cor. 3 does not disprove the plain teaching of Romans 8:8 because the contexts are distinct from each other. Unsaved mankind can’t do ANYTHING to please God in a salvific sense (including humbling one’s self).

    1. Troy, “The Traditionalist view of salvation will NEVER be taken seriously because it’s simply untenable.”

      I guess you better tell that to the Southern Baptist Convention because most of their members hold to a more Traditionalist view. Starting your comment with scorn is not a great way to get people to engage with your viewpoint.

      1. Thank you Eric for your comment brother. However, my objective is not to get people to agree with my viewpoint. My objective is to only share what the Bible teaches. The Bible is a revelation of the mind of God and what He wants us to know about His revealed will. I’m expressing my opinion concerning the tenets of Traditionalist teachings and calling them false and to do so may be considered as “scorn” or simply a “rebukement”. But I assure you Eric that my intention is not to offend, but to exhort!
        Also Eric, I would love to hear your response to the brief exegesis I provided regarding 1 Cor. 2 & 3 and Romans 8 as it relates to your teaching on man’s depravity and the extent of his spiritual ability..

    2. Curious Troy… do you believe one must be indwelled by the Spirit prior to saving faith? Don’t many Calvinists separate the drawing (effectual calling/regeneration) from the indwelling of the Spirit so as to handle all the texts which clearly speak of the Spirit indwelling us through faith?

      1. Yes Prof. Flowers! I do believe that the Holy Spirit’s indwelling is prior to saving faith. Saving faith is a supernatural gift that only the indwelling HS can provide!
        With respect to God’s drawing, the HS will only indwell those whom He EFFECTUALLY draws and those whom He draws WILL believe.

    3. Hey Troy, your exegesis of Rom 8 and 1 Cor 2 deserve a longer reply. I’ll start working on a response to it and send you a link when I do.

      1. Troy said:
        With respect to God’s drawing, the HS will only indwell those whom He EFFECTUALLY draws and those whom He draws WILL believe.
        Richard responds: This is just another permutation of Robot Theology.
        Where in Scripture does it say God EFFECTUALLY draws. This would imply an INEFFECTUAL drawing at other times, a joke drawing.
        An “I just want to toy with you drawing”. Sounds blasphemous, doesn’t it? Yet if one is going to add words to the Bible, they have to accept the consequences. Proverbs 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Resisting the Holy Spirit is well documented in Scripture….Act 7:51  Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Mat 23:37  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! You just can’t fit the square peg of Calvinism into the round hole of Scripture.

      2. It is unfounded to believe that one is indwelt with the Holy spirit prior to faith. prior to faith has another term in scripture, unbelief, unbelievers are the ones without belief. not only that, we have this from scripture, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?”
        “No, we have not even heard of the Holy Spirit”

        Then they received the Spirit of God and the scene of Acts 2 was repeated

        Troy’s previous objection about
        John 6 is incorrect, since Jesus was choosing the 11 apostles and the deceiver, dismissing the rest of his 70 or so disciples, because they were not believers.
        The second half of John 6 is not about ANYONE outside those 11, when it speaks of those given to Jesus, by the Father.

        Outside of the Gospel of John, the only other mention of anyone given by God is a singular mention in the Letter to the Hebrews.

        Losing none given to him is clearly stated, no interpreting even allowed, for it is the most plain language there is, He told the soldiers to release the 11 for they have him, the one they seek, and he SAID THAT TO FULFILL HIS OWN WORDS.

        Where did he use those words? john 6 and the continuation of this action is recorded in John 17, his prayer in the Garden. Not losing any is not about eternal salvation, even.

  2. Thank you Josh for sharing your insights. Praise the Lord that He gives that enabling light/drawing at last a few times to every person sometime during their life so that they might seek and be able to find Him if they keep seeking. Job 33:14-30, John 1:4-13, 12:35-36, Acts 17:26-27, Rom 1, 2, 10:18, Heb 3:7-8, 2Pet 3:9.

    1. Thanks Josh for responding though I encourage you to look at all the references I listed. Rom 10:18 especially says they have heard, pointing back to Rom 1 where it is said that God personally makes it plain “in them”.

      That chapter does not say all men suppress the truth all the time in unrighteousness, but that the wrath of God is revealed against those who do. The beginning of chapter 2 clearly suggests that God has done enough to lead them to repentance, as do the other passages I listed.

      If a person is convinced personally by God of His existence and their sinfulness, and they then call out – “God be merciful to me a sinner” in repentance and faith – do you think God would give them justification in His righteousness (Luke 18:13-14)? Remember that the gospel did not just start after Jesus died and rose again (see Heb 4:2), it just got more defined for our proclamation.

    2. @ Brian, I don’t think Romans 10:18 is saying that every person in the world has heard the gospel. Paul may have the part of the world which had the gospel known to them. It doesn’t seem like we can say Romans 1 is the gospel in any way. I get God is revealed to a degree that way but no it seems the overall testimony of scripture makes it clear that salvation is found in no other name then Christ Acts 4:12. Even Cornelious who was described as one who feared God was described as not saved. I do agree that perhaps if by God’s grace men respond and call out as you said then God would seem to based off of Acts 10 reveal the truth of the gospel. Even if he has to transport a man like Phillip. Nonetheless none can be saved apart from the gospel. Also Romans 3 seems to conclude Romans 2 that men don’t do the things Paul listed which is why they need the gospel.

      1. Thank you Grace for jumping in. Rom 10:18 is Paul continuing his earlier discussion from vs 12-16. Verse 16 mentions the gospel which is the context of verse 18. And as I had pointed to Heb 4:2, you would have to agree that knowing the death, burial, and resurrection facts were not a necessary part of the “gospel” in the OT.

        Are you convinced that those facts are necessary now, or could you be convinced that calling out for the mercy of God is the same as calling “on the name of Jesus” who is the mercy of God? (see Luke 18:13-14, that I also mentioned earlier).

        Rom 3 just confirms that all are sinners and that God must take the initiative to lead to repentance as mentioned in chapter 2. Don’t you believe that He takes that initiative with each and every person personally at some point to draw them to seek…? even if you think He would have to “fly in” a missionary to give all the facts of the gospel if they should begin seeking in response to His drawing personally… or perhaps use a dream! 😉 Connected with that… do you believe His drawing is irresistible and must end in regeneration? Thanks.

  3. Romans 8:1-9 (NKJV)….
    There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 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. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because 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.

    Both our Calvinist and Arminian brothers in error when they attempt to use Romans 8:8 to suggest total inability.

    In context, Romans 8:8 is not saying that the unsaved “cannot please God” by believing, but rather that the unsaved “cannot please God” by keeping God’s “law of sin and death” or righteous requirements (Romans 8:7). That was the purpose of sending His Son; to do what we cannot.

    1. The above should read…

      “Both our Calvinist and Arminian brothers are in error….”

      Sorry for the typo.

      God bless.

    2. “I think where I would disagree with you is that the unregenerate cannot submit to God period.”

      Romans 4:3 (NKJV)…

      For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

      There’s just one example.

      Blessings, brother.

      1. Phillip said:

        “I think where I would disagree with you is that the unregenerate cannot submit to God period.”
        Richard responds:
        Can you post the Scripture that says you must FIRST be born again to submit to God’s command to repent? Mark 1:15.

    3. Grace, when you reference the work of the Spirit, is it only the complete regeneration of the heart that causes men to respond to God? Or is there smaller drawings that cause men to seek without a complete heart transformation? Depending on that answer, does the regeneration of the heart always accompany the proclamation of the Gospel, or can the Spirit regenerate a heart without the person ever hearing the Gospel?

    4. Brother Philip thank you for your response. However, the purpose of Romans 8 is to reveal the difference between those who are fleshly and those who are spiritual. Those who are fleshly are VOID of the HS. If you do not have the indwelling HS, then you’re unsaved. Therefore they (those who are fleshly) cannot please God. In Romans 8 the context teaches a dichotomy between the character of unsaved mankind and the character of those indwelt by the Spirit.
      So I’ll reiterate again that Romans 8:8 can be paraphrased in this manner, “Those who are void of the Spirit cannot please God”. This verse is an indictment against mankind of His extreme sinfulness and his inability to please God in any way. The fact that he can’t keep the law is simply an evidence of his total inability. Also God doesn’t accept unsaved man’s acts of obedience anyway as they’re viewed as “menstrual rags” (Is. 64:6).

      1. Troy,

        You write…. “If you do not have the indwelling HS, then you’re unsaved.”

        Agreed. Those indwelt with the Holy Spirit are saved.

        But then you write to Leighton…. “I do believe that the Holy Spirit’s indwelling is prior to saving faith.”

        This seems to agree with Loraine Boettner who writes… “A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.”

        However, the scriptures are abundantly clear that we are saved thru faith, not saved to faith.

        Then regarding Romans 8:8 you write… “This verse is an indictment against mankind of His extreme sinfulness and his inability to please God *in any way*.”

        Thanks for sharing your opinion, but you are adding an element that is foreign to the text. The text is specific in tying our inability to please God in relation to keeping God’s law (verse 7) and obtaining His righteous requirements (verse 4). Both Calvinists and Arminians have to force faith into the text in an attempt to support their view of total depravity/total inability.

        Blessings, brother.

      2. Phillip writes, “This seems to agree with Loraine Boettner who writes… “A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.” This statement is correct! The HS spirit must first give us the faith to believe the Gospel. Regeneration is the PROCESS by which the Spirit supernaturally draws and gives the elect faith to believe the Gospel message. It could be restated in this manner..the Spirit applies the Gospel to the heart of the elect which results in saving faith. True conversion is then the evidence of this saving faith. But regeneration starts with God drawing His sheep to Christ through the Gospel and it culminates in saving faith which is seen in conversion.
        Phillip writes, “The text is specific in tying our inability to please God in relation to keeping God’s law (verse 7) and obtaining His righteous requirements (verse 4).” Phillip the entire Bible is God’s law sir; not just the OT law! God’s law commands everyone to repent and believe the Gospel (Mk. 1:15; Acts 17:30). The command to repent and believe is apart of the law of God! Unfortunately, mankind cannot obey this command because of these reasons:
        1) natural man finds the Gospel message to be “foolishness” (1 Cor. 1:18; 2:14)
        2) natural man hates his Creator (Jn. 7:7; Rom. 1:30)
        3) natural man can’t understand (unto salvation) the Gospel (1 Cor. 2:14)
        4) natural man loves his depravity (Jn. 3:19)
        5) natural man’s acts of obedience before salvation are not honored by God (Is. 64:6)
        All this is to demonstrate mankind’s complete and utter dependence on God to save him because mankind is born utterly wicked and separated from his Creator. Grace is the exercise God’s unmerited favor towards those whom He decides to bestow mercy. All we can do is throw ourselves at His mercy and even this is a sign of His supernatural drawing!

      3. “Regeneration” in Calvinism is like me giving a drug to a woman I want to marry, who hates me and who keeps refusing my proposals up until the last second when I give her the drug, and then she can’t refuse, but says yes immediately. That doesn’t sound like the Scriptures’ teaching about God’s drawing and giving light to woo each person to humbly seek Him and His mercy for an everlasting relationship of love freely offered and freely responded to!

      4. Hi Brian! You’re absolutely correct that YOUR analogy doesn’t represent the God of the Bible! But even if I were to accept your analogy, my response would be – “Lord please give me this drug so that I won’t spend an eternity in hell!!”
        The fact is Brian that your view of general enlightenment just isn’t supported by Scripture brother.
        Let me ask your indulgence for a moment by presenting you with a scenario..
        The Scriptures teach that every person, prior to salvation, finds the Gospel to be foolishness. According to the Traditionalist’s view, the Holy Spirit-inspired Gospel is the only thing necessary to bring salvation. You and I are in church one Sunday morning listening to the same Gospel presentation. You eventually come to believe, but I still find the message to be foolish as a natural man and continue to reject it.
        Question: If mankind, by nature, finds the Holy Spirit-inspired Gospel to be foolish, what makes you freely believe the message and I continue to freely reject it? In other words, why is the message no longer foolish to you but still foolish to me if it’s the same powerful Holy Spirit-inspired message?

      5. Thanks Troy for confirming my illustration of the Calvinist “regeneration”.

      6. Well I guess I’m not getting a response to my question I posed to you, huh Brian?

      7. We’ve been through this Troy before… and I don’t desire to continue in conversation again with you about these things. I don’t think it will be edifying. But the simple answer to your question is that in your scenario you hardened yourself against the ability and opportunity you were given to seek further understanding and I didn’t, but could have. If you ask another question… I probably will not answer, just to let you know. Blessings.

      8. I perceive that to be quite arrogant on your part brother. But, with regards to your response, you just proved my position that your view of salvation depends on mankind. But thank you for your indulgence sir.

      9. You do not have to respond Brian. This comment will be available for others to garner truth from.
        Brian wrote, “But the simple answer to your question is that in your scenario you hardened yourself against the ability and opportunity you were given to seek further understanding and I didn’t, but could have.” This “simple answer” reveals Brian’s refusal to accept certain truths outlined in Scripture. The Scripture says that natural man finds the Gospel message to be foolishness. If the natural man (unsaved man) finds the Gospel message to be foolishness, then he WILL NOT desire to acquiesce to its message or it’s author. Brian insists on a doctrine that is sub-biblical which he terms “enlightenment”. Brian believes that God gives every man (without exception) this enlightenment. But even with Brian’s “enlightenment”, Paul says that all men are born finding the Gospel message to be foolish. So if all have this enlightenment when they come into the world, why does Paul still say that the natural man finds the Gospel to be foolishness?
        To say that one chooses to harden oneself to the “ability and opportunity” that he’s been given, just doesn’t address the issue. The real issue is that unsaved man doesn’t want the gospel because he loves his sin and the Gospel mitigates against his sinful nature.
        So Brian your answer is quite inadequate and really doesn’t answer the question sir!
        The biblical answer is that God draws man by his Spirit through the Gospel message and gives him the spiritual understanding and faith to believe its message! Salvation is completely and utterly supernatural and can only be wrought by God Himself!! Praise the Lord!!!

      10. Troy:
        It looks like you have a “man-centered Gospel”

        You said …..

        “The real issue is that unsaved man doesn’t want the gospel because he loves his sin and the Gospel mitigates against his sinful nature.”

        Why are you giving credit to man for this decision at all? Do you not know that the real reason the “unsaved man doesn’t want the gospel” is because God created him to reject it….for His glory. Surely He delights in man rejecting as much as accepting since both are for His glory!

        You give man too much credit!!

        It is the same level to credit a man the decision TO choose Christ on his own as it is to allow him to NOT choose Christ!

      11. Troy writes… “‘A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.’ This statement is correct!”

        Thanks for sharing, brother.

        Paul (from Galatians 3:2 (CEV))……
        I want to know only one thing. How were you given God’s Spirit? Was it by obeying the Law of Moses or by hearing about Christ and having faith in him?

        Neither! It was only because of God’s indwelling Spirit already in me that I was then effectively enabled to both hear and have faith in Him! 😉

      12. God the HS both draws and gives faith during the regeneration period. The proof of regeneration is conversion. Only a supernatural faith that can cause us to receive Christ. Any other “faith” is a work of man and cannot save!

      13. Troy writes (in response to Brian’s analogy)… “But even if I were to accept your analogy, my response would be – ‘Lord please give me this drug so that I won’t spend an eternity in hell!!’”

        No you wouldn’t Troy. Remember? You hate Him!

  4. @ Phillip, you are assuming God’s Spirit wasn’t at work with Abraham, when clearly God was drawing him. I am not saying they cant period even with the work of the Spirit so sorry for not being clearer. I do believe the unregenerate can but that is where it seems biblically there is a work of God’s Spirit that always precedes that.

