Reformation Day and SBC Calvinism

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The original article from the Illinois Baptist Paper referenced in this broadcast can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Is being “Reformed” synonymous with being “Calvinistic?”

No. The fact of the matter is that not all Reformers were five-point Calvinists. Many in Western Christianity have come to think of “Reformed Theology” as being synonymous with “Calvinistic Soteriology,” but that is historically inaccurate. Dr. Roger Olson explains:

“One of the major irritants (for me and many others) about the ‘Young, Restless, Reformed’ movement is its leaders’ and followers’ tendency to identify ‘Reformed’ extremely narrowly—as focused on ‘the doctrines of grace’ (as they call them) meaning T.U.L.I.P.  The movement ought to be called ‘Young, Restless, Calvinist.’ Somehow that just doesn’t have the same ‘ring’ as ‘Young, Restless, Reformed,’ though. The problem is that the leading spokesmen for the movement would exclude many more classically Reformed people as not truly Reformed. And yet most of them are not ‘truly Reformed’ by the standards recognized by the World Communion of Reformed Churches! (All of those denominations practice infant baptism.)… Arminius and the early Remonstrants were historically-theologically Reformed. They just disagreed with the narrow definition of ‘Reformed’ being touted by the likes of Franciscus Gomarus and Prince Maurice (the power behind the Synod of Dort). The Reformed Churches of the United Provinces (Netherlands) by all accounts did not then (before Dort) have any authoritative doctrinal standards that excluded the Remonstrants who could gladly affirm the Heidelberg Catechism even though they wanted it revised. It was Dort that made Arminianism ‘heretical’ within the Reformed Churches of the United Provinces. And many Reformed theologians around Europe did not agree with Dort; some from England walked out of the Synod when they saw what a kangaroo court it was and how narrowly ‘Reformed’ was being defined there.”[1]

It is easy to minimalize the grand historical narrative by focusing attention on those scholars who best represent our given theological perspective. Human nature drives us all to paint the former advocates of our perspective in the best possible light while potentially neglecting to reflect upon the views of other lesser known Christian leaders. If experience tells us anything, however, the popularity and influence of any particular leader does not validate his or her beliefs.

Granted, Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin were highly influential leaders of the Reformation. However, their views—though more closely aligned with TULIP soteriology—are a far cry from the five-point Calvinistic views resurging today. For instance, many scholars, including those sympathetic to Calvinistic soteriology, acknowledge that Calvin tended toward “unlimited atonement” in contrast to the more rigid limitations that became popularized in the later development of Calvinistic predestinarianism.[2]

In fact, if Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin lived today while maintaining their 16th century theological convictions, very few modern day Calvinists would even dare to be associated with them. These three well-known reformers held to some very questionable beliefs and practices. For instance, Calvin believed the sacrament of the Eucharist provided the “undoubted assurance of eternal life to our minds, but also secures the immortality of our flesh,”[3] while Luther condoned bigamy[4] and was known for his foul language. Philipp Melanchthon, Luther’s co-worker and friend, admitted that he could “neither deny, nor excuse, or praise” Luther’s vulgarity.[5] More shockingly, these two Reformers were known to have condoned the use of torture and even burning to death those who disagreed with them theologically. (Note: Please read this article in its entirety before critiquing it as being unfairly biased against Calvinistic believers.)

Luther believed the Anabaptist practice of “every member functioning in the church” was from “the pit of hell.” Within two decades, hundreds of laws were passed making this “Anabaptist heresy” a capital offense. As a result, many Bible-believing Christians were burned to death for their convictions with Luther’s encouragement and blessing.[6]

In Geneva, where Calvin ruled, a child was beheaded for striking his parents, and his own step-daughter and son-in-law were executed for adultery. Jacques Gruet dared to disagree with Calvin, calling him “ambitious” and a “haughty hypocrite.” Calvin ordered Gruet to be nailed to a stake by his feet where he was tortured until eventually beheaded for “blasphemy and rebellion.”[7] A friend of Calvin, Sabastian Castellio, rebuked his intolerance and cruelty by saying in part, “If Christ himself came to Geneva, he would be crucified. For Geneva is not a place of Christian liberty. It is ruled by a new pope [John Calvin], but one who burns men alive while the pope at Rome strangles them first.”[8]

In contrast, lesser-known leaders, like Balthasar Hubmaier, laid the foundation for the Reformation while standing for Christian liberty, believer’s baptism, and many of the same Christ-like values we hold to today. Before the rise of Luther or Calvin, Hubmaier—and others like him—took on the abuses of the Catholic church while defending even the atheist’s right to live in peace. While Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and many other reformers who left Catholicism continued to rely on state powers for the execution of “heretics,” great men like Hubmaier stood for Christian love and respect, even for his enemies, which sounds a lot like Jesus.[9]

Hubmaier was a popular preacher in his day and is said to have baptized around six thousand persons in Nikolsburg alone. Not long after enduring months of torture for teaching believer’s baptism, under the rule of Ulrich Zwingli, Hubmaier and his wife were arrested by authorities and tried for heresy. On March 10, 1528, he was burned alive. Three days later, his wife was tossed into a river with a large stone tied around her neck.[10]

Hubmaier taught a non-Calvinistic soteriology. He believed that it was by the means of the gospel that God takes the initiative in drawing all people to himself. As the gospel is proclaimed, God’s Spirit convicts human hearts and leads them to confess Christ. While God takes the initiative, he does not make the decision for man.  By His “attracting, drawing will . . . God wills and draws all men unto salvation.  Yet the choice is still left to man, since God wants him without pressure, unconstrained, under no compulsion.” [11] According to Hubmaier’s own testimony, his belief that God genuinely loved and desired the salvation of all His enemies influenced his views on religious liberty. He argued, “a heretic is not convinced by our act, either with the sword or with fire, but only with patience and prayer.”[12]

The simple fact is that not all Reformers held to the five-point Calvinistic soteriology being popularized today. Little attention, for instance, is given to the influence of the Protestant Anabaptists or Christian Brethren movement which flourished in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and other countries during the 16th century. Anabaptists were most notably associated with the doctrine of adult believer’s baptism, the separation of church and state, and voluntary church membership. But history reveals that their soteriology, as it developed, was anything but Calvinistic. While there was no direct link from the Anabaptists to the growth of the Baptist churches in England, it is very likely that the latter were influenced in their beliefs and attitudes by the former.[13]

But, even if we were to limit our historical studies to the inner circle at the heart of what has been popularized as the Reformation’s beginnings, one cannot overlook the influence of Reformed theologian, Phillip Melanchthon. An influential friend of both Martin Luther and John Calvin, Melanchthon accepted an invitation to become the University of Wittenberg’s first professor of Greek, where he worked closely with the other more notable Reformers. Melanchthon went on to publish the Loci communes rerum theologicarum (“Theological Commonplaces”), the first systematic treatment of Reformation thought, and The Augsburg Confession, a popular statement later to be endorsed by the Lutheran Church.[14]

Modern Calvinistic scholars understandably highlight the role of men like Luther, given his treatise The Bondage of the Will, but Melanchthon (the arguably more accomplished scholar) is often overlooked. And Calvin, though a close friend, took great issue with Melanchthon’s soteriology, as would most Calvinistic scholars today.[15] Melanchthon affirmed a more corporate approach to the doctrine of predestination, while rejecting the typical Calvinistic view that God predetermines to save some individuals to the neglect of the rest. For instance, Melanchthon wrote,

“The eternal fate of individuals was in their own hands at the moment when they heard the Spirit-illumined Gospel promises. Altogether, therefore, the choice for a saving faith in Jesus had three origins: the Word, the Spirit, and the individual free will.”[16]

No scholar worth his salt could make the case that Philipp Melanchthon was not a significant 16th century Biblical scholar who deserves at least as much recognition for his role in the Reformation as the likes of Calvin, Zwingli and even Luther. In fact, Robert Kolb’s research demonstrates that the majority of expositors followed Melanchthon rather than Luther in saying that Romans 9, while not exalting human merit, does not deny a general atonement that human beings must appropriate by a free decision. These included former students of Melanchthon like George Major, Niels Hemmingsen, and Cyriakus Spangenberg. Most Lutheran interpreters after Luther, owing to Melanchthon’s influence, not only adopted a corporate theological reading of Romans 9, but also insisted on some human role in faith and repentance, which leads to salvation.[17] To deny those of us in the soteriological line of men like Melanchthon the “Reformed” label on the basis of our theological differences is not only historically inaccurate, but it is somewhat insulting.[18]

Suppose Dallas Cowboy football stars, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin got together and uniquely set themselves apart under the label “Real Super Bowl Champions,” so as to contrast themselves with other teammates such as Mark Tuinei, Erik Williams, Kevin Gogan, Nate Newton and Mark Stepnoski, simply because they were lesser-known in their given positions as offensive linemen. They played no less of a role in the success of the Cowboys Super Bowl victory than the more popular players. Aikman, Smith, and Irvin would be the first to admit this fact, and they certainly know it would be incredibly insulting to insinuate otherwise by adopting a label that implied such a distinction.

Likewise, not all Protestants of the “Protestant Reformation” became well known, nor did they all play the same role in bringing correction to the errors of the Catholic church. And they certainly did not all agree with each other on every point of theology. So, when did it become acceptable for a particular stream of Protestants within the movement to lay claim to the “Reformed” label on the basis of one relatively small soteriological distinction? We hope to set the historical record straight and reclaim a label that has never been unique to those who affirm the TULIP systematic. We too are Reformed and are continuing to reform according to the Word of God. Therefore we too can declare, “Happy Reformation Day!”

NOTE: Many of the citations and quotes on Luther and Calvin can be found in journal articles submitted by Frank Viola under his series, “Shocking beliefs.” Viola puts these facts in right perspective saying, “The point is not to put the greatest influencers of the Christian faith in a bad light or disregard their legacy. Rather, it’s the opposite. It’s to show that even the most influential Christians who have changed the lives of countless people for good — Calvin [or Luther] being one of them — believed things that were surprising, shocking, and even outrageous. So tread carefully the next time you come across another follower Jesus who doesn’t believe just like you do on every doctrinal point.” Web site accessed:

[1] Roger Olson, Is Arminianism “Reformed?” web site:

[2] As, e.g., in M. Charles Bell, “Was Calvin a Calvinist,” Scottish Journal of Theology, 36/4 (1983), pp. 535-540; idem, “Calvin and the Extent of Atonement,” in Evangelical Quarterly, 55 (April, 1983), pp. 115-123; James B. Torrance, “The Incarnation and Limited Atonement,” in Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology, 2 (1984), pp. 32-40; Kevin Dixon Kennedy, Union with Christ and the Extent of the Atonement (New York: Peter Lang, 2002). Source from: Richard A. Muller, Was Calvin a Calvinist? Or, Did Calvin (or Anyone Else in the Early Modern Era) Plant the “TULIP”? web site:

[3] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.17.32.

[4] Luther wrote, “I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter.” Luther in De Wette II, 459.

[5] His books, Hans Worst and Table Talk contain unseemly and lascivious expressions and sentiments. The Swiss Protestant reformer Bullinger said of Luther, “Alas, it is as clear as daylight and undeniable that no one has ever written more vulgarly, more coarsely, more unbecomingly, in matters of faith, and Christian modesty, and in all serious matters, than Luther. There are writings by Luther so muddy, so swinish, so vulgar and coarse, which would not be excused in a shepherd of pigs rather than in a shepherd of souls.”

[6] Peter Hoover, Secret of the Strength, Benchmark Press, 1999, pp. 59, 198. Hoover clearly states that Luther and his friends believed that the practice of “the sitter’s seat” — the open sharing for mutual edification they envisioned in 1 Cor. 14 — was to be “dealt with only by fire, water, and the sword . . . Luther gave his blessing to the death sentence upon the Anabaptists . . . for the preservation of the public order” (p. 59). In addition, Hoover points out that “Martin Luther and his colleagues met at Speyer on the Rhein in 1529 . . . At that time they passed a resolution: ‘Every Anabaptist, both male and female, shall be put to death by fire, sword, or in some other way’” (p. 198).

