Does God Permit His Own Decrees?


Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hands of the Lord; he turns it wherever he wishes.” In reference to this passage, Dr. John Piper, a notable Calvinistic pastor and author writes,

What is apparent here is that God has the right and the power to restrain the sins of secular rulers. When he does, it is his will to do it. And when he does not, it is his will not to. Which is to say that sometimes God wills that their sins be restrained and sometimes he wills that they increase more than if he restrained them.” – John Piper

This is a common teaching among Calvinistic pastors and apologists. But, if God has indeed “brought all things to pass by His unchangeable decree,” as Calvinists often teach, then what is it in the heart of this ruler that God is restraining if not His own “unchangeable decree?” In other words, hasn’t God merely restrained the very intention He unchangeably decreed?

Suppose the ruler, referenced in Proverbs 21, wanted to rape his servant and God restrained him from this heinously evil intention. From where did this evil intention originate? Didn’t God “sovereignly bring about” the evil desire of this ruler to rape his servant by the same “sovereign control” that He restrained the ruler from acting upon that desire? How is God not merely restraining His own determinations in a world where there is no autonomously free creatures? 

Affirming God’s power and ability to permit and/or overrule the will of morally accountable creatures does not prove that God sovereignly brings to pass every intention and desire of their will. It reveals the self-evident truth that there is a will outside His own that must be overruled and/or permitted. 

Just because I have the physical ability to force my child to eat her lunch or restrain her from eating her lunch does not prove that I use that ability every time my child eats or refrains from eating. And choosing not to use my physical ability to force or restrain my child does not prove I am weak and incapable of doing so. It only proves that I can do as I please with regard to my child. It does not prove that I am pleased to physically control my child’s every move. 

Moreover, if my daughter doesn’t have a will distinctly separate from my own, then what am I restraining when I physically keep her from eating? There is nothing to restrain or compel if there is not an autonomous will with which to contend. 

So too, affirming God’s ability to restrain and/or permit man’s will to do what God allows does not negate the concept of man’s contra-causal free will, but in fact confirms it. For what is there for God to restrain or permit outside His own will if man’s will is not autonomously free from His own? It is non-sensical to suggest God is restraining a will that He has already been meticulously controlling.

Sovereignty must be understood as God’s ability to do whatsoever He is pleased to do (Ps. 115:3), even if He is pleased to give the world over to man’s dominion (Ps. 115:16).


What’s the difference in determining sin and merely permitting it? 


177 thoughts on “Does God Permit His Own Decrees?

  1. Nicely done Leighton!

    If you can believe it, the other pillar that Piper’s “two conflicting wills of God” is Prov 16:33 The”lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

    That and Acts 4, and a couple other cherry-picked verses (or half verses, Amos 3) are the pillars on which the rickety two-conflicting-wills scaffolding is built.

    But as you said, even the things He keeps people from doing are things that He must have (according to them) put in their heart to do.

    Such a conflicted picture of a loving God!

  2. Prof. Flowers writes, “But, if God has indeed “brought all things to pass by His unchangeable decree,” as Calvinists often teach, then what is it in the heart of this ruler that God is restraining if not His own “unchangeable decree?” In other words, hasn’t God merely restrained the very intention He unchangeably decreed?”
    What Prof. Flowers is failing to see is that God has included His divine intervention within His predetermined decree. In other words, God has chosen to interact with His creation whereby He’s orchestrating ALL EVENTS according to a predetermined plan. The fallacy that Prof. Flowers repeatedly makes is the assumption that God’s decree doesn’t allow for Him to interact compatibilistically with His creation.
    2 Thes. 2:7-11 teaches that the HS restrains the power of Satan until the Great Tribulation. It’s also clear throughout Scripture that God is retraining the full influence of wickedness in the world. It’s really SILLY to believe that, if God chooses to restrain wickedness, that He has not decreed Himself the freedom to restrain wickedness. So it’s better to say that God’s determinations INCLUDE His choice to restrain man’s depravity. This stuff is really not hard to grasp!!! Many just RESFUSE to submit to the “hard sayings” of the Gospel.

    1. Troy,
      No need to say Leighton is being silly.

      You said he is failing to see something.

      The point he is making —-and what you are failing to see— is that even the evil desires of man’s heart (not one man at one time….but all bad men and all the time) must be put there by God in the first place. i.e. He puts the evil desire in their heart and then restrains them from doing it. (which, by the way makes sense for a Calvinist with a conflicted-two-willed God, and no sense to anyone else).

      For instance in your Calvinistic deterministic philosophy even Dr Flowers’s “failing to see” was planned/ willed/ determined by God.

      That renders of course useless your closing statement.

      (Troy) “Many just RESFUSE to submit to the “hard sayings” of the Gospel.”

      According to Calvin no one is refusing anything!!! We are all just doing what we were pre-determined to do.

      And besides, ‘refusing to submit’ sounds like a choice! What if we chose to submit?? Would that be a choice we made or …..?

      1. Fromoverhere writes, “The point he is making —-and what you are failing to see— is that even the evil desires of man’s heart (not one man at one time….but all bad men and all the time) must be put there by God in the first place. i.e. He puts the evil desire in their heart and then restrains them from doing it.”
        Neither I nor any Reformed theologian that I’m aware of believes this view. I really don’t know why you guys keep repeating this assertion. God does not place the desire to sin in the natural man’d heart. James is clear that sin originates from the evil desires of men and that those desires are fueled by their own wicked nature. God simply uses these wicked desires to accomplish His decretal purposes. GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR/CAUSE OF SIN!! Man is born with a sinful nature that craves sin and is thus culpable for that sin, even though God created him with that sin nature.
        Fromoverhere writes, “For instance in your Calvinistic deterministic philosophy even Dr Flowers’s “failing to see” was planned/ willed/ determined by God.” Yes this is an accurate statement. God is not granting Prof. Flowers the grace to see the truths of the Bible. This is not to say, however, that God will not eventually bring Prof. Flowers to truth in the future.
        Forevermore writes, “According to Calvin no one is refusing anything!!! We are all just doing what we were pre-determined to do.” It was predetermined that most would refuse the truths of the Bible. Narrow is the way that leads to life!

      2. Troy,
        You can be so insulting!

        So, to be clear, you are saying that if we do not agree with you and Calvin we are “refusing the truth” and on the path to death? Refusing by the way is a man-centered idea.

        All this because God “recreated man” with the nature to hate Him. No wonder very few understand/ accept this (non-biblical) idea!

        What is the point of you discussing this with us if “God has not granted us the grace to see it”?

        What if He does grant us the grace? Will you have been instrumental in that process?

      3. God uses means/instruments to draw His people to Himself! Don’t believe Calvin! Believe the Scriptures!!

    2. Troy:
      To follow through on your thinking

      –you call compatible what others would call conflicting (opposite ideas both being true)

      –you (and all Calvinists) permit yourselves to say “God allowed that to happened” but always, always, always should say “God caused that to happen.”

      –you must ignore all the passages that describe that Satan has any power, dominion, influence in the world….or you must say something like “God causes Satan to bind us to sin”. Jesus says clearly that the woman was bound by Satan (Luke 13:16); those who were healed were under the power of Satan (Acts 10:38).

      — you must continually extrapolate from Scripture more than it is saying. Piper does it here, “From the smallest thing to the greatest thing, good and evil, happy and sad, pagan and Christian, pain and pleasure – God governs them all for his wise and just and good purposes (Isaiah 46:10).”

      This passage and all like it simply says that He will accomplish His purpose (no definition of how or what, or what purpose He means)….and certainly it is in context of Isaiah.

      God can do what He wants, but that is not the same as “all that happens is what God wants.”

      God will accomplish His purposes, but that is not the same as “everything that happens while God is accomplishing His purpose, is what He wants.”

      Any number of human and biblical examples can be given:

      I can successfully build a house from scratch, but not everything that happens while I am building is what I want.

      God gave victory over the Amalekites, but many died while Moses’ arms got tired. He accomplished His purposes, but did He want/ need/ will/ predetermine/ ordain those people to die? As soon as they held up Moses’ arms they started winning again. Thus the Word gives us another positive example of synergism.

      God gave the Israelites victory at Jericho (but only because they marched as He said in faith), but not the victory at Ai (because of the sin). He accomplished His purpose of the fall of Ai, even though there was the sin of Achan. Isn’t that what the Bible is teaching us?

      He accomplished His purpose of giving them the land of milk and honey, but certainly we all agree that all the sin, doubt, rebellion, whining along the way was not His eternal will?!

      This is where Piper and Calvinists get it so wrong. They take a (very) few vague verses about God “declaring the beginning from the end” and philosophize that it must mean that everything that happens is what God wants. How pretentious!!

      As I have had said before, I can live with your philosophy.

      Just own it. Don’t equivocate with the “compatible” idea that God causes all things to happen but man is somehow responsible for the choices that God has made him make.

      1. Fromoverhere writes, “Just own it. Don’t equivocate with the “compatible” idea that God causes all things to happen but man is somehow responsible for the choices that God has made him make.”
        Sir I don’t believe this at all. Please represent what I ACTUALLY believe instead of just labeling me as a “Calvinist”.

      2. Please tell me Troy.

        Has every action and thought of every man been preordained/willed by God?

      3. Yes sir! But according to James 1, He is NOT the CAUSE of sin. That’s blasphemy and not apart of Reformed theology

      4. Then the Lord has decreed that Leighton not agree with you.

        Then the Lord has decreed that some of His children are drop-dead convinced about pre-mil (rapture), post-mil, a-mil.

        Then the Lord has decreed that some of His children are drop-dead convinced about women speaking in meetings.

        Then the Lord has decreed that some of His children are drop-dead convinced about women wearing head coverings.

        Then the Lord has decreed that some of His children are drop-dead convinced about infant baptism.

        Then the Lord has decreed that some of His children are drop-dead convinced bout covenant theology and Israel.

        Then the Lord has decreed that some of His children are drop-dead convinced about the gifts/ tongues.

        Then the Lord has decreed that some of His children are drop-dead convinced about KJV/Textus Receptus

        ….and yet some of His children believe the opposite on each issue.

        Sproul (infant baptism) and MacArthur have had debates on the issue. They cant both be right. God decreed that one of them be wrong?

        Piper and MacArthur are fighting about the gifts. They cant both be right. God decreed one of them to be wrong?

        Convinced yet wrong. God decreed that they would hold that position, and yet one is wrong.

        Is one man sinning because he is not believing the “clear scripture”?

        Is God allowing them to find different ideas? He decreed that they believe those things and teach them strongly? Is he then the author of confusion?

      5. Troy:
        You posit that God decreed everything and yet is not the author of sin. That is called compatibility (according to you, and theologians).

        So dead men are regenerated, given faith, irresistibly drawn, justified and sealed and filled with the Holy Spirit.

        Somehow these chosen ones continue to sin even though they are the few elect vessels that God has given life and the Spirit to. God has done this unaided, phenomenal miracle with dead men…..and yet they continue to sin. Since He is not the author of sin, they are doing this sinning on their own.

        So you are saying that chosen, regenerated, atoned-for, justified, Spirit-filled elect just keep on sinning and sinning all on their own (God is not behind it).

        So they cannot chose God when they are “dead,” yet once they’re made alive (and dead to sin) that same life-giving God cannot get them to stop sinning.

        Are they making those sinful choices? Or was that ordained before time by God?

        God is not the author of sin you say, yet His elect/redeemed just sin and sin.

        He does not author sin, but He could restrain His elect couldn’t He? Why doesn’t He?

        They have free will? Free will to sin even though they are the very very few chosen, regenerated, justified and Spirit-filled (and dead to sin)?

        Free will sinning by the elect or God decreed? Or is God just not restraining them? Why not? He can regenerated those dead men, but once they’re alive (buried in Christ, dead to sin) He wont restrain them from sinning?

        Your philosophy … is all so confusing!

      6. I put a bunch of questions and options in there. Which one is the one you want me to accept?

        The elect born again (who are dead to sin) sin of their own free will (non-decreed) or it is God’s decree?

        He could restrain the dead-to-sin elect from sinning but he lets them choose to sin?

        Please be clear and maybe I can choose to accept it.

      7. The following verses demonstrate that God elected people BEFORE Creation:

        “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” -2 Tim 1:9‬ ‭

        “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” -Titus‬ ‭1:1-2‬ ‭

        “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” -Ephesians ‭1:4‬ ‭

        So we see that BEFORE God created mankind He’d already elected SOME to salvation.

        The following verses demonstrate that we’re dead to sin:

        “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” -‭Romans‬ ‭6:2‬

        ‭“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”‭‭ 1 Peter‬ ‭2:24‬ ‭

        So we see that the elect are dead to sin in the sense that it no longer has any power over them and that we can live a pleasing life before our Savior. Sure we still sin because we still have a body that lusts after sin. However, the mark of a true believer is that he/she has an earnest and ongoing desire to do the will of God. Pleasing God consumes them.
        God is working in the life of the true believer as stated here in these three verses:

        “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” -Philippians‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭

        “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”‭‭ -Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭

        “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” -Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭

        It’s God Himself who sustains His elect and ensures that they will persevere to the end. But I will end by saying that God has decreed an elect people for Himself but He did not decree that they would live a sinless life upon salvation. The elect still depend on the Shepherd for spiritual strength and sustenance.

      8. Did you notice that is always says “in Christ”

        Yes the Chosen One was planned before time. Anyone in Christ will reap those rewards.

      9. No sir! He chose US in Christ! God chose His elect and His elect are in Christ. It does not say that Christ was chosen in those verses. Please allow the Scriptures to speak for themselves!!

