JOHN 6:44

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”  – John 6:44

There are two basic ways to interpret this passage and it hinges on the words “draws” and “them.” Let’s look at the two renderings side by side:

Calvinists: “No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me *drags* him, and I will raise up *him who was dragged* at the last day.”

Traditionalists: “No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me *enables* him, and I will raise up *him who comes* at the last day.”

The Greek sentence structure allows for the author to be referencing “them” who come, not necessarily all those drawn. For instance if the sentence translated in English were structured in this manner the intention might be more obvious:

“Only those drawn by the Father may come, and I will raise up them (those that come) at the last day.”

ANOTHER EXAMPLE

The confusion over John 6:44 can be clarified by applying the same interpretative principle to another similar sentence:

“No one can join the Army unless they have been recruited, and those who have been recruited will be trained.”

To use the Calvinistic interpretative method on this sentence would suggest that the Army only intended to recruit those who are eventually trained when clearly the Army attempts to recruit thousands who never actually join. The clear intention of this sentence is to presume the recruitment process lead to the joining and eventual training of those in view. Likewise, Jesus could simply be referring to those who do come as a result of God’s enabling. Given that at this time God has not completed His redemptive plan and sent the gospel to the Gentiles, it is safe to say He is not enabling all to come — yet.

DRAGGED 

Many Calvinists will appeal to the word helko (draw) in the original Greek, which can be understood as “to drag” as in a net of fish being dragged into the boat. But the word can also mean “to lead” or “draw” (see Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).

Even if one were to accept the rendering of the term “helko” to mean “effectually cause” as in “to drag,” the text still does not say enough to necessitate a Calvinistic reading. One could be compelled to come to Christ while he was “down from heaven,” (v. 38) as was Judas (v. 71), without necessarily being saved. Jesus told those who came to Him that they must “count the cost to be his disciple” (Lk 14:25-34) and some who came only followed Him temporarily. One must presume that “coming to Christ” is equivalent to effectual salvation in order to support a Calvinistic interpretation.

THE COMPELLING OF THE TWELVE

The apostles were, in a sense, compelled (convincingly persuaded by external means such as signs and wonders, Acts 10:41) to come to Christ while he was “down from heaven” (v. 38) so as to accomplish the purpose for which Israel was elected — to carry the Word to the world so that all the families of the earth may be blessed (Gen. 12:3; Rm. 3:1-2; 9:4-5). But proof that God has used externally persuasive means (signs, big fish, blinding lights, etc) to ensure His message is delivered does not prove that God internally and irresistibly compels certain pre-chosen individuals to believe their message.

There are a number of ways to take this text without having to conclude that God has salvifically rejected most of humanity before the world began for no apparent reason (i.e. “unconditionally”).

JESUS’ OWN COMMENTARY ON THE VERSE

With all that said, we really do not need to guess what Jesus intended by the use of this term “helko.” He actually gave us His own commentary on what He meant in verse 65 when he said:

“This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” -John‬ ‭6:65‬ ‭(emphasis added)

Jesus could have clarified His meaning by saying, “This is why I told you no one can come to me unless the Father drags or makes him.”  Jesus had the choice of many Greek words that could have clearly indicated that intention, but Jesus said “didomi” which is typically understood as “to grant, permit or enable.” Calvinists often use the term “enable” or “grant” as if it somehow connotes “effectual causation,” but that is simply a systematic presumption they are reading onto these terms.  I can enable you to call me by giving you my phone number, but you still have to pick up the phone and dial. Since when does “to enable” necessitate “to effectually cause?”

OTHER TEXTS TO CONSIDER

Additionally, when John 12:32 is taken into account the Traditionalist interpretation makes much more sense:

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

Calvinists would have to take that passage to mean:

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will *drag* all people to myself.”

To avoid a Universalist rendering of this passage Calvinists are forced to wrangle the text to suggest Jesus does not really mean to sound inclusive here, but exclusive (i.e. “I will drag a few of all kinds of people” rather than the idea Jesus clearly expresses elsewhere, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”  -John‬ ‭17:21‬). One has to virtually ignore the entire context of John 12, and most of the New Testament, to suggest that Jesus was attempting to be exclusive to a pre-selected part rather than inclusive to the entire world.

CONTEXT

It cannot be ignored that the audience in John 6 is Jewish. What do we know about the Jews of this day? They have “grown hardened” (ever seeing but not perceiving) “otherwise they might see, hear, understand and turn so as to be forgiven” (see John 12:39-41; Acts 28:23-28).

So, the reason this audience cannot come is not due to some innate fallen condition Divinely imputed to all humanity because Adam sinned as the “T” of TULIP suggests.  Does scripture really teach that God “sovereignly decreed” for all people to be born God haters who could only willingly reject His own appeals for reconciliation (i.e. Total Inability)? Of course not!

This audience is being judicially hardened or “cut off in their unbelief” (Rom 11:20). Despite God’s love and longing for Israel (Matt 23:37; Rom 11:21; Lk 19:41-42; Ezk 18:29-31; Hos 3:1; Rm 9:1-3; etc) they had rejected His teaching for so many years that they had grown blinded to it and thus could not even recognize their own Messiah. <more on this point here>

To suggest that the reason most people will refuse to come in faith to Christ is because God salvifically hated and rejected them before the world began is NOT the intention of Jesus or the teaching of Scripture. We cannot conflate the condition of the harden Jews of this day with the natural condition of all people from birth due to a “secret Divine sovereign decree” never expounded upon in this or any other passage in scripture.

CONSIDER CORNELIUS 

One must also consider the fact that when Jesus came onto the scene in the first century world there were those present who had “listened and learned from the Father.” Consider the story of Cornelius recorded for us in Acts 10:

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.

Clearly Cornelius is NOT under the curse of Total Inability as described by the “T” of the TULIP systematic as some Calvinists suggest. <see here>  He sincerely feared God and worshipped Him faithfully even though he had not heard the gospel appeal or been indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Picking up in verse 29, the text goes on to say:

May I ask why you sent for me?” Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poorSend to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is rightYou know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.

Notice that God sees to it that the gospel appeal makes its way to the ears of Cornelius, but not without reason. God had heard his prayers and remember his offering and therefore had the gospel especially sent to him so as to enable him to believe and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Those who listen and learn from the Father will likewise listen and learn from the Son, as Jesus Himself taught in John 6:45:

It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.”

So, why would Cornelius come to Jesus? Because he was chosen before the world began and effectually caused to want Jesus? Or could it simply be because he “has heard the Father and learned from Him?” The Father certainly wants to draw Cornelius to Christ due to the fact that he was already a God fearing man; and how does He do so? By sending him the gospel! The gospel is the means by which all are drawn to Christ. Once He is raised up He commissioned the gospel appeal to be sent to all people and thereby granting all to come to him through faith (John 12:32; Acts 1:8; Rm. 10:12-16).

While Jesus was here in the flesh, however, the gospel had not yet been sent to Cornelius and the other Gentiles. Jesus was specifically coming to “His own, and His own received Him not” (John 1:11). Why didn’t they receive Him?

[] Because God salvifically hated them from before the world began–having been sovereignly decreed to be born under the curse of the Fall by which they could only desire to hate God and reject His appeals for reconciliation.

OR

[] Because despite God’s genuine love and provision for Israel (Rm 9:1-3; 10:1, 21; Mt 23:37; Ezk. 18:29-31; Lk 19:41-42; Hos. 3:1) they had become calloused in self-righteousness, their consciences now seared, otherwise they might hear, see, understand and repent (John 12:39-41; Acts 28:23-28).

Israel had become like old wine skins that could not take the new wine. This is not describing the condition of all people from birth, but specifically of Israelites who were calloused in their ways. Do not conflate Israel’s hardened condition with the condition of all humanity from birth as the Calvinists do in their doctrine of Total Inability <more on that point here>.

CONCLUSION

 Finally, I would like to close by posting this convincing case by Dr. Craig Adams:

The context here has to do with the relationship of the Father and the Son. Jesus is claiming that the Jews are rejecting him because (in actuality) they have rejected the Father. So, the context of this passage is not a discussion of whether God has chosen to send the mass of humanity to an eternal Hell, while choosing to arbitrarily save (by compulsion: “dragged”) a few. The context concerns why these particular Jews have not been drawn to Jesus as Messiah and Son, while others have.

And, Jesus asserts here that it is because they have first rejected the Father and the testimony of the Scriptures. Jesus denounces their claim to knowledge of the Father. He asserts that their resistance to the Father & the message of the Scriptures is the reason they have not subsequently been drawn to the Son. The point is made repeatedly. “And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form…” (John 5:37).“You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf.” (John 5:39). “How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God?”(John 5:44). “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” (John 5:46, 47). And, earlier in chapter 5 it is stated the other way around: “Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” (John 5:23).

Thus the point is that the Jews who are rejecting him are doing so because they have first rejected the Father. But, Jesus asserts that those who acknowledged the Father were “drawn along” into acknowledging the Son.<link>

157 thoughts on “JOHN 6:44

  1. I hope you are staying strong my brother and enjoying your family in the midst of your busy ministry helping steady the SBC ship through these rough theological waters! I believe there are a good number who are coming to their senses and back to Scripture through your efforts and the provision of other voices to join yours. I hope you don’t mind… but I’ll repost my response to your version of this post from FB! 🙂

    When God gives us light (John 1:9), He does drag us a court of decision and we must enter a plea… guilty or not guilty! But we are free and able to be humble and repentant to seek His mercy or to be proud and hardened!

    The Calvinist tries to prove too much from this verse (John 6:44), as Leighton Flowers pointed out with the good illustration of recruitment! The term “come” is logically distributive but the word “draw” in not distributed. Everyone who comes will be raised up and drawing is necessary to coming… but drawing is not necessary to being raised up.

    The context also introduces other things that are necessary to coming, like looking to Jesus and believing in Him. It is surprising that Calvinists miss the main point of the context… that Jesus was speaking to the unbelieving crowd not to condemn them for not coming (for He came not to condemn, 3:17), but to teach them the importance of recognizing when the Father was drawing them!

  2. Though I totally disagree with Calvinists, I think the word “draws” can mean not just “drags” or “enables” but can mean “draw” as with a “soft encouraging influence upon”. This is what I have always thought God does with us. Love doesn’t compel, nor does it simply enable. There must be Spiritual awakening and enabling to awareness of need yes, but this I believe occurs through gentle, spiritual influence that brings to awareness of great need and heart-influencing understanding of our desperate situation. This then results in either rejection as in Romans 1, or eager acceptance as in John 3:16.

    1. I agree but couldn’t the inspired word of God, the double edged sword, be the means of that gentle spiritual influence of which you so eloquently spoke?

  3. Doesn’t John 6:45 explain what Jesus meant in 6:44? God the Father is the source of God’s word according to John 12:48 and 49 and it is only by believing what the Father says that we can come to Jesus. John 5:24. It is also the way the Father draws us to Jesus. When we understand Gods word we are drawn by it to Jesus as opposed to Buddha or Confucius or some one else.

  4. ἑλκύσῃ – John 6:44 “To attract”

    BDAG: Bauer, Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)

    1. BrD. I just read someone elses find of this Greek word used in the OT LXX that the early church probably read. It was used in Neh 9:30 to translate a Hebrew word that Strong’s confirms means “draw” or “drag” even though modern translations have not used that literal word.

      It’s a beautiful verse about God’s pre-salvation grace!
      ESV – Many years you bore with [drew] them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.

      To think the Calvinist must say that God was faking His love… because they think that because of His secret will He already knew they could not repent, for He had no intention to give them repentance… is SO dishonoring to God and the truth of this verse and the truth of John 12:32 – “…I will draw all men unto Me.”

  5. I would use this article to demonstrate to my students an excellent example of heresy by eisegesis. This article outlines a desperate attempt to twist the plain teaching of a text by pouring into it one’s ideology based on false presuppositions and premises. The amount of errors in argumentation are so numerous, that I couldn’t possibly address them all in one comment. So I’ll just provide a series of rebuttals as time will permit me.
    Leighton writes, “The Greek sentence structure allows for the author to be referencing “them” who come, not necessarily all those drawn. For instance if the sentence translated in English were structured in this manner the intention might be more obvious: “Only those drawn by the Father may come, and I will raise up them (those that come) at the last day.”
    This is simply FALSE! The sentence structure does not permit anyone to add the phrase “those that come”. This is blatant deception in an effort to change the plain meaning of the text. Leighton, you and whoever taught you this, need to repent because this is deliberate and blatant deception in an effort to spread your Traditionalist perspective.
    The fact is that the word “drawn” here is speaking of a forceful dragging; not enabling or wooing. When we harmonize the use of this word throughout scripture, we find that it inevitably means pulling something by exertion.
    Christ is intending to teach the immediate audience and the world at large that mankind is helpless without God’s supernatural intervention. And the glorious promise that Christ teaches in the second part of the verse is that, the INEVITABLE destiny of the ones drawn/dragged/pulled/effectually called will be glorification. In other words, they will be resurrected with their glorified spiritual bodies.
    No matter how many feeble attempts to explain away the clear teaching of this passage, God Himself has made it plain! John 6:44 demonstrates God’s control of the salvation process from beginning to end.
    I will critique more of this article as time permits..

    1. Leighton is correct! The second clause “Except the Father draws him” ties the “him” in that clause automatically to the unstated one who does come, assumed in the plea of the first clause, though stated in the negative.

      Those who disagree are just going to have to find a scholar they respect who is good with the rules of logic and then ask him if the drawing is a distributed term in this verse that makes it mean everyone who is drawn will come and will be raised up… or is it an undistributed term… meaning those that come will be first drawn and then after coming be raised up… It does no prove that everyone, just because they drawn will come, nor that they will be raised up just because they were drawn.

      This is a great example of how Calvinists try to prove too much from a verse… especially taking it out of context, which in this case is appealing to the unbelieving crowd to trust in Him for more than daily bread and to come to Him for everlasting life. He certainly was not trying to teach the crowd Calvinism!

      1. Brian wrote, “Leighton is correct! The second clause “Except the Father draws him” ties the “him” in that clause automatically to the unstated one who does come, assumed in the plea of the first clause, though stated in the negative.” The appeal to the Greek grammar here is being used as a smoke-screen to cover the true meaning of this verse. The fact is all that the Father draws will be raised up by the Son to glorification! Leighton and Brian are desperately trying to disprove Calvinism and are going through extraordinary means to extrapolate meanings from texts that just aren’t there. John 6:44 is one of the most straightforward passages in all of Scripture.