[7] All of the above information about Geneva can be found in Will Durant, The Reformation, pp. 472-476. Durant cites his sources. See also Calvin’s Geneva: An Experiment in Christian Theocracy – published in The Radical Resurgence and Calvin’s Geneva: Applied Critical Thinking – published in The Radical Resurgence

[8] Quoted in How the Idea of Religious Toleration Came to the West by Perez Zagorin.

[9] Hubmaier’s treatise, Concerning Heretics and Those Who Burn Them(1524), was the first treatise on behalf of complete freedom of religion produced in the sixteenth century.  He argued that the nature of the gospel precludes coercion and insisted that the state has no jurisdiction in religious matters.  He extended liberty even to law abiding atheists, “It is well and good that the secular authority puts to death the criminals who do physical harm to the defenseless, Romans 13.  But no one may injure the atheist who wishes nothing for himself other than to forsake the gospel.” (Estep, Anabaptist Beginnings, p. 51)

[10] Bergsten, Torsten. Balthasar Hubmaier: Anabaptist Theologian and Martyr. Translated and edited by Irwin Barnes and William Estep. Valley Forge: Judson Press, 1978.

[11] Balthasar Hubmaier: Schriften. Edited by Gennar Westin and Torsten Bergsten. (Heidelberg, Germany: Guetersloher Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn, 1962), 322

[12] Hubmaier’s treatise, Concerning Heretics and Those Who Burn Them (1524), 202

[13] Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia (copyright 1993, 1994)

[14] Clyde L. Manschreck, Philipp Melanchthon: German theologian. Encyclopaedia Britannica; web site:

[15] Gregory B. Graybill, Evangelical Free Will: Philipp Melanchthon’s Doctrinal Journey on the Origins of Faith. Oxford Theological Monographs (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 342.

[16] Ibid., 313-314.

[17] Robert Kolb, “Melanchthon’s Influence on the Exegesis of His Students: The Case of Romans 9,” Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) and the Commentary, ed. Timothy J. Wengert and M. Patrick Graham (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997), 201-205; Kolb, “Nikolaus von Amsdorf on Vessels of Wrath and Vessels of Mercy: A Lutheran’s Doctrine of Double Predestination,” Harvard Theological Review 69:3-4 (July-October 1976): 329.

[18] Certain labels adopted by Calvinists tend to make insulting implications. For instance, Dr. Michael Brown, a former Calvinist and notable Hebrew scholar observes, “I’m fully aware that ‘the doctrines of grace’ is a terminus technicus (albeit a popular one) for Calvinism, and I know that some of you use it here without the slightest condescension on your part, but as a non-Calvinist, I find the term offensive. I revel in God’s grace as much as any Calvinist I have ever met or ever read, and every Arminian I have ever met who sang Amazing Grace did so with amazement and astonishment. I fervently hold to the doctrines of grace!” Michael Brown, commentary on his Line of Fire radio program. Web site:


97 thoughts on “Reformation Day and SBC Calvinism

  1. Hubmaier was the true restorationist to biblical Christianity. RC didn’t need reforming… It needed rejecting… It started as a denomination in 325 already accepting as its foundation the magisterial sacramental false gospel of false teachers from previous generations they chose as their “fathers”.

    I’ll stick with Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Barnabas, James, Peter, and Jude as my church “fathers” and their writings as my only authority for the gospel and sound doctrine! And I choose to follow the history of restorationists like Tertullian, Priscillian, Patrick, Constantine Silvanus, Claudius of Turin, Peter de Bruys, and Hubmaier… not the history of Ignatius, Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Aquinas, and Luther.

    For more on Hubmaier as a restorationist – see

  2. Let us not forget Paul’s attitude, “Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.” (Galatians 1) Now, today, we argue over the content of “the gospel Paul preached to us.” Are we any different than others across the centuries because we are not chopping off each others heads? Nonetheless, shouldn’t our attitude toward the gospel be the same as Paul’s?

  3. This article proves my point that we’re not to lift up men or their “isms”. Men are fallible. Therefore, we lift up Christ and His Gospel and leave men and their actions to God.

  4. One important fact about Calvin. Not only did he NOT believe in believer’s baptism (he himself was baptized Catholic as an infant and never again), but he refused to baptize someone again….. and persecuted those who did.

    Imagine someone coming to Christ from a Catholic background….in Anabaptist circles they would welcome that person and encourage him to be baptized as a believing adult.

    Calvin would tell them that their infant Catholic baptism was enough. He would forbid them from being baptized…..and even persecuted those who did such things.

    Why he is referred to in a positive sense mystifies me.

    1. The same is true of Luther. He even used the argument that baptism among the Anabaptists had to be wrong for they were not in the “church”, the temple of God… which had the true baptism. And he knew he was still in the “true” church, trying to reform it, because 2Thess 2 teaches that the antichrist would be in the temple of God, and since the pope was the Antichrist, in Luther’s view, the RC church must be the true temple of God! Wow! (LWV 40 – Concerning Rebaptism)

    2. FOH writes, “Why he is referred to in a positive sense mystifies me.”

      I think it is a human trait to want to remember the good that people do and not the evil. Today, people like you want to turn that around and focus on the wrongs that people did and not the good, so we have statutes being torn down and people being remembered for the wrongs they did and not the good.

      1. Remembering how God uses a life for good is one thing! But being clear as to whether such a person was ever qualified to be an elder/overseer/pastor in the church Jesus was building is very important! Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and others may have been used of God to break the grip that RC had on nations… but they were never qualified as pastors in the Church of Jesus Christ because of their very harmful, unsound doctrine and their lack of discernment in their harsh treatment of fellow believers.

  5. Our national colleague (on the mission field where we serve) has been in ministry for 30 years as a non-Calvinist, believer-baptizer. Via his son (early 20’s YRR) he has been introduced to the internet fad of all things reformed (YRR). He is now a newly-minted, proud Calvinist.

    But….since he believes in adult believer baptism, he refuses to let one precious couple with 4 kids have any active role in the church because they (the parents) have been baptized (in an evangelical protestant home) as infants.

    This couple…in their early 40s…. has not baptized any of their 4 kids….seeing that they wanted to turn the page on infant baptism.

    Not enough. Our colleague insists that they (the parents) be baptized.

    What is ironic is that his new hero Calvin would prohibit him from doing it—and persecute him if he did!

    My friend should be horrified that Calvin contented himself with his own infant, Catholic baptism…but some how a “proper understanding” of Romans 9 and Eph 1:11 and the “Doctrines of Grace” seems to be the hall-pass that forgives all other indiscretions.

    Think of it…. If his hero Calvin were alive today in his church, he would not be allowed to speak!

    That’s funny. The man after whom you name all your newly-discovered (his words) most important doctrines would not be allowed to teach in your church. How ironic that you now pattern all your new teaching on a man you would not even allow to teach!

  6. Great article and I am glad you brought up baptism Leighton.

    It is natural for so many “Reformed” denominations to baptize infants. They feel that the whole thing is out of the individual’s hands anyway….

    Yes, I know there is the “covenant theology aspect” where they think that baptism replaces circumcision, but still I think it is fitting in the “out-of-our-hands” idea also.

    So, since Reformed people think salvation has nothing to do with the individual, so the same with baptism. Baptize those infants!

    I dont think there are any non-Calvinist denominations that baptize infants (only Reformed and Catholic). (Also notice that Reformed hero Augustine baptized babies, venerated Mary, venerated the saints, and persecuted other believers—very Catholic).

    Others of us call it “believer baptism” since we think that a believer takes that first step (knowingly, a choice). Of course that is his choice…..and obedience….and a personal decision of when and where. Pretty much like we think other decisions are: faith, obedience, patience, kindness, perseverance, long suffering.

    Life is tough. Many decisions. God calls us to believe and to obey.

    God calls and allows all the world to repent and obey. The Good News of the Bible!

  7. The Methodist baptize babies. I find the reasons a bit confusing. Although they call it a sacrament, they affirm that baptism does not save you. They also do not ever re baptize a believer that has been baptized as a baby. Imo, the whole issue is one that unnecessarily divides Christians. Being dipped or sprinkled with Water doesn’t save anyone. And Wesley seems to have agreed with that, while at the same time baptizing infants.

  8. Someone just sent me a link to a new Piper post.

    Piper regularly proves my point that determinism/Reformed theology is not true. He constantly makes the point that “what we do matters” (“dont waste your life”). What we do changes things…it changes outcomes. Life could go different ways (not all set) and the decisions we make affect the outcome. You can affect the future…..

    Have a look here at his inspiring new talk. Very good speech (my daughter went to see him when he was in her town recently). Very NOT Calvinistic.

    Where shall I start…..

    “Should a Christian couple take their children into danger as part of their mission to take the gospel to the unreached peoples of the world? Short answer: Yes.”

    “Why? Because the cause is worth the risk, and the children are more likely to become Christ-exalting, comfort-renouncing, misery-lessening exiles and sojourners in this way than by being protected from risk in the safety of this world.”

    …the children are “more likely”??? We can affect what they become?

    …to become Christ-exalting.

    You mean we can help our children become Christ-exalting? But I thought only Christ could do that? We participate? Is this “man-centered”? Of course it is!!

    “What is the greatest good you can do for your children?”

    Spoken like a true we-do-make-a-difference non-determinist.

    “He is thinking, How can I breed a radical, risk-taking envoy of King Jesus?”

    We can “breed envoys” of King Jesus??! Is this the talk of a determinist, who “gives God all the glory”? Surely that is a man-centered concept that I can “breed an envoy of Christ.” Where is the out cry from Calvinists that Piper has a man-centered faith?

    “Perhaps we lose too many of our children because they weren’t trained as soldiers”

    What do we “lose them” to? The world? How can we “lose them” to what is not God’s intention? Does he mean lose them from the faith? Sounds like it. If not…lose them to what? Are they not doing God’s will? So—what we do can help them better do God’s will? Once again….God’s glory and satisfaction appear to be dependent on our actions. Very “man-centered” stuff here.

    But indeed, he can talk like an Arminian since all of the YRRs know he is a card-carrying Calvinist. If I talk like this in this comment section…

    If I talk like what I do matters in faith, love, kindness, and children’s outcome…. I am met with “Sir, you are man-centered, and it grieves me.”

    “Wasting your life is worse than losing it.”

    So we do have a choice to do—-what?— non-wasting things or wasting things? So the future is not set? Right? If the future is set and known, then why does he talk like we can make future-changing decisions? Bad decisions, bad outcome. Good decisions good outcome.

    “A life not given to great things is not worth living.” What?

    ” We are not about rescuing people from earthly tyranny, but from totalitarian oppression and suffering in hell forever.”

    We rescue them!! Yes! Well said Arminius!

    Calvinists can argue all they want that the “dead man” cant do anything—but they cant claim that “God does everything” since Piper is telling men to rescues people from hell. Certainly he is espousing something that —at least sounds like it — is at least part dependent on men men making sacrifices to rescue people from hell.

    If that does not sound man-centered or “God-glory stealing” then nothing I say does either.

    “Our aim for our children is not historical influence, but eternal impact.”

    Yes! The choices we make have eternal impact. We can impact eternity.

    Bad choices —bad impact. Outcomes are obviously not determined yet. Preach it open theologian Piper!

    Why do we need to debate all these determinist-fatalist things when we can just let Piper tell us determinism is not true!

    What difference does it make if you preach that every particle of dust, falling bridge, raped child, is exactly where God wants it….if you then turn around and preach passionately that you can make a difference by your personal decisions?

    1. FOH writes, “Why do we need to debate all these determinist-fatalist things when we can just let Piper tell us determinism is not true!”

