Why Debate in Defense of Free Will?

Later today Dr. Johnathan Pritchett and I will be debating in defense of the biblical teaching of mankind’s free will (the liberty of the will to choose between available options.) You can watch the debate here:

I just returned from a trip to Israel with some great apologetic leaders and I had the opportunity to discuss this upcoming debate with them. Of course, most of our conversations centered around the teachings of Jesus while we traveled the streets of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Capernaum, Caesarea and Joppa. This discussion of man’s free will, however, is not at all unrelated to what we learned about in our travels. In fact, I suggest this issue is foundational to understanding the heart of God in the incarnation and crucifixion of Christ.

This debate, whether one recognizes it or not, centers around the Holiness and Goodness of God as demonstrated in the very words and actions of Christ Himself. Allow me to explain why I believe this to be true.

Over the years in discussing this topic I have been accused of “worshipping the idol of human autonomy.” But, have those who bring this kind of harsh accusation really unpacked the meaning of these terms, or sought to understand our intentions? I suspect most have not.

Websters defines “autonomous” simply as “undertaken or carried on without outside control.” The term “autonomous” describes things that function separately or independently. For instance, once you move out of your parents’ house, and get your own job, you will be an autonomous member of the family. This adjective autonomous is often used of countries, regions, or groups that have the right to govern themselves. Autonomous is from Greek autonomos “independent,” from autos “self” plus nomos “law.” <link>

Some wrongly assume that my use of this term is meant to suggest that mankind’s existence, sustenance and natural abilities are independent of God altogether. This is absurd, of course. Paul asked his readers, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), which strongly implies that all our abilities, including the ability to make choices, is given to us by a good and gracious God.

We can affirm that “God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him,” (Ps. 115:3) while still holding on to the equally valid truth that, “the highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind” (Ps. 115:16). This means it pleases God to give man a certain level of “autonomy” or “separateness.”  This is a biblical view of divine sovereignty and human autonomy.  As A.W. Tozer rightly explains:

“God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, ‘What doest thou?’ Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.” – A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God

Some Calvinists have wrongly concluded that the Traditionalist seeks to downplay the sovereignty of God and highlight the autonomy of man, when in reality we seek to maintain the right biblical understanding of man’s autonomy so as to better highlight the Sovereignty, Love and Holiness of our God.

I have already unpacked the attribute of God’s Sovereignty HERE and God’s Love HERE, so I would now like to turn our attention to the attribute of God’s Holiness.

If you notice that the Tozer quote above is from his book, “The Knowledge of the Holy.”  Tozer’s intentions, like that of the Traditionalist, is in defense of God’s Holiness, not an attempt to undermine other equally important attributes of our good God.

I suspect that Tozer, like myself, would wholeheartedly agree with John Piper’s teaching on God’s Holiness here:

“Every effort to define the holiness of God ultimately winds up by saying: God is holy means God is God. Let me illustrate. The root meaning of holy is probably to cut or separate. A holy thing is cut off from and separated from common (we would say secular) use. Earthly things and persons are holy as they are distinct from the world and devoted to God. So the Bible speaks of holy ground (Exodus 3:5), holy assemblies (Exodus 12:16), holy sabbaths (Exodus 16:23), a holy nation (Exodus 19:6); holy garments (Exodus 28:2), a holy city (Nehemiah 11:1), holy promises (Psalm 105:42), holy men (2 Peter 1:21) and women (1 Peter 3:5), holy scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15), holy hands (1 Timothy 2:8), a holy kiss (Romans 16:16), and a holy faith (Jude 20). Almost anything can become holy if it is separated from the common and devoted to God.

But notice what happens when this definition is applied to God himself. From what can you separate God to make him holy? The very god-ness of God means that he is separate from all that is not God. There is an infinite qualitative difference between Creator and creature. God is one of a kind. Sui generis. In a class by himself. In that sense he is utterly holy. But then you have said no more than that he is God.” – John Piper (emphasis added) <link>

Notice the common term used to describe God’s Holiness and man’s autonomy? The word “separate” is referenced in both definitions. This is significant.

Some Calvinists fail to see that the Traditionalists defense of man’s separateness (autonomy) is actually in defense of God’s Holiness, or as Piper put it, God’s separateness “from all that is not God.” But, in a world of divine meticulous control of all things, what is left to be considered “separate” in any meaningful sense of the word?

One would think that sinful intentions would be included in “all that is not God,” yet many Calvinistic scholars affirm that man’s sinful intentions are unchangeably predetermined or brought about by God so as to glorify Himself (see HERE).

We must understand that John Piper, while holding to the same definition of Holiness as Tozer (or Traditionalists), comes to a very different conclusion about the nature of our thrice Holy God.

Continuing with the quote above, Piper concludes:

“If the holiness of a man derives from being separated from the world and devoted to God, to whom is God devoted so as to derive his holiness? To no one but himself. <link>”

Piper fails to relate his understanding of God’s Holiness (separateness) to the nature of morally accountable creatures (as autonomously separate), but instead uses this attribute to emphasize his Calvinistic view of God’s self-seeking nature. Piper is arguing that God is all about Himself because there is no “higher reality than God to which He must conform in order to be holy.” In other words, God is all about God because there is nothing more Holy than God. But, what does this even mean unless you establish that which God has separated Himself from in the meticulously determined world of Piper’s Calvinism? How can one celebrate God being about God unless you separate that which is not about God from that which is about God? What exactly can be deemed as “separated” in a worldview where absolutely everything is brought about by God for God? Holiness loses its meaning in a deterministic worldview because nothing can be described in any significant way as being “separate” from God and His will.

It is senseless to speak of God’s Holiness (as separateness) unless there is something outside of God from which to separate. God cannot be separated from Himself or His own choices. And if you insist on the one hand that God is unchangeably determining all creature’s sinful inclinations so as to glorify Himself, then how can you on the other hand claim that God is wholly separate from those same sinful, yet self-glorifying means?  You might as well be claiming A is not A (God is separate but not separate).

Listen, either God is implicated in moral evil or He is not. He is either Holy or He is not. He is either separate (an affirmation of both Divine Holiness and human autonomy) or He is not (a denial of both Divine Holiness and human autonomy). Do not allow the Calvinists to have their cake and eat it too on this point.

John Piper takes the attribute of Holiness to teach that “God is all about Himself.” Whereas, Tozer takes the attribute of Holiness to teach that while God would be perfectly just to be all about Himself and His own glorification, He graciously chooses to glorify undeserving creatures who have separated themselves from Him through autonomously sinful choices.

Traditionalists, like myself, simply believe that Tozer is right and Piper is wrong.

————

To hear why Dr. Ravi Zacharias believes Free Will is essential in a biblical defense of God’s existence and His goodness please watch this:


(portions of this article are taken from an earlier blog post)

499 thoughts on “Why Debate in Defense of Free Will?

  1. James again…3…

    15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.

    Why do determinist-Calvinist confessions all state that all things/ ideas/ actions/ sins come from God? The Bible teaches us that some things just do not come from God.

    Why do we choose man-made confessions over what God says in His Word?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Today’s Proverb….28:2

    When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.
    But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.
    ———–

    So, be wise and knowledgeable, right? Does God pre-program you to be foolish? Irrevocably? Irresistibly? No! He tells you to be wise…. but leaves that choice up to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reading through the Bible….James 4.

    Is James writing to believers? Are these the believers that are “dead to sin” “buried with Christ”? Let’s see if James says that “being dead” means you “can’t do anything.”
    ——————

    “1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them……” [Looks again like even though we are “dead to sin” we can still do it.]

    “4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God…..” [A believer can make himself an enemy of God? Can he make himself a friend of God?]

    “5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him.” [He means the ALL of Scripture. Also note that God is passionate…”yearns jealously” in ESV] [And yet they write article after article about how God cannot desire/ yearn for anything from man…..because ….hummm… that would make Him “lesser”]

    “6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

    “God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”
    [God gives grace generously…..not .00005% of people. He gives grace to the humble. Not ‘He gives humility to the elect’]

    “7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts…” [Humble yourself….resist….draw near….wash… purify your hearts. Who are these commands given to?]

    “10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” [We humble…He lifts up. What is hard to understand here?]

    This is the same “The Sovereign Lord” we are dealing with in these verses….but He does not sound wooden, all-controlling, distant, impassible.

    He sounds gracious, caring (warning), encouraging (empowering by His Spirit). He sounds personal, not dictatorial.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Three verses in Proverbs 28 today for the through-the-Bible plan…. Here is verse 5

    Evil men do not understand justice,
    but those who seek the Lord understand it completely. (ESV)
    ————
    The Bible talks over and over about people “seeking the Lord.”

    Why did man come up with this “dead men don’t make choices” idea? “Seek first the kingdom,” Christ told the huge crowd on the hill. He was addressing them all (not a small handful that would be allowed to seek Him….sorry, irresistibly forced to seek Him).

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    1. FOH writes, “Why did man come up with this “dead men don’t make choices” idea? ”

      I don’t think they did. I think you made it up to use as a strawman. You surely remember from you allegedly Calvinist past that the unsaved always make choices – to oppose God. Thus, we know that your complaint here is not against the Calvinists.

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  5. ts00 writes, “Calvinists like to pretend as long as God is not holding the smoking gun he cannot be held responsible for the ‘ends’ he alone determined, ordained and brought to pass. It’s called ‘blame the patsy’, and has been used by powerful men for centuries.”

    I’ll guess and say that you are arguing that the Calvinist focus on God’s use of secondary means is fraught with problems, but you specifically ignore secondary means. For example, God uses the Jews as the means to the crucifixion of Christ. We read in the gospels that the Jews hated Christ and were plotting to kill Him almost from the beginning of His ministry. God does not have to incite the Jews to kill Jesus – it was their desire and intent. God does not have to hold the smoking gun – the Jews – because they are self-motivated to kill Jesus. Their is no pretense on the part of the Calvinists – all you have to do is show that God is chargeable for Chrits’s death.

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  6. [M] eticulous control
    [U] nconditional sin
    [P] articular love
    [P] erseverance of double-mindedness
    [E] ffectual good-evil
    [T] otal double-speak 😀

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      1. Thanks Kevin!
        Glad you like it.

        Always like to bring some humor into the subject.
        I think its a big mistake to take Calvinism seriously. :-]

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      2. Another good one brother, Good thing I do not take you seriously either or I would be pulling my hair out if I had any. Got any true substance you would like to add concerning the truth of God’s word that refutes Calvinism. which is just a nick-name for truths revealed in God’s word. I am not asking you to refute what I Just said or make any more jokes. We have enough unemployed comedians as it is. Substance, the truth that you believe refutes some from God’s word an issue that the Calvinist believes. No scattergun technique either. Going in every different direction. I am not sure if you are up for the challenge or you just want to make quick snappy sarcascatic empty vain assertions about the Reformed Faith. Your choice. After all, you are a “Free Agent” with the power of “Self-Determination,” I have one we can go with. How about the mythical fictional man-made idol of “free-will” that exercises some magical power to engage a natural innate faith that the evil, wicked sinner was born with to believe in Christ. God word says clearly that evil wicked sinners do not have faith.

        You know what BR.D, I do not think you accept the challenge. I do not think you are up to the task or capable of understanding the Calvinist position or even your own. I probably understand your position better than you do. I do not think you have anything of any real spiritual value or substance to add to this discussion or debate. I think your words are empty, vain, deceitful and you have a tongue that is set on fire by hell. With it you bless God and with it, you curse men (Calvinist) who are created in the image of God. James 1. The Apostle James says in God’s Holy Word that such things ought not to be. With you, BR,D they are. And God calls upon us to expose the wicked works of darkness.

        Ephesians 5:11 – Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

        You attack the Calvinist, and wrongfully assert that he follows John Calvin and worship the god of John Calvin.

        I could say of you, BR.D, that you follow Leighton Flowers and you worship the god of Leighton Flowers. The True God of Heaven knows you have been on here long enough to have been indoctrinated by him.

        So I read a lot of what you have written and the vibe I get is just a deep-seated, ill-will hatred of what you would call the Heresy of Calvinism.

        I have seen nothing, I mean nothing of any real spiritual value or substance from God’s Holy Word in refuting and rebutting Calvinism.

        But that is not your thing is it BR.D. Your thing is to use snappy quick sharp sinful sarcastic remarks and humor to attack and think you have defeated Calvinism.

        Now is your chance to prove me wrong in all that I have said. I know I should not be banned for what I have said to you after all the ad hominem attacks and personal sinful accusations against Calvinist you have made. I only did it as an example to show you how you sound, which is nonsense, silly, illogical and absurd.

        Speak with maturity in the Lord and its time to grow up in Christ. Time to get off the bottle and quit drinking milk and eat some real spiritual meat. my friend.

        But I think your tank is empty on gas. You are lacking in knowledge and wisdom of God’s word. Due to a lack of insufficient prayer and not studying to rightly divide the word of truth. This is just my opinion based upon what I have read here on Soteriology101 of your comments. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. So show me BR.D that you have more than sinful sarcasm and humor. As to this point, you have been weighed and found wanting, lacking in your Biblical Exegesis skills.

        Now for the subject, I have chosen for us above. Two verses to start with to show sinful, wicked and perverse men do not have natural innate faith. This is the Pelagian Heresy that is being espoused on Soteriology101 although not on purpose, but in ignorance. Those here on Soteriology101 have gone so far to the extreme left to disprove Calvinism that they are now espousing the Heresy of Pelagianism. I do not think it is on purpose and I still call them my brothers in Christ.

        2 Thessalians 3:1 -Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you,
        2. and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.

        Look closely and intently BRD. Verse 2 says clearly that evil and wicked men do not have faith. Please do not go into man-made philosophy to evade and ignore this easily seen truth of God’s word. But interact with it directly and show me where I am understanding it in a wrong way.

        Now for the second verse:

        Romans 10:17 – 17 So faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ. 2015 Amplified Study Bible

        Romans 10:17 – 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. NKJV

        I gave Romans 10:17 to you in two different Bible translation in case you complained about the Amplified Bible. Which I think is very revealing here.

        Romans 10:17 amazingly tells us two things BRD. That a wicked evil sinner who hates God and is hostile toward him. Loves his slavery and bondage to sin, that’s right, the sinner is a voluntary slave to sin taking great pleasure and love in the sinful desires he indulges in. He hates the light of Christ and loves the darkness of sin. John 3:18-20

        But in Romans 10:17 God’s word says’ “faith comes to the sinner by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

        If the sinner is already in possession of faith that he can exercise by the mythical idol of free-will, then why does the word of God in Romans 10:17 say that “FAITH COMES TO HIM” STRONGLY AND EMPHATICALLY STATING THE FACT THAT AT ONE TIME THE SINNER DID NOT HAVE FAITH.

        Then there is the positive side of Romans 10:17, though being born again/or from above in connection of the instrumentality of the preached word/the gospel of Jesus Christ faith comes to the sinner and he is enabled to come willingly with a holy desire in faith believing to Christ through the effectual drawing of the Holy Spirit. So “FAITH” is a gift of grace, produced and created in the heart by the Holy Spirit in intimate connection with and through the instrumentality of the preached word of God, the very Gospel of Jesus Christ.

        Explain to me why “Faith” has to come to a man as God says in Romans 10:17,
        if he is already in possession of natural innate faith that he can exercise by the mythical fictitious idol of free-will of man.

        Maybe two more verses:

        Philippians 1:29 – For unto you, it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

        This verse here is amazing. Not how FOH tortures it to make it say what it does not say to escape the truth of God’s word. Let God be true and every man a liar.

        The very word for “believing/faith” in this verse, is actually in Greek, a term used to indicate that it is a Gift of grace, a gift of God. the Greek term is very kin to the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12. I will bring this out in fuller detail for you later. You can check with Brian Wagner to see if I am telling you the truth or get an Interlinear Bible and check it out for yourself. A Greek Bible Scholar showed me. Only someone who is self-deceived and spiritually blind or at the worst. is being disingenuous because of his pride and hatred of Calvinism, would not be able to see that “believing or having faith in Christ in this verse is something given or granted to sinners. Something they did not possess before.

        Why do sinners have to be “given faith as a gift of grace” if they already possess it naturally and innate from their birth. Just waiting on the age of accountability so they can excercise the magical power of the enslaved bondage to sin and mythical idol of free-will to engage this faith to believe in Christ. No where taught in the Bible. Absolutly no where. And if you say it is, then you pit the Holy Scriptures against themselves and create a contradicition. How do you explain your imaginary idol free-will verses that engage innate faith to the verses I have given that show evil and wicked men do not have faith, and that faith is given or granted to them and it comes by hearing and hearing by the preached word of God. Implying that faith is a gift of God and that at one time the sinner was without faith until it came to him.

        2 Peter 2:1 [a]Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative) of Jesus Christ,

        To those who have [b]received and possess [by God’s will] a precious faith of the [c]same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

        2 Grace and peace [that special sense of spiritual well-being] be multiplied to you in the [true, intimate] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

        3 For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through [d]true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
        2015 Amplified Study Bible
        2 Peter 2:1 – 1 Simon Peter, a bondservant. and apostle of Jesus Christ,
        To those who have [a]obtained like[b] precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

        I am going to just let God’s word be its own commentary and understanding on verse one. I put verses two and three to show you the that it is the Sovereignty of God’s power that does everything within us. Not that he believes for us, but he does create the faith and enables us with the ability to believe after taking out the stony heart that was evil wicked prideful, rebellious and would spit in the face of a Holy God and put in a heart of flesh that is willing and pliable so that a person is not forced irrestiably against his will. But the believing sinner comes willingly now that he has a new heart and a holy disposition. That which he once hated he now finds he has a holy desire to seek after. So when the Father or God the Holy Spirit draws that individual to Christ with the Sovereign almighty power of God, he comes willingly, not kicking and screaming against his enslaved will that was in bondage to sin. He has now been set free from sin through all Christ accomplished on the Cross, through death, burial and resurrection. For whom the son sets free is free indeed.

        Anyway, back to 2 Peter 2:1 proving “faith is a gift of grace” I said I would just let God’s word speak for itself and I will. An honest person will just read out of it what it says and not read his traditions into it.

        2 Peter 2:1……To those who have [b]received and possess [by God’s will] a precious faith of the [c]same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

        One more and I am really done BRD.

        2 Thessalonians 1:11 With this in view, we constantly pray for you, that our God will count you worthy of your calling [to faith] and with [His] power fulfill every desire for goodness, and complete [your] every work of faith,

        2 Thessalonians 1:11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

        The Apostle Paul prays that God will fulfill in the Saints all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power.

        I know, I know. Faith is not a work. Your right it is not a work in us. But faith is the work of God in us and he will complete it with his mighty power. Like I said he does not believe for us. We are free agents. God gives us the gift of grace enabling us to believe in Christ. To us it just the empty hand of faith.

        We are to look attentively and steadfastly unto Jesus who is the Author (Originator, source, origin, in the Greek) of our faith, and he is the one who will bring it to the place of maturity, a finished state of completion in Christ.

        OK, BRD, I ask you not to focus on typos, silly nonsense, sinful sarcasm or humor. Even personal attacks. Show me you have something of real Spiritual substance and value to add to this discussion and debate.

        You believe I am the heretic here, Show me why through the Word of God’s grace and not through the vain pholophicies of men or vain deceit, but through the truth of God’s word.

        I do not even want to win a debate with you BRD. I just want to be as close and pure to God’s word as I possibly can. I am not here to convince you, prove anything to you, for only the Holy Spirit can do that. But if you do see I am speaking truth by God’s Spirit, will you receive the engrafted Word of God with Meekness,or will you remain self-deceived and in the poison of bitterness hating Calvinism and calling Calvinist heritics. You now have the floor BRD, will it be silly nonsense, or maturity in Christ. Will it be the excuse, well its to long. Well you know the Bible is a prettly long message to us also. This subject of Calvinism and Non-Calvinism is not something su;erficial or surface-scratching. That is why there is not much accomplished in conversations here because no one wants to enter into the meat of the word. Mud-slinging, Calvinist bashing and the calling of Calvinist heritics is so much more easy.

        BRD, Ready, set, go!!!

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      3. Hi Kevin,
        I’m not sure my responding to your posts is of any positive value.
        I understand you have very intense feelings.
        However, you should know, if you’re going to address posts specifically to me – please limit them to one or two points.
        And be prepared for frank and honest responses.

        There is no way anyone can realistically respond to a post that contains many paragraphs.
        Once I saw how many paragraphs there were in this last one to me, I gave up reading after the first.

        I think we’re going to have to have Eric monitor any interaction you have with me – since there is a propensity for over reaction.
        Maybe it would be better for you to not reach out to me at all – since that is the case.
        No sense stressing yourself unnecessarily – especially on my account. :-]

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Typical,
        This is what I expected from you BRD. Hey. let me say up front that in no way do I want to be sinfully argumentive with you or to quarrel with you over the false teaching of Non-Calvinism. I will clarify my first, I guess you would say, long article tomorrow as I was sick all last night and was up all day. Nausea terrible night, would not wish it on anyone. 24-hour bug I think BRD. Feeling better now but sleepy and ready to drift off.

        But this is the response I expected from you. I say this and do not mean to offend, as you have said things on here that far out-weigh what I am about to say.

        Your comment is just one big long excuse as to why you will not respond and refute my article, maybe in pieces. One or two paragraphs at a time. I will not respond back until you are complety finished. More on that tomorrow. Just an excuse.

        Then you are a Non-Calvinist dictator. At least you think so. You tell me, (I am putting a little sarcastic tone to this when you are speaking just for fun) “if you are going to address posts specifically to me – please limit them to one or two points. HAAAAA!!! More on this tomorrow.

        How would you know if I addressed you on more than two points, you only read one paragraph!!!!!???? Really BRD!!!!!????

        That is why I took most of the article in the beginning. to address “your behavior and your conduct emphatically declaring that you act accordingly, That is in a respectful manner when you speak to me.

        As far as one or two points, if you would have read the whole of what I wrote. you would have seen I stayed the course on the mystical fictitious idol of enslaved free-wil.l and its power to exercise natural innate faith. Which is nothing more than espousing the Pelagian Heresy. I was testing the waters to see if that is what you believed as that is the prevailing them on Soteriology101. So you speak out of ignorance when you tell me to address you with no more than two points or you are just being downright disingenuous to be intimating thinking I will back off. Not my first rodeo and I am ready to take the bull by the horns and slam it to the ground. Another excuse again, tomorrow I will tell you will, clarifying in greater detail. It may offend you or embarressbut be prepared for frank and honest responses from me.

        And hey I expect no less from you. Don’t lie to me BR.D. I will not stand for it and I will in a spirit of gentleness call you out on it. If you do it pubically, I will ask you to confess it publically. Although I do not think you have the spiritual substance or anthing of value to enter into a discussion of this propertion. I do not think the word of God dwells richly within you or truth has been blessed by God to your understanding so that it is dwelling in your inward parts. If it was, you would not have such a spirit of fear, but a sound and self-controlled mind and could piece by piece answer what I wrote. Like Eric said, there is time limit on reponses or rebuttals. Just another excuse.

        I could realistically respond to a post that contains as many paragraphs as I wrote. There many who are equipped and have studied God’s word and know how to rightly divide the word of truth, so they will not be ashamed. It takes a lot of prayful Bible study time asking God to bless you with the understanding of His Holy Word and to give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation of Jesus Christ.

        Like I said this is not a one or two sentence ot a one or two pararagh back and forth discussion. That is nonsense, silly, illogical and completely absurd. This is more than a something superficial surface scratching of God’s word BRD. We are discussing the deep things of God and you will not dictate to me how liitle or how long of a comment or response I will write. Are we on the same page there Sir with all due respect.

        Why would there be a propensity for over reaction. You give yourself way to much credit BRD. As if you think you can control me with your magical powers of influence and words. Are you not going to behave as I have asked and instruted you to be. I have seen on here how you can be sinful with your tongue set on fire by hell cursing Calvinist men and women made in the image of God and then I am sure you go to chruch and bless God with that same tongue. God calls that being hyporitical BRD. Hey I am just being frank and honest as you declared you would be right my discussion individual. Cannot call you a brother since to you I am a heretic which makes me chuckle. And I don’t even feel right calling you my discussion partner because of your deep seated ill-will hatred of the nick name Calvinism that represents real and solid truths that can be found in Holy Scriptures, Like the word Trinity.

        Why does Eric need to moderate, do you feel you will not be able to control your emotions in Christ cooperating with the Holy Spirit and manifesting self-control.

        Trust me BRD, I will not be getting angry or offended with you. I chuckle at things I have read and the things you have said to me already. You do not want this debate because you are not capable, you have an inability to live up to the challenge, so every excuse in the book is being thrown at me. Even, “well we better get Erc to Monitor any interaction since there is the possibility of you over reacting.

        Then the final curtain call comes because BRD is unable and not equipped to defend Non-Calvininism like about 95% of the individuals on here. BRD says;

        “since there is the possibility of him overreacting, maybe it will be better if I do not reach out to him at all, since that is the case, that is he will be offended and over-react and be unable to behave and controll himself appopriately in respect. Speaking the truth in love.’

