DOES OMNISCIENCE REQUIRE DETERMINISM?

The simple answer is, “No, of course not,” but some Christians have dogmatically insisted that it does based on finite philosophical speculations.

John Calvin, for instance, wrote:

“How foolish and frail is the support of divine justice afforded by the suggestion that evils come to be, not by His will but by His permission… It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing, but the author of them…Who does not tremble at these judgments with which God works in the hearts of even the wicked whatever He will, rewarding them nonetheless according to desert? Again it is quite clear from the evidence of Scripture that God works in the hearts of men to incline their wills just as He will, whether to good for His mercy’s sake, or to evil according to their merits.” (John Calvin, “The Eternal Predestination of God,” 10:11)

Many modern day Calvinists would not go so far as to candidly admit what John Calvin does in the quote above (Calvin’s quote supports the false doctrine of Equal Ultimacy). Yet, can the Calvinistic systematic avoid the necessity of this logical end? Their namesake does not think so.

Certain philosophical commitments led John Calvin (and many Calvinists like him) to adopt a view of God that is not biblically defensible. Our infinite God is not stuck on a linear timeline, looking into the past or the future. He is the timeless great “I AM,” which suggests that His knowledge is less like our set knowledge of past events (or future ones if we had a crystal ball) and more like our knowledge of present reality. We know what is happening right now because we exist in the now, not because we are necessarily determining what we are experiencing in the here and now, though our choices and actions could certainly affect our present reality. Likewise, our infinite God exists in the eternal now, which is beyond our comprehension. Should we (indeed can we) draw dogmatic conclusions about such infinite realities?

To us the past is unchangeable, water under the bridge. The future, however, is as uncertain as the forecast of rain and impossible for us to fully predict or know. The only point where the “changeable” meets “certainty” for us is in the present. But, is that also true of our infinite Creator? What if the past, present and future remains both certain and changeable to God? As some have put it, “God is the eternal now.”

C.S. Lewis so aptly wrote in his book Mere Christianity, “If you picture time as a straight line along which we have to travel, then you must picture God as the whole page on which the line is drawn.” He argues that all times are the present to God insomuch as His knowledge is concerned. Other philosophers contend that God must be either outside of time or in time, whereas Lewis argues, “why can’t it be both? There is no logical barrier to this. Just because there is no creature in our experience that is both inside and outside of time, does not mean God has to be like His creatures.”

Wherever we land philosophically, however, we must refrain from bringing unbiblical conclusions, based upon our finite perceptions, to our understanding of God’s nature. We must accept the revelation of scripture. He is Holy (Is. 6:3). He does not take pleasure in sin (Ps. 5:4). Some moral evil does not even enter His Holy mind (Jer. 7:31). And, He genuinely desires all men, every individual, to come to Him and be saved (Rom. 10:21; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4; Ezk. 18:30-31).

One presumption that we should bring to scripture is that our God is good and He is in no way implicit in the bringing about of moral evil. He is a loving God who genuinely desires for all to come to repentance so as to be saved (Ezk 18; 1Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9; Rm 10:21).

No man will stand before the Father and be able to give the excuse, “I was born unloved by my Creator (Jn. 3:16). I was born un-chosen and without the hope of salvation (Titus 2:11). I was born unable to see, hear or understand God’s revelation of Himself (Acts 28:27-28).” No! They will stand wholly and completely “without excuse” (Rm. 1:20), because God loved them (Jn. 3:16), called them to salvation (2 Cor. 5:20), revealed Himself to them (Titus 2:11), and provided the means by which their sins would be atoned (1 Jn. 2:2). No man has any excuse for unbelief (Rm. 1:20).

————

(Portions taken from chapter 3 of Leighton’s book, “The Potter’s Promise: A Biblical Defense of Traditional Soteriology” published by Trinity Academic Press)

*One would also benefit from reading The Consolation of Philosophy (Latin: De consolatione philosophiæ), a work by the sixth century philosopher Boethius that has been described as having had the single most important influence on the Christianity of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance and as the last great work of the Classical Period. Introduction to The Consolation of Philosophy, Oxford World’s Classics, 2000.

*Deut. 29:29 states, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever…”

725 thoughts on “DOES OMNISCIENCE REQUIRE DETERMINISM?

  1. The twin attributes of God’s omniscience and His omnipotence prove that God has determined every action in time. In every instance God has the free choice to enact His omnipotence to prevent any evil from occurring. The fact that He knows it will occur AND chooses not to intervene as an all-powerful Deity proves His determinations. God knows because He has decreed all things for His purposes. The Fall is a prime example of God’s predetermined intention for mankind to disobey His prescribed will. Just as He prevented Abraham from killing Isaac on the alter, God could have prevented Satan from beguiling Eve and Eve from tempting Adam.
    So since the all-powerful Deity freely chose to allow Adam to sin, we know it was His intention for Adam to fall. We also know that God predetermined The Fall because He also predetermined man’s redemption in Christ BEFORE The Fall as Ephesians 1:4 so beautifully reveals. God’s omniscience and determination are inseparable. God knows because He determines AND He determines because He knows. His knowledge of all future events coupled with His choice to freely act or not act proves determinism.

    1. Troy writes:
      The twin attributes of God’s omniscience and His omnipotence prove that God has determined every action in time.

      br.d
      The article has already addressed the fact that some are dogmatic on this.
      Being dogmatic is fine for those who don’t let truth get in the way of their beliefs.

      For those who choose not to be blind followers of the blind, these things continue to be scrutinized.
      Additionally, Universal Divine Causal Determinism (aka Calvinism) represents a minority view in the ongoing considerations within the major contributors and the literature – especially with the over-arching issue of it making God the author of evil.

      But for those who choose to be dogmatic:
      When the blind lead the blind, they both end up in the same ditch.
      But without the ability to know they are in a ditch and without the ability to know they are blind.

      You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.

  2. “The fact that He knows it will occur AND chooses not to intervene as an all-powerful Deity proves His determinations. God knows because He has decreed all things for His purposes.”

    God choosing not to intervene and God decreeing all things are opposites. What would there be to intervene in if he has already irresistibly caused everything? That’s like saying a computer programmer chooses whether or not to later change the code he has already written, only in God’s case the code can not possibly have any flaws, so why would he have to change it?

    1. WW – And for determinists to say “God could have…” is a clear contradiction of their view of view of eternal immutable determinism. There is no “could have” in “immutable” or in their definition of “perfection”. It is sad to think that they can see these contradictions, but then still double-down on their loyalty to deterministic philosophy borrowed from paganism, instead of being willing to rethink the definitions of God’s nature and the nature of reality that Scripture clearly teaches.

      1. This is inaccurate because God “could have” freely chosen a different plan before He enacted His decree. We can’t limit what God “could have” done before He immutably decided to create this world and decree what He has decreed for this creation. God had the right and ability to have done something different before He created. Remember God is only immutable in His nature and His decree. This does not speak to His free choices before Creation.

      2. The idea of “eternal immutable” makes “could have” impossible and even makes “decided” impossible, for there would need to be a “before” that decision if there is to be a “could have” decided differently, but there is no “before” in eternal determinism.

      3. brianwagner writes, “…for determinists to say “God could have…” is a clear contradiction of their view of view of eternal immutable determinism. There is no “could have” in “immutable” or in their definition of “perfection”.”

        We don’t know how God thinks, but we do know that God works out His decrees in the course of time – “…God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” While God certainly knows what He wants to do and there is no “God could have…,” People do not know what God has decreed, so people can say, “God could have.” There are any number of scenarios that God “could have” followed for the world – He decreed one and is now working out that specific scenario – it is certain so there is no legitimate “could have.”. Nonetheless, we can legitimately speak of God having originally decreed a different scenario – for purposes of discussion – without doing damage to God’s reputation.

      4. Thank you Roger for affirming the contradiction. I don’t know why you think it is ever “legitimate” to speak about God in a contradictory fashion, since you believe there is “no legitimate ‘could have'” in determinist theology. Misrepresenting what is true about God certainly does “damage” His reputation in the minds of others, in my view, since His character is truth.

        The determinist definition of perfection allows for only one settled reality, eternally immutably predetermined. There is no “could have” that can be said as true, once an event takes place unless we are denying that determinist definition of perfection.

      5. brianwagner writes, ” I don’t know why you think it is ever “legitimate” to speak about God in a contradictory fashion,”

        I don’t see a contradiction here.

    2. Wildwanderer what you’re neglecting to see is that God’s decree includes His free will choices to engage or not engage with His creation. Whenever He chooses to not engage, it’s still apart of His decree to choose not to engage and this is His determination. When He allows mankind to commit heinous sins, and that too is apart of His decree since we know He has the ability to prevent these heinous sins from occurring. For example, when God chooses not to prevent a rape from occurring, we know that He decreed that rape to occur since He freely chose not to prevent the rape. We know this because an omnipotent Deity has the ability to prevent any sin from occurring. So when a sin occurs, we know it’s part of His decree since He allowed it take place.

      1. Seems to me that the burden of proof is on you. First you have to prove that God ordains everything that happens. How many verses you think I can find that say God hates sin, versus a couple verses you can read from a certain perspective and make them say that God ordains and decrees everything… I frankly don’t care how about your philosophical Notions only about scripture.

  3. Thanks for the post, Leighton. But as you can guess… I think you have opened a fundamental can of worms! 😉 And to me, you seem to be still infected with the same philosophical underpinnings of Calvinism, which also underpin Arminianism and Molinism. You want to speak dogmatically about God’s eternality but also in the same breath say we cannot be dogmatic. And then you say we must be Scriptural too.

    You said – “Likewise, our infinite God exists in the eternal now, which is beyond our comprehension. Should we (indeed can we) draw dogmatic conclusions about such infinite realities?” But earlier you dogmatically drew a conclusion about His eternality – “Our infinite God is NOT {emphasis mine} stuck on a linear timeline, looking into the past or the future. He is the timeless great “I AM,” which suggests that His knowledge is less like our set knowledge of past events (or future ones if we had a crystal ball) and more like our knowledge of present reality.”

    But what if reality and eternity is a non-contradictory sequential unity, as clearly as Scripture reveals it?

    Don’t you think it would be a stretch to think God would use the title of His covenant faithfulness (“I am that I am”) to teach about His eternality? He clearly defines His eternality as sequential – “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps 90:2), “who was and is and is to come” (Rev 4:8). It would be logically contradictory for our past and future to be really in existence for Him, and only perceived as not being in existence for us, as if the Scripture doesn’t speak the truth about the past and future!

    But traditional “orthodoxy”, imo, in these matters must teach that the Scriptures do not speak the clear truth, and it must teach that the understanding the nature of God requires definitions, paradoxical to Scripture, borrowed from pagan neo-platonism to define the nature of God correctly.

    1. brianwagner writes, “He clearly defines His eternality as sequential – “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps 90:2), “who was and is and is to come” (Rev 4:8). ”

      This is an accommodation by God to make a point to finite people. What exactly does “everlasting” mean to any but a human who is subject to time. God describes Himself as “I am” because there is no concept of time in His being. Prior to God’s creation of the universe, all that was, was God and the concept of “everlasting” is not even relevant or descriptive because time is a useless concept with God. It is relevant to humans because we think in terms of time.

      Then, “it must teach that the understanding the nature of God requires definitions, paradoxical to Scripture,”

      Or borrowed from Scripture since God describes His nature using terms relative to human nature – suggesting that humans can only understand God in terms that humans can understand. We know that such is terribly inadequate to understand God.

      1. Truth is truth, and Jesus said, God’s Word is truth. Calling God’s descriptions of His sequential reality an “accomodation by God to make a point to finite people” is saying He is not really telling the truth in Scripture.

        But for some reason, scholars are able to make the point for the same “finite people” in a accurate way. To say the “concept of ‘everlasting’ is not even relevant or descriptive” for before creation demonstrates how one must believe God is lying or inept to find the right words to describe reality. But platonist pagan philosophers and their “Christian” stepchildren for some reason can do a better job than God did by their using much more adequate terms “to understand God.”

      2. Brian:
        Yes…I have noticed that many, many times Reformed defenders will play the “God says it this way ….uh….cuz it’s the only way we would understand it” card.

        I have posted many times from my daily readings how God’s Word would be misleading…. even dishonest…. deceptive or outright lying from the many times/ many ways that God says things (that Reformers say are not what they say).

        Hundreds of examples:

        God is “being patient”

        Cain should dominate over the sin crouching at his door…

        Paul “persuades” men.

        Jeremiah (may times) “I the Lord say if you change your actions, I will change my plan to judge you”

        Jeremiah “What you are doing did not even enter my mind.”

        Joshua…”Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve….”

        Saul “The Lord would have made your kingdom longer….but you…”

        God rewards those who earnestly seek Him…

        The Eternal says “Because you have …. I will now…..”

        “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest…”

        The prodigal son who (Christ said twice was “dead”) “came to his senses” “in a faraway land” ….returned while the Father waited…

        “Trust the Lord…. Walk in the Spirit….. Consecrate yourselves…. Resist the devil….. Flee youthful lusts….”

        All of these thousands and thousands of passages are de facto “deceptive” “disingenuous” to us the average, finite reader, if in fact NONE of it could have been any different, or the person had no participation in the matter. All was decided/ preordained / immutably baked by God ahead of time.

        What is the point of warnings? Good testimonies (“Abel speaks to us even now”)…. the “cloud of witnesses” “follow my example”… what is the point of all this in the determinist system? No point. All has been decided.

      3. brianwagner writes, “Calling God’s descriptions of His sequential reality an “accomodation by God to make a point to finite people” is saying He is not really telling the truth in Scripture.’

        I don’t see why it would be a lie. Suppose you are communicating with a group of people in the Amazon forest. You want to convey to them the concept of snow but there is no word for snow, ice, or frozen in their language because they never encounter such things. Whatever words in their language you use to translate the concept of “snow” would be inadequate. It seems to me that you would call any translation of “snow” a lie because it isn’t really snow. So, we have God communicating in the Hebrew language that lacks words to describe how God works and then we translate that into English where there is not a one-to-one correspondence between Hebrew words and English words so the translator uses the best available. Rather than call it a lie, why not recognize the difficulties in describing a God with a language that has no words to accurately describe God and then translating that to a second language.

      4. But Roger, you know, and have done so yourself…after saying God could not find the right words to put in Scripture to describe His nature and actions, theologians seem to find words they think can be dogmatically understood about His nature and actions.

        I could definitely describe many aspects of snow accurately with truthful words to those who have not seen it. “From everlasting” is paralleled with “to everlasting” in Ps 90:2. We have a good idea of the continuing sequence of reality into the future. The same is true then of the past.

        Are you saying God could not have said “out of timelessness into the everlasting ages to come”? But that is what the neo-platonist infected, deterministic Calvinists say is the truth… making God a liar or at least very deceptive in Ps 90:2. I reject such attacks on God’s character and Word.

      5. brianwagner writes, “after saying God could not find the right words to put in Scripture to describe His nature and actions, theologians seem to find words they think can be dogmatically understood about His nature and actions.”

        Of course. In some cases, we have supporting Scripture that gives us insight into the meaning of words. That is not always the case. Thus, where a person is dogmatic about God, His nature, or His actions, we look at the supporting Scriptures advanced as support.

        Then, “I could definitely describe many aspects of snow accurately with truthful words to those who have not seen it. “From everlasting” is paralleled with “to everlasting” in Ps 90:2. We have a good idea of the continuing sequence of reality into the future. The same is true then of the past.”

        Everlasting is a term that is tied to time and is relative to a human perspective. Finite humans think in terms of time. God was not created – God is and there was never a point where God was not. So, time is inadequate in describing anything about God. We think of the universe being so many billions of light years in diameter. How far can one go outside our universe – out to infinity. However, then you are talking about God. Does God extend out to infinity? Not really. God is and infinity (or everlasting to everlasting) is a poor descriptor of what God is. What does that even tell us about God? What does it tell us about anything before the point where God created the universe? Nothing much that I can see.

        Then, “Are you saying God could not have said “out of timelessness into the everlasting ages to come”? But that is what the neo-platonist infected, deterministic Calvinists say is the truth… making God a liar or at least very deceptive in Ps 90:2. I reject such attacks on God’s character and Word.”

        If you can explain what Psalm 90:2 means, I guess you could have a point. I think that any term connected with time can only poorly describes God. The problem is that finite beings think in terms of time, so God uses time to communicate something about Himself. We, in turn, recognize the limitations of a phrase like, “from everlasting to everlasting,” in describing God even though it is not inaccurate – it just doesn’t say as much as we want.

      6. Thank you Roger for confirming and giving clear examples that you think even your “scholarly” descriptions of what God’s nature is or is not, is more clear than Scripture.

        Dogmatism based on the supposed “clarity” of statements by scholars and made to trump the clarity of statements of Scripture is the soil from which all denominations and heretical groups grow.

      7. My dear Brian, truth itself IS dogmatic. What you believe about the open theistic nature of God is both non-sensical and illogical when we consider a Creator who decided to create a human race without knowing beforehand every action of every creature. Those who teach that God knows only SOME events in the future sound foolish when prophecy REQUIRES that THOUSANDS of choices and events MUST occur in order for prophecies to be fulfilled. God can not perfectly prophecy any events in the future if He only knows the “possible” outcomes of events in the future. God must, by necessity, not only foreknow all of the future; He must also ENSURE its outcome. The ONLY way God can ENSURE the fulfillment of prophecy He has to determine it. Open theism is heretical and impugns God’s character and nature.

      8. Nothing impugns God’s character and nature more than Calvinism.
        Calvinism wins this prize hands down every time – no competition comes close!
        And Calvinists always win first prize in spiritual-pride and beguiling double-talk. :-]

      9. brianwagner writes, “confirming and giving clear examples that you think even your “scholarly” descriptions of what God’s nature is or is not, is more clear than Scripture.”

        If Scripture were equally clear to each person, we wouldn’t be having these discussions.

      10. Even when Scripture is clear… people often choose to be “willfully ignorant” Peter said, and because of being unstable or unlearned they twist the Scriptures to their own destruction… in spite of its clarity in many things. (2Pet 3:5, 16)

      11. Ouch!

        Troy, I think the discussion was Roger saying that if everyone could see—everyone would see. (meaning if people were not blinded —or unblinded— then all would respond).

        Brian’s response is simply that we see enough people that will look a judge in the eye and spit anyway. His point is that Roger has no biblical grounds to say as a proof-text “if all could respond, all would respond.” (that is a presupposition).

        We see plenty of examples of God’s chosen people in Exodus…..the same ones who saw the 10 plagues, were delivered by the blood, saw the parted water, followed the pillars of fire and cloud….ate the manna….and still turn away in unbelief.

        Truth right in front of them, some will deny it. It is just not biblical to say that all that could believe did believe. [They were even chosen!]

        Brian was referring to those who will deny the beauty of Christ even when is clearly put in front of them.

        You turned it on Brian. Are you saying that Brian is twisting Scripture and does not believe in the only-way, only-by-grace, unmerited, all-saving blood of Christ?

        I think he does.

      12. I do not believe that aptly describes you, Brian. Even on those things I see differently, I have not seen you twisting scripture, but offering a logical possibility to explain that which has not been made explicitly clear. Nor have I ever found you to be condemning or insistent that all agree with you.

      13. TS00
        We must understand that some Calvinists are in a difficult position about other believers who do not hold the determinist line.

        Now, I know that Piper and MacArthur’s churches support missionaries from lots of organizations (been there–seen the missionary wall-boards). It is quite possible that they support missionaries who are not Calvinists. And it is absolutely, 100% true that they support missionaries who go out with organizations that are not Calvinistic. They can live with that. Difference of opinion on verses.

        Most evangelical mission agencies take people from all positions: charismatic, Baptist, Methodist…. and even reformed! They dont feel that the difference in interpretation of some passages is twisting Scripture.

        But young Troy sees our man Brian as willingly twisting the Scriptures.

        The irony in all this of course is that according to deteminism Brian would only be doing what God had ordained him to do….nothing “WILL-ing about it! Get it? That would imply that Brian had a free will. Badoom- chii…and he doesnt!

      14. FOH, you make it seem like child’s play – showing how nearly impossible it is to consistently believe or state any coherent determinist concept that can actually make sense or be lived out. 🙂

      15. FOH writes:
        The irony in all this of course is that according to determinism Brian would only be doing what God had ordained him to do…nothing “WILL-ing about it! Get it? That would imply that Brian had a free will. Badoom- chii…and he doesn’t!

        br.d
        I loved the “Badoom -chii” !! :-]

        Yes this is a great point. The Calvinist railing against a non-Calvinist is the Calvinist railing against what his god has predestined – thinking that his god may be possibly about to predestine the opposite – and that his involvement will be some kind of predestined divine (super Christian) participation as part of his god’s plan to recruit the non-Calvinist into the sacred doctrine. “Badoom – Chii!”

        It never occurs to him at any moment – his thinking was induced into his head through the process of earthly religious indoctrination – because the doctrine reduces every human thought/choice/desire/action to function as a puppet for the divine will.

      16. brianwagner writes, “Even when Scripture is clear… people often choose to be “willfully ignorant” ”

        I agree. So let the debate continue on the clarity of Scripture by those presumably neither unstable nor unlearned.

  4. The dirty little secret of Calvinism is that it asserts the very same lie that Satan first proposed in the Garden:

    ‘God is only concerned about himself. You are nothing but a means to his desire for ‘glory’.’

    The lie, which Adam believed to his everlasting shame, is that God is ultimately narcissistic, self-absorbed and jealous of glory. Satan persuaded him to believe that God restricted the fruit of the tree, not for Adam’s good, but because God was selfishly afraid of anyone achieving the status and power that he had. He wanted ALL the glory, ALL the praise of being ‘GOD’ and was terribly afraid of any other creature rivaling his status. This, of course, is the nature of Satan, not God.

    This is the exact same lie propagated by Calvinism, though couched in endless euphemisms, most importantly, that God does whatsoever he does for his own glory. That is false. God does whatsoever he does out of goodness, mercy, justice and, especially important for his dependent creatures – love.

    This world is not some tidy little laboratory in which God created and controls all of the variables to get the exact results he desires. That is the sort of ‘cooked’ reality we are served by what Paul warned us was ‘science, falsely so-called’. Certainly there are aspects of God’s creation that work according to the prescribed design with which he created them. God gave no power of will, or ability to resist his will to the sun, moon or stars, to protons, electrons and other elements of matter. Science falsely asserts that the entire world runs on just such a mechanistic platform, and Calvinism is its religious affirmation.

    Scripture tells an entirely different story, a story of love, creativity and a deep richness of meaning to life. Man is no mechanistic machine, although indeed, the physical body is a marvel of design. Yet even the physical body teaches us much about how God designed man, uniquely in his image. When properly nourished, exercised and cared for, the human body is a thing of beauty and elegance. Then malnourished, abused and filled with toxic, man-made poisons it becomes a diseased, dysfunctional walking death. The false teachers of ‘science’ would have us believe that human disease and dysfunction is a curse of God, that ‘germs’ threaten to harm and destroy our vitality. In truth, it is the rejection of God’s design that has fouled our air, water, food, bodies and the entire earth with poison and death. The same is true with our spiritual being; we have made bad choices, which will destroy our souls just as sugar destroys our bodies.

    What does it mean to be made in the image of God? Does it mean that we look like him, that God can wear skinny jeans or perhaps goatees like we do? Few would suggest this. Does it mean we are omniscient and omnipotent like the uncreated Creator? Hardly. Scripture suggests something else, tying man’s being in God’s image to being given ‘dominion’ over the earth and all other creatures.

    Man has been given the power of a creative will and the freedom to use it. The sun cannot choose its own path, or decide to not rise at all. The herbs of the field cannot choose to live on doughnuts and Cheetos rather than the necessary vitamins and minerals provided by God through the natural order. The fish of the sea cannot, contrary to ‘science, falsely so-called’, grow feet and walk upon the earth at will. A lion, despite being the king of beasts, cannot sprout wings and fly like the majestic eagle. All lesser creatures must remain ever in the limited domain for which they have been designed.

    Man alone has the wits and resources – given to him by God – to build a tower that reaches to heaven; to design a flying machine that allows him to soar like the eagle and a submersible machine that allows him to scour the ocean floor like the fish of the sea. Man was given amazing God-like abilities, being given a rational, creative power of thought, reason and choice.

    It is this God-likeness that makes life a joyous adventure, full of creative potential. Man has been given a vast, amazing world full of endless resources upon which he can experiment and design endless wonders. Thus, uniquely in all of creation, man can experience the wonder of creating, the joy of beauty and the excitement of the endless potential of life.

    There is, of course, a potential downside to all of this, and it is one with which all are well acquainted. In giving man this marvelous freedom of will and creativity, God designed a creature which had the ability to resist his will. Indeed, it is perhaps inevitable that a creature with a free will eventually discovers that this will can be used in a harmful and destructive manner.

    The story of scripture is that God knew full well the ‘risks’ in making men to a great degree free. More, being omniscient and outside of time as we know it, he knew beforehand exactly how men would abuse this freedom to serve their fleshly lusts rather than the good of the world they were given dominion over. The gospel message is that the power of love and faith can, and will, overcome the deceitful power of sin and its destruction.

    The message of the Christ is that God loves man, and has devised a marvelous, merciful redemption; offering full restoration of all that has been lost by man’s sinful, selfish rebellion. It is a message of love, freely offered and, when freely received, a new life is begun that God promises will never end in death. This is the message of the Christ, the good news of recreation and life offered to all who will believe in and accept it on God’s terms.

    The anti-Christ message is that God is cruel, self-absorbed and this world is all about him and his ‘glory’. He did not create man out of love, but merely to serve his own narcissistic purposes. Indeed, man is less than nothing in his eyes, and he is as willing to create men to abuse, torture and cast aside as he is to shower blessings upon. Because this world is really only all about him and his insatiable desire for glory.

    The gospel of Calvinism is an anti-Christ gospel. It distorts not only the meaning of all that Jesus came to do, but it distorts the very nature of God. (Don’t be deceived by the decoy ‘AntiChrist’ of Left Behind fame. Any caricature of God that denies his limitless, sacrificial love as demonstrated by Jesus’ death on the cross is anti-Christ.)

    The nature of God as presented by Christ is selfless and sacrificial.
    The nature of God as presented by anti-Christ is self-seeking and tyrannical.
    The nature of God as presented by Christ is of unlimited, sacrificial love for others.
    The nature of God as presented by anti-Christ is of cruel, controlling self-love.
    The nature of God as presented by Christ lays down his life for rebellious sinners.
    The nature of God as presented by anti-Christ enjoys the destruction of helpless creatures.
    The nature of God as presented by Christ says ‘Come, whosoever will’.
    The nature of God as presented by anti-Christ says ‘Go to hell’ irresistibly to countless creatures.

    Calvinism seeks to hide its dastardly, anti-Christ gospel under the charade of protecting God’s ‘Sovereignty’. He needs no such protecting. He is the great ‘I AM’ and nothing is outside of his control unless he deliberately lays aside some of that control. Calvinism falsely asserts that such sovereign authority demands meticulous, all-controlling determinism. Scripture proves otherwise, in telling the age old story of a world in which men and women acted upon their God-given free wills, some for good, some for evil. Beginning in Genesis, we see God warning Cain that unless he does what is right he will come under the mastery of sin. This is a clear example of the choice all men must make, choosing whom they will serve.

    Scripture unfolds the marvelous story of God’s love for wayward men, of his incomparable love, mercy and patience with stubborn, stiff-necked sinners whose very existence depended upon the mercy of the one whom they were resisting. It reveals the astounding forbearance of God with stiff-necked, rebellious men and women who responded to his mercy and blessing with self-serving greed, covetousness and idolatry. It tells the almost unbelievable story of a God who woos man back to himself, as a man woos the bride he adores and longs to have as his cherished possession.

    Just as man’s desire for his beloved bride can never be accomplished with a club and chains, God’s desire for a genuine, loving relationship with his creatures is necessarily based on freedom of choice. God has done all of the work, and offers all of the wealth that is his to any who will come and dwell with him in the manner in which they were designed; not as soulless, mechanistic tools, like sun, moon and stars, but as free creatures who may reject the love – and will, for a time – of their maker. Evil exists, temporarily, because God restrains himself from enforcing his desire – and eventual plan – for perfect goodness, justice and love. Never, in any way, shape or form, is evil the result of God’s deliberate determination.

    Lastly, because God intends to dwell in eternally good and blissful abundance with his children – those who willingly come to him in humility and love – it is necessary that those who stubbornly refuse his call and refuse to bow to his gracious and loving authority must be punished and removed from the picture. There will be no sin, rebellion, selfishness, hatred, murder or oppression in God’s new creation. All who are there will be there by free choice, and will be transformed and conformed – freely – into the blessed image of God’s Son, Jesus, the Christ.

    The incomparable glory that will be revealed in God’s finished work, in the genuine overcoming power of freely offered and freely returned love could never be accomplished by force, or by a meticulously determined and controlled creation.

    1. TS00

      You already explained all this on Oct 5th….your “once and for all” moment.

      This was above the call of duty.

  5. The way I’ve always viewed foreknowledge is systems based. God built the systems and knows the outcomes of those systems. It’s why we see language in the old testament of, “choose to obey and receive life, choose to rebel and see death.” (obviously paraphrasing the many times we see this choice presented in the old testament)

    The best way to view the use of the word predestination is not predeterminism, but foreknowledge. That God knows the outcome of our choice, but doesn’t determine our choice.

    1. Morris writes:
      The best way to view the use of the word predestination is not predeterminism, but foreknowledge. That God knows the outcome of our choice, but doesn’t determine our choice.

      br.d
      Yes – I would agree with this – and it makes sense as to the grammatical phrasing within the sentence structure of scripture.
      Namely, it never explicitly states anywhere that people *FUNCTION* in such a way that God is authoring/enforcing their every thought/choice/desire/action. The language of scripture presents the sense that God leaves most human functionality “up to” the person.

      This is why Calvinism’s interpretation of scripture is a form of sentence restructuring.

      When God says “behold I set before you life and death – choose life” the Calvinist is taught to restructure verses like this automatically in his mind while reading the verse.

      “Behold I’ve determined some of you to choose life and some of you to chose death. And I’m holding you accountable *AS-IF* your choice were “up to you” – when its really the case, that I’ve already determined what you can choose in advance – and you can’t do otherwise – so the only choice that is really “up to you” is the choice I’ve determined.”

      How the human brain can take that original verse, and completely restructure it automatically at the time of reading – and not be aware of that restructuring process – is byproduct of what Robert J Lipton called “thought reform”.

    2. Morris… but you would agree wouldn’t you that what you said would only be true if God only had one possible response for each choice in each system and that He has already made all those choices of His ahead of ours in His mind?… otherwise He would be only knowing the possible choices He could make as still possible and not limited to only one alternative. Right?

      1. Brian,

        Can we make this presumption:
        “He could make as still possible and not limited to only one alternative. Right?” from the evidence we have from he Bible?

        Honestly, I think our libertarian free will is very limited, we just like to believe it’s greater than it is. Choose to obey, or choose to rebel. This is the binary contrast always presented in the Bible. If we rebel, we are slaves to sin, and serve Satan. If we obey, we are slaves to obedience and serve God.

        That imo, is the limit of our free will.

      2. Morris, thanks for the question. If I am understanding you correctly… yes and yes. On non moral initiatives, our free will and God’s usually are not confined to two alternative choices… but moral choices are binary, imo. Sometimes we don’t see the moral choice we are making, but in many things we do, there are multiple “goods” to choose from… some better than others.

  6. Dr. Robert Jay Lifton – characteristics of thought reform

    • Milieu Control:
    This involves the control of information and communication within the group’s environment, and ultimately within the individual. The individual’s way of thinking is eventually influenced so as to interpret data through a filter which affirms the group’s doctrine.

    • Black and white thinking:
    The world is viewed as black and white and the members are consistently shepherded to strive for group conformity through positive or negative social reinforcements. The individual’s psychological need for a sense of belonging or the need for group approval is at play.

    • Loading the Language:
    The group uses the common English language, but has its own ad hoc dictionary for words and phrases, altering definitions to conform or affirm the sacred doctrine. Outsiders are often misled by the language, as definitions are altered in subtlety. Dr. Lifton classified this as: “insider language”. The jargon may also consist of thought-terminating clichés, which serve to influence members’ thought processes to conform to the group’s way of thinking.