      This just proves that Piper does not make a good poster boy for Calvinism. If he were, he would know better, or should. Under Calvinism, we do not change God’s plans; we appropriate God’s promises and carry out His plans: e.g., If a man lacks wisdom, ask God for wisdom; train up a child in the way he should go; go into the world and preach the gospel. It is the Holy Spirit who appoints apostles, preachers, etc. for the purpose of carrying out God’s plan. Paul instructed believers to renew their minds and work out (not for) their salvation. We have great confidence that if God be for us, who can be against us, and God is working all things together for good for His elect. These things are not new to you; you probably preached about such things even if you did not believe them.

      1. I am so often blessed by the way our Lord allows us to work for Him, plead with Him, even negotiate with him.

        I know it is not the topic of Leighton’s post, but maybe could be some time.

        Perhaps you all could join me in listing all the times the Lord God Almighty —in His word—shows us this about Himself. I think of:

        Abraham : 50 righteous, no 40, no 30

        Gideon —putting out his fleece. Requiring a sign —from Almighty God!

        Moses twice asking God to change His plan to destroy the people (after God said he would not it —not might do it).

        Jonah: was to announce that in 40 days God would destroy Ninevah. God did not give conditions —-just said He would, then didnt.

        Jeremiah 18: 7 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. 9 And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.

        Feel free to add to this list (it could be quite long—-looking at “all of Scripture”). This is an awkward list for determinist-fatalists —since for them it implies some kind of weakness or lack-of-sovereignty.

        But for me…and may be many of you, it shows me a God of compassion, kindness….a God who wants man to walk with Him in the garden.

        Dont forget that God describes His sovereignty also in the Christ who lets prostitutes wash His feet with their hair.

      2. FOH writes, “This is an awkward list for determinist-fatalists —since for them it implies some kind of weakness or lack-of-sovereignty.”

        At least, you excluded Calvinists from your comment. You appear not to have rejected all your previous Calvinist experiences.

  9. I think Piper is a good man. Just inconsistent in his Doctrine. But of course, no one can live as if determinism is true and be passionate about anything. I’m convinced to truly believe it would lead to total inaction.

    1. WW:

      My post was not meant to denigrate Piper.

      I think his “dont waste your life” approach is great (horribly inconsistent with his other philosophy). I especially appreciated in his “Let the Nations be Glad” book where he stressed that our effort and strategies where important and essential for the rescuing of lost souls. This is biblical and important….and very man-centered and not Calvinistic.

      In theory, ANY mention of “if we do this better/ more contextualized/ longer/ softer/ harder, etc” implies—-no, states(!) that we —man— can make a difference in someones decision. No matter how you shake it…. that eats into his ‘God-did-it-all’ position.

      My point was not really that he is inconsistent, or that he preaches like an Arminian and even Open Theist sometimes. Mainly, the point is theologizing is one thing—-preaching and living are another.

      It really makes no difference that he repeats the Confessions and Councils “every dust particle” because he does NOT live or preach that way.

  10. The main and MOST DESTRUCTIVE TEACHING of the Protestant Reformation is the teaching of “FAITH ALONE.” All Christian churches thereafter have taught some version of the scriptures and in the gospel — and then taught that if you have faith in and observe what their church teaches, you are or will be saved. This is precisely what I experienced in the Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregationalist, and Christian churches my mom took me to before I was saved! I trusted, not Christ, but the church for my salvation.

    And that is what the Calvinist gospel is. I’ve heard “believe and follow” .. “believe and trust Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.” The call to “believe and REPENT of sin turning to God” (the Traditionalist teaching) I’ve actually seen avoided by an SBC pastor while preaching on Acts 2 for 4 weeks in a row!

    Faith is NEVER alone. Faith always acts upon what the person believes.

    1. Paul described his ministry – “… how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.Acts 20:20-21

      I do think that clearly taught in the NT, is that faith unto salvation includes true repentance, for you stop trusting in anyone or anything else for salvation from your sins. And correctly taught from the NT, repentance unto salvation includes true faith (trust) in Jesus to save you from your sins, turning your back on trusting in denominations, their beliefs, and their sacraments, if that is what you were trusting in before, or also, or as your/their definition of trusting Christ for salvation.

    2. Robert Bauman writes, “The main and MOST DESTRUCTIVE TEACHING of the Protestant Reformation is the teaching of “FAITH ALONE.””

      “Faith alone” is another way to say “Christ alone.” If we are not justified by faith alone, then how is a person justified I don’t think you know what the argument over faith is all about.

      Then, Faith is NEVER alone. Faith always acts upon what the person believes.”

      You got this part correct. As Martin Luther supposedly said: Faith = Justification + works. (Contrast this to the RC position: Justification = Faith + works).

    3. Robert writes: “The main and MOST DESTRUCTIVE TEACHING of the Protestant Reformation is the teaching of “FAITH ALONE.”

      Well said, Robert, there was never a truer statement! The bible makes clear that “faith alone” cannot save and yet many continue to insist that it does? Many will even affirm that “faith alone” includes repentance? What a contradiction! Why not also include water baptism in the term ‘faith unto salvation’ for all three – faith, repentance, and baptism – are included as necessary for salvation under the great commission? I’d like to have heard your take on Acts 2, especially verses 36-42. The scriptures are so clear about the need to believe, repent and be baptized FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS – it boggles the mind how most people can allow their twisted theology to blind them to the truth. Faith alone cannot save! By the way, I’m not leaving out the importance of being willing to – confess Him.

      Bottom line: We can’t exclude anything that Jesus included for salvation.

      And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16)
      “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

      “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)

      Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47)

      And so we see that the great commission included – preaching and teaching the gospel in order to call men to believe, repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (cf. Acts 2:36-39). I am aware that those who were willing to do so, were also willingly confessing Christ (Matthew 10:32-33; Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:9-10).

      FAITH ALONE never saved anyone (James 2:14).

      1. Aidan: “The scriptures are so clear about the need to believe, repent and be baptized FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS – it boggles the mind how most people can allow their twisted theology to blind them to the truth. Faith alone cannot save!”

        Faith provides the basis for one to believe and consequently to repent and be baptized. Without faith, no one believes and if a person does not believe, then he does not repent or is baptized. As Paul wrote, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),..For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are God’s workmanship, …” Faith is necessary and sufficient to cause one to believe and in believing, to repent and be baptized and faith needs nothing else to bring this about.

      2. Rhutchin writes: As Paul wrote, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ”

        When Paul says above, “even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” he is speaking of what occurs in the circumcision of Christ when one is buried in baptism. In Colossians 2 note how Paul connects the circumcision of Christ with baptism – with those who were dead in trespasses being made alive together with Christ – having forgiven them all their trespasses.

        11 “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,”

        According to these verses baptism is not some symbolic act, but rather the place where God is performing something real. Most people have no idea what these verses are teaching because they don’t want to see it.

      3. Aidan: “In Colossians 2 note how Paul connects the circumcision of Christ with baptism – with those who were dead in trespasses being made alive together with Christ – having forgiven them all their trespasses.”

        In Colossians 2, Paul identifies the believer with the death (by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh), burial, and resurrection of Christ. The believer died with Christ, was buried with Christ, and was resurrected with Christ. The act of baptism recalls our burial with Christ sandwiched between the circumcision of our old nature by Christ and our being raised to new life by God with all this reflected in our “faith in the working of God.” It is our faith that leads one to recognize his burial with Christ by the act of baptism. In the same way, it is our faith that says that we are dead to sin and that we are alive in Christ thereby explaining the life we now life. As Paul said in Romans 6, “we were buried with Christ through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”.

      4. Rhutchin writes: “In Colossians 2, The believer died with Christ, was buried with Christ, and was resurrected with Christ.”

        Aidan writes: That is correct; the believer died with Christ, was buried with Christ, and was raised with Christ through their baptism. This is precisely what Paul was talking about in Romans 6 when he said, “we were buried with Christ through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

        And so, when the believer goes down into the water and is immersed, he is buried with Christ into death. Then, as he is raised up out of the water he is being raised up from the dead to walk in newness of life. He is forgiven of his sins at that point, because that is the exact point he identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

        Notice the language in Romans 6 – “were baptized into His death” v3; “buried with Him through baptism” v.4; “raised from the dead” v.4; “newness of life” v.4; “crucified with Him” v.6; “body of sin might be done away with” v.6; “freed from sin” v.7; “died with Christ” v.8; “we shall also live with Him” v.8.

        Notice the language in Colossians 2 – “buried with Him in baptism” v.12; “IN WHICH you also were raised with Him through faith” v.12; “And you, being dead….He has made alive together with Him” v.13; “having forgiven you all trespasses” v.13 etc..

        Notice how our faith in God should be involved in our baptism because it is God who is doing the work. As Paul says in v.12, “raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

        Acts 2:38
        Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

        The purpose of baptizing those who believe is clear cut. “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’” Acts 22:16.

      5. Rhutchin writes: “Faith provides the basis for one to believe and consequently to repent and be baptized. Without faith, no one believes and if a person does not believe, then he does not repent or is baptized.”

        Aidan: False! Faith and belief are one and the same. Unless you can provide a scripture that states precisely what you’ve stated above, stop pushing a false narrative that has absolutely no basis in truth. Your’s is not good news, but rather – FAKE NEWS!

      6. Aidan: “Faith and belief are one and the same. Unless you can provide a scripture…”

        The term, “faith,” is the translation of the Greek word, “pistis.” It is a noun. The term, “believe,: is the translation of the Greek word, “pisteuo,” It is a verb. The NT does not confuse the use of the two terms by translating pistis as believe, or pistueo as faith. The distinction between the noun, pistis, and the verb, pisteuo, is maintained throughout the NT. What is your issue??

      7. Rhutchin writes: “The distinction between the noun, pistis, and the verb, pisteuo, is maintained throughout the NT. What is your issue??”

        Aidan: My issue is the nonsense you spout when you suggest that a person must first have faith to cause him to believe. Let the reader understand that I am speaking about saving faith. Let the reader also understand that Rhutchin has failed to produce a scripture for what he claimed in his previous comments, namely – “Faith provides the basis for one to believe” and “Faith is necessary and sufficient to cause one to believe” and “Without faith, no one believes.”

        Biblically, faith is believing!
        Hebrews 11:6 NKJV “But WITHOUT FAITH it is impossible to please Him, FOR he who comes to God MUST BELIEVE that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

        Galatians 2:16 NKJV “.. even WE HAVE BELIEVED in Christ Jesus, THAT WE MIGHT BE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH in Christ.”

        Romans 4:3-9 NKJV “Abraham BELIEVED GOD, and it was accounted to him for righteousness….For we say that FAITH was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.”

        Let the reader understand, faith is believing, you need to believe to have faith, you cannot have faith without believing! Rhutchin is talking through his hat.

      8. AIDAN: “Let the reader understand, faith is believing, you need to believe to have faith, you cannot have faith without believing!”

        I think you have it backwards. A person cannot believe without faith. A person cannot please God without faith. It is faith that results in a person believing God.

        Faith consists of assurance and conviction. Believing is acting on one’s convictions or acting on one’s faith.

      9. Rhutchin writes: “I think you have it backwards. A person cannot believe without faith.”

        Aidan: I think any honest person reading those scriptures I gave know that you are the one who has it backwards. Here they are below, they debunk your view.

        Biblically, faith is believing!
        Hebrews 11:6 NKJV “But WITHOUT FAITH it is impossible to please Him, FOR he who comes to God MUST BELIEVE that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

        Galatians 2:16 NKJV “.. even WE HAVE BELIEVED in Christ Jesus, THAT WE MIGHT BE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH in Christ.”

        Romans 4:3-9 NKJV “Abraham BELIEVED GOD, and it was accounted to him for righteousness….For we say that FAITH was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.”

        If you are not willing to see it, I’m not going to waste my time explaining it to you!

      10. Aidan said:

        “FAITH ALONE never saved anyone (James 2:14).”

        This is a continuation of our small polite debate. I just wanted to point this out to you, since you think that there is a faith that doesn’t save, vs. SAVING FAITH.