      2. Unfortunately your “facts” are skewed by your one tract mind in crusading against Calvinism. The issue is not Calvinism. The real issue here is, are you willing to accept ALL of God’s Word?? You’re in an anti-Calvinist stupor and it’s affecting your ability to rightly divide the Word of truth brother. Your conclusions on certain passages border on the ridiculous and it’s really hard to take the Traditionalist seriously because of some of their unorthodox views. John 6:44 is one of the clearest verses in all of Scripture and you guys are going to great lengths to twist it’s intended meaning. Repent brother!!

      3. To make an appeal that ones position is correct with nothing but self confidence – without evidence from grammar and without showing the logical fallacy in the view that opposes that position should be an embarrassment… Somebody should tell the emperor that he had no clothes!

      4. I presented a biblical argument using logic. You fellas are not allowing the verse to convey its intended meaning. God the Father draws His people and Christ raises those people up at Judgement Day! It’s really not that hard fellas!

      5. Brian wrote, “It does not prove that everyone, just because they drawn will come, nor that they will be raised up just because they were drawn.” This is simply an example of not rationalizing FROM the text. If Christ is resurrecting ALL that are drawn, this means that ALL drawn have everlasting life. You cannot have everlasting life without first coming to Christ. Inherent to being raised up is the fact that one had to have come to Christ first. So all that are drawn are raised, which means all that were drawn have eternal life; meaning they came to Christ between the drawing and the raising up. The drawing is supernatural, effectual and persevering.

      6. Brian! Brian! Brian! Believe it or not, I love you brother, in spite of our differences. I believe you and Leighton are sincere.

      7. God’s instruction (light) to the unbeliever is clear! Praise His Name!
        John 3:16-18 16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    2. There’s a lot I find problematic about your response, but I’ll just stick to this part: You’re not a very wise teacher if you can’t disagree with fellow Christians without hysterically jumping to the “heresy” accusation. I just don’t understand why many Christians take their systems so personally. It really points to a lot of insecurity and pride.

      We can disagree strongly with each other without resorting to stuff like that. After all, as much as you find this article’s take on John 6 implausible, I find Calvinist attempts to escape 1 John 2:2 to be laughable. But I still never call them heretics because that is silly and uncharitable.

      1. Paul is our example! If someone is propulgating heresy, it’s our duty to call out our brother/sister so as to counter act deception. And heresy simply means false teaching my friend. I’m not condemning my brothers to Hell fire. I’m only calling them to repent of their false doctrines. We’re not here to just argue viewpoints. Our mission, as true believers, a is to proclaim the TRUTH of the Gospel!

      2. Fair enough, Troy. Our usages of heresy are different. While an old, dictionary definition of heresy is simply a differing opinion from correct doctrine, it’s usage tends to be more that it is a rejection of core, salvific Christian beliefs (like the resurrection). I was operating with the latter.

        Still, I would advise against using it. By your usage, I also view Calvinists as spreading “heresy” like limited atonement, but that kind of label tends to be highly charged and not conducive for humble and open discussion.

      3. Thank you for your perspective my brother. We will simply agree to disagree on this matter.

      4. Troy – Leesomniac correctly points out that Calvinists teach a miriad of questionable doctrins – that, if going by your liberal use of the word, could be considered hersey. But, most people on here are reasonable and not going for ultimate shock value.

        Please stop with the plain meaning of the text argument, also. It works both ways. You , and some Calvinists, simply choose to ignore the plain meaning of the text on 1 John 2:2, John 3:16, and others.

      5. While I do agree that we often banter about the phrase “plain meaning”, God has made certain verses indisputable and John 6:44 is definitely one of those verses.

  6. Thanks Leighton, the interpretation of draw given by Jesus later in the passage is helpful.

    I have come to a similar conclusion to Adams. As I have written earlier: It is not so much that the Father is drawing people who don’t know God to Jesus; the Father is drawing those who know him to meet his Son.

    Confirmation of this interpretation is seen in Jesus calling himself the manna from God. “It was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven [God did], but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.” Jesus is saying, “God is giving people me. God is drawing men to me.” It is not about drawing men resistibly or irresistibly, it is about giving men Jesus.

  7. Brothers,

    I think we might be missing a bigger picture here. When Troy says things like “heresy”, “false teachings”, and “plain language of the text” this is probably what his mentors taught him.

    I think a lot of our Calvinist brothers have been “bullied” into their ideology. Since it work on them, they naturally think it will work on others.

    I have visited some of the “reformed” blogs out there and they have a very low tolerance for anything contrary to their viewpoints. When you show them a possible alternative interpretation of a text contrary to their own they will accuse you of Pelagianism or worshipping a “man-centered” ideology. These, of course, are all trigger words in their attempt to get you back in line with their way of thinking.

    Perhaps Leighton, and others, could provide some insight on this observation.

    God bless.

    1. Hi Phillip,

      I am writing a 12-part series of fictional articles (the first of which is here: ) that chronicle the journey of a 20-something young man into – and eventually out of – Calvinism. I share your observation that many Calvinists are “bullied” into that systematic. I also share the observation of FROMOVERHERE and NURLRUHOUSE that the antidote is to read the Bible without the Calvinist lenses refracting everything.

      Reading Troy’s posts here I surmise that he is in cage-stage.

      RC Sproul’s journey, as best I can tell, was similar because I heard him say on the radio one day that he entered seminary without Calvinism and left seminary with it. He used words (I’m paraphrasing) to the effect of “hammer blows” by his professors and it made me think of exactly that image: being pounded into submission.

      I never picture people “embracing” Calvinism. I picture them being bullied into it, like some pushed into a concrete room with no windows and a single opening, and then having a series of carefully curated boards pounded over the opening – one by one – until walled in by the 15 or so “game changer” verses that FOH refers to here: https://soteriology101.com/2017/08/13/john-644/#comment-14266

      It simply doesn’t feel to me like embracing. Acquiescence under duress seems like a more fitting description.

      Cage Stage is a form of spiritual pride. That the Reformed alone understand scripture and they are eager to “teach” others how they too can taste of the red pill. They never, ever bother to ask how they became “enlightened” to the doctrines of grace in the first place. Hint: it NEVER occurs from them simply reading the Bible; it ALWAYS occurs because they are bullied instructed by another Reformed “helper”.

      I have not yet found a single exception to this. But once they have swallowed what they believe to be the red pill, they can never seem to read the scripture the same again, and all that they read of scripture must bow its knee to TULIP. As BR.D. quips elsewhere “In all thy ways acknowledge TULIP and it shall direct thy paths.” Although a joke, it is remarkably insightful as to what happens, although Calvinsts are remarkably blind to this phenomenon. SOLA SCRIPTURA is their rallying cry, all the while filtering every verse and Greek word through those lenses. So it isn’t SOLA SCRIPTURA at all. It is REFRACTED SOLA SCRIPTURA.

      1. Fantastic Steve Sabin!

        I look forward to hearing lots more from you! You mention Sproul and others… “Acquiescence under duress seems like a more fitting description.” Piper explains the amount of time and agony it took him to become one…again much later in his Christian walk.

        I agree with everything you say there…with one small exception. “I have not yet found a single exception to this.” Let’s not forget there are some that are raised in Christian Reformed, Presbyterian, and Reformed Lutheran churches. They, historically, would have heard from the infants phase, so could have “grown up in it…seen it as the only way.” So not everyone is brow-beaten into it (just all the Pipers, MacArthurs, Sprouls, and new YRRs).

        My personal take is that John MacArthur was NOT a Calvinist early on …but adopted it (like RC and Piper) and has now become vocal about it…. as a sort of bulwark against several things he does not like, such as: name-it-and-claim it faith movement, “strange fire” charismatics, open theology, etc.

        The idea is that they are thinking “We need to establish a strong conservative ‘old’ way or we will slip into making God into our house boy” or “…not sovereign” or “……subjected to man, weak.”

        It was only after the Lordship Controversy that MacArthur joined Calvinists (around 1990)….. having preached for many years Arminianism (what he and his father studied).

        A paraphrase of Philip Johnson and Grudem: “Of course God responds to our prayer, but only because He has ordained before time that we pray that thing and that He respond that way.” Yum!

  8. Traditionalists: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me *enables* them, and I will raise *those who come* up at the last day.” The Greek sentence structure allows for the author to be referencing “them” who come, not necessarily all those drawn.”

    All the traditional translations have the singular “him” rather than the plural, “them” – The Greek has the singular, doesn’t it? Jesus has personalized this by the use of the singular. We could read it as, “No person can come to me unless the Father…draws the person, and I will raise the person up…” The Greek sentence structure has the author referencing one person who comes, and only that one person is in view throughout the verse.” Jesus does not use the plural because God works on individuals and not on groups of people in salvation.

    Because Jesus uses the singular, Brian’s distribution argument does not apply.

      1. I think there’s actually a lot going on here. I am a 4 point Calvinist and these Traditionalists are right about one thing. That passages that say that Jesus died for the whole world are so plain and that 5 pointers jump through hoops to make the text day He only died for the Elect.
        Little do they realize, is that the Traditionalist does the same thing to John 6 that 5 pointers do to all of the texts that teach a universal atonement.
        The context of John 6 is so plain. I was actually considering the Arminian position this past week but I couldn’t find one interpretation (there are many) from the Arminian perspective of this passage that was satisfying. There is no getting around this text without doing the very same things they accuse 5 pointers of doing to get around a universal atonement.

      2. Jordan – I don’t personally think John 6 supports the Calvinist view at all! Take their favorite verse, 6:44 to start with.

        And 6:44 is not a gotcha verse if one recognizes that the one drawn is not logically guaranteed in that grammatical construction to either come or to be raised up just because he is drawn. Only the one drawn and who comes is promised to be raised up. Even if “drag” is used here or in John 12:32… the meaning is only to drag to a location… There is no change made in the person just by being drawn. Once they are brought to the location or before the person, like Christ… they have to make a decision what to do next and how to respond to the options they have in that location or before that person!

        The same Greek word for “drawn” is used in the LXX in Neh 9:30… and that group of Israelites, though drawn by God to the opportunity to obey Him, did not do it. The Hebrew word for “drawn” used in Neh 9:30 is also used in Hos 11:4-5, which again is showing that Israel was “drawn” by God with love to Himself, but they refused Him. Paul recalls this kind of drawing with love, using the words of Isaiah where God said – “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people” Rom 10:21. Does God only play act His love already knowing it will only be rejected? Not my God.

        Paul and Silas were “drawn” before the rulers of Philippi and then thrown into prison (Acts 16:19)… there they were free to either groan and complain or pray and sing! We know what they freely chose to do! I actually prefer the idea of “drag”. God graciously “drags” us to a place of decision. We cannot escape that “grace”, and we are responsible for how we freely respond to it… making us clearly without excuse at the final judgment of God!

  9. Regarding the usage of the word helkuo translated “draw” in John 6:44, careful attention must be given with all of the viable and respected resources to find the best attested consensus in understanding its meaning as it is used in the verse in question. The common rendering given by those who posit both unconditional election (God’s choosing of a certain people to salvation) and irresistible grace (Special favor given only to those in whom God has chosen to save) stems from the idea that “draw” means to drag, and that the Lord forcibly brings those in whom He has chosen into the fold for salvation. The meaning of this word in question and the context from which it occurs bears attention and should be examined in detail with all thoughts considered.
    The two words translated for “draw” found in the N.T. are helkuo and helko. The first one cited is what Jesus used in 6:44, so this one will be the primary object of our focus. Outside of John’s gospel helkuo is used only once (Acts 16:19), “But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities.” Elsewhere it is used in the context of a net, “Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land” (Joh 21:11). The second word variant “helko” is cited as validation to support the definition because of how it is elsewhere used, “Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag (helko) you into court?” (Jms 2:6), and “But Saul began ravaging the church… and dragging (helko) off men and women, he would put them in prison” (Acts 8:3). It is with this additional support that theologians have concluded that the first word halkuo, as used in John 6:44 is to be understood to mean that God forcibly drags men to come to Christ.

    While the above mentioned appears to have merit in rendering such a conclusion, the question warrants the asking, “Is it applicable to conclude that the meaning implied elsewhere carries the same intent that Jesus was declaring in his discourse with the multitude of followers in John 6?” While helkuo can accurately mean to drag as previously cited (Acts 16:19, Joh 21:11), we are challenged to investigate the correct meaning and usage of this word as it applies to John 6:44, specifically.

    From the onset, we have to remind ourselves of a fundamental hermeneutical law which declares that – a word must be defined in light of the context that it is written. Helkuo is used in a unique sense as found only in John 6:44 and John 12:32, wherein it is identified in accordance to the act of God’s drawing on moral creatures, as opposed to the dragging or forcibly drawing of an inanimate object (i.e., a net or a sword), or of one man being dragged by another man against his will to a place that he does not want to go. The verses in John 6 and 12, are the only two citations in the N.T. where helkuo is used to demonstrate the initial action of God’s drawing of men, and must be considered with this particular dynamic involved. John 12:32 states, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw (halkuo) all men to Myself”. Greek scholar, Marvin Vincent noted, “Helko (the other word for draw) is never used of Christ’s attraction of men. See 6:44; 12:32”. Highly regarded New Testament scholar, A.T. Robertston said, “The other word to drag (halko; Acts 8:3) is not used of Christ’s drawing power”.

    With this understanding in mind, let us examine halkuo as rendered in 6:44 to determine its accurate meaning both from a lexicographical and a philological standpoint by leading authorities in the fields of Greek and New Testament Studies, and Theology Proper. By leveraging insight from leading lexicons and exegetical dictionaries, which independently have come to the same conclusion, this should settle the question and leave us without any doubt as to the exact meaning of the word, as is it is used specifically and contextually, in the passage we are investigating.

    • Spiros Zodhiates, Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, “Helkuo is used of Jesus on the cross drawing by His love, not force (Jn. 6:44; 12:32)” [New Testament Lexical Aids].

    • A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature: Helkuo – “to draw or attract a person in the direction of values for inner life” attract J 6:44″ [Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, Danker].

    • The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament: helkuo is used metaphorically “to draw mentally and morally, John 6:44; 12:32” [William Mounce].

    • Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: “There is no thought here of force or magic. The term figuratively expresses the supernatural power of the love of God or Christ which goes out to all (12:32) but without which no one can come (6:44). The apparent contradiction shows that both the election and the universality of grace must be taken seriously; the compulsion is not automatic” [Kittel, one-vol., abridged)

    • The Greek-English Lexicon to the New Testament: “met., to draw, i.e. to attract, Joh. xii. 32. Cf. Joh. vi. 44” [W.J. Hickie].