    • Doctrine over person:
    Members’ personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred doctrine and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.

  7. Troy:

    WW made a good point about the burden of proof being on you.

    Your positions is very philosophical, but has no clear biblical backup. We can easily show hundreds of verses that say “I would have” “I never thought to do that” “this never crossed my mind” “now I know that you believe me” …and all the verses that Leighton lists in his article.

    None of these make sense in your philosophy. Zero. Wasted ink on parchment.

    The Bible is full of places where The Sovereign Lord says in real time….

    1 Samuel 15:10 The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.”

    In Chapter 13:13… And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.

    “The Lord would have….” Would have?

    How can there be a “the Lord would have” based on Saul’s actions ….in your philosophy?

    We dont have to scaffold together some sort of idea that “Omniscience plus omnipotence means that God ‘necessarily’ ordained all things…” based on philosophy not scripture

    We see examples like the Saul jump out on every page of the Bible. It is a real, living book! Not just some unnecessary manifesto of what has already been decided where we are mere puppets in the immutable drama….that makes a loving God the author of all sin.

    Think careful before you lay such things at His door!

    1. FOH those verses you’ve provided are ridiculously easy to explain and I will do so. Then I will show, FROM SCRIPTURE, how God is in meticulous control. But I’m predicting that you will find ways around the plain meaning and intention of the texts I offer.

      Re: 1 Samuel 15:10 simply reveals that God has emotions and He chooses to express His emotions in time when interacting with His creation. The fact that the texts mentions “regret” doesn’t, in any way, imply a lack of foreknowledge or predetermination. For example, God states, “The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” -Genesis‬ ‭6:7‬ ‭

      Here we see God showing emotion, however, the emotion shown doesn’t preclude ignorance nor lack of control. How do we know this fact? Because God decreed/planned mankind’s redemption BEFORE The Fall and BEFORE His statements in Genesis 6:7. So if God already planned our redemption BEFORE The Fall (Ephesians 1:4), then in what sense does He “regret” having made us? The answer is that God has extreme sorrow for His creation as a benevolent God, even though He knows man’s sinful actions BEFORE he commits them. The word “regret” in 1 Samuel 15:10 is expressing sorrow, not ignorance of future events.

      Re: 1 Samuel 13:13 reveals a HYPOTHETICAL situation that would have occurred had Saul been faithful to God from the beginning. We know it’s hypothetical because God made Saul king KNOWING that Saul would be a rebellious king because God declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). So 1 Samuel 13:13 still doesn’t disprove God’s predetermined decree.
      God shows in several places that He meticulously controls all events in time and does so even having given mankind freedom of choice. Although that freedom of choice is actually skewed by mankind’s bondage to sin and Satan (Jn. 8:34, 2 Cor. 4:4). We have the ability to make moral choices, but we’re unable to make spiritual choices (i.e. believe Christ). (See 1 Cor. 2:14)
      God’s meticulous control is seen in the THOUSANDS of free will choices of men that culminated in the crucifixion of Christ. These many choices included
      -Christ came through a certain blood line
      -Creating Herod and Pontus Pilot and ascending them to their respective thrones
      -The North Star being placed in the sky
      -The fulfillment of countless prophecies that required God to create certain people and even kill certain people. For example, God predicted and determined the slaughter of many babies in Rama and ENSURED its fulfillment by creating Herod, ascending him to a position of power, and choosing not to prevent his edict to kill all babies under 2 years old. This was apart of God’s decree. However, our flesh doesn’t like to talk about this aspect of God’s decree because in our finite minds we think God should show everyone mercy equally. But He doesn’t!! God has mercy on whom He will have mercy regardless of our “free will choices”.
      We must thank God for giving us historical events that show us how He deals with His Creation. The Bible gives us a plethora of snapshots that reveal to us how God operates in time. Instead of finding ways around the biblical examples, we need to embrace God’s meticulous decree and be comforted by the fact that the God of this world will do right ALWAYS!! Trying to defend man’s free will or respons-ABILITY is an exercise in futility and oftentimes is an indication of one’s continued rebellion against the God of Scripture.
      And yes God determines for certain true believers to believe a lie because God reveals truth to whomever He wants in His own timetable.

      1. Troy, your circular logic is sophomoric, at best. I know God determines all things because . . . wait for it . . . I think he determined things. All assertion. To have knowledge of, or permit, is not the same thing as to determine or compel but merely . . . to have knowledge of. You seem utterly incapable of grasping your opponents’ assertion, which will never lead to greater understanding.

        Scripture presents a sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent deity who reigns over his creation. Few, if any, question this. Scripture certainly could present a controlling, meticulously determining God who rules over a puppet-like people and creation, who meticulously ordains, prescribes, determines, controls whatsoever comes to pass so that all is necessary and unavoidable. Such is essential to Calvinism, but it is not essential to a sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent deity.

        The other possibility (perhaps there are others, but these are the two most common interpretations) is that the sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent deity who reigns over his creation has created a people made in his own image, who have freedom of thought, will and action; to such he has chosen to grant subordinate authority, i.e., dominion over the rest of his creation. This would entail the possiblity of mutiny, rebellion, of said free people ignoring and resisting the will of their sovereign authority and going their own way.

        You may justly defend your beliefs in one or the other scenario (or some variation) but it is ignorant or dishonest to pretend the alternatives are not real. It is not logically implausible for sovereign rulers to designate authority to underlings, and to hold them responsible for their actions. It is a logical fallacy, begging the question, to assert that God is deterministic because – one asserts – God deterministically caused stated events.

        The opinion you appear unable to grasp, let alone debate, is that God’s omniscient foreknowledge and permission of the choices of men who he created with the ability to make unique, free, creative choices is the exact opposite of divine determinism, which asserts that God chose to (many insist must) create controlled creatures who can only do (through whatever means employed) what they are irresistibly ordained and compelled to think, say and do.

        Neither scenario denies a sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent deity who both created and controls all things. The disagreement is in how God has chosen to exercise his undeniable sovereign authority. It is either genuine ignorance or willful deceit to ignore legitimate dissent and argue as if the challenge has been proven logically untenable, when it is perfectly logical.

        Historically, Calvinists began by enforcing their assertions through the power of the sword/stake: ‘Believe or die’. Yet many, knowing scripture, chose to die rather than submit to error.

        When God graciously removed the sword from their hand, Calvinists attempted to rule by ‘consensus’: ‘All esteemed, orthodox ‘Christians’ believe . . .’ Yet many, knowing scripture, chose to be cut off from church, friends and family rather than submit to error.

        In their latest incarnation,Calvinists seek to win the day through subtlety and dissimulation. Introducing the clever gimmick of ‘Compatibilism’, they seek to assure those who would otherwise reject their horrendous, unscriptural doctrine that they actually believed what everyone else does – they just believed the opposite is true as well! Start with determinism, introduce a fake ‘choice’ whereby men ‘choose’ what God irresistibly demands – then bounce back and forth endlessly between God’s determinism and man’s illusory ‘choice’. Calvinism now gaily asserts that you can have it both ways! Yet many, knowing scripture, refuse to be deceived by cunning and submit to error.

      2. TS00
        Again….you nailed it!

        Of course God could have created in a way that He controls all things!! He could have created in any way He wanted!

        But in the simple reading of His word (not depending on others to scaffold together a philosophical position, or coming to the Word with presupposed definitions of what words “must” mean….or how verses “cannot mean what they say”) it seems that God created in the way you described (i.e. The Sovereign giving subordinate rule to the man “made in His image”).

        For our friends to simplistically claim that it is “abundantly clear” that such-and-such is so….just because….well…. we say so…. is well, sophomoric as you said.

        At least some commentators were able to back the others away for hurling “heresy” “blasphemer” stones at all who disagree!!

        I work all day long with fellow pastors and missionaries who see things differently in Scripture. Some of my dearest friends are Reformed and they know my position. They (dozens? hundreds? of colleagues) absolutely agree that my position is acceptable from within the bounds of Scripture.

        Now, I myself have used “abhorrent” as a description for the position that God ordains, brings-about, micro-controls all heinous actions. And certainly even those who hold this position would say that there is some level of “mystery” and abhorrence to this idea. I am not saying that the believers holding this idea are not believers (heretics) —-and are not seeking to please the Lord and live for Christ. I am just saying that they have to live with the description that they offer.

      3. As I’ve stated to FOH, I’ll state to you TSS00. You’re refusing to believe ALL that God has revealed about Himself in Holy Writ and you are in denial of the “hard sayings” of God. May God reveal these truths to you in His own timetable.

      4. ts00 writes, “The other possibility…to such he has chosen to grant subordinate authority,…”

        Because you change the context to “subordinate authority,” you negate this being an “other possibility.” You now allow a God who meticulously ordains, prescribes, determines, controls whatsoever comes to pass so that all is necessary and unavoidable who can then grant subordinate authority to man as part of His meticulous control – this because man’s actions are now subordinate to God’s will and God’s will prevails.

      5. Rhutchin writes: “You now allow a God who meticulously ordains, prescribes, determines, controls whatsoever comes to pass so that all is necessary and unavoidable who can then grant subordinate authority to man as part of His meticulous control – this because man’s actions are now subordinate to God’s will and God’s will prevails.”

        This is logically impossible. Granting authority to a subordinate is the opposite of retaining a meticulous control that ordains, prescribes, determines, controls whatsoever comes to pass. God may either retain meticulous, determinative control or set aside meticulous, determinative control – he cannot do both at the same time. You are demonstrating exactly what I earlier described, i.e., the Calvinist waving his magical ‘trump all logic’ wand and saying ‘Aha, two opposite and contradictory things are both true! Now we can have it both ways.’ Except that two opposite and contradictory things can never be true at the same time, and Calvinists cannot have it both ways. Either God deterministically controls all things (A), or he doesn’t (not-A). Both cannot be true at the same time in the same way, and no amount of dissimulation can change the essence of logical consistency.

      6. Calvinists have 1001 euphemistic-terms to masquerade their conceptions as non-deterministic.

        Here the term “subordinate” is deployed as a euphemism for “total manipulation”.

        Like a puppet FUNCTIONS as “subordinate” to its controller.
        Like a robot FUNCTIONS as “subordinate” to its controller.
        So in Calvinism, all creatures FUNCTION as “subordinate” to their controller.

        Language is a wonderful barometer of human urgencies.
        The fact that Calvinists have 1001 euphemisms in their language is a red-flag for the discerning Christian.

        Revealing aspects of their belief system – they seek to hide.

      7. br.d., When I was yet a naive, trusting pewsitter in a Calvinist church, it was semantic tomfoolery that sent up the first red flags in my subconscious mind. At first I assumed it was my own past and presuppositions which made it seem as if my pastor frequently said one thing, only later to affirm its polar opposite. I would question others, who, even blinder than I, looked at me as if I had two heads. Why would anyone ever doubt their beloved leader? I knew I was on my own in investigating this.

        I began to keep a journal, writing down the troubling things my pastor said. My suspicions soon proved true. Like a politician, he cleverly spoke out of both sides of his mouth, affirming determinism one moment and free will the next, law, then grace, faith as a gift and faith as an individual response, as if they could harmoniously coexist. I honestly did not know what to do with this, for, to my logical way of thinking, I did not see how anything but blatant dishonesty could permit one to advocate such radically opposing propositions.

        I admit that this still perplexes me. I have friends and family members, most of whose thinking was forged by this pastor, who yet reflect his illogical thinking. They believe that all inconsistency can be shrugged off to ‘mystery’, because that is what they have been taught. to do with logical contradictions. They appear to have no issue with abandoning all meaningful sense of logic when embracing the claims of trusted authorities.

        I discovered that this was true in other realms as well, including history, science, politics and current events. Satan has used every hierarchical institution and media on earth to accustom us to deception and contradiction, and men appear so confused that they no longer know how to think logically. A politician or nation can launch endless brutal assaults and still be considered a ‘peacemaker’ as long as he mouths the right words. Medical science can push therapies or flu shots that are only 10% effective, and people never grasp that this means they are 90% ineffective, or worse than useless when you add in the harmful side effects.

        It seems that unless and until people are aware of semantic trickery they are utterly incapable of arming themselves against being deceived. The fact that the vast majority of the institutions of men are not based upon truth and God’s ways creates far too great a cognitive dissonance for most people, or calls for much more personal diligence than they wish to pursue. In many cases, we remain deceived because it serves our selfish interests, in spite of being spiritually and eternally detrimental to us. Personally, I find God toppling one idol after another, until there is little in this world in which I can put my trust. Were it not for my belief in the goodness and faithfulness of God, I would be without hope. It has been something of a battle (huge understatement) for me to surrender the many idols in which I have put my misplaced trust, and I suspect it is not yet over.

      8. I always appreciate your testimonies truthseeker!!

        You have a knowledge of what its like to be on the inside of Calvinism that is worth its weight in gold.

        I think its awesome that Calvin’s beguiling double-talk is what alerted you that something was wrong.

        Although Calvinists try to make their language mimic scripture as much as possible, there are tell-tale signs that their language is definitely not the language of scripture. And the beguiling double-talk is the most prevalent red-flag.

        Calvinists frequently remind me of a principle revealed in Psalm 115:8 concerning man’s conceptions of false gods.

        “They that make them become like unto them – and so becomes everyone who trusts in them.”

        The principle is – We become like what we worship.
        Calvinist’s have a deity who speaks with forked-tongue.
        So it makes sense – That is the reason Calvinist language is a forked-tongue language.

        There but for the grace of God go I!

      9. TS00
        Always appreciate your posts!

        1. Yes….pastors from the pulpit. It can be disappointing. One bright spot. My daughter goes to a “Bible Church” that was of course infiltrated by the new wave of neo-reform (YRR). They said the lead pastor got his doctorate influence by RC Sproul. Uh-oh…I thought.

        I have visited with her countless times at church and every time (w/o exception) he has preached the most practical, your-walk-with-God-depends-on-you, 4-things-you-can-do-for-a-better-XYZ….messages I have heard in a long time. Really good stuff….and very, very inconsistent with Calvinism. Why?

        Because no one can really live like a Calvinist. He can’t preach “The Doctrines of Grace” every week. Everyone knows …. that we have decisions to make…. that we must “choose for ourselves this day whom we will serve”…..that we have to walk in the Spirit….. that we have to fix our eyes on Christ….that we have to resist the devil….that we have to draw near to Christ (and He will react and draw near to us)…. that we have to “persuade men to Christ”…. that we have to love one another…that we must do unto others as we would have them do to us. Those ideas have to be taught and put into practice.

        Nobody wants to be told that every decision we make has already been determined.

        No preacher (even the die-hard Calvinist) is gonna preach that ever decision we make has been determined. That’s a very short sermon.

        2. Yes….let all those trappings of conventional religion (even in the form of “we’re not religious” church-ism) slip away and look for the Christ that lived, died, and lives. He tolerates a lot in His church (you must roll in the aisle to know Christ; you must preach our “doctrines of grace” to know Christ; you must use our translation to know Christ). But the true Christ is there. And He “rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

        Seek Christ. That Bible says that we can, that we must, and that He rewards those who do.

      10. ts00 writes, “This is logically impossible. Granting authority to a subordinate is the opposite of retaining a meticulous control that ordains, prescribes, determines, controls whatsoever comes to pass.”

        Of course not. If you grant authority to a subordinate, your purpose is that he accomplish what you want done. If you are building a house and you grant authority to someone to oversee the project, you expect to see a house at the end. If you are God, then you know everything that the subordinate does from beginning to end. If the subordinate steps out of line, you immediately step in to take corrective action. I don’t see the problems you imagine to exist.

        Then, “Either God deterministically controls all things (A), or he doesn’t (not-A). ”

        If God does not deterministically control all things, then who, other than God, is in control and therefore equal to God?

      11. Troy:

        I appreciate that you want to defend God’s honor. Really.

        I do not understand how you can write a rebuttal to the fact that God says He regrets things by using another verse that says He regrets things?
        ————–(Troy)—–
        For example, God states, “The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” -Genesis‬ ‭6:7‬ ‭
        ——————–

        You see, I just take Him at His word. You tell Him how He must be.

        Even in your defense of the determinism – immutability of all preordained decisions by God you use non-determinist language and arguments:

        1. Using the additional “God regretted” verse to disprove that He regrets.

        2. (Troy) “God has emotions and He chooses to express His emotions in time when interacting with His creation.” The concept of “interacting” requires that we act and He reacts…..That is not determined language. God has emotions? He can “be pleased” or “be saddened”??? Now you have to deal with Him “changing”. One minute not sad—-we do something— He is saddened. Works for me…. but not for you. AT ALL. He no longer fits your definition of immutable and impassible.

        3. (Troy) “He knows man’s sinful actions BEFORE he commits them. The word “regret” in 1 Samuel 15:10 is expressing sorrow, not ignorance of future events.” — Now you have God only “knowing” man’s sinful action (wait, He decreed/ willed/ ordained) all those sinful actions…right? Now you have God “expressing sorrow”. Sorrow? For what He Himself decreed? How is that any different than regret? They both imply that He has some kind of pain/ sorrow/ sadness for the actions of someone else (or His own actions). Are you saying He ordains that man sin so that He can show His sorrow (for what He decreed) so He then can change His plan? That is the message we are to get from a simple reading of God’s word?

        4. (Troy) “Re: 1 Samuel 13:13 reveals a HYPOTHETICAL situation that would have occurred had Saul been faithful to God from the beginning….” What? Can you hear yourself? “had Saul been faithful”…. so he could have been? Wait….you think you have solved our issue by putting the word hypothetical in there??? Why does a deterministic, all-controlling, pre-ordained-all-events God put anything “hypothetical” in His word? Troy…..you are very inconsistent and illogical….. and not using Scripture.

        5. (Troy) “God shows in several places that He meticulously controls all events in time and does so even having given mankind freedom of choice.” Here you just invent that there are “several places” where we see that He meticulously controls “all events” (where are they?). You also invent the idea that He does this while giving mankind “freedom of choice” (that part we see all over the Word!). You cant even hear yourself contradicting yourself. Does God meticulously control some events? Yes!! All events….evil, rape, torture, sex-trade of 6-year-old girls? No! What you are laying at His door is abhorrent.

        I’m afraid the rest of the post is so full of bravado that I can’t quite figure it out. Of course our Sovereign Lord can meticulously arrange events to bring about the second most amazing event in history (birth of Christ) and the most amazing event (death and resurrection of Christ)!!! Of course He can and He did. But to extrapolate from that, that our Lord ordained all genocides in history and all women being carried off into sex-slavery is a very bold claim, and not shown from Scripture.

        Perhaps you can live with declaring this kind of created-all-evil “Good News” to all you meet…. but I could not. I found myself sick when telling people that God ordained all the evil we can see. They would look at me and ask if I was serious and exclaim how ridiculous and seemingly non-biblical that “good news” was. Of course…. I just chalked all that up to God making them see it as “foolishness.”

        Make my position be whatever I need it to be. People say it doesn’t make sense from the Scripture…..just pull out the “foolishness” card.

      12. FOH I’m sorry sir but you are simply refusing to believe ALL that God has revealed about Himself in Holy Writ. You are simply in denial and it’s not within my power to make you see/understand truth. God alone has this power and I SINCERELY pray that He reveals these truths to you in His timetable.

      13. Troy:

        1. Not a very comprehensive answer, that. I am listing specific issues, verses, concepts….. and they never get answered. Your answer is almost always a kind of condescending “Sir, you just can’t see the obvious.” If any attempt of biblical support is made it is usually a “God is above all things” kind of vague answer. Of course we all believe those broad strokes concepts of divinity and sovereignty. But being Sovereign, He can create in any way He wants. And Scripture (tons of it that I am listing!) show that He gave some autonomy to man. I still find it interesting/ humorous that you keep saying “ALL of Scripture” for your position, yet it is based on 40-50 verses, ignoring or pooh-poohing the thousands of verses to the contrary.

        2. You say I am “refusing to believe” which of course rebuts your position also. I cannot refuse or seek to believe anything. I only get what I get (according to you).

        3. You say, “God alone has this power and I SINCERELY pray that He reveals these truths to you in His timetable.” which of course rebuts your position also. (A) If it is God alone….then your prayers mean nothing. (B) In your philosophy His decision to reveal or not reveal to me was made eons ago…. and has nothing to do with real time (or your prayers).

        Phew… seems like the more you talk the more I am confused. I need Scripture. If it is abundantly clear that He has foreordained all actions, sins, doubts, fears, thoughts, rape, murder, please support that from Scripture.

      14. Troy,

        You’re still conflating foreknowledge with determinism. They are two different words. One is in the Bible, the other is not.

        God can know the outcome of our choices without causing them.

        Let me give you simple analog.

        Let’s say you’re at the top of an icy hill, you have your phone in hand and decide to put it away to carefully make your way down the hill. Let’s say instead, you refuse to put your phone away and fall on your face.

        Did God make you oblivious to your surroundings or was that your choice? We all know that if you aren’t paying attention on an icy Hill, you’re going to fall on your face. That foreknowledge doesn’t make us God, nor does it make God deterministic. God’s knowledge of outcomes is because He created heaven and earth. Not because he controls man like we’re the sea and the wind. The wind and sea have to obey when He speaks.

        Man doesn’t and often rebels. As did Jonah, then God humbled him. Now at that point, Jonah could have remained hard hearted to God and been consumed by the whale. Another prophet would have taken his place, as we’re told by God in his conversation to Elijah, when Elijah retreated from Jezebel. How many did he have in reserve that haven’t bowed a knee to Baal?

        Thousands. God’s choice to use Elijah was dependent on Elijah’s obedience.

        We see the same with Moses. When Moses disobeyed God, God came to him to kill him. God would have killed him, had his wife not circumcised Moses’ son.

        The entire history pivoted on her decision to obey God.

        I know you find this incredulous, but it’s what the Bible tells us about man and God. Genesis 1, shows the reason. God gave mankind dominion over the earth. We are mini lord’s of the world. Nowhere in scripture is that forcibly removed by God, and it’s the reason Jesus told us to pray for *His* will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Normally our will is done here.

        God doesn’t want robots, he wants obedient servants.

      15. Morris:

        Nice job.

        It is of little use. I have listed hundreds of such interactions between God and man where the outcome could have gone one of several ways. But somehow that all disappears with a swift “It cannot be that way Sir!”

        Jonah is a good example. He disobeyed. God could have let him go and taken another. He pursued Jonah and made life difficult. Jonah STILL could have refused (and been consumed as you said) but he said…..okay I get it. Jonah was still not happy with the outcome.

        It is hard to believe that all that drama was exactly how God planned it to be…. (God makes it pretty clear in Scripture that many times people do not do His will).

        And the bigger questions is …..why? Why all the drama and warnings and admonitions?

        We cannot learn anything from this anyway….since we cannot know/ do/ learn/ change anything that has not already been pre-planned by God.

        Like a friend of mine, a former Calvinist would say (who no longer follows Christ) —go ahead and do whatever you want….cuz whatever you do is what God decreed from the beginning of time anyway.

      16. Here lies the problem as Leighton says Troy,

        “cuz whatever you do is what God decreed from the beginning of time anyway.”

        God decreed mass murder? God decreed rape of children?

        What kind of God do you believe in?

        What does the Bible say of God?

        “He is holy, so you be holy in all your conduct.”

        But it’s not *my* conduct if God decreed it. It’s his.

        Let’s take another analogy. Let’s say I give my wife a mind control drug to force her to love me. Then I use that mind control drug to make her rob a bank.

        AM I a sinner for decreeIng Her behavior? Absolutely. And the love we had was not real. True love cannot come from force.

        That’s why God gave mankind dominion, lordship over the Earth. Genesis 1. God wanted us to make sure we knew this, put it right in chapter 1 of the Bible.

        Then after the fall, he immediately tells Cain that he doesn’t have to sin, that he can rule over that desire. That’s a declaration of free will given to Cain. You as a determinist immediately run into a problem four chapters into the Bible. Man is Lord of the earth, and after the fall, Cain had free will. To think otherwise is to make God a liar in both cases.

        That lordship was not lost. God affirmed it again with Noah.

        It’s why Jesus tells us to pray for His will to be done here. Normally our will is done.

      17. Morris:
        Nicely put in such few words (unlike me!!)

        A possible response from the other side will be that for some reason (their version of) “sovereignty” must ‘necessarily’ mean that all that happens is what He wants/ declares to happen. That of course lays all that you described at the door of a God who tell us to love our enemies.

        We know that God is the creator of all things and that He is capable of creating in such as way as to make what you describe (man dominion on earth, free will to choose, etc) without compromising His glory, power, overall dominion, eternal purpose, and counsel of His will. To say He must control / ordain all sin —just— to make sure everyone knows He is God and that He maintains His purposes, makes Him pretty weak (as A.W. Tozer has said so well).

        The God in the Bible brings about His purposes despite man’s sin….. not by being the author of all sin.

        But to get God “off the hook” (of being the origin and decree-er of sin) they claim that man “does have free will.” Which of course we have seen explained soooooo many times here as “free will to do what God has decreed.”

        And ’round n ’round we go…..

      18. FOH,

        The more I read the Bible the more I see God wanting man to obey, not forcing man to obey.

        Part of the issue comes from misreading the new testament. Besides the translation issues of making foreknowledge predestined, or choice, election, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the early church and the purpose of the new testament. The gospels, are the life of Christ and he is in the process as the living word, (Jews would have understood that as the living Torah, the living law) of changing the covenant from being writ on lambskin, to being written on our hearts.

        The other part of this to recognize is that the early Church used what we call the old testament to reveal the new covenant and the gospel. The writings of Paul, James, John, and Peter are exegeting the Old Testament. So to further exegete an exegesis is to get away from the original intent, not closer to it.

        Any Christian should have a goal to imitate Paul and be able to show the good news from the old testament as He did weekly on the sabbath in the synagogues.

      19. Yes Morris,

        And several of the themes of the OT:

        1. Passover —
        (Repeated more times and in more books than any event). What happened there? God provided a free-choice way of escape. Perfect Lamb. Blood. Blood on the doorpost (cross). Solution provided by God to anyone who would apply the blood in faith….. and stay in the house.

        Blood. Not enough to have the blood in the bucket.

        Application in faith.

        2. Leaders and obedience —
        Judges, Kings, prophets…..in all those scenarios we see obey–bless—stray—disobey—judge—return—bless— stray —disobey —judge. We see the resounding theme “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”

        No amount of “we are too dead to obey, Sir!” can negate all the thousands of examples in the OT.

        3. Grafting in to the “chosen” —
        The OT gives us many examples of not-chosen people being grafted in to become part of the chosen people. Ruth, Rahab. There is nothing in there but personal faith that made the difference. Hebrews 11 even makes that clear about Rahab.

        4. God does not always get what He wants —
        Yes, I know that sounds like flippant heresy on my part….but how many hundreds of times does He tell us in the OT “I did not want you to do that!!!” ?

        For Piper and others to invent “the two wills of God” to teach us the convoluted, double-talking idea that “it is His sovereign will that we sin but not His will of command” ….leaves us confused and without scriptural support.

        Let’s just admit it. We sometimes do things that God does not want. That does not make us stronger than Him. It shows us clearly to be weaker.

        There are many other OT themes. But there are none that support determinism.

      20. FOH writes: “To say He must control / ordain all sin —just— to make sure everyone knows He is God and that He maintains His purposes, makes Him pretty weak”

        I would agree, and add that scripture reveals how God actually demonstrates who and what he is and how he responds to evil in Ezekiel:

        “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels, who have rebelled against me; they and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The people also are impudent and stubborn. I send you to them, and you shall say to them: ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that there has been a prophet among them. . . . And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear; for they are a rebellious house.” Ez 2:3b-7

        Note how these verses repudiate many of the false assertions of Calvinism. The people are not ‘Totally Depraved’, i.e., unable to hear, think or do what God commands. In fact, God repeatedly emphasizes the exact opposite: The people are fully capable of hearing and obeying, but they are a stubborn and rebellious people who REFUSE to ‘hear’ (meaning not only hear but obey) God’s will. God is essentially removing all possibility of Israel claiming that they never ‘heard’ God’s will, either because God had never spoken clearly or because they were cursed with a sin nature that made them unable to hear or respond. Thus, all mouths will be stopped, for Israel will know truly that there has been a prophet (one who speaks the words of God) among them.

        No Total Depravity. The people could and did hear and understand the voice of God.
        No Unlimited Election. God spoke to all the ‘elect’ nation of Israel with the same commands and offers.
        No Irresistible Grace. God spoke, and it was up to the people whether or not they ‘heard’ (obeyed) or did not ‘hear’ (rebelled).

        One need merely read the rest of Ezekiel to see the remaining pillars of Calvinism toppled, as God clearly, repetitively states that any individual who commits evil will be punished, and any individual who turns from wickedness will be considered righteous. Whosoever will, and whosoever won’t. And there is no ‘Get out of hell free’ guarantee, as God emphasizes that the wicked can choose to turn from wickedness, and once declared righteous, can voluntarily return to wickedness. In any case, man will be held accountable for his freely chosen actions. No magic robes of righteousness (to disguise sin) are issued – God demands genuine righteousness (which is no to be mistaken for sinless perfection, but a heart that seeks to do God’s will and repents of any and all sin).

      21. Indeed!
        One has only to read the entire Bible without prejudicial Calvinist lenses on and what you say will shine through.

        It is my guess that our reformed friends on this blog “were taught” much of their prejudice. I certainly was.

        My case is that I was a simple believer with the general ideas one gets when reading Scripture (God loves everyone; Christ died for everyone who will put simple faith; man makes evil choices—but can make good ones too —not “so dead”…etc etc). Later in Bible school and seminary I was “taught” Calvinism and repeatedly reminded that unless i followed I was proposing a “man-centered Gospel” that makes me sovereign and God at my control.

        Can’t have that!! So I swallowed!! then rubbed other people’s faces in it….

        Years later put the books aside and read huge portions of Scripture. Did not make any sense.

        Then looked for possible alternative interpretations to the 40-50 verses on which all of my Calvinist prejudices were scaffolded.

        Ha! They were easy enough to find!!!

        Example: the very potter in Romans 9 that gives 90% of the octane needed for Calvinism is the potter mentioned in Jer 18/19. That Jeremiah potter has NOTHING (zero, nil) to add to the Calvinist position. The potter in Jeremiah strongly refutes the Calvinist idea.

        So for me….the unraveling / unveiling of Calvinism did not take long in the light of Scripture.

        I found it to be a man-made idea, prompted by Greek philosophy.

      22. FOH writes, “It is my guess that our reformed friends on this blog “were taught” much of their prejudice. I certainly was.”

        In my case, I learned through study of the Scriptures and came to find that what I learned was consistent with that taught in Calvinism or the reformed faith. That anyone bases his beliefs on what he was taught merely identifies the person as not having any beliefs at all. If your claim to being a Calvinist is that you were “taught” to be a Calvinist, then you were never actually a Calvinist or anything else. It is crucial that people do as the Bereans before accepting anything anyone tells them about the Scriptures.

      23. ts00 writes, “Note how these verses repudiate many of the false assertions of Calvinism. The people are not ‘Totally Depraved’, i.e., unable to hear, think or do what God commands. ”

        It is not that people are unable to hear, think or do what God commands. People do hear what God says and think about what God says and they respond to God all the time – they reject what God tells them to do. That is the point of Total Depravity – man is unable to do what God says because man does not want to do what God says. Don’t you claim to have sat under Calvinist teachers? Did you sleep during class?

      24. A good explanation of ‘dead in sins’ I quote from a comment on another blog, quotation marks added:

        “”And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Col 2:13-14 NKJV

        What Paul seems to clearly show here, is that there is a death sentence hanging over us, as sinners against God, and that it is, in this sense, which we are said to be dead. This is seen by the way that we are made alive. In forgiving our sins, Jesus has nailed this Death Decree to the cross, canceling it, thereby making us “alive”.

        Phillips translates verse 14 this way:

        “…he has utterly wiped out the written evidence of broken commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it to the cross.”

        “The _wages_ of sin is death (Ro 6:23). Sin, _when it is full-grown_, brings forth death” (Ja 1:15). This is how we should understand the relationship between sin and death. Death is not the immediate result of sin but its inevitable consequence. The bottom line is there is no reason, biblically speaking, to assume that men die spiritually as the result of committing sin. Or that we are born in that condition, for that matter. Rightly understood, then, it takes a lot of the wind out of the sails for the Calvinist and the underpinnings of his system.”