        Why would I stress over you BRD, You just tapped out. BRD tapped out because he knows he cannot defend a false teaching when the truth will prevail over it,

        But hey, it was fun, addressing your excuses I knew were coming. You though you were cunning with your words in stating why you would not or could not debate or discuss. But BRD, I have this gift, when something is written down on paper i can see right though the motives and desires that are mere excuses, The motives and desires that are meant to intimidate. The motives and excuses that are there because the person just is not up to the task of defending His beliefs. That is you BRD. You cry foul, too long, when you could have done one or two paragraph’s at a time. No rush, no hurry. You just were not able or were to lazy to put the time in. I think a little of both just between you and me. You could have skipped all of the directions where I was trying to teach you to behave in a respectful manner in the discussio.

        Even now you sound very humble wth a smily face at the end, but I sense excuses and a false pretence of humility and a lifting up of oneself in saying there i a need for Eric.

        I always ask myself when i decide to reply to somone, in what way will I approach them. With you is was with a spirit of gentleness or a rod of iron. I usually go with a spirit of gentleness but I chose a rod of iron with you. Because of the many disrectful things on here that you have posted.

        So you go ahead and run along for now BRD and I will not bother you any longer. But hey keep that “reply button” ready for me. I may want to refute something you have to say does not mean you have to respond, but I wll sure enjoy refutting it knowing you have nothing, your tank is empty to respond in and defend what you believe. If you have been offended i am not sure what to say on this one, But be for sure, I am content and have perfect peace whether I debate you or not. I would rather debate someone who is equipped, trained and ready though. No offense meant so I hope none is taken. It is just the way I feel about you (only in my opinion) which I know I could be competely wrong. You were nicer than what i expected. I am not sure how you think you know I have very intense feelings. BRD you do not even know me. Now I would think that of you after reading your hatred and ill-will of Calvinism o here. So I would say the pot is black said the kettle, But don’t characterize me when you have never seen or me and it is really hard to figure someone out just by reading what they are posting. Any school boy knows that if the have been posting long enough.

        Take care BRD and may the grace of God be with you always.

        Like

  7. RHUTCHIN Writes, God does not have to incite the Jews to kill Jesus – it was their desire and intent. God does not have to hold the smoking gun – the Jews – because they are self-motivated to kill Jesus.

    This secondary means is nonsense let me ask you if I cut a tree with the axe who cut the tree? me or the axe and the same time the jew never lays their hand on Him but the romans who did everything in Act 2:23 “this Jesus delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men”. don’t you agree that Jew were not lawless people Romans were Jews were not the one who lift him up on the cross and crucified him but again the Romans soldier or lawless men so that means the Jew were not responsible absolutely not they were the one who force the hand of Pontius Pilate John 19:12 finally per your argument God is the Primary cause Jews are the Secondary cause and Romans were the tertiary cause of Jesus death.

    Like

    1. Excellent post Addisalem!!

      It also occurs to me that in the Calvinist system, anything that Calvin’s god uses (apart from himself) is a secondary means.
      It then follows that an “immutable decree” is a secondary means which Calvin’s god uses to “render certain” Adam’s sin.
      And also that mechanism which Calvin’s god uses to “render certain” Adam’s sin is the “force of inevitability”.

      So both “immutable decree” and “the force of inevitability” are secondary means, Calvin’s god uses to cause Adam’s sin.

      Now an “immutable decree” and “the force of inevitability” do not have free will in any form.

      Primary vs. Secondary culpability:
      Primary Culpability falls to person(s) who function as the “controller”, “director” – or what the law refers to as the “directing mind” of a wrong doing.

      Secondary Culpability falls to person(s) who function as servants, employees, agents, or who otherwise function “on behalf of” the “directing mind” in the process of a wrong doing.

      So in the case of Calvin’s god “rendering certain” Adam’s sin, Calvin’s god bears Primary Culpability, because the “immutable decree” and “the force of inevitability” (used as secondary means) do not have free will in any form.

      Culpability as defined in criminal law, descends from the Latin concept of fault (culpa).
      The concept of culpability is intimately tied up with notions of agency, freedom, and free will.
      In a court of law would Free Will is defined as the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded (i.e., the ability to “do otherwise” than one in fact does).

      Calvin’s god does not give Adam the ability to “do otherwise” than what Calvin’s god “renders certain” he do.
      Therefore, in a court of law Calvin’s god would be found culpable and not Adam.

      Like

  8. Daily reading of 11/26/17 (I would post every day if I could—-and they would all look like this)

    Look at what Peter says… 1 Peter 5

    5 “God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”
    6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.
    ———
    Is he talking about believers?

    If so… this sounds a lot like it is “man-centered”.

    He opposes the proud (believers)
    He give grace to the humble (believers)

    But….if you humble yourself…He (the almighty, Sovereign Lord) will lift you up.

    1. This does not sound preordained, micro-managed by God.

    2. This sounds like God will do something according to what we do.

    3. This sounds like God will give grace to those who are being humble (but not grace first, right?)

    4. Why is the Sovereign Lord lifting up lowly mankind “in honor”?

    If none of these ideas are true or possible (I know—some of you will lash out at me) then why does Peter make it sound like they are?

    Why does the Word of God make it sound like we are in a personal, inter-relational relationship with God? I mean if everything is pre-ordained, unchangeably by God……

    Like

    1. FOH writes, “Why does the Word of God make it sound like we are in a personal, inter-relational relationship with God? I mean if everything is pre-ordained, unchangeably by God……”

      If God is omniscient and truly does know all future events, then “everything is pre-ordained, unchangeably by God……” We can take that which Peter writes as certain – “if you humble yourself…He (the almighty, Sovereign Lord) will lift you up.”

      Like

      1. FOH writes,
        “Why does the Word of God make it sound like we are in a personal, inter-relational relationship with God? I mean if everything is pre-ordained, unchangeably by God……”

        rhutchin responds
        If God is omniscient and truly does know all future events, then “everything is pre-ordained, unchangeably by God……” We can take that which Peter writes as certain – “if you humble yourself…He (the almighty, Sovereign Lord) will lift you up.”

        br.d
        Rhutchin provides another good example of Calvinist question-begging and Calvinist double-talk.

        1) Calvinism’s proposition “divine omniscience entails compatibilism” is simply a doctrine unique to Calvinism.

        This doctrine actually diminishes divine omniscience, making it less than omnipotent, because it stipulated God’s omniscience is not omnipotent enough to foreknow the future (libertarian) free choices of creatures.
        Rhutchin in another post asserts God’s decrees are logically prior to God’s omniscience – which denies the orthodox doctrine of omniscience which states that God has “essential” omniscience.
        “Essential” omniscience means it is an attribute that is essential to God’s existence.

        It goes without saying the God’s existence must be logically prior to God’s decrees.
        Therefore if God’s omniscience logically follows God’s decrees, it follows God exists in a state without omniscience – logically prior to decrees – which is absurd. Therefore rhutchin’s proposition denies the orthodox doctrine of “essential” omniscience.

        2) Peter is writing in the subjunctive mood (IF *YOU* WILL a THEN *GOD* WILL b).
        The language of Peter’s statement frames the subjunctive conditional as “contingent” upon the believer not upon God.
        Calvinism’s interpretation logically entails a reversal in the order of contingency.

        The *consistent* Calvinist writing of this verse would be:
        “IF Calvin’s god determines you to humble yourself THEN you CANNOT do otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines you to do”

        But that is not what Peter writes – so the Calvinist must equivocate this verse using beguiling double-talk.

        Additionally, Peter’s use of “IF” assumes “OUGHT” and “OUGHT” assumes “CAN”.
        In Calvinism “CAN” is not determined by the believer, but by Calvin’s god before the believer is born.
        These warning/exhortation statements in the N.T. are turned into double-talk by Calvinism

        William Lane Craig agrees:
        -quote: Universal divine causal determinism cannot offer a coherent interpretation of Scripture. The classical Reformed divines recognized this. They acknowledge that the reconciliation of Scriptural texts affirming human freedom and contingency with Scriptural texts affirming divine sovereignty is inscrutable.

        Like

  9. Daily reading in 2 Peter 1

    There is no way you can ‘stumble’ on Calvinism reading this kind of thing! I read it in the NLT and it is a slam dunk! Even is the Calvinist ESV it looks like this…

    5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
    ——

    1. How do we “supplement’ anything ….if everything comes from God?

    2. Make an effort? In what? If God has already pre-ordained? That’s just silly.

    3. “If” these qualities are yours”….. IF ….IF….so you help right?

    4. “they keep you from being ineffective…” …so we can be effective or ineffective??? how does that work?

    5. We can forget we have been cleansed. So, what, remember, right?

    6. Diligent to confirm our calling? How do we confirm ANYTHING God has pre-ordained?

    7. “for in this way….” (v 11) ….in what way? The determinist way?

    None of this sounds deterministic-Calvinistic. Do Calvinists read The WHOLE Bible or just 50 verses and then interpret the rest with those lenses on?

    Like

    1. FOH, You know better than I that the typical Calvinist in the pew merely reads his bible, and takes it at its word. So few actually understand the assertions necessitated by their theology, and are encouraged by less than forthright pastors to ignore contradictions. ‘Both are true’, the trusting churchgoer is told, and since his trusted pastor says so, he believes him. You can point out all of the contradictions in Calvinism, but it won’t get through, because men and women have been taught that they can hold contradictory, illogical beliefs with no cognitive dissonance. I don’t know how many times I have been told ‘I don’t care about human logic, God is above what we can understand’. These people have been inoculated against truth.

      This is the strategy of modern day Calvinism, to deceive and mislead the people into trusting ‘authority’, no matter how much it might be in obvious contradiction to the genuine teaching of scripture. This is true of nearly all of the hierarchical, institutional Church, wherein the people are bullied, threatened and persuaded to trust the traditions and teachings of men over serious individual study and seeking out the leading of the Holy Spirit for understanding. I would give nearly anything to find a body of believers that has not adopted a hierarchical, authoritarian structure, without having to become Amish or Mennonite. I long for the fellowship and encouragement of fellow believers who are serious about studying God’s Word and doing and becoming what he desires. I’m done playing church; I have no desire to hear week after week what some man thinks scripture means, or what his confessions, creeds and authorities have told him it means.

      On Sun, Nov 26, 2017 at 10:31 PM, SOTERIOLOGY 101 wrote:

      > fromoverhere commented: “Daily reading in 2 Peter 1 There is no way you > can ‘stumble’ on Calvinism reading this kind of thing! I read it in the NLT > and it is a slam dunk! Even is the Calvinist ESV it looks like this… 5 > For this very reason, make every effort to suppleme” >

      Like

      1. ts00 writes, “You know better than I that the typical Calvinist in the pew merely reads his bible, and takes it at its word. ”

        Oh, if only all would do this. Calvinists follow in the footsteps of the Bereans.

        Like

    2. FOH, You know better than I that the typical Calvinist in the pew merely reads his bible, and takes it at its word without even knowing what his ‘Calvinism’ teaches. So few actually understand the assertions necessitated by their theology, and are encouraged by less than forthright pastors to ignore contradictions. ‘Both are true’, the trusting churchgoer is told, and since his trusted pastor says so, he believes him. You can point out all of the contradictions in Calvinism, but it won’t get through, because men and women have been taught that they can hold contradictory, illogical beliefs with no cognitive dissonance. I don’t know how many times I have been told ‘I don’t care about human logic, God is above what we can understand’. These people have been inoculated against truth.

      This is the strategy of modern day Calvinism, to deceive and mislead the people into trusting ‘authority’, no matter how much it might be in obvious contradiction to the genuine teaching of scripture. This is true of nearly all of the hierarchical, institutional Church, wherein the people are bullied, threatened and persuaded to trust the traditions and teachings of men over serious individual study and seeking out the leading of the Holy Spirit for understanding. I would give nearly anything to find a body of believers that has not adopted a hierarchical, authoritarian structure, without having to become Amish or Mennonite. I long for the fellowship and encouragement of fellow believers who are serious about studying God’s Word and doing and becoming what he desires. I’m done playing church; I have no desire to hear week after week what some man thinks scripture means, or what his confessions, creeds and authorities have told him it means.

      Like

    3. FOH asks, “1. How do we “supplement’ anything ….if everything comes from God?”

      Did you forget what you said earlier, “But….if you humble yourself…He (the almighty, Sovereign Lord) will lift you up.” So, from Matthew 7, “how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

      Then, “2. Make an effort? In what? If God has already pre-ordained? That’s just silly.”

      Certainty. For example, “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

      Then, “3. “If” these qualities are yours”….. IF ….IF….so you help right?”

      Calvinists say that sanctification is a synergistic process.

      Then, “4. “they keep you from being ineffective…” …so we can be effective or ineffective??? how does that work?”

      From the Scripture cited, “they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

      Then, “5. We can forget we have been cleansed. So, what, remember, right?”

      Yes. “Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands–remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2)

      Then, “6. Diligent to confirm our calling? How do we confirm ANYTHING God has pre-ordained?”

      By taking God at His word to see that He has indeed called you. Hold God to His promises to His elect – “if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”

      Then “7. “for in this way….” (v 11) ….in what way? The determinist way? ”

      Yep. God has determined to keep His promises. We find one such promise in the cited Scripture.

      Then, “None of this sounds deterministic-Calvinistic. Do Calvinists read The WHOLE Bible or just 50 verses and then interpret the rest with those lenses on?’

      These verses do not address the issue of determinism. They identify as certain that which God has determined.

      Like

  10. RHUTCHIN Write, “Weren’t the Jews instrumental is getting Pilate to turn Jesus over for crucifixion?”

    Of Course they are I wrote this “the Jew were not responsible absolutely not they were the one who force the hand of Pontius Pilate” but as your assumption they were just instrument because they can’t do otherwise no free will in their part.

    The then Jew ask Pontius Pilate two things,

    1) To kill Jesus

    2)To not call Him The King of the Jews

    He agree with the first request and refuse the second one because he is free to do so

    You say this- ” the Jews because they are self-motivated to kill Jesus”

    Have you ever heard of self motivated gun who kill somebody? of course not because it’s just a mere weapon but if men doesn’t act against His will by using his God given freedom to do otherwise what you are saying it doesn’t make sense.

    In my humble opinion the reformed worldview try to distance God from all evil happened over the years, at the same time trying to make Him powerful by making Him the author of everything that ever happen, that is bad theology

    I totally understand what BR.D repeatedly said about double speak or double mind if you read BR.D post he made an excellent point.

    Like

    1. AW writes, “n my humble opinion the reformed worldview try to distance God from all evil happened over the years, at the same time trying to make Him powerful by making Him the author of everything that ever happen, that is bad theology ”

      A bad theology begotten by a bad opinion.

      Like

  11. Daily reading, now 2 Peter 1…

    12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. 13 And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. 14 For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, 15 so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.
    ——-

    Why does Peter say he is “reminding” us? So we “stand firm”? So we do not forget and make bad choices?

    Why does he say he will “work hard” so that we “always remember”?

    Doesn’t this sound “man-centered”?

    That is such a go-for-the-jugular accusation when a Calvinist pulls that out. But this passage is about Peter “working hard” to “remind us” (lest we forget).

    It just appears so often in page after page of Scripture that God is challenging us to “walk in the Spirit” “work hard” “stand firm” “remember” …..and on and on.

    So we might not stand firm …..but we can. We might not work hard….but we can. We might not ‘walk in the Spirit’ ….but we can.

    No one here is saying we “work for salvation”….or that we are “higher than God” or that we are “man-centered, not God-centered” but in reading the Scripture every day, we can repeatedly see that God created in such a way that we make real choices all the time.

    To insist that all decisions have been mechanically, and unalterably made before time began just makes a mockery of all that God commands us to do ….stand…walk….remember….

    Like

    1. FOH writes: “To insist that all decisions have been mechanically, and unalterably made before time began just makes a mockery of all that God commands us to do ….stand…walk….remember….”

      Sadly, in making a mockery of all that God commands us to do, faulty teaching renders men feeble, powerless and immature, ever in need of the milk of the first things of salvation, arguing them all the day long. What is left behind? Growing in wisdom and maturity, overcoming sinful, selfish lifestyles and serving the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of others as we are commanded.

      The Institutional Church has been used in great measure to sidetrack believers from walking with God and plugging them back in to a ritualistic, sacral religion. Oh, we love to go to church! Praise bands, hymn sings, potlucks, friends and laughter . . . this is what keeps the folks coming. Whereas Paul writes in Hebrews 10 that the purpose of meeting with other believers is ‘encouraging one another’, as well as ‘to stir up one another to love and good works’.

      What has been effectively trampled into the dust (Truth) since the Protestant Reformation is that we are saved, not BY but to DO good works. Was it a straw man all along to argue that we are not saved BY good works, in order to frighten men from doing good works? Does this not sound like the goal of the deceiver, rather than the God who made us to do the good works he foreordained? Don’t we see that Satan cares little about what we ‘believe’ as long as we do not live out the life God intends?

      Like

      1. TS00
        I see your point….but I would mildly disagree.

        I have attended church many times with one of my grown kids. They go to a non-denominational church….but warned me that their pastor has gone the trendy route of the YRR wave.

        I never heard one message….not even a peep about determinism etc. Only strong admonition to grow in grace, walk in the Spirit, stand firm. etc.

        After many times…we all agreed (as I often say here) that a person can carry the YRR-card in the pocket, but they do not live/ teach/ preach accordingly. the ones that might are the dramatic JD Hall types on the far end.

        But in the end very few, if any, really put into practice a Calvinistic-deterministic lifestyle.

        Like

      2. FOH, I fully agree – and am thankful! – that very few Calvinists live out their Calvinism. I personally never embraced it fully, even while worshiping in a Calvinist church for over a decade. Yet one must ask, what are the subtle ramifications of proclaiming a theology that asserts that you, as an elect child of God, ultimately have a license to live however you desire? ‘Sin boldly’ is not some caricature of Luther; it is the logical conclusion of a forensic, sacral religious system.

        In my opinion, that is the main draw, and the greatest danger of Calvinism and its progeny, Protestantism. It turns believers into ‘churchgoers’, who believe their entire responsibility to God is accomplished by attending ‘worship’ services and following the Ten Commandments. They become good Judaists. They are taught to avoid seriously contemplating the oppression and neediness of so many in our world by the scorn of their teachers over the ‘social gospel’. They are urged to pride themselves on their clearly superior understanding of doctrinal truths, and their self-righteous attempts to live out the Big Ten. They totally miss Jesus’ message in the Sermon on the Mount. We end up with the very thing Jesus condemned – self-righteous Pharisees who believe themselves purer and holier than the ‘pagans’, rather than suffering servants who go out amongst the lost and needy to demonstrate the sure love of God for them.

        That is not to say there are no authentic, God-loving pastors or followers in the Institutional Church – but they are going against the grain of institutionalization. Most, I am beginning to believe, eventually find themselves being led by the Spirit of God down different paths than the masses. Most of the men and women I personally know who have a deep heart for God have sought earnestly for a faithful church, and settled on the least bad option they can find. They go from church to church, only to find the doors barred if they do not submit to prescribed interpretations of scripture. Submission to authority – traditions of men – is the mantra, just as it has always been in the Institutional Church.

        Many long for the manifestations of the true Body of Christ, but settle for the crumbs of a supportive community. I do not mean to offend – I count myself among that number. I merely believe that we are in much the same situation as the lost sheep when Jesus came, being driven by false shepherds who mostly serve their own inerests, while the flock suffers for lack of hope, encouragement and understanding. Indeed, that is how I found myself in a Calvinist church to begin with, after we had tried, and found wanting, so many other churches. Calvinism, like Catholicism, encourages its members to rest in the wisdom and authority of its traditions. When found seriously wanting, questions and solutions are not encouraged, but submission to ‘orthodoxy’ or the proclaimed ‘Truth’ of the Institution.

        Should one reject the Orthodox Churches, seeking a church that attempts to recognize the ‘priesthood of the believer’ or God’s promise to put his laws on our hearts and write them on our minds, the choices tend to those who have abandoned all attempts to ascertain Truth. One must choose between legalism and affirming any and all behavior. Calvinism has subtly taken over the ‘conservative’ world, and those who understand the value of freedom have felt compelled to abandon all standards. It is my opinion that Satan has worked very hard to establish this false dichotomy, equally happy if people choose legalism or liberalism, as long as they do not practice the teachings of the New Testament.

        I would be more than happy should anyone point me to exceptions to my perceived state of affairs.

        Like

      3. I agree with this – and Calvin himself realizes the cognitive dissonance his “Frankenstein” theology entails.
        That’s why he teaches his disciples to -quote “go about your office *AS-IF* nothing were determined in any part”

        You mentioned JD Hall types.
        I’m not familiar with that – can you elaborate?
        Thanks in advance :-]

        Like

      4. I dont really like to bring in particular names.

        You can easily find him on the internet. The point is that there are plenty out there that think that James White, Keller, etc are not “reformed enough” and call them out in public. to not be so “wimpy”

        Like

      5. I was long arrested in growth by the false belief that my ‘belief’ or doctrinal integrity, was what really mattered. I am now convinced that it actually matters very little. We will not be judged on our understanding of the intricate distinctions between justification and sanctification. We will not be condemned because we did not properly understand propitiation. Those whose fruits demonstrate that they believe in the goodness of God’s mercy and love,those who seek wholeheartedly to love him and others in response will be approved by God. I’m not so sure God is holding his breath over the outcomes of centuries long doctrinal debates.

        Like

      6. ts00 writes, “I was long arrested in growth by the false belief that my ‘belief’ or doctrinal integrity, was what really mattered.”

        You were arrested because you were too lazy to study the Scriptures. Don’t blame others for your shortcomings.

        Like

      7. I have more shortcomings than I care to admit. 🙂 However, in my Calvinist church I indeed found myself studying scripture less than I had in the past, mostly because a) it had become so confusing, as it seemed to contradict everything I was being told was true, and b) I was warned that it was dangerous to try and understand scripture on my own, and should look to authoritative opinions of confessions, creeds and teachers.

        The very first thing I did upon casting off Calvinism once and for all was to pick up my bible, and I could not stop weeping for joy over rediscovering an old, trustworthy friend. I felt free to read of the love of God for all men, and rejoice that it was true! My heart felt as if it was breaking for the lost, and from the guilt of having so carelessly written them off as obviously unloved by God. I began thumbing through and rereading all of my old favorites, and found, to my delight, that they all made sense again. I am something of a reserved person, but I wept and laughed and rejoiced more that first week out of Calvinism than I ever have, and I still have an insatiable hunger for scripture.

        Like

      8. ts00 writes, “in my Calvinist church I indeed found myself studying scripture less than I had in the past, mostly because…”

        Sounds like your church was full of lazy Calvinists and you learned some really bad habits.

        Then, “I felt free to read of the love of God for all men, and rejoice that it was true! My heart felt as if it was breaking for the lost, and from the guilt of having so carelessly written them off as obviously unloved by God.”

        So, are you an Universalist now?? If not, how do you account for a loving God not saving all people?

        Like

      9. truthsekker writes
        I am something of a reserved person, but I wept and laughed and rejoiced more that first week out of Calvinism than I ever have, and I still have an insatiable hunger for scripture.

        br.d
        A wonderful testimony!!!
        Thank you Truthseeker!! :-]

        Like

      10. ts00 writes, “What has been effectively trampled into the dust (Truth) since the Protestant Reformation is that we are saved, not BY but to DO good works.”

        Not trampled by the Calvinists who lift up sola fide but trample solo fide.

        Like

    2. FOH writes, “It just appears so often in page after page of Scripture that God is challenging us to “walk in the Spirit” “work hard” “stand firm” “remember” …..and on and on.”

      The process of sanctification is not a cake-walk. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8)

      Like

  12. On my research on Dr. White’s view of the free will of “creature’s” – came across this quote from C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity. This could be were this idea is rooted. Still don’t get the distinction without a difference he is making but I’m a little closer than I was yesterday. 🙂

    (Mere Christianity, pp86-87)
    Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And, taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature — either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures and with itself.

    To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.

    Like

    1. dr4Christ cities CS Lewis, “Every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before.”

      That is an interesting thought. That would seem to mean that the older a person gets (taking into account the point in their life where God saves them) the more polarized they become. Determining whether that is true would make for an interesting study. I would tend to think that there is a large group of people who really don’t change much at all – preferring a lukewarm position. – maybe a very narrow bell shaped curve with those changing most over time being at the extremity.

      Like

  13. rhutch writes:
    Why “necessarily”? I don’t see why God’s decrees cannot include secondary causes. An example is the numbering of Israel by David where one Scripture attributes this to God and another to Satan.

    br.d
    Here the Calvinist makes believe that a secondary cause is not itself caused- logically from a primary (antecedent) cause.
    AS-IF the number 2 doesn’t follow the number 1.

    In Calvinism’s case the primary cause is always the immutable decree – from which *ALL** things which come to pass are its consequences.

    Now you and I know that the number 2 always follows the number 1.
    But shhhh!!! don’t tell the Calvinist – that is logic he’s not supposed to know about! 😀

    Like

  14. I gave over two hours of my life to watching this video like I hope all who commented here, and I came away from it highly disappointed. I was hoping that the Calvinist men who debated with Dr. Leighton and Dr. Jonathan were of a high enough caliber to be able to calmly and intelligently address the scriptural points that both Traditionalist men had brought up. I do not believe my expectations too high for men who have a doctorates.

    Instead, I was treated to two men who resorted to uneducated name calling, and who kept repeating what they believed without ever addressing the perspectives of the other view. My own temper had to be kept in check as Mr. Zachariades kept losing his, interrupting, yelling, and even leveling the final blow of rejecting Dr. Leighton as a brother in Christ.

