Pelagianism: The Boogie Man

If I had a dollar for every time I was accused of being a “Pelagian” or “Semi-Pelagian,” I would have at least enough money to put my eldest through college and for that, I would be grateful. At least it would serve some practical purpose.

Typically, the accusation comes from those who are less informed about the historical use of these labels and their actual meanings as it relates to our current soteriological disagreements.[1] So, let’s get educated.

Pelagius was a 5th-century British monk who was accused of teaching that people had the natural ability to fulfil the commands of God by an exercise of the human will apart from divine assistance (grace). Pelagianism came to be known as the belief that mankind is born basically good, without a sinful nature, and is thus capable of doing good without God’s help. [2]

Because Pelagius was deemed a heretic, little of his work survived to the present day except in the quotes of his opponents (not the most reliable of sources). Many modern scholars suspect that Pelagius’ actual teachings were greatly misrepresented so as to demonize and marginalize him (this is not difficult to imagine).

Despite what is commonly known of Pelagius, evidence indicates that he and his followers taught that all good works come only by divine aid (grace), which was seen as “enabling,” not “effectual/irresistible” in nature. For instance, in a letter to the Pope defending himself, Pelagius is reported to have written:

“This grace we for our part do not, as you suppose, allow to consist merely in the law, but also in the help of God. God helps us by His teaching and revelation, whilst He opens the eyes of our heart; whilst He points out to us the future, that we may not be absorbed in the present; whilst He discovers to us the snares of the devil; whilst He enlightens us with the manifold and ineffable gift of heavenly grace… This free will is in all good works always assisted by divine help.” [3]

And in an accompanying confession of faith, he states, “Free-will we do so own, as to say that we always stand in need of God’s help,” And he affirmed, “We do also abhor the blasphemy of those who say that any impossible thing is commanded to man by God; or that the commandments of God cannot be performed by any one man.” So, while Pelagius maintained human responsibility to keep the commands of God he still seemed to maintain the need for divine aid in doing so.[4]

Augustine, a contemporary of Pelagius, was the first on record to teach the concept of individual effectual election to salvation. Even Calvinistic historian, Loraine Boettner, concedes that this “was first clearly seen by Augustine” in the fifth century. In fact, Boettner notes, not only did the earliest Church Fathers not interpret the doctrine of election “Calvinistically,” but much of their teaching stands in strong opposition to such conclusions. A great emphasis on the absolute freedom of the human will and repudiations of individual predestination to salvation are found clearly throughout the earliest writings of the church. [5] John Calvin himself acknowledged this fact when he stated:

“Further, even though the Greeks [Early Church Fathers] above the rest—and Chrysostom especially among them—extol the ability of the human will, yet all the ancients, save Augustine, so differ, waver, or speak confusedly on this subject, that almost nothing certain can be derived from their writings.”[6]

So, by Calvinists own admission, Augustine introduced much of these unique (and often controversial) doctrinal beliefs in the 5th century.[7]

Pelagius stood up against Augustine’s new doctrinal positions and even went so far as to accuse him of being under the influence of his former Manichean (Gnostic) roots, which was known to teach pagan fatalism as if it were a Christian doctrine.[8] Augustine, in turn, accused Pelagius of denying any need for divine aid in the conversion process. It is likely that both of them went too far in their accusations against the other, but history reveals that it was Augustine’s smears of Pelagius that won over in the court of public opinion.[9]

Pelagianism, therefore, has become known historically as “the teaching that man has the capacity to seek God in and of himself apart from any movement of God or the Holy Spirit, and therefore that salvation is affected by man’s efforts.”[10]

Traditionalists, like myself, wholeheartedly deny this belief and consider the label offensive and completely misrepresentative of our actual teachings (and I’m under the impression Pelagius himself would express similar sentiments if given a fair hearing today).

Here are a few reasons why this label would not rightly represent our views:

▪ We believe man has the capacity to respond willingly to God’s means of seeking to save the lost, NOT that man would seek God if left alone.

▪ We believe our gracious God is actively working in and through creation, conscience, His bride, His Holy Spirit filled followers, and his Word to aid humanity in their conversion.

▪ We believe salvation is wholly of God in that He owes no man forgiveness or eternal life, even if they freely repent and humbly submit to Him as Lord and Savior. Asking for forgiveness no more merits that forgiveness than the prodigal son’s return home merited the reception he received from his father. That was the choice of a gracious father alone.

What about Semi-Pelagianism?

First, it should be noted that the term “Semi-Pelagian” was first introduced in the late 16th century by Calvinistic theologians attempting to combat the rising popularity of Molinism, an alternative method of reconciling the problem of divine omniscience and human freedom.[11]

Calvinistic Apologist, Matt Slick, describes Semi-Pelagianism in this way:

“Semi-Pelagianism is a weaker form of Pelagianism (a heresy derived from Pelagius who lived in the 5th century A.D. and was a teacher in Rome). Semi-Pelagianism (advocated by Cassian at Marseilles, 5th Century) did not deny original sin and its effects upon the human soul and will, but it taught that God and man cooperate to achieve man’s salvation. This cooperation is not by human effort as in keeping the law but rather in the ability of a person to make a free will choice. The semi-Pelagian teaches that man can make the first move toward God by seeking God out of his own free will and that man can cooperate with God’s grace even to the keeping of his faith through human effort. This would mean that God responds to the initial effort of a person and that God’s grace is not absolutely necessary to maintain faith.”[12]

In my lengthy discussion with Matt Slick over our soteriological differences, he more than once accused me of “Semi-Pelagianism.”

First, do Traditionalists (like myself) believe that “God and man cooperate to achieve man’s salvation?” Of course not!

Let me clarify this point of contention by asking a question: Did the prodigal son and his father cooperate to achieve the son’s restoration, or was that a gracious choice of the father alone upon his son’s return?  The false belief that forgiveness is somehow owed to those who freely humble themselves and ask for it leads to erroneous conclusions such as this.

Second, do Traditionalists teach that “man can make the first move toward God by seeking God out of his own free will?” Absolutely not! I challenge anyone to find just one Traditional Southern Baptist scholar who has even come close to making this kind of claim.

Third, do Traditionalists teach that “God responds to the initial effort of a person?”  No! Belief that mankind is able to willingly respond to the gracious means of God to seek and save the lost IS NOT equal to mankind making “the first move toward God.”

If it was proven that I could not call the President of the United States on the phone, would you also conclude, based on that information, that it would be impossible for me to answer the phone if the President tried to call me? Of course not, but that is exactly what those who accuse us of Semi-Pelagianism are doing.

In their shortsighted and ill-informed effort to discredit our perspective, they have resorted to what is known as a “boogie-man fallacy.” This is a certain type of argument, which, in fact, is not an argument, but a means of forestalling discussion and erroneously labelling an opponent’s position with that of a known heresy so as to demonize and discredit it.

For example, someone in a debate might say, “Look! His view sounds like something Hilter said once, so you shouldn’t listen to him any more.” Hitler is a known “boogie man” or “bad character,” so if I can associate my opponent’s views with Hilter, then I’ll discredit him all together.  Likewise, Pelagius has become the Calvinist’s go-to “boogie man,” and many of them will stop at nothing to slap that label on us so as to marginalize and discredit anything we say.

This method bears a certain resemblance to the ad hominem fallacy, and comes from the same root motivation: Discredit and marginalize the person and their views rather than objectively evaluating and offering a sound, non-fallous biblical rebuttal.

The ad hominem fallacy consists of attempting to refute an argument by impeaching the character of its proponent, where as the boogie man fallacy seeks to associate an argument with that of someone whose character (or belief) has already been impeached (like poor ol’ Pelagius).  This would be like an Arminian calling Dr. John Piper a “Hyper-Calvinist” (those who denounce the need of evangelism) on the basis that he teaches some similar views to that of known hyper-Calvinists.

This is pure “guilt by association” and it is the lazy man’s approach to avoid an otherwise rational and informed discussion of the issues. Those who resort to such tactics either do not know any better or they are nefariously attempting to marginalize and demonize the views of those who disagree with them. Readers of this article can no longer appeal to the former as an excuse.

If Traditionalists can rightly been labeled “semi-pelagian,” then by that standard we could conclude that Calvinists are “semi-gnostic,” after all those were the two groups promoting the extremes of both views in the fourth and fifth centuries. I would rather avoid such demonizing labels altogether and actually practice the principle of SOLA SCRIPTURA (scripture alone). Rather than appealing to ancient Catholic labels created by men who were known for their often violent and extreme intolerance of dissenting views, how about we approach each other with patience, kindness and good intentions? Let us not repeat the mistakes of those who lead the church into The Inquisition and other horrific abuses of dissenters, but instead set a better example for theological discourse to all who come after us.

Added Note: Some Arminians have mistakenly joined in this accusation against Southern Baptist Traditionalists. To read my response to Roger Olson’s critique of the Traditional Statement: CLICK HERE.

And to read a more thorough historical and biblical rebuttal of those who disagree on this issue: CLICK HERE.

To listen to my discussion with an Arminian over this subject: CLICK HERE


[1] http://baptistcenter.net/journals/JBTM_10-1_Spring_2013.pdf [Note: I highly recommend reading this journal article by Dr. Adam Harwood explaining in great detail why Traditionalists are not Semi-Pelagian.]

[2] Matt Slick, CARM Ministries: https://carm.org/pelagianism

[3] Bonner, Gerald (2004). “Pelagius (fl. c.390–418), theologian”. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/21784. Retrieved 28 October 2012.

[4] Pohle, Joseph. “Pelagius and Pelagianism.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 18 Jan. 2014

[5] Loraine Boettner, Calvinism in History: Before the Reformation, web site, available from http://www.seeking4truth.com/before_reformation.htm; Internet; accessed 17 April 2015.

[6] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion: web page: https://books.google.com/books?id=0aB1BwAAQBAJ&pg=PA259&lpg=PA259&dq=or+speak+confusedly+on+this+subject,+that+almost+nothing+certain+can+be+derived+from+their+writings&source=bl&ots=qBEMo_kr1v&sig=FjMfiVDcr7iliN31rPJ5pVSraI4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiy5YqU3P_KAhVGmIMKHZGXBgYQ6AEIHzAB#v=onepage&q=or%20speak%20confusedly%20on%20this%20subject%2C%20that%20almost%20nothing%20certain%20can%20be%20derived%20from%20their%20writings&f=false

[7]  Robert Arakaki, Calvin Dissing the Early Church Fathers: https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxbridge/calvin-dissing-the-fathers/

[8] Augustine is known for his nine-year fascination with Manichaeism: http://blogs.record-eagle.com/?p=4705

[9] The determination of the Council of Orange (529) could be considered “semi-Augustinian.” It defined that faith, though a free act, resulted even in its beginnings from the grace of God, enlightening the human mind and enabling belief. However, it also explicitly denied double predestination (of the equal-ultimacy variety), stating, “We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema.” The document links grace with baptism, which was not a controversial subject at the time. It received papal sanction.[Oakley, Francis (Jan 1, 1988), The Medieval Experience: Foundations of Western Cultural Singularity, University of Toronto Press, p. 64.; Thorsen, Don (2007), An Exploration of Christian Theology, Baker Books, 20.3.4. Cf. Second Council of Orange ch.5-7; H.J. Denzinger Enchiridion Symbolorum et Definitionum, 375-377; C. H. (1981) [1967]. “Faith”. The New Catholic Encyclopedia 5. Washington D.C. p. 797; Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005]

[10] Adams, Nicholas (2007). “Pelagianism: Can people be saved by their own efforts?”. In Quash, Ben; Ward, Michael. Heresies and How to Avoid Them. London: SPCK Publishing. p. 91.

[11] Named after 16th Century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina, is a religious doctrine which attempts to reconcile the providence of God with human free will: Joseph Pohle, “Semipelagianism” in Catholic Encyclopedia 1912.

[12] https://carm.org/semi-pelagianism [Note: Ironically there is also much dispute as to whether Cassian actually taught what he was accused of teaching as well: The view that Cassian propounded Semipelagianism has been disputed. Lauren Pristas, writes: “For Cassian, salvation is, from beginning to end, the effect of God’s grace. It is fully divine. Salvation, however, is salvation of a rational creature who has sinned through free choice. Therefore, salvation necessarily includes both free human consent in grace and the gradual rehabilitation in grace of the faculty of free choice. Thus Cassian insists salvation is also fully human. His thought, however, is not Semi-Pelagian, nor do readers who submit to the whole corpus emerge Semi-Pelagians.” [see Lauren Pristas (1993), The Theological Anthropology of John Cassian, PhD dissertation, Boston College, OCLC 39451854]

235 thoughts on “Pelagianism: The Boogie Man

  1. Wonderful article!!!
    Although I did want to tease out the term “cooperation” with God used in the article, my initial response is to the use of the Boogie-Man tactic.

    This strategy – better known as the “Strawman fallacy” is a tactic in which an opponent manufactures a fabricated façade of his opponent’s position. One which is conveniently easy to knock down. And then paints his opponent with that façade in order to get his opponent to fall over with it.

    Dr, Daniel H. Cohen, expert in Argumentation Theory, and the Philosophy of Language, tells us, this strategy effectively stands up in opposition to a love for or pursuit of the truth, and is driven by a base animal urgency to win.

    What does an arguer gain from using this tactic? When it works, it reinforces his reliance upon dishonesty. His defeat over his opponent using it, provides an illusion of winning, and that illusion serves to only further corrupt his ability to discern truth from falsehood. In the long run, it turns him into the bigger looser.

    The Christian who lowers himself to using this tactic is unwittingly broadcasting to the world, that he is driven by an urgency to “win” at the unwitting sacrifice of dishonoring truth. And Paul would simply call this behavior “σαρκικοί, περιπατεῖτε κατὰ ἄνθρωπον “ (carnally minded – walking according to man’s lower nature).

    So the Christian who deflects to using it is simply revealing carnal urgencies.

    Another great article!!
    My sincere thanks – Dr. Flowers :-]

  2. Great example Leighton of how at the foundations of Calvinism (determinism) there lies a trust in the scholarship of man and in ecclesiastically approved definitions and labels. I would not want either Augustine or Pelagius to teach in a pulpit or to give a lecture to a group of people unless there was a confrontation with them polemically, for they both taught a false sacramental gospel – that of baptismal regeneration and forgiveness through baptism.

    I am not saying that either Augustine or Pelagius were not saved, for only God knows if their trust was completely in the finished work of Christ on Calvary for the payment of their sins. But their sacramental gospel clearly disqualifies them from a teaching ministry for it “tells” the layperson in the pew to trust in the effects of his baptism and in the priestly mediation that was provided for it. Why do we trust the theological musings of anyone to be authoritative if they could not even get the gospel defined correctly?

    1. Hi BrianWagner,

      What if Baptism is not biblically classified as a human work that we perform for God. What if it is a work that God does for us, a gift from him grounded in the Gospel? What if we are just a receiver of the gift, relying on the grace offered in the Gospel, that is, only on the Lord and his mercy, knowing that he won our salvation on the cross of Calvary and we can never earn or deserve it? Those who believe that God uses means to perform his work would argue adamantly that Baptism is no where described in scripture as a human work but is instead a Divine work.

      If that option is correct, wouldn’t that fix the supposed discrepancy between justification by faith without works of the law and Baptismal regeneration?

      I think this is the key question. When Scripture describes Baptism specifically, is it described as a human work that we do or as something In which God is at work for us, within us ? It seems the person is spoken of passively as a receiver in the passages about baptism. I know the doctrinal positions on this issue but what does the Word actually say specifically in those passages that speak of the One Baptism? Also we know there is only ONE Baptism . So is it a Work of God that he gives us or is it only a work of man in obedience to an ordinance? What saith the Scripture? Colossians 2:10-13. Romans 6 are some references that come to mind.

      Thank you.

      1. Thank you dnjohn for your thoughtful response. I’m guessing you have heard all the arguments in favor of believer’s baptism from Scriptures, like it was for those made disciples (Matt 28:19), assuming they made a personal response like all disciples do before baptism, or that Peter called it an answer of a good conscience (1Pet 3:21), clearly defining it as something one who already has a good conscience give testimony of. But consider this… You seem to be saying “grounded in the Gospel” means actually a part of the gospel and how the benefits of the gospel must be received.

        It’s like saying, the Good News is Jesus paid for our sins on the cross and rose again so we could have resurrection life, but we get none of those things unless we get baptized in water, which is also baptism by the Holy Spirit into Christ… and this grace has to be through faith, so the faith has to be given to an infant and they have to be accepted as disciples and having an answer of a good conscience, even though they make no personal affirmation of either.

        But Paul clearly separates water baptism from the gospel, and does not want to make the preaching of the gospel a vain exercise by emphasizing baptism – 1Co 1:17 NKJV – For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

        The passages like Eph 4, Col 2, and Rom 6 are all about baptism by the Spirit into the Body of Christ. Water baptism illustrates an answer of a good conscience that such a Spirit baptism has already taken place. There is a difference between baptism by the Spirit into Christ which is personal salvation through personal faith (like with Cornelius) and baptism into the name of the Lord using water is a testimony of Spirit baptism (like with Cornelius).

      2. 1 Peter 3:21 is translated various ways in the phrase you referenced one of which is ” appeal to God FOR a good conscience” (NASB). The Greek does not say FROM a good conscience. There is one body, one Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.

        Many references include water and Spirit together. John 3:3-5 Born again of ” water and the Spirit, Titus 3:5 “washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Ephesians…”washing of water with the word”. Acts: Arise and be Baptized and wash away your sins, calling upon the name of the Lord. Acts 2:38,39. The Colossian passage is especially clear that Baptism is God’s work. The earliest Christian’s did not have this baptisitic view at all.

        Since Peter preached the promise of the Holy Spirt connected with Baptism Acts 2:38,39…there is no reason to make it a human work and seperate from Spirit Baptism. The NT does not teach two christian baptisms.

        The baptism of John was pre christian and those who received this symbolic baptism had to receive the Christian sacramant of Baptism. See Acts 19. So there is still one baptism in the NT as Paul says.

        Conversion is not regeneration.

        In the NT, resurrection is referred to as a begetting or birth. For example: Jesus is the First “Begotten” of the dead in Revelation 1. In Acts 13:33 God says at his resurrection: “Thou art my son. This day have I begotten thee”….taken from Psalm 2. So the new birth is our resurrection. Saint Paul says this happens in Baptism. Conversion is not the new birth. The new birth is being born again, born from above in water and the Spirit. It is not symbolic of the past but a means of Grace through which God works in a person. Totally a gift and work of grace. It is not a mere ordinance or obedience that we do for him. Thank you for your thoughtful reply too.

      3. dnjohn, I wish you would have responded to the other texts and arguments I gave, instead of just ignoring them and throwing out the typical baptismal regeneration proof texts… but as for 1Pet 3:21, the Greek does not say – “FOR a good conscience.” It is συνειδήσεως ἀγαθῆς ἐπερώτημα , genitive-genitive-predicate nominative, “of a conscience, a good one, answer” The most natural sense would be subjective genitive, the answer from the conscience.

        There was no Christian baptism in John 3:5, when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus. Titus 3:5 only teaches the Holy Spirit does the renewing, and Regeneration does the washing, as the parallelism clearly shows. Paul, in Acts 22 was challenged to be baptized and to clean up his life (see 2Cor 7:1). And Acts 2:38 puts the responsbility of repentance clearly before baptism, and the NT ties repentance and faith in the gospel, not baptism, to the forgiveness of sins.

        John the Baptist’s baptism was not offered to children, who were even pushed away by the disciples when brought to Jesus for His blessing, not for baptism. And when circumcision was pushed for salvation in Acts 15, Peter did not respond and say – “Now we have baptism for converts and their children, so we don’t need circumcision.” No, he said – Act 15:7-9 NKJV – … “Men [and] brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as [He did] to us, 9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” And this was about Cornelius’ salvation experience, before he was baptized in water… right?

        So now perhaps you can answer the passages I gave you, especially Paul’s separation of baptism from the gospel in 1Cor 1:17. Thanks. I have nothing else to add if you decide not to, but respond with other texts. All the best.