      10. God chose a vehicle/ vessel. Any one in that vessel is chosen.

        Passover: chosen vehicle….house with blood on it.

        Who is spared? Anyone in the house.

        Israelites (chosen people) outside the house——toast.

        Egyptians (non-chosen) inside a house with blood….spared.

      11. “According as he hath chosen US in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love..” -Ephesians‬ ‭1:4‬ ‭
        God has chosen a particular people. Scripture just will not allow for your interpretation sir! You’re desperately trying to make the Scriptures fit YOUR presuppositions and you simply can’t do it.

      12. Who is us? The Ephesians? The church as a whole?
        He does not ever say individuals….that is making it fit your philosophy.

      13. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, AND TO THE FAITHFUL IN CHRIST JESUS..” -Ephesians‬ ‭1:1‬
        The “us” are all the faithful in Christ who can ONLY be the elect sir!!

      14. Great!
        That means the corporate church. Perfect!
        Just as I thought….the body of Christ as a whole.
        All those who are in Christ.
        Phew! I thought you were gonna say individuals!

      15. That is simply poor argumentation sir for the body of Christ consists of individually saved persons. The corporate election argument is silly because one MUST be saved to be apart of the corporately elect body. The elect in Ephesians 1 refers to PERSONS; not Christ nor some nebulous unidentifiable group. Your argumentation reveals your desperation sir.

      16. The difference is that I have thousands of verses on my side saying…. all whosoever every man none and all those words.

        You and all of yours…. In your desperation…. spend all of your time saying that these words don’t mean “all” they only mean some of all or all kinds of people, and whosoever doesn’t mean whosoever it means something else so you spend a lot of time explaining away verses… Thousands of them.

        We are both so silly…

      17. You’re not allowing the entire Bible to speak Fromoverhere. You’re picking verses that APPEAR to support your view. However, the truth has already been established that universal terms (i.e. “all”, “world”, etc) must agree with ALL that Scripture teaches. We are talking about understanding the MIND OF GOD here; not some exercise in logic or academics.

      18. Troy:

        How ironic that you respond to me with the “read the whole Bible” concept.

        My testimony as a card-carrying Calvinist (likely before you were born) and graduate from a Calvinist Bible School is well documented in this blog. Read that anywhere and you will see that what got me out of Calvinism is exactly that ….reading the whole Bible.

        No, friend, it is in fact Calvinism that makes its case on presuppositions (how “God must be”) and scattered verses.

        You talked about the mind of God. No one this blog thinks that God was not able to, or could NOT have created the world in the manner that you describe. That was certainly within His power and rights as Creator. The question is not is He capable, Sovereign enough, powerful enough, etc.

        The question are two:
        1. Is that really what the whole Bible message shows?

        2. What does that make Him if you are right?

        For (#1) I saw/ see way too many verses about people resisting him, denying Him, and rebelling against Him to agree with the Calvinist definition of “Sovereign”. Oh I think He is Sovereign to be sure, just not the definition that is imposed on Him by your presuppositions and 5-10 vague verses about “turning the hearts of the kings.”

        I think more like the sovereignty described by Tozer (“Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.” —full quote easily found).

        Your God has to micro-manage and give every person their sins, thoughts, actions—-or else He cannot win.

        The sovereignty I see in the Bible is about a King that will always achieve His purposes (Eph 1:11) no matter what man does —not by making man do everything he does.

        If you are right (#2) then you have a God who could have blessed, loved, redeemed as many people as He wanted but only chose 0.05%. The rest He created for eternal torture. You have to always add —“For His glory” to mask over the sheer horror of that concept. But we all know that there is nothing glorifying in that.

        When I ask my Calvinist mentors why not more (or all) people I would often hear “Heresy! Just be glad He chose you!”

        Easily one of the most selfish concepts I can imagine.

        Oh joy to spend eternity with a God who created 99.95% of His creation purposely to torture them forever for sins they were loaded with before time began. That is the God of Calvinism—for His glory!

        Dont bother answering with “there is more to God than love….there is also His wrath!”

        I do see Him warn and warn and warn, then judge all over the OT. But you depict a God who condemns the majority of humanity before time began.

        Many (most) people on this blog live by the principle “If the Bible says it, I will believe it.” We get told we are crazy for believing in creation or that Christ walked on the water, etc. But if the Bible says it, we believe it.

        The issue here Troy is that I believe the “whole Bible” does NOT depict an all-controlling, puppet-master, who created IN HIS IMAGE 99% of humanity so that He could torture them—-and this before time, before even the non-free-willed humans were created.

        For me the 40-50 (mostly vague) verses that I used (over and over) to build a case of that kind of sovereignty were just not enough to weigh against the daily message I read in the whole Bible: God loves everyone and love is not planing their irresistible, un-thwart-able demise before they ever exist.

        If the Bible said He did that, I would believe it. But it doesn’t.

        Now that is not to say that with a good dose of Greek philosophy Augustine did not put together a concept about God that can be “defended” with some Bible verses. Calvin followed suit (and they also did some other wacky, sinful things).

        So what! I am not trying to defend a presupposed concept of God by scaffolding a few vague verses here and there. I am reading the whole Bible and seeing what kind of God created us.

        He showed us what kind in Christ.

        Christ stands on the mount outside Jerusalem and says “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem…..I would have ….but you would not.”

        Christ says “When I am lifted up I will draw all men to myself.” Draw them. And allow them to say no.

        Christ walked along with the rich young man….explaining from the mouth of Christ ….and allowed him to walk away/ refusing/ resisting.

        Christ told endless parables demonstration that He calls but allows men to choose: wedding feast (people refused the invitation), prodigal son (“dead” but comes back while the Father waits)…. and on and on. There is no point in any of those stories within the determinist framework.

        No, friend, the “whole Bible” concept supports a loving God who will judge sin, but certainly did not condemn 99% of humanity before time.

      19. You’re simply refusing to accept the God of the Scriptures as He has revealed Himself. That’s all I’m going to say on this subject my friend.

      20. When you say I am refusing… that my choice?

        Are you presenting a man-centered theology?

      21. Troy:
        Let’s talk briefly about the mind of God as you suggest.

        Christ tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

        Christ tells us to love our enemies.

        You are proposing a God that does NOT love all. You interpret the hundreds of “God so love the world” verses to mean —-“love the elect”.

        Does He love our neighbor? Does He love our enemy?

        Please do not say that, “He loves them, but just in a different way.”

        Please do not say, “He makes the sun to shine on them and gives them breath.”

        If the “love” received from God for say, a young girl who was sold into sex slavery at 4 and died of abuse and disease at 15 is the “love” that God grants to all, then you can see the hypocrisy.

        This girl, born in Pakistan, never heard the Gospel (nor did God intend her to) and will spend eternity in torment.

        Christ commands us to find these hurting people and love them.

        In what way did the Calvinist God love her?

        If you tell me that “He makes the sun shine on her and gives her life,” I will call you a heartless fool.

        Every minute of her life was agony and pain. There was no sunshine…no rain…no good food, joy, life.

        So the flimsy “God does not chose all people but He loves them in a certain way,” idea is hollow, callous, and evil.

        If I err in my theology, it will be in saying that God loves all people and pleads for them to come to Him.

        If you err, it will be in saying that God loves the elect. period. He does not love anyone else and planned their demise and torment before time.

        You can tell me that you must believe this because the Bible teaches it. But it only teaches that because you have been taught that it teaches that.

        Read the whole Bible. See the loving God who provides the ways of escape (Noah, Passover, serpent on a pole, Christ), for those who will look and live.

      22. The mistake you make is what most people who have disdain for the TRUE God of the Bible. You love to focus on only one aspect of God’s character – that He’s a loving God. However, your view of God is simply imbalanced sir. God has many attributes that define His complete character. God is sacrificial..etc, etc. We must acknowledge the God of the Bible and not a God that we have conjured up in our puny little minds!

      23. Calvinists always downplay God’s love.

        Do you notice that it is the ONLY attribute that says “God IS X”?? He IS that thing…love.

        We know God is just….but not “God is justice”

        Whereas he acts justly (wrath etc) he is not defined by justice.

        But “God is love” is part of the definition of who He is.

        Anyway, that is not my point.

        My point is simply… what way has He loved our neighbor? We are told to but He has not?

        We are commanded to love our enemies and yet He does not?

        Please answer that.

        Does God love everyone? If not, how can we? Why are we commanded to?

      24. God is love. But He’s angry with the wicked. He’s jealous for His reputation in that He wants no other gods to be worshipped. You have an unbalanced view of God sir!

      25. Troy:
        Simple question. Does God get angry when peoples sin?

        Is He pleased when people dont sin?

      26. God is love. But He’s angry with the people that he has decreed/programmed/fated to be wicked.
        And He’s jealous for His reputation in that He wants no other gods to be worshipped by the people whom he decrees/programs/fates to worship other gods.

        Don’t you just love Calvinism’s double-speak!! 😀

      27. Wait.
        He wills/decrees/fates them to worship other gods so He can be jealous about it?

      28. And all of that – long ago – one day in eternity-past.

        For those Calvinist who buy the line that an “eternity” can exist within a time-period called “the past”.
        For the rational thinker “eternity-past” is an oxymoron. :-]

      29. “Eternity past” is not an oxymoron because God is the origen of eternity and He existed in the past. Eternity BEGINS with God but yet God has no beginning. Eternity past is a reality!

      30. Troy writes ““Eternity past” is not an oxymoron because God is the origen of eternity and He existed in the past. Eternity BEGINS with God but yet God has no beginning. Eternity past is a reality!”

        Right – Eternity fits into a time-period – just like the cookie-jar fits into a cookie.

        As we continue to see – Calvinism is a plethora of word games – and the shifting of semantic weights.
        Here “eternity” doesn’t mean “eternity” because god is its origin – AS-IF that auto-magically changes its definition.

        And that is supposed to be “Superior” thinking! :-]

      31. Troy:
        I can’t speak for the other on this blog but I have tried to answer you seriously.

        I told all on here that I got a Bible degree (including Greek and Hebrew) from a reformed school and was a Calvinist. I have answered you seriously every time.

        I am a sincere follower of Jesus and overseas pastor and missionary for 30 years.

        I am not asking you to convert from Calvinism (like I did). I am simply ask you to understand that you are in an unnecessary place. You do not need to be so committed to this philosophy and doctrinal position to label all other followers of Christ as heretics and people who need to repent.

        I have tried to demonstrate this point about infant baptism, spiritual “sign” gifts, eschatology, etc. There are many differing opinions in the body of Christ. We are not Jehovah’s Witnesses where one central body tells us all what to think. Our central body is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God and that can be interpreted differently.

        Certainly both MacArthur and Sproul have the Holy Spirit and the Word. Yet MacArthur thinks it is fundamentally wrong that Sproul baptizes babies and Sproul does not like that MacArthur wont do it

        But neither of them trash-talks the other.

        Wesley and Whitefield agreed to disagree and love each other from either side of the Calvinism fence.

        Some have been snarky to you on this blog, but no on needs to keep playing the heretic card. That is the same cry the the Inquisitioners and early Reformers used just before they tortured people for not believing like they did.

      32. When you can get a cookie jar to fit into a cookie, then I will consider how you can get eternity to fit into a time-period. :-]

      33. br.d. – In all seriousness, I’m starting to feel bad for Troy. Once these guys get off script and have to ad lib, they get in hot water pretty quickly. It is a good reminder that, for the most part, naive believers get sucked into this and it just takes a while to get past cage stage. Someday, real life and real people that matter will challenge their ability to cling to this cruel dogma and a light will come on. With great joy they will realize that there is genuine grace and hope in the cross for all people, and they no longer have to put their trust in a hateful, partial, controlling, narcissist. I pray for that day to come soon for Troy and countless others who still feel the necessity to defend an indefensible theology of hate and injustice. What is so hard about considering carefully whether or not God provides true grace for whosoever will come? You would think, at the very least, every Calvinist would struggle with all of their might to understand how so many godly, gracious, loving people through the centuries have had such a different interpretation of scripture than their own. I would – and did – everything I could to investigate both sides before staking so much in a limited, unlovely ‘grace’ of the few. How thankful I was, after trying it on for a decade – being me, I had to look into both sides – to find that there was much more scriptural evidence for the God of love than the God of ‘self-seeking glory’.

        Seriously, we are talking about withholding the grace of God, the precious blood of Jesus Christ that was shed to take away the sin of the world, so that men might have the opportunity to be receive pardon and everlasting life. Do you really want to face your Maker someday and discover that you have made the most terrible mistake, and cruelly withheld his offer of salvation, even as so many have tried to explain?

        You might brush away all concern, insisting that Calvinists still share the gospel. The question is, what sort of gospel do they have to offer? I, for one, would never trust in the God of your theology, in a God who is harsh, cruel and unthinkably unjust in sentencing all men for another man’s sin – the very accusation God sent his prophet Ezekiel to discount. Countless godly men have read and studied scripture and come away with an entirely different message than the one you have been sold. If I were a Calvinist, I would be hoping against hope that I was wrong.

        I have heard more than one Calvinist pastor share how they mourn for the millions who will suffer eternity in hell. My former pastor, who was not very, expressive, insisted he had shed many a private tear over these lost ones. The obvious question is why would a Calvinist mourn for those whom they are convinced God has deliberately – justly, even – condemned to hell for his own glory, by his own determinate will; those who he could most assuredly have saved had he so wished? Just a moment of weakness, perhaps, when they allowed themselves to have more love and mercy than God has for others?