    But since both men, especially Theodore, completely rejected free will of any kind, then perhaps they simply could not help themselves since they were clearly ordained to be angry, disrespectful Christians who are exempt from walking in the Spirit and bearing His fruit.

    I am both angry and grieved that this has, and continues to cause serious disunity within our churches. I pray God moves to convict and humble such men, as well as flush out the poison of a doctrine that extols greater humility while simultaneously creating arrogance. Only the Enemy is crafty enough to twist God’s Word to make it seem one way, while producing such bitter fruit at the same time.

    And because that is what Calvinism does, it cannot be the work of God.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ellah:
      Sorry you had to see that video and even sorrier that it happened!

      Having been in pastoral or overseas missionary ministry for 33+ years, I have seen a dramatic change happen in the church.

      I grew up in a Christian environment where we (generic “Bible church” types) all tolerated Pentecostals and Reformed brethren. That was before the internet. We have an instant flow of information now and knowledge as well as miscommunication and misinterpretation have sped up.

      Now, many of the Community Church types have become Calvinists. (MacArthur was not always one)

      Now, many of my colleagues (who are newly-minted Calvinists) are much harsher, more strident. They spew the words “user-friendly” out of their mouth.

      The bottom line is —-whether they do this consciously or not —- is that they dont need to be nice. They can offer a service with only old hymns, and stern, controlled messages cuz (a) they dont want to be modern or too charismatic, and (b) they do not NEED to make it the least bit pleasant, since God is calling all the shots. In fact, the more unpleasant the better—so only the true remnant will stick it out.

      Be harsh, be blunt, “tell it like it is” ….be in your face… it’s all good. Truth hurts man….. but we have to defend it!

      There brings in the other thing at play that you witnessed in the video. They are aggressive…because they are ‘right’ and “God wants His church to be pure” (somehow that part is their job!). Shout down or name-call your opponents.

      I witnessed this before my very eyes with my national colleague on the field where I serve. After his early-20s, educated son introduced him to Calvinism….and he himself got on the wave…. he began to make our gatherings more stern and severe. Why? Too “easy” too “friendly”—- need to make it pure. “Dont need to water it down so just anybody will be interested. We will get a lot of ‘falsely interested’ people that way.”

      Also notice that the two guys that debated Leighton post mostly on JD Hall’s pen and pulpit site. Any 10 mins on that site will show you how angry they are….. and how they eat their own: Piper, Driscoll, Keller (all self-proclaimed Calvinists) are all regularly bashed (as well as many others: Beth Moore, Billy Graham, Hank Hanagraf, Andy Stanley). They very regularly refer to most people that do not adhere to their doctrines (like Leighton) as non-believers.

      Here is a quote from their site demonstrating the full extent of their would-be authority……

      “Hyper-Calvinism is a sub-Christian doctrine. It is an enemy of Christ. If Hyper-Calvinism could be anthropomorphized into a person, he should be rounded up, hogtied and b-rned at the st-ke like Michael Servetus.”

      Welcome to the new Calvinism.

      The “frozen chosen” of my youth have to move over for the new and improved defenders of the “doctrines of grace.”

      Including green, slow-burning wood. That’s gracious alright!

      Like

  15. Thank you for your reply, F.O.H.
    After further reflection, I am still glad to have watched it, for it helped me solidify my beliefs even more.

    I have spent time on that site in the past and have just spent far too much time writing and deleting my opinions of them right now, since God tells us to be both truthful AND kind. I am finding the latter quality a mite difficult right now, so I will withhold the former one!

    Like

    1. This was a great dialog between you and FOH Ellah!

      It reminds me that Paul had three different sources he identified for human behavior.
      1) κατὰ σαρκός (the source is carnal flesh)
      2) κατὰ πνεύματος (the source is from the Holy Spirit)
      3) κατὰ δαιμονίων (the source is demonic)

      I learned many years ago that carnal flesh needs to hide itself behind a masquerade of religious fervor.
      Otherwise it reveals how destitute it really is.

      I think you’re discernment is spot on!!

      Like

      1. Br D. The fact that it is so easy for our carnal desires to be cloaked in spirituality should make us all pause reflectively before our God so He can search and refine our motives.

        I am confused about one thing, though. Mr. Zachariades kept saying that he doesn’t believe in any free will, but he didn’t differentiate between not believing in free will concerning salvation and not believing we have any free will to make responsible decisions, especially after we become Christians. I am only left to conclude that he doesn’t believe in any free will, including whether or not we can choose between eating an apple or a banana with our breakfast.

        Here’s why it’s even important to me:

        Most Calvinists I have met have never denied the free will of man in regards to making decisions outside of salvation. Their cliche usually goes like this: ” I believe in God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. We can’t always understand how that works out, but we know that both are at play and that God will hold us accountable for our actions. We also know that our free will can never trump God’s sovereignty.”

        They also believe, of course, that in matters of salvation, we have no free will to choose or reject Christ.

        Mr. Zachariades is one of the first Calvinists that I have heard state that he doesn’t believe in any free will.

        Does he really believe that, or was he simply not being articulate, and failed to address this in the same careless manner that he failed to address Dr. Leighton’s perspective in an intelligent and thorough manner?

        Like

      2. Ellah writes, “Most Calvinists I have met have never denied the free will of man in regards to making decisions outside of salvation. Their cliche usually goes like this: ” …We also know that our free will can never trump God’s sovereignty.”

        More accurate to say, “…We also know that our free will can never trump God’s sovereign will.” Man’s will is subordinate to God’s will.

        Then, “They also believe, of course, that in matters of salvation, we have no free will to choose or reject Christ.”

        Not exactly. It is not that people have no free will. It is that they are enslaved to sin and have no desire for God. Thus, they have free will to do as they desire rather thant a libertarian free will that is not restrained by sin.

        Then, “Mr. Zachariades is one of the first Calvinists that I have heard state that he doesn’t believe in any free will.”

        I think he means that man’s will is enslaved to sin so his desires are the desires of his father who is Satan.

        Like

      3. rhutch:
        1) Man’s will is subordinate to God’s will
        2) It is not that people have no free will. It is that they are enslaved to sin and have no desire for God
        3) they have free will to do as they desire rather thant a libertarian free will that is not restrained by sin
        4) he means that man’s will is enslaved to sin so his desires are the desires of his father who is Satan.

        br.d
        These are good examples of Calvinism’s double-think and dishonest language
        1) Notice how vague and ambiguous this statement is – who in Christianity doesn’t hold the creatures as subordinate to god?
        2) Notice how this seeks to hides the truth by presenting mans’ desire for sin *AS-IF* Calvin’s god is not determining it in every part.
        3) Notice the fabricated strawman argument here – that Libertarian free will is defined as being free from sin.
        4) This statement simply repeats the same disingenuous strategy of statement (2)

        Like

      4. br.d writes, “These are good examples of Calvinism’s double-think and dishonest language”

        I do not understand why they would be either double-think or dishonest and br/d cannot explain it.

        Then, “1) Notice how vague and ambiguous this statement is – who in Christianity doesn’t hold the creatures as subordinate to god?”

        If all in Christianity hold to this, it can’t be that vague as all must have some understanding of what they believe.

        Then, “2) Notice how this seeks to hides the truth by presenting mans’ desire for sin *AS-IF* Calvin’s god is not determining it in every part.”

        The issue is not that God “determines” what people do (He does) but whether God compels man to act as they do (He does not).

        Then, “3) Notice the fabricated strawman argument here – that Libertarian free will is defined as being free from sin.”

        You are free to explain how you distinguish libertarian free will from compatibilist free will. But you don’t. Instead, you complain because I make a distinction not even arguing that my distinction is wrong. Why this is a strawman in a discussion on free will defies logic.

        Then, “4) This statement simply repeats the same disingenuous strategy of statement (2)”

        You seem not to have read the two points. Point 2 says that man’s will is enslaved to sin. Point 4 says that Satan is prompting the enslaved will to sin. So, we see that God has determined man to sin and then that sin comes about through an enslaved will and Satan’s influence on the will.

        br.d complains a lot but is unable to support his complaints through rational arguments.

        Like

      5. br.d
        “These are good examples of Calvinism’s double-think and dishonest language”

        rhutchin:
        I do not understand why they would be either double-think or dishonest and br/d cannot explain it.

        br.d
        One can lead a horse to water but one can’t make him drink.

        br.d
        1) Notice how vague and ambiguous this statement is – who in Christianity doesn’t hold the creatures as subordinate to god?”

        rhutchin:
        If all in Christianity hold to this, it can’t be that vague as all must have some understanding of what they believe.

        br.d
        As William Lane Craig says “Calvinist always fail to enunciate the radical distinctions of their belief system”
        Its vague because it evades enunciation of Calvinist distinctions behind generic Christian camouflage.

        br.d
        “2) Notice how this seeks to hides the truth by presenting mans’ desire for sin *AS-IF* Calvin’s god is not determining it in every part.”

        rhutchin:
        The issue is not that God “determines” what people do (He does) but whether God compels man to act as they do (He does not).

        br.d
        The Christian Philosopher knows as an elementary truth that “compels” is an irrelevant red herring in this context. Since it is the case that man CANNOT have any neurological impulse that Calvin’s god does not determine him to have.

        br.d
        3) Notice the fabricated strawman argument here – that Libertarian free will is defined as being free from sin.”

        rhutchin:
        You are free to explain how you distinguish libertarian free will from compatibilist free will. But you don’t. Instead, you complain because I make a distinction not even arguing that my distinction is wrong. Why this is a strawman in a discussion on free will defies logic.

        br.d
        Please reference any published academic article that defines libertarian free will as the ability to be free from sin.
        Thus the strawman.

        br.d
        4) This statement simply repeats the same disingenuous strategy of statement (2)”

        rhutchin
        You seem not to have read the two points. Point 2 says that man’s will is enslaved to sin. Point 4 says that Satan is prompting the enslaved will to sin. So, we see that God has determined man to sin and then that sin comes about through an enslaved will and Satan’s influence on the will.

        br.d
        Sorry – if Calvin’s god determines every neurological impulse then man’s will is enslaved to the determinative will of Calvin’s god.
        You simply insert secondary instruments (which Calvin’s god moves) into the causal chain so you can blame the results on the secondary instrument. A strategy you would completely reject if the result were a salvation event. In that case you would attribute the results solely to Calvin’s god and not to a secondary means. Hence the doublethink.

        rhutchin:
        br.d complains a lot but is unable to support his complaints through rational arguments.

        br.d
        Any critical thinker reviewing your posts will recognize that statement as reverse attribution. :-]

        Like

      6. br.d. writes, “Its vague because it evades enunciation of Calvinist distinctions behind generic Christian camouflage.”

        Yet, br.d is unable to explain the Calvinist distinctions he claims to exist.

        Then, ” Since it is the case that man CANNOT have any neurological impulse that Calvin’s god does not determine him to have.”

        br.d is just amplifying the Calvinist doctrine that the unbeliever is enslaved to sin accounting for the lack of even a neurological impulse to the contrary. God determined this by His decree not to free the unbeliever from enslavement to sin as a consequence of Adam’s sin.

        Then, “Please reference any published academic article that defines libertarian free will as the ability to be free from sin.”

        That is the point of “otherwise choice” that Dr. Flowers promotes. It is Dr. Flowers contention that people have “otherwise choice” and are not enslaved fully to sin – they exercise libertarian free will. Ronnie Rogers goes in the same direction when he says that sin is extensive but not intensive in the unbeliever. The problem remains that br.d still cannot provide a definition of libertarian free will that is different from compatibilistic free will.

        Then, “You simply insert secondary instruments…”

        Secondary instruments include unbelievers who are self-motivated by a love for sin that God did not give to them but is derived from the corruption caused by Adam’s sin. God did not move Adam to sin – Adam exercised libertarian free will to choose to sin.

        Then, “Any critical thinker reviewing your posts will recognize that statement as reverse attribution.”

        The critical thinker will see that you have nothing to offer as argument against Calvinism.

        Like

      7. br.d
        -quoting William Lane Craig: “Calvinists consistently fail to enunciate the radical distinctions of their belief system”
        “Its vague because it evades enunciation of Calvinist distinctions behind generic Christian camouflage.”

        rhutchin:
        Yet, br.d is unable to explain the Calvinist distinctions he claims to exist.

        br.d
        By this logic it follows William Lane Craig is also unable to explain them. :-]

        br.d
        ” Since it is the case that man CANNOT have any neurological impulse that Calvin’s god does not determine him to have, then it logically follows that man is enslaved to the determinative will of Calvin’s god”

        This is a logical proposition with an antecedent and a consequent – and I noticed you strategically omitted the consequent so I put it back.

        rhutchin:
        br.d is just amplifying the Calvinist doctrine that the unbeliever is enslaved to sin accounting for the lack of even a neurological impulse to the contrary. God determined this by His decree not to free the unbeliever from enslavement to sin as a consequence of Adam’s sin.

        br.d
        Thanks rhutchin – this provides another example of how Calvinists twist statements and use double-speak.
        Readers can compare out two statements – nice example!

        br.d
        “Please reference any published academic article that defines libertarian free will as the ability to be free from sin.”

        rhutchin:
        That is the point of “otherwise choice” that Dr. Flowers promotes. It is Dr. Flowers contention that people have “otherwise choice” and are not enslaved fully to sin – they exercise libertarian free will. Ronnie Rogers goes in the same direction when he says that sin is extensive but not intensive in the unbeliever. The problem remains that br.d still cannot provide a definition of libertarian free will that is different from compatibilistic free will.

        br.d
        This is logically fallacious in number of ways
        1) Again – please provide a quote where Dr. Flowers clearly states or makes a proposition that clearly argues – Libertarian free will is defined as being free from sin.

        2) I consistently post quotes from current scholars on the topic of Theological Determinism, compatibilistic free will etc.
        See the one I posted today from Dr. Robert Kane for example – the Oxford Handbook of free will.
        The difference between compatibilistic free will and libertarian free will is detailed throughout the current scholarly literature.
        If a Calvinist chooses to ignore the current literature on this topic – what br.d does is irrelevant. :-]

        3) I’m not familiar with Ronnie Rogers so I can’t speak for him. But the fact that you can’t provide clear unambiguous quotes or arguments from Dr. Flowers – along with what you ascribed to Ronnie Rogers – indicates you’ve manufactured a strawman on this point. I hardly think you’re going to be able to show that anyone asserts Libertarian free will is defined as being free from sin since such an assertion is void of common sense.

        rhutchin
        Secondary instruments include unbelievers who are self-motivated by a love for sin that God did not give to them but is derived from the corruption caused by Adam’s sin. God did not move Adam to sin – Adam exercised libertarian free will to choose to sin.

        br.d
        Being “self-motivated” is again irrelevant in Theological Determinism – since in it Calvin’s god determines every neurological impulse a person will have. Calvin’s god could just as easily set in motion a wind-up toy and determine every way it turns.
        Its a half-truth to assert “love for sin” is derived from Adam’s sin – when in Calvinism “love for sin” is first-conceived in the mind of Calvin’s god and decreed upon Adam as his unavoidable fate.

        rhutchin:
        The critical thinker will see that you have nothing to offer as argument against Calvinism.

        br.d
        I’m very happy with readers reviewing our threads. :-]

        Like

      8. br.d writes, “By this logic it follows William Lane Craig is also unable to explain them. :-]”

        If Craig explains it, why don’t you quote him on it rather than act like your clueless?

        Like

      9. br.d writes, “By this logic it follows William Lane Craig is also unable to explain them. :-]”

        rhutchin
        If Craig explains it, why don’t you quote him on it rather than act like your clueless?

        br.d
        Those characterizations are too funny!
        I leave the business of breaking through Calvinist double-think and truth-evasions to the Lord. :-]

        Like

      10. Rhutchin writes:
        ‘So, we see that God has determined man to sin and then that sin comes about through an enslaved will and Satan’s influence on the will.’

        What a sick and distorted way to view the world, believing that your supposedly ‘loving’ God cursed you with an inability to do good, forced you into slavery (of sin) and sent a cruel taskmaster to bait and abuse you. All, allegedly, for his ‘glory’. Men, helpless puppets, remain under the cruel dominion of God’s servant, Satan, unless and until God ‘by force’ rescues them. Even Sproul admits that those not so ‘forced’ by God out of slavery to sin would have been better off if they had never been born.

        In truth, the ‘desires of the flesh’ – like eating, drinking and procreation – were created by God to support life; it was the deceptions of the Evil one that perverted these good and God-given desires (few deny that eating, drinking and sex are inherently good) to bring ever increasing sorrow and destruction upon men and creation. What Calvinism is sorely lacking is an understanding of Evil, instead (wrongly) attributing its existence and suffering to God. Turning the gospel on its head, instead of teaching and rejoicing in the deliverance from sin and death that Jesus came to proclaim, Calvinism alleges that sin was God’s plan all along, and that man is helpless to resist it unless God unilaterally grabs him, magically changes him and ‘gives’ him new desires. How’s that for transferring blame? Is it any wonder that horrendous sin is actually rampant among historical Christian leaders, beginning with their alleged ‘Fathers’ Luther and Calvin. (See the peasant revolution and massacre, both inspired by Luther and the torture and murder overseen by Calvin for thought crimes.)

        “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! **[Of course, Luther turned these verses on their head and asserted that men should ‘Sin boldly!’ in order to better reveal God’s ‘glorious’ grace.]** How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification. When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But then what return did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord . . . So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[a] he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Rom 6-8:17

        That’s a lengthy quote, but, as always, proper interpretation requires context. If we look to what scripture actually says, rather than what our doctrines demand, we find that it is only when we are given the Spirit of God that we are freed from ‘slavery’ to sin. Note that it is not ‘faith’ being given to dead men, but the Spirit, which we have been taught earlier is given in response to faith. (Read all of Romans for more context.) It is when we receive, and live by, the Spirit that we are enabled to overcome the strong temptation of the flesh to simply live for the moment, to pursue personal, fleshly pleasure. Nor are we delivered from the temptations of the flesh by being given a ‘new nature’, but merely given the ability to overcome our ‘nature’ which is to feed the flesh by a greater power, which is the Spirit of God. Should the desires of the flesh be destroyed, all would die, as men would cease to eat, drink and reproduce.

        Despite all of Paul’s talk about being ‘dead to sin’ just as we were once ‘dead to righteousness’, it is clear we are still able to see, hear and pursue sin – it is, as always, a choice that we must make. Being dead does not make us deaf, dumb and blind. What we do now have is the power – that we were once lacking – which enables us to resist the temptations of sin; but it is always a choice to seek and put in use this power of the Spirit. The passage asserts that, however ‘dead’ we now are to sin, we can nonetheless remain its slave, if we choose to indulge the ever present flesh. Note that what Calvinism likes to call the ‘sin nature’ is no more than the simple desires of the flesh common to all living beings; given, not as a ‘curse’ but as instincts to preserve life. If we live as if serving our flesh is all there is, we will grow ever more ‘fleshly’ or depraved, like a brute animal. Our ‘flesh’ needs to be disciplined and controlled by a right-thinking mind, as obesity, alcoholism etc. attest to.

        Taken out of context, the Calvinist can make up all sorts of ideas about what being a ‘slave’ or ‘dead’ to this or that means, but it does not really hold up when examined in context. God is calling us to stop living like an animal, led by brute instinct, but to allow the Spirit to instruct and guide us into moderated, healthier applications of our ‘desires’ that take into account the needs of others as well as ourselves. Always, scripture upholds that man has a free choice as to how he lives.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Hi Ellah,

        It sounds like what he holds to would be called “Hard Determinism”.
        Historically, there have been various positions on one’s concept of free will.
        Check out this web-site for a summary of the various positions.
        https://www.tutor2u.net/religious-studies/blog/free-will-and-determinism

        But please note if this author promotes a view – its not mine – I just point to this site for the summary.

        I think you will find – few Calvinists profess to believe that free will does not exist in any form.
        Most Calvinists believe in free will in some form – however there is a great deal of variance in what properties they conceive it having.

        If you check out the Youtube video titled “Calvinism intrinsically irrational” .
        Dr. Anderson’s representation is pretty typical of most Calvinism – especially current Calvinism.

        Most scholars in Christian Philosophy will say that Calvinism embraces a form of “Soft Determinism”.

        Soft Determinism entails “Compatiblism”
        The view that even if your every neurological impulse is pre-determined before you were born you still have free will.
        But this is based on a technicality – you’re will is “free” to choose what it has been pre-determined to choose.
        Using a car as an example:
        If you DETERMINE your car turn to the left – the compatibilist can say your car is “free” to turn to the left.
        Even though it is being DETERMINED to do so.

        Calvinists and some Lutheran theologians embrace Theological Determinism and a compabilitistic definition of free will.
        However Theological Determinism is one of the most predominant factors in Calvinist theology.

        The vast majority of Evangelical Christianity rejects Theological Determinism.
        And embraces a Libertarian view of free will.
        Mostly in order to remain in alignment with what they understand as a biblical view of morality and ethics.

        Scholars in Christian Philosophy say that a pronounced property of libertarian free will is the power to “do otherwise” than what an external mind determines to do. This is sometimes called PAP (the principle of alternate possibilities).
        PAP and a libertarian form of “do otherwise” are logically impossible in Determinism.

        Because biblical ethics are predicated on the power to “do otherwise” Calvinists are significantly challenged by it.
        As a consequence, there is a large degree of double-think and misleading language in Calvinism.

        Most Calvinists have little to lose for being intellectually dishonest – so they tend to be mentored in misleading language that is designed to make Calvinism appear as biblically ethical as possible.
        One needs to have a good familiarity of the philosophical territory in order to not be tricked by double-think or misleading language.

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  16. To restate the question more clearly since I couldn’t go back and edit my comment:

    Does he really believe that, or was he being as inarticulate and careless with his statement of free will, as he was when failing to address Dr. Leighton’s perspective in an intelligent and thorough manner?

    Like

      1. Ellah:
        A very curious thing about that debate. I have read numerous times (including the words of Calvinists) that the reformed guys were mean and disrespectful.

        And yet….. those reformed guys have the debate on their web sites and un-apologetically urge people to watch it. Surprising right? You would think that if you had a recording of you being mean you would not blast it far and wide. Nope…..not these bad boys!

        Why? Cuz “the truth hurts baby!” They have to defend God’s honor against heretics man!

        Bring on the green-wood and millstones, cuz some people need gettin’ rid of!

        Shout them down…. cuz any means justifies the end of defending those doctrines of grace!

        Like

    1. Ok, I listened about

      No, I don’t think he’s a hard determinist who doesn’t think free will exists – although I can see why one would question that with him.
      Firstly I can see why the confusion because his presentation is 99% emotional and 1% rational.

      But he made a few statements that I took note of:
      1) He [a man in scripture] didn’t excersise his free will the way he wanted to
      2) When god wants a man to commit adultery god “ORDERS” him to.
      3) He [god] is the sovereign lord

      (1) tells me that he does believe men have free will but it is under subjection to god’s will.
      In other words the ability to think/say/do anything other than what god determines you to do is an illusion.

      (2) Take not of his language here – notice he doesn’t say god “CAUSES” man to commit adultery or “MAKES” man commit adultery.
      He uses the word “ORDERS”. This is an example of Calvinism’s dishonesty language.
      He wouldn’t have any problem saying god “MAKES” or “CAUSES” a man come to Christ.
      But he knows if he says god “MAKES/CAUSES” a man commit adultery the evangelical church will reject Calvinism.
      So all of a sudden he changes his term to “ORDERS” in the context of sins and evils.
      This is a dead giveaway of intellectual dishonesty.

      But I noticed something quite pronounced about his body language.

      You know that reading body language is all about discerning when someone is saying something that they really don’t believe.

      Why do you think his presentation was so hysterical – with his screening, shouting bulging-eyes and popping blood-vessels?
      His body language reveals he doesn’t REALLY believe god controls people the way he says god does.
      His body language reveals he’s trusting in his own works (in this case hysterical preaching) in order to persuade people.
      If he REALLY believed his god controls people the way he presented – his body language wouldn’t be hysterical.

      So I think he’s a typical Calvinist who embraced Theological Determinism and a compatibilist definition of free will.

      Like

      1. Oh one more thing – if one replaced his sound track with that of Adolph Hitler – it would be hilarious!!! :-]

        Like

  17. Notes from the Oxford Handbook of Free Will
    Dr. Robert Kane Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy University of Texas.

    The problem with Calvinism:

    Calvinist theologian Jonathan Edwards took the classical compatibilist line, that freedom is the ability to do what we want or desire without constraints or impediments; and Edwards argued that we could have such freedom to do as we want even if everything in the world was determined by the foreordaining acts of God.

    Predestination in this form is difficult to accept, and the reasoning of chapter 11 suggests why. If humans were predestined in the way Edwards describes, they would not be ultimately responsible for their actions. For God’s creation of the world and creatures, determining every aspect of it in every part, would obviously include determining every aspect of human nature in every part.

    And this absolute, meticulous determining of every part would be a SUFFICIENT CAUSE of everything that happens, including the good and evil acts of humans.

    Since humans are not in turn responsible for God’s creating the world as God did, then humans would not be ultimately responsible for their natures and hence their actions.

    Worse still, the ultimate responsibility for good and evil acts would lie with God, who knowingly created a world in which those acts would inevitably and unavoidably occur.