    1. Gracentruth8503,

      You write… “you are assuming God’s Spirit wasn’t at work with Abraham…”

      And you are assuming the Spirit was. In context, there is no mention of any inner working. God merely spoke and Abraham obeyed.

      However, the reason for my initial post was to disprove the notion that Romans 8:8 was referring to believing, rather than keeping the law. So if Calvinists and Arminians want to insist fallen man can’t believe, then they must look elsewhere to find support for that.


    2. @ Phillip yes I am assuming because I am reading it in light of the scripture as a whole not in isolation. We know from countless text the Spirit was involved even as Jesus affirmed the Spirit was with the OT saints. I mean like I said there are countless scriptures which show that the Spirit was at work in OT saints. I guess I just don’t see it a big assumption to think that in the NT since the Spirit works by enlightening, convicting, and drawing then that was how He worked in the OT. Also as far as Romans 8 goes it seems that the issue is the carnal mind is set on the flesh and therefore doesn’t submit to God. I agree primarily the law of God seems to be in reference but it also seems to be a sweeping “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” I mean without faith it is impossible to please God and it would seem since they are hostile that they cannot do so apart from God’s saving grace. Although I could be wrong. Just my thoughts. Appreciate the dialogue. Grace!

  5. Grace, I appreciate that clarification. Would you say that the historical and literary/oratory circumstances (the actual events and the recording of the events, both orally and in writing) that brought about the Gospel were a work of the Spirit both in the world and within the particular men who were involved in those circumstances?

  6. OK great. So if I am reading/hearing the words that were a work of the Spirit would it be accurate to say that I’m being drawn by the Spirit?

    1. Do you think what’s happening with Lydia (described as a worshipper of God) is revealing a work of effectual calling (or regeneration) of a total depraved heathen?

    2. In order to understand our position, I would like to take a closer look at your last sentence there, “That being the case it seems as the Word goes forth it is closely connected with the Spirits work of convicting and illuminating and thereby enabling the sinner to receive or reject.”

      You are assuming, without biblical evidence in my view, that the Word going forth is separate from the work of the Spirit. We see the Word going forth as the work of the Spirit. We see it this way, in part, because by saying that the Spirit worked in the producing of the Gospel (events, choosing messengers, preaching, writing) but still must do something ELSE to enable sinners to believe, you are (unintentionally I’m sure) saying that the work of the Spirit to produce the Gospel is insufficient to enable men to believe in it. We see that as reducing the power of the Gospel and as contrary to Scripture (“for [the Gospel] is the power of God unto salvation” Rom 1:16).

    3. @ Admin, no I am not a Calvinist lol. I think what was happening was prevenient grace as I quoted. I do think Lydia although described as one who wasn’t given to pagan idolatries and a worshipper of God as was Cornelius, the scriptures still declare for example the Cornelius was not saved until he heard the gospel. Therefore he was still a totally depraved man as was Lydia. I will say this, how all this quite work out is a mystery to me and I don’t say that as a cop out but it is truly a mysterious work of God.

      @Eric I see what your saying and thanks for explaining, but I would simply say that I don’t think it is unbiblical or me assuming anything. My whole thing is that the scriptures are inspirited by God, but what it seems like Paul is saying is when he preached “it was just word but in power and in demonstration of the Spirit. I don’t know that I would say every time the gospel is preached it is in that way. It may be, I am just being honest and saying I don’t know how that works. However it is not an assumption to say that in light of the entirety of the New Testament, when the Word goes forth, the Spirit does a work we see of opening the heart of man to heed it and convicting them thereby enabling the sinner to respond. I don’t know how you could say I am assuming when I have shown you the scriptures which speak of God’s work in the unregenerate. John 6, John 16, and Acts 16. Those seem to be all at work when God seeks after man. Which if you guys affirm those three things are all at work connected to the proclamation of the gospel then I don’t really see how you disagree with the Armenians’ view of prevenient grace. Hope that makes sense. And just a reminder all of this is in love, I know how topics like these can get people upset.

      1. Of course, this is all in love and hopefully we are just sharpening each other here as brothers and sisters ought.

        “I don’t know that I would say every time the gospel is preached it is in that way. It may be, I am just being honest and saying I don’t know how that works.”

        But what makes you doubt it?

        “However it is not an assumption to say that in light of the entirety of the New Testament, when the Word goes forth, the Spirit does a work we see of opening the heart of man to heed it and convicting them thereby enabling the sinner to respond.”

        I’m saying the assumption is that the work of the Spirit is in some way separate from the Word going forth.

        ” I don’t know how you could say I am assuming when I have shown you the scriptures which speak of God’s work in the unregenerate. John 6, John 16, and Acts 16. Those seem to be all at work when God seeks after man.”

        Of course, but in what way? That’s where our disagreement is.

        “Those seem to be all at work when God seeks after man. Which if you guys affirm those three things are all at work connected to the proclamation of the gospel then I don’t really see how you disagree with the Armenians’ view of prevenient grace.”

        Because prevenient grace says that the Spirits’ work of producing, preaching, and writing the Gospel is insufficient to enable men to believe it. We do not see evidence of that in the Scriptures and we don’t see how it lines up with how language, in general, works. Even a grocery store list enables me to purchase the items on the list, but the Holy Spirit wrought truth of the Gospel cannot spur me to consider my sin?

    4. @ Eric the reason I say idk is because ignorance I guess. I just haven’t thought as deeply on how that works specifically I will admit. And as far as you saying that I think they are separate forgive me if I am being confusing I don’t know exactly how they work together. I am just simply saying they are connected. I also don’t think just saying I preached the word to them therefore they are enabled is what the NT presents. Like I said it seems there is a gracious work of God unlike the grocery list, the unbelievers mind are blinded and their nature is hostile to God and the things of God. They are foolish to him. This is why I biblically it seems men must have their heart opened and convicted by the Spirit. I am not denying that the scriptures and these works are connected but I am saying nevertheless the Spirit doing this work when the Word is preached is imperative. Once again it doesn’t seem like you deny the spirit must do this work in the sinners heart in order for them to be able to come to Christ. I agree with you this would happen and is connected to the Word preached. I don’t know how else to put it but I believe the above quote I posted is fitting “It requires the hearing of the gospel. The Word is the instrument, the means used by the Spirit as a basis for the conviction, the persuasion, the enabling. This observation accords with the concept of the power of the Word of God spoken of everywhere in the Scriptures, as in Hebrews 4:12 for example. Arminius’ view on this is clear when, speaking of the persuasion involved in this pre-regenerating grace, he says, “This is effected by the word of God. But persuasion is effected, externally by the preaching of the word, internally by the operation, or rather the co-operation, of the Holy Spirit, tending to this result, that the word may be understood and apprehended by true faith”. I just think its hard to argue around this. It seem like what he is saying is in line with 1 Thess. 1:5, John6, John 16, and Acts 16.

    5. Eric,

      Since all scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) and since God is spirit (John 4:24) then, yes, we are drawn to God thru, but not limited to, His written word.

      However, this “drawing” in no way overcomes or alleviates man’s fallen nature. Fallen, depraved man can both hear and respond favorably to God’s revelation of Himself. Both our Calvinist and Arminian brothers believe that the fallen, depraved nature must be addressed first if man has any chance of believing. Most Traditionalists, but not all, believe fallen man never lost his ability to believe, hence there is no need of an additional work of grace that restores man to a pre-fallen state.

      God bless.

      1. Philip wrote, “Fallen, depraved man can both hear and respond favorably to God’s revelation of Himself.” The problem with this statement Philip is that, not only is mankind incapable of hear and responding favorably to God’s revelation, he WILL NOT respond favorably because he both hates God and His revelation outside of a supernatural work of the Spirit. Depraved man finds the Gospel foolish prior to salvation. So if this is a universal truth about all mankind without exception prior to salvation, then how does one respond “favorably” to a message that he both hates and finds foolish?
        Your premise that mankind can respond to the Gospel fails to take into account that fallen man WILL NOT respond favorably to a message that he despises and hates. God has to give him the desire through effectually drawing him by the Spirit applying the Gospel to the heart and then, and only then, will mankind freely respond to the Gospel!

      2. Troy:

        you replay to Philip that man _cannot_ (incapable) hear God’s revelation without receiving salvation.

        This isn’t what the Bible says.

        1) Jesus used parables to keep the Jews from believing in him. If this was simply a matter of God withholding the discernment of Salvation, the parables would not have been necessary.

        2) Paul tells us (really numerous times) that faith comes from man, and that faith is not works. (I’ll exegete this in a bit more later)

        3) Paul tells us in Romans 1:20 that “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”

        He’s telling us here that unbelievers, the _unsaved_ are *without* excuse. If God withheld Salvific faith from them, the inability to believe without being saved, that would be a substantial excuse. Of course they are already reprobate and God didn’t have to _turn them over_ to their reprobate mind.


        I would also suggest reading the article on Freewill in the Bible;

        Brother in Christ, let’s now exegete Ephesians 2:8-10 where this confusion comes from.

        2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

        The Calvinists (and likely Arminian) tell us that the “gift of God” is faith, as it follows that statement, and Paul also says, “That not of yourselves.”

        What he’s talking about here is three topics, faith, grace (how we receive our salvation) and works.

        Paul was combating those that tell us we earn grace through works.

        2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

        Here we see a clear explanation of that thought. Paul tells us we are not saved of works, lest any man should boast. Of course, the Calvinist who’s turned faith into works misses this verse. If faith is works, how do you boast of it? Can you really boast of your faith in God?

        No way. It’s impossible as Heb 11:1 tells us _what faith is_.

        Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

        Does that sound like something you can boast about?

        2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

        This passage really hammers down the point that faith isn’t works, and we don’t receive faith through regeneration that happens before grace. We are his workmanship, created in Christ to do _good works_. Nowhere in this passage (or any other in the Bible) does it proclaim we receive _saving faith_ through the prevenient grace of God.

        Further, this lack of the “right faith” also disproves this idea.

        Catholics Love God and Jesus – They have faith in them and the false gospel they have been given.

        Mormons Love God and Jesus (as two separate entities) – They have faith in them and the false gospel that has been given to them.

        If Man can have faith in God that’s not a saving faith, then man can turn from his sin and through HIS faith, accept the work Christ did for his sin.

        Faith is not works, I can’t brag about trusting the blood of Christ. He did all the work, I’m just _trusting_ that it is finished.

        God Bless and have a good Sunday.

  7. Well I think Hebrews 4:2 the Jews who had special revelation did have the gospel in a sense preached to them as we see in Genesis 3. The seed. That’s why Moses is described as suffering the affliction of Christ. They looked ahead to the promised Messiah. So that is very different then looking at the stars and knowing their a God it would seem. The Jews had special revelation which is why it could be said of them the gospel or simply the good news was preached to them. I don’t know though if the content of what is spoken of in Hebrews 4:2 is the same as the NT gospel spoken of or if rather it is just speaking of good news they had of entering Gods rest.

    I do believe they are necessary just as Romans 10:5-10 speak about what is necessary to be saved. Also as I pointed out with Cornelius he was one who feared God yet Peter said they weren’t saved until they heard the gospel. I do believe God desires all though as you mentioned.

    1. Thank you Grace for your reply. I am still interested in know you answers to my other two questions –
      <<Don’t you believe that He takes that initiative with each and every person personally at some point to draw them to seek…? even if you <<think He would have to “fly in” a missionary to give all the facts of the gospel if they should begin seeking in response to His drawing <<personally… or perhaps use a dream! 😉 Connected with that… do you believe His drawing is irresistible and must end in regeneration?

      And have you ever read Job 33:14-30 which indicates how God led before Moses and any written revelation to get people to trust in His righteousness. Don't you think He could still be doing that.

      Yes, God led Peter and Cornelius together for Cornelius to hear the message of salvation. But that historical account does not teach a prescription of how God leads everyone to repentance and faith. It is just a historical account.

    2. Hey I am actually trying to see if Leighton will delete my comments. Long story but JoshKaser8, Joshua, and Gracentruth8 are all the same person. I am not going to be responding more here but would love to continue to chat if you would like email.

  8. What about 2 Cor: 4 3-6? It seems Calvinists, and even Arminians, have an argument that the believing requires something more “powerful” than merely the Gospel enabling (as in one needs either effectual or prevenient grace). I haven’t seen Traditionalists engage with this set of versus very often.

    1. Good question, JP. I’m not sure where this has been discussed more fully by Leighton in one of his posts… but the context of 2Cor 4 is Paul discussing how his gospel has been veiled IN (not TO) the hearts of people in Corinth… by false teachers being used by Satan. His appeal is to the Corinthian believers to reject those false teachers and their influence and to follow Paul’s example of a humble, unpretentious ministry of sharing God’s clear word.

      The individual heart must turn to the Lord for the veil to be taken away (3:16). That is an active choice of that heart, presumably a humble choice to seek to understand more about Christ in response to the light they were already given! See the parable of the sower where the word itself has a positive influence in all three soils. Even Satan endeavors to take the word out of hard hearts lest they believe and are saved (Luke 8:12). In the 2Cor 4 context the seed and the understanding of it is being veiled IN the hearts of the lost (or perhaps BY the false teachers) with the same effect in unbelievers.

      1. I wasn’t able to pull up anything in detail from Leighton. Either way, your explanation helps. I have seen Calvinists use this verse before but have not seen much interaction on it from the other side. Personally, I fall somewhere on the Arminians/Traditionalist spectrum, but that explanation makes sense.

    2. JP,

      The passage you mention doesn’t help sell the duck of prevenient Grace.

      “the god of this age/world” notice that God is lowercase. Paul was not speaking of the Godhead, of the lord Jesus Christ doing the act of blinding them. He’s talking about Satan as the god of this world. That those who serve Satan are blinded by him.

      Even if we are to believe that, Paul is talking about God, Jesus Christ, it’s opposite of prevenient grace. These people are actively being blinded, lest they believe.

      1. Morris – I was typing on my phone, so I probably wasn’t clear enough. I understand the point that Satan (god) is doing the blinding. I’m saying that the Calvinist (one has said this to me before) and even an Arminian could both say that something extra is needed to enlighten (remove the veil) that Satan/sin has put over one’s eyes. Both could say that the Gospel-message-proper (the Traditionalist point) was/is not strong enough to lift the veil (that Effectual/Prevenient Grace is what is needed). Does that clarify my point?

    3. Back up six verses and read: “But whensoever it shall turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”
      ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭

      The veil is torn by Christ and when the veil of the law and old ways of the Pharisees thinking which is removed if they look to the Lord and his gospel.

  9. Instead of “total depravity” and “sin nature” barring one from hearing and believing the gospel, I am of the view that a better explanation is that we are born in “darkness.” There are only 2 reasons that someone is in “darkness,” blind to the gospel. 1) They haven’t heard it or 2) they have rejected it. The gospel is a simply proposition — either Christ died for your sins .. you are a sinner .. you need salvation which only comes through Christ .. (and the part most people miss) you must obey the gospel (REPENT) in order to receive salvation. Now you either haven’t heard that or, hearing it right now, you reject it. Calvinism rejects it because they do not obey the gospel.

  10. Troy:

    You have all the talking points down, and of course you are not saying it to convince or be winsome! “It’s about pure doctrine anyway, not about being winsome right?!!” Who cares how winsome or convincing we are—- only the Spirit can convict, right?

    Zechariah and Elizabeth…

    all had statements like this said about them Luke 1:6 “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.”

    What does that mean?

    Why did God tell the following to Cain?
    6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

    Why does the Bible give us the impression in a zillion places that man can seek God (“seek first the kingdom”) if it is not possible at all?

  11. I have come to believe that total depravity/inability with all its accompanying baggage (born dead in sin, original sin, etc.) are completely explained by the notion of those living in “DARKNESS.” Why do people live in darkness? 1) They have not “seen the Light” or 2) they have heard the gospel and rejected or disbelieved it.