      34. I totally agree with you truthseeker00

        Jesus tells us “by their fruits you shall know them”
        And Paul says “The sons of the flesh do always persecute”.

        In the days of the early church, the standard for Christian behavior, as presented in scripture, was not according to the world. But according to the Holy Spirit.

        If Paul were alive today, reviewing the historical behavior of Calvinists, what he would see is a people-group whose standard of behavior has consistently been according to the world. In our day, age, and society, as U.S. citizens, burning believers to the stake, imprisoning them, piercing their tongues with hot irons, cutting their heads off, or hiring paid killers to chop Indian villages into pieces and paying them a price based upon body part – is against the law. So Calvinists don’t do it.

        But there were days and times in history when such laws and prohibitions didn’t exist.
        And Calvinists did do those things imagining themselves to be operating according to the spirit and not according to the flesh.
        Thank god America has those laws and prohibitions now!!

      35. br.d. – I almost hate to mention that there is a segment of Calvinists – Dominionists, Reconstructionists or whatever name they use now – who seek a return to the Theocracy days of Geneva. And the enforcement of God’s law on non-believers, including the death penalty for those who break the Ten Commandments. This group is convinced that it is their ‘job’ to build the Kingdom of God before Jesus can return. A few, more informed Reformed Presbyterians have called them out, and reject their agenda, but this is the Gary North, Rushdoony sort of old-school Presbyterianism. That’s what I ended up in the middle of.

      36. truthseeker00

        I can believe that!!!
        It has been said numerous times that the spirit of Calvinism and the spirit of Islam are the same spirit with two faces.
        I’ve been keeping an eye out on certain Calvinist leaders who appear to be joining with Chrislam and New-Age gurus within Catholicism.

        I’m convinced that Calvinism is all puffed-up head-knowledge with absolutely no discerning of spirits.

      37. Troy writes
        “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, AND TO THE FAITHFUL IN CHRIST JESUS..” -Ephesians‬ ‭1:1‬
        The “us” are all the faithful in Christ who can ONLY be the elect sir!!

        But unfortunately for the Calvinist – he doesn’t know WHO the elect are, because in Calvinism
        (1) election is according to the -quote “SECRET will of god”.
        (2) In the Calvinist fold there are -quote “a large number of hypocrites who have nothing of Christ but the name and appearance”
        (3) Calvin’s god holds salvation out to these Calvinists as a -quote “scepter of greater condemnation”
        (4) Calvin’s god will eventually -quote “strike them with even greater blindness”

        Assurance of salvation in Calvinism is double-minded.
        Within one compartment of his brain he thinks of himself as elect.
        In another compartment he thinks god may be deceiving him in order to magnify his eternal torments.

      38. So true Br.d

        John MacArthur is constantly conflicted on whether people are saved. Constantly talking about I, I , I, and “the wise,” From his sermon….

        …”If all you do is hear it, and you don’t obey it, and you don’t obey it because you love it, you are self-deceived if you think your life will stand the test of the flood of divine judgment….”

        …”One thing marks the difference between a true believer and a false believer, and that is a pattern of loving, eager, submissive, obedience to the Word of God. Obedience is the key. Hearing the Word and doing it, that is the only genuine authentic validator of true salvation….”

        …”We’re not talking about perfection here, we’re talking about direction. I’m not perfectly obedient, I am imperfectly obedient. But I long to be perfectly obedient. That’s my passion, that’s my heart longing. I have recognized that I fall short. I have recognized that I am a sinner. I have repented of that sin…”

        …”But the wise are not in a hurry…. Many rush into a profession and later rush out again. But the one who is wise digs deep. He’s not shallow like the parable of Matthew 13. The rock is plowed out of the soil. The weeds are removed so he doesn’t have a superficial shallow faith. That’s why, folks, we have to preach against sin. You have to expose the true lostness of the human heart. The sinner must feel far worse before he ever has a right to feel any better. The person who is wise is not in a hurry….”

        You see from his sermons that so much of it depends on the person and how he fells and what he does….

        That is one of the things that comforts me the most about all this. People may theologize like the they are Calvinists, but when it comes down to it, there is no difference…..they preach like an Arminian!

        In this whole series, he spends no one verse, not one breathe talking about people being elected, chosen, irresistibly caused to believe…

        Nope….just “you must” “he must” “I must” “feeling” “longing” “be wise” “dont be shallow” “A wise man digs his faith deep.”

        They never ever direct this toward God by saying—-If God has elected you! Man gets all the credit.

        It all sounds so man-centered!

        You could listen to MacArthur for hours and hours and think the whole thing is man-centered. His theology is not one bit reflected in his preaching.

      39. Thanks for that awesome post fromoverhere!!

        I’m reminded of Dr. Flower’s story of how he posted a quote from John McCarthur in a conversation with a Calvinist, who then attacked it as heresy.

        I think this exemplifies the deceptiveness, dishonesty and double-think that permeates Calvinism.

        Yes I agree with you that Calvinists often act all puffed up with pride and a pharisee-ism when it comes to the hypothetical nature of their systems foundation resting on Theological Determinism. And then they instantly abandon all of it in their daily interactions with others where the libertarian free-will functions as the “de fac·to” within all human interactions of fairness and justice.

        Alvin Plantinga sights a similar phenomenon with people who embrace solipsism.
        Imagine as a believer of solipsism – you are a passenger in a taxi going 60 MPH.
        You believe you are real, and the car is real going 60mph, but the person driving the car is figment of your imagination.
        Imagine the mental processing your brain must do to embrace that as your reality.
        Calvinism has the same exact problem.
        That is why Calvinists live in a world of double-think and why Calvinist language is full of double-speak.

        Thanks for your awesome post!! :-]

      40. Another non-answer answer Troy.

        When I was a Calvinist I found it strange that I insisted that only God could make dead men alive….but could not make those alive men really dead to sin.

        Certainly dead does not mean what I thought (proclaimed) it to mean when I was a Calvinist.

    3. I’m not sure why Troy thinks God decreed for some of his Children to understand these matters in a silly manner and others to grasp them with ease. Maybe God likes some of his Children better than others and Troy is one of the favorites given that he has been ordained to understand so well. 😉
      Troy wrote, “What Prof. Flowers is failing to see is that God has included His divine intervention within His predetermined decree.”
      So, Troy seems to advocate that God is permitting and restraining his own decree, just as the article asked. And He apparently decreed for me and many of his other Children to think that is silly.

      1. Prof Flowers you are simply twisting what I clearly stated. I’ll leave that on your conscious. However, yes it is true that God reveals truth to certain believers in His own timetable. This is His salvation plan, not ours! And yes I find your position to be quite “silly” because it’s easily refuted and doesn’t really present a real problem of contention. The Bible teaches that God restrains sin and he has predetermined that mankind will sin. So His predeterminations INCLUDE his actions of restraining sin. It’s not that difficult sir!

  3. Prof. Flowers writes, “Suppose the ruler, referenced in Proverbs 21, wanted to rape his servant and God restrained him from this heinously evil intention. From where did this evil intention originate?”
    The evil intention originated in that evil king’s heart (or his fallen nature). The problem is that Prof. Flowers, perhaps unwittingly, is really bringing an indictment against God Himself because after Adam sinned, God creates mankind with a sinful nature. So, in essence, Flowers wants the reader here to question God’s intentions for creating mankind with a sinful nature. This is the bottom line behind Flowers’ assumptions/assertions.
    The fact is that God has created mankind (SINCE THE FALL) with a fallen nature and theologians such as Prof. Flowers blames God for this fact when they ask such questions as:
    1) “Does mankind hate God because He first hated them?” or
    2) “How can a holy God hold mankind culpable for hating a God that first hated him?” or
    3) “What is God preventing/restraining if not His own determinations?”

    Questions like these are not TRULY meant to arrive at truth. They’re meant to get the reader to question God’s motives for creating mankind with a nature that ultimately causes him to hate his Creator. But Prof. Flowers flips the script by blaming God for creating mankind with such a nature that wants nothing to do with his Creator on His Creator’s terms.
    Prof. Flowers is, in essence, blaming His Creator for why he is the way he is because the reality is that God did create us with a sinful nature and that nature causes us to hate Him.
    Returning to Flowers’ original analogy, if the king rapes a young girl, it’s because God chose NOT to restrain his wicked nature to commit that heinous atrocity and God did it FOR HIS OWN PURPOSES, which He has not disclosed to us. In many instances, God will create during the process of that wicked act FOR HIS OWN PURPOSES, further proving that He desired that rape to have occurred. Are you going to yield to the God of Scripture or only to a god which you have contrived to suit YOUR presuppositions and comfort zone?? The God of Scripture has many more attributes than just love.

    1. Troy
      I thought you were defending reformed calvinistic theology?

      If you are defending that then truly Dr Flowers has no choice in what he saying to you because that has all been predetermined, and were he to choose the God of the scriptures (like you say) that would be his own personal choice right? His choice right? If he doesn’t choose it God didn’t give him the faith to believe it? Right? According to your theology? I think you don’t quite understand the full import of calvinistic theology. it clearly says that every act of every human at every moment has been determined by God so why do you keep acting as if Dr Flowers has a choice in the matter?
      Are you in fact proposing a man centered gospel?

      1. YES!!! He did!! Post Fall every human being is created with a nature that hates his Creator and loves his sin.

      2. Amazing isn’t it Leighton that one will impugn the character of God… ascribing to Him His strongest desire to use His free will to create an innumerable multitude that not only have a nature that hates Him, but a nature that will never be able to respond to His gracious call to them. I wonder if you ever felt such a loyalty without any twinge of guilt when you defended such doctrine?

      3. Brian:
        I cannot speak for Leighton, but can speak for myself.

        You are not encouraged to dwell on the idea that God created 99% of humanity for the purpose of torturing them (but I did repeat the vague “vessels of destruction” verse a lot!).

        You are encouraged to use the phrases “For His glory” and (negatively) “man-centered Gospel”.

        When you begin to doubt, you just give yourself a fix of “God is sovereign” and “God is good”…. superimposing them over the horrors of what you believe. That calms for a while.

      4. Comment seems hung up, reposting:

        FROMOVERHERE, you are obviously experienced with the brainwashing that passes for critical thinking in Calvinist circles. It is the same in politics, science, etc. Once you persuade an individual that they are on the ‘right’ team (they don’t use that term for nothing) they will follow along with any dogma they are presented with. You can easily convince nearly the whole religious right to carry signs protesting abortion, while their ‘dear leaders’ drop bombs on innocent men, women and children. I know, I have done so. Many, being too busy with ‘life’ to do their own bible study and their own thinking, are content to let the Big Boys do it for them. It is so much easier, and they provide you with a fine-tuned script with which to answer all criticisms – as is repeatedly demonstrated on this blog. When you can look God in the face and say ‘I don’t mind if you are a cruel, heartless monster who slays the innocent as long as you spare me’ you have surrendered your soul. You neglect the second great commandment in a false attempt to obey the first. Note, Jesus warns that he wholes not love his brother is a liar when he claims he loves God. They will be without excuse when they explain they were merely misled by false teachers, against which we are clearly warned. It is such a simple test, really, by which Calvinism can be judged: Does their picture of reality display ‘love’ as defined by scripture? So self-righteously some defend the rights of the unborn, while bowing to a God who allegedly is the cause of this grave crisis – having predetermined every thought, word and deed of man. Worse, this very same God sets the example, having cared so little for that which he creates that many are deliberately destined for destruction. Why condemn the frightened thirteen year old girl for doing that which God blithely does for his own ‘glory’? I am no champion for abortion. I just reject the false accusation that the true gracious, merciful God, who actually desires, and provides a way that none of his beloved creatures need perish, is guilty of the same heinous crime against humanity, but masks it with a clever scheme to make it look like those he destined to destruction before they were ever born somehow are responsible for their own death. This horrible lie is unmasked every generation or so, and it is once again time.

      5. FOM – I’m sure you later discovered that “fitted for destruction” does not mean “created for destruction”, for the word “fitted” is applied to something that was already created and then adapted. The word also could be considered as middle voice – “fitted themselves”.

        The Potter analogy in Jer 18 is so perfect for this verse from Rom 9, for the Potter there was making a vessel for a specific purpose that then became marred in His hands. There is no reason to assume that He marred it on purpose. But the passage indicates He makes it over into a new vessel according to another option available to Him as it “seemed good” to Him.

        The warnings in Scripture are clear that one must obey God’s voice when it is heard and not harden their heart. The Scripture has a number of examples of God using hard hearts and hardening them further as vessels of wrath, to spread the gospel to more people.

        But the warning to them would make no sense if they were destined to be hardened as vessels of wrath from the beginning. And such warnings would be a lie to the so-called predestined vessels of mercy, for they were never in jeopardy of the destruction given in the warning.

      6. Brian, Your comments concerning the potter are accurate, and I am frequently disturbed at how little understood the analogy is, and how little the average ‘teacher’ does to better understand it. A little bit of research, including going to the few lands where such potters yet exist, reveals that in days past a potter had pits in which he kept all sorts of clay. In fact, he very patiently, deliberately searched out and stored up all sorts of different clay, preserving them for various uses. He had a particular red clay that was suitable for one sort of vessel, a black clay that performed well for another, and so on. The master potter knew which clay to choose for his desired vessel, and yet, at times, the clay would ‘resist’ his masterful attempt to shape it. Perhaps it was flawed, with some invisible foreign substance, or perhaps it had in some other manner, despite the potters best attempts to keep it pure, been compromised. Genuine artisans, who understand the craft, will explain how sometimes the clay ‘resists’ the potter, and all attempts to force it into the desired shape are futile. He will merely adjust his plans for the characteristics of that particular glob of clay, rather than waste it, and turn it into something else useful. Then he will search for another, purer, more ‘willing’ clay from which to make the originally planned vessel.