      4. if Baptism is a testimony to the congregation of one’s conversion, why the private baptisms ? Phillipian jailer and his household baptized privately at midnight. Ananias and saint Paul same thing…not in a public gathering and other examples. Baptisms traditionally are done in the context of Liturgical worship but these biblical passages show that it was not for public testimony or they would have waited to the Lord’s day gathering.
        Paul preached and left the baptisms to the local clergy. He never disparaged baptism at all just delegated it. He did not like the personality factions that were developing apparently around who was baptized by who. So he focused on preaching the gospel and had less eminent men do the baptizing.
        Even though the infants were part of israel, the disciples did not grasp the spiritual reality of their inclusion in the kingdom and forbade them. Jesus rebuked them for that and said for the children to come to him because to them belong the kingdom of God. Many things about the kingdom were given to them in later instruction from our Lord during the 40 days between ressurection and ascension.
        St. PAUL says he, having cleansed the church with the washing of water with the Word. Ephesians 5:26. St.Paul also says: you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11. The washing is not disconnected from baptism as you suppose. When Paul wrote washing of regeneration or more clearly ” Bath of rebirth” everyone knew what he meant as evidenced by the university and antiquity of the Church everywhere recognizing that as Holy Baptism. There is one baptism. We are baptized into Christ through the One Baptism for the remission of sins i.e The sacrament of holy Baptism in Christ’s Church. It is of Grace and NOT from us as a human work. Thanks for the dialogue.

  3. Thank you Leighton! Excellent article.
    When I first read your use of the word cooperation in “First, do Traditionalists (like myself) believe that “God and man cooperate to achieve man’s salvation?” Of course not!” I was a little confused. However, I realized before I read the next sentence where you were going with it. From your articles and discussions I’ve gained an understanding of how the Calvinists have conflated God’s act of salvation (First making Himself known and seeking out men through creation, the gospel, the witness of the Holy Spirit, etc and then responding to those who believe in the person and work of His Son with His mercy and grace) and man’s responsibility (simply responding to God’s call for humility, repentance, and belief in Christ, which merits us nothing) into one act of “salvation.”
    Certainly God and man do not cooperate to achieve man’s salvation.
    I might have before used the words cooperation or Synergism, even though I might mean something different when I use them, but I can now see how those words are confusing and can contribute to the conflation of man’s responsibility with God’s act of salvation. Because they can be so easily confusing, probably best to simply not to use those words altogether.

  4. Great post, but this one comment concerns me and I would love for you to respond. I am by no means a Calvinist, however, I think you need to distinguish between ‘before’ and ‘after’ when it comes to this statement:

    We believe salvation is wholly of God in that He owes no man forgiveness or eternal life, even if they freely repent and humbly submit to Him as Lord and Savior. Asking for forgiveness no more merits that forgiveness than the prodigal son’s return home merited the reception he received from his father. That was the choice of a gracious father alone.

    What I mean by that is – and this is the best way I can think of to explain what I am saying: I hear people say, ‘Well God is sovereign and He can do anything He wants.’ Well… perhaps yes, perhaps no. God has willfully and by He eternal design written a book that has laid out a beautiful plan of salvation – to be given as a gift. Now, before Creation, yes, you could say that God was free to do anything, say anything, but really He is not. He is not by definition free to do or say anything that is contrary to His divine nature, which is perfect and Holy, and cannot be perverted. Furthermore, after God revealed Himself as He has through general revelation – Creation, and special revelation – the Word of God, He has (sorry if there’s a better word – this is not the best) ‘limited’ Himself to do everything that He has promised in His Word and by the rainbow, yes? So, now you could say that He MUST do what He has promised to do. I.e., He has made it very clear that if I repent of my sin and believe on the Work of Christ, I WILL be saved. There is no uncertainty about that promise or any promise of God, for that matter. He therefore as I see it is obligated to save me, because He would be lying otherwise, even tho the actual work of saving me is 100% God and has nothing to do with me, granted.

    I think this is therefore an incorrect statement to make and needs to be clarified. Sure, ‘asking’ forgiveness does not merit any divine merit, any more than someone in the middle of the lake who is drowning is yelling out to someone on the shore and begging to be saved merits any ‘favor’ with that person, but it DOES hold God accountable to keep His promises, which is to honor that repentance and save that person. To say anything else would be to call God a liar. He has designed it so. So in a sense, He DOES owe that person. Or, another way to say it is, God absolutely keeps His promises and His Word is true. I think there are better words to be more accurate, but that’s why I am responding to this 😊.

    I am sure that you can clarify this and re-state it to be more accurate sir.

    God bless.

    Tom Franseen

    1. Tom, I agree with almost everything you said. It may be a nuance of difference, but I think you are saying that God “owes” Himself to be faithful to His promise. Perhaps “owes us” is a little too strong, since it infers we have “earned” something. Grace remains a gift, underserved.

    2. What if our idea of faith and God’s are different? What if it includes the life lived in union with Christ? What if one can choose not to abide in Christ ( John 15)? I think if one thinks of God being obligated to save us, no matter what, once we have one time placed faith in the Lord Jesus, isn’t that presumption in light of all of the IF passages of scripture. It is clear that God views faith dynamically and as something that must be on going and not as a “point in time” past event. The danger is that one may be tempted to use a past faith experience to assure oneself of safety when they may be living in sin, apart from vital union with Christ. Scripture never tells us to do any such thing. I am not implying anything about any particular person just speaking generally here. It just seems presumptuous to say one will be saved or God is a liar. Perhaps one has misunderstood something. Just some thoughts. God bless.

  5. It is often stunning to me how much credence Calvinists give to Mary-adoring, saint-venerating, baptismal-regenerating Augustine!

    When Boettner and Calvin say that Augustine “was the first to bring this idea” —- that should cause us concern not confidence!

    1. English historian, Theodore Maynard, in The story of American Catholicism writes:
      -quote:
      “It has often be charged… that Catholicism has been overlaid with many pagan incrustations.
      Catholicism is ready to accept that charge – and to make it her boast.
      The great god Pan is not really dead, he is baptized.”

      Augustine corresponded by letter to a close friend Nebridius, who praises how Augustine’s letters: “speak of Christ, Plato and Plotinus”.

      Robert Lane Fox – in “Augustine: Conversions to Confessions”
      -quote:
      “As ever, Nebridius is acute and insatiably curious. Augustine’s letters, he [Nebridius] writes, ‘sometimes speak of Christ, sometimes of Plato, sometimes of Plotinus”.

      Neoplatonism and Christianity – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoplatonism_and_Christianity
      -quote:
      “Neoplatonism was a major influence on Christian theology throughout Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages in the West. This was due to St. Augustine of Hippo, who was influenced by the early Neoplatonists Plotinus and Porphyry…….”

      The great doctrines of Plotinus are not dead – their baptized.

  6. Interesting that you mention Hitler. No man has so much slander smeared across his name than Hitler. I remember being taught how evil he was without even listening to him speak. This was done by both my pastors and teachers. I never gave him a fair chance. Funny things happen when we listen to people in context. Today, I am more silent on Hitler because I know my betheren regurgitate words taught to them. The same way people regurgitate fake news.
    Another example of this was Kierkegaard. Many Christians believe the man was a heretic. One of our pastors said he was a pagan.
    I could have just listened to his out of context quotes or I could have done some research. For those people who cannot fathom why I, a lover of God and all men seem to have no ill thoughts about Hitler, there are many sources.
    The biggest and most thorough has to be The Greatest Story Never Told.

    1. Stefooch,
      I realize that the “winner writes the history books,” but I would tread very lightly on any defense of Hitler.

      I went to school in So Cal before you were born and had Christian friends who had numbers tattooed on their arms. They have real stories to tell.

      It is still illegal in Hungary, Romania, Austria, and Germany to deny the holocaust. These are not victim-countries with an ax to grind; they are the (alleged) perpetrator-countries who have many citizens in their 90’s who lived through those years.

      I do not think that you and I should take over this blog about this (I am not passionate about this subject like I am about the work of Christ), but I imagine that even the DVD author has ‘some’ ill thoughts about Hitler, so I urge you to avoid the “no ill thoughts about Hitler” phrase.

      1. Illegal thoughts was the first thing that made me wonder. Lies need to be pointed out. You probably believe Mandela was a saint too.

  7. It’s not the association that matters. It’s the content of the doctrine that matters. If Prof. Flowers espouses the doctrines of Palagius, then he’s in error. It’s not about boogie-man association. It’s about truth!

    1. Troy,
      I can’t even be sure you read the article. Mainly what he said was —-Pelagius was reported to believe/say a lot of things that he didn’t.

    2. But that’s the point Troy, it is lazy and irrational to say “this guy believes X, therefore if you say X, you’re wrong”. Dr Flower’s arguments are wrong because not cause someone else you don’t like held to the same position.

    3. I occasionally read postings from Orthodox Christian authors on the historical evidence concerning Augustine vs Pelagius.
      Unfortunately, due to the politics at the time, very little first hand writings are available from Pelagius.

      That being said, their consensus is that even with Pelagius’ emphasis on human ability – the little quantity of first-hand writings available to analyze Pelagius – reveal a much higher degree of consistency with scripture than do Augustine’s – whose doctrine was heavily polluted with NeoPlatonism and the remaining doctrinal residue he retained from Manichaeism.

      If it is true that – quote “It’s not the association that matters. It’s the content of the doctrine that matters. ”
      Then Dr. Flowers pointing out that “Semi-Gnosticism” is also a viable label for Calvinism.

      1. br.d

        If you go to monergism.com you will see that there are 4 pages of links to articles that venerated Augustine. He is raised to sainthood over and over. Authors are tripping over each other trying to be the one to sing the highest praise about a man who worshiped Mary and the saints, and believed in baptismal regeneration. He clearly promoted infant baptism (which is great for Sproul!) which Piper and others who sing his praises would firmly disagree with. It is amazing what people will let “theologians” get away with as long as they toe the line on determinism-fatalism.

        On the other hand Pelagius is vilified on the same web site.

        Now…..if you bring up any of this to Calvinists they will claim “we do not have enough evidence to know that Augustine worshiped Mary.” Ironic since apparently we have enough writings and evidence for Sproul and Calvin and Piper to call him the father of all good reformed theology!

        The same is true for Pelagius. Obviously (for Troy and others) there is enough “first hand evidence” to condemn Pelagius…..but when Leighton and others show otherwise….. the cry just gets louder….. “heretic!”

        Rule #1: Repeat what you read on monergism.com.
        Rule #2: Repeat louder.

      2. Yes – I totally agree.
        These are part and parcel with Calvinism’s perennial degree of dishonesty.
        Calvinism (en mass) manifests what Paul would call a “carnal” form of Christianity.
        Hero-worship, philosophical double-speak, and intellectual dishonesty are three of Calvinism’s most observable red-flags.

        The best Greek word I know to describe Calvinism is “κατακυριεύουσιν” (a base human instinct for preeminence and the urgency to subordinate others).

        Straining at “Pelagiun” gnats, while swallowing a whole “Gnostic/NeoPlatonist” camel.

        But all their works they do to be seen of men.
        They make broad their (doctrinal) phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their (theological) garments.
        They seek after the uppermost positions, and the chief seats among you.

  8. Dr. Flowers writes, “Pelagius….was accused of teaching that people had the natural ability to fulfill the commands of God by an exercise of the human will apart from divine assistance (grace).”

    Given that little of Pelagius’ writings have survived, and some contend that he disguised his true thinking when confronted in a formal trial setting. we are left with people’s impressions of Pelagius and his teaching. His dispute with Augustine seems to begin with Augustine’s prayer, “Grant what Thou commandest, and command what Thou dost desire.” Pelagius is said to have objected to “Grant what Thou commandest,” and this seems to form the basis for the accusations against him. This leads to the conclusion Dr. Flowers noted, “Pelagianism came to be known as the belief that mankind is born basically good, without a sinful nature, and is thus capable of doing good without God’s help.” The issue with Augustine centered on Original Sin.

    In previous blogs, Dr. Flowers has voiced problems with Original Sin and it is because of this that he might be labeled Pelagian. We see this in a blog titled “Born Dead – Dead Wrong,” where Dr. Flowers initiates discussion asking, “The analogy of being “dead” is seen throughout the scriptures, but can it be demonstrated to mean that mankind is born completely and totally unable to willingly respond to God Himself, as the Calvinists presume?” He then argues, NO! This position seems to be the same as that of Pelagius and would seem to support labeling Dr. Flowers as a Pelagian.

    1. But not dead enough to be sent to hell for rejecting the gospel. If a dead person is held responsible (response-able) to reject the truth, then why can’t a dead person be held responsible (respons-able) to accept the truth? If both are dead in the same meaning, then why not? Being spiritually dead doesn’t equal “unable”. Just the same being able doesn’t equal being good if everyone is able.

      1. Yeah Damon…..it’s like I said.

        They say we are “man-centered” because we believe that man can respond to God’s call. they they are just as “man-centered” in saying that man is the reason that he is condemn. Own it all guys. God save or condemns. Dont give any of it to man.

      2. DG writes, “But not dead enough to be sent to hell for rejecting the gospel.”

        People are sent to hell (i.e., not able to enter heaven) because they are sinners and demonstrate this by their sin. The gospel provides the means for a sinner to deal with both his nature and his sin. It is the means to escape hell and enter heaven as the sinner is already condemned to hell.

        Then, “If a dead person is held responsible (response-able) to reject the truth, then why can’t a dead person be held responsible (respons-able) to accept the truth? If both are dead in the same meaning, then why not?”

        The sinner is held responsible for what he is and what he does. He rejects God as that is his natural behavior. The issue is whether he will accept the truth and enter heaven. What does Paul write, ” …the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness,…” (1 Corinthians 1)

        Then, “Being spiritually dead doesn’t equal “unable”. ”

        Jesus said in John 6, “No one can come to me…” How do you understand His statement?

        Then, “Just the same being able doesn’t equal being good if everyone is able.”

        Able to do what?

      3. Same “tired” verses trotted out that are called upon to prove more than they teach! The so-called precious “elect” of the determinist certainly were “perishing” at one time and thought the gospel was “foolishness” (1Cor 1). And Praise to the Father that He does draw everyone sufficiently to a point of decision to seek His mercy. Without His drawing no-one could come. But the verse does not limit in any way the audience of who is drawn to a specific group (John 6).

      4. Brian:
        Had the very same reaction to the “those who are perishing…..foolishness” when I read it. That is supposed to be a gothca verse!!! The gospel is foolishness (at first) to those who repent also….so that proves nothing….. not a thing!!

        We are perishing…..we hear the gospel…..it is foolishness to us. Later for some it is not…it is beauty. So? The foolishness idea still applied to them (back then). They were perishing and it was foolishness!

        This only proves what you learned with John 6:44 that no matter what is said….. comparing on of their 40-50 gotcha verses to 500 other verses in Scripture makes no difference….. they will just trot out the same old stuff to the next guy who comes along.

      5. FOH writes, “…they will just trot out the same old stuff to the next guy who comes along.”

        To FOH, the Scriptures are “old stuff” compared to his enlightened philosophy.

      6. brianwagner writes, “Praise to the Father that He does draw everyone sufficiently to a point of decision to seek His mercy.”

        This is your personal philosophy using “sufficiently” in a very nebulous manner – difficult even for you to define.

        Then, “Without His drawing no-one could come.”

        Yes – the Total Depravity with which Dr. Flowers has problems.

        Then, “But the verse does not limit in any way the audience of who is drawn to a specific group (John 6).”

        Yes – This being inclusive of both Jews and gentiles – whomever God will draw.

      7. Not my “personal philosophy” – God’s stated purpose – “that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17), “that men should seek the Lord… and find Him” (Acts 17:27)… So since universalism is not true, and determinism reinterprets “world” and “men” to unnatural limited number, the best natural understanding of those words and His purpose is that God gives sufficient light to each person to seek Him, but not irresistibly. (John 1:9)

      8. brianwagner writes, “Not my “personal philosophy” – God’s stated purpose – “that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17), “that men should seek the Lord… and find Him” (Acts 17:27)…”

        You said, “Praise to the Father that He does draw everyone sufficiently to a point of decision to seek His mercy.” The key phrase being, “…draw everyone sufficiently…” Your cited verses do not speak explicitly of God’s drawing but point to that which God has done for people even prior to His drawing. Did you mean to have these verses apply after God’s drawing?

      9. Sorry Roger you didn’t make the connection! I thought you believed that God always fulfills His purposes! 😉 Where we disagree is on how He does it and what He meant when He stated His purposes so clearly. Sufficiently drawing everyone to be able to seek and find, but not irresistibly is the best explanation of how God fulfills His purposes in those verses.

      10. brianwagner writes, “Sorry Roger you didn’t make the connection!”

        Yes, and because you are the teacher here, the burden is on you to explain it..

        Then, “I thought you believed that God always fulfills His purposes! 😉 Where we disagree is on how He does it and what He meant when He stated His purposes so clearly.”

        God does fulfill His purpose. We both know that there have been people who have lived throughout history without once hearing the gospel. Thus, God speaks, in the verses cited, of mankind in general and not specifically of each and every individual. So, is it true as you claimed, “…He does draw everyone sufficiently to a point of decision to seek His mercy”? You must conclude that God draws by means other than the gospel – True? But, “sufficient” would seem to require conveyance of faith and this is only possible through the gospel. So, I find your position confusing.

        Then, “Sufficiently drawing everyone to be able to seek and find, but not irresistibly is the best explanation of how God fulfills His purposes in those verses.”

        By “not irresistibly,” you allow that people can be drawn and still conclude that the gospel is foolishness. However, such people said the gospel was foolishness before being drawn. So, your drawing appears not to have been “sufficient” for much of anything (other than to save God’s elect).

      11. He has and does sufficiently draw everyone, and faith is possible from birth to trust whatever truth/mercy/goodness God uses to lead to repentance.

        “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” – Rom 2:4 NKJV

        “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” – Rom 10:16-18 NKJV

        The evidence is clear and God’s purpose is being fulfilled… Men are able to seek and find Him based on what He has provided to each of them. I am sorry your loyalty to determinism blinds you from seeing this clear biblical teaching.

      12. brianwagner writes, “Men are able to seek and find Him based on what He has provided to each of them….”

        I am still not buying your claim that every person who has ever lived has heard the gospel. So, we disagree.

      13. I’m willing to concede Roger that they at least heard enough to enable them sufficiently to seek God and His mercy. Those who seek will find. The Scriptures are clear on God’s purpose for everyone. You just want to believe that He is unable to have conditonal purposes and a future in His mind that is not completely determined. Yours is the weaker view of God, imo.

      14. “The sinner is held responsible for what he is and what he does.”
        Since, in your system, he can do nothing that God didn’t program him to do, this is a nonsense statement. He is responsible for the sin of rejecting God when God left no other option open to him? How does that work with God not being willing that any should perish? Seems to make God more than willing that most should perish because he created them for the purpose of perishing.

      15. WW:
        This is one of the Calvinist-determinist “mysteries” . They are convinced that this inexplicable contradiction is true.

        God condemns and provides no way of escape (and decrees before the foundation of the world)…..yet man is responsible.

        Illogical and unbiblical.

        Of course we believe that man is responsible!!! and exactly for the reason that he CAN respond.

      16. FOH writes, “…he CAN respond.”

        Earlier, you said, “We are perishing…..we hear the gospel…..it is foolishness to us.” So can a person respond positively to the gospel or can’t he? FOH displays his confusion again.

      17. Hutch, I think the confusion is yours. Just because we are perishing and the Gospel sounds like foolishness to us does not mean we cannot respond to it. Does full or even correct understanding of theology preclude repentance and throwing ourselves at the mercy of Jesus?

      18. EK writes, “Just because we are perishing and the Gospel sounds like foolishness to us does not mean we cannot respond to it.”

        I agree. People are able to respond to the gospel, and that response is to reject it (because it is foolishness to them).