        How was Abraham saved? If one is DECLARED Righteous, isn’t that the ticket? IF Abraham was righteous, and he was, what would keep him out of heaven? What must Abraham DO to be saved, according to the gospel of Aidan?

        He is a great example of FAITH ALONE.

        But we have a little problem since everyone has a hard time even defining the word.

        Ed Chapman

  11. Lutheranism seems to be a can of worms (a diet of worms? heh heh..). Yes Luther seemed to lean heavily toward determinism, and Melanchthon seemed to lean Lutheranism back toward Free Will after Luther died, but Walther and others leaned it back to determinism again. Many Lutheran churches today (I think LCMS, WELS and ELCA) appear to be determinist (and what seems to be the illogical progression, Universalist).

    In my own experience, I was taught to have excessive pride in Lutheranism and was told to trust it for my salvation (that’s Another Gospel). Once I understood Grace, I questioned a Lutheran pastor and he confirmed that most of his deacons don’t understand Grace, and that was intentional. When you understand faith, many will ask you “What do you mean by faith?” i.e. they understand faith as mind-control.

    I am curious to know why there is so little discussion of Lutheranism on Sot101? As far as I can tell, they’ve got determinism as bad as the Presbyterians or any other Calvinist-leaning denomination.

    PS Typo in the note at bottom?
    “another follower Jesus” should be “another follower of Jesus”?

    1. Thanks for the good input Eric!

      I dont think that those of us here (or Sot 101 in general) have made a point to call out specific denominations (thus “overlooking” Lutherans!).

      So in that case Lutheranism is just as likely as any to qualify for criticism from us in our “God gave us free will” passion.

      1. Thx OVERHERE. Lutheranism seems very similar in some ways, but very different to TULIP Calvinism in others. I’m no expert, but I think:
        – Luther was more Augustinian (Friar and Professor) than Catholic
        – He found himself scrambling and reexamining Catholic doctrine to find out what happened to create indulgences, so he reaffirmed Augustine
        – Since Ken Wilson wasn’t alive yet, Luther did the best he could with available materials
        – Luther was probly fooled by Augustine’s use of (Non-Free) Free Will, as edited and reinterpreted after 412
        – Luther (significantly) rejected Catholic tempering of Augustine (as did Calvin and Zwinglii)
        – Luther showed his determinist hand in his letter to Erasmus
        – Luther knew he would have to explain, and knew that people did not like Double Predesination, so he came up with Single Predestination in Bondage of the Will (I think)

        As mentioned, from there, Melanchthon tried to backpedal and many approved, but the laity fell into Cheap Grace (probly because Luther wanted to throw James into the Danube). That’s where the Neoplatonist Lutherans put the hammer down and fell back into Another Gospel (maybe 1650ish?). Some Lutheran denoms (oops I almost wrote demons 🙂 pushed back against Walther (maybe 1850ish? – somewhere I have a letter to Walther from a church split).

        I think most Lutheran pastors today would (unfortunately) look down their nose at both Calvinists and Free-Will Evangelical theology (and everybody else’s for that matter), until they get ecumenical with Universalism. Not sure but I think determinism is just tired old news and Lutheran clergy are excited about liberalism.

        My goodness, Free Will is such a cool and defensible doctrine – I wish clergy would wake up to it, but they seem to be afraid of the Semi-Pelagian Boogie Man.

      2. br.d
        I got a kick out of your humorous way of putting things Eric!
        On the topic of Libertarian Choice (what many call free-will) there is an irony with Determinists.
        In order to retain an appearance of patriotism to Determinism – they have to insist that Libertarian Choice does not exist.
        The Irony however is – they all assume to be granted Libertarian Choice within every circumstance in which they have some choice to make.
        In TRUE Determinism – there is no such thing as “Alternatives” from that which has been determined.
        And when Determinism is exhaustive (without exception) as is the case with Calvinism – then every movement of every atomic particle is established by a decree that is infallible. And an infallible decree infallibly excludes all “Alternatives” from that which has been decreed to infallibly be.
        The consequence of that – is that since *ALTERNATIVES* do not exist within the domain of creation in which humans exist – then it follows – there is no such thing as a human having a choice in the matter of anything – simply because “Alternatives” do not exist for humans to choose from.
        So the Calvinist who wakes up on Saturday morning – and thinks he has the option to sleep in or to get up – is having 3 FALSE PERCEPTIONS
        1) The FALSE PERCEPTION that two “Alternatives” exist. Get up now vs sleep in.
        2) The FALSE PERCEPTION that that he is granted a choice between those two “Alternatives”
        3) The FALSE PERCEPTION that that choice is *UP TO* him to make.
        They are all FALSE PERCEPTIONS because in his world of Determinism “Alternatives” do not exist.
        What he will do has already been fixed by an infallible decree – and that decree does not grant any “Alternatives”
        So a critical TRUTH about Determinism – is that it does not grant humans a choice in the matter of anything.
        Once this becomes understood – the consequence of Determinism gets even worse for the believer.
        Because – since there is no such thing as a human having a choice in Determinism – then it follows – there is no such thing as a person choosing between TRUE and FALSE on any matter.
        What this means is – on Determinism – the human brain has no way of discerning whether anything it thinks is TRUE or FALSE – because it is not granted the option of making a choice between TRUE and FALSE.
        As you could probably tell – no Calvinist could ever live that way!
        No Calvinist goes throughout his day – acknowledging that his day is full of infallibly decreed FALSE PERCEPTIONS of “Alternatives” and of choices – which do not really exist.
        Every Calvinist believes “Alternatives” exist for him to choose between – and that he chooses between them.
        So the TRUTH is – every Calvinist internally assumes he has Libertarian Choice – even if he is not supposed to admit it.

      3. Thx for your comment br.d. I’m hoping that I am following here, and I wonder if I can extend your thoughts with something that is blowing my mind right now.

        I think the Bible is pretty straightforward (hey in a relative sense) from a Libertarian Choice perspective. But when Determinism is injected into it, I seem to agree with you that the Christian becomes free to do whatever their flesh or the Enemy desires. Either that or the Christian falls into Another Gospel (‘I will do what I’m supposed to because that’s how I get what I want’ which again is of the flesh). If I can be a bit testy and insert James White into your example, if he doesn’t get up on Saturnday (another Roman god reference?:), the lawn won’t get mowed, his neighbors won’t think he is a Christian, and he will lose influence over them to build his Multi-Level Marketing scheme. It’s Pharisaical, and Another Gospel.

        BTW I am starting to believe the High Church Determinists are here BTW, and some are deeply cynical and somewhat frustrated about their position in the Gnostic Lowerarchy.

        Now if a Determinist steps into the very, very dark abyss of believing that they are saved because of their works, then they are free to do anything their (Jer 17:9) heart desires AS LONG AS they don’t get caught. They yearn to make evil good, and good evil, which is where Universalism saves the day. Getting caught before that day is an exercise in narcissism, where all you need to do is never, ever, ever admit you have done anything wrong. And I suppose Determinists are there, because (am I right?) they don’t see a need to confess anything that is God’s will.

        I really appreciate Leighton’s approach about not getting testy with James, but I do think we need to also remember that Our Lord was no sucker. Not that Leighton is, but I do think we can find intense cynicism in the church (eg CONTENT WARNING in Luther’s day, the Borgias and their Vatican parties with gold painted boys popping out of cakes – and yes we do need to remember the later Universalist Catholic Balthasar (not Hubmaier), and the Catholic habit of absolving Mafiosos in exchange for a few Hail Marys). For some reason, God wanted Zeke to look into the temple. Maybe us too.

        Personally, I am always looking for root motivations in people (I think there’s a verse in Corinthians about this), even at the risk of getting cynical in it’s own way. Hard to deny that the flesh is not constantly “determining” outcomes. It’s Occam’s Razor (an Arminian as I recall). Ideally, I think we should be very careful about not being too surprised at how bad Determinism can get. No I am not accusing Determinists like JW of all the worst of crimes, but I do believe the danger of falling into wickedness is there. And I so appreciate Leighton’s openness about falling into porn and justifying it when he was a Five Pointer. I really do think his work (and everyone’s who contributes) is precious in God’s sight.

        If you have stayed with me here, am I wrong that Determinism (aka Fatalism) in it’s purest form inevitably leads to either debauchery or Another Gospel?

      4. br.d
        Hi Eric
        My current conclusion concerning Determinism infecting Christian doctrine (aka Calvinism) is not so much from the perspective of it leaning towards some kind of heresy – or false gospel.
        But I rather see it as a form of mental entrenchment.
        A form of mental ensnarement.
        The Calvinist – perceives himself as having a superior doctrine.
        And that perception of superiority is part of the ensnarement.
        But the fact that Determinism forces the believer (aka Calvinist) into a state of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS is the key indicator for me of its problem.
        That key indicator – not only destroys is supposed “superiority” but actually makes the believer “Inferior” rather than “superior”. So what Calvinism promises to the believer – is actually a lie. And it robs the believer of more than it give him.
        The consequence of this is that there is no Calvinist who can live coherently with the doctrine.
        They are all forced to live *AS-IF* the doctrine is FALSE – in order to retain a sense of human normalcy – and in order to retain full congruence with the general narrative of scripture.
        So what we find as a consequence in Calvinism – is DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS
        And the outward expression of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS – is DOUBLE-SPEAK.
        And that is why Calvinist language – for so many generations – has been recognized as a language of DOUBLE-SPEAK.
        John Piper – for example – is always trying to convince people that Calvinism is a “Rational” belief system.
        But Piper’s arguments to that end are all based on simple logical fallacies – which his “confirmation bias” does not permit his brain to discern.
        The other consequence to that business – is the degree of dishonesty that is forced upon the Calvinist.
        All Calvinists who are serious about their Calvinism – are forced into various forms and degrees of dishonesty.
        The Calvinist is taught that those forms of dishonesty are necessary and God honoring and therefore fully justified.
        But for the NON-Calvinist observer – any form of dishonesty is simply human sin.
        So the Calvinist is captured by a system that requires some degrees of sinning in the form of dishonesties which are expected of him.
        So my perspective of the Calvinist is one of having pity on him – for the ditch his prideful flesh has lured him into.
        I feel sorry for Calvinists also – because the mental ensnarement they are captured by – has become so very obvious to me.
        We need to pray for every Calvinist – that the Lord will deliver him from the mental ensnarement he is captured by.
        But the Lord will not force himself on to people.
        He does not rape people like the pagan god Zeus or Pan.
        A Calvinist has to realize he was tempted and drawn into Calvinism by the lusts of his flesh
        And he must repent of that sin and ask forgiveness – and then ask for delieverance.
        As the principle is stated in scripture.
        First – step) Submit yourself to God
        Second -step) Resist the enemy
        The Lord will be faithful to bring deliverance to the Calvinist from its mental ensnarement – if the Calvinist follows that scriptural principle.

      5. Romans 9 needs a major overhaul in how it’s supposed to be applied. Such as “situational”, only pertaining to prophesy, and/or so that God can show his power, especially as it relates to prophesy. The Pharoah was used by God… and to me, that equates to God’s mercy afterwards. He was used…and…if I dare say…abused, just to tell a story about Jesus vs Satan. Used for destruction. Many seem to equate the word here, destruction, for eternal damnation.

        I think that’s a mistake.

        Ed Chapman

      6. Thx Ed. I still get “vertigo” when I look at the early part of Romans 9, then the latter part (which most determinists avoid) straightens it out again. I guess I need a step-by-step cheat sheet to keep me on track 🙂

        I think I agree with you. I do not go so far as to say God abused Pharaoh (9:20), but he would certainly be susceptable to narcissism issues, so we could say that he deserved what he got. I didn’t know Esau but despising the birthright is worthy of disdain. Threatening Israel with his two bands does not seem very Godly either. Does scripture anywhere say Pharaoh and Esau are both damned? This is a Spiritual vs. Literal reading that I need to look into. After Romans 9 Paul says (now bad guy) Israel will be/can be grafted back in (to the good tree) again.