    The gospel is very simple: We are sinners .. the time of our ignorance God winked at .. Christ died for our sins .. He was raised for our righteousness .. we need to call on His name repenting unto salvation (Acts 2:38, Jn 16:8-10, Acts 17:30, 26:20, Ro 10:13) Believe, obey (repent) and live .. or remain in darkness.

  12. Troy asks Brian…. “Why is the (gospel) message no longer foolish to you but still foolish to me if it’s the same powerful Holy Spirit-inspired message?”

    Then Troy writes in regards to Brian’s response….. “This ‘simple answer’ reveals Brian’s refusal to accept certain truths outlined in Scripture.”

    Bingo. Troy answers his own question.

    Answer? Free will (Curse words to the Calvinist).

    Loraine Boettner writes… “A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.”

    Troy believes this is true. I believe it is false. Why the difference? Free will.

    Troy believes Romans 8:8 includes faith. I believe faith is exempt from the text. Why the difference? Free will.

    Troy believes “regeneration precedes faith”. I believe faith precedes regeneration. Why the difference? Free will.

    Calvinism, ironically, is proof positive of “free will”. People can believe what they want to believe.

    1. Salvation is a work of God. Faith is an evidence of that work. Conversion is evidence of a supernatural faith and this why true believers will persevere. If you are relying on YOUR faith to save you, then you are still spiritually dead and headed for hell fire. Anything that we do to obey the Scriptures is a “work”. Your faith is a work. This is why so many believe for awhile and yet end up apostatizing. God’s gift of faith is His work and the only means of believing in Christ. We can take absolutely 0% credit for our salvation, for it is the work of God from beginning to end.

      1. Troy:
        I get accused of works-salvation, because ipso facto if it is man who has faith that is a “work”.

        But then I read:
        4:2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

        Our faith is neither something we can boast about (did better than another—significant Calvinist gothca phrase) nor is it a work.

        He is not justified by works.
        He did not do anything to boast about.
        He is credited as righteous when he believes.

        There’s the rub. Calvinists say that the believing was given to him. It doenst look like it here or anywhere. Really. A simple reading of any of these faith/ believing passages looks like man has to have faith —and that he CAN have faith.

        And if this faith and all the list of faithful in Heb 11 was given to them unalterably-irresistibly, then what is the point?

        I mean really what IS the point of any of the Bible if we only have the faith God gives us, and must use it as prescribed, and we cannot learn from any of the hundreds of examples He gives us in His Word?

        Why even talk about Abraham’s faith?

        Can I learn from Abraham’s faith….and have an even greater faith?

        What are we to learn from Hebrew 11?

        What did Christ mean when He said “your faith has made you whole”?

      2. Troy:
        The day is coming when cage Calvinists will accuse all others of heresy and works-righteousness. Are you there already?

        Paul says this:

        Romans 4:4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

        He is juxtaposing works and faith…..making it clear that faith is not a work.

        You can say “yes but YOUR faith is a work” all you want, but Paul disagrees.

      3. As you prepare to teach us heretics a lesson (just as Calvin did!) please listen to one more passage from Paul.

        He wants to make sure that we understand that works dont count but faith does, and to make sure that we understand that works and faith are not the same.

        Rom 4:13 It was not through the law [works] that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by [non-works] faith.

      4. Paul, just to make sure that we dont think Abraham’s personal faith was something different…something we could not all have….added this.

        Romans 4:23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

        In fact that whole chapter is about Abraham, Abraham, Abraham.

        That is a bit deceptive if, as you say, the whole message of the chapter is about not-the-faith-of-Abraham

      5. Troy writes… “If you are relying on YOUR faith to save you, then you are still spiritually dead and headed for hell fire. Anything that we do to obey the Scriptures is a ‘work’. Your faith is a work.”

        Thanks, brother, for sharing what you believe.

        Luke 7:48-50 (ESV)…
        And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “YOUR FAITH has saved you; go in peace.”

        Romans 3:27 (ESV)…
        Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of WORKS? No, but by the law of FAITH.

      6. If we will only allow ALL of Scripture to speak and harmonize with itself, we will see a beautiful picture of how God saves.
        Once God gives us the supernatural faith to believe His Gospel, then His faith becomes our faith. This is meat; not milk I’m speaking! Once we unveil ALL that the Bible reveals about the nature of saving faith, we discover that our faith is nothing more than the “evidence of things not seen”. Our faith is the “evidence” of God’s unseen work in the believer’s life! The fact is mankind is utterly helpless before an almighty, holy, loving, angry, jealous, and vengeful God. God says that we can do NOTHING to satisfy His requirements to be perfectly holy, righteous, loving, etc. We are completely powerless before Him. Any attempt to satisfy His requirements will ALWAYS fall short because He demands perfection, which is why Christ’s perfect life and sacrifice were so necessary!
        Please err on the side of God’s meticulous sovereignty, rather than on the side of protecting/preserving man’s pitiful efforts to please God by his free will.

      7. How patronizing Troy!

        Many of us have come from the point of view you cut and pasted there.

        So patronizing of you to say that what we are doing is “protecting/preserving man’s pitiful efforts to please God by his free will”.

        I was a Calvinist but just kept butting up against 100 times more verses that say “whoever will may come” “your faith has made you whole” “seek first the kingdom” ….and got tired of saying “it doesn’t really mean that…”

        Of course man cannot please God with his works, but “these things were written that you might believe”…and Paul did all things “to persuade men.” (John 11:42, Christ) “…but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

        It just seems with hundreds and hundreds of verses like this, that believing is possible ….at least it sounds a lot like Christ is saying that (or the Bible is deceiving us).

        You can paste some strung together, out of context verses, from, but I am too buying reading about people’s faith in Hebrews 11, or that God directly told Cain that he could and should dominate over sin.

        As a Calvinist, I got tired of using 50 verses to explain the Bible and started seeing that the whole Bible sounds like God is calling all men ….Like Christ is calling all men to himself when lifted up.

        You said yours is meat, not milk.

        It sure is not Good News.

        For those of us with unbelieving loved ones, we shutter at the idea that they are refusing to submit to Christ. But when I was a Calvinist I shuttered worse at the idea that I would spend an eternity with a God who did not choose my brother, but rather before time (before he had done a thing) created him for eternal destruction.

        Good News!

      8. Calvinists for the impossible. They make faith works and pretend they can’t boast about being elect.

        Faith isn’t works, it’s why we’re saved through it. Anyone can believe, anyone can humble themselves. In fact, it’s what God wants.

        James 4:6-10 humble *yourselves* before the Lord. As Leighton often says on his podcast, of you’re waiting for God’s irresistible grace to humble you, you’re going to be humbled on the day of judgement.

        As Paul tells us, “test your faith,” and “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

        The Bible is a work declaring God’s sovereignty and man’s free ability to follow God.

        Calvinism doesn’t believe that God is sovereign. You believe he’s finite, and that’s why he has to limit man’s free will. But as some one else said on here, you always choose sectarianism. (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

        Does God cause us to sin? No. James 1:13-14. God chooses not to cause creatures with libertarian free will to sin. He doesn’t want us to love him out of force, he wants us to love him willingly.

        How is one preserved in the faith?

        According to Peter preservance follows increasing *our faith*, and practicing *self-control*. Does God control us, Peter didn’t think so, he told his flock to practice *self-control*.

        But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
        II Peter 1:5‭-‬8 NKJV

        Look up the term self-control in your concordance. Their are far more passages talking about we believers exercising self-control than the handful of eisegetical verses for election.

        Let’s start with one of the favorites, John 6:44, Jesus is telling us he has chosen some of us.

        Who’s left following Jesus at the end of chapter 6. The 12 _chosen_ disciples. The whole chapter is about hardening the hearts of the Jews, and displaying his power over man’s will. The chosen are also prayed for in John 17, another passage that Calvinists love to use with eisegetical libertine free will. This is also out of context, as he first prays for his chosen disciples, (which no one alive today is apart of) then he prays for the world, specifically saying world twice, that whoever hears the word turns to him.

        Faith is not and will never be works. What is faith? Heb 11:1 the hope in things unseen. Atheists exercise that. They have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow and if they’re married, faith that their spouse will stay faithful.

        What are works? As Paul tells us in Galatians 5, works are of the flesh.

        Is faith of the flesh? No. Can you boast about a promise that is *not seen*? No. It’s a level playing field, and precisely why Paul tells us in Romans 1:20 that there is no excuse.

        Making faith come through grace, (on top of creating an infinite regression) gives those who haven’t received it an excuse. It also makes what happened to you, boast worthy as you are God’s chosen. This is exactly the same problem the Jews had, and why they worshipped God with their mouth, but their heart was far from him.

        Do not wait until its too late. Humble yourself before the Lord.

      9. Troy .. the Bible doctrine of Faith is faith = knowledge + belief + application. You know the gospel. If you believe the gospel, then you will apply/obey the gospel to your life. What does the gospel command? It commands that you repent to God declaring death to self and sin and asking for forgiveness and “eternal life.” (Job 42:5-6, Isa 55:7, Acts 2:38, 8:22, 11:18, 17:30, 19:4, 26:20). So the question is: are you willing to let go of your old life and old beliefs and obey the gospel? If you do so, they you will have true faith in Christ — not just a belief of your mind but a faith of your heart.

      10. “I do believe that the Holy Spirit’s indwelling is prior to saving faith.”

        “A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.”

        “God has to give him the desire through effectually drawing him by the Spirit applying the Gospel to the heart and then, and only then, will mankind freely respond to the Gospel!”

        “Regeneration is the PROCESS by which the Spirit supernaturally draws and gives the elect faith to believe the Gospel message.”

        “If you are relying on YOUR faith to save you, then you are still spiritually dead and headed for hell fire. Anything that we do to obey the Scriptures is a ‘work’. Your faith is a work.”

        “This is meat; not milk I’m speaking!”

        No, brother, this is Calvinism. This is decisively, unequivocally, unmistakably Calvinism. And your comments/beliefs have been a blessing.

      11. Thank you Philip! But I really dislike it when people reframe the debate to include Calvinism vs Arminianism vs Traditionalism because it masks the real issue. The real issue is what does the Bible actually teach regardless of one’s “ism”. We get trapped by “isms” and never really speak “what thus saith the Lord”. I’m about discussing Scripture without being accused of an “ism”!!

      12. Troy:
        Where are your “Thus sayeth the Lord” passages about giving faith?

        Here is one from the mouth of Christ. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

        He wanted….they didnt follow. Did He really want (or is he deceiving us) or were they able to resist?

      13. It tells us clearly they were able to resist.

        “They were unwilling” that’s their will, Christ is talking about.

      14. FOH – the demons believe that God is one… did God give them that faith? 😉 The shallow and thorny soils believe the word they were given. Did God give them that faith? Even the evil one takes the word out of the hard heart lest it believes and is saved (Luke 8:12). Doesn’t He know that he can’t stop the so-called elect heart from being given regeneration and faith from God?

        I am beginning to believe that just like old earth creationists, infant baptizers, those who support women as pastors and those who reject the future earthly reign of Jesus in Jerusalem are willfully ignorant of clear Scriptures to the contrary of their views, and are satisfied with the twisting of the clear meaning of those Scriptures so they can remain loyal to their chosen theology and group that professes it and continue to enjoy their standing in that group… Calvinists are just as willfully ignorant of what God’s word says concerning the free-will exercise of faith.

        Would you say, looking back as a former Calvinist, that you would now classify yourself as having been willfully ignorant for any or all of those reasons I listed?

      15. Brian:

        I resisted Calvinism at first. I had grown up in a generic, traditional setting and had seen the Dutch frozen-chosen in my home town and high school. No one took that group of baby-baptizing, wooden-liturgy, covenant-theology, amillennialist seriously. It was not just the frozen-chosen part but all the other aspects of Reformed theology. And they certainly made no efforts at winsome outreach!!! And why would they?!

        Later in California, the upper-classmen in my dorm got on the nascent wave of the 5 points. Some even said to me “the 5 points ARE the gospel.” Imagine my shock and resistance.

        But yes…..these newly-minted, Spurgeon-voice-imitating guys started a sort of intellectual club and many of us wanted to be in it! I wanted to be one of “us” not a lowly “them”.

        Of course all the while declaring that this was “For God’s glory!” —–but looking back, I’m not so sure. It was heady stuff! No one got in our way—-or we would crush them with the “you have a man-centered gospel.” I learned the “dead men dont make choices” mantra and crushed ahead.

        You must realize that this was before MacArthur was a Calvinist (he got on the wave about this time), and long before Piper was on the scene. We were the minority…..and only could move ahead by shouting our “man-made-gospel” louder than the next guy, or slipping interested parties a John Owen or van Til book. Yum! Boettner…. no Marvel comics for us!

        Packer moved the ball ahead with Knowing God….and even though there is a ton of free will in the book, people began to say, “Hummm…Packer is a Calvinist so maybe….” Pounce!

        Later MacArthur and Piper got on. By the time Piper showed up I was already off the wagon. As I have stated many times here it was simply reading the Word. I only had books (and later blogs and sites) about Calvinism not the opposite, so I attribute my exodus to God’s grace….and the plethora (and I mean 98%) of Scripture that made no sense to me as a Calvinist (and is now much clearer!).

        It was only later, while the Lord was bathing me with Calvinist-recovery therapy that I heard that one of my Calvinist heroes had left the elite flock also. I began to track F.F. Bruce-taught Clark Pinnock and his journey from the dark side.

        For the last 25-ish years overseas I would only occasionally come to the US. Imagine my surprise many years ago when I would see bumper stickers from a Piper campaign: “Don’t waste your life!”

        I thought that to be incredibly Arminian or Traditional. How can a Calvinist tell anyone “Don’t waste your life”?

        He certainly cant be talking to unbelievers since they have no choice in the matter.

        If he is talking to believers he is only reaffirming the idea that one CAN waste their life! How?

        Can he do things God did not ordain? No.

        Can he do things that will alter in any way what God has pre-ordained? No.

        It sounds very “man-centered”!!

        It is a very man-centered concept. “your” life. “You” can waste it. “You” have choice-authority over your life that God does not over ride.

        It sounds like what man does can make a difference. In what way? Bring people to Christ? No, that is out of our hands.

        Waste you life? Piper is clear that every calamity on the earth is brought by God, so who is he to say that he can change what God has planned for anyone’s life—- in fact how dare he do that!

        That—-my friends— is when I put it all together.

        Piper theologizes like a Calvinist but acts like an Arminian. Issuing all kinds of Spurgeon-esque salvation invitations or Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God” approaches.

        We could EASILY find tons of very non-Calvinist ideas, theology, and sermons from Piper, Spurgeon, and Edwards that contradict their own theology.

        That should show them their inconsistencies. But no.

        Ironically that only comforts cage-YRRs. Cuz they say “see…we preach this or that” and they tell themselves they can be hard-line, purity-obsessed, take-no-prisoners Cal-vingelists and still XYZ (fill that in with any number of Arminian-esque ideas). They can have the best of both worlds: theologize and shill like a Calvinist but daily act like an Arminian. Thinking…preaching….that what they do actually matters.

        Don’t waste your life!

        Certainly an oxymoron for a Calvinist—-but they just can’t see it.

      16. Thank you for taking the time to give more of your testimony! I know the Lord is going to use it to help current cage-calvinists to assess who they are and why they are so loyal to Calvinism in spite of the Scripture’s clear teaching to the contrary!

        I’ve seen the helpful power of testimony from former preachers of false doctrine become a great source of help to those who have been defending that false doctrine but are willing to test it against the Scriptures.

      17. Brian:

        Above you listed a few ideas that people get stuck on equating them to Calvinism: “…old earth creationists, infant baptizers, those who support women as pastors and those who reject the future earthly reign of Jesus in Jerusalem are willfully ignorant of clear Scriptures to the contrary of their views.”