        Then, “Does full or even correct understanding of theology preclude repentance and throwing ourselves at the mercy of Jesus? ”

        Yes, as Paul explains, “…a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Corinthians 2) In Romans 8, Paul adds, “…the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Then, Romans 1, “…even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Absent the influence of the Spirit of God, no person is going to conclude that the gospel is other than foolishness.

      19. Hutch, “I agree. People are able to respond to the gospel, and that response is to reject it (because it is foolishness to them).”

        But you’re equivocation of the word “respond” renders your argument invalid. “Can respond to the Gospel” and “can only reject the Gospel” are not the same thing. Indeed, “can only reject the Gospel” is not a “response”. That violates the definition of “response” and makes it equal to “react”.

        It also artfully dodges my argument. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that just because the Gospel is foolishness to the natural man (which I do not even think it says this), therefore, he cannot respond to it/can only react one way to it.

        ““…a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Corinthians 2)”

        And if I thought the context of 1 Cor 2 showed us that Paul was talking about the Gospel proclamation and the unbelievers acceptance of that proclamation, I would agree with you. Instead, I think you just get the text wrong here because it fits your systematic.

        ” In Romans 8, Paul adds, “…the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.””

        The mind being hostile to God and unable to subject itself to the law of God does not prove that man is unable to admit they are hostile to God and so throw themselves at the mercy of the One who fulfilled the Law for them. Sorry, it does not matter how many times you repeat this argument, “Cannot fulfil the law” simply does not mean “cannot respond in faith to the Gospel”. It just does not.

        “Then, Romans 1, “…even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.””

        This passage does the opposite of what you think. You just interpreted 1 Cor 2 as meaning that the natural man cannot even understand the simplest spiritual truth (namely, “you are a sinner in need of a savior”) such as to be saved and yet Romans 1 says that natural men “knew God”. Which is it?

        “Absent the influence of the Spirit of God, no person is going to conclude that the gospel is other than foolishness.”

        It is shocking to me that you think that saying that the proclamation of Gospel is absent the influence of the Spirit of God is a superior position. You are literally, from your own mouth, saying that the Gospel has zero inherent spiritual power. I beg you to reconsider, brother.

      20. Eric:
        you sound like you just got here! Hutch has been rocking back and forth on this horse for a long time.

        You and I and most people know that having one answer “no” is not really a choice (Henry Ford: “They can buy it in any color they want as long as it’s black”)…..but Calvinists can’t see that. They bring too many presuppositions to the table.

        Brian clearly showed that saying the gospel is foolishness proves nothing since it is foolishness to all who are perishing (at first)—- even the ones who eventually turn to Christ. But ……but ……they still bring that verse out like it is a show-stopper when a new guy gets in the conversation.

        Brian has exegeted John 6:44, what, about four times…. and they still say “you never told us what John 6:44 means.”

        They have a glaze over their eyes and any answer that is not from monergism.com doesn’t count… no matter how many clear verses you stack up on it.

      21. OverHere, “you sound like you just got here! Hutch has been rocking back and forth on this horse for a long time.”

        I did just get here kinda! To the comments section anyway. I’ve fallen into the newb trap apparently.

      22. FOH wrutes, “Brian clearly showed that saying the gospel is foolishness proves nothing since it is foolishness to all who are perishing (at first)—- even the ones who eventually turn to Christ.”

        Brian affirms Total Depravity. No problem there.

        Then, “Brian has exegeted John 6:44, what, about four times…. and they still say “you never told us what John 6:44 means.””

        Brian has provided his take on 6:44. He thinks it implies that a person drawn by God can reject that drawing – and he must do this because the alternative is the Calvinist position. If someone understands Brian’s position on 6:44, that is fine – I suspect you don’t.

        The NET Bible offers this explanation – “The Father who sent me draws him. The author never specifically explains what this “drawing” consists of. It is evidently some kind of attraction; whether it is binding and irresistible or not is not mentioned. But there does seem to be a parallel with 6:65, where Jesus says that no one is able to come to him unless the Father has allowed it. This apparently parallels the use of Isaiah by John to reflect the spiritual blindness of the Jewish leaders (see the quotations from Isaiah in John 9:41 and 12:39-40).”

      23. EK writes, “Indeed, “can only reject the Gospel” is not a “response”. That violates the definition of “response” and makes it equal to “react”.”

        I don’t think there is a real difference between response and react in the context of hearing the gospel. A person responds/reacts to the gospel in either a positive or negative manner. That’s the way I see it.

        Then, “Nowhere in Scripture does it say that just because the Gospel is foolishness to the natural man (which I do not even think it says this), therefore, he cannot respond to it/can only react one way to it.”

        Scripture tells us that the response/reaction to the gospel is to call the gospel foolishness.

        Then, “I think you just get the text wrong here because it fits your systematic.”

        OK. You are free to suggest an alternative explanation.

        Then, “Sorry, it does not matter how many times you repeat this argument, “Cannot fulfil the law” simply does not mean “cannot respond in faith to the Gospel”. It just does not.”

        It says (1) [the mind set on the flesh] does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and (2) those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Would not a person “please” God if they responded in faith to the gospel? However, absent the hearing of the gospel, there can be no response – to which we both seem to agree, while disagreeing on the meaning of “hearing” the gospel.

        Then, “You just interpreted 1 Cor 2 as meaning that the natural man cannot even understand the simplest spiritual truth (namely, “you are a sinner in need of a savior”) such as to be saved and yet Romans 1 says that natural men “knew God”. Which is it? ”

        Both. People can know about God through observation of the creation – that God is omnipotent, eternal, sovereign, etc. However, Romans 1 tells us that people reject God at this level. Then we come to a person’s understanding of the gospel and Christ’s death on the cross. More than just rejecting God, this says that people call the gospel foolishness (a person can understand the basic concepts stated in the words since they call it foolishness) and cannot do otherwise because such is a spiritual understanding.

        Then, “You are literally, from your own mouth, saying that the Gospel has zero inherent spiritual power.”

        The option here is to say that the gospel has true spiritual power and saves (as I do) or the gospel has a watered down power that can try to persuade but not save.

      24. Hutch

        “I don’t think there is a real difference between response and react in the context of hearing the gospel. A person responds/reacts to the gospel in either a positive or negative manner. That’s the way I see it.”

        Then you are knowingly, willingly adhering to a logical fallacy. I suspect this is in service of a greater truth that somehow MUST be true even if you must hold to fallacies to get there. Please allow me to show you: You know full well that a response and a reaction are not the same things. To equate them is a logical fallacy called “equivocation”. Yet you feel able to say the phrase “in the context of hearing the gospel” as if that relieves you of the logical fallacy of equivocation. I suspect you know it doesn’t, you know you’re asking for a special pleading that will allow you to maintain this irrational defence, but hey, as long as you’re able to type a response, right? It works great too, it enables you to sound biblical when you use the word “response” when you really mean “react” and your reader doesn’t know you irrationally equate the two.

        “Scripture tells us that the response/reaction to the gospel is to call the gospel foolishness.”

        Sigh. I see what is going on here. You read my words but you’re not really trying to understand what I’m saying. You read my words with the purpose of grasping onto one of the words/phrases I use and using it to respond. For instance, I argued that seeing the Gospel as foolishness does not preclude responding positively to it, neither rationally nor biblically. You ignored this argument wholesale and then reasserted “calling the gospel foolishness is the same as rejecting it”. Let’s try again: Your argument does not follow and there is no biblical evidence that supports it.

        1 Cor 2: Paul is talking about the nature of spiritual wisdom, not salvation. He starts the chapter by saying “I didn’t come with superior wisdom but with spiritual power” and then in the next paragraph (v. 6) says “But spiritual wisdom is still important” and then goes on in the rest of the chapter to discuss the nature of this spiritual wisdom and why it is important. The paragraph in question is his conclusion of the discussion on spiritual wisdom:

        “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

        Paul is contrasting the “natural man” who is a fool with the “spiritual man” who appraises all things. He’s not contrasting believer vs. unbeliever and is not discussing how salvation is obtained at any time in this context. This is plainly evidenced by his reason for why believers are spiritually mature, “But we have the mind of Christ”. He’s talking to believers about the spiritual wisdom they should value because they have the mind of Christ.

        You just plain read your systematic into something that is not there because it SOUNDS like it can provide evidence for what you already believe to be true.

        “It says (1) [the mind set on the flesh] does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and (2) those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Would not a person “please” God if they responded in faith to the gospel?”

        No. The “please God” in that context is equated with “subject itself to the law of God”. It means pleasing God in the sense of earning salvation. Responding in faith to the Gospel is not meritorious of salvation. Faith does not EARN you righteousness. Honestly, Hutch, brother, do you read Flower’s articles and watch his broadcasts or do you just go on his blog to argue with us? He’s addressed this objection of yours literally hundreds of times. Disagree with it all you like, but please do not act as if this blog you are arguing on does not contain a rebuttal to it repeated dozens of times over.

        I said, ““You just interpreted 1 Cor 2 as meaning that the natural man cannot even understand the simplest spiritual truth (namely, “you are a sinner in need of a savior”) such as to be saved and yet Romans 1 says that natural men “knew God”. Which is it? ”

        You replied, “Both. People can know about God through observation of the creation – that God is omnipotent, eternal, sovereign, etc. However, Romans 1 tells us that people reject God at this level but…people call the gospel foolishness”

        I guess you’re saying that knowing God and His attributes is not “spiritual truth” (so the unbeliever can understand it) yet knowing that that same God provided a way for them to be saved is “spiritual truth”? Where is that in the Bible?

        “The option here is to say that the gospel has true spiritual power and saves (as I do) or the gospel has a watered down power that can try to persuade but not save.”

        But that’s not what you said. You said, “Absent the influence of the Spirit of God, no person is going to conclude that the gospel is other than foolishness.” Whether you realize it or not, you are saying that the Gospel is powerless without a separate working of the Holy Spirit. Left alone, the Gospel has no spiritual power to save. Those are your words. So no, it is not your position that “the gospel has true spiritual power and save”, it is your position that God saves independent FROM the Gospel message.

      25. Sorry Eric,

        I thought since you were a guest writer for Leighton once that you knew what was going on here, but I see by your statement below that I was wrong.

        “Sigh. I see what is going on here. You read my words but you’re not really trying to understand what I’m saying”

        I try to warn no comment-ers to not waste their time, since there is absolutely no effort on his part to dialog/ understand (but I assumed you knew). He is constantly telling Brian that he did not exegete a passage (simply cuz the exegesis did not fancy him), and reserves nothing but ad hominems for me.

      26. fromoverhere, yea, whenever I took a peek I found his comments section to be overwhelming so it was usually just a glance. But I’m learning how to navigate it better and want to try to manage it for him a bit more.

        I’m certainly seeing his tactics first hand. Even if you had warned me I probably still would have engaged anyway. I like to run into brick walls to find out for myself. I’m that kinda guy. Thanks for looking out!

      27. EK writes, “You know full well that a response and a reaction are not the same things.”

        Not so. Miriam-Webster defines “response” as “something constituting a reply or a reaction.” That makes response and reaction to be the same thing. You seem to have in mind a particular definition of “response” and a particular definition of “reaction” that make them mean different things. We need your definitions of these words so that we are on the same page. So, how about giving your definitions and apply your definitions to the issue of salvation.

        You say, “You read my words but you’re not really trying to understand what I’m saying.” Actually, I really don’t know what you are trying to say because I don’t have your definitions of these terms. My ignorance of your terms is not on purpose – you need to define your terms or else I go to the dictionary to define them for you – and that does not seem to be working.

        Then, “I argued that seeing the Gospel as foolishness does not preclude responding positively to it,”

        No, you expressed this opinion. I want to see your argument for this. It seems illogical to me that a person would respond positively to that which he deems foolishness. Can you give an example where a person does this in ordinary life?

        Then, “Paul is contrasting the “natural man” who is a fool with the “spiritual man” who appraises all things. He’s not contrasting believer vs. unbeliever…”

        I see the terms, “natural man,” and “fool” and “wicked” as used throughout the Scriptures to be synonyms for the unbeliever. Then, what is the “spiritual man” if not a believer? What are your definitions of “natural man” and “spiritual man” if not believer and unbeliever? Nonetheless, I agree that Paul is speaking to the maturity of believers – we seem to disagree that Paul is doing this by contrasting the believers with unbelievers.

        Perhaps, we can straighten out definitions and then proceed on to your other comments. Little steps.

      28. ww writes, “Since, in your system, he can do nothing that God didn’t program him to do, this is a nonsense statement. ”

        No programming here. There are, however, collateral impacts from Adam’s sin – but you can disagree.

        Then, “Seems to make God more than willing that most should perish because he created them for the purpose of perishing.”

        That is the Universalist argument.

      29. Universalists may use that argument but that doesn’t mean that it is exclusively a Universalist argument. Basically your whole the argument is that Adam had free will but nobody else does, which of course is pure supposition and actually not calvinism. The whole calvinists system is based on everything happening because of a decision God made before creation, so that nothing happens on a free-will basis, and “programmed”is the right word.

      30. ww writes, “Basically your whole the argument is that Adam had free will but nobody else does, which of course is pure supposition and actually not calvinism.”

        Not exactly. The Calvinist system says that Adam’s freedom of will was not tainted by sin but everyone else’s is tainted because of Adam’s sin. You have a different system.

        Then, “The whole calvinists system is based on everything happening because of a decision God made before creation, so that nothing happens on a free-will basis, and “programmed”is the right word.”

        Not exactly. Calvinism says that God is sovereign and rules over His creation, and you can disagree with that. Of course, your statement requires a definition of “free will” that distinguishes itself from Calvinism. Have you developed a definition, yet?

      31. Until as you explain how”free will” can have any meaning in a predetermined universe, any talk of man’s will is meaningless. Saying men are influenced by sin when God is already completely controlling them, what does that even mean?

      32. ww writes, “Until as you explain how”free will” can have any meaning in a predetermined universe, any talk of man’s will is meaningless.”

        People whose actions are foreknown by God act with free will where they choose those actions according to their desires.

        Then, “Saying men are influenced by sin when God is already completely controlling them, what does that even mean?”

        It means that God controls but does not coerce any person to an action contrary to their desire.

      33. Appealing to foreknowledge again…same old, same old. Foreknowledge is not the question. Predetermined means they only have one choice, the one God chose for them. God chose the choice and the desire before creation, so man’s will is irrelevant in your system.

      34. That’s exactly right!!
        Calvinist double-think goes like this:
        Calvin’s god first-conceived and then renders-certain *EVERY* human sin *AS-IF* he didn’t

      35. ww writes, “Predetermined means they only have one choice, the one God chose for them.”

        Predetermined means that a person’s strongest desire determines that which he chooses. To say that God also chooses means that God does not intervene to prevent that choice.

      36. Dance much? Let me put it this way, if God is predetermining the desire, as the confession states, whose desire is it really? Since God is the one designing your mind, and he has determined that the non-elect individuals mind and heart will never accept him, just how ridiculous is it to claim that that person has free will? He can choose only one thing in response to God and that is to reject him.

      37. ww asks “if God is predetermining the desire, as the confession states, whose desire is it really?”

        That God determines the desire means that He exercises absolute control over the desires of people – it does not mean that God causes those desires.

        Then, “Since God is the one designing your mind, and he has determined that the non-elect individuals mind and heart will never accept him, just how ridiculous is it to claim that that person has free will?”

        God designed people in His image. This means, among other things, that people have the ability to gather information, learn from their environment, think logically, have wants and desires and choose how to satisfy their wants and desires. The person, because of Adam’s sin, is born with a corrupt heart and seeks to satisfy selfishly his wants and desires. God did not make his heart corrupt but decreed that the person inherit Adam’s nature as corrupted by his sin. Thus, a person is born a slave of sin and therefore not free, but within the confines of that slavery to sin, he is able to pursue freely his selfish desires.

        Then, “He can choose only one thing in response to God and that is to reject him.”

        That is because he is hostile to God and desires only to reject God.

      38. ww asks “if God is predetermining the desire, as the confession states, whose desire is it really?”

        rhutchin responds
        That God determines the desire means that He exercises absolute control over the desires of people – it does not mean that God causes those desires.

        br.d
        Calvin’s god first-conceives those sinful desires millennia before the person is born and then renders-them certain as that person’s unavoidable fate – but he doesn’t “cause” them – yeah right! 😉

      39. If embracing a direct contradiction works for you, have at it. If I exercise absolute control over someones desire, then, yes, I choose for them what they can want and what they can’t. Anyone with an iota of common sense can see that truth, but you have to deny it because of a silly Calvinist contradiction caused by a mangled reading of scripture.

        “Thus, a person is born a slave of sin and therefore not free, but within the confines of that slavery to sin, he is able to pursue freely his selfish desires.”

        God: “I created you for hell, but look on the bright side, you still get cucumbers!”

        No thanks, I’ll stick with the loving God of scripture who really does desire everyone’s salvation.

      40. ww qrites, “If I exercise absolute control over someones desire, then, yes, I choose for them what they can want and what they can’t.”

        That you control a person’s desires does not require that you cause those desires. As an analogy, your ability to drive a car and control the speed of the car goes and where it goes is not the same as manufacturing the car so that it can do certain things.

        Then, “I’ll stick with the loving God of scripture who really does desire everyone’s salvation.”

        That’s fine. You say God can desire a perosn’s salvation but is impotent in bringing about the person’s salvation. Calvinism says that God desires a person’s salvation and is omnipotent to bring about the perosn’s salvation.

      41. rhutchin
        That you control a person’s desires does not REQUIRE that you CAUSE those desires

        br.d
        Here the Calvinist plays a shell-game with the term “CAUSE”.
        1) In Calvinism, Calvin’s god is, (per Calvinist philosopher James Anderson) the ULTIMATE SUFFICIENT CAUSE of every sin and evil.
        2) In Calvinism, Calvin’s god is the SOLE NECESSARY CAUSE of every sin and evil.

        Even though it may not be the case that Calvin’s god is the DIRECT CAUSE of a given sin or evil.
        For example, Calvin’s god throws a baby into the fire of Molech.
        The Calvinist can argue that gravity and the laws of motion were the CAUSE the baby’s death in the fire of Molech.

        Calvinist shell games are the same exact game we find with Bill Clinton who gamed term “sexual relations”.
        These shell games allow Calvinists to speak half-truths – while withholding the hole-truth.

      42. I’m glad you agree that my position is scriptural. But I see you couldn’t help setting up the strawman. Obviously I don’t believe that God is impotent to save anyone, but that there is a condition for salvation, namely faith, that God requires, not a secret choosing of a few for salvation.

      43. WW,
        Yes…. note straw men in abundance for them……

        Imagine this:

        Onlooking Egyptians mocking Israelites saying….. “Their God is impotent to save them by Himself. He needs them to mark which doors to pass over with blood! Ha! He cannot even save them without their participation!”

        It is interesting (and sad) that Calvinists label God as impotent for a condition that He Himself put on the situation.

      44. ww writes, “…that there is a condition for salvation, namely faith, that God requires,…”

        God conveys faith to His elect as a gift. God desires the salvation of His elect; His elect are saved.

      45. How to make Calvinist cool-aid

        1 parts Gnosticism (doctrine of good-evil)
        3 parts NeoPlatonism (doctrine of divine immutability)
        6 parts Christianity

        Blend until thoroughly mixed – (i.e., one can no longer discern the different parts). :-]

      46. If this is true, then it follows that God with holds faith from most people, that he doesn’t desire their salvation, and in fact, hates most of humanity. Yet he tells us to even love those who hate and mistreat us. Is the Calvinist more loving than God?

      47. WW,
        Yes…. at the end of the day, God is withholding faith…. but He has condemned them from before time anyway….so no big deal.

        Oh….. but…… but….. gotta throw in a “but they deserve hell!” and that smooths it all over.

      48. ww writes, “If this is true, then it follows that God with holds faith from most people, that he doesn’t desire their salvation, and in fact, hates most of humanity.”

        Apparently so, since it does not appear that all will be saved. If God does not save a person, what hope does that person have.

        Then, “Yet he tells us to even love those who hate and mistreat us. Is the Calvinist more loving than God? ”

        I like the Universalist approach on this. I just think there will be people who will not enter heaven.