        I wonder, when Jesus preached to Pharaoh and Esau in the grave, they actually got it, and are now in heaven. If so that would surpise some determinists when they get there.

        This brings it back to br.d’s pride issue. I appreciate his post too and will try to respond to it later today.

      7. Hi Eric! I don’t see Esau the same way, but as one converted while Jacob was in Syria to trusting God’s plan through Jacob. He came to help bring Jacob and his family back safely after he heard Jacob was returning.

        Consider this evidence.

        Gen 33:4, 10 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept…. “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is 👉like seeing the face of God,👈 now that you have received me favorably.”

        Whom does Esau remind you of in 33:4? Hint Luke 15:20.

      8. You’re right about Esau and Israel’s embrace Brian. And it’s quite a blessing to be able to discuss these thoughts here. I wish I had this figured out so I could be more coherent.

        A nuance on your thoughts though – I don’t think Israel (as representing the prodigal’s father, or as our Father) really “forgave” Esau. Israel didn’t seem to trust Esau (“what needeth it?” and I would have to get out maps to confirm, but I don’t think Israel ever went near Seir like he said he would). When we get to Job, (Esau’s kid) God is not pleased with the theology of Eliphaz (from his kid’s city(?) Teman). Neither was God pleased with Eliphaz’s son Amalek, also evidenced by spiritual Esau in Malachi, and spiritual Esau as representing the “profane person” (Heb 12:16b) in Romans. As mentioned above, Esau himself might have been forgiven though.

        As Luther would say, “What does this mean?” If we look narrowly at the beginning of Romans 9 I think someone could be talked into determinism. It does seem that God knows the qualities that will lead to faith (eg the same faith that runs through Paul to Hebrews to James and beyond), or the qualities that will lead to unbelief (as in Esau and his national trainwreck), whether or not we get into Arminian foresight. This would comport with 9:11 and :32. God is trying to hone our approach to faith/works?

        We have to remember that God is merciful (even Rom 9:15-16,18, 23 etc). Even Sodom and Gomorrah get more mercy than Capernaum etc (hmmm, that fortifies the idea that Esau and maybe Pharaoh got saved in Abe’s Bosom?).

        I should stop there, and apologies if this helps little. Seems like there is something here I am missing tho. Thanks again.

      9. Thank you Eric for your thoughtful reply. Actually, I see Esau as representing the forgiving father and Israel/Jacob as the returning prodigal. And yes the prodigal son, Jacob, did not show much faith or trust.

        In fact, I don’t think Jacob shows very little spiritual maturity until his death bed, when he finally with faith, and is commended for it in Heb 11. Youthful Esau and the nation of Edom are indeed used as negative examples in Scripture. King David could also be used rightly as a negative example of lust and murder!

        But Jacob and Esau continue to show that the animosity is gone between them when they meet together to bury Isaac their father. And it is interesting that God said that any Edomite was welcome to become believers also. Consider this evidence.

        Deut 23:7-8 Do not despise an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you. Do not despise an Egyptian, because you resided as foreigners in their country. The third generation of children born to them may enter the assembly of the Lord.

      10. Brian (and all),
        Thanks for your respons(es). My first reaction was “Oh! That’s what you meant!” and it’s an interesting take, but after thinking about it for several days I still don’t get it – can’t get past the typology of Israel being the “good guy” Father and Edom being the “bad guy” prodigal. But I’ll keep thinking about it… 🙂 Jacob was absolutely a heel-catcher, but Israel had some “redeeming” (?) qualities. I haven’t dug into it but have been curious to see why God calls His people Israel one minute and Jacob in the same or nearby verses.

        I am thinking ya’ll are helping me find the thing I am missing, and I think it has to do with the human creation of a time-linear ordo, while God and thence Paul is time-nonlinear. I will try to jump over to a post on ordo to explore that.

        Also, briefly, I have not seen anything on Sot101 about the possibility that there are at least two kinds of faith (right?): even the demons believe but are damned, whereas a thief on a cross can seemingly (if you cross-compare gospels) be mocking Jesus one minute but saved the next, also “faith” without works is dead, also all men are pressing into the kingdom, etc. This I think is what Paul is talking about in Romans 9 with Jacob (not yet Israel) have I loved, but Esau (not yet Edom) have I [been really unhappy with but still love him enough to save him and many Edomites in the end…:)], I will try to pick that up in a thread that deals with faith.

        Finally, I have been listening to a lot of Sot101 posts and somewhere Leighton admits that he doesn’t know much about Lutheranism – I think there lamenting the broadly perceived “A =not A” hermeneutics. Regardless I finally found some of his responses (search engines are often spotty) to Jordan B. Cooper. In my experience, yeah, that’s what you get from a Lutheran pastor. It’s OK that Sot101 doesn’t really dig into Lutheranism (it’s a diet of worms), but there are a lot of Lutherans out there that seem to be calling, like the Macedonians, for someone to help them. In my own experience, I have been ostensibly a Christian for 60 years and digging into this far more than most, but I still feel like a baby with regard to Determinism. Lutherans seem to say “Oh you don’t need to know about all that. We know the Secret Knowledge for you.” That’s the abominable part I have a hard time with. At least the Cage Stagers are more open about it.
        Thanks and blessings,

      11. I agree, there are at least two kinds of faith. There is a faith that saves, and a faith that doesn’t save, namely, a faith without works (Jas 2:14). Another way of putting it is there is a faith that justifies (Rom 5:1), and a faith that doesn’t justify, namely, “faith alone” (Jas 2:24) “You see that a man is justified by works, but not by faith alone.”
        While Jesus was on earth He had authority on earth to simply turn around to someone and say your sins are forgiven and they would be forgiven (Mat 9:6). The thief on the cross was one such man. But I am persuaded that his salvation included genuine repentance demonstrated by his actions. In other words, it was not by “faith alone.”

        Jesus is no longer here on earth to forgive sins, but He has left us His last will and testament, if you like. In which He has set forth the conditions of salvation, the forgiveness of sins. And it is not by “faith alone” nor ever will be. If we call Him Lord, Lord, and want to be saved, we must be willing to obey Him (Luke 6:46; Heb 5:9). The only question then is what does He require? And are we willing to do it?

      12. Romans 13:9
        For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

        Let’s talk about James for a moment.

        His example was Abraham. Before the law. What did Abraham “do” (WORKS) to justify his FAITH ALONE? He “obeyed” God to sacrifice his son.

        But was it about “obedience”? No.

        First, let’s look at what James said:

        James 2:21-24
        21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

        22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

        23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

        24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

        Abraham’s “works” was to sacrifice his son. But I say again, was it about “obedience” to God? I say again, “NO”.

        So what was it all about?

        Hebrews 11 is the “FAITH” chapter.

        Hebrews 11:
        17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

        18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

        19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

        First of all, Abraham’s faith was being TESTED…verse 17, “tried”.

        The reason that he “obeyed” God was because Abraham believed God’s Promise that his seed, “THRU ISAAC” would inherit the PROMISED LAND. Abraham KNEW that God would have no choice but to resurrect Isaac from the dead in order to fulfill that promise. Verse 19.

        In short, Abraham LIVED (worked) what he believed.


        But that’s not all. James and Hebrews mentions RAHAB, who wasn’t even a Jew at all. She was a GENTILE.

        James 2:25
        25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

        What was her works? Verse 25 states what her works were. But why? Obedience? What obedience? I don’t see where God commanded her to do anything.

        Hebrews 11:
        31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

        She lived what she believed. What did she believe? Joshua 2 tells the story.

        A few verses:

        Joshua 2:9-13
        9 And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.

        10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.

        11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

        12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token:

        13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

        14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.

        What is my point?

        There is only ONE kind of faith, not two or more.

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


        Romans 8:24-25
        For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

        Titus 1:2
        In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

        The phrase, “Faith without works is dead” is the same as saying dead faith, or…no faith at all. You prove (justify) your faith by what you do. In other words:

        You live what you believe. That is faith justified. Just saying “I have faith” means nothing until you prove it.

        Now…the THIEF ON THE CROSS:

        Galatians 3:23
        But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

        Galatians 2:16
        Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

        Galatians 3:12
        And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

        All of the Jews have HOPE of eternal life. But they have THE LAW, and guess what? The law is NOT OF FAITH.

        The thief on the cross, under the law of Moses…for all have sinned. Works of the law, no one is justified.

        The only thing for him to believe was that the Messiah had come to save JEWS under the law who beleive that he was the Messiah/Christ.

        At that point, Jesus hadn’t died on the cross yet, let alone, being raised from the dead. So what was the GOSPEL?

        What WORKS could possibly be done for the thief on the cross? The law of Moses. Works of the law.

        Besides, how did that thief on the cross even KNOW that Jesus was the Christ? Everybody wants to talk about the thief on the cross without realizing that he was still under the law of Moses, where WORKS was THE LAW of Moses.

        John 9:39-41
        39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

        40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

        41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

        And let’s not forget about what Jesus told Peter:

        Mark 16:17
        17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

        So who revealed to the thief that Jesus was the Christ? God did.

        Ed Chapman

      13. Hi Aidan! Hope all is well with you on the Emerald Isle! My view is that no faith actually “saves”. The use of the phrase by Jesus, “your faith has saved you” or Paul saying, “I might save some”, or James saying – “he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul” or asking the question, “Can faith save him” are all examples of synecdoche – the part for the whole. Faith is a necessary cause of salvation, but by itself is not the sufficient cause of salvation. Only God saves! He does it by His grace, through our faith!

        And yes, there are two types of faith, and both are necessary for salvation. One that is called in the NT “the faith”, which is the revelation from God, His truth and promise, that a head and heart commitment must be joined to. The second is that faith, that believing act, though which His righteous salvation is poured into the soul. He does the pouring, the creating of the salvation in us, not us.

        James speaks of both types of faith, the first being a dead creed of the head, professed from the mouth, like demons can… but it still is necessary to have that profession of truth before salvation can take place in the soul. But salvation is given by God when He sees that creed is joined to a commitment of belief from the heart, and others then “see” that salvation bearing fruit after that.

        Abraham believed God’s promise and was brought into an everlasting friendship with God, and he was given God’s indwelling righteousness through that commitment of faith to the faith, which transformed Abraham forever, and then was revealed outwardly in the act of offering Isaac, which justified Abraham before others as being truly God’s “friend”.

      14. Brian,

        Oh my goodness. The strange definitions of the word faith that you people come up with is the strangest of things.

        Faith is the same definition for everything.

        The only thing that changes is what you have faith in.

        1. The promise of eternal life…aka, the promised land.

        2. That Jesus is the way to eternal life…aka the promised seed.

        3. A chair to hold your weight.

        4. A bus to pick you up

        5. A light that comes on if you flip the switch.

        The works is

        5. You flip the switch.

        4. You go to the bus stop and wait.

        3. You sit on the chair.

        But you people come up with strange explanations, such as different kinds of faith? Veddy intelestink.

        Ed Chapman

      15. Hi Brian! All is well on the Emerald Isle, thanks for asking. And I hope ye had a nice 4th of July holiday. I appreciate you taking time to respond to my comments. I agree with some of the things you said and disagree with others.

        For example, I agree with you on the principle of synecdoche – the part for the whole. That’s why Paul can say that a man is justified “by faith” (Rom 3:28; 5:1), but James on the other hand can say, not by “faith alone” (Jas 2:24). Paul is using synecdoche, James is not! For that reason they are not talking about the same thing. Therefore, I believe Paul’s statement, ‘justified “by faith”‘ is inclusive of – hearing the word and being willing to believe, repent, confess faith in Jesus Christ, and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 16:31; Luke 13:3, 24:47; Mat. 10:32-33; Acts 8:37; Rom 10:9-10; Acts 2:38; 22:16). Basically it includes obedience to that word, the gospel! So yes, God saves, but man must do his part “by faith” (Heb 11:6).

        Likewise, Abraham was a believer and worshiper of God long before Genesis 15:6. In fact, his faith in Genesis 12 is commended in the great hall of faith in Hebrews 11.