    Such consequences are unacceptable for most theists, who believe that God is not the cause of evil and who also believe that God justly punishes us for our sins.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. br.d writes, ‘Dr. Robert Kane Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy University of Texas. The problem with Calvinism:…”

      That’s fine but you neglected to provide Dr. Kane’s alternative to Calvinism. Anyone can complain about Calvinism – you do that all the time. However, if a person has no rational alternative to Calvinism, (other than retreating into Open Theism or otherwise denying that God is omniscient, infinite in understanding and/or not perfectly wise) why should we care?

      Like

      1. Its sufficient to highlight aspects of Theological Determinism and its accompanying language of double-speak.
        Which reveal how alien it is to the God of scripture and the narrative of scripture.

        Unless of course, one wants to embrace the notion (as Calvinists do) that the God of scripture believes [A] while speaking [NOT A].
        And the authors of scripture implicitly embrace double-think and reflect it in their writing.

        Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof :-]

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    2. BrD
      Thank you for the references and thoughts on this subject. I will look into them when time allows.
      However, I am mortified to think that anything dealing with Adolph Hitler could ever be close to humorous.

      Like

      1. Hi Ellah,
        You make an excellent point – well said!
        I guess the Calvinist’s body language and that of Hilters – have certain characteristics in common.
        And you’re probably right – the Lord doesn’t find them humorous in either case.
        Duly noted and thanks.

        Like

  18. THE STOIC EXCULPATORY ARGUMENT – ZUES IS NOT TO BE BLAMED FOR THE EVIL HE DETERMINES

    The Greek Stoic Cleanthes (330. 230 BC), argued that all things are determined by the God Zeus.

    But even though Zeus determines all things which come to pass – and even though the vast percentage of things determined by Zeus are evils perpetrated by mankind, it does not follow that Zeus is responsible for the evils he determines mankind to commit.

    To support this argument, Cleanthes appeals to an analogy of a round cylinder resting on the top of a hill. Zeus aligns the cylinder so that it will roll down the hill and kill an innocent child. But the reason the cylinder roles, Cleanthes argues, is because the cylinder is round. If it were square it would not role.

    Now Cleanthes, being a consistent determinist, admits that Zeus’ pushing the cylinder, is in fact, the antecedent cause. But still he argues, if the cylinder were square, it would not have rolled. Therefore, Cleanthes argues, it is THE NATURE of the cylinder that is to be blamed, and not Zeus who arranged and initiated the whole affair.

    Therefore, Cleanthes concludes, when Zeus uses men in order to make wicked evil things come to pass – and even though Zeus makes men do these things by predestining they do them with immutable decrees – It is still the wicked NATURE of men that is to be blamed for sins and evils, and not Zeus.

    From “The Stoics” by Sandback, F.H. (page 102)

    One interesting point however, which Cleanthes doesn’t seem to care to address, is – since it is the case the Zeus determines all things – how did it come about that the NATURE of the cylinder was round? Isn’t it true that the cylinder couldn’t be round unless Zeus determined it? Is Zeus just playing amoral unethical games with men – perhaps for his good pleasure?

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  19. WHAT DEGREE OF CHOICE DO WE REALLY HAVE WHEN CHOICE IS FATED

    Oxford Handbook on Free Will
    -quote:
    From a personal or practical standpoint, we PERCEIVE ourselves as free agents capable of influencing the world in various ways. OPEN ALTERNATIVES “seem” to lie before us. We reason or deliberate among them and choose. We FEEL it is “up to us” what we choose and how we act; and this means that we could have chosen or “acted otherwise”. For, as Aristotle put it, ‘When acting is “up to us”, so is not acting’. This “up to us-ness” also suggests that the origins or sources of our actions are in us and no in something else over which we have no control – whether that something else is fate or God, the laws of nature, birth or upbringing, or other humans. -end quote

    University of Notre Dame – On Free Will
    -quote:
    Determinism is the thesis that it is true at every moment that the way things then are, determines ONE UNIQUE FUTURE, and that ONLY ONE ALTERNATIVE future that may exist relative to a given moment is a physically possible continuation of the state of things at that moment. -end quote

    Calvinism embraces Universal Divine Causal Determinism. And is therefore consistent with determinism’s thesis that at any moment, only ONE UNIQUE FUTURE is OPEN to us. In Calvinist terminology – at the foundation of the world, every person’s moment-by-moment future is -quote “fixed in the past”, or “settled”, by the THEOS, and every choice we make is therefore “rendered certain” by the THEOS and not by us.

    On this view, the THEOS enjoys a Libertarian form of free will – in that when he is faced with a choice between A and B, both of these are equally OPEN to him from which to choose. In Philosophy this is described as PAP (the Principle of Alternative Possibilities). In this case, both A and B represent alternative possibilities equally OPEN to the THEOS to choose from.

    But since the THEOS determines every choice the creature makes, PAP does not exist for the creature. In this case when we are faced with a choice between A and B, the THEOS has already made that choice, and the ONE choice the THEOS determined us to choose, is the ONE UNIQUE choice that is OPEN to us to choose – and not the other.

    There are different beliefs about what degree of choice we actually have in this scheme. The hard determinist insists that since only ONE of these is actually OPEN to us from which to choose, our perception of being able to choose the other is an illusion. The soft determinist (aka compatibilist Calvinist) argues that even though only ONE of these is actually OPEN to us from which to choose, we still have the same degree of choice we would have if both of these were equally OPEN to us. But Dr. Alvin Plantinga, considers this argument completely irrational, and likens it to putting a man in a jail cell and telling him he is as free as he would be if he were outside the cell.

    This form of fated choice can be likened to a choice a person would make after hypnosis. Say for example, 50 people are told under hypnosis that in the future each of them will be faced with choosing between root beer and orange soda, and in that situation, they will choose orange soda. Sure enough, when they are taken out of the hypnotic state, and the two drinks are presented, every one of them chooses the orange soda.

    The soft determinist (aka compatibilist Calvinist) may argue, that technically speaking, each one did make a choice – they chose the orange soda. But the indeterminist rejects this as a “genuine” choice because hypnosis was used as a mechanism to determine what choice they would make.

    The non-Calvinist Christian would see no ethical problem with God using some form of supernatural hypnosis, as a mechanism to determine people’s choices. But they would insist that a Holy God would only do this in unusual circumstances. And that any God who would do this to every choice every person makes, would be the equivalent of people functioning as puppets or robots.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great explanation. The Calvinist pretends that since God uses ‘supernatural hypnosis’, instead of a club, to give us the desired desires, he remains free of the charge of using ‘force’. As I stated before, earthly rulers have sought that same power to control men by implanted thoughts and commands. It is still improper manipulation of another’s power of choice, and is just as immoral as force.

      Like

      1. ts00 writes, “The Calvinist pretends that since God uses ‘supernatural hypnosis’,…”

        Silly ts00. You have such an active imagination. There is nothing in Calvinism about God using ‘supernatural hypnosis’,…”

        Like

      2. Rhutchin obfuscates:
        “Silly ts00. You have such an active imagination. There is nothing in Calvinism about God using ‘supernatural hypnosis’,…””

        Cause no one here has ever pointed out the deceptive tactics and doublespeak of Calvinism. 😉

        Like

      3. TruthSeeker
        rhutchin obfuscates:
        “Silly ts00. You have such an active imagination. There is nothing in Calvinism about God using ‘supernatural hypnosis’,…””

        Cause no one here has ever pointed out the deceptive tactics and doublespeak of Calvinism. 😉

        br.d
        I love it how rhutchin can detail ever little miniscule thing Calvin’s god decrees at the foundation of the world *AS-IF* rhutchin were right there at his side. And then telling someone they have an “active imagination”.

        I think that’s called reverse attribution. :-]

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      4. br.d writes, “I love it how rhutchin can detail ever little miniscule thing Calvin’s god decrees at the foundation of the world *AS-IF* rhutchin were right there at his side.”

        br.d again deflects. Do we conclude that br.d now rejects the notion that God is omnipresent at any given point in time? I do not have to be at God’s side to know that God is everywhere present and thereby sees everything, no matter how minuscule – thus God’s decrees cover even the minuscule. Where we differ, is that I say God is omniscient and knows everything no matter how minuscule for all points in the future. br.d doesn’t like that.

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      5. br.d
        “I love it how rhutchin can detail every little miniscule thing Calvin’s god decrees at the foundation of the world *AS-IF* rhutchin were right there at his side. and then he claims that others have wild imaginations. :-]

        rhutchin
        God is omnipresent at any given point in time? I do not have to be at God’s side to know that God is everywhere present and thereby sees everything.

        br.d
        And this is supposed to explain how a human knows every little miniscule thing Calvin’s god decrees at the foundation of the world *AS-IF* he were right there at his side. – and then claim others have wild imaginations?

        The good news is – Calvinism’s kindergarten logic can be quite entertaining. :-]

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      6. br.d writes, “this is supposed to explain how a human knows every little miniscule thing Calvin’s god decrees at the foundation of the world”

        Silly br.d. It just means that God knows everything. Humans just have to know that God knows it.

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      7. br.d
        “this is supposed to explain how a human knows every little miniscule thing Calvin’s god decrees at the foundation of the world – as if he were right there with him – and then claims others have wild imaginations?

        rhutchin
        Silly br.d. It just means that God knows everything. Humans just have to know that God knows it.

        br.d
        Well that gives us another example of Calvinist logic!
        I wonder at what grade in high school kids lean what a “non sequitur” is. :-]

        Like

      8. ts00 writes, ‘Cause no one here has ever pointed out the deceptive tactics and doublespeak of Calvinism.”

        Yep. A lot of smoke but never a fire.

        Like

      9. TruthSeeker:
        “The Calvinist pretends that since God uses ‘supernatural hypnosis’,…”

        rhutchin
        Silly ts00. You have such an active imagination. There is nothing in Calvinism about God using ‘supernatural hypnosis’,…”

        br.d
        Calvinist Paul KJoss Helseth – Four Views on Divine Providence
        -quote:
        “The MECHANICS of how God can be the efficient cause of sin without……being culpable for, sin is inscrutable”

        Notice Helseth uses the term “MECHANICS”
        This term serves as a tip-off of a major characteristic of determinism – its MECHANICAL.

        Notice also how Calvinists have this divine knowledge of every little miniscule detail of Calvin’s god’s decrees.
        But for questions where the answer is a little too embarrassing they punt to INSCRUTABLE – or the bible doesn’t tel us that.

        One would think they were right there beside Calvin’s god while he was making each and every decree.
        And yet on other questions – no answers.
        I think this might be just a little too convenient! :-]

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      10. Thanks TruthSeeker!
        Yes I agree the he doesn’t force argument doesn’t line up with Biblical ethics when one realizes creatures can’t “do otherwise” than what the THEOS determines they do.

        This is why rhutchin spends so much time using word games designed to paint the opposite picture *AS-IF* the creature can “do otherwise” than what the THEOS determines.

        As we’ve said before – its their doctrine – they ought to own it.

        Like

      11. br.d writes, “…paint the opposite picture *AS-IF* the creature can “do otherwise” than what the THEOS determines.”

        Even br.d is not above employing half-truths in his speculative complaints as he seems unable to advance any real arguments.. I have pointed out that the events God has determined are consistent with the wants and desires of people so that the choices that people make in a God determined world are the same choices people would make if the world were not determined by God. RC Sproul makes this point explaining that the will of man and the will of God are often concurrent and where the will of man differs from the will of God, God’s will prevails. Thus, we read in James, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.” This applies in all cases of human choice and action.

        Like

      12. br.d
        This is why rhutchin spends so much time using word games designed to paint the opposite picture *AS-IF* the creature can “do otherwise” than what the THEOS determines.

        rhutchin:
        I have pointed out that the events God has determined are consistent with the wants and desires of people so that the choices that people make in a God determined world are the same choices people would make if the world were not determined by God. RC Sproul makes this point explaining….etc

        br.d
        1)
        Dr. Alvin Plantinga calls this argument completely irrational
        Even a high-school student could see through it.

        Plantinga provides an example of its form:
        You put a man in a jail cell and then try to convince him he is just as free in the cell as he would be if he were out of the cell.

        1)
        rhutchin’s statement – it were honest would be:
        “The events Calvin’s god has determined as people’s fate – are consistent with the wants and desires of people – because they are the wants and desires Calvin’s god has determined people to be fated with.

        And in the Calvinist’s mind, he imagines this circular-reasoning *AS-IF* it were rational! :-]

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      13. “Plantinga provides an example of its form:
        You put a man in a jail cell and then try to convince him he is just as free in the cell as he would be if he were out of the cell. ”

        The jail cell in this case being the person’s nature that the Scriptures tell us is in slavery to sin. Thus, the LFW crowd tells the person in slavery to sin that he is just as free as if he were not in slavery to sin. Good catch by br.d.

        Like

      14. “Plantinga provides an example of its form:
        You put a man in a jail cell and then try to convince him he is just as free in the cell as he would be if he were out of the cell. ”

        rhutchin
        The jail cell in this case being the person’s nature that the Scriptures tell us is in slavery to sin. Thus, the LFW crowd tells the person in slavery to sin that he is just as free as if he were not in slavery to sin. Good catch by br.d.

        br.d
        1)
        Again – if Calvin’s THEOS is not the antecedent cause then you must reject Theological Determinism.

        A *TRUE* Calvinist embraces Theological Determinism – and he bites the bullet and owns it.

        2)
        By your last assertion (or is it R.C. Sproul’s) you assert that Calvin’s god only decrees what comes to pass -quote “consistent with” what will come to pass without Calvin’s god decreeing it come to pass. This turns the doctrine of the decrees into a facade because they are unnecessary. Things are going to be what they are going to be without the decrees.

        This last escape clause on your part is just about as close to distancing yourself from determinism as you can get.

        Thus you again confirm my previous post where I observe that Calvinist use language to masquerade their determinism as Libertarian Free will. The poor Calvinist has a love-hate relationship with his own theology. That must be what makes Calvinism superior! :-]

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      15. br.d writes, “A *TRUE* Calvinist embraces Theological Determinism – and he bites the bullet and owns it.”

        Why not, since this position is affirmed by Scripture? We read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Paul then expands this, “…by Christ all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth…Christ is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Paul then says, “God works all things after the counsel of His will,…” and with respect to His elect, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose….” then, “From His dwelling place God looks out On all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works.”

        Who does not affirm that God is intimately involved in the affairs of His creation?

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      16. br.d writes, “A *TRUE* Calvinist embraces Theological Determinism – and he bites the bullet and owns it.”

        rhutchin:
        Who does not affirm that God is intimately involved in the affairs of His creation?

        br.d
        *AS-IF* this statement is *TRUE* to Calvinism’s unique distinctive.
        Another good example of Calvinist double-speak. :-]

        As William Lane Craig says: “Sadly but consistently, the Calvinist fails to enunciate the radical distinctions of his own belief system.

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      17. br.d
        This is so true. I have seen this consistently in any debate.

        The Calvinists take the “You created the universe O Lord” verses and say, “See! We told you so!” As if they are the only ones who believe that. And worse, as if that somehow proves that He is now the author and delighter in all evil.

        Their Good News:

        God created all the evil in the world. Everything you do —-good and bad — is exactly what he wants.

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      18. Yes FOH – your spot on!

        Elijah called this “halting between two opinions”.

        I find it ironic how Calvinists claim the distinctives of mainstream Christianity are inferior.
        But when faced with the consequences of Calvinist distinctives they hide behind the camouflage of the very distinctives they call inferior.

        Somehow I don’t think Jesus teaches them that strategy! :-]

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      19. br.d writes, “Calvinist use language to masquerade their determinism as Libertarian Free will. ”

        Actually, Libertarian Free will is a nebulous concept and not well defined. Even you cannot provide a definition of LFW that says something substantive. As a consequence, people who hold to LFW are always making claims against Calvinism that reflect a false understanding of LFW – this being possible because there is no true understanding of LFW. Even br.d can’t find anything that works.

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      20. br.d
        “Calvinist use language to masquerade their determinism as Libertarian Free will. ”

        rutchin
        Actually, Libertarian Free will is a nebulous concept…….Even br.d can’t find anything that works.

        br.d
        See why Dr. William James, Immanuel Kant, and Dr. Tomis Kapitan agree. :-]

        Here:
        https://soteriology101.com/2017/11/03/why-debate-in-defense-of-free-will/comment-page-2/#comment-25060

        And Here:
        https://soteriology101.com/2017/10/04/10499/comment-page-1/#comment-24598

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      21. Hutch saying “this being possible because there is no true understanding of LFW” should alone preclude anyone from taking anything he says seriously. He’s arguing in bad faith and it simply does not matter if he knows it or not.

        Like

      22. Eric:
        This was obvious to me that rhutchin is discussing in bad faith on Oct 5 when TS00 posted an answer to all the things “you guys never explain” and when Brian answered for the 4th time about John 6:44 (that we “never answer”).

        Remember, if your answer does not agree with Calvinism, it is as if you never said a thing.

        Even this post will yield some kind of FOH “never backs up what he says letter.” I have not taken his posts seriously or responded to them for months now, and urge new-posters to beware. We have no time to keep answering the same questions over and over—- only to be told we never addressed them!

        Liked by 1 person

      23. EK writes, “Hutch saying “this being possible because there is no true understanding of LFW” should alone preclude anyone from taking anything he says seriously.”

        How about providing a reasonable definition of LFW that we can work with in discussion. I don’t think it can be done – this because I have yet to see one.

        Like

      24. EK writes, “Hutch saying “this being possible because there is no true understanding of LFW” should alone preclude anyone from taking anything he says seriously.”

        rhutchin:
        How about providing a reasonable definition of LFW that we can work with in discussion. I don’t think it can be done – this because I have yet to see one.

        br.d
        Through logic we discern things which are mutually exclusive (i.e, opposites). Like, black is not white, and truth is not false, and light is not dark. We discern that determinism is not indeterminism, and compatibilistic free will is not incompatibilistic (often refereed to as libertarian) free will.

        There is a distinct property in compatibilistic free will – namely all choices/actions/deliberations/determinations are determined by forces outside of our control. As Christian philosophy puts it – in determinism choices/actions/deliberations/determinations are not “up to us” because they are determined by factors beyond our control and which we are powerless to change.

        Libertarian free will rejects this distinction. And accepts the incompatibility premise and holds a definition of free will, in which choices/actions/deliberations/determinations are OPEN to us in a way that TRUE ALTERNATIVES EXIST which are “up to us”, and are therefore not determined by factors beyond our control, and which we do have the power to change.

        As Dr. Alvin Plantiga would say – in a deterministic world, such as that of a robot, when the robot puts the empty soda can into the correct recycle bin, that choice is not “up to him” but is determined by his programming. Moral attribution (good or bad) cannot legitimately be given to that entity for doing that action, because he cannot “do otherwise”. The robot’s choices/actions/deliberations/determinations are determined by factors beyond his control.

        Or as Jesus said: “Does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not.”
        The servant does not have that necessary degree of LIBERTY in which doing or not doing is “up to him”.

        Secondly, the scripture are not academic text books on metaphysics, and do not explicitly take a position for or against determinism/compatibilism as an exclusive law of the universe as some Calvinists would desire. Calvinist Francis Turretin for example states, “the data of scripture yields two conclusions, both of which must be held in tension, without allowing either one to cancel the other out”.

        Thirdly is the psychological burden that determinism/compatibilism imposes on the human mind, exemplified by the Stoics who (as Calvinism does) embrace Theological Determinism. Are their deliberations determined by factors beyond their control or not? The Hard determinist considers perception of “up to us-ness” an illusion he learns to live with and accept as both real and not real. The soft determinist/compatibilist accepts the same conclusion.

        The general body of Christianity assumes Libertarian Free Will is affirmed by the preponderance of scripture.
        Calvinism has as its unique distinction – the opposite view.

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      25. br.d writes, “There is a distinct property in compatibilistic free will – namely all choices/actions/deliberations/determinations are determined by forces outside of our control.”

        Not exactly. Compatibilism holds that a person is in control of his decisions and those decisions are determined by his wants and desires – his nature. That which is out of his control is the nature with which he is born and this was determined by Adam’s sin. A person’s nature can limit one’s choices but not the freedom of a person to make the choices that are available. This does not mean that outside factors cannot limit one’s choices (a thief demands, your money or your life) or force specific decisions (driving a car forces one to buy gas for the car). In addition, God can determine a person’s decisions – God hardened Pharaoh; God turns the king’s heart.

        Then, “Libertarian free will rejects this distinction….choices/actions/deliberations/determinations are OPEN to us in a way that TRUE ALTERNATIVES EXIST which are “up to us”, and are therefore not determined by factors beyond our control, and which we do have the power to change.”

        This adds nothing substantive to the discussion. People are unique from each other having differing levels of knowledge, skills, and experience, and allowing for the nature with which one is born, choices are OPEN to the extent allowed by knowledge etc. However, this is no different than compatibilism. True alternatives exist with compatibilism as with LFW. So, what’s the distinction between them?

        Then, “As Dr. Alvin Plantiga would say – in a deterministic world, such as that of a robot, when the robot …”

        Plantinga’s deterministic world is, I think, one in which outside factors always determine what one does. Thus, the robot example. In this world, people cannot think, do not gather information, gain experience, or develop skills that can contribute to decision-making. All such things are irrelevant as outside factors – programming – determine what one does. If Plantinga allows for the controlled individual to think independently of the outside controlling factors, then the determinism is coercive and not relevant to either compatibilism or LFW. If not, then Plantinga constructs a robot to prove that it is a robot.

        Then, “The servant does not have that necessary degree of LIBERTY in which doing or not doing is “up to him”.”

        Here br.d introduces the notion of liberty – without explaining the distinction between liberty and freedom. Was there a point to this statement?

        Then, “Secondly, the scripture are not academic text books on metaphysics, and do not explicitly take a position for or against determinism/compatibilism as an exclusive law of the universe as some Calvinists would desire.”

        The Scriptures do speak to these issues. For example, “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;” The hostility of the mind limits choices – it does not submit to the law.

        Then, “The Hard determinist considers perception of “up to us-ness” an illusion he learns to live with and accept as both real and not real. The soft determinist/compatibilist accepts the same conclusion.”

        This makes no sense. What does “he learns to live with” mean other than that a person is aware of his situation and he cannot change it, so that this is a coercive environment. However, both hard and soft determinism hold that the person is not coerced to act against his will but does those things that he wills to do.

        Like

      26. br.d
        “There is a distinct property in compatibilistic free will – namely all choices/actions/deliberations/determinations are determined by forces outside of our control.”

        rhutchin
        Not exactly. Compatibilism holds that a person is in control of his decisions and those decisions are determined by his wants and desires – his nature. …..God CAN determine a person’s decisions….etc.

        br.d
        1) FALSE: The statement is totally correct as it already includes “determinations” – which in determinism/compatiblism are determined by forces outside of our control – namely immutable decrees occurring before we are born. The immutable decree dictates every human determination.

        2) “[Calvin’s] God CAN determine a person’s decisions” is deceptive language designed to infer Calvin’s god may not determine a person’s decisions – which would be a denial of Theological Determinism.

        br.d
        Then, “Libertarian free will rejects this distinction….choices/actions/deliberations/determinations are OPEN to us in a way that TRUE ALTERNATIVES EXIST which are “up to us”, and are therefore not determined by factors beyond our control, and which we do have the power to change.”

        rhutchin
        This adds nothing substantive to the discussion.

        br.d
        By your account only.

        rhutchin
        Plantinga’s deterministic world is, I think, one in which outside factors always determine what one does. Thus, the robot example. In this world, people cannot think, do not gather information, gain experience, or develop skills that can contribute to decision-making.

        br.d
        FALSE
        Plantinga’s theoretical world simply has all of the identity markers of a deterministic world. Everything you sight such as think, gather information etc – do not change that.

        br.d
        As Jesus says: “Does the master thank his servant for doing what he was commanded to do – I think not”
        No attribution praise/blame is given by Jesus to the servant because
        “The servant does not have that necessary degree of LIBERTY in which doing or not doing is “up to him”.”

        rhutchin
        Here br.d introduces the notion of liberty – without explaining the distinction between liberty and freedom. Was there a point to this statement?

        br.d
        The statement is clear all by itself.
        The unbiased reader gets it.

        br.d
        “Secondly, the scripture are not academic text books on metaphysics, and do not explicitly take a position for or against determinism/compatibilism as an exclusive law of the universe as some Calvinists would desire.”

        rhutchin
        The Scriptures do speak to these issues. For example, “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;” The hostility of the mind limits choices – it does not submit to the law.

        br.d
        This argument fails before it even begins. The texts you appeal to here do not affirm determinism – you must read it into the text by virtue of presupposition.
        Which only goes to show my point – the human brain interprets data in accordance to what it believes to be true.

        br.d
        “The Hard determinist considers perception of “up to us-ness” an illusion he learns to live with and accept as both real and not real. The soft determinist/compatibilist accepts the same conclusion.”

        rhutchin
        This makes no sense. What does “he learns to live with” mean other than that a person is aware of his situation and he cannot change it, so that this is a coercive environment. However, both hard and soft determinism hold that the person is not coerced to act against his will but does those things that he wills to do.

        br.d
        This should be obvious. Person A believes every thought he is about to think was determined by antecedent factors outside of his control – yet he goes about his daily life AS-IF they aren’t. That is called “learning to live with it”. And John Calvin teaches it.

        See Dr. Tomis Kapitan – THE FATED MENTAL PHENOMENON OF THE DELIBERATING DETERMINIST

        https://soteriology101.com/2017/10/04/10499/comment-page-1/#comment-24598

        Like

      27. For one who genuinely seeks understanding, rather than to lay traps and play deceptive word games, the free will asserted by non-Calvinists is not too difficult to understand. However, as scripture demonstrates, there are no one-sentence descriptions that will make clear the most complex philosophical questions of the universe. So, I will, as usual, offer the long answer. ☺

        God created all things; thus, all created things are limited to the nature of how, when, where and with whom they exist. Yet, in spite of many undeniable limitations, men were granted the unique God-like ability to think, discern, reason and make choices with what they have been given. Choices which have real implications, giving life real purpose and meaning.

        Adam and Eve made real choices; and in choosing to eat fruit which was forbidden to them, they brought upon themselves not only a casting out of the garden, but a life of labor and many griefs, and their eventual return to dust.

        Into scripture Calvinism introduces a man-made concept that, along with these scripturally revealed ramifications of Adam and Eve’s choice, God actually redesigned the nature of man so that he can no longer exhibit the God-given, God-like nature with which he was originally designed. The forewarned ‘death’ was not something looming, but immediate. According to Calvinism, this ‘death’ which God had threatened, was an immediate change of man’s nature, leaving Adam and Eve, along with all of their progeny, helpless and hopeless in their sin, ‘dead’ to God and unable to choose right from wrong. This in itself would be a disingenuous bait and switch, with Adam and Eve bringing upon themselves the greatest imaginable curse for the sake of a genuine knowledge of good and evil which God then snatched away. Calvinists attempt to justify this cruel trap God laid for his supposedly beloved creation by asserting that it is for ‘the greater good’ of God’s glory, so somehow acceptable. (Note to the unwary: Whenever someone starts talking about ‘the greater good’, run like mad, ‘cause it’s sure to be not so ‘good’ for you!)

        Non-Calvinists reject this little bit of made up drama introduced by Augustine and Calvin, and stick to what we have actually been told. In choosing the ‘right’ to know good and evil without the benefit of God’s protection and assistance, man inevitably left himself open to the temptations of the evil one. In one sense, Calvinism offers, as usual, a subtle distortion of the real picture: It is true that man is not up to the job, without God’s help, of always choosing rightly. His fleshly desires, created to encourage life, are inflamed and stoked by Satan to lure him into endless traps of temporal pleasure that, unbeknownst to the pleasure-laden victim, eventually lead to destruction and death. This feeding of fleshly appetites creates an addiction to the God-given sensation of chemical, physiological pleasure – such as the high that sugar brings. This addiction is so great that it seduces men into robbing, oppressing and even murdering others in order to achieve more and more of this instant ‘pleasure’, rather than laboring for the lasting pleasure that righteous living brings.

        But Calvinism denies all of this, reducing the problem into a God problem. Rather than addressing man’s helpless addiction to fleshly pleasure, Calvinism asserts that God deliberately cursed man with an inability to do anything but pursue this addiction to fleshly pleasure. (They try to cleveerly lay the blame upon Adam, but few would honestly allow Adam the power to enact curses upon all men, proving that any ‘cursing’ would have to be of God.) Like modern science’s proclamations that alcoholism, obesity and sexual sins are ‘genetic’, Calvinism asserts that we sin because we must, and we must because God ordained it to be irresistibly so. Of course, they prefer to not put it so bluntly, but there it is.

        Non-Calvinists, or non-determinists, insist that Adam, and all men, retained the God-given nature with which man was created. Although the lure of sin – mindless pleasure – is so great that all eventually succumb to it to some degree, it is, nonetheless, always a deliberate, personal choice; that is, until the addiction becomes so great that they can no longer resist. The nature of addiction is such that initially the choices are obvious and controllable; but little by little, the lines of reason become blurred by the feeding of desire, until eventually, man becomes little more than a beast, controlled by his irresistibly raging desires. This is the biblical depiction of Total Depravity, in which men deliberately choose evil again and again, pushing away the truth that this choice is not good, until they lose all awareness or ability of making choices. This is the horrible, inescapable condition of sin, which God desires to save us from.

        Sin addiction does require outside help. Like an alcoholic, sinners lose the ability to make good choices due to the beast of desire that they have created. What is needed is an input, not only a new understanding of how destructive sin is, but an awareness of the goodness and trustworthiness of God who desires to rescue us from it. Like a child who desperately wants cake instead of meat and vegetables, we must believe that when God tells us ‘do this and not this’ that it is a good and wise choice, meant to help us, not hurt us. And yet, God will not lock us in an institution and tie us to our beds. He never takes away the right and responsibility of each individual to make the choices presented to him or her. He certainly could have, and the world would be a vastly different place, with no sin, no evil – and no freedom.

        This freedom is so precious that God chose not only to gift his sublime creation with it, but to never destroy it. As all who seek righteousness in themselves and on earth frequently mourn, God chooses to endure the existence of evil, in spite of the great sorrow it brings to him and to us. This evil was not ‘ordained’ or brought to pass by his express ‘will’, but allowed, and only comes to pass by the wrong and rebellious choices of free men.

        And, to our everlasting hope, God has promised that someday there will be no more evil. Not because he will at last destroy our freedom to choose evil, but because who refuse to heed his call to righteousness and life will finally secure for themselves destruction and death. And yet freedom ever remains, as God has provided so great a salvation for us that the choice remains ours. All men must, and will, choose good or evil, life or death.

        Those who desire righteousness and life will be granted the forgiveness for past wickedness as well as the help they need to resist future wicked choices. By the indwelling presence of the very Spirit of God, those who choose life will be enabled to reeducate their minds to the ultimate danger of selfish pleasure seeking and given the power to overcome fleshly temptation.

        Note the beauty of the undistorted truth, the genuine gospel of Jesus Christ portrayed when the concept of free will is properly recognized. Oh, the enemy will offer endless distortions and lies, offering men an illusory escape from the responsibility of their own choices, but he can never, ever eliminate the choice men must make.

        In choosing to believe they have no choice, men wickedly, foolishly attempt to place the blame for their evil choices upon God. The flip claim of Flip Wilson that ‘The devil made me do it’ is subtly turned into ‘God made me do it’. Rather than facing the genuine, eternal responsibility of making good choices, day-by-day, moment-by-moment, the determinist exchanges the truth for a lie – that all of their choices have been pre-determined by God and there is nothing they can do about it. Que sera, sera.

        Thus, if God desires me to do well, he will not simply warn me to resist evil, as he did with Cain, he will perform an unsought mystical act upon me, creating life where none was, so that I am thenceforth magically enabled to resist evil, where I before could not. One can see why the metaphor of divine rape has been often suggested, for this Calvinistic ‘generation’ is not the result of a free and accepted offer of love, as in the marriage bed, but is forced upon the unsuspecting, unseeking victim, whether or no.

        The determinist (Calvinist) asserts that God obviously willed for Cain to choose evil and murder his brother; no, not simply willed, but irrevocably decreed and ordained such evil long before Cain or Abel were ever born. They cannot reasonably explain why God cruelly taunts Cain, suggesting that he resist where he is utterly unable to resist. Calvinism denies Cain his ability and responsibility to refrain from evil, leaving him to helplessly, dutifully follow his God-ordained desire to murder his brother. Further, it would deny Cain any complaint when he is punished for doing that which God irresistibly ordained him both to desire and to do.

        In a nutshell, God proclaims ‘Thou shalt not murder’; God ordains ‘Thou shalt murder’; God warns ‘Thou shalt not murder’; God brings to pass the previously ordained murder; Cain is punished.

        Perhaps what Rhutchin is asserting, and rightly, is that there is no short, prooftext answer to the problem of evil. It is too complex to reduce to a mathematical equation. Perhaps this is why God’s revelation is set forth in narrative, rather than in doctrinal assertions like Calvin’s Institutes. For you see, God is no heavenly Einstein, spouting theorems and proofs that make men’s heads spin. Rather, he is a heavenly Father, holding out his loving arms in an offer than is easily understood. We can safely leave the revolutions of earth and planets to God, but must take the steps necessary to enter into the safety of God’s open arms.

        That is the long description of free will.

        Like

      28. ts00 writes, “Into scripture Calvinism introduces a man-made concept that, along with these scripturally revealed ramifications of Adam and Eve’s choice, God actually redesigned the nature of man so that he can no longer exhibit the God-given, God-like nature with which he was originally designed.”

        This is wrong. No redesign. Adam’s sin corrupted his God given nature – the spirit died, and faith was lost – and now Adam’s offspring are born with a dead spirit and no faith. God does not quicken that spirit or provide faith when a person is conceived but accomplishes these things later in life, if at all. Thus, the original God-given nature was lost and will not be restored fully until we are in heaven. You then claim, “Non-Calvinists, or non-determinists, insist that Adam, and all men, retained the God-given nature with which man was created.” However, this does not fit with the Scriptures in Ephesians 2 where God quickens the spirit and Romans 10 where faith is conveyed through the gospel.

        Finally, “That is the long description of free will.”

        What I read was not really different from the Calvinist position despite the remarks made about ts00’s not really accurate impressions of Calvinism. The wordy explanation seemed only to say that people still make choices under various influences and scenarios and that is true under Calvinism. This certainly is not a description of LFW.

        Like

    2. br.d writes, ” In Calvinist terminology – at the foundation of the world, every person’s moment-by-moment future is -quote “fixed in the past”, or “settled”, by the THEOS, and every choice we make is therefore “rendered certain” by the THEOS and not by us.”

      In shorthand, we say, “God is omniscient.”

      Then, “the indeterminist rejects this as a “genuine” choice because hypnosis was used as a mechanism to determine what choice they would make. ”

      God is the determiner, but He does not need to resort to hypnosis. Consequently, people are not functioning as puppets or robots as br.d shows here.

      Like

      1. br.d
        In Calvinist terminology – at the foundation of the world, every person’s moment-by-moment future is -quote “fixed in the past”, or “settled”, by the THEOS, and every choice we make is therefore “rendered certain” by the THEOS and not by us.”

        rhutchin
        In shorthand, we say, “God is omniscient.”

        The indeterminist rejects this as a “genuine” choice because hypnosis was used as a mechanism to determine what choice they would make. ”

        rhutchin
        God is the determiner, but He does not need to resort to hypnosis. Consequently, people are not functioning as puppets or robots as br.d shows here.

        br.d
        And you consider that an example of rational reasoning?
        Thanks for the example. :-]

        The good news is – here you inadvertently provided a truthful answer to a question you would otherwise evade.

        br.d
        In Calvinism *WHO* determines via immutable decree – what Saul (or any creature – Adam et-all ) determine…..in such a way that they cannot determine otherwise than what the THEOS immutably decree they determine?

        rhutchin:
        God is the determiner

        Like

      2. br.d
        A simple way to put is to ask Calvinist friends:

        “Is everything that happens exactly what God wants?”

        In their effort to protect their version of “sovereignty” and “omniscience” they will want to say yes.

        If they say yes, then He (God) is responsible (fully, “necessarily”) for all sin and evil and He WANTS it.

        If they say no, then they must admit that man can do things that God does not want.

        That begins to unravel their non-biblical definition of sovereignty.

        Most Calvinists will not discuss this with you (or will revert to Piper’s silly “two wills”). ((Two schizophrenically conflicting wills)).

        They just wanna get back to Total Depravity….we are “too dead” and voila the other 4 points will fall into place.

        Like

      3. Yes I totally agree with you FOH.

        Although I have seen Calvinist evade that question by concealing the fact that Calvin’s god fates every event.

        So perhaps you might consider adding that caveat to that question?

        “Is everything that happens exactly what God wants, and renders certain, such that no alternative can happen?”

        FOH I have another topic that I would enjoy getting your and TruthSeekers thoughts on.

        Jesus says “A house divided against itself cannot stand”

        If Jesus were saying this to theologians, it would be because he recognized that their theology resulted in a view of a THEOS whose house was divided against itself. Is it possible for a theology to logically result in a view of a THEOS who is divided against himself?

        I actually think Calvin’s theology does in fact logically result in a THEOS who is divided against himself.

        We’re familiar with the principle “might makes right”. This is actually a principle logically consistent with Calvin’s view of God.
        But what follows from “might makes right” is calling good evil, and calling evil good.

        Calvin’s god can set a standard that bearing false witness is evil – and yet when he bears false witness it is good.
        At some point we must conclude that Calvin’s god is a a god who is divided against himself.
        Because he isn’t consistent with his own standards.

        What do you think?

        Like

      4. You mean like:

        ‘Let us make man in our image’ . . .
        . . . then cursing them with Total Depravity.

        Ordaining the wickedness of man be great upon the earth . . .
        . . . then being sorry he had ever made them.

        Giving men the desire to build a great city and tower so as not be scattered abroad
        . . . then confusing their language so that they would be scattered abroad.

        Giving Abraham the faith to ‘believe’ . . .
        . . . then ‘testing’ him with the command to sacrifice Isaac to see if he had faith to ‘believe’

        Commanding ‘Thou shalt not murder, steal, etc.’ . . .
        . . . having previously ordained that men would murder, steal, etc.

        Going to miraculous lengths to lead Israel from slavery into a promised land . . .
        . . . then wishing to consume them in hot wrath for making the golden calf.

        Directing Joshua to charge the people to ‘choose you this day whom you will serve’ . . .
        . . . all the while having determined that they would go after foreign idols.

        Directing Joshua to warn the people of Israel: ‘If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you’ . . .
        . . . ‘after having done you good.’

        And this merely scratches the surface.

        Is this a house divided against itself or a schizophrenic god who doesn’t really know what he wants? However you want to put it, Calvinism is left with no rational explanation for why their god has two opposing wills; why he desires that none perish with one will, yet determines that many whom he could have saved indeed perish with the other will.

        All are left with the need to explain good and evil.

        The atheist can say ‘There is no God’.

        As far as I can see there are only three logical explanations for evil for any person who believes in a righteous God:

        1) God is not omniscient and omnipotent, thus greater powers overrule his will.
        2) God is two-sided, playing good and evil against one another for his own purposes.
        3) God created men with genuine freedom of choice, thus granting them the ability to reject his will and do that which is evil, even though this is totally against his will.

        Calvinists reject options 1 and 3, leaving them with a two-sided God, or one whose house is divided against itself. He claims to be perfectly righteous, commands men to be holy as he is, yet secretly and prior to their creation, ordained men to do evil. He rules over a house divided.

        Non-Calvinists reject options 1 and 2, asserting that God has one eternally good will, but chose to create vessels which have the ability to resist that will and assert their own in its place. There is no division; God’s will always is and was that all men do what is good and right, loving God and others. In order to allow men the opportunity to freely do his will, God saw fit to create men with the ability to choose between good and evil, between doing his will as he desires, or rejecting his will and doing evil.

        The revelation of God, presented in what we know as scripture tells us this story, of a good and perfect God, desiring only good, creating lesser beings with the ability and privilege to choose this desired good, or reject it. We see, over and over, how men reject the good for evil, the truth for the lie, love for hate and life for death. Calvinism demands that God originates, ordains and compels the evil as well as the good that exists in the world.

        Others assert that God has granted men a choice, and will someday hold them accountable for their freely chosen actions. And, demonstrating a remarkable mercy and grace, God offers to overlook the former sins of those who respond to his atonement for sin via the sacrifice of Jesus. Thus, all who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, yet have an opportunity for forgiveness and everlasting life. Every individual has a choice to make; because God is not divided, but merciful.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Good post TruthSeeker!

        Many pagan deities are two-sided – (i.e., characterized by moral-dualism)
        Isn’t it interesting Calvin’s god is also.

        Like

      6. ts00 writes, “As far as I can see there are only three logical explanations for evil for any person who believes in a righteous God:
        1) God is not omniscient and omnipotent, thus greater powers overrule his will.
        2) God is two-sided, playing good and evil against one another for his own purposes.
        3) God created men with genuine freedom of choice, thus granting them the ability to reject his will and do that which is evil, even though this is totally against his will.
        Calvinists reject options 1 and 3, leaving them with a two-sided God…”

        Actually, Calvinists edit, and combine, 1 and 3 to get:

        4) God is omniscient and omnipotent and God created men with genuine freedom of choice, thus granting them the ability to reject his will and do that which is evil, even though this is totally against his will.

        Thus, Adam eats the fruit and God does nothing to stop him even though He could. God gives people the freedom to do as they want and then concludes, “the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” so God sends the flood and kills all but Noah and his family.

        Nothing that people do with the freedom God gives them surprises God because He knew exactly what would happen when He created the world.

        For a person who “came out” of Calvinism, I am continually surprised by what you write. For you, it doesn’t deem to be about Calvinism as much as a personal vendetta.

        Like

      7. TS00

        Indeed…you nailed the idea of a house divided! Thanks for those great examples of schizophrenic opposing ideas.

        I have seen MacArthur say both are truth: God does it all and man has a choice. He declares mystery and compatibilism.

        But that still leaves us with the ability to sin, and if reproached about it, simply claim…. “Hey, if it happened it must have been God’s will. All that happens is what God wants, right?”

        Now, some may offer an example to the “mystery” and “both cant be true” idea by appealing to the nature of God. They claim that God is 3 persons yet One. They claim Christ is fully God and fully man—Mystery!! Compatibilism.

        The fact that we cannot explain/understand the nature of God does not compare at all to this. If Calvinists are correct that God’s will of command is that we believers not lie (cheat, steal, etc) but His sovereign will was that which made us lie, cheat, steal, then Luther was correct—- “sin boldly!” for all is from God!

        Good News! Do what you want—for all that happens is what God wants!

        Like

      8. CHEECH & CHONG BECOME CARD CARRYING CALVINISTS

        Morality??? Ethics??? We don’t need no Morality! – and we don’t need no Ethics!

        Everything we think say and do – is exactly what Calvin’s god wants!
        And Calvin’s god doesn’t give us any alternative anyway!

        If you don’t believe us – just look who says so!

        rhutchin
        May 27, 2018 at 8:19 am
        Everything that happens is exactly what God wants, and renders certain, such that no alternative can happen.

        Who said Calvinism can’t be entertaining! :-]

        Like

      9. br.d suggests, ““Is everything that happens exactly what God wants, and renders certain, such that no alternative can happen?”

        Repeating again because br.d keeps forgetting, Ephesians 1 tells us, “God works all things after the counsel of His will.” Consequently, everything that happens is exactly what God wants, and renders certain, such that no alternative can happen. The best of all possible worlds is that one in which everything that happens is exactly what God wants. Who better to be in charge of the world than God??

        Like

      10. br.d suggests asking the Calvinist
        , ““Is everything that happens exactly what God wants, and renders certain, such that no alternative can happen?”

        rhutchin
        Repeating again because br.d keeps forgetting, Ephesians 1 tells us,“God works all things after the counsel of His will.” Consequently, everything that happens is exactly what God wants, and renders certain, such that no alternative can happen…..etc

        br.d
        If one can discern Calvinism plagued with self-contradictions, evasive pretzel logic, and dishonest language tricks.
        Then one can recognize scripture doesn’t affirm those things.

        See CALVINISM: LOGICAL INFANCY OR ALTRUISTIC DISHONESTY?
        https://soteriology101.com/2018/04/06/god-has-chosen-you-from-the-beginning-2-thessalonians-213/comment-page-1/#comment-23416

        Like

      11. FOH writes, “If they say yes, then He (God) is responsible (fully, “necessarily”) for all sin and evil and He WANTS it.”

        You can always argue against that position rather than just complain about it.

        Like

  20. WILLIAM JAMES AND IMMANEUL KANT – ON DETERMINISM/COMPATIBILISM

    Dr. William James:
    Compatibilism is a quagmire of EVASION. The Compatibilists strategy relies upon stealing the name of freedom to MASK their underlying determinism. They make a PRETENSE of restoring the caged bird to liberty with one hand, while with the other they anxiously tie a string to its leg to make sure it can’t get beyond determinism’s grasp.

    Immanuel Kant:
    Compatibilism is a wretched SUBTERFUGE with which some persons still let themselves be put off, and so think they have solved lives problems with petty WORD- JUGGLERY.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. br.d writes, “Dr. William James: Compatibilism is a quagmire of EVASION.”
      Immanuel Kant: Compatibilism is a wretched SUBTERFUGE”

      Everyone is entitled to his opinion. How about providing the substantive arguments these men most certainly developed to support their statements.

      Like

  21. TWO OPPOSING VIEWS ON FREE WILL

    Determinism is the philosophical theory that all choices/deliberations/determinations, including moral ones, are completely determined by previously existing antecedence causes and factors which are outside of the control of – and the source/origin of these outside of – the person with whom the choices/deliberations/determinations occur.

    Libertarian Free Will is an opposing position – that of indeterminism.

    If the God of scripture has choices/deliberations/determinations, which are not determined by factors outside of his control, and these have their source/origin within himself, and alternatives are genuinely open to him, then the Libertarian position would point to this state of freedom of the will – as about as close to Libertarian Free Will as one can get.

    However, this view of Libertarian Free Will does not entail the complete absence of constraints. For even God, who exercises this form of Free Will, is constrained by aspects of his own nature, and by logic itself. For example, he is not free to exist and not exist at the same time. He is not free to speak truth and falsehood at the same time. He is not free to create married bachelors or square circles. Be that as it may, within the general conception of Libertarian Free will, the existence of these constraints does not compromise that form of Free Will which He enjoys.

    Hard determinists embrace the thesis of determinism and conclude that human perceptions of indetermined choice/deliberation/determination are ILLUSIONS, and they urge people to accept these as illusions. The Soft determinist (aka compatibilist) embraces the same determinism as the Hard determinist does because determinism itself doesn’t change. The difference is, the Soft determinist embraces a slightly different psychology. Like the Hard determinist, he holds that ALL choices/deliberations/determinations are determined by factors outside of himself. But he departs from the Hard Determinist, by holding that there are ethical and rational reasons to go about his daily life AS-IF they are not.

    This psychological characteristic is in fact the underlying basis for what we call Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. br.d writes, “Determinism is the philosophical theory that all choices…determined by previously existing antecedence causes and factors…he source/origin of these outside of – the person…”

      This is natural determinism. People’s actions are determined by outside factors. No attention to internal factors.

      Then, ‘Libertarian Free Will is an opposing position – that of indeterminism.”

      Not exactly, LFW allows internal factors to “influence” but not “determine” choices. It is distinguished from Calvinist free will (compatibilism/soft determinism) that has internal factors – wants and desires – not just influencing but determining choices.

      Then, “If the God of scripture has choices/deliberations/determinations, which are not determined by factors outside of his control, and these have their source/origin within himself, and alternatives are genuinely open to him, then the Libertarian position would point to this state of freedom of the will – as about as close to Libertarian Free Will as one can get.”

      This denies LFW to humans where internal factors are determined by Adam’s sin so the source is not ultimately within themselves. That is a major issue with some in the LFW world. This is why Dr. Flowers argues against Total Depravity as he wants (his greatest desire and motive) is to legitimize LFW in humans.

      Then, “He is not free to create married bachelors or square circles.”

      This is fuzzy. You are defining a “married bachelor” as someone who is both married and a bachelor. That is like defining a pineapple as a cross between a pine and an apple. As the terms, “married” and “bachelor” are contradictory, a “married bachelor” could not be something that is both “married” and a “bachelor.” The reason that God cannot create a married bachelor is because no one has defined what one is. If it could be defined, God could create it.

      Then, “Hard determinists embrace the thesis of determinism and conclude that human perceptions of indetermined choice/deliberation/determination are ILLUSIONS, and they urge people to accept these as illusions.”

      Or, that people are not aware of all the factors vying to determine what they do. Generally, people are not aware of everything that enters into their decision-making or the strength of those factors. There is no way to prove that hard determinism is false. This is because the majority of choices people make can generally be traced to reasons and motives that determine the choice suggesting that it is possible to trace all decisions back to determining factors.

      Then, “Like the Hard determinist, [the soft determinist] holds that ALL choices/deliberations/determinations are determined by factors outside of himself.”

      Not exactly. The soft determinist, like Jonathan Edwards, attributes decisions to wants and desires – people choose according to their strongest desire.

      Then, “[the soft determinist] departs from the Hard Determinist, by holding that there are ethical and rational reasons to go about his daily life AS-IF they are not.”

      From my understanding, this is a false statement. It is that the reasons are not known; not that they do not exist.

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      1. br.d
        Determinism is the philosophical theory that all choices/deliberations/determinations, including moral ones, are completely determined by previously existing antecedent causes and factors which are outside of the control of – and the source/origin of these outside of – the person with whom the choices/deliberations/determinations occur.”

        rhutchin
        This is natural determinism. People’s actions are determined by outside factors. No attention to internal factors.

        br.d
        False

        Determinism as defined does not designate what the previously existing antecedent causal factors are. Determinism is a MODAL proposition only. A prefix qualifier – such as “Natural” or “Theological” identifies who/what the previously existing antecedent causes and factors are.

        Antecedent causal factors are outside of the control of – and the source/origin of these outside of – the person with whom the choices/deliberations/determinations occur – regardless of who/what the prefix qualifier is.

        In the case of “Natural” Determinism, the antecedent causal factors are outside of the person going back in time and space.