      49. “Apparently so, since it does not appear that all will be saved. If God does not save a person, what hope does that person have.”
        So, most likely, we are not saved. Or at best, maybe we can be what? Maybe 20 percent sure we are one of the chosen?

        Of course there will be people who don’t enter heaven. Because they will reject God’s will for them.

      50. ww writes, “Of course there will be people who don’t enter heaven. Because they will reject God’s will for them.”

        It is those who reject God’s offer of salvation with which Calvinism deals. Calvinism says that God can freely choose some of these to save while passing over all others.

      51. “It is those who reject God’s offer of salvation with which Calvinism deals. Calvinism says that God can freely choose some of these to save while passing over all others”
        “What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones”

        “Yet I planted you a choice vine, A completely faithful seed How then have you turned yourself before Me Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine?”

        “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

        God seems awfully upset at people for doing exactly what he created them to do. I could go on for pages with these kinds of verses. If Jesus was a Calvinist, I wonder what he would have said the woman who touched the Hem of His robe?” The faith (which I irresistibly imparted to you before the creation of the world,) has nothing to do with your healing. You were healed only because you were predestined to be healed.”

      52. ww wrotes, “God seems awfully upset at people for doing exactly what he created them to do. I could go on for pages with these kinds of verses.”

        Those verses have God presenting His case. He has given people all they need to decide freely to serve Him. Should a person decide freely not to serve God, then God is under no obligation to save that person. No person has any complaint against God.

        ww writes, ” If Jesus was a Calvinist, I wonder what he would have said the woman who touched the Hem of His robe?” …you were healed only because you were predestined to be healed.””

        He very well could have. He could have told the woman that He knew her before the creation, that God had begun a good work in her, and that He would raise her up at the last day. He chose not to do so, but He does tell believers those things, doesn’t He.

      53. WW,
        Great passages! Of course the Calvinist commentator starts by telling us what these verses do NOT mean…… (it can’t mean that!! …says us).

        Then they say that God has two wills….. the one He tells men not to do (command) and the one He makes them do (sovereign).

        What they never manage to get to in all the nonsensical, logic-defying winding around is why “The Lord God” ever says things in His eternal word like “I expected this, but got this… ”

        And yet…….and yet……. Someone will double-down with some non-answer answer….. and the YRR groupies will shout Amen Amen!

      54. Yep one of my biggest frustrations with the calvinist God is his dishonesty. One of the first things I ever heard a calvinist say that really Disturbed me, was that God creates some people solely to damn them. Being raised Wesleyan I knew that was wrong, but didn’t really know how to express that at the time. This double dealing God is like a mobster who smiles in your face and promises reward, then stabs you in the back. And he acts nothing like Jesus.

      55. WW,
        The last part is the key —-in what way does this resemble Jesus?

        Did they forget that Christ is on earth as the very image of God? Christ is constantly inviting people (rich young ruler) “follow me” and they dont. So if He has really all along designed them for damnation, what kind of an insincere lie is that “invitation”?

      56. ww writes, “God creates some people solely to damn them.”

        What is the difference between “God creates some people solely to damn them,” and “God creates some people knowing they will reject Christ.”.

      57. The answer is obvious. A sincere offer can’t be made if God predetermines the out come. The question doesn’t make sense unless you are assuming God’s knowledge somehow determines a persons response.

      58. ww writes, “A sincere offer can’t be made if God predetermines the out come. The question doesn’t make sense unless you are assuming God’s knowledge somehow determines a persons response.”

        William Craig says that God’s foreknowledge of a future event does not cause the event. So, let’s go with that. Given that, What is the difference between “God creates some people solely to damn them,” and “God creates some people knowing they will reject Christ”?

      59. I guess you either get it or you don’t. As has been spelled out numerous times, in your system, God’s decree is prior to his decision to create. For Arminians, God hates sin, for calvinists, God decreed every sin. For Arminians, God allows people to reject him, but desires thier salvation, for calvinists, God decreed most people to reject him and created them for that purpose. Since you insist God can’t know the future with out decreeing it….

      60. ww writes, “you insist God can’t know the future with out decreeing it….”

        If God knows the future, then that future has been decreed, and because God is sovereign, He necessarily decrees all things – no one else can, as no one else is sovereign.

      61. If God is sovereign, then he can create a future where free choices shape that future. He could, if he wished, start a world where he did not control any of man’s actions. What we are actually shown in scripture is a combination of man’s actions and Gods actions shaping history.

      62. ww
        [Calvin’s] god creates some people solely to damn them.”

        rhutchin
        What is the difference between “God creates some people solely to damn them,” and “God creates some people knowing they will reject Christ.”?

        br.d
        The first statement is clear and not deceptive. The second statement is equivocal and misleading and therefore deceptive because it strategically hides two facts:
        1) Obviously “they will reject Christ” – Calvin’s god allows then no Alternative Possibility.
        2) Obviously he knows he has fated them to reject Christ – and he knows he does not allow them to DO OTHERWISE.
        The second statement is duplicitous on both points and that’s why it is dishonest.

      63. br.d writes, “1) Obviously “they will reject Christ” – Calvin’s god allows then no Alternative Possibility.
        2) Obviously he knows he has fated them to reject Christ – and he knows he does not allow them to DO OTHERWISE.”

        In other words, we could write these this way–

        1) Obviously “they will reject Christ” – and Calvin’s god will pass over them.
        2) Obviously he knows he has fated them to reject Christ – he knows he will pass over them.

      64. ww
        [Calvin’s] god creates some people solely to damn them.”

        rhutchin
        What is the difference between “God creates some people solely to damn them,” and “God creates some people knowing they will reject Christ.”?

        br.d
        The first statement is clear and not deceptive. The second statement is equivocal and misleading and therefore deceptive because it strategically hides two facts:
        1) Obviously “they will reject Christ” – Calvin’s god allows then no Alternative Possibility.
        2) Obviously he knows he has fated them to reject Christ – and he knows he does not allow them to DO OTHERWISE.
        The second statement is duplicitous on both points and that’s why it is dishonest.

        rhutchin
        In other words, we could write these this way–

        1) Obviously “they will reject Christ” – and Calvin’s god will pass over them.
        2) Obviously he knows he has fated them to reject Christ – he knows he will pass over them.

        br.d
        Thank you rhutchin for further exemplifying that equivocal/misleading/dishonest double-speak ( Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language).

        Obviously Calvin’s god will “pass over them” – given he fated them to be passed over. – DUH!

        Or it can be written using Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language
        1) Calvin’s god “passes over them” *AS-IF* he didn’t fate them to be passed over.
        2) And *AS-IF* he wasn’t the one who fated them to “reject him”.

        More great examples of Calvinist double-speak rhutchin – thanks. 😉

      65. br.d writes, “Or it can be written using Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language
        1) Calvin’s god “passes over them” *AS-IF* he didn’t fate them to be passed over.
        2) And *AS-IF* he wasn’t the one who fated them to “reject him”.

        This si wrong. God had decreed from eternity those He would intervene to save and those He would pass over. So, we have–

        1) Calvin’s god “passes over them” *AS-IF* He decreed to pass over them
        2) And *AS-IF* he was the one who always knew them to “reject him”.

      66. br.d
        Or it can be written using Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language
        1) Calvin’s god “passes over them” *AS-IF* he didn’t fate them to be passed over.
        2) And *AS-IF* he wasn’t the one who fated them to “reject him”.

        rhutchin
        This si wrong. God had decreed from eternity those He would intervene to save and those He would pass over. So, we have–
        1) Calvin’s god “passes over them” *AS-IF* He decreed to pass over them
        2) And *AS-IF* he was the one who always knew them to “reject him”.

        br.d
        You almost have it correct – but your number (2) is more Calvinist dishonesty
        1) He decreed/fated them to be passed over therefore they were passed over.
        2) He always knew they would reject him because before they were born he decreed/fated them to reject him.

        Remember – Calvin’s god knows future events NOT BY OBSERVATION but by decreeing/fating them before they occur.

      67. br.d writes, “1) He decreed/fated them to be passed over therefore they were passed over.”

        1) He decreed/fated them to be passed over (i.e., He would pass over them) in eternity past therefore they were passed over in the course of time.

        Then, “2) He always knew they would reject him because before they were born he decreed/fated them to reject him.”

        2) He always knew sinful humanity would reject him because before they were born he decreed/fated them the freedom to reject him.

      68. br.d
        “1) He decreed/fated them to be passed over therefore they were passed over.”

        rhutchin
        1) He decreed/fated them to be passed over (i.e., He would pass over them) in eternity past therefore they were passed over in the course of time.

        br.d
        Again – your statement only affirms the original point.

        “2) He always knew they would reject him because before they were born he decreed/fated them to reject him.”

        rhutchin
        2) He always knew sinful humanity would reject him because before they were born he decreed/fated them the freedom to reject him.

        br.d
        Lying by omission, otherwise known as exclusionary detailing, is lying by either omitting certain facts or strategically failing to correct a misconception. – https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lying_by_omission

        Here what is omitted is the fact that in Calvinism the ONLY “freedom” given is the freedom to do ONLY what Calvin’s god determines – and NO freedom to DO OTHERWISE. This is the second time you’ve lied by omission. It must be getting easier for you. :-]

      69. br.d writes, ‘Here what is omitted is the fact that in Calvinism the ONLY “freedom” given is the freedom to do ONLY what Calvin’s god determines – and NO freedom to DO OTHERWISE.”

        God determines that people do exactly that which they want. If a person cannot do otherwise, it is not because God prohibits him doing otherwise but because the person does not want to do otherwise. God, by His omniscience, knows the heart of the person and knows the sin (generally speaking) that they want to commit. God does nothing to prohibit a person pursuing the sin he loves. God does not force the person to do otherwise.

      70. FOH writes, “Then [Calvinists] say that God has two wills….. the one He tells men not to do (command) and the one He makes them do (sovereign).”

        Another example of FOH snoozing in class. God does have two wills. His will is to give people freedom to choose whether they will choose freely to serve Him. It is also God’s will to save some from among those who choose freely not to serve Him. Yet, God does not force, impel, or coerce anyone either to serve Him or to accept His offer of salvation. To the one, He gives His commands and says, “Choose what you will do.” To the other, he removes their spiritual blindness, so they can see an irresistible Christ. You should know this – Do you purposely distort these things or were you actually snoozing in class? I have given you the benefit of the doubt in saying that you were snoozing and can be clueless, at times, about Calvinist doctrine. I guess I should be saying that you stayed awake and now purposely distort Calvinist doctrine.

      71. rhutchin
        [Calvin’s] god does have two wills. His will is to give people freedom to choose whether they will choose freely to serve Him.

        br.d
        The interesting thing is this Calvinist actually believes people can be taken-in by that double-speak.
        The only freedom Calvin’s god gives people is the freedom do think/say/do what he determines them to think/say/do.
        He gives them NO freedom to DO OTHERWISE.

      72. br.d writes, “The only freedom Calvin’s god gives people is the freedom do think/say/do what he determines them to think/say/do.”

        What God has determined is that the wicked be free to think/say/do whatever they want – God even tells us in the Scriptures what they will think/say/do.

      73. br.d writes, “The only freedom Calvin’s god gives people is the freedom do think/say/do what he determines them to think/say/do.”

        rhutchin
        What God has determined is that the wicked be free to think/say/do whatever they *WANT* – God even tells us in the Scriptures what they will think/say/do.

        br.d
        Wonderful! More great examples of Calvinist double-speak. :-]

        Everyone at SOT101 already knows – in Calvinism people are ONLY free to think/say/do what Calvin’s god determines them to think/say/do – and he does not allow them to think/say/do OTHERWISE.

        That Calvin’s god also determines what they *WANT* – is a logical equation an elementary school student can calculate.
        But the Calvinist tries to present things Calvin’s god determined *AS-IF* he didn’t determine them.

        This follows the instructions of John Calvin who teaches his disciples that EVERYTHING is determined IN EVERY PART.
        But the Calvinist is to:
        -quote “go about his office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part.”

        Another good lesson in Calvinist double-speak. :-]

      74. br.d
        We have all seen this a hundred times!

        For them, God determines everything. Period. Double full stop.

        Then later they say He only “does not stop” man from doing what he would naturally do. These comment pages on every topic of the blog are full of this nonsensical stuff which does not help the discussion at all.

        Only the blind determination (no pun intended!) of a Calvinist who comes to the Bible with presuppositions will continue to double-down on this and repeatedly say “nothing to see here.” That is why I make no further effort to respond to that nonsensical position. There is just nothing further to say. A = A, and not-A = A. Whatever.

        I say let the Bible speak! When God was imploring/asking men (throughout the Bible) to turn/ repent/ return/ resist He meant it!!! They could have! Cain could have listened to God speaking directly to him….

        …..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.

        The Calvinist preaches by all of his theology that this invitation by God (in Genesis– foundational book!) was insincere and just a mockery to Cain.

        Why even respond to these folks who quote the Bible with gotchas (usually the same 40-50 verse) but ignore so much of it!

      75. br.d writes, “in Calvinism people are ONLY free to think/say/do what Calvin’s god determines them to think/say/do – and he does not allow them to think/say/do OTHERWISE. ”

        God’s determination is that people be free wot act consistent with their wants and desires. God may restrict what a person is able to think/say/do and this is to restrain the sin they would do.

        Then, “That Calvin’s god also determines what they *WANT*

        However, God does not cause that which they want. This is determined by their sin nature which God determined should be free to desire sin.

        Then, “the Calvinist tries to present things Calvin’s god determined *AS-IF* he didn’t determine them.”

        Calvinism clearly says that God determines/ordains all things. The distinction is that God can determine all things without directly causing all things.

        Then, “But the Calvinist is to:-quote “go about his office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part.”

        Bad advice from Calvin. Hopefully, Calvinists don’t follow that advice.

      76. br.d
        “in Calvinism people are ONLY free to think/say/do what Calvin’s god determines them to think/say/do – and he does not allow them to think/say/do OTHERWISE. ”

        rhutchin
        God’s determination is that people be free wot act consistent with their wants and desires.

        br.d
        Your losing your touch rhutchin – the original statement is correct and you response simply affirms it – howbeit with a seasoning of your normal subterfuge.. :-]

      77. ww
        “Of course there will be people who don’t enter heaven. Because they will reject God’s will for them.”

        rhutchin
        It is those who reject God’s OFFER OF SALVATION with which Calvinism deals. Calvinism says that God CAN freely choose some of these to save while passing over all others.

        br.d
        This is a great example of Calvinist double-talk through duplicity.
        Calvin’s god, millennia before people are born, determines their eternal fate.
        Not only that he determines every neurological impulse they *CAN* ever have throughout their life time.
        The Calvinist then wants to say that Calvin’s god gives to those he has already fated for damnation a -quote “OFFER OF SALVATION”

        This is a great example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* speak….he gives them an OFFER OF SALVATION *AS-IF* he hadn’t already determined their damnation.

        Notice also how the Calvinist frames the statement – Calvin’s god *CAN* freely chose to save some while passing overs *AS-IF* there is some possibility he doesn’t do exactly that.

        And Jesus looked at the lawyer who had tempted him and said:
        “which one exemplifies the God of heaven? The one who passed over? Or the Samaritan?”

      78. br.d …

        The Good Samaritan story shows the priest and scribes are ridiculed for “passing by” a man in need. Isn’t that the same term….’God passes over’ the person that is not His elect. So for a Calvinist, God is not a Good Samaritan, He is a insincere religious worker.

      79. Yes! That’s exactly correct.
        The Calvinist god is the epitome of what Jesus hates.

        Also, take the narrative in scripture of King Solomon with two women standing before him – both claiming to be the biological mother of the same baby.

        Solomon, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit says “cut the baby in half”. He’s testing both of these women to see how they will respond.

        One woman says “go ahead and cut the baby in half – at least I’ll get my part”.
        The other women is willing to sacrifice her sovereignty over the baby in order that it may live.

        Which woman exemplifies the Father of Jesus, and which woman exemplifies the god of Calvin?
        I think the answer is obvious.

      80. br.d writes, “Not only that [God] determines every neurological impulse they *CAN* ever have throughout their life time.”

        This does not mean that God gives them certain neurological impulses but that He restricts the neurological impulses that they can have to some and not all possible impulses

        Psalm 10 tells us, “The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, “There is no God.” In the natural state of man, he always thinks, “There is no God.” God does not have to make the wicked think this way, they do so naturally. In Isaiah 65, we read, ““I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts,…” The thoughts that the people of Israel think are not thoughts God has to give them.

      81. br.d writes, “Not only that [God] determines every neurological impulse they *CAN* ever have throughout their life time.”

        rhuchin
        This does not mean that God *GIVES* them certain neurological impulses but that He restricts the neurological impulses that they can have to some and not all possible impulses

        br.d
        Sorry – this is more Calvinist double-speak.
        Everyone here already knows – according to Calvinism, At the foundation of the world, before humans exist, Calvin’s god “FIRST CONCEIVES” every neurological impulse a person will have throughout their life-time. And according to Theological Determinism, they CANNOT have any alternative neurological impulses other than what he determines them to have.

        That fact is one Calvinists always seek to double-talk around.

        Whether or not that entails that he -quote *GIVES* them those neurological impulses or not is another irrelevant red herring.

        The point is – Calvin’s god is the obvious SOURCE and ORIGIN of every human neurological impulse – given the fact that they are first-conceived in his mind – before humans exist. Unless you want to argue that Calvin’s god doesn’t us his mind to makes decrees.

        To then try to say he -quote “restricts” certain of those neurological impulses – is simply more Calvinist subterfuge-speak.
        Welcome to your course in Calvinist double-talk 101 :-]

      82. br.d writes, “Everyone here already knows – according to Calvinism, At the foundation of the world, before humans exist, Calvin’s god “FIRST CONCEIVES” every neurological impulse a person will have throughout their life-time. And according to Theological Determinism, they CANNOT have any alternative neurological impulses other than what he determines them to have.”

        Of course, Calvinism says that God is omniscient and knows (FIRST CONCEIVES) all that is possible. Even non-Calvinists say this. By reference to determinism (specifically theological determinism), a person will have thoughts unique to himself unless God affects some change in his naturally occurring thoughts. Normally, God does not have to affect a change in a person’s thoughts but only direct those thoughts as we read in Proverbs 16, “The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” and Proverbs 21, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

      83. br.d writes, “Everyone here already knows – according to Calvinism, At the foundation of the world, before humans exist, Calvin’s god “FIRST CONCEIVES” every neurological impulse a person will have throughout their life-time. And according to Theological Determinism, they CANNOT have any alternative neurological impulses other than what he determines them to have.”

        rhutchin
        Of course, Calvinism says that [Calvin’s] god is omniscient and KNOWS (FIRST CONCEIVES) all that is POSSIBLE.

        br.d
        Now this is instructive – as it is as close as rhutchin typically dares – to approach asserting an outright lie.

        Lying by omission: Otherwise known as exclusionary detailing, is lying by either omitting certain facts or by strategically failing to correct a misconception. – https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lying_by_omission

        The fact that is omitted here is that Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES and fate *EVERYTHING* that comes to pass.
        Notice here also how the Calvinist uses the phrase “all that is POSSIBLE”
        This tactic is designed to mislead – by imply that things are POSSIBLE that Calvin’s god doesn’t FIRST-CONCEIVE as your fate.

        These quaint little examples of Calvinist subterfuge are wonderful rhutchin – thanks. 😉

      84. br.d writes, “The fact that is omitted here is that Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES and fate *EVERYTHING* that comes to pass.”

        This is not unique to Calvinism. By omniscience, God conceives all things both possible and then actual. By God’s omniscience, all things are necessarily determined. br.d says that God is not omniscient, so he disagrees.