    • The Complete Word Study Dictionary New testament: Helkuo – “To draw toward without necessarily the notion of force… Is used by Jesus of the drawing of souls unto Him (Joh 6:44; 12:32, to draw or induce to come) [Spiros Zodhiates]

    • The Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament: “figuratively, of a strong pull in the mental or moral life draw, attract (JN 6.44)”. [Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller]

    When helkuo is examined by the best attested Greek scholarship, as used in John 6, we find that the consistent rendering does not in any way determine its usage to mean “drag” or “force”, and actually militates against that meaning altogether. Hence, the most accurate meaning of helkuo would be to draw – in the sense of God attracting and enabling people towards Christ. This fits perfectly with both chapter 6, and with 12:32, wherein all of the N.T. Greek lexicons and dictionaries collectively agree, removing any ambiguity or doubt to be considered. Of the theologians who have rendered John 6:44 to exclusively mean drag, they have demonstrated a clear lack of exegetical research and evidence to validate their conclusions. These individuals never appeal to multiple and varied lexical references; wherein, they consistently point to other verses (which we have previously cited) that categorically do not fit the context of John 6 and grossly violate the basic rules of grammar and syntax.

    Further examination of the text brings us to the idea of God’s drawing upon men to be understood in the terms of irresistibility. The passage in question does not explicitly address this position, as it only states God’s will and action of drawing, without identifying the possibility of men being able to freely accept or reject God’s loving initiative to bring men unto Himself. A primary way to discover any insight into this investigation will be to see how helkuo is used in the Septuagint (LXX) in regards to YHVH’s past dealings with men in the Hebrew Scriptures (O.T). We find in Nehemiah 9:30, “Many years you lasted (helkuo) with them and repeatedly warned them by Your Spirit by the hand of Your prophets, and they did not give ear…”3 The context of this passage within the LXX reveals that YHVH consistently drew and worked to bring Israel unto Himself, but they willfully resisted the helkuo. This gives us clear precedence that the gracious drawing of God can be and has been resisted by the will and actions of men. God could have made Israel irresistibly accept His drawing grace and force them to come and obey His voice, however Scripture demonstrates that He has sovereignly set His economy up to deal with mankind by their willful cooperation to either receive or reject His drawing and longsuffering patience to bring men to Himself.

    The Hebrew word from which helkuo is derived, is “masak.” Like the Greek word for draw, it has many meanings based upon its’ context. However, when it comes to YHVH specifically dealing with men, we find the same pattern which helps us to understand why the Greek lexical renderings, each by consensus, posited a gracious drawing – as opposed to the idea of men being dragged into the kingdom of God. We see it used in a clear representation of YHVH’s grace being poured out in declaring,

    “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have drawn (masak) you with lovingkindness” (Jer. 31:3).

    1. Brian R. writes, “From the onset, we have to remind ourselves of a fundamental hermeneutical law which declares that – a word must be defined in light of the context that it is written. ”

      Here we might expect a more through examination – exegesis – of the issue. Here are some points neglected.

      1. v59 has, “These things He said in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum.” So, we might expect that Jesus spoke to the Jews in the synagogue in Hebrew and John’s account is a translation of that interaction. There are Greek words that John could have used that would convey better the idea of persuade (e..g, Acts 26, “Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”). He doesn’t, so we presume purpose on the part of the Holy Spirit in directing John to use halkuo. It appears to be the strongest word that John could have used. It is closely aligned to a word used to describe fishermen dragging a net. While Jesus spoke to the Jews in Hebrew, John writes in Greek to a Greek audience. We can rightly conclude that the audience would identify this word with the dragging of a net rather than the persuading of people simply because no other Scripture or reference to Greek literature is offered to show otherwise.

      2. Christ presented a softer approach earlier, e.g., 6:40, and in 6:41, but then we read, “The Jews therefore were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” Apparently, the Jews zoned out after 6:35. Regardless, we now have a stronger statement in 6:44 where Jesus responds using the absolute negative leaveing no doubt as to His meaning, “No one can come to Me..” which allows only one exception, “…unless the Father…draws him…” Jesus final statement speaks to the certainty of God’s effort, if not the strength of that effort – “I will raise him up…” 6:44 ascribes salvation to the work of God/Christ without any persuasion of the person needed or implied.

      3. Later, 6:65 reiterates 6:44, as Jesus says, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted [given] him from the Father.” We again have the universal negative, “no one can come to Me,” again denoting impossibility of one coming to Christ for any reason with the exception now, “unless it has been granted [given] him from the Father.” In v37-39, we read, ““All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out…this is the will of [God], that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” We can conclude that those whom God gives to Jesus in the earlier verses are those that He is said to give the ability to come to Jesus in 6:65. So, again we see God/Christ doing the work of salvation without any involvement by the person needed or implied (at least not by the context of John 6).

      Then, Brian R, argues, “Helkuo is used in a unique sense as found only in John 6:44 and John 12:32,”

      What follows is a thoroughly eisegetical analysis with references to lexicons and men of reputation. We then get the grand conclusion, “Hence, the most accurate meaning of helkuo would be to draw – in the sense of God attracting and enabling people towards Christ.” How do we know that this analysis is eisegetical and not exegetical? We know from the absence of references to Scripture that use helkuo is the manner claimed. There is not even a reference to other Greek literature of that time or any time to demonstrate this use. The position alleging a meaning akin to persuasion is no more that the invention of the human mind.

      Then, “Further examination of the text brings us to the idea of God’s drawing upon men to be understood in the terms of irresistibility. The passage in question does not explicitly address this position, as it only states God’s will and action of drawing,…”

      This is not true. We read the declaration by Jesus, “I will raise him up…” As God draws, and Jesus raise up, the outcome is so certain that God’s drawing must accomplish its purpose – thus being irresistible to the one being drawn.

      Then, “A primary way to discover any insight into this investigation will be to see how helkuo is used in the Septuagint (LXX) in regards to YHVH’s past dealings with men in the Hebrew Scriptures (O.T).”

      Here, we find an attempt at exegesis. However, reference is made to Nehemiah and this is not the easiest verse to translate. Nehemiah states that God was continually admonishing the Jews to obey Him through the preaching of the prophets. Before this, we read, “Thou didst bear with them for many years,…” Other translations have, “you were patient,” (NIV,NLT,NKJV,NRSV), “You put up with them,” (MSG,BBE). The idea here is not that God was drawing Israel to obedience that Israel was then able to reject, but that God was drawing upon His patience or longsuffering by not judging Israel. So, a poor attempt at exegesis using a verse that makes it difficult to convey the meaning desired. Yet, the bold claim is made, “This gives us clear precedence that the gracious drawing of God can be and has been resisted by the will and actions of men.” Surely, he jests.

      There is a last attempt to prove his case through reference to Jeremian 31:3. Here we have another difficult verse where the sense is that God has drawn Israel to Himself and protected them – first from Egypt and then Amalek and then throughout the time in the promised land until God dispersed them to the nations. Yet, we find this conclusion, “we find the same pattern which helps us to understand why the Greek lexical renderings, each by consensus, posited a gracious drawing – as opposed to the idea of men being dragged into the kingdom of God.” Surely, he jests again.

      1. I think, Roger, eisegesis would be looking at verses that use “draw” for inanimate objects instead of people.

        In John 6:44 drawing is not coming but before it. Nor does the logic of the verse say it must result in coming, only that it is needed for coming to take place.

        Verse 45 includes what appears to be a definition of the drawing… being taught. Neh 9:30 is therefore very pertinent. God dragged – if you will – the people of Israel to opportunities of being taught by prophets. They did not ask for those opportunities. But they are judged on how they freely responded to them.

        In Acts 16 Paul & Silas are dragged to the marketplace and then to prison. They are judged on how they responded to that situation… and instead of complaint and despair, they prayed and sang.

        God drags all men with His light to a decision… humble yourself and seek more light and trust is truth or hardened yourself. The Calvinist wants to believe that dragging makes coming necessary and is only for the so-called preselected. But Neh 9:30 and John 12:32 disprove clearly this… So now I can already guess the argument will be that even if all are dragged to hear the Word, they need regeneration to really “hear” it irresistibly… which is only for those preselected according to determinism!

        Why dishonor God by making Him look like He mimics compassion for all that all could never respond to and accept, because He and all are actually locked into a set reality in which even He is scripted to feign such unavailable and ineffective compassion for many?

      2. Yes Brian! this is what caused me to leave Calvinism….

        “Why dishonor God by making Him look like He mimics compassion for all that all could never respond to and accept, because He and all are actually locked into a set reality in which even He is scripted to feign such unavailable and ineffective compassion for many?”

        When I mentioned that I was baffled and saddened that He hadn’t chosen X person or Y person dear to me, I was constantly being told, “Just be glad that in His mercy He chose you.”

        How utterly selfish that sounded.

      3. brianwagner writes, “eisegesis would be looking at verses that use “draw” for inanimate objects instead of people.”

        That’s fine, but, as eisegesis, we understand that there is a bias or agenda driving the effort – otherwise, we would be discussing exegesis. We have the Greek word, ἑλκω, that is used in the aorist in John 6:44 and the future in John 12:32. From several other uses of the word in Scripture, we see it to have the meaning of dragging or compelling sufficient to overcome any resistance by whatever is being drawn. This has upset the non-Calvinists who want a softer approach in 6:44 and 12:32 and lacking exegetical support in the form of verses that demonstrate a softer approach, they have had to pursue an eisegetical argument. The Calvinists have offered an exegetical argument to explain 6:44 and 12:32 that accurately reflects the meaning of ἑλκω as it is used elsewhere, and consistently, in Scripture.

        Then, “In John 6:44 drawing is not coming but before it.”

        I agree. I think that the consensus is that “coming to Christ” is “believing in Christ.” Thus, God must draw before the person is able to believe followed by the guarantee, “I will raise him up.” Thus, Paul can write in Philippians, “[God] who began a good work in you…” and in Ephesians, “we are His workmanship…”

        Then, “Nor does the logic of the verse say it must result in coming, only that it is needed for coming to take place.”

        I think you are wrong in this conclusion. The “must” or the certainty that those drawn by God will believe in Christ is derived by the last statement, “I will raise him up…” Thus, Jesus says, “this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing,…” (v39)

        Then, “Verse 45 includes what appears to be a definition of the drawing… being taught.”

        I agree. This is emphasized in the following verse, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes to me.” God draws a person to Christ by teaching the person to the degree that the person hears and learns and God’s teaching necessarily overcomes any resistance the person might have to Christ and the gospel – this resistance explained by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1, “…the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness…to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness…” To those drawn by God and taught by God, “…to us who are being saved it is the power of God…to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

        Then, “Neh 9:30 is therefore very pertinent. God dragged – if you will – the people of Israel to opportunities of being taught by prophets. They did not ask for those opportunities. But they are judged on how they freely responded to them.”

        Nehemiah 30 is framed in the context of the preceding verses, “many times You rescued [the Jews] according to Your compassion, And admonished them in order to turn them back to Thy law.” Here the drawing of God in v30 is explained as the rescuing of Israel in v28. In the same way, God rescues His elect from death – actually rescues them; not just giving them the opportunity to escape death. It is obvious that 6:44 causes non-Calvinists great distress and there is a great desire to find an eisegetical solution that can relieve that distress – eisegetical because an exegetical solution is not available.

        Then, “God drags all men with His light to a decision…The Calvinist wants to believe that dragging makes coming necessary and is only for the so-called preselected.”

        The Calvinist merely notes that the drawing is done by God through teaching with the effect that people hear and learn. Thus, the Calvinist conclusion that the coming to Christ is certain, the drawing of God being necessary and sufficient to gain that end.

        Then, “But Neh 9:30 and John 12:32 disprove clearly this…”

        By “clearly” you mean eisegetically – an eisegetical position does not prove (or disprove) anything.

        Then, “So now I can already guess the argument will be that even if all are dragged to hear the Word, they need regeneration to really “hear” it irresistibly… which is only for those preselected according to determinism!”

        Where God teaches and His students learn, we ought to conclude that the students are not idiots. But the unsaved are idiots as attested by their irrational choice to reject salvation and embrace damnation. So, something changed.

      4. All that dancing and you missed the obvious… Israel rejected the drawing in Neh 9:30. I wonder why God even teaches them knowing they can’t learn!

      5. Brian:
        Yes! Seeing almost daily the kinds of passages you mentioned is what caused me to abandon Calvinism.

        There are literally hundreds, or thousands, of passages like Jer 7:13…

        “While you were doing all these things, declares the LORD, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer.”

        Finally I gave up trying to defend the indefensible idea that man cannot resist God’s call!

      6. “I gave up trying to defend the indefensible idea that man cannot resist God’s call!”

        Calvinism says that man always resists God’s call (and His will) – remember Total Depravity. Even Jesus reinforced the idea of total depravity when He said, “No one can come to me.” I do not understand why you found it necessary to defend a concept that had nothing to do with Calvinism. If you equated God’s calling with God’s drawing, then that is even worse. Did you flunk Calvinism 101? Looks like it. That might explain some of the problems you had.

      7. Simply question:

        Can a chosen person resist God’s will?

        Joshua said “chose for yourselves today who you will serve…but as for me …I will serve the Lord.”

        The chosen people of God chose to follow Him (in a total depravity state?). Then they chose not to follow. They switched back to depraved?

        What kind of a statement is this??

        “Calvinism says that man always resists God’s call (and His will)”

        Surely not biblical!!

        There are countless biblical examples (Zechariah and Elizabeth; Cornelius the “God-fearing, devout”; Noah; Enoch, etc) where the word calls people righteous —not haters of God, and totally depraved, and always resisting God’s will.

        That ‘s just not biblical.

        Abel didn’t resist God’s will.

        Even Lot is called righteous.

        You make an unbiblical statement then build on it.

        Read Luke 1 and tell me if Zechariah was a God-hater or righteous. Abel?

      8. “Can a chosen person resist God’s will?”

        Israel serves as an example of a chosen people who resisted God’s will. Even believers today, personally chosen by God, will resist God’s will – this might explain Paul’s continual encouragement to obey God and sometimes yelling at them in his letters.

        “There are countless biblical examples (Zechariah and Elizabeth; Cornelius the “God-fearing, devout” Noah; Enoch, etc) where the word calls people righteous —not haters of God, and totally depraved, and always resisting God’s will.”