        *Heb 11:6* “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, *and that* He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

        *Heb 11:8* “By faith Abraham *obeyed* when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”

        This is why the scriptures can say that a man is justified “by faith” (Rom 3:28), but not by “faith alone” (Jas 2:24).

      16. Yes, Aidan there is an exercise of faith in truth that draws us before we are born again through faith and become a child of, a friend of God, justified through faith in the promise. Abraham was not born again when he began following, worshipping, and seeking God, but he was saved before circumcision (baptism), and before offering Isaac. Noah was in the ark before he went through the water!

      17. Abraham had a saving faith back in Genesis 12. Hebrews 11 attests to his faith just like it does Noah’s faith. Notice how in the context the writer speaks of the “righteousness which is according to faith.”

        He says in:

        Heb 11:7 “BY FAITH NOAH, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, MOVED with godly fear, PREPARED an ark for the saving of his household, BY WHICH he condemned the world AND became heir of the righteousness WHICH IS ACCORDING TO FAITH.”

        And again in:

        Heb 11:8 “BY FAITH ABRAHAM OBEYED when he was CALLED TO GO out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. AND HE WENT OUT, not knowing where he was going.”

        Jesus is:

        Heb 5:9 “…the author of eternal salvation to all who OBEY Him.”

        One is justified by faith, but not by “faith alone”.

      18. Every time I hear the phrase, “Saving Faith”, I think of the movie, “Men in Black 3”:

        Prison Guard: “Boris the Animal, you’ve got a visitor. ”

        Boris: “It’s JUST Boris!”

        No adjectives needed.

        Ed Chapman

      19. Sometimes it’s necessary especially when someone doesn’t believe there is a faith that saves as opposed to a faith that doesn’t (Jas 2:14). Obviously Abraham had the kind that does (Heb 11:8).

      20. Aidan,

        I don’t think it’s necessary at all. Seems that all of you that come from the REFORMATION can’t seem to get the book of James right.

        All James is saying is that if you don’t put action to your faith, THEN that is the same as saying NO FAITH AT ALL.

        So I can’t figure out why you have to PREFACE that with “faith that doesn’t save”.

        You either have faith, or you don’t.

        The word FAITH seems to get a lot of bad publicity from all of you folks, because, for one, you can’t even DEFINE IT properly, since adjectives need to be present.

        Everyone knows the term, “Saved by grace through faith…”, but with that ORIGINAL SIN thing, hanging over all of your heads, all of you have different interpretations of what FAITH IS, and it seems that all of you think that faith is THE GIFT, or THAT DRAWS, and it gets so convoluted with things that just don’t belong.

        But you did touch on something extremely important, and that is the word RIGHTEOUSNESS.

        Did Abraham even NEED to be BORN AGAIN? I say…NO! He never DIED a spiritual death to begin with. Just like babies.

        My goodness, is it a sin to sleep with your sister, or not? YES. Did God tell him? NO. That sin was never imputed to him. He didn’t know. He had NO KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil. If he did, that would have gotten in the way of his RIGHTEOUSNESS. Romans 4 explains everything. The law works wrath. Sin is not imputed where there is no law.

        And, Abraham went thru Romans 5:13, as well.

        In short, Aidan, and Brian, and all…there is no such thing as FAITH THAT DOESN’T SAVE. That’s not even what James was talking about.

        If you don’t put your faith in action, then you don’t have faith at all. That’s not faith that doesn’t save. That is NO FAITH.

        One minus one is zero. Faith minus Faith is NOTHING. It’s not “Faith that doesn’t save”.



        What do you have faith in, exactly? Jesus? OK, can one expound on that?

        Tell me how you have faith, WITHOUT USING THE WORDS FAITH, GRACE, or GIFT. Cuz I think we all need to get back to the classroom on this one.

        Ed Chapman

      21. You should know by now I ain’t a part of the REFORMATION, nor that ORIGINAL SIN thing as you describe it!! I’m sorry but you’re mistaken:

        James calls “faith alone” a faith.
        Jas 2:14 “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can THAT FAITH save him?”

        James calls it faith that has “no works”. And, describes it as a “dead” faith.
        Jas 2:17 “Even so FAITH, if it has NO WORKS, is DEAD, being by itself.”

        James says that it even involves “believing”.
        Jas 2:19 YOU BELIEVE that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

        James calls it faith “without works”. And describes that faith as “useless”.
        Jas 2:20 “But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS USELESS?

        James calls it FAITH ALONE!
        Jas 2:24 “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

        So, James speaks of faith “without works” NOT as “NO FAITH”, but as FAITH ALONE! Describing it as a DEAD FAITH, and as a FAITH that is USELESS, even though it involves BELIEF in the one God! And, by clear implication in v.14 that such faith, is a FAITH THAT DOESN’T SAVE.

      22. Aidan,

        I understand that you are not part of the REFORMATION, if you say so. However, James does NOT say that “faith alone” is faith. If you read totality of what he’s saying, he summed it up with “FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD”.

        And with that, it seems that both you and I have a different definition of what that means.

        You call it a faith that does not save.

        I call it no faith at all.

        Dead faith is no faith.

        Now…what is WORKS?

        Works is DOING SOMETHING. Faith REQUIRES action. It’s part of the DEFINITION.

        You can’t drive a car without turning the ignition. Turning the ignition is works. Faith includes works.

        The problem is, some have confused James’ use of the word WORKS with THE LAW. And that is not the case.

        But getting back to my point, there is no such thing as “faith that does not save”. James is saying that works is within the definition of faith.

        He never said that your faith is in vain if you don’t work. That would be faith that does not save.

        He’s saying that it’s non-existant if you don’t work. Meaning, NO FAITH AT ALL.

        Therefore, I stand by what I said, regarding adjectives to describe what KIND of faith you are talking about, because I do not believe that there are KINDS of faith. There is a SUBJECT/OBJECT of your faith, such as…like I said before:

        1. Faith in a chair to hold you

        2. Faith in the PROMISE of God that he promised to give you eternal life, through the promised seed, Jesus.

        3. Faith in the light coming on when you flip a switch

        So, what is the work that JUSTIFIES your faith?


        2. FOLLOW JESUS

        3. FLIP THE SWITCH

        If you aren’t doing those things to justify your faith, then you proving that you have NO FAITH at all in those things. Dead faith.

        If you have faith in the chair to hold you, then you had better SIT IN IT. If you don’t, then do you really have faith? It’s DEAD. Non-existant. You can’t be justified by your faith if you don’t sit in the chair.

        Abraham was declared RIGHTEOUS by faith before he was justified by what he did. But if he didn’t go to sacrifice Isaac, his righteousness would have been stripped of him because he would have just proven that he does NOT have faith in God.

        Which brings me to my next point. Saved on moment just by believing, condemned the next for not justifying what you believe.

        That’s what James is saying!

        So much for eternal security, that God won’t let you leave even if you wanted to.

        Ed Chapman

      23. Likewise, I also understand that you are not part of the REFORMATION, if you say so.
        However, there is no verse where James calls “faith without works” NO FAITH AT ALL! He simply calls it FAITH ALONE. But you are right, James says that “faith alone” can’t justify or save ya!

        But I agree with you that faith, namely, the kind that saves, includes works. And, that those works are not WORKS of the LAW, or any such system of works, …But rather WORKS OF FAITH.

        FAITH + WORKS = SAVING FAITH (JAS 2:14).



        “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great” (Lk 6:46-49).

        “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who OBEY Him” (Heb 5:9).

      24. Aidan,

        Yes, James did say what I said, as soon as he said faith without works is dead.

        I guess we have a difference of opinion as to what that means.

        If, I as a father, were to tell my daughter that she is dead to me… that should tell her that she doesn’t exist to me.

        Likewise, faith does not exist if its dead.

        You see, this is a huge problem if we can’t even agree on the definition of faith.

        Please, define what faith is, from what Hebrews 11:1 states.

        That’s the only definition.

        Break each word down to the lowest dictionary definition.

        James states something about the devils believe, and tremble.

        Why do they believe? Faith?

        Not based on Hebrews 11:1.

        Faith is waiting for a future event to happen that you believe to be true.

        But what you do until that time is what justifies your faith, or, proves you have no faith.

        There is so much convolution about one word. Faith.

        I saw Brian explaining two types of faith. And doing research on the subject in other religious blogs in his like minded world view, they say the same thing.

        Look, for the most part, I’m agreeing with your view… except in the case of James chapter 2.

        I don’t believe in the phrase saving faith.

        Hebrews 11:1 defines faith, and that definition applies to anything that you trust.

        I have faith that a cheese burger has cheese.

        My work, order a cheese burger.

        Now…I just hope (anticipate, wait for) The waiter to bring it to me.

        How difficult is this word faith?

        It’s not.

        Ed Chapman

      25. Aiden,

        I noticed that you said:


        My bible doesn’t say that at all.

        It states:
        For as the body without the spirit is dead, faith without works is dead…not useless.

        If you are not in your body, you are dead. Not useless.

        Ed Chapman

      26. It depends on the translation you use.

        Jas 2:20 “But are you willing to acknowledge, you foolish person, that faith without works is useless?” NASB20
        Jas 2:20 “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren? ASV
        Jas 2:20 “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” NKJV

        The KJV and NKJV use the Textus-Receptus
        Some of the others use the NU-Text

      27. Aidan,

        My kjv uses the word dead in verse 20, and repeats itself in verse 26

        26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

        I don’t know why you’re version states useless.

        I’m at work, lunch about over, so I can’t check the Strong’s concordance.

        Ed Chapman

      28. The other versions that use the NU-Text, different Greek word in v 20 than is used in KJV.

      29. My strong’s uses G3498 for both verses 20 and 26.

        Word: nekroj

        Pronounce: nek-ros’

        Strongs Number: G3498

        Orig: from an apparently primary nekus (a corpse); dead (literally or figuratively; also as noun):–dead

      30. The KJV which uses the Textus-Receptus has the Greek word “nekros” in James 2:20 translated as “dead”.

        The NASB and many other translations use the NU-Text and have the Greek word “argos” in James 2:20 usually translated as “useless” or “barren” in English.

        Very interesting! I suppose either way this kind of faith ain’t gonna save ya.

      31. What does your James 2:26 state? See the first half of the verse. Both the first half and the second half have the word dead.

        I trust my KJV. I’m not so trusting of other versions.

        I say this because both verse 20 and 26 say the exact same thing in the KJV.

        WHAT GREEK word is used in verse 26 for dead, which is in that verse twice.

        And pay attention to the first half of the verse, because that would not mean useless. A corps without a spirit is indeed dead. Deader than a door nail. Dead dead.

        I suppose you could say that a dead person is useless. But still dead.


      32. In most of the translations it’s “argos” in v.20 translated as either “useless” or “barren”.

        But in all of the translations it’s the Greek word “nekros” in v.26 translated as “dead”.

      33. br.d
        The Greek word for “dead” in this passage is “νεκρόν”
        In English “nekron”
        The same root word is used figuratively in Colossians 3:5 where the believer is encouraged to “put to death” uncleanness, passions, evil desires, covetousness etc.
        Those things are not literally “dead” in the sense that they cannot possibly become active within a believer.
        They are essentially “neutralized” or “muted” or made non-effectual – by the believer who does so deliberately as the Apostle encourages the believer to do.

        So that sense of the word “dead” could possibly be what the interpreter is assuming for faith without works.
        In such case – faith would be “neutralized” or “muted” or made non-effectual by the believer – the same way the a muscle in the body would be classified as “atrophied” by non-use.
        A muscle that is atrophied is not literally dead.
        But it is functionally useless.

      34. br.d,

        Your and I have had this conversation before in an email exchange.

        Yes, I agree the word is used figuratively. But I do not agree with your explanation of the figurative use.

        The reason is the first part of verse 26.

        26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

        For as the body without the spirit is dead…

        That’s not figurative. That’s a true statement.