      85. br.d
        “The fact that is omitted here is that Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES and fate *EVERYTHING* that comes to pass.”

        rhutcin
        This is not unique to Calvinism. By omniscience, God conceives all things both possible and then actual. By God’s omniscience, all things are necessarily determined. br.d says that God is not omniscient, so he disagrees.

        br.d
        1) Whether it is unique to Calvinism or the reverend Sun Myung Moon is irrelevant.
        2) You can’t provide any quote from br.d asserting that God is not omniscient – so this is more Calvinist dishonesty.
        3) You have clearly stated that Calvin’s god’s omniscience (logically follows) his decrees to create the world – making it the case that prior to his decrees he did not have omniscience. So in fact your position on omniscience is aberrant and a rejection of the orthodox doctrine that omniscience is an “essential” attribute of God – and further makes it the case that there was a point in eternity/time in which he had none.

        So much for your fallacious appeal to omniscience.
        And at this point – we’re still left with all of your previous examples of Calvinist double-speak and dishonesty. :-]

      86. br.d writes, “2) You can’t provide any quote from br.d asserting that God is not omniscient – so this is more Calvinist dishonesty.”

        If you say that God is omniscient, then what is your complaint against Calvinism?? If God is omniscient, then necessarily, all things are determined.

      87. br.d
        “2) You can’t provide any quote from br.d asserting that God is not omniscient – so this is more Calvinist dishonesty.”

        rhutchin
        If you say that God is omniscient, then what is your complaint against Calvinism?? If God is omniscient, then necessarily, all things are determined.

        br.d
        DUH! Your the one who asserts the aberrant un-orthodox position on omniscience – along with your fallacious appeal to it.
        And its obvious you can’t provide a quote from br.d asserting God is not omniscient – so you’ve simply affirmed your dishonesty. :-]

      88. br.d writes, “its obvious you can’t provide a quote from br.d asserting God is not omniscient ”

        So, clear the air. If you say that God is omniscient, then what is your complaint against Calvinism?? If God is omniscient, then necessarily, all things are determined. You may not have openly revealed your position on omniscience to this point, but I think I have correctly understood your position – that you do not believe God is omniscient. Even now, you are unable to state that you believe God is omniscient. You will bob and weave on this issue and never state what you believe. However, your complain against Calvinism amounts to a complaint against omniscience even if you don’t want to admit it.

      89. brianwagner “God is omniscient and all things are not determined!”

        Your “omniscient” is actually “omniscient***” a downgrade to avoid determinism. So the question is whether br.d holds to “omniscience” or “Omniscience***.”

      90. brianwagner
        “God is omniscient and all things are not determined!”

        rhuthcin
        Your “omniscient” is actually “omniscient***” a downgrade to avoid determinism. So the question is whether br.d holds to “omniscience” or “Omniscience***.”

        br.d
        I think this is called the “blowing smoke” fallacy. 😀

      91. br.d writes, “I think this is called the “blowing smoke” fallacy. ”

        No. It is pointing out that people have different definitions of the term, “omniscient.”

      92. br.d writes, “I think this is called the “blowing smoke” fallacy. ”

        rhutchin
        No. It is pointing out that people have different definitions of the term, “omniscient.”

        br.d
        No – there is a consistency to your strategy – its blowing smoke. :-]

      93. We both agree, Roger, that God knows all things as they truly are in His mind… we just disagree on what He knows as true. My definiton of what He knows about the future is defined by Scripture. Yours is defined by Greek philosophy which undermines the normal meaning of Scripture about what God knows in His mind about the future. It really is your omniscience that should have the astericks. 😊

      94. Brian,
        Great. What you say is true, but I think it is a problem for more than rhutchin. I think many on this blog (even die hard non-calvinists) are still bringing definitions to the Scripture (we all do to a certain degree).

        Two of the hardest things to “give up” for me leaving Calvinism were sovereignty and omniscience (I am sure you notice them being a recurring theme in these comments).

        We bring to the Bible our definition of omniscience….I mean…. “God is outside of time”… right? We all get told that and swallow it without thinking. I looked and looked for such and idea in the Word — nope. Greek philosophy, sure.

        Sovereignty is much easier. Hundreds of times……God says “I the Sovereign Lord…..” followed by some kind of the following…

        “Why did you not…”
        “If you will…. I will…”
        “You did not….so I did not…”
        “If you do that I will repent of what I plan to do…”

        We can easily debunk the Calvinist “He controls everything or He controls nothing” idea. He says so clearly states in so many places that He leaves some things up to man. Didn’t He let David decide from the 3 types of punishment He offered? Why would the Lord even do that if His goal was to show everybody that He has already made all the decisions? This all-controlling presupposition and definition of sovereignty makes thousands of verses misleading or downright deceptive.

        Anyway, we should all be willing to submit our beliefs to the Word of God and be ready to change them if we see that we are caught in a philosophical system that is not supported by the Word of God.

      95. The “outside of time” is a big one! What they mean is outside of creation… which I have no problem with. But they also want it to mean outside the sequence that defines reality and eternity… befores and afters… from everlasting to everlasting (Ps 90:2), who was and is and is to come (Rev 4:8).

        The want to put God in a “simulataneous box” that their philosophy has created for Him, for He is much easier to manage there, they think. But it has caused so many contradictions with clear Scriptures, let alone also with logic.

        If God is right now (in His now) still in our past and already in our future, then logically we are still there too! I choose not to believe in such contradiction to Scripture and reason.

      96. briabwagner writes, “The “outside of time” is a big one! What they mean is outside of creation…”

        Of course, for Calvinists one of the major Scriptures is Psalm147:5 as it encompasses all things that He can do and then, naturally, all things that He will do. As God’s understanding of all things He can do extends into eternity, so all things He will do follows for who will explain to God something He does not know about the past, the present, or the future or provide counsel to God.

      97. brianwagner writes, “My definiton of what He knows about the future is defined by Scripture.”

        Actually, we both claim the high road each of us saying that his position is defined by Scripture.

      98. Mine is a higher road without all the potholes of anthropomorphism and analogy made in that road because of a rejection of clear statements in Scripture about an undetermined future.

      99. rhutchin
        So clear the air…..

        br.d
        *AS-IF* my pointing out your aberrant position on divine omniscience didn’t clear the air a long time ago!
        At this point you’re simply attempting to retain an appearance of integrity.
        You’ve already blown your cover and shown your tactics to be both fallacious and dishonest.
        But you’ll continue on with the same-old trickery.
        Its good for people to have real examples of the rhetoric games Calvinists play :-]

      100. br.d writes, “*AS-IF* my pointing out your aberrant position on divine omniscience didn’t clear the air a long time ago!”

        br.d can call something aberrant but cannot explain what makes it aberrant – or how he defines “omniscience.” No attempt to clear the air here. My guess is that he will never tell us how he defines “omniscience.”

      101. br.d writes, “*AS-IF* my pointing out your aberrant position on divine omniscience didn’t clear the air a long time ago!”

        rhutcin
        br.d can call something aberrant but cannot explain what makes it aberrant – or how he defines “omniscience.” No attempt to clear the air here. My guess is that he will never tell us how he defines “omniscience.”

        br.d
        You can lead a mule to water – but you can’t make him drink. 😀

      102. br.d writes, “You can lead a mule to water – but you can’t make him drink.”

        Yep. The mule still cannot tell us how he defines “omniscience.”

      103. br.d
        “You can lead a mule to water – but you can’t make him drink.”

        rhutchin
        Yep. The mule still cannot tell US how he defines “omniscience.”

        br.d
        There is no “US” in this case – you’re chasing your own tail again. :-]

      104. ww
        “If this is true, then it follows that God with holds faith from most people, that he doesn’t desire their salvation, and in fact, hates most of humanity.” “Yet he tells us to even love those who hate and mistreat us. Is the Calvinist more loving than God? ”

        rhutchin
        I like the Universalist approach on this. I just think there will be people who will not enter heaven.

        br.d
        Notice here how the Calvinist totally evades the points made based on what is found emotionally palatable.
        1) Calvin’s god withholds saving grace from “most of humanity”
        2) Calvin’s god doesn’t desire their salvation – by no attribute ‘good or bad’ of the person – according to Calvinist doctrine
        3) Scripture depicts the opposite conception – the god of scripture wills all men to be saved.

        “people will not enter into heaven” the Calvinist says – his mind having been conditioned to block out points (1-3).

      105. ww writes, “Predetermined means they only have one choice, the one God chose for them.”

        rhutchin responds
        Predetermined means that a person’s strongest desire determines that which he chooses.
        To say that God also chooses means that God does not intervene to prevent that choice.

        br.d
        Rhutchin always provides excellent examples of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* double-speak

        Here are some samples:

        6) Predestined-total-depravity-AS-IF-not-predestined:
        This is where every person’s sinful thought, choice, and action, are first conceived in the mind of Calvin’s god, and then predestined to occur as that person’s fixed, inevitable, unavoidable fate. But in such a way that these sinful thoughts, choices, and actions are not predestined. So this is a very special type of total depravity, because it has the miraculous quality of being predestined-AS-IF-not-predestined.

        8) Unfree-AS-IF-free:
        This is where Calvin’s god decrees and thus infallibly foreknows Cain will murder Able, as Cain’s fixed, inevitable, unavoidable fate. But here Cain has a special type of FREEDOM (to act in accordance with his evil desires) – with the caveat, that Cain’s evil desires are also first conceived by Calvin’s god, and decreed as Cain’s fixed, inevitable, unavoidable fate. So this is a very special kind of “free” where Cain is “free” to follow his desires, but only those choices and desires that Calvin’s god’s decree and foreknowledge fates to occur.

        9) Determinism-AS-IF-un-determinism:
        This is where Calvin’s god determines the Calvinist’s every thought, choice, and action. But where Calvin instructs his disciples to -quote “go about one’s office AS-IF nothing is determined in any part”.

        10) Forced-AS-IF-not-forced:
        This is where John Calvin asserts: “evil men, thieves and murderers are FORCED to do God’s service”. But this is a special FORCE where men are FORCED, with a FORCE that does not FORCE them.

        14) 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 Determinism that is non-deterministic by virtue of it being theological.

        5) Half-truth-AS-IF-the-whole-truth:
        This is where the Calvinist asserts things like “Cain murdered Able because of Cain’s own evil desires”, and this half-truth is recited AS-IF it where the whole truth. While the Calvinist secretly holds to another truth – that Calvin’s god first-conceived Cain’s murder, and conceived all of Cain’s evil desires, and then made those things Cain’s fixed, inevitable, unavoidable fate. But the Calvinist has a very special obligation to evade that truth AS-IF it is NOT truth. As a result, many half-truths are very special kinds of truths, which function in Calvinism as half-truth-AS-IF-the-whole-truth.

        Don’t you just love Calvinist double-speak! 😀

      106. ww writes,
        “Until as you explain how”free will” can have any meaning in a predetermined universe, any talk of man’s will is meaningless.”

        rhutchin responds
        People whose actions are foreknown by God act with free will where they choose those actions according to their desires.

        br.d
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god didn’t first-conceive and then render-certain their every desire before they were born. 😉

        In Calvinism people are:
        – FREE to think/say/do/be ONLY what Calvin’s god determines them to think/say/do/be.
        – NOT FREE to think/say/do/be otherwise than what Calvin’s god determines them to think/say/do/be.

        Calvinist’s obfuscate this aspect of their definition of the FREE while leading people to assume something else.
        And that – as Paul Harvey would say – is THE REST OF THE STORY. :-]

      107. ww writes:
        Then, “The whole calvinists system is based on everything happening because of a decision God made before creation, so that nothing happens on a free-will basis, and “programmed”is the right word.”

        rhutchin responds
        Not exactly. Calvinism says [insert evasive euphemism here]….. 😉

      108. rhutchin writes
        No programming here [in Calvinism]. There are, however, collateral impacts from Adam’s sin…..

        br.d
        Like Calvin replaced the word “FATE” with the word “LOT” Calvinists replace the word “PROGRAMMING” with the word “PLAN”
        These are all aspects of of Calvinism’s double-speak language. :-]

      109. rhutchin writes
        [In Calvinism] People are sent to hell (i.e., not able to enter heaven) because they are sinners and demonstrate this by their sin.

        br.d
        This is an excellent example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.

        Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world, determines:
        Who will be a sinner and will demonstrate sin – so he can send them to hell
        But he did this *AS-IF* he didn’t.

      110. br.d writes, “Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world, determines: Who will be a sinner and will demonstrate sin…”

        This is not unique to Calvinism.

      111. br.d writes,
        “Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world, determines:
        Who will be a sinner and will demonstrate sin – so he can send them to hell
        But he did this *AS-IF* he didn’t.”

        rhutchin:
        This is not unique to Calvinism.

        br.d
        Yeh – right 😉

      112. Damon Gribble
        An astute question based upon logical thinking!

        I’ll bet five bucks the Calvinist gives you a double-speak answer. 😉

  9. Further more – If “Pelagian” can be pinned down to belief of “the ability to respond” then all Calvinists are pelagian as well due to them also believing that people are sent to hell for responding in rejection to the gospel.

    1. DG writes, “If “Pelagian” can be pinned down to belief of “the ability to respond” then all Calvinists are pelagian as well due to them also believing that people are sent to hell for responding in rejection to the gospel.”

      No. Calvinism says that people are excluded from heaven because they are sinners and they sin, and this is true even if God never exercised mercy by providing a means to enter heaven (i.e., the gospel). Rejection of the gospel does not make the person a sinner or make their sin more abhorrent to God. It is because the person is a sinner that he rejects the gospel.

  10. That’s not true Rutchin. I am a sinner and that’s why I accepted the gospel. If being a sinner equals rejection of the gospel no one would accept it. I accepted the fact that Jesus Christ has paid the sin debt on the cross for my sin. If I must have no sin for me to able to accept the gospel – well then what am I accepting?

    You say – “No. Calvinism says that people are excluded from heaven because they are sinners and they sin”.
    Calvinism is wrong. The bible says the reason people do not go to heaven is because they hath not believed in the only begotten Son of God to pay for their sin. The bible says He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

    Brd – you are right with Rutchin playing the other side “as if” God never provided the gospel or as if it was an after thought or something like that. But Rutchin, God did provide the gospel.

    Rutchin – It is in fact because the person is a sinner that he accepts the gospel, not the other way around.

    1. Here at SOT101 rhutchin deflects by reciting Calvinist double-speak mantras – and he has a few entertaining routines.

      The dancing boxer routine:
      This is where he toy’s with a person in dialog who takes him seriously – dancing around topics – waiting for an opportunity to get in a jab until the person realizes he’s being lead around in circles.

      The greased pig routine:
      This is where he evades, deflects, throws out red herrings, and goes down rabbit holes in order to escape his own logic.

      When you get to know rhutchin’s routines – you can stand back and watch him chase his own tail.
      Its actually entertaining. 😀

  11. Thanks Brd for the heads up. I can see the contradiction in all of a Rutchin’s replies. I’m not sure if he he realizes he is being contradictory or if he knows and doesn’t care. I have found that in the end they realise it but still believe it anyway due to thinking that God is contradictory in his word.

    Calvinism measured by 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
    “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him”

    “Beguiled” – synonyms: charm, attract, enchant, entrance, win over, woo, captivate, bewitch, spellbind, dazzle, blind, hypnotize, mesmerize, seduce, tempt, lead on, lure, entice, ensnare, entrap.
    No one can deny that the belief in Calvinism comes at some time after conversion through the teaching of someone else who “wins over” or “woos” their converts into believing that Calvinism is what the bible teaches. Most if not all professing Calvinists say they came to the realization of Calvinism after they believed the gospel.

    “Subtilty” – synonyms: delicacy, delicateness, subtleness, elusiveness, faintness.
    The doctrine of Calvinism is taught using subtilty. Even their own church Confessions say to use delicacy when delivering this doctrine – “The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care” (Westminster Confession).

    “Simplicity” – synonyms: clarity, clearness, plainness, simpleness, intelligibility, comprehensibility, understandability, lucidity, lucidness, coherence, directness, straightforwardness.
    The doctrine of Calvinism is not simple or clear. Proponents of Calvinism boast that it is not intelligible to us humans. The doctrine is not straightforward and is confusing being unintelligible as Calvinists like to boast. – “I can’t answer the apparent paradox. So what am I left with? I want to make you comfortable with your inability not to get it. Okay? That’s my objective, okay? I just want you to be completely happy that you don’t get it. Okay? (John MacArthur – GTY Website)

    “another Jesus, whom we have not preached”
    The Jesus Calvinists were first converted to died to save the whole world that whosever believes may have everlasting life.
    The new Jesus after their conversion to Calvinism only died to save the elect that whosever is elect may be a believer.

    “or if ye receive another spirit which ye have not received”
    The spirit the Calvinist received when he first became a believer before his introduction to Calvinism testified with the Spirit of God that anyone can be saved through the gospel.
    The new spirit testifies that only the elect can be saved through the gospel.

    “or another gospel, which ye have not accepted”
    We are back to the start. Just about all Calvinists if not all confess they came to Calvinism at a time after they believed the simplicity of the gospel, before they were taught Calvinism by someone – “which ye have not accepted”

    Paul says – “ye might well bear with him”

    1. Great post Damon!
      I especially appreciated your details.

      Yes, I’m thoroughly convinced Calvinists are mentored in double-think.

      In a previous topic here at SOT101 I posted quotes from 5-6 books authored by ex-Calvinists or scholars analyzing Calvinism.
      All of them emphasizing at some point in their book – how prevalent double-speak is in Calvinist language.

      The obvious question: If a doctrine REALLY is Holy Spirit inspired – why would it need to be promoted and defended with intellectually dishonest double-talk? Calvinism is a system of rhetorical masks. That fact serves as huge red-flag.

    2. DG writes, “I can see the contradiction in all of a Rutchin’s replies.”

      Fell free to point out the contradictions in Calvinism and explain what makes them contradictions.

  12. Damon made a great catch – providing a quote from Calvinist John MacArthur

    Twin Truths: God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility

    -quote:
    I can’t answer the APPARENT PARADOX. So what am I left with? I want to make you comfortable with your inability not to get it. Okay? That’s my objective, okay? I just want you to be completely happy that you don’t get it. Okay? -end quote

    Contradiction:
    A logical contradiction is the conjunction of a statement S and its denial not-S. In logic, it is a fundamental law- the law of non contradiction- that a statement and its denial cannot both be true at the same time.

    Paradox:
    A paradox is a surface contradiction that is merely verbal, but not real.
    A paradox often occurs when terms are used equivocally.

    Double-Think:
    The mental acceptance of or mental capacity to accept two contradicting propositions, opinions or beliefs at the same time, especially as a result of indoctrination.

    1. br.d and Damon,

      You can expect a Calvinist to play the “The Tri-Unity of God is a paradox!” card.

      They may also play the “Christ is both God and man!” card.

      These two things truly are “contradictions” in a human understanding sort of way. But neither of them concern man. They concern only the nature – being of God.

      The contradictions we are talking about deal with the thousands and thousands of Bible verses that show men and women making choices…. then saying that the WHOLE message of the Bible is that these are not real choices—-only pre-determined actions in a pre-determined world.

      Now…..someone might further argue that this paradox is about God also since it deals with His sovereignty. But of course that requires a presupposed definition of sovereignty. Or His omniscience. But that requires a presupposed definition of omniscience.

      Both of these presupposed definitions MacArthur et. al. bring to the Bible. If you bring to the Bible presupposed ideas….. you can make it say what you want (or cry “paradox!”). But if you let the Bible and the “Sovereign Lord” Himself tell you what sovereignty means you will not need to run around saying “paradox! paradox!” all the time.

      1. Yes I totally agree with you FOH!

        I think however, the “author of evil” problem and the logical entailments of “determinism” are where I’ve tended to observe their highest degree of double-talk.

        Dr. Tomis Kapitan – Professor Emeritus, Ph.D., of metaphysics, philosophy of language, and international ethics
        -quote:
        “To locate an inconsistency within the beliefs of a deliberating determinist now seems easy.
        For as a deliberator, he takes his future act to be yet undetermined.
        But as a determinist, he assumes the very opposite – that his future is already determined and fixed in the past, such that everything he does was previously determined by factors beyond his control.
        Thus the ascription of rational-inconsistency within the mental state of the deliberating determinist is secured.”