        So, the issue now is whether people can be righteous without God’s help or do they need God’s help to be righteous. I say they need God’s help – left to their depraved natures, people will always resist God. You seem to think otherwise.

      9. Of course I think otherwise!!

        If unredeemed man was not capable of any good act, we would have wiped ourselves off the earth long ago.

        Are patience and kindness good acts? Aren’t they listed as fruits of the Spirit? They are good things.

        A person can be without Christ and do lots of good things. Unsaved people can be kind.

        That is in fact the point!!

        The Bible is constantly telling us of normal people being “devout” like Cornelius. That was said about him BEFORE Peter got to him with the Gospel.

        Lydia is described as a worshipper of God—-who went out (is that seeking?) to hear Paul.

        All these things happen before they hear the Gospel.

        In His Grace, God allows all people to hear him.

        Some hear but just resist. We see that with Israel over and over.

      10. “A person can be without Christ and do lots of good things. Unsaved people can be kind.”

        There you go again – using Webster’s dictionary and not the Scriptures to guide your thinking.

      11. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Webster’s Dictionary. What does that have to do with it?

      12. “Webster’s Dictionary. What does that have to do with it?”

        When you write, “A person can be without Christ and do lots of good things,” do you get your definition of “good” from Webster’s dictionary or from the Scriptures?

      13. Neither Troy nor Rhutchin ever answer the question.

        There are countless biblical examples (Zechariah and Elizabeth; Cornelius the “God-fearing, devout”; Noah; Enoch, etc) where the word calls people righteous —not haters of God, and totally depraved, and always resisting God’s will.

        Abel didn’t resist God’s will. There is no indication that he was a hater of God. Everything the Bible tells us in several places is that he wanted to seek and follow God.

        Even Lot is called righteous.

        Read Luke 1 and tell me if Zechariah was a God-hater or righteous. Abel?

      14. nurluhouse writes, “There are countless biblical examples (Zechariah and Elizabeth; Cornelius the “God-fearing, devout”; Noah; Enoch, etc) where the word calls people righteous…”

        “[God] guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23}

      15. You’re a proponent of tota scriptura because you pit Scripture against itself instead of harmonizing it.

      16. “Can an unsaved person show an act of kindness?”

        “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,…” (Galatians 5)
        “…[believers] are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2)

        Thus, the answer is, NO! – assuming that the Greek word translated as, “kindness,” in Galatians 5 is what you had in mind.

      17. brianwagner writes, “Israel rejected the drawing in Neh 9:30.”

        The primary complaint God had against the Jews was that they always rejected Him. Every prophet seems to bring this up. In Jeremiah 9:30, “And admonished them by Thy Spirit through Thy prophets, Yet they would not give ear.” Those people were depraved. The drawing of God in Nehemiah 9 – “Thou didst bear with them for many years” – was His continual protection of Israel despite their sin.

        Then, ” I wonder why God even teaches them knowing they can’t learn!”

        God spoke through His prophets. He used the heavy artillery sparingly – kinda like He does now.

      18. brianwagner writes, “Why dishonor God by making Him look like He mimics compassion for all that all could never respond to and accept, because He and all are actually locked into a set reality in which even He is scripted to feign such unavailable and ineffective compassion for many?”

        In Romans 9,we read, “God said to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy…Therefore God has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardens.” God has compassion on Gentiles as well as the Jews, but God saves whom He will. God told Israel to go into the promised land and destroy all the people living there because of the great evil they had done – God did not tell them to evangelize the people.

    2. Hi Brian I liked your article but there appears to be a few mistakes in it. Suro is the word that appears at Acts 8:3 and Suro is the word that should have appeared in the Vincent and Robertson comments. Also Helko appears to be an older form of helkuo rather than a separate word. Is it possible for you to correct it

      GG

  10. Troy: It seems to me that it is when we take John 6:44 out of its context , seperate it from the next verse and then spend so much time tying to discern what Jesus meant while ignoring the next verse, that we miss the meaning. In John 6:45 Jesus explains exactly how the Father draws peple to Jesus: “Everyone who listens to the father and learns fom him comes to me”.

    Many verses make it clear that salvation comes by believing what God’s word says. See Ephesians 1:13,Romans 10:17,James 1:18, 1Peter1:23, Romans 1:16. (THE GOSPEL IS THE POWER OF GOD FOR THE SALVATION OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE…. If this verse is true how can we add the need for something other than God’s word in the gospel as neccessary for salvation. This is especially true when this verse is read with Romans 10:17 where God tells us how we get faith. It is not a mystery. It comes from taking in God’s word.
    In John, Jesus simply clarifies this truth by telling us that the actual scource of God’s word is not Jesus but the Father. Thats what we are told in John 12:48 to 12:50. Jesus tells us there that every word Jesus spoke and even how he said those words came from the Father. Jesus also made it clear in John 5:24 that “whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.” So by simply combining the truths of these verses, Jesus meaning in John 6:44 follows logically. It is when people listen to the Father’s words they will be drawn to Jesus and there is no other way for them to come. They will be drawn to Jesus as opposed to Buddah or Abraham or even the Holy Spirit.

    .

    1. Good evening Galen and thank you for your comment. So how do you explain the verses that explain the spiritual condition of the natural man (those who aren’t indwelt by the HS) in relation to their mindset towards God and His Gospel. If the natural man (without exception)are “haters of God” and consider His Gospel to be “foolishness”, how does one natural man believe and the other doesn’t?

      1. Thank you for your comment Troy. I believe the Bible teaches that we can understand and believe God’s word in such a way as to have rightousness credited to us by God without the Holy Spirit indwelling us. Abraham obviously did according to Gen 15:6 and Paul says this is still true today in Romans 4:22. More importantly perhaps, all the examples of saving faith that are found in Hebrews 11 are of Old Testement Saints. This is important because we know they did not have the Holy Spirit. John tells us that in John 7:39. The Spirit had not yet been sent.
        Paul actually uses Abraham’s faith as an example of saving faith for us New Testement Saints in Romans 4 yet he was not indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

        Ephesians 1:13 assumes that we must first believe the word of God and then we receive the Holy Spirit. Also see Galatians 3:2 and 3:5

        I know that some believe that an effective internal call from the Holy Spirit must occur to enable belief but Romans 1:16 rules out that possibilty. It tells us that the Gospel IS THE POWER of God that brings Salvation to every one who believes

        If an effective internal call from God was required then that internal call would be the power of God for salvation and not God’s word (and Romans 1:16 would be false). Also Romans 10:17 makes it clear that faith comes from hearing and not from an internal effective call.
        One final thought on this topic. God clearly does work in the Salvation process by creating circumstances in our lives with the intent of causing us to open our ears and listen to his word when it is presented. Amos 4 :6 to 11 and much of the book of Revelation contain examples of God sending calamity into rebellious peoples lives to soften their Spiritual hearts so they will listen to God. What possible purpose would it serve for God to send disaster after disaster into nonbelivers lives with the stated goal of getting them to repent and all the while withholding the very thing they need—an effective internal call if such exists?
        How does one explain God’s actions in Amos 4:6 -11 if God had the option in his plan of salvation of simply issuing an effective internal call?
        I hope this is responsive but if not let me know.
        Thank you
        Galen

  11. I am so amused/amazed when I hear Troy and Calvinists say “you must read ALL the Bible!”

    That is exactly what got me out of Calvinism.

    For example the prescribed daily passage for tonight’s reading with my family was 1 Cor 9- 10:12, which includes these phrases (my highlights with **):

    19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, ***to win as many as possible**. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, **to win the Jews**. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as **to win those under the law**. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as **to win those not having the law**. 22 To the weak I became weak, **to win the weak**. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means **I might save some**. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I **may share **in its blessings.

    24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? **Run in such a way as to get the prize**. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into **strict training**. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, **I myself will not be disqualified for the prize**.

    10:2 …They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 ***Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.***

    6 Now these things occurred **as examples to keep us from** setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 **Do not be idolaters**, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Christ,[b] as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

    11 These things happened to them **as examples** and were written down as **warnings for us**, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, **if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!**

    ———-
    It is long passages like this that I had to constantly explain away!! They made now sense to me as a Calvinist!

    Listen to the whole Bible Troy!

    Calvinists dance on the head of the 15 proverbial game changing verses….and ignore SO MUCH of the Bible.

    Why does Paul make such an effort to contextualize “To win” them if the number is pre-set?

    Why “strict training”? Will that change the outcome? Can he become “weak to win the weak” and that will change the outcome? Sound like it!!

    Paul….goes out of his way ….repeating in several forms…..phrases that sound like he can make a difference in the outcome of someone’s choice. Once again the Scriptures are so deceptive if he really, ultimately has no influence whatsoever.

    How will he be “disqualified for the prize”?

    God was not pleased and cut off these people who had eaten the spiritual food (His chosen people!!!) ??

    How are they examples to us? “To keep us from”…..From what? Falling? That we run to win? Not be disqualified? Not be cut off?

    How in ANY sense are they examples to us according to Calvinists?

    It certainly sounds like things we do matter for some outcomes. In fact, that is his point!!

    “Do not be idolaters”? Is he addressing believers? Why/ how could they be idolaters if they are pre-determined to never fall.

    Why a warning…”be careful that you don’t fall!”? What kind of fall?

    What does our self-control have to do with it? Can we make a difference with our choices, if all our choices are pre-determined?

    I didn’t even cherry-pick this passage! I was just reading through the (OT once and) NT 2 times a year.

    This kind of thing happened (happens) to me every day and I finally gave up on defending man-made Calvinism and starting ready ALL of the Bible.

    1. “Why does Paul make such an effort to contextualize “To win” them if the number is pre-set?”

      From Paul’s hand–

      “I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.”

      “…we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts.”

      “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”

      Paul knew that God was using him and described himself this way, “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,…” and “Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,…” and

      1. The matter of using the word “chosen” means nothing to me (Judas was chosen, angels are chosen, King Saul was chosen). Nothing at all. Many of the chosen of God do not come and we see that in the Old Testament easily. So that is a moot point ….means nothing.

        The word in most translations is elect anyway and we know that the bride of Christ is the elect…the elect Church.

        My question is can his striving and his contextualization and his beating his body change anything? Can any of his efforts change anything?

        Do any of the efforts of missionaries change anything? New ideas? Contextualisation? sacrifice?. Can any of these things change the outcome? Can anything change anything in your system?

        Paul talks about doing what he can to persuade men. Persuade them of what? Persuade them? That sounds like he’s dialoguing directly with them…. those dead men to persuade them. Why is he talking about persuading men if the entire thing is up to God? Why does the most prolific author of the Bible talk about persuading men?

        Doesn’t that steal glory from God?

        Paul makes it sound like it’s between him and them… If he can persuade them. I wonder why God allows these kind of phrases in his Bible that make it look like it’s in man’s hands

      2. “The matter of using the word “chosen” means nothing to me…”

        In the context of debates over Calvinism, “chosen” is an action by God regarding believers, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who…chose [believers] in Him before the foundation of the world…” (Ephesians 1) and “…unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect whom He chose, He shortened the days.” (Mark 13) They would be those described in John 6, ““All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me,…” and “…this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing,…” and “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him;…” Paul spoke of believers, saying, “I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” The debate is whether God chooses whom He will save or if God just provides the means for people to be saved and people choose their destiny.

        “My question is can his striving and his contextualization and his beating his body change anything? Can any of his efforts change anything?”

        Only so far as Paul saw it necessary in order to keep himself from getting lazy. Paul believed that he was God’s apostle to preach Christ to the gentiles and he wanted every gentile to hear the gospel. However, Paul could have given up at any time presuming that God would have let him. I often wonder why God seemed to treat Paul so harshly given Paul’s desire to serve Him and then God treats me so good given that I do so little.

        “Do any of the efforts of missionaries change anything?”

        “…[missionaries] are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that [missionaries] should walk in them.

        “Can anything change anything in your system? ”

        God is omniscient and He knew everything to happen from day 1. Everything is now unfolding in accordance with God’s plan. God has shown us things that will happen with certainty. For example, God will draw His elect to salvation. The believer who asks for wisdom receives wisdom. The believer who asks for good things, receives good things. The believer can “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, [and] receive mercy and…grace to help in time of need.”

        “Paul talks about doing what he can to persuade men. Persuade them of what?”

        In 2 Corinthians 5, “…we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due to him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.” Then, “my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” Paul saw himself as a partner of the Holy Spirit – Paul explained the Scriptures to people, and the Holy Spirit opened their hearts to receive the truth of the Scriptures.

        “I wonder why God allows these kind of phrases in his Bible that make it look like it’s in man’s hands.”

        To teach you not to cherry pick verses and build a theology only on verses that please you. “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of [believers] is to search out a matter.” (Proverbs 25)

  12. Let’s examine the phrase “No one can come”. The verb “come” had been used prior in Jesus’ dialogue which lays a foundation for what Christ meant by His word usage, “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst'” (vs 35). The Lord has clearly delineated a synonymical expression with the words come and believe, therefore we can positively conclude that those who “come” to Jesus are those who actually “believe” in him. In verses 37 and 39, we find that all who the Father gives to him will come; and all that He has given Jesus will not be lost and will be raised up the last day – thus affirming God’s initiative in salvation and the security found to those who believe in His Son.

    Jesus identifies the will of his Father for the second time in verse 40 stating, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Further examination of this text will help us to discover a two-fold distinction presented by Jesus in that everyone who ” sees” the Son, must secondly, “believe” in the Son in order to be saved. This is an extremely vital point because we find Jesus stating in verse 36, “But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.” Thus, we find a distinguishing trait that there are a people which actually see but do not believe, thus nullifying salvation and the promise of being raised up at the last day. It is noteworthy to highlight that only the actions of man are taken into account in this verse, wherein he is required to both see and subsequently believe in order for his salvation to be affirmed.

    This brings us to the primary verse in question (44), which must be read in conjunction with verse 45. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day… Therefore, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” We find two primary points of emphasis that are explicitly mentioned:

    1) The same affirmation reiterated from verses 37 and 39 reveal that salvation is initiated by the Father’s drawing to the Son. Hence, no one can come (believe) unless they have been enabled.