        Understanding a few basic facts sheds a great light on this frequently misunderstood passage. (One might even be bold enough to suggest that Satan has deliberately stamped out pottery making in exchange for Corningware, in order to assist in his subterfuge.) In any case, rather than merely passing along common misunderstandings, why do so few ‘teachers’ do the legwork that could shed light upon confusing passages like this one? Why do they merely ‘buy’ what others have taught, rather than grappling in depth with difficult, important passages? Why do they not search out their genuine historical connotations, and shed genuine light and knowledge for those who look to them for understanding. Most just pass on their own adopted misconceptions, after choosing from the stable of predigested ideas set before them as ‘orthodox’ or ‘true’. This is the difference between being sold an idea and critical thinking.

      7. Brian:
        Yes! I am often amazed that the Potter (Roms 9) example is touted by Calvinists and the Jer 18 (where it comes from) is ignored. That passage actually teaches the opposite of the point they make.

        He is saying he can remake it if He wants to —not that He did it that way from the start.

        And yes, I make the point (in the Traditionalist post) about all the warnings in Scripture…..which are not needed for the chosen, and fall on deaf ears for the non-chosen.

        What is the point of any warning about turning from sin? The chosen must turn (irresistibly) and the others cannot turn. The warnings are intended for whom at that point?

        That would means hundreds and hundreds of more useless, nonsensical verses in the Bible.

      8. Yes it is a horror for the non-elect to know that God created mankind KNOWING that most would end up in Hell. God knew it and created anyway knowing the outcome. Isn’t that horrible fromoverhere??!!!!

      9. yes it is horrible!

        As Leighton and others have pointed out, it is one thing to know that you kid will one day get beat up by bullies at school, and another thing to hire the bullies to do the beating.

      10. That STILL does not address the fact that the God of the Scriptures actively and deliberately creates on a daily basis thousands of humans who will end up in hell fire and He KNOWS it BEFORE he creates them in the womb.

      11. Really?

        Are those assumptions, presuppositions, or easily verifiable truth from Scripture?

        You have super-imposed your understanding of God into all of life. But the Bible does not say what you just said.

      12. Please answer these questions sir:

        1) Is God all-knowing?

        2) Does God create every baby in the womb?

        3) Is there a place called Hell?

        4) Does everyone created go to Heaven

        5) If God is all-knowing and He created every human being in the womb already knowing their destiny, then why did He decide to create them in the first place?

        Please answer each question WITH SCRIPTURE SUPPORT!!

      13. Troy:

        I can hear you shouting heretic even as I type.

        As a background I am an ordained reformed pastor. No longer a Calvinist.

        I believe God knows everything He wants to know. I do not believe that God knows things the way that man wants Him to know (or says He knows) things. There are many many Scriptures that support this.

      14. Dont be impressed.

        By the way, I should have said commission in a reformed church. Not really ordained (I actually dont even believe in ordination!).

        Anyway….dont be impressed. I am a simple believer in Christ and owe all that I am (30+ years overseas) to His gracious hand.

      15. FROMOVERHERE, I would love to correspond with you. Anyway to contact you without broadcasting our contact info across the blogosphere?

      16. Troy writes:
        Please answer these questions sir:

        1) Is God all-knowing?

        2) Does God create every baby in the womb?

        3) Is there a place called Hell?

        4) Does everyone created go to Heaven

        5) If God is all-knowing and He created every human being in the womb already knowing their destiny, then why did He decide to create them in the first place?

        Please answer each question WITH SCRIPTURE SUPPORT!!

        All of the above are simply Calvinist dishonest red herrings designed to distract your attention from the real issue.

        William Lane Craig puts it wonderfully:
        In Calvinism god would be like a child who sets up his toy soldiers and moves them about his play world, pretending they are real persons whose every motion is not in fact of his own doing.
        And pretending they merit praise or blame.
        I’m certain that Reformed determinists, in contrast to classical Reformed divines, will bristle at such a comparison.
        But why it’s inapt for the doctrine of universal, divine, causal determinism is a mystery to me.

        Let the Christian reader beware of Calvinism’s language of dishonesty.

      17. I honestly think you’re serious!!
        AS-IF William Lane Craig’s answer didn’t cut right through all of Calvinism’s dishonest half-truths.

        Its obvious you’ve been indoctrinated to look for specific answers to those trick questions – such that William Lane Craig’s answer doesn’t spark any synapses.

        And you say you’re not a Calvinist!!

      18. These are all truths that you and Leighton must struggle with. God’s character is not impugned the least bit. God doesn’t have to acquiesce to YOUR view of Him. God has revealed Himself adequately in the pages of Scripture and His elect sons/daughters just say “AMEN”.

      19. So Troy,
        You stand by the idea that the Bible teaches that God created 99.5% of humanity (created in His image) and decreed that they be “passed over” (which is the kind way of saying created to torment)?

        This is what the Bible teaches and it is for His glory and our job (which of course he predetermined us to do) is to say “Amen!”?

        Yippee! That is “Good News”!!!

      20. Since you dont know who the elect are….. you preach to unbelievers this message.

        The Doctrines of Grace teach that God created 99.5% of humanity (created in His image) and decreed that they be “passed over” (which is the kind way of saying created to torment)?

        This is what the Bible teaches and it is for His glory and our job is to preach this message?

      21. This is God’s salvation plan brother! He’s the architect of it. All those who question it are in trouble. We are simply the creatures who have the blessing of being apart of His salvation plan. God Himself has set the parameters whether you agree with them or not. Salvation is of the Lord!

      22. Why do you keep saying sentences like …

        “All those who question it are in trouble.”

        Can you not see that all those who question cannot help BUT to question?

        Your warnings mean nothing in that the elect will not question and the non elect can ONLY question.

      23. “All those who question it are in trouble.”

        Because god has predestined them to question – as the means by which he bring about them being in trouble!

        For the SOT101 reader:
        In Calvinism everything god does is nothing more than a MEANS TO AN END.
        And everything that “comes to pass” is a manifestation of what god has decreed “come to pass” – either as a MEANS or an END.

        A very large amount of Calvinist statements are just gorilla dust! 😉

      24. troy writes The “Good News” is ONLY meant for the elect. Sorry fromoverhere..

        And in Calvinism WHO the elect are – and who the eternally tormented are – no man knows – for that is god’s secret.

        And according to Calvin a whole lot of Calvinist wax eloquent – be deceived by god into believing they are elect – when he has secretly hand-picket them for the worst eternal torments of all.

        And that is an part of Calvinism’s “good news”.

        Where can I sign up!! 😀

      25. Troy writes: “The “Good News” is ONLY meant for the elect. Sorry fromoverhere.”

        You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.

        Maybe you missed the proclamation by the angels that the birth of Jesus was ‘good news of a great joy which will come to all the people’? No one with integrity can claim that this means ‘not all people, but only a select few’. Calvinism has some seriously twisted ideas. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, does scripture say that Jesus’ death is for some ‘elect’. Scripture always teaches that Jesus died to take away the sins of the world. All men. So that none, absolutely no man, need perish, unless he deliberately rejects what Jesus did for him. Yeah, that’s what it means when God says “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

        Is this God ignorant, or forgetful? Did it slip his mind that he ‘gifted’ these people with a ‘sin nature’ that makes them utterly unable to respond? Oops, should have waved that magic regeneration wand and given them some faith, then he wouldn’t have wasted the whole day with his arms outstretched. Gosh, he must feel silly.

        Taking snippets of scripture out of context and patching them together to mean something that genuine scripture does not say does not strike me as sound theology. The lack of love for others that this theology demands, allows men to throw their own grandmother under the bus, with a complete lack of concern. ‘Sorry Granny, that’s just the way God is. Cruel, perverse, and in deep need of some weird sort of glory. No use fretting, it’s his ball and we have to play by his rules. Somebody’s gotta burn, and he gets to pick ’em. Tough luck for you, but what do I care, as long as I’m one of the lucky ones he saves from eternal torture? It’s not like I’m some soft Arminian that has to have a ‘nice’ God.’

        Is it any wonder, thanks to Calvinism, that so many reject God altogether? It isn’t the true gospel that some of these people reject, so much as the ‘Burn, baby, burn’ gospel of determinism. I mean, who would even want to spend eternity with such a monster? Yet Calvinists toss out such nonsense nonchalantly, as if they don’t have sense enough to be embarrassed. I wouldn’t tell such frightening ‘good news’ to my worst enemy. Calvinism’s beliefs are genuinely horrifying. But that makes them feel so proud, being able to stomach such a terrible excuse for a God without remorse.

        They appear to be unaware that it was this exact disregard for others that brought condemnation upon the Judaisers. These ‘righteous leaders’ rejected their long-awaited Messiah because he dared to preach salvation for all men. They had no trouble interpreting what Jesus taught – he proclaimed good news unto all men, Israelite and Gentile alike, and this is what they hated him for. You would think decent men would rejoice that salvation was not limited to a small number of people, as they had erroneously believed. But, alas, these were not pure-hearted men who genuinely loved God, but were of their father, the devil. They perished miserably, clinging to their ‘Only Us’ theology, which regrettably was revived under Calvinism.

      26. You are in willful denial of the hard-sayings of Scripture sir. You want to hold on to YOUR view of God, Christ, His salvation plan, His Word, etc. You’re simply suppressing the truth for a lie.

  4. Troy writes: “The problem is that Prof. Flowers, perhaps unwittingly, is really bringing an indictment against God Himself because after Adam sinned, God creates mankind with a sinful nature. So, in essence, Flowers wants the reader here to question God’s intentions for creating mankind with a sinful nature.”

    You’re darn tootin’ the reader should be questioning any absurd claim that God recreated man – where in scripture is that taught? – and this time remakes him with a sinful nature. You bet that is an indictment against God, and a false, blasphemous one.

    I have rarely heard a Calvinist so freely state what their false, unscriptural notion of Total Depravity genuinely asserts. They prefer to couch it in much cloudier terminology, leaving somewhat murky what exactly caused this ‘sin nature’, other than ‘Adam’s sin’.

    Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, does scripture assert that God recreated man, until Jesus makes a new creation possible by dealing, once and for all, with the sin problem. What an absurdity, what a total contradiction to the Genesis account of creation as supposedly believed by ‘orthodox christianity’; yet this is indeed what lies underneath all of Calvinism’s ponderous, mind-numbing terminology concerning Total Depravity, the sin nature and dead men that can’t believe.

    Nowhere does scripture assert that man has a ‘sin nature’ , a.k.a. ‘Total Depravity’, defined as a total inability to not sin. What Adam did introduce into the creation was rebellion. He rejected the notion that he needed God to instruct him concerning right and wrong, and succumbed to the temptation to eat of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In other words, he doubted that God was protecting him from his own inability, and chose to ‘know’ good from evil on his own. He allowed Satan to convince him that he was able to choose the good and resist the evil in his own strength. He was wrong, as God and Satan both fully knew.

    This ‘choice’ that Adam made essentially severed the umbilibal cord, separating man from the natural, loving guidance of his Creator. This ‘choice’ to disobey God and acquire the personal knowledge of good and evil saddled all of mankind with the responsibility – without the ability – to choose between good and evil. In other words, the groundwork had now been laid, by that first sin, for all future sin.

    This is how Satan introduced his heyday, working all manner of deception upon men, deceiving them repeatedly into making poor, fleshly choices. Perverting man’s God-given appetites, which were designed to sustain life, Satan repeatedly induces men to succumb to the temptation of ‘pleasure’. Whereas God designed pleasure for good, Satan perverts it to wreak destruction.

    For example, the desire for food is a good, God-given appetite. This desire was designed to induce men to eat, thus sustaining life. There is nothing evil inherent to this fleshly appetite – until Satan introduces toxic, unhealthy, chemically-altered substances into the world and brings about addiction, obsession, disease and misery. All of this was accomplished by perverting a genuinely good, God-given appetite. This same process took and takes place with every other ‘fleshly’ appetite, from sex to the desire to achieve the dominion God designed man to establish on earth. Every sin and evil on earth is a perversion of some good, God-given appetite.

    This is what Adam’s ‘choice’ introduced. This is the ‘sin nature’ that would never have been introduced into the creation had man remained under the faithful, trustworthy authority of their Creator. There was no recreation of man. There was no cursing of man with a new ‘sin nature’ whereby all men must, unavoidably, continuously sin. These are all utter lies, distortions and misinterpretations of what scripture actually says.

    Have they been passed down through the centuries as ‘traditions of men’, a.k.a. church orthodoxy? Absolutely. Have they been affirmed by councils, creeds and the moral majority? Absolutely. This does not make them any truer than macro-evolution or man-caused global warming. Truth is never determined by authority or consensus, and whenever any institution, be it called ‘The Church’ or ‘Science’ attempts to assert either, they reveal their unscriptural basis.

    1. Truthseeker00 writes, “You’re darn tootin’ the reader should be questioning any absurd claim that God recreated man – where in scripture is that taught? – and this time remakes him with a sinful nature. You bet that is an indictment against God, and a false, blasphemous one.”
      HUH?? How did you estrapolate this from what I said?? Really??

  5. Troy, I believe I included your quote, word for word:

    “The problem is that Prof. Flowers, perhaps unwittingly, is really bringing an indictment against God Himself because after Adam sinned, God creates mankind with a sinful nature. So, in essence, Flowers wants the reader here to question God’s intentions for creating mankind with a sinful nature.”