        Dr. William James – Philosopher and psychologist,
        -quote
        “Compatibilism can be seen as a quagmire of evasion – it steals the name of freedom in order to mask its underlying determinism. ”

        Immanuel Kant:
        -quote:
        “Compatibilism is a wretched subterfuge and not much more than word jugglery”.

        I think we see the language patterns Kapitan, James, and Kant are referring to in Calvinism – pretty clearly.

      2. Thanks FOH,

        Yes I’ve found the Calvinist always appeals to the “contradiction” of the Trinity in defence of their so called “contradiction” in the way God saves. I always say that it doesn’t even compare, and it’s like comparing apples with oranges. To say that God being 3 yet being 1 cannot be compared to God being merciful yet unmerciful, or double minded yet not double minded, or unjust in our understanding yet just, or saying one thing yet not meaning it, two wills, two loves, etc, etc, ……….that’s why John MacArthur can confidently say on his website – “that’s one of the reasons I know the bible is written by God, because men would fix it. If I wrote a book that had those contradictions, Phil (MacArthurs editor) would edit them all out” – John MacArthur GTY Website. (Bracketed mine)

  13. WW,

    Calvinists accuse us of having an impotent God since (straw man-ly speaking) He is not capable of saving us without “our help”. I believe Leighton should do an article on this false, straw man accusation Calvinists make that we have an impotent God!

    I have noted (elsewhere on this page) that Passover is the primary debunking of this faulty and unbiblical nonsense.

    Let’s look for more:

    God is “impotent” to save Noah and start mankind over….. since He needed Noah to build that ark (also an image of Christ and salvation).

    God is “impotent” to save snake-bitten Israelists ….. since He needed them to locate and look-upon the serpent on the pole (also an image of Christ and salvation).

    God is “impotent” to save Nineveh ….. since He needed Jonah to go preach to them (also an image of Christ’s three days).

    Others…..uh….dozens…..hundreds (?) of others…..

    Israelites army beating Amalek ….. Aaron and Hur keeping Moses arms up (apparently God was “impotent” to act unless Moses’s arms were up?)

    Rushing Jordan waters parting ….. waiting for the priests to take a step in the water (“Impotence!!”)

    Wall of Jericho …..waiting for the people to walk 7 times around it… (Calvin cries “Impotence!!!”)

    and on and on……. Calvin’s lackeys accuse God of impotence at every turn since — for them— God can’t seem to manage it without men doing something first.

    Is that any way to do bibical interpretation?

    1. This was an excellent list!!
      I would also add in these examples,
      – Moses holding up his rod and the red sea parting
      – Moses holding up his rod and Joshua winning in the battle
      – Joshua marching around Jericho etc and the walls come down
      – Elijah saying a prayer and fire consumes the wood and water
      – A cripple obeys Jesus command to stand up and walk and as he obeys he is healed

      Do, in fact seem to appear as some form of cooperation between God and man as a condition required by God for the manifestation of supernatural power. There is a definite consistency in these examples.

      The question might then be raised:
      Doesn’t “Believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” follow the same divine pattern.

      1. br.d

        These are all cases where God puts conditions on what He asks people to do. (“Impotence” cry the Calvinists)

        What about the amazing ones where people meet Christ’s conditions before He even says them!!!

        Mark 5: 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

        30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

        31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

        32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

        (a) She is unclean and should not approach him. She does.
        (b) She thought to herself (no mention of divine forcing-non-forcing)
        (c) Jesus realized it when it happened (no mention of beforehand)
        (d) Jesus asks a question of who (does that not imply to the crowd that He is wondering?)
        (e) Jesus kept looking for who had done it.
        (f) He tells her …in His words…… “your faith has healed you.”

        One would have to completely eisegete (read into, re-write) this passage to say there was no participation on the part of that woman. And they do!!!

      2. Awesome examples!!!
        I hadn’t thought of those – but you’re absolutely right.

        That’s why Calvinists have to use double-speak.
        They want to hold to their presupposition that Calvin’s god meticulousy arranges the movement of every atomic particle – using that as their golden standard against which they measure others – and then obfuscate the logical “author of evil” entailments of their own doctrine. While at the same time APPEAR to be consistent with the non-deterministic tenure of scripture.

        They’ve been trained to recite double-speak mantras in order to play both sides.

  14. WW,

    I would like to take the Calvinist God-dishonoring accusation of impotence one step further.

    Calvinists straw man-ly accuse us of an impotent God since they say we claim He cannot save without participation. We only claim that God Himself has divinely established (after the counsel of His will) conditions. This is not just our position….examples of it are found everywhere in the Word.

    Can you imagine the scorn and cries of impotence that God must have heard when He “needed” a young boy to take 5 stones and fight Goliath?! “Impotence….. He cannot save….. He needs a boy’s help!”…. cry the Philistines.

    Note this important point:

    Not only did a young boy go out against Goliath but for the remainder of his lifetime that young boy shared in that glory. He was always known as the one who slayed Goliath.

    Later, the Lord says ……For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David. (Is. 37:35; 2 Kings 19:34; 20:6).

    Hezekiah hears that the Lord will spare Jerusalem from the threat of invasion for the sake David.

    I am amazed and saddened to what lengths Calvinists will go to re-write Scripture. In their effort to “defend” and glorify God, they try to re-define and adjust the way He sovereignly established the world (after the counsel of His will).

    They won’t let man participate…..but God does. (In fact, God regularly insists on it!)

    They won’t let man have any “sake” in the matter….. but God does.

    Too bad!!! It shows clearly that they come to the Bible with an idea of “how God ‘must’ be” in stead of letting Him define Himself.

    1. There was a dog food jingle years ago that went like this:

      My dogs better than your dog, my dogs better than yours, my dog’s better cuz he eats [brand x], my dogs better than yours.

      Every time I hear a Calvinist say “my gods better/bigger/etc than your god” – it makes me laugh
      Because they are unwittingly manifesting “child-think”. :-]

  15. WW,
    You asked a good question here that has been asked multiple times on this blog.

    “Then, Yet he tells us to even love those who hate and mistreat us. Is the Calvinist more loving than God?

    There is never an answer…..only deflection. The only answer is…..”you are nothing but a universalist”

  16. PLUCKING THE TULIP – An Orthodox Critique of Reformed Doctrine
    by Robert Arakaki

    Biblical support for the Orthodox understanding of fallen human nature can be found in Paul’s speech to the Athenians. He commends the Athenians for their piety, noting they even had an altar dedicated to an unknown deity. Although their fallen nature prevented them from making full contact with the one true God, they nonetheless retained a longing for communion with God.

    Paul takes note of the SPIRITUAL LONGING that underlay the Athenians’ religiosity using it as a launching point for the proclamation of the Gospel.

    Acts 17:26-27
    From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that MEN WOULD SEEK HIM and PERHAPS REACH OUT TO HIM and FIND HIM, though he is not far from each one of us.

    What Paul says here flies in the face of the Canons of Dort’s assertion that the unregenerate were incapable of spiritual hunger.

    Peter took a similar approach in his speech to Cornelius the Gentile centurion:

    Acts 10:34-5:
    I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who FEAR HIM AND DO WHAT IS RIGHT.

    Peter and Paul’s belief in God’s love for the nations is not a new idea. The Gentiles’ capacity to RESPOND to God’s grace is a recurring motif in the Old Testament.

    1. That is a good quote and good Scriptural explanation. yes…. Scripture is full of the idea that all men can respond to God’s call.

      Calvinism says Nope. just (s)elect few. Who then cannot even resisit.

      Arminians say Nope… but God enables all (who can then resist).

      1. Thanks FOH
        I think we can see the inherent reason why some doctrines remain controversial over centuries.
        It took a number of years for the doctrine of the Trinity to be resolved – and during that time there were war-like conflicts over it.

        It doesn’t take much to imagine each side pointing its finger of accusation at the other side.

        It is said that when Calvin couldn’t find verses in scripture which EXPLICITLY stated what he wanted to assert – he would either resort to quoting Augustine (over 400 times) or use deductive thinking in place of EXPLICIT texts. Which means he had to data-mine throughout scripture collecting a library of disparate verses from here and there and then combine them into a chain. The weakness of this process is the high degree of SUBJECTIVITY imposed upon scripture.

        Man ends up taking extra-biblical notions and canonizing them. Then with that canon he approaches the text of scripture and tells himself he is “comparing spiritual with spiritual” and has the “whole counsel of god”.

        The tell-tale sign of this manifests as historical streams of doctrines which totally contradict one another deduced out the same exact texts. Each side claiming his is Holy Spirit inspired.

        One of these parties exegetical tradition is in error – and yet totally convinced otherwise – and probably they both are.

  17. Church History: Even Pelagius was not a Pelagian

    Was Pelagius Really a Heretic?

    The Pelagian Statement of Faith submitted to the Pope: “We [Pelagians] maintain that men are the work of God, and that no one is forced unwillingly by His power either into evil or good, but that man does either good or ill of his own will; but that in a good work he is always assisted by God’s grace, while in evil he is incited by the suggestions of the devil.”

    This statement of faith was declared Orthodox.

    Pelagius himself said, “I anathematize the man who either thinks or says that the grace of God, whereby ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,’ is not necessary not only for ever hour and for every moment, but also for every act of our lives: and those who endeavor to dis-annul it deserve everlasting punishment.”

    Pelagius said, “This grace we do not allow to consist only in the law but also in the help of God. God helps us through His teaching and revelation by opening the eyes of our heart, by pointing out to us the future so that we may not be preoccupied with the present, by uncovering the snares of the devil, by enlightening us with the manifold and ineffable gift of heavenly grace.”

    Pelagius said, “God always aids by the help of his grace. God aids us by his doctrine and revelation, while he opens the eyes of our heart; while he shows us the future, that we may not be engrossed with the present; while he discloses the snares of the devil; while he illuminates us by the multiform and ineffable gift of heavenly grace. Does he who says this, appear to you to deny grace? Or does he appear to confess both divine grace and the freewill of man?”

    Pelagius said in a letter to Innocent, “Behold, before your blessedness, this epistle clears me, in which we directly and simply say, that we have entire freewill to sin and not to sin, which, in all good works, is always assisted by divine aid. Let them read the letter which we wrote to that holy man, bishop Paulinus, nearly twelve years ago, which perhaps in three hundred lines supports nothing else but the grace and aid of God, and that we can do nothing at all of good without God. Let them also read the one we wrote to that sacred virgin of Christ, Demetrias, in the east, and they will find us so praising the nature of man, as that we may always add the aid of God’s grace. Let them likewise read my recent tract which we were lately compelled to put forth on freewill, and they will see how unjustly they glory in defaming us for denial of grace, who, through nearly the whole text of that work, perfectly and entirely profess both free will and grace.”

    It was Augustine’s view of grace that was inconsistent with free will, not Pelagius’. As Augustine said, “I have tried hard to maintain the free choice of the human will, but the grace of God prevailed.”

    If it’s “heresy” and “Pelagianism” to say “grace is not necessary if there is free will,” then that would make Augustine the heretic and the Pelagian, not Pelagius, because Augustine was the one who set grace at odds with free will.

    Pelagius affirmed both the freedom of the will and the necessity for the grace of God, while Augustine denied the freedom of the will because of His mistaken view of grace.

    Pelagius himself was not a Pelagian, as it’s defined today and by Augustine.

    John Wesley said, “I verily believe, the real heresy of Pelagius was neither more nor less than this: The holding that Christians may, by the grace of God, (not without it; that I take to be a mere slander,) ‘go on to perfection;’ or, in other words, ‘fulfill the law of Christ.’”

    Again Wesley also said, “Who was Pelagius? By all I can pick up from ancient authors, I guess he was both a wise and a holy man.”

    John Wesley said, “Augustine himself. (A wonderful saint! As full of pride, passion, bitterness, censoriousness, and as foul-mouthed to all that contradicted him… When Augustine’s passions were heated, his word is not worth a rush. And here is the secret: St. Augustine was angry at Pelagius: Hence he slandered and abused him, (as his manner was,) without either fear or shame. And St. Augustine was then in the Christian world, what Aristotle was afterwards: There needed no other proof of any assertion, than Ipse dixit: “St. Augustine said it.”

    On the issue of the freedom of the will, Pelagius was in perfect agreement with the Early Church while Augustine was in agreement with the heretical Gnostics:

    Dr Wiggers said, “All the fathers…agreed with the Pelagians, in attributing freedom of will to man in his present state.”

    Episcopius said, “What is plainer than that the ancient divines, for three hundred years after Christ, those at least who flourished before St. Augustine, maintained the liberty of our will, or an indifference to two contrary things, free from all internal and external necessity!”

    Calvinists also like to point out that, “Pelagianism has been condemned as heresy by councils all throughout Church history.” I always find it amazing when the so called “Reformed” and “Sola Scriptura” crowd will point to Catholic councils about Pelagius. They are not very reformed if they appeal to Rome, and they are not sola scriptura if they appeal to councils.

       There were three councils that condemned Pelagianism; the Council of Ephesus in the year 431; the Council of Carthage in the year 418; and the Council of Orange in the year 529. This is because Pelagius was not invited nor present to defend himself but his opponents and adversaries stated his doctrine for him. When Pelagius was able to defend himself, the Council of Diospolis in 415 declared Pelagius orthodox. And Pope Zosimus also declared Pelagius’ orthodoxy in 417. He was always acquitted when present to clarify and defend his views. If these are our authorities to determine orthodoxy, do we accept the ones in favor of Pelagius or the ones against him?

       In addition, the Council of Orange and the Council of Carthage were not ecumenical councils. They did not consist of Bishops from the entire church, which mean that the rulings of the Councils were not universally affirmed by the Eastern and Western churches.

       If heresy is heresy because a council says so, or because of majority vote, Calvinism must be more heretical than Pelagianism was because there were more councils that condemned Calvinism than condemned Pelagianism. The Calvinist doctrines of predestination, limited atonement, and irresistible grace were condemned throughout history. Lucidus was condemned by the Council of Oral in 473, Council of Arles in 475, and Council of Orange in 529. And Gottschalk (Gotteschalcus) was condemned by the Council at Mentz in 848 and the Council of Chiersey (Quiercy) in 849. And what do Calvinists think of the Council of Constance in 1414 for John Huss, or the Council of Worms in 1521 for Martin Luther, or the Council of Trent in 1561 for the Protestants? Are these Councils not the voice of Orthodoxy as Ephesus and Carthage supposedly were?

       In fact, the Council of Orange that condemned Pelagianism also condemned the doctrines of Calvinism. Specifically, the doctrine of limited atonement and double predestination was condemned by the Council of Orange. If the council is authoritative in the former case, it must be equally authoritative in the latter as well. But if it was mistaken in the latter case, maybe it was mistaken in the former as well.

       On the other hand, the Synod of Philadelphia declared Albert Barnes as orthodox in 1829, after he presented his case for rejecting limited atonement, natural inability, and the imputation of Adam’s sin and guilt to all his posterity. And Lyman Beecher was accused of heresy for his new school theology in 1835 but was acquitted by the Synod of Cincinatti. Though “New England Theology” or “New School Theology” was accused of being “Pelagian” by “Old School Calvinists,” it was nevertheless declared orthodox by Christian Synods.

        And just so that nobody feels left out, the Synod of Dort condemned the doctrines of Arminianism in 1618-1619. Certainly the Arminian camp should not, therefore, give credibility to councils which determine orthodoxy by popular vote.

      But to determine if Pelagius really was a heretic, we should go to his actual words to see what he taught. It is a common error for Calvinists to quote from Pelagius’ opponents and accusers to express what Pelagius taught, rather than to quote from Pelagius himself. Certainly, Calvinists would not like it if people quoted from the opponents of Reformed Theology to state what Calvinism teaches. We should give Pelagius the same honesty and fairness that we would want our doctrine to be treated with.

    What is ironic is that Pelagius’ commentary on the book of Romans survived history because it was credited to Augustine!

    1. OAO writes, “Was Pelagius Really a Heretic?”

      When Pelagius writes, “…in a good work he is always assisted by God’s grace…God helps us through His teaching…God always aids by the help of his grace. God aids us by his doctrine…”

      By the words,, “assist ,” “nd “help'” and “aid,” if in the above Pelagius refers to believers, there is no conflict with Augustine. If those words are applied to the unsaved, then Pelagius refers to a synergistic approach to salvation to which Augustine reacted. Pelagianism today is identified with a synergistic approach to salvation while Calvinism presents a monergistic approach.

      You have, “piscopius said, “What is plainer than that the ancient divines, for three hundred years after Christ, those at least who flourished before St. Augustine, maintained the liberty of our will, or an indifference to two contrary things, free from all internal and external necessity!” Augustine and the later reformers would object to the “free from all internal … necessity!” as enslavement to sin results in an internal necessity to sin.

      Then, “It is a common error for Calvinists to quote from Pelagius’ opponents and accusers to express what Pelagius taught, rather than to quote from Pelagius himself. ”

      Pelagius was careful with his words and was not direct in stating what he believed. His opponents had to spell out his synergistic theoloy because he did not.

      Then, “Certainly, Calvinists would not like it if people quoted from the opponents of Reformed Theology to state what Calvinism teaches.”

      I don’t think Calvinists have a real problem with this as even the opponents of Calvinism pretty much understand Calvinism. If there is a complaint, it is that the opponents of Calvinism ignore the Scriptures cited by the Calvinists and cite other Scriptures supposedly in opposition to Calvinism or they don’t really address the Calvinist positions.

      1. rhutchin – I deleted your last post – due to over aggressiveness.
        This is a Christian site – and reflective of Christian behavior.
        Try to make your points in a civil manner.

  18. Dr Flowers states:

    “Pelagianism, therefore, has become known historically as “the teaching that man has the capacity to seek God in and of himself apart from any movement of God or the Holy Spirit, and therefore that salvation is affected by man’s efforts.”

    Agreed. The issue is here: Dr Flowers states in the above quote the belief that Pelagianism believes “man has the capacity to seek God in and of himself apart from any movement of God or the Holy Spirit”. Dr Flowers then goes on to state that Traditionalists deny this belief. BUT. Dr Flowers then contradicts himself by his own definition of what natural man is vis a vis “We believe our gracious God is actively working in and through creation, conscience, His bride, His Holy Spirit filled followers, and his Word to aid humanity [every man coming into this world] in their conversion.” In other words, no man is ever really ‘left alone’ as Dr Flowers incorrectly assumes. Every man coming into this world has the ‘natural’ (‘in and of himself’), God given capacity to seek God because every man has some natural revelation of him as stated above. Thus where then is this ‘movement of God or the Holy Spirit’ that Dr Flowers says is necessary and which he implicitly feels separates him from the beliefs of Pelagius if he states himself that God is already revealed to men via creation etc etc? In actual fact, according to Flowers definition of natural man, man IS able to seek God in and of himself because his own definition of natural man has all men with some level of revelation of God in any case. The Pelagian idea which mentions “in and of himself” is exactly how Dr Flowers suggests we are to seek God because according to him (Dr Flowers), “in and of himself” man has some knowledge of God. No man is without excuse.

    The burden then is on Dr Flowers to show how Pelagius’ statement of man is any different from the natural man as he (Dr Flowers) explains it. To me – as I read his definitions – there seems to be no real difference and thus I can understand how the Calvinist sees the similarity between the Traditionalist and the Pelagian or Semi-Pelagian.

    1. Greg:
      In other words, no man is ever really ‘left alone’ as Dr Flowers incorrectly assumes.

      DW:
      Hello Greg

      In what theology is man ever “left alone” in terms of divine activity?