    2) Those who believe (come) must first hear and learn. This, too, identifies the two-fold reiteration that placed the responsibility on the individual as previously stated in verse 40, declaring that “Everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have everlasting life.” This amounts to the understanding that seeing is paralleled to hearing, and learning is synonymous to believing. Dr. A.T Roberson, said the following, regarding verse 45, “It is not enough to hear God’s voice. He must heed it and learn it and do it. This is a voluntary response. This one inevitably comes to Christ.”

    By taking into account the context rendered, we find that Jesus was responding to a disbelieving crowd who murmured against him (vs. 43). Hence, one would accurately conclude that his response in vs. 44 was spoken as a statement of truth in light of those who would belong to the fold, and not as a doctrine of arbitrary, irresistible selection of only a few. These are passages of affirmation and not of isolation, and should be read in such light. All that were present did see, affirming their accountability that they all had to personally choose to believe by the invitation offered – while those who rejected the offer to eat his flesh and drink his blood would be accountable for resisting the grace that was made available to them. Top Johannine scholar, Dr. Raymond Brown stated,

    “If the Jews will desist from their murmuring, which is indicative of a refusal to believe, and will leave themselves open to God’s movement, He will draw them to Jesus… This internal moving of the heart by the Father will enable them to believe in the Son and thus possess eternal life”.

    The murmuring of the crowd and willful rejection to Christ’s offer is recognized by leading theologians in noting that the conditions, atmosphere and attitude of the people, are taken into account in concert to what Jesus was conveying to them. The Lord told a similar crowd, “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (Joh 5:40), and later “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine…” (Joh 7:17). Renowned Scholar, FF. Bruce stated, regarding this passage,

    “Those who come to Christ are here described as being drawn to him by the Father; in John 12:32 it is Christ who, by being ‘lifted up from the earth’, draws all without distinction to himself. One way or the other, the divine initiative in the salvation of believers is emphasized. The responsibility of men and women in the matter of coming to Christ is not overlooked (cf. John 5:40); but none at all would come unless divinely persuaded and enabled to do so.”

    Hence, the idea of men being held accountable for rejecting His teachings was not because they “could not” believe, but because they chose to resist His message. Alfred Eldersheim, whose masterpiece still stands as a leading reference on the life of Jesus, also took into account the conditions that surrounded Jesus in his discourse in John 6, and noted that Jesus left the people without excuse due to their decisions to reject His teaching and His Father’s drawing, being based on their murmuring and unwillingness to respond.

    “It would have been an excuse of Jewish unbelief, and indeed entirely discordant with all Christ’s teaching if the inability to come were regarded as other than personal and moral, springing from man’s ignorance and opposition to spiritual things. No man can come to Christ – such is the condition of the human mind and heart, that coming to Christ as a disciple is, not an outward, but an inward moral impossibility – except the Father draw him. And this, again, not in the sense of any constraint, but in that of the personal, moral, loving influence and revelation, to which Christ afterwards refers when he saith: ‘And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Myself'” (John 12:32).

    No one can come to Christ is best understood to mean that no one is “able” to come to him, unless they are first drawn. Therefore, the drawing of God makes possible the person’s ability to effectively respond and come to Jesus through faith. This posits the necessity of God’s enabling grace upon the individual’s life through the preached word of God, along with man’s willingness to accept the invitation and come to Christ in response. The definitive message is that no one comes to God independently by their own power or will, and that the initial act of salvation always begins with God the Savior, and apart from His initial gracious drawing of the Holy Spirit through the preached gospel no one can possibly come.

    1. Brian R. writes, “Let’s examine the phrase “No one can come”.”

      RC Sproul could not have explained it better (probably a little differently).

      There is confusion where we read, “we find a distinguishing trait that there are a people which actually see but do not believe,” In context, the Jews of that day could physically see and hear Jesus, but they did not believe. Can we conclude that they did not spiritually see and hear Jesus? The distinction between the physical and the spiritual is alluded to in John 6 but not directly addressed. The Eldersheim quote touches on this where it refers to “…man’s ignorance and opposition to spiritual things.” Thus, the requirement that God draw the person. Sorting this out would bridge the gulf between the Jews of that day and people after that time who do not have the opportunity to physically see and hear Jesus but are unable to spiritually see and hear Jesus.

      The Roberson quote hits the mark, ““It is not enough to hear God’s voice. He must heed it and learn it and do it. This is a voluntary response. This one inevitably comes to Christ.” Then v45, “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.” God’s involvement makes this inevitability inevitable.

      Then, “By taking into account the context rendered, we find that Jesus was responding to a disbelieving crowd who murmured against him (vs. 43). Hence, one would accurately conclude that his response in vs. 44 was spoken as a statement of truth in light of those who would belong to the fold, and not as a doctrine of arbitrary, irresistible selection of only a few.”

      Jesus could have directed a personal comment to the crowd saying, “You cannot come to me…” However, we must believe that Jesus deliberately said, “No one…” and did so to make a statement about all people in all times. We easily read this as applying to us today and everyone who has ever lived. Then, given that it is God who draws, God who gives, and God who is the source of hearing and learning, there is ample support to see an irresistible selection of only a few (as opposed to the Universalist view).

      So, a good explanation that suffers only from brevity but still excites one to further study.

    2. When Christ compares Himself in Jn 3:14-15 to the bronze serpent and then again in 12:32, perhaps we should examine very carefully the OT account itself to see if we can find even the slightest hint of what Calvinism asks us to find.

      The account can be found in Numbers 21:6-9…

      So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

      It should not escape us that Christ compares Himself to this bronze serpent as part of explaining to Nicodeums how one must be born again. Indeed, it occurs immediately prior to John 3:16 (coincidentally the most butchered of all Calvinist readings in scripture) and Christ is establishing the context of 3:16 by using that Old Testament symbolism and account as follows:

      1) The fiery serpents (sting of death) were the result of sin (see Num 21:4-5)

      2) The image of the fiery serpent was put on a standard so that it could be seen by all – not just “the elect” few – and we see no “L” symbolized here. Nor do we see any “T” here – eyes so blind that they must be healed before they can look. Nor do we see men who were actually dead being told to look – simply men with an inevitable death sentence by virtue of having been bitten.

      3) The making of the bronze serpent and the instruction to “look” were sufficient “grace” as God had no obligation to provide a remedy and the people could not save themselves by looking if the object to look upon had not been supernaturally given to Moses by God. However, the people bitten had to do something. God provided a way of salvation, but they had to avail themselves of it of their own free will.

      4) There was no compulsion to look. We see no “I” or “U” symbolized here. Nor was there a limit on who could look. We see no “L” here as noted in #2 above.

      Calvinists would have us turn this around. That they looked because they were saved – not vice-versa. We see this frequently in Calvinism; cause and effect are reversed.

      Surely God missed the Calvinist memo and talking points. The story should have gone like this to properly capture all of the Calvinist nuances and doctrines:

      – The people must all be blind, thus symbolizing “Total Inability”

      – God must supernaturally remove the blindness or scales from the eyes of only particular people; the rest will die for His good pleasure, thus properly symbolizing “U”.

      – A book must exist from eternity past with the names of only those particular people – the Elect – who will have their blindness cured for reasons that are mysterious known only to God in His secret counsel. Thus again properly symbolizing “U”.

      – Those with their blindness supernaturally removed must subsequently be forcibly dragged to stand before the bronze serpent and made to look. Thus properly symbolizing “I” and harmonizing tidily with the Calvinist reading of Jn 6:44.

      – To ensure “L”, when Moses uses the phrases “everyone” and ”any man” in Num 21, it must be stressed that it doesn’t actually mean what this appears to say; remember, the bronze serpent is of no benefit to those who don’t look upon it. Thus, they are not allowed to look on it – that would be nonsensical and wasteful. To quote one of our favorite Calvinists in the comments section elsewhere, “However, if Christ dies for those whom God knows will not be saved, what benefit does the non-elect receive or what purpose is served? It’s an empty gesture.” Although there is no explicit symbolism available to convey this limitation, it must logically follow and be repeated endlessly. Other passages in the OT that can be hijacked to explain “any” and “all men” should be employed regularly and strenuously. A good candidate might be Judges 7:5 where we see that “everyone” doesn’t mean everyone. It means “everyone who laps the water” – not “everyone who kneels”. As to “any man” a scripture such as 1 Sam 2:13 should be employed to show that it doesn’t mean “any man” but rather only those who offer sacrifices. In this manner you can claim “Sola Scriptura” and limit the offer to the demands of your theology.

      – To ensure that those who looked cannot boast, it is important that they have no choice. Hence, they must be blind beforehand and they must be forced to look. Otherwise, a horrible conundrum will occur as the Calvinists of the world try to figure out why one looked and another one did not. Also, why the looker was required to look of his own volition – because this somehow negates grace.

      – We must also add that the faith to believe Moses’ instruction (look and you will be saved) cannot in any way originate in the looker. This would be a work and somehow negate the grace of being given a bronze serpent to look at.

      Once the Calvinist has established all of the above with a completely different version of Numbers 21, only they can then confidently tell us that their reading of John 3:16, John 12:32, and John 6:44 is correct and insist “they looked because they were saved” and “they believed because they were saved”. Until then, we’ll continue to read it correctly as “they were saved because they believed” in harmony with the very story in the OT that Christ chose to symbolize Himself and His work.

      1. Steve Sabib writes, “It should not escape us that Christ compares Himself to this bronze serpent as part of explaining to Nicodeums how one must be born again.”

        In Number 21, it was the people who were bitten and who faced death who were convinced that looking at the bronze serpent would save them from death. Given the alternative – death – what did a person have to lose? Jesus, by analogy, says that He is the bronze serpent and everyone who looks (believes) on Him will be saved. So, how is it that all are not saved (at least, do not appear to be saved based on their actions and lifestyle)? What are you not explaining to us?

        In context with that which Jesus explained to Nicodemus, “‘You must be born again.’The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” We can conclude that it is only those who are born again who look to Jesus for salvation even as the Israelites looked to the bronze serpent.

        You claim, “we see no “L” symbolized here,” yet certainly, if the Holy Spirit does not give a new birth to everyone, then that is L.

        The context of John 3 tells us that the Holy Spirit must give a person new birth before that person will look to Jesus for salvation.

      2. Quick note to Steve Sabin…

        In the reading of this site that you have done, you may have noticed that RH only appears to be involved in open discussion. Dont be fooled, like I was when I first started, that he really is listening to a word you say.

        And ….this just in….. I noticed in the Numbers 21 account that the people (the sinful people) are the ones who actually initiate the repentance dialog.

        21:7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

        There’s a real Calvinist show-stopper for you! God only brings about the punishment (at first). Then the dying sinful ones cry out to Moses in repentance. No sign of any special intervention by God at that point.

        Man, the whole Bible just seems to refute Calvinism!!

      3. FOH writes, “Then the dying sinful ones cry out to Moses in repentance.”

        Only the dying sinful ones cry out to God in repentance. So, that must mean everyone is saved because everyone admits to being dying sinful slobs.

      4. FOH,

        I would like to correspond with you outside of this comment thread and the SOT101 forum. The site moderator has sent you a message with my personal contact information.

      5. Whoo Hoo!
        Great to have you around Steve Sabin!

        Bring it!

        Yes….Calvinists turn it all around!!

        But the Bible says: in faith they applied the blood to the doorpost. Not the opposite!

        Somehow Calvinists think that after a person applies the blood in faith, he is gonna run around saying “I’m so good…look at me I’m so good!”

        Nah…. we get it. God’s idea and God’s plan.

        Slaughter a lamb, put the blood on the doorpost, and stay in the house. God does all the real work. We just obey in faith.

        ((Let’s talk about Noah too; a hundred year’s worth of faith building that ark.))

  13. Troy,
    I hope you see this.

    I was exactly like you, so I get it.

    You posed a question above that shows that you read a lot move ABOUT theology (Calvinism) than just plain reading the Bible. You asked this.

    —-
    If the natural man (without exception)are “haters of God” and consider His Gospel to be “foolishness”, how does one natural man believe and the other doesn’t?
    —-

    You make a catchphrase out of a couple of not-connected concepts in the Bible. People do it in books and blogs and then others repeat it as though it is written that way in the word.

    It never says all natural man without exception are “haters of God”. Please give the verse and the context (Romans 1?).

    I have considered many things in life foolishness until someone explains it to me. That is not a fundamental, game-changing idea. Too much mileage is gotten out of the of the ideas “foolishness” “dead” (we are dead to sin but do it), “haters of God.”

    If Romans 1 is your context please notice that the verses also say

    27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

    —–
    Are we all slanderers, inventors of evil, heartless, ruthless,

    They seem to “know God’s righteous decree” —-how do they know all that if they are dead?

    I mentioned several people in the past:
    Enoch
    Noah
    Zechariah and Elizabeth whom the Bible describes as righteous people.

    Are they haters of God?

    1. Romans chapters 1-3 present all the evidences of the depravity of mankind. I would still reiterate that all of mankind before salvation are haters of the God of the Scriptures. Jesus teaches His disciples in John 15:18 “”If the world hates you, you know that IT [THE WORLD] HAS HATED ME before it hated you.” The world, meaning the world of natural men, hate Christ and will consequently hate His disciples.
      Regarding the “foolishness” of the Gospel to the natural man, I’ll just quote Scripture:

      1)“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” -‭‭1 Cor 1:18‬ “…those who are perishing” refers to natural man.

      ‭‭

      1. I’m still waiting Troy. Are you going to answer my question if Adam’s choice was determined by the strongest influence, and Eve’s voice was that influence, so that he was unable to obey God and abstain from eating the fruit? Thx.

      2. I answered your question. I guess it wasn’t to your satisfaction. So I’ll answer it a different way my friend.
        I believe Adam was able to abstain from eating the fruit since His will was not affected by a sin nature. Eve’s influence on Adam is immaterial actually since it was God’s predetermined plan for Eve to entice Adam anyway. Adam was created to fall. There’s just no denying this fact when there’s an omniscient Being who places a tree in a garden, creates a man with free choice, tells him not to eat from the tree, knows he will break the commandment, thus creating the circumstances for the fall to occur. No matter how you try to argue your way out of it – it was God’s purpose that Adam fall, regardless of Eve’s influence on Adam. Both Eve’s influence and Adam’s free choice were predetermined to occur.

      3. Troy,
        In the same reply you say…
        “I believe Adam was able to abstain from eating the fruit…” and..

        “it was God’s purpose that Adam fall,”

        They both cannot be true.

        This is that un-true world that one must live in to be a Calvinist.