        – John Johnson

        I totally reject Calvinism’s conception of Total Depravity, that any man is born ‘guilty’ before he actually commits any wrongdoing.

        I would liken the ‘sin nature’ more to the ‘fat nature’. If I am being very careful about how I eat, working out and feeling very fit, I have much more incentive to resist the temptation of sweets, say, Christmas cookies. I do not want to waste all of the effort invested in attaining a ‘fit’ status. However, once I fall off the wagon, once I indulge a bit, it becomes much harder to resist future temptation. And if I totally lose it, becoming obese, I lose all incentive to skip the sweets. When Christ wipes away our guilt, restoring us to total cleanness before God, we have a new incentive to resist temptation and not become, once again, enslaved to it. We do not want to waste the precious, costly effort Christ put forth for us, to enable us to be renewed to the pristine condition of oneness with God.

        We know what being a slave to sin is like, and how impossible it is to escape when the sentence of death hangs over us anyway. It is only when that death sentence has been removed by Jesus that we have a real, powerful incentive to resist sin and its ramifications.

      25. ts00 quotes other to say, “The bottom line is there is no reason, biblically speaking, to assume that men die spiritually as the result of committing sin. Or that we are born in that condition, for that matter. Rightly understood, then, it takes a lot of the wind out of the sails for the Calvinist and the underpinnings of his system.” I think he then says, “I totally reject Calvinism’s conception of Total Depravity, that any man is born ‘guilty’ before he actually commits any wrongdoing.”

        This is the basic argument attributed to Pelagius. So, we have two views on the issue.

      26. FOH writes, “Like a friend of mine, a former Calvinist would say (who no longer follows Christ) —go ahead and do whatever you want….cuz whatever you do is what God decreed from the beginning of time anyway.”

        Which tell us that your friend was neither Calvinist nor saved.

      27. Simple question to our Reformed friends (I have posed similar ones but they go unanswered).

        When you woke up this morning and thought back on your day yesterday, did you see any sin in it? Let’s say you got angry, or cheated, or, heaven forbid, looked at something on a TV or computer that you shouldnt have.

        Did you say, “Thank-you Lord for helping me carry out your will yesterday”?

        Do you say, “Help me Lord to not do those things today.”

        If you say the first one…. you are a consistent determinist-Calvinist, Reformed believer (all your sin was God’s will).

        If you say the second…. then the next question is simple: Were those things you did God’s will? If not—you did something that He did not want.

        This aint rocket science.

        A Calvinist pastor friend of mine (still going to church) cheated on his wife with a woman in church. He no longer pastors, but still believes. He is consistent in that he believes that God willed him to cheat on his wife and leave with another woman (how could he not believe that?)

        Of course his former-Calvinist, former-wife does not think it was God’s will!

      28. FOH, I appreciate your goal of remaining respectful and dignified. The problem, in my humble opinion, is that many – not all – Calvinists are not interested in furthering true understanding, nor in clarifying their positions. The dissimulation, the rocking back and forth and trying to pretend that two contrary things are both true, is very often a deliberate attempt to mislead and deceive people into not rejecting what honest, just, God-respecting people will always reject – A God who is the author of Evil.

        I suspect that Troy, on the other hand, is one of those who has been sucked into this thing, brainwashed and taught to read from the script without thinking. He does not display the finesse of a deliberate deceiver, but appears to be a genuine, loyal cheerleader, unable to see the errors in logic and contradictions of his own memorized talking points. This sort has hope, but it requires abandoning blind loyalty and earnestly seeking to view and understand both perspectives. I honestly believe the difference between me and so many others who consider these things is that I was genuinely willing to sacrifice my own beliefs, either way. I refused to rule Calvinism out unexamined, and gave it a decade to prove itself. I do not claim any ‘ism’ but earnestly seek and pray for deeper understanding each and every day, wherever it may lead. The good news is, I once again have a gospel of love, justice and hope to offer whosoever I meet, one that requires no ‘hiding the scary stuff’ or dissimulation of what I genuinely believe about God. My heart once again is alive and rejoicing in a God who loves all men, and freely offers all forgiveness of sin and life everlasting – whosoever will, with no ‘wink, wink, whosoever God chooses and enables, that is’. Praise our glorious, merciful and loving God that no one need ever die in their sin, unless they knowingly, willfully reject God’s freely offered love!

      29. FOH writes, “If you say the first one…. you are a consistent determinist-Calvinist, Reformed believer (all your sin was God’s will).”

        If you set out to sin and God does not stop you when He has the power to do so, is it God’s will that you sin? The Calvinist says, Yes. What do you say?

        Then, “A Calvinist pastor friend of mine (still going to church) cheated on his wife with a woman in church. He no longer pastors, but still believes. He is consistent in that he believes that God willed him to cheat on his wife and leave with another woman (how could he not believe that?)”

        We might also conclude that it was God’s will to remove the man from the pastorate, so God did not intervene to prevent his adultery. God willed the man to commit adultery because the man was a scoundrel and God wanted to expose his true character to himself and to the world. The world understands, but he seems to be in denial.

  8. LUIS DE MOLINA – ON CALVIN’S THEOLOGICAL DOUBLE-TALK

    Excerpts taken from “Luis de Molina – Kirk R. MacGregor”

    Molina judged Calvin’s view of God’s treatment of people. Molina recognized Calvin’s conception entailed a “differential” treatment of people in God’s distribution of grace, which Molina noted:

    1) Contradicts God’s universal salvific will which is plainly asserted in Scripture

    2) Requires the deployment of dishonest language in its attempts to explain away its un-biblical implications. Molina studied Calvin’s arguments asserting God having two wills – a “revealed will” which operates in direct contradiction to a “hidden will”. Molina described Calvin’s language as THEOLOGICAL DOUBLE-TALK. (Molina, Commentaria, 14.13.9)

    3) For Molina this was tantamount to saying that GOD LIES IN WHAT HE REVEALS TO HUMANITY, which contradicts the orthodox doctrine of the essential truthfulness of God. (Molina, Commentaria, 16.1.)

    4) Molina discerned Calvin’s notion of God’s “hidden will” was predicated on a distorted definition and misapplication of the attribute of divine incomprehensibility – which that human can never really know what God is like – as contradictory to O.T. scripture in which God reveals his will and his longings towards all people, and contradictory to N.T. scripture, in which Jesus reveals the Father’s will and longings towards all people, as well as the N.T. apostolic authors.

    5) Molina defined a biblical understanding of human incomprehensibility of God, as meaning that humans, who are finite beings, can never fully apprehend the infinite set of propositional truths about God – but can only apprehend a finite subset of those propositional truths.

    However, humans can apprehend that finite subset of truths revealed in Scripture and those revealed by God’s design and ordering of nature, as well as the discernment of necessary truths, which humans can apprehend through philosophical and theological investigation.

    However, for Molina, the finite subset of propositional truths that humans can apprehend about God must be logically consistent with the full infinite range of propositional truths about God. God is not the author of confusion, and one divine truth does not contradict another divine truth.

    So Molina emphasized, there cannot be anything, which God reveals about himself that stands in contradiction to something else which God reveals about himself. And Molina concluded that Calvin clearly appealed to a doctrine of “divine contradictions” in order to support his conceptions. (Molina, Commentaria, 19.6.29)

    1. I have not read a great deal of Molina, but enough to believe that he saw some of the errors of the Protestants, as led by Calvin, et.al. Contrary to many in Reformed circles who seek to allege that all but ‘heretics’ agreed with the sweeping tide of Calvinism, Molina (and others) recognized the undeniable fact that historical Protestant doctrine (it has branched out into multiple streams of thought since then) declares God the author of Evil. He wrote, I would assert correctly:

      “What grievance will God have on Judgment Day against the wicked, since they were unable not to sin as long as God did not efficaciously incline and determine them to the good, but rather solely by His own free will decided from eternity not so to determine them? Most assuredly, if this position is accepted . . . God’s justice with respect to the wicked vanishes, and a manifest cruelty and wickedness is discerned in God.”

      1. Yes I totally agree.

        I can’t remember the author and book at the moment but I remember a Christian historian writing about Calvin’s writings and specifically on how Calvin totally assumed everything his imaginations could come up with concerning god were 100% inspired by the Holy Spirit – therefore he was right and anyone who disagreed with whatever he imagined must be wrong.

        When a man gets to the point where his ego becomes inflated to that degree, his conceptions of God are guaranteed to be distorted.

      2. ts00 quoting Molina, “What grievance will God have on Judgment Day against the wicked,…”

        So, Molina devises a system where God runs through all the many worlds He could have created and the different decisions people would make in those different worlds are sufficient to establish the free will of those people. Then, God chooses one unique world to create in which all things that are to happen in that world are determined because God has already run through all the events of that world in His mind in eternity past. Calvinism merely describes the world created under Molina’s system. So, Molina set out to provide an alternative to Calvinism and ended up with Calvinism.

  9. FOH writes:
    A question for the Calvinist:
    When you woke up this morning……

    I LOVED THIS!!!! 😀

    If I may be so bold – as to alter these just a tiny little bit.

    1) Did you see any sin in anything you thought/desired/chose/did yesterday?
    2) Did you say “I Thank you god you determined/caused me to do everything I did yesterday”?
    3) Did you say “Help me god to not do the same things today”?

    Did you perceive (1 – 3) as logically coherent *AS-IF* god is not the author of confusion?

    Then what Darth Vader says is applicable to you: You’re destiny is complete. 😀

  10. Dear Reformed friends:

    Does your position teach that all that I did yesterday God had ordained from the beginning of time (immutably, unalterably)?

    1. FOH writes, “Does your position teach that all that I did yesterday God had ordained from the beginning of time (immutably, unalterably)?”

      If any pastor believes that God is omniscient, he must teach this.

      1. … not if the pastor teaches the correct biblical definition of omniscience! It is like RC theologians in Luther’s day saying, “Pastors who teach justification must teach it as including works to receive any salvation grace.” They could say there are Scriptures that hint at their “orthodox” definition of justification, but they must then also say that Luther’s definition of justification and the clear Scriptures he pointed to proving it, which also overturned their fabricated definition, “…is just not the right definition”… and just because they say so. And, of course, everyone knows that their definition has been around “forever”. 😉

      2. brianwagner writes, “… not if the pastor teaches the correct biblical definition of omniscience! ”

        Yes, the argument is over the “correct” definition of omniscience. For some reason, only you are upfront about it – everyone else seems to go goofy on this point.

      3. brianwagner writes, “They could say there are Scriptures that hint at their “orthodox” definition of justification,…”

        By cherry picking Scriptures, a person can pretty much support anything he wants to believe. That is why the noteworthy Scriptures are those that a person ignores as he builds his case for his belief. We must take the totality of Scriptures into account in establishing sound doctrine – whether it is God’s omniscience, His sovereignty, man’s freedom to choose, etc…

      4. rhutchin writes:
        If any pastor believes that God is omniscient, he must teach this.

        it ain’t what the Calvinist knows that gets-em in trouble
        Its what he knows for sure that just ain’t so! 😛

      5. Rhutchin:
        If that pastor confuses terms he will. Omniscient is just another word for foreknowledge and doesn’t equal casuality. It certainly is not equivalent to meticulous determinism of our behavior.

        Why do you want to call God a lying murderer?

        God in Genesis 1 gives mankind Sovereignty over the Earth. God then gives man a choice to obey, or rebel. After man rebels, God talks to Cain and tells Him that He can resist sin, and rule over it. (with his sovereignty)

        What you believe is that God determined Adam and eve would rebel, and they had no choice, and that even though God told Cain he could choose not to murder, he in fact had no choice as God determined he would murder Abel.

        So in that one passage you destroy the integrity of God. You’ve made him a murderer (causing Cain to do it) and a liar.

      6. Morris….

        It is not a problem for them to call God a lying murderer since by “necessity” He must be since people lie and murder.

        Three more really baffling things about this non-scriptural but “necessary” philosophy are:

        1. Why He bothers to say the thousands of times “dont do that” “you can choose” “why did you do that?” when all along He ordained/ willed/ caused/ determined it? It simply makes Him a liar to make us think we could have done otherwise.

        2. What is the point of even thinking we can do right since we only do what we are programmed to do? As we are told— everything I did yesterday was what He planned. “Amen! Amen! Amen! ” to the sins I committed for His glory yesterday!

        I can hear that pastor’s message now: Did you sins dear yesterday brothers? Fret not…it was God’s will! ((Hey come to think of it, that comes out to a pretty sweet deal for Calvinists!))

        3. Even our oppositions to this non-scriptural philosophy is God’s will. Why they try to convince us otherwise is a mystery since we are only doing what we have been programmed to do. I keep getting told that I am “refusing to see the truth” —-but that is so “man-centered” —as if I could do anything other than what I have been determined by God to do??

        Finally….really…..what’s the point of anything? We only do what God has made (unforcingly forced us to do “freely” what our only option is to do).

      7. All good points FOH:

        It’s why I can listen to Paul Washer but not John Piper. One preaches like we have a choice, and the other doesn’t. I’ve often wondered if Washer is actually an arminian on most points. He preaches more like Leonard Ravenhill than John Piper, or John MacArthur.

        If we took the calvinist worldview consistently, than Washer’s preaching is fruitless. It’s up to God whether we stop sinning or not.

        Many of them are sounding more like Joseph Prince than John MacArthur. In a debate between Matt Slick and Jesse Morrell, Matt said something about sinning under the blood that sounded exactly like the easy deceivism of hyper grace.

        The two are very similar. One just pretends they don’t have a choice in sinning, the other that grace gives them a license to sin.

      8. Morris:

        Let’s look at the Sunday message of this pastor:

        Everything you did yesterday was what God has planned unchangeably, unalterably, immutably.

        Everything you do today is what God has planned unchangeably, unalterably, immutably.

        Everything you will do tomorrow will be what God has planned unchangeably, unalterably, immutably.

        Amen Amen Amen!

        Dismissed.

      9. Morris writes:
        What you believe is that God determined Adam and eve would rebel, and they had no choice, and that even though God told Cain he could choose not to murder, he in fact had no choice as God determined he would murder Abel.

        So in that one passage you destroy the integrity of God. You’ve made him a murderer (causing Cain to do it) and a liar.

        br.d
        This is excellent!!! And right on the bulls-eye with Calvinism.
        Calvinists attempt to get around this fact with beguiling double-talk.
        Calvinists speak with forked-tongue

      10. Morris Buel writes, “Omniscient is just another word for foreknowledge and doesn’t equal casuality. It certainly is not equivalent to meticulous determinism of our behavior.”

        Omniscience is more than foreknwoledge, but for now, that works. Omniscience says that everything in the future is certain. This was true when God created the universe in Genesis 1. When God created the universe, He ordained all that was to happen. Nothing could happen that was contrary to His omniscience. Consequently, all was determined and meticulously so – the question now being how everything came to be meticulously determined and how God was involved in this.

        Then, “Why do you want to call God a lying murderer?”

        I don’t because God is not.

        Then, “God in Genesis 1 gives mankind Sovereignty over the Earth.”

        I don’t think that is exactly true. Did you make it up.

        Then, “What you believe is that God determined Adam and eve would rebel, and they had no choice,…”

        Certainly, at Genesis 1:1, God knew that Adam and Eve would rebel, and this was certain to happen. Even you seem to agree with that. Was it true that they had no choice or that their choice was certain form the beginning? I think they had a choice, and that God knew with certainty the choice they would make. Of course, God was actively involved in all that happened in the garden. It was God who granted Satan freedom to enter the garden; it was God who observed all that happened as Satan deceived Eve and as Eve offered the fruit to Adam. God had the power to intervene first to prevent Eve eating the fruit and then Adam. God had already decided in eternity past not to intervene as it was already His plan to send Christ to die on the cross. Even as God was intimately and meticulously involved in the garden, so He is involved in the lives of everyone who lives.

        Then, “…and that even though God told Cain he could choose not to murder, he in fact had no choice as God determined he would murder Abel.”

        Everyone has the choice as to sin or not even as Cain did. People do what they want.

        Then, “So in that one passage you destroy the integrity of God. You’ve made him a murderer (causing Cain to do it) and a liar.”

        You have not shown that to be the case. I see nothing in the Scriptures that supports your claim that God caused Cain to murder his brother.

      11. Rhutchin –

        Nothing in scripture says God made Cain murder Abel. That’s the inevitable consequence of believing God meticulously controls everything.

        Take this which contradicts your attempt to walk back from the cliff of defiling God with compatibilism.

        “Omniscience says that everything in the future is certain.”

        This is not at all what it means. That’s *your* interpretation of it, and this statement is incompatible with compatibilism. It’s incompatible with any choice by man. If God determines and its certain what we will do, from his “sovereignty” then man has no free will, and God causes all of our actions, including Cain murdering Abel. That’s why under *your* systemology God is a liar and a murderer.

        Throughout the Bible we see God giving mankind a choice. Choose to obey and not eat the tree of life. Choose to not murder your brother. Choose to obey and go out away from each other, be fruitful and multiply. They rebeled and built the tower.

        Then we have the book of Deuteronomy which is filled with man’s free will choice. To choose to take of the tree of life through obedience or choose to take part in death, through rebellion.

        Choose today which God you will serve. Sin leading to death, or obedience leading to righteousness.

        These choices are *impossible* with your eisegesis of scripture. Man’s choices were determined before the foundation of the world.

        Here’s what you’re missing. The outcome of our choices was determined before the foundation of the world. The future is mutable. How is one blotted out of the book of life as warned of in revelations?

        “And the LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.” — Exo 32:33 NKJV

        Likewise, Christ warns those who do not *abide* in Him will be cut off.

        ““If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” — Jhn 15:6 NKJV

        Which is also a warning repeated by Paul.

        “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.” — Rom 11:22 NKJV

        What do we see in these three passages? The future is mutable based on our behavior. God’s foreknowledge is based on our behavior, of punishments and rewards he put in place before the foundation of the world.

      12. Morris:
        I started commenting a while ago and wish someone had warned me! I wasted a lot of ink talking with both scripture and sense to rhutchin. It makes no difference. One minute he is free will and other determinist. Even today —in defense of determinism he said to TS00…”If the subordinate steps out of line, you [God] immediately step in to take corrective action.” (see it above).

        Which of course makes no sense whatsoever in his God-controlled-that-person’s-ever-action philosophy. There is no “stepping out of line”—but they say it like God did not ordain it—while stating that He ordained all things. So….. ’round n ’round you will go.

        Yes….most of us agree with you!! Scripture says over and over and over verses stating that man could have (and should have!) done differently (Cain is one of hundreds of examples).

        but it matters not because they start with their answers…..and read the scriptures according. What point, then, those thousands of verses make to them—- no one knows.

      13. FOH
        The Calvinist says: (quoting rhutchin) If the subordinate steps out of line, you [God] immediately step in to take corrective action.”

        Which of course makes no sense whatsoever in his God-controlls-that-person’s-every-action philosophy.

        br.d
        YES!
        This is confirmed by ex-Calvinist Daniel Gracely in his book CALVINISM: A CLOSER LOOK

        Gracely calls this THE CALVINIST ROCKING HORSE

        -quote
        This is what I used to do as a Calvinist. I liken these non-sense statements, or propositions, to the riding of a rocking horse. As a Calvinist rider, I would throw my weight forward toward my belief in the absolute sovereignty of God until I could go no further, whereupon I would recoil backwards toward my belief in human freedom. Thus I would go back and forth in seesaw motion, lest on the one hand I find myself accusing God of insufficient sovereignty, or on the other hand find myself accusing God of authoring sin. All the while, there remained an illusion of movement towards truth, when in fact there was no real movement at all. At length I would allow the springs of dialectical tension to rest the rocking horse in the center, and then I would declare as harmonious propositions which, in fact, were totally contradictory to each other. Calvinist riders still ride out this scenario.

      14. FOH writes, “he said to TS00…”If the subordinate steps out of line, you [God] immediately step in to take corrective action.” (see it above).
        Which of course makes no sense whatsoever in his God-controlled-that-person’s-ever-action philosophy. ”

        The example of this is the abuse of Joseph by his brothers. The brothers first plotted to kill Joseph. That was not God’s will, so He stepped in working through Reuben to accomplish His purpose. God’s will always prevails – where man’s will coincides with God’s will, then man’s will also prevails. All this is certain because of God’s omniscience and because God has ordained all that happens. If God has not ordained an event, then something or someone else has done so and God could not be sovereign.

        Then, “Scripture says over and over and over verses stating that man could have (and should have!) done differently (Cain is one of hundreds of examples).”

        To which all agree, Nonetheless, that which a person chooses to do was known to God according to His omniscience. If you want to say that God is not omniscient, that is fine as it defines a point of disagreement between you and Calvinists.

      15. Rhutchin writes: “God’s will always prevails – where man’s will coincides with God’s will, then man’s will also prevails. All this is certain because of God’s omniscience [AND] because God has ordained all that happens. If God has not ordained an event, then something or someone else has done so and God could not be sovereign.

        Then, “Scripture says over and over and over verses stating that man could have (and should have!) done differently (Cain is one of hundreds of examples).”

        To which all agree, Nonetheless, that which a person chooses to do was known to God according to His omniscience. If you want to say that God is not omniscient, that is fine as it defines a point of disagreement between you and Calvinists.”

        Another fine example of deceptive Calvinist semantics.

        First is the misunderstanding of the word ‘prevail’, which implies a greater force or influence. When two wills exist, they cannot both ‘prevail’. Thus, if God and man, in common prevail, it demands the existence of another power over which they together triumph. Lastly, it is a mere presupposition of Determinism that requires someone to ‘ordain’ all events, either God or someone else, one of whom is thus ‘sovereign’. As Calvinists well know, but conveniently pretend not to, if God created man with free choice, their actions are not ordained, but free. This is the logically necessary difference between ‘free’ and ‘determined’, which Rhutchin is trying desperately to avoid.

        In between these two errors, note the statement ‘All this is certain because of God’s omniscience [AND] because God has ordained all that happens.’ Like Graceley’s rocking horse rider, (I have, and have read, his book) Rhutchin on one hand asserts that omniscience = God has ordained all that happens. Yet here he deceptively separates the two, attempting to rock over to the other side for a moment, and suggest that there is a difference between omniscience and foreknowledge, just as non-Calvinists assert.

        There can be no logical meaning to ‘All this is certain because of God’s omniscience AND because God has ordained all that happens’, since, under Rhutchin’s oft-stated definition, they are one and the same. This is a subterfuge, a feint, a deliberate attempt to escape the obvious fact that Calvinism’s Determinism cannot stand up under scripture’s countless refutations, so it borrows its opponents’ assertions and boldly declares ‘See, we do acknowledge what scripture undeniably teaches!’ Wink, wink.

        When defending Calvinism, Rhutchin is forced to admit that his definition of omniscience is Determinism. When defending scripture,he loves to borrow his opponent’s definition – momentarily. In order to appear to agree with scripture, Rhutchin rocks over to free choice, then bounces back over to his genuine (Calvinistically required) definition. (That is what I found my former Calvinist pastor doing repeatedly.) Whether driven by cognitive dissonance or dishonesty, the result of Calvinism is the same – inconsistency.

        Calvinism seeks to confuse and disarm the dissenter by appearing one moment to grant that omniscience and foreknowledge are two completely different concepts, ‘to which all agree’. The next moment, Calvinism will circle back around and insist that omniscience = Determinism, which, in fact, ‘all’ (non-Calvinists) and scripture disagree with.

        See the sleight of hand? ‘Oh, Calvinism doesn’t deny man’s free choices’. It definitely does, but has to do something when countless passages of scripture prove it false; so the attempt is made to rock back and forth between definitions of words. What it is actually rocking between is false doctrine and scriptural truth.

        First, Calvinism pretends to not deny the free will choices of man – such as Cain’s. This is absurd, as Calvinism denies all free choice, period. The two contradictory claims can only be made by redefining ‘free’ and ‘choice’ into meaningless concepts, whereby by ‘God’s decree’ = ‘man’s free choice’. Calvinism – and its loyal defender, Rhutchin – must by honest necessity assert that Cain had no ‘free choice’ whether or not to murder or not murder Able. There was never a second in which Cain truly had the possibility of not murdering Able. Under Calvinism, God ordained (thereby foreknew) that Cain would murder Able long before either were ever a twinkle in Adam’s eye; not foreknew Cain’s free choice, which is what non-Calvinists assert – but predetermined, ordained, irresistibly caused the murder to take place by his sovereign decree. This is honest, non-dissembling Calvinism.

        This semantic dishonesty is what exposes Calvinism for what it is. Granted, many so-called Calvinists are merely confused by clever sophistry, brainwashed into not recognizing the blatant contradictions they have been trained to unquestionably hold. This is why so many former Calvinists have been called by God to speak up and point out the lack of logical consistency in Calvinism, so that his people may be delivered from its deceptive hand.

      16. ts00 writes, “Thus, if God and man, in common prevail, it demands the existence of another power over which they together triumph.”

        God’s will prevails in His sphere of influence; man’s will prevails in his sphere of influence. God rules over the man, so God’s will prevails over man. Within the boundaries set by God’s will, man’s will prevails over that which he rules, limited as it is.

      17. Morris Buel writes, “God’s foreknowledge is based on our behavior, …”

        So, I say that God is omniscient and you say that God is not – that God only has foreknowledge based on man’s behavior. That’s fine. Omniscience is a principle dividing line between Calvinists and non-Calvinists.

      18. Rhutchin,

        “So, I say that God is omniscient and you say that God is not.”

        No. You’re conflating the terms still, you’re still riding the rocking horse. Omniscience doesn’t require meticulously controlling our will and behavior.

        Point to one verse after the fall that shows mankind lose His God given sovereignty.

        You incorrectly point to passages like the redemption of Joseph.

        Did God cause Joseph to be thrown in the well, or redeem Him through the evil free will choices of his brothers?

        It really is that binary. You either believe God is the author of man’s sin or you accept that God can change the future and still know what’s going to happen.

      19. Morris:

        Brace yourself.

        the one -verse answer that will given to you is Gen 50:20. with that verse….(that being one of the 40-50 key Calvinist verses) they will proclaim the discussion closed.

      20. FOH
        ““But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” — Gen 50:20 NKJV

        I did explain that God saying this wasn’t God implicating he caused it to happen. That’s coming to scripture with rose colored glasses and being blind to everything that doesn’t fit your perception.

        Which I’m sure you agree with.

      21. Morris Buel writes, “I did explain that God saying this wasn’t God implicating he caused it to happen.”

        Do you think the events of Joseph’s life happened by accident. Certainly, God gave Joseph the dreams that caused his brothers to hate him. Then, we have the testimony of Paul in Ephesians 1 that, “God works all things after the counsel of His will,” then “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” There is no reason to think that the events of Joseph’s life occurred by accident or chance but that God was orchestrating all those events to accomplish His purpose.

      22. Morris Buel writes,
        “I did explain that God saying this wasn’t God implicating he caused it to happen.”

        rutchin responds
        Do you think the events of Joseph’s life happened by accident.

        br.d
        This is a consistent move made by die-hard Compatibilists.
        It is binary to them – either god originates and enforces every human thought/choice/desire/action making humans function as puppets, or things happen as an accidents.

        Calvin’s god’s omniscience is not omnipotent enough to know the future free (libertarian) choices of his creatures.

        Rhutchin also asserts that Calvin’s god existed in a state in which he had no omniscience at all (logically) prior to his decrees.

        So rhutchin’s doctrine of omniscience denies the historic doctrine of “essential” omniscience.

      23. Br.D

        Certainly Calvin’s version of God is weak (as AW Tozer puts so well).

        It sounds incredibly high road and “glorifying” to say that “God is in controlling everything or He is controlling nothing” (as is commonly stated in Calvinist circle —to a hardy Amen and lifted mug of brew!).

        Really?

        Is He that weak that He cannot allow anything to happen (that He has not caused) and still achieve His purposes?

        Does that kind of total mind/ body/ action control sound like a loving “personal relationship”?

        Do we see this kind of control elsewhere in God’s creation?

        Does He say He does this in His word?

        Hint: “no” works for all of the above.

      24. Yes I totally agree.

        And btw I want to thank you again for your wonderful posts!!

        But the Calvinists of course are fulling indoctrinated.
        That’s easy to see from the way they recite talking points like they’ve been hypnotized with them. 😀

        Its so easy to see that Calvinism does reduce people to functioning as robots or puppets.
        But of course that represents a negative advertisement for them so they deny it.

        According to their double-think, the reason they deny it must be because Calvin’s god forces them to deny it by applying his “so called” force that forces without forcing.

        Puppet theology. :-]

      25. br.d writes, “…Calvin’s god existed in a state in which he had no omniscience at all (logically) prior to his decrees. ”

        God is omniscient and knows Himself perfectly including His decrees. If there were no decree, it would not be part of His omniscience. Where there is a decree, God knows it and it is part of His omniscience. You can’t explain it any better, so why complain?

      26. What does the Bible tell us of his brothers choice to do wickedness? Does it tell you in Genesis that God caused the brothers to do that? Or that God took what was meant for evil, and redeemed it for good?

        You keep reading hard determinism into scripture, it’s defiling God’s holiness. A God that causes us to sin, is not holy.

      27. Morris Buel asks, “What does the Bible tell us of his brothers choice to do wickedness? Does it tell you in Genesis that God caused the brothers to do that? ”

        It says that the brothers choice to do wickedness arose from their depraved hearts.

        Then, “Or that God took what was meant for evil, and redeemed it for good?”

        The Scriptures affirm that also.

      28. Morris Buel writes, “Omniscience doesn’t require meticulously controlling our will and behavior.”

        Events are meticulously certain according to omniscience. They can be no other way. How do things happen but by the hand of God as, “God works all things after the counsel of His will,” Certainly God is in control of our will and behavior and those internal and external influences acting upon us. God is able, for any event, to affect those influences in any manner He wills even to do nothing so that those influences have they full effect on us and this also to accomplish His will.

        Then, “Point to one verse after the fall that shows mankind lose His God given sovereignty.”

        Mankind was never given sovereignty but is always subordinate to God and that which God wills. Man cannot lose that which he never had.

        Then, “Did God cause Joseph to be thrown in the well, or redeem Him through the evil free will choices of his brothers?”

        God was in complete control of the events of that day and did not prevent Joseph being thrown in the well showing us that it was His will for such to happen.

        Then, “You either believe God is the author of man’s sin or you accept that God can change the future and still know what’s going to happen.”

        By author, you certainly mean that God decrees the birth of each person with each person inheriting the corruption of Adam’s sin and by that corruption, man sins. God certainly acts in the course of time to bring about His purposes but by His infinite wisdom and perfect wisdom, the decrees He made in eternity past do not need to be changed in the course of time. Everything is unfolding according to God’s plan.

      29. Morris Buel writes,
        “Omniscience doesn’t require meticulously controlling our will and behavior.”

        rhutchin responds
        Events are meticulously certain according to omniscience.

        br.d
        This is based upon Calvin’s personal doctrine: Foreknowledge = Foreordation.

        Which has been debunked:

      30. rhutchin writes:
        Omniscience is more than foreknwoledge, but for now, that works. Omniscience says that everything in the future is certain.

        br.d
        This is another good example of Calvinism’s beguiling double-talk.
        Here the Calvinist feigns appealing to “omniscience” when he is really appealing to “foreknowledge”
        That’s why he says “But for now that works”.
        Then he switches away from foreknowledge while conditioning to appeal to it – masquerading it as omniscience with: “omniscience says that everything in the future is CERTAIN.

        Here he deceptively uses the word “CERTAIN” as a euphemism “FIXED IN THE PAST”.
        The word CERTAIN is used camouflage his doctrine of: THE FUTURE IS FIXED IN THE PAST.
        Because he doesn’t want to actually reveal his doctrine asserts everything in your future is FIXED in the past.

        He knows that Fatalism and Determinism are both predicated upon a FUTURE FIXED IN THE PAST.

        The deceptive nature of Calvinism’s language is the red-flag the discerning Christian needs.
        We call this Calvinism’s cloaked language.
        Paul calls it “the cunning and craftiness of man”.