      1. Hi there DW or BrD sorry not sure who it is 🙂
        Thank you for the response. You say: In what theology is man ever left alone in terms of divine activity” I wasn’t the one who initially asked that question. I was simply stating what Dr Flowers mentioned in his post. He states: “We believe man has the capacity to respond willingly to God’s means of seeking to save the lost, NOT that man would seek God IF LEFT ALONE” Perhaps let me rephrase my question:
        It simply seems that Semi-Pelagianism is very similar to Dr Flowers beliefs. Dr Flowers mentions that man would not seek God IF LEFT ALONE. But what does Dr Flowers mean by ‘left alone’ if his own definition of natural man is one who is born with some revelation of God – enough to seek God. Thus this idea of being ‘left alone’ seems to be a straw man created by Dr Flowers to show himself as different to Semi-Pelagianism. If pressed, I’m certain that Dr Flowers could not give a definition of what a man is who is truly ‘left alone’ because his own understanding of natural man does not include being left alone at all; there is no such thing according to Dr Flowers. He seems to simply create an idea of what Semi-Pelagians believe – that man can seek God even if ‘left alone’ – so that he is not associated with the heresy. So I think that my initial question was either avoided or misunderstood.

        Always appreciate the feedback. thanks

      2. Greg
        if his [i.e. Dr. Flower’s] own definition of natural man is one who is born with some revelation of God – enough to seek God…..

        DW: If the statement you quoted from Dr. Flower is what you are referring too – then I think you are interpreting the opposite of what Dr. Flowers is stating in that statement

        Let unpackage the statement:
        We believe man has the capacity to respond willingly to God’s means of seeking to save the lost, NOT that man would seek God IF LEFT ALONE”

        So we have
        1) Where there is divine means exercised to seek an given individual – that individual will have the capacity to respond.

        2) But NOT in the case where man is “left alone”

        So the statement contains a NECESSARY CONDITION of divine action in the seeking of an individual.

        This could easily be a statement that John Piper could make.
        So that particular statement does not appear to be the real point distinction.

        I would say – the real point of distinction is with Calvinism being founded on EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM

        But the process of salvation is only one tiny fraction of that issue.
        At the center of the issue is the degree to which the divine mind controls the creature.

        In Calvinism – there is no such thing as a human having the function of “Choice” or the function of “Self-Control”

        John Calvin explains:
        -quote
        The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly
        decreed. (Institutes, 1, Chp 16, Par. 3)

        So in Calvinism – concerning the impulses which come to pass within any human brain – NOTHING HAPPENS what what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.

        No decree for a specific impulse to come to pass within the human brain – equals – no impulse coming to pass in the human brain.
        Because NOTHING HAPPENS what what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.

      3. Thank you Brd. You say: “We believe man has the capacity to respond willingly to God’s means of seeking to save the lost, NOT that man would seek God IF LEFT ALONE”

        So we have
        1) Where there is divine means exercised to seek an given individual – that individual will have the capacity to respond.

        2) But NOT in the case where man is “left alone”

        So the statement contains a NECESSARY CONDITION of divine action in the seeking of an individual.”

        This sounds to me very similar then to a Calvinist’s election whereby some are given the divine means to exercise a response and others are ‘left alone’. Except you would add – as a non-Calvinist I would assume – that those then being sought can respond to God with a libertarian will – ie we can resist the call too. So then election seems to be the winner again in that yes we can reject the call of God BUT God only seeks certain men and not others. If this is what you are affirming and also affirming on the behalf of Dr Flowers – “if his [i.e. Dr. Flower’s] own definition of natural man is one who is born with some revelation of God – enough to seek God…..

        DW: If the statement you quoted from Dr. Flower is what you are referring too – then I think you are interpreting the opposite of what Dr. Flowers is stating in that statement”

        then it sounds to me as if you both affirm Calvinism.

      4. Greg:
        This sounds to me very similar then to a Calvinist’s election whereby some are given the divine means to exercise a response and others are ‘left alone’.

        DW: That is why I said – this particular statement does not entail a distinction – and could easily be something John Piper would say.

        However – in Calvinism – there is no such thing as a human being “left alone”

        Read this statement from Calvin more closely

        John Calvin
        -quote
        The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly
        decreed. (Institutes, 1, Chp 16, Par. 3)

        Since NOTHING HAPPENS within a man’s brain or body – unless it is knowingly and willingly decreed by Calvin’s god – then one can hardly call that being “left alone”.

        When you say “divine means to exercise a response” – you are simply using different words to describe the process of every impulse within a person’s brain being AUTHORED by Calvin’s god.

        And that is why – in Calvinism – there is no such thing as a human having the function of “Choice” or the function of “Self-control”

        If every impulse in your brain is 100% controlled by a mind external to yours – then you do not have any control over yourself.
        And one cannot be said to MAKE A CHOICE – when one has no control over what happens in one’s brain.

      5. Thanks brd I think you may be assuming I’m
        A Calvinist perhaps which I’m not, I would love to continue our conversation as I don’t want to misconstrue your meanings etc. I’m in a country where it’s too late now to continue 🙂 perhaps you could give me an email address so we could continue there tomorrow? I appreciate all your help.

        Greg

      6. Hi Greg,
        I dialog with people on this forum here.
        When you have the time – feel free to pop back here at your convenience.

        I’ll be here!

        Best for now! :-]
        br.d

      7. Sure Brd. I appreciate that – just don’t want to pester all here with the same question but keen to get to the root to be honest. I understand what you’re saying re the idea that essentially no-one is “left alone”. I get that. What i’m trying to establish is the difference between the Semi-Pelagian idea that Dr Flowers expresses which suggests that man is able to seek God without any special grace and the position he takes where man is able to seek God only through God’s initiative first in seeking man. I don’t see the difference there because Dr Flowers suggests that all men have some revelation of God – enough to seek Him – and therefore is there such a thing as someone seeking God without any special grace if all men have some innate revelation. The crux is a desire to establish the difference between Dr Flowers’ and Semi-Pelagians beliefs in terms of man’s response to God. Thanks anyone who can answer 🙂

      8. Hi Greg,

        As I have discussed with Eric a few days back, former Calvinists did not ditch everything Calvin. And Calvin was a former Catholic, meaning, he never ditched everything Catholic, either.

        You had said (a few times already):

        “Dr Flowers suggests that all men have some revelation of God”.

        The common theme to this is that both sides point to Romans 1:20 for that:

        20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

        So, my advice would be to read the WHOLE CHAPTER and you will see that this is NOT discussing “all humans”. The ONLY people that this knowledge was revealed to was the Jews, which Paul was discussing. God gave them knowledge and insight, and THEN the “invisible things are clearly seen”. They are not clearly seen by your average Joe.

        What I find that both sides have in common, is their FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE between Jew and Gentile. To them, everyone is the same, and so they lump the whole world into Romans 1:20, when Paul, talking to Gentiles, discussing what God did for the Jews, giving them knowledge, but they still went about doing their own thing.

        Look at the verse BEFORE 20, and after 20:

        19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

        21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

        Now, think about all the Gentiles of the whole wide world who had NO KNOWLEDGE of the Jewish God. Do you really think that God interacted with them? How many BAZILLIONS of Gentiles were there that died before the birth of the Jewish Jesus?

        But somehow all these bazillions of Gentiles could CLEARLY SEE and all of them are WITHOUT EXCUSE? No, I’m not buying into that logic at all. Romans 1 was discussing Jews, not Gentiles.

        Like I said, former Calvinists don’t give up everything Calvin.

        Ed Chapman

      9. Ok sure ChapmanEd – I’m not strictly saying I agree with you there but for discussion sake – if we take your idea. In your opinion are all men able to be saved and how are they accountable then if they do not have any revelation of God?

      10. If you read the whole book of Romans as a novel, you will see the answer to your question.

        Jews are judged by the Law of Moses.

        Gentiles are NOT judged by the law of Moses.

        They are judged by their CONSCIENCE, and Romans 2:14-16 explains.

        Those who were presented Jesus, but REJECT Jesus, they are also judged by the law of Moses.

        We were all born with a conscience. We already know that it is wrong to lie and steal without anyone telling us that. It’s seared into our being.

        That’s why Romans 2:14-16 explains this. And Paul calls that GOOD NEWS, or GOSPEL.

        What you are suggesting is that everyone who died before Jesus came on the scene is burning in hell because they were not “SAVED”.

        That is not the case at all.

        There is also one other thing that I must bring up. People automatically assume that all those Gentiles were “unbelievers”. That is NOT how I see scripture as it states that word.

        In order to be an UNBELIEVER, you first must be PRESENTED with the Truth, and REJECT it. Then you are an “unbeliever”. Before that, you are just ignorant. And let me say bluntly, that ignorance is better than having knowledge and rejecting that knowledge.

        Acts 17:30
        And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

      11. So are you stating in some sense that those who never hear the gospel are better off than those who do? Ok. So are you saying that men who don’t hear the gospel are saved? That doesn’t sound right. The bible states clearly that we are saved through no other name than Jesus and faith in his name

      12. Greg

        You had asked:
        So are you stating in some sense that those who never hear the gospel are better off than those who do?

        My response:

        No, I am suggesting that those who never hear the gospel are better than those who do and REJECT the gospel.

        Atheists have heard, and they reject the gospel. They made a conscious decision to reject it.

      13. And what about those who died before Christ? Are you suggesting that they were all then saved? Are all men able to be saved? Or do all have a chance to be saved?

      14. I am going to hammer down on Romans 2:14-16. You need to read all of Romans 2 in order to see the DIFFERENCE between Jew and Gentile regarding the means of judgment between the two.

        And I also want you to look at Romans 5:13, and Romans 4:15

        When were any Gentiles ever under the law of Moses?

      15. Sure i’ve read it many times. But what you suggest is quite wishy washy to be honest. It seems that you are suggesting people are saved outside of Christ – saved by being better than others. You say “what does is take to be unsaved” – well I would suggest that those who are unsaved are those who have not put their trust in Jesus for salvation – those before Christ were righteous through their belief in the revelation that they had. But nowhere does scripture state that a man is saved simply because he did right according to his conscience etc.

      16. I disagree with your definition of unsaved.

        You’ve read Romans 2:14-16 lots of times, but you still don’t get it.

        In order to be lost, you must first have KNOWLEDGE of sin.

        That was the whole idea behind that tree in the garden so named the tree of KNOWLEDGE of good and evil.

        That knowledge is a prerequisite to being lost. You and many others suggest that everyone is dead to trespasses and sin. That’s not true.

        When a person’s CONSCIOUS feels guilt, then they know that they did something wrong. Knowledge.

        Before that knowledge, they didn’t die a spiritual death until they got knowledge of sin… their own sins.

        Do you believe that babies, who die in infancy goes to hell because they never heard the gospel? Are they even lost? Did they spiritually die? Or were they already dead in their sins? What sins? Did they have knowledge of sins? Or is God with those babies and never left them to begin with?

        Calvinism seems to suggest that everyone is born dead.

        I don’t buy that.

        Everyone is born of God at conception, and God can only depart once they get KNOWLEDGE of their sin.

        Read Romans 7:7-9.

        You can’t put your trust in Jesus if you never heard of Jesus, and you suggest that those who never heard are in hell.

        But you’ve read Romans 2:14-16 several times? Ok then. But you don’t get it.

      17. Greg,

        You had said:}
        “Ok. So are you saying that men who don’t hear the gospel are saved?”

        My response:

        First of all, WHAT is needed in order to be CLASSIFIED as “UNSAVED”?

        Second, I presented you with Romans 2:14-16.

        The last part of your comment said:
        “The bible states clearly that we are saved through no other name than Jesus and faith in his name”.

        And I respond:

        Is Jesus not the judge? If Jesus is the judge then Jesus saves. Romans 2:14-16. Paul’s Good News. They are judged by what they know, NOT BY WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW. And who is the judge? You? Or Jesus? Are you saying that God needs YOU to save them in the name of Jesus, or can Jesus just do it himself?

        Ed Chapman

      18. Romans 2:14-16
        14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

        15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

        16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

      19. Greg
        how are they accountable then if they do not have any revelation of God?

        br.d
        Greg – there is a lot of confusion within the population of Calvinists concerning the issue of how human accountability works in Calvinism.

        Let me explain it:
        1) In Calvinism – Calvin’s god is the divine potter who CREATES/DESIGNS people for two possible ends.

        2) Within the total population – the MANY – are CREATED/DESIGNED specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure. the FEW are created for the opposite end.

        3) Calvin’s god does not look down the corridor of time and OBSERVE what the creature will be or do – and then hold the creature accountable for what the creature is FOUND to be and do. That would represent what Calvinism calls “MERE” permission. Where the creature is “MERELY” permitted to be what he is – and do what he does. And “MERE” permission in Calvinism is rejected because it represents a compromise in divine control over the creature.

        4) So in Calvinism – the creature is to FOUND morally accountable – the creature is MADE morally accountable.

        5) Man does not have to be or do anything to be held morally accountable – because that would be a compromise of divine sovereignty.

        6) So in Calvinism – you are not morally accountable because of anything you are or have done. You are simply MADE morally accountable.

        CONCLUSION:
        In Calvinism – the condition of the creature does not determine moral accountability
        The infallible decreed at the foundation of the world – determines what each person will be created to be morally accountable for..

        The following quotes will help you to understand moral accountability in Calvinism.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        By the eternal good pleasure of god THOUGH THE REASON DOES NOT APPEAR, they are NOT FOUND but MADE worthy of destruction. – (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of god pg 121)

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Not only the destruction of the wicked is foreknown, but that the wicked themselves have been CREATED FOR THIS VERY END that they may perish. (Commentaries Romans 9:18)

        Westminster Confession
        -quote
        Although god knoweth whatsoever MAY or CAN come to pass upon all supposed conditions. Yet hath He NOT decreed anything because he foresaw it as future or as that which WOULD come to pass upon such conditions.”

        John Calvin
        -quote
        If god were merely an inactive looker-on……and MERELY PERMITTED them to be executed, would he, by such MERE PERMISSION of an observer, really execute the office of a judge? (Eternal Predestination)

        John Calvin
        -quote
        He foresees future events only in CONSEQUENCE of his decree (Institutes Vol ii. p. 169.)

      20. Greg
        I don’t see the difference there because Dr Flowers suggests that all men have “some revelation” of God – enough to seek Him

        br.d
        Do you believe that human beings are capable of understanding things that are TRUE?

      21. Hi Brd. Thanks for reply. I’m not sure what you are getting at there but I’m really trying to sincerely ask questions here. I do believe that humans are able to understand truth yes. But I am a bit disappointed that my questions seem to be responded to with kind of metaphors and obscure questions – forgive me if that is not your idea but I thought my question was pretty straightforward. Thanks

      22. Greg
        I do believe that humans are able to understand truth yes.

        br.d
        Ok – I would agree with you – and I believe Dr. Flowers would also.

        But do you believe that the capability humans have to understand things that are TRUE is not a gift from God?

      23. I do yes. But how then do you account for the verse in Corinthians that mentions the natural man cannot understand the things of the spirit? There is clearly then a difference between the natural man and the spiritual? We can’t then assume that all men have spiritual understanding if Paul differentiates between natural and spiritual man?

      24. Greg
        I do yes. But how then do you account for the verse in Corinthians that mentions the natural man cannot understand the things of the spirit?

        br.d
        Any Bible scholar who is worth his salt – understands there are two things at play.
        1) What the text says
        2) How do we read it

        In regard to (2) a critical question is – what presuppositions do we READ INTO the text – which are not in fact in the text.

        The reason I asked you that question is so you could slow down a little bit and think this through.

        We’ve now established – the ability for a human to know anything that is TRUE – is a gift from God

        Here is where I believe your thinking is at this point in time.

        1) You agree that God gives the gift of the ability to understand any TRUTH to humans
        2) You believe that God WITHHOLDS the ability to understand the TRUTH of the Gospel from certain people.

        Do I have both (1) and (2) correct?

      25. 1. Yes I agree that God gives man a gift in allowing that man to understand the truth. When I speak of truth i’m speaking of spiritual truths not so much material truths. Thus I believe that God enlightens – gives men the truth – and that no man is able to perceive the truth outside of a supernatural grace of God. That is my belief re your number 1.
        2. I don’t believe that God arbitrarily withholds truth from people. I do believe that God can harden a man who has shown himself to be of a character that resists God. But I don’t believe God randomly withholds His truth from people no.

        The question then remains. Are all people given the gift to perceive the truth. It would seem that Paul’s reference to the natural man and his saying that they don’t understand the things of the spirit means that God needs to take the initiative in showing man spiritual truth. But does he show all men? I don’t know?

      26. Greg,
        Arminians say it does take a special grace but that “prevenient” grace is given to all.

        Traditionalists say that it is just baked into how God created man, and of course interpret the “natural man” verse (one verse!!) in a way that makes sense to that position.

        Greg….. dont fall into the Calvinist trap of taking one verse—- interpreting it in on one way —-and then filtering ALL other verses through that.

      27. Thank you from over here. I like the idea of how man is baked. I will chat soon as I have one more question. Thanks again.

      28. Thank you fromoverhere. Would Arminians say that ‘prevenient grace’ is something like the revelation of nature which tells men of God or conscience etc? Is that ‘prevenient grace’ or is it something more specific?
        Also – your idea of ‘baked into man’ is exactly what I was asking in my first question from the beginning. If we have the idea of man able to understand the truth naturally i.e. – as baked into our being – then how does this differ from Semi-Pelagianism which suggests that man is able – in and of himself – to come to Christ? That was the crux of my first question.

      29. Greg,
        You would need to research prevenient grace. Easily done. There are lots of respected teachers that hold to that idea.  Have a look.

        I dont really get the feeling that you’re dialoguing as much as …..well…. something else.  Most of the questions you ask are answered in articles on this site.  Article devoted to exactly the idea you are “asking” about.

        The fact that you would straw-man semi-pelagianism as the claim that man is able “in and of himself” to come to Christ shows a lack of research.  I’ve never seen anyone define it that way.   Even the sites that reject it still describe it as “cooperating with God’s grace.”  But why do I get the feeling that you know this…or that you could know it if you tried?

        Again, I give you the example of the Passover, the most repeated, like-the-cross, event in the Word.  Were the Israelites “in and of themselves” able to escape slavery (for us “slaves to sin”)?  No.  Did they have to —in faith— find the blood and apply it to the door?  Yes.  ((In a Calvinist scenario—- for this beautiful “type” of the cross —- God would have killed the lamb and applied the blood for them.  No Calvinism visible in ANY way in that story.))

        Was Noah “in and of himself” able to save himself from the oncoming flood?  No.  Did he have to —in faith — work 100 years to build that ark and then get in it with no sign of rain?  Yes.  ((In a Calvinist scenario—- another “type” of the cross —- God would have built the ark, put them in a trance, and transported them into the ark.  No Calvinism visible in ANY way in that story.))

        Were the rapidly-dying Israelites “in and of themselves” able to find a remedy for the snake bites?  Nope.  Did they have to construct the serpent on a pole …and —in faith —- GO find it in the camp and look and live? Yes.

        Imagine how silly it would be for them to dance around and say “I healed myself!  I healed myself!”

        That in fact is the stupid strawman that Calvinists set up about non-Calvinists.  They say we are the equivalent of an Israelite dancing in an Egyptian street saying, “I escaped— in and of myself — the angel of death!  Yeah me!  I rock!  You go me!’ 
           
        Calvinists make so much out of the idea of being dead, saying “dead men dont make choices.”  Sure they do!  Luke 15 has Christ calling the prodigal son dead twice, and yet, in a faraway land he came to his senses and returned.  Spiritually dead doesn’t mean incapable of seeing what Christ has done.  Otherwise he would not have said that He came to seek and to save that which was “lost”.  And He would not have said it is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the “sick”.  

        Being lost or being sick aint the same as being “too-dead” to see anything.  That is just a man-constructed idea.  It doesn’t come from the Bible.  

        I hope this helps.

      30. Greg:
        The fact that you would straw-man semi-pelagianism as the claim that man is able “in and of himself” to come to Christ shows a lack of research.

        br.d How do you define it – if not that?

        Here is a quote from Monergism.com (A Calvinist web-site)

        Semi-pelagians held that salvation was initially prompted by God’s grace, but depended for its effect on “human cooperation”.

        How does the phrase “human cooperation” not logically entail some kind of ability within man which is “in and of himself”?