      4. ““I believe Adam was able to abstain from eating the fruit…” and..
        “it was God’s purpose that Adam fall,”
        They both cannot be true. ”

        What prevents both statements being true? Even if God purposed that Adam fall making the fall certain, God did not cause Adam to fall nor did God create Adam with an inability to choose. If one of those statements must be false, then you should be able to explain what makes it false. Can you?

      5. It is moments like this when I see why Calvinists love the “foolishness” verse so much (and their unique interpretation of it). Of course proposing that two opposite things can be true is foolishness!

        I do not have the least problem with consistent theology….reformed / deterministic position saying “God ordained it; Adam did not choose it or have a say in it.” That is consistent. Say it. Own it.

        Foolishness is when you say that God ordained it irrevocably but Adam had a choice.

        Anything is foolishness if you make it foolish.

      6. Thank you for answering my specific question Troy with an answer directly relating to it! Can you explain how God’s purpose for Adam to sin that day and Adam’s ability not sin that day makes sense? Did he really have the ability to thwart God’s purpose for him… which was for him to disobey the command? And are you saying God’s purpose was for Adam not to obey God’s command? Thx.

      7. Brian:
        I hope you get an answer.

        Get ready for the “He ordains things He does not will” answer. The ‘ol “sovereign will vs will of command” concept not found in the Bible, but based on some idea of Acts 4 and Joseph.

      8. brianwagner asked Troy, “Can you explain how God’s purpose for Adam to sin that day and Adam’s ability not sin that day makes sense?”

        This seems to get into the supra/infra distinction. Did God plan Jesus’ death before Adam sinned or after? The Scriptures do not tell us why God planned for Adam to sin – given God’s unique actions, it seems certain that God had a plan. Thus, we should have no trouble with the conclusion that God had a plan in which God’s purpose was that Adam sin. Do you see any reason to think that God did not have a plan?

        It was not the existence of a plan that caused Adam to sin. However, that plan created the circumstances under which Adam was faced with the choice to eat the fruit or refrain from doing so. From Adam’s perspective, he had a choice. Adam had the ability to not sin, but given the circumstances and his limitations, that was a very low probability outcome. Adam had otherwise choice even if the likelihood of Adam choosing otherwise was zero.

        Then, “Did he really have the ability to thwart God’s purpose for him…which was for him to disobey the command? ”

        There is nothing to indicate that Adam was so restrained by any influences or forces that he could not have chosen to thwart God’s plan. He was free to act. Certainly, whatever influences/forces acted on Adam served to reduce the likelihood that Adam would choose not to eat the fruit.

        Then, “And are you saying God’s purpose was for Adam not to obey God’s command?”

        Given that Adam disobeyed God’s command and God did not intervene to prevent that outcome, then that was God’s purpose – this would be true even under your system of a partially determined future.

      9. I don’t think Roger I’ve ever heard someone say a low probability of choice meant zero chance of choosing differently!

        Many of God’s plans are shown to be conditional. Even creation itself wasn’t necessary but a conditional plan to choose in God’s mind. So the need for redemption was also only conditionally planned conditioned upon Adam’s choice to sin or not.

        And God did point to Adam’s heeding to Eve’s voice instead of His command as the reason the earth was cursed. I don’t think her influence was determinative… but Adam’s free choice was… and the ability he had to obey that day was not zero!

        That’s it for now. It is hard to continue discussing with you Roger when you ignore the clear evidence. God drew Israel and they rejected it! Neh 9:30. He draws each person! Praise His Name!

      10. Brian writes, “So the need for redemption was also only conditionally planned conditioned upon Adam’s choice to sin or not.”
        Come on Brian! Do you really believe that an omniscient God planned His redemption program based on whether Adam MIGHT sin or not as if He had to wait to see what Adam was going to do? No Brian! God’s redemptive program is TOTALLY conditioned on His predeterminations. Eve tempted Adam, Adam freely chose to succumb to the temptation, and God orchestrated the entire scenario. In other words, God created all the conditions for the Fall to have occurred:
        1) He created Satan
        2) He allowed Satan to rebel
        3) He created the tree of The Knowledge of Good/Evil
        4) He created Adam/Eve will free will
        5) He gave Adam the command to not eat from the tree KNOWING they would rebel
        6) God allowed Satan to deceive Eve
        7) Eph. 1:4 proves that redemption was planned before Adam was created and chose to sin
        This means God already knew Adam’s choice BEFORE He created Him. This means that His redemptive plan was NOT conditioned on any action of man. Any action of man is simply fulfillment of God’s predetermined plan.

      11. Troy:
        Even trying to defend your position you cannot bring yourself to state it completely…

        1) He created Satan
        2) He allowed Satan to rebel—–WHY DO YOU SAY “ALLOW”?
        3) He created the tree of The Knowledge of Good/Evil
        4) He created Adam/Eve will free will
        5) He gave Adam the command to not eat from the tree KNOWING they would rebel
        6) God allowed Satan to deceive Eve —-WHY DO YOU SAY “ALLOW”?

        You are like all the Calvinist preachers I have ever known. From the pulpit they say “allow” but their theology means “caused/ ordained/ willed.”

        If they actually preached that God willed/ordained that the 3-year-old daughter of their church member who was just raped and killed, people would be horrified! So they —like Troy– say “allowed”.

        But really there is no allowed……just ordained before time.

        I made a choice years ago between accepting the idea that God conditionally plans things while remaining sovereign —-or that He ordains the violent, vicious evil that surrounds us.

        The Calvinist version of God ordains/ wills/ conceives / purposes/ controls/ mandates/ forces all evil. Otherwise that would be letting man mess with his sovereignty.

      12. nurluhouse writes, “You are like all the Calvinist preachers I have ever known. From the pulpit they say “allow” but their theology means “caused/ ordained/ willed.””

        By allow, Calvinists means that God decreed that Satan should be free to rebel, free to enter the garden and free to tempt Eve (Satan could behave as he desired without interference from God to prevent him doing so). God ordains/decrees that people be allowed to act freely (such as Cain murdering Abel or the Jews stoning Stephen) at times. As a general rule, God must continuously restrain the sinful impulses of people else Totally Depraved people would soon be Utterly Depraved. No one can take any action without God having already decided whether He will restrain the person or give the person freedom to act as he desires. Even you have to admit that God “ordains the violent, vicious evil that surrounds us.” God is always present at such events and it is God who is sovereign and is able to stop the evil, so God must ordain that the event proceed without interference from Him if the event is to occur.

      13. Nurluhouse writes, “You are like all the Calvinist preachers I have ever known. From the pulpit they say “allow” but their theology means “caused/ ordained/ willed.”
        Yet another misrepresentation that I don’t support!!

      14. God gave Adam free will that was not yet influenced by a sinful nature. It was God’s decree that Adam chose to sin. However, Adam made that choice uncoerced. This is compatibilism to the core!

      15. Thx… it confirms for me that Calvinists believe God is responsible for Adam sinning… and his so-called freewill was not able to thwart God’s plan that he sin that day and in that way.

        But I believe the Scripture account disproves the idea that Adam freely chose to sin because he had to follow the strongest influence. Thx for the conversation.

      16. My friend, Adam’s will was MORE free than yours because his was not influenced by sin. Your position is surprising to me because Prof Flowers believes that our free will is in control of our strongest desire. Interesting!

      17. Troy writes, “My friend, Adam’s will was MORE free than yours because his was not influenced by sin.”

        Actually, Adam was likely influenced by Eve’s sin in eating the fruit. The only thing that changed in the whole scenario was that Eve ate the fruit. Adam would not have eaten the fruit if Eve had not already eaten it. Adam’s decision to eat the fruit seems to reflect his knowledge that Eve had eaten the fruit. Had Eve offered Adam the fruit to eat without Adam knowing of her sin, I doubt that he would have eaten the fruit.

      18. brianwagner writing to Troy, “But I believe the Scripture account disproves the idea that Adam freely chose to sin because he had to follow the strongest influence.”

        The Scripture does not tell us what that influence was. From the account, the only thing that changed was that Eve had eaten the fruit and would now die. Beyond that, all other influences were the same. Nothing accounts for Adam’s choice to eat the fruit, other than the influence of Eve’s sin.

      19. Troy:
        If you consider non-Calvinists, evangelical, born-again followers of Christ to be believers (as most Calvinists do) then you would agree that I (Brian, Leighton, Brd, etc) am a believer.

        In that case, we are confronted with 2 choices (more!) as believers, both choices being supported by Scripture:

        Your version: God ordained sin, made Adam sin (even though Adam made that choice?!). God also created 99.55% of humanity in His image only to destroy them with torture eternally. Then He set up a sacrifice system, much like Passover where one only has to apply the blood on the door in faith, but this time He only gives that faith to, say 1.45% of humanity. Absolutely, and for His glory, refusing to give that faith to the rest, because they deserve eternal conscious torture.

        Other version: Adam freely sinned corrupting mankind. God freely and sovereignly established a plan through the Chosen One, that all who are in Him (like, in the ark, like, in the house with blood on the door) will be in fellowship with God. This plan is open to all as Christ said He will draw all men when lifted up, and God is not wanting any to perish. In His plan, He wants them to come but lets them resist His will, as we see chosen people resisting His will thousands of times in the Word.

        Both ideas are held by firm biblical believers and even whole denominations.

        My story: I became a believer and held to idea #2 (other version). In my college years, I was then taught, coaxed, harangued, and shamed into believing #1 (your version). I bought and read the books, and did an M Div. Later, I started reading the Bible through every year. I once again hold to #2.

        Since both are supported by Scripture and held by historic elements of the church…. I guess we “have a choice” which one we want to believe.

      20. nurluhouse writing to Troy, “In that case, we are confronted with 2 choices (more!) as believers, both choices being supported by Scripture:”

        So, what’s the difference between the two choices. How are they not in harmony with each other?

      21. Nurluhouse writes, “Your version: God ordained sin, made Adam sin (even though Adam made that choice?!). God also created 99.55% of humanity in His image only to destroy them with torture eternally. Then He set up a sacrifice system, much like Passover where one only has to apply the blood on the door in faith, but this time He only gives that faith to, say 1.45% of humanity. Absolutely, and for His glory, refusing to give that faith to the rest, because they deserve eternal conscious torture.”
        I’m sorry sir but how can I take you seriously when you deliberately misrepresent and caricature my position this way. I don’t believe ANY of this!!!

      22. Troy writes, ” Eve’s influence on Adam is immaterial actually since it was God’s predetermined plan for Eve to entice Adam anyway.”

        I don’t think that is necessarily so. In the same manner, we could say that Satan’s presence and influence was immaterial. Everything was material because Adam had to consider everything in making a decision. I don’t think it is certain that Eve enticed Adam to eat the fruit. Eve offered Adam the fruit, but Adam still knew the command. The struggle within Adam may have related to Eve having eaten the fruit and the consequences to Eve of having done that – I think John Gill argued that – and had nothing to do with Eve offering him the fruit.

      23. Interesting.

        You have two proof texts for “haters” and “foolishness” and they contain “world” or “natural man”.

        In both cases you assume that “world” “man” means all men.

        Yet….and everyone knows this….Calvinists constantly refuse to accept that “world” / “man” means all men (“For God so love the world”….”I will draw all men to myself” and hundreds more).

        When I was an avid Calvinist I was constantly using double standards. I got so tired of it!

        Zechariah and Elizabeth (whom the Bible describes in Luke 1 as righteous people). Noah? Enoch? Abel? Even Lot (2 Peter 2) is called righteous.

        God-fearing Gentiles?

        Are they haters of God?

        I am afraid that you have come to the Bible with the Calvinist definition of “dead” and built everything on that false idea…. not reading ALL the Bible in the process.

      24. “Yet….and everyone knows this….Calvinists constantly refuse to accept that “world” / “man” means all men (“For God so love the world”….”I will draw all men to myself” and hundreds more).
        When I was an avid Calvinist I was constantly using double standards. I got so tired of it!”

        Calvinists are consistent in defining terms like “world” and all men” to refer to all men without distinction. Thus, world would normally be referring to both Jews and gentiles. In the OT, the prevailing belief was that the Jews were God’s chosen people and He loved only them. Calvinists point to Ephesians 3 to support his definition. Did you get your definition from Webster’s dictionary or someplace else? I would think you might appreciate the Calvinist approach of appealing to the Scriptures to understand the Scriptures.

        The Calvinist standard for understanding all things is the Scripture. How is that a double standard?

      25. rhutchin:
        you never stay on topic.

        Troy used a verse with “world” saying it means all men (not all kinds of men). using that definition for the plethora of “all men” verses proclaiming God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice should yield “all men”—but for Calvinists it switches to “all kinds of men.”

        Please deal with the Zechariah and host of other righteous people who are not haters of God, a whole list of other items that get brought up.

      26. “Troy used a verse with “world” saying it means all men (not all kinds of men).”

        Troy said, “The world, meaning the world of natural men,…” I think he was clear and I think he and I are on the same page.

      27. When you want it to “world” means all men without exception.

        But when the Bible says “world” (for God so loved the world, God is not willing that any should perish) that means “all kinds of men”.

        Just pick and choose to fit your presuppositions.

      28. “But when the Bible says “world” (for God so loved the world, God is not willing that any should perish) that means “all kinds of men”.”

        In this case, “world” refers to Jews and gentiles, a radical thought at that time but a key theme in the book of John.

      29. “World” is used in several different contexts. It’s up to the student to figure out, FROM THE CONTEXT, if “world” is signifying “without distinction” or “without exception”. This is key to understanding God’s use of universal terms throughout Scripture.

  14. am a 4 point Calvinist and these Traditionalists are right about one thing. That passages that say that Jesus died for the whole world are so plain and that 5 pointers jump through hoops to make the text day He only died for the Elect.
    Little do they realize, is that the Traditionalist does the same thing to John 6 that 5 pointers do to all of the texts that teach a universal atonement.
    The context of John 6 is so plain. I was actually considering the Arminian position this past week but I couldn’t find one interpretation (there are many) from the Arminian perspective of this passage that was satisfying. There is no getting around this text without doing the very same things they accuse 5 pointers of doing to get around a universal atonement.

  15. I am not sure the place you’re getting your info, but good topic. I must spend a while finding out more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic info I used to be on the lookout for this info for my mission.