        In my view these are not as severe as Calvinism since Calvinism addresses directly the CHARACTER of God.

        When I was a Calvinist and someone would mention this to me, I could easily retort, “Too bad for you!” or “Take that up with God” —or some other such smug remark.

        When I left Calvinism, I realized that I had been in fact promoting this idea of God:

        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 60-70 years of sinful (maybe only 30 miserable years in Africa, Middle Ages, human traffic, slavery, torture, 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…and their neighbors (some of whom are NOT the object of God’s love because they were created for destruction). The question for me was how/why does God ask us to love someone and lay ourselves down for someone, when He did not do it himself. And why?

        God thinks about you, and created you for destruction or redemption, but we dont know which. Can we tell you God loves you? Not according to Calvin. Can we tell you Christ died for you? Not according to Cavin. What do say? According to Piper and James White, we say “repent” but of course if you can’t then God is sending us on a fool’s errand.

        When I read the OT and see the prophets begging the people to turn and repent…I believe that they COULD have. Calvin doesn’t. All of God’ pleading, and sending, and persevering was all for not…. If they didn’t repent, God never intended them to! What? Is He conflicted? Calling them to it….sending them prophets….but never intending to “give them the faith” to do it.

        When I read the parables —-Wedding for example Matt 22 I would see that they could have come. I just clipped this off a Calvinistic web sites: “Note that it is not because the invited guests could not come to the wedding feast, but that they would not come (see Luke 13:34).” So there is that want-the-best-of-both-worlds again.

        Clearly the God that I was promoting was not issuing sincere invitations if in fact the people did not come (How could His will be “twarted” in such a way?). Either His invitations was insincere or people truly could resist.

        I thought any other position would rob God of his glory…his sovereignty. But why? What if he set it up to let his creation choose. I am a father of several children and yet I do not force my children to love me. In fact, can love be forced?

        I asked myself why the system I adhered to was so contrary to all that man can imagine? Why must we accept early Greek Philosophy & Catholic/Augustinian teaching on God’s need to control all things? The Scripture demands no such interpretation.
        So, Brian I feel that his issue is more important since it proclaims directly that we are serving a God who does not love all people, and in fact created most people for destruction….despite telling us, “God is love.”

        We will spend eternity with a God who purposely did NOT chose some of our loved ones (but let us know them, love them, witness to them, pray for them). There is something wrong with this picture.

      18. Thanks again for the response FOM… I see your point and understand your passion for it. You certainly may be right in your evaluation of which unsound doctrine is the most harmful. I was making the comparison based on how there is the similarity in all those who hold to harmful doctrines of willful refusal to acknowledge the simple meanings of clear passages that contradict those views.

        The underlying issue of objective clarity for understanding meaning in Scriptures is key. Some might feel I have called some things in my examples as unsound that they feel are clear in Scripture. I am very happy to be proven wrong by being shown those clear Scriptures whose understanding comes from easily applied normal rules of grammar and context.

      19. Brian writes, “the demons believe that God is one… did God give them that faith? 😉 The shallow and thorny soils believe the word they were given. Did God give them that faith? Even the evil one takes the word out of the hard heart lest it believes and is saved (Luke 8:12).” Brian my friend you have just unwittingly proven my point!! Everything you’ve said here proves the fact that there’s a difference between our faith and the supernatural faith that must come from God Himself! All you’ve done was just give a perfect illustration of why we need a foreign faith outside of our “free will”. The faith that originates from our free will is impotent and only leads to a false conversion and eventual apostasy. Only saving faith perseveres because it’s God-given and thus DETERMINED to persevere!!

      20. Troy,

        Perseverance comes through growing our faith, and exercising our self-control.

        Do you just cut out all the free will, self control, make a choice, humble yourself, freewill offering passages from the Bible?

        It’s amazing to me that you’ve made something impossible to boast about, boastable. You’ve transformed faith into works, and made yourself worthy of boasting as God sees something special in you, to drug you into forcing you to have faith in him.

        If I drugged my wife, to force her to love me, am I a loving husband?

      21. If forcing me to have faith will save me from Hell, then Lord please drag me to yourself!!!

      22. Question for those who are Calvinists:

        Shouldn’t have Paul, who you believe is a determinist have know the answer to this question?

        I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel,
        Galatians 1:6 MEV

        If they turned away according to Calvinists, it’s because they were never saved, or God is glorifying his will. Which means Paul wasn’t given the whole truth of God and believed the Galatians were acting of their own free will.

        Which is why he told them this:
        For freedom Christ freed us. Stand fast therefore and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
        Galatians 5:1 MEV

        Do not use your free will, and your newly gained freedom from the bondage of sin, to *return* to sin. It’s not God that returns us to sin. (James 1:13-14) it’s not God that makes us humble. (James 4:6-10).

        Its not God that gives us faith, Paul tells us to test our faith, and work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

        You simply can’t throw away over 80% of the bible to make yourself elect. Especially when Calvinists try to insert themselves into John 6 or John 17. In both cases the “chosen” were the disciples. What hubris to insert yourself in either passage!

        Romans 9 and Ephesians 1 are the other two chapters taken boldly out of context. Neither is about foreknowledge of who would be elect, in fact the context of Ephesians 1, is made clear in verses 12-13. Those who believed in Christ after hearing the gospel.

        Romans 9 is how God used the free will of Israel to accomplish his will. That passage should be read in context of the verses Paul is quoting. When Abraham didn’t trust the will of God, and had sex with Hagar it was an issue of *his* trust, and letting his wife make a decision for the household. He chose to not wait on God’s time, and as head of the household, chose not to turn Sara’s offer down, as it wasn’t what God promised.

        God used his disobedience to glorify himself. He doesn’t cause man to sin, God hates sin. He can glorify the sinner and the victim of the sinner. (Hagar and Ishmael are glorified after the act)

      23. Well done Morris.

        Paul has many, many more examples where yours came from…

        I Timothy 1
        19 Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. 20 Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God.

        There is a lot of self-control in there. If Paul was working from a Calvinist paradigm of God-managed, he would not have said “cling” “keep” “deliberately violated” “shipwrecked faith” “handed them over to Satan” “learn not to blaspheme God”…

        This passage from Paul (who allegedly gave us Calvinism, right?) and many others like it show, as you said, that Paul must not have gotten the Calvinist memo.

        But you know Morris, these multiple biblical examples rarely work with YRR, because they have often traveled too far down the determinist hole, and have too many blog-buddies on (hyped like a locker room before the championship game), and have been convinced that if they even consider the alternative that they are caving into human-man-made theology.

        A typical response will be ….”Yes but we KNOW it does not mean what it says because…” (here is where you insert any one of 3 or 4 things: “God is sovereign” “God gives faith” “we only see it this way; it is not really saying that” “are you telling me that you……[add any shaming phrase you want here]).

      24. I’ve seen both God is sovereign, and God gives us faith.

        I don’t think any of us on this side of the debate deny God’s sovereignty, in fact, I believe as Tozer so eloquently states, a God less than sovereign would fear giving man free will.

        On the faith one, that is circular logic. I’ve tried explaining that and none of them see it. If grace comes before faith, (aka faith through grace) than Ephesians 2:8 creates circular logic because grace comes through faith.

        They’ve created a chicken and egg conundrum unnecessarily. God through Ephesians 2:8, Galatians 2:16, Heb 11:1, clearly delineates faith versus works of the law. By proclaiming that faith is mutable with works *and grace* they create circular logic and confusion.

        Is God the author of confusion? No, in fact Paul specifically speaks to that point.

        Why make the gospel more complex and a God less than sovereign?

        When I was first saved, I interacted with a lot of YRR and it nearly entrapped me. Honestly, there are *way* more sermon podcasts from deterministic preachers than not.

        What really saved me was that I chose to attend an assembly of God church. (which I know also has doctrinal problems, and I’m still not sure how to approach that, now that I’ve read the Bible more and don’t agree with all of their doctrines.) When I first was saved the doctrines of total depravity were attractive as I was still struggling with porn. God hadn’t granted me the grace to deal with that.

        It’s that lack of personal responsibility that attracted me to calvinism when I was first saved.

        Growing up in a Mormon household, I was also drawn by the deterministic nature of it. What *really* saved me was reading the Bible with Bible study groups at my church. We did a study on Philippians which is loaded with passages about man’s free will. Of course, I’ve been doing most of studies outside of the confines of my church, and realize that speaking in tongues has specific regulations and Paul even states he’d rather speak five clearly understood words than 10,000 in tongues.

        As I said however, atm I’m not really sure what to do about that doctrinal difference. Is it big enough to leave the church for, or am I being sectarian in worrying about that?

      25. Gentleman Reformed Theology does not teach that mankind has no free will as we are clearly free to make choices (i.e. moral, physical, etc). The Reformed doctrine of free will is that mankind’s will in bondage to his sinful nature and is unable to understand SPIRITUAL THINGS in a salvific way. In other words, mankind has free will in the physical (material) realm, however they cannot make spiritual choices (i.e. believe in Christ). “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (Jn. 3:6). In fact, Christ is instructing Nicodemus on the supernatural nature of Salvation in John 3.

      26. Troy,

        “Gentleman Reformed Theology does not teach that mankind has no free will”

        Incorrect. The philosophy you’ve chosen to follow doesn’t believe that as you’ve chosen to believe that to have your soteriology remain compatible with the free will passages in the Bible. The higher calvinism that James White preaches, is totally antithetical to free will. He believes God causes man to sin.

        To paraphrase, “if God doesn’t cause the rape it has no purpose, by God causing the rape it glorifies God.”

        However as Leighton has pointed out, even your lower philosophy of calvinism is still not biblical, and it is still Ultimately deterministic. If man can only choose to sin without God’s supernatural intervention, than that man has no will and has an excuse to reject God. What does Romans 1:20 say? That we are without excuse. If you have to be zapped to believe, that’s a huge excuse. You’ve also lifted yourself above the unsaved, unchosen man. Why did God choose you over your neighbor? What did he see that was so glorious in you? This is why calvinist use the projection of biblical Christianity, “man centered”.

        The truth is, you’re philosophy is man centered. You’ve elevated yourself through the myth of election. Nowhere in the Bible does it say God died for some. He died for all. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are saved before we’re able to believe.

        If God does not cause us to sin, than we have free will and can resist sin. If we are to *submit* to God, and *humble ourselves* than we have free will, before *and after being saved*.

        As I said earlier, God is not the author of confusion. All means all, anyone means anyone, whosoever means whosoever and the world means the world.

        When Peter says we get the undeserved gift of grace through self control and humbling ourselves, he is speaking to the saved and the unsaved. The inability to do good works under the law, does not mean one is unable to turn to God and admit they’re handicapped.

        That’s not in the Bible. At all. What does psalm 14:1 say? The fool says in his heart there is no God. Is the whole world filled with fools because they don’t see God as a moral monster?

        The analogy that Leighton used the other day was really good. That the law, is like a no swimming sign on a deep pool. Man tries swimming, and then God tells man that he will save, *whosoever* calls on his name. (Romans 10:9-10)

        According to your philosophical view of scripture, this is a lie. That they can’t actually call out to God without God first giving them the ability to do so. That makes God a moral monster because he:

        1) lied. The scripture that is clear is not actually telling us the truth and God is the author of confusion.
        2) he punishes people unable to know they are drowning and unable to call out for help.

        Now, you can choose to believe you are following the Bible, but this is not what the Bible teaches. As I told you earlier, John 6 and John 17 are not about individual election, he was talking about his chosen disciples. The oft misquoted prayer, that Jesus only prayed for the “chosen”, is also a lie. Just six versus later he prays for the world to believe through his chosen disciples.

        You’ve got to really dig into scripture and read and pray on it. May I suggest doing a study on self humility or self control?

        God Bless,
        Choose wisely.

      27. Yes I’m intimately aware of compatibilism as I’m a staunch proponent of it. If Ephesians 1:11 is true LITERALLY, then man’s free will choices are apart of God’s “working ALL things”. This is compatibility gentlemen!

      28. Troy,

        1:11 is meaningless without the next two verses. His will:

        that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, should live for the praise of His glory. In Him you also, after hearing the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and after believing in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
        Ephesians 1:12‭-‬13 MEV

        God’s will
        who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all. This was the testimony given at the proper time.
        1 Timothy 2:4‭-‬6 MEV

        God’s will
        that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
        Philippians 2:10‭-‬11 MEV

        God’s will
        “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
        John 17:20‭-‬23 NKJV

        Which is why Christ said this:
        “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God.
        Luke 12:8 NKJV

        Why Paul said this:
        even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
        Romans 3:22‭-‬23 NKJV

        *all means all* – God is not the author of confusion. Whoever means whosoever. It’s clear from these passages the will of God is for man to use his will to serve God. This btw is but a small sample. The new testament and old are loaded with verses like this.

        The biggest problem with grace bringing about faith, besides it not being biblical is it doesn’t explain how Abraham was able to be justified by faith before the holy spirit was given to mankind to regenerate us.

      29. Morris:
        Good stuff!

        You said “it doesn’t explain how Abraham was able to be justified by faith before the holy spirit was given to mankind to regenerate us.”

        There’s more. Abraham’s faith is repeated in several places. Any of those times God could have clarified and even implied that it was given to him in a special way. Nope. Read all of Romans 4…Abraham, Abraham, Abraham. Can’t boast…It’s faith (can’t boast about faith). It’s not works. It’s faith. Personal faith is not a work.

        If Calvinism is true we are supposed to piece together half verses here and there to contradict what the Bible says over and over in a straightforward way. Abraham believed the Lord and it was credited to him as righteousness.

        By faith Abel….”Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.” (Heb 11).

        What does he speak to us? Have faith!!!

        If we have nothing to do with faith….nothing to learn… faith to exercise…..then what is Abel saying to us?

        God is telling us to LEARN from other people’s faith!

      30. Why? Because you say so?

        God is not powerful enough give man free will?

        Why do you limit him with your interpretation?

      31. FOH… did you notice that the ones Jesus wanted to gather to Him He called the children of Jerusalem who killed the prophets? That is just what He called the scribes and Pharisees a few moments earlier… “children of those who killed the prophets”! Hmmm…

        You’d think Calvinists would see the connection. 😉

      32. Troy.

        Reformed theology in its true form (you will get there soon enough if you hang around on the sites) most certainly does “teach that mankind has no free will as we are clearly free to make choices.”

        Many have quoted Calvin and the catechisms at length saying it. Not one decision you make did not come from God (per Calvin).

        But that aside….how do you separate it? I mean, you are saying that men can make choices, good honest ones….maybe giving their lives for others kind of choices, but they cant see God’s grace?

        Why does not, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh” apply to ALL decisions? Just because you say so?

        I am not sure why Calvinists think they get to draw the line on what can or cannot be seen/ understood/ accepted by what is “born of flesh.”

        Born of flesh people can do incredibly moral things, but they cannot hear the gospel and believe. Because you say so?

        Luke 1:6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.

        It looks like the flesh can yield some amazing things, but cannot simply see the truth and believe it?? Just because you came to the Bible with the answer ahead of time.

        The Bible never says you cant believe unless God individually empowers you. It just tells men to hear the Word and believe.

      33. Mankind can make “good” moral choices but they’re dead to spiritual things!

      34. Aren’t: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control spiritual things?

        Can a “born of the flesh” person be patient, kind, gentle?

        You are not making biblical sense.

      35. Unregenerate man can display good moral acts but their natures remain unchanged. Believers have new natures and are new creatures in Christ! The fruit of the Spirit are supernatural, not just good moral acts.

      36. Missing the point completely. Please look at the point we are making. Your answer is not relevant.

      37. “they are dead to spiritual things”

        According to your choice of biblical interpretation. I don’t see that in the bible. In fact, while re-reading Pilgrim’s progress tonight, I saw an interesting Bible quote that proves this point. Hebrews 12:25

        “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.”