        Thanks rhutchin for another good example. 😀

  11. Oh it goes farther than that. If, as was said in the debate, God commands men to commit adultery, then a pastor should be asking his congregation, who would you like to have sexual relations with? Go for it, Dear ones, everything is God’s will, indulge your every sinful whim, to the glory of God. This isn’t just dangerous territory, it’s diabolical.

    1. ww writes, “…everything is God’s will, indulge your every sinful whim, to the glory of God. This isn’t just dangerous territory, it’s diabolical.”

      Still, God is present during any sin committed by any person and knows the thoughts and desires of a person leading to the sin. God is omnipotent and could intervene to stop the sin – it is God’s decision not to intervene that establishes the sin as His will. If you think that God is not involved in everything that happens, then help us out and explain how you think everything works. For Brian’s benefit, all was determined by God in eternity past, but we can speak of God acting in the course of time to bring about that which He ordained in eternity past.

      1. WW:

        That is one of the things that pried me out of the Calvinist camp.

        Reading huge chunks of the Bible each day I saw (in many books, and types of biblical styles: literal and figurative, poetry, history, law) God (using a wide variety of His names) saying (in very plain, understandable ways) things like “I the Sovereign Lord, Mighty one of Israel, did not want you to do that…..” or “wanted you to do X” (that the people did not do).

        You can see this every day in a systematic reading of the Word.

        God makes it clear with His name and His Word that there are certain things that happen that He does not want to happen.

        I, as pastor would never stand up in front of the flock and say, “Everything that you did yesterday was want God wanted you to do.”

        Now I have posed that question on this site…..and get “Yes—that is what you should preach—Amen! Amen! Amen!”

        When I express that I do not understand how I could preach that everyone’s disobedience was what God wanted, I am told that I “just don’t get it, Sir, since God’s message is foolishness to those who don’t believe.”

        I know one thing for sure: You can call anything foolishness if you make it foolish enough.

      2. ww writes, “No where does scripture teach that if God does not stop something, it is his will that it happen.”

        Ephesians 1 tells us that “God works all things after the counsel of His will…” Whatever God works is His will. What would you exclude from “all things”?

      3. Rhutchin writes: “Ephesians 1 tells us that “God works all things after the counsel of His will…” Whatever God works is His will. What would you exclude from “all things”?”

        This is such an obvious misinterpretation I can hardly believe intelligent persons still dare to use it. God working all things after the counsel of his will does not even come close to suggesting that he actually determined, ordained and brought about those ‘things’ he works ‘after the counsel of his will’ or the ‘all things’ he works together for good described in Romans 8:28. Working ‘all things’ out to bring about his good plan in no wise discounts that many – one might say most – of those ‘things’ he has to work out arise from the ignorant and/or wicked choices of men. If they were all his doings, their would be no point in assuring and comforting believers that God would bring good out of evil. He could merely tell us to suck it up and take whatever he throws at us, because the ‘evil’ is from him just as much as the ‘good’. (Indeed, is not the very definition of evil that which is not from or is opposed to God?)

        Our blessed hope is in the truth of God’s overall sovereignty, and of his promise to bring about the fulfillment of his described plan to once and for all eliminate sin, evil, misery and death. The very fact that God intends to ‘overcome’ such things would appear to indicate that they are not his will. If they are his will, and have come to pass by his determinations, he is working against himself to overcome his own evil actions. Nonsense.

      4. TS00

        Yes….I think we would all agree if the definitions given for “ordained” were not so presupposed from Greek philosophy.

        Of course God “ordained all things!!!”

        In the sense that He ordained/ created/ willed/ decreed a world where men will: be forced to “choose for yourselves this day who you will serve;” “come to their senses” (as did the prodigal son); be grafted into the chosen by faith as were Ruth and Rahab; resist the sin that is crouching at your door.

        And of course….as part of the rocking horse….determinists will use words like choose, choice, allow.

        I am particularly humored with their use of the phrase “God allows that” and the follow-up “when man has gone too far, God will intervene.”

        What?

        These ideas —-very prevalent from our reformed friends in comments here, and even sprinkled here and there on monergism.com, have absolutely no place in their philosophy. None. Zip. And yet….when the heat rises and they find themselves close to saying, “for His glory God ordains men to rape children,” (better yet “God ordained all the rapes that have every happened!”) they will slip in the “allow” word. Tsk tsk.

        Be consistent with your position or join the rest of us in taking the Bible at face value!

      5. FOH writes, “I am particularly humored with their use of the phrase “God allows that” ”

        Having been in a Calvinist environment, you know that the meaning is that God grants people freedom to make choices without interference from Him as Adam/Eve in the garden and the numerous verses you have cited.

        Then, “…and the follow-up “when man has gone too far, God will intervene.””

        God has reserved the right to intervene in the affairs of men to accomplish His purposes (and for Brian’s sake, we have to remember that God had decreed all this in eternity past). We see this when God confronted Adam/Eve and Satan in the garden, the flood of Noah, the destruction of Sodom, etc.

      6. Rhutchin writes: “God has reserved the right to intervene in the affairs of men to accomplish His purposes . . . ”

        The Calvinist ever seeks to grant himself the right to hold two opposing viewpoints, so that he can appeal to whichever serves his immediate purpose. How can a God who ordains whatsoever comes to pass ‘reserve the right to intervene in the affairs of men’? Either:

        A) God ordains whatsoever comes to pass
        B) God allows men to act freely, but reserves the right to interfere in the affairs of men to accomplish his purposes (when necessary)

        These are two, opposite approaches that contradict one another. The former assertion is consistent with Calvinism; the latter is representative of the opinions of Calvinisms’ opponents. In desperate dishonesty, the Calvinist must borrow his opponents’ viewpoint whenever scripture proves his own assertions false – which is very frequently! The non-discerning hear the familiar words of scripture, and either do not know, or do not make the connection that the assertion being calmly made is utterly contrary to the doctrines of Calvinism.

        I’ve seen it so many times, heads a nodding in approval, never getting the disconnect between what the teacher is saying and what his theology demands, while steam slowly escapes from my boiling mind.

      7. TS00,

        You did it again! ((and I could mean by this that you wrote a great comment again))…

        You gave in to answering that folly!

        My alarm bells went off when I read ….”that God grants people freedom to make choices without interference from Him” which is a line right out of an Arminian script!! (I can see that rocking-horse crankin’ up!)

        Sometimes I think our friend is just there to try to get our goat—-one minute saying that God does not interfere with free choices— and the next minutes…..well you know all the determinist silliness.

        I have an idea! It’s really Leighton writing all this…..just to get traffic to his blog!!

        I mean….really who else is gonna say the above statement and this one

        “God has reserved the right to intervene in the affairs of men to accomplish His purposes…” (what? that is right out of our playbook!!)

        and then turn around and say he is a Cavlinist-determinist-fatalist!!??

        So…..just let it ride. We can all see it is nonsensical.

        They cannot both be true and the Bible only backs one of them up.

        Fix your eyes on Jesus. That is a better thing to do with your time….. and a free choice.

      8. I had an Arminian friend who used to dialog with the Calvinists.

        And whenever the Calvinist started going into their double-speak rocking horse routine – he would say: “Thank you for affirming Arminianism”

        Its a curious thing to watch Calvinists assert [A] one minute – just to deny [A] the next.
        Totally oblivious their brains have been shut off to discerning their contradictions.
        Embracing a double-think belief system is what Calvinism is all about.

        I still say God gave mankind Calvinists as form of entertainment! 😀
        Who hasn’t gotten a chuckle out of watching a puppy chase its own tail.

      9. br.d writes, “Its a curious thing to watch Calvinists assert [A] one minute – just to deny [A] the next.”

        You left out what you see Calvinist assert then deny. Perhaps, there really wasn’t anything.

      10. br.d writes, “Its a curious thing to watch Calvinists assert [A] one minute – just to deny [A] the next.”

        rhutchin
        You left out what you see Calvinist assert then deny. Perhaps, there really wasn’t anything.

        br.d
        Give yourself a few minutes – Calvin’s god has apparently predestined you to provide the examples.
        My job is to provide the analysis.
        Its a win-win situation! 😀

      11. A) The puppeteer controls absolutely everything the puppet does by invisible strings
        B) The puppeteer reserves the right to interfere in the affairs of the puppet

        Yes – you have it right TruthSeeker – this is a consistent model of Calvinism’s beguiling double-talk. 😀

      12. ts00 asks, “How can a God who ordains whatsoever comes to pass ‘reserve the right to intervene in the affairs of men’?”

        Certainly, God ordained all that comes to pass and did so in eternity past. All that God has ordained is recorded in His omniscient knowledge, At Genesis 1, that which He had ordained, He then began to execute. In the execution of His plan, God gave people freedom to choose and this freedom was corrupted when Adam sinned so that after Adam people choose only according to their sinful desires and not according to God’s instructions. In His plan, God executes His will and this sometimes has Him intervening in the affairs of people (e.g., the flood of Noah, destruction of Sodom, impregnation of Mary). God’s plan has God intervening at various times but we do not know when this happens. From man’s perspective, God exercises His right to intervene anytime He wants; we understand that from God’s perspective, He has already decided when to intervene and is now executing those decisions.

      13. This is consistent for rhutchin.

        Calvin’s god decrees [X] and then intervenes in [X]

        rhutchin will say “Calvin’s god decrees [X] and then intervenes in [Y] *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t decree [Y]

        rhutchin either recognizes he’s relying on Calvinism’s beguiling double-talk, or he’s unable to discern it.
        I think to some degree he does recognize it but he’s unwilling to acknowledge that – for the obvious reasons.

      14. In conversations concerning Calvin’s god decreeing what he intervenes in br.d writes, “Calvin’s god decrees [X] and then intervenes in [X]”

        rhutchin provides the Calvinist answer
        It should be, “God decrees [X] and then executes [X]”

        br.d
        Notice how this evades “intervenes” by deflecting to “executes”

      15. rhutchin provides the Calvinist answer
        It should be, “God decrees [X] and then executes [X]”

        br.d
        Notice how this evades “intervenes” by deflecting to “executes”

        Revise to: “God decrees [X] and then intervenes in the affairs of men to execute [X]”

      16. ts00 writes, “God working all things after the counsel of his will does not even come close to suggesting that he actually determined, ordained and brought about those ‘things’ he works ‘after the counsel of his will’ ”

        OK. Why not?

        Then, “…or the ‘all things’ he works together for good described in Romans 8:28. Working ‘all things’ out to bring about his good plan in no wise discounts that many – one might say most – of those ‘things’ he has to work out arise from the ignorant and/or wicked choices of men. If they were all his doings, their would be no point in assuring and comforting believers that God would bring good out of evil. He could merely tell us to suck it up and take whatever he throws at us, because the ‘evil’ is from him just as much as the ‘good’.

        Why shouldn’t we view everything that happens to us as God’s providence for good or evil thereby assuring us that all things are working to accomplish God’s purpose?

        Then, “(Indeed, is not the very definition of evil that which is not from or is opposed to God?)””

        I don’t think so. The evil actions of Joseph’s brothers were the means to bring about God’s purpose for Joseph. The evil actions of the Jews and Romans were the means to bring about the death of Christ (the greatest evil ever) and that was God’s purpose.

      17. Rhutchin writes: “The evil actions of Joseph’s brothers were the means to bring about God’s purpose for Joseph. The evil actions of the Jews and Romans were the means to bring about the death of Christ (the greatest evil ever) and that was God’s purpose.”

        It is a great leap and bold assumption, to go from God’s bringing good from evil to asserting that God ordains the evil as a means to bring about his will. They are completely different propositions. One has God desiring, ordaining and orchestrating evil to bring about some good. The other has God working the deliberate, freely chosen evil of rebellious men – which he does not desire or approve of – into something good, and bringing about blessing and benefit from that which originated from sinful, rebellious motives. The former is ugly and unthinkable; the latter is amazing and only possible by a sovereign, omniscient God. One CAUSES evil, the other REDEEMS evil and turns it into good. There is a vast, enormous difference. If you do not see that, I pity you.

      18. TS00,

        You are right of course, but I am surprised that you seem unfamiliar with this.

        With one magic wand swoop Piper says basically that since God “made” men do evil things (several men over a fair amount of time) to bring about the crucifixion ….ipso facto…..then all evil from all time is what God “needs” “plans” in order to get what He needs.

        It is a small view of God, as AW Tozer points out, and of course rather infantile in its logic.

        I have posted in several places that I am willing to concede that God intervened in a very micro-managed way to bring about the greatest event in history (the crucifixion and resurrection) but that does not follow that he is ordaining the kid that stole gum at the 7-11 or the 4th grader glancing at a neighbor’s test. No connection.

        Why—oh why must we make God so small and —-well, paranoid, that He has to ordain/ decree immutably every dust particle —in order for Him to achieve His purposes. That’s not a great God. That’s a small, weak on.

      19. TS00:

        I forgot to add that in Piper’s scraping of random verses (and half verses) from here and there he includes Proverbs 16:33:

        The lot is cast into the lap,
        but its every decision is from the Lord. (ESV)

        I kid you not! Despite the thousands of verses where we see men doing things God does not want….Piper pulls out a Proverb(!!) to establish a hard-fast doctrine. Amazing. These are educated men too!

        Kind of like finding a needle in a haystack. Do they think we dont read the rest of the Bible?

        I mean are we supposed to read along and identify with stories, historical events, drama….and see the pathos of Abraham leaving his family in faith ….and the pain and pathos of being willing to sacrifice his son….in faith….and then ….ooops…stumble on Proverbs 16:33 and say…. oh…wow I guess all of that human drama/ emotion/ pain/ choice/ thinking is really just —well uh pre-programmed cuz…look at the dice!!

        We are expected to read all the rest of the Bible through the specific interpretation of 40 verses (Proverbs 16:33 being one of them).

        These verses (with reformed interpretation) trump all others!

        Forget the thousands of warnings: flee temptation, resist the devil….and supplications: draw near to God and He will draw near to you; seek the kingdom; fix your eyes on Christ; —-they mean nothing since well, the dice tell us that all has been determined.

        What about the “be verses”?

        Be …..
        exceeding glad (MATTHEW 5:12)
        reconciled to a brother (MATTHEW 5:24)
        perfect (MATTHEW 5:48; 2 CORINTHIANS 13:11)
        wise as serpents (MATTHEW 10:16)
        harmless as doves (MATTHEW 10:16)
        ready for Christ’s coming (MATTHEW 24:44; LUKE 12:40)
        content with your wages (LUKE 3:14)
        merciful (LUKE 6:36)
        like faithful servants (LUKE 12:36)
        thankful (COLOSSIANS 3:15)
        at peace among yourselves (1 THESSALONIANS 5:13)
        patient toward all people (1 THESSALONIANS 5:14; 2 TIMOTHY 2:24)
        no partaker of sin (1 TIMOTHY 5:22)
        sober and hope (1 PETER 1:13)
        sober and pray (1 PETER 4:7)
        sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, charity, and patience (aged men, TITUS 2:2)
        sober, love husbands and children (young women, TITUS 2:4)
        sober minded (men, TITUS 2:6)
        ready to give an answer of the hope that is in you (1 PETER 3:15)

        Nope…. no big deal….do what you feel like really….sin boldly in fact since —-well it is all fatalistically determined anyway. So whatever you did yesterday, sin, porn, adultery included was EXACTLY what God wanted anyway!!! Amen! Amen! Amen!

        That fundamental doctrine-establishing verse —revealed to us by Piper—in Proverbs assures us that every decision you ever made or will make was already cast in stone by God before time.

      20. And yet I recently saw a clip of Piper saying that some of his children did not agree with his theology, and that nothing provoked him more to prayer and fasting. What? What could ever motivate a Determinist to prayer or fasting? What is the point? Nothing he ever does will change God’s predetermined plan. Que sera sera. No amount of prayer or fasting will change anything. EVER. His kids are loved or damned. No use losing any sleep over it – or praying and fasting. Just praise the glories of a god who needlessly, deliberately chooses to damn helpless children before ever they were born, to do good or evil.

        No, Piper, Sproul, nor any of these false teachers really live what they preach. If they followed their theology to its logical conclusion, they would kill themselves in despair. After all, why not? If you’re elect, nothing you do can hurt your standing in God’s eyes. Commit fornication a thousand times a day – Luther says it’s no problem, might even scare off the devil. Burn people on green wood – Calvin obviously didn’t fear any retribution for grisly murder of morally innocent men and women who simply dared to disagree with him.

        It is, plain and simply, a false, demonic theology, with very little resemblance to the true gospel of which Paul, and all good men, need never be ashamed.

      21. TS00:

        I dont know about that video but I agree that they do not live what they theologize.

        The Gospel Coalition (a YRR group) posted this article about Piper.

        https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-john-pipers-seashells-swept-over-a-generation/

        The theme is “the Seashell Sermon” that Piper gave in 2000 that launched his “dont waste your life” campaign.

        The whole article is about human decisions. What we do matters. Don’t waste your life. Dont go off and retire at 58—get to work!!

        Why?

        Why?

        Why?

        Haven’t the dice been rolled and hasnt God made every hard-fast decision that will ever be?

        Then why resist that early retirement and personal spending pleasure?

        Because Piper knows (and teaches) what we all know….. your life matters. Your decisions matter. You can change outcomes. You can impact the future. It is not all a done deal. If it is all a done deal—why motivate people?

        Some of the testimonies in the article: “that message changed my direction.” Oh really….you mean you could have gone one way or the other way? Yes of course!

        But, alas, that is not what fatalistic-deterministic-reformed-heretic-burning-Calvinism teaches.

      22. ts00 writes, “What could ever motivate a Determinist to prayer or fasting? What is the point? Nothing he ever does will change God’s predetermined plan.”

        It is because God has not revealed all the details of His plan to us. However, God has given us specific promises that, if affected, are part of His plan. Thus, God tells us that we can ask for wisdom. That promise is certain – a person asking for wisdom receives wisdom and that outcome is part of God’s plan. Why would anyone neglect asking for wisdom?? The motivation for a Determinist to fast and pray is God’s promise to respond to those who fast and pray. If the lottery was $500 and you had inside knowledge of the winning numbers, would you buy a ticket with those numbers knowing that you were a certain winner? The promises of God offer more than money can buy, so why neglect those promises – the outcome is certain.

      23. So predictable, how you all always run to the same couple of verses. What would I exclude from all things? Sin. Why? Because I would read the passage in context. And the context is the preceding ” in Christ”. I would also compare the verse to similar verses like Philippians 4:13. Does all things in Philippians 4:13 include evil things? And if all here in ephesians means everything, does it also mean everyone in Peter 3:18?

      24. WW,
        Of course we believe that God works all things according to the counsel of His will!!!

        And from Scripture it appears that it was His will to create a world where men will “resist the devil,” “follow my example,” “choose for yourselves today,” etc (thousands more available upon request; See Genesis 1 through Rev 22)

        I have said many times that for some people the thousands and thousands of verses describing how God has chosen to create are somehow held captive to presupposed interpretation of 40-50 verses. Sad but true.

        Do not worry!!! No one actually lives this way!!! It is only a philosophy!

        We all live as though we matter…as though we make choices that matter…as though we can please or grieve God.

        No one lives this kind of fatalistic-deterministic life…. or we would not invest in our kids, make tough choices, or say we are “sorry” (how can you be sorry if the thing you did was God’s preordained will?).

        Press on bro….fix your eyes on Jesus!

      25. ww writes, “What would I exclude from all things? Sin. Why? Because I would read the passage in context. And the context is the preceding ” in Christ”.”

        So, let’s look at that context:

        9 God made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Christ
        10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him
        11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
        12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

        We have two main points:
        1. God is summing up all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth.
        2. In Christ, we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”

        In doing these, is it possible for God to ignore sin? I don’t see how. Maybe you do. God deals with sin directly in His elect through forgiveness and their sanctification. In Romans 8, we know that God works all things together for good for His elect and this also requires that God deal with sin. Even for the non-elect, God cannot let sin run rampant or we get a situation like that prior to the flood of Noah. So, I think God has to keep sin under control. I don’t see how God can ignore sin, but needs to deal with sin as He is working out His plan of salvation.

        Then, “I would also compare the verse to similar verses like Philippians 4:13. Does all things in Philippians 4:13 include evil things? ”

        In context, Philippians 4 has, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am…. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” The big difference is that Philippians deals with Paul while Ephesians 1 deals with God. So, Paul can deal with any circumstances he encounters because God strengthens him. In the same way, God can deal with any circumstances, including sin, because of His strength (omnipotence).

        Then, “And if all here in ephesians means everything, does it also mean everyone in Peter 3:18?”

        Here we read, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;”

        The term, “all,” is defined as “the unjust.” Christ, the just, died for the sins of all, the unjust. So, it does mean everyone lumped together under the descriptor “unjust.” His purpose was to “bring us to God.” The “us” would be God’s elect.

      26. As usual you have either totally miss my point or just deliberately dodged around it. Who said anything about God ignoring sin? The question was whether God causes it. If I work on a house and fix it to Perfection the way I want it, does that mean I caused it’s imperfections? Of course not, just the opposite. If God works everything for good for those who are in Christ, that does not mean he ordains their sin. And look at the way you’re wording this: God can deal with sin? He can deal with himself? What does that even mean in determinism, where God is not dealing with anything, he’s causing it all?

        To be consistent you would have to say that part of what Paul can do through Christ is to sin. And that God is strengthening and causing him to do just that.
        So we are back to my original question, does God command us to sin? And to be consistent with your philosophy, that command must be irresistible…

      27. ww writes, “The question was whether God causes it.”

        No. The question is whether Ephesians 1 is true when it says that God works all things according to the counsel of His will. Do we agree that Ephesians 1 is the truth?

        Then, “If God works everything for good for those who are in Christ, that does not mean he ordains their sin.”

        To ordain does not mean “cause.” It just means that God has the final say on all that happens as He has the power to change anything that happens if He does not want it to happen.

        Then, “What does that even mean in determinism, where God is not dealing with anything, he’s causing it all?”

        Determinism allows that God works through secondary causes. If God creates a stream flowing downhill, then that stream flows downhill. If, as it flows, it impacts the area through which it flows for good or for bad, then God has determined it. When we say that God causes all things, we mean that God’s control over all things is absolute and nothing happens unless He wants it to happen. It does not mean that God is the direct and immediate reason for something to happen. We might say that God causes Adam to eat the fruit not because He made Adam eat the fruit but because God made Adam and put him in a situation that would lead him (a secondary cause involving Satan) him to eat the fruit.

        Then, “To be consistent you would have to say that part of what Paul can do through Christ is to sin.”

        I think context precludes that conclusion.

        Then, “does God command us to sin?”

        Absolutely not.

      28. WW… you have to remember to consistently use the past tense “decreed” when talking about determinism, or Calvinists find a rhetorical loop-hole if you say “decrees”.

      29. Brian:
        Always good to have you comment.

        I it all rhetoric really.

        By their definition the builder of the football stadium “ordained” the broken neck of a player on a bad tackle, or the manufacturer of a gun “ordained” the murder of a victim. I mean that could not have happened if he had not built it ready to fire, right?

        But that is certainly not how the rest of us are defining ordained/ decreed/ willed.

      30. Debates are always grounded upon definitions for terms.
        He who can manipulate those definitions – rigs the game and thus gains an automatic advantage.

        That’s why Dr. Flowers highlights how Calvinists speak the English language, but have their own private dictionary.
        Having their own private dictionary is their strategy for manipulating definitions of terms – and thus rigging the game.

      31. FOH writes, “By their definition the builder of the football stadium “ordained” the broken neck of a player on a bad tackle,…”

        If the builder of the stadium had the ability to prevent the broken neck of a player on a bad tackle and chose not to do so, then the builder ordained that outcome. Correct???

      32. Here we get into philosophy.

        Indeed, if all possible ‘risks’ are to be avoided, no football stadiums, airplanes, cars or much of anything should be created, so that no injury, sin or evil happening may occur. Herein is perhaps an understanding that is necessary as to why God would choose to create a world in which his creatures have genuine free will. One in which they could, and did, utterly reject his precepts and will and wreak unthinkable havoc and destruction; as he knew they could and would.

        Calvinism, unfortunately conflates ‘being in sovereign control’ of his creation with being meticulously, deterministically controlling, making the false assertion that God actually thought up, ordained and brought to pass this unthinkable havoc and destruction. In order to reveal his ‘good, loving, merciful justice’ he needed to create, cause and ‘punish’ evil. At all costs, even to God’s holy nature, Calvinists assert that God alone is in deterministic control of his creature’s every thought, word and deed.

        Non-Calvinists recognize the contradiction in Calvinism’s claims to those of scripture, which asserts that in God there is no evil or unrighteousness, that he would never have even imagined, let alone ordained, such things as rape, torture or child sacrifice. They also recognize and point to the countless – thousands – of passages in which men are both offered choices by God and are said to have made choices against his will, and suffered the consequences. There is also the matter of simple justice, which forbids both causing and punishing the same action.

        But back to the question of why – and this is mere positing what little I understand. Is it not true that risk is inherent to freedom and creativity? In my own personal background, I grew up with a very risk-averse father, who was emotionally bogged down by the fear of death. In his mind, it was absurd to take unnecessary risks, such as flying in airplanes, learning to ski or climbing mountains. This progressed to the point where he could barely leave his home. Most recognize that ‘normal’ risks must be accepted if one is going to experience many of the unique experiences life offers. The amount of risk a person can tolerate varies greatly, but in reality, we face or take countless risks with our life and safety nearly every moment of every day; even if, like my father, we attempt to hole up and hide. You might choke on your food, slip on the floor or get hit by a meteor coming through your roof.

        From my own struggle with discovering a reasonably healthy approach to acceptable risk, I realized that many of the greatest joys in life contain a good deal of struggle, error and suffering – that is, risk. Take relationships. To avoid the risk of a failed marriage, one might correctly deduce the safest approach is to avoid relationships altogether. Yet this also precludes all possibility of reciprocal love, and the many joys that it produces.

        This is a simplistic example of the perfect, superior reasoning that perhaps led to God choosing to create people with the ability to make choices. Without such, he knew that life would have little meaning, hope, adventure or joy. I would suggest that God foreknew the good outweighed the bad, particularly since he had a plan under which ‘the bad’ would be dealt with and overcome.

        This ‘overcoming’ sin and evil is not a dualistic play, in which God deterministically controls ‘the good guys’ and ‘the bad guys’ like a little boy playing with toy soldiers. God did not create soulless toys who had no power of genuine free choice. He chose to overcome evil – which is only possible in a world created by a Good God if his creatures can resist his good will – by demonstrating love in all of its beauty and fullness, for love covers a multitude of sins. Yes, God’s choice to create genuinely free individuals demands that some men could, and would, choose rebellion, sin and death. Yet God also knew that some would freely recognize and submit to the genuine goodness and love he both demonstrated and offered, and choose life.

        Sometimes, I admittedly pray, ‘Wow, God, is all of this evil really necessary? Why don’t you put an end to it now, rather than later?’ Yet he tells us why – because he is loving, merciful and patient, desiring that more have an opportunity to turn from wickedness and live.

        I dare to hope that someday, with all threat of injury and death removed, I will be able to do many of the things my risk averse childhood prevented, like swim, ski and climb to the highest mountain tops! Even more, I look forward to the day when not only the world, but this person I call ‘me’ is free from all taint of sin and evil.

      33. ts00 writes, “Non-Calvinists recognize the contradiction in Calvinism’s claims to those of scripture, which asserts that in God there is no evil or unrighteousness, that he would never have even imagined, let alone ordained, such things as rape, torture or child sacrifice.”

        Yet, God is present during every rape, torture or child sacrifice watching every detail and knowing every thought of the rapist and his victim. The omnipotent God could easily step in and prevent it – He chooses not do to so. What are we to make of that??

      34. Brian,

        Another example of rhetoric.

        We are no strangers to Reformed churches and my wife and I recently were in an RCA (Ref Ch America) Sunday Service.

        Baby Baptism day. It wasn’t enough for him to sprinkle the infant. He announced…”Do you know why we do this? Because the Bible tells us to do it! And we do what the Bible tells us!”

        1. Rhetoric. The Bible “tells” us to do it. Uh-huh.

        2. Rhetoric. If you dont do it, you are not being faithful.

        One man’s drop-dead, non-negotiable verse is …..well….. not so clear for another.

        Waaaaay too much mileage is had from one partial-verse in Eph 1….

        of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

        That (and say, 10 other verses) is just not enough for us to use as a filter for the thousands of other clear verses throughout all they types of literature, books, genres in the Bible.

        A person can do it that way if they like!! But that is preference not dogma.

      35. FOH writes, “That (and say, 10 other verses) is just not enough for us to use as a filter for the thousands of other clear verses throughout all they types of literature, books, genres in the Bible.”

        Yet, those 10 verses (and others) speak truths that cannot be negated by other verses, no matter how many. The truth of one verse must be harmonized with the truth of all other verses if we are to understand what God is telling us.

      36. Great point!

        Calvinists are like semantic money-changers – experts at shifting semantic weights on the scales of langauge.
        Calvinism is all about masquerading its logical consequences behind duplicitous word tricks.
        Once one becomes aware of their library of tricks – one learns not to give them any room for being deceptive.

        Another good catch Brian. :-]

      37. brianwagner writes, “you have to remember to consistently use the past tense “decreed” when talking about determinism, or Calvinists find a rhetorical loop-hole if you say “decrees”.”

        Decreed in eternity past and executed in the course of time. Even you understand that, but others don’t necessarily.
        .

      38. Thanks Roger for affirming that for Calvinism it is “decreed in eternity past” and not “decrees”… For decrees “in the course of time” would be contradictory, since once immutably decreed in eternity past it doesn’t get decreed all over again after eternity past. And Calvinists would certainly not want to teach something that’s contradictory! 😉

      39. “And Calvinists would certainly not want to teach something that’s contradictory! 😉”

        Stop, you’re killing me. 🙂

      40. Calvinist to Christian:

        I know you think you understand what you thought I said when I avoided saying what I was really saying.
        But I see through Holy Spirit inspiration that your inability to understand, is because Calvin’s god has closed the eyes of your understanding to not understand what Calvin’s god wants you to understand. And therefore you will be judged in eternal fires and torments for your inability to understand *AS-IF* Calvin’s god really wanted you to understand it.

        It all makes perfect sense to the Calvinist. 😀

        A modified version of “the crooked path”

        Each day a hundred thousand rout
        Followed the ancient calf’s crooked path about

        And o’er his crooked journey spent
        The traffic of a theological tradition went.

        A Hundred thousand men were led,
        By one crooked calf near three centuries dead.

        They followed still his crooked way,
        And lost one hundred years a day;

        And still today that crooked path they follow,
        For Calvin’s camel they did fully swallow.

      41. brianwagner writes, “For decrees “in the course of time” would be contradictory,”

        We should use Calvin’s language here. What God has decreed in eternity past, He executes in the course of time. God has made all His decisions; it remains only to execute those decisions.

      42. Rhutchin writes: “To ordain does not mean “cause.” It just means that God has the final say on all that happens as He has the power to change anything that happens if He does not want it to happen.”

        This is how Calvinists make nonsense of meaning. If one can redefine words at will, and make the very same statement mean one thing at one moment, and the exact opposite the next, then honest communication is impossible. The listener can never know what the Calvinist means, as he feels free to rock back and forth between the two contrary meanings at will.

        If ‘to ordain does not mean “cause”‘ then Calvinism would be in agreement with non-Calvinists, who assert the sovereignty, omniscience and omnipotence of God, but disallow the meticulous, deterministic causation that genuine, historical Calvinism demands in order to uphold its TULIP assertions.

        Calvinists like Rhutchin are either ignorant of historic Calvinism, in denial of historic Calvinism or seeking to mislead others who are ignorant of historic Calvinism into thinking it is no different than non-Calvinist biblicism. For the life of me, apart from dishonesty, I cannot imagine why any so-called Calvinists would cling to Calvinism’s historical assertions while redefining them into meaning the same thing as their opponents have long asserted. Unless it is the desire to preserve their belief in ‘Perseverance of the Saints’ which, admittedly, loses all logical consistency when it merely becomes Eternal Security minus Election in the hands of Baptists.