      31. br.d
        After you just got acknowledging that the ability of man is not the “Determinative” factor
        But rather whether or not the gift is withheld from certain persons
        I can hardly understand why you would ask that question – since we just went over it. :-]

      32. Br.d I’m humble enough to admit that I don’t know as much as you all do. I’m finding my way. Just wanted to know that’s all. New kid on the block 🙂 I still don’t know your definition of a semi pelagian and whether you are one or not ☺️

      33. There are a couple of things to consider here.
        Firstly – the relationship that Pelagius had with Augustine was a contentious relationship.
        Pelagius was a very smart man – and he had read all of Augustine’s writings.
        When he and Augustine started to interact – Augustine made arguments against Pelagious’ position.
        Pelagious however having read all of Augustine’s previous writings – quoted Augustine’s own words to how that Augustine was contradicting himself.

        This frustrated Augustine and made him very ill disposed against Pelagius.
        So there are scholars who believe that the accusation which is now know as “Pelagianism” was in fact manufactured against him.

        So there are scholars who insist that the term “Pelagianism” does not apply to Pelagious himself.

        However – that being said – the term – generally means – man’s ability APART from any divine gift.
        Once you start to think about it – it becomes obvious there is no such thing.

        The fact that man is breathing is a gift.
        The fact that man has a brain that is able to reason and think – is a gift.

        Now it is wisdom to understand that the accusation of Pelagainism is made today for contentious reasons.

        Calvinists will call someone who disagrees with them – all sorts of names.
        For example – it is not uncommon for a Calvinist to call someone a “Free Will” worshiper – or a “God hater” etc etc.

        And calling someone a Pelagian or semi-pelagian is just one of many things a Calvinist will call someone – as a strategy of manipulation.

      34. Greg,

        With all due respect, and I mean that sincerely. You said that you are a new kid on the block, asking br.d if he is semi-pelican. Ok, so that’s my charming sarcasm.

        However, when I was a new kid on the block, I never heard of those strange words. I never heard of calvinism, or artesians either. Another sarcasm.

        The terminology used by all you guys are still foreign to me. Deterministic, TULIP, Irresistible Grace, etc.

        And since then, I’ve learned of doctrines that makes no sense, i.e. the doctrines of grace, that God has to give you faith before you believe, which is contradictory to the definition.

        So, what you seem to do, is to first learn the foreign lingo, which makes no sense, and try as you might, to match it with scripture.

        On my blog, in the About section, I make note that in your sphere, you read the commentaries daily to see if the Bible is right, whereas me, I read the Bible to see if the preacher is right.

        I hate labels, such as semi-pelican, because for one, why do I care what they believe? I don’t.

        The only reason that I care what calvinists believe is because I want to know why they are so abusive, especially to their own congregations.

        If you want to know about God, the word of God is the source. Church Fathers, if that’s what you call them, got a lot wrong, and yet, they are still admired as being experts in the field. I don’t admire any of them. Especially John Calvin. Even Luther was wrong in many things.

        The only label I use is the word Christian.

        Ed Chapman

      35. Greg – if you are interested in research done by scholarship on the subject of Pelagianism – you will find this interview interesting.

        At youtube – search for:

        The Myth of Pelagianism – An Interview With Dr Ali Bonner

      36. Another way of looking at is – is with what Calvinism calls “Monergism’ vs “Synergism”

        In TRUE Calvinism – all human functionality is “Monergistic”
        Because “Synergism” entails interaction between two beings in which one being is what John Calvin would call an “ON-LOOKER” while the other person is active.

        Synergism is two beings collaborating or co-laboring with each other.
        With Synergism then – there is a certain degree of reliance which one being has with the other.

        In Calvinism – Calvin’s god is never an “ON-LOOKER” because that would entail a compromise of divine sovereignty – which essentially boils down to control.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Since God’s will is said to be the CAUSE of all things, I have made this providence the DETERMINATIVE
        principle for all human plans and works……….

        John Calvin
        -quote
        The will of God is the chief and principal CAUSE of ALL things

        Since that is the case – then there is no such thing as a “Synergistic” relationship between Calvin’s god and man.

        All human functionality is MONERGISTIC.

      37. Hi from over here. No weird intentions at all just keen to hear what you think. The issue is that I have read the articles here and one is an article where Dr Flowers explains why he is not a semi Pelagian. But then I read your definition of man as naturally baked etc and it sounds like you are semi pelagian. So I’m just a bit confused. I was under the impression the semi-pelagian was heresy esp according to this website. But maybe I’m just not reading it correctly

      38. First of all I said “Traditionalists think” and did not say what I thought. You used the old “sounds like you are a semi-polynesian” statement on me.

        Second, this article clearly says…

        “▪ We believe man has the capacity to respond willingly to God’s means of seeking to save the lost, NOT that man would seek God if left alone.”

        Which would clarify the “baked in” idea. Man has the capacity to respond. Calvinists say that Adam buried every man six feet under and “dead men dont make choices.” (But apparently the “dead” prodigal son did.)

        Thirdly, I have submitted to you a LOT more than just the idea of “capacity to respond” (Passover, flood, serpent-on-pole, “dead” prodigal son) and these biblical example seems to show that man has that capacity.

        There are hundreds more: Abel bringing a good sacrifice, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness,” pagan Rahab believing that the Israelite God was the true God, stepping INTO the Jordan and then seeing it part…..etc…etc.

        A simple reading of Scripture (without a philosophical lens like determinism) will show hundreds and hundreds of examples of people who respond in faith to what God says or ask (that’s the point of Hebrews 11).

        After all I wrote you, you preferred to respond…..

        “But then I read your definition of man as naturally baked etc and it sounds like you are semi pelagian.”

        Really?

        What’s your point, and what’s your goal here?

      39. Fromoverhere I’m not trying to annoy you etc. Really. My initial question was really just to seek the difference between what you state above – ‘We believe man has the capacity to respond willingly to God’s means of seeking to save the lost, NOT that man would seek God if left alone.” Yes I agree. I’m not trying to debate determinism etc – i’m not a Calvinist. My initial question was simply asking – what is the difference between the capacity that man has; his ability to respond to God’s means of seeking to save the lost and the idea of being ‘left alone’. Through a bit of reading on this website I realized that no man is ever really ‘left alone’ because he has enough revelation to seek God. So when the phrase ‘left alone’ was used I was simply trying to clarify what that looked like or what that meant.

      40. Greg,

        You had said:
        “because he has enough revelation to seek God”

        My response:

        Other than this website, can you tell me FROM THE BIBLE ALONE, where you get the idea that man has enough REVELATION to seek God?

        More specifically, THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD. What revelation can you point to, and how did that revelation come to be? Book, Chapter, Verse, please.

        Ed Chapman.

      41. Greg,

        Mars Hill. OK, so let’s see:

        You cited Acts 17:27. So I’m going to cite verse 30:

        30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

        They were IGNORANT until SOMEONE explained it to them. So there was no revelation before it was explained.

        and here is the PRELUDE.

        18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.

        19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?

        20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.

        21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

        22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

        23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

        24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

        25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

        26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

        Ed Chapman

      42. Okay.

        Keep in mind that plenty of young bucks have come on here claiming “I am not a Calvinist.” They feel that they can say to themselves (wink wink) “I call my almost-identical position by another name, not his name.” They then defend (for a few days) vehemently the very positions that Calvin holds….all the while saying they are not a Calvinist.

        I say “a few days” cuz they inevitably call us heretics and slam the door on their way out.

        You can easily find my testimony as a former Calvinist on this site (sent as a missionary from a Calvinist church 35+ years now).

        We certainly welcome all those who are sincerely enquiring on this site (my sincere enquiry is what led me out). But we discourage pretenders.

        So, stay and ask!! But not if you are a pretender.

      43. Hi Greg, if you’re not a “Calvinist”, why do you seem so interested in whether someone should be labeled a “Pelagian” or “Semi-Pelagian”? Let’s drop the labels and just talk about how the Scriptures deal with man’s God given ability at birth to respond to Him before regeneration. Ok?

        The shallow and thorny soils/hearts responded positively to God’s Word and the evil one knew even the hard soil/heart could believe and be saved if the seed/Word remained. So that’s clear evidence of being able to respond to God’s initiative. Right?

        Luke 8:12 NKJV — “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”

      44. Hi Brian – sure. I’ve really just been wanting to know the difference that’s all. Difference between the provisionist ability and the semi pelagian ability to respond. Again I think what I’ve been asking has been taken badly to be honest. But thank you for the verse and agree with you, Brian. Thanks 😊

      45. You’re welcome Greg! I think it’s unwise to use labels designed by others to identify “heresy”, in their view. Why would it be important to you to use labels and the definitions made by others who think they have the right to control orthodoxy, and who love to label others with such pejorative labels, which are just terms of slander, in my view.

        I’m glad you agree with the Scriptural insights I shared.

      46. Sure – honestly Brian this came after reading the post that was defending provisionism against semi pelagianism (SP) so I thought I was simply going with a held belief that SP was not doctrinal. Im not trying to attack labels as much as get the difference between the two 👍🏼

      47. It really doesn’t matter what others want to call SP… The post was more about letting Provisionism define itself in regards to the ability a person has to respond to truth that God provides and to affirm that God has provided that truth for everyone in many ways.

      48. FOH,

        You explained EXTREMELY WELL! I get the idea that Greg is NOT the new kid on the block, as he claims, but is just trying to TRICK people into something. He’s using words and phrases that a new kid on the block would never even know. I think he’s got something up his sleeve, and is not being honest.

        Ed Chapman

      49. Greg
        The question then remains. Are all people given the gift to perceive the truth.

        br.d
        Yes!
        I think you’ve boiled it down well.

        So what we should be able to see from this – is that any ability which man is born with – is not the Determining Factor.
        The Determining factor is a gift – and whether or not that gift is granted to certain individuals – and withheld from other certain individuals.

        That is the real Determining Factor
        And that is where Dr. Flowers’s is going to differ from the Calvinist position.

        The Calvinist position – is that Calvin’s god is the divine potter – who CREATES/DESIGNS the MANY specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure. And that is the GIFT which Calvin’s god gives to those individuals.

        Dr. Flower’s once assumed the Calvinist position – and then later became persuaded that the Calvinist position evolved by a process of syncretism. Augustine overly influenced by the doctrines of Plontinus – synchronized pagan determinism into his theology – which John Calvin in his adoration for all things Augustine – unwittingly embraced.

        So the difference does not have to do with human ability.
        It has to do with divine intent.

        John Calvin states it this way:
        -quote
        Some [i.e. THE FEW] are pre-ordained to eternal life
        Others [i.e. THE MANY] are pre-ordained to eternal damnation
        And accordingly as each HAS BEEN CREATED for one of these ends, we [Calvinists] say he has been predestined to life or death.

        Dr. Flowers holds to the position – that God does not withhold the gift of understanding the TRUTH of the Gospel from any individual.

      50. I got that backwards!!!!

        John Calvin
        Some [i.e. THE FEW] are pre-ordained to eternal life
        Others [i.e. THE MANY] are pre-ordained to eternal damnation

      51. Thanks Br.d

        I assume when you state ‘the determining Factor’ you are speaking about the determining factor in salvation? Sure. I cannot see any justice in the Calvinist system of salvation. Would you say that the gift – the gift of salvation – is offered to every individual equally?

      52. Greg,
        Would you say that the gift – the gift of salvation – is offered to every individual equally?

        br.d
        Well – I don’t know what is exactly meant by “equally”

        What we are essentially talking about is divine benevolence – which for the Non-Calvinist is constant towards his creation.
        In the Calvinist system – people do not love God by choice – they love him because he controls their minds and emotions.
        Calvinism represents a 100% meticulously predestined world – in which every event without exception is predestined.

        And predestined events – by definition – cannot be anything other than that which was predestined.
        There is no such thing as an ALTERNATIVE from that which is predestined.
        Impulses which are predestined to come to pass within the human brain – are the only impulses granted existence within that brain.

        The impulse to eat the fruit within Adam’s brain was granted existence.
        And no ALTERNATIVE impulse was granted existence within Adam’s brain

        That is why the Calvinist calls “Grace” irresistible.
        It is human impossible to resist an impulse which is going to come to pass within your brain infallibly
        So in Calvinism – all human functionality – comes to pass by infallible decree – and is therefore irresistible.
        So all sins and all evils are actions which humans are designed to irresistibly perform.

        Divine love is not constant for all creatures in Calvinism.
        Calvinist A.W. Pink for example – declares “God does not love everyone”

        Calvinist D.A. Carson has a slightly different tact
        He states that Calvin’s god has a different KIND of love for different people.

        The KIND of love he has for the MANY is the KIND of love which creates them specifically for eternal torment.

        But the Non-Calvinist does not have a god who uses Evil as part of his glory.

      53. br.d and Greg,

        Wouldn’t a simple answer be the following:

        Romans 10:
        9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

        10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

        11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

        12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

        13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

        14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

        15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

        16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

        17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

        That is biblical, is it not?

      54. Hello Ed,

        There is a difference in how words are interpreted in Calvinism – because the foundational core of Calvinism is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM.

        There is a youtube video which excellently reveals this.

        It is a Joe Rogan interview – and he is interviewing nationally recognized theoretical physicist Sean Carroll.

        Seal Carroll is an Athiest.
        But more importantly Sean Carroll is a DETERMINIST
        So he is essentially a Calvinist without a THEOS

        The title of the show is “What is free will”

        Sean Carroll
        -quote
        For a DETERMINIST there are 2 questions.
        1) How does the world work
        2) What word should we ATTACH to describe how the world works

        Did you notice that last statement?

        In order for a DETERMINIST to accurately describe his world – he has to ATTACH DETERMINISTIC meanings to words.

        Now the Calvinist is a DETERMINIST
        So when he reads the words of scripture – he quite naturally ATTACHES DETERMINISTIC meanings to the words within scripture.

        And that is the underlying urgency within the Calvinist’s interpretation of scripture.

        Calvin makes this clear – when he describes how Augustine uses the word “PERMISSION”

        John Calvin
        -quote
        When [Augustine] uses the term PERMISSION, the meaning which he attaches to it will best appear from a single passage
        (De Trinity. lib. 3 cap. 4), where he proves that the will of God is the supreme and PRIMARY CAUSE of all things….(Institutes 1, 16, 8)

        So Calvin’s god only permits what he CAUSES.
        He does not permit otherwise.

        This is a deviant use of language.
        But it is the way a DETERMINIST uses language.- in order to describe his world.

      55. br.d,

        I understand your explanation, however, I have always found it odd that those who consider the Bible to be “sufficient”, and without error, have to consult “institutes”, or “confessions”, or someone else’s “creeds”, or commentaries. The bible explains everything, if people would only read it, since they CLAIM Sola Scriptora, but deviate from Sola Scriptora all the time, by using other means, as mentioned above. Either the word of God is sufficient, or it’s not.

        Ed Chapman

      56. br.d
        Its not a matter of consulting an extra-biblical text.

        Its a matter of reading Determinism INTO the text.

        Think about it this way.
        There was a time – in which men embraced the idea that the universe is flat.
        They embraced that idea as UNQUESTIONABLE TRUTH.

        They also embraced the Bible as a book of TRUTH.
        Therefore – when they open the Bible – they fully expect to see a flat universe within the text.

        And they in fact do.

        The Calvinist is a DETERMINIST – so his mind expects to see DETERMINISM within the text.

        But there is also an interesting thing to note about Calvin’s institutes.
        When he presented his institutes to the King – he made it very clear that in his mind – his institutes were not FROM HIMSELF.

        As far as Calvin was concerned – the institutes were the “Work of God” and thus a part of the Biblical canon.

        Calvinists today – will not acknowledge that – because no one would take them seriously if they did

        But every serious Calvinist has raised up the Theology of Calvinism – and the theology FUNCTIONS as canon for him – just as much as scripture does.

      57. Ya, I could never understand flat earthers, either. Moon is round, sun is round, other planets is round, but earth? Horizon. Hmmm. But, Sola Scriptora tells us this:

        Isaiah 40:22
        It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

        Circle.

        Moon is round:
        Isaiah 3:18
        In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,

        Now, why would the moon be round, but the earth be flat? Of course it was religious people who came up with flat earth, right? So much for reading the Bible and getting a clue.

        But, then again, the global warming/climate change people never read the following, either:

        Genesis 8:22
        While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

        So, the “follow the science” Christians…what’s God gonna say about the book of Revelation, since they think that the world is gonna end in about ten years? Is God gonna say, “Now look what you did! You ruined my End Times Prophesy, and now I’m gonna have to make another plan, because you didn’t clean up the carbon in your Pepsi’s. But just remember, I created Cow Farts!” LOL.

        Ed

      58. Nice reply br.d.

        Greg, do you see what you are doing? What does “offered equally” mean?

        Do you mean like a Calvinist “offered sincerely” vs “offered insincerely”?

        Calvinism is so much semantics.

        He “offers” to all.

        He “loves” all.

        But of course the offer cannot be accepted cuz the person is “dead” ( and He made sure of that).

        But then again the offer cannot be refused if the person is chosen.

        So, really, in what way does anything like that resemble what our minds can understand as an “offer”?

        Crazy….. I offer a $100 bill to all my kids. When the third one reaches out for his, I snatch it back and say, “I didnt really mean that offer to you! I’m not really ‘offering equally’ to all of you.”

      59. Greg,

        I cannot help but think of the many, many times Jesus said to someone, “Go, your faith has healed you.”

        Strawman set up by Calvinists: “They claim that they healed themselves.”

        Calvinist version: “The faith I foisted on you (irresistibly) has healed you.”

        Simple biblical reading: Your faith in me as a healing prophet has healed you.

        But oh no…… we cant have that!!!

        How about the woman with issue of blood. Jesus ask who touched Him.

        So now we have the scenario that He foisted the faith on someone and then “feigns” he does not even know who it was.

        In a Calvinist scenario….what is the point of that story? No point. Period. Lots of “pretending” going on. Pretends He doesnt know. Pretends (or makes it sound like) it was her faith in some way (when it really was “given-faith”). Pretends (or assumes) that we will easily “see” Calvinism in the story.

        Nah.

        It aint there.

      60. Greg,

        I can explain that natural man thing. And I can guarentee that others will disagree.

        2 Corinthians 4:18
        While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

        Paul was talking to the already saved in your reference indicating that the already saved can be guilty of not looking into spiritual matters.

        It is the calvinist and other reformers that define the natural man as UNSAVED, leaving it at that.

        Christians themselves are guilty of not looking into spiritual matters.

        I call them EXPOSITORY PREACHERS.

        EXAMPLE:

        Is Isaac the promised seed?

        Yes, and no.

        God promised Abraham a promised seed. That was indeed Isaac. But that is the NATURAL MAN interpretation.

        The spiritual man would see Galations 3:16.

        That’s the simple explanation of THE NATURAL MAN. It dies not equate to UNSAVED.

        A great example is what Jesus told Nicodemus. He said, “DUDE, YOU ARE A RABBI AND YOU DON’T KNOW THESE THINGS?”

        Jesus tells things in an earthly way to give an example of the spiritual, and Nicodemus didn’t get it. He was thinking only of the earthly explanation. Born again, from the womb. Natural man stuff.

    2. Greg,

      The Calvinist insists that God “passes over” the sinner (leaving him alone and without hope in his sin).

      Ironically it is the very Passover (the real Israelite/ Egypt one) that is best demonstration of the error of Calvinism.

      What we see is that God passes over those who obey and show faith but putting blood on the door. Israelite, no blood-on-door, death. Israelite (and foreigner), humanly-applied blood-on-door, life!

      God provided the plan (blood) but they had to apply it in faith. God did not apply the blood to one doorpost Himself.

      That OT event/example is referred to in more books of the Bible than any other event.

      What more do we need?

      1. Good one FOH!!

        John Calvin
        -quote
        The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed. (Institutes, 1, Chp 16, Par. 3)

        Thus when it comes to IMPULSES within the human brain – NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.

        To call the process AUTHORING every impulse that will come to pass within a human brain “Passing Over” that human – is a very interesting use of language!

        The children of Israel threw their first born child into the fire of Moloch
        And in so doing they could follow Calvinism’s language model – and claim they “Passed Over” their first born child.

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