        Is there a more powerful free will message toward the non believer? An inability to do good works, does not mean an inability to be spiritual. As FromOverHere stated, man, even unsaved man is capable of spiritual things. Someone also pointed out to you that faith is something more than unsaved man is capable of and you raised the bar of faith to *saving faith*.

        What does Ephesians 2:8 – 10 say? We receive grace through faith that was provided by grace, so you could have faith, to receive grace that would bring you faith through grace.

        Oh wait that’s the calvinist Bible.

        We receive grace through faith, the free gift is grace not faith. Faith is belief and trust in things unseen and promised. (Heb 11:1)

        He even makes it clear he’s not made faith works in the next passage, “not of works lest any man boast”.

        Now, the question I’ve never had answered by a determinist, is how do you boast of faith? Now I’ve already told you, how you can boast of faith as you can boast of your election, you’re special. But the biblical version of faith is an equal ability among all mankind and unboastable. Works are boastable as they take skill, and produce something that is easily boast worthy. Faith doesn’t produce anything here on earth. (this is the problem with the Prosperity gospel, they’ve also made salvation work based)

        Then he hammers this point home in verse 10, “God has prepared good works that you SHOULD complete.”

        He doesn’t prepare faith from regeneration, he prepares good works. Faith isn’t works.

        Galatians 2:16-

        yet we know that a man is not justified by the works of the law,

        The law is works, the law isn’t faith.

        but through faith in Jesus Christ.

        Where does that faith come from?

        Even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, rather than by the works of the law.

        It comes from the believers. Even, *we* believed in Christ. Paul doesn’t say that they are saved through grace that generates faith. It’s our faith. Our belief.

        For by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

        This is why the P of Tulip is unbiblical. Even after being saved you don’t stay saved by doing good works. That makes grace meritorious.

        Galatians 2:16 MEV

      38. Is it not the same Spirit of God in the world making it possible for unsaved men to be kind, gentle, patient? That same Spirit of God that allows ANY man to be kind (spiritual gift) at least once in his life, is working in a fallen world, to allow ANY man to spiritually believe.

        Even though the Spirit has made it possible for that man to be kind, he does not always do it.

        Even though the Spirit has made it possible for that man to see grace and believe, he does not always do it.

      39. Welcome Morris! Thank you so much for sharing some of your testimony of God’s work of grace in your life and showing us your teachable spirit to test everything with His Word. You’ve been an encouragement to me already!

      40. Brian,

        You’re welcome, I enjoy diving into the word.

        Iron sharpens Iron. 🙂

        I was reading while waiting for Troy to respond to the biblical texts I provided for God’s will. There are some eye opening passages about Christians who refuse to stop *willfully* sinning.

        (which I believe comes through us, submitting ourselves with absolute humility to God. As the Publican did in Jesus’ parable)

        Hebrews 10:26-31 look at how this one starts and ends,
        For if we sin willfully (meaning our will) after receiving the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment.

        Then it ends with this:
        It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

        This to me is crucial for Christians to get. We cannot keep willfully sinning after we hear and accept the gospel of truth. God’s grace comes to the humble, not the proud.

        This also isn’t solely in Hebrews. Paul lays out similar warnings in Colossians and Ephesians.

        But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.
        Ephesians 5:3‭-‬7 NKJV

        If we continue to disobey God’s word after being saved, God’s wrath will fall on us. That’s why it’s not enough as Troy believes for him to be, “forced to have faith” in God. Faith gives us grace, but if your grace hasn’t brought the spirit in to scourge you, you need to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. The flesh is enmity with the spirit. We can’t live like the world, and expect to be filled with the word.

        God Bless,

      41. Morris:
        I don’t know if you have been around Calvinists much.

        One of the ways that I was lured in was the idea of “dead men dont make choices.” (meaning we are so dead we cant see grace).

        I have already dealt with the idea even the “dead in sin” can do spiritual things like be patient, be kind, be gentle…so (even though incapable saving himself) he is obviously not too dead to respond to grace.

        But the point I am making now is that you mentioned sin. The above phrase (“dead men dont make choices”) helped get me into Calvinism but being “dead to sin” and “buried with Christ” helped get me out.

        I realized that in Christ I was dead to sin. But I was still sinning! Then it dawned on me….”dead men DO make choices!”

        Another talking point falling by the wayside as I watched my man-made scaffolding begin to fall apart.

      42. It’s funny how when we really get to our lowest point, let go of our pride, we see that we’ve built a man centered theology.

        Take Troy’s comment to Leighton:

        “Saving faith is a supernatural gift”

        This concept is nowhere in the Bible. It’s a man centered eisegeis to support supernatural election of believers.

        Why would Paul need to warn supernaturally elected believers to avoid sin? Why would the author of Hebrews, tell us even stronger language against *willfully* sinning? Did God not supernaturally elect all of you to truly being saved? Are those who willfully sin all Judas Iscariot? They believe they are saved, but aren’t actually saved?

        All of this is clear from proper soteriology. God does not lie, and God is not the author of confusion.

        I see the use of “dead”, meaning our future state and our current state of our spirit. We our body, soul and spirit. Only our spirit is dead after the fall. Our soul, is still able to have faith in God, and it’s how Abraham believed in God before spiritual regeneration was possible.

        “for we know the wages of sin is death.” clearly if that is the “wages” of sin, it means the payment has not yet been made. So when Paul says we are “dead in sin”, it’s the future payment, the wages due to us.

        For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
        Romans 6:23 NKJV

        This is the proper context of what Paul meant in Ephesians 2. Our death from our sins, was what *was to be* before we were saved. It wasn’t our current state, and frankly such an interpretation nearly defends Mormon baptismal regeneration for the dead.

        I pray that Calvinists can see that faith, humility and self control has to come from them. God’s effectual humbling will come, but when it does you will have wished you humbled yourself as James said. Frankly, after reading Hebrews 10:26-32, I don’t want to end up in God’s hands for judgement after knowing the gospel of truth, and not having the humility to see I’m still acting against God’s nature.

        God Bless, I hope that’s been edifying.

      43. Morris writes, “Take Troy’s comment to Leighton:“Saving faith is a supernatural gift”.

        Biblical evidence for the supernatural gift of faith:

        1) “For unto you IT IS GIVEN in the behalf of Christ, not only TO BELIEVE on him, but also to suffer for his sake;” -Philippians‬ ‭1:29‬ ‭

        2) “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” -Ephesians‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭

        Note: “that” and “it” refers to the entire clause – “For by grace you have been saved through faith..”. In other words, the “gift of God” is being saved by grace through faith. Both the “grace” and the “faith” are gifts.

        3) “John answered and said, “A man can receive NOTHING unless IT HAS BEEN GIVEN him from heaven.” -John‬ ‭3:27‬ ‭

        NOTE: “Nothing” would include faith!

        4) “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” -Philippians‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭

        Note: God is accomplishing His purpose through the will of man. He gives us the faith to “will and to work for His good pleasure”. Somehow God is working compatibly with our wills to accomplish His purpose/decree/desire!

      44. Light then Faith then Life. The faith needs the light for by itself it can do nothing but trust the wrong things. So God’s grace is necessary for the object to believe in and the opportunity to believe in it. That grace is that light which He gives to every person and they can either freely receive it or reject it. The ability to believe in something was given at birth as a part of the image of God in man.

        That is the logical understanding of Phil 1:29, Eph 2:8-9, and John 3:27. Calvinism tries to squeeze its doctrine into those verses making them say more than they do and overturning hundreds of other clear verses about faith that comes before everlasting life.

        Their loyalty is to a theology and not God’s clear Word!

      45. Brian wrote, “That grace is that light which He gives to every person and they can either freely receive it or reject it.” This statement is proof that your “general enlightenment” doctrine is simply false.
        John 3:20 states, “For EVERYONE who does evil HATES the Light, DOES NOT COME to the Light FOR FEAR that his deeds will be exposed.”
        Natural man (without exception) will ALWAYS reject “that light” because his deeds are evil and he loves his sin. Also he hates “that light”. This is why the Holy Spirit must apply the message of the Gospel to the believer’s heart because otherwise natural man will detest the light! You don’t want to admit the truth Brian that natural man does not want God’s light because to do so would destroy your argument. However, the Bible is clear – “men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”
        This is also why mankind will ALWAYS find the Gospel message to be “foolishness” outside a miraculous work of the Spirit giving the natural man the understanding and faith to believe the message they once found foolish.
        Brian wrote, “That is the logical understanding of Phil 1:29, Eph 2:8-9, and John 3:27.” I think you know brother that those verses all teach that faith is a gift. All other verses referring to “our faith” is a reference to the faith that God gives and this becomes “our faith”. Any other faith will lead to false conversions and apostasy!

      46. Non-Calvinist friends…..get ready to be called apostate, false converts. Troy is getting started.

        It is amazing how a Calvinist will yank a phrase and take it out of context and use it.

        “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.” (John 3:27)

        John is talking to his disciples about Christ.

        If you want to mis-context this and make it about forced-faith, I suppose you can.

        You must also apply it to sin then. According to your exegesis….all man’s sin has come from heaven.

      47. Fromoverhere writes, “You must also apply it to sin then. According to your exegesis….all man’s sin has come from heaven.”

      48. Troy, you don’t believe people can call put for help, therefore there behavior good or bad is from heaven. You ignore James 1:13-14, that tells us man’s behavior is his own responsibility.

        You also ignore all mentions of the phrase, “your faith”. Man’s faith is his ownership and his responsibility.

        When Jesus is touched by the woman with a fountain of affliction, what healed her? *her faith*. Jesus says, “*your faith* has healed you.”

        This was also before regeneration of our hearts came to earth. It was before the resurrection. She wasn’t given regeneration. Just healing through, *her faith*.

      49. I wonder if Troy ever does evil anymore. If he does… according to that verse he quoted he hates the light! It’s always interesting how Calvinists don’t often give the second part of a statement that counters what they are trying to make the first part say in support of their theology.

        Let’s see… Jesus said something about those who do the truth coming to the light. Hmmm… I wonder how they do the truth before coming to the light which gives them the new birth.

      50. Brian wrote, “I wonder how they do the truth before coming to the light which gives them the new birth.”
        “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” -‭Mt.‬ ‭7:11‬ ‭
        As stated in a previous comment, God has given mankind (in spite of his total depravity) the moral ability to do good acts.

      51. Brian writes, “If he [Troy] does… according to that verse he quoted he hates the light!” You’re conflating contexts Brian AGAIN. Before salvation we all hate the light of the Gospel because it exposes our depravity and we love our depravity. Post salvation we love the light and welcome the fact that it exposes our depravity because we want to die to self and live according to the light!

      52. My friend practicing truth does not make one saved. God saves by making us a “new creature”. You already know that natural man follows the law of God but that does not save him. Natural man must be recreated spiritually!!

      53. Thank you, Troy, for confirming that people ARE ABLE to do the truth before God gives them the new birth. Jesus was certainly encouraging the unregenerate Nicodemus with those words – to come to the light by doing the truth, which included believing all that Jesus was telling Him that day!

      54. LOL You’re completely and utterly misrepresenting me and it’s hilarious to me!! Lol 😂

      55. And you wonder why I had stopped discussing with you,Troy… I guess I need to go back to that and not let my hopes get raised that I can be of some edification to you by dialogue with you directly. I hope you have a good day of worship today!

      56. We are here to edify each other brother Brian and thank you for your indulgence!

      57. Troy,

        I’m not going to respond to 1 verse proof texts. Mormons use one verse to prove that we have a responsibility to do baptism for the dead. Catholics use 1 verse to prove we are saved by works.
        Jehovah witnesses use 1 verse to prove that we are saved by denying the trinity and calling God jehovah.

        But let’s take one of the favorites that you’re taking put of context and I already answered here.(and you ignored.)

        The will of God. The will of God, is that we follow his will. Which is that all bow to Christ our mediator between God and man.

        Look at the very next verse in that context.

        Do all things without complaining and disputing,
        Philippians 2:14 NKJV

        If God’s will controls man, especially the saved man, why would this be necessary to tell believers? Why would he need to tell believers in 2:8, to work out, *their own* salvation? Why would he need to tell believers that can *only* do the will of God, in chapter 4, to rejoice in only good things, and to rejoice *in the lord*. Seems to me, if we can only do God’s will after being saved, such an exhortation is pointless. As Paul tells us of speaking in tongues, he’s speaking into the air and it’s pointless.

        Is my speech to you pointless? You’re not letting the deeper things of scripture sink in.

        Take spiritual death. Why would Paul tell us to put our members to death, if we’re already dead? Why do we need to crucify the flesh, if the flesh is already dead?

        Why do we need to set our mind on things above, if our minds thoughts and our will comes from God after being regenerated?

        This is why Paul told us to avoid deceiving spirits. God is not the author of confusion, and does not lie. If we do not seek him, even *after* hearing the gospel of truth and believing on God, we will still find his wrath. That’s the whole point of James 2.

        Even the demons believe there is a God. Have you worked to put your carnal desires to death?

        Fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, covetousness which is idolatry?

        Paul makes it clear, if we don’t we will see the wrath of God. (Colossians 3:1-11)

        We *have* to put on the new man. That’s part of our responsibility.

      58. Brother Morris I’ve just clearly demonstrated to you that saving faith is a gift of God. This miraculous faith does not, in any way, preclude sin. We are new creatures in Christ but our redemption will not be completed until our bodies have been transformed and we will no longer crave sin once we’ve received our glorified spiritual bodies. But until that time, the true believer will still commit sin, just at a much lower level because God is “working in him/her both to will and to do according to His good pleasure”. The true believer, although imbued with saving faith, will continue to sin.

      59. Brother Troy,

        You demonstrated you can take one verse proof texts out of context to make them say whatever you want. Ephesians 2:8 is the worst for that, as it makes your logic circular.

        I’ll wait for you to address my points. Including the ones you ignored earlier.

      60. This “miracle saving faith” seems to the Calvinist to be irresistible in saving from some things but resistible in saving from others… hmmm? And it is God who they say is working the person’s will to do His pleasure. I guess the Calvinist wants us to believe God gets pleasure in working in us to continue to sin after receiving this so called “miracle saving faith”.

        It gets ever more surprising to me what the human will is able to choose to believe in, even if those things are contradictory to Scripture and reason. But I’m not about to blame God for their wills making those choices of belief… nor am going to think He is pleased when His Word is twisted in favor of manmade theology!

      61. I think another way of saying what Brian is saying and what you are sarcastically “wowing” is….

        We often wonder why Calvinists say we are so dead we cannot see Grace.

        Then we are pre-faith, involuntarily made alive in such a way that we see and cannot resist this Grace.

        According to non-Calvinists God gives every man the ability to have faith (that is why we can agree that in a broad way “He gives faith”).

        According to Calvinists, God gives .00005% of humanity (throughout history) the supernatural ability to have this faith which MUST be used since it is irresistible. ((the rest of humanity “created in His image” He purposely created for eternal torture, but that is another beautiful doctrine we dont have time for here))

        Then for some reason after this intervention….and we are told we are “dead to sin” and “buried with Christ” we struggle on an occasional basis with greed, anger, lust, pride, hatred, theft, lack of patience, immoral thoughts.

        Why does one dead mean incapable but the other dead does not?