        In the case of “Theological” Determinism, the antecedent causal factors are most definitely outside of the control of – and the source/origin of these outside of the person with whom the choices/deliberations/determinations occur – because these antecedent causal factors have their source and origin in another being (a THEOS).

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      2. br.d writes, “Determinism as defined does not designate what the previously existing antecedent causal factors are.”

        You also define it this way, “Antecedent causal factors are outside of the control of – and the source/origin of these outside of – the person…”

        What does the phrase, “– and the source/origin of these outside of –” mean. I took it to mean that you define “determinism” to involve factors outside the person and not internal to the person. Do you mean something different?

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      3. rhutchin
        What does the phrase, “– and the source/origin of these outside of –” mean. I took it to mean that you define “determinism” to involve factors outside the person and not internal to the person. Do you mean something different?

        br.d
        I think I was very clear – especially in the case of Theological Determinism.
        A SECONDARY means/event is by definition secondary to whatever caused it – as I said the number 2 follows the number 1.
        Unless you want to argue that a secondary means causes a secondary means – because then your into infinite regress.
        So in the case of Theological Determinism where the movements of the THEOS himself are not pre-determined (what Aquinas calls the unmoved mover) then all SECONDARY means eventually have their source/origin in the THEOS.

        Obviously the THEOS is outside of human beings.

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      4. br.d writes, “So in the case of Theological Determinism where the movements of the THEOS himself are not pre-determined (what Aquinas calls the unmoved mover) then all SECONDARY means eventually have their source/origin in the THEOS.”

        Going back to your definition of Determinism: “Determinism is the philosophical theory that all choices…are completely determined by previously existing antecedence causes and factors which are outside of the control of – and the source/origin of these outside of – the person with whom the choices…occur.”

        Your introduction of secondary causes adds nothing. The above says that “..choices…are completely determined by previously existing…factors – the source/origin of these [factors] outside of – the person…” I don’t see your original definition having anything to do with “secondary” causes unless you mean causes outside the person himself (which you seem to be saying in, “Obviously the THEOS is outside of human beings.).

        Then you proposed, “Libertarian Free Will is an opposing position – that of indeterminism.” I countered that the issue is about internal factors while “Determinism” deals with external factors.

        To say that LFW is indeterminism misses the point of the goal of LFW. LFW is an argument against Calvinism (and compatibilism) and it is an argument respecting factors internal to a person. To define LFW as indeterminism – that it argues respecting factors outside the person – doesn’t do justice to LFW.

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      5. br.d
        “So in the case of Theological Determinism where the movements of the THEOS himself are not pre-determined (what Aquinas calls the unmoved mover) then all SECONDARY means eventually have their source/origin in the THEOS.”

        rhutchin
        Going back to your definition of Determinism: “Determinism is the philosophical theory that all choices…are completely determined by previously existing antecedence causes and factors which are outside of the control of – and the source/origin of these outside of – the person with whom the choices…occur.”

        Your introduction of secondary causes adds nothing. The above says that “..choices…are completely determined by previously existing…factors – the source/origin of these [factors] outside of – the person…” I don’t see your original definition having anything to do with “secondary” causes unless you mean causes outside the person himself (which you seem to be saying in, “Obviously the THEOS is outside of human beings.).

        br.d
        I used the example of secondary causes/means because these are appealed to in determinism (aka Calvinism).
        The point is simple – the number 2 follows the number 1 – thus secondary causes have a primary cause as their antecedent.

        rhutchin
        Then you proposed, “Libertarian Free Will is an opposing position – that of indeterminism.” I countered that the issue is about internal factors while “Determinism” deals with external factors.

        br.d
        I didn’t propose that – the literature on free will always does. And yes it equates to indeterminism.
        Your distinction concerning internal vs external factors is actually a distinction without a difference when it comes to a THEOS.
        The reason being that the THEOS is not limited to environments – so internal external are irrelevant.

        William Lane Craig gets into this topic on the issue of divine concurrence – in four views of divine providence:
        -quote:
        The difference between Molina’s view of divine concurrence and the reformed view is that God does not CAUSE the secondary agent’s will to choose one way or the other; he just concurs….in Molina, while God concurs with the sinful will in producing the effect, God does not MOVE the agent’s will to sin. By contrast, in the Reformed view God CAUSES the agent to sin by MOVING his will to chose evil.”

        rhutchin:
        To say that LFW is indeterminism misses the point of the goal of LFW. LFW is an argument against Calvinism (and compatibilism) and it is an argument respecting factors internal to a person. To define LFW as indeterminism – that it argues respecting factors outside the person – doesn’t do justice to LFW.

        br.d
        Doing justice to Libertarian Free Will was not the point. Differentiating it from determinism is the main point of 99% of the literature on free will. Again – if Calvin’s god’s decisions are not themselves determined by antecedent causes outside of himself, then whether that is called indeterminism or Libertarian Free Will makes little difference when the intent is to differentiate between it and determinism.

        Bottom Line:
        Asserting the superior position as Universal Divine Causal Determinism in which everything without exception is determined by a THEOS one minute – and then crafting language that paints events *AS-IF* they are not determined by the THEOS the next minute – is going to raise red flags with anyone who can recognize that as an evasion strategy.

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      6. br.d quoting Craig who seems to quote Molina, ‘…while God concurs with the sinful will in producing the effect, God does not MOVE the agent’s will to sin. By contrast, in the Reformed view God CAUSES the agent to sin by MOVING his will to chose evil.”

        That’s new to me. I have not heard that the Reformed view has God moving the person’s will to choose evil. This was never taught by Sproul – Sproul taught a concurrence doctrine. I have not seen it in the Puritan writers like Edwards or Owen. Sounds suspicious to me.

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      7. br.d writes, “Page 845 Kindle version.”

        I don’t doubt that Craig said this – he says a lot of goofy things about Reformed Theology. I was wondering where he got that idea. Calvinists are pretty adamant on not violating the Scriptures – in this case James, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.’ So, whatever Craig has in mind, it would not involve God tempting a person to sin. Obviously, Craig does not explain himself or you could cut and paste that into the discussion. One of the common complaints I hear about Craig is that he makes statements based on his presuppositions but then doesn’t really explain his presuppositions. By “moving” Craig may mean no more than a “hardening” as with Pharaoh – but that does not fit his context. Craig’s thinking remains a mystery. If you cannot explain Craig’s thinking, you ought not to quote him.

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      8. rhutchin
        I don’t doubt that Craig said this …….Craig’s thinking remains a mystery. If you cannot explain Craig’s thinking, you ought not to quote him.

        br.d
        And you call other people silly! :-]
        Just because something doesn’t fit into your model – supposedly it cannot be explained and should not be quoted.
        The reason we don’t see Calvinists clearly enunciating it is because their language is designed to obfuscate it.
        Therefore my position is that it is in fact Calvinism’s language of evasion that is “Suspicious”. :-]

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      9. br.d writes, “Just because something doesn’t fit into your model – supposedly it cannot be explained and should not be quoted.”

        Not a matter of fitting a model – it is a matter of understanding what people say. If Craig can be explained, why not explain him?? Your response tells us that you cannot explain what Craig means (else you would explain it if only by cutting and pasting Craig’s own explanation). Obviously, even Craig does not explain himself. So, why quote someone like Craig if what he says cannot be explained. What does that accomplish??

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      10. br.d
        “Just because something doesn’t fit into your model – supposedly it cannot be explained and should not be quoted.”

        rhutchin
        Not a matter of fitting a model – it is a matter of understanding what people say. If Craig can be explained, why not explain him?? Your response tells us that you cannot explain what Craig means (else you would explain it if only by cutting and pasting Craig’s own explanation). Obviously, even Craig does not explain himself. So, why quote someone like Craig if what he says cannot be explained. What does that accomplish??

        br.d
        Actually it is a matter of it not fitting into your model – or more precisely it doesn’t fit Calvinism’s advertising narrative.
        I have posted numerous links to Dr. Craig’s statements from his web-site on this topic.
        There is the statement that in Theological Determinism, people function as instruments.
        There is the analogy of Calvin’s god being like a boy moving his toy soldiers.
        There is the analogy of the billiard balls.

        Calvinist language includes phrases like persons are -quote “MADE WILLING”.
        Yet when Dr. Craig states Calvin’s god MAKES people choose what he determines they choose – you disagree and insist the word MAKES must be explained. As far as I’m concerned MAKES, MADE, and MOVE in this context are as easy to understand as 2 x 6 = 12.

        The readers get it. :-]

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      11. I know people tend to stay away from the comparison, but I cannot help but picture a date rape drug whenever Calvinists assert that God mystically ‘makes willing’ the unwilling. Although not a perfect analogy, it reveals the lack of free choice that is present in both situations. Whether one is ‘made willing’ by a drug-induced stupor or a mystical mind-changing ‘regeneration’, it is the same thing. God’s coercion is simply more permanent, inducing not a temporary stupor that allows the abuser to have his way, but a permanent stupor that allows God to get his way. God’s motivations are admittedly more admirable, but his methodology is the same as the rapist – he uses mind-changing tactics to control the desires of the victim.

        Why would an assailant use a date rape drug? So that he can assert, truthfully, that he did not ‘use force’. He simply provided the necessary ‘tool’ to help the victim become alive to his approaches, to maker her desire what she once did not desire. There was no gun involved, no threats made or no bruises left, and yet any court of law would declare this ‘mind-changing drug’ a tool of force, and the resulting act one of compelled ‘willingness’. Whether one controls another by brute force or by mind control, it is still using inappropriate force upon another’s will, eliminating their genuine ability to make free, right-minded choices.

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      12. Good point TruthSeeker!

        A clever lawyer like John Calvin can come up with all sorts of exculpatory arguments to make his client non-culpable.

        Interestingly, I’ve noted before that a significant number of pagan deities are dualistic in nature – having a benevolent and malevolent side. Pan and Zeus for example. Interesting to note that so does Calvin’s god. Zeus makes himself irresistible to Europa by turning himself into a beautiful bull. Calvin’s god has more in common with Zeus and Pan than one might expect. :-]

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      13. ts00 writes, “[God] uses mind-changing tactics to control the desires of the victim.”

        Yeah. Like opening Lydia’s heart so that she can receive the gospel. Or like Jesus said, ““For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind.””

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      14. ts00 writes, “[God] uses mind-changing tactics to control the desires of the victim.”

        rhutchin
        Yeah. Like opening Lydia’s heart so that she can receive the gospel. Or like Jesus said, ““For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind.””

        br.d
        Calvinism rule of exegesis – All scripture must affirm Universal Divine Causal Determinism. Any scripture that does not must be made void.

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      15. br.d
        Anyway…that Lydia Scripture clearly tells us that she was a “worshiper of God” and down by the water to pray. So….. she was obviously “seeking” something when the “opening” took place. No one argues that God reveals Himself to those who seek Him!!

        In fact Hebrews tells us this must be the case….

        And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Heb 11:6)

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      16. Yes, you’re probably familiar with the “god fearers” in those days – Gentiles who wanted to worship in the synagogues.

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      17. FOH writes, “that Lydia Scripture clearly tells us that she was a “worshiper of God” and down by the water to pray. So….. she was obviously “seeking” something when the “opening” took place. No one argues that God reveals Himself to those who seek Him!!”

        Lydia was a religious person – a worshipper of God. So what? What does Paul say about Israel, “…they have a zeal for God,…” Even as Israel had a zeal for God but “…not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God….” so we have Lydia also. Even though Israel had a zeal for God, we then read, “…there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice….That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;…” You always seem to leave out important details.

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      18. As I have noted before, this is the same ‘power’ that evil psychologists have struggled to develop via abusive trauma-based mind control: creating a mind-controlled slave that can be controlled by trigger words rather than visible force. Why did they seek this power under cloak of curing depression and other ‘benign’ objectives? Because all rightly judge mind control as evil and inappropriate manipulation, a destruction of the free will choices God designed men and women to have.

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      19. I’m reminded of the boy in the Gospel narrative that threw himself into the fire, and the legion who treated himself similarly.
        Demons are spirit beings – so how do they MAKE or MOVE people to do things?

        Perhaps demons are just copy-catting the way Calvin’s god MAKES/MOVES people. :-]

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      20. One must conclude that Calvinism’s God is deceitful and untrustworthy, playing games with the creatures he created and controls. He dangles meaningless ‘choices’ in front of them, then snatches them away, only to restore these ‘freely’ made choices – offers they cannot refuse – to a select few who will, irresistibly, do his will. When do his evil will, he just pretends like he is magnanimously overlooking their ‘sin’, rather than admitting that he ordained it – along with everything in his creation – all along. The whole thing is such a silly, illogical mess that it is difficult to believe any intelligent person could buy into it. I am red in the face to think of how rightfully atheists guffaw at Divine Determinists, casting shame upon the true God and the most glorious good news he has given to us.

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      21. Yes – I agree there is that!
        God complains in scripture that his people distort his name among the peoples of the earth.

        And yes I agree – Calvin’s god speaks with forked tongue.

        Choose this day whom you will serve wink-wink.
        When you see me you see the father wink-wink.
        For god so loved the world wink-wink.

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      22. br.d writes, ‘Actually it is a matter of it not fitting into your model – or more precisely it doesn’t fit Calvinism’s advertising narrative.”

        How can we know if no one can explain what Craig says?

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      23. br.d
        ‘Actually it is a matter of it not fitting into your model – or more precisely it doesn’t fit Calvinism’s advertising narrative.”

        rhutchin
        How can we know if no one can explain what Craig says?

        br.d
        Lets take the example I provided where the Calvinist language states concerning the will of a person that the person is -quote “MADE WILLING”. Ok, how do you explain the mechanics of how Calvin’s god MAKES a person willing.

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      24. br.d writes, “Ok, how do you explain the mechanics of how Calvin’s god MAKES a person willing.”

        Here are examples – I think they are understandable,

        “…you were dead in your trespasses and sins,…But God…even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),…” (Ephesians 2)

        “…God who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1)

        “…to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,…” (Philippians 1)

        “…we are God’s workmanship…it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure….” (Ephesians2/Philippians 2)

        “…God qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1)

        “the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.” (Acts 16)

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      25. No these are scripture verses – simply to vulnerable to presuppositions – they do not in themselves affirm determinism.

        Your position is that of determinism – so you need to explain the mechanics of what Calvin’s god specifically does when he -quote “MAKES” a person willing. What he does he specifically do to the person’s will. Your explanation must explicitly affirm determinism.

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      26. br.d writes, “No these are scripture verses – simply to vulnerable to presuppositions – they do not in themselves affirm determinism.”

        The purpose was not to affirm determinism. You had asked, “how do you explain the mechanics of how Calvin’s god MAKES a person willing.” These verses identify the mechanics – the actions God takes that make people willing.

        Then, “Your position is that of determinism – so you need to explain the mechanics of what Calvin’s god specifically does when he -quote “MAKES” a person willing. What he does he specifically do to the person’s will.”

        Read the verses I cited. There are others discussed in these pages. God draws, quickens, qualifies, opens the heart, begins a work, works in a person. As Paul explains, one plants, one waters, but God gives the increase. Under determinism, God determines that which he will do and then does it.

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      27. br.d writes, “No these are scripture verses – simply to vulnerable to presuppositions – they do not in themselves affirm determinism.”

        rhutchin
        The purpose was not to affirm determinism. You had asked, “how do you explain the mechanics of how Calvin’s god MAKES a person willing.” These verses identify the mechanics – the actions God takes that make people willing.

        br.d
        rhutchin – your position is determinism. You asked for further explanations concerning William Lane Craig’s analysis of Theological Determinism. I rightly recognized – the reason you asked for that was because his statements don’t fit within Calvinism’s narrative and persuasion model. You disagreed. I still suspected I was completely right – so I asked you to provide an “explanation” I knew you couldn’t provide. What I was really looking for was what you mean by “explanation”. What you provided were scripture verses – with which you’ve been taught affirm determinism.

        Your answer proved my suspicion. What your answer revealed is that what you call “explanation” is really nothing more than scripture verses you’ve been taught affirm various Calvinist theories.

        This reveals you’re really not looking for an “explanation” – you’re looking for something that fits your system’s milieu control.

        Further you won’t provide an explanation of how Calvin’s god “MAKES” a person’s will do something because Calvinist’s know that if they start trying to explain the mechanism of how Calvin’s god does that – it will clearly reveal a form of puppeteering.

        Bottom line, – you’re thinking is so locked into Calvinism’s milieu control – you can’t think outside of it.
        No explanation from Dr. Craig, Alvin Plantiga, etc fits into Calvinism’s box.

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      28. br.d
        ‘Libertarian Free Will is an opposing position – that of indeterminism.”

        rhutchin
        Not exactly, LFW allows internal factors to “influence” but not “determine” choices. It is distinguished from Calvinist free will (compatibilism/soft determinism) that has internal factors – wants and desires – not just influencing but determining choices.

        br.d
        False:

        -quote:
        Libertarianism is a school of thought that says humans are free from physical determinism and all the other diverse forms of determinism. Libertarians believe that strict determinism and freedom are incompatible. FREEDOM SEEMS TO REQUIRE SOME FORM OF INDETERMINISM”
        – The Information Philosopher – Libertarianism

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      29. br.d writes, “-quote:
        Libertarianism is a school of thought that says humans are free from physical determinism and all the other diverse forms of determinism. Libertarians believe that strict determinism and freedom are incompatible. FREEDOM SEEMS TO REQUIRE SOME FORM OF INDETERMINISM”
        – The Information Philosopher – Libertarianism”

        So now you introduce terms like, “physical determinism” and “strict determinism.” Not really saying anything, but they seem to be throw-away terms in the above. Regardless, the focus is on “all the…diverse forms of determinism” and I believe I am correct to say that LFW allows for factors to influence but not determine – with the focus being on the role of internal factors. Despite your “false” claim, I don’t see anything in your reply to change anything.

        I don’t think you have really nailed down the meaning of determinism or indeterminism. If it is true that “FREEDOM SEEMS TO REQUIRE SOME FORM OF INDETERMINISM” then what does “SOME FORM OF INDETERMINISM” mean? “some form”?? How wishy-washy can people get?? Any chance you can be more specific and contribute something substantive to the discussion.

        Like

      30. br.d writes, “-quote:
        Libertarianism is a school of thought that says humans are free from physical determinism and all the other diverse forms of determinism. Libertarians believe that strict determinism and freedom are incompatible. FREEDOM SEEMS TO REQUIRE SOME FORM OF INDETERMINISM”
        – The Information Philosopher – Libertarianism”

        rhutchin
        So now you introduce terms like, “physical determinism” and “strict determinism.” Not really saying anything, but they seem to be throw-away terms in the above. Regardless, the focus is on “all the…diverse forms of determinism” and I believe I am correct to say that LFW allows for factors to influence but not determine – with the focus being on the role of internal factors. Despite your “false” claim, I don’t see anything in your reply to change anything.

        br.d
        You can reject the language provided by the Information Philosopher if you like – and I can understand why – it doesn’t work for you :-]

        rhutchin
        I don’t think you have really nailed down the meaning of determinism or indeterminism. If it is true that “FREEDOM SEEMS TO REQUIRE SOME FORM OF INDETERMINISM” then what does “SOME FORM OF INDETERMINISM” mean? “some form”?? How wishy-washy can people get?? Any chance you can be more specific and contribute something substantive to the discussion.

        br.d
        Again I understand – you want to hear something that confirms what you hold to – that’s understandable.
        Like I said – I you hold that Calvin’s god’s thoughts/choices/actions etc are themselves not per-determined by antecedent factors outside of himself, then by the logical converse – you have a pretty good definition of INDETERMINISM.
        If Calvin’s god operates free of determinism then INDETERMINISM exists.
        If INDETERMINISM exists, and the THEOS can create whatever beings he wants to – then he can create beings that function in it.
        Unless you want to argue that he can’t.

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      31. br.d
        Even God’s freedom is constrained by logic: “He is not free to create married bachelors or square circles.”

        rhutchin
        This is fuzzy. You are defining a “married bachelor”…….etc

        br.d
        Perhaps this is the reason you often fall into the fallacy of attempting to breach the law of non-contradiction.
        However, you got it right when you said they were contradictions. This is standard language in philosophy.
        The law of bivalence – nothing fuzzy about it.

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      32. br.d writes, “Perhaps this is the reason you often fall into the fallacy of attempting to breach the law of non-contradiction.”

        Requiring that we properly define terms is essential to both communication and logical argument. Even the law of non-contradiction works only when terms are properly defined. So, can you define the term, “married bachelor”? My claim is that the definition of “married bachelor” is no more defined by its parts than the term “pineapple” is defined by the terms, “pine” and “apple.” Nonetheless, the term, “married bachelor” seems to be undefinable and no different than the term, “dcydcgecdc.”

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      33. br.d writes, “Perhaps this is the reason you often fall into the fallacy of attempting to breach the law of non-contradiction.”

        rhutchin
        Requiring that we properly define terms is essential to both communication and logical argument. Even the law of non-contradiction works only when terms are properly defined. So, can you define the term, “married bachelor”?

        br.d
        It’s very simple “married bachelor” is a logical contradiction – just like “square circle” and “exist not-exist”.
        Terms like that are used in the language of logic as references to logical contradictions.
        You might listen to some Ravi Zacharias college lectures when their in your TV programming.

        Like

      34. br.d
        “Like the Hard determinist, [the soft determinist] holds that ALL choices/deliberations/determinations are determined by factors outside of himself.”

        rhutchin
        Not exactly. The soft determinist, like Jonathan Edwards, attributes decisions to wants and desires – people choose according to their strongest desire.

        br.d
        This is where Edward’s (if this is the fullness of Edwards proposition) fails.
        You yourself identify naturally occurring events such as human choices/actions etc as SECONDARY causal factors.
        You fail to recognize that the number 2 always follows the number 1.
        A SECONDARY event cannot cause itself – it MUST be preceded/caused by an antecedent event.
        I think the case here is that you want these particular antecedent events to magically disappear – because they proceed from a THEOS.

        If you deny that they proceed from a THEOS then you are denying Theological Determinism.
        And this would prove my point:
        -quote
        Then, “[the soft determinist] departs from the Hard Determinist, by holding that there are ethical and rational reasons to go about his daily life AS-IF they are not.[determined by the THEOS]”

        Like

      35. br.d writes, “A SECONDARY event cannot cause itself – it MUST be preceded/caused by an antecedent event.
        I think the case here is that you want these particular antecedent events to magically disappear – because they proceed from a THEOS.”

        The precedent event here is “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth….God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;” Now we have a human being that is self-motivated and able to make decisions without those decisions being imposed on him by God and the human operates as a secondary cause. Nothing disappears; magically or not. Creation necessarily proceeds from God.

        Then, “Then, “[the soft determinist] departs from the Hard Determinist, by holding that there are ethical and rational reasons to go about his daily life AS-IF they are not.[determined by the THEOS]”

        What do you mean by “not.[determined” beyond not imposed? I don’t know what your issue is here.

        Like

      36. br.d writes, “A SECONDARY event cannot cause itself – it MUST be preceded/caused by an antecedent event.
        I think the case here is that you want these particular antecedent events to magically disappear – because they proceed from a THEOS.”

        rhutchin
        The precedent event here is “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…etc

        br.d
        Here is where the Calvinist must abandon Theological Determinism where the THEOS determines *EVERY* event without exception.
        Here is where the Calvinist hides behind the camouflage of main-stream Christian (i.e., Non Determinism)
        All Christianity holds “in the beginning God…..etc”

        If rhutchin were true to Calvinism he would say – the preceded/caused antecedent event of:
        “Not only every atom and molecule, EVERY THOUGHT AND DESIRE, kept in being by God, but every twist and turn of each of these is UNDER THE DIRECT CONTROL OF GOD”. (Paul Helm -The Providence of God).

        br.d
        “[the soft determinist] departs from the Hard Determinist, by holding that there are ethical and rational reasons to go about his daily life AS-IF they are not.[determined by the THEOS]”

        rhutchin
        What do you mean by “not.[determined” beyond not imposed? I don’t know what your issue is here.

        br.d
        1)
        Here is the Calvinists appeal to the absence of “Force or Coercion”
        Calvin’s god drops a baby into the fire of Moloch and is not responsible because he didn’t “Force” or “Coerce” the baby into the fire.
        That is an example of Calvinist’s ethics.
        I leave it to the reader to judge whether that example of ethics is derived from scripture.

        2)
        You clearly understand that as a reference to a quote of instruction from John Calvin – “go about your office AS-IF nothing is determined in any part” Obviously he means determined by the THEOS. You’ve already stated you disagree outwardly with his instruction. However, its clear you really do use his instruction as a means to keep yourself from acknowledging Calvin’s god determines certain events which you don’t want him to determine. The fact that you allow yourself to dictate what he determines and what he doesn’t determine reveals a man-made and man-centered theology.

        Like

      37. br.d
        The soft determinist differs from the Hard determinist by a slight psychological difference. He departs from the Hard Determinist, by holding that there are ethical and rational reasons to go about his daily life AS-IF they are not determined

        rhutchin:
        From my understanding, this is a false statement. It is that the reasons are not known; not that they do not exist.

        br.d
        This is fallacious thinking
        To be logically consistent – you know (for example) that Calvin’s god has immutably decreed that you will think [X] at noon tomorrow.
        Just because you don’t know what [X] is, doesn’t mean you go about your day tomorrow *AS-IF* [X] is not determined in any part.