        My ‘security’ rests in my complete faith in the goodness of God. This means that, in spite of the lack of a surefire ‘get out of hell free’ card, I firmly believe that God’s costly offer of grace is genuine, and is not based on perfect performance but on my genuine trust in God. I’ve been through the ‘sinless perfection’ school, dabbled in the ‘Eternal Security’ school, and investigated the TULIP school. All seem to me to have in common a basic misunderstanding of God, sin and salvation, focusing on actions versus what God judges, which is the heart. The best explanation I have seen comes from a (supposedly) Reformed theologian who definitely rejected much of what Calvin taught:

        “Temptation begins with distrust of God’s goodness . . . Where there is perfect trust in God’s fatherly goodness, there can be no temptation. Unbelief [in the goodness of God] is the beginning of sin. Unbelief, in fact, is the very root and basis of sin. . . . When man ceases to trust God completely, the next step is that he wants to be God himself. He wants to be able to rule his own life, to foresee the future, to determine what is good and what is evil, to judge others, to be the centre of the world. That is sin, full-grown . . . If we are to understand what salvation is, it is very important for us to understand this point: that the essence of sin is unbelief, and the opposite of sin is faith. We often think that the opposite of sin is righteousness, but according to the teaching of the bible, the true opposite of sin is faith. If we understand this, we shall be able to understand the salvation which has been accomplished for us in Christ. . . .”

        Lesslie Newbiggin, Sin and Salvation, 1956

      43. WW,
        Thanks!

        They almost all reject most of what Calvin taught: torture, infant baptism, amillenialism, no-real-Israel, fixed-determinism, etc.

        And yet they proudly use his name and make universities and seminaries with his name and statue. Bummer.

        To most people “deterministically, immutably ordained/ willed/ decreed” would be clear, but as you said, redefining it—-and using “allowed” “intervened” “did-not-cause” are all ways of having one’s cake and eating it too. Not logical. Not biblical. Not necessary.

        Let’s just keep doing what you did….tell about how simple faith in Christ is personal and “rewarded” according to the Scriptures.

      44. Rhutchin writes: “To ordain does not mean “cause.” It just means that God has the final say on all that happens as He has the power to change anything that happens if He does not want it to happen.”

        In another post rhutchin writes “ordain and decree are synonymous”

        Calvinists use a lot of “distancing language” as part of the double-speak.
        In this case rhutchin uses the phrase “final say”
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god weren’t controlling everything through the puppet strings of immutable decrees.

      45. br.d writes, “In another post rhutchin writes “ordain and decree are synonymous””

        Neither ordain nor decree means cause – “cause” referring to the immediate determining factors(s). God can determine all events without being the immediate determining factor leading to the event.

      46. rhutchin writes:
        God CAN determine all events without being the IMMEDIATE determining factor leading to the event.

        br.d
        This is a good example of how much Calvinism is reliant upon subtle word games.
        1) Notice here the word “CAN” is used to present the equivocal notion that it CAN be any other way.
        The Westminster confession doesn’t assert Calvin’s god CAN determine all events – it asserts Calvinist god DOES determine all events.
        But rhutchin cunningly crafts his statements as equivocal as possible.

        2) Here the term “immediate” “determining factor” are carefully added as Caveat emptor.
        One of the things that makes Calvinist language so deceptive is its strategical use of terms which can be used equivocally.
        Here the term “determining” factor is used equivocally.

        In the English dictionary, “determine” has two meanings.
        1) to REASON about something
        2) to FIX or SETTLE something

        In Calvinism, THE FUTURE IS FIXED (by Calvin’s god) IN THE PAST
        Therefore every human thought/choice/desire/action are SETTLED in the past and your future is FIXED.
        In the sense of SETTLING a future event Calvin’s god is the *SOLE* DETERMINING factor leading up to the event.

        However, in the sense of REASONING, a human can be said to “determine” something.
        The Calvinist takes advantage of the equivocation of the two meanings.
        And by the deceptive ruse attempts to give the appearance that the human is the culpable “determiner” of an evil event.
        What the Calvinist hides is that Calvin’s god is the DETERMINER what the human “determines”.

        And as William Lane Craig, Alvin Plantinga, and Peter Van Inwagen would say.
        If determinism is true then all thoughts/choices/desires/actions are not “UP TO US” – they are up to Calvin’s god .
        Thus Calvinism Calvin’s god is the SOLE DETERMINER all events.

        In Calvinism:
        1) Calvin’s god is the SOURCE of all thoughts/choices/desires/actions.
        2) Calvin’s god ENFORCES all of thoughts/choices/desires/actions making them come to pass as inevitable/unavoidable.
        3) Calvin’s god is the ONLY NECESSARY determiner of all thoughts/choices/desires/actions.
        4) Humans simply function as instruments whom Calvin’s god moves to bring about his willed events.

        Thanks rhutchin for the example of Calvinism’s beguiling double-speak. 😀

      47. br.d writes, “The Westminster confession doesn’t assert Calvin’s god CAN determine all events – it asserts Calvinist god DOES determine all events.”

        OK. Let’s revise it to read, “it asserts Calvinist god DOES determine all events without being the IMMEDIATE determining factor leading to the events.”

      48. https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/does-god-cause-sin

        Seems many of your Calvinist leaders disagree with you. I fail to see any difference between God commanding people to commit sin and God commanding satan to cause people to commit sin. Secondary causes go like this: ” I didn’t commit the crime, officer! I only pulled the trigger, the gun was the actual cause of death!”
        No one going to hell is going to find any comfort from being told that God didn’t cause their refusal of him, he only makes it impossible for them to accept his offer of salvation. I don’t know how anyone holds to compatibilism for long. Trying to hold two opposites as both true is very tiring and ultimately impossible to maintain.

      49. WW
        No one really holds to compatibalism for long.

        After theologizing about it… they all return to their daily lives of feeling, knowing that what they do matter. Our decisions matter. Our lives matter. We are created in the image of God.

        This not a “man-centered Gospel”. The Scriptures say it on every page.

        God says many times “I will do that for David’s sake…” Does this make God weak? No. Personal.

        Why would the God described by determinism EVER say “I will do this for X’s sake”?

        Why would He ever say He rewards those who seek Him?

        Why would He ever say “I did not want you to do that…but you did”?

      50. ww writes, “I fail to see any difference between God commanding people to commit sin and God commanding satan to cause people to commit sin.”

        Are you using “command” in the sense of “ordering one to sin” or in the sense of “decreeing that one be free to sin.”

        Then, “Secondary causes go like this: ” I didn’t commit the crime, officer! I only pulled the trigger, the gun was the actual cause of death!””

        This should be, “Secondary causes go like this: ” I didn’t commit the crime, officer! I saw the person who did and could have stopped him but choose not to do so.”

        Then, “No one going to hell is going to find any comfort…”

        I agree.

      51. Lol, the duplicity has no limit. Some how determining every thought and every action of every life has become simply being passive and allowing certain actions, when it’s convenient for your argument. Perhaps you could consider a career in politics.

      52. ww writes, “the duplicity has no limit.”

        So, you don’t know what you trying to convey in using the term, “command.” OK.

      53. Command: an authoritative order.
        “it’s unlikely they’ll obey your commands”
        synonyms: order, instruction, directive, direction, commandment, injunction, decree, edict, demand, stipulation, requirement.

      54. ww writes, “Command: an authoritative order.
        “it’s unlikely they’ll obey your commands””

        I had asked, “Are you using “command” in the sense of “ordering one to sin” or in the sense of “decreeing that one be free to sin.”” As both “order” and “decree” are synonyms of command, I guess the issue depends on any distinction between “order” and “decree.”

        You said, “I fail to see any difference between God commanding people to commit sin and God commanding satan to cause people to commit sin.”

        I don’t see God directly commanding/ordering people to son; I do see God indirectly commanding/decreeing that people be free to sin. As God is omnipotent and can prevent any person from sinning, then God’s decree not to prevent a person from sinning is not really different than God commanding/ordering a person to sin. It is as if God says to the person, “I will not stop you from sinning; therefore I am telling you to go out and fulfill your desire to sin.”

      55. Seriously? Because the original question was inspired by a Calvinist who shouted that God commands men to commit adultery. Funny, when I read my Bible, I find that God commands men not to commit adultery. Then you claim that God decrees in eternity past every sin that men commit. Now you flip flop into Arminian territory and claim he only decrees men should have free will. Yes there is a difference between allowing freedom and commanding sin. Good grief, to say there is no difference is absurd, any one who reads scripture can understand the difference. A five year old can understand the difference between commanding him to do his chores and commanding him to disobey.

      56. ww writes, “Because the original question was inspired by a Calvinist who shouted that God commands men to commit adultery. Funny, when I read my Bible, I find that God commands men not to commit adultery. ”

        God always commands obedience from people. God also commands that people be free to disobey His commands. Finally, we must conclude that it is by God’s decree or command that the adultery be done because God, as sovereign was compelled to decide whether to exercise His omnipotent power to prevent the adultery and chose not to do so. Was not God in the bedroom as David took Bathsheba to bed, having been with David all day long and knowing the evil David contemplated in his heart? Was it not God’s decision whether to stop David from such sin and God chose not to stop David? Why are you confused on this issue?

        Then, “Then you claim that God decrees in eternity past every sin that men commit.”

        If not decreed, certainly you agree that God knew all this is eternity past. Don’t you?

        Then, “Now you flip flop into Arminian territory and claim he only decrees men should have free will. Yes there is a difference between allowing freedom and commanding sin.’

        What is that difference given that God is omnipotent and can affect any outcome He wants?

        Then, “Good grief, to say there is no difference is absurd, any one who reads scripture can understand the difference. A five year old can understand the difference between commanding him to do his chores and commanding him to disobey. ”

        Sure, if that was all that there was to the story. Even a five-year-old can understand that, in everything, God’s will is done simply because God is omnipotent.

      57. “God always commands obedience from people. God also commands that people be free to disobey His commands. Finally, we must conclude that it is by God’s decree or command that the adultery be done because God, as sovereign….”

        6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
        You say sin is God’s command or decree. God says it’s our doing, not his. I’m going with God on this one. I suspect he knows himself better than you do. And unlike Calvinists, he is not the author of confusion.

      58. Rhutchin writes: “Then, “Secondary causes go like this: ” I didn’t commit the crime, officer! I only pulled the trigger, the gun was the actual cause of death!””

        This should be, “Secondary causes go like this: ” I didn’t commit the crime, officer! I saw the person who did and could have stopped him but choose not to do so.””

        This is blatantly deceptive. The second alternative makes God a mere witness, or at most, willing accomplice to the crime. Neither Calvin or the Westminster Confession assert that God is a mere observer or accomplice to the acts of men, but the ordaining, determining ’cause’ of whatsoever comes to pass. He plotted, ordained and makes sure every single event in history comes to pass – he and he alone, determined it all exactly as it must happen. It is blatantly dishonest to try and hide the truth that Calvinism asserts that God ordains, causes, brings into existence ‘whatsoever comes to pass’. It does not matter what means he uses, be it puppets, angels or rocks – it is God’s doing. And any non-brainwashed individual can see the evil, injustice and cowardice of Calvinism’s God as he punishes men for doing what he himself ordained and caused them to desire and do. Just stop being so dishonest. At least Calvin openly admitted the unrighteousness of his God – but wrongly insisted that since God was God he gets to call all the shots and man must timidly ignore his brutal ugliness. WRONG.

        God is wholly good, loving, just, kind, gracious and merciful. Any accusations of God conspiring to bring about evil, then unjustly punishing the patsies he arranged to carry out the crimes are utterly false. Of course Calvinists do not want to own up to this. The question is, why don’t they denounce their ‘system’ for the evil horror that it is, as so many others have? Countless testimonies acknowledge that person after person was deceived, brainwashed, mind-controlled into seeing the scripture through Calvinist lenses, then graciously freed from this demonic error to see the genuine goodness, justice and mercy of God.

      59. Truthseeker catches rhutchin once again.

        Hitting the bulls-eye “This is blatantly deceptive.”

        That’s how Calvinist language trickery works!

        Good catch Truthseeker!!

      60. TS00,

        I am continually baffled at the idea that men will formulate their doctrines and have endless discussions without even taking into consideration the greatest teacher, example, personage in history.

        When we study Christ, do we see a God who forces or weeps?

        When we study Christ, do we see a God who calls and pleads (O Jerusalem, Jerusalem) or excludes?

        When we study Christ, do we see a God who says “seek first the kingdom” or one who says “even if you knock, it wont be opened”?

        When we study Christ, do we see a God who says, “come unto me all you who labor and are weary and I will give you rest,” or one who says “I only chose a very few weary”?

        When we study Christ, do we see a God who is doing spiritual battle against evil, or is ordaining it?

        When we study Christ, do we see a God who shows love and compassion even to those who reject Him, or one who rejects most of humanity?

      61. FOH, I honestly cannot tell you how my heart aches at your words. I feel as if I have narrowly escaped from this dark, demonic place, and I long for the ‘good ol’ religion’ of my youth. In those days it never occurred to me to question whether or not God was good, faithful, just and merciful. I found him so, on page after page of scripture, which shaped my entire youth and life. I wouldn’t say that I was exposed to impressive teaching as a child, but in a way, that was to my advantage. I ended up reading the bible and finding out about God on my own, rather than from the biased perceptions of men. My heart aches for those who are yet entangled with Reformed Theology with all of its cruel, ugly perceptions of God – including many of the dearest people to me on earth.

      62. I take solace in the idea that none of them live as though they believe it.

        The neither “sin boldly” (since they basically would have license to)…

        nor do they live like they cannot decide anything. They matter and they know they do….

        In fact….fixing your eyes on Jesus is the solution to all this silliness. You will neither sin boldly nor feel meaningless if you do!

      63. FOH writes, “fixing your eyes on Jesus is the solution to all this silliness.”

        An option available only to those whom God saves – i.e., believers.

      64. FOh writes, “When we study Christ, do we see a God who forces or weeps?’

        It is Christ who says, “No one can come to me…” (John 6)

        Then, “When we study Christ, do we see a God who shows love and compassion even to those who reject Him, or one who rejects most of humanity?”

        “I said to you, that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me,…I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing,…” (John 6)

      65. ts00 writes, “This is blatantly deceptive. The second alternative makes God a mere witness, or at most, willing accomplice to the crime. ”

        Of course not. God is more than a witness – He is executing His plan. That plan provides for people to do as they desire so long as that which they desire accords with God’s plan. We see this in Isaiah 10. It was the desire of the Assyrians to invade and enslave Israel. They could not because God would not let them. That desire remained so when God stopped protecting Israel for the purpose of judging Israel, the Assyrians found that they were free to do as they desired. The Assyrains were God’s instrument for punishing Israel – as He had warned them time and again through His prophets that He would do. If that is what you mean by “accomplice,” then fine. If the Assyrians are examples of what you mean by “puppets,” then fine again.

        Then, “Calvin openly… – but wrongly insisted that since God was God he gets to call all the shots and man must timidly ignore his brutal ugliness.”

        Yet God is sovereign; God is in control; God does call the shots.

        Then, “God is wholly good, loving, just, kind, gracious and merciful. Any accusations of God conspiring to bring about evil, then unjustly punishing the patsies he arranged to carry out the crimes are utterly false.”

        OK. So explain how Isaiah 10 fits into this philosophy. “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hands is My indignation, I send it against a godless nation And commission it against the people of My fury To capture booty and to seize plunder, And to trample them down like mud in the streets. Yet it does not so intend Nor does it plan so in its heart, But rather it is its purpose to destroy, And to cut off many nations….So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness.”

      66. Rhutchin writes: “God is more than a witness – He is executing His plan. That plan provides for people to do as they desire so long as that which they desire accords with God’s plan.”

        Sure, I get it that kind of ‘freedom’. Man can do whatever he ‘wants’ as long as he ‘wants’ what God ‘wants’. I think I’ve seen that somewhere before:

  12. Well one thing is for sure! It should shock every good student of God’s Word when a human being (Calvin) says that God is the author of evil deeds! It doesn’t matter what our philosophical conclusions are regarding God’s ability to know all things. These conclusions should never carry us to a destination where God has become the “author” of evil! If we arrive there, we must re-think our philosophical ruminations! I am really shocked every time I read that quote by Calvin . . . he really went off the deep end . . . !!

    1. I appreciated this post Deborah thanks!

      Of course the Calvinists have 1001 deceptive arguments to twist their way around that pole.
      For me, their deceptive language is the biggest tell-tale sign of all!!

      Blessings :-]

    2. deborah Hansel writes, “Well one thing is for sure! It should shock every good student of God’s Word when a human being (Calvin) says that God is the author of evil deeds!”

      Can you define what you mean by “author”?

    3. Hi Deborah,

      I just wanted to warn you – in case rhutchin tries to draw you into dialog – beware – he postures as being open minded – and then works to draw people around in circles looking for an opportunity to get in a jab.

      Just to let you know in advance.
      br.d

  13. br.d writes,
    “…Calvin’s god existed in a state in which he had no omniscience at all (logically) prior to his decrees. Rhutchin also asserts that Calvin’s god existed in a state in which he had no omniscience at all (logically) prior to his decrees.

    So rhutchin’s doctrine of omniscience denies the historic doctrine of “essential” omniscience.

    rhutchin responds:
    God is omniscient and knows Himself perfectly including His decrees. If there were no decree, it would not be part of His omniscience. Where there is a decree, God knows it and it is part of His omniscience. You can’t explain it any better, so why complain?
    .
    br.d
    Silly bird – No complaint just rational logic.
    Your private interpretation of omniscience asserts that Calvin’s god existed in a state in which he had *NO* omniscience (prior to his decrees) which denies the Christian doctrine of “ESSENTIAL” omniscience. Therefore your private interpretation of omniscience is false.

    1. rutchin asserts:
      “…Calvin’s god existed in a state in which he had no omniscience at all (logically) prior to his decrees. which asserts that Calvin’s god existed in a state where he had *NO* omniscience (logically) prior to his decrees.

      So rhutchin’s private doctrine of omniscience denies the historic doctrine of “essential” omniscience.

      rhutchin responds:
      God is omniscient and knows Himself perfectly including His decrees. If there were no decree, it would not be part of His omniscience. Where there is a decree, God knows it and it is part of His omniscience. You can’t explain it any better, so why complain?
      .
      br.d
      Silly bird – No complaint just rational logic.
      Your private interpretation of omniscience asserts that Calvin’s god existed in a state in which he had *NO* omniscience (prior to his decrees) which denies the Christian doctrine of “ESSENTIAL” omniscience. Therefore your private interpretation of omniscience is false.

      1. Thanks, br.d, I already know that about R Hutchin, and I have no intention of giving him the time of day. Thanks though! I appreciate your warning!

  14. HOW OUR HUMAN BIASES SABOTAGE OUR ABILITY TO DISCERN TRUTH

    In the book “The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking” by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird, there is an interesting story about the history in the study of string theory. A group of the world’s leading physicists in the fields of Particle Physics, Quantum Mechanics, and Relativistic Quantum Field Theory gathered together at MIT, to see if it were possible to settle the viability of what was then – hypothetical conceptions of string theory.

    The team was made up of two groups. One group of physicists who believed string theory was impossible, and another group of who believed string theory might be possible. The project chose two opposing groups of physicists with the hopes that doing so would minimize human biases which would hinder the research.

    However, after about 6 months of daily sessions, it became clear to the project had reached a stalemate. During their sessions, every time one of the positively-minded physicists advanced an argument concerning an aspect of string theory that may be viable, one of the negatively-minded physicists would argue against it. Similarly, every time one of the negatively-minded physicist advanced an argument concerning some aspect of string theory leading to its impossibility, one of the positively-minded physicist would argue against that.

    The arguments started out gentlemanly enough, but soon degraded into highly (and sometimes violent) emotional personal accusations and mudslinging. The project was doomed unless they could find a way to overcome the in-fighting. So project leaders developed an inventive solution. They dedicated two separate laboratories in the research.

    Laboratory #1 had a large sign in the front of the room that said: “STRING THEORY IS TRUE”. And laboratory #2 had a large sign in the front of the room that said: “STRING THEORY IS FALSE”. The physicists divided their time up into blocks of two weeks. For the first 2 weeks, they would work in laboratory #1, under the house rule that if anyone did not have something positive to add to the conversation about how string theory could be true, they were not allowed to speak. The next two weeks were spent in Laboratory #2 with the alternative rule regarding being allowed to speak. Well it was one thing for each physicist to have his opinion – but not being allowed to speak was personal torture!

    Soon they were submitting to the rules and the research started making progress. In the end, they did resolve there were certain aspects of string theory that did indeed explain mysteries of physicists they hadn’t foreseen it being able to do, when they started.

    Let me suggest that debates over Compatibilist vs. Libertarian Free will are also subject to the same human limitations. It has been my observation from studying the leading materials on this subject, the clear majority of arguments asserted by one party or the other are consistently based upon unflinching presupposition. When one analyzes arguments put forward by the Compatibilist, one can see the argument is grounded upon determinism as an intractable presupposition. It becomes obvious the arguer cannot see the forest beyond the trees. And the reverse can also be true.

    We might learn from the strategy of our scientific friends, and discover as they did, how our allegiance to dogmatic presupposition so easily sabotage our ability to discern truth – heretofore unforeseen to us.

  15. Above I have posted some of the hundreds (thousands!) of examples of where Scripture tells us something about God, or something we can do, or something we should do….or something a biblical figure could have / or should have done.

    Yet no could-haves or should-haves can exist….if I am to preach on Sunday that “everything you did yesterday was exactly what God ordained, Amen! Amen! Amen!”

    In these comments we get no practical ways of understand how Calvinism-determinism-Reformed can be true and all those 1000s and 1000s of verses can be true (or in any way make sense).

    We get no practical answers, only (1) occasional jabs (“you must be a universalist” “you are a heretic” “you have no better answers”), (2) some non-sense that “we all agree with that” (which is part of that rocking-horse of agreeing one minute and saying the opposite the next) (3) or the all-fixing, magic-wand “If God is omniscient —by our definition— then He ‘necessarily’ (gotta have that word!) ordained all things and you are in error Sir!”

    Still….we are left with the thousands of verses that tell us to seek, flee, walk-in, resist, choose for ourselves. Still we are left wondering—- how any of that makes sense in a determinist (God ordained all things to be the way they are before time) way.

    No answers. Only jabbing, rocking, or wand-waving.

    Please tell us how these thousands of verses fit into this philosophy.

  16. The below, in its entirety, is taken from Vincent Cheung’s website. It is a Q&A session of sorts. It is entitled “WCF, Secondary Causes, Etc”…….

    Question: Why do you think the Westminster Divines stated that God ordained whatsoever comes to pass and then also stated that God is not thereby the author of sin?

    Answer: It seems that, like most theologians, they assumed that to cause evil is to commit evil; therefore, they had to distance God from evil. However, the assumption that to metaphysically cause evil is to morally commit evil is false, and rarely even mentioned or defended. It is taken for granted, but these are two separate issues. One deals with how something can happen at all, and the other deals with what moral laws God has declared to define what is good and what is evil. If he has not declared that it is evil for himself to metaphysically cause evil, then how dare men say that it is evil for him to do so?

    To say that God is not the author of sin necessarily means that his sovereignty cannot be direct and exhaustive. That God is totally sovereign is something that the Bible clearly teaches. On the other hand, that God is not the author of sin is something that men wish to maintain against the Bible. Therefore, they affirm both, and most theologians attempt to work around it with permissive decrees (but the concept makes no sense), secondary causes (but does God directly cause and control these “secondary” causes or not?), and compatibilism (but this is irrelevant, since if God controls all things, then the fact that men make choices and what choices they make are also controlled by God, so that this means only that God is compatible with himself; thus the idea is a red herring that does not address the question).

    When you refuse to accept nonsense and press the issue, they throw up their hands and call it a mystery, and call you a heretic if you insist that the biblical doctrine is clear. But if this is permitted, then anyone can hold any position on any issue, and just call it a mystery.

    Question:…the Westminster Confession on secondary causes and the author of sin: “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”

    Answer: I believe that if a person is a Christian and somewhat intelligent, then if we were to repeat, “If God is not the direct metaphysical cause of something, then something else is,” to his face over and over again, eventually he would realize what this really means and would become just as alarmed and repulsed at the notion as we are. But perhaps both faith and intelligence are rare, and the combination even less likely.

    As for secondary causation, I have addressed this a number of times. If all else fails, I can say that I did not write the books, but my computer did. The fact that I was typing on it when the books appeared does not nullify the authorship of the computer or its moral responsibility, but only establishes it. If the reply is that the computer is not an intelligent mind but a dead object, I would insist that Dual Core is superior to a lump of clay (Romans 9). In any case, if God’s authorship is only so distant (I did not make the computer, the software, nor did I make or control the electricity), he might not be so clearly the author of sin.

    Question:…in the Westminster Confession it is stated: “God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”

    Arthur W. Pink wrote in a book about the sovereignty of God: Once more, it needs to be carefully borne in mind that God did not decree that Adam should sin and then inject into Adam an inclination to evil, in order that His decree might be carried out. No; “God cannot be tempted, neither tempteth He any man” (James 1:13). Instead, when the Serpent came to tempt Eve, God caused her to remember His command forbidding to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and of the penalty attached to disobedience! Thus, though God had decreed the Fall, in no sense was He the Author of Adam’s sin, and at no point was Adam’s responsibility impaired. Thus may we admire and adore the “manifold wisdom of God”, in devising a way whereby His eternal decree should be accomplished, and yet the responsibility of His creatures be preserved intact.

    Answer: If I am right, then they must be wrong. The question is, how can they be right without self-contradiction — that God controls all things, but he really doesn’t, that God causes all things, but he really doesn’t? The Reformed is fond of appealing to “mystery,” “paradox,” and “antinomy,” which are nothing but more dignified and deceptive terms for saying, “Clearly, I contradict myself, but I don’t care.” Instead, it seems to me that divine sovereignty is an altogether clear and coherent doctrine. It is so easy to understand. I have also answered the almost universal abuse of James 1:13. Temptation and causation are two different things, and the topic is causation, not temptation.

    We must submit to the direct teachings of Scripture and its necessary implications, and not the traditions and good intentions of men.

    1. EXCELLENT POST PHILLIP!!

      Cheung points at the double-think he observes in is Calvinist brothers.

      This statement from Cheung is what many of us have been replaying to rhutchin

      -quote “this means only that God is compatible with himself. Thus the idea is a red herring that does not address the question.

      This is Calvinisms *AS-IF* thinking
      The Calvinist wants to paint a picture of a deity who controls [X] exclusively *AS-IF* he doesn’t
      Cheung recognizes the double-think.
      And his Calvinists friends call him names for being intellectually honest.

  17. Hey Leighton, just listened to your blog post on Piper and Irresistible Grace, really appreciate that but couldn’t figure out how to comment there. Reading through John, and it is very clear that Jesus is teaching that those previously taught by the Father will come to Him. It is the “good soil,” the people who are already open to the things of God (the Father) who can accept and follow the call of Christ. This is interesting: Jesus says in John 3 that “anyone who follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that whatever they have done was done through God [the Father].” According to Calvin, it should read, “anyone in whom the light has irresistibly shone will follow the true way.” According to Calvin, it would be impossible for a person to “follow the true way” before “coming to the light.” But Jesus says those already walking in the truth will come to the light — and by light, I think he means Himself. Now . . . it is inconceivable that Jesus would have His theology mixed up. Isn’t it? Piper is corrupting the teaching of Scripture because of his theological system. It is sad to me that I could only read the Bible in Calvin’s light, having been taught Calvin’s theology from the cradle, for so long. After believing it for almost 40 years, I cried with grief when I realized how wrong it was, and how desperately it obscured the Gospel itself, all the while claiming that Reformed theology truly IS the TRUE GOSPEL. But how hard it is for a person saturated with Calvinistic thinking to read the Bible in any other light. I believe my mind just created a Gap where it placed all the verses that didn’t seem to fit with Calvinism. I know I just glossed over verses like this because I couldn’t understand them. I couldn’t understand them because my mind was full of Calvin’s ideas. And my emotions wouldn’t accept them because Calvin passed down a fear in me — through the Dutch Reformed community — from generation to generation — that all who reject Calvin’s “gospel” are rebellious and ungrateful and unwilling to accept the truth.

      1. Hi FOH — Yes, I am a recovering Calvinist. And that is a good way to put it.
        (Was it you who mentioned knowing a Steve N (last name pronounced “Win”)? I can’t remember how to spell it. I knew a guy with that name in high school.

      2. Deborah:
        I appreciate hearing your testimony of your departure from Calvinism. And no….it was not me who knew the guy you mentioned.

    1. Deborah Hansel writes, “According to Calvin, it should read, “anyone in whom the light has irresistibly shone will follow the true way.”

      That which makes it irresistible is the preceding regeneration reviving the dead spirit and the gift of faith. People who are freed form the corruption incurred by Adam’s sin can actually follow the true way. They are good soil.

      Then “According to Calvin, it would be impossible for a person to “follow the true way” before “coming to the light.”

      This based on Jesus’ statement in John 6, “No one can come to me…” The sinner who has not been quickened by God (Ephesians 2) continues to be spiritually dead and will not come to the light – “…the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.” (John 3)

      Then, “But Jesus says those already walking in the truth will come to the light — and by light, I think he means Himself. Now . . . it is inconceivable that Jesus would have His theology mixed up. Isn’t it? ”

      John 3
      20 “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
      21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

      Also, John 8
      “Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

      Thus, there is the light of life and the light of the world (Jesus) – two types of light.

      1. Deborah,

        Perhaps your Calvinist journey was like mine, based on 40-50 key verses that trumped all others, and must be interpreted a certain way (no other interpretation should be looked at).

        When I was reading huge chunks of Scripture each day, I started to wonder why the 40 verses (seen a certain way) got to call all the shots.

        As I looked into non-Calvinist interpretations of these 40-ish verses I felt free. I could have the other 99.9% of the Bible AND these verses!!! Joy!

        You can expect these 40-50 verses to be the bread-n-butter of all Calvinistic comments toward you.

        But you can see alternative interpretations of them in the main posts of Leighton, and in the comments.

        Even though Leighton, Brian, and others have offered acceptable interpretations of the 40-ish verses (which allows there to be any sense to the rest of the Bible!) they are relentless pulled out again and again as trump cards.

    2. Deborah, I would love to hear more of your story, and what events led you to turn from Calvinism. So many here have been through something similar, but I’m not sure how many were cradle Calvinists.

  18. CALVINISM’S *AS-IF* THINKING

    1) Unfree-AS-IF-free:
    This is where Calvin’s god decrees Cain’s inevitable fate, to murder Able, while withholding from Cain the ability to do otherwise, and giving Cain no alternative possibilities. But here Cain is “so-called” FREE, to act in accordance with his sinful desires – with the caveat that Cain’s sinful desires are also decreed as Cain’s inevitable fate, with no ability to do otherwise, and no alternative possibilities.

    2) Forced-AS-IF-NOT-Forced:
    This is where Calvin asserts “evil men, thieves and murderers are FORCED to do Calvin’s god’s service”. But this is a very magical FORCE which FORCES without FORCING. (just think magic invisible puppet strings and you’ve got the picture)

    3) Exist-AS-IF-NOT-Exist:
    This is where Calvin’s god decrees Adam free to “do otherwise”, and “the ability to refrain”, but where “do otherwise” and “the ability to refrain” don’t exist. This is one of Calvinism’s many possibilities that don’t exist AS-IF they do exist.

    4) ALL-AS-IF-NOT-ALL:
    This is where Calvin’s god determines **ALL** things at the foundation of the world, but not in such a way that Calvin’s god determines
    **ALL** things at the foundation of the world. Because Calvin’s god does NOT determine **SOME** things at the foundation of the world. (see Aristotle’s square of opposition to understand the contradiction)

    5) Impelling-AS-IF-NOT-impelling:
    This is where a decree from Calvin’s god impels Cain to murder Able as Cain’s unavoidable fate. But this decree has a special magical kind of impel which has the ability to impel Cain to murder Able, in such a way as to not impel Cain to murder Able.

    6) Influence-AS-IF-NOT-Influence:
    Same as Impel – This is a decree which mandates Cain to murder Able. But this decree uses a special magical kind of influence which requires Cain to murder Able, and makes it impossible for Cain not to murder Able, yet without influencing Cain to murder Able.

    7) Determinism-AS-IF-UN-determinism:
    This is where Calvin’s god determines the Calvinist’s every thought/choice/desire/action in every part. But the Calvinist is instructed by Calvin to -quote “go about his office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part”.