      62. Thank you for your thoughts, Morris! The five warning passages of Hebrews have caused much discussion. I believe the overwhelming teaching of Scripture is that the new birth makes us everlasting children of God. So I see all the warning passages of Hebrews as for those who have been drawn by God’s grace but have not yet entered His rest of salvation, for they haven’t yet mixed the gospel they’ve heard with faith. Heb 4:1-2

        I believe pronouns like “you” and “we” and terms like “brethren” are used with general reference much like all preachers do when speaking to a crowd of professing believers… but then addressing those that might not be truly saved. (See also 2Cor 13:5)

      63. Brian wrote, “I believe pronouns like “you” and “we” and terms like “brethren” are used with general reference much like all preachers do when speaking to a crowd of professing believers… but then addressing those that might not be truly saved. (See also 2Cor 13:5)”. This is a very sloppy approach to hermeneutics. The pronouns are EXTREMELY important when determining truth.
        Also when Paul and Peter is speaking of “brethren” they’re specifically referring to true believers:
        -“Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” -1 Thes1:4‬ ‭
        -“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:”‭‭ -2 Thes ‭2:13‬ ‭
        -“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” -2 Peter‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭
        While it is true that in 2 Cor 13:5 Paul is addressing an entire church of mixed believers and unbelievers (2 Cor. 1:1), he does not refer to them as brethren (although they’re brethren intermingled there). He’s writing a letter to the Corinthian church with the purpose of correcting issues in the church. So 2 Cor 13:5 doesn’t prove anything regarding the meaning of “brethren”.

      64. See “brothers and sisters” in same context of 2Cor 13:5 in verse 11. And note Paul consistently uses “you” in the whole context. Good exegesis… sloppy criticism of it.

      65. As I stated before, he’s talking to a mixed church that, in fact, contains true brothers and sisters. In verse 11 he’s referring to the true brothers and sisters or the elect. If you will allow verse 11 to speak, you’ll notice that what Paul states is only applicable to true believers. So, once again, I reiterate that brethren is specific to true (elect) believers. Just like “light” is specific to Christ and His Gospel.

      66. 2Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
        2Cor 13:11Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

        The “yourselves” and “you” if verse five is the same readers called “brothers and sisters” in eleven… unless one wishes to be willfully ignorant of the connection to maintain their loyalty to their theology.

      67. Brian the readers can be mixed but it does not prove that Paul is referring to unbelievers as brethren.

      68. I’ve more than sufficiently shown you that brethren is specific to the elect. You just choose to discount the evidence sir.

      69. Like I said… just like a normal preacher assumes those he is preaching to who profess to having been joined to the elect through faith… the apostles write with the same assumption, but knowing that there are some who have not yet been added to the elect in spite of their profession. Yet they address them all based upon their profession as “brothers”, still challenging them to make certain of their calling and election.

      70. Brian writes, “Yet they address them all based upon their profession as “brothers”, still challenging them to make certain of their calling and election.” You have just provided a statement that YOU THINK is the basis for Paul’s use of the term brethren; whereas I’ve allowed the Bible to define its own terms. The Bible uses such terms as “beloved”, “elect”, “the called” to identify who the brethren are. You, on the other hand, have poured your interpretation (with no Biblical basis) into the term. Please allow the Scriptures to define its own terms my friend.
        Also you said “Yet they address them all based upon their profession as “brothers”.
        Please show me where this is taught in Scripture. Isn’t more accurate to say that he (Paul) is calling them “brethren” based on their conduct more so than just their mere profession of faith? Although the Corinthian church has many issues that Paul is addressing in both epistles, there are still brethren intermingled in the congregation there.

      71. Proven by context… Paul makes “you” in verse 5 equal “brothers” in verse 11. He did not say in verse 11… “Now let me speak to a certain part of you who are truly born again and I have xray vision to know it….brothers.”

      72. Brian writes, “He did not say in verse 11… “Now let me speak to a certain part of you who are truly born again and I have xray vision to know it….brothers.” He doesn’t have to Brian because we know from other verses (IN CONTEXT) that the Bible defines its own terms and “brethren” is equated with true believers, not a mixed group of believers/unbelievers. The Bible is its own dictionary and commentary.

      73. Ok… let me be a little more longsuffering with you in this, Troy, for I am still hoping you are teachable from Scripture and logic!

        Was the “you” in 2Cor 13:5 a group of professing believers, some of which Paul was thinking might not be saved? If so, were the readers of verse 5 the same readers of verse 11, whom he called “brothers and sisters”? If so, then the brothers and sisters of verse 11 are same group of professing believers, some of which Paul was thinking might not be saved.

        Now… using your understanding of the rules of logic… where is the fallacy in my syllogism. Thanks.

      74. Ok and I likewise am being patient with you brother. As I’ve stated before, Paul is speaking to a mixed church of believers and unbelievers! He’s admonishing them all to make sure they’re truly saved. However, this does not prove that his use of the term brethren in v11 is referring to the unbelievers in the congregation. In fact, v11 cannot apply to unbelievers. You are attempting to speak for Paul in his intentions on why he is using the term “brethren” and that is called conjecture. But really that’s not even the point. The point is that the Bible defines brethren as a true (elect) believer.

      75. Do not run from the context which gives the meaning? You did not show the fallacy in my syllogism… why… if it is so obvious? You are the one who needs to prove from the context and grammar that Paul changes from the “you” reader of verse 5 to a different “you” reader of verse 11. That he does switch is the fallacy in your mind, Troy! Maybe you should ask one of your Calvinist friends whom you respect to help you look for the fallacy in my syllogism…

      76. Brian who the reader of the epistle is NOT the point! The point here is how does the Bible define “brethren” and Paul is using “brethren” in verse 11 to refer to true believers who are the only ones that can heed his advise. The reader is immaterial to the use of the term.

      77. You’ve not sufficiently done that, as none of us see the duck that you see.

        Let’s rewind. You never answered the Abraham question. There was no regeneration before the cross. Abraham believed, as did everyone else listed in Hebrews 11.

      78. Fromoverhere writes, “Here is one from the mouth of Christ. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
        The all important phrase is “…and you were not willing”. I’m afraid that most readers of this passage misinterpret its intended meaning and thus develop false conclusions/doctrines.

        Please allow me to exegete Mt. 23:37:
        The setting of Mt. 23:37 is Christ rebuking the Pharisees for their hypocrisy.
        In v37 Christ is still addressing the Pharisees when He says, “Oh Jerusalem Jerusalem you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you..”. Jesus is rebuking the Jewish leadership for their wickedness in killing those whom God has sent to Israel in times past.
        Christ says, “how often would I have gathered your CHILDREN [the Jews under the Pharisees’ leadership] but you [the Pharisees] were unwilling.”
        Mt. 13:37 is far from being a proof text in favor of man’s ability to resist the Gospel. The verse is simply a rebuke of the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and their hindrance to the Gospel.

      79. What?

        Troy the point is …no matter how you slice it…. Christ was saying that He wanted something. Right?

        He was also saying that it did not happen because men were not willing.

        Troy imagine this scenario that I have experience (from both sides of Calvinism!)…

        God is not willing that any should perish but wants all men to be saved.

        (YRR) “My friend you don’t understand…..that verse does not mean what it says. If God wanted all men to be saved He would do it!”

        But Christ said He would draw all men to himself when He is lifted up?

        (YRR) “My man-centered friend, you don’t understand…that verse does not mean what it says. If Christ was drawing all men, they would all come!”

        But what about Him saying “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…. I wanted, but you were not willing….”?

        (YRR) “My, man-centered, thinks-he-is-more-powerful-than-God friend, that verse does not mean what it says. It’s a rebuke to the Pharisees… Nothing to see here.”

        Rebuke or not, He is still saying that He wanted something and man is not willing.

        In fact you said it yourself. They are “hindering the gospel.” How in the world can a predetermined outcome be hindered? Are they stronger than God? Slowing God down? You seem unable to avoid using non-Calvinistic ideas even in the defense of Calvinism.

      80. Troy:

        There are thousands of good “Thus sayeth the Lord” passages but Calvinists always add “yeah, but it doesnt really mean that.”

        Ezekiel 18 give us one. Some highlights:

        5 “Suppose a certain man is righteous and does what is just and right. 6 He does not ….. 9 and faithfully obeys my decrees and regulations. Anyone who does these things is just and will surely live, says the Sovereign Lord.

        14 “But suppose that sinful son, in turn, has a son who sees his father’s wickedness and decides against that kind of life. 15 This son refuses to worship idols…Such a person will not die because of his father’s sins; he will surely live. 18 But the father will die for his many sins—for being cruel, robbing people, and doing what was clearly wrong among his people.

        …For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live…. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. 21 But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. 22 All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done.

        23 “Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.

        30 “Therefore, I will judge each of you, O people of Israel, according to your actions, says the Sovereign Lord. Repent, and turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you! 31 Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? 32 I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live!

        You talk about the whole message of the Bible! This kind of passage is everywhere.

        Why does the Eternal Sovereign LORD even talk about a man doing what is right???

        There is no indication—-as you state so firmly—- that is “clear from the Scripture” that man can never do anything righteous.

        There is no indication from Scripture that people such as these (such as Lydia who was a “worshiper of God”) can not see, understand, and believe in God’s grace.

        That is meat not milk!

  13. Troy says, “Once God gives us the supernatural faith to believe His Gospel, then His faith becomes our faith.” It’s not faith that God gives you .. it is the “supernatural gospel.” Once you know it, you can believe it, OBEY it, and receive faith from God. God can only give you information so that you can make an informed decision and act upon that information — that is, obey it. He can neither make you believe nor make you have faith. He may be convincing but He’s not “making you an offer that you can’t refuse.”

    1. Hello Bob and thank you for your response. However, you must realize brother that mankind, left to himself, will not choose to obey a message that he finds to be foolishness. Apart from God’s supernatural activity, every man WITHOUT EXCEPTION will detest the Gospel message because he loves his sins and finds God’s message to be “foolishness”.
      Put another way, if two people listen to the same supernatural message (i.e. the Gospel), they will both find it antithetical to their sinful nature and will thus reject it as foolishness. God’s Spirit must apply the Gospel to the unregenerate soul so that they may believe the same message they once thought foolish.

      1. Troy:
        How does that work with the many, many examples I gave above:

        Zechariah and Elizabeth

        God told Cain he could and should dominate over sin, right?

      2. Every person who believes the Gospel has been given the faith to believe. This is clearly taught is Scripture. In all the verses where you see that God gives credence to one’s faith, their faith is an “evidence” of what He has already done spiritually. We can take absolutely no credit at all for believing the Gospel. We simply thank and praise God for giving us the faith to believe and we display our gratitude towards Him by humbly obeying His Word in all facets. Salvation is utterly a supernatural work of God!

      3. And all that just because you say it is so?

        All the young, bearded, aggressive, YRRs posting, re-posting, and repeating on cannot make it “clearly taught in Scripture.” For something so clear you would think that we would see hundreds of places in Scripture where it says God gave someone the faith that He then lauds them for having. We don see even ONE.

  14. Troy writes….. “Gentleman Reformed Theology does not teach that mankind has no free will as we are clearly free to make choices (i.e. moral, physical, etc). The Reformed doctrine of free will is that mankind’s will in bondage to his sinful nature and is unable to understand SPIRITUAL THINGS in a salvific way.”


    First, isn’t “Reformed Theology” just another name for Calvinism. Isn’t that one of those “isms” you want to avoid?


    Mark 12:32-34 (NKJV)…..
    So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

    Oops. So much for the unregenerate not being able to understand “spiritual” things. And the law is spiritual (Romans 7:14).

    1. Guys we need to lighten up on Troy.

      He needs to have time to get over to and find out the certified answers to all these verses (and hundreds more like them).

      Here’s what I think most of the answers will start with…

      “That verse doesnt really mean what it looks like it means, because we know…..”

      The “we know….” is either presuppositions about God (inherited from Greek Philosophy) brought to the Bible, or sketchy verses stitched together to build a rickety scaffolding.

      I cannot tell you how many times I have heard (or said when I was card-carrying Calvinist)….’Yeah but that verse does not mean what it looks like….”

      1. Calvinist Phil Johnson writes…. “…my advice to young Calvinists is to *learn your theology* from the historic mainstream Calvinist authors….”

        So much for “learning your theology” from the Holy Scriptures.

  15. Troy .. you are working with a perverted model of the nature of man and of the nature of the Gospel. As to the nature of man, man’s soul (heart +conscience) will reject the gospel initially and always because our character is sinful (the state of our soul determines our character). However, the spirit of man — his mind, emotions, and will — are always open to new information and it is this listening spirit that “opens” the heart, Acts 16:14.

    Now the nature of the Gospel is this: The Holy Spirit “inhabits” the word of God. In fact, the Holy Spirit is the wisdom of God .. is the “grace” of God .. and is the “mind of Christ.” All these things that have been ambiguous to you can now be seen in their correct light. So if your mind, particularly in consultation with your conscience/soul, accepts the conviction of the Gospel (Jn 16:8-9), then the heart will be “opened” to hearing and receiving what the Gospel says about righteousness and judgment, Jn 16:9-10.

    And the upshot of all of this is that you aren’t save by simply believing the gospel with your mind or spirit. BELIEF only becomes FAITH when that belief is proven to be truth. How do we “prove all things?” By obeying God’s commands .. in this case, by repenting to God in the name of Christ thereby dying so self so as to receive forgiveness and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit — which in this case is the Spirit’s witness to us that we are a child of God (Ro 8:16, 1Pet 1:8-9). This is the basis upon which men reconcile themselves to God in Christ, 2Cor 5:18-20.

    Do you know what this all stems from? It wasn’t until 300 years ago that men began to study psychology .. something that was in the Bible all the while .. that man had a soul (superego) that superintends his spirit (ego), his mind, his thinking, and his emotions. And so it is the soul that becomes hardened by sin. The answer to that, spiritually, is to convict the sinner of his sin nature (heart) and sin guilt (conscience) — which is the Holy Spirit’s first task, right? That is what opens the heart, Troy, and causes us to hear the gospel.

    1. 1) Mankind fell in Adam

      2) Mankind hates God and His message

      3) God supernaturally gives faith to believe the Gospel

      4) Mankind’s redemption is complete upon Christ’s return

      1. Troy:

        Be careful not to outrun a scripture verse. You said:

        1) Mankind fell in Adam

        2) Mankind hates God and His message

        3) God supernaturally gives faith to believe the Gospel

        4) Mankind’s redemption is complete upon Christ’s return.

        I encourage you to do a word study of “hate”

        1 John, if we hate we murder (and yet that person is still alive)

        Psalm, Proverbs (many times and ways) : the fear of the Lord is hatred of evil (do you do any evil?)

        Matt 6 No one can serve two masters, he must hate the other (be we are not disengaged completely from money)

        Luke 14: If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father, mother, wife children, brother sister—-cannot be my disciple.

        Mal, Rom, Esau I have hated (Yet even Ligonier Min says “Also, Genesis 36 stresses the physical blessings that came to Esau despite his sin.”)

        There is a long list of use of the word “hate” that would not mean total incapacity, so please do get more mileage out of that “hate” and “foolishness” verse.

        We have Scripture telling us that Elizabeth and Zechariah “were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” They were doing this before the birth of Christ, and surely the Word does not say they “hated the things of God.”

        Lydia was a “worshiper of God” —-not a hater of God.

        The Scripture refers several times to “God-fearing Gentiles. Cornelius was “a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.” This is not the description of a God-hater!

        When I was a Calvinist, I took the few main talking points (kind of like you did in the reduced version above) and repeated them over and over….. actually blinding myself to clear verses in the Scripture.

        All of these people are pre-salvation, and certainly pre-regeneration (whenever you choose to say it is applied). Yet the Bible calls them righteous, blameless, worshipers of God, devout, generous, pray-ers to God.

        This has to be a massive contradiction to your “mankind hates God and His message” theory.

      2. 1) non sequitur no one here denies that.

        2) incorrect, over 80% of mankind believes in God. Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, catholic, jehovah witnesses, seventh day adventist, *all* believe in God. So your second truth statement fails. Catholics love God, they just have an incorrect view of him. Mormons love God.

        3) incorrect, this is an unbiblical statement and all you have to support is it out of context 1 verse proof statements.