    You no doubt acknowledge that Adam was not created with a sin nature, and Genesis 2 proclaims that God’s creation work was complete with the creation of Adam and Eve (man, male and female): “And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.”

    Yet you describe God as newly creating man with an entirely new, utterly corrupt ‘sinful nature’. When and where did this happen? Please cite the verses from which you learn of this new creation. There is absolutely no basis for making such an absurd claim, other than the tradition of men. It is only Calvinism’s system that demands a new, hideous sort of man, accusing God of the most unthinkable cruelty, i.e. cursing innocent, unborn men for another man’s sin, despite the prophet Ezekiel being instructed to teach that God would never consider performing such an unthinkable injustice.

    Adam’s sin forever eliminated the newborn innocence of man, just as a child’s first deliberate disobedience does, but neither actions ‘create’ a new sort of man. It is groundless philosophizing to allege that God cursed man with a new nature, a nature that eliminates man’s ability to understand and obey him, although he continues to command them to do so. It is beyond absurd to suggest that because one man sinned, God chose to make all men irresistibly enslaved to sin. Actually the story of Cain and Abel tells how such a thing really occurs, as Cain ignores God’s clear warning and surrenders himself to the enslaving mastery of sin. I can think of no more despicable suggestion than that God punishes innocent men for another man’s sin, and can see why God demanded, through his prophet Ezekiel, that Israel stop making such blasphemous accusations against him with their false proverb. (See Ezekiel 18.)

    Of course, Calvinism’s definition of Total Depravity disregards God’s admonition via Ezekiel, as well as the rest of scripture. Including the following chapters that depict Abel offering a pleasing sacrifice to God, Cain being told by God that he too could be found acceptable if he did what was right, and countless narratives of men who pleased God, listened to his voice, and did as they were commanded, or chose to disobey. Not once is it even hinted that men sin because God confined them to such a cruel destiny via a universal curse. All of Romans explains why men sin, and eventually become genuinely depraved. None can rightly claim ‘My sin nature made me do it’ or ‘Adam’s sin cast me into this terrible state.’ Sin is a voluntary, informed decision, leaving all men without excuse. Jesus’ death, of course, makes sin a moot issue, for all who trust in him and God’s promised mercy.

    The problem with Calvinism is that at every turn it runs smack dab into scripture, which repeatedly contradicts its false assertions. Noah was declared ‘righteous’ and ‘found grace in the eyes of the Lord’ because of his righteousness. ‘Impossible’, according to Calvinism’s Total Depravity. On and on through the entire Old Testament Hall of Fame we have living men, hearing, responding positively to God and finding approval. ‘Impossible’ according to Calvinism’s Total Depravity. It would be a much shorter book, were Calvinism true: God speaks – dead silence. God regenerates – problem solved.

    Ah, but Calvinists will valiantly defend what they are desperate to believe, however illogical and unscriptural. The message of men like Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Jonah, Ezekiel, and countless others who do not present a picture of men who are ‘dead’ or unable to respond to and obey God, is ignored. Though consigned to physical death – as the actual curse warned – these men trusted in God’s promise to deliver them. That’s the beauty of the narratives – they are almost impossible to twist into some man-made, exotic meaning. Each story is completely unique, yet all tell the story of men who heard and responded to God. No one can deny it. No unsought, irresistible regeneration makes its appearance in these narratives. No irresistible, eternally pre-ordained responses are described, though all is certainly foreknown by God, and made to serve his purposes. The cruel and unjust concoction known as Calvinistic Total Depravity (and all of its cohorts) does not arise for many centuries, making its grand debut into so-called ‘christian orthodoxy’ with Calvin’s Institutes, with the persuasive help of piles of green wood.

    1. Truthseeker:

      I have many times brought up Abel and his pleasing God (and Cain being told by God that could and should dominate over sin!)…. but it has little effect on the glazed-over, YRR cage-Calvinists.

      Even though Hebrews 11 tells us that Abel is “still teaching us” (so obviously our faith can grow by looking at his faith)…. they just wave the magic wand and say “God gave all those people faith.”

      So how is Abel teaching us anything? What do we learn? What do we learn from Abraham’s faith?

      Actually if they were right, what we would learn is that God is deceiving us by telling us we can learn and exercise faith….when in reality we can do only what He programs us for.

      We are told in Hebrews that it is impossible to please God w/out faith and then told by Calvinists we cant have it unless He gives it to us.

      Same chapter tells us He rewards those who seek Him, but we are told by Calvinists no one can seek Him.

      Christ saying to the multitude on the mount, “seek first the kingdom” —-nope, not possible.

      1. FROMOVERHERE – I found that I could only entertain the notions of Calvinism as long as I did not honestly, open-mindedly read my bible. Once I cast aside the false authority that presumed to tell me how to interpret scripture, I found myself once again able to read and understand. It is genuinely the same sort of brainwashing that makes cults, or rabid political junkies. As long as you view all of reality through the prescribed, distorting lenses, you will never see genuine reality. I was never able to fully embrace Calvinism, as even after a decade of brainwashing I could not forget the true God of my youth. What marvelous joy it was to throw off forever the horrid chains that sought to bind me to a cruel, unjust, unloving tyrant of a god as depicted by so-called ‘orthodoxy’. The thing is, if I’m wrong, the worst thing God can say is ‘You proclaimed me as much too loving, depicting my mercy as extending much too far’. I pity those who face the opposite condemnation.

      2. Truthseeker

        As I have testified in several place on this blog, I was a card-carrying Calvinist, surrounded in So Cal by some of the early promoters of (what would turn into) the YRR wave.

        I reached the cage-Calvinist phase, but it was MUCH harder then. No internet….had to read Boettner, VanTil, and Berkhof (buy the books first!!!).

        Anyway… I put them all aside for a couple years to read through the Bible. Boy can it speak!!!!

        Every day (and I mean eeeeevery day) I had to scratch my head and ask myself (and God) what XYZ passage was about if my Calvinism was true.

        Anyway…..once you are out and can breathe (and not just repeating the same 15-20 verses that must trump all others) it is refreshing.

        I get accused of having a man-centered gospel. I dont, but I actually believe that God tells us He cares pretty much about man!!!! And left him lots of choices.

        yes you are right …. ‘You proclaimed me as much too loving, depicting my mercy as extending much too far’

        What a terrible injustice we are committing to say that God loves all people!

    2. Post Fall every human being is born with a sinful nature. God is the ONLY Creator. Thus, God (SINCE THE FALL) has created us with that sinful nature in tact. We have inherited Adam’s sinful nature and each time God creates a baby in the womb, that baby is born with a sinful nature. If you dispute this fact, then you’re disputing, not only Calvinism, but also orthodox Christianity sir.

  6. Troy writes: “YES!!! He did!! Post Fall every human being is created [by God] with a nature that hates his Creator and loves his sin.”

    I’m telling you son, I would hate to be in your shoes when you are on your face before the almighty God, sniveling a defense of your blasphemous words. The very idea of asserting that God creates men irresistibly compelled to hate him by his own design. The lenses with which you read your bible are so distorted you are really wasting your time.

    You can try all you want to say that ordaining all things, including sin does not make God the author of sin, but there is no logic to that assertion, however many threatened Divines sign on the dotted line. Seriously, can we just dispense with the Westminster Confession once and for all? The writings of a bunch of cowards afraid for their lives really don’t carry a lot of weight. This was a time when being a ‘heretic’ (dissenting from the religious assertions of the state) brought the end of your career, if not a death sentence. If you want true doctrine, read the views of those who were oppressed and/or murdered rather than the officially demanded consensus report.

    I’m afraid your brand of Calvinism could make John Calvin blush.

    1. Your statement is emotive and simply full of conjecture. The fact is, to deny that mankind is created with a sinful nature post Fall, is to deny historical orthodox Christianity.

      1. Troy writes: “The fact is, to deny that mankind is created with a sinful nature post Fall, is to deny historical orthodox Christianity.”

        I have no fear of being deemed a heretic by arrogant Calvinists. It is with perfect ease that I question any and all claims of ‘historical orthodox Christianity’. Truth, my friend, is not decided by the power of the sword. Thankfully, the 16th Century is over, along with ‘historical orthodox Christianity’s’ brutal reign of terror. The whole point of the Renaissance and the separation of church and state was a denunciation of the false, manipulative powers that sought to control all men by self-claimed authority. The powers that be showed their true colors, and the manipulated masses got fed up with honest, God-fearing men and women being burned at the stake, beheaded or drowned for refusing to bow to the authority of so-called ‘orthodoxy’. Calvinism is an ugly little throwback to that era, still championing power and authority over the freedom of the individual to respond to God as he wishes. It is your false and ugly caricature of God that makes you think you can force others to bow to your creeds and councils.

        I calmly reject the false authority of historical orthodox Christianity, and Calvinist pastors who assert the right to interpret scripture for me. I am a proud ‘heretic’, championing the right of the individual to choose what, if anything, he believes, free from coercion. God is the one and only qualified judge; I will answer to him, not you.

        I am content with being a member of the Body of Christ – you can have your traditions of men.

      2. Sir this is not a Calvinistic doctrine you’re denying. It’s orthodox Christianity. It’s one of the basic tenets of historical Christianity. Your ad hominem attacks on me (i.e. “arrogant Calvinist) doesn’t change this fact. You are opposing Christian doctrine, not Calvinistic doctrine. You are simply in error sir!

      3. Historical orthodox Christianity just means the man-made doctrines of various institutions which insist they are ‘The True Church’. Still not shaking in my boots. The Body of Christ existed long before any of the institutions calling themselves ‘The Church’ arose. I believe in what Jesus and his apostles taught, i.e., scripture, but am not bound to what ‘they who think they are something’ interpret scripture to mean. I realize many believers are brainwashed into believing the Institutional Church is synonymous with the Body of Christ, and that creeds, councils and a plurality of elders have some kind of genuine authority, but I do not share those opinions. The traditions of men are just that – they have no authority on earth or in heaven.


    Within Calvinism’s Theological Determinism – AS-IF thinking (i.e. double-think):

    (1) If god decrees with an immutable (unchangeable) decree that [X comes to pass], then god having perfect omniscience knows [X comes to pass] as a TRUE-PROPOSITION.

    (2) Where it is the case that god knows [X comes to pass] as a TRUE-PROPOSITION, then it is also the case that [X comes to pass] is a TRUE-PROPOSITION because god has made it a TRUE-PROPOSITION.

    A god who knows [X] as a TRUE-PROPOSITION while treating [X] AS-IF it is a FALSE-PROPOSITION is operating in double-think.

    Since we know that Calvinism is full of double-think, it makes perfect sense that they conceive of god operating in double-think.


    There once was a Calvinist cow-hand who, on a Sunday night, rode his horse to the local bar.
    The next morning, his boss, seeing he was still heavily hung-over demanded to know why.

    The Calvinist cow-hand’s excuse was as follows:
    “My totally-depraved horse made choices most-freely which took me to the bar – and I did not restrain it from doing so.” 😉


    There is a now-godly-good, now-godly-evil, alternating emphasis, consistent within Calvinistic language. And a recognizable characteristic is the framing of [concept pairs] reflecting Calvinism’s good-evil dualistic cosmos. We can also observe linguistic processes, which alternate between four different modes of communication.

    (1) THEOLOGICAL-BOASTING mode: Here he is eulogizing God’s good pleasure, and God’s sovereignty, which entails both glorified-good and glorified-evil. Or he might be lauding the system’s image or braggadocio on Calvinism’s respected persons.

    (2) THEOLOGICAL-DEFENSE mode: Here he is defending the system’s representations of glorified-evil as necessary, and right. Moral-Dualism and Universal Divine Causal Determinism are what make the system superior for him, what gives the system its distinctiveness, and function as phylacteries for him. But the glorified-evil component is morally problematic. To compensate its impact, the Calvinist will switch to:

    (3) AS-IF mode: This is his inventive mode, and his language is often cosmetic in nature. In this mode he might create philosophical inventions AS-IF they were biblical, or represent his own unique understanding of Calvinism, AS-IF it were “core” Calvinism. Or he might communicate AS-IF the systems divine-evil component doesn’t exist. Or he might frame God’s causal role in a given event AS-IF it were “active”, and then alternate to framing it AS-IF it were “passive”. Or man’s causal role in a given event AS-IF libertarian free will doesn’t exist, and then alternate to framing it AS-IF it does. Or he might frame dualistic sentences, containing mutually exclusive presuppositions; AS-IF their contradiction doesn’t exist. In AS-IF mode, assertions are made solely based on the expediency of the moment, and enunciated AS-IF it they are fully logically coherent. AS-IF mode is quite powerful because recipients may be ill prepared to manage an inexhaustible volume of ad hoc inventions, and semantic subtleties.

    (4) PASTORAL mode: Here he utilizes soft-spoken—emotive, religious or sophistic language to hide the system’s glorified-evil components while projecting benevolence. In Pastoral mode, his language is often designed to mimic the language of mainstream Christianity, which, ironically he sternly condemns as soon as he switches back into Theological-boasting mode. And this tactic of alternating between Theological-boasting mode and Pastoral mode, may be likened to a double-agent, operating within two countries in conflict with each other.

  10. Right!

    If it were possible for a Calvinist to be honest – he would have told the happy parents – since their god “passes over” the many and only “elects” the few, their child faces the statistical preponderance of praising god for sending him/her to an eternal lake of fire.

    Now isn’t that a lovely belief system!!! 😀

  11. Indeed Brian!
    I find it very puzzling Troy always saying tota scriptura. I have mentioned in these pages many times that I was a calvinist and left Calvinism exactly for that “all of scripture” reason.