      35. br.d
        Good point!
        However – if faith is literally dead – the way the body would be dead without the spirit – then there would be no reviving of that faith.
        In such case – James exhortation would not make sense – because James would know that the person who does not have works – has a faith that is so totally dead that it has absolutely no possibility of having life. It is beyond being revived.
        Why would James exhort someone to add works to his faith – when James knows that is totally impossible because that person’s faith is totally dead such that it cannot be revived.
        It would be the equivalent of James exhorting a corpse.
        Why exhort someone to do something – when you know it is totally impossible?

      36. Well, Ed calls a faith that’s dead a faith thats “non-existent”.How can you add works to a faith that’s non-existent? It don’t make sense!

      37. br.d
        James would essentially be telling us that those who do not have works – have a faith that is totally dead.
        Which means they are not saved
        But more critically – it means they are not savable.
        of course – God has the power to take something that is dead – and bring it back to life.
        But in this case – what is dead – is the person’s faith.
        And scripture stipulates – salvation as conditioned upon a person’s faith.
        If that faith is dead – then that faith cannot possibly meet the condition for salvation.
        Therefore that person is unsavable.
        It was never my understanding that that is what James was trying to convey.

      38. Br.d, you wrote:
        “But in this case – what is dead – is the person’s faith.
        And scripture stipulates – salvation as conditioned upon a person’s faith.
        If that faith is dead – then that faith cannot possibly meet the condition for salvation.
        Therefore that person is unsavable.
        It was never my understanding that that is what James was trying to convey.”

        Indeed, he is only unsavable AS LONG AS he chooses not to produce works in keeping with faith. When we read James we can see that he is trying to exhort them to produce such works. Faith is only dead AS LONG AS he chooses not to produce such works. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17). To walk by faith is to walk according to the word of God. Doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving ourselves!

        Therefore, when the scripture says, “That a man is justified by works, and not by “faith alone”! (Jas 2:24) — I believe that to be the case.

        Hence, JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH (Rom. 3:28, 5:1) IS NOT justification by “faith alone” but rather, a synecdoche for — the FAITH + WORKS spoken of in James.

      39. br.d
        For me – the key to understanding what James is conveying is in the statement “I will show you my faith by my works.”
        I remember the story of a fellow who was sentenced to incarceration for 2 years.
        The state had a policy – he could serve his time in house arrest – if he could prove his family was suffering without his financial support and that he had reformed such that he could live in house arrest without committing further crimes
        While this fellow was incarcerated his wife became born again.
        He wanted to see if he could take advantage of this situation
        He manufactured a story that he had been born again while in incarceration and was now a believer.
        He tried to convince his wife that he was now born again so that she would trust him.
        She was cautious enough to suspect he was lying to her
        She let him come home on a temporary stay to see how he would behave
        She wanted to observe his “works”
        It didn’t take long for his “works” to manifest what kind of “faith” he really had

      40. I suspect it was “faith alone”.🙂

        A man with a potentially fatal condition goes to his doctor. The doctor tells him he will die in six months if he doesn’t believe in him.

        So the doc tells him that he must stop smoking, keep off red meat, exercise for twenty minutes a day, and eat only vegetables.

        So, six months later the man dying in hospital is visited by his doctor. The man says to his doctor, ‘Doc, I thought you said if I believed in you it would save me from dying’?

        The doctor replies — did you do all the things I told you to do? The man says, ‘No, but I did believe in you doc’.

        The doctor replied, — if you believed me you would have done what I told you to do!

        As Jesus said,

        “But why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).

        And again, James;

        “You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone” (James 2:24).

      41. That’s worth thinking about, brd. Thank you for that.

        But most of the translations use a completely different Greek word “argos” in James 2:20. They usually translate it as “useless” or “barren”.

        In the end it doesn’t really affect James’ point, namely, that such a faith cannot save.

      42. Aidan,

        You (Aidan) had said:
        “In the end it doesn’t really affect James’ point, namely, that such a faith cannot save.”

        My response:
        My contention is that it DOES matter and DOES affect the point that James is making.

        With your version, “useless”, you have “a faith that cannot save”.

        With my version, “dead”, we have “no faith at all”.

        That is a huge difference in word utilization.

        When looking at the NIV Version, there is a NOTE, regarding your verse 20, and I might add that the NIV version does indeed your YOUR “USELESS”.

        The note reads:

        James 2:20 Some early manuscripts dead

        My philosophy, the EARLIER the BETTER, and more accurate.

        Now, I must preface why I don’t trust other versions other than the KJV.

        WORD STUDY is the reason. Words and PHRASES can be easily matched in the KJV when doing word study.

        In other versions, connecting the dots with words and phrases is nearly IMPOSSIBLE, because translators are using modern English instead of old English, and they try to come up with a different word, so therefore, trying to match/connect the dots is LOST.

        Wescott and Hort versions do that. The NIV is one of their inventions. The Jehovah’s Witnesses also used them in coming up with their own version in order to HIDE verses by re-wording them in such a way as to REMOVE any HINT of the deity of Jesus.

        Wescott and Hort did NOT like the KJV. At all.

        Anyway, I just did a word search for the word DEAD for the book of James. It is listed THREE TIMES in my KJV. Not just verses 20 and 26, but also in verse 17.


        ********17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.********

        *20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

        *26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.


        17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.


        Now, here is YOUR verse 20:

        20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]?

        And again, [d] states: James 2:20 Some early manuscripts dead

        NOTE THE WORD, “EARLY”?????

        Now verse 26

        26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

        Oh, my, there is that word DEAD, JUST LIKE VERSE 17…NOT USELESS!

        And according to the Strong’s Concordance (KJV):


        For the word “DEAD”:

        G3498 is used for every instance in James.

        The SAME Greek word (G3498) for Dead is used 132 times in the NT. The most used.

        3498. nekros nek-ros’ from an apparently primary nekus (a corpse); dead (literally or figuratively; also as noun):–dead.

        This is where we get the word NECROMANCY, something that the Catholics do all the time, talking to the DEAD (Mary).


        All uses of the word dead:

        Search results for “dead”:

        G386. anastasis an-as’-tas-is from G450; a standing up again, i.e. (literally) a resurrection from death (individual, genitive case or by implication, (its author)), or (figuratively) a (moral) recovery (of spiritual truth):–raised to life again, resurrection, rise from the dead, that should rise, rising again.

        G581. apogenomenos ap-og-en-om’-en-os past participle of a compound of 575 and 1096; absent, i.e. deceased (figuratively, renounced):–being dead.

        G599. apothnesko ap-oth-nace’-ko from 575 and 2348; to die off (literally or figuratively):–be dead, death, die, lie a-dying, be slain (X with).

        G1116. Gomorrha gom’-or-hrhah of Hebrew origin (6017); Gomorrha (i.e. Amorah), a place near the Dead Sea:–Gomorrha.

        G2253. hemithanes hay-mee-than-ace’ from a presumed compound of the base of 2255 and 2348; half dead, i.e. entirely exhausted:–half dead.

        G2289. thanatoo than-at-o’-o from 2288 to kill (literally or figuratively):–become dead, (cause to be) put to death, kill, mortify.

        G2348. thnesko thnay’-sko a strengthened form of a simpler primary thano than’-o (which is used for it only in certain tenses); to die (literally or figuratively):–be dead, die.

        G2837. koimao koy-mah’-o from 2749; to put to sleep, i.e. (passively or reflexively) to slumber; figuratively, to decease:–(be a-, fall a-, fall on) sleep, be dead.

        *G3498. nekros nek-ros’ from an apparently primary nekus (a corpse); dead (literally or figuratively; also as noun):–dead.

        G3499. nekroo nek-ro’-o from 3498; to deaden, i.e. (figuratively) to subdue:–be dead, mortify.

        G4430. ptoma pto’-mah from the alternate of 4098; a ruin, i.e. (specially), lifeless body (corpse, carrion):–dead body, carcase, corpse.

        G4880. sunapothnesko soon-ap-oth-nace’-ko from 4862 and 599; to decease (literally) in company with, or (figuratively), similarly to:–be dead (die) with.

        G5053. teleutao tel-yoo-tah’-o from a presumed derivative of 5055; to finish life (by implication, of 979), i.e. expire (demise):–be dead, decease, die.

        I maintain that your “useless” is “useless”! LOL.

        Ed Chapman

      43. Ed, you wrote:
        “The note reads:
        James 2:20 Some early manuscripts dead
        My philosophy, the EARLIER the BETTER, and more accurate.”

        My Response:
        The key is that it says SOME early manuscripts — not ALL early manuscripts!😉

        Fact is: — MOST OF THE TRANSLATIONS have the word USELESS in Jas. 2:20!😉

        But they would also have the word DEAD in Jas. 2:17, and in v.26.

        If that’s the case, that would simply mean that “faith alone” is BOTH DEAD AND USELESS!😉

        I have no problem with that AT ALL!!!!

        YOU SAY:- With YOUR VERSION “dead”, we have “no faith at all”… that it’s “Non-Existent”.

        RESPONSE:- “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (Jas 2:26) KJV

        Dead faith = “no faith at all” — “Non-Existent”

        Dead body = “no body at all” — “Non-Existent”

        BUT, if there is “no body at all” — THEN NO BODY EXISTS TO BE DEAD!

        AND, if there is “no faith at all” — THEN NO FAITH EXISTS TO BE DEAD!

        Hmm!!!! I don’t think so!

      44. br.d
        This moves into the theoretical – but ……….
        Determinism – to some degree – appear to be “backed-in” (if you will) to the way the world works.
        Think about it this way:
        In order for a human to be able to trust something – or to put “faith” in that something – that something must be trust-worthy.
        In order for something to be trust-worthy – it must be “consistent” with itself.
        For example – a mother and father decide their baby boy or baby girl should have a dog.
        They don’t want to select an animal with a reputation of being aggressive by nature and possibly hurt the child.
        They select a dog they believe will be a faithful and gentle companion
        But they monitor the interaction between the baby and the dog – to make sure the dog would never hurt the child.
        What they are looking for – in the dog – is the attribute of consistency.
        Determinism – in principle – is built into that model.
        The dog’s nature is “DETERMINATIVE”
        The dog’s nature “Determines” the characteristics of the dog.
        We have the verse which says “If we confess our sin – he is faithful and just to forgive our sins – and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
        The reason the Apostle John can say “he is faithful…..” is because God himself has proven the man by his own actions – that “he is faithful” to do what he says he will do – in his interactions with man.
        And once again – Determinism – in principle – is built into that model.
        God’s nature is “DETERMINATIVE”
        He does not make promises which he is not faithful to keep.
        He does not make untrustworthy statements
        He creates covenants with mankind in which he *MUST* remain faithful
        Because if God is not faithful to his own word – then we have the element of “Unknown”
        Man would have no way of knowing whether God will be TRUE to his word or not
        So God’s nature of perfection – and of agape love – and of caring – and of self-sacrifice – are all a part of what we gives about himself – for us to trust.
        If God were inconsistent with himself – then he would be like the patient in a mental institution.
        We would automatically know that he cannot be trusted.
        And in such case – there would be nothing for us to put our “Faith” in.
        All of that points to certain things within our world which are “DETERMINATIVE”
        And because they are “DETERMINATIVE” then we can trust them.
        The problem with Calvinism – is that it raises “Determinism” onto a kind of pedestal all by itself – and makes “Determinism” sovereign over God himself.
        It takes “Determinism” too far.
        God himself – knows how to balance all of the elements of the universe.
        And he knows the proper place for “Determinism”

      45. Eric,

        Yes, I understand that using the word abuse was a bit proactive, but it was to make a point. You got it my point, tho. He was made for destruction. But was that his final judgment? I don’t think so. This is mercy, which really is the subject from Romans 9 all the way thru Romans 11.

        Mercy. To whom. And why?

        Yes, I think the Pharoah is in heaven.

        Regarding Esau…I have a theory, as the line of Jesus comes from Jacob, but by inheritance, it should have been Esau. I think there is a spiritual story going on there. Jesus vs. Satan. But I’m sure 99 percent of Christendom would disagree with me on that.