    8) Predestined-Total-Depravity-AS-IF-NOT-Predestined:
    This is where every person’s total depravity are first-conceived in the mind of god, and then predestined to occur as that
    person’s unavoidable fate, but in such a way that their total-depravity are magically not predestined.

    9) Theological-Determinism-AS-IF-NOT-Determinism:
    This is where Theological Determinism doesn’t have the logical entailments of Determinism, because Theological Determinism is a special kind of magical Determinism that is non-deterministic by virtue of it being Theological.

    10) Decreed-Divine-Knowledge-AS-IF-NOT-Decreed:
    This is where Calvin’s god decrees Cain to murder Able, decreeing it as Cain’s unavoidable fate. Consequently, God knows his decrees which exactingly move Cain to murder Able. Thus Calvin’s god knows exactly how Cain will murder Abel. But this is a special kind of magical knowledge, in which Calvin’s god knows Cain is going to murder Able AS-IF Calvin’s god wasn’t the one who first conceived it, and exactingly moved Cain to murder Able, making it Cain’s unavoidable fate.

    11) Immoral-AS-IF-Moral:
    This is where actions are attributed to Calvin’s god, and detailed as clearly contradicting his declared moral standards in scripture. But this is a special kind of magical “moral” where actions described are said to exemplify God’s declared moral standards AS-IF they don’t contradict them.

    13) Doublespeak-AS-IF-NOT-Doublespeak:
    This is where Calvin’s god commands his people to repent, and choose life, AS-IF he really wills them to repent and choose life. Or where Calvin’s god commands Adam and Eve to not eat of the forbidden fruit, AS-IF he really willed them to not eat of the forbidden fruit. So, this is a special kind of divine magical doublespeak in which Calvin’s god deceives his people into believing he is speaking his “secret” will, when he is really speaking a “revealed” will AS-IF it were his TRUE will.

    1. br.d writes, “1) Unfree-AS-IF-free:”

      It should be: “Unfree in the libertarian sense-but-free in a compatibilist sense.:

      Then, “2) Forced-AS-IF-NOT-Forced:”

      It should be: “2) Forced-by their sin nature but not Forced by God:

      1. br.d writes, “1) Unfree-AS-IF-free:”

        rhutchin writes:
        It should be: “Unfree in the libertarian sense-but-free in a compatibilist sense.:

        br.d
        “2) Forced-AS-IF-NOT-Forced:”

        rhutchin writes
        It should be: “2) Forced-by their sin nature but not Forced by God:

        br.d
        Actually they are perfect as they are as examples of Calvinist double-speak. 😀

    2. br.d, you are funny. 😉 If you really internalize Calvinism, like I did, you pretty much go crazy . . . and then when you find out that God Himself has determined for some people to believe they are saved when they really aren’t, only to smite them with a greater judgement later “for their lack of gratitude,” (that comes from Calvin himself) well you’ve really reached the bottom of the gloom. If people knew what Calvin really wrote . . . and I wish people would read the Institutes, because not only what Calvin says, but the constant name-calling he uses to describe people who disagree with him . . . they would be shocked. And yet there are so many people who HAVE read the Institutes and still say it’s the most brilliant piece of Christian literature ever written (Piper). I can’t hardly talk to certain relatives without Calvin’s name coming up as the authority on pretty much all matters. Ugh . . . . . .

      1. Thank you Deborah for you very thoughtful and sincere post!

        Yes, I do know what you mean. In times past, I’ve posted excerpts from Dr. Erich Fromm – Ph.D Social Psychologist book “Escape from Freedom”. Dr. Fromm studied historical writings of Calvinists during different time periods. And he recognized in the writings of many Calvinist authors – what was for them, an over-arching sense of dread and doom. Dr. Fromm called Calvinism, a Theology of dread.

        Dr. Fromm also researched the historical representations of John Calvin’s hyper-activity, noting his behavior parallels that of a person who unconsciously attempts to stave off a sense of foreboding by hyper-activity. Even though his philosophical mind believed there was nothing he could do to be saved, and no real way of knowing whether or not he was predestined him to salvation or predestined to a delusion of salvation, – yet his subconscious mind still struggled for the hope of salvation by earning it through works – and thus his hyper-activity.

        Fromm also writes about how Calvinists appeared to their own internal desires and the manifested desires of others as “indicators” of whether or not they were predestined for life or death. This is almost a form of “reading tea leaves” – where the “tea leaves” are the individuals desires. If one has over-whelming desires for sinful things, then those function as possible “indicators” the person is predestined to the lake of fire.

        Years ago, I had knew a brother who struggled with inappropriate desires for sisters other than his wife, whose Calvinist pastor told him he may not be predestined for life. Thus that brother’s manifested desires were used as a form of “tea leaves” reading to ascertain his future destiny.

        As an ex-Calvinist, do you recognize that aspect within the Calvinist fold?

      2. Hi br.d, thank you so much for the information! The very last pastor of the very last Calvinist church we were a part of a few years ago was deeply depressed. His wife told me that he had been diagnosed with clinical depression in his early adulthood. At this time, I was still a dedicated Calvinist myself, but I was deeply concerned about this pastor’s emotional well-being. We don’t live in the Dutch Reformed community I grew up in anymore, but this pastor was from my home town — and happened to have gone to my Calvinist high school with me, so my younger brothers knew him. He was trained at a deeply Calvinistic seminary, and was basically sent here to pastor in an otherwise “Reformed wasteland,” as I think it was put. 🙂 (That has not turned out to be the case, but that’s what they thought about our city back home.) Anyway, I was deeply concerned about this pastor’s well-being. When he preached, he seemed agitated, and I always felt like I was being verbally struck on the soul with a club. I longed to bring joy to that community, because there was a heaviness there. In fact, the only reason we joined that church was because I thought I could bring some joy and life to the people there. As we attended, I noticed more and more things that he said that deeply disturbed me. One of the things that was troubling was that the pastor was overtly suspicious of the salvation status of the people in his flock. He repeatedly asked people to share “when they were saved,” even though they had already shared with him before. He did this to me personally, and I heard him do it to others in my presence. I think he was looking for evidence of salvation in our testimonies, in order to make sure we were elect. One time he preached a sermon entitled, “You must be born again.” Here is the sermon in a nutshell: “Nothing you do can make you born again. Only God can do that. But you must be born again to be saved.” After I heard this sermon, along with hearing other things from the pulpit like, “The arrows of God’s wrath are pointed straight at your heart and long to be drunk with your blood,” I asked the pastor how a person can know if “they are born again.” He sent me a sermon script from Jonathan Edwards wherein Edwards gives a long list of “tea leaves” by which a person can determine if they are saved or not. I then underwent a personal journey to a despairing place whereby I tried to determine if my desires/actions showed that God was causing me to persevere in the faith. Whenever I sinned, I took relief in the fact that my sins grieved me, but at the same time I was distressed that I was not overcoming these sins, and since I was trained to believe that there’s nothing that I myself can do to overcome my sins, I didn’t understand why God wasn’t answering my prayers to change my heart and mind in a way that would cause me to overcome. The basic message from the pastor was that sins in the life of a believer are “no problem,” because they are forgiven by God already, and yet, they are a big problem because they could mean that you were never saved to begin with, etc. This is the crazy-making of Calvinism. You have no power to overcome even the smallest sins, but overcoming your sins is the only test by which you can know if you are of the elect. And then, as I mentioned before, Calvin says that some people are led by God to believe they are saved when they aren’t . . . and so the pastor desperately seemed to be trying to save people with real salvation who only had a false salvation, and yet his hands were tied by God’s own predestined word on the matter . . . so no wonder the guy was depressed! I still pray for him!

      3. This is an example of how destructive to one’s faith, hope and joy Calvinism essentially is. Whereas, those who rely on the true essence of the gospel – God’s goodness and mercy – can ‘endure’ Calvinism’s faulty teaching with seeming little harm, inevitably the faulty thinking begins to chip away at true faith. Initially, when I entered into the Calvinist fold, since I essentially held it to be false but in an ignorant, harmless sort of way, it did not have much effect on me. Yet with time and repetition, many of the faulty precepts began to make their way into my thinking.

        To make a long story short, eventually the logic of Calvinism became crystal clear, and I was faced with the prospect of embracing or rejecting it. To embrace it meant to once and for all silence that voice in my spirit which sought to convict me of sin, to instruct me in God’s ways and to lead me in the paths God desired me to go. To reject it meant to cut myself off from my church and friends, and perhaps my spouse and family. This was the defining moment in my lifelong walk with God; that Joshua moment when I felt God setting before me life and death, and allowing me to make the choice.

        This confrontation with the living God is what Calvinism mostly prevents. In its place, individuals are led into a maze of endless confusion, contradictions and doctrinal debates. It is these mind games, they are misled to believe, that are the task and duty of the children of God, rather than the true tasks that Jesus set before us, to feed the hungry, mourn with the suffering, comfort the oppressed and offer the only true promise of hope which is in the promised redemption of all things on the appointed day.

        Thus, Calvinists love to debate and dispute, condemning any genuine serving of the lost and needy as a ‘social gospel’. As Deborah pointed out, and few grasp, there is a hopeless contradiction in the subtle teaching that a) sin doesn’t matter, yet b) sin suggests you are not ‘elect’ or chosen for redemption and glory. Thus the consistent Calvinist is left in hopeless despair as he is literally ‘damned if I do’ and ‘damned if I don’t’.

      4. ts00 writes, “…when I felt God setting before me life and death, and allowing me to make the choice.”

        At least, you have not rejected all of Calvinism recognizing that it was God who set life and death before you and granted you freedom to choose – of course the decision was a no-brainer for so God intended it.

      5. WOW!!!

        That is a huge testimony Deborah!!
        I’m going to save your post and put it in my library on Calvinism.
        Thank you so much for taking the time and care to post it.

        You really have an ability to accurately reflect the internal psychological struggle the doctrine produces.
        I honor that as a wonderful gift God has specifically given to you!
        He really does work all things for the good!!
        Even the torments brought about by the Gnostic components of Calvin’s doctrine.
        Wonderful post – thank you!!

      6. I agree with br.d.

        You have enriched the dialog with personal insights and testimony.

        The “once a Calvinist, always a Calvinist” mantra is again seen as a hollow slogan.

        Of course, your salvation or love for Christ will be called into question by die-hards who doubt your sincerity or outright disbelieve you.

        For those who are committed to the determinist philosophy (unquestionably) they have no room in their cognitive grid for a person like you, or me, or TS00. You were born and bathed in it. TS00 and I were taught it and swallowed it (myself going farther and propagating it) ….and yet….did not see it hold up in Scripture.

        We fix our eyes on Christ, not heeding those who say we are apostate!

      7. FOH, so here is my question – Where do people like us – me – go from here? I have visited many different churches, and find them all somewhere on the ‘spectrum’, as Calvinist thinking is subtly pervasive in pretty much all of Protestant Christianity, being its undeniable forefather. Even those churches and pastors who know nothing of Calvinism, or who claim to reject its teachings, have succumbed to faulty definitions of sin (Total Depravity), a forensic, legal concept of salvation rather than a literal new birth and genuine, ongoing relationship, etc. Add to this a very unbiblical approach to fellowship and encouragement of the ekklesia – known as ‘Church’ – in which people march in, sing a few songs, then listen to some wise guy’s monologue of his personal interpretation of scripture, completely ignoring the calls of scripture to seek, study and judge the teaching presented to see whether it is so. I find myself at a loss, seeking only to have have genuine fellowship with humble, trusting believers who know they have a lot to learn from one another, without all of the destructive man-made traditions of the hierarchical, authoritarian Institutional Church. Sorry if that steps on a lot of (most) toes.

      8. Hi Truthseeker,
        You may be interested in checking out ex-Calvinists who have become affiliated with William Lane Craig’s “Reasonable Faith” chapters.
        Someone in their group would not only be good for a testimony of why they came out of Calvinism, but through the “Reasonable Faith” chapters, which have sprung up in numerous states, would know of assemblies or groups in a specific geographical area you may be interested in contacting.

        I know of one group called “Free Thinking Ministries” http://freethinkingministries.com/

      9. TS00
        A sincere question and worthy of time….which I dont have right now.

        As for my wife and me, we first moved from a Reformed church —-to a generic Bible church (but most of them did not have push-back ready when the YRR wave hit) —-then to a historically non-reformed, holiness type church.

        I cannot say they do not follow the yada-yada churchiness that you mentioned….but in the “man has some obligations to Christ” category we are satisfied.

        Can we ever completely know the koinonia that you long for—-here on earth? I am not sure. But being in fellowship with folks who do not insist that their version of God be one of totalitarian-rule over people who were created with intentional-depravity…..and being with people who tend to quote WL Craig and Greg Boyd as opposed to Piper and Sproul, goes a long way in forgiving them the modern-shallow style of “churching”.

        Hope that helps. Press on—-one God-person will not let you down.

      10. FOH writes, “For those who are committed to the determinist philosophy (unquestionably)…”

        Everyone embraces determinism to some extent. No one disputes that it was God who determined the creation of the universe, the earth, and mankind; brought the flood of Noah and destroyed Sodom and the cities, chose Abraham, and many other events. The argument is over the extent to which God has determined events – whether all things as the Calvinists say or something less than all things as non-Calvinists say.

      11. Rhutchin writes: “Everyone embraces determinism to some extent. ”

        Another attempt to muddy the waters. It is blatantly deceptive to pretend that Calvinism’s definitions of ‘Sovereignty’, ‘Determinism’, ‘Grace’, ‘Faith’ and many other terms are the same as non-Calvinism’s definitions. Once again, for those who haven’t caught on yet, the strategy of Calvinism is to borrow scriptural terms, redefine them, then use them among potential converts as if with the commonly understood meaning. This is akin to telling your child ‘Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus’, when in reality you define ‘Santa’ as ‘God’ or perhaps ‘thee goodness within men’ and intend on explaining the truth when your child is older.

        Calvinists often pretend that their theology does not deny the existence of the God of scripture: A god who is wholly good, trustworthy, just and merciful, genuinely desiring that ALL men turn from wickedness, receive his costly pardon and live with him in right relationship for eternity. Thus, they borrow scriptural terms, and use them deceptively. They speak of the God who determines many for eternal destruction without hope of escape as having ‘love’ for those damned all along. They insist that ordaining (irresistibly bringing to pass, whatever term you choose) evil then punishing those who could do not but perform the evil ordained is ‘just’. They insist that man’s sin is no longer seen by God, yet at the same time assert that the genuinely ‘elect’ must pursue ‘purity’, creating a jumbled, nonsensical confusion about what sin, righteousness, justification, sanctification, etc., really mean, or if, why or how much they matter.

        On and on it goes, word games, disingenuousness, contradictions, mystery; all leading the helplessly confused convert to throw up his hands at his inability to figure it all out and just trust his ‘authorities’ to tell him what is true and necessary. In effect, restoring the position and authority of the priesthood which Jesus promised to put an end to by granting the very indwelling of the Spirit of God within each believer.

        Such are the things the blindly loyal Calvinist in the pew is rarely aware of, hearing the familiar Christian buzzwords and assuming all is well. All unawares, he finds his faith, hope and joy slowly whittled away until nothing remains but a legalistic, sacral religion that looks terribly similar to Judaism, the gospel of ‘the chosen ones’ that the New Testament (as well as the Old) denounces.

      12. ts00 writes, “Another attempt to muddy the waters. It is blatantly deceptive to pretend that Calvinism’s definitions of ‘Sovereignty’, ‘Determinism’, ‘Grace’, ‘Faith’ and many other terms are the same as non-Calvinism’s definitions.”

        Arminius embraced Calvinist doctrine and the definitions of terms before he sought to exalt the role of man in the salvation process. The Arminians then found themselves in the position of “tweaking” those definitions. It was the non-Calvinists who had to muddy the waters to enhance the role of man in salvation.

        Then, “…he strategy of Calvinism is to borrow scriptural terms, redefine them,…”

        Calvinism strictly adheres to the scriptures in defining terms. For example, faith is defined by Hebrews 11. I have yet to see you or any others who oppose Calvinism meet the Calvinists head-on and deal with the Scriptures upon which Calvinist doctrine is based. FOH is fond of promoting certain verses to support his philosophy while dismissing any verses that disagree with his conclusions.

        Then, “Calvinists often pretend that their theology does not deny the existence of the God of scripture: A god who is wholly good, trustworthy, just and merciful, genuinely desiring that ALL men turn from wickedness, receive his costly pardon and live with him in right relationship for eternity.”

        This is the Universalist argument. The Scriptures contain specific references to some not being saved – nonetheless, no Calvinist would have a problem if God determined to save all people.

      13. TS00

        Let’s look together at Hebrews 11. I would love to!

        As I have mentioned in the past, multiple times, when I re-examined the 40-50 verses on which I and others based our Calvinism I found very reliable alternative interpretations available. No verse in Hebrews 11 is EVEN IN the Calvinist camp, so no one needs help seeing them the non-Calvinist way. That is the way anyone would see them in a simple reading.

        Hebrews 11 (from the Calvinist ESV).

        Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation [people are commended for something they did—-not something foisted on them].

        3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

        4 By faith Abel offered [verb, action on his part] to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended [there it is again! Silly to “commend” someone for something he had nothing to do with!] as righteous, God commending him [there it is again!] by accepting his gifts [God accepts his gift; He doesn’t give him the gift to give Him] . And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks [he still speaks because we can strengthen our faith from seeing his faith].

        5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended [again!!] as having pleased God [Enoch pleased God?? Yes! By his faith]. [Why does the Bible even talk about all the people who “pleased God” if what they did was ‘unforced-forced’ on them?]

        6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God [apparently we can draw near to God, some thing we are told is impossible] must believe [we must believe] that he exists and that he rewards [ I love that—He rewards!!!] those who seek him [apparently we can seek Him!!!] . 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear [God warned…. and then Noah had faith and reverent fear] constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

        8 By faith Abraham obeyed [personal faith, personal obedience] when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power……

        on and on and on…….

        What is the point of all the people’s names and examples of faith? The chapter is pointless if all along God’s plan is that no one can have faith unless it is a special gift. Why no hint of —– say, “Able exercised the faith that God gave him to …” There…I just wrote that out easily enough. Seems easy enough to say at least ONCE in the Bible.

        Nothing supporting the “man cannot have faith” idea of Calvinism. Everything indicating a “have faith!!” appeal to all men.

        Nothing supporting the “faith is the special gift given only to .0005% of people” idea of Calvinism.

        Nothing supporting the “we are too dead to have faith” idea of Calvinism.

        Nothing supporting the “we are made alive, then given faith (irresistibly), then commended for the faith we did not have and could not resist” idea of Calvinism.

        Yes….TS00….and all the while some have the nerve to say that Hebrews 11 is where Calvin gets his ideas on faith!!! Where?

        That is like saying that Luther got his ideas of grace from James, what he called “the epistle of straw”!

      14. When FOH wrote: “For those who are committed to the DETERMINIST PHILOSOPHY (unquestionably)…”

        He was specifically referring to “DETERMINIST PHILOSOPHY” and not to obvious “event-event” causation which every adult understands.

        Since those who are committed to “DETERMINIST PHILOSOPHY” hold that **ALL** things are determined in the past, your comment simply re-states the obvious.

      15. Deborah Hansel writes, “This is the crazy-making of Calvinism. You have no power to overcome even the smallest sins, but overcoming your sins is the only test by which you can know if you are of the elect. ”

        This is not unique to Calvinism. Regardless one’s theology, the continuing presence of sin in one’s life AFTER being saved is probably the number one issue by a mile for believers. The problem for Calvinists is that they tend to take any sin after salvation as an indication that God may not have saved them. So, if you have found that sin is not a big issue with people you associate with now, then you are probably experiencing the opposite extreme. When you sort out the sin issue, you can go back and help the depressed pastor in your previous church. I would bet that the most depressing part of being a Pastor is the ongoing sin of their congregations – every church is basically a 1 Corinthians church and has problems.

      16. Deborah Hansel writes, “when you find out that God Himself has determined for some people to believe they are saved when they really aren’t, only to smite them with a greater judgement later “for their lack of gratitude,” (that comes from Calvin himself) well you’ve really reached the bottom of the gloom.”

        Yet, Calvin only mirrors what Christ said, ““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7)

        Then, “I wish people would read the Institutes, because not only what Calvin says, but the constant name-calling he uses to describe people who disagree with him . . .”

        Lurther was worse given what biographers write. I guess people took their theology seriously back then.

        Then, “there are so many people who HAVE read the Institutes and still say it’s the most brilliant piece of Christian literature ”

        What would you put ahead of it?? Just because you don’t like what Calvin wrote does not mean that he was not brilliant nor that the Institutes is not a brilliant work. Considering that Calvin wrote the Institutes in his early twenties, it would be foolish to think he was not unusually gifted.

      17. Deborah Hansel writes,
        “when you find out that God Himself has determined for some people to believe they are saved when they really aren’t, only to smite them with a greater judgement later…..”

        rhutchin writes:
        Yet, Calvin only mirrors what Christ said,….etc.

        br.d
        Please show us where Jesus says EXPLICITLY that God deceives people into believing they are saved in order to magnify their torment in the lake of fire.

        We’re already familiar with Calvinist eisegesis, so what is required is at least one verse that EXPLICITLY states the proposition.

  19. FOH, yes, that’s true. I was a Calvinist for a long time. I know all the verses. 🙂 I come from a long line of Calvinist thinkers. My great-uncle, John Stek, was the chair of the committee that translated the NIV. I went to Calvin College and took several theology classes, have read key books by Sproul, Piper, etc. 🙂 I debated people on Calvin’s side, and I believed that all those who truly read the Bible with an honest eye would arrive at Calvinistic conclusions. So yes, I know exactly what to expect from Calvinists. And something I find truly amusing is this: now that I’m on “the other side,” Calvinists younger than me, and who have not been Calvinist thinkers as long as I was, tell me I “don’t understand Calvinism.” Oh, the foolish pride . . .

    1. Deborah Hansel writes, “I come from a long line of Calvinist thinkers.”

      I hope you stick around – especially to correct any deficiencies in my understanding of Calvinism (which is more reformed as I read a lot of Sproul).

  20. If every sin that would ever be commited was completely “written out” in God’s foreknowledge before creation …. how is God not the “author” of every sin? There was no-one else around that could “write”.

    The Calvinist, Arminian, and Molinist only have contradictory explananations or appeals to mystery when holding to their view of completed foreknowledge. But if the foreknowledge is still being “written” by a mind with infinite understanding of all possibilities that yet exist… there is no contradiction, and there is complete conformity with the biblical record!

    1. Brian writes to rhutchin:
      If every sin that would ever be commited was completely “written out” in God’s foreknowledge before creation …. how is God not the “author” of every sin? There was no-one else around that could “write”.

      br.d
      Like Bill Clinton’s famous reply: “that depends on your definition of what IS – is”.
      The Calvinist would say “That depends on your definition of what “write” is. 😀

    2. brianwagner writes, “If every sin that would ever be commited was completely “written out” in God’s foreknowledge before creation …. how is God not the “author” of every sin? There was no-one else around that could “write”.’

      If all that is meant by “author” is that God knows – or writes down – the contents of His foreknowledge, then I don’t see an issue with Calvinism.

      Then, “The Calvinist, Arminian, and Molinist only have contradictory explananations or appeals to mystery when holding to their view of completed foreknowledge.”

      I don’t see them as contradictory. A Calvinist says that God’s foreknowledge comes from His decrees, while some non-Calvinists say that God’s foreknowledge comes from His ability to see the future actions of people. Some non-Calvinists say that we don’t know how God knows the future and thus it is a mystery. Molinists propose a different means. There are differences among them but not contradictions unless you mean that the differences contradict each other,.

      Then, “But if the foreknowledge is still being “written” by a mind with infinite understanding of all possibilities that yet exist… there is no contradiction, and there is complete conformity with the biblical record!”

      Or God’s knowledge is still increasing as He learns how future events unfold.

      1. Brian is savvy enough to discern your responses are simply more attempts to evade the points he raises.
        Good examples for us though. 😀

      2. “Written” into certainty, confirms that each written event will necessarily happen. If they (all sins) necessarily will happen then there is no contra-causal freedom in any of its participants to keep them from happening, except perhaps in the one who “wrote” it, but He determined not to use that freedom. So God is the author before creation of all sins according to Calvinism, Arminianism, and Molinism.

      3. brianwagner writes, ““Written” into certainty, confirms that each written event will necessarily happen. If they (all sins) necessarily will happen then there is no contra-causal freedom in any of its participants to keep them from happening,”

        In other words, there is no libertarian free will. This is the import of Jesus statements, “No one can come to me…” and “…everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.”

        Then, “So God is the author before creation of all sins according to Calvinism, Arminianism, and Molinism.”

        So, no issue among Calvinism, Arminianism, and Molinism.

      4. Embracing any ‘ism’ is a sure path to error. Follow the Spirit of God, who will teach us all things as promised, if we will only surrender our loyalty to preconceived notions and listen to the voice of truth.

      5. Thank Roger that God is the author of all sins in those three theological systems and that there was no freedom in Satan, Adam, or the rest of mankind, including you and me to avoid or reject any sins we commit according to those theologies.

        If course I reject that view of God, free will and sin.

      6. brianwagner writes, “If course I reject that view of God, free will and sin.”

        Which means you necessarily deny that God is omniscient in the reformed, Arminian, molinist sense of the word.

      7. Exactly! The Scripture does not support their definition of omniscience though it may hint at it in places, but in many places it clearly contradicts their definition. I am sticking with Scripture’s view of omniscience and not that of Calvinism, Arminianism, or Molinism…. just like I will stick with the Scripture’s view of credo-baptism and reject fully paedo-baptism.

      8. brianwagner writes, “The Scripture does not support their definition of omniscience though it may hint at it in places, but in many places it clearly contradicts their definition”

        They disagree. Thus, the debate.

      9. brianwagner writes, “If course I reject that view of God, free will and sin.”

        rhutchin writes:
        Which means you necessarily deny that God is omniscient in the reformed, Arminian, molinist sense of the word.

        br.d
        This is another good example of how smoothly and naturally Calvinists make stuff up. 😀

      10. Roger do you agree that God has given mankind freedom to choose “morally”, but not “spiritually”? In other words, post Fall mankind can make the moral choice to commit or refrain from committing certain sins. However, mankind is not free to make spiritual choices (i.e. believing the Gospel) unless regenerated.
        I believe many people fail to make this distinction and therefore complicate the argument.
        Also, I believe that theologians, such as Leighton and Brian, unwittingly blame God for creating us (post Fall) with a nature that naturally lusts after sin. For example, Flowers is famous for stating that Calvinists teach that mankind is only behaving according to their God-given desires. But what he fails to understand is that God has given us the ABILITY to desire wicked things. However, He does NOT give us the actual desire to sin as James 1:13 plainly teaches. But Leighton and Brian insist that Reformed Theology puts the blame on God since we are created with a fallen nature that produces wicked desires, including that of hating his Creator. They both are, in essence, blaming God for mankind’s sinfulness and inability to make spiritual choices.

      11. Troy writes:
        Roger do you agree that God has given mankind freedom to choose “morally”, but not “spiritually”? In other words, post Fall mankind can make the moral choice to commit or refrain from committing certain sins. However, mankind is not free to make spiritual choices (i.e. believing the Gospel) unless regenerated.

        br.d
        Both Calvin and Augustine are somewhat inconsistent on this point. For example, Calvin writes: “Free will exists, but only for mundane matters, not in relation to spiritual matters” (Institutes 2.5.19).
        However in other places he totally rules out any decree of creaturely in-determinism.

        However, historians also note that later Calvinists, especially of the Edwardian kind, sought to be as logically consistent as possible with Theological Determinism, and hence the statement in the Westminster Confession that *ALL* things **UNIVERSALLY** which come to pass, do so from immutable decrees.

        Theological Determinism – being based upon determinism, rules out any form of “alternative possibilities” or “do otherwise” from what the THEOS determines – which in this case is ALL INCLUSIVE.

        That is why Calvinism is called **UNIVERSAL** divine causal determinism.
        In Philosophy “universal” entails everything without exception.

      12. Troy asks, “do you agree that God has given mankind freedom to choose “morally”, but not “spiritually”? In other words, post Fall mankind can make the moral choice to commit or refrain from committing certain sins. However, mankind is not free to make spiritual choices (i.e. believing the Gospel) unless regenerated.”

        This relates to “Original Sin.” What were the consequences of Adam’s sin? Many conclude that the death incurred because of Adam’s sin was both spiritual and physical – spiritual death immediately and physical death necessarily but future. Spiritual death was then inherited by Adam’s progeny. Also lost was “faith” or the ability to please God. Because of these two effects, spiritual death and loss of faith, no person is able to do any spiritual good without first being made spiritually alive and having faith restored – a process Calvinists call, regeneration. In addition, Adam’s sin resulted in the corruption of his nature and mind and this too was passed on to his progeny. By this corruption, a person chooses to do that which is in his interest so far as he perceives it. Thus, a person makes “moral” choices that benefit him and those moral choices are based on his personal morality. We then have each person making “moral” choices based on their individual moral positions. However, every choice a person makes is done to glorify himself and not God, so every choice a person makes is sin. We have Paul saying, “whatever is not from faith is sin,” which some might limit to the immediate context but I take it as an universal truth – only that done in faith leases God and is not sin.

        Then, “Leighton and Brian insist that Reformed Theology puts the blame on God since we are created with a fallen nature that produces wicked desires, including that of hating his Creator.”

        After Adam, we are born with a fallen nature from which wicked desires arise. God decreed this outcome and Calvin called it the terrible decree. I don’t know that I would use the word, “blame,” but they are correct in that Reformed Theology traces the human nature back to God’s decree – “…in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” They are disagreeing on the doctrine of original sin.

      13. Troy,
        I am afraid it is only “beautiful” to you since that is what you want the answer to be.

        Take for instance….
        Also lost was “faith” or the ability to please God. Because of these two effects, spiritual death and loss of faith, no person is able to do any spiritual good without first being made spiritually alive and having faith restored…

        This man-made explanation rams immediately into Scripture….in the next chapter.

        Gen 4:4 And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

        Here we see the man-made reformed ideas immediately contradicted in Scripture.

        There is no reference or implication that Able was “made alive” and then gave an offering that was pleasing. No!

        There is no reference or implication that Cain was “unable” to do good. God even tells him he could and should!

        I find that —-in the immediate Scripture context —the “beautiful’ statement above is a blatant contradiction of Scripture.

        We cant just read Genesis 3 and then stop reading the Bible and start philosophizing with man-made definitions of “dead”!

        You cannot just super-impose some philosophical position on these verses. They say clearly that “the progeny” of Adam gave an offering that was acceptable and the one who did not—could have!

        This is later back up in Hebrews 11

        4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

      14. FOH writes, “There is no reference or implication that Able was “made alive” and then gave an offering that was pleasing. No!
        There is no reference or implication that Cain was “unable” to do good. God even tells him he could and should!”

        That is why the NT is so valuable to us, as we read Paul’s doctrinal explanations.

      15. FOH, the defender of Reformed Theology can wax so poetic; too bad he is totally, repeatedly contradicted by event after event in scripture. Their system is internally consistent (when the speaker is brave enough to own it), but nothing at all like the gospel appeal to men through the many, consistent stories of scripture which depict a holy God appealing to willfully disobedient man time after time to repent, accept God’s provision of atonement and his promise of redemption.

      16. Indeed! Jesus (in Matt 23 and Luke 13) calls out to His people in Jerusalem and says they stoned the prophets God sent to them (not God’s doing…theirs) and that He would gather them like a mother hen does…..but they were not willing.

        Is this Christ Himself preaching a “man-centered Gospel”? I mean He is saying—- I (God in the flesh) wanted you to come, but you were not willing.

        Many today would accuse Him of preaching a “man-centered Gospel.”

      17. I truly do not understand what is so hard about understanding the clear gospel message. So many believers, down through the centuries, have understood it well enough to understand God’s call to turn from sin and trust in Him. I just keep going back to Romans 1 (so sad they left those first 8 chapters out of the Reformed bible). Calvinists are without excuse. They know God, but refuse to honor him as he has revealed himself. They have become futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds are darkened. Claiming to be wise, they have become fools . . .