        4) our redemption is completed through us. Read Hebrews 10:26-32 again. If you *willfully* sin after hearing and believing the gospel of truth, there are no more sacrifices for sin. Ephesians 4:1-5 – those who don’t put their carnal nature to death will face God’s wrath. Colossians 3:1-6 – set *your* mind on God. Paul is clearly telling us a responsibility of man. *turn from your carnal nature and put it to death*.

        I notice you still haven’t answered that point. How can we put something to death that is already dead?

        If you ignore the warnings to turn from sin, it will be too late.

        For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
        II Peter 2:18‭-‬22 NKJV

  16. Yup .. the first 3 are lies. Mankind inherited a corruptible world and corruptible body in Adam. Mankind has no innate opinion on anything since he is born in “darkness” — totally ignorant. And there is no way that God can give you faith. Faith is something reasoned out (Isa 1:18) between you and God in your mind and heart.

    But I am sure I cannot convince you just how deceived you are. 🙁

  17. Please let me make one observation.

    This entire post was supposed to be directed towards Arminianism since it aligns itself perfectly with Calvinism in regards to man’s fallen condition. Now while Arminianism doesn’t believe fallen man is “spiritually dead like a corpse”, it does teach that mankind lost its ability to believe because his will is enslaved to sin.

    Troy writes…. “The Reformed doctrine of free will is that mankind’s will in bondage to his sinful nature and is unable to understand SPIRITUAL THINGS in a salvific way.”

    This is precisely what the Arminian would say.

    Roger Olson writes…. “A classical Arminian would never deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will. Classical Arminianism strongly affirms the bondage of the will to sin before and apart from prevenient grace’s liberating work.”

    Now while we haven’t really had an Arminian make his case on this particular thread, Troy has been kind enough to do so. I have had multiple conversations with Arminians regarding total depravity/total inability and the scriptures they use are identical to those of our Calvinist brothers.

    So all the comments, and scriptural support, given by Brian, FOH, myself and others on this thread, not only refute Troy’s stance on TD/TI, but the Arminian stance as well.

    1. Amen!
      Fallen man is totally incapable of saving himself. He is incapable of even seeing the grace of God without God’s help. Praise God that —-as Christ says in His word…He is drawing “pantas” all to Himself (John 12:32)

    2. Phillip writes, “Now while we haven’t really had an Arminian make his case on this particular thread, Troy has been kind enough to do so.”
      Now Phillip how can I take you seriously when you make comments like this brother??

      1. Troy,

        I meant it. Your comments have been a blessing. Other than the slight nuances between Calvinists and Arminians regarding man’s fallen condition, they both supply the exact same proof texts to support their viewpoints. So, in a way, you are arguing from both the Calvinist and Arminian position. And for that, I am grateful.

  18. For a long time in the Evangelical world the frozen-chosen Dutch Reformers and the holy-roller Pentecostals, and all the Baptists and Methodists in between have gotten along under the umbrella of a mutually-held understanding of faith in Christ alone.

    More and more I am seeing this new, younger, aggressive YRR generation (who mostly are not issued from Germanic Lutheran or Dutch Reformed stock….but came in via the YRR door) state that an incorrect (exact) interpretation of “The Doctrines of Grace” (as they see it) is actually apostasy, false teaching, heretical doctrine (as opposed to an understood and acceptable interpretation).

    I am seeing this more and more.

  19. Troy writes……“Before salvation we all hate the light of the Gospel because it exposes our depravity and we love our depravity. Post salvation we love the light and welcome the fact that it exposes our depravity because we want to die to self and live according to the light!”


    Again, thank you for sharing what you obviously believe. Before salvation we hate the gospel? Post salvation we love the gospel?

    Seems you truly believe that salvation precedes faith (in the gospel). Amazing. Boettner would be so proud.

    At least you’re consistent, brother!

    1. One evidence of truth is CONSISTENCY! The Bible is true because God is consistent and meticulous in revealing His will. I truly believe that the tenets of Calvinism (although I don’t identify with any “isms”) are closest to the truth that God has revealed in His Word. Salvation is totally and completely of the Lord!!

      1. Troy,

        I know you choose to believe that, as you don’t want to believe you’re responsible for your behavior. The Bible makes it clear we are responsible and worse, if we keep sinning after knowing the gospel, it would have been better to never know it.

        That isn’t from a lack of God’s election, that’s from people not turning from sin. As he told the prostitute, “go and sin no more.”

        That as well, was *before regeneration*.

        The blood of Christ, covers our sins done, not those we keep doing. That cheapens the blood of Christ to a common thing.

        Colossians 3:1-7 makes that clear. How can Christ replace the old man, if we keep living like the old man? In fact, as he says, “the wrath of God awaits you” and ends the chapter, after telling Christians how they should *choose to live*, that those who keep sinning will be judged like those who don’t accept Christ. “there is no partiality”

        That in itself should worry anyone that believes in TULIP. If there’s no partiality, it means there is no unconditional election. It’s based on *our* behavior and *our heart*.

        Romans 10:9-10.
        If *you* believe and *you* speak. But that belief has to bear fruit of obeying God.

        2 Thes 1:8 Those who reject (do not know) Christ, and those who disobey Christ will receive the same fiery judgment. The people he’s talking about that disobey, *know* Christ.

        As Peter tells us in 2 Pet 2:20, 21 if you return to the carnal sins of your past, it will be *worse* for you and it would have been better had you never known Christ.

        I want you to really pray on these verses. Meditate on them. How can someone *know* Christ without being the calvinist elect? How can such a person not be regenerated and experience perseverance to the end?

        The answer is because they didn’t humble themselves before God. (James 4:6-10) grace only comes to the humble. Perseverance only comes through *self-control*. (1 Peter 1:5,6)

        Does self control come from yourself or from God? The answer should come from the word, self control.

  20. Troy,

    Which one is NOT consistent with scripture….

    A) “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

    B) “So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’”

    C) “…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

    D) “A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.”

    1. It’s E:
      God has willed before creation to save a people for Himself called the elect. Christ entered into His creation to save HIS people from their sins by providing a propitiatory sacrifice for all those who were elected before creation. The Holy Spirit is now regenerating all those who were elected and for whom Christ sacrificed His life. This is how God chose to deal with His creatures and we are nothing more than the clay.

      1. Phillip and Troy

        Well done with those choices Phillip. I believe you were quoting a previous Calvinist post on D. There are many, many more verses where that comes from.

        When I was a Calvinist I spent more time saying, “yes, but those verses do not mean what they look like,” than saying anything else. Because I was coming to the Bible with presuppositions (based on pure motives, but also based on Greek philosophy of “how God MUST be”).

        1 Peter 1 (quoted from the Calvinist ESV)

        20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

        22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love…

        This reminds us that it was CHRIST who was foreknown before the foundations of the world (later it always refers to those “in Christ”).

        It also says in a very “man-centered way” that we have “purified our souls by our obedience.”

        Wow….even in the YRR translation! Looks like once again faith, obedience, belief is the human part.

        But if we look up Sproul or Piper’s interpretation of that (I have not, so only guessing), I bet they start with “we know this is not what this means since……(insert presupposition here)…”

        All based on the “too dead to respond idea.”

        I’m still waiting for ANY answer from ANY Calvinist how we are “dead to sin” “buried with Christ” and still sin. Obviously dead does not mean what they think. But if you define something how you want….and then build on that….you can arrive at any conclusion you want.

  21. I had previously asked the question…. “Which one is NOT consistent with scripture?”

    Though not one of the options provided, Troy responded with….

    E) God has willed before creation to save a people for Himself called the elect. Christ entered into His creation to save HIS people from their sins by providing a propitiatory sacrifice for all those who were elected before creation. The Holy Spirit is now regenerating all those who were elected and for whom Christ sacrificed His life. This is how God chose to deal with His creatures and we are nothing more than the clay.

    Upon further reflection, Troy’s answer is correct as well. “E” is NOT consistent with scripture.

    Thanks, Troy!

      1. Your fatalistic view of humanity comes from gnosticism not Christianity, nor Christ himself. The gnostic belief was that election came from God, without man’s interaction.

        God gave man free will and called it good. That was before the fall. Man didn’t lose free will after the fall. It’s why God talked to Cain and told him to turn from sin, and do good.

        God is not the author of confusion, and does not cause mankind to sin. God wants us to humble ourselves and turn from sin. Those who keep sinning will not receive the heavenly inheritance.

        That’s why the Total Inability is not biblical.

        Colossians 3:1-11 makes this clear. We’re to put the old man to death, not take part in sinful behavior, if we do, even if accept Christ, we will face the wrath of God.

        So what’s debunked in those 11 verses? Man’s inability, man’s lack of free will, eternal security, election and limited atonement.

        Christ’s atonement is based on our faith and our actions. If we don’t turn from sin, it’d have been better for us to not known christ at all. (knowing coming from us, not Christ.) 2 Peter 2:20,21.

        Christ spits out lukewarm Christians that refuse to repent. Repentance is an act of our will. Turning from sin is an act of our free will. We aren’t handicapped zombies.

      2. Mbuel writes, “Colossians 3:1-11 makes this clear. We’re to put the old man to death, not take part in sinful behavior, if we do, even if accept Christ, we will face the wrath of God.”
        Do you believe that the Bible teaches this sir?

      3. Troy,

        I quoted the Bible for that reason.

        There are four passages that deal with a saved person returning to sin and facing the wrath of God.

        Heb 10:26-31
        Ephesians 5:1-7
        Colossians 3:1-11
        2 Peter 2:20,21

        Read all four passages. What do they say about the believer that returns to sin?

        There’s also this summation in 2 Thessalonians 1:8
        in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
        II Thessalonians 1:8 NKJV

        The same fiery vengeance awaits those who deny Christ, and those who refuse to obey the gospel of Christ. Obedience is required.

        In fact, once you see this, it’s throughout the gospel. Romans 8, the flesh is enmity with the spirit. You can’t keep living for the flesh and be in dwelled with the spirit.

        Romans 6, Paul tells us to flee the fleshly desires, and in the same chapter, that he’s talking to believers he lays this down, in verse 31,

        The wages of sin is death.

        He’s not just talking to the unshaved, he’s talking to believers that keep sinning.

        The same is belted out in Galatians, 5:24, after he lists the sins of the flesh, “those who partake in these will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

        So do I believe the Bible tells us to go and sin no more?


        She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
        John 8:11 NKJV

        If she could do it before regeneration from the holy spirit, we can do it easily today.

      4. I’m very familiar with those proof texts and I’ve refuted all of them. The fact is that they were never saved in the first place!

      5. Also, am I to understand that you believe the Scriptures teach that mankind can actually “go and sin no more”?? Please tell me that I’m misunderstanding you sir!

      6. Troy,

        “you actually believe man can go and sin no more?”

        Yep. To believe otherwise is to make Jesus a liar. When Jesus told the woman before the cross happened to go and sin no more, was he telling her a lie, something she couldn’t actually do?

        I’m also not sure how you would debunk those proof texts. Take Ephesians 5:1

        Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
        Ephesians 5:1 NKJV
        Would God go and sin some more?

        No and Paul makes that clear in this passage that we’re to turn from those sinful behaviors.

        But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. *Let no one deceive you with empty words*, for because of these things the *wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience*. Therefore do not be partakers with them.
        Ephesians 5:3‭-‬7 NKJV

        The wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. He’s talking to believers. How can we confirm that?

        The last verse of this section.

        Therefore *do not be partakers of them*.

        I’m not sure how that can be any clearer. Paul repeats the same message to the Colossians in chapter 3:1-11.

        In that after telling the Colossians how to live righteously, he lays this down:
        But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
        Colossians 3:25 NKJV

        There is NO partiality, no favoritism for those who have accepted Christ. If you’re still doing wrong, you will be punished for doing wrong.

        To the Galatians when be told them to turn from sin, he tells them in galatians 5:24 that those who don’t, will not inherit the kingdom of God.

        The clearest set of scriptures on this is Peter.

        For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
        II Peter 2:20‭-‬21 NKJV
        If you’re returning to your sin, the *latter is worse* than the former. It would have been better for those who return to sin, to have not known the way of righteousness.

        That’s crystal clear. Not only does God expect us to turn from sin, the punishment is more severe for those of us that taste the blood and then return to our mire.

        It’s why Hebrews 10:26-31, states that those who do that, treat the blood of Christ like a common thing and will fall into the hands of the living God for judgement.

        So do I believe that we have to turn from sin, and crucify our flesh daily?

        Yes. Absolutely.

      7. “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,”‭‭. -Hebrews‬ ‭10:26‬ ‭
        This verse is indicative of someone who was NEVER saved from the beginning. “Receiving the knowledge of the truth” does not necesitate salvation. We know many who have heard the Gospel, “receive” its truth for a period and then grow apostate. This verse is describing someone with a pseudo faith.

        I’m not understanding why you included Ephesians 5:1-7 in your list since it’s not germane to your premise. There, Paul is simply discouraging/admonishing believers from partaking in the sins that are prominent amongst unbelievers. There’s no mention of anyone losing their salvation in this passage.

        Again I don’t understand why Colossians 3:1-1-11 was cited since there’s not even an intimation of one losing their salvation there either. This is yet another admonishment for believers not to return to living as they did before the were saved.

        “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.” -Peter ‭2:20-21‬ ‭This verse is a commentary on Mt. 13:7,22: “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out…And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Matthew‬ ‭13:7, 22‬ ‭Anyone who returns to the life they had before they came to the knowledge of the truth was NEVER saved! 2 Peter 2:20,21 describes someone who believes with a pseudo faith for awhile but time will expose if he/she was truly regenerated by God. Simply stated, both Hebrews 10 and 2 Peter 2 are describing false conversions!

      8. Troy said – “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins,”‭‭. -Hebrews‬ ‭10:26‬ ‭- “This verse is indicative of someone who was NEVER saved from the beginning. “Receiving the knowledge of the truth” does not necessitate salvation. We know many who have heard the Gospel, “receive” its truth for a period and then grow apostate. This verse is describing someone with a pseudo faith.” I agree with Troy on this.

        What Troy didn’t point out is that the author of Hebrews (Barnabas, I believe) used the personal pronoun “we” in this verse which indicates clearly that such a pronoun can be used for those who profess Christian faith, some of whom had not yet entered into God’s rest of salvation (like 2Cor 13:5 and 2Pet 3:9). Earlier in the epistle he uses the words ” holy brethren” for the same “we” (3:1).

        Also, it was not pointed out that these professing believers are called “sanctified” in this context (10:29), like the unbelieving spouses in 1Cor 7:14 are. The writer of Hebrews earlier says they were also “once enlightened”, and “tasted of the good Word of God” (6:4-5). Why does God gives all these good gifts to unbelievers, except to lead them to His salvation!

        But the most important point is that Barnabas is giving these warnings to professing Christians who need to be truly saved. There is no hint of anything that supports the false teaching of election or reprobation in Calvinism. Such warnings like – “Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart” (3:7-8) would not fit the Calvinist elect for they cannot harden their heart once they hear, and the warning would be a deception for they were never in jeopardy of perishing. And the warning would not fit the Calvinist reprobate for they cannot hear and the warning would be a deception to them also, making it sound like God really didn’t plan for them to perish!

        Barnabas was giving the warning in 10:26 and following for the very same reason… for he believed it was not too late for them to enter God’s rest. They did not need to apostatize because of being predestined to do so! What a wicked thought to think that God would give some the taste of the truth, having already eternally immutably guaranteed that it would be ripped away from them because of their certain damnation, made certain before they were even born!

      9. Troy, MBuel, and Brian:

        You 3 are making three different points:

        1. MBuel makes the Arminian point that these references (and lots more like it) are talking to believers who must stay ‘in Christ’ (like at Passover they had to stay in the door covered with blood).