    Every day I confronted verse after verse that didn’t make any sense to me as a calvinist. there are literally thousands of verses that contradict Calvinism, but they are all explained away by a few key verses that somehow have some kind of more weight and seem to trump these thousands of verses.

    The curious thing is somehow these verses weighing more than the others allow them to say they are tota scriptura ( why are we speaking in Latin anyway?)

    It is exactly this thousands- of-verses, all- of -scripture idea that let me out of Calvinism. But a few verses given more weight and interpreted in the certain fashion seem to override these verses.

    What about the many verses where it says God regrets/repented this or that? What about the many verses where God says “I WOULD have done this?” What about the many verses where it says ” I told you to do that but you did not do it?”
    What about the hundreds of verses where God says, “If you do this I will do this but if you do this I will do this?” All of these hundreds or literally thousands of verses mean nothing in a predetermined way.

    They only makes some God some kind of trickster or insincere inviter.

    Troy, you can believe whichever position you want and you can feel sincere in rebuking people for something else. But you cannot say that all of scriptures is on your side. There are literally thousands of verses that you must say —as I did when I was a Calvinist—- “we know this verse does not mean that because we know it couldn’t mean that.”

    Well… Personally I got tired of doing that so many thousands of times so I just had a second look at the 30 key verses that were twisting my arm towards Calvinism. Now I see that those verses do not in fact impose Calvinism. That certainly helps me understand the thousands of verses that would be a contradiction to calvinism.

    The problem I found when I was a calvinist was that if I begin to mention these thousands of verses I was told they could not mean that and if I insisted that they did mean it that I had a God who was somehow lesser… smaller than a calvinist, and one that was not sovereign….so I was kind of shamed into accepting it.

    But after a while I just didn’t want to follow that crowd that shamed me into giving predominance over 40 verses over the whole Bible.

    Now my relationship with Christ is much deeper and I can accept what I read.

    1. Fromoverhere you will never come to truth if you only see God’s Word as teaching or proving an “ism”. I truly believe that those who are trying to prove/disprove an “ism” are blinded to the truths of God’s Word. If we’re reading the Scriptures with the mindset of trying to prove/disprove a system of beliefs, we’re going to miss what God is really teaching throughout Scripture.
      Please let’s read Scripture with the mindset of “Lord please teach me the truth of your Word, regardless of what my flesh may desire. Please renew my mind so that I may accept whatever your will/purpose might be, even if I don’t like it for you are the Potter and I’m simply the undeserving clay.”

      1. Troy,
        I don’t think you realize just exactly how arrogant your posts sound. But I’ll let that go for now. I don’t think you’re listening to me.

        I was a Bible School —Greek and Hebrew trained– calvinist not looking for an ism, or defending an ism. I just was that thing…. Calvinist. I started to read the Bible in great huge portions every day, day after day, week after week, year after year and realized that the large part of the Bible does not defend Calvinism.

        Sure there are the vague verses…He declares the end from the beginning and things like that (rhuthin just posted one verse that there is no god like our God as a proof text that he predetermined everything… How can he possibly say that proves predeterminism? It doesn’t say that. It just says what we all know there is no God like our God). The predetermined concepts that you defend so much with Brian are just not existant in the Bible . you can fabricate them from a view verses here and there but that is not what the message of the Bible is.

        the message of the Bible is that God created man and he is dealing with man as time goes on. there’s no higher ground in you saying that he’s only God if he has predetermined it all. Like Tozer said the sovereignty of God is defined by the fact that he gave men the choice and STILL manages to accomplish his purposes.

        We are in very good company in thinking these things my friend. Please don’t be arrogant to keep telling Brian and me that we are on the border of….if not already over into blasphemy.

        Again, if everything is predetermined then we have been predetermined to hold this position anyway and we are not refusing anything.

        Also I feel like you are calling us Heretics to the point that you would do like Calvin and throw us in the river with a millstone tied to our neck….

      2. I can’t control how you receive my comments Fromoverhere. I’m sorry if you believe me to be arrogant. However, truth is truth and God gives it in measure as He sees fit. The Bible is not written to prove Calvinism or disprove Calvinism. The Scriptures are the mind of God and we need to approach them as such. God also has a salvation plan that He Himself has decreed and is working out as He wishes. We are only recipients of His grace and live in humble obeisance to it.
        I would just encourage all to discuss what the Bible teaches and not what Calvinism teaches.

      3. What’s so funny is that Fromoverhere accuses ME arrogance. Isn’t sarcasm the epitome of arrogance.

      4. I wasn’t being sarcastic… I was taking you at your word. Though I did wonder if you meant what you said.

      5. If you noticed Brian, I’ve never made a single statement in defense of Calvinism. I prefer to stick to what “thus saith the Lord”. Calvinism is nothing more than an attempt to codify the doctrine of salvation and God’s sovereignty. But Calvinism is fallible, whereas the Scriptures are infallible. This is why I prefer to argue the Scriptures and not Calvinism.

      6. Well if a Calvinist will call Calvinism fallible, then the Calvinist must have some insider-information, we know he has.
        We invite the Calvinist to share that insider-information with outsiders.

        But I if consistency has its way – we’ll see the Calvinist go into greased-pig mode on this one. 🙂

      7. Isn’t sarcasm the epitome of arrogance.


        Definition of Sarcasm: “a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt”.

        Definition of Teasing: “To make fun of, or to provoke in a playful way – to not take someone seriously.”

        Galations 5:12
        As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and ἀποκόψονται themselves!

        Paul is a Jewish Rabi – and partaker of the rabbinic tradition of the circumcision of Jewish infants.
        In his day – there were rabbi who developed a reputation of being inept at the task – and their peers teased them about it.

        Paul is quipping he half wishes the “Super Apostles” would go all the way and mutilate themselves.
        But of-course they won’t do that to themselves – just to others.

        Likewise the “Calvinist Super Christians” of today will not go all the way and canonize making god the author of evil, instead of a canonizing a semi-determinist world of double-think.
        But of-course most of them won’t do that to themselves either. 🙂

      8. Br. D. I join with those who do not think Paul was being sarcastic or even crude in his language in Gal 5:12, but was expressing the wish that they cut themselves off from the congregations which they were infecting with their false theology. It is not that grammatically your understanding is not possible, but grammatically it is also not necessary to the meaning of the word “cut off”, especially seeing it is a middle voice and the subject would therefore be “themselves”, not a part of themselves. And I think there is good evidence Paul spoke with grief in his heart for the false teachers when he condemned their theology and actions publicly (cf Phil 3:18)

      9. When Christians get a chance to look into the Calvinist psychology, and see the love-hate relationship they have with their own belief system – and how much double-think it seduces them into – Christians can easily see that is not of god.

      10. Good points!

        I would only add, a Calvinist can try to evade Paul’s judgement of “being yet carnal” by asserting he is not a follower of Calvin.

        But it walks like a duck, – swims like a duck – and quacks like duke.
        And smart people are not deceived by the ploy. 😀

      11. Br.d I’m beginning to think that this Calvinist debate is an obsession for you because you always seem to center all your statement/arguments around Calvinism. Calvinism is not the Bible sir! I only argue points of Scripture, not Calvinism. But there definitely seems to be an obsession there.

      12. Obsession can be conflated with concentration.
        I guess a Calvinist could say Paul was “obsessed” with his gospel.

        I understand how Calvinists work to paint things – that’s what Calvinists do. 🙂
        We know them by their fruits.

      13. Your response only served to prove my point further. Also, Paul was right to be obsessed over the Gospel because to live is Christ!

      14. Thanks – In light of that I’ll take “obsession” as a compliment.
        However, that in no way makes me anyone special.
        Its much better for me to remain little in my own eyes.

      15. Fromoverhere you will never come to truth if you only see God’s Word as teaching or proving an “ism”.

        This – of course is one finger pointing at someone else, while 4 fingers point back at the accuser.

        The suffix “ism” is an English derivative of the N.T. Greek ισμός as in the Greek word σχίσμα (Schism)
        The N.T. authors recognized “isms” – or separations of belief systems between parties.
        The Sect of the Pharisees within the N.T. church, recognized in the book of Acts, would be a good example.

        One can just as easily argue that Calvin-ISM would be recognized as a “Schism” by the N.T. authors – since it is derived from Augustinian syncret-ISMS.

        Today’s ardent follower of Augustine’s inventions – who is convinced his is the doctrine of the N.T. authors and anyone who disagrees with him is not, is simply an excellent example of human indoctrination.

      16. Br.d i don’t see the relevance of your comment to my original premise. The fact is, that if you narrow your focus to proving/disproving an ism, you will be blind to tota scriptura. “Isms” only serve to narrow your focus and perspective and causes you to view scripture through a limited lense.
        Remember, this is not an exercise in academics, logic, or wits. We’re trying to cipher out the truth of God’s Word and then be able to lovingly and patiently teach it to others. We’re not here to prove/disprove Calvinism brother. God did not save us for that purpose.

      17. What the Lord has me here for is to help people see the issues that are inherent with Calvinism.
        Since Calvinists are consistently dishonest.

    2. There are literally thousands of verses that you must say —as I did when I was a Calvinist—- “we know this verse does not mean that because we know it couldn’t mean that.”


      William Lane Craig describes this process Calvinist use to handle scripture by stating they force scripture to affirm extra-biblical philosophical constructs.

      But also, scholars of hermeneutics and exegesis understand the phenomenon – that the human brain sees what it believes it should be seeing in any form of data. All data is “INTERPRETED” by the brain. Since the bible believer, holds that scripture affirms truth and does not affirm what is false, that reader will automatically INTERPRET the data of scripture in accordance to what it believes is truth.

      Steps to make a Calvinist:
      1) Implement a system of socialization and influence
      2) Use system of influence to convince people to believe in UNIVERSAL DIVINE DETERMINISM
      3) Give that person a bible
      4) PRESTO! His mind is guaranteed to rationalize away and scripture that contradicts what he now believes is true.

      Of course Calvinists will argue that the scripture determines their interpretation – and not the other way around.
      But JWs and Mormons etc all make the same exact claim – so that is fully expected.

    3. Remember the part where David asked the Lord if he would be handed over to Saul by the people of the town he was hiding in? God said they would, uuuh, David fled and they didn’t. Head-scratching stuff huh!!!

  12. Emotionalism and misguidance is strong. Like some of those have said on the forum. I for example have a wrong view of WW2 and have probably only convinced 5 out of 50 people that …. I’d rather not say. Because in the western world more so than Christianity those who research for even a simple truth as what happened in the twentieth century are slandered and even jailed. I know that it isn’t important how we view the history. But it is a sense of blind patriotism or knowing you are right so well because it has been told to you. The same goes for Calvanism or determinism. Once they twist a few Scriptures and ignore sound hermeneutics they get stuck in a rut.
    There is a KJV only guy of all people, Kevin Thompson who refutes many of Calvanistic interpretations. His hermeneutics is outstanding, yet for some reason… KJV only. Every man has his patriotic flaws. The level of difference in his logic when defending KJV only and when using Scriptures is amazing to me. I’d much rather speak with someone who holds the Word of God in high regard than someone who reads down Gods love.

    1. Welcome Stefooch to the conversation. You made some good observations.

      Actually I’m guessing you were being ironic when you said – “I know that it isn’t important how we view the history”. As you noted, it is because of swallowing indiscriminately what we were told is historically “orthodox” theology without testing it against Scripture that many still remain loyal to those unScriptural so-called orthodox points.

      Reviewing Christian history more closely will reveal how the sacramental magisterial “winners” wrote the history that made their theology seem like apostolic tradition and then they destroyed any evidence that didn’t agree with their view.

    2. Thanks for this post stefooch.

      If I understand what you are saying – we humans can very keenly see flaws and contradictions in one area and be totally blinded to them in another area. Yes, I would heartily agree with that – we see it everywhere. :-]

  13. this might help:
    IV. Providence

    God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any wise to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.

    1. Welcome Nathan. It’s a shame there were no Scripture references given to support those dogmatic words. I found the first line is curious, however. Is eternity a place in a different reality than we exist in, and is God presently making decrees and giving permissions from it? That’s what it sounds like it is saying.

      Of course Calvinism does believe in the contradiction of two simultaneous realities that God is living in – one non-sequential and one sequential. But all things are already decreed in the supposed non-sequential one… so how does it make sense to say – “God from eternity decrees…”?

      And the Scripture nowhere teaches a non-sequential reality for God… but only a sequential one.

      1. Brian,

        You make a good point as usual.

        The point I would like to make it the phrase “or permits”.

        I would like to know how God predetermines (decrees) before time a “permit”. Permits implies allows….which to normal thought patterns means there was an option. Was there an option?

        Permitting my kids to do this or that does not mean I am directing/ making them do it. They are actually the one making that final decision (sometimes I permit something and they decide not to do it).

        This sounds very much like the point that many non-Calvinists in this string (and other strings) have been trying to make ….God remains sovereign (in the way that Scripture defines it, not man) and achieves “His purposes” and the “counsel of His will” and the “end from the beginning”….. while letting (permitting) man do or not do certain things.


        Permitting is not decreeing.

        Allowing is not controlling.

      2. fromoverhere writes:
        “I would like to know how God predetermines (decrees) before time a “permit”. Permits implies allows….which to normal thought patterns means there was an option. Was there an option?”

        You are absolutely correct to point this out fromoverhere.
        Its part of Calvinism’s long history of beguiling double-talk.