  16. Hello,
    I just want to introduce myself, you can call me q-ball seeing I am bald. I am not here to discuss what most of you call Calvinism. Most Reformed believers are not defending Calvinism as it is the truth of scripture. Actually we are discussing and defending the truth given once to the church of what is called “THE FALSE TEACHING OF CALVINISM”. And this site is full of it. So please remember that when I am discussing or talking respectfully with you that on my on I am trying to get you see by the help of the Holy Spirit the false teaching. There is also some blasphemy on here in some things that are said. Some things come very close to being heretical and yes I am afraid some things are heretical. Just reading through (and you guys are very interesting so please do not be offended) I detected the heresy of Open Theism. I know some think it is heresy and some don’t but that is not really the subject of this site. Before I decided to introduce I listened to the Roman 9 Debate between James White and listened to many of his podcast and read many of his post. I am like wow does he have time for his wife because this is a full time job here and he is a Pastor of a Church also. I promise I did not come here thinking I know all the answers or that I was going to be so wise that no one could answer. We all know in our proud many times we feel that way but I learned it is not so. God bless and looking to interacting in a Christlike manner not in some of the ways I have read above and in other places. That is not a rebuke we are all human and I am sure I will put my foot in my mouth also which I hope you will forgive, I will strive to be in love, joy, peace gentleness, faithfulness and self-control as I have notice Dr. Flowers although he does not get the save behavior back.

      1. Hey Eric, no reason for anyone to get offended, I know the one already who is espousing the heresy. I am not trying to show how smart or wise I am because I know I am not so please do not think that. Maybe I should not have put the word heresy in their since that is not what we will be discussing anyway. I apologize Eric and thanks for calling me out on it. God bless

      2. No need to apologize Ralph, I was just pointing out how people will normally react when you say they teach heresy. Even if you’re right, they aren’t going to hear that you aren’t trying to offend them.

      3. Sorry for using that word Eric, since we will are not talking about that which heretical here I should never have brought it up. I repent for saying it and will not bring it up again I will only discuss the false teaching of non-calvinism. God bless brother Eric.

      1. Thank you Brian for the warm welcome, I promise to behave, I do have a tendency to be long winded. I just don’t think you can respond to two paragraphs that has 10 to 20 assertions in it with shorter sentence and smaller paragraphs and I did not feel I can respond adequately in shorter sentences and paragraphs. I notice you also do small chunks but the one named Rutchkins does not and seems to to adhere to the rules or advice I was given down below. I did say that if I was going to be long-winded I would just put a link to my site which no one will probably read but I think it is time to quit being shallow and wade out into the waters where it is deep and think for a little. You can take my long-winded and break it down into chunks and deal with it unless you just want to have coffee and talk a little. I do like your comments Brian you are one to be reckoned. They made me think. You know, the site does say comment not write a book so maybe i need to adhere to what the guys below are saying. I will try and use links links to my site and forgive me all of you for busting in here as if I own the place. You are my brothers in Christ. I respect you and will do my best to honor and speak the truth in love and I promise to admit when I am wrong. I only ask that you please forgive me. I now see as I have been writing Brian the error of my ways and want to be friends with you guys.
        God bless you Brian and I ask you all to give me a chance in Christ

    1. Ralph, aka qballinthehouse…

      Please use shorter sentences and paragraphs. It is hard to follow what you are saying. Answers to much of what you are saying in your many, long, repetitive posts (here and on other pages) can be found on this site. That is, if you are really wanting to discuss.

      If you are only wanting to spam this site with angry words of “heretic” then please reconsider that idea.

      1. Fromoverhere, the word heretic is not an angry word it is a word that is used where it is qualified. I forgive you for your hostile words at the end of telling me maybe I should reconsider the idea and I ask you to forgive me for putting the word heretic in what I wrote. I should have just left it out. I am sorry and I will try to do better but hope that hostile words will not be directed at me for each and every little thing. God bless/

      2. You ask me to use shorter sentence and paragraphs, here is what I will do, when I write something long I will put a link to it on my own site. You just cannot have a real conversation with two small paragraphs that accomplishes nothing and gives you no time to refute anything but gives non-calvinism the ability to use the scatter gun technique putting down 20 to 25 assertions in on to two paragraphs which in no way I could respond to all of that in shorter sentences or paragraphs. Is shorter sentences or paragraphs a rule set by the admin here or is this something you feel strongly about Fromoverhere. Not try to be contentious just trying to know the rules. In my book saying little is like saying little or much or nothing.

  17. Troy and the other friendly neighborhood Calvinists here continue to make the same fundamental error of conflating foreknowledge with causation. “God knows the future of all events with certainty, and therefore He must be the cause of them all” is the supposedly unassailable logic.

    “Game, set, match,” boasts the Calvinist – who is ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth, ever wrangling over words, and ever ignorant of the personal application of Prov 18:17.

    God can easily know all things without causing them, just as I can know with certainty who won the Civil War without playing any role whatsoever in the cause of who won or lost. My certainty is limited to the past, while’s God’s is unlimited and spans the entirety of past, present and future, but that doesn’t require either me or God to necessarily be the cause of any of the events we know with certainty. This is a very amateurish error made by the over-confident who has not thought it through nor understood modern physics and the relative nature of time. There is a reason that the Bible makes a distinction between predestination (foreordination) and foreknowledge. You would be wise to learn and understand that before speaking with such assurance.

    Troy, if you still read here after three years, it is pretty evident that you’re cage stage. I’d peg you at about 35 or less, convinced you know it all with a shiny new set of Reformed® keys to unlock the secrets of scripture, and full of spit and vinegar – ready to give every non-Reformed man a black eye er, answer for the hope that is within you.

    You’d be wise to do more reading and less commenting. For you, Proverbs 18:17 would be a good one to memorize and practice.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “Troy and the other friendly neighborhood Calvinists here continue to make the same fundamental error of conflating foreknowledge with causation. “God knows the future of all events with certainty, and therefore He must be the cause of them all” is the supposedly unassailable logic.”

      Why do you continue to peddle this line? It is true that Calvinists say that God’s knowledge of future events makes those future events certain. They attribute the cause of future events to God as the direct cause for some events and people as the secondary causes of other events. Calvinists do not attribute God’s knowledge of future events to be the cause of those events. Calvinists would agree with your statement, “My certainty is limited to the past, while’s God’s is unlimited and spans the entirety of past, present and future, but that doesn’t require either me or God to necessarily be the cause of any of the events we know with certainty.”

  18. I will truly never understand the Calvinist canard of universalism slapped on those who deny the “L” of TULIP. A universal offer / universal access in no way implies universal acceptance or outcome for those who refuse the offer – no matter how simple to avail one’s self of the offer.

    Look at the example I gave above of the bronze serpent in Num 21. The exact story Jesus uses to preface John 3:16.

    The remedy was so simple that even a child could do it: look on the image and be healed. Or in Naaman’s case, dip seven times and be cleansed.

    There is no reason to believe that all were saved under even this level of simplicity. How many might have stubbornly dismissed it as foolishness? “Look and be healed? Ridiculous! I must need to do something more substantial – like go to the tabernacle and make an offering, or wash, or …” And thus a refusal to believe and insistence to do things “his way” keeps the man from enjoying salvation. We see the same story played out in 2 Kings 5 where Naaman the leper’s pride almost keeps him from his own healing, even though the remedy was so simple a child could do it. The only thing standing between Naaman and freedom was his own faith to do what was commanded. Would he let unbelief keep him from the “work” (falsely labeled as such by the Calvinist) that was told him (dip seven times) or would he have sufficient faith to just do what was told him? How is looking at a bronze serpent or dipping seven times or believing on Christ any different? Just because all could be saved doesn’t mean all will actually choose wisely. Naaman should be exceedingly grateful he had persistent servants. The Calvinist speaks – as usual – with a forked tongue by protesting “it’s so easy, even a caveman could do it” thus thinking the ease of the remedy necessitates the “U” of TULIP lest everyone say “yes”. Oh, perish the thought! God loving everyone the same? Where’s the sovereignty in that?

    And can anyone seriously believe that Naaman would boast about “healing himself” or those who looked at the bronze serpent boasting about what they did? This is ludicrous. Indeed, we see Naaman’s response was to humbly acknowledge God – not boast.

    We see no universalism in Num 21. Indeed, Num 21:9 reads like this:

    And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

    The Calvinist would demand a reading as follows:

    And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that when a serpent bit any man, when he always looked to the bronze serpent, he and lived.

    1. Sabin,
      Of course we can see the scriptural balance in your words and even the logic (perish that thought!!! Logic!?). And I am glad you are putting that out there for others on the internet to find.

      But, please be assured that the resident Calvinists on this site will either pooh-pooh it as “appealing too much to logic” …. or will answer back in some convoluted 2nd or 3rd will of God….of simply send back the learned talking point.

      Just a friendly heads up.

    2. Steve Sabin writes, “I will truly never understand the Calvinist canard of universalism slapped on those who deny the “L” of TULIP. A universal offer / universal access in no way implies universal acceptance…”

      The “L” refers to God’s intent in sending Christ to the cross – that intent is to save Those chosen under “U.” God’s intent is either to save all or some. The charge of universalism is against those who say that God’s intent in sending Christ to the cross was to save all. The universal offer/access refers to the extent or value of the atonement. Both Cals and non-Cals agree that the extent or value of the atonement has no limit – the atonement is available to all who want it.. So, anyone who looked on the bronze serpent or, by analogy, looks on Christ for salvation will be saved. Calvinists add that those who had the assurance and conviction that looking at the bronze serpent would save them would look on the serpent and live. Those who were not convinced would not look.

    3. Sabin,
      I have often commented that Universalists and Calvinist are exactly the same. They only differ in the number.

      Universalists = God makes it happen to everybody.

      Calvinists = God makes it happen to a certain few.

      It’s the same thing, just with a different number.

      1. Yes – because sovereignty. Or something. We simply know it’s true. Because TULIP.

  19. The charge of universalism is against those who say that God’s intent in sending Christ to the cross was to save all.

    Guilty as charged, but you are using (intentionally?) the wrong word to convey it, conflating universal opportunity with universal outcome.

    Look up the concept of “universalism” at virtually any reference you can find. Only Reformed individuals use (incorrectly) the term in the manner you do.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “Guilty as charged, but you are using (intentionally?) the wrong word to convey it, conflating universal opportunity with universal outcome. ”

      Universal opportunity refers to the extent or value of the atonement. Universal outcome refers to God’s intent to save. I am pretty sure I know the difference between extent and intent.

      1. The Calvinist insists that God always gets His way (because sovereignty, or something) and thus conflates God’s intent to save with the outcome.

        What the Bible says:

        Matt 6:10 “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”
        (God’s will is not always accomplished here; He does not always get what He wants)

        Heb 12:25 “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.”
        (you don’t refuse that for which you have no choice to accept; you do not warn those for whom no choice exists; “warning” has no logical meaning if it is not designed to turn the person from one course of action to another; God is not “getting His way” here; He desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, but if they refuse, their will be consequences)

        Hos 11:5 “But Assyria—he will be their [Ephraim’s] king Because they refused to return to Me.”
        (God led them with bonds of love in v4, yet they refused; He did not get His way)

        2 Ki 17:15 “They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the Lord had commanded them not to do like them.”
        (is this not self-evident? There is no “U” or “I” being shown or symbolized here.)

        Eph 4:30 “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
        (when a believer grieves His Holy Spirit – which DOES happen – He does not get His way)

        Lev 26 (too long to reprint here)
        (note the if/then statements; note God’s intent to bless and not curse and ask yourself whether it occurred as the rest of the OT unfolds.)

        Lk 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!”
        (didn’t get HIs way; unavoidable to conclude otherwise, unless you assume His will was that they refuse Him)

        Ps 95:8 (and Heb 4:7) “Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,”
        (I didn’t want it to happen in Massah – and I didn’t get my way at that time – and I don’t want it to happen again in the church age)

        The Calvinist must very literally overcome the force and weight of hundreds or even thousands of such scriptures in both OT and NT. All for the sake of preserving their erroneous reading of Jn 6:44 and insistence that God always gets His way (i.e., all who are drawn, come).

        Again, please read the ENTIRE Bible and take off the glasses that Calvin handed to you. You will see things much differently.

        And as I have said before, if you will read your entire Bible, you will see challenges to Calvinism on nearly every page. Must they bow to the 20 or so “proof texts” of Calvinism, or must it bow to the overwhelming majority of scripture without employing constant appeals to simultaneous contradictions as “the hidden counsel and mystery of God”?

      2. Indeed thousand of verses state or imply that God does not always get what He wants.

        Calvinists: “Those verses dont really mean what they say….” (which of course takes us back to the clergy-only days where common man could not read the Word, and depends on interpretation from “those who know.”

        Calvinist Grudem: It does mean what it says. “In time” God did not get His way, but before time He actually planned their disobedience and His disappointment at not getting His way (wink wink….in the moment). So…nothing to see here. Move along. God always gets what He wants even when He states a desire and His people dont do it, cuz that was His “real” desire (for them not to do it) anyway.

        See Piper’s 3, 4 wills of God: Spoken will (tells you not to do it) opposed to Sovereign will (caused you to do it).

        Yum!

      3. Steve Sabin writes, ‘The Calvinist insists that God always gets His way (because sovereignty, or something) and thus conflates God’s intent to save with the outcome.”

        Calvinists say that sovereignty always gives God the ability to intervene to restrain or stop anything He wants When Adam was faced with taking the fruit from Eve, God could have intervened to keep Adam from eating the fruit. However, God already knew thta Adam would eat the fruit and had already decided not to prevent Adam from doing so. In fact, God had already planned for Christ to die on the cross because Adam ate the fruit. Because of God’s infinite understanding, God had already planned out His actions in the world that He would create.

        Then, “(God’s will is not always accomplished here; He does not always get what He wants)”

        God’ does not get what He wants (He wants everyone to obey the 10 commandments) but He always gets His will (Cain kills Abel and David jumps into bed with Bathsheba with God standing there watching everything but God had already decided not to stop it – God’s decision was His will).

        Then, “(you don’t refuse that for which you have no choice to accept; you do not warn those for whom no choice exists; ”

        If you lack faith, your options are limited.

        Then, “(God led them with bonds of love in v4, yet they refused; He did not get His way)”

        But God’s will was done.

        Then,”All for the sake of preserving their erroneous reading of Jn 6:44 and insistence that God always gets His way (i.e., all who are drawn, come).”

        John 6:44 tells us that no individual can come to Christ unless God draws that individual to Christ and Christ promises to raise up the individual God draws and to do so on the last day. Can’t get much plainer than that.