        2. Brian is making the point that they are almost saved and need to make that final choice. This matches MacArthur’s complicated teaching that these people are tasting it and can still get it, but falling short (but then MacArthur would fit under the “wicked thought” since he has been a Calvinist for the last few years—but the main Hebrew series was before he was a Calvinist and sounds very much like Brian—-and VERY inconsistent with Calvinism).

        3. Troy’s point is that all these verses that sound very much like they are talking to Christians (and Brian would say they are almost-Christians) are indeed talking to people that God has had no intention of saving from the beginning of time.

        That presents us not only with a God who created 90% of humanity purposely to torture them, but even while they are alive He is taunting them by letting them

        “enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus”
        “have a great priest”
        “draw near with a true heart”
        have “hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water”
        “hold fast the confession of our hope”
        “stir up one another to love and good works
        “not neglect to meet together”

        As Brian said. How wicked that would be!

      10. FromOverHere,
        Thanks for clarifying my point. It’s just recent study in the word that changed my mind on that. I uses to hold to a soteriology of once saved always saved, or eternal security.

        There are however loads of passages about our responsibility to stay in the veil of Christ to be protected from judgement.

        Before Hebrews 10:26-31, Barnabas tells the Christians to provoke good works among one another. That’s how we know he’s talking to the same Christians when he warns them about turning to sin.

        There’s also the great passage on humbling ourselves to find grace in James 4:6-10. He tells us to repent, wash our hands of sin, and turn from *our* double mindedness.

        We can’t keep living like the devil and expect to be pulled up into heaven with Christ. A little leaven, leavens the whole lump. Cast out the leaven from your life.

        God Bless and thanks again for clarifying.

      11. I certainly understand why you see it that way mbuel! I used to be on the other side of the fence where you now are. I openly defended the meaning you are seeing in those passages. Maybe we climbed over at the same time and passed each other! lol

        What helped me is all the teaching in Scripture that concerns false professing Christians… that are in the covenant community but not yet saved. Then I realized when I pastored and preached regularly to such a community, that though I would address the same crowd as brothers and sisters, I often included a call to salvation and warning of damnation to “you” who claim to know Christ but live like the devil. Using “we” was an encouragement’s way of identifying with your audience in a generic statement… meaning “any of us” who confess Jesus as savior.

        Also, I could not get away from the meaning of the sure promise of everlasting life and the change of nature into a child of God whom He promises to discipline and keep until the day of redemption. (Heb 12, Eph 1:13-14) I didn’t want to overturn those clear promises for texts that might sound like everlasting was not everlasting but which did have reasonable alternative views to fit with those promises.

        Jesus clearly speaks of those who look like fruitful Christians that He “never knew” (Matt 7) and John speaks clearly of those who had been “with us” but were not “of us” (1Jn 2). So even for those who believe salvation can be forfeited, they must concede there are false professors of salvation being addressed in various passages of Scripture (cf 2Cor 13:5).

        Finally, even those, like yourself, and like I was, have to admit that there will be an eventual change in nature at our resurrection where we will still have free will to some extent but will not be able to sin. I believe the new birth has made a change in our nature, making it impossible to stop believing (1John 5:1) or stop being God’s child, even though we still have free will to sin to some extent. I do agree with you, that if we think we are saved and are practicing sin, whether we lost it, or never had it, we are not truly saved.

      12. Brian,

        Either side of that fence, it’s clear man has not only the ability to respond, but a responsibility to respond and turn from sin.

        We both see the “rabbit and the duck”, of that soteriology. I do still see the verses saying we have assurance of salvation. However, I know also see the verses warning us against not turning from sin and losing what Christ gave us.

        Either way, mankind has the ability to accept the blood of Christ, then the responsibility to resist the devil and repent of sin when it’s committed.

      13. MBuel:

        You are right. Troy has a much harder (impossible) case to make that the author is addressing people God never intended for salvation.

        Of course if one brings presuppositions to the Bible, one must (and does!) force it to say what one wants.

        The whole passage in context:

        19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

        26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

        All the following things are said to the same audience.

        confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus
        opened for us through the curtain
        we have a great priest over the house of God
        let us draw near
        true heart
        full assurance of faith
        with our hearts sprinkled clean
        our bodies washed with pure water
        hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering
        consider how to stir up one another to love and good works
        not neglecting to meet together
        you see the Day drawing near.
        if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth….
        by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God
        has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified
        has outraged the Spirit of grace

        If you have ever listened to MacArthur messages about these passages, he goes on for hours (literally) saying “the first half of this verse is to believers, then he is speaking to law-following Jews who are seeing it, now back to believers, now, there at the comma to unbelievers.”


        Because MacArthur says so!

        You would never. I repeat, never! get that impression reading the text. It all just flows.

        We do not have the right to pick-and-choose. We cannot split verses into 4 parts in-and-out of talking to this audience and that.

        What audacity! What eisegesis!

        The key is verse 29. We cannot have it both ways.

        In verse 29, is he talking about “punishment” for unbelievers?

        If you answer yes, then in what way has that unbeliever been sanctified by the blood of the covenant?

      14. hahaha… here I am defending Troy and MacArthur, at least in some respect. FOM… I know you have understood my perspective of a mixed audience – all professing salvation, but some not yet saved. How possible do you think that is for these warning passages in Hebrews… 40%?

        Could that perspective be understood in Barnabas’ exhortations of – “22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering”? In other words – “I make these exhortations because some of us don’t yet have a full assurance of faith, a heart where redemption has been applied, and a body not yet baptized… some of us are not holding up to their profession (confession) of faith but are wavering and thinking about returning to Judaism showing they had not yet truly entered into God’s rest (4:1-2).”

        And couldn’t the word “sanctified” have the same meaning as Paul used in 1Cor 7:14 for the unbelieving spouse? Thanks.

      15. Brian,

        I don’t see that in the text I think FOH is right on.

        He goes from telling believers to push one another to good works, to warning against willfully sinning. Why would he tell judaizers, that there is no longer a sacrifice for sin? The Judaizers, wouldn’t believe that God used Jesus’ blood to cover their sins. (verse 29).

        You can see that in Paul’s exhortation against the Judaizers in Galatians. They’ve cheapens the blood of Christ, and Paul also warns against using our freedom to return to the bondage of sin, (free will btw) and goes on to say that those who do return to sin won’t inherit the kingdom of God.

        Now, it’s possible that such people weren’t really saved, or we can lose our salvation, that’s a whole different argument. It’s clear however that some people even then believed Christ’s blood covered all of their sinful behavior and every apostle spoke against that, with passion.

        The lynch pin that I believe these people know Christ and lose salvation is 2 Thessalonians 1:8, where Paul makes a distinction between knowing Christ and obeying Christ. Both receive the same punishment. This is also repeated in Colossians 3:25 (last verse of that chapter)

        There is no partiality for sin, if you’re a believer and sinning, God will judge you as well.

        Now, as I said, I believe the bigger difference between us is whether such people are really saved, or just have a faith that’s not strong enough.

        It’s clear from the text however man has the ability to avoid sin, have faith in Christ and judgement for our choices.

        Really this is biblical, “you reap what you sow.” the total inability answer to this, would make this statement a lie.

        According to calvinism, we reap what God sows.

      16. I don’t believe Barnabas is warning Judaizers in Hebrews, but professing Jewish Christians who, because of persecution most likely, are thinking of returning to the sacrificial system of Judaism, and to take their stand with the Jews who crucified Jesus as a false Messiah, counting His blood as a common blood like any man’s.

      17. Brian,

        I agree he is warning them, as he just explained to them that there was one sacrifice for all sins, and there are no more sacrifices for sin.

        So the question is what happens first as you look through the order of the text? Are they trying to go back to the Jewish covenant to make sacrifices for their sins, or are they willfully sinning first?

        The way I see the order here:

        1) Author tells Christians what Jesus did. (10:10-14)
        2) he then tells them how they should live. (15-28)
        3) the very next verse talks about the same group of people willfully sinning. (29)

        Treating the blood of Christ like a common thing, as if they aren’t expected to be obedient to Christ.

        This is backed up by verse 18,
        Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
        Hebrews 10:18‭ NKJV

        It’s clear that some of the professing Christians were still sinning, and Barnabas was telling them there are no longer sacrifices for *further* sin. We no longer have earthly priests that make sacrifices every week that can never remove sin.

        So if you accept what Christ did, and don’t turn from sin, you cheapen what he did.

        I like the way it’s explained by Paul in colossians. That Christ the propitiation for our sins, can only replace the old man, ONLY if we put the old man to death.

        For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
        Colossians 3:3‭-‬6 NKJV

        How can Christ replace our sinful nature if we never stop sinning?

        Worse, I’m convicted that if we don’t stop sinning we will receive the same fiery judgement as those who never accept Christ.

        I think that’s why Paul tells us to, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

      18. Thanks again, mbuel for the further reasoning you have. I still see the audience differently. But the warnings are real for willful sinners!

        The sinful nature however is not removed from the child of God until the resurrection, so sin will continue, but not the willful practice of it. I fall short of loving Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind and strength every day. So I break the greatest commandment every day! But I am so glad that as God’s child, as a partaker of the divine nature, I have His perfect righteousness imputed to me, and the guarantee of His loving discipline that will keep me from the willful practice of sin.

      19. Brian,

        Now I see why you’re still seeing that duck.

        “the sinful nature isn’t removed until the resurrection.”

        I agree. The Bible agrees. It’s why Paul tells us to crucify the old man, put our old carnal nature to flesh, daily. It’s why James tells us how to get back in touch with God, if we do stumble on God as a stumbling stone, instead of letting him be our cornerstone.

        If we don’t humble ourselves, repent and ask for forgiveness, and instead act like the Pharisees, thanking God that we’re elect, and not like those other sinners, God will forcibly humble us.

        Our sinful nature is still in the flesh. However, even before regeneration from the holy spirit the Bible makes it clear that man can turn from sin.

        We have to put the desires of the flesh to death, which is possible without regeneration, made easier through it. That’s responding to God, and obeying Christ. That’s what it means when it says, “I will write my law on their hearts.” those who are truly born again know when they sin against the spirit as Paul says, the spirit is enmity with the flesh. I wouldn’t worry if you feel that, I’d worry if you didn’t.

        It is possible, (from my new interpretation) to completely turn from sin before the resurrection (the second coming).

        It’s not easy, but that’s the point of, “bearing our cross” for Christ.

        Thanks for the edifying conversation.

      20. Certainly there is room for an interpretation that would include those on the way to understanding the Gospel (okay 37.5%!).

        But you have to really butcher —-and I mean do an injustice to— the Scriptures to say that the whole passage is written to those that God never intended to save. Those that Christ did NOT die for. Those whom Christ’s blood is NOT shed for.

        These Hebrew passages and many others (some below) can all be debated in a “purposely left the faith” debate.

        “dont return to your former life”
        “dont shipwreck your faith”
        “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
        “And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”
        “See to it, brothers, that none of you … turns away from the living God.”
        “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness…”
        “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.”
        “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life..” (sound like that is possible?)

        These (and many) verses make NO SENSE whatsoever from my former Calvinist position. They only lead to an exegetical-gymnastics that is embarrassing at best and dangerous at worse.

      21. I certainly can see the duck you see… or is it the rabbit! 😉 But I can make all those passages you pointed to fit the “some of the readers are professing salvation but not yet saved” scenario. It provides for me, at least, the least conflict with my understanding of the benefits of the new birth. Thanks. We both agree the eternal immutable determinism of Calvinism can not explain those passages well… Calvin even went as far as declaring God instills evanescent faith in some to make the think they are saved so that He can condemn them even more! Wow!

      22. Dark times during Calvin. Rule with an iron fist!

        I don’t see God’s love from Calvin…only his calculated justice.

        Hey….did you ever notice that Scripture says “God is love”? People (Calvinists!) always says….”oh yes but He is just also.”

        But look at the difference. Normally “God is love” would be grammatically incorrect. Love is a noun. It would be “God is loving.”

        But the Bible goes out of its way —with this one concept love—- to say “God is love.”

        We say “God is just” (adjective). The equivalent to that would be “God is loving.” (which is also true).

        But the Word say “God is love.” The equivalent would be “God is Justice.” (but it does not say that).

        “God is just” (Not sure that phrase even exists in the Bible) tells about him.

        “God is love” (in the Bible) defines Him.

        Many teachers give equal measure to Love and Justice. I do not. Calvin does.

      23. Troy,

        Read before Hebrews 10:26 – he’s talking about believers. He uses terms like US and We before saying, if WE *willfully* sin.

        He’s clearly talking to believers here.

        As for Ephesians and Colossians, what part of, *the wrath of God* will be upon you, are you not understanding? That’s why I included it.

        There’s no evidence the believer, believed with a pseudo faith for a awhile in 2 Peter. That also is a change in the bar from what you set before. You started this bar with,

        “do you really believe man can go an sin no more.”

        I answered that and you changed the mark. It’s no longer the mark you’re asking me to meet.

        If you willfully sin, either under the blood or not, you’re an enemy of God. Which is exactly what Paul says over and over and over. The flesh is at enmity, (war) with the spirit.

        Romans 6, Paul lays out that believers should turn from sinful behavior and then that section ends with Paul telling us the wages for sin.

        Do you think those wages only apply to non believers? I showed why that’s not true with 2 Thessalonians 1:8.

        Fiery judgement awaits those who reject christ And those those refuse to obey Christ.

        When James tells us that faith without works is dead, he’s telling us the same thing as Romans 6:31. If you’re faith doesn’t produce obedience, you’re going to pay the wages for your sin.

      24. I concur with Brian that “brethren” refers to both the elect and those who show signs of being the elect (since no one knows the true identity of all the elect). However, “brethren” can NEVER refer to a known unbeliever! When the Bible uses “brethren” it’s ALWAYS speaking of the elect. Now having said that, Hebrews 10 is still teaching that anyone who identifies with Christ and continues to live in willful sin, they are not the benefactors of Christ’s sacrifice and are therefore still under judgement!
        But when one espouses a free will Gospel, they are inclined to believe that one may lose their salvation because their salvation was not wrought by God, but by the free will decision of the creature.
        If we start with the fact that God, before creation, developed His own salvation plan for His own people, by His own methods/means, for His own glory, then we realize that God is in control of perseverance and not man.
        As I’ve stated to Brian in the past, God has written His Word in such a manner as to seal unregenerate men in their unbelief and allow them to believe and teach damnable heresies!
        Mbuel what you’re espousing qualifies as a damnable heresy because your Gospel will lead many to false faith and false conversions!

      25. I said last week. “Get ready to be called a heretic.”

        You did not disappoint.

      26. Troy,

        You went and pulled out the damnable heresy card. It’s everywhere I don’t want to be.

        I only quoted the Bible, how you interpret it is you’re free will choice.

      27. Troy,
        The entire context of Hebrews 10 is those who know Christ or are in the process of knowing Christ (I provided a list of all the believer-looking things in that passage).

        V29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

        You say the long passage, Heb 10:19 (Where he starts with “brothers”) to V 39 where he finishes with “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”—- is about unbelievers.

        In verse 29, is he talking about “punishment” for unbelievers?

        If you answer yes, then in what way has that unbeliever been sanctified by the blood of the covenant?

        Why does Paul finish with “we are not those who shrink back”? Some shrink back? Sanctified ones?

      28. It amazing how someone can ignore the meaning of the word “we” when it goes against their view of the elect!

  22. The pilot/pane analogy used is not accurate; the real issue is WHY are they (passengers/unsaved) desiring or “willing” to even take the flight in the first place!

    Arminians differ on total inability. I’m of the opinion that without the Holy Spirit’s conviction and drawing (while the Gospel is being preached to them) the sinner cannot (1) know how sinful they are and (2) if the message is true or not and cannot respond. But the Holy Spirit DOES reveal the truth to them that the Gospel IS true and Christ their only hope of salvation and forgiveness.

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