        Calvinism has evolved a significant lexicon of equivocal words/terms strategically used to masquerade as FATE-INFERRING in one argument and NON-FATE-INFERRING in another. This is called “Shifting Semantic Weights”.

        Calvin himself asserts that the term PERMIT as LIBERTARIAN-INFERRING is a -quote “FIGMENT”
        He is careful to not say “FIGMENT OF HUMAN IMAGINATION” – Serpentine language lets the recipient fill in the obvious inference.

        “…..the ***FIGMENT*** of BARE PERMISSION vanishes. Because it would be ridiculous for the judge only to PERMIT what ***HE WILLS TO BE DONE**, and not also ***DECREE IT*** and ***COMMAND ITS EXECUTION***….” – John Calvin, institutes i.xviii

        Additionally Calvin knows that he is creating a deviant definition for the word permit, because what he calls BARE PERMISSION was the exactly definition for the word PERMIT in the Latin and French of his day.

        Late 15c., from Middle French permetre and directly from Latin permittere “let pass, let go, let loose; give up, hand over; let, allow, grant, permit,” from per “through” (from PIE root *per- (1) “forward,” hence “through”) + mittere “let go, send” (see mission). Related: Permitted; permitting.

        Nothing within the common lexicon for the word PERMIT is FATE-INFERRING.
        What Calvin is doing is called “LOADED” language. He loads the word PERMIT with FATE-INFERRING meaning.
        When Calvin says God PERMITS what he infers is God CAUSES.

        The use of ambiguous language, words or terms, to conceal the truth or to avoid committing oneself; a prevarication.

    2. Hi Nathan
      And thanks for your post (below)

      “God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any wise to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.”

      This of-course can be recognized as a statement of faith.
      But a statement of faith is not to be confused with a statement of fact – (i.e., a statement based on sound rational reasoning.)

      As we analyze statements such as this – we understand to which category each statement belongs.

  14. A Calvinist drove his car to the liquor store, and asserted the following:
    1) I PERMITTED my car to go to the liquor store
    2) I DID NOT RESTRAIN my car from going to the liquor store
    3) My car went the to liquor store as a NATURALLY OCCURRING EVENT (for a car)
    4) The REASON I was at the liquor store was because my car took me there
    The preceding statements allow me to hold my car responsible for going to the liquor store.

    The above example statements allow us to recognize the hidden beguiling manner of Calvinist language.
    Let the discerning Christian learn the detecting of Calvinist equivocations – then no longer fooled by them. 🙂

      1. So funny!!!
        Once you learn how Calvi-speak works its really quite entertaining!!

        I know you think you understand what you thought I said.
        But I’m not sure you realize that what you heard – is not really what I said – when I didn’t say what you thought you heard me say – because I half said what you didn’t think I said” 😀

  15. As I see it, it is very possible that indeed God chose certain folks before the foundation of the world – remember Jeremiah “before the womb?” – however the rest of the unchosen can CHOOSE Christ in order to be a part of the Chosen, just like with Israel and the Gentiles. Furthermore the elect retain their choice power to remain Christ after initial salvation or to backslide, just like with Israel.

    1. Hey Tumi, thanks for the comment. I would add a nuance to your understanding. What was Jeremiah chosen to? What was Paul…Peter? They were chosen to BRING the Word. They were chosen to deliver the Word of God. God certainly chooses certain people to bring His Word, but that doesn’t mean He chooses the individuals who will believe in that Word.

      1. You see, when you observe how certain folk got saved, such as Saul of Tarsus, you could say they were “dragged” into the Kingdom. Paul was not preached to but was slam-dunked in. I read some testimonies of folk who were deep in satanism who were saved by “force” and are now serious Christians like Paul was. Paul was on a wicked mission and he gets saved while some people are “good” and “nice” and don’t get saved????

      2. And I mean Eric, you cannot proclaim what you yourself are not converted to. I thought of it this way. A college basketball coach makes an anouncement that his team is going on a game trip to another college. A provision of extra buses are provided for those who would like to come along to support the team. The team is DEFINITELY SELECTED AND GOING but the rest of the students can choose whether to go or not.

      3. On the interpretation of “election” within scripture, N.T. WRIGHT, one of the worlds leading scholars in N.T. Greek, is convinced the narrative of scripture concerning “election” is that it has to do with a status of “service”, and not on a status of heaven vs hell.
        Wright as a theologian, is not alone in holding this position.

        There are theologians who would argue that the interpretation of “election” to a status focused solely on salvation/damnation has its roots in Christian Gnosticism, which wildly proliferated Egypt, Asia, and Rome during the embryonic period of Catholicism.

        Christian Gnosticism asserted a significant presence in its day and the Gnostic sect of Manichaeism flourished in the ancient world. Manichaeism spread with extraordinary speed through both the east and west, from North Africa to China.

        Being widely promoted by apostles, it reached Egypt at around 240 A.D., and Rome at around 280 A.D. The Roman Emporer Galerius issued the Edict of Toleration in 311 A.D., which ended the Diocletianic persecution of Christianity.

        Manichaean monasteries existed in Rome in 312 A.D. during the time of the Catholic Pope, Miltiades.

        The Gnostic Christians interpreted “election” within the N.T. to mean “election” to salvation/damnation.
        This doesn’t necessarily mean they were wrong – but it should make us approach “election” with caution.

      4. Tumi, I completely agree with that analogy. To bring the analogy full circle: Then, of those who decided to go, if the basketball coach selects a few to go put up posters of this road trip that doesn’t mean the coach instilled their desire to go in the first place.

      5. Exactly Eric. All are chosen and formed in the womb to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. But the plan for them includes conditional elements that they must freely submit to. Balaam and Judas were chosen to be a prophet and an apostle but neither freely accepted salvation to become one of the chosen in Christ.

      6. Gordon Fee, in one of his lectures make this point – using Israel’s escape from Egypt as an example.

        God called Israel “my first born son” and commanded Pharaoh to let “him” go.
        When finally the gate was open and Israel could leave – there weren’t “elect” individuals who were selected to leave.
        Anyone who was “in Israel” was free to go with Israel or do otherwise.

        Theological Determinism, entails people functioning robotically – only free to do what the THEOS determines.
        Does that world-view align itself with the world-view depicted within scripture?
        Only if one is prepared to embrace a god and a scriptural narrative of double-speak.

    2. Eric&Br.D, don’t you think Romans 9:23-24 has serious connotations of election having to do with salvation? The thing is, it appears to me – in observation of Paul and Jeremiah – that, there are persons who are definitely going to get saved as it regards “initial salvation” (regenaration) as per “irresistible geace,” however, it is also indicated that the sustanance of their salvation all the way unto entry into heaven is not covered by irresistible grace, they can walk away after becoming born again. Bd.r I’ve not read him on this but I have listened to N.T Wright on these matters.

      1. Hi Tumi,
        Thank you for your question.

        Jesus, asked the lawyer, (theologian) who challenged him – two questions.
        1) what does the scripture say?
        2) how do you read it?

        The lawyer quoted a verse verbatim – but then evaded Jesus’ 2nd question altogether.

        Jesus is asking, what suppositions to you bring to the text that make the text affirm what you want it to affirm.

        We need to be careful we are not being overtly influenced by someone standing over our shoulder telling us how to interpret every verse to ensure we read it the way they want us to. I am convinced this is a Calvinist practice.

        Personally, I pray that as much as possible, I don’t read scripture through the lens of Gnosticism, NeoPlatonism, or Calvinism.

      2. Very well put, br.d.:
        “We need to be careful we are not being overtly influenced by someone standing over our shoulder telling us how to interpret every verse to ensure we read it the way they want us to. I am convinced this is a Calvinist practice.”

        This is the practice we must recognize before we can finally escape the preconceived ‘understandings’ of scripture that we have been spoonfed all of our lives. Whenever we, or anyone, starts out with ‘The bible says . . .’ they should immediately rewind and begin with ‘The bible, as best I currently understand, appears to say . . .’ In reality, except for the scholars, most individuals are not debating which, if any, version best reflects the original autographs of scripture. Rather, the question typically is:

        ‘What was the message these words, suffering through less than perfect translation, were intended by God to convey?’

        We must not allow institutions or men to force their personal interpretation of the Word of God upon us. I would shout that from the housetops if I could. And yes, it was the mistake I made for many, many years, keeping me confused and unable to move forward in my understanding of who God is and what he has revealed to mankind.

        The question is rarely, ‘What does the bible actually say?’ It is almost always, ‘How have certain individuals or institutions historically interpreted this passage, and how legitimate is it compared to all of the other possible alternatives?’

        I can no longer respect any teacher who is not willing to frame their discussion of scripture in this manner, recognizing that whenever they discuss what the bible ‘says’, they are genuinely discussing, among other things, what their personal worldview, preconceptions, history and personality lends to their understanding of said words. That is, of course, only the beginning, as one must also explore the context, setting and history of the original author and audience involved, as well as the idiosyncrasies of their language.

        In other words, though I have said it myself countless times, there is no such thing as a simple, ‘The bible clearly says . . .’

      3. Tumi, you said, ” don’t you think Romans 9:23-24 has serious connotations of election having to do with salvation?”

        No, I don’t. Dr. Flowers has written a book on the subject, “The Potter’s Promise” which explains how it does not.

        I wrote an article briefly explaining why not.

        I would love to engage with your further on any of the points made there.

  16. truthseeker00
    How have certain individuals or institutions historically interpreted this passage, and how legitimate is it compared to all of the other possible alternatives?’ I can no longer respect any teacher who is not willing to frame their discussion of scripture in this manner”

    I’m with you 100% TruthSeeker!
    Whenever I read or hear someone asserting the bible auto-magically teaches what they are pushing, I’ve instantly got their number. :-]
    People like that are a dime a dozen.

    1. My conclusion is that, when it comes specifically to born again believers, the compatibilist is more accurate and the objective and syntactic reading of Ephesians 1:4, plus Acts 13:48, Romans 9, then the story of the conversion of Paul, the story of Jonah, and the choosing of Jeremiah etc. add great weight to his view. When it comes to the “vessels of wrath,” the Calvinist is abominably WRONG and the Arminian is very RIGHT. The “vessels of wrath can join us by choice.”
      I am for compatibilism and for a strong demonstration of sovereignty when it comes to regeneration but after regeneration man returns to total freedom. I mean Paul gets saved under very sovereign circumstances but afterwards he is very freely careful to make it to heaven and warns incessantly concerning apostasy.
      So I can say I am a “general” Arminian and a “situational” compatibilist and certainly NOT A CALVINIST. Calvinism smells like doctrines of ‘you know what.’

      Join my world!!!! hehe!

      1. Welcome, Tumi. … “to make it to heaven” will you return to being a compatibilist with a strong view of sovereignty after you are in heaven… so that you will still have free will, but not able any longer to apostasize, which I’m assuming you take a forfeiting salvation?

        If so, and a divine change if nature makes that possible… why not have that everlasting change start at regeneration and apostacy be only possible for those who professed but never were “of us” and the went out “from us”?

      2. Hey Brian,

        I can’t speak for Tumi….but it looks like your idea: “….apostasy be only possible for those who professed but never were “of us” and the went out “from us”?…..” is the card that the Calvinist plays.

        I know you and I agree on most things, but I lean more towards chucking ALL of the 5 points (I know that you Baptistically hold on to the once-saved-always-saved 5th point P….. and can be referred to as a 1-point Calvinist!).

        But over the years I have seen some whoppers of people who “went out from among us…”. Of course Calvinists (and 1-point Baptists) pull out the “they were never really ‘of us'” card. I’m afraid to tell you that this fits all too well into the Calvinist mind-set, bro.

        Per their theology even John Piper (were he to look to be outside the faith some day) could be accused of “never having been among us.” (((Side note: I actually know of a man who taught years at a Reformed seminary, but is now an atheist.)))

        Per a true non-Calvinist hermeneutic (were he —Piper, or Reformed pastor—- to be outside) onlookers would simple refer to the plethora of verses talking about a shipwrecked faith.

        In the Passover (Egypt) example they had to apply the blood and then stay in the house. There are hundreds of examples “chosen” Isrealites who “went out” from the people. Other non-chosen (Ruth, Rahab) were grafted in by faith. But many were “grafted-out” by lack of faith.

        I encourage all readers to look at the many biblical texts on the matter, put aside Calvinistic presuppositions, and see if God’s divine plan does not include the idea that we need —by faith—- to stay in the house.

      3. The Lord’s return is going to probably have to decide this one between us! 😉 But I ask your opinion on the same questions –

        When you “make it to heaven” will you return to being a compatibilist with a strong view of sovereignty after you are in heaven… so that you will still have free will, but not able any longer to apostasize, which I’m assuming you take as forfeiting salvation?

        If so, and a divine change of nature makes that possible… why could not God have made that everlasting change start at regeneration? Thanks.

      4. Brian,
        Love ya man!

        I dont wanna sound trite…..but when we are in heaven —in the presence of Jesus we will be worshiping the Lamb.

        Sometimes I hear people say things like, “When I get to heaven I’m gonna ask Moses why he…..”

        Baloney! We are not gonna think about that! Somehow I wont even be thinking about my beautiful wife!

        Christ! That’s who gets our attention.

        But we aint there yet. We are still in the cares and tares of this world. We are not (now, yet) gathered around His throne, so there is a fundamental difference in the two moments in time.

      5. Brian and FOH, might I add that perhaps, at times, we must lay down our weapons and say, ‘Perhaps we must just agree to disagree’? As difficult and important as many of these debates seem, sometimes I wonder if we don’t get caught in the trap of dividing over non-essentials. I have dear friends who affirm ‘queer theory’. A few years ago, I was able to self-righteously assure myself that such people were lost, or hopelessly deluded. Now, I am left saying, ‘One of us, or both, is terribly confused. Yet we both have hearts for God and others.’