      18. ts00 writes, “I truly do not understand what is so hard about understanding the clear gospel message. So many believers, down through the centuries, have understood it well enough to understand God’s call to turn from sin and trust in Him.”

        The difficulty is not that people understand the Scriptures but that people do not understand the Scriptures. All should be saved but all are not. The reason for that is what Calvinism does not shy away from.

      19. FOH writes, “Jesus (in Matt 23 and Luke 13) calls out to His people in Jerusalem and says they stoned the prophets God sent to them (not God’s doing…theirs) and that He would gather them like a mother hen does…..but they were not willing. ”

        FOH has a creative imagination. Matthew 23 and Luke 13 do not say what he claims.

      20. ts00 writes, “scripture…depict a holy God appealing to willfully disobedient man time after time to repent, accept God’s provision of atonement and his promise of redemption.”

        This is what Calvinism maintains. Are not these the willfully disobedient people Paul describes in Romans 1? How can such people be saved if God does not give them faith?

      21. Troy,

        This may sound “beautiful” to you ……

        However, every choice a person makes is done to glorify himself and not God, so every choice a person makes is sin.

        …..but it flies in the face of the following verses in Genesis.

        There is no hint whatsoever in the record God gives to us that Able’s actions were selfish. In fact in Genesis and Hebrews he is lauded for the actions he did by faith. Matthew 23:35 calls him “righteous Able”.

        Now you can superimpose some kind of “too-dead-but-then-made-alive-then-non-forcing-coerced-to-act-then-commended” eisegesis onto every passage in the Bible that tells of someones actions (i.e Luke 1:5 Zechariah …..and Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.)….. and thousands more like that(!!) but you have to bear the responsibility of reading-into Scripture on every one of those.

        If that is beautiful to you, that is a choice you are making. I prefer to read Scripture and not philosophize.

      22. FOH writes, “There is no hint whatsoever in the record God gives to us that Able’s actions were selfish.”

        We can conclude that God had saved Abel and that God had regenerated him – this being consistent with Abel’s actions.

      23. Troy,
        One more comment on the non-scriptural foundation of that “beautiful” comment.

        If we use the NT to interpret the OT we come up with the same results as reading Genesis 4 stand-alone.

        With the knowledge that fallen Able had, he brought an acceptable sacrifice. Cain had the same knowledge and was even warned. (See ESV Gen 4 below)…

        Gen 4:4 And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
        ………………..
        NT Hebrews backs this up….

        Heb 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

        Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

        Even Paul backs this up…..

        Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

        Gal 3:6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

        Abel believed God and offered an acceptable sacrifice and was “commended” and called “righteous Abel” for it.

        Cain did not believe God— even though warned by God—- and did not obey.

        God says to Cain….do well and you will be accepted. He says to him ….sin is crouching….and you have to rule over it.

        What kind of nonsensical words from God are these—-if indeed God had no plans of “making alive” Cain so that he could do it?

        It just makes no sense and accuses God of commanding people to do things He does not empower them to do.

      24. FOH writes, “Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
        Abel believed God and offered an acceptable sacrifice and was “commended” and called “righteous Abel” for it.
        Cain did not believe God— even though warned by God—- and did not obey.”

        So, the difference is that Abel had faith and Cain did not.

        Then, “What kind of nonsensical words from God are these—-if indeed God had no plans of “making alive” Cain so that he could do it?”

        Yet, faith is a gift from God and without that gift, Cain could not please God. Lacking faith, Cain murdered Abel.

      25. rhutchin writes:
        In other words, there is no libertarian free will. ….etc
        So, no issue among Calvinism, Arminianism, and Molinism.

        William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga disagree.

        Molina concurred with Luther and Calvin that placing God’s counterfactual knowledge after his creative decree would obliterate libertarian freedom, a consequence that Luther and Calvin accepted.

        But because Molina judged that this consequence ran contrary to the infallibility of Scripture, Molina placed God’s counterfactual knowledge before the divine creative decree………Now certainly, Molina insisted, God could easily prevent a libertarian creature from freely doing something by not making that creature at all or by putting that creature in different circumstances where it would freely choose to do something else via libertarian freedom. Contra any form of determinism, the circumstances do not bring about or cause actions and therefore do nothing to dictate decisions. But there simply are contingent facts that in various circumstances, creatures would freely (i.e., indeterministically) do various things. And God, as an omniscient being, knows these facts. – – Luis de Molina “Kirk R. MacGregor.

        Hence, in Molinism, God’s omniscience is not limited as it is in Calvinism by the inability to know only what he decrees. And secondly Human freedom of the will is not reduced as it is in Calvinism, to nothing more than a will controlled and manipulated by the invisible puppet strings of immutable decrees.

      26. br.d writes, ” in Molinism, God’s omniscience is not limited as it is in Calvinism by the inability to know only what he decrees.”

        As said before, Molinism deals with circumstances prior to Genesis 1:1; Calvinism deals with the world from Genesis 1:1. That world decreed by God under Molinsim and brought to pass beginning in Genesis 1:1 is known to God completely from beginning to end. Even while God knows the world He decreed and created, no one says God does not know that He could have done things differently.

        Then, “And secondly Human freedom of the will is not reduced as it is in Calvinism, to nothing more than a will controlled and manipulated by the invisible puppet strings of immutable decrees.”

        Once Adam sins in Genesis 3, the effects of that sin reduce human freedom to choosing as one’s sinful nature desires so that any libertarian freedom that Adam had possessed was destroyed and does not reappear until a sinner is regenerated. The puppet, in this case, is not an inanimate wood object dangling from the strings unable to move except as the strings move but a living being possessing the ability to move about freely in pursuit of his desires except as constrained by the strings.

      27. br.d writes, ” in Molinism, God’s omniscience is not limited as it is in Calvinism by the inability to know only what he decrees.”

        ruthcin responds
        As said before, Molinism deals with circumstances prior to Genesis 1:1; Calvinism deals with the world from Genesis 1:1. …..etc

        br.d
        Your distorted representations of alternatives to Calvinism are consistent with Calvinist tactics. No one assumes what you post is accurate except for yourself – and perhaps Troy.

        rhutchin:
        Once Adam sins in Genesis 3, the effects of that sin…..etc.

        br.d
        Everyone here already sees past Calvinist exculpatory evasion arguments. Already know that in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Calvin’s god is the SOURCE/AUTHOR, FIRST CAUSE, and DIVINE MOVER of Adamic sin.

        Calvinists forever remind me of puppets obsessed with making their immutable strings invisible. 😀

    1. br.d writes, “Robert Lawrence Kuhn Interviews William Lane Craig on the four historical views of divine foreknowledge.”

      The argument seems to come down to two positions. God is omniscient and knows the future without having to learn how the future unfolds or God is not omniscient and has to learn how the future unfolds (by being outside time and seeing past, present and future at one time or be being able to look into the future to observe how events unfold).

      1. And there are other positions that you well know, Roger… so it doesn’t come down to just two! And there are other definitions of omniscience. Only the Scripture owns the real definition of that word… man doesn’t.

      2. brianwagner writes, “there are other positions that you well know,”

        Actually, I don’t. I do think it comes down to those two positions. As you note, “there are other definitions of omniscience.” Pick any definition of omniscience and you get two positions, one that is consistent with that definition and one that is not.

      3. br.d
        Robert Lawrence Kuhn Interviews William Lane Craig on the four historical views of divine foreknowledge.”

        rhutchin:
        The argument seems to come down to two positions. God is omniscient and knows the future without having to learn how the future unfolds or God is not omniscient and has to learn how the future unfolds (by being outside time and seeing past, present and future at one time or be being able to look into the future to observe how events unfold).

        br.d
        Here the Calvinist again gives [A] with one hand and takes [A] with the other. Asserting [A] while appearing to be denying [A].

        Calvinism makes divine omniscience a byproduct of divine decrees, which rejects divine omniscience as “essential” to God’s existence (which is the classic and orthodox doctrine of omniscience).

        In Calvinism, Calvin’s god exists in a state absent of omniscience (logically) prior to his decree to create the world. Thus in this view Calvin’s god *GAINS* knowledge that he does not have (logically) prior to decrees. Whether one want’s to call this “LEARNING” or not is a different argument. However the end result is the same, whether LEARNING or GAINING – Calvin’s god exists without comprehensive omniscience prior to decrees – and must GAIN or LEARN knowledge via decrees.

        Dr. Craig however is affirming the classic orthodox doctrine of “essential” and “eternal” omniscience.
        God has infallible and fully comprehensive knowledge of all future tense (contingent) propositions. Including those involving human libertarian free choices – prior to his decree to create the world.

        Additionally rhutchin’s comment presupposes a “perceptual” model of divine omniscience which Dr. Craig argues is anthropomorphic and fraught with logical problems.

      4. br.d writes, “Calvinism makes divine omniscience a byproduct of divine decrees, which rejects divine omniscience as “essential” to God’s existence (which is the classic and orthodox doctrine of omniscience). ”

        br.d seems to be saying that God knows what He will decree before He decrees them but if God knows what He will decree, then necessarily He has already decreed such.

      5. br.d writes, “Calvinism makes divine omniscience a byproduct of divine decrees, which rejects divine omniscience as “essential” to God’s existence (which is the classic and orthodox doctrine of omniscience). ”

        rhutchin responds
        br.d seems to be saying that God knows what He will decree before He decrees them. But if God knows what He will decree, then necessarily He has already decreed such.

        br.d
        Seems to be saying??
        This is the Calvinists way of adding confusion to what is clearly said so that he can “reform” it into his own image.

        Its actually is fun to watch Calvinists chasing their own tail.
        -quote ” if God knows what He will decree, then necessarily He has already decreed such”

        Here we have Calvin’s god foreknowing he does [X] before he does [X] because he already previously does [X] before he foreknows he does [X].

        And that – in the Calvinist mind is rational reasoning!! 😛

      6. or . . . 500 angels could not possibly fit on the head of a pin, so even if scripture asserts it to be true, we must appeal to Paul, who quotes Jeremiah, who speaks for God and . . . voila, we find scripture means whatever John Calvin says!

      7. voila, we find scripture means whatever John Calvin says!

        Yes that does appear to be the bottom line doesn’t it.
        Calvinism “re-forms” three things: (1) Language, (2) Logic (3) scripture
        “re-forming” these into a man’s image.

        The image of a deity who speaks with forked tongue – and worshipers who follow its example.

        I love that old joke:
        “God decided to make man in his image and John Calvin decided to return the favor”. 😀

      8. On a more serious note, your words bring to mind the prophecy scripture foretells of all being required to bow to an idol that is declared the ‘true God’.

      9. Good one!
        In this case:

        “As soon as you hear the sounds of the reformed horns, flutes, zithers, lyres, harps, pipes and all kinds of beguiling double-talk – you must fall down and worship the image of the “pure gospel” that King Calvin has set up. Daniel 3:5

  21. “God decided to make man in his image and John Calvin decided to return the favor”. 😀 That’s actually a new rendition of that one to me – love it!

  22. Daily through the Bible reading has me for the OT part in Amos.

    The Lord repeats this formula for several nations.

    1:6 This is what the Lord says:

    “The people of Gaza [other nations also verses later] have sinned again and again,
    and I will not let them go unpunished!
    They sent whole villages into exile,
    selling them as slaves to Edom.
    7 So I will send down fire on the walls of Gaza,
    and all its fortresses will be destroyed.
    8 I will slaughter the people of Ashdod
    and destroy the king of Ashkelon.
    Then I will turn to attack Ekron,
    and the few Philistines still left will be killed,”
    says the Sovereign Lord.

    The LORD says —the XY people did this—- so I will now do this….says the Sovereign Lord.

    What do you think that the average Israelite listening to Amos thought?

    He thought that —–Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon did things that displeased God and subsequently got judged. Simple.

    But no….. we are supposed to understand (oh yes…because of the Prov 16:33 dice) that God planned their disobedience all along.

    What? Why? Oh yeah…..their child-sacrifice….for His glory!

    1. FOH writes, “But no….. we are supposed to understand (oh yes…because of the Prov 16:33 dice) that God planned their disobedience all along.”

      We are to understand that an omniscient God knew all these events before He created the world and that, in creating the world, God determined all these events. Further, all of these events were accomplished to affect His purpose for creating the world. From this, one might rightly conclude that God planned it all and that His plan cannot fail for God works all things after the counsel of His will.

  23. A little further down in daily reading Amos:

    2:10 It was I who rescued you from Egypt [remember I told that Passover was the most mentioned event?]
    and led you through the desert for forty years,
    so you could possess the land of the Amorites.
    11 I chose some of your sons to be prophets
    and others to be Nazirites.
    Can you deny this, my people of Israel?”
    asks the Lord.
    12 “But you caused the Nazirites to sin by making them drink wine,
    and you commanded the prophets, ‘Shut up!’
    13 “So I will make you groan
    like a wagon loaded down with sheaves of grain.
    ———————–

    Here God uses the “chose” word. Some for this and some for that…

    But….the people “caused” the Nazirites to sin with wine. Who caused it? God chose them for servants, but man corrupted them. This aint rocket science! Does it even hint at the idea that God decreed/ liked/ willed/ ordained/ wanted this idea? No!

    Then He goes on…..So now He will……

    He planned…..they did not do it……they disobeyed…… so now He will punish. Command- disobey (act) – judge (react).

    What are we supposed to do with the whole book of Amos if fatalist-determinism is true. It all means nothing.

    1. FOH writes, “But….the people “caused” the Nazirites to sin with wine. Who caused it? God chose them for servants, but man corrupted them. This aint rocket science! Does it even hint at the idea that God decreed/ liked/ willed/ ordained/ wanted this idea? No!”

      Yet, it was the omnipotent God who could have protected His servants but chose not to do so thus, the people were free to corrupt God’s servants. Calvinism says that the people could only act as God determined through His decision not to protect His servants; thereby, we can say that God ultimately caused, or is responsible for, the Nazerites to sin.

  24. Okay….one more entry from daily-reading Amos.

    We now stumble upon a half-verse that figures among the 40-50 proof texts of Calvinism.

    Amos 3:6 b (only half the verse)
    Does disaster come to a city
    unless the Lord has planned it?
    ————-

    You can easily go on Piper’s site or monergism.com and see this half-verse yank out of context to “prove” that —- the Lord plans every sin, crime, rape, murder in history.

    Dont have to worry about the thousands of other types of verses in the Bible or the dozens of verses right in the very context of this verse that show that God does not plan/ want some of the things that happen.

    Really? I mean these are educated men who are so entrenched in their presuppositions that they take a few half-verses, interpret them out of context (but with their end-goal in mind) and then act amazed that we do not “get it”

    And when we point to the thousands of things that happened in the Bible that God clearly says He did not want to happen….. we are told “it does not really mean that” or “God has two wills” .

    It is all so confusing. Is the Bible meant to be this confusing? That we have to discern between His different levels of wills?

    1. FOH, So personal testimony again. I, too, find myself asking, how can intelligent, educated, supposedly bible-reading believers not see what is so clearly depicted throughout scripture. It is pretty much always as You laid out:

      God makes known his commands.
      Man refuses to heed them – disobeys, sins, rebels.
      God warns, then punishes those who persist in their rebelliousness, wickedness, sin.

      This is the story of scripture, repeated again and again, with the final and pivotal twist being Jesus.

      Not that he should be a big surprise, because he has been prophesied, promised and foreshadowed since Genesis. Everything, all the stories we are told, are to illustrate to us that God is and always was wholly good, that man doubted his goodness and rebelled against his authority, leaving him ripe to fleshly temptation and self-destructive sin. Seeing the hopeless, helpless state that being apart from him left us in (He actually foresaw this, but I speak as scripture often does, in the here and now.) God had already in place a plan to rescue man from this dilemma. And you can debate all day whether or not the ‘name of Jesus’ is meant literally, but in the scriptures the reference to ‘name’ nearly always meant ‘nature’. A man may not know the ‘name’ ‘Jesus’, but when he comes face to face with the ‘nature’ of God that Jesus best demonstrates, he is held accountable to whether or not he believes it. And that nature is utterly selfless, sacrificial, gracious, merciful and loving.

      God did not devise a mass conversion by edict. We see in Calvin’s Geneva how that works out. Man is a free spirit, and he has to make, and live with the consequences of, his choices. All attempts at God’s kingdom by tyranny will fail, or lead to mass murder. The message we are repeatedly given is that it is individual choices that lead one down the path into sin and, if not dealt with, total depravity.

      It is individual acceptance of guilt, atonement and proper submission to Godly authority that also leads to repentance, forgiveness, regeneration and a second chance at life.

      1. ts00 writes, “God makes known his commands.
        Man refuses to heed them – disobeys, sins, rebels.
        God warns, then punishes those who persist in their rebelliousness, wickedness, sin.
        This is the story of scripture, repeated again and again, with the final and pivotal twist being Jesus. ”

        Guess you didn’t lose everything from your earlier Calvinist experience. Calvinism agrees with this.

      2. Rhutchin writes: “Guess you didn’t lose everything from your earlier Calvinist experience. Calvinism agrees with this.”

        This I will give you, that is indeed what my Calvinist pastor, for a long time, taught, which is why I was not able to distinguish between what I knew of Reformed Theology and the true gospel. Left unaddressed were the essential, foundational assertions of Calvinism, the TULIP doctrines, the assertions of the Westminster Confession and what they mean. Most who came to this church had limited experience with or understanding of Calvinism, more commonly now called Reformed Theology or Doctrines of Grace. They understandably prefer to distance themselves from the murderous John Calvin, but illegitimately so.

        Nearly every fellowshipper at my former church wanted to know more about the denomination’s theology, to have classes or bible studies which would enable education and in depth discussion. It never happened. The pastor always promised them, but they never occurred. In reality, the last thing in the world he wanted was to have to admit to and defend doctrines he knew nearly every individual in his congregation would disagree with and ultimately reject. He would empty the pews faster than you can say ‘God damns men’.

        I had actually explored the theology of Calvinism on my own for some months before coming to the church, but even what I thought was thorough never got past the mostly pro-Calvinist slant Google gives. Initially I did ask many hard questions, asked for information and discussion, and believed they would someday come. Instead, I allowed myself to be distracted; my attention was cleverly focused elsewhere and my affection for and loyalty to friends and fellow worshippers grew until it became difficult to imagine disentangling myself from the community. I believe this is the way, for the most part, Calvinism wins converts.

        Then the long, slow, subtle process of indoctrination begins, using familiar words but, unbeknownst to the hearer, slightly or sometimes vastly different meanings. As br.d. defines so often and well, there is a very well-documented system that mind controllers of all sorts use to indoctrinate people. All of the common methods are applied, from fear of rejection, need for approval, appeals to authority and so many more; people are ‘worked’ until they become molded into compliant, model converts. Most never know what happened to them. The more ‘resistant’, those who continue to ask troublesome questions and challenge the pastor’s authority, are either run off or excommunicated on some trumped up charge.

        I witnessed it innumerable times, and only too late, did I actually think to speak with the individuals themselves. In the cases in which I was later able to do so, the stories heard were vastly different from the ‘official’ stories we were given. People felt intimidated, threatened and often deeply traumatized. This is spiritual abuse, and it is being increasingly reported from those escaping authoritarian and mostly Calvinist churches.

        Don’t take my word for it. Do a little online exploring. Find the testimonies and reports of former Calvinists all over the web, and those on spiritual abuse websites. When I first exited Calvinism, I thought perhaps it was just me, that it was all in my mind, or that it was unique to my particular pastor and/or church. Since then I have read many, many stories, and corresponded with individuals whose experiences were eerily similar to my own. You can charge me with making it all up, or misinterpreting the events. But you will have to do the same with a growing legion of individuals who attest to the same sort of experience.

        Many, perhaps most, moderate Calvinist churches do not really, consistently hold to or teach the doctrines of Reformed Theology. Oh, they make claims to hold to the Westminster Confession, but few, perhaps even of their pastors, truly believe the harsh, cruel distinctives of genuine Calvinism. Perhaps, as FROMOVERHERE suggests, this renders much of Calvinism mostly harmless, as few truly internalize it. Others, like me, find that eventually, they are led into the more hardcore doctrines, after being softened up with the muted, compatibilist version.

        This is why we speak up and tell our stories, painful as it is to relive them; it is our desire to warn and prevent others from suffering the damages we have seen to peoples’ faith, family and lives by a belief system that posits a cruel, harsh, tyrannical deity who pretends to be a god of mercy and love.

        But I want to end with a good note. The beauty of it all, is that those who escape the dark, hopeless, destructive teachings of Calvinism often find themselves back in the sunshine of God’s glorious goodness, mercy and love. We find that once we cast off the Calvinist lenses, our bible becomes once again a messenger of love, peace and hope, beautiful tidings of comfort and joy for all who believe its promises. This is the good news of the true gospel that I desire for all to know.

      3. ts00 writes, “that is indeed what my Calvinist pastor, for a long time, taught, which is why I was not able to distinguish between what I knew of Reformed Theology and the true gospel.”

        Calvinism is faithful to the Scriptures and to the gospel. Calvinist doctrines are explained in books and articles easily available to all. If anyone doesn’t know what Calvinism teaches, it is because of laziness – or lack of interest.

      4. TS00:

        Per your personal testimony and God being “wholly good” part.

        I came to the place —reading the Word— where I said something has to give.

        1. I could continue down the party line saying that God ordained all the murder, rape, suicide…”for His glory.”

        2. I could continue with the party definition of sovereignty (all that happens is what He wants).

        3. I could continue with the party line of omniscience means knowing-means-ordaining…..and all things are known before they happen.

        ….but I could not then continue to say that He was “wholly good”.

        From the witness that Christ brings to the earth….Him being what God illustrates about Himself…. there is no way to say that the deity represented in 1 an 2 and 3 is “wholly good.” No way. The ideas are incongruous.

        You must redefine good (and how can we with Christ before our eyes?)….

        or you must redefine “sovereignty” and “omniscience”.

        Or—if you will —and your mind can take it—- you can say they are “compatible”.

        But for me….. I could not say He is “wholly good” with 1,2, and 3 in place. He asks us to love (be good to) our neighbors and our enemies and yet He is nowhere near being “wholly good.” (with 1, 2, and 3 in place).

        So….what will it be I asked? Re-define good or redefine sovereign and omniscient?

        Well….the Bible is pretty clear on what “wholly good” is.

        And as I discovered (being for the first time willing to wrestle with my faith) the Bible was a LOT less reformed on the issue of sovereignty and omniscience than I was taught.

        I have posted dozens of times on how “The Sovereign Lord” says you did not do what I wanted….I did not expect you to do that…. I did not even think you would do that…. so it became pretty easy for me to see that God was going out of His way to make it clear that He is sovereign —- and by that in control to the level He wants— but Scripture teaches that He does not always get what He wants. Period. Clear. Easy to see in the Word.

        Now, Brian has posted many times about omniscience and I am happy to see that a guy with his baptistic background has been willing to wrestle with what Scripture teaches about what God knows.

        Basically you have two choices: (1) accept a non-reformed (yet biblical) definition of sovereignty and omniscience or (2) accept that a God who pretends “to be love” and “wholly good’ actually deceives us, and actually planned/ willed/ ordained/ delighted in all the heinous rape and torture that has happened since the world began.

        Now, I dont bother responding to the silly posts that say: He planned it but He allowed it….He doesnt want it, but all that happens is what He wants…. God ordained everything to the letter…..yet He lets man do it of his own free will. This is nonsense.

        Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

        That is the Sovereign Lord I serve: one that calls people to a choice, and has not proclaimed/ ordained that choice.

      5. Amen. It seems that the Sovereign God led us to the same understanding of the choice he sets before us. I rejoice, not in thinking that you think just like me in all things – which I am sure you do not – but that you choose to trust in and follow the wholly good God that scripture presents to us.

      6. The both of you are a testimony of the love of God!
        We’ve all come from different places – but we’re all becoming one in him.

        And they sang a new song, saying:
        You have redeemed us to God by Your blood
        Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

      7. “But if a wicked man turns away from all his sins which he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness which he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” Ezekiel 18:21-22

        “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18

        “And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.” Rev 21:5-8

        “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price.” Rev. 22:17

        There are no defining clauses to limit these, and like promises to a select few. Truly truly, all who believe in him will not be condemned.

      8. ts00 writes, “There are no defining clauses to limit these, and like promises to a select few. Truly truly, all who believe in him will not be condemned.”

        On this, Calvinism agrees.

      9. TS00:

        Per your Ezekiel verses …… “But if a wicked man turns away from all his sins”…. and the many hundreds or thousands of verses like it in the Bible, I have found that Calvinists are satisfied with a wave of the “dead man” wand. They dismiss all of these many, many verses with a “Yes, it says that ….and yes one would think it possible by a simple reading….but we know that a wicked man cannot turn from his sins.”

        And of course they know these verses dont mean what they say because…… wait ………… wait for it…… they say so!

      10. FOH writes:
        That is the Sovereign Lord I serve: one that calls people to a choice, and has not proclaimed/ ordained that choice.

        br.d
        Yes! And he loved me before I knew him – and he’s filled me with his wonderful life! :-]

      11. FOH writes, “That is the Sovereign Lord I serve: one that calls people to a choice,…”

        Even Calvinism says this. “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”” (Acts 17)

        Then, “…and has not proclaimed/ ordained that choice.”

        brian has a convert. It was inevitable.

    2. FOH writes, “Really? I mean these are educated men who are so entrenched in their presuppositions that they take a few half-verses, interpret them out of context (but with their end-goal in mind) and then act amazed that we do not “get it””

      Yet, Amos seems so clear, “Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has planned it?” It is a rhetorical question whose answer is, Yes. Correct??

      Then, “And when we point to the thousands of things that happened in the Bible that God clearly says He did not want to happen….. we are told “it does not really mean that” or “God has two wills” .”

      Surely you still remember what you heard in your Calvinist experience of old. There are certain things that God wants people to do, but God gives people the freedom to disobey Him – the commandments in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy are examples. However, in the end, God’s will must be done as God is omnipotent and has the power to affect whatever outcome He wants and it is God who must, as sovereign, wield His power in one direction or the other. We have not two wills of God but one will expressed in different ways.

  25. Several times Jonah has been mentioned in these comments. He had a choice. God turned up the heat…and Jonah could have said not still and been consumed in the fish.

    We see this several time in my daily-reading Amos section.

    In Amos 4 god gives this formula many times…..

    “I brought hunger to every city
    and famine to every town.
    But still you would not return to me,”
    says the Lord.

    Does God persuade, cajole, bring pressure, judge? Yes.

    Why? Disobedience. To bring people back. In Jonah’s case…to get him to go.

    Over and over and over in Amos “The Sovereign Lord” says …..”but still you would not return to me.”

    Just wait…..I predict we will get some silly response that says, “On this Calvinists agree.”

    Baloney!

    These endless number of passages in the Bible contradict Calvinism at its core.

    These (thousands of) verses show that people’s disobedience is not what God wanted. To say that everything that happens in the world is what He wants/ plans/ intends simply makes a mockery of the “All of Scripture.”

    These verses also show “The Sovereign Lord” saying in His eternal word ….”But still you did not return to me.”

    When I am accused of “making man sovereign and not God” or “have a man-centered theology” I simply scratch my head. Do Calvinists not read these thousands of verses? Only the top 40-50 verses? Filter all other verses through Calvinist lenses? Oh…. I forgot….. I forgot to applied the Calvinist band-aid……

    “These verses don’t mean what they say….”

    1. FOH, it is Calvinists misleading ‘On this Calvinists agree’ that most disturbs me. Because many naive people don’t understand how they redefine words until they have no genuine meaning, or can mean whatever they want them to mean at the moment. They will play semantic games, like ‘This is the woman I am married to – but she is not my wife’ and they say it with such authority the listener is certain there must be some distinction between the two. Like those confronted with the naked Emperor, no one wants to be the only ignoramus who can’t see his glorious clothes; so they praise and admire their imaginary grandeur. ‘God ordains whatsoever comes to pass – but he is not the author of evil.’ There is simply, undeniably, no logical sense to two such contradictory statements, and I don’t care if a whole army of self-important Divines signed their names to them.

      How crafty to assert that God must get all the glory because he is the one and only causative agent in the universe, yet deny that this means he must naturally also get all the blame for anything that is not so good. Meaningless, nonsense talk that leaves the confused listener too befuddled to think anymore. May God’s Spirit continue to move in people’s hearts and free them from false teaching that leads to a life of defeat and despair.

      1. ts00 writes, “They will play semantic games, like ‘This is the woman I am married to – but she is not my wife’”

        If your claims were true, you could use an actual example and not create one. Why don’t you advance the conversation and put out specific complaints?

        Then, “How crafty to assert that God must get all the glory because he is the one and only causative agent in the universe, yet deny that this means he must naturally also get all the blame for anything that is not so good.”’

        FOH has noted Amos 3 where it says, “If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?” God certainly takes responsibility for His actions. Amos further tells us, “The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” Amos prophecies disaster that God will bring on the countries around Israel, and even Israel, and it is tied to the wickedness. So, if disaster strikes a city, is God to be blamed or should those hit by the disaster recognize their wickedness and humble themselves before God?

        Currently, there are wildfires in California. Has the governor or the other ruling officials called for the people to cry out to God for relief? They have not – but why not? Is it because they have no respect for God and do not seek to glorify Him? I think so. Thus, Amos tells us that the disaster being experienced by California is from God. You choose to blame God for such things rather than say that God is just to do such things – God has given you freedom to denigrate Him.

    2. FOH writes, “Does God persuade, cajole, bring pressure, judge? Yes”

      Yet, the people are NOT persuaded, NOT cajoled, NOT pressured while God waits and waits and waits and then God sends judgment.

      1. And in your system, God is causing them to disobey while claiming he wants obedience. Don’t talk about choice when choice is meaningless in a system where no alternative choices exist.

  26. A little further down today in Amos 5…

    4 Now this is what the Lord says to the family of Israel:
    “Come back to me and live!

    5 Don’t worship at the pagan altars at Bethel…

    6 Come back to the Lord and live!
    Otherwise, he will roar through Israel like a fire,
    devouring you completely…..

    14 Do what is good and run from evil
    so that you may live!
    Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper,
    just as you have claimed.
    ———-

    Do you see the beauty of this! The Sovereign Lord is calling his “chosen people” to “Come back to Him and live!!!”

    Again and again.

    But if you dont….”otherwise….He will roar…”

    Don’t Baal worship…Do what is good…run from evil.

    Why? So that you may live!

    Then the Lord will be your helper.

    Woah….imagine the Almighty God of Heaven called “our helper” (not our pre-ordaining determinist). [also notice that it says He will be our helper after we choose to do right].

    Seems like the decision is in the hands and hearts of man….while God waits.

    Just like the father waited for the wayward (prodigal) son in Luke 15.

    Same Father. Same waiting. Same choice.

    Do it! Choose for yourselves today to follow a calling Christ!

    1. FOH writes, “Seems like the decision is in the hands and hearts of man….while God waits.”

      …and waits, and waits, and waits…. Tired of waiting God sends the Assyrians to destroy Israel; later He will send the Babylonians to destroy Judah. Jesus said, “No man can come to me…” So, God waits, and waits, and waits,…

  27. I am soaking this all up, but the enemy likes to jump in. I was confronted with Galatians where Paul says he was separated from the womb Please direct me to a youtube video where you discuss this. Thanks Grant Holland

    1. Does proof that God chooses some for the purpose of preaching the Gospel proves that God also chooses every single individual that will be saved through preaching of that message?

  28. THE DECEPTIVE NATURE OF “CHOICE” IN CALVINISM.

    Calvinists are highly reliant upon masquerading “CHOICE” as Libertarian in nature, when they know it is not. This is done in order to obfuscate the sector of how their doctrine reduces human functionality to that of a puppet controlled/manipulated by supernatural immutable puppet strings.

    This is deceptive strategy is how Calvinists can insist that humans have CHOICE in their system.
    What they hide is aspects of their systems CHOICE that are different from what Christianity envisions.

    The Oxford Handbook on Freewill explains the difference:

    In the historical literature of Christian philosophy, concerning human freedom of the will, there are three key identifiers that distinguish between libertarian-will from predestined-will.
    1) “up to usness”
    2) “do otherwise”
    3) “Alternate Possibilities” (sometimes all “open possibilities”)

    These three characteristics distinguish Libertarian human will from predestined will
    -quote:
    From a personal or practical standpoint, we perceive ourselves as [Libertarian] 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*.