  20. Calvinist: “My theology is so complex that it requires multiple “wills”, a God who seems to consistently say things that cannot be taken at face value, and numerous appeals to “mystery”. It is also not able to be discovered by merely reading the Bible. Because “T”. Indeed, it is completely camouflaged until you have the members-only infrared goggles, designed by our founding father.”

    Non-Calvinist: “My theology is simple and biblical and readily evident to even the most rudimentary reader and those without even 20/20 vision – God desires that all come to repentance and belief, but He is sufficiently sovereign to allow free will without moving Him off the throne.”

    The Calvinist treasure map overlays sufficiently with 20 or so scriptures to appear correct until you start looking closely. But often by then, the Calvinist is more committed to the map than the thousands of other things that it must congruently overlay.

  21. rhutchin writes…

    Calvinists say that sovereignty always gives God the ability to intervene to restrain or stop anything He wants When Adam was faced with taking the fruit from Eve, God could have intervened to keep Adam from eating the fruit. However, God already knew thta Adam would eat the fruit and had already decided not to prevent Adam from doing so. In fact, God had already planned for Christ to die on the cross because Adam ate the fruit. Because of God’s infinite understanding, God had already planned out His actions in the world that He would create.

    We agree as this is written. However, Calvinists don’t subscribe to “mere” permission or “allowance”. John Calvin makes this clear. So perhaps you aren’t a Calvinist in this respect. The above is entirely consistent with a truly free will.

    Then…

    God’ does not get what He wants (He wants everyone to obey the 10 commandments) but He always gets His will (Cain kills Abel and David jumps into bed with Bathsheba with God standing there watching everything but God had already decided not to stop it – God’s decision was His will).

    And this is where the double-speak starts. The above requires God’s will to be that He doesn’t get what He wants. In other words, His will is to give man free will, even though this means that God does not always get what He wants. Again, I would agree. Man’s free will means God does not always get what He wants. But we both know that Calvinism is far more restrictive and deterministic than you have described or implied here. It decrees the actual choices – not just the possibility of choice. So please come clean and be a real Calvinist instead of a pseudo-Calvinist. Calvinism demands whatsoever comes to pass in its smallest detail is not mere permission.

    The rest of your response will result in endless wrangling and can be answered similar to the above on distinctions between “will” and “getting what He wants”. If you believe that God’s will is man’s free choice, and this frequently means He doesn’t get what He wants, then you are not truly a Calvinist. If you believe His supreme want/will is for man to freely come as a result of being drawn, with the option to be drawn but resist and still,perish, then you are not a Calvinist.

    1. Well put Sabin.

      “So please come clean and be a real Calvinist instead of a pseudo-Calvinist. Calvinism demands whatsoever comes to pass in its smallest detail is not mere permission…..And this is where the double-speak starts.”

      This is why the rest of us dont respond to RH. He has been the most adamant Calvinist on this site, but can regularly and faithfully be seen to speak exactly like an Arminian, without batting an eye. He is a Cal-minian.

    2. Steve Sabib writes, “Calvinists don’t subscribe to “mere” permission or “allowance”. John Calvin makes this clear.”

      “Mere” permission suggests a disinterested God who might be otherwise occupied and not paying full attention to His creation. Calvin made clear that God is, and always is, interested in His creation down to the minutest detail and every event must pass His inspection before it can occur. God is always actively involved in His creation watching every detail play out as He ordained. No misunderstanding of this by me.

      Then, “And this is where the double-speak starts. The above requires God’s will to be that He doesn’t get what He wants.”

      OK. You explain it. Even you understand that God expressed His will in the 10 commandments and that God wants people to obey those commandments. You also understand that God watched David jump into bed with Bathsheba and did nothing when He had the power to do so – this was because God had already decided that David should have the freedom to disobey Him – God’s decisions express His will. Let’s hear your explanation of God’s will that people obey Him and God’s will that people be free to disobey Him.

      Then, ‘But we both know that Calvinism is far more restrictive and deterministic than you have described or implied here. It decrees the actual choices – not just the possibility of choice.”

      It was God who determined the day of your birth, your parents, your culture, your IQ, your knowledge and understanding and then gave you over to Satan to do with you as God had ordained. You are a slave to sin, under the dominion or Satan, and you think you have a “free” will. How ignorant is that??

      Then, ‘distinctions between “will” and “getting what He wants”.

      We know that. God wants all people to obey Him; God wills that all people disobey Him. Do you have something else in mind?

  22. From today’s reading…

    Rom 1:18-20
    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

    Doesn’t sound like Total Inability to me. But, please, pay no attention to things like this. Read only chapter 9 and focus only on verses 13-23. That’s all you need to know. Because sovereignty.

    We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

    1. Boom! Great verse Sabin!

      Please remember to say….. Because “sovereignty”. We all believe in God’s sovereignty. The problem is the way Calvinists define “sovereignty”.

    2. Yes Steve! Look at all the things God makes sure the unregenerate mind has knowledge of –
      …His invisible attributes…. …even His eternal power and Godhead…. …they knew God…. …knowing the righteous judgment of God….

      And all this good knowledge is part of that goodness God gives, Paul says, to lead to repentance! He is not as unloving as those partial and unloving Calvinists. [Rom 2:4 NKJV] Or do you [O man] despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

      1. Here here!

        Look what Psalm 8 says about mankind:

        4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
        human beings that you care for them?

        5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
        and crowned them with glory and honor.
        6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
        you put everything under their feet:
        7 all flocks and herds,
        and the animals of the wild,
        8 the birds in the sky,
        and the fish in the sea,
        all that swim the paths of the seas.

        I think that God thinks that man rocks! Made in His image…. sinful…but capable of seeing the offer of Christ!

      2. FOH writes, “but capable of seeing the offer of Christ!”

        But until they are given a new birth and receive faith….

      3. brianwagner writes, “God makes sure the unregenerate mind has knowledge of –
        …His invisible attributes…. …even His eternal power and Godhead…. …they knew God…. …who, knowing the righteous judgment of God….”

        Yep. Talk to an atheist; They know the gospel backwards and forwards yet it is foolishness to them. The Scriptures don’t say that the lost are dumb.

        Then, “all this good knowledge is part of that goodness God gives, Paul says, to lead to repentance!”

        Yep. But until the Holy Spirit gives them the new birth, they reject it all.

    3. Steve Sabin writes, “Doesn’t sound like Total Inability to me.”

      They are without faith, thus Totally Depraved. It is because they are without faith that they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” They are as Paul describes in Ephesians 2, such people “walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who works in the sons of disobedience,…and are by nature children of wrath.” They are in new of need life and faith.

      1. rhutchin
        They are without faith, thus Totally Depraved.

        br.d
        Not without faith – but rather given a different type of faith.
        As evidenced by the HUGE MIXTURE of Calvinists who are given a FALSE faith.

        John Calvin’s explains:
        -quote
        But the Lord…….. INSTILLS INTO THEIR MINDS a SENSE of his goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption.
        (Institutes)

        But this is only temporary – as these Calvinists are waiting for him to throw them into the lake of fire.

      2. br.d writes, “Not without faith – but rather given a different type of faith.”

        According to Romans 10, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The absence of the faith intended in Romans defines the person as Totally Depraved and unable to come to Christ as we read in John 6, where Christ said, “No one can come to Me…”

      3. rhutchin
        According to Romans 10, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

        br.d
        Elementary my dear Watson!

        Since Calvin’s god gives a HUGE MIXTURE of Calvinists a FALSE faith
        Then it LOGICALLY follows he gives that HUGE MIXTURE of Calvinists FALSE hearing.

      4. rhutchin
        It is because they are without faith that they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

        br.d
        Not without faith – but rather – given a different gift.
        Since:
        1) whatsoever comes to pass is first conceived and then brought into existence by Calvin’s god.
        2) All evil is good (see R.C. Sproul)
        3) All evil is by divine purpose (see James White)
        4) For his good pleasure (see John Calvin)

        CONCLUSION
        In Calvinism – “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness”
        – Is specifically designed by Calvin’s god
        – Is good
        – Has a divine purpose
        – Pleases Calvin’s god.

  23. The Calvinist reading the Bible and coming across scriptures like Rom 1:18-20. He finds some suitably tortured work-around to explain it away, only to encounter another one a page or two later.

    Rom 2:5-16…
    But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.
    For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

    Calvinist: Dang! I keep picking these rocks out of the field but my plow keeps hitting more. Will it never end? OK. Let me pick this rock out of the field. I’m sure there can’t be too many more of these.

    And so our Calvinist will mentally insert (in bold) as follows:

    But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart (that I the sovereign LORD decreed you would possess because you could not do otherwise) you are storing up wrath for yourself (because you were expressly and individually prepared for that purpose and I the sovereign LORD decreed you could not do otherwise) in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance (that I the sovereign LORD decreed for you; you cannot do otherwise) in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every (every=non-elect, of course) soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone (everyone = ELECT, of course) who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality (for the Elect – only the Elect) with God. For all (all=non-elect, of course) who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all (all=non-elect, of course) who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them (these people are DEAD in their trespasses and sins, so let’s focus on the “defending” part of this rather than the “accusing” part of this because “accusing” suggests their conscious is not so seared as to be unable to know the truth and respond), on the day when, according to my gospel (which is also Calvin’s gospel, of course), God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

    Calvinist: Ah. Much better now that I’ve taken care of that rock.

    (one chapter later)

    CLANG!

    Calvinist: Dang! Another one?

    Rom 3:24…
    being justified as a gift by His grace (Hey! Where’s faith? Don’t forget about faith! It’s a gift too – has to be, otherwise it would be a work!) through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

    (3 verses later)

    KLUNCH!

    Calvinist: Dang!! Another one??

    Rom 3:27…
    Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? (Yeah! See – not by works. Faith is a work unless it is given by God)No, but by a law of faith. (Oops. Spoke too soon. Paul says here that faith is not a work. Dang! In fact, he distinctly contrasted the two: works ≠ faith. Quick! Make sure we “clarify” this for everyone by explaining that it is not just any faith that is not a work, it is only a particular faith that is not a work – a faith that originates in God, not man. There, that should patch things up nicely! Just the addition of a few words and all is well. Now, back to my ploughing.)

    (1 verse later)

    GLANGK!

    Calvinist: Dang!!! Another one???

    Rom 3:28
    For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
    Calvinist: Well, we obviously CAN’T go with this clarification of works (“of the Law”) because that completely annihilates the contention that faith is a work verses “trying to keep the Law” is a work. And if faith isn’t a work, my T=Total Inability is tottering. I’ll be working on a suitable explanation. I’m pretty sure John Piper, or Pink, or Boettner, or one of my favorites has dealt with this. Better get busy googling. So little time. So many rocks.

  24. The Calvinist to the lost: “I wish God could love you the way He loves me. But He’s ‘sovereign’ and we thus can’t be sure.”

    1. yea right!
      I wish god could give you the perception of election he’s given to me.
      But alas – no Calvinist knows if the perceptions he’s been give are TRUE or FALSE.

      c’est la vie
      What shall be – is what shall be!

      1. Hey Br.D.,

        Have you noticed that love is always the first thing to be jettisoned when Calvinism is artificially forced to barter between God’s attributes in order to uphold “the doctrines” properly? And that they can absolutely never bring themselves to say that God loves the sinner? There is too much risk that they’d have to backpedal if it turns out the person rejected the invitation.

        Here is a great example: http://www.fbcenfield.org/?page_id=410

        In wonderful Calvinist fashion, God’s love is not mentioned until the very end, when there is some assurance that the person has prayed the prayer and thus “Christ died for him“. Then – and only then – is it “safe” to tell someone God loves them. Because “sovereignty”.

        Notice in the message at that webpage that there is plenty* of wrath, hellfire, guilt, and of course proactive admonishment that the slightest shred of boasting will not be permitted – as if that would be a person’s first thought upon getting saved. The key issue is that the love of God is made completely conditional: “if you respond properly, then we can safely toss the “L-word” out a few times to reassure you that you are one of the lucky ones that God loves – uh – particularly and differently than the unwashed masses.”

        *I have no problem with warnings that include hell, torment, wrath, and judgement. I just find it interesting (and entirely consistent with Reformed theology) that it is 100% stick and no carrot until such time they are reasonably certain that God has selected the individual to eat the carrot, as evidenced by becoming saved.

      2. Steve
        until such time they are reasonably certain that God has selected the individual to eat the carrot, as evidenced by becoming saved.

        br.d
        Well – they like to convince themselves that they have certainty about salvation – but they have to block all thoughts of the underlying doctrine which tells them they may be designed as vessels of wrath – and the elect are only known to Calvin’s god.

        So you can see how that might throw a shadow over love. :-]

      3. Steve Savin writes. “And that they can absolutely never bring themselves to say that God loves the sinner?”

        Calvinists say that God’s love for those He saves is a different love that that He has for those He does not save.

        Then, “The key issue is that the love of God is made completely conditional:

        “God who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Conditioned on the counsel of His will. “when Rebecca also had conceived by one man…(for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”

      4. The Calvinist
        Calvinists say that God’s love for those He saves is a different love that that He has for those He does not save.

        br.d
        Yup – Calvin’s god’s love – the kind of love that designs people for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

        So many things in Calvinism appear in good-evil pairs.
        And love is just another one of them.

        Good example for Calvinist parents! :-]

    2. Steve Sabin writes, “The Calvinist to the lost: “I wish God could love you the way He loves me. But He’s ‘sovereign’ and we thus can’t be sure.”

      The true Calvinist to the lost. “Your sins have condemned you to destruction. You must stand before God and give account of your sins. Repent and believe the gospel.”

      1. rhutcnin
        The true Calvinist to the lost. “Your sins have condemned you to destruction. You must stand before God and give account of your sins. Repent and believe the gospel.”

        br.d
        No – that would be a quasi-Calvinist – a Calvinist who can’t fully embrace absolute divine sovereignty
        The TRUE sovereignty-honoring Calvinist would say:

        “The sins which Calvin’s god sovereignly decreed specifically for you – are designed as secondary means to condemn and destroy you. He designed you to stand before him and give account of the sins he decreed specifically for you.

        He says to you:
        Now my ENUNCIATED will is for you to repent and believe the gospel
        While my SECRET will – will never permit you to do so”

  25. rhutchin
    What are you not explaining to us?

    br.d
    Stoicism – is most distinctly understood – as a system of explanations.
    Manichaeism – is most distinctly understood – as a system of explanations.
    NeoPlatonism – is most distinctly understood – as a system of explanations.
    Calvinism – is most distinctly understood – as a system of explanations.

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