        The fact is, I now know that many of these people arrived at this place with good intentions. I may tend to think they have been deceived, or sold a bill of goods, but, oftentimes, what drew them in was a heart for others. They heard a story of hurting, helpless individuals being told ‘God doesn’t care about you or your struggles’ and they did not believe that. I may arrive at different solutions or, in all honesty, admit I don’t have a good answer at all; but I hope to be done with jumping on my high horse and slaying my friends for what once seemed obvious ‘heresy’. If I were to look back at everything I have ever believed to be true about God or the gospel, I would so often have to call myself a ‘heretic’ – if that means having faulty understanding. Alas, there I yet am, so short of full understanding.

        As you say, FOH, truly, truly, – not to be trite – where is the love? Where is my heart? Right or wrong, these people are genuinely trying. I am going to humbly admit that, intellectually, I cannot go where some have gone; but I am done insisting that I, or any other man or men, have the final say on ‘Orthodoxy’. I will humbly continue to grapple with the hard issues which come my way. But I am going to attempt to love those I disagree with, even while I attempt to point out why I disagree, when it seems good, constructive and necessary.

        I ask myself, ‘Then why worry about Calvinists? Most believe in the essential truth that Jesus died for them.’ For most Calvinists in the pew, that is true, and they may never even grapple with the finer details of the theology. For this I am thankful and even hopeful. But for some, particularly pastors, elders and people who teach others, eventually they will be faced with terrible questions. Like, ‘Is such a God even loving? Why do I even bother to pray? Should I do anything about my son’s struggle with pornography? Why should I care about the lost, if they were eternally damned from eternity?’ and so on. Because they have embraced something without authentically thinking it through, their questions may take some time to surface. And often, by the time they do, they are in so deep that it seems too life shattering to honestly face. It might require giving up a position, a career, a church, a community, a friend or even a spouse.

        These are not simple or simplistic things to grapple with. They are so much more than academic issues for so many people. My desire is to grow in grace, compassion and ability to walk along side those who come to very painful ‘choose you this day’ moments. I do believe that we must stand up, first and foremost, for the message of the gospel, which is the only hope for every single human being. The rest of the errors, which all of us struggle with, we may just have to leave in God’s hands to deal with as he sees fit. I covet your prayers as I seek to grow in this, for me, difficult learning process.

      6. TS00,

        Wow. Well said. Wasn’t sure if that was you or me when I read it!

        This gracious-diversity is what makes the church of Christ what it is. If there were only one-right answer for all things it would be a cult (think JW).

        Muslims and Mormons accuse evangelicals of being wrong exactly because we are so diverse. But so many things are open for discussion: should we lift holy hands when we pray? Greet with a kiss? Women on one side or even behind the lattice-wall of a sanctuary? Should there even be a sanctuary (or should we meet in homes or tombs)? Women can or can’t speak in the assembly (no women pastors for Baptists, but they sure let a woman speak in church—and with her head uncovered!). Meet on the Sabbath or meet on Sunday? I attended a baptism service in Ukraine once (icy water) where they dunk them 3 times and then kissed —on the lips— 4 times (men too) after coming out. Do they get to say “that is how we baptize”? yes! Do they get to say —-“all baptisms should be this way”? no.

        This list goes on and on and on….. only I (sorry, only a few of us) have the right answers for all of these things!!!!! Ha!

        This gracious-diversity is what allows me to preside over a team of fellow-missionaries who come from Assembly of God, Nazarene, Baptist, and Presbyterian (and other) backgrounds. We focus on what we have in common…a Risen Christ.

        but….like you ….I feel a special need to speak into the Calvinist issue (as opposed to pro/con women in leadership, end times, etc).


        (A) My previous Calvinistic position and having come out of it.

        (B) I think….at the end of the argument (and most “reformed” people dont go to the end) it does do an injustice to the character of God.

        One of my closest colleagues calls himself a Calvinist. He does not really live it as he is constantly praying for God to save people, contextualizing (making it “seeker-friendly”), urging people to call on the name of Christ (telling them they can!), and many other no-no’s for Calvinists (and him with an MDiv from RTS).

        Many (most) of his actions are completely in opposition to a true Calvinist position.

        Because, when it comes down to it, no one lives like a determinist. We all discuss things with our wives, discipline our children, pray to make wise decisions, willfully choose sin sometimes. Deep down, we all know that our decisions count. They matter. God created the world that way. It’s obvious.

        Determinism is not a way of life.

      7. FOH, Thanks for that thoughtful response. It is appreciated. It seems pretty risky to admit that you have friends and loved ones with extremely different opinions on very emotion-laden topics. The very word ‘diversity’ can get you condemned in many conservative circles. I am just trying to not be confined to any ‘circle’ other than the Body of Christ, and to embrace others who are trying to humble learn as best we can just what it is God wants from us, right here, right now, with what little we know and have to offer. I wonder sometimes if the corollary to ‘cage-stage Calvinism is ‘cage-stage anti-Calvinism’ as we deal with all of the trauma and scars that we suffered. 🙂 Hopefully, in the long run, we find more balance, and most of all, more grace to those who need it almost as much as we do.

      8. Tumi, I appreciate you sharing your views. I guess I would encourage you to read everything posted on this blog, and elsewhere, and you may find, with others, a different interpretation of those verses that have often been linked to strong determinism. I’m afraid compatibilism was sort of what I once allowed, until I fully understand what it entailed – then I felt as if I had been deceived by those who, in my opinion, should have known that what they had taught me was not even logically possible. Eventually, I found that in order to be consistent with scripture and logic, I had to choose between determinism and free will. I pray the same for you that I pray for myself – that we will remain open to the Spirit of God as he desires to lead us into greater understanding and knowledge of who He is and why He has made us.

      9. BTW, I think most Calvinists would tend to be in your shoes. The articles posted on this blog are very helpful for gaining understanding in what consistent Calvinism actually demands, even though it is usually not openly admitted by most modern Calvinist teachers – if they even understand it themselves. As most historical Calvinist scholars would assert, and I would suggest rightly, one cannot really discard any of the planks of Calvinism without toppling the whole system. Hard determinism is essential if Total Depravity/Total Inability is true, which of course leads to Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, etc. I rejoice to say that I am fully confident that none of these are true, and that the interpretation of the gospel that Calvinism rejects is actually, blessedly, true. God loves all men, desires to spare them from the inevitable destruction to which sin leads, provided atonement and the chance for new life in Him – and freely offers this to all who choose to believe it, become new creatures and walk with him according to the leading of the Spirit within.

      10. TS00

        See my letter to our friend Brian. I say all Five Points need to go. They are basically all just a repeat of the same point: you know nothing and do nothing (but, hey, you are created in the image of God!).

      11. FOH, I do not tend towards OSAS per se, but in my ceaseless attempts to grapple with the issue, the best I can do right now is see it through the lens of he new birth. In other words, we have been born again, and whereas our original, unchosen, birth began a life that could be lost (disease), taken (murder) or rejected (suicide), our second birth cannot be lost or stolen. I am not so sure that it can never be deliberately, knowingly cast off, but it certainly does not detract from my assurance, because even if it can, it is a choice that only I can make. No one can take away what God has so graciously, freely given to me, nor will I forfeit it, even if I stupidly make decisions that inflict unnecessary disease or less than optimal health. Death is no longer my enemy, sin is no longer my accuser and I can think of no other entity besides God in which I can put my trust.

        My question is no so much, ‘Can I throw it all away?’ as much as ‘Why would I ever want to throw away my only hope?’ Perhaps it is just too philosophical for my little mind, but it seems that only if I no longer believed in who God is and what he has done that I could cease to put my trust in Him. Conceivably, I could choose this, but so far, even the worst trials in my life have compelled me to cling to the One who has given my hope, courage and strength to get this far.

      12. TS00
        Agreed on all points.

        Cannot be lost or stolen. This is not the holiness movement idea that “short skirt means lost salvation.” This is not the “carried off to Babylon means no longer chosen people.”

        This is the (chosen people) Baal-worshiping idea.

        Chosen. Saved from slavery (Egypt/ sin). Deciding that Baal or Asherah are more worthy of praise.

        It happened. It still does.

      13. FOH, To be personal, my own difficult and protracted struggle with what I believed about Calvinism led me to a very particular moment, in which I knew I had a difficult choice to make, that only I could make. Delusional? Perhaps; but I believed at the time, and still believe, that God was essentially saying, ‘It is your choice. I am not going to force you to believe anything. But I’m also not going to wait around forever while you straddle the fence. It’s time to fish or cut bait, kid.’

        Don’t get me wrong, I heard no such words, either audibly or even non-audibly. This is merely my putting into language what was a spiritual experience. I knew, that very instant, that I was making a choice. Not necessarily a choice that I could never turn from, but a choice that had to be made in that instant. My ‘choose you this day’ moment, if you will. That did not seem, in my opinion, to suggest that all who went with Joshua could never at some point turn away from the true God to some false God. But God does not play games with us, and he presents us with clear choices, however spiritual the interaction is. We may ‘backslide’ into lazy living, but God is not going to allow us to just slither out of his hands. He will confront us, and demand that we face up to the choices we are making. Any way, that’s how I see it.

      14. TS00,

        I see people (like Randy Alcorn) say things like they are a 4-point Calvinist. That’s really not possible. “I accept them all except for ‘limited atonement’ cuz Christ died for all!” they say.

        Actually they will get pounded so hard by “friendly Calvinists” that they will look back and see that this was just being a 4-pointer on their way to being a 5-pointer. I myself got in one point at at time. Now ready to chuck all 5 points!!

        T, you are too dead to make a choice
        U, you were selected, no choice
        L, Christ did NOT die for many, no choice in the matter
        I, you must come, no choice
        P, you will persevere, no choice

        Nah, …..4-pointer, 1-pointer, just sounds like Calvinism-lite.

      15. FOH, I would agree that Calvinism necessarily demands all 5 points to be logically consistent. Of course, I also believe that even when internally consistent, consistent Calvinism is not consistent with scripture. That being said, I believe that the OSAS has been the bait that has trapped so many, drawing them on to a path that, to be consistent, demands the acceptance of the other, less palatable planks of Calvinism. My desire would be to assure all believers that we do not lack assurance when we reject OSAS, just as we do not lack assurance by insisting that believing in God demands a choice on our part to put our trust in what God alone has done and offered.

        God has always honored, and I believe always will honor, the very God-like freedom that he designed and instilled within our make-up, to have the power of reason and the ability to choose our own way. This is a glorious, precious gift, and we do not need to believe that he must ‘take it back’ in order to assure our salvation. He promises that he has provided all we need, and that he who has given his own Son will not fail to give us all that we might ever need to finish the race set before us. I am awed and thankful that God can and will work with the freedom he has granted me to accomplish what I alone could never do.

      16. TS00
        this is the rub….

        “This is a glorious, precious gift, and we do not need to believe that he must ‘take it back’ in order to assure our salvation.”

        To believe in (only) Point 5 “P” is to say that God gives us choice (for Points 1-4) but not Point 5. There, He “takes it back.”

        This then requires similar gymnastics (that Calvinists are so good at) to get around the many verses that refer to the shipwrecked faith.

      17. Hi Tumi,
        Thanks for your thoughtful post.

        Ever since the Stoics evolved the concept of determinism/compatiblism – Greek philosophers began to debate it and historically, it has become a well known facet that the compatibilist is forced to hold to two self-contradicting propositions.
        John Calvin in his writings reflects this DOUBLETHINK throughout his teachings
        (1) Everything is determined (by a theos) and in every part
        (2) But go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part.

        This is called Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking – and you can see it reflected in numerous Calvinist talking points.
        (1) Adam’s disobedience was predetermined (predestined) and thus fated to occur – by Calvin’s god.
        (2) But we are to put the blame on Adam *AS-IF* it wasn’t.

        William Lane Craig explains:
        “Nobody can live as though all that he thinks and does is determined by causes outside himself. Even determinists recognize that we have to act *AS-IF* we had libertarian free-will and so weigh our options and decide on what course of action to take, even though at the end of the day we [also believe that we] are determined to make the choices we do [by factors outside of our control].
        Determinism is thus an unliveable view.” –

        Since this form of DOUBLETHINK is inherent within determinism/compatiblism, how does that reflect on scripture?
        Does the god of scripture hold to two self-contradicting propositions and is thus a DOUBLETHINK god?
        Do the authors of scripture believe all things are determined in every part, and yet go about their office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part?
        Do the N.T. writers explicitly instruct the believer to this form of DOUBLETHINK?

        I personally don’t believe so – but that is a personal choice on my part.
        Thanks for your post! :-]

  17. As some theolohians observed, “If (deterministic) Calvinism is true, then the only sinner in all of existence is God.” Boy I shudder to say that. If this statement is correct, I tremble greatly for the Calvinist.

    1. Yes, Peter Van Inwagen’s “Consequence Argument” is highly noted here – modified to address Theological Determinism.

      If Theological Determinism is true, then all of our thoughts, desires, choices, etc are the direct consequences of supernatural decrees, set in motion at the foundation of the world, millennia before we were born. These things then occur inevitably, and unavoidably at the specif time in which they were predetermined to occur. And they occur within the governing boundaries of the laws of nature.

      But it is not “up to us” what supernatural decrees were set in motion before we were born.
      And it is not “up to us” what the laws of nature are.
      Therefore the consequences of these things are not “up to us”.

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