        John Calvin teaches you to go about your office *AS-IF* your day is not determined in any part – by the THEOS.
        And the fact that you attribute sins and evils to natural causes tells me you are in fact following Calvin’s instructions.

        To be even more self-contradicting – you attribute good events such as salvation to the THEOS and not to natural causes.
        This reveals a psychological state of self-contradiction.

        Either the THEOS determines *ALL* events or he doesn’t.
        The psychological condition of the Calvinist – due to cognitive dissonance is that he wants to believe both – [ALL] and [NOT ALL] exist at the same time.

        Like

      38. br.d writes, “To be even more self-contradicting – you attribute good events such as salvation to the THEOS and not to natural causes.”

        No one attributes salvation to natural causes. Why should we attribute any good events to natural causes?

        Then, “Either the THEOS determines *ALL* events or he doesn’t.
        The psychological condition of the Calvinist – due to cognitive dissonance is that he wants to believe both – [ALL] and [NOT ALL] exist at the same time.”

        How do you define the term, “determine”? I think we are using different definitions.

        Like

      39. br.d
        “To be even more self-contradicting – you attribute good events such as salvation to the THEOS and not to natural causes.”

        rhutchin
        No one attributes salvation to natural causes. Why should we attribute any good events to natural causes?

        br.d
        Theological Determinism is your “stated” belief system. At least when its complimentary to do so.
        But when its not its easy distance yourself from it and assert the THEOS doesn’t determine SOME things.

        br.d
        “Either the THEOS determines *ALL* events or he doesn’t.
        The psychological condition of the Calvinist – due to cognitive dissonance is that he wants to believe both – [ALL] and [NOT ALL] exist at the same time.”

        rhutchin
        How do you define the term, “determine”? I think we are using different definitions.

        br.d
        If you don’t know what “determine” in the context of determinism means by now after I’ve provided a ton of quotes from Christian Philosophical literature etc – then me going down that rabbit hole is a waste of SOT101 space.
        But I think you really do know – and are not comfortable with the implications – and that’s understandable.

        Like

      40. I think you would agree that the problem with the Calvinist is not lack of understanding. 🙂 They know full well – as history has shown – that their determinism, being both detestable and unlivable, will always be rejected by people who understand what their theology demands.

        The goal of the compatibilist is to so cloud the issues that the person becomes confused about what they are truly saying. ‘Ah, you are not saying that God ‘controls’ me like a sock puppet, he simply brings about his will by secondary causes, yet while not doing damage to my free will. Now that I can live with.’

        The fact that it is logically impossible for events to at the same time internally and externally brought to pass, to be equally determined by God with all of his secondary causes and chosen freely without unseen, irresistible causes must never be acknowledged. Thus, the constant dancing to pretend they don’t mean what they seem to say, or that somehow their ‘new’ position escapes the former logical inconsistencies, or, lastly, the pretense of just not understanding what the objector is saying.

        It is not that you have not been clear enough, or that it is difficult to understand what you are saying. It is simply not feasible for the Calvinist to honestly admit that their theology asserts a God who is responsible for whatever happens, period, and that he nonetheless holds helpless sock puppets responsible for the movements of his hands beneath them.

        Like

      41. Yes – you hit the bulls-eye TruthSeeker!
        The fact that Calvinists language long ago evolved into double-speak is a clear red-flag.

        Well Said! :-]

        Like

      42. ts00 writes, “They know full well – as history has shown – that their determinism, being both detestable and unlivable, will always be rejected by people who understand what their theology demands.”

        Yeah, it demands that God is sovereign and God works all things according to the counsel of His will. Hardly detestable but Scriptural.

        Then, “[God] simply brings about his will by secondary causes,”

        Not necessarily. A good example is Job 1. God expresses His will by putting a hedge around Job so that Satan cannot touch him. So God did for Jesus when the Jews sought to stone Him. So, God does to bring about His will.

        Then, “it is logically impossible for events…to be equally determined by God…and chosen freely…”

        Why not? God made man as a self-motivated being able to have desires and act on those desires. Man acts freely but God still has the final say, so God determines that a person can act on his desires.

        Then, “It is simply not feasible for the Calvinist to honestly admit that their theology asserts a God who is responsible for whatever happens, period,”

        I think Calvinists freely acknowledge this to be true. It is necessarily true because God is sovereign.

        Like

  22. DR. NEAL JUDISCH – ON SECONDARY MEANS WITHIN CALVINISM

    Paraphrased from: “Theological Determinism and the Problem of Evil,”
    Religious Studies: An International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 44, no. 2 (page 177).

    Whether or not the control Calvinists imagine exerted by Calvin’s god is immediate or mediated through secondary causes, is ultimately an irrelevant red-herring. For the ethical problem remains: The CONTROL IS THERE. And that CONTROL IS INTENTIONAL, SUPER-OPERATIVE, AND UNREMITTING. In the Calvinist scheme it isn’t within one’s power to alter, affect, or to “do otherwise” than what one is being controlled to think, choose, desire, do.

    Dr. Judisch – Ph.D. Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind and Action, Philosophy of Religion.
    University of Oklahoma.

    Determinism, by its very nature, logically entails events arising from factors outside of one’s control.

    U.S. Law – Culpability, with regard to primary vs. secondary means:

    Primary Culpability falls to person(s) who function as the “controller”, “director” – or more specifically the “directing mind” of a wrong doing.

    Secondary Culpability falls to person(s) who function as servants, employees, agents, or who otherwise function “on behalf of” the “directing mind” in the process of a wrong doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. br.d writes, “In the Calvinist scheme it isn’t within one’s power to alter, affect, or to “do otherwise” than what one is being controlled to think, choose, desire, do. ”

      This is a somewhat slanted account and leaves a lot to the imagination. People always do “otherwise.” A person sitting in a chair can choose to do otherwise and stand up. Every choice a person makes can be reduced to an otherwise choice – a person is doing A and can, normally, choose to do ~A. A person is in control of his actions to think or behave in certain ways but can be controlled by God to think or act in certain ways (e.g., the opening of Lydia’s heart, the conveyance of faith to the elect) or to be restrained from action (e.g., Jesus could not be killed before His time, Joseph was not allowed to put away Mary). God’s control of His creation does not necessitate that He impel people to think about disobedience or to act to sin.

      Then, “Determinism, by its very nature, logically entails events arising from factors outside of one’s control.”

      Thus, “Determinism” does not dictate those events under one’s control. Then, there is “Theological Determinism” which says, “Theological determinism is the view that God determines every event that occurs in the history of the world.” Every event would include all factors outside one’s control and all factors within one’s control.

      Then, “Primary Culpability falls to person(s) who function as the “controller”, “director” – or more specifically the “directing mind” of a wrong doing.”

      Thus, people are culpable for their actions (i.e., sin). It is only when God exercises His control to gain a specific outcome that He becomes culpable. Thus, God is culpable in the flood of Noah, the destruction of Sodom, the impregnation of Mary, etc. God is not culpable in the disobedience of Adam in eating the fruit, Cain murdering Abel, the crucifixion of Christ.

      Then, “Secondary Culpability falls to person(s) who function as servants, employees, agents, or who otherwise function “on behalf of” the “directing mind” in the process of a wrong doing.”

      This excludes God from culpability. Even in the case of Job, God does not direct Satan in what to do but restrains Satan from certain acts.

      Like

      1. Again this simply seeks to alter the (fully acknowledged within scholarship) definitions, characteristics and logical implications of determinism. Seeking to alter these to fit one’s narrative doesn’t work.

        Like

      2. br.d writes, ‘Again this simply seeks to alter the (fully acknowledged within scholarship) definitions, characteristics and logical implications of determinism.”

        br.d wants to define that determinism which he attribute to God without reference to the Scriptures. It can’t be done. The Scriptures are truth and can’t be ignored in any attempt to know God.

        Like

      3. I understand the love-hate relationship with determinism – it has a dark side.

        But seeking to alter the appearance of something well defined within the standards of scholarship – is not acceptable to anyone who takes the subject mater seriously.

        Sorry – you’re on your own with that one.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I think this I know where your going with this :-]
        I have a book one duplicitous language sighting that passage as an example.

        Good one Truthseeker :-]

        Liked by 1 person

  23. CALVINISM IS DETERMINISM WEARING A LIBERTARIAN MASK

    In Calvinism, being premised upon Universal Divine Causal Determinism, you have Calvin’s god using the serpent as an instrument to affect the fall of Adam and using Adam as the instrument to affect the damnation for all mankind.
    While he uses Jesus as an instrument to affect the restoration of only a select few.

    In terms of quantity, the instrumentation of Satan and Adam in this picture are much more effectual than the instrumentation of Jesus. The Calvinist, of course, can insist this as the divine prerogative, for those vested to assume that as true.

    However, from a non-deterministic perspective this issue goes away, as libertarian free will (in the image and likeness of the in-deterministic free will God himself has) is used as an underlying criterion to ensure a love relationship between the creator and his creatures, based upon giving the creature the liberty to choose between two options, both which exist as real. While in determinism, by its very nature, only one option (the already “settled” future) exists as real, while its opposite option exists only as an illusion.

    So, under determinism, Jesus’s role is of similar utility as Satan’s and Adam’s. While under in-determinism Jesus’ role completely overpowers theirs, being underpinned by divine love based upon libertarian choice.

    I believe, this is why Dr. Alvin Plantinga says: All things considered a world based upon libertarian free will is a much better world for God to create than a world of creatures who only do what they are made to do by factors outside of their control.

    The Calvinist’s response to this is highly revealing. For he forcibly rejects it – but then betrays himself, by doing everything he can to craft language designed to make determinism masquerade as having the qualities of libertarian choice. While he adamantly rejects the label “libertarian free will” – he works to make the face of Calvinism mimic it.

    So internally he longs for Alvin Plantinga’s conclusion – yet is unfortunately forced to achieve it by painting it on Calvinism’s face, using semantic mascara (i.e. subtle language tricks).

    Once one starts peeling off Calvinism’s libertarian masks – its false teeth, eye shadow, lipstick, rouge, etc. – one is left with the unpleasant face of a cold utilitarian being who is just a bigger version of pharaoh. A being for whom creatures function as assets for his good pleasure.

    Of course the Calvinist will find 100 arguments to reject these things *AS-IF* the libertarian option to do so existed as real and not (as it is in determinism) an illusion. But of course that makes the point doesn’t it. In the prison cell of determinism, you can check out anytime you like – but you can never leave.

    Like

    1. br.d writes, “…Dr. Alvin Plantinga says: All things considered a world based upon libertarian free will is a much better world for God to create…”

      Both Calvinists and non-Calvinists agree that the world that God created and declared “very good” was one in which Adam enjoyed LFW. The disagreement begins when Adam’s sin comes into play and how this affects the LFW that Adam had before he ate the fruit. Here, Calvinists say that LFW was destroyed.

      Then, “The Calvinist…forcibly rejects it – but then betrays himself, by doing everything he can to craft language designed to make determinism masquerade as having the qualities of libertarian choice. While he adamantly rejects the label “libertarian free will” – he works to make the face of Calvinism mimic it.”

      The Calvinist does not reject the idea that Adam was created with libertarian free will. The Calvinist does not then try to mimic LFW after Adam sins. The Calvinist clearly and directly says that Adam became a slave of sin after he ate the fruit and this destroyed the libertarian free will he earlier enjoyed.

      Poor br.d! Such an active imagination. So, how come br.d works so hard to distort Calvinism – is it because he cannot challenge Calvinism head-on??

      Like

      1. This misses the central points of the article as well as Dr. Plantigan’s point and responds with tangential red herrings.

        Like

      2. br.d writes, “This misses the central points of the article as well as Dr. Plantigan’s point and responds with tangential red herrings.”

        Spoken by a man boxed into a corner with nothing to say. Br.d infers much but can explain nothing. So be it.

        Like

  24. Two more verses I wanted to mention about Jesus’s Redemption and Him seeing His seed, The anguish he felt on the Cross when he was crushed and said “It is finished. In Isaiah the Prophet said, “he, (Jesus shall see His seed) the very labor of His soul and be satisfied, He shall carry the iniquities of many and many shall be justified. Isaiah 63.

    Acts 5:14 – Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

    Notice how Peter (if you will just be honest with the text) says emphatically that when repentance to life came to the Gentiles, God did not purpose to try and save every one of them without exception. No, he works all things after the counsel of His will.

    Peter says in Acts 5:14, that God first visited the Gentiles to TAKE OUT OF THEM A PEOPLE for his name.

    A select people, an elected people, a particular, he would take out of the whole of the Gentiles for His name

    Revelations 5:9 – And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were slain, and with your blood, you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

    By the very shedding of the Blood of Christ on that Holy Cross, Jesus redeemed or purchased out of the slave market of sin, persons and individuals from every nation, tribe, language, people and nation.

    You see Christ did not die for everyone, or His blood would have been effective and purchased them out of the slave market of sin and whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Those he did for he was their substitute lamb sacrifice offering in their place and bore their wrath and punishment when their sins were imputed to Him. Those whom Christ died for. If he died for all and all are not saved and some will burn in the lake of fire with the wrath of God being the fuel that keeps that fire burning, That means their sins were punished in Jesus and now they still have to be punished for their sins themselves because his death and the shedding of His Holy Blood on that Cross did not secure their Salvation. It is a matter of POSSIBILITY SALVATION DEPENDING ON THE MYTHICAL FICTITIOUS IDOL OF FREE-WILL OF MAN.

    Not that “YOU SHALL CALL HIS NAME JESUS FOR HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.”

    John 17:2 Just as You have given Him power and authority over all mankind, [now glorify Him] so that He may give eternal life [a]to all whom You have given Him [to be His—permanently and forever].

    Like

    1. I just want to mention briefly I am doing what I said in my open letter on my own WordPress site. I am reviewing all my articles. Correcting typos and making it flow better so that it is easier to read. But most of all deleting the sinful mean-spirited things I wrote and believe me there is a lot. I have already cleaned up one this morning. God bless you my brothers in Christ. I will give Eric a break now. I know me he will appreciate it.

      Like

  25. AN OPEN LETTER TO SOTERIOLOGY101, DR. FLOWERS, ERIC THE ADMIN AND ALL ADMIN IF THERE ARE OTHERS AND ALL WHO PARTICIPATE HERE ON DR. FLOWERS SITE. PLEASE RECEIVE THIS IN LOVE AS THAT IS THE INTENTION

    I tell you the truth about one thing though. I am so sorry about the way Dr. Flowers and his fried were treated in such a nasty sinful, UnChristlike way by these two men who are professing to be Christians and Calvinists at that. It was uncalled for and the moderater was not capable of responding to his responsibilities. That is why I say Dr, Flowers is a very kind, gentle, godly Christlike man. He has not been perfect, but most of the time his conduct I must confess has been blameless when interacting with Calvinist. Most of the time he is seeking to understand I have noticed, He does pushback and he should.

    But in this free-will debate, Dr. Flowers is so patient, so self-controlled. (which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, indicating he was really being Christ-Controlled as he yielded and cooperated with the Spirit’s power and Christ’s sanctifying work within him. He finally spoke with Godly firmness and said, “Brother, (pleasing in mercy and grace but in godly firmness) can I complete one sentence without being interrupted. The man immediately backed down and Dr. Flowers was finally able to speak. In that debate I believe Dr. Flowers when he was finally able to speak he was at his best defending and refuting what he believed and disbelieved.

    But the other two Calvinist Christians, (I hesitate to call them that but only God can judge the heart) did not respect Dr. Flowers and His debate friend, whose name escapes me at this time. They shamed themselves and did not adorn the gospel of Christ with the beauty of Holiness. Nor did they walk worthy of the Gospel of Jesus of Jesus Christ.

    The Apostle Paul had a Godly jealousy for those Christians who were under His care and Spiritual welfare. He would often in a Godly Love be braggadocious about their love, faith and good works to others mentioning how it had spread abroad.

    So when I mention Dr. Flowers. Brian Wagner and Eric the Admininastater on here as being a Holy Loving Triad. That is Christlike and Godly men having holiness of the heart of heart and life, that inward beauty of Christ within them being manifest outwardly. I am not looking for browny points or trying not to get banned.

    No, I am trying to get us all to follow their Godly Holy and loving example. To follow them as they follow Christ. Nothing more and nothing less. Brothers because what I have read on here. We all need to look in the mirror of God’s word and see how we measure up. God has not lowered His standard of Holiness for anyone. He expects us daily to strive for perfection in Holi8ness. To perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord.

    .2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, since we have these [great and wonderful] promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, completing holiness [living a consecrated life—a life set apart for God’s purpose] in the fear of God.

    Did not God command us, “to be Holy as he is Holy.” The God of Holiness has not lowered his standard of Holiness for anyone, other than the fact we as Christians have redefined sin and created a god in our own image. Now I thank God for the blood of Jesus and the what is called the “Great Exchange” When Jesus, as a Lamb of God for sinners slain on that Holy Cross of Calvary” there our sins were imputed to Him and His righteousness imputed to us. Jesus’, the God-Man, who walked a perfect sinless obedient life while here on earth even to the point of Death, that was His righteousness that was imputed to us. The righteousness of Christ imputed to ungodly sinners who were completely undeserving, unmerited grace, deserving condemnation, the wrath of God hell and eternal punishment in the lake of fire for all eternity and eternal separation from the presence of the Lord forever. The Kingdom o God is righteousness, peace, and joy I the HolyGhost. I want some of that. 🙂 Praise is to the Glory of God’s grace by which he has made us accepted and blessed with the righteousness of Christ in the Beloved. The Father’s Beloved Son in whom he is well pleased. We who are now in Christ have put on the Holy garments of Christ, the Garments of Salvation, that Royal Robe of Righteousness, and have become Kings and Priests before our God in heaven.

    2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].2015 Amplified Study Bible

    But underneath this Robe of Righteous is the “on-going never-ending work of the sanctifying work of Christ through the Power of the Holy Spirit” It is what we have been predestined to, to conformed into the image of Christ. His likeness, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, love as described I Corinthians 13 and so much more given I the Holy Scripture. This process of sanctification is “gradual, slow and sometimes is hardly noticed or cannot even be seen. Sometimes it is even retarded when the beloved of God backslides like King David did in committing Adultery with Bathsheba. King David was in unrepentant sin for 9 months. Read the Psalms and see the anguish of heart mind and body he went through for his backsliding and unrepentant sinfulness. But God had promised a long time ago that he would not remove His Mercy from King David as he Did with King Saul. It is absolutely for a true professing and possessing Christians to remain in sin. God has saved us completely and forever, to the uttermost and Jesus our high priest daily makes intercession for us before the throne of God. David’s sanctification had come to a complete stop. So God sent a Prophet and firmly rebuked him and David repented and was restored but not without severe consequences. You can read this for yourselves in the Psalms.

    So the process of being sanctified in Christ by the Power of the Holy Spirit, not to mention the instrumentality of the word of God. Jesus said Father sanctify them through your truth, your Word is truth. This process is gradual, slow, hardly noticed and sometimes not even seen.

    Romans 8:29 – 29 For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers. 2015 Amplified Study Bible

    2 Corinthians317-18 – Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.

    Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of [a]witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us,

    2 [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [b]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].

    3 Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 2015 Amplified Study Bible

    Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the [g]sinful nature [which response impulsively without regard for God and His precepts].

    17 For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the [h]sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do.

    18 But if you are guided and led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.

    19 Now the practices of the [i]sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control),

    20 [j]idolatry, [k]sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies],

    21 envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

    23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things, there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the [l]sinful nature together with its passions and appetites.

    25 If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. 26 We must not become conceited, challenging or provoking one another, envying one another. 2015 Amplified Study Bible

    Romans 7:14 We know that the Law is spiritual, but I am a creature of the flesh [worldly, self-reliant—carnal and unspiritual], sold into slavery to sin [and serving under its control].

    15 For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled and bewildered by them]. I do not practice what I want to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate [and yielding to my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity].

    16 Now if I habitually do what I do not want to do, [that means] I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good (morally excellent).

    17 So now [if that is the case, then] it is no longer I who do it [the disobedient thing which I despise], but the sin [nature] which lives in me.

    18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity]. For the willingness [to do good] is present in me, but the doing of good is not.

    19 For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

    20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want to do, I am no longer the one doing it [that is, it is not me that acts], but the sin [nature] which lives in me.

    21 So I find it to be the law [of my inner self], that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

    22 I joyfully delight in the law of God in my inner self [with my new nature],

    23 but I see a different law and rule of action in the members of my body [in its appetites and desires], waging war against the law of my mind and subduing me and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is within my members.

    24 Wretched and miserable man that I am! Who will [rescue me and] set me free from this body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]?

    25 Thanks be to God [for my deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord!

    Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.

    12 So then, [a]brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but not to our flesh [our human nature, our worldliness, our sinful capacity], to live according to the [impulses of the] flesh [our nature without the Holy Spirit]—

    13 for if you are living according to the [impulses of the] flesh, you are going to die. But if [you are living] by the [power of the Holy] Spirit you are habitually putting to death the sinful deeds of the body, you will [really] live forever.

    14 For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

    15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “[b]Abba! Father!”

    16 The Spirit Himself testifies and confirms together with our spirit [assuring us] that we [believers] are children of God.

    The wicked sinful and evil flesh can grow corrupt because of the deceitful lusts of the flesh. We are to off the old man and all of its evil desires. Jesus told us how serious this is and we need to quit playing around with our pet sins. This is spiritual warfare my brothers and sisters in Christ. Did not Jesus say in the Gospel after saying that even if you look at another women and lust after her in your heart you have committed adultery? He says anger is the same as murder. That is why the root of all murder, (thou shalt not kill/murder) is the sin of anger. The apostle said “do not let the sun go down upon your anger, giving place or opportunity to the devil. When we harbor anger, which is murder within the heart, we actually open ourselves up for the temptation of the devil. That is we allow demonic inroads into our lives. Anger almost always leads to bitterness and by it many become defiled. So Jesus says it is time to get real and quit playing church, your eternal soul rest in the balance If your eye offends thee, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter into heaven with one eye than to enter into hell with two. If your hand offends you and causes you to sin habitually, cut it off because it is better for you to enter into heaven with one hand than to enter into hell with two. We know Jesus was speaking metamorphically. He was saying it was time to get radical, with a Holy anger, and hate what our Holy God hates, cling to that which is good Holy and Pleasing to God, but cast away as an unclean thing with a Holy hatred that which God despises, To beg God to remove our eyes from looking at worthless things. To kill, mortify, put to death besetting, habitual and even secret sins and even sins we think are ok in life because we all do it. God forbid, God is a Holy God and demands that we be Holy as he is Holy. Without holiness no one shall see the Lord.

    Hebrews 12:14 – 14 Continually pursue peace with everyone, and the sanctification without which no one will [ever] see the Lord.2015 Amplified Study Bible

    Matthew 5:8 – 8 “Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God.

    I say emphatically without hesitation that good works of holiness are necessary to one’s salvation. You say, Kevin now you sound contradictory. No, the basis and the only way we are saved now, continue to be saved and we ultimately are saved, that is delivered from the presence of sin forever is by grace through faith in Jesus and that not of works, it is the gift of God. Take your eyes off of your self and look through the eyes of faith at Christ your Saviour and you will see that it is by God’s grace alone, through Faith in Christ alone, Because of Christ alone, (it is finished) to the Glory of God alone,

    You say, “well Kevin what do you mean when you say THAT GOOD WORK, HOLINESS ARE ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL AND EMPHATIC TO OUR ETERNAL SALVATION. I mean this. I do not believe in once saved always saved with a license to sin and live a lifestyle of wickedness after someone supposedly professed Christ as his Lord and Saviour. HOLY GOOD WORKS ARE THE EVIDENCE THAT YOUR SALVATION IS GENUINE AND TRUE AND IT IS HOW YOU MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE,

    Romans 8:13 – 13 for if you are living according to the [impulses of the] flesh, you are going to die. But if [you are living] by the [power of the Holy] Spirit you are habitually putting to death the sinful deeds of the body, you will [really] live forever. 2015 Amplified Study Bible

    So we as Christians need to cry out to God to create within us a clean heart, a right, faithful, loving, obedient, holy heart that fears God always and that he will renew a right spirit within us.

    Psalms 51 is A Contrite Sinner’s Prayer for Pardon, forgiveness and mercy.

    Psalms 51:1 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
    According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.

    2
    Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness and guilt
    And cleanse me from my sin.

    3
    I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them;
    My sin is always before me.

    4
    Against You, You only, have I sinned
    And done that which is evil in Your sight,
    So that You are justified when You speak [Your sentence]
    And faultless in Your judgment.

    5
    I was brought forth in [a state of] wickedness;
    In sin, my mother conceived me [and from my beginning I, too, was sinful].

    6
    Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
    And in the hidden part [of my heart] You will make me know wisdom.

    7
    Purify me with [a]hyssop, and I will be clean;
    Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
    8
    Make me hear joy and gladness and be satisfied;
    Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.

    9
    Hide Your face from my sins
    And blot out all my iniquities.

    10
    Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    And renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.

    Do not cast me away from Your presence
    And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

    12
    Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
    And sustain me with a willing spirit.

    As Romans 8:13 says above in 3 different places we as the Loving Father’s objects of Grace, Born Again or From Above by His Holy Spirit and Life and immortality brought to light through the instrumentality of the Gospel, should be about the business of killing, mortifying and daily putting to death sins that want to manifest themselves through our bodies.

    It is not a suggestion for the Christian. It is a Holy Obligation. That has nothing to do with a preference or to situations being just right, it a Command straight from God’s Holy Word Spoken to us from our Holy God, to be Holy as he is Holy., For without Hoiness no man shall see the Lord. it is accomplished by the sanctifying grace of Christ through the inward indwelling power and means of the Holy Spirit as we yield and cooperate with God the Holy Spirit whose ministry is conforming us to the image of the Son of God. It is in the fear of the Lord coupled with the Love of God that we will cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit. Remember it does say “spirit” also.

    If we are not about the business daily killing sin, sin will be killing us” John Owen

    So, saying all of that, I make this one final plea for the namesake of Christ and the glory of God. For whether to eat or drink or whatever we do, let us do all for the Glory of God.

    Eric, who I do know no all that well, I am not even sure if he likes me, but I will pursue peace with all men, as much as is possible and is in my power. I would beseech him by the mercies of God to clean up this site so that it will Glorify the God who saved Him. I call upon Eric who is the Administrator or any other Administrators (if there are any, also Dr. Flowers) to sanctify and make Holy this site for the Glory of God.

    At this time there is sinful, name-calling, mud-slinging, sinful ad hominem bashing, evil words being spoken with tongues that are set on fire by hell, Tongues that on Sunday morning bless God and then on Soteriology101 curse men, Such things ought not to be,

    I know the person I am about to mention is not a fan favorite. Dr. James White. I will be the first to admit he is a little rough around the edges but do I see any great sinful character flaws. No more than I see in Dr. Flowers. If you see them, show me. But be sure you are not sinfully judging Dr, White, by comparing him to other people. His Master is able to make Him stand or fall, and Dr. White will Stand firm in the Grace of Christ letting the Word of God’s Grace prevail within him becoming morre sanctified daily. It is easy to sit in judgment of others. But how many of you in gentleness and love can persevere in Prayer for Dr. White until you see the Beauty of Holiness blossom forth in Christlikeness in the areas he is still lacking the Spirit’s sanctification. A big part of it is just the way God made Dr. White. He has a very strong personality and people are taken back by that. But in every debate, I have watched he has conducted himself accordingly. Then just like the women caught in adultery, he that is without sin here on Soteriology101 let him or her cast the first stone. Not one of you or me has sinless perfection. People who live in glass houses should not cast stones. We all are plagued by the remaining remnants of sin. Read the Apostle Paul again in Romans 7. The things he wanted to do that were godly loving and holy he did not do habitually, but the things he hated, he found himself at times still doing. Is this not true and keeps us humble before God and going back to the throne of Grace to receive mercy and forgiving grace. As we confess our sins God promises to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness with the Holy Blood of Jesus Christ.

    So like I said, I do not think this way to long post, which is an open letter to Soteriology101 and will be posted on my WordPress site will be posted here.

    I am not sure where I stand with Eric, I have found through reading through the things on he has written on here he has a deep-seated ill-will hatred of Calvinism. In place, it seems Calvinist had a falling out and Eric made a comment I believe to Brian Wagner that he did not care if it kept people from believing in the Calvinist Doctrine. Calvinism to the Reformed Believer is only a nick-name for what is revealed in the Word of God’s Grace.

    So I am not sure if Eric is welcoming me as a brother in Christ or not, or wants me to go away. He is never said that so I will believe the best about him. There just seems to some undercurrent when he is talking to me like he is keeping me at a distance for some reason. I am not looking for special attention. Jesus gives me that, I just want to know he welcomes me as a true brother in Christ despite our differences and not seem so grouchy in his responses and comments to me. Now I know and admit I could be completely wrong about Eric and in advance say so. It is ok if we never talk, I just want to know that he and I are ok in Christ despite our differences. I do no need Eric, nor am I craving his attention or stalking him. He does not comlete me. I am complete in Christ..

    This one last thing. On any of Dr, James White’s Social Site’s. When someone, it does not matter who it is, comes and says something negative or sinful with their tongue about Dr, Flowers. That post is immediately deleted and that person is banned permanently for life.

    That is Holy Christlike Administration to the Glory of God that abstains from the cursing of the tongue of men who were created in the image of God.

    God bless and once again may the grace of Christ be with you always. Hope I did not offend anyone as I desire to pursue peace with all as much as is possible as it lies with me.

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    1. KK writes, “I say emphatically without hesitation that good works of holiness are necessary to one’s salvation. …I do not believe in once saved always saved with a license to sin and live a lifestyle of wickedness after someone supposedly professed Christ as his Lord and Saviour. HOLY GOOD WORKS ARE THE EVIDENCE THAT YOUR SALVATION IS GENUINE AND TRUE AND IT IS HOW YOU MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE,”

      The process of sanctification involves both God and man —

      – “God who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus…I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;…” (Philippians 1)

      – “…conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ;…in no way alarmed by your opponents–which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.” (Philippians 1)

      – “work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2)

      – “…if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;…we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (2 Corinthians 5; Ephesians 2)

      So as you say, “necessary, ” but it is “evidence” – evidence that God has saved the believer and is now working in the believer. Still, as Paul says, “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Believers have the great joy of working with God to become holy. As Jesus promised, ““If you abide in My word…you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

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      1. Hi Rutchin,
        Not sure what your point is. Maybe you think I am contradicting myself with the words “necessary” and “evidence|” I assure my brother I am not. This is a Reformed Calvinist Doctrine to the Core that Johnathan held to soundly.

        I would never say words are necessary to save us when the word of God declares that by the works of the law no man shall be justified.

        What I meant if one is a professing Christian and their are no good works of Holiness in His life being produced by the means and power of the Holy Spirit as the believer cooperates with the Spirit’s ministry of Sanctification, you can be sure that person was never saved to begin with.

        I guess you could say it is necessary evidence that the believer is saved.

        Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

        14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

        15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba,[e] Father.”

        16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God

        Rutchin, verse 13 says if we live (walk, lifestyle) according to the flesh we will die

        I will let Calvin speak for me on Verse 13

        13.For if ye will live after the flesh, etc. He adds a threatening, in order more effectually to shake off their torpor; by which also they are fully confuted who boast of justification by faith without the Spirit of Christ, though they are more than sufficiently convicted by their own conscience; for there is no confidence in God, where there is no love of righteousness. It is indeed true, that we are justified in Christ through the mercy of God alone; but it is equally true and certain, that all who are justified are called by the Lord, that they may live worthy of their vocation. Let then the faithful learn to embrace him, not only for justification, but also for sanctification, as he has been given to us for both these purposes, lest they rend him asunder by their mutilated faith.

        Then Charles Hodge:

        Rom_8:13
        The necessity of thus living is enforced by a repetition of the sentiment of Rom_8:6. To live after the flesh is death; to live after the Spirit is life. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit, etc. The necessity of holiness, therefore, is absolute. No matter what professions we may make, or what hopes we may indulge justification, or the manifestation of the divine favor, is never separated from sanctification. Ye shall die; μέλλετε ἀποθνήσκειν, ye are about to die; death to you is inevitable. Compare Rom_4:24; 1Th_3:4; Jam_2:12. The death here spoken of, as appears from the whole context, and from the nature of the life with which it is contrasted, cannot be the death of the body, either solely or mainly. It is spiritual death, in the comprehensive scriptural sense of that term, which includes all the penal consequences of sin here and hereafter, Rom_6:21, Rom_8:6; Gal_6:8. But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. The use of the word mortify, to put to death or destroy, seems to have been suggested by the context. ‘Ye shall die, unless ye put to death the deeds of the body;’ see Col_3:5. The destruction of sin is a slow and painful process

        Then back to John Calvin:
        But if ye by the Spirit, etc. He thus moderates his address, that he might not deject the minds of the godly, who are still conscious of much infirmity; for however we may as yet be exposed to sins, he nevertheless promises life to us, provided we strive to mortify the flesh: for he does not strictly require the destruction of the flesh, but only bids us to make every exertion to subdue its lusts.

        Then back to Charles Hodge:

        Deeds of the body.‹37› It is commonly said that body is here equivalent to flesh, and therefore signifies corruption. But it is very much to be doubted whether the word ever has this sense in the New Testament. The passages commonly quoted in its behalf, Rom_6:6, Rom_7:24; Rom_8:10, Rom_8:13, are very far from being decisive. If the common reading, therefore, is to be retained, (see footnote,) it is better to take the word in its literal and usual sense. The deeds of the body is then a metonymical expression for sinful deeds in general; a part being put for the whole. Deeds performed by the body, being the deeds which the body, as the organ of sin, performs.
        The destruction of sin is to be effected through the Spirit, which does not mean the renewed feelings of the heart, but, as uniformly throughout the passage, the Holy Spirit which dwells in believers: see Rom_8:14, where this Spirit is called “Spirit of God.” Ye shall live, that is, enjoy the life of which the Spirit is the author; including therefore holiness, happiness, and eternal glory.

        Then Calvin:

        Romans 8:14

        14.For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, etc. This is a confirmation of what has immediately preceded; for he teaches us, that those only are deemed the sons of God who are ruled by his Spirit; for by this mark God acknowledges them as his own people. Thus the empty boasting of hypocrites is taken away, who without any reason assume the title; and the faithful are thus encouraged with unhesitating confidence to expect salvation. The import of the whole is this — “all those are the sons of God who are led (252) by God’s Spirit; all the sons of God are heirs of eternal life: then all who are led by God’s Spirit ought to feel assured of eternal life. But the middle term or assumption is omitted, for it was indubitable.
        But it is right to observe, that the working of the Spirit is various: for there is that which is universal, by which all creatures are sustained and preserved; there is that also which is peculiar to men, and varying in its character: but what he means here is sanctification, with which the Lord favors none but his own elect, and by which he separates them for sons to himself.
        (252)Αγονται — are led or conducted: “A metaphor taken from the blind or those in darkness, who know not how to proceed without a conductor. So we have need to be led by the Spirit in the way of truth, for we are blind and see no light. Or it is a metaphor taken from infants, who can hardly walk without a guide; for the regenerated are like little children lately born. Thus we are reminded of our misery and weakness; and we ought not to ascribe to ourselves either knowledge or strength apart from the Spirit of God.” — [Pareus ]

        Then Hodge:

        For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. This is the reason why all such shall live; that is, a new argument is thus introduced in support of the leading doctrine of the chapter. Believers shall enjoy eternal life, not because they have the Spirit of life, but because they are the sons of God. To be led by the Spirit, and to walk after the Spirit, present the same idea, viz, to be under the government of the Spirit, under two different aspects, Gal_5:18 : 2Pe_1:21. The former phrase refers to the constant and effectual influence of the Holy Ghost in regulating the thoughts, feelings, and conduct of believes. Are the sons of God. The term son, in such connections, expresses mainly one or the other of three ideas, and sometimes all of them united.
        1. Similarity of disposition, character, or nature; Mat_5:9, Mat_5:45, “That ye may be the children (Gr. sons) of your Father which is in heaven.” So, too, “sons of Abraham” are those who are like Abraham; and “children of the devil” are those who are like the devil.
        2. Objects of peculiar affection. Rom_9:26. Those who were not any people, “shall be called the sons of the living God;” 2Co_6:18, “Ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” So frequently elsewhere.
        3. Those who have a title to some peculiar dignity or advantage. Thus the “sons of Abraham” are those who are heirs with Abraham of the same promise, Gal_3:8, seq.; Joh_1:12; 1Jo_3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be,” etc.
        The term may indeed express any one of the various relations in which children stand to their parents, as derived from them, dependent on them, etc. The above, however, are the most common of its meanings. In this passage, the first and third ideas appear specially intended: ‘Believers shall live, because they are the peculiar objects of the divine affection, and are heirs of his kingdom,’ Rom_8:15, Rom_8:16.
        That those who are led by the Spirit are really the sons of God, appears from their own filial feelings, and from the testimony of the Spirit. The indwelling of the Spirit, of God raises those in whom he dwells, into the state of sons of God. By regeneration, or new birth, they are born into a higher life; are made partakers, as the apostle Peter says, of the divine nature; and are thus, through and in Christ, the source of their new life, the objects of the divine love, and the heirs of his kingdom.

        My words; In connection with the preceeding verse the Spirit will lead the Believer to kill, mortify and put to death the deeds of the body if he is a real Christian.

        Did not Jeus say, you will know them by their fruit.

        2 Timothy 2:19 – 19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of [a]Christ depart from iniquity.”

        You see the Lord is quite familar with those who really belong to Him. But this verse goes on to say that everyone who names the name of Christ, who is a professing believer, their should be a departing from iniquity in their lives, a gradual, slow, sometimes hardly seen ceasing from sin and a putting on the Lord Jeus Christ and His Holy Loving Virtues of Grace, Being conformed to the image of Christ.

        So yes, my friend Rutchin, before men and ourselves, their should be a growing in the grace of holiness and growing in the knowledledge of knowing Christ intimately in our daily lives as we live in faith toward him and in obedience. It is looking to Christ in Faith that we receive the Holy grace to be obedient to a Holy God. Jesus said if you really love me Keep my comandments. Ultimately we base our salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone.

        But we always stop at verses 8-9 of Ephesians 2 and forget about the next verse, verse 10 that is in the immediate context. It reads:

        10. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

        Look Rutchin, there is the answer, we are God’s workmanship, his handiwork if you will, he created us for good words which ordained beforehand that we should walk in them. That is why I say good works of holiness are necessary to our salvation. We are created by God for that very purpose. Necessary evidence that qualifies our salvation.

        If there is no sanctification in a professing believers conduct of life, you can be sure there was never any justificion by grace through faith.

        Without the manifestion of sanctification, the professing so-called believer was never justified.

        Because if he was justified by grace through faith in Christ, the work of Sanctification will necessarily manifest in his life as evidence that he truly possesses Christ and Christ possesses Him and his is not a white-washed tomb stone full of dead men’s bones who had never been saved.

        Hope that helps and if I am wrong help me to understand ok. And thanks God Bless

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      2. kk writes, ‘What I meant if one is a professing Christian and their are no good works of Holiness in His life being produced by the means and power of the Holy Spirit as the believer cooperates with the Spirit’s ministry of Sanctification, you can be sure that person was never saved to begin with. I guess you could say it is necessary evidence that the believer is saved.”

        I just thought that your upfront use of “necessary” might confuse some. You make the argument James makes – that some get exercised over.. Thanks for all your citations from Hodge and Calvin. Somewhat overkill but it’s your time, and I enjoyed reading it.

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      3. I always do overkill on here if you have not noticed my friend…:) But, just curious, why would you say that, overkill that is? You seemed somewhat confused and disturbed by the phrase “necessary works” So I am not sure is really overkill when it comes to the Doctrine of Justification. Probably won’t stop now. But maybe it was necessary to help you understand the word “necessary” and its usage in the reformed faith. As the many articles, I sent you to reveal just that. I also think they way I initatily explained was clear and precise, although I do understand what you mean. It could cause confusion,

        As long as one remembers this,

        Without Justification , there will be no Sanctification.

        and if there is no Sanctification, there never was Justification.

        For overkill on Justification and necessary evidence, I point you to Luther, Calvin, Hodge, and Turretin. What I wrote was two grains of sand on the ocean beach my friend. But it is your comment and time to write as you self-determine to do being a free agent.

        God bless Rutchin, enjoy your comments on here very much and I do learn from them also.

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      4. KK writes, “just curious, why would you say that, overkill that is?”

        I was referring to your citations from Hodge and Calvin. I thought it more than required to make your point, Your posts are already longer than necessary and do not need to be longer. I prefer short and to the point because people have limited time to spend in discussions. It’s nice to know what Hodge and Calvin say but it was not necessary in this case.

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      5. Oh ok sorry brother, forgive me. enjoy your comments on here so much. God has given you a gift of wisdom and knowledge. I actually learn from you. Thanks and God bless

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      6. But, I will probably never be short and to the point, brother, it may mean that no one will read me. So be it. Like I said, this is of the utmost biblical importance. Not something that is superficial and should only get a surface back scratching. Like I said, you cannot really present your case in a sentence or two or a paragraph or two, in my opinion, I guess you guys are better than me. But what I see from a lot of the Non-Calvinist is one verse of Scripture and a couple of verses of humanist philosophy. That …..just…..will not…..do, in the way I have been taught. God bless again brother. That is why nothing really gets accomplished on here. Although you have a talent to get your point across in that manner and there a few of the Non-Calvinist do also, I do not I must confess Most of the Non-Calvinist on here do not either. So this site lacks and suffers from real substance. You have had to notice the Pelagian Heresy on here being espoused, although I think mistakenly in ignorance. I believe them all to be my brothers in Christ even BR.D who thinks Calvinist are heretics. I just think the Non-Calvinist in my opinion have (not on purpose) went too far too the extreme left to disprove Calvinism a nickname for some truths in God’s word they are now in ignorance and folly espousing something they really do not believe, they are our brother in Christ. God bless again

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      7. kk writes, “Like I said, this is of the utmost biblical importance…you cannot really present your case in a sentence or two or a paragraph or two, in my opinion,…”

        Your role is to plant or to water. God gives the increase. The purpose is not to persuade but to present the Scriptures accurately. When you deal solely with the Scriptures, you do very well.

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      8. Oh Rutchin,,,,Sigh…..Brother, I am a Calvinist, a Reformed Believer. Do you not think that what you just said I do not know and I have told Non-Calvinist that I was not trying to persuade them because that was not my job or within my ability to do. I know it is within the Holy Scriptures that God’s word says one sow and other waters but it is God who gives the increase. We are just instruments or vessels. Evidently, you do not read my posts. They are filled with the Holy Scriptures. And you know what Rutchin, they are clear, precise and direct on one or two subjects even though they may belong. Yes, that is right, I do not stray. For example, I have been discussing the idol of free-will and the gift of faith. That’s all. Nothing else, Not Definite Atonement, Unconditional Election, I stay on exactly what the subject calls for. Even the FOH, who only read the first paragraph dictated to me he only wanted one or two subjects and that was it. I told him if he had read it all he would have found I only talked about the mythical idol of free will and the gift of faith that comes from hearing and hearing by the word of God. But Ruthchin, do you prayerfully pray over the things you write the Holy Spirit will use the word of God like the Sword of the Spirit to give the Increase. Or do you as I have noticed in your post, give a few Holy Scriptures and depend on your wit and Philisophy to defeat your opponent. I know we all bring a measure of philosophy into what we believe, but brother you have gone a little to far and need to depend on God’s word, sowing and watering, praying for Gods increase and less on your wit and humanistic philisophy I don’t mean you are overtaken by it but you do let the likes of Brian Wagner whose biggest weakness is that he is very intellectual, draw you in. Why do you keep questioning me in this matter Rutchin, are you suspsicous of something? Does not love beleive the best of his or her brother until the know different? Do you think I am trying to persuade those on Soteriology101 with my long comments? Rutchin, can you now see the heart as God? Do you see my motive and that that is what I ma trying to do? Do you not think I trust God the Holy Spirt and His intimate Connection with the instrumentality of the Word of God. Sir you do a great job on here, We must not become divided. We are in the same camp. These Christians are truly blind to the truth of God’s word and Dr. Flowers is like the blind leading the blind. Yes our brothers in Christ, but we have to defend the faith once deliverd to the Saints. Should I believe you think it is a better advantage to persuade them with short comments? God forbid my brother. Think about whta I have said and less come together and no longer be divided. God bless and may the Grace of Christ be with you always

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      9. KK writes, “Why do you keep questioning me in this matter Rutchin, are you suspsicous of something?”

        I prefer short, sweet, and to the point. And a little less paranoid.

        Like

      10. Cool Rutchin, pray for me man, I have a hard time with that. I learn from you here Brother. Your responses are strong and biblical. You are contending for the faith once delivered to the Saints my brother in Christ. So I am one in spirit with you on that. I will try and take your advice and do better, but really do not see it happening. I always take what I write and post it to several Social Sites on the net. So hopefully someone is reading it. After all. everyone read’s Dr. Flowers long articles where is biblical exegesis is done for the most part with analogies. Then they comment over and over discussing it. I intend soon to break it down paragraph by paragraph and I will try to keep my comments short.

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      11. Quoting John Calvin, “He thus moderates his address, that he might not deject the minds of the godly, who are still conscious of much infirmity; for however we may as yet be exposed to sins, he nevertheless promises life to us, provided we strive to mortify the flesh: for he does not strictly require the destruction of the flesh, but only bids us to make every exertion to subdue its lusts.”

        I think Calvin could have written it this way, “…he nevertheless promises life to us, encouraging us as we strive to mortify the flesh: for he does not strictly require the destruction of the flesh, but only bids us to make every exertion always calling on God for help to subdue its lusts.”

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      12. Hopefully Eric will post this, after all it is one Calvinist trying to understand another Calvinist. Which I do think we are saying the same thing. God bless Rutchin and love in Christ. That is exactly what I am saying my brother, we are truly on the same page.

        Maybe this will help you to understand will I am coming from and that I look to Christ alone for Justification before God apart from any works of God or anything done that would be considered holy in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Take a look at these Brother Rutchin. Hey. you have done a great job on here defending the faith once delivered to the Saints. They have not been able to resist the wisdom God has given to you and that includes the likes of Brian Wagner who I consider a very good friend in Christ who think should write a book on the all the proof texts the Calvinist use for Calvinism. Their rebuttals have been mere vain philosophies of men, and not rooted a and grounded in the Holy Scriptures. I intend to cut off the snake/serpents head in my next rebuttal. That is Dr. Flowers. I do not mean he is Satan, far from that I believe Dr, Flowers is a very Christlike man who very godly and loves God. I call Dr, Flowers , Brian Wagner and Eric the Administrator the Holy loving Triad on here and those who write and blog on here should follow their Christlike character as they follow Christ. Not necessarily their Doctrine. I will rebut Dr. Flowers latest articles. One of his first comments proves once and for all that he has never ever really understood the Doctrines of Grace and was never a sold-out Reformed believer, Calvinism just being a nickname for some truths being in the Holy Scriptures as the name of the Holy Trinity, But I am going to take a sabbataical from here for a while a prepare my self and seek Lord in prayer, fasting and study of his work. It seems he is bringing some Jw’s into my life to witness the Gospel of Christ to and that is more important right now. To see souls saved and Glorified in the name of Christ.

        https://www.monergism.com/necessity-good-works

        http://biblehub.com/sermons/pub/the_nature_and_necessity_of_good_works.htm

        https://www.chapellibrary.org/files/ebooks/gworfg/OEBPS/Text/Article7.xhtml

        https://heidelblog.net/2014/06/efficacy-necessity-good-works-salvation-1/

        https://heidelblog.net/2014/06/on-the-necessity-and-efficacy-of-good-works-in-salvation-2/
        \

        https://founders.org/2017/05/31/the-necessity-of-good-works-for-christians/

        https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/the-necessity-of-good-works-and-sanctification/?comments

        https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/new-testament-themes-related-to-the-necessity-of-works-and-obedience/

        http://philgons.com/2010/06/luther-on-the-necessity-of-good-works/

        https://rfpa.org/blogs/news/the-question-of-the-necessity-of-good-works-6-fruits-of-faith

        https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/Matthew-Henry/Heb/Necessity-Good-Works-Prove-No

        https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/3654/Good-Works-Necessity-of-.htm

        file:///C:/Users/HP.HP-PC/Desktop/BW/Gil_s%2345_0067.pdf

        http://www.meetthepuritans.com/blog/john-davenant-good-works

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2017/05/grace-alone-necessity-good-works-ecumenical-agreement.html

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2017/05/grace-alone-necessity-good-works-ecumenical-agreement.html

        https://christianchat.com/bible-discussion-forum/the-christian-has-good-works-jonathan-edwards-on-works.100674/

        https://www.monergism.com/justification-faith-alone

        https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/jonathan-edwards-on-the-conditions-of-justification.14565/

        https://books.google.com/books?id=p2J-AwAAQBAJ&pg=PT374&lpg=PT374&dq=Jonathan+edwards+and+the+necessity+of+good+works&source=bl&ots=ii6JD9HyFR&sig=fFQASVHU7RSznEP4WtorLjCiJVw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiVkZCNz-jbAhUMyYMKHVRKC784PBDoAQg4MAM#v=onepage&q=Jonathan%20edwards%20and%20the%20necessity%20of%20good%20works&f=false

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      13. Great comment Rhutchin,
        I wish I was able to be shorter and some it up in a few paragraphs like you. It makes it hard for anyone to want to interact with me. So I know not many if any read what I write.

        Not even BR.D would play with me and I cannot blame him, because I am so long-winded. My comment to him was basically a book. I start writing and it just flows like a river it seems. I know Eric my Brother in Christ, so full of Patience is just shaking his head saying he just won’t listen. I am trying but it seems I just cannot sum up what I need to say in a couple of paragraphs.

        Sorry BR.D if I was too offensive and strong. You were rather friendly to me and I came with a rod of iron instead of a spirit of gentleness. I judged you incorrectly as I often do when I first meet someone. I know you do not think Calvinist are Christians and they are heretics, but that is ok, I am not offended, because for some reason I think I am beginning to like you and respect your input now that I have read more of it here on Soteriology101

        Look at me, here I am on Rutchin’s comment Reply talking to BR,D. I am all messed up so royally.

        Like

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