    Or, as Aristotle succinctly put it, “When acting is UP TO US, so is not acting” (1915b: Hi3b6).

    This “UP TO US-NESS” also suggests that the ORIGINS or SOURCES of our actions are in us and not 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

    In the case of Theological Determinism (aka Calvinist) humans exercise CHOICE.
    But that CHOICE is NOT “up to us” – it is up to the THEOS

    In the case of robotics, robots similarly exercise CHOICE.
    But that CHOICE is NOT “up to” the robot – it is up to the designer.

    The Calvinist response to this is to point out the humans are not robots.
    But again, this is an evasion tactic.
    One does not have to be a robot to have the same functionality of CHOICE.

    1. br.d writes, “Calvinists are highly reliant upon masquerading “CHOICE” as Libertarian in nature, when they know it is not. ”

      This is absolutely delusional. If this were correct, we would not have discussions about compatibilism nor would Calvinists be cited as denying libertarian free will.

      Then, “This is deceptive strategy is how Calvinists can insist that humans have CHOICE in their system.”

      One need only read Jonathan Edwards to see that Calvinists say choices are based on one’s desires. People have desires and make choices based on those desires.

      1. br.d writes,
        “Calvinists are highly reliant upon masquerading “CHOICE” as Libertarian in nature, when they know it is not. ”

        rhutchin:
        This is absolutely delusional. If this were correct, we would not have discussions about compatibilism nor would Calvinists be cited as denying libertarian free will.

        br.d
        Philosophers agree that Calvinism’s compatiblism masquerades CHOICE as Libertarian in nature as part of its embracing of compatiblism – in order to hide the sector of PREDESTINED CHOICE.
        Immanuel Kant called compatiblism -quote “a wretched subterfuge” and “nothing more than word jugglery”.
        William James y called compatiblism -quote “a quagmire of evasion – by stealing the name of freedom to mask their underlying determinism”.

        Both Kant and James describe what Christians at SOT101 observe in rhutchin’s posts.
        So thanks rhutchin for providing great examples.

        rhutchin
        One need only read Jonathan Edwards to see that Calvinists say choices are based on one’s desires. People have desires and make choices based on those desires.

        br.d
        Again you’ve simply affirmed my point. 😀

        Jonathon Edwards is noted among Christian Philosophers as holding to Theological Fatalism.
        Dr. Alvin Plantinga shows where Edward’s arguments logically fail in “On Ockham’s Way Out” published in “The Journal of Faith and Philosophy”. William Lane Craig agrees – Edward’s logic is fallacious.

        Kant and James put it beautifully Calvinism’s CHOICE is a “wretched subterfuge – and nothing more than word jugglery”.
        Because it seeks to masquerade itself as Libertarian in nature but the use of obfuscating language tricks.

      2. ABSOLUTELY! This describes the ruse of Calvinism, hiding it’s true assertions behind compatibilism in hopes of misleading those who would otherwise reject their fatalistic determinism. This sums up my beef with Calvinism. If they would just honestly admit what they assert, as Calvinism once historically did, at least people could make an honest choice. But then, Calvinism doesn’t believe in honest choices. 🙂

      3. Fairly simple question:

        Can man make a choice that God did not decree/ decide/ ordain immutably, unalterably, and unilaterally before time began?

        I believe that the Scripture says yes.

        Any Calvinists out there that want to say “yes” to this?

        Please just be honest. Dont keep telling us that Calvinism teaches that man makes free choices. Answer that simple question.

      4. A great question FOH!
        Can man make a choice that God did not decree/ decide/ ordain immutably, unalterably, and unilaterally before time began?
        Any Calvinists out there that want to say “yes” to this?

        Please just be honest. Dont keep telling us that Calvinism teaches that man makes free choices. Answer that simple question.

        Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin:
        -quote:
        “The Omniscience of God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions, which include our sins and failures as well as our successes”. -end quote Robert R. McLaughlin – The Doctrine of The Divine Decree

        Paul Helm:
        -quote:
        “Not only is 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”. -end quote

      5. Hey, that means I can blame all my issues, sin and struggles on God, right? I honestly think that is behind much of what draws men to determinism. It relieves so much guilt, and allows nearly any and all sin, up to Luther’s thousands of fornications a day (ya think the guy had a problem?) and Calvin’s torture and murders!

      6. I have already asked the simple question of whether I should preach on Sunday to the assembly, “Everything you did last week was exactly what God wanted you to do.”

        I was told by our Calvinist friends “of course—and Amen! Amen! Amen!”

        In that case, I just dont get the point of the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18.

        “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.”

        According to Calvin-fatalism-determinism, he should have continued….”I am indeed exactly how you want me to be.”

        But no. That man was not how God wanted him to be.

        “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Calvinist ESV)

      7. FOH writes, “According to Calvin-fatalism-determinism, he should have continued….”I am indeed exactly how you want me to be.””

        He should say, “I am exactly what you foresaw me to be and it is exactly what I want to be.” His problem is that what he wants to be is not what the result God intended in the law. He has distorted the law in order to justify himself.

      8. That is a kind of byproduct of that thinking.
        Historically, there were legal cases held by the Greeks who, to a large degree embraced the predestination of various god’s – would say – murder one’s wives etc, and then argued a god had predestined it as their fate and they were therefore not the originator of the crime.

        If it weren’t for the fact that the scriptures reject the conception that god is the SOURCE/ORIGINATION of sin – Calvinists would probably be following that Greek tradition more closely. But they do want to claim they are biblical. And that’s what produces their *AS-IF* think patterns. Calvin’s god is the SOURCE/ORIGINATION of everything including all sin and all evil. But the Calvinist in order to retain some parallel with that aspect of scripture must go about (As Elijah says) “halting between two opinions.

        Calvin’s god is the SOURCE/ORIGINATOR of all sin *AS-IF* man is.

      9. ts00 writes, “Hey, that means I can blame all my issues, sin and struggles on God, right?”

        Not your sin – This is the issue Paul addresses in Romans 6, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?…Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!”

        However, you can “blame” your struggles on God for this is His providence toward you – “My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD, Or loathe His reproof, For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father, the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3) and “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12)

      10. Paul Helm:-quote:
        “Not only is 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”. -end quote

        Greta quote. Everything is, and must be, under the direct control of God because God is sovereign.

      11. rhutchin:

        Paul Helm:-quote:
        “Not only is 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”. -end quote

        Everything is, and must be, under the direct control of God because God is sovereign.

        br.d
        This is what ex-Calvinist Robin Phillips calls “ZERO-SUM” Theology
        -quote:
        Economists use the language of a “ZERO-SUM game” to describe a transaction in which one person’s gain is directly tied to another person’s loss. (i.e., INVERSELY PROPORTIONAL). The ancient Gnostics didn’t know about game theory, but they tended to treat god’s glory as if it was a zero-sum contest between god and creation. The glory of god, they seemed to think, could only be maintained by denigrating the created order, or at least denying that anything of spiritual value could be derived from the creation.

        Consistent with this framework, in the Calvinist church we attended for five years……this is the zero-sum mentality which assumes that any role we play (even praying a prayer of consecration) must necessarily subtract from God’s portion of the pie. -end quote

        So in the Calvinist’s mind it logically follows for a human to have a neurological impulse that originated from one’s self, would be to rob god of his sovereign right to design people to function as puppets.

      12. br.d writes, ” in the Calvinist’s mind it logically follows for a human to have a neurological impulse that originated from one’s self, would be to rob god of his sovereign right to design people to function as puppets.”

        Another delusion comment. Calvinist’s are with Christ on this point – “…out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man;…”

      13. br.d writes,
        ” in the Calvinist’s mind it logically follows for a human to have a neurological impulse that originated from one’s self, would be to rob god of his sovereign right to design people to function as puppets.”

        rhutchin
        Another delusion comment. Calvinist’s are with Christ on this point – “…out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,

        br.d
        This is an excellent example of Calvinist beguiling double-speak.
        That verse only says “OUT OF” it doesn’t say where they originate.
        It logically follows – in Calvinism Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES every sin – and as you have previously posted ACTUALIZES them in each person’s life.

        In Calvinism all sins are FIRST-CONCEIVED in the mind of Calvin’s god millennia before man exists.
        Therefore they ORIGINATE with Calvin’s god.
        The way Calvinists get around this is by using beguiling double-talk.

      14. br.d writes, “That verse only says “OUT OF” it doesn’t say where they originate.”

        This is a translation issue. That sin comes out of the heart is the same as saying that sin originates in the heart. God’s prior knowledge of man’s sins does not cause those sins or cause the heart to conceive those sins.

      15. br.d writes, “That verse only says “OUT OF” it doesn’t say where they originate.”

        rhutchin:
        This is a translation issue. That sin comes out of the heart is the same as saying that sin originates in the heart. God’s prior knowledge of man’s sins does not cause those sins or cause the heart to conceive those sins.

        br.d
        You’re wrong again. The Greek word “EK” means OUT OF.
        You’re quoted scripture does not affirm Theological Determinism.
        However, It is logically consistent with Theological Determinism – that everything has its ORIGIN in the DETERMINER – and in Calvinism that is the THEOS.

        The fact that Calvinist insist a position having logical consequences they seek to deny – shows how intellectually bankrupt Calvinism is.

      16. br.d writes, “You’re quoted scripture does not affirm Theological Determinism.”

        It says nothing about Theological Determinism – neither affirming or disaffirming. Your introduction of Theological Determinism into the argument is misplaced.

      17. FOH writes, “Can man make a choice that God did not decree/ decide/ ordain immutably, unalterably, and unilaterally before time began?
        I believe that the Scripture says yes.”

        As one who formerly identified with Calvinists, you know that Calvinists affirm that God is present whenever any person makes any choice and that God is omnipotent so that He can affect any person to choose as He wills. Now you reject these things to say, “I believe that the Scripture says yes.” So, now we know your points of disagreement with Calvinists.

      18. Guys is there one verse of scripture that actually says that God loves the wicked?And how would you reconcile it with verses such as Ps 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight :thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
        There are many that says he loves his own.

      19. Ironic you have chosen a pen name Grace…..when your point is to prove that God does not love…..99.85% of humanity. the same humanity that is created in His image. Some of whom who are no doubt infant-baptized by reformed-believers—-yet not loved by God.

        Pick a new pen-name. Something beside “Grace”. Maybe …..Retribution.

      20. “Grace” – Did Jesus “love” the rich young ruler who went away in unbelief? Did He have compassion on the multitude that He saw as sheep without a shepherd? Did He express love for the “wicked hands” that crucified Him.

        Romans 10:21 NKJV — But to Israel he says:“All day long I have stretched out My hands To a disobedient and contrary people.”

      21. And Grace….he told the multitude on the hillside (surely not all believers in the thousands there)….seek and you will find….knock and it will be answer. Store up treasures for yourself in heaven. Seek first the kingdom!

        O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

        He loved…..called….pleaded. they didnt want to. But His call…pleading was real….not insincere.

        No one gains anything (except fulfilling an prescribed agenda) in declaring that the message of the Bible is that God does NOT love His creation (only loves His own). Oh…..but He loved .015% of them!! Grace!! Grace !! Good news!!!

      22. brianwagner writes, “Did Jesus “love” the rich young ruler who went away in unbelief?”

        “Then Jesus beholding him loved him,…” Mark 10

        We might also add Romans 5, “God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

      23. Grace:
        Guys is there one verse of scripture that actually says that God loves the wicked?And how would you reconcile it with verses such as Ps 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight :thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
        There are many that says he loves his own.

        br.d
        From a Calvinist perspective it works this way:
        Calvin’s god, at the foundation of the world – determines which persons he will design as “vessels of wrath” – whom he will hate and call wicked, vs. which persons he will design as “vessels of honor” – whom he will love and call his own.

        The question might be asked – is that a logical lens through which to interpret scripture or is it double-think?

      24. Grace asked, “Guys is there one verse of scripture that actually says that God loves the wicked?
        br.d responded, “From a Calvinist perspective…”

        In other words, br.d is not aware of any verse where God says He loves the wicked. However, we can point to John 3:16 where we read, “God so loved the world…” This might normally include the wicked (I take “world” to mean “Jew and gentile” here) but not necessarily. This may be why AW Pink argued that “world” refers to the elect. This would be different than Romans where Paul writes, “God demonstrated His love for us (His elect)…” We might distinguish between God’s general love for people as a group and His specific love for His elect individually.

      25. Grace asked, “Guys is there one verse of scripture that actually says that God loves the wicked?

        rhutchin writes
        br.d responded, “From a Calvinist perspective…” In other words, br.d is not aware of [insert double-speak here]

        br.d
        br.d simply wrote what is true from a Calvinist’s perspective.
        But br.d is also very aware of Calvinism’s double-speak. 😉

      26. “br.d simply wrote what is true from a Calvinist’s perspective.”

        And affirming that he knows of no Scripture that responds to Grace’s request (his focus on Calvinism being a strawman).

      27. “br.d simply wrote what is true from a Calvinist’s perspective.”

        rhutchin responds
        And affirming that he knows of no Scripture that responds to Grace’s request (his focus on Calvinism being a strawman).

        br.d
        Fallacy of defective induction: An argument that jumps to a conclusion without facts sufficient to support it.
        Otherwise known as child think. :-]

      28. Grace, if you go back and read your bible, you will discover verse after verse declaring God’s love for ‘all men’, ‘the world’, etc. Whereas Calvinism asserts that some men were predetermined by God to have ‘wicked’, depraved hearts and perform ‘wicked’ deeds, Romans 1 and elsewhere describes the reality of the situation, in which men resist and reject God’s call and grow increasingly depraved. (If one was born ‘Totally Depraved’ Romans’ description of men growing increasingly wicked would be nonsense.) Such persons who refuse to respond to God’s offer of grace and submit themselves to the leading of his Spirit will indeed grow ‘wicked’ and eventually face the wrath of God.

        This scriptural depiction of the wicked, how and why they choose darkness over light, is the opposite of what Calvinism asserts, being that God cursed all men with ‘Total Depravity’ due to the sin of their father (Adam), arbitrarily chose some to regenerate, redeem and grant everlasting life, while leaving the rest in their cursed, depraved state to suffer eternal punishment. If one accepts Calvinism, one must grant that ‘the wicked’ exist because God determined and irresistibly brought to pass their wicked deeds; thus, judging whether he ‘loves’ them or not is mere semantics. If you call deliberately creating men with the inescapable fate of hell ‘loving’ them, I guess you could attempt to make your case. The rejection of this depiction of God has existed since Augustine and Calvin first proposed it, and has continued strongly to this day. The resurgence of Calvinism, packaged in the ‘kinder, gentler’ ‘Doctrines of Grace’ seeks to conceal the ugly but undeniable underbelly of classical Calvinism/Reformed Theology. Exposing the truth is what this blog is all about.

      29. ts00 writes, “(If one was born ‘Totally Depraved’ Romans’ description of men growing increasingly wicked would be nonsense.) ”

        People are born totally depraved and not utterly depraved. It means that people desire sin and despise God. Plenty of room for people to become more wicked.

      30. ts00
        “(If one was born ‘Totally Depraved’ Romans’ description of men growing increasingly wicked would be nonsense.) ”

        rhutchin
        People are born totally depraved and not utterly depraved. It means that people desire sin and despise God. Plenty of room for people to become more wicked.

        br.d
        Here is a good example of how Calvinist play shell-games with terms like “totally” and “utterly”.
        The strategy here is to be able to manipulate the meanings of specific terms – to mean [A] one minute and [NOT A] the next.
        He who manipulates the meanings of terms wins by virtue of goal-post shifting.

        This is why Christians observe Calvinism has a large library of rhetorical masks.
        Welcome to the Calvinist world of double-speak. :-]

      31. br.d writes, “Here is a good example of how Calvinist play shell-games with terms like “totally” and “utterly”.”

        This seems to reflect a misunderstanding on your part of the doctrine of Total Depravity. Total Depravity refers to the nature of the person and not how much sin they commit. The Totally Depraved person is described as “indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and are by nature children of wrath.” They are “hostile toward God; not subjecting themselves to the law of God, and are not even able to do so; they cannot please God.” They reject God and His salvation. They seek to sin, but never are able to sin to the uttermost being constrained by social convention, peer pressure, law enforcement activities, threat of punishment, etc.

      32. ts00
        If one was born ‘Totally Depraved’ Romans’ description of men growing increasingly wicked would be nonsense.

        rhutchin:
        People are born totally depraved and not utterly depraved. It means that people desire sin and despise God. Plenty of room for people to become more wicked.

        br.d
        Here is a good example of how Calvinist play shell-games with terms like “totally” and “utterly”.
        The strategy here is to be able to manipulate the meanings of specific terms – to mean [A] one minute and [NOT A] the next.
        He who manipulates the meanings of terms wins by virtue of goal-post shifting.

        This is why Christians observe Calvinism has a large library of rhetorical masks.
        Welcome to the Calvinist world of double-speak. :-]

        rhutchin
        This seems to reflect a misunderstanding on your part of the doctrine of Total Depravity…….etc..etc

        br.d
        AS-IF!
        Whats not to understand about Calvinist word games.
        If Bill Clinton were a professing Christian he’d surely be a Calvinist. 😀

  29. CALVINISM’S APPEAL TO HUMAN CHOICE

    Ex-Calvinist Robin Phillips writes on this:

    -quote:
    One Calvinist professor I had (who is actually considered a moderate) went so far as to assert that I don’t even have free will when it comes to deciding whether to have honey or raspberry jam on my toast in the morning, because whichever choice I make results from God’s prior will-act in making the choice for me. There is no *REAL* synergy between the divine and the human, for God remains the only ONE TRUE agent that is working.

    1) Notice there is only ONE TRUE agent at work in this Calvinist Professor’s mind. William Lane Craig agrees that this is logically consistent in Calvinism. And that in Calvinism humans do not have TRUE agency – but rather function as instruments, in the same way a stick is used as an instrument to move a rock.

    2) Notice the terms REAL, and TRUE, in this Calvinist professor’s statement. These refer to the “PERCEPTION that people have, that their choices SEEM to be “up to them” rather than up to an external intelligence moving every thought in their brains throughout their lives. Many Calvinisits are not willing to be this honest but they do interpret the SENSE that they have libertarian freedom of choice as some kind of god induced deception. They may not know why their god would want to induce such a deception into their minds. But they appear to be comfortable interpreting it as such. But not willing to enunciate that to outsiders – for obvious reasons.

    1. br.d writes, “Notice the terms REAL, and TRUE, in this Calvinist professor’s statement. These refer to the “PERCEPTION that people have, that their choices SEEM to be “up to them” rather than up to an external intelligence moving every thought in their brains throughout their lives.”

      This guy needs to read Jonathan Edwards on free will. Man was made in the image of God having the ability to gather information, process that information, and reason based on that information. Add to this a sin nature inherited from Adam, and people are capable fully of wants and desires giving way to actions and all without God having to prompt them or move them to think or do such things. Thus, we read in Proverbs, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD, it will stand.” and “The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” and “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

      There, “Many Calvinisits are not willing to be this honest but they do interpret the SENSE that they have libertarian freedom of choice as some kind of god induced deception.”

      This is wrong. Calvinists deny that people have LFW but that they are controlled by their nature and enslaved to sin. That this is the condition of people is presented clearly in the Scriptures – there is no deception.

      Then, ” But not willing to enunciate that to outsiders – for obvious reasons.”

      The point is clearly enunciated in the Calvinist writings. Read a little Sproul, as an example.

      1. br.d writes, “Notice the terms REAL, and TRUE, in this Calvinist professor’s statement. These refer to the “PERCEPTION that people have, that their choices SEEM to be “up to them” rather than up to an external intelligence moving every thought in their brains throughout their lives.”

        rhutchin:
        This guy needs to read Jonathan Edwards on free will…..etc

        br.d
        Here the Calvinst gives us another example of the dishonesty that started this thread.
        We already know how to see through this Calvinist dishonesty.
        Man is *ONLY* free to think/choose/desire/etc what Calvin’s god determines and NOT free to think/choose/desire otherwise.

        If Calvinists were honest – they would communicate it that way rather than trying to masquerade it as libertarian in nature.

        rhutch:
        they are controlled by their nature and enslaved to sin. That this is the condition of people is presented clearly in the Scriptures – there is no deception.

        br.d
        Another good example of Calvinist half-truths.
        In Calvinism their nature is CONTROLLED by god

        Paul Helm:
        -quote:
        “Not only is 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”. -end quote

        rhutchin
        December 12, 2017 at 11:45 am
        Great quote. Everything is, and must be, under the DIRECT CONTROL of God…etc.

        br.d
        If the Calvinist were fully honest here, he would say EVERY SINFUL DESIRE is under the DIRECT CONTROL of Calvin’s god who is its SOURCE.
        But you won’t find many Calvinists willing to be that honest.

      2. br.d

        I have posed the question flat out…. “Am I to preach on Sunday to the assembly —–‘Everything you did last week was exactly what God wanted, ordained, planned?'”

        To this we heard a resounding “Of course…Amen!Amen! Amen!”

        Well, they dont like to say “God planned/ willed/ ordained / wants/ delights in… all your sins” since that is such an in-your-face (but consistent!) comment. But that is really what they say when they say Amen! to that.

      3. FOH writes, “they dont like to say “God planned/ willed/ ordained / wants/ delights in… all your sins” since that is such an in-your-face (but consistent!) comment. But that is really what they say when they say Amen! to that.”

        God does not ordain anything outside the counsel of His will. Thus, God ordains sin because it is part of His purpose/will. Otherwise, He would take action to enforce His will. God is sovereign; He does nothing except to execute His plan conceived in eternity past and everything He does – whether to prevent sin or to let sin proceed – is according to the counsel of His will incorporating His perfect understanding of all things and His perfect wisdom.

      4. rhutchin writes:
        God ordains sin because it is part of His purpose/will.

        br.d
        Notice how he uses the word ORDAIN here.
        This is called “Distancing Language”.
        1) Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES of all sin millennia before man’s existence.
        2) This is not a process of simply OBSERVING it occurring in the future
        3) This is a process of ORIGINATING all sin and then ACTUALIZING it in the future.
        Thus it follows Calvin’s god is the ORIGINATOR/AUTHOR of all sin
        And people are nothing more than instruments upon which a melody of sin is played.

      5. br.d writes, “2) This is not a process of simply OBSERVING it occurring in the future
        3) This is a process of ORIGINATING all sin and then ACTUALIZING it in the future.”

        This is wrong. God has a perfect understanding of all things and works all things after the counsel of His will. All things encompasses all sin. The origination and actualization of sin in man was accomplished by Adam/Eve under the influence of Satan without God doing anything other than opening the gate for Satan to enter the garden.

      6. br.d writes,
        “2) This is not a process of simply OBSERVING it occurring in the future
        3) This is a process of ORIGINATING all sin and then ACTUALIZING it in the future.”

        rhutchin
        This is wrong. God has a perfect understanding of all things and works all things after the counsel of His will. All things encompasses all sin. The origination and actualization of sin in man was accomplished by Adam/Eve

        br.d.
        This is another great example of Calvinism’s beguiling double-speak.
        In order to be logically consistent here rhutchin has to assert that god’s knowledge of Adam/Eve’s sin is by OBSERVING it.

        It is logically consistent with Theological Determinism and all academic literature on the subject agrees that in the determinist model, sin along with everything else ORIGINATES where it is first DETERMINED.

        Thus it logically follows in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) all sin ORIGINATES in the mind of Calvin’s god millennia before man exists. Again, Calvin’s god doesn’t OBSERVE sin in the future – he FIRST-CONCEIVES it.

        The way the Calvinist gets around this is by asserting Theological Determinism and denying its logical entailments.

      7. br.d writes, “This is another great example of Calvinism’s beguiling double-speak. In order to be logically consistent here rhutchin has to assert that god’s knowledge of Adam/Eve’s sin is by OBSERVING it.”

        You don’t seem to understand the conversation to this point. God knows all things in eternity past. While God does actually observe Adam and Eve in time, God does so already knowing what will transpire. God knows Eve’s heart and why she eats the fruit – God does not cause, or otherwise influence, Eve to eat the fruit. Same with Adam. Once Adam eats the fruit, he incurs a corruption that God decrees be inherited by his progeny. The origination and actualization of sin in Adam’s progeny is traced to Adam/Eve.

      8. rhutchin:
        While [Calvin’s] god knows everything that will happen in time [Calvin’s] god does not cause, or otherwise influence.

        br.d
        Thank you rhutchin for an absolutely direct rejection of Calvinism’s doctrine of Foreknowledge and Theological Determinism.

        Calvinist Paul Kjoss Helseth reveals your dishonesty:
        -quote:
        Paul Kjoss Helseth representing the Reformed tradition, argues that all events owe both their occurend and the precise mode of that occurance to god, who *CAUSES* EVERY CREATURELY ACT in such a way as to DETERMINE COMPLETELY its nature and outcome. – page 282

        I think at this point its becoming obvious rhutchin is operating in what I would call “Altruistic dishonesty”.

      9. br.d writes, “Calvinist Paul Kjoss Helseth reveals your dishonesty:
        -quote:
        Paul Kjoss Helseth representing the Reformed tradition, argues that all events owe both their occurend and the precise mode of that occurance to god, who *CAUSES* EVERY CREATURELY ACT in such a way as to DETERMINE COMPLETELY its nature and outcome. – page 282”

        Reformed tradition, and surely Paul Kjoss Helseth, hold that God works through secondary causes toward the end that God is said to work all things after the counsel of His will. In saying that God “*CAUSES* EVERY CREATURELY ACT,” Helseth does not mean to suggest that God is the immediate cause of every creaturely act but only that God is in control of every creaturely act and can affect such acts through direct and indirect means, as necessary, to accomplish His will. I don’t think you understand the reformed position as it relates to secondary causes. Ignorance on your part negates dishonesty on my part.

      10. br.d writes, “Calvinist Paul Kjoss Helseth reveals your dishonesty:
        -quote:
        Paul Kjoss Helseth representing the Reformed tradition, argues that all events owe both their occurend and the precise mode of that occurance to god, who *CAUSES* EVERY CREATURELY ACT in such a way as to DETERMINE COMPLETELY its nature and outcome. – page 282”

        rhutchin
        Reformed tradition, and surely Paul Kjoss Helseth, hold that God works through secondary causes

        br.d
        First you claim Calvin’s god does not cause sins – I provide a quote from Helsth that states he CAUSES EVERY CREATUERLY ACT and now you punt to secondary causes *AS-IF* Calvin’s god is not the PRIMARY CAUSE.
        Your providing excellent examples of Calvinism’s beguiling double-speak

        At this point its obvious I’m chasing a greased pig. 😀

      11. br.d writes, “First you claim Calvin’s god does not cause sins – I provide a quote from Helsth that states he CAUSES EVERY CREATUERLY ACT and now you punt to secondary causes *AS-IF* Calvin’s god is not the PRIMARY CAUSE.”

        No Calvinist says that God is the primary, or immediate cause of all things. All Calvinist say that God is the cause of all things in that He is omnipotent and has the power to prevent anything He does not want to happen.

      12. br.d writes,
        “First you claim Calvin’s god does not cause sins – I provide a quote from Helsth that states he CAUSES EVERY CREATURELY ACT and now you punt to secondary causes *AS-IF* Calvin’s god is not the PRIMARY CAUSE.”

        rhutchin:
        No Calvinist says that God is the primary, or immediate cause of all things. All Calvinist say that God is the cause of all things in that He is omnipotent and has the power to prevent anything He does not want to happen.

        br.d
        This is a great example of Calvinist double-speak
        Notice how it focuses on “What the Calvinist says” rather than what is logically entailed in Calvinism.
        This is called the SIN OF OMISSION
        The Calvinist appeals to “secondary causes” and then quietly OMITS the PRIMARY CAUSE which logically follows from his doctrine.
        The way the Calvinist does this is simply by stating “No Calvinist *SAYS* Calvin’s god is the PRIMARY Cause”
        Right! Calvinists are not intellectually honest enough to do so.

        However, the number 2 always follows the number one.
        A SECONDARY cause logically follows a PRIMARY cause.
        What the Calvinist will do this this is continue to insert ad-hoc causes in front of the secondary cause and call it the primary cause, in order to evade following the chains of causation to its ORIGIN.
        Thus we see another example of Calvinism’s dishonesty.

      13. Rhutchin writes: “Once Adam eats the fruit, he incurs a corruption that God decrees be inherited by his progeny. The origination and actualization of sin in Adam’s progeny is traced to Adam/Eve.”

        Wow, what a mouthful. Does this guy talk like this at home? ‘Once I looked away, I incurred a corruption of my once pristine instrument, which my sovereign insurance provider decreed would be inherited unfailingly by my bank account. The origination and actualization of the increase in my insurance rates, that would be suffered by my progeny through an unavoidable decrease in expendable income, is tracable to my freely chosen action.’

        Translation of the latter: “I just glanced at my phone for one second, and ran into a guy. My insurance rate just doubled.’

        Translation of the former: “Adam sinned, and God cruelly punished all who would ever be born for their ‘father’s’ crime, cursing them with an inborn guilt and propensity for wrongdoing before they are ever born.”

        To try and cover this nonsense up with euphemisms and needlessly lengthy words is to attempt to hide the fact that Calvinists are asserting that God unjustly punishes all men ever born for a crime they did not commit.

        Calvinistic Total Depravity – the root of Divine Determinism – is the biggest, ugliest lie ever conceived by false teachers, and falsely accuses God of cruelty and injustice. Utterly contrary to God’s actual words delivered through his chosen prophet Ezekiel concerning who is held accountable for what, Satan’s false prophets Augustine and Calvin assert that God is a harsh, cruel tyrant who uses his undeniable power and unchallengable authority to unjustly ordain punishment for those from whom he has cruelly eliminated the possibility of pleasing him by endowing them with an inability to not sin.

        Okay, that almost sounds like the Calvinists. In simple words, we are all going to hell in a handbasket because God wants it that way. Get over it.

        Whatever it is these revered, Calvinist theologians want to say happened with Adam – I’ll let them fight it out amongst themselves – they all agree that from that point on, man is toast. Because God decreed that man would be toast. Okay, maybe Adam really ticked him off, but it still seems a little harsh to condemn all of future mankind because one guy blew it. But just because he’s not ALL bad, he decided to spare a few random specimens, and bestow undeserved favor upon them, just as he intends to bestow undeserved punishment on the rest. And if you don’t like it, it’s because you are not ‘elect’, have not been given an ‘elect’ mind and don’t understand God’s obviously glorious intentions in ordaining and bringing to pass all of the heinous evil that has befallen mankind since Adam first gave God the finger. It’s good if God says it’s good, and who is going to challenge him?

        Oh, the fools that think man actually declared mutiny and brought all of this destruction upon themselves. Silly, silly unregenerate idiots, who think someone other than God could possibly dream up rape, torture, incest, murder, oppression and genocide. What idiocy, to think that God would die for willful rebels while they were yet thumbing their noses at him, rather than understanding that he was pulling their strings all along.

        And all the rest . . .

      14. Yes you are absolutely correct!!
        Most Calvinists simply cannot be honest when enunciating their own belief system.
        They always seek to hide its dark-side using language tricks.

      15. br.d writes, “Most Calvinists simply cannot be honest when enunciating their own belief system.”

        Ignorance regarding one’s own beliefs and the inability to properly enunciate those beliefs is a problem in all religions second only to ignorance of other’s beliefs. It is an unintended dishonesty.

      16. br.d. writes: “Most Calvinists simply cannot be honest when enunciating their own belief system.
        They always seek to hide its dark-side using language tricks.”

        May I offer one caveat? I do believe that there is a distinction between those who have studied, and fully understand the full ramifications of Calvinism, but seek to obfuscate them in order to not frighten away potential converts, and the befuddled, indoctrinated pew-warmer who merely mouths the script he has memorized. The former know the truth, and seek to hide it by deceptive, confusing, contradictory doublespeak that leaves the latter hopelessly unable to perceive what is being said, so shrugs and just lives like what the bible actually says is true. Thus, the vast majority of lay Calvinists have no idea what consistent Calvinism must assert to maintain its system, and naively considers his own biblical interpretations to be what ‘Calvinism’ teaches. While happily distracted, the naive layperson is subtly, subconsciously indoctrinated into the more controversial interpretations under the false assumption that they are, after all, what the bible teaches.