        Ed Chapman

      46. br.d
        So much in agreement with you here, but I’m not sure I can handle really going there…

        Many Determinists (Calvinists) like James White are so much like what you describe, and I am so impressed that Leighton has the patience for him. My goodness, JW is like nails on a chalkboard. The dripping sarcasm, the ad hominems, the evidence-free attack style – hour upon hour of it. Leighton does a great job but wonders why JW doesn’t attack the Muslims the same way – I think it’s simply that he doesn’t fear Leighton-The-Harmless-Dove the same way “academics” fear Muslims. JW probably looks up to people like Michael Brown (Line of Fire/Firing Line?) but sorry, not (who can say he’s not honest?) people like Leighton.

        You mention “The Calvinist is taught that those forms of dishonesty are necessary and God honoring and therefore fully justified.” It sure seems like there is a correlation here. Not trying to challenge, but do you have references? I would like to use them on my site.

        Dishonesty seems like the air many people breath nowadays though. I really doubt most people fathom Rev 22:15, and they must think there will be some kind of eschatological escape hatch.

        I am trying to have more pity than shock, but I am concerned about all the damage they seemingly do. If I am right, Stoic dishonesty is, as mentioned, the air we breath.

        Being a biologist, I imagine that understanding flesh should be my forte’. I see the lusts of the flesh in what I would call the Pharisaism of Determinism (just like the Gnostic Lowerarchy). Jesus was certainly able to appeal to some of them, others could not be touched, seemingly because of their other god (Mammonas, ie Paul’s covetous attitude that slew him). So I agree with your concluding scriptural principle, but I really doubt we will be able to persuade many to go there. Too much narcissism. My goodness, I hope to fathom how harmless a dove can be, but the serpent can be pretty smart when it comes to Determinism.

        Maybe let the blind lead the blind? Maybe a better way to show we are Christians by our love is through non-denominational Libertarian Choice groups and conferences? I would probly join and attend.

        Joy and Cheers,

    2. From what I can “determine”, the “original” problem of determinism begins with the doctrine of “original sin”.

      From that, comes a choice.

      Lutherans: Preveniant Grace, “Saving” faith
      Calvinists: Irresistible Grace, “Saving”faith

      Those who do not subscribe to the doctrine of original sin: Grace, Free will, no determinism, faith.

      No adjectives.

      Ed Chapman

      1. br.d
        Dr. Ken Wilson – (and other Augustinian Scholars) will say that Determinism comes to Augustine through both Manichaeism as well as NeoPlatonism.

        Dr. Ken Wilson (Augustine)
        Augustine utilized an approach combining Stoic Determinism and Christian doctrine
        Kam-Lun Edwin Lee (Augustine Manichaeism, and the Good)
        Augustine’s development of the idea of predestination reveals the Manichaean concept of the Good at work in three ways: on the framework of that development, in the implication of Determinism, and on the context of the doctrine.

      2. br.d,

        That’s the guy!! I wonder what he would have come up with if his name was Februarystine!! Lol


      3. Yeah, more like a month for purification and atonement!😉

        FEBRUARY. From the Latin word februa, “to cleanse.” The Roman calendar month of Februarius was named for Februalia, a festival of purification, sacrifice and atonement that took place during this period.

        The Catholics might a loved it, but it wouldn’t have WORKED for the Calvinists!!! 🤪

  12. Now, most of us on the blog who comment are not Calvinists. Neither am I. Thank God for that!

    However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have issues with Provisionism. I do.

    One of the reasons that I continue to address Bryan, even if he refuses to respond, is due to the conversation that I am having with Aidan regarding ONE WORD. Faith. If we can’t define it properly, then how can anyone know if they are even saved?

    Let me give an example:

    The following is from Sot 101 “Our Beliefs”


    We affirm that when a person responds in faith to the Gospel, God promises to complete the process of salvation in the believer into eternity. This process begins with justification, whereby the sinner is immediately acquitted of all sin and granted peace with God; continues in sanctification, whereby the saved are progressively conformed to the image of Christ by the indwelling Holy Spirit; and concludes in glorification, whereby the saint enjoys life with Christ in heaven forever.

    We deny that this Holy Spirit-sealed relationship can ever be broken. We deny even the possibility of apostasy.

    John 10:28-29; 14:1-4; 16:12-14; Philippians 1:6; Romans 3:21-26; 8:29,30; 35-39; 12:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 1:21-22; 1 John 2:19; 3:2; 5:13-15; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 13:5; James 1:12; Jude 24-25


    Free will is a huge discussion on this blog. So we see that in paragraph 1 above, obvious free will.

    Then comes paragraph 2.

    *************Free will to a certain point, until no free will allowed.

    What is faith defined as?


    Then we have:


    We affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth. We affirm that the proclamation of the Gospel is God’s means of bringing any person to salvation.

    We deny that salvation is possible outside of a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Psalm 51:13; Proverbs 11:30; Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:6; Acts 1:8; 4:12; 10:42-43; Romans 1:16, 10:13-15; 1 Corinthians 1:17-21; Ephesians 3:7-9; 6:19-20; Philippians 1:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:1-5

    No problem with paragraph 1.

    But what is a “faith response”. Define faith. What “response” is adequately desired? THEN WHAT? You just knighted a new believer…then what else do you expect the new believer to DO/WORK, which I think you call MERIT.

    And THIS is where James comes into play. But, if one can’t ever leave THE faith, then DEAD FAITH SAVES…? Huh?

    See what I’m gettin at? Some things just don’t pass the smell test.

    Ed Chapman

    1. Ed:
      Free will to a certain point, until no free will allowed
      Hi Ed,
      I’m not seeing the quote you are showing from that page.
      Where does it say “Free will to a certain point, until no free will allowed” on that page?
      I will acknowledge that the term “free will” is – an unsafe term to use.
      Because – as Peter Van Inwagen warns – it is waaaaaayyyyyy to broad a term – and it can mean almost anything to anyone.
      However – I do find a statement on that page where “Free-will” is defined as follows:
      We affirm that God, as an expression of His sovereignty, endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options),……
      Now the ability to choose between two options – is logically impossible in Calvinism because:
      1) Two options – must of necessity – exist as ALTERNATIVES to each other.
      2) Which would of necessity entail the existence of two ALTERNATIVE options for a given event
      3) Which would of necessity FALSIFY Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees
      4) Because an infallible decree does not grant any ALTERNATIVE from that which is decreed
      5) Therefore – the doctrine of decrees being TRUE necessitates the existence of ALTERNATIVES being infallibly FALSE
      6) And in such case – the existence of any ALTERNATIVE would FALSIFY the decree
      Thus – any Calvinist who insists that he is granted CHOICE between any two ALTERNATIVES at any instance in his life – is abject rejection of Calvinism’s foundational doctrine – and that Calvinist is in denial of his own doctrine.

      1. br.d,

        That was not a quote. That was my commentary of the Article #.

        But now, it seems that there are variations of the definition of “free will”? Now it gets even more confusing.

        You quoted someone saying, ” it is waaaaaayyyyyy to broad a term”.

        My response to that…it’s supposed to be, otherwise, it’s not free will at all. Free will should have no limits whatsoever.

        It’s your will. Not the will of another. As someone most famous once said, God made the mind free. That was Thomas Jefferson, in his writings regarding freedom of religion.

        If you can’t apostate yourself away from God, then there is no such thing as free will. It’s very contradictory to say otherwise.


      2. br.d
        I understand why Peter Van Inwagen warns about the use of the term “Free-Will”
        And I agree with him
        I generally refrain from using it as much as possible.
        The ability to choose between two ALTERNATIVES – is more precisely called “Libertarian Choice”
        1) It requires the existence of ALTERNATIVES from which to choose – simply because it is logically impossible for a human to choose something which does not exist.
        2) The existence of ALTERNATIVES logically falsifies Determinism – because Determinism is FALSE where the existence of ALTERNATIVES is TRUE
        3) Thus the existence of two ALTERNATIVES for a human to choose between – would entail an absence of Determinism
        4) The absence of Determinism – opens the door to the possibility of humans being granted choice between ALTERNATIVES – (aka “Libertarian” choice)
        5) The existence of humans having choice between ALTERNATIVES is consistent within scripture.
        6) Therefore scripture affirms that God created a world in which humans not only are granted “Libertarian Choice” but are also judged on the choices which they make.

      3. br.d,

        Ya, well, at Baskin & Robbins, you have 31 choices. LOL. Libertarian’s only give you two choices? Chocolate and Vanilla! LOL.

        I do disagree with your “limited” use of the term free will. I agree with Thomas Jefferson.

        My whole point is that SOT 101 will NOT give you a choice to leave God. You are stuck with God, whether you want to or not. You can’t even apostate.

        And you agree with that?

        Ed Chapman

      4. Ed
        I do disagree with your “limited” use of the term free will.
        Ed – go back and read my post again :-]
        You will not find me arguing that the term “Free Will” should be limited to xyz
        The term “Free Will” was defined by the article as “A choice between two Alternative”
        I did not write the article – so that definition was not made by me.
        What I did was to state very clearly – the the process of a human having a choice between two Alternatives – is more precisely called a “Libertarian” choice.
        I have a suspicion Thomas Jefferson would agree with that :-]

      5. br.d,

        I don’t get it. It’s not logical.

        I believe in free will. The phrase, to me, is self explanitory, needing no further review, or redirection. Besides, I’m not libertarian. I’m conservative! LOL.

        Again, my whole point was this:

        From the article #:

        “We deny that this Holy Spirit-sealed relationship can ever be broken. We deny even the possibility of apostasy.”

        My response to that…call it what you want, but I call it free will until no free will allowed.

        In other words, you can chose to be with God…but you can’t chose to leave God? And you believe that?

        Ed Chapman

      6. Ed
        My response to that…call it what you want, but I call it free will until no free will allowed.
        Now I see where you are going with that.
        Yes – that is a logical difficulty isn’t it?
        I don’t know that that article unpackages how that would work logically.
        Perhaps it is thought that various ALTERNATIVES are available for a believer to choose between
        But the option to choose to fall away is not granted as an available ALTERNATIVE to a believer.
        Personally – I take the warnings in the N.T. about believers falling away literally.
        So for me personally – believers can and do fall away – and as it says in Hebrews – it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
        But that is my personal position on that subject.
        And I don’t speak for anyone else by myself.

      7. br.d,

        I also see it this way…the New “COVENANT” is a contract between two parties. That contract can be broken. God promises to keep his end of the deal, which is “eternal life”, which many call “salvation”, or “saved”.

        But the other party has responsibilities to the “contract”, and if he doesn’t hold up his end of the deal, then the contract is made void.

        Hebrews 3:1, and 12…then after that, read the entire chapter.

        First, verse 12:
        12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

        See verse 1 regarding the word “brethren”.

        1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

        Those are Christians!

        See verse 12 again. Then read the rest of the chapter. It tells the story of believers in God who got rescued from Egypt…but due to unbelief, died in the wilderness.

        16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

        17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

        18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

        19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

        In short…believers that became unbelievers and didn’t make it to the promised land.

        That is a warning. Yes, you can leave God. But you won’t like the heat that comes with it.

        Ed Chapman

      8. br.d
        Yes – I would agree with your view on the contract.
        The believer is to be the bride of Christ.
        And Jesus does not take a bride against her will – which is essentially what we have in Calvinism.
        In Calvinism – humans don’t have a will they can call their own.
        They cannot have an impulse in their brain they can call their own.
        And I don’t believe God forces a person to be his bride – nor does he give them no choice in the matter – because being someones bride is the ultimate expression of agape love – and God’s agape love is self-sacrificing – not self-indulging.
        Calvin’s god is more pagan than Biblical
        He is more like Zeus or Pan
        He rapes whomever it pleases him to rape
        And that is not the God of scripture.
        So yes – I take all of the warnings in the N.T. as very serious warnings to the believer.

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