God Has Chosen You From the Beginning (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Below is the video broadcast walking through 2 Thess. 2:13 with a response to Calvinistic pastor, Paul Washer. Or you can download the podcast version HERE.

2nd Thessalonians 2:13-14

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is commonly quoted text by Calvinistic scholars seeking to prove that certain individuals were chosen for salvation to the neglect of all others. I, along with many scholars, believe this is very Western individualized interpretation of the scripture, however. We tend to read texts from an individualized (me, I, my) perspective in our egocentric society. This was not the common way of understanding such texts in the first century’s collectivist society where people were seen as under the headship of their cultural heritage, not merely as individuals.

We must understand that the predominately Gentile congregations of Paul’s day were constantly being told they were not the elect of God, but instead barbarian rejects. The Judaizers of the first century insisted that only Jews were chosen by God and Paul spent much time attempting to debunk this commonly held false belief (see the book of Galatians).

In the “Jew versus Gentile” context of Paul’s ministry (and this passage) he often references himself and the Jewish apostles as “us” and “our” in contrast to the Gentile believers as “you” and “your.” For instance, in verse 14 Paul seems to indicate that “you” (the Gentile believers) were called “through our” (the Jewish Apostles’) gospel. Therefore, it makes perfect sense, in Paul’s context, to thank God for his Gentile audience being chosen, or engrafted (Rom. 11:13-24), into the means salvation through faith. This, after all, is the mystery which had been hidden for generations which is just now being made known through men like Paul (Eph. 3:1-11).

In short, the “Apostle to the Gentiles” is likely combating the false view that the Gentiles were not the elect of God by writing this affirmation of God’s choice to include them from the very beginning.

980 thoughts on “God Has Chosen You From the Beginning (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

  1. Thanks. Yes it is a broad “we” “us” ….much the same as Romans 9-11 is comparing Jew and Gentile, Esau and Jacob.

    These verses are plucked out of context and used individualistically and quoted as some of the 40-50 gotcha verses to prove Calvinism. I am often surprised that scholars allow themselves to be duped like this. But in the case of Washer, he comes to the text “wanting” and needing it to say what he is looking for.

  2. I also think a word study of “beginning” as used in the NT, and especially by Paul, might lead others as it has me to see Paul talking about the “beginning” of his gospel ministry in Europe, which included Philippi and Thessalonica (Acts 16-17). God was directing Paul and Silas during that second missionary journey to focus primarily on Gentiles, and Thessalonica was one of the first cities receiving extensive ministry from them.

    Phl 4:15 NKJV – 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the BEGINNING of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.

    But Calvinism also has the continued problem of wanting to hear “before the beginning” in this phrase that only says “from the beginning. They constantly have trouble believing that God is still making choices after creation. They would rather have Him neatly locked up in an immutable determinism of all things forever, where He never makes any more decisions, and they can “freely” control the public perception of the “settled” information of how He does things. 😉

    1. Another way to look at “from the beginning” is to take it as a reference to the book of Genesis. I think that when a Jew said that something was ‘from the beginning’ one thing he could mean by that is that it is written in the book of beginnings. Paul’s statement in Gal.3:8 could confirm this understanding: “The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham, ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ ” So God had chosen to save the Gentiles way back when he chose Abraham, and this was written from the beginning.

      1. Good suggestion, Troy… I’ve been reading through the Scripture this year with the intention of looking for instances of Gentiles showing some knowledge of and perhaps faith in the true God. It’s amazing how many references I’ve seen so far that confirms God has always chosen from the beginning that Gentiles could be saved by faith in His righteousness.

  3. Agreed. The many verses concerning God’s election of all WHO WOULD believe in Christ have been perversely distorted into a false claim that God elected a select few TO BELIEVE in Christ. Along with many non-Calvinists, it is not the concept of divine election I reject – I most definitely read and rejoice that God has elected to forgive and redeem all who believe in Christ – but the faulty Calvinist definition of Election which asserts a cruel partiality on the part of God that leads to a deliberate, heartless refusal to save the vast majority of men who could have indeed been ‘elected’ to salvation along with the alleged chosen few.

    1. ts00 writes, “The many verses concerning God’s election of all WHO WOULD believe in Christ have been perversely distorted into a false claim that God elected a select few TO BELIEVE in Christ.”

      ts00 complains but then he limits the elect to “all who believe in Christ.” Either way, there are only a few who believe. So, what is the complaint against Calvinism. The Calvinist deals with those who reject Christ under ts00’s philosophy and it is from this group that God personally saves some. Thus, Calvinists have God saving more people than would be saved under ts00’s system. Yet, ts00 complains. Perhaps, his real complaint is that God would save too many people if the Calvinists are correct.

      1. Rhutchin writes:
        ‘ts00 complains but then he limits the elect to “all who believe in Christ.” Either way, there are only a few who believe. So, what is the complaint against Calvinism.’

        This is a deliberate pretense of ignorance. Rhutchin knows, full well, that ‘the complaint against Calvinism’ is that the number of potential believers is arbitrarily limited under this monstrous system, as opposed to the true gospel, which offers grace to all men. Hence the ‘good news, which shall be to all people’. The issue is not over which system achieves greater numbers, but which system is just and loving vs. which is cruel and partial. Of course, God states that he desires that none perish, but that all turn and live. Impossible to turn such a statement into a limited atonement that deliberately omits the vast majority of men, rather than allowing all the freedom to receive or reject God’s unlimited grace. True, all but Universalism result in less than ‘all’ believing; however, only Calvinism asserts that it is God’s deliberate rejection of men that leads to the alleged damnation of countless millions for whom Jesus did not even die.

      2. Ah c’mon TS00 why cant you just be like the rest of us and “be glad that God lets any in at all”?

        After all for their sin (that God determine that they commit) all men deserve never-ending torture, so just be quiet and be glad you are among the chosen. And enjoy eternity with the God who planned that 99.85% go to endless torture.

        He picked you bro, so just relax that God is love.

      3. FOH writes, tongue in cheek:
        ‘Ah c’mon TS00 why cant you just be like the rest of us and “be glad that God lets any in at all”?’

        I guess I just don’t have God’s ability to ‘love’, you know, the kind that would gleefully torture those who one could just as easily redeem and grant eternal blessing like the lucky elect. I guess I just don’t have the heart to write off mother, father, grandmother, children, neighbors and strangers as potentially hell fodder; created by God with no intention, ever, of offering them any alternative or escape. It’s not easy to love like that.

      4. You know when I first moved toward Calvinism (after careful tutoring —since I would never have found it by myself), one of the most repulsive ideas to overcome was this “God planned on and gets glory from the 99% being eternally tortured” idea. But like others, I just bit the bullet and said “Well if that’s what the Bible teaches, then I gotta believe it.”

        But that the beauty of the thing!!!

        The Bible doesnt teach it!! In fact this whole blog is about dismantling the scaffolding of the 40-50 key verses that the whole house of cards is built on!

      5. FOH writes, “one of the most repulsive ideas to overcome was this “God planned on and gets glory from the 99% being eternally tortured” idea. But like others, I just bit the bullet and said “Well if that’s what the Bible teaches, then I gotta believe it.”…The Bible doesnt teach it!!”

        Even the Calvinist knows that the Bible doesn’t teach such things as you have invented. The Scriptures tell us in speaking of Christ in Revelation, “Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

      6. ts00 writes, “I guess I just don’t have God’s ability to ‘love’,…”

        No one does until God gives it to them.

        Then, “…you know, the kind that would gleefully torture those who one could just as easily redeem and grant eternal blessing like the lucky elect. I guess I just don’t have the heart to write off mother, father, grandmother, children, neighbors and strangers as potentially hell fodder; created by God with no intention, ever, of offering them any alternative or escape. It’s not easy to love like that.”

        The argument of the Universalist. Well-spoken but ignoring the Scriptures. Rather than “gleefully” Gd says, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked…” God certainly offers a way to escape but Paul says, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” The sexually immoral, the idolator, the impure, etc. will all die if they do not repent and God will not take pleasure in their death and exclusion from heaven.

      7. TS00

        Dont fall for it! I know you will be tempted to answer thinking this is legitimate, sincere, rational dialog, but it ain’t.

        1. First of all it starts with the “you are a universalist” stick in your eye. (they play that card early and often!).

        2. Then there is the conflicted quoting of the verse that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (which we feel is true!). Piper often quotes slave-owner Jonathan Edwards …..pointing that God DOES in fact take pleasure in evil since He needs it to contrast with His goodness.

        “Unless sin and punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of God’s glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all.”

        3. Then there is the meaningless throw-away line: “God certainly offers a way to escape …” Because we all know that in Calvinism, no such offer is made. Indeed it is the most insincere, non-offer ever conceived! Man is not rejecting an offer from God since —before time—Christ’s Limited Atonement was never given for him!!!

        So…..Dont fall for it… bothering to dialog with Calvinists when they offer non-Calvinist verses to support their man-made philosophy.

      8. FOH writes, “…for their sin (that God determine that they commit) all men deserve never-ending torture,…”

        That they do. That is why Christ died on the cross and God raised Him from the dead.

      9. ts00 writes, “Rhutchin knows, full well, that ‘the complaint against Calvinism’ is that the number of potential believers is arbitrarily limited under this monstrous system, as opposed to the true gospel, which offers grace to all men.”

        No. The complaint against Calvinism is that it holds that God is omniscient and knew before He created the universe those who were to be saved (the elect) and those who would not (the reprobate) and this outcome cannot be changed. The Arminians agreed with the Calvinists on this point, so the issue was not who would be saved but how the elect are brought to salvation. Pretty much everyone agrees that all will not be saved, and that God may love the world, but He has instituted a system in which all the world is not to be saved and it is not God’s intent to save everyone in the world.

      10. Rhutchin writes:
        ‘ts00 complains but then he limits the elect to “all who believe in Christ.” Either way, there are only a few who believe. So, what is the complaint against Calvinism. The Calvinist deals with those who reject Christ under ts00’s philosophy and it is from this group that God personally saves some. Thus, Calvinists have God saving more people than would be saved under ts00’s system. Yet, ts00 complains. Perhaps, his real complaint is that God would save too many people if the Calvinists are correct.’

        What does this even mean? Sounds like a whole lot of Gobbledygook that no one actually ever said or believed.

        Should we rejoice that God only decided to create those other disposable people for eternal suffering and damnation, and chose us – the lucky ‘elect’ – to be spared from such a dastardly fate? (Anyone who would ‘believe’ in this God would naturally believe himself ‘elect’.) Of course, God tells us – we don’t have to trust the ‘opinions’ of Calvin and his minions – that if he were doing the choosing, he would choose all, because he desires that none perish. Calvinists do a lot of dancing around that verse, but it is pretty hard to interpret any other way than its obvious meaning.

        If God had chosen to create a tyrannical, deterministic world – had he not created men in his image, desiring to have a genuine, voluntary relationship with them – he would not have allowed any to perish, but ‘determined’ that all would come to him. If this salvation thing was involuntary, you can be sure that all would be saved. Thus, if God desires that none perish – as he insists – and yet many do, we can safely assume that something other than God’s determining will is at play in said events. (This is where Calvinists try to sneak in a second or third will, with God being literally at war with himself, desiring that none perish, yet decreeing that many, before they were ever born or could possibly sin, be condemned to a life of sin and death from which there would be no rescue.) We do not have to read far in scripture to discover the real truth, as we quickly come across many verses that compel men ‘to choose you this day whom you will serve’ and the like.

        Nor do I even have to address the obvious absurdity of the suggestion that any non-Calvinist’s real complaint is ‘that God would save too many people if the Calvinists are correct’. Said nobody ever about Calvinism.

        Instead, I call out the false, hypocritical Calvinist pastors I have heard in my day suggesting how they ‘weep’ (and my former Calvinist pastor emphasized that he meant literally ‘weep’) over the millions who will go to hell, which he dared suggest was our fault for not living more pious lives. Huh? I could never decide which part was more absurd. If you think sending millions to hell was all part of God’s good and perfect, eternally predetermined plan, the last thing in the world you would do is ‘weep’ over his bad judgment; and if all things are ordained and brought to pass by God’s irresistible decree, then men’s piety or lack thereof is not their fault, and would make not a whit of difference. Calvinism forces its defenders into not only defending the indefensible, but into sounding downright silly. As in, ‘Perhaps, his real complaint is that God would save too many people if the Calvinists are correct.’ 😉

    2. AFTER THE FALL,GOD HAD THE SOVOREIGH RIFHT TO SEND ALL MEN TO HELL.BUT HE CHOOSE TO SAVE SOME.WE CAN’T DO A ANYTHING ABOUT THAT.ONE DAY YOU MAY IN ETERNITY UNDERSTAND.THEN YOU WILL.YOU WILL SAY God is right,even them in he’ll will now down,and glorify him…God didn’t choose to send men to hell,every person in he’ll will be responsible for his own choice.and God will be glorifed..man can’t understand or council God.

      1. Janet, we appreciate the comments but I deleted the others because each one of them is almost impossible to read without any complete sentences nor paragraph breaks and each one of them has the same message as this one “Just believe Calvinism, it’s true, stop fighting it even though none of us can fully understand it”. If you have something substantive you would like to discuss I’d be happy to approve it.

      2. Janet:
        “Just believe Calvinism, it’s true, stop fighting it even though none of us can fully understand it”

        This is really not gonna work for those who comment here. Any person with a newly-found idea/ doctrine feels the same, whether it is: spiritual gifts, tongues, baptismal regeneration, infant baptism, prophecy timing (a-, post-, pre-mil), Israel’s place, women’s role in the church, etc, etc.

        Just saying “its’ true” doesn’t work. Most believers of various doctrines (and dare I say other faiths: Islam, Buddhism, etc) will play the “I know it’s true” card.

        Please look at the many posts on this site and read / watch them. They cover most of the go-to Calvinist verses (that’s not hard, since Calvinism is built on 40-50 key verses).

        Please read our comments. We are not “fighting a truth.” We love the truth.

      3. janet
        AFTER THE FALL,GOD HAD THE SOVEREIGN RIGHT TO …….

        br.d
        Hi Janet – this statement avoids a critical foundational proposition underlying Calvin’s doctrine.
        1) Calvin insists “not only is his god willing but he is the author of Adam’s fall”
        So the truth is – Calvin’s god’s sovereign right to treat humans as disposable assets is dependent upon and is the consequence of nothing more than his own will.

        2) Therefore to say that Calvin’s god didn’t choose to send persons to hell is to deny the foundational tenet of Calvin’s doctrine.

        3) Calvinism’s interpretation of the potter and the clay is to assert that Calvin’s god designs a few pots as vessels of honor, and designs the remaining as vessels of wrath – for his good pleasure. This interpretation is logically consistent with Calvinism’s foundational tenet.

      4. Janet,

        Your post is a bit hard to follow and it seems like you are shouting.

        We all agree that God had the sovereign right to set up the world anyway He wanted. What we are discussing here is the Scriptural message of what it appears that God did.

        It is not enough to say “BUT HE CHOOSE TO SAVE SOME” (and I predicted in a post one hour ago that a Calvinist would propose that). It is not enough because Calvinism actually says more.

        The Calvinist model is not that God came along with a life boat and chose/arranged to save some of those drowning from a sinking ocean liner. In that case everyone says “I’m so glad that boat was there to save as many as he could!” (we would all agree with that).

        The Calvinist model says that from the beginning God designed that man would sin (God sunk the ocean liner) and that all would be condemned through Adam and that only a few would be allowed/ irresistibly drawn to repent. There was never any intention/desire/ plan to save the others. They were created for the purpose of eternal torture…… not really as a result of what they did or did not do (that would be “man-centered” and a real no-no for Calvinists), but simply as a result of what God did. It is His doing that they are in Hell, not man’s. There is no way around that doctrine within Calvinism.

        Now, you may want to hit the reply button and say, “You don’t know Calvinism FOH!” but please dont bother since I am a seminary trained former Calvinist and understand my former position quite well.

        I hope this helps. I realize you interest is to honor God. We need to look closely in the Word to see what He says about Himself and His creation.

      5. FOH writes:
        “The Calvinist model is not that God came along with a life boat and chose/arranged to save some of those drowning from a sinking ocean liner. In that case everyone says “I’m so glad that boat was there to save as many as he could!” (we would all agree with that).”

        You are so right, and may I expand upon your thought?

        To the Calvinist, God did not send along a life raft to save as many as he ‘could’ from the sinking ocean liner. God made the ocean. God gave men the wisdom and skill to craft the ocean liner and ordained them to do so. God ordained that the ocean liner would sink. God knew exactly how many people were on the ocean liner, and could have sent a boat big enough to save them all. But he only wanted to save a few.

        The ‘We should be glad God saved any’ argument is very, very hollow. No, if I believed what Calvinism taught, I would not be glad that God saved ‘a few’ when he could have saved all. I would look him in the eye and declare, ‘Even I am more loving than that.’ If it is all up to God, and he did not save all that he could, then he is unloving, unjust and totally untrustworthy. He is not ‘kind’ to save a few, he is evil to sink an ocean liner and not provide the lifeboat he could have. No, I would not want to spend eternity with such a deity, and would gladly give up my place on his lifeboat, and I am not the least bit afraid to say so. Because God is nothing like Calvinism falsely claims.

        The only concept that makes sense, preserves God’s goodness and justice and lines up with all of scripture is the ‘Whosoever will’ concept set forth by Jesus. The ocean liner is sinking, and God has sent a lifeboat named Jesus to save mankind. It is big enough for the job, because God is not unloving, unwise or incapable. But God never intended to bind, gag and toss all onto the lifeboat. Those who scoff at the idea that the ship is sinking are allowed to ignore the lifeboat and continue to enjoy the entertainment on the ocean liner. They have been duly warned, they have been offered adequate rescue, and they have chosen to resist and reject the greater wisdom of the Creator.

        It is not unloving or in any other way demeaning to the character of God to assert that he offers salvation to all who will take it, but will never force it upon anyone. It is most definitely maligning to suggest that God could have saved all, but deliberately chose not to – just to demonstrate his own (misnamed) ‘glory’. In the Calvinist scenario, God deliberately creates a sinking ocean liner and deliberately leaves many, whom he could just as well have saved, to perish. Y’all can think it’s grand that you were chosen to be tossed into the lifeboat, but I’m going to stand my ground and go down with those God rejects. Because that is not a God I would want to spend eternity with – or even a moment.

        But let me tell you about the true God, who is utterly loving, gracious and merciful. Who loves men more than his own ‘glory’. Who pities the weak creature who is ensnared by the clever wiles of the devil, and crafts an astonishing solution – sending a man, his only begotten Son, to stand in the gap. This Son of God chooses to submit fully to his father, even unto death, earning himself the position of King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This Son of God came to serve, to heal, to bind the wounds of those who have been used and oppressed by false, wicked shepherds, and to show them The Way to God and everlasting, righteousness and life.

        The real story is so beautiful, so unbelievably merciful and gracious, it is hard to believe that any would be willing to exchange it for a selfish, heartless God who uses and destroys men for his own good pleasure. I am not too ‘soft’ to believe in the God of Calvinism – I am too in love with the God who has walked with me all of my days, keeping me, helping me, encouraging me and comforting me. Could I turn and say coldy “I have no more desire to be with you”? Absolutely. But why would I? Who have I but the One who has proven faithful and true, gentle and kind, patient and willing to teach as I am able to learn? I have precious family, who I love dearly, but they cannot compare to the One who reached out to me as a frightened, wounded child and faithfully walked beside me for over fifty years. You may be able to believe the cruel, wicked assertions Calvinism makes about God, but I tell you, I know him, and he is gracious, loving and trustworthy.

      6. ts00 writes, “To the Calvinist, God did not send along a life raft to save as many as he ‘could’ from the sinking ocean liner.”

        This is wrong. God did send out the life raft in the form of the gospel telling believers to take that gospel into all the world. All those who climbed into the life raft God saved. Then God went out and pulled even more from the waters – those who were content to drown and actually swam away from the life raft. Then people complained because God did not save all.

      7. FOH writes, “The Calvinist model says that from the beginning God designed that man would sin…”

        God did this by:

        1. Preparing a garden that Adam could maintain;
        2. Opening the gate so Satan could enter and tempt Eve.
        3. Not intervening as He watched Satan tempt Eve and as Eve ate the fruit,.
        4. Not intervening as He watched Adam take the fruit from Eve and eat.

        God had already decided on this course of action before He created the world or Adam or Eve.

      8. rhutchin
        God did this by:

        1. Preparing a garden that Adam could maintain;
        2. Opening the gate so Satan could enter and tempt Eve.
        3. Not intervening as He watched Satan tempt Eve and as Eve ate the fruit,.
        4. Not intervening as He watched Adam take the fruit from Eve and eat.

        br.d
        Firstly, we should be very honored to have someone in our midst like rhutchin who was there with Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world and who now graces us with a 20th Century cannon of scripture detailing all of these minute divine details!
        Or perhaps rhutchin was up in the 3rd heaven with the Apostle Paul and John when he discovered all of these details.

        However a person who would assert the fallacious proposition:
        Calvin’s god decrees everything that comes to pass, but then doesn’t intervene in what he decrees – is probably just blowing smoke. :-]

      9. br.d writes, “Firstly, we should be very honored to have someone in our midst like rhutchin who was there with Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world and who now graces us with a 20th Century cannon of scripture detailing all of these minute divine details!”

        Do we have br.d denying that God is omnipresent and could not be present in the garden and then that God is not sovereign over Satan and has no control over Satan? Hmmmmm.

        Then, “Calvin’s god decrees everything that comes to pass, but then doesn’t intervene in what he decrees – is probably just blowing smoke.”

        That which God decrees is that which God executes. At least, I am not the one suggesting that God is not omnipresent or that God is not sovereign over Satan.

      10. br.d writes, “Firstly, we should be very honored to have someone in our midst like rhutchin who was there with Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world and who now graces us with a 20th Century cannon of scripture detailing all of these minute divine details!”

        rhutchin
        Do we have br.d denying that God is omnipresent and could not be present in the garden and then that God is not sovereign over Satan and has no control over Satan? Hmmmmm.

        br.d
        Br.d doesn’t have to deny what is in the established cannon of scripture in order to recognize when someone is making up their own. :-]

        Anyone who asserts the fallacious appeal:
        Calvin’s god decrees everything that comes to pass, but then doesn’t intervene in what he decrees”
        is blowing smoke

        rhutchin:
        That which God decrees is that which God executes. At least, I am not the one suggesting that God is not omnipresent or that God is not sovereign over Satan.

        br.d
        Too funny!.
        That which Calvin’s god decrees is that which he executes – and he doesn’t intervene in what he executes.
        You’re simply asserting the same fallacious thinking – but in this case its even easier to see.

        Calvin’s god arm wrestling against himself – its pretty funny! :-]

      11. And Rhutchin’s comment that God is ‘sovereign over Satan’ – hadn’t heard them put it like that before. Just shows all the more that they believe God is the real driving force behind all of the wickedness and evil in the world, using the cleverly crafted Satan sock puppet to be the bad guy. They simply do not believe the story of scripture, that an angel became inflamed with pride and a desire to be God, and has wrought all of the wickedness and evil in an attempt to slander, if not overcome, the true God.

        No one is doubting God’s sovereignty, or that he could, in an instant, destroy or put down anyone who challenges him. The fact that he allows Satan, for a time, to wage his futile battle suggests that man needs to learn the sad lesson of what revolting against a good and perfect God leads to. What it does not suggest, in my opinion, is that God deliberately cooked up a scheme to wreak havoc upon his own creation, and ordains the evil with one hand, while doing battle against it with the other. It is not only illogical to think God is fighting himself, it is, as you say, downright funny to imagine God arm-wrestling himself.

        Perhaps the angel Michael didn’t realize the demons he was battling before reaching Daniel were sent by his own dear leader, and that we are all just tools in a twisted, destructive game God is playing upon all living creatures. Paul must have been chortling to himself as he described ‘the armor of God’, designed to fight that great foe of God . . . er, God. I imagine he could barely write: ” Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” In the last days, God will finally put down . . . God?

        If your definition of sovereignty demands that God deterministically controls everyone and everything, all of scripture becomes a silly mythology, like the Greek gods fighting among themselves. If God is equally behind good and evil, there is no point to any of this, and life is a stage upon which we merely perform our prescribed roles. My father’s cancer and my neice’s lost baby were mere entertainment for a bored god. Why pray? (Dear God, please don’t let yourself do anything evil today?) Why have faith? (I believe the good God will overcome the bad God!) Why persevere? (I am going to keep going, even as God sends all of this evil to ensnare and overcome me.) Why put on the armor of Calvinism affirms Shakespeare more than scripture.

        Of course, as frequently pointed out on these threads, few people think their Calvinist theology through to its inevitably absurd conclusions. They simply read the books, listen to the sermons and trust their beloved ‘authorities’ to do all of the thinking for them. They simply do not know that which they claim to believe.

      12. Good post TruthSeeker.

        Yes Calvinists always comes off looking like puppets obsessed with making their strings disappear. :-]

      13. ts00 writes, “Just shows all the more that they believe God is the real driving force behind all of the wickedness and evil in the world, using the cleverly crafted Satan sock puppet to be the bad guy.”

        Are you really taking the position that God is not sovereign over Satan? Apparently not, since you then state, “The fact that [God] allows Satan, for a time, to wage his futile battle suggests that man needs to learn the sad lesson of what revolting against a good and perfect God leads to.” By “God allows,” we know that God made a sovereign decision to give Satan freedom to wage war against Christ and God’s elect. How this makes god the “driving force” behind all the evil in the world escapes me.

        Then, “What it does not suggest, in my opinion, is that God deliberately cooked up a scheme to wreak havoc upon his own creation, and ordains the evil with one hand, while doing battle against it with the other. ”

        God is omniscient with perfect knowledge of the future. Joseph understood this telling his brothers, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Thus, we see God ordaining an evil act against Joseph to bring about His plan for good to save many people.

        Then, “If your definition of sovereignty demands that God deterministically controls everyone and everything, all of scripture becomes a silly mythology,…”

        Then, maybe you can explain how God is sovereign over His creation but not really in control of His creation.

      14. The last “Why put on the armor of ” fragment should have been deleted.

      15. JM writes, “God didn’t choose to send men to hell,every person in he’ll will be responsible for his own choice.and God will be glorifed.”

        God did choose not to save every person when He has the power to do so. God can open any person’s heart to receive the gospel even as He did for Lydia. God can confront any person just like He did with Paul. God can arrange for a Phillip to meet with anyone as he did with the Ethiopian eunuch. God’s Spirit can initiate the new birth in any person. God can use any and all means to save anyone and not be thwarted. If God wants to save everyone, He can do so – and no one would complain.

  4. Having seen/heard a sermon video on Election from Ephesians 1 by Dr. Eric Hankins, pastor of FBC Fairhope, Ala., and having read his upcoming and not-yet-released paper on reprobation from Romans 9, and having read/heard Dr Flowers on these matters, I am convinced that God’s elective purpose was intended for Israel, the people through whom the gospel (“our” gospel, ala Paul) would be delivered to the world, or the “unchosen.” See Eph 1 for this enlightenment. Note the distinct shift in pronouns there as similarly noted in 2 Thess. 2.13 by Dr. Flowers.

    Clearly, God chose Abram and moved him from Ur of the Chaldees unto that natural land bridge between the sea and the dessert – the land of promise – where God’s chosen people would/should be a lighthouse for Yahweh, and ultimately where God’s elective and salvific purposes were fulfilled in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    Election: it’s just not that complicated nor that mysterious.

    1. You will have to forgive me Norm. I did not quite get where you were going with your definition of election.

      I will make one comment though. You said, “Clearly, God chose Abram and moved him from Ur…”

      True God chose him but He didn’t move him! Abraham followed in faith. Never in the whole Bible is there an indication that he was given any special faith….just “by faith Abraham…”

      The Bible is FULL of these kinds of stories and examples where God moves or calls, but men and women follow in faith. Gotta be something to that!

      1. Agreed.
        Cals oft’ say sola gratia, but that renders Eph 2.8 false. We also are saved by faith, the same way Abraham was. God called. Abraham moved.
        As one who embraces corporate election as seen through Abraham and in Eph. 1, I am pondering that election applies to the Jews who were the ‘vehicle’ by which God’s elective purposes are accomplished.
        CS Lewis wrote: “The chosen were chosen for the sake of the unchosen.” Granted, Lewis was an inspired writer, but not as were the biblical writers. Nonetheless, I think his statement sheds considerable light on election. At least it has caused me to re-think the matter to the point that I now believe it is not as mysterious or complicated as Cals need it to be.
        See Eph 1 and the obvious pronoun shift. Paul uses personal possessive words early on, like we and us and our.

        And then v 13:
        And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit

        There it is, Paul moves from first person to second person pronouns. Curious!
        Hankins says in his sermon that the 1st person refers to the Jewish believers, “and you also” refers to his Gentile audience. Cals make no such distinction.

        Notice when and how the Gentiles were included. I see no Calvinism in that verse. In fact, I see the unraveling of that faulty view.

  5. Doing my daily through-the-Bible reading. Came to Deuteronomy 30:

    19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

    Here (and in hundreds of passages like this) it doesn’t remotely sound like all the decisions have already been made from the foundation of the world!

    It also sounds like God is saying…..a lot of the choices are up to us.

    He even says “Oh that you would choose…” demonstrating that He is pleading, desiring, but still allowing the decision either way.

    It must be boring for determinists to read the same 40-50 passages of Scripture each day! Get out and smell the coffee man! There are hundreds of passages out there like this that demonstrate how God created the world!

    1. With due respect to everyone here @ Soteriology 101, May I, (JTLEOSALA) also but in and tell you this:

      1. God has gifted man “limited freedom” wherein he can make use of it to decide,

      2. God cannot give man an equal level of freedom or even a level of freedom that will supercede with his Maker.

      3. How can God be sovereign if there is still someone possessing an absolute freedom other than God Himself ?

      4. In man’s exercise of that “limited freedom” given by God, man must learn to give due respect to His creator and to bow down to God’s eternal decrees. (This is my appeal to those who reject the Calvinists tenets on: Election to save a few and send the rest to hell.)

      Even Jesus Christ has demonstrated this: Submission to God’s decrees – in His prayer in Gethsemane : Mark 14:36 “Abba father, all things are possible for you. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will”

      5. If man’s use of his freedom clashes with God’s will of decrees, it is still God who will triumph to the end according to Prov. 19:21 “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel that will stand:

      6. If the elect will decide to refuse the offer of grace to them, still God can override man’s will because man has no full/absolute autonomy to clash with the Supreme God. The elect cannot resist the legitimate offer of grace-for they will surely believe because they are the lost sheep of Israel whom Christ died for-(Matt. 1:21) All Israel will be saved according to Romans 11:26 And so ALL ISRAEL will be saved as it is written: “The deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”

      7. The gospel will not apply nor will it work for those people who remains unpaid for their sins. Jesus Christ have declared already that He only lay down his life for the sheep in John 10:9, 15 (not for the goats, tares, chaff, swine, stony ground, wayside ground, thorny ground)

      1. -quote
        5. If man’s use of his freedom clashes with God’s will of decrees,……..etc.

        br.d
        In light of Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) – as all of these points are, this statement is totally irrational.

        In Calvinism *ALL* things are:
        (1) First conceived by Calvin’s god
        (2) Decreed to occur inevitably and unavoidably by Calvin’s god
        (3) Rendered certain – which again reiterates that they occur as inevitable and unavoidable.

        Therefore in this scheme it is a logical impossibility for man to -quote “clash with God’s decrees”

        In Calvin’s system man CANNOT have one neurological impulse that is not predestined by an immutable decree.
        Man CANNOT be or do for one microsecond otherwise than what Calvin’s god decrees.

        In conclusion – Calvin’s god says “How dare you do the very thing I decreed you infallibly do”.

        Therefore Calvin’s god cannot be the god of scripture because he is irrational.
        And a being that is irrational is imperfect.

        Blessings! :-]

      2. br.d writes, “In Calvin’s system man CANNOT have one neurological impulse that is not predestined by an immutable decree.”

        In the Calvinist system, God made man in His image so that neurological impulse are naturally generated within the brain without additional involvement by God and the impulses reflect the nature of the person. God has predestined the impulses by creating man with the means by which impulses are self-generated (i.e., a brain) and His control over them – that control generally being passive so that God does not inhibit the generation of those impulses. So, to br.d’s points we can add the following:

        In Calvinism *ALL* things are:
        (1) First conceived by Calvin’s god meaning that God first conceived of the brain and its functions (including the ability to generate neurological impulses) and God had knowledge of all neurological impulses tat could be generated within the mind of man before He created man.

        (2) Decreed to occur inevitably and unavoidably by Calvin’s god – because the brain is self-determining once it becomes active and naturally generates neurological impulses.

        (3) Rendered certain – which again reiterates that they occur as inevitable and unavoidable because it is natural for the human brain to operate as God designed it to operate.

        br.d’s complaint seems to be that God created a brain, put it into the human He created, and then turned it on (i.e., breathed life into the human) and now the brain works without God having to do anything else.

      3. br.d writes,
        In Calvin’s system man CANNOT have one neurological impulse that is not predestined by an immutable decree.”

        rhutchin
        In the Calvinist system, God made man in His image so that neurological impulse are naturally generated within the brain

        br.d
        This of course does not refute the point made – but merely presents an irrelevant red hearing.
        In order to refute my point you’ll have to prove that man CAN have a neurological impulse that Calvin’s god does not predestine with immutable decrees. But then you’ll be refuting Calvin’s doctrine of decrees. :-]

        No complaint – just discerning truth through sound logic! :-]

      4. br.d writes, “In Calvin’s system man CANNOT have one neurological impulse that is not predestined by an immutable decree.”

        I misread this. I agree. God predestines by immutable decree all things, event the free self-forming neurological impulses within a person. God’s predestination of all things is a consequence of His sovereignty.

        Nonetheless, br.d’s complaint seems to be that God created a brain, put it into the human He created, and then turned it on (i.e., breathed life into the human) and now the brain works (freely generating neurological impulses) without God having to do anything else.

      5. br.d writes, “In Calvin’s system man CANNOT have one neurological impulse that is not predestined by an immutable decree.”

        rhutchin
        …. I agree. God predestines by immutable decree ALL things, even the free SELF-FORMING neurological impulses within a person. God’s predestination of all things is a consequence of His sovereignty.

        br.d
        “SELF-FORMING” is another good example of a deceptive equivocal language trick.

        The Calvinist uses this language trick to paint a false picture – that the neurological impulse is not FIRST CONCEIVED in the mind of Calvin’s god at the foundation of the word millennia before the person exists. He then makes each neurological impulse which he conceives occur inevitably and unavoidably within the person’s brain.

        Speaking the whole truth is almost impossible for a Calvinist.

        rhutchin
        Nonetheless, br.d’s complaint seems to be that God created a brain, put it into the human He created, and then turned it on (i.e., breathed life into the human) and now the brain works (freely generating neurological impulses) without God having to do anything else.

        br.d
        No complaint just sound logic.

        And its understandable why the Calvinist would call something occurring in a person outside of that person’s control and where he CANNOT do otherwise than what is predestined (which rhutchin agrees) “free” :-]

        To understand Calvinism all that is needed is to see:
        He is a determinist wearing a mask of IN-determinism – reciting double-speak talking-points.

      6. br.d writes, ““SELF-FORMING” is another good example of a deceptive equivocal language trick.”

        This is not a trick. God made man in His image. Each person is unique because each person thinks his own thoughts and those thoughts are the product of his nature with the influence of experience and education. God created the brain to be a self-generating source in each individual. That God knows the person – even better than the person may know themselves – does not change this.

        Then, “The Calvinist uses this language trick to paint a false picture – that the neurological impulse is not FIRST CONCEIVED in the mind of Calvin’s god at the foundation of the word millennia before the person exists.’

        By first conceived, is meant that God knew what He was doing when He created man and He knew the ramifications of given man the ability to think for himself. No man will think any thought that was hidden from God when He made man. God is the first cause of that which man thinks because He created man, but after that, the thoughts of the person are unique to the person and the person generates those thoughts himself. Of course, God can affect what people think. For example, God brings Israel out of Egypt to an impassable Red Sea with the Egyptian army visible to the people – they are scared.

        Then, “He then makes each neurological impulse which he conceives occur inevitably and unavoidably within the person’s brain.’

        This does not happen directly by any action by God. It occurs freely in the person. That God knew that it would happen is not the cause of it happening.

      7. br.d writes, ““SELF-FORMING” is another good example of a deceptive equivocal language trick.”

        rhutchin
        This is not a trick. God made man in His image. ……etc

        br.d
        Irrelevant red herring.

        rhutchin
        God created the brain to be a self-generating source in each individual.

        br.d
        This yet just more of the same deceptive equivocal language trick.
        Here the Calvinist simply switches terms – from “SELF-FORMING” to “SELF-GENERATING””

        The language is designed to paint the false picture that the neurological impulse which Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the word) decreed would occur in a persons brain was NOT generated by Calvin’s god via that decree.

        It is readily agreed within Christian Philosophy that in Theological Determinism the THEOS (by virtue of decreeing things to exist) becomes the SOURCE and ORIGIN of those things which he decrees to exist. If he does not decree them to exist, then they CANNOT exist.

        br.d
        “The Calvinist uses this language trick to paint a false picture – that the neurological impulse is not FIRST CONCEIVED in the mind of Calvin’s god at the foundation of the word millennia before the person exists.’

        rhutchin
        By first conceived, is meant that God knew what He was doing when He created man and He knew the ramifications of given man the ability to THINK FOR HIMSELF.

        br.d
        Here again “THINK FOR HIMSELF is another example of deceptive equivocal language.
        Same answer applies to “SELF-FORMING” and “SELF-GENERATED”
        In Theological Determinism *ALL* events are decreed/predestined to occur inevitably and unavoidably.
        They don’t occur “OF THEMSELVES” – they occur OF Calvin’s god.

        The rest of the comments were just fluff.

        br.d
        “Calvin’s god makes each neurological impulse which he conceives occur inevitably and unavoidably within the person’s brain.’

        rhutchin
        This does not happen directly by any action by God. It occurs freely in the person. That God KNEW that it would happen is not the cause of it happening.

        br.d
        All irrelevant red herrings.
        Where they occur is where-ever Calvin’s god decrees them to occur.
        Of course Calvin’s god KNEW they would happen – he FIRST CONCEIVED THEM at the foundation of the world.
        He’s got a few screws loose if he doesn’t then know they will occur.

        In order to show (using logic) that Calvin’s god is not the CAUSE of the existence of X by decreeing X to exist – you will have to show (using logic) how X can exist without Calvin’s god decreeing it to exist.

        Otherwise, Calvin’s god is the CAUSE of X happening by virtue of the fact that he decreed its happening to exist.

      8. br.d writes, “The language is designed to paint the false picture that the neurological impulse which Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the word) decreed would occur in a persons brain was NOT generated by Calvin’s god via that decree.”

        Events are generated according to God’s decree but not by the decree. God’s decree says that an event will happen but does not tell us the means by which it will happen. God decreed the death of Christ on a cross. That decree was carried out through people – Romans and Jews – who sought His death. God decreed the death of Stephan; that decree was carried out by the Jews. God decrees neurological impulses and they are generated by the human brain. God did not coerce men to kill Christ not did God force men to stone Stephan nor does God force neurological impulses in the human brain. God created humans, with human brains, to function without His involvement. People think and act because God made them with the ability to think and act not because God coerces them to think or act in specific ways.

        Then, “It is readily agreed within Christian Philosophy that in Theological Determinism the THEOS (by virtue of decreeing things to exist) becomes the SOURCE and ORIGIN of those things which he decrees to exist. If he does not decree them to exist, then they CANNOT exist.”

        Which is to say that God is the creator and creates those things He decrees to exist. If God did not decree that the stars should exist, that plants and animals should exist or that man should exist, then He would not have created them. So?

        Then, “Here again “THINK FOR HIMSELF is another example of deceptive equivocal language….In Theological Determinism *ALL* events are decreed/predestined to occur inevitably and unavoidably.”

        The decree is that events occur by means of people who think for themselves – e.g., the death of Christ or the stoning of Stephan.

        Then, “Calvin’s god is the CAUSE of X happening by virtue of the fact that he decreed its happening to exist.”

        OK. So? God decreed the creation, the murder of Abel, the death of Christ, and all things. So? God is the only one who can decree an event, so if God does not decree it, it cannot exist.

      9. br.d writes, “The language is designed to paint the false picture that the neurological impulse which Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the word) decreed would occur in a persons brain was NOT generated by Calvin’s god via that decree.”

        rhutchin
        Events are generated according to God’s decree but not by the decree.

        br.d
        This is false in Theological Determinism.
        The event has its existence, – SOURCE and ORIGIN from the decree and CANNOT exist without the decree.
        The means that Calvin’s god uses is whatever Calvin’s god decrees it to be, which can be anything – so the means is irrelevant.

        rhutchin
        God decrees neurological impulses and they are generated by the human brain.

        br.d
        This is false in Theological Determinism.
        The neurological impulse was generated at the foundation of the world before the person’s brain existed.
        It has its existence in the decree – therefore the decree is what generates it.
        The person’s brain is part of the MEANS by which Calvin’s god makes that event occur.

        rhutchin:
        not did God force men to stone Stephan nor does God force neurological impulses in the human brain.

        br.d
        This is the Determinism without “Force” argument and is also an irrelevant red herring.
        On this argument, Calvin’s god drops a baby into the fire of Moloch – and since he did not FORCE the baby into the fire he is not responsible for the event.
        And the Calvinist wants to call that biblical ethics! Good luck!

        Same thing with the “Coerce” argument.

        br.d
        “It is readily agreed within Christian Philosophy that in Theological Determinism the THEOS (by virtue of decreeing things to exist) becomes the SOURCE and ORIGIN of those things which he decrees to exist. If he does not decree them to exist, then they CANNOT exist.”

        rhutchin:
        Which is to say that God is the creator and creates those things He decrees to exist. If God did not decree that the stars should exist, that plants and animals should exist or that man should exist, then He would not have created them. So?

        br.d
        We’re talking here about Theological Determinism. and we do the math and connect the dots.
        In Theological Determinism a neurological impulse has its existence by the determination of the THEOS.
        Therefore he is the SOURCE, ORIGIN and GENERATOR of the event.

        br.d
        “Here again “THINK FOR HIMSELF is another example of deceptive equivocal language….In Theological Determinism *ALL* events are decreed/predestined to occur inevitably and unavoidably.”

        rhutchin
        The decree is that events occur by MEANS of people who think for themselves – e.g., the death of Christ or the stoning of Stephan.

        br.d
        I’ve already shown how this if fallacious.
        William Lane Craig agrees:
        “In Theological Determinism, everything that you think, even this very thought itself, is outside your control.”
        If its outside of your control – its obviously not OF yourself.
        This confirms why the Calvinists use of the terms “Self-Formed”, “Self-Generated” are equivocal language tricks.
        Like I said – Calvinism is Determinism wearing a mask of IN-determinism – using double-speak talking points – and this is a good example.

        br.d
        Calvin’s god is the CAUSE of X happening by virtue of the fact that he decreed its happening to exist.”

        rhutchin
        OK. So? God decreed the creation, the murder of Abel, the death of Christ, and all things. So? God is the only one who can decree an event, so if God does not decree it, it cannot exist.

        br.d
        In Theological Determinism that is correct.
        Glad you were able to connect that dot.
        Therefore in this case the THEOS (i.e. Calvin’s god) is its CAUSE.
        In this case X is every neurological impulse.

      10. br.d writes, ‘This is false in Theological Determinism.”

        But true in Calvinism. Consequently, it seems that we have been wasting our time given that we are talking about two different things.

      11. br.d writes, ‘This is false in Theological Determinism.”

        rhutchin
        But true in Calvinism. Consequently, it seems that we have been wasting our time given that we are talking about two different things.

        br.d
        The foundational core of Calvinism is Theological Determinism.
        Regardless of how much Calvinists like to make it masquerade as IN-determinism.

        Its understandable why Calvinism is so reliant upon double-speak.
        Who wouldn’t be under that doctrine.

        You are taught to believe it is TRUE – (that everything is determined in every part).
        And then to go about your office AS-IF it is FALSE.

        Thanks for providing examples of what that looks like. :-]

      12. br.d writes:
        ‘The foundational core of Calvinism is Theological Determinism.
        Regardless of how much Calvinists like to make it masquerade as IN-determinism.

        Its understandable why Calvinism is so reliant upon double-speak.
        Who wouldn’t be under that doctrine.

        You are taught to believe it is TRUE – (that everything is determined in every part).
        And then to go about your office AS-IF it is FALSE.’

        They have been playing these games for a long, long time, as their Theological Determinism – their raison d’etre – has always been firmly rejected by the people. No matter how many tortures, murders or excommunications, people simply refuse to worship a God who desires and ordains evil, then puts the blame on man. So, Calvinists have long tried to hide it, mask it, pretend as if their doctrines do not mean what they undeniably must mean. They started calling themselves Reformed instead of Calvinist, or complementarian instead of hyper. They juggle their definitions of key words and doctrines as need dictates to convince the listener that their theology is not what it is. Some may even be deceived by all the word trickery. The rest just lie.

      13. I’ve actually done some reading on trying to understand the Calvinist propensity for using deceptive language.

        Dr. Bella DePaulo, – Ph.D., Harvard, is a Social Psychologist who has done extensive research on how people justify various forms of dishonesty. In her book: “The how’s and why’s of lies” she reports, a high percentage of people who rationalize their use of dishonest language, experience some sub-level degree of discomfort, but which is effectively outweighed by rationalizations which allow them to d not regard their lies as lies.

        This is especially true with people who are working to protect a “target”. These are called “other-oriented” or “altruistic” dishonesties.

        Protecting the “target” allows them to perceive themselves as honest rather than dishonest.

        For the sake of protecting the “target”, a high percentage report they would have felt worse if they had been honest, because honesty would have revealed things about the “target” they did not want people to see.

        DePaulo’s research is consistent with scholars dating back centuries. This supposed protection of a “target” the vast majority of the time actually functions as a mask for self-serving motives, and the honored perception of being a protector of the honored “target”, is in itself, another layer of deception, which can actually give the person a certain sense of pride.

        All of which I can see exemplified in the behaviors I’ve observed with many Calvinists.
        They don’t perceive themselves as being dishonest or using dishonest language.

        A few times, I’ve used the (Jesus parable) approach and created stories with characters whose language strategies parallel theirs.
        And they get quite insulted with that approach.
        Just like people did with Jesus’ parables :-]

      14. Absolute truth cannot cross the bridge of situationalism. But the entrenched Calvinists live in such a world wherein situational theology is embraced as absolutely true. The toll required for a Calvinist to cross that bridge is the sacrifice of intellectual/theological honesty.

        DePaulo confirms what we already know about most Calvinists.

        I have encountered Moonies and JWs and Mormons whose responses, when their beliefs are challenged, are strikingly similar to Calvinists under scrutinity.

        Consider the similarities of Joseph Smith and Calvin. The parallels are remarkable.

      15. Norm writes:
        “Absolute truth cannot cross the bridge of situationalism. But the entrenched Calvinists live in such a world wherein situational theology is embraced as absolutely true. The toll required for a Calvinist to cross that bridge is the sacrifice of intellectual/theological honesty.”

        If you think about it, this is the same method whereby we always become entrapped in the web of our own sin. We do something, or don’t do something. We say something that we realize was not logical or accurate, but because of our pride, we don’t want to admit it, so we simply dig ourselves in deeper.

        This is why the message of the cross, and forgiveness, is so essential. Forget about complex penal substitution theories of atonement and the like. What we really need is a way out. A way to come forward, admit what we have said or done, receive a pardon and move in a different direction. That is what Jesus makes available to us.

        I would encourage Calvinists, who have had their heads spun by clever wordsmiths, to step back and take a look at what life is like on the lived level. We are imperfect people all, but our direction is either toward greater truth and godliness or away from them.

        If we take advantage of legitimate grace, keep short accounts and desire to do what is best for others rather than self, we will find ourselves on the path to becoming like Christ. If we allow ourselves to once again become entangled in sin, and dig ourselves in with defensiveness and self-protection, we are on the way to destroying ourselves and our relationships with God and others.

        When I began to realize that my Calvinist pastor was not being intellectually honest, that he would say whatever fit his purpose, even if it contradicted something said before, or the foundational assertions of his theology, I became confused, frightened and aware that all was not right in Denmark. It is a mistake to allow another person, group or institution to do our thinking for us, or to not allow genuine questions to lead to serious study and reflection.

        I have a very simple litmus test for whether or not I trust a so-called religious teacher. Do they say ‘trust me’ or ‘Don’t take my word for it’? Those who demand that you submit to their authority, or the authority of their doctors and creeds, are better left behind. They are not likely to enable you to grow in knowledge, wisdom and maturity, for their goal is to push upon you their personal package of ‘truth’.

        Those who humbly admit that they do not have all the answers, that they are on their own journey to fuller understanding and that you are going to have to strive to work things out with the Spirit of God’s help, just might have something to say worth listening to.

      16. Indeed, TS00.

        When one believes he knows it all, God can hardly teach one anything else.

        You can always tell a Calvinist — but you can’t tell him much.

      17. TS00 writes, “This is why the message of the cross, and forgiveness, is so essential…. That is what Jesus makes available to us.”

        That is why everyone will be saved; because people are not dummies. Can you explain why anyone would reject the message of the cross?

        Then, “I have a very simple litmus test for whether or not I trust a so-called religious teacher. ”

        Trust the one who says, “Follow the example of the Bereans.”

      18. TSOO
        Do they say ‘trust me’ ?

        br.d
        Well Said!
        My first ever encounter with a Calvinist pastor – and this is exactly what he kept telling me.
        But by that time, I had been around the block for a number of years and I knew carnal when I saw it.

        This guy told his congregation he could discern (by the spirit of course) – who was saved and was not saved – based upon the way they said “Praise the Lord”.

        His flock followed behind him like little ducklings – carrying their black leather bound KJVs – chest puffed out – noses up in the air all full of pride.

        That’s about as close to David Koresh as one is going to get in the land of protestant-ville. :-]

      19. norm writes, “the entrenched Calvinists live in such a world wherein situational theology is embraced as absolutely true.”

        What is situational theology?

        Then, “DePaulo confirms what we already know about most Calvinists.”

        Any chance you have a citation for this?

      20. TS00 writes, “You are taught to believe it is TRUE – (that everything is determined in every part).
        And then to go about your office AS-IF it is FALSE.’”

        I’d say that this is pretty much a false statement. That everything is determined gives force to God’s promises. For example, when James tells people to ask God for wisdom, we know that God will give a person wisdom because that outcome has been determined.

        Then, ‘No matter how many tortures, murders or excommunications, people simply refuse to worship a God who desires and ordains evil, then puts the blame on man.”

        Even you cannot deny that God is present at every torture, murder and excommunication and that God has the power to stop whatever evil is occurring and does not – thereby ordaining it.

      21. TS00,

        I was with dear friend of mine yesterday. He is also in full time ministry. He recounted to me that he had been abused as a child and he is more aware now how to deal with abuse in general. That would fit with the Calvinist “God ordains what he could have stopped” idea.

        He went further and said that God had a reason for allowing it…. so that he would be better equipped to help people. That also fits the Calvinist idea.

        He came close to saying that God “caused it” so that he would be better equipped (and I said nothing since it was a private moment, me listening to him, not a discussion of doctrine). That would have fit the Calvinist idea also.

        Calvinists believe that everything comes from God (ordained/ decreed/ willed/ planned/ desired) —even sin, torture, and rape.

        It almost sounded like my friend would agree….. seeing that his abuse helps him deal with the abuse of others.

        But it is in the “abuse of others” where the system (philosophical system of Calvinism) breaks down.

        You see, “his abuse” may help him, 40 years later, be able to help others. But what the “abuse of others”? What about the abuse of the 3-year-old girl who later gets sold into the sex trade, and then dies at 14 with horrible diseases and mistreatment? That person did not “learn something” from the abuse! That person did not “benefit from the abuse” to the point of helping others! That person simply lived a horrible, abused life and died an early death.

        There is no positive gain from that. There is no “For God’s glory” in that. We cannot apply (their one, go-to verse) “you intended it for evil but God for good.”

        Some choices (elsewhere you have presented 4, I think):

        1. The Calvinist idea that since God “could have” stopped all evil, but did not, He intended/ cause/ willed/ ordained/ decreed/ desired it all.

        2. One alternative idea that God, “who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,” created in such a way that He allows (this is the “allow” that a normal person understands, not the cheesy “allow” of Piper—- since he is too scared to say “causes”) —- that He allows the sinful world to spin out of control. He does not want it. He clearly states that He does not want it….. but if He was to override every act and thought of every human, He would be eliminating freedom, and eliminating a personal relationship with creatures created in His own image.

        The second one leaves us crying out to God (sometimes disappointed, sometimes even angry) asking why He allows pain and evil, yet still understanding and believing that He is good, patient, and kind. God is love.

        The first one leaves us with an ogre who says He is good, who says He “is love” yet He plans/ wills/ desires/ ordains/ decrees/ intends all torture, pain, rape, mysteriously “for His glory.”

        Let the reader take his pick.

        Let the reader read the Bible and see what the message of the Bible is.

      22. I am truly sorry that your friend and every other victim ever, was abused. So is God.

        And I can say, with rare certainty, that God did not ordain, desire or will that abuse to occur. He did choose to make a creature, man, that could freely think and make choices; which allowed the horrible eventuality of evil to express itself upon God’s good creation, when man used his power of freedom to resist and rebel against God’s good and perfect will.

        All evil is indeed against God’s will, which is NOT done on earth as it is in heaven, else there would be no evil on earth as there is none in heaven. I pray each day, as Jesus taught, that soon and very soon His will WILL be done on earth as it is in heaven. I pray that your friend has that same hope and understanding that God did not desire or ordain the evil that befell him, and in his gracious mercy found a way to bring good from it.

      23. TS00,

        I appreciate your position and agree. I feel your empathy. Any victim would feel your empathy.

        No such empathy would be coming from Calvinists. There is no reason for any Calvinist church to have a “counseling Pastor” or offer counseling of any sort. There is no such thing as empathy for a Calvinist.

        The clear and concise answer/ statement from any Calvinist pastor, who has a weeping (abused) member in his office should in ALL cases be simply: “Yes, you were abused…but it was God’s will.”

        “Yes, you were raped…but it was God’s will. I cannot say, ‘I am sorry for you’ since that would be me trying to out-guess God.”

        “Yes, your husband cheated on you with multiple women…but it was God’s will. I cannot say, ‘your husband should not have done that,’ since I am sure that you have something to learn from his sin. That is the way God works. You must accept that.”

        Worse yet…. the street evangelist who is approached by a young woman who was sold into sex slavery at 10. “Yes, but that was God’s will for you.” Good News!

        Why do we have people trying to rescue women from such situations? All of that has been God’s will, right?

        Why do we have people trying to stop abortion, since —- all that happens is God’s will. Since God always gets what He wants and all that has happened was decreed/willed/ planned/ desired/ ordained by God then the Holocaust was “for His glory.” Good News!

        Piper has no answer for this. Calvin does. Many have directly quoted him saying that all that happens—- evil and wickedness are directly from God’s hand. Piper hints at it in sermons (desiringgod.com) but slips in the word “allow” most of the time, to reduce the impact.

        Again…. we do not need to go around and around with Calvinists on this. Let us rather put Scripture out there that consistently rebuts this man-made idea.

      24. TS00 writes, “And I can say, with rare certainty, that God did not ordain, desire or will that abuse to occur. ”

        By this, you are saying that God is impotent and has no power to prevent abuse. No wonder, you get upset with the Calvinists who maintain that God is omnipotent.

        Then, “[God] did choose…”

        Choose means decree for a sovereign God. Now you sound like a Calvinist. You don’t really seem to know what to do on this.

      25. Ah, here we labor diligently to deliberately misconstrue and make unfounded claims . . .

        Rhutchin writes:
        ‘TS00 writes, “And I can say, with rare certainty, that God did not ordain, desire or will that abuse to occur. ”

        By this, you are saying that God is impotent and has no power to prevent abuse.’ No wonder, you get upset with the Calvinists who maintain that God is omnipotent.’

        So fair friend, by what logic does saying that God did not ordain, desire or decree evil translate into saying that ‘God is impotent and has no power to prevent abuse.’?

        Unlike the Calvinist, I really do attempt to say what I mean. Simply saying God did not do something does not imply he is unable to do it. God did not ordain, desire or will that the earth more than one sun. God did not ordain, desire or will that man have two heads. God did not ordain, desire or will that days last for 26 hours, rather than 24.’ Do any of these statements suggest that God was impotent, or unable to do any of these things? Please explain how.

        Rhutchin:
        ‘No wonder, you get upset with the Calvinists who maintain that God is omnipotent.’

        Gosh, golly, I sure have been guilty of getting upset with Calvinists; but I challenge you to find anywhere I have ever stated that it upsets me that Calvinists maintain that God is omnipotent. That would be rather silly of me, now wouldn’t it, as I also believe that God is omnipotent? Can’t say that I have never been silly, but I can say that I have never said that God is not omnipotent; in fact, I have both stated and written countless times that he indeed is.

        Rhutchin
        ‘Then, “[God] did choose…”

        Choose means decree for a sovereign God. Now you sound like a Calvinist. You don’t really seem to know what to do on this.’

        Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. You mean to say everyone who believes that God chose anything must then be declared a Calvinist? Who made this rule? I have never met a single person, of any theological stripe, who believes in God at all, who suggests that God never ‘chose’ anything. I have not, nor would I, suggest that God made no decrees. But hey, just wrench a few words out of context and attach whatever meaning you want. After all, that’s what Calvinists do best! 😉

        Am I confused, as you would like to allege? Are any of your assertions supportable? Or are you once again twisting words, jumping to groundless conclusions and making false charges? I will let the reader decide.

      26. This is a Response to FOH’s statement here posted dated May 14, 2018 @11:01 AM

        FOH said : “”Calvinists get a lot of mileage out of the idea of God opening the heart of Lydia… but never mention that she already was in a place of prayer and was a worshipper of god”.

        My Response :

        1. Yes, she is praying and worshipping her god, but she does not know the deity she is addressing her prayers and object of her worship. Even the pagans and Roman Catholics also pray and has the capability to worship their own statue deities.

        2. Jesus said to the Samaritan Woman : “you worship what you do not know; we know what we worship for Salvation is for the Jews” – John 4:22

        3. Mr. FOH cannot force nor attempt to bend Jesus Christ’s statement in John 4:22 in order to conform to his theology on “Regeneration that preceeds faith”. My goodness… hahaha…

      27. TS00 asks, “So fair friend, by what logic does saying that God did not ordain, desire or decree evil translate into saying that ‘God is impotent and has no power to prevent abuse.’? ”

        Because God is sovereign and as Sproul would say, “All events filter through God’s fingers.” I think you might agree that God is present at every event, including every evil event, that occurs. You might also agree that God is able to affect any change He wants in any event – God can stop any evil event at any moment and prevent that evil event from even beginning. In other words, God exercises control over every event that happens. Thus, no event can occur without God knowing it and determining (from your perspective) that it should proceed. That determination is God’s ordination of the event. If not, then what is your definition of “ordain”?

        Then, “God did not ordain, desire or will that the earth more than one sun….Do any of these statements suggest that God was impotent, or unable to do any of these things? Please explain how.”

        Of course, they do not. Thus, God ordained one sun and we have one sun; God ordained that man have one head, so man has one head. The point here is that those things that do not happen were not ordained by God and those things that do happen are ordained by God. If God did not ordain two suns, two heads, or evil events, then there would not be two suns, two heads or evil events. It is only because God ordained one sun, one head, and evil events that there is one sun, one head, and evil events. So, I agree with the point you make here.

        Then, ‘I have never met a single person, of any theological stripe, who believes in God at all, who suggests that God never ‘chose’ anything. I have not, nor would I, suggest that God made no decrees.”

        Can you name an event that has occurred over which God could not exercise control and where God’s decision not to prevent the event led to the event occurring? For example, could Satan have entered the garden if God had decided that he could not? Could Satan have entered Judas to bring about the death of Christ if God had decided that he could not? What event has ever happened that was not also accompanied by a decree by God that it should proceed?

      28. rhutchin:
        Sproul would say, “All events filter through [Calvin’s] God’s fingers.”

        br.d
        Right!
        Which he first-conceives / determines in EVERY PART WITHOUT EXCEPTION

        These -quote “filter through his fingers” *AS-IF* they were NOT first-conceived/determined in EVERY part.

        Squares AS-IF circles
        Truth AS-IF false
        UN-preventable AS-IF preventable
        Determinism AS-IF IN-determinism.
        Making X occur AS-IF permitting X to occur
        And a force that forces without forcing

        Calvinism’s love affair with double-speak is just too funny! :-]

      29. And note the repeated attempts to conflate the POWER to do something with the CHOICE to do something.

        Non-Calvinists do not deny God’s omnipotence or sovereignty. Most assert that God is the originating power behind all that exists, and that his use of that power determined the structure of his creation – his power and his choice, meaning what is commonly termed omnipotence and sovereignty.

        The debate, if one is honest and informed, is over whether or not God meticulously predetermined the outcome of all matter in his creation, or created beings with genuine power of choice and creative ability. In other words, are human beings simply complex robots, designed to appear autonomous, but only and always functioning in the exact, predetermined and pre-programmed manner as their creator designed? This is the assertion of Calvinism, whether or not some Calvinists understand or admit it.

        Or, is it, as non-Calvinists assert, that God actually created creatures who, like him, could think non-programmed thoughts, arrive at reasonable, independently derived deductions and make free, undetermined choices? These abilities, which only God could create, would allow for individuality, creativity and autonomy. They also allow for the unfortunate, but necessary possibility – which has been realized – of men using their freedom to rebel against and resist God’s good will for his creation and pursue evil. Thus, although all men owe their existence and attributes to God, they have been endowed by their creator with a genuine freedom of thought and action. When truth is embraced, and God’s will pursued, goodness, righteousness, justice and life will follow. When truth is exchanged for a lie, God’s will is replaced by a false caricature, which is often proclaimed as ‘Truth’ but leads to evil, misery, oppression, abuse and death.

        The Calvinist assertion of Divine Determinism derives from a compulsive insistence on God maintaining meticulous control over every thought, word and deed. Under Calvinism, without this tyrannical control, creation would spin utterly out of God’s control, rendering him unable to fulfill his plans and will for his creation. Thus, whatsoever has and will come to pass has been designed, ordained and irresistibly set in place by God to occur, weaving an intricate web of events that cannot in any way be varied or rendered other than as he has determined. Every thought, word and deed of every man to ever be born has been predetermined and rendered necessary by God’s determinative decree. Thus, every act of obedience is attributed to God, as is every act of disobedience. Just as the sun and stars will perform their prescribed rotations, so too will man do exactly as God has planned, good or evil.

        Some Calvinists prefer to avoid admitting this necessary foundational assumption of their theological system, and prefer to focus instead on how God manages to maintain complete, tyrannical control while creating the appearance of freedom and individual autonomy. Their greatest problem is, naturally, explaining the existence of evil, which, under their scenario, can only be attributed to the deliberate decision of God to bring evil into existence. This is a problem that has never been adequately dealt with, as, at best, Calvinists must appeal to a mysterious, unearthly, incomprehendable logic that somehow allows for the sole source of all things to not be the sole responsible author/source of the evil that he alone determined to arise.

        There also exists the need to explain how God, who maintains this total, if invisible, meticulous control over whatsoever comes into existence, nonetheless has declared that man is to be held responsible for these irresistibly programmed-to-occur actions. Thus, those whom God decreed to eventually be perfected, after having first decreed them to become corrupted in an odd little event, will be ‘rewarded’ for having been thus chosen and receiving the regeneration and faith declared to be necessary for such restoration. This framework necessitates their intricate theories of Original Sin, Total Depravity and Penal Substitutionary Atonement, in order to explain why a holy God imagined, decreed and brought to pass first the corruption of his creation, then chose to redeem and perfect only a small subset of this creation while dooming the rest to the inevitable destruction for which he predestined them.

        The other scenario, under which God endowed human beings with a genuine freedom of thought and action, seeks to explain God’s omnipotence and sovereignty as being a product of his existence outside of time and creation, which grants him a foreknowledge of all events, past, present and future. Thus, without transgressing the boundaries of limited human free will which he established, God controls who exists, under what conditions and all other circumstances that attend to life on earth.

        In this manner, God exerts a good deal of influence over what does and does not occur, all without secretly mandating or controlling such events. Foreseeing the thoughts and hearts of men, he can shape the uncaused events that men’s choices produce, both good and evil, into fulfilling his purposes and plan to redeem and restore whosoever will trust and follow him. He can, and will, bring good from man’s evil motives, by leading those who follow him willingly, as well as those who simply pursue their fleshly desires, in steps to redeem even the worst of events. In this manner, alongside the wicked who seek their own pleasure, we have men freely choosing to align themselves with their creator, submitting their rightful autonomy by choosing to follow God’s will rather than their own fleshly desires.

        Thus, free humans, who have fallen into the trap of deception that suggests that fleshly desires are ultimate, can be freed from the enslavement and addiction to sensual pleasure that inevitably ensues. Without controlling man’s individual choices, God appeals to them to trust him, allow his guiding spirit to reside within them and provide light as to his desired path for them. This is always presented to man as a choice, which they alone must make and receive the resulting consequences thereof. This guidance is made available, but can at any time be resisted or rejected; God does not use any compelling, irresistible force, but responds to the willingness of men to obey or not obey, moment by moment, choice by choice. This leads to the current state of imperfect saints, who love and follow God, but often in a faltering, hesitant manner. Saints, who can, like sinners, ignore or resist God’s direction, can fall into sin and failure.

        I apologize for my wordiness, but my intention is to put flesh upon the skeletons of the competing theories of how God worked and works in his creation. Although men will differ on many of the details, and I make no claims to having it all figured out, I believe this to be a reasonably fair representation of the essential differences between a deterministic theology, such as Calvinism and a free will theology, such as Dr. Flowers’ Traditionalism.

      30. Many times I have posed questions to Calvinists, like: Why would God command all men everywhere to repent while knowing that some of those people have no ability at all to repent?

        Here are two answers I consistently get:

        Because God omniscient.
        Because God is sovereign.

        Can you say non-sequitur?

        Such a response makes as much sense as this: The sky is blue because I like broccoli.

      31. norm writes, “Why would God command all men everywhere to repent while knowing that some of those people have no ability at all to repent?”

        Actually, everyone has the ability to repent. Even the Pharisees came out to be baptized by John. Repentance does not save, so I think your question is, “Why would God command all men everywhere to believe in Christ while knowing that none of those people have any ability at all to believe in Christ?”

        As to why God does this, the only answer I can think of is from Romans 9, “God says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’”

      32. rhutchin:
        Actually, everyone has the ability to repent

        br.d
        With the caveat – Calvinism keeps down in the fine-print of the contract.

        In Theological Determinism everyone has the ability to repent – where it is the case that Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world, decreed they repent – and not otherwise

        In order to understand Calvinism we must recognize:
        The Calvinist is a determinist wearing the mask of IN-indeterminism – and reciting double-speak talking points.

        Another good example for the SOT101 reader. :-]

      33. Maybe a little contest would help Hutch see the error of his way:

        “30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

        So do we think Paul, under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, had any other sort of repentance in mind save the kind that leads to salvation?

        Given this assurance to whom? The elect?

        Nope. To ALL!

      34. Excellent point norm!

        I would totally agree.
        But unfortunately Calvinist training conditions them to read it differently.

        We understand “comparing spiritual with spiritual” and “the whole counsel of god”

        Well – to them the philosophical construct of Theological Determinism is CANNON.
        They hold it as inspired by God at or above the level of which they hold scripture inspired by God.
        For them, scripture cannot be interpreted correctly without it.

        Years ago I had a friend whose pastor was secretly teaching Calvinism.
        He didn’t want his congregation to know what it was – for fear they would leave.
        One Monday morning my friend told me how his pastor let them know ALL of the church reads the bible wrong.

        Now you know that’s a red flag!! :-]

      35. norm writes, “Maybe a little contest would help…”

        LOL!! I know you meant “context.” Just struck my funny bone and I enjoyed a chuckle at your expense. We all do it.

        Then, “So do we think Paul, under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, had any other sort of repentance in mind save the kind that leads to salvation?”

        The key phrase you use is, “…leads to salvation.” So, even you recognize that repentance is not salvation so that God can command repentance of people as a prerequisite to salvation. Even if the person were to repent, it is still necessary that God provide the person with faith enabling the person to believe in Christ. People have the ability to repent; they do not have the ability to produce faith that can only be gotten from God, as a gift.

        We should note that their are two different types of repentance: that produced by godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. 2 Corinthians 7 speaks of this distinction. At the least, all people can repent from worldly sorrow. What assurance does worldly sorrow convey?

      36. Rhutchin writes:
        “As to why God does this, the only answer I can think of is from Romans 9, “God says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’””

        So, the first question a sincere believer would ask himself, when confronted with the admittedly alarming claim made that God deliberately chooses only some to save and deliberately created the rest for destruction, is ‘Says who?’ Or, in other words, is there any other possible interpretation of these passages that Calvinists say prove this?

        Rather than simply trusting Calvinist ‘authorities’, or even my own personal thoughts, I have read, over the years, dozens upon dozens of commentaries, books, articles and sermons that seek to interpret Romans 9. One can Google it, and pull up many options to begin such a study. When a Calvinist triumphantly demands, ‘What about Romans 9’ as if that ends all debate (Or any of their other favorite prooftexts), I find it very difficult to find a non-condemning way to ask, ‘You are kidding, right? You do realize that intelligent, godly men have offered reasonable alternative interpretations for all of these verses, right?’

        Anyone who cannot acknowledge this truth is simply not honest and/or reasonable. They are dogmatizing, demagoguing – not thinking. That is not to say that a person cannot recite scripture to defend his views, but every single time he does, he must be humbly aware that this is simply one of many possible interpretation of those verses.

        You might say, as so many Calvinists and fundagelicals do, ‘There is only One scripture’ or ‘There is only One Truth’ – as if they think that they, or anyone else they know, dare insist that they have full and inerrant understanding thereof. There is indeed Only One Truth – but neither you nor I possess it fully, which is why we have the responsibility to study with an open mind, discuss with open ears, grapple with ideas we despise and bounce the results off of others who are doing the same. All while seeking light and wisdom from the Spirit of God who desires to lead us ever deeper into an understanding of Truth.

        You might think that some passages are so obvious that all men would reach the same exact conclusion as to their meaning, but I have yet to find many, if any. You might start at the very beginning, and offer up ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Surely no one could contest what that means. Except they do, as is true with every grouping of letters known as words. How do you define ‘love’, ‘cold’ or ‘beginning’? You might be amazed, if you did an actual study, at the widely ranging and ever changing meanings words can have. (Disclaimer: I have always had a passion for etymology. My freshman English teacher once assumed I cheated because I never did my vocabulary homework but always got 100% on the tests. He questioned how that was possible, and I looked at him blankly. I just ‘knew’ what the words meant; didn’t everyone? He later asserted my vocabulary was advanced due to reading the King James bible.)

        All that to say, I could spell out this or that interpretation of Romans 9, with subtle distinctions – and I have read some really well-written ones – but people can do their own homework. To just throw a verse out there with an ‘Aha!’ is, well, naïve at best.

        FOH likes to recite his daily readings, which so frequently portray God as interacting with people, offering them options, warning them to make good choices, ruing their evil deeds, and so forth. Any one of these verses or passages can rightly be appealed, or asserted to mean something other than FOH thinks it means. The strength of his argument rests in the numbers. He is not pulling out one Gotcha verse and filtering all other verses through it. He just keeps piling up passage after passage, from Genesis, Job, the gospels, the Psalms, obscure prophets, all making the case that God is interacting in a genuine cooperative, manner, giving people choices, changing his plans to punish or destroy and urging all men to turn from wickedness and pursue righteousness. All refute the contention, made from a very few Gotcha verses, that God has pre-programmed every thought word and deed, chosen the winners and the losers in life and all we can do is cross our fingers and hope we were ‘chosen’ for salvation.

        Gotcha verses simply make Gotcha people look ignorant. (And yes, to my shame, I used to do it all the time.) The minute a person holds up one verse as indisputable ‘Truth’, I realize that there is little hope of having a genuine, reasonable, productive conversation with him; because he simply does not realize that words require interpretation. Usually, such men have been brainwashed by authoritarian church ‘teachers’ that they, their church or their denomination have the ‘real truth’; that they, unlike others, know exactly what the inerrant, inspired Word of God actually means! But this is a false and arrogant claim.

        From the note our lover sent, to the urgent message our daughter left on the phone, to the precious words of scripture, we must carefully ponder, sometimes seek out more information and perhaps weigh formerly unknown issues before even possibly thinking we might have understood the intent of the sent message.

        When an individual does not recognize this basic fact, and find himself increasingly less certain that he knows exactly who God is and what he wants from us, how can he possibly be expected to honestly grapple with what the Word of God is teaching?

      37. I was totally blessed to hear Dr. Gordon Fee’s seminary lecture series on the book of Romans, among other lectures.
        He brings in all of the historical interpretations having predominated the various traditions.

        One thing I got a kick out of with his analysis of some interpretations is where he would say: “The author of this text – given his background, culture, and the historical events of his time period, could never in million years have meant what that scholar wants this verse to say”

        Its like an interpreter insisting that Paul used a motorcycle for his missionary journeys.
        Sorry! The motorcycle didn’t exist in those days – and neither did some of the conceptions interpreters want to bring to the text.

        In Calvinism’s case – every verse must affirm Universal Divine Causal Determinism.
        Any verse that doesn’t – must be made void – (i.e. can’t mean what it says)

      38. Rhutchin writes:
        “br.d’s remaining comments reflect an active imagination giving evidence that he does not seem to understand the issue.”

        Welcome to the club! We just don’t understand the issues. 😉

      39. Rhutchin writes:
        “br.d’s remaining comments reflect an active imagination giving evidence that he does not seem to understand the issue.”

        Welcome to the club! We just don’t understand the issues. 😉

        br.d
        Calvinists are mentored in double-speak talking points.
        When a person doesn’t speak their language they interpret that as that person not understanding Calvinism.
        But the truth is that person is simply not reciting the double-speak talking-points which is their natural language.
        I kind of see it like the miss-communication that happens between different cultures. :-]

      40. yes!
        There was a Calvinist fellow who participated here a little bit last year.
        He described something about what Calvin’s god does – but of course he framed it in very euphemistic language.
        I simply re-iterated what he said back to him – factually – while removing all of the euphemistic language so he could look it square in face without all of the cosmetic language designed to make it look pretty.

        I remember him responding “We don’t say it that way”.

        He hit the bulls-eye!!
        And I don’t remember him ever coming back.
        My prayer is that my feedback made him stop and think for himself – instead of living in an indoctrinated brain mode.

      41. Yes – totally agreed.
        For me it really all boils down to Calvinism having Theological Determinism as its core foundation and blue-print.
        Theological Determinism is the underlying substratum – the template for everything in Calvinism.
        The TULIP for example, is simply window dressing on the side of the house.
        Take away its foundation (Theological Determinism) and these all collapse.

        Dr.Alvin Plantinga argues ( think successfully ) that this scheme makes void – what he calls “Morally Significant Acts”
        The robot who places the empty soda can in the correct recycle bin deserves no moral attribution for what he does because his actions are DETERMINED by an intelligence outside of himself and outside of his control.
        Which means he “CANNOT DO OTHERWISE”

        Plantinga puts it this way:
        “No antecedent conditions and/or causal laws determine that one will perform the action, or that he won’t.”

        rutchins response:

        rhutchin
        May 10, 2018 at 6:14 am
        Thus, there is nothing *PUSHING* a person to make a decision, so no decision will be made. Therefore, no power.

        Then of course rhutchin will say Calvin’s god does not force.
        He understand the laws of motion-dynamics enough to recognize that PUSHING = POWER
        But refuses to acknowledge the same law showing PUSHING = FORCE.

        What we realize is the Calvinist debate strategy is really not logic based – its based on semantic manipulations.

        In philosophy there is a story of a bear who debates with birds in the forest over who is fastest creature.
        The bear who only cares about winning the debate – jumps off a rock and claims he can fly.
        That’s debate tactic is not based on rational reasoning.
        Its based on manipulating word definitions – and the incentive is to win no matter how much distance from truth is required.
        Unfortunately Calvinist by their embrace of Theological Determinism are forced into the same exact mode.
        And over the centuries they’ve made a science out of double-speak language tricks.

        We see most of them here :-]

      42. TS00 writes, “And note the repeated attempts to conflate the POWER to do something with the CHOICE to do something.”

        No conflation here. God’s ability to choose what He will do on any event (regardless of the timing of those choices) exists because He is sovereign. God is then able to execute His decisions – that which He sovereignly chooses to do – because He is omnipotent.

        Then, “Non-Calvinists do not deny God’s omnipotence or sovereignty….God is the originating power behind all that exists,”

        The issue here is God’s continued involvement in (or rule over) that which He has created. Non- Calvinists seem to shy away from dealing with this as TS00 does here.

        Then, “The debate, if one is honest and informed, is over whether or not God meticulously predetermined the outcome of all matter in his creation, or created beings with genuine power of choice and creative ability.”

        This is confused. The issue is the extent to which God is involved in His creation after that creation and whether His involvement determines the final outcome – either by doing nothing (no involvement) so that the event proceeds naturally or by intervening (direct involvement) thereby creating a supernatural outcome (one that could not happen without God’s involvement). This is not impacted by timing – with Calvinists saying that God decides His level of involvement in eternity past while non-Calvinists say that God decides His level of involvement in the course of time. Under either scenario, the Calvinist maintains that God meticulously determines all events with non-Calvinists not really addressing the issue.

        Then, “non-Calvinists assert, that God actually created creatures who, like him, could think non-programmed thoughts, arrive at reasonable, independently derived deductions and make free, undetermined choices?”

        This is the Calvinist position also. The Calvinist says that God opens doors or closes doors to the choices people make thereby determining the final outcome that reflects a concurrence between man’s will and God’s will.

      43. br.d writes, “Which he first-conceives / determines in EVERY PART WITHOUT EXCEPTION”

        More confusion on br.d’s part. God first conceives all things – those that will happen and those that could, but will not happen. Nothing that can or could happen is hidden from God (think of the Molinison theology of God conceiving of all possible worlds from which He will choose one unique world to create). From all that God conceives, God then decrees/determines the world He will create and at the same time, all the events that would follow from that creation.

      44. br.d
        Which he first-conceives / determines in EVERY PART WITHOUT EXCEPTION”

        rhutchin
        More confusion on br.d’s part. God first conceives all things – those that will happen and those that could, but will not happen. Nothing that can or could happen is hidden from God (think of the Molinison theology of God conceiving of all possible worlds from which He will choose one unique world to create). From all that God conceives, God then decrees/determines the world He will create and at the same time, all the events that would follow from that creation.

        br.d
        You took six sentences to reiterate my one statement – and you think my statement is confusion.
        Too funny! :-]

        You use equivocal double-speak language. On the topic of FIRST CONCEIVES – to infer that Calvin’s god looks into the future to see what creatures will do AS-IF he doesn’t determined them in every part (Foreknowledge by observation).

        That is totally rejected by Calvin.
        FIRST CONCEIVES = Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world is the SOURCE, ORIGIN, BIRTH, AUTHOR of every event that will occur in the future. And the scope of these are – as my statement above – UNIVERSAL – EVERY PART WITHOUT EXCEPTION.
        That is why Calvinism is called UNIVERSAL divine causal determinism.

        And that is why Calvin teaches his disciples to -quote “go about your office AS-IF nothing is determined in any part.

        Further your language: “Nothing that could happen is hidden from him ” is simply following the same mode of double-speak.
        Obviously X is not hidden from a being who FIRST CONCEIVES, determines, decrees X.

        In order to understand Calvinism one must recognize:
        A Calvinist is a determinist wearing a mask of In-Determinism – reciting double-speak talking points.

        Thanks for providing the examples :-]

      45. br.d writes, “You use equivocal double-speak language. On the topic of FIRST CONCEIVES – to infer that Calvin’s god looks into the future to see what creatures will do AS-IF he doesn’t determined them in every part (Foreknowledge by observation). ”

        This is a misunderstanding on your part. No one said anything about God having to look into the future. I think you made that up. As any Calvinist would agree, God knows the future because He decrees the future. Of course, I guess a person can infer anything from anything.

      46. br.d writes, “You use equivocal double-speak language. On the topic of FIRST CONCEIVES – to infer that Calvin’s god looks into the future to see what creatures will do AS-IF he doesn’t determined them in every part (Foreknowledge by observation). ”

        rhutchin
        This is a misunderstanding on your part. No one said anything about God having to look into the future. I think you made that up. As any Calvinist would agree, God knows the future because He decrees the future. Of course, I guess a person can infer anything from anything.

        br.d
        Remember I was careful to say “infer”. Consistent language patterns is something I learn to anticipate. So — right as it is in Calvinism.

        Then FIRST-CONCEIVES X means exactly what I’ve said it means – that X is first-conceived (as in birthed or authored and not as in observed) within Calvin’s god’s mind at the foundation of the world. Calvin’s god is therefore the source, origin, and author of X. No creature can be the source, origin, or author of X because no creature exists at the foundation of the world. And X cannot be conceived by any one other than Calvin’s god because the scope of his decrees are UNIVERSAL which leaves nothing for anyone else. That is according to Theological Determinism.

      47. br.d writes, ‘Then FIRST-CONCEIVES X means exactly what I’ve said it means – that X is first-conceived (as in birthed or authored and not as in observed) within Calvin’s god’s mind at the foundation of the world.”

        Fine. That just means that God considers all possibilities and nothing is left out. Everyone agrees to that. before He created the world, God conceived of all the possible worlds that He could create with all the possible events in all the possible combinations. I don’t think there is a point to this statement other than setting the initial condition to which all can agree.

        Then, “Calvin’s god is therefore the source, origin, and author of X. No creature can be the source, origin, or author of X because no creature exists at the foundation of the world. And X cannot be conceived by any one other than Calvin’s god because the scope of his decrees are UNIVERSAL which leaves nothing for anyone else. That is according to Theological Determinism.”

        OK. Of all the possible worlds God could create, God chose one and it became a reality. The events of that world come about through a variety of means all involving God’s oversight but not all requiring God’s direct involvement. That seems to be the initial condition to which all subscribe – at least all who hold that God is omniscient. This does not negate human freedom.

      48. br.d
        ‘Then FIRST-CONCEIVES X means exactly what I’ve said it means – that X is first-conceived (as in birthed or authored and not as in observed) within Calvin’s god’s mind at the foundation of the world.”

        rhutchin
        Fine. That just means that God considers all possibilities and nothing is left out.

        br.d
        Don’t you see that your language is again moving towards (Foreknowledge via observation)?
        I am saying Calvin’s god’s “births”, “authors”, is the “source” of and “origin” of every event – which is a DECISIVELY ACTIVE mode.
        You are saying “consider all of its possibilities” which is a considerably more PASSIVE mode.

        You can consider the possibilities of a wooden box all your life long.
        That mode of activity will never bring about the “birth” of that wooden box

        This is why I said your language infers Foreknowledge via observation.
        John Calvin would have seen the difference between your language and mine in a heart-beat.
        And he would give you a tongue lashing for conceiving of Calvin’s god in such a PASSIVE mode.

        rhutchin
        OK. Of all the possible worlds God could create, God chose one and it became a reality…….This does not negate human freedom.

        br.d
        Lets apply logic to this.
        Calvin’s god is the one who determines what possible worlds will be actual worlds (you’ve already acknowledged that)
        In Theological Determinism creatures NEVER determine which possible world will be the actual world.

        Therefore in the case of Adam:
        Calvin’s god considered two possible worlds – one in which Adam obeys and one in which Adam disobeys
        Calvin’s god and not Adam is the one who determines which of those two worlds will be the actualized world.
        If Calvin’s god chooses “Adam Obeys” as the actualized world – then Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE then to obey
        If Calvin’s god chooses “Adam Disobeys” as the actualized world – then Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE then to disobey

        Conclusion:
        Adam is ONLY FREE to do what Calvin’s god decrees Adam do.
        Adam is NOT FREE to DO OTHERWISE

        This is why Christian Philosophers say “In Theological Determinism there is no such thing as forked path”…..unless its an illusion.

      49. br.d writes, “Don’t you see that your language is again moving towards (Foreknowledge via observation)?”

        No, it’s not. Stop making things up.

        Then, ‘I am saying Calvin’s god’s “births”, “authors”, is the “source” of and “origin” of every event – which is a DECISIVELY ACTIVE mode.
        You are saying “consider all of its possibilities” which is a considerably more PASSIVE mode.”

        An essential Calvinist position is that God decrees all events. For God to consider “all possibilities” is for God to consider all the various possibilities arising from His decrees. God can never be strictly passive – God must be active and decide each event that occurs.

        Then, “That mode of activity will never bring about the “birth” of that wooden box”

        I think everyone pretty much agrees that God created the box (i.e., created the world and all that exists on the earth). What’s the point?

        Then, ‘This is why I said your language infers Foreknowledge via observation.”

        Only if you ignore the discussions that have occurred, the WCF, Calvin’s institutes, etc.

        Then, “If Calvin’s god chooses “Adam Obeys” as the actualized world – then Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE then to obey
        If Calvin’s god chooses “Adam Disobeys” as the actualized world – then Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE then to disobey”

        No, Adam can obey or disobey; God’s determination does not take away ability to decide – Adam will not do other than he desires; God’s determination enshrines Adam’s choices.

        Then, “Adam is NOT FREE to DO OTHERWISE”

        No, Adam is free to do otherwise but Adam will not do otherwise and this freely.

      50. br.d writes, “Don’t you see that your language is again moving towards (Foreknowledge via observation)?”
        Then, ‘I am saying Calvin’s god’s “births”, “authors”, is the “source” of and “origin” of every event – which is a DECISIVELY ACTIVE mode.
        You are saying “consider all of its possibilities” which is a considerably more PASSIVE mode.”
        “That mode of activity will never bring about the “birth” of that wooden box”

        rhutchin
        No, it’s not. Stop making things up.
        An essential Calvinist position is that God decrees all events. For God to consider “all possibilities” is for God to consider all the various possibilities arising from His decrees. God can never be strictly passive – God must be active and decide each event that occurs.

        br.d
        I’ll leave it for others t decide – whether or not “birth”, “author” event X is a DECISIVELY ACTIVE mode vs “consider the possibility of X”. Since your not getting the point.

        br.d
        1) If Calvin’s god chooses “Adam Obeys” as the actualized world – then Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE then to obey
        2) If Calvin’s god chooses “Adam Disobeys” as the actualized world – then Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE then to disobey”

        rhutchin
        No, Adam can obey or disobey; God’s determination does not take away ability to decide – Adam will not do other than he desires; God’s determination enshrines Adam’s choices.

        br.d
        You say “NO” because for emotional reasons.
        But you cannot say that my statements (1 or 2) are FALSE logically

        In order to prove your position IS LOGICAL you will have to show how Adam CAN obey WITHOUT Calvin’s god decreeing “Adam Obey” since it is the case that NOTHING CAN occur without a specific decree from Calvin’s god.

        br.d
        “Adam is NOT FREE to DO OTHERWISE” than what Calvin’s god decreed Adam do

        rhutchin
        No, Adam is free to do otherwise but Adam will not do otherwise and this freely.

        br.d
        This again is an emotional response
        In order to prove this as LOGICAL you will have to show how Adam CAN DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god decrees Adam do.
        And that can’t simply be Calvin’s god decreeing Adam free to do otherwise – because that would represent a case in which Calvin’s god DID NOT decree which choice Adam made – which is logically impossible in Theological Determinism.

      51. rhutchin
        No, it’s not. Stop making things up.
        An essential Calvinist position is that God decrees all events. For God to consider “all possibilities” is for God to consider all the various possibilities arising from His decrees. God can never be strictly passive – God must be active and decide each event that occurs.

        rhutchin
        No, Adam can obey or disobey; God’s determination does not take away ability to decide – Adam will not do other than he desires; God’s determination enshrines Adam’s choices.

        rhutchin
        No, Adam is free to do otherwise but Adam will not do otherwise and this freely.

        Wow. Just Wow. Schizophrenic much? God actively determines all events, yet man can still decide to do whatever he wants. Sure, like I can lock you up, but you can remain free to leave whenever you wish. Calvinists try to imagine a mode by which God secretly determines man’s ‘freely made’ desires, but this is akin to imagining skinny, fat people, a long, short journey or carefree anxiety. Sure, you can slap such words together all you like, but they remain nonsensical no matter how often you blurt them out.

        A non-Calvinist, OTH, can posit that God creates birds to fly, but leaves them free to fly when, where and as they wish. A Calvinist might ‘say’ this, but it CANNOT be true based on his framework, in which his God must predetermine every flap of every wing long before the birdie can leave its nest, or even its shell. A bird may perceive itself as flying freely from bush to bush, but its every hop and soar have been inescapably mapped out, its prey put in exact place and, if it is to someday be captured by a cat, this too comes from God’s direct, inescapable determination. But the bird ‘freely chose’ its own path – in its vain imagination (that is, pretending a bird has an imagination).

        I can only guess that it is Calvinists’ fear, their lack of trust in God, that compels them to insist he is pulling all the strings. I am guessing, though they will likely deny it, that they hold to a secret belief that God will spare them, his elect, from frightful dangers and only cast such evil upon those who he does not love. Yet, we have been warned that in this world, we face much peril and suffer much. We have witnessed innocent Abel, and countless others, abused and killed needlessly, but we have assurance; not that the evil actions are actually from God’s hand, but that they will be dealt with justly, and will even be redeemed by a God who works good out of man’s freely chosen evil.

        Determinism will not prevent anyone from facing cancer, rape or murder, but I guess it makes them feel better to believe it was God’s doing. Rather than face the existence of wicked men and powers who frequently resist God’s will, many prefer an alternate reality, in hopes that surely God would not ‘ordain’ anything too terrible happen to them.

        This also smacks of a desire to not take responsibility for their own actions, as much evil befalls men due to their own refusal to seek and follow God’s guiding direction. This mindset allows men to do what they want, and blame God for any ensuing evil. How often do men ignore God’s readily available warnings, such as the knowledge that sugar and processed foods are destructive to our bodies, then presume that their obesity, cancer or other ‘diseases’ were ordained by God?

        In reality, God did decree that the human body function in certain ways, and ignoring his design would indeed lead to sure harm. The evil that exists in this world is always a result of rebelling against what is true and intended for good. Frequently, we cannot avoid the destructive consequences of other men’s evil choices, such as the hidden toxins in our air, food and so-called medicines. But in reality these evils always arise, not from God’s determining decrees, but through the resistance of God’s will by men who seek their own pleasure or gain, and refuse to walk in the light of God’s truth and righteous instruction.

        All men would be far wiser to trust scripture’s teaching that much evil can be avoided by walking with God; we also know that the evil that does befall us in this world can only ever touch our mortal bodies. Thankfully, God has a plan to redeem those, so even when we mourn, say, the murder of Abel, we can trust that this evil act, performed freely by one man against God’s stated will, is not the end of the matter.

      52. You hit it on the head TSOO!

        Calvinists want to boast about how UNIVERSAL in scope the decrees are – and then equivocate making them NON-UNIVERSAL.
        They call “Calvin’s god leaving the FUTURE OPEN” a semi heresy when its enunciated by an Open Theist – but not by them.
        Same thing for Arminian statements.

        If one wants to understand Calvinism:
        A Calvinist is a determinist wearing a mask of IN-determinism – reciting double-speak talking points.

      53. TS00,
        What you say agrees with AW Tozer that the Calvinist version of God is so afraid that something will go wrong that He has to dictate every movement.

        I have been trying to demonstrate with multiple citations from Scripture that God chose (in His sovereignty) to create the world in such a way that man (even fallen man) can make choices. Calvinists have no room for choices — and if they make room, it is only for bad choices.

        Meaning…. a non-believer cannot help a friend or be generous like the Bible says. That would be impossible. That would mean he was not “too-dead” to do any one good thing. Of course I am not saying that these good things save anyone!!!

        Calvinists always chime in that if a non-believer helps an old lady across the road it is only because he is selfish.

        This is all to support Total Depravity and a mis-reading of Romans 3:10.

        They somehow get around the clear words of Christ….

        Mt 7:8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

        Luke 11:13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
        —–

        Christ is clear that evil people know how to do good things to their children. (Not to mention that he tells these evil people to seek!)

      54. FOH writes, “…the Calvinist version of God is so afraid that something will go wrong that He has to dictate every movement.”

        No, the Calvinist version of God has made very many and specific prophecies of future events that make it impossible not to determine every event as all future events are tied to those prophecies. So, is your statement a purposeful distortion or what…?

      55. AW Tozer…

        “Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.”

        I don’t really hold Tozer up above others, but I just wanted to be clear that one person who proposed the “afraid to do so” idea is Tozer. Tozer clearly taught that God did NOT decree every motion, thought, and action of man and if He had it would have been out of fear to let man be free.

        Some double-meaning, circular-reasoning Calvinists will try to say that God did “bestowed moral freedom on His creatures,” but that is not what Tozer meant and anyone who reads him will admit it.

      56. FOH writes, “Tozer clearly taught that God did NOT decree every motion, thought, and action of man and if He had it would have been out of fear to let man be free.”

        Tozer said that God is sovereign so Tozer tught that God decrees every motion, thought, and action of man. If God were not sovereign then God would not be in control and it would be a fearful thing to give people freedom to do anything they wanted. There needs to be a parent in the room to keep the children under control.

      57. TS00 writes, “God actively determines all events, yet man can still decide to do whatever he wants.”

        Sure. Isaiah 10 is an example. Also, Acts 4, ““For truly in this city there were gathered together against Thy holy servant Jesus, whom Thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur.” Herod and Pilate chose to crucify Christ – yet God determined that they crucify Christ and did so without coercing them to do so.

        Then, “Sure, like I can lock you up, but you can remain free to leave whenever you wish.”

        No, I would be free to do whatever I wanted within the locked room. My freedom might be restricted in those circumstances but I would still be free.

        Then, “Calvinists try to imagine a mode by which God secretly determines man’s ‘freely made’ desires, but this is akin to imagining skinny, fat people,…”

        No. It is akin to imagining skinny people choosing to eat and becoming fat with this concurring with God having determined that they should get fat by eating – and this happens without God coercing them to eat.

        Then, “A non-Calvinist, OTH, can posit that God creates birds to fly, but leaves them free to fly when, where and as they wish.”

        God could then decree the capture of the bird and life in a zoo where their freedom to fly is constrained by the enclosure into which they are placed.

      58. br.d writes, ‘But you cannot say that my statements (1 or 2) are FALSE logically.

        Your statement 1 – “1) If Calvin’s god chooses “Adam Obeys” as the actualized world – then Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE then to obey”

        This statement does not require that Adam not be able to chose otherwise. It only requires that God who chooses may have to act to bring about His choice. Thus, if Adam is intent on disobedience and God chooses obedience for Adam, then God must change Adam’s intent. If Adam is intent on disobedience and God choose that Adam disobey, then God need do nothing. Nothing in your statement says anything about Adam’s ability to choose otherwise; it only suggests that God must involve Himself if Adam is not going in the direction He wants.

      59. “1) If Calvin’s god chooses “Adam Obeys” as the actualized world – then Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE then to obey”
        ‘You cannot say that my statements (1 or 2) are FALSE logically.

        rhutchin
        Your statement 1
        This statement does not require that Adam not be able to chose otherwise.

        br.d
        As I’ve said – in order to show this through logic, you’ll have to show how Calvin’s god actualizes (WORLD A) a world in which Adam disobeys. And yet Adam can DO OTHERWISE. In such case Adam makes void (WORLD A) and instead brings about (WORLD B) the world which Calvin’s god did not actualize.

        rhutchin
        It only requires that God who chooses may have to ACT to bring about His choice.

        br.d
        This is more equivocal language.
        Calvin’s god brings about his choice at the foundation of the world – the ACT is the decree. And NOTHING can come to pass that is OTHERWISE than the decree.

        rhutchin
        If Adam is intent on disobedience and God chooses obedience for Adam, then God must change Adam’s intent.

        br.d
        That is FALSE in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism)
        You have just compromised the doctrine of decrees which stipulates *ALL* things are decreed at the foundation of the world.
        You have Calvin’s god changing Adam’s intent AS-IF Adam’s intent were not SETTLED – FIXED IN THE PAST – at the foundation of the world before Adam existed. That is a departure from Calvinism moving into a MODE of Open Theism.

        rhutchin
        If Adam is intent on disobedience and God choose that Adam disobey, then God need do nothing. Nothing in your statement says anything about Adam’s ability to choose otherwise; it only suggests that God must involve Himself if Adam is not going in the direction He wants.

        br.d
        Again this seeks to evade the fact that Calvin’s god SETTLED – FIXED Adam’s choice at the foundation of the world – before Adam existed.

      60. br.d writes, “As I’ve said – in order to show this through logic, you’ll have to show how Calvin’s god actualizes (WORLD A) a world in which Adam disobeys. And yet Adam can DO OTHERWISE. In such case Adam makes void (WORLD A) and instead brings about (WORLD B) the world which Calvin’s god did not actualize. ”

        For Adam to be able to do otherwise only requires that Adam be confronted with a choice and understand the options he has. We have no reason to think that Adam faced the decision of eating the fruit and could have chosen not to eat that fruit. That God knew Adam’s decision and had determined it had no influence on Adam’s decision. Adam’s decision was determined by his desires – he desired to eat the fruit more than not eating the fruit. Adam’s desires were also known to God but God’s knowledge did not influence Adam’s choice. There is nothing in br.d’s argument that negates Adam’s ability to choose whether to eat the fruit.

        When br.d says “Again this seeks to evade the fact that Calvin’s god SETTLED – FIXED Adam’s choice at the foundation of the world – before Adam existed” he is deflecting as this only determined that which Adam would do and had no impact on what Adam could do.

      61. br.d writes, “As I’ve said – in order to show this through logic, you’ll have to show how Calvin’s god actualizes (WORLD A) a world in which Adam disobeys. And yet Adam can DO OTHERWISE. In such case Adam makes void (WORLD A) and instead brings about (WORLD B) the world which Calvin’s god did not actualize. ”

        rhutchin
        For Adam to be able to do otherwise only requires that Adam be confronted with a choice and understand the options he has.

        br.d
        I won’t bother to respond to this.
        You’re simply dancing around to avoid the logic – and further shifting the meaning of CAN do otherwise to make it infer ability rather than logical consequence. I won’t bother with such game playing.

        rhutchin
        When br.d says “Again this seeks to evade the fact that Calvin’s god SETTLED – FIXED Adam’s choice at the foundation of the world – before Adam existed” he is deflecting as this only determined that which Adam would do and had no impact on what Adam could do.

        br.d
        Same semantic game as above.
        The reader understands what Christian Philosophers mean by CANNOT DO OTHERWISE
        And that it has nothing to do with ability.

        You can dance around this one all you like rutchin – you’re on your own. :-]

      62. If you want to use logic – you need to show the following:
        1) How Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world before Adam exists) can FOREKNOW what decision Adam will make without determining/predestinating what decision Adam will make – while at the same time leaving the future OPEN for Adam to decide – without this being (Foreknowledge via observation) which is not Calvinism.

        2) How you are not appealing to (the MODE of Open Theism) by arguing that Calvin’s god (leaves the FUTURE OPEN) for Adam to decide – and does not determine/predestine what Adam will decide before Adam even exists.

        3) How Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world before humans exist), can decree *ALL* things that will come to pass, and at the same time leave *SOME* things undetermined/predestined for humans to determine.

        4) IF you can’t prove any of the above using logic, then you are left with Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god determines Adam do – before Adam exists.

      63. br.d writes, “you need to show the following:
        1) How Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world before Adam exists) can FOREKNOW what decision Adam will make without determining/predestinating what decision Adam will make – while at the same time leaving the future OPEN for Adam to decide – without this being (Foreknowledge via observation) which is not Calvinism.”

        God foreknows that which He decrees. The future is “open” until God executes His decrees in that the events have not occurred in time. For example, God knows that Adam will choose to eat the fruit and God decrees not to interfere in that event. Adam has the ability to choose otherwise – not to eat the fruit – but he will not because his desire will be to eat the fruit and God will not affect a different desire in Adam.

        Then, “2) How you are not appealing to (the MODE of Open Theism) by arguing that Calvin’s god (leaves the FUTURE OPEN) for Adam to decide – and does not determine/predestine what Adam will decide before Adam even exists.”

        God’s decrees affect God’s involvement in the affairs of people. God’s decrees do not ordinarily affect change in the person or their desires (Isaiah 10 is an example of this). The person’s desires determine the choices they make and do not affect what the person can do but what they will do. The person is always able to do otherwise even though his will is to do as he desires and not otherwise. God’s decrees do not change any of this even though God can close the door on certain choices a person might want to make.

        Then, “3) How Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world before humans exist), can decree *ALL* things that will come to pass, and at the same time leave *SOME* things undetermined/predestined for humans to determine.”

        Nothing is left undetermined. God’s decrees do not affect what a person is able to do but what he will do. People still determine their actions concurrent with both their desires and God’s decrees. A person can, but will not, do anything that conflicts with his desires and can, but will be prevented from, doing anything that conflicts with God’s decrees.

        Then, “4) IF you can’t prove any of the above using logic, then you are left with Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god determines Adam do – before Adam exists.:”

        I think you need to distinguish between “can” and “will.” Nothing in God’s decrees changes what a person can do – a person still retains the ability to do otherwise – but God can affect the choices a person actually makes. For example, the Jews at times wanted to kill Jesus and took up stones to do so; they were prevented from doing so because God had decreed Jesus’ death by crucifixion.

      64. br.d writes, “you need to show the following:
        1) How Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world before Adam exists) can FOREKNOW what decision Adam will make without determining/predestinating what decision Adam will make – while at the same time leaving the future OPEN for Adam to decide – without this being (Foreknowledge via observation) which is not Calvinism.”

        rhutchin
        God foreknows that which He decrees…..For example, God knows that Adam will choose to eat the fruit ….etc.

        br.d
        So far so good:
        According to Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world) foreknows what Adam will choose *BECAUSE* Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world) decreed what Adam would choose. Therefore Adam’s choice was made before Adam existed.

        rutchin
        Adam has the ability to choose otherwise – not to eat the fruit – but he will not because his desire will be to eat the fruit and God will not affect a different desire in Adam.

        br.d
        Your consistently equivocating on my statement
        I specifically stated “Adam cannot do otherwise than WHAT CALVIN’S GOD DECREES (at the foundation of the world).
        You seek to modify my statement by omitting the “What Calvin’s god decrees…..”
        You do this because you know its illogical to say Adam can do otherwise than what Calvin’s god decrees.

        rhutchin
        The future is “open” until God executes His decrees in that the events have not occurred in time.

        br.d
        When Calvin’s god executes his decrees is an irrelevant red herring.
        The fact is that Calvin’s god establishes his decrees (at the foundation of the world) and they are therefore SETTLED – FIXED IN THE PAST before Adam exists. Calvin’s god can execute them any time he likes – but they MUST execute according to what he decreed (at the foundation of the world).

        br.d
        “2) How you are not appealing to (the MODE of Open Theism) by arguing that Calvin’s god (leaves the FUTURE OPEN) for Adam to decide – and does not determine/predestine what Adam will decide before Adam even exists.”

        rhutchin
        God’s decrees affect God’s involvement in the affairs of people. God’s decrees do not ordinarily affect change in the person or their desires (Isaiah 10 is an example of this). The person’s desires determine the choices they make and do not affect what the person can do but what they will do. The person is always able to do otherwise even though his will is to do as he desires and not otherwise. God’s decrees do not change any of this even though God can close the door on certain choices a person might want to make.

        br.d
        This is not logic – this is religious double-speak.
        The argument -quote “Leave the FUTURE OPEN for Adam to decide”.
        Although this mode is consistent with Open Theism – but logically FALSE in Theological Determinism.

        br.d
        “3) How Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world before humans exist), can decree *ALL* things that will come to pass, and at the same time leave *SOME* things undetermined/predestined for humans to determine.”

        rhutchin
        Nothing is left undetermined [by Calvin’s god]

        br.d
        So far so good

        rhutchin
        God’s decrees do not affect what a person is able to do but what he WILL do.

        br.d
        This is equivocal logic
        If Calvin’s god does not decree you WILL be a frog – then you are not ABLE to be a frog.
        That is elementary logic

        Secondly, where Calvin’s god decrees Adam WILL disobey whether or not Adam is ABLE to do is irrelevant.
        Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god decrees Adam WILL do

        rhutchin
        People still determine their actions concurrent with both their desires and God’s decrees.

        br.d
        You are now contradicting yourself.
        Lets look at this from simple math.
        If someone takes *ALL* of the money out of your wallet – how much money is there left for you to take?

        You stated correctly -quote “Nothing is left undetermined”
        That is correct.
        Calvin’s god determines *ALL*
        There is nothing left for the creature to determine.

        br.d
        Also it is totally irrational to say a person’s actions can -quote “conflict with Calvin’s god’s decrees”
        Since it is the case that all person’s actions are SETTLED – FIXED IN THE PAST (at the foundation of the world)

        rhutchin
        I think you need to distinguish between “can” and “will.” Nothing in God’s decrees changes what a person can do

        br.d
        Here you are shifting the word CANNOT to CAN making it infer ability
        CANNOT DO OTHERWISE is a well established acknowledgment within Christian Philosophy regarding Theological Determinism

        If Calvin’s god does not decree you WILL be a frog – then you CANNOT be a frog.
        This is a logical consequence which makes ability an irrelevant red herring.

        If Calvin’s god does not decree “Adam Obeys” then Adam CANNOT obey
        This is a logical consequence which makes ability an irrelevant red herring.

        So far – your attempts have all failed logic.

      65. And always will; hence the endless circles, in attempts to change meaning midstream, as well as assert that A and not-A are both happily true, when such is logically impossible. So, one must dance in place; or lean on the rocking horse first one direction, then the other. But one never really gets anywhere.

      66. Well Said TSOO!
        The Calvinist never lets logic get in his way of illusions he needs to make-believe are real. :-]

      67. br.d writes, ‘Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world) decreed what Adam would choose. Therefore Adam’s choice was made before Adam existed. ”

        Not only what Adam would choose but Adam’s rationale for making that choice. The choice was known to God but not physically made by Adam until the appointed time – and coincidentally, exactly as God had foreknown and this without God having to prompt Adam in any way..

        Then, ‘You do this because you know its illogical to say Adam can do otherwise than what Calvin’s god decrees.”

        I think the opposite – that Adam could do otherwise. God’s decrees enshrine that which Adam will do = they do not influence Adam to do anything that he will do. God’s decrees do not deny Adam otherwise choice – as least you have yet to show a connection, logical or otherwise, between them.

        Then, “The argument -quote “Leave the FUTURE OPEN for Adam to decide”.
        Although this mode is consistent with Open Theism – but logically FALSE in Theological Determinism.”

        The difference being that God knows the outcome – and the rationale for that outcome – under Calvinism but not under Open Theism. The actual working out of God’s decrees incorporates the free actions of people according to their desires. The future is open in that it has not physically occurred. Even you are making decisions every day according to your desires and your knowledge that God already knows your decisions probably never plays into those decisions.

        Then, “If Calvin’s god does not decree you WILL be a frog – then you are not ABLE to be a frog.”

        You are deflecting. The issue is not what God does but what a person does and can do. God’s decree does not force a person to act in any particular way; it only determines that people can act in the way they desire (recognizing that there are exceptions). God does not decree that a person will choose to be a frog because a person cannot choose to be a frog. God does decree that people will choose to sin because they can choose to sin.

        Then, ‘Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god decrees Adam WILL do”

        I think that is just your opinion. God’s decrees do not say what people can or cannot do; they only tell us what people will do and what people choose to do reflects their desires..

        Then, ‘This is a logical consequence which makes ability an irrelevant red herring.”

        So, it doesn’t matter what a person can do or cannot do.

      68. br.d writes, ‘Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world) decreed what Adam would choose. Therefore Adam’s choice was made before Adam existed. ”

        rhutchin
        Not only what Adam would choose but Adam’s rationale for making that choice.

        br.d
        Obviously – since Calvin’s god determines Adam’s every neurological impulse making them occur as inevitable :-]

        rhutchin
        The choice was known to God but not physically made by Adam until the appointed time – and coincidentally, exactly as God had foreknown and this without God having to prompt Adam in any way.

        br.d
        If Calvin’s god didn’t know what he decree Adam’s choice to be – Calvin’s god has a few screws loose. :-]

        br.d
        ‘You do this because you know its illogical to say Adam can do otherwise than what Calvin’s god decrees.”

        rhutchin
        I think the opposite – that Adam could do otherwise.

        br.d
        Post this statement then: “I rutchin assert that Adam (at time X) can do otherwise than Calvin’s god decrees Adam do (at Time X)”

        br.d
        “The argument -quote “Leave the FUTURE OPEN for Adam to decide”.
        Although this mode is consistent with Open Theism – is is logically FALSE in Theological Determinism.”

        rhutchin
        The difference being that God knows the outcome – and the rationale for that outcome

        Under Calvinism but not under Open Theism. The actual working out of God’s decrees incorporates the free actions of people according to their desires. The future is open in that it has not physically occurred. Even you are making decisions every day according to your desires and your knowledge that God already knows your decisions probably never plays into those decisions.

        br.d
        You said it yourself – quote “to [Calvin’s] god the future is SETTLED – FIXED – to man the future is open”
        Again – Where the future is FIXED is TRUE – then the future being OPEN is FALSE.
        Your language can’t help but be double-speak here because you have TRUTH = FALSE
        You believe the future is FIXED is TRUE but speak AS-IF the future is OPEN.

        br.d
        Then, “If Calvin’s god does not decree you WILL be a frog – then you are not ABLE to be a frog.”

        rhutchin
        You are deflecting. The issue is not what God does but what a person does and can do.

        br.d
        FALSE
        You are the one deflecting (trying to focus attention from the decrees)
        The statement is logically TRUE – it just doesn’t fit your narrative.

        rhutchin:
        God’s decree does not force a person to act in any particular way

        br.d
        Here again is the NO FORCE argument which is an irrelevant red herring.
        If Calvin’s god decrees you to be a frog – he doesn’t have to FORCE you to be a frog – you simply WILL be a frog.

        Calvin’s god drops a baby into the fire of Moloch
        The Calvinist argues he is not responsible – because he didn’t force the baby into the fire.
        That is an example of Calvinist ethics!
        Good luck trying to make that look biblical :-]

        br.d
        ‘Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god decrees Adam WILL do”

        rhutchin
        I think that is just your opinion. God’s decrees do not say what people can or cannot do; they only tell us what people will do and what people choose to do reflects their desires.

        br.d
        Again – your purposefully shifting the goal-post.
        Christian Philosophers use the term CANNOT DO OTHERWISE to as it relates to LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE not ability.
        You shift “CAN” to mean ability in order to evade the standardized terminology .

        br.d
        ‘This is a logical consequence which makes ability an irrelevant red herring.”

        rhutchin
        So, it doesn’t matter what a person can do or cannot do.

        br.d
        Here you’re either not savvy enough to understand “logical consequence” or your doing your evasion dance again.

      69. br.d writes, ‘Obviously – since Calvin’s god determines Adam’s every neurological impulse making them occur as inevitable”

        The means for doing this is through the perosn’s nature that God does not need to impel to action.

        Then, “Post this statement then: “I rutchin assert that Adam (at time X) can do otherwise than Calvin’s god decrees Adam do (at Time X)”

        I rutchin assert that Adam (at time X) CAN do otherwise than God decrees Adam WILL do (at Time X). God’s decree makes Adam’s choice certain – Adam WILL do X – but not necessary – Adam CAN do otherwise than X. God’s decree does not force Adam to do X but makes certain that Adam’s choice of X prevails.

        Then, “Although this mode is consistent with Open Theism – is is logically FALSE in Theological Determinism.”

        More to it than that. Open Theism posits that the future is open because God must still decide what He will do. Open Theists contend that God cannot decide the future in eternity past for lack of complete information but must make decisions in the course of time as He learns of the decisions that people make. Under Calvinism, God knows the future so it is closed from God’s perspective, but man does not know the future that God has determined so that future is open from man’s perspective – and man is able to take actions that become the means that God uses to accomplish that which He has determined. As William Craig explains it, whatever man chooses to do turns out to be that which God intended – and determined – for man to do and it is accomplished without God forcing man to act in any particular manner.

        Then, ‘Again – Where the future is FIXED is TRUE – then the future being OPEN is FALSE.”

        This depends on context. In this case, fixed or open depends on whether it is from God’s or man’s perspective. If you want to deal with free will, then God has free will and all things are fixed by His will while man’s free will is open and yet to be expressed. Man’s will can never overrule God’s free will.

        Then, “Then, “If Calvin’s god does not decree you WILL be a frog – then you are not ABLE to be a frog.”
        The statement is logically TRUE – it just doesn’t fit your narrative.”

        It has nothing to do with my narrative. If God does not convey to man the ability to become a frog, then man cannot make himself a frog. If God conveys to man the ability to make decisions, then man can make decisions – even where those decisions are known to God before the man makes them. People make decisions every day on a variety of issues. None is forced into certain decisions by God’s foreknowledge as God’s foreknowledge incorporates man’s willful choices into His determinations.

        Then, ‘Calvin’s god drops a baby into the fire of Moloch
        The Calvinist argues he is not responsible – because he didn’t force the baby into the fire.”

        No, the baby is dropped into the fire by a person who willfully chooses to do so. If God is to be blamed, it is for not catching the baby before it entered the fire or protecting the baby from the flames – the example in Daniel showing how God can exerise his power in this respect.

        Then, ‘Christian Philosophers use the term CANNOT DO OTHERWISE to as it relates to LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE not ability.”

        Logical consequence views the situation from God’s perspective.If that is all you mean, then who care’s?

        Then, ‘Here you’re either not savvy enough to understand “logical consequence” or your doing your evasion dance again.”

        No, I am making a distinction between God’s perspective and man’s perspective. God has free will and man has free will but man’s free will is necessarily subordinate to God’s free will.. From God’s perspective, God has exercised His free will and made His decisions – the future is certain and fixed. From man’s perspective, man has not made all his decisions but is doing so in the course of time – the future is open and not necessary.

      70. br.d
        Then, “Post this statement then: “I rutchin assert that Adam (at time X) can do otherwise than Calvin’s god decrees Adam do (at Time X)”

        rhutchn
        I rutchin assert that Adam (at time X) CAN do otherwise than God decrees Adam WILL do (at Time X).

        br.d
        You changed the wording.

        Besides – we’ve been over this territory before with the word “impossible”.
        Hebrews 6:18 ” it is impossible for God to lie”

        But by equivocating on the word “impossible” or “can” you can say it is possible for God to like because God has the “ability” to lie – therefore he CAN lie.

        This is all about shifting the meanings of words.
        The rest of the dialog is not worth going over with you any more since your just dancing around in circles at this point.

        But I think the SOT101 reader can follow the thread enough now to get the picture and make up their own mind.

        To understand Calvinism one must recognize:
        A Calvinist is a determinist wearing a mask of IN-determinism – reciting double-speak talking points. :-]

      71. Or, to paraphrase Horton:

        ‘I meant what I said, IF I said what I meant’;
        a Calvinist is deceptive, 100 percent.

      72. You got it TSOO!!

        Calvinists are like Janus – the Roman God of Two Doorways

        https://featheredpipe.com/janus/

        Shape-shifting between determinism and IN-determinism.
        They have a library of two-faced terms which allow them to speak out of two sides of every equation.

        They use “Permitted” and “Not Prevented” to replace “Caused”.
        They use “Certain” to replace the words “unavoidable” and “Inevitable”.
        They use “Real” to replace the word “Illusion”.
        They use “AS-IF” in order to replace the term “Make-believe”

        These deceptive terms all work to paint a picture of Calvin’s god in as operating in an IN-deterministic mode when it comes to the reality of evil events.

        As William Lane Craig notes:
        paraphrased:
        “A determinist cannot live consistently….as though all that he thinks and does is determined by causes outside himself.
        Even determinists recognize [they must] ACT AS-IF [they] decide on what course of action to take, even though at the end of the day [they believe they are] determined to take the choices [they take].

        DETERMINISM IS THUS…UNLIVABLE”

        That is why shape-shifting terms are the hall-mark of Calvinism.
        And every dedicated Calvinist becomes mentored in its library of double-speak. :-]

      73. br.d writes, ‘Even determinists recognize [they must] ACT AS-IF [they] decide on what course of action to take, even though at the end of the day [they believe they are] determined to take the choices [they take]. ”

        Yet, we do make decisions on courses of action to take. I find myself making a decision to ask God for wisdom and if God has determined that I would ask for wisdom, then I am eternally grateful. And if the wisdom God gives me determines more of my actions, I am doubly grateful.

      74. Rhutchin writes:
        “Yet, we do make decisions on courses of action to take. I find myself making a decision to ask God for wisdom and if God has determined that I would ask for wisdom, then I am eternally grateful. And if the wisdom God gives me determines more of my actions, I am doubly grateful.”

        Ah, as always the humble Calvinist bows to God’s sovereignty, for he certainly would not want to pretend that he could do anything unless God had first determined it. Why, do you think he would for a second consider stealing any of God’s glory?

        So, if only those God has ‘determined’ to ask for wisdom can ask for it, (and presumably receive it simply by asking?) then it would appear Solomon was wasting his time writing Proverbs. For verse after verse encourages his son (and others) to SEEK wisdom. He doesn’t make it sound optional, or like something that only a select few, who have to be given magic ability, must then irresistibly desire and do. I can’t quote the whole book, but please read it for yourself.

        Nor does God appear to be stingily hoarding wisdom for his elect. Solomon states: ‘Wisdom cries aloud in the street; in the markets she raises her voice; on the top of the walls she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks.’ Sounds like she’s everywhere, looking for takers. In fact, Solomon makes a big deal about how hard she tries to get people to listen to her: ‘How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing, and fools hate knowledge? Give heed to my reproof; behold I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you.’ Now this is not words falling on deaf (dead) ears . . . wisdom says she will make her words ‘known’.

        Looks like Solomon, and the inspiring Holy Spirit, got the whole thing all wrong. Why, Solomon was so confused, he suggests that the reason people do not receive wisdom is not that God does not ‘determine’ them to do so, or because they are cursed and unable to hear her loud cries, but, well, I’ll let Solomon’s inspired words speak: ‘Because I have called and you REFUSED (which does not mean ‘were unable’) to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, and you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof (One cannot ‘ignore’ or ‘have none of’ something unless they are aware of it. Both denote deliberate, negative responses.) . . . Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and be sated with their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacence of fools destroys them; but he who listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of evil.’

        Gosh, golly, Solomon sure screwed that one up, eh? But wait, maybe the Calvinist can still pull out his Total Depravity trump card, and assert that only those whom God makes alive can ‘listen’ and do all of the things spelled out in Proverbs (along with the rest of scripture). God is just being facetious here, condemning people, who he knows cannot hear, for not listening; admonishing people he chose not to ordain desire to, for not desiring to seek wisdom!

        Of course, Solomon doesn’t suggest any such cruel thing. In fact, everything he writes discounts it. Instead of merely hoping God ordains his son to have a desire for wisdom, Solomon’s teaches throughout the entire book that his son has a choice to make: whether or not to seek wisdom (She can be found in the street, in the markets, on the top of the walls and at the entrance of the city gates, for starters. Calling out loudly.)

        Again and again, Solomon says things that make it sound like wisdom is there for the getting; words like ‘My son, IF you receive my words, and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom (He can choose to make his ear attentive – he doesn’t have to wait for God to ‘fix’ it!) and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, IF you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, IF you seek it like silver and search for it as hidden treasures; THEN (Yes, that sort of then!) you will understand the fear of the Lord, (which, it is repeatedly said, is the beginning of wisdom).’

        There is going to be a rude awakening for any who nonchalantly try to tell God that the reason they did not have wisdom was because he did not determine them to desire it, thus they naturally could not pray for it. After all, who can desire or pray for anything apart from what God decrees? Of course, God might just rip out his copy of Proverbs – okay, he probably has it memorized – and coldly remind them that they were instructed to seek for wisdom like silver and search for it as hidden treasure, not sit around on their tushes waiting for some supernatural desire from heaven to infiltrate their brains.

        Just in case that isn’t enough warning, Solomon writes that God does not give wisdom only to those whom he ordained to desire, and ask prettily for it, but – wait for it – he actually gives it to those who DO WHAT IS RIGHT! No easy wisdomism here. Sounds like James wasn’t so crazy after all. God actually does give a you-know-what about what we DO, and isn’t sitting up there calmly overlooking our wickedness and gazing at Jesus’ good works. (Much as Calvinists desperately want to believe it, so they can live their lives with no fear of the consequences of their actions.)

        Sorry, Charlie, er, Martin, once again, we have it spelled out that ‘. . . the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom . . .’ (Not for some predetermined elect, not for a select few who he must first regenerate from their dead, Totally Depraved nature, but) ‘. . . for the upright.’ Wow. Sounds like Solomon thinks that what people DO actually matters; and that they have choices to make.

        Ah, maybe the Calvinist can still weasel his way out of this, and assert that it simply means those who are ‘declared upright’ upon being regenerated and receiving that undesired and unsought gift of faith!

        Not quite. Instead, Solomon tells us that God ‘is a shield to those who walk (not simply receive a gift of faith) in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of saints. Then . . .’ (Yep, we’re talking actions and contingency here folks. This here son has to walk in integrity and THEN he will get wisdom) ‘. . . you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, and every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul’. IF men walk uprightly, THEN wisdom will come into their hearts. No use trying to pretend that the faith and wisdom come first, then men are enabled to walk uprightly . . . it is the exact opposite. Start doing the right thing, and see God reward you with wisdom, and understanding and all of the blessings Solomon promises they will produce.

        Calvinists can comb through their well-worn Institutes, sputtering about how they can only do what God ordained them to do, can’t do anything but what he has determined, and, after all, if he wants them to desire wisdom he’ll just have to give ’em the desire . . . Me? First I’m going to study up on what it means to ‘walk in integrity’; then, I’m getting me a hound dog to go after that wisdom.

        Anyone who really wants to understand, and have wisdom, will study scripture for themselves, rather than doggedly defending the interpretations of other fallible men. Or just slap that Calvinist filter on, which magically make the words mean whatever you want them to mean.

      75. TS00 writes, “he certainly would not want to pretend that he could do anything unless God had first determined it.”

        Let’s grant your position that God does not determine all events in a person’s life. Those things God does determine are to the person’s advantage – the more; the better. If we are doing things that God does not determine (i.e., sin), then they are to our disadvantage and we should always be petitioning God to determine the events in our lives.

        Then, “So, if only those God has ‘determined’ to ask for wisdom can ask for it, (and presumably receive it simply by asking?) then it would appear Solomon was wasting his time writing Proverbs.”

        Solomon provides sound advice. If God is also determining that certain people actually follow that advice – all the better for the person. The problem for many people is that they don’t follow Solomon’s advice; they could use a little help.

        Then, “Nor does God appear to be stingily hoarding wisdom for his elect.”

        That’s what James says – Anyone can ask God for wisdom and receive it. If God is also determining His elect to ask for wisdom; it just gives them an advantage – an advantage that no one is complaining about.

        Then, ‘maybe the Calvinist can still pull out his Total Depravity trump card, and assert that only those whom God makes alive can ‘listen’ and do all of the things spelled out in Proverbs”

        or maybe, we can just refer to Paul’s words in Ephesians 2, “you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” If Paul is telling us the truth and there is a”prince of the power of the air” working in some people, those people would certainly benefit if God determined to quicken them and affect them to ask for wisdom.

        Then, ‘Anyone who really wants to understand, and have wisdom, will study scripture for themselves,…”

        Everyone who really wants to understand will study. It doesn’t hurt to have God helping.

      76. The hedging and deceptive double-speak continues, as Rhutchin attempts to pull back on his rocking horse and pretend as if determinism is actually on par with suggesting we all, naturally, could use a little of God’s ‘help’ as we go about our presumably self chosen ways; heh, heh, move along, nothing to see, and all that.

        This is nonsense under Calvinism, of course, for if our ways are ‘determined’ by God, and we will, without fail, desire the will he desires us to desire, we don’t need further ‘help’ to accomplish that desiring of that preordained will. If God’s will is always done (through secretive, untold, secondary means, of course), pretending that we need help to desire and ‘seek’ it is absurd.

        However, unless one knows, then carefully compares the actual assertions of Calvinism with scripture, he will never know whether or not they are, in reality, in line or contradictory. Any deceiver can come along and say, ‘Oh, so and so just doesn’t understand Calvinism. It really just means . . .’ If the person takes the smooth talker’s word for it, without doing his homework, he will never discover possible inaccuracies. This I eventually figured out, to my own great dismay, chagrin and personal harm.

        One of the deceptive techniques frequently used by Calvinists is to respond to legitimate, well-founded dissent with an, ‘Of course, scripture says ‘A is true’, everyone knows that.’ In this abuse of honest communication, the Calvinist beats the dissenter to the punch, and cites the very verses that disprove Calvinism, without acknowledging that they, in fact, disprove Calvinism.

        Taking the preemptive strike to an entirely new level, in responding to the questioner with his very own evidence, the dissenter is caught off guard, and easily persuaded that he simply misunderstood the issue. The Calvinist obviously believes the same as he, for he just cited the verses that say so. This is pure deception, however, as the scriptures referred to cite that ‘A is true’, whereas authentic Calvinism authoritatively asserts that ‘non-A is true’. When the Calvinist presents himself and/or Calvinism as a staunch defender of ‘A is true’ he is either ignorant or a liar; for his theology demands, unequivocally, that ‘non-A is true’. When he repeatedly switches back and forth between the two positions, one can affirm that ‘ignorance’ is not the issue, but honesty.

        The naïve individual, who simply would never be suspicious enough to question the integrity or truthfulness of anyone who calls himself a ‘Christian’ is very easily deceived, misled and silenced. This sort of naïve unquestioning mindset is further encouraged by an authoritarian organization that proclaims certain men and creeds as unquestionable, orthodox truth to which all believers must bow. In days past, when men like Calvin amassed the power of the sword to enforce their personal beliefs, to dissent was to risk being declared a ‘heretic’ and suffering a tortuous death.

        The modern version of this is the knee-jerk, take off your hat, cover your heart and/or bend your knee response demanded of all truly ‘patriotic’ Americans whenever the national anthem is played. A great deal of courage is required to resist this pressure, and admit that one actually has huge qualms about many policies and actions of his country’s leaders; concerns which makes him unable to bow the knee in solemn allegiance to all done in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘America’. Such concerns might including confiscation of personal rights and property, torture of men, women and children, murder by drone without due justice and the military attack and destruction of civilian populations in supposed retaliation of some vague ‘terrorist threat’. But of course the greatest evil is declared to be the person who does not swoon upon sight of the American flag, or upon hearing the familiar strain of her national anthem. Welcome to Calvin’s America.

      77. TS00 writes, “determinism is actually on par with suggesting we all, naturally, could use a little of God’s ‘help’ as we go about our presumably self chosen ways; ”

        LOL! I though this a cute response. Obviously, if God chooses to help someone, in what ever way, then that choice is a decision – a decree – and it is deterministic – God has determined an outcome by that which He has chosen to do. So, we both come into this understanding that God does decree some things and we have at least a partially deterministic system. The question then is whether we can have a partially deterministic system. Once God enters into the affairs of men and starts determining some outcomes, can He avoid determining all outcomes. The Calvinist says that He cannot.

        Then, “…if our ways are ‘determined’ by God, and we will, without fail, desire the will he desires us to desire, we don’t need further ‘help’ to accomplish that desiring of that preordained will.”

        I think this somewhat confusing. God determined to man Adam in His image, so He did. However, after that, God tells Adam not to eat the fruit and Adam is then free to decide what to do. God did not place in Adam a desire to eat the fruit – that desire came about through a series of events that had Eve handing him the fruit and inviting him to eat. God did not influence Adam in making a decision but could have – thereby obtaining an entirely different outcome. So it is with people today. We all face decisions; we all have varying knowledge of God’s commands; we all exercise freedom in asking God for help; we all end up making a decision based on a variety of factors. God does not normally interfere in our decisions even though God knows the decision we will make and has determined that decision by the degree to which He has chosen to be involved in influencing that decision. We do have a preordained will – Paul, in Romans 8, tells us that we are enemies of God. As Isaiah said, we are all like sheep who have gone astray and get into lots of trouble. We willfully seek to be independent of God.

        Then, “However, unless one knows, then carefully compares the actual assertions of Calvinism with scripture,…”

        It would have been helpful for TS00 to work with an actual example of that which he then complains about. As I cannot read his mind, the rest of his comments were not useful – entertaining but so what?

      78. William Lane Crarig:
        ‘Even determinists recognize [they must] ACT AS-IF [they] decide on what course of action to take, even though at the end of the day [they believe they are] determined to take the choices [they take]. ”

        rhutchin
        Yet, we do make decisions on courses of action to take. I find myself making a decision to ask God for wisdom and if God has determined that I would ask for wisdom, then I am eternally grateful. And if the wisdom God gives me determines more of my actions, I am doubly grateful

        br.d
        One can make-believe oneself to be logically consistent while in truth being double-minded.

        If you are grateful for the belief that Calvin’s god has already pre-determined/predestined your every course of action before you make it, then (if logically consistent) you’ll also be grateful when Calvin’s god pre-determines/predestines you to have sinful thoughts, choices, and actions. And you’ll also be grateful when Calvin’s god pre-determines/predestines non-Calvinists to sight Calvinist double-speak. :-]

        But from Calvinist consistent posts here in that regard – we ALWAYS see the opposite.
        Which shows us that Calvinism leads the individual into a state of double-mindedness.

        The good news is – Calvinists are consistently providing good examples of that for SOT101 readers to observe. :-]

      79. br.d writes, “If you are grateful for the belief that Calvin’s god has already pre-determined/predestined your every course of action before you make it, then (if logically consistent) you’ll also be grateful when Calvin’s god pre-determines/predestines you to have sinful thoughts, choices, and actions.”

        Not exactly. I know that I would not care what God has done if He did not reveal such to me. Through His word, God has revealed to me exactly what you state – that He has the final say on every one of my thoughts, choices, and actions – and every one of those is determined by Him and every one of them finds its source in my will and what I desire. God has also given me promises whereby I can ask Him for wisdom and other help and thereby avoid sinful thoughts, choices, and actions. It is the unbeliever who has nothing to do with God and is captive to his sinful nature. The believer desires God’s involvement in every aspect of his life and thereby escapes slavery to his sinful nature. God has determined all things, bringing about some outcomes by His power and others through a synergistic process involving God working with the believer that we call sanctification.

      80. br.d
        One can make-believe oneself to be logically consistent while in truth being double-minded.

        “If you are grateful for the belief that Calvin’s god has already pre-determined/predestined your every course of action before you make it, then (if logically consistent) you’ll also be grateful when Calvin’s god pre-determines/predestines you to have sinful thoughts, choices, and actions. And grateful when Calvin’s god pre-determines/predestines non-Calvinists to call-out Calvinist double-speak”

        rhutchin
        Not exactly. I know that I would not care what God has done if He did not reveal such to me.

        br.d
        Here “not exactly” is right!
        When Calvin’s god renders certain every sinful thought/choice/action you have – he DOES reveal such to you (a posteriori)
        Unless you have no discernment of sinful thoughts/choices/actions when you have them.

        He doesn’t reveal them to you (A Priori) so you choose to -quote “not care”
        Additionally you don’t care they were rendered certain by factors outside of your control (A universally recognized logical consequence of Theological Determinism).

        You are correct when you call that “not exactly” logically consistent.

        rhutchin
        He has the FINAL SAY on every one of my thoughts, choices, and actions

        br.d
        FINAL SAY:
        Here you are following Calvin’s instructions to make-believe Calvin’s god did not determine *ALL* in EVERY PART – leaving nothing left for you to determine (simple math – subtract *ALL* X and you get zero X)
        You manifest his instructions – while convincing yourself you are not.

        rhutchin
        determined by Him..every one of them finds its source in my will and what I desire.

        br.d
        Not exactly is again right!
        Each thought/choice/action was birthed/authored/conceived at the foundation of the world before you existed.
        Unless you can prove yourself the source of something that existed before you did.

        On the other hand if Calvin’s god rendered certain a “Salvific” thought/choice/action” you would would not say you were its source.
        But it had its source in Calvin’s god’s mind – at the foundation of the world.
        So you are correct – “not exactly” logically consistent.

        What you are revealing – these are irrationalities the Calvinist learns to live with.

        rhutchin
        God has also given me promises whereby I can ask Him for wisdom and other help and thereby avoid sinful thoughts, choices, and actions.

        br.d
        Here again you are following Calvin’s instructions – “go about your office AS-IF Calvin’s god doesn’t determine *ALL* in every part – leaving nothing left for you to determine (simple math – subtract *ALL* X and you get zero X)

        rhutchin
        It is the unbeliever who has nothing to do with God and is captive to his sinful nature..slavery to his sinful nature..

        br.d
        Here we have the logical fallacy of “false attribution”
        The Calvinist is mentored in how to mentally maintain this.
        He won’t claim this for “salvific” events – just for “sinful evil” events.
        Double-speak is the outward expression.

        rhutchin
        The believer desires God’s involvement in every aspect of his life and thereby escapes.

        br.d
        Same irrationality as above.
        Dr, Erich Fromm studied this aspect of Calvinism and called it “Escape from freedom”

        rhutchin
        God has determined ALL things, bringing about SOME outcomes by His power and others through a synergistic process…etc.

        br.d
        Synergism in Calvinism is amorphous – like a mirage in the desert.
        Logic stipulates your every thought/choice/action are rendered certain by factors outside your control (A universally recognized logical consequence of Theological Determinism). Calvinists are mentored in how to perceive illusions of IN-determinism as real.

        Conclusion:
        One can make-believe oneself to be logically consistent while in truth being double-minded.

      81. I should add, there are two classes of Calvinists: the ones who knowingly twist words, and the ones who have been deceived by twisted words. However, they both end up twisting words.

      82. Yes, agreed!
        I think that is the rule and not the exception.
        If that weren’t the case Calvinism would go the way of the dinosaur.

        However, from what I’ve read of Calvinist Vincent Chung – I’d say he may be the exception to the rule.

        But Calvinist leaders like Sproul, MacArthur and Piper know full well – if they speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – people will leave in droves.

        That’s why they are such experts in double-speak.

      83. TS00 writes, “However, they both end up twisting words.”

        That is why definitions of terms are critical. Now, if someone could devise a viable definition of Libertarian Free Will, that would be great.

      84. br.d writes, “You changed the wording.”

        I added one word – which could certainly be implied in your original statement. Then, you say, “This is all about shifting the meanings of words.” How did my addition of the word, “will,” shift the meaning of any word in your statement??

        The problem here is that you don’t seem to be able to explain your position – in the case, why the addition of one word, “will,” makes such a difference. Even with the addition of the word, “will,” we still have a true statement, “God decrees [what] Adam WILL do (at Time X).” The issue is whether Adam “can” do otherwise that what he will do. I don’t see anything in your arguments that prevents a person being able to to otherwise that what he will do.

      85. As I said – your dancing – playing the semantic games again.
        And of course for no one can explain X.
        That is – when X doesn’t fit Calvinism’s double-think.

        And like I said – the SOT101 reader can review the thread – and see where you’ve shifting the meaning of words.

        To understand Calvinism one must recognize:
        The Calvinist is a determinist – wearing a mask of IN-determinism – reciting double-speak talking points :-]

      86. I have never heard a Calvinist say “Calvin’s god ordains evil so that good may come”.

        They may get occasional pricks of conscience as that is a logical conclusion of the doctrine.
        But they are patriotic to the doctrine and nothing else (including Jesus).
        So they will never acknowledge its logical conclusions.

      87. br.d writes, “I have never heard a Calvinist say “Calvin’s god ordains evil so that good may come”.”

        Thus, we read in Romans 8, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” We know from experience that evil things happen to those who love God – evil things can only happen because God ordains/allows/permits such things to happen. God causes all things – including evil things – to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Some may shorten this to, “Calvin’s god ordains evil so that good may come.” It’s the logical conclusion, even exactly, what Romans 8 tells us. So, what’s the point??

      88. Rhutchin writes:
        “Then, ‘No matter how many tortures, murders or excommunications, people simply refuse to worship a God who desires and ordains evil, then puts the blame on man.”

        Even you cannot deny that God is present at every torture, murder and excommunication and that God has the power to stop whatever evil is occurring and does not – thereby ordaining it.”

        I may have to explain to God why I grieved, mourned and wept; why I angrily shouted, ‘Why, God, why do you allow such evil to happen? I just cannot face another day of discovering more abuse, more oppression and more injustice. Forgive me, but I just can’t understand it. Please, please make it all stop.’ He might reprove me for not having enough faith, as Jesus often did his disciples. I will freely confess that it is true, as I do today, when I ask for greater faith.

        But I would sure hate to be Rhutchin, and have to explain why I calmly told others that God not merely endured evil that he utterly despised for a season, for reasons beyond our grasp, but that he himself ordained that evil for his own ‘good pleasure’, that he cursed men with a ‘deadness’, a sinful nature, that assured that such evil came to pass; that he himself ‘ordained’ every rape, murder and oppression that evil men did against his one and only will – that all men do what is good and right.

        I’m not sure you will find your word games very helpful, as you attempt to explain why ‘ordain’ simply means the same as ‘permit’. Why, if you simply meant God stands aside and permits evil, you didn’t just say so. That is exactly what non-Calvinists believe, and state it plainly, with a reasonable explanation for its necessity.

        But to employ the words ‘ordain’ or ‘predetermine’ demands an entirely different viewpoint than does ‘permit’. To assert that God ‘ordains’ and ‘predetermines’ whatsoever comes to pass, when he himself issues many warnings to men to turn from wickedness and instead to what is right, leaves the determinist on pretty flimsy ground. (Particularly those who engaged in forums where many well-meaning individuals brought such warnings to their attention, in case they were unaware of them.) The Calvinist asserts that the potential existence of evil is not merely an unavoidable necessity in granting men the genuine freedom to choose to do or not do what is good. The Calvinist claims that God deliberately chose, dreamed up, planned and irresistibly determined from his, the only causative power in the universe, not only the existence of evil, but its every putrid expression, using helpless pieces of clay as the means. Then they, as they claim does their God, blame the helpless, ‘dead’, resistless pieces of clay for doing the evil their God supposedly ordained for them to do long before they were born.

        See if God buys your argument, when you try to explain that you did not mean for a moment to suggest that when you said he ‘ordained’ evil that he was the ’cause’ of evil or the ‘author’ of sin. Maybe he won’t bring his thesaurus.

        Nor do I imagine you will launch into wordy explanations for ignoring the clear statements of scripture that God hates evil, does not desire that any man do evil EVER and sent countless prophets and warnings to turn men from their independently imagined and chosen evil – the sort of evil which never even entered his mind for them to do. I don’t think you will boldly insist that God ordained the very evil he clearly claimed to have never thought of. You might blubber that you were only trying to defend his glory, but I’m thinking you won’t get very far.

        For all will be bowing and praising the revelation of his true glory – the redemption and restoration of his beloved creation, as promised.

      89. TS00 writes, “I may have to explain to God why I grieved, mourned and wept; why I angrily shouted, ‘Why, God, why do you allow such evil to happen?”

        So, here TS00 concedes that the Calvinists are correct – God has the power to stop all sin and chooses not to do so.

        Then, “Why, if you simply meant God stands aside and permits evil, you didn’t just say so. That is exactly what non-Calvinists believe, and state it plainly,…”

        The use of terms like “permit” are an accommodation to non-Calvinists who use such langusge not understanding that “to permit” is the same as “to ordain” for a sovereign God.

        Then, “…with a reasonable explanation for its necessity. ”

        LOL! Reasonable explanation??? Really???

        Then, “But to employ the words ‘ordain’ or ‘predetermine’ demands an entirely different viewpoint than does ‘permit’.”

        So says the person who apparently does not understand the concept of sovereignty.

        Then, “The Calvinist claims that God deliberately chose, dreamed up, planned and irresistibly determined from his,…”

        The non-Calvinist just says that God ad hocs everything.

      90. br.d writes, “The foundational core of Calvinism is Theological Determinism.”

        But Calvinism seems to diverge from Theological Determinism at critical points making any comparison a futile effort.

      91. br.d
        The foundational core of Calvinism is Theological Determinism.”

        rhutchin
        But Calvinism SEEMS to diverge from Theological Determinism at critical points making any comparison a futile effort.

        br.d
        The key word in there is SEEMS.
        Calvinists retain credibility by double-speak, contorted logic, and by making-believe illusions are real.

        Take for example Calvin’s instructions to his disciples.
        “Go about your office AS-IF nothing is determined in ANY part (by the THEOS).
        This instruction reveals that Calvin’s doctrine’s foundation is Theological Determinism.
        Yet Calvin diverges from that by instructing disciples to “Make-Believe” the opposite in respect to their practical lives.

        What Calvin is revealing is what his doctrine stipulates.
        That Calvin’s god determines *ALL* things in *EVERY* part.

        Now take this as an example.
        Jane has a box filled with 100 plastic squares which are red.
        Jane EXCLUSIVELY determines the color of *ALL* of the plastic squares in the box.

        How many plastic squares in the box does Bill determine the color of?
        Easy – simple math – the answer is NONE.

        Now apply that simple logic to Calvinism where Calvin’s god EXCLUSIVELY determines *ALL* neurological impulses in *EVERY* part.
        How many neurological impulse does the human determine?
        Easy – simple math – the answer is NONE.

        So how does the Calvinist embrace that belief and still retain a sense of being biblical?
        By following Calvin’s instruction.
        Go about your office MAKING BELIEVE its what you embrace as TRUE is FALSE.

        That explains why Calvinism SEEMS to diverge from Theological Determinism

      92. br.d writes, “The key word in there is SEEMS.”

        This is based on the way you are explaining Theological Determinism. If we assume that you know what you are talking about, then we see that Calvinism diverges from what you claim for Theological Determinism

      93. br.d writes, “The key word in there is SEEMS.”

        rhutchin
        This is based on the way you are explaining Theological Determinism. If we assume that you know what you are talking about, then we see that Calvinism diverges from what you claim for Theological Determinism

        br.d
        What I see is you putting your finger on the balancing scale in order to make it read what you want it to read.

        First you say Calvinism seems to diverge from Theological Determinism.
        Then when that doesn’t work – you switch to br.d’s version of Theological Determinism diverges from Theological Determinism.

        Like the money changer who secretly puts his finger on the balancing scale to make it read what he wants.
        Less for when buying the coin.
        More for when selling it.

        Theological Determinism has been well standardized – and defined within Christian Philosophy.
        That is why William Lane Craig can have published discussions with Paul Helms and other philosophically disciplined Calvinists who are willing to follow those standards.

        And that is why I love logic.
        It allows me to see through all of the Calvinist games and semantic tricks. :-]

        Moving the goal-post whereever it serves your purpose is not working for you rhutchin

      94. br.d writes, “First you say Calvinism seems to diverge from Theological Determinism.
        Then when that doesn’t work – you switch to br.d’s version of Theological Determinism diverges from Theological Determinism.”

        This stared when you claimed, ““The foundational core of Calvinism is Theological Determinism.” Earlier, you had said, “For me it really all boils down to Calvinism having Theological Determinism as its core foundation and blue-print.” To explain this, you cited Plantinga robot that “deserves no moral attribution for what he does because his actions are DETERMINED by an intelligence outside of himself and outside of his control.” However, under Calvinism, the person’s actions are determined by factors inside himself – his nature – and the outside intelligence (God) intervenes to close doors to the individual that are not God’s will. Where God leaves the door open for a person to act in accord with his nature, then we know that there is a concurrence between man’s will and God’s will.

        I think Plantunga is actually arguing the case against determinism and not necessarily theological determinism.

      95. rhutchin
        God leaves the door OPEN for a person to act in accord with his nature, then we know that there is a concurrence between man’s will and God’s will.

        I think Plantunga is actually arguing the case against determinism and not necessarily theological determinism.

        br.d
        Firstly, your now speaking the language of OPEN theism – which you would otherwise reject.
        Logically possible in the world of IN-determinism but not in the world of Theological Determinism

        In order to show that Calvin’s god -quote “leaves the door OPEN for a person to act” – you’ll have to show how it is that Calvin’s god, via decrees at the foundation of the world, makes every person’s act FIXED IN THE PAST having been determined in every part, millennia before the person’s exists – is both TRUE and FALSE at the same time.

        Secondly, it is understandable why Calvinists have a desperate need for determinism to SEEM as IN-determinism
        Note here I am using your terminology – “Calvinism SEEMS to diverge from Theological Determinism”
        But again this is not logically possible any more than a square circle.

        Thirdly,
        You’re grasping at straws to think Theological Determinism will not be Determinism simply because it is Theological.
        A theological book still has all of the characteristics of being a book – regardless of whether its theological.
        Dr. Plantiga would find the argument humorous :-]

      96. br.d writes, “Firstly, your now speaking the language of OPEN theism – which you would otherwise reject.”

        This is wrong. God’s decisions were made in eternity past. OPEN Theism says that God is making decisions in the course of time as He learns new information.

      97. br.d writes,
        “Firstly, your now speaking the language of OPEN theism – which you would otherwise reject.”

        ruthcin
        This is wrong. God’s decisions were made in eternity past. OPEN Theism says that God is making decisions in the course of time as He learns new information.

        br.d
        You used the language of “God leaving the door OPEN for persons to act”.
        -wikipedia quote on OPEN Theism:

        “God’s providence is flexible.” Thus, the FUTURE as well as God’s knowledge of it is LEFT OPEN (hence “open” theism).

        Your statement concerning “God making decisions” on OPEN Theism is outside of the scope of your original wording.

        And besides – You’re still left with the burden of showing how Calvin’s god can -quote “leave the door OPEN for a person to act” –

        where you’ll have to show how it is that Calvin’s god, via decrees at the foundation of the world, makes every person’s act FIXED IN THE PAST having been determined in every part, millennia before the person’s exists – is both TRUE and FALSE at the same time.

      98. br.d writes, “You used the language of “God leaving the door OPEN for persons to act”.
        -wikipedia quote on OPEN Theism:
        “God’s providence is flexible.” Thus, the FUTURE as well as God’s knowledge of it is LEFT OPEN (hence “open” theism).”

        To TS00: Here is an example where br.d does not understand context. That God opens doors and closes doors is basic terminology used within the church as people speak of God making known His will for a person. It has nothing to do with Open Theism.

      99. br.d writes, “You used the language of “God leaving the door OPEN for persons to act”.
        -wikipedia quote on OPEN Theism:
        “God’s providence is flexible.” Thus, the FUTURE as well as God’s knowledge of it is LEFT OPEN (hence “open” theism).”

        rhutchin
        To TS00: Here is an example where br.d does not understand context. That God opens doors and closes doors is basic terminology used within the church as people speak of God making known His will for a person. It has nothing to do with Open Theism.

        br.d
        Even if that statement is not a reference to OPEN Theism on your part – those exact words could easily be enunciated by an OPEN Theist describing the future as OPEN.

        However, concerning Calvin’s god opening doors perhaps you should read this:

        LUKE SKYWALKER IN THE CLOUD CITY AND CALVINISM
        https://soteriology101.com/2018/05/25/can-the-lost-do-what-is-right/comment-page-1/#comment-26841

        And remember – In Theological Determinism, where there is only one unique “settled” future – such that our every future thought/choice/desire/action is immutably predestined before we were born – our freedom is like Luke Skywalker’s movements through the Cloud City. Restricted and limited to only one unique predestined path – where “do otherwise” from what is predestined is a human illusion.

      100. br.d writes, “Even if that statement is not a reference to OPEN Theism on your part – those exact words could easily be enunciated by an OPEN Theist describing the future as OPEN.”

        Yeah, but who cares? Open Theism is not the issue here. Why confuse the discussion with such rabbit trails?

        Then, “our freedom is like Luke Skywalker’s movements through the Cloud City. Restricted and limited to only one unique predestined path – where “do otherwise” from what is predestined is a human illusion.’

        Yet, the person’s movements are consistent with the person’s desires such that they are the same choices he would make in the absence of his actions being predestined. That a person’s choices are predestined does not make those choices different than if they were not predestined. So, what is your point?

      101. br.d
        “your freedom is like Luke Skywalker’s movements through the Cloud City. Restricted and limited to only one unique predestined path – where “do otherwise” from what is predestined is a human illusion.’

        rhutchin
        Yet, the person’s movements are consistent with the person’s desires such that they are the same choices he would make in the absence of his actions being predestined. That a person’s choices are predestined does not make those choices different than if they were not predestined. So, what is your point?

        br.d
        Firstly: This argument is totally unsustainable and a complete gamble.

        Dr. Alvin Plantinga comments on it in his book: “God Freedom and Evil”.
        -quote “One might as well claim that being in jail doesn’t really limit one’s freedom on the grounds that if one were NOT in jail, he’d be free to come and go as he pleased. So I shall not bother to take this argument seriously enough to say any more about it.

        Secondly:
        Consider the logical consequence of that argument.
        Calvin’s god creates a creature who WILL DO EXACTLY the same thing making PREDESTINATION IRRELEVANT.
        That robs predestination of its distinctive role in Calvin’s god’s model and robs it of its viability and efficacy.
        Again – John Calvin would be giving you a tongue lashing for that argument.

      102. br.d writes, “Dr. Alvin Plantinga comments on it in his book: “God Freedom and Evil”.
        -quote “One might as well claim that being in jail doesn’t really limit one’s freedom on the grounds that if one were NOT in jail, he’d be free to come and go as he pleased. So I shall not bother to take this argument seriously enough to say any more about it.”

        A person in jail is free to do anything he wants within the confines of the jail but nothing outside the jail. Applied to the Scriptures, a person enslaved to sin is free to do anything within the confines of that slavery and nothing outside. So, what’s the point – are you saying that, contra Calvinism – people are not enslaved to sin?

        Then, “Calvin’s god creates a creature who WILL DO EXACTLY the same thing making PREDESTINATION IRRELEVANT.’

        The effect of predestination is to produce an outcome different than that which the creature would do in the absence of God’s intervention. If predestination were irrelevant, no one would be saved (or, as a sop to the non-Calvinists, not as many)..

      103. Roger you said – “OPEN Theism says that God is making decisions in the course of time as He learns new information.”

        That is close… though I wouldn’t say it’s “new information” but a change within His infinite understanding of the truth value of the information He possesses. Things go from being known by Him as future to known as past and from known as possible to known as permitted or caused by the activity of His freewill.

        His freewill is not locked in and limited to never actually choosing anything by some eternal immutable “shadow” force called Fate that He just seems to agree with all the time according to Calvinists.😉

      104. brianwagner writes, “I wouldn’t say it’s “new information” but a change within His infinite understanding of the truth value of the information He possesses.”

        LOL!! I guess you see this as a “change” to something old.

        Then, ‘Things go from being known by Him as future to known as past and from known as possible to known as permitted or caused by the activity of His freewill. ”

        I think you mean, “Things go from being known by Him as a possible future to known as past, and actual,…”

        But this confuses me: “… and from known as possible to known as permitted or caused by the activity of His freewill.” You have God knowing something as “possible” and then as “permitted…” So, what affected this change if not new information – i.e., learning what people actually chose to do. If there was no new information, what is the catalyst for change?

      105. I understand your confusion. But I have great confidence that if you read what I wrote closely again and think about it, you’ll figure it out. 😊

        If knowing something as future changing to knowing it as past is knowing something new, and knowing something possible changing to knowing it as caused or permitted is knowing something new, then we agree on that definition of “new” within His infinite understanding of all things.

        It would be like me knowing you have 10 possible flavors of ice cream to choose from in the store (not 11 or more and not 9 or less) and then changing to know which one you chose that I then bought for you to enjoy! 😊

      106. brianwagner writes, ” then we agree on that definition of “new” within His infinite understanding of all things.”

        I think you mean, “…within the limits on His infinite understanding of all things.” I don’t think your position allows infinite understanding to extend to future events; only to present and past events.

        Then, “It would be like me knowing you have 10 possible flavors of ice cream to choose from in the store (not 11 or more and not 9 or less) and then changing to know which one you chose that I then bought for you to enjoy! ”

        Good illustration of “new” information. It’s like a lottery ticket; all numbers are possible until the winner is picked. You can’t cash in a possible winner, but you can cash in the actual winner.

      107. But I could choose the icecream flavor for you in that moment or even hours before, and God could choose to cause a certain sequence of numbers in the lottery if He wants. That is not a limitation in His perfect infinite understanding… it is just a change in the truth value of what’s possible. You’ll accept this some day… Roger… I have faith!

        Take the last word!

      108. brianwagner writes, “That is not a limitation in His perfect infinite understanding… it is just a change in the truth value of what’s possible.”

        “…change in the truth value…”!! Sounds like an attempt to obfuscate to me. Aren’t you just using a grandiose term to add to the body of truth that exists?

        So, if a “truth value” changes, doesn’t one’s understanding also change? A correct understanding of events can only occur if that understanding is based on truth. Change the “truth value” and one’s understanding also changes. The pre-truth value understanding must be different than the post-truth value understanding – the understanding of the pre- and post-truth value cannot both be perfect. The only way to make both “perfect” is to separate one from the other according to their situation – each is perfect relative to their situation. That would make understanding finite as it is changeable.

      109. Roger… you had the last word, but since you asked questions that I took as more than rhetorical, I will briefly answer.

        There is no “pre-truth” or “post-truth” just a change from one truth about an event (future/possible) to another truth (past/caused or permitted). God’s understanding changes but doesn’t increase or decrease or become more or less perfect. That change is imperfection is a false premise.

      110. brianwagner writes, “That change is imperfection is a false premise.”

        Change is a movement from one position to another – the premise here is that the change is to a more complete body of truth which can be described as “perfect” making the previous body of truth “not perfect.”

      111. Here we receive a hint at just whence Calvinism was derived: the minds of philosopher/theologians.

        Of course if Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Augustine or Calvin said it, it must be true. God cannot ‘change’, else he would not be God! I leave it to the fine FOH to recite how many times scripture reports that God ‘would have’ done this, or ‘wanted to’ do that, or promises to reward with forgivenss and life, ‘if only’ . . . but the choices of men, made possible by his gift of free will, prevent him from ‘forcing’ his will upon them, however much he desires to shower his creation with mercy and blessings.

        Blasphemy, to those who insist upon putting God in their philosophical boxes of ‘Sovereign’ and ‘immutable’.

        I suspect God is not terribly concerned with meeting the rigid standards of philosopher/theologians. He is more concerned with revealing his goodness, mercy and love to his prodigal children.

      112. TS00

        Yes…. men come up with ideas of what “God must be like” and then impose that on all scripture.

        If God has already decided all things…. and man’s present actions have nothing to do with it…. then He is being deceptive (at best) when He says all of the “I would have if you ….” or “How many times I wanted you to ….but you did not”

        If you take the time to look that stuff up in Grudem’s (or other) systematic theology books they always say ….. “Well God doesn’t really mean that…” They they will provide one small verse (or half verse) to discount the hundreds of verses that say it.

        So what do those hundreds of verses mean then? What is the point? What is the message of the Bible?

        Calvinist message:

        God has already decided (unchangeably, immutably) all that will happen (thoughts, sins, actions). You only think you are impacting anything by praying, being patient, drawing near, fixing your eyes….. nope.

        Nah, the Calvinists say the script is written and if man had ANY thing to do with it, that will cause God to “react” “answer” “change”.

        Man made idea.

      113. TS00 writes, “Of course if Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Augustine or Calvin said it, it must be true. God cannot ‘change’, else he would not be God! ”

        Samuel was apparently a disciple of Plato as he said, “God is not a man that He should change His mind.” (1 Samuel 15)

        Then, God Himself put these words in Balaam’s mouth, ““God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

        Then, we have Isaiah 14, “‘The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand,…’ For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?”

        If the Scriptures say it, surely, it must be true, but TS00 says, “Blasphemy, to those who insist upon putting God in their philosophical boxes of ‘Sovereign’ and ‘immutable’.”

        Then, “I suspect God is not terribly concerned with meeting the rigid standards of philosopher/theologians. He is more concerned with revealing his goodness, mercy and love to his prodigal children.”

        At least, TS00 got it right at the end. God is more concerned with His elect – His prodigal children.

      114. TS00,
        We are all guilty of “selective information” but the Calvinists take that to an extreme.

        They have 2 verses about God not changing His mind that seem to trump all the hundreds of other verses saying “He repented of His action” or “He regrets His action” or “If you do this I will change my plans and do this….”

        The verses they use are very context specific— and taken out of context (surprise!).

        Let’s take the 1 Samuel 15 passage. Here is the Calvinist ESV in verses 11 and 35….

        11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.”

        35 “And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.”

        It is puzzling…even hilarious that sandwiched between those two verses the ESV says…

        29 “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.”

        So the Lord says He regrets (many place in Scripture) ….but they quote ONLY verse 29 and that trumps all other place in Scripture.

        Look at how the NLT translates verse 29.

        29 “And he who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!”

        So, we can see that Saul is imploring Samuel to change his mind about Saul being King. But Samuel tells him “nor will he change his mind” . Samuel is saying….Saul…. no matter how much you beg, on this matter, God will not change His mind.

        It’s not rocket science. People go to the Bible with the answers.

        Calvinist Answer: God does not change.

        Calvinist Objective: find any verse or half verse that states something similar— even out of context

        Calvinist Tactic: repeat that verse even if people show you hundreds of verses to the contrary.

        Dont people find it interesting that one of the two, go-to, half-verses that Calvinists use out-of-context is preceded and followed by verses that say God regrets? The ESV just kills me!

      115. FOH writes, “Dont people find it interesting that one of the two, go-to, half-verses that Calvinists use out-of-context is preceded and followed by verses that say God regrets?” His take on v29, “Samuel is saying….Saul…. no matter how much you beg, on this matter, God will not change His mind. ”

        So FOH expounds a position on which all agree. FOH ignores the key part of the verse – “God is not a man that He should change His mind.” The Calvinist says that this expresses an universal truth about God – whatever God decrees stands. The Hebrew word translated as “regret” in v11 and v35, is translated as “change His mind” in v29. Thus, we can read v11 and v35 as:

        11 “I change my mind that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.”

        35 “And the Lord changed His mind that he had made Saul king over Israel.”

        We have a clear statement about God – “God is not a man that He should change His mind.” So, we can look at all the reasons for a man to change his mind and these would not be attributed to God. We read where God does make changes. God decreed to destroy Nineveh but then relented when the people repented. So, we see God changing direction when certain things occur.

        In the case of Saul, God’s change of mind or change in direction is based on Saul’s actions – God explains, “Saul has turned back from following Me, and has not carried out My commands.” God’s decree that made Saul king included the condition that Saul obey Him if he, and his family, were to continue to rule.

        Have Calvinists taken v29 out of context as FOH claims? No. The verse says the truth that “God is not a man that He should change His mind.” God never makes mistakes or does wrong – like men do – such that He should change anything He is doing. God can condition his decrees on the behavior of people. So, Saul, disobeys God and God changes the direction in which He is taking history – the promises made to Saul will now be given to David.

        Has God changed in any of this? No, God is still immutable. Has God’s plan been thwarted? No. What is different? God has changed the direction in which He is taking history and this is exactly as He had planned for Christ was never to have come out of Benjamin but out of Judah. God knew that Adam would disobey Him so He made provision for Christ before the foundation of the world. God knew that Saul would disobey Him, so He made provision to make David king.

        God is immutable and He does not change. God does have an eternal plan and in that plan, God executes changes in the direction in which He is taking history.

      116. Rhutchin writes:
        “We read where God does make changes. God decreed to destroy Nineveh but then relented when the people repented. So, we see God changing direction when certain things occur.

        In the case of Saul, God’s change of mind or change in direction is based on Saul’s actions – God explains, “Saul has turned back from following Me, and has not carried out My commands.” God’s decree that made Saul king included the condition that Saul obey Him if he, and his family, were to continue to rule.

        Have Calvinists taken v29 out of context as FOH claims? No. The verse says the truth that “God is not a man that He should change His mind.” God never makes mistakes or does wrong – like men do – such that He should change anything He is doing. God can condition his decrees on the behavior of people. So, Saul, disobeys God and God changes the direction in which He is taking history – the promises made to Saul will now be given to David.

        Has God changed in any of this? No, God is still immutable. Has God’s plan been thwarted? No. What is different? God has changed the direction in which He is taking history and this is exactly as He had planned for Christ was never to have come out of Benjamin but out of Judah. God knew that Adam would disobey Him so He made provision for Christ before the foundation of the world. God knew that Saul would disobey Him, so He made provision to make David king.

        God is immutable and He does not change. God does have an eternal plan and in that plan, God executes changes in the direction in which He is taking history.”

        It is not just God that is doing some serious changing here. Rhutchin has here completely abandoned historic Calvinism, pretending that it agrees with what non-Calvinists have been stating for centuries: God is sovereignly in control of his creation, but, having created genuinely free creatures, he executes his plans around and in response to men’s freely chosen, non-determined actions, many of which are in direct opposition to his stated (and unchanging) will, which is that all men do what is good and right.

        I congratulate, Rhutchin, for he has finally arrived at the understanding of the non-determinist theology that has long been offered in opposition to Deterministic Calvinism. He has here embraced the main tenets of non-determinism you have denied – on this site – for years. Welcome to the club.

        But he cannot simply embrace the opposite of what Calvinism teaches by slyly claiming ‘This is what Calvinism has taught all along. This, as opposed to all that I have been saying in opposition to this again and again and again, is what I really meant. (Wink, wink)’

        There is far too much documentation to prove that this is untrue, of both historic Calvinism and of Rhutchin. Were what he writes here what Calvinism actually asserts, there would have never have been a divide, for this is exactly what Arminianism, Traditionalism, Biblicism and most other non-Calvinist doctrines affirm.

        Please stop playing games.

      117. TS00,
        BTW in your post it is hard to tell when RH words stopped and yours started. But then I saw the word “thwart” and I got it. I knew “thwart” was in his quote since that is a go-to Calvinist word (you can see them a mile away with “two wills,” thwart, pelagian, supralapsarian, “you sound like a universalist!” etc).

        I dont really respond to his games. I prefer to just keep reading the Bible and seeing all the ways Christ interacts with humans made in His image.

      118. rhutchin writes: we see God changing direction when certain things occur.

        I had a conversation with a Calvinist pastor over this and he insisted my interpretation of this – as God “changing direction” was what he called “IMPROPER EXEGESIS”. He was representing Determinism/Calvinism faithfully – while rhutchin is always trying to escape it.

        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) EVERY event that will happen in the time-line is SETTLED and FIXED IN THE PAST (at the foundation of the world). In this scheme the idea of Calvin’s god “changing direction” is an oxymoron or simply double-speak.

        Many Calvinists want to have determinism and IN-determinism at the same time.

        He ends up wanting X to be:

        Unpreventable AS-IF Preventable
        Unchangable AS-IF Changeable
        Predestined AS-IF UN-Predestined
        Decreed AS-IF Not Decreed
        Made to happen AS-IF Permitted to happen

        The best way to understand Calvinism:
        A Calvinist is a determinist wearing a mask of IN-determinism – reciting double-speak talking points :-]

      119. br.d writes, ‘I had a conversation with a Calvinist pastor over this and he insisted my interpretation of this – as God “changing direction” was what he called “IMPROPER EXEGESIS”. He was representing Determinism/Calvinism faithfully – while rhutchin is always trying to escape it.”

        So, how did he explain it?? God’s changing of direction are built into His eternal plan. Adam’s sin was foreknown and Christ was slain before the foundation of the world. The depravity of man after Adam was expelled from the garden led to Noah’s flood. Saul’s sin led to the anointing of David as king as God had already planned for the birth of Christ. The Scriptures are clear that God begins in one direction and shifts to a new direction at times – expelling Adam from the garden, Noah’s flood; the confusion of languages at Babel, the calling of Abraham, the appointment of Saul as king and then David, the destruction of Israel and then Judah, the coming of Christ, the calling of gentiles to salvation. All of this is according to God’s plan and settled before God created the universe.

      120. TS00 writes, “non-Calvinists have been stating for centuries: God is sovereignly in control of his creation, but, having created genuinely free creatures, he executes his plans around and in response to men’s freely chosen, non-determined actions, many of which are in direct opposition to his stated (and unchanging) will, which is that all men do what is good and right.”

        The point of dispute in TS00’s statement is the meaning of “genuinely free creatures.” Calvinists are clear in saying that “genuinely free creatures” are those who are able to pursue their desires without coercion. What non-Calvinists mean by “genuinely free creatures” is unknown. TS00 tried to define it in a comment some time ago and did not say anything definitive. Dr. Flowers says it is the ability to choose otherwise, which works in the Calvinist system.

        The other issue above is “non-determined actions.” What does that mean? Under Calvinism, people are the primary determiners of their actions and most people understand that one’s desires can determine one’s actions. So, this is as fuzzy as the free-will claim.

        Then, ‘He has here embraced the main tenets of non-determinism you have denied – on this site – for years.”

        That’s because they agree on most things including “God is sovereignly in control of his creation,” and “he executes his plans around and in response to men’s freely chosen…actions.”

        Then, ‘Were what he writes here what Calvinism actually asserts, there would have never have been a divide, for this is exactly what Arminianism, Traditionalism, Biblicism and most other non-Calvinist doctrines affirm. ”

        That’s because there is much agreement among these. Most non-Calvinists who have a problem with the Calvinists on free will coincidentally have no problems with God knowing the future perfectly or His sovereignty. People like Brian Wagner and the Open Theists are still a small minority within non-Calvinist circles.

      121. Small group of scholars perhaps Roger… but I bet if a poll were taken asking if believers thought the future is set to work out only one way and God has already decreed all His decisions for it that never will change… I bet there are more in my camp than yours! 😉

      122. Brian,

        You know I think most Christians follow Open Theism more than they realize. It has just been framed in such a way that some people say “heresy” the minute they hear it. Which I remind you, they did in “the church” when the Reformers made early some statements.

        One generations “heresy” is another generations “doctrine”.

        But most people when they pray, or help their kids with homework, or spend extra time visiting their kids, or older folks, or in-bound folks, think that it is “making a difference”. What a horrid, impersonal, we-are-not-created-in-God’s-image thought to think that we make no difference, affect no outcome, alter no directions that have not already by set in stone!

        And besides Scripture is on our side. God said (many times, and many ways) things like this to Saul,

        1 Samuel 13:13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

        — you have not keep the Lord’s command (the Lord did not get what He wanted)
        — “if you would have ….He would have….” (God’s action are clearly conditional on man’s)
        — the Lord sought out a new person, BECAUSE you have not kept His command (God’s reacts to man actions)

        To David, Nathan says…

        2 Samuel 2:8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?

        — Why would the God that Calvin proposes EVER says “I would have”?? Calvin’s God could never live in such a personal relationship with man to say “I would have, I you had only…..”

        To Calvinist that makes Him non-sovereign and weak.

        To the rest of us, it makes Him sovereign yet personal.

      123. FOH writes, “— “if you would have ….He would have….” (God’s action are clearly conditional on man’s)”

        Meaning that, as a Molinist might say, there was another possible world that God could have created in which Saul obeyed God. That world would include a King Saul whose desires were different that in the world God did create. As the Calvinist says, a person does what he desires even when he could have done otherwise.

      124. rhutchin
        As the Calvinist says, a person does what he desires even when he could have done otherwise.

        Peter Van Inwagen:
        – paraphrase: “For the determinist “Can Do Otherwise” statements are nothing more than DISGUISED CONDITIONALS.
        If determinism is true, no one CAN DO OTHERWISE”

        William Lane Craig
        – quote: “In Theological Determinism – God moves people to choose evil, and they CANNOT DO OTHERWISE. God determines their choices”

      125. br.d quoting Peter Van Inwagen:
        – paraphrase: “For the determinist “Can Do Otherwise” statements are nothing more than DISGUISED CONDITIONALS.
        If determinism is true, no one CAN DO OTHERWISE”

        If determinism is true, no one WILL do otherwise even though the ability to do otherwise is present – the person has knowledge of other options and those options can be evaluated against one’s desires. Free will is not voided by determinism – determinism recognizes that some factors are present in decision-making that exert more influence than others and the strongest influences – e.g., desires – determine one’s choices.

        The conditionals – desires – are not disguised. Calvinists are open about this – one need only read Jonathan Edwards on free will to see this.

      126. br.d quoting Peter Van Inwagen:
        – paraphrase: “For the determinist “Can Do Otherwise” statements are nothing more than DISGUISED CONDITIONALS.
        If determinism is true, no one CAN DO OTHERWISE”

        rhuthcin
        If determinism is true, no one WILL do otherwise even though the ability to do otherwise is present – the person has knowledge of other options and those options can be evaluated against one’s desires. Free will is not voided by determinism – determinism recognizes that some factors are present in decision-making that exert more influence than others and the strongest influences – e.g., desires – determine one’s choices.

        The conditionals – desires – are not disguised. Calvinists are open about this – one need only read Jonathan Edwards on free will to see this.

        br.d
        Your simply playing semantic games here – regarding the way Christian Philosophers use the term “CANNOT DO OTHERWISE”
        They obviously mean “Cannot do otherwise” THAN WHAT THE THEOS DETERMINES.
        Which you know is the way I’ve stated it – but you strategically omit the caveat so you can have A FORM of “DO OTHERWISE”.

        Peter Van Inwagen has your number!
        Your FORM of “DO OTHERWISE” is based upon a CONDITIONAL which you DISGUISE by strategically omitting the caveat (sighted above)

        Secondly, Alvin Plantinga in his published work “On Ockham’s Way Out” shows how Edward’s logic if fallacious.

        Again – rhutchin – you’ve provided us with another good example of Calvinism’s consistent reliance upon deceptive language tricks!

        The fact that Calvinists are so reliant upon semantic language tricks is a huge red-flag their is something very wrong with Calvinism.
        It produces the sector that their allegiance is to John Calvin first – and Jesus Christ gets whatever is left over.

        Thanks for providing this example! :-]

      127. br.d writes, ‘They obviously mean “Cannot do otherwise” THAN WHAT THE THEOS DETERMINES.”

        Have you ever run across a proof of this claim? I can see where a person will not do otherwise, but cannot is much stronger. Certainly God’s decrees do not restrict what people can do, or deny people the freedom to do otherwise – God’s decrees deal specifically with what people will do. So, I have problems with the use of “cannot” but if you have run across something that explains the logical connection between determine and cannot, that would be a nice reference.

      128. br.d writes,
        ‘They [Christian Philosophers] obviously mean “Cannot do otherwise” THAN WHAT THE THEOS DETERMINES.”

        rhutcnin
        Have you ever run across a proof of this claim?

        br.d
        This shows your need to not see determinism as determinism.
        In Philosophy, determinism is determinism – whether or not it is “natural”, or “theological” determinism, or any other type.
        A theological book has all of the characteristics of being a book.
        Just because its a theological book doesn’t take away of its characteristics of being a book.

        Obvious my statement above is enunciated by William Lane Craig – Peter Van Inwagen, Alvin Plantinga – and a host of other Christian Philosophers – when addressing the logical consequences of Theological Determinism.
        It doesn’t take a genius to connect those dots.

      129. br.d’s claim, “‘They [Christian Philosophers] obviously mean “Cannot do otherwise” THAN WHAT THE THEOS DETERMINES.””
        I had asked, “Have you ever run across a proof of this claim?
        br.d responded, “This shows your need to not see determinism as determinism.”

        His answer being, No. But br.d is a man of faith, “Obvious my statement above is enunciated by William Lane Craig – Peter Van Inwagen, Alvin Plantinga – and a host of other Christian Philosophers – when addressing the logical consequences of Theological Determinism.” maybe br.d will read what these guys write and run across the proof I am seeking. Maybe not; or maybe there is no proof.

      130. rhtuchin
        maybe br.d will read what these guys write and run across the proof I am seeking. Maybe not; or maybe there is no proof.

        br.d
        Everyone here at SOT101 already recognizes this is as a facade.

        The Calvinist is not here seeking proof – he is here to sharpen his expertise in the semantic shell-game – to get around proof.

        And this particular case is TOTALLY obvious to everyone – except perhaps those who don’t’ have eyes to see! :-]

      131. brianwagner writes, “I bet if a poll were taken asking if believers thought the future is set to work out only one way and God has already decreed all His decisions for it that never will change…”

        I think we need a PhD candidate to to do this research for his thesis. Tell the guy not to go to Charles Stanley’s church – he often says that God knows the future perfectly in his sermons.

      132. Bwagner
        Small group of scholars perhaps Roger… but I bet if a poll were taken asking if believers thought the future is set to work out only one way and God has already decreed all His decisions for it that never will change… I bet there are more in my camp than yours!

        br.d
        “The future is SET”
        The funny thing is – rhutchin asserts that one minute and denies and asserts the future is OPEN the next. :-]

      133. br.d writes, “The future is SET”

        God’s knowledge of the future makes the future set or certain. People’s knowledge of the future makes the future open or yet to be actualized.

      134. br.d
        In theological Determinism “The future is SET” (i.e. FIXED IN THE PAST at the foundation of the world by immutable decrees)

        rhutchin
        God’s knowledge of the future MAKES the future set or certain.

        br.d
        Firstly:
        In Theological Determinism this is FALSE.
        Calvin’s god’s knowledge of a future event is not what MAKES it certain.
        You’ve already acknowledged that in many past posts – so here you’re simply speaking double-speak again.
        The IMMUTABLE decree is what MAKES a future event RENDERED certain.

        Secondly:
        Calvinists use the term “certain” as a replacement term for “unavoidable – inevitable”.
        These are terms they avoid like the plague because speaking forthrightly doesn’t allow them to hide behind smoke-screen terms which they use to hide Calvinism’s dark implications.

        Calvinists strategically try to paint a picture of Calvin’s god – coloring him in a PASSIVE MODE
        AS-IF he’s simply operates with (Foreknowledge via observation) concerning evil
        To hide the fact that he is its SOURCE of each evil by virtue of decreeing each evil.

        They do this to divert attention away from the decrees as the CAUSE of events.
        By focusing on Foreknowledge they divert peoples attention away from a focus on the decrees.

        Social Psychologists call this “Altruistic Dishonesty”

        rhutchin
        People’s knowledge of the future MAKES the future open or yet to be actualized.

        br.d
        This is logically FALSE for the same reason your first statement is logically FALSE
        A person’s knowledge of the future does not MAKE the future open.
        Knowledge in this context is based upon PERCEPTION

        Logic then dictates:
        WHERE it is the case that the future is FIXED is Logically TRUE
        A perception of the future being OPEN is logically FALSE

        So your statement affirms that Calvinists have a psychosocial need to – go about their office AS-IF nothing is determined in any part (by the THEOS). They do this in allegiance with Calvin’s instructions.

        Which reveals that Calvinists live in a world of double-speak.

        So without realizing – once again you’ve provided another good example – thanks rhutchin! :-]

      135. br.d writes, “Calvin’s god’s knowledge of a future event is not what MAKES it certain.
        You’ve already acknowledged that in many past posts – so here you’re simply speaking double-speak again.
        The IMMUTABLE decree is what MAKES a future event RENDERED certain.”

        “certain” or “rendered certain” – sounds like double-speak by you. I have not acknowledged this in the past. I’m with William Craig on this. God’s foreknowledge makes the future certain but not necessary.

        Then, ‘Calvinists use the term “certain” as a replacement term for “unavoidable – inevitable”.”

        OK. That’s the sense of Craig’s argument as I understand it. So, what is the issue?

        Then, “Calvinists strategically try to paint a picture of Calvin’s god – coloring him in a PASSIVE MODE
        AS-IF he’s simply operates with (Foreknowledge via observation) concerning evil
        To hide the fact that he is its SOURCE of each evil by virtue of decreeing each evil.”

        This is wrong. Calvinism clearly incorporates man’s sinful nature as a source of evil. As God is sovereign, Calvinists say that God can never be passive on anything – all things pass through Him and nothing proceeds further except by His decree.

        Then, “They do this to divert attention away from the decrees as the CAUSE of events.”

        “Cause” because nothing can happen except by God’s decree. However, “cause” does not mean originator and man’s sinful nature is the originator of the evil he wants to do.

        Then, “Logic then dictates:
        WHERE it is the case that the future is FIXED is Logically TRUE
        A perception of the future being OPEN is logically FALSE”

        Yeah, if the one who fixes the future and the one perceiving the future are the same person. Not so if the one fixing the future is one person and the one perceiving the future is a different person.

        Then, ‘So your statement affirms that Calvinists have a psychosocial need to – go about their office AS-IF nothing is determined in any part (by the THEOS).”

        Not that I am aware. God’s determination of all things is vital to the life of the Calvinist. My experience is that Calvinists reject Calvin’s instructions on this.

        Then, “Which reveals that Calvinists live in a world of double-speak.”

        Only because you seem compelled to twist Calvinism into something it is not as we see in your comments.

      136. br.d writes, “Calvin’s god’s knowledge of a future event is not what MAKES it certain.
        You’ve already acknowledged that in many past posts – so here you’re simply speaking double-speak again.
        The IMMUTABLE decree is what MAKES a future event RENDERED certain.”

        rhutchin
        “certain” or “rendered certain” – sounds like double-speak by you. I have not acknowledged this in the past. I’m with William Craig on this. God’s foreknowledge makes the future certain but not necessary.

        br.d
        Equivocation – Wikipedia:
        In logic, equivocation (‘calling two different things by the same name’) is an informal fallacy

        The word “Certain” can be framed to have two very different meanings.
        1) Epistemic Certainty: “relating to what one knows”
        2) Modal Certainty: “relating to inevitability”

        Calvinists use the word “certain” and frame it in sentences making it shape-shift back and forth between those two meanings.

        But the phrase “Rendered Certain” strongly infers ACTION not knowledge.
        It is dishonest language to equivocate Calvin’s god RENDERING CERTAIN X with Calvin’s god KNOWING X
        RENDERING CERTAIN X is a DECIDEDLY ACTIVE mode
        KNOWING about x is not.

        Calvinist language is consistent equivocal for strategical reasons
        And equivocating KNOWING an evil event with CAUSING that evil event is one of their favorite strategies.
        Calvinists use the term “certain” as a replacement term for “unavoidable – inevitable”.”

        rhutchin
        OK. That’s the sense of Craig’s argument as I understand it. So, what is the issue?

        br.d
        I that one single statement from Dr. Craig you are sighting he is using the term “certain” to mean epistemic certainty.
        If you you are savvy enough to acknowledge that Calvin’s god knowledge does not CAUSE the future to be certain – then obviously Dr. Craig is also.

        br.d
        “Calvinists strategically try to paint a picture of Calvin’s god – coloring him in a PASSIVE MODE
        AS-IF he’s simply operates with (Foreknowledge via observation) concerning evil
        To hide the fact that he is its SOURCE of each evil by virtue of decreeing each evil.”

        rhutchin
        This is wrong. Calvinism clearly incorporates man’s sinful nature as a source of evil. As God is sovereign, Calvinists say that God can never be passive on anything – all things pass through Him and nothing proceeds further except by His decree.

        br.d
        Actually it is quite correct.
        Calvinist’s speak double-speak.
        This allows them to cover their tracks both ways.
        But their language is consistently evasive and misleading – for obvious reasons.

        This is reiterated by
        William Lane Craig: “Sadly but consistency Calvinists fail to enunciate the radical distinctions of their belief system”
        Dr. Jerry Walls “If Calvinists didn’t use misleading rhetoric – they would loose all credibility in two years”

        “They do this to divert attention away from the decrees as the CAUSE of events.”

        rhutchin
        “Cause” because nothing can happen except by God’s decree. However, “cause” does not mean originator and man’s sinful nature is the originator of the evil he wants to do.

        br.d
        This is FALSE in Theological Determinism.
        The THEOS (at the foundation of the world – by virtue of decrees) is the SOURCE and ORIGIN of *ALL* things which come to pass.
        *ALL* is UNIVERSAL – means WITHOUT EXCEPTION – which obviously includes every neurological impulse creatures will have.

        Then, “Logic then dictates:
        WHERE it is the case that the future is FIXED is Logically TRUE
        A perception of the future being OPEN is logically FALSE”

        rhutchin
        Yeah, if the one who fixes the future and the one perceiving the future are the same person. Not so if the one fixing the future is one person and the one perceiving the future is a different person.

        br.d
        This confirms that Calvinists want to believe TRUTH = FALSE
        Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no”
        For everything else comes of evil.
        If you believe the future is SETTLED – FIXED IN THE PAST = TRUE then go about your office AS-IF it is TRUE.
        Calvinist language in this regard is what the bible calls an “uncertain sound”.
        Today it is called “double-speak”

        br.d
        ‘So your statement affirms that Calvinists have a psychosocial need to – go about their office AS-IF nothing is determined in any part (by the THEOS).”

        rhutchin
        Not that I am aware. God’s determination of all things is vital to the life of the Calvinist. My experience is that Calvinists reject Calvin’s instructions on this.

        br.d
        You can’t even see how your ever other statement follows it to a T. :-]
        I guess that’s to be expected.
        “Which reveals that Calvinists live in a world of double-speak.”

        rhutchin
        Only because you seem compelled to twist Calvinism into something it is not as we see in your comments.

        br.d
        That is simply a claim for the purpose of deflection.
        Let the SOT101 reader examine the precision and carefulness of my language in my posts
        And compare that to the highly equivocal (shape-shifting) terms found within your posts
        And they can clearly discern which one of us is respecting Jesus Christ with honest language and which one of us is not. :-]

      137. br.d writes, “I that one single statement from Dr. Craig you are sighting he is using the term “certain” to mean epistemic certainty.”

        Craig wrote a book – The Only Wise God – in which he argues that God is omniscient and this omniscience makes the future certain – inevitable – that which God knows (the future) is inevitable. So, we seem to agree that, “If you you are savvy enough to acknowledge that Calvin’s god knowledge does not CAUSE the future to be certain – then obviously Dr. Craig is also.”

        Then, “Calvinist language is consistent equivocal for strategical reasons And equivocating KNOWING an evil event with CAUSING that evil event is one of their favorite strategies.”

        Calvinist are straightforward in saying that God works through secondary means as well as direct action to “cause” all events. God, as sovereign, exercises control over all that happens and nothing can happen without God knowing it and making the decision that it is to be. I don’t see any equivocation here. I don’t see anything wrong when “Calvinists use the term “certain” as a replacement term for “unavoidable – inevitable”.” I think that is the sense in which Craig uses the term so we are getting consistency in this issue.

        Then, ‘This is FALSE in Theological Determinism.”

        But not in Calvinism thus distinguishing Calvinism from theological determinism. The difference seems to be how each addresses the issue of secondary means.

      138. br.d
        “That one single statement from Dr. Craig you are sighting he is using the term “certain” to mean epistemic certainty.”

        rhutchin
        Craig wrote a book – The Only Wise God – in which he argues that God is omniscient and this omniscience makes the future certain – inevitable – that which God knows (the future) is inevitable. So, we seem to agree that, “If you you are savvy enough to acknowledge that Calvin’s god knowledge does not CAUSE the future to be certain – then obviously Dr. Craig is also.”

        br.d
        I won’t ask you to sight the specific statement by Dr. Craig – (like I do).
        You again simply evaded the point – Calvinists use the term “Certain” as a shape-shifting term.
        It shape-shifts back and forth between “epistemic” certainty – and “causal/modal’ certainty.
        “Rendering Certain” is a DECISIVELY ACTIVE mode.
        Epistemic certainty is not.

        Thus proving my point:
        “Calvinist language is consistent equivocal for strategical reasons.
        And equivocating KNOWING an evil event with CAUSING that evil event is one of their favorite strategies.”

        rhutchin
        Calvinist are straightforward in saying that God works through secondary means as well as direct action to “cause” all events… exercises control over…..nothing can happen without God knowing…..it and making the decision that it is to be. I don’t see any equivocation here.

        br.d
        Thanks for acknowledging you don’t see the equivocation- exactly as I explained it above. :-]

        rhutchin
        distinguishing Calvinism from theological determinism. The difference SEEMS to be HOW each addresses the issue of secondary means.

        br.d
        Here distinguishing the CAUSE of a logical consequence SEEMS to be how each addresses the issue of the MEANS through which it was CAUSED to occur.

        This logical fallacy is saturated in Calvinist thinking
        It is a combination of the fallacy of false attribution by voluntarily conflating MEANS with CAUSE.

        The Calvinist is mentored in how to hold this as rational logic.

        More great examples of how Calvinism conditions the individual into double-mindedness! :-]
        Thanks rhutchin for the examples.

      139. TS00:

        A bit more about the many times in the Word that the Lord says He changes His mind:

        Exodus 32:1 So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.

        Jeremiah 26:19 “Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, and the LORD changed His mind about the misfortune which He had pronounced against them? But we are committing a great evil against ourselves.”

        Jonah 4:2 He prayed to the LORD and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.

        Exodus 32:12 “Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people.

        Amos 7:3 The LORD changed His mind about this. “It shall not be,” said the LORD.

        Amos 7:6 The LORD changed His mind about this. “This too shall not be,” said the Lord GOD.

        Jonah 3:9 “Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”

        Jonah 3:10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

        Jeremiah 18:8 If that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it.

        Jeremiah 26:3 ‘Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds.’

        Jeremiah 26:13 “Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you.

        Jeremiah 42:10 ‘If you will indeed stay in this land, then I will build you up and not tear you down, and I will plant you and not uproot you; for I will relent concerning the calamity that I have inflicted on you.

        2 Samuel 24:16 When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the calamity and said to the angel who destroyed the people, “It is enough! Now relax your hand!” And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

        Jeremiah 18:10 if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it.

        Ezekiel 7:22 ‘I will also turn My face from them, and they will profane My secret place; then robbers will enter and profane it.

        ———–
        These verses (and plenty more like them) would indicate that God “changes His mind.” Calvinists cant have that (even though it is clearly stated in many places and many different ways).

        So they apply a half-verse filter on all of these contexts and multiple verses.

        One only has to go look at the two verses they use as a filter and see the context. Bad hermeneutic…. to start with the answer.

        If you start with the answer you can make the Bible say what you want. I prefer to listen to the hundreds of verses where God tells us that He interacts with men and women.

      140. FOH writes, “These verses (and plenty more like them) would indicate that God “changes His mind.” Calvinists cant have that (even though it is clearly stated in many places and many different ways).”

        We still have the additional information that “God is not a man that He should change His mind.” In Numbers 23, we read:

        “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?’

        Titus makes note of “God, who cannot lie.”

        The need is to reconcile these verses with those that FOH has cited – FOH makes no attempt to do that. So, what does FOH accomplish in citing all those verses? Nothing.

      141. Augustine gets his idea of divine immutability from synchronizing Plato’s doctrine of DDI into Catholic doctrine.

        Augustine’s is a period in which Christianity (in the form of Catholicism) was synchronizing itself with Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism which were both extremely prevalent in Augustine’s day. NeoPlatonism – especially among intellectuals.

        Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism shared many doctrinal aspects – including Plato’s doctrine of divine immutability.
        Total Depravity and Predestination however are more heavily borrowed from Gnosticism than they are from NeoPlatonism.

      142. br.d writes, “Total Depravity and Predestination however are more heavily borrowed from Gnosticism than they are from NeoPlatonism.”

        Or they are derived from the Scriptures independent of anything else.

      143. br.d writes, “Total Depravity and Predestination however are more heavily borrowed from Gnosticism than they are from NeoPlatonism.”

        rhutchin
        Or they are derived from the Scriptures independent of anything else.

        br.d
        All one need do is study the writings of experts on Augustine’s syncretism – to understand the immaturity of this statement
        And you like to say others have imaginations! :-]

      144. br.d writes, “All one need do is study the writings of experts on Augustine’s syncretism – to understand the immaturity of this statement”

        Or one can get up to speed on recent work by modern day Calvinists – Pink, Sproul, Gertsner, etc, and see the Scriptural arguments that are the foundation for Calvinism today. It’s time for br.d to stop living in the past.

      145. br.d writes, “All one need do is study the writings of experts on Augustine’s syncretism – to understand the immaturity of this statement”

        rhutchin
        Or one can get up to speed on recent work by modern day Calvinists – Pink, Sproul, Gertsner, etc, and see the Scriptural arguments that are the foundation for Calvinism today. It’s time for br.d to stop living in the past.

        br.d
        Representatives of Calvinism – yes.
        Experts on the scholarship of the history of Augustine – nowhere will you see these names in academia.
        They don’t come close to that level of scholarship. :-]

      146. Right spot on TSOO!
        To say “Samuel agreed with Plato” is exactly what one would hear in Augustine’s day of syncretism (NeoPlatonism with Christ)

        Plato believed he received intellectual insight from spirit beings he called “Demons”.
        He believed they were the spirits of dead men floating in the atmosphere.
        He likened a man teaching a man as a goat teaching a goat, rather than a horse teaching a goat.
        In other words, he believed the spirit beings were superior in wisdom and intellect above living humans and therefore the better source of information.

        Its easy for a Calvinist to read Theological Determinism into the bible.
        Men did the same thing with scripture when they believed the sun revolved around the earth and when they believed the earth was flat.

        He stretches out the heavens as a scroll – look see that confirms the earth is flat – everyone knows a scroll is flat!
        And that’s supposed to be superior exegesis :-]

      147. Rhutchin responds:
        “In the Calvinist system, God made man in His image so that neurological impulse are naturally generated within the brain without additional involvement by God and the impulses reflect the nature of the person. God has predestined the impulses by creating man with the means by which impulses are self-generated (i.e., a brain) and His control over them – that control generally being passive so that God does not inhibit the generation of those impulses.”

        Of course, he left out one teeny, tiny little detail – which is that (according to Calvinism) God cursed man with a so-called ‘sin nature’ before he generated those brains and let them go their merry way, ‘reflect[ing] the nature of the person’. Some freedom, huh? Just ‘choose’ as you ‘desire’ – because all of your desires have been limited by your cursed sin nature! Bwahaha.

        Ask any victim of a narcissistic abuser about the ‘freedom’ they enjoy. Most are not locked up in chains. No indeed, they can ‘choose’ to do whatever they ‘desire’. They enjoy complete ‘freedom’ to come and go, drive cars and interact with others. However, they know that if their ‘desires’ do not line up with the ‘desires’ of their controlling abuser, they will suffer greatly upon making a ‘wrong’ choice. This is the kind of ‘freedom’ that Calvinists, and even much of misled Protestantism, suggests we live under. The threats and warnings of a narcissistic God have been frightening believers since Constantine co-opted and established authority over ‘christianity’ with his Institutionalized Church. The breakaway ‘Reformers’ kept up the same sort of Tyranny, with Calvin’s Geneva and Edwards’ ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’.

        Ya know what? I reject their false vision of who God is. If that means being declared a ‘non-christian’ or a ‘heretic’, so be it. I do not seek to please men, but God, and I’m putting my trust in the Hebrews 11:6 summation of what pleasing God demands. Not being born into one particular family or nation. Not perfection in doctrine or life. Not being circumcised or baptized or having any other sacrament or ceremony performed over me. Not signing a loyalty oath to some manmade set of doctines. But simply believing that God not only exists as the sovereign authority over his creation, but that he is a good and trustworthy God, who generously rewards those who seek him. I believe that my childlike trust in him, and desire to learn to live a life that is pleasing to him by loving others more and self less is really all he asks of me.

        Why? Just why do these guys go to such great lengths to avoid the truth about what their belief system demands? Why does Rhutchin attempt to avoid the indisputable fact that, under Calvinism, every single thing has been predetermined by God, including those so-called self-generated neurological impulses? Why does he deceptively try to have it both ways, as do all who claim an illogical and impossible complementarianism of ‘God controls all things, but man is responsible for his own free choices’?

        It is like saying a robin is completely free to choose whether to swim or fly. Under Calvinism, since all of our choices and actions have been predetermined and coordinated by God, we are that robin, who is born only capable of flying, and never swimming. The Calvinist blithely watches the bird soar overhead, insisting it has the freedom to swim, if only it so desired – no one is inhibiting it from making that choice. Except that anyone with a tiny bit of sense knows that this particular little birdie is limited to a very small range of ‘choices’, as are its ‘self-generated’ neurological impulses. No properly functioning robin will ever generate a neurological impulse that suggests it should swim, or eat aquatic plants from the bottom of the lake.

        What Calvinism alleges – falsely – is that man is the same kind of animal, with the appearance of complete freedom, but actually (shall we say secretly) limited to a very particular range of choices. Of course, we all know that this is true to a degree, as men cannot fly and have other very real limitations. But under Calvinism, man is limited by self-generated neurological impulses by his nature. Note that his nature is not simply that of a human being, which most reasonable men acknowledge. But under Calvinism, this ‘human nature’ was further limited – by the direct curse of God – to being sinful. THAT IS THE BIG LIE! The one that they repeatedly try to hide in the fine print.

        The ‘good news’ which Jesus came to declare is that we do not have to be slaves to sin (or any so-called ‘sin nature’). Free from the fear of punishment and death, we can respond to God’s freely offered grace and receive forgiveness and life. There is no ‘fine print’, it is all very simple and straightforward. Our reconciliation to God, or ability to please him, as Hebrews 11:6 tells us, is predicated on the fact that we ‘believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him’.

        If we simply believe that he exists, we are no better off than demons, who also know he exists. If we do not believe that he rewards any and all who seek him, we are no better off than Calvinists, who trust smugly in their little make believe world of being ‘special’ and ‘chosen’ no matter how they live or what they do with what they have been given.

        Yeah, I guess I can see why they like to hide behind false pretenses, detailing only in the fine print that their ugly little chosen people theology excludes many (most?) from God’s love and promises. Like all bait and switch plans, they make grand, flowery promises of all that God offers, and only – too late – does one uncover the real truth hidden in the fine print of the creeds and confessions, understood fully by only a few: this plan deliberately excludes most from all of the grand benefits promised.

      148. TS00,
        I love ya man, but some of your posts sound like “God in the hands of an angry sinner.” Let’s not take it out on God cuz Calvinists misrepresent Him! God can defend Himself!

        Jose thinks that contending for the faith means repeating over and over the same idea (what a lovely idea!) that Christ does NOT love everyone and He only died for a very few people in history. I dont think that is the kind of “defense” that God needs.

        Besides, since Jose is so entrenched in the “did not die for the goats” idea he misses my point every time. God personally told Cain that he could and should do right. According to their system…. if Cain did not do right it was because God did not give him the faith/ ability.

        God tells him “do good” while taunting him behind His back “but I know you cant cuz I did not allow you!”

        So that leaves them with a very deceptive, taunting creator…. but he cannot see that since he is convinced of a few “very clear” “non-negotiable” verses. Oh well….. it makes no difference anyway. He does not live like a determinists-Calvinist. He lives like his decisions make a difference.

      149. I like to think of it more as ‘God in the hands of a once hopeless, now relieved, sinner’. 😉 If I am angry it is, I believe, a just anger at those who not only misrepresent God, but do so deceptively. God certainly doesn’t need my help defending himself, but I kinda think he’ll overlook my anger at those who seek to withhold the good news of his love and mercy from those most in need of it. In fact, I suspect that these are the ones who will receive his unrelenting wrath, not the confused, misled and hopelessly deceived.

      150. FOH writes, “God personally told Cain that he could and should do right.”

        Here is what the Scriptures tell us: “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

        I’ll go with the Scriptures on this one.

      151. My guess is that FOH will freely admit to his bias. Calvinists – except for the despised but honest ‘Hyper-Calvinist’ – always deny theirs.

      152. TS00,
        That’s right.

        I openly admit to my bias that God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (not “all kinds” of people)

        I openly admit that Christ said when He is lifted up He will draw all men to Himself. (not “all kinds” of people)

        I admit that God loves all people (not “all kinds” of people)

        I admit that God is sovereign and “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” while allowing His creation (individuals created in His image) some say in the matter (our decisions matter; we have a personal relationship with Him—- it’s not personal if He has given us our every move).

        And thanks TS00…. You unpacked the Genesis 4 idea “it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” very well. I have absolutely no idea what any Calvinist can do with this verse. They never even try.

        It’s pretty simple:

        Fallen Abel chooses to do right.

        Fallen Cain (even though warned by God and told, “you must rule over it”) does not.

        All of this disproves Total Depravity. Man has what he needs (like Abel) to obey God. That is why it says “And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.” He is telling us…. obey God like I did…. dont rebel like Cain.”

      153. Most Calvinists are smart enough not to claim to be perfect.
        They just see themselves as more perfect than everyone else :-]

      154. TS00 writes, “Of course, he left out one teeny, tiny little detail – which is that (according to Calvinism) God cursed man with a so-called ‘sin nature’ before he generated those brains and let them go their merry way, ‘reflect[ing] the nature of the person’. Some freedom, huh?”

        Genesis explains how this came about – all with the knowledge and consent of God. God created Adam; Adam was perfect and without sin. God declared His creation very good. Then God plants the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden and tells Adam not to eat its fruit. The penalty for eating its fruit is death. Adam eats the fruit and incurs death – both spiritual and physical, one immediate and the other future. Adam’s nature was corrupted and he was expelled from the garden. Adam’s nature was different after he sinned from that before he sinned and the freedom he had before he sinned had changed – he was now a slave to sin. TS00 rightly notes, I think, that God’s punishment for sin is a curse.

      155. rhutchin
        Genesis explains how this came about….etc

        br.d
        of course AGAIN he left out one little tiny little part.
        That of Calvin’s god decreeing man’s every neurological impulse – so that they occur inevitably and unavoidably – such that man CANNOT do otherwise than what Calvin’s god decrees.

        To understand Calvinism and its double-speak:
        One must understand he is a “Determinist” wearing a mask of “IN-determinism” and recites double-speak talking points. :-]

      156. br.d writes, “That of Calvin’s god decreeing man’s every neurological impulse – so that they occur inevitably and unavoidably – such that man CANNOT do otherwise than what Calvin’s god decrees.”

        It is also true that man concurs with God’s decree ans does not want to otherwise than what God decrees as this concurs with that which he desires to do.

      157. Rhutchin writes:
        ‘It is also true that man concurs with God’s decree an[d] does not want to [do] otherwise than what God decrees as this concurs with that which he desires to do.’

        Gee, what a surprise: man ‘concurs’ with what God has dictated him to irresistibly do! As if man could ‘desire’ other than what God has ordained him to not only ‘desire’, but to irresistibly do. I’m shocked, shocked that man actually desires what a Sovereign, deterministic God has programmed him to desire. Whodda thunk it? Whether he implants irresistible desires, or holds a gun to a man’s head, it makes no difference; under your system, God gets his way. Always. Period. Whatever means he employs. Just as a computer ‘concurs’ with the programming it has been loaded with – garbage in, garbage out. Man ‘concurs’ because man cannot do otherwise than ‘concur’. But keep weaving your little webs of delusion. Maybe you will even convince yourself.

      158. TS00 and Norm,

        That is why I quote some of the hundreds (not tens, not dozens, not scores) of verses where it is clear that man is doing something that God does NOT want.

        He says in Jeremiah a couple places, “I did not command you to do that…. it did not even enter my mind.”

        I mean how else in the world could the Lord say it? How could He say it more clearly? You have to WANT to not understand those clear statements directly from the Lord.

        What if you were God and you wanted your creation to know what you are like. You want them to know you mean when you say “Sovereign Lord.”

        So ….over and over you say in you Word….. “I did not want…but you did” “I called but you did not come…” “I wanted … but you did not do” And then….then… to make double-dog sure you say “the stuff you guys are doing did not even enter my mind!!”

        Tell me Calvinist friends, how could He be more clear

      159. FOH writes, “That is why I quote some of the hundreds (not tens, not dozens, not scores) of verses where it is clear that man is doing something that God does NOT want. ”

        The issue is not “that man is doing something that God does NOT want. ” The issue is to explain this in terms of God’s will given that He is sovereign and could easily prevent any person disobeying Him by simply sitting down for a face to face talk – not just presenting options as He did with Cain..

      160. rhutchin
        The issue is to explain this in terms of God’s will given that He is sovereign and could EASILY PREVENT any person disobeying Him.

        brd
        Calvin’s god is fickle! He PREVENTS what he decrees. :-]

        Actually we understand this as a Determinism wearing the mask of IN-determinism.
        Here Calvin’s god is going to PREVENT man from disobeying – when it is the case that man CANNOT do otherwise than what Calvin’s god decreed (in eternity past) man do.

        Or perhaps Calvin’s god doesn’t remember the disobedience he (at the foundation of the world) decreed man would infallibly do?

        Either way when one understands Theological Determinism – the Calvinist’s use of PREVENT language – makes Calvin’s god come off looking like he’s a few french-fries short of a happy meal. :-]

      161. br.d writes, “Calvin’s god is fickle! He PREVENTS what he decrees.”

        Once God makes a decision – a decree – of course, there is no preventing. However, br/d, and others, always seem to forget that they believe that God has not made decisions on everything that is to happen. Thus, br.d believes that God can easily prevent every child molestation if He wants to do so. So, why doesn’t God do so? Neither br.d nor others of his mindset will go there. Bereans, they are not.

      162. br.d
        “Calvin’s god is fickle! He PREVENTS what he decrees.”

        rhutchin
        Once God makes a decision – a decree – of course, there is no preventing. However, br/d, and others, always seem to forget that they believe that [Calvin’s] God HAS NOT MADE DECISIONS ON EVERYTHING THAT IS TO HAPPEN.

        br.d
        This is false in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism)
        Calvin’s doctrine of decrees firmly and unequivocally asserts that Calvin’s god decrees *ALL* things WITHOUT EXCEPTION which come to pass.

        This is why Christian Philosophers call Calvinism *UNIVERSAL* divine causal determinism.
        If you remove that UNIVERSAL scope – Calvinism loses its distinctiveness and becomes a typical protestant theology.

        A savvy Calvinist knows the definitions of the logical terms “UNIVERSAL” and “PARTICULAR”.

        That’s a huge slip on your part rhutchin!!

        But there is a silver lining for you here – you deviated from your standard equivocal language.

        So you get a silver star this time for being more forthright. :-]

      163. br.d
        Actually I slipped up on this one.
        rhutch wrote: “They [non-Calvinists] believe that God does not determine everything in every part.

        So lets go back to this.

        rhutchin
        Once God makes a decision – a decree – of course, there is no preventing.

        br.d
        Ok you have acknowledged:
        1) That once Calvin’s god decrees X – X CANNOT be prevented.
        2) Calvin’s god decrees EVERYTHING without exception
        3) EVERYTHING WITHOUT EXCEPTION is decreed by Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world – millennia before they occur

        Conclusion:
        Post decrees – EVERYTHING is UN-PREVENTABLE

        So you are left explaining why Calvin’s god is not fickle for attempting to PREVENT what is UN-PREVENTABLE :-]

      164. br.d writes, “So you are left explaining why Calvin’s god is not fickle for attempting to PREVENT what is UN-PREVENTABLE”

        Not fickle because no such attempt and this because:
        1) That once Calvin’s god decrees X – X CANNOT be prevented.
        2) Calvin’s god decrees EVERYTHING without exception
        3) EVERYTHING WITHOUT EXCEPTION is decreed by Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world – millennia before they occur

      165. br.d writes, “So you are left explaining why Calvin’s god is not fickle for attempting to PREVENT what is UN-PREVENTABLE”

        rhutchin
        Not fickle because NO SUCH ATTEMPT and this because:
        1) That once Calvin’s god decrees X – X CANNOT be prevented.
        2) Calvin’s god decrees EVERYTHING without exception
        3) EVERYTHING WITHOUT EXCEPTION is decreed by Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world – millennia before they occur

        rhutchin
        August 27, 2018 at 5:10 pm
        God makes a deliberate decision NOT TO PREVENT, or stop, some evil events

        br.d
        So then statement -quote “deliberate decision NOT TO PREVENT, or stop, some evil events” is simply another one of your language tricks. Since you’ve now confirmed that NO EVENT can be PREVENTED.

        This is why I say Calvinist use of PREVENT language is deceptive double-speak.
        Thanks for helping to show how it works. :-]

      166. br.d writes, “So then statement -quote “deliberate decision NOT TO PREVENT, or stop, some evil events” is simply another one of your language tricks. Since you’ve now confirmed that NO EVENT can be PREVENTED.”

        The objection is confused. God made deliberate decisions (i.e., decrees) millennia ago not to prevent or stop certain evil events and God’s decrees will not be overturned – God makes decrees after the counsel of His will so that those decrees reflect God’s understanding and wisdom. To then overturn the decree is to move to a position that is less wise and does not accord with His understanding – making it an inferior position.

        I did not confirm that “NO EVENT can be PREVENTED” but that no decree will be overturned thereby making certain the event that is the subject of the decree. This is true of God’s decrees regardless when they are made. If, under br.d’s philosophy, God makes decisions (i.e. decrees) in the course of time, they also cannot be overturned – the timing of the decree is irrelevant in determining the immutability of God’s decrees.

      167. br.d
        “So then statement -quote “deliberate decision NOT TO PREVENT, or stop, some evil events” is simply another one of your language tricks. Since you’ve now confirmed that NO EVENT can be PREVENTED.”

        rhutchin
        The objection is confused. God made deliberate decisions (i.e., decrees) millennia ago not to prevent or stop certain evil events and God’s decrees will not be overturned – God makes decrees after the counsel of His will so that those decrees reflect God’s understanding and wisdom. To then overturn the decree is to move to a position that is less wise and does not accord with His understanding – making it an inferior position.

        br.d
        The confusion is yours – this statement is not logic – its simply repeating the same double-speak over again.

        rhutchin
        I did not confirm that “NO EVENT can be PREVENTED” but that no decree will be overturned thereby making certain the event that is the subject of the decree.

        br.d
        If that is the case then your logic is even more skewed than I thought.

        In order to show that ANY event can be prevented you’ll have to show how Calvin’s god can decree an event to be both UNPREVENTABLE and PREVENTABLE at the same time.

        rhutchin
        This is true of God’s decrees regardless when they are made. If, under br.d’s philosophy, God makes decisions (i.e. decrees) in the course of time, they also cannot be overturned – the timing of the decree is irrelevant in determining the immutability of God’s decrees.

        br.d
        Except that Calvin’s doctrine of decrees specifically stipulates that *ALL* events are decreed at the foundation of the world – so time is relevant. The foundation of the world occurred millennia ago – five minutes from now is a point in time.

        If Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world millennia ago, decreed that you would drive your car to the liqueur store tomorrow and get totally drunk. Then at any point (before, during, or after that decree) he is contemplating preventing what he made UNPREVENTABLE – then he is fickle.

        Its just that simple :-]

      168. br.d writes, “This is false in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism)”

        OK. So. I was writing to TS00 and doing so on his terms – he is the one – not just him but you and others – who says that God id still making decisions regarding future events. Stay with the context. The point is that every theological system recognizes that God is present at every evil event; that God has the power to prevent, or put a stop to, every evil event; and that God makes a deliberate decision not to prevent, or stop, some evil events.

      169. rhutchin
        August 27, 2018 at 12:12 pm
        Once God makes a decision – a decree – of course, there is NO PREVENTING [it from occurring].

        rhutchin
        August 27, 2018 at 5:10 pm
        God makes a deliberate decision NOT TO PREVENT, or stop, some evil events.

        br.d
        Lets see how that looks with logic
        1) Calvin’s god millennia before it occurs – decrees event X to occur as UNPREVENTABLE
        2) Calvin’s god decides not to PREVENT an event which is UNPREVENTABLE

        Hmmmm…..
        Perhaps he’s not smart enough to know event X is UNPREVENTABLE
        Or perhaps he’s not smart enough to know what he decrees is UNPREVENTABLE
        Or perhaps he’s not smart enough to know the event he considers PREVENTING was one which he decreed.
        Or perhaps he follows Calvin’s instructions – go about your office AS-IF nothing is determined in any part.

        In any case he’s not be playing with a full deck of cards! :-]

      170. br.d writes, “Lets see how that looks with logic
        1) Calvin’s god millennia before it occurs – decrees event X to occur as UNPREVENTABLE
        2) Calvin’s god decides not to PREVENT an event which is UNPREVENTABLE”

        1) Calvin’s god millennia before it occurs – decrees event X to occur that decree making the event UNPREVENTABLE – the same would be true where God makes the decree one minuet ago. Once God makes a decree, that subject of the decree becomes unpreventable in that it will not be overturned.

        2) Calvin’s god decides (i.e., decreed) not to PREVENT an event a millennia ago which decree than cannot be overturned so that the event becomes UNPREVENTABLE because of the decree..

        br.d’s remaining comments reflect an active imagination giving evidence that he does not seem to understand the issue.

      171. br.d writes, “Lets see how that looks with logic
        1) Calvin’s god millennia before it occurs – decrees event X to occur as UNPREVENTABLE
        2) Calvin’s god decides not to PREVENT an event which is UNPREVENTABLE”

        1) Calvin’s god millennia before it occurs – decrees event X to occur that decree making the event UNPREVENTABLE – the same would be true where God makes the decree one minuet ago.

        br.d
        Except that the doctrine of decrees stipulates that *ALL* events which will come to pass (post decrees) are decreed at the foundation of the world – not one minute ago. Unless you want to argue that the foundation of the world was one minute ago.

        rhutchin:
        Once God makes a decree, that subject of the decree becomes unpreventable in that it will not be overturned.

        br.d
        More precisely: Once Calvin’s god makes a decree (at the foundation of the world) – he makes EVERY future event UNPREVENTABLE – millennia before the event occurs by virtue of the fact that *ALL* events are decreed at the foundation of the world.

        rhutchin
        2) Calvin’s god decides (i.e., decreed) not to PREVENT an event a millennia ago which decree than cannot be overturned so that the event becomes UNPREVENTABLE because of the decree..

        br.d
        Right – Calvin’s god decides not to PREVENT an event that by its very nature is UNPREVENTABLE (by virtue of the immutable decree making it UNPREVENTABLE).

        rhutchin
        br.d’s remaining comments reflect an active imagination giving evidence that he does not seem to understand the issue.

        br.d
        Oh I understand completely!
        He contemplates PREVENTING something that by its very nature UNPREVENTABLE.
        Perhaps he decides to prevent a square from being a square (before, after, or while) he decrees its squareness to be UNPREVENTABLE!

        Calvin’s god sure is fickle. :-]

      172. br.d writes, “Except that the doctrine of decrees stipulates that *ALL* events which will come to pass (post decrees) are decreed at the foundation of the world – not one minute ago. Unless you want to argue that the foundation of the world was one minute ago.”

        The Calvinist says that all events are decreed before the foundation of the world. The non-Calvinist says that some events are decreed in the course of time. In either case, the decree is the same. What’s your point?

        Then, ‘Right – Calvin’s god decides not to PREVENT an event that by its very nature is UNPREVENTABLE (by virtue of the immutable decree making it UNPREVENTABLE). ”

        This is wrong. An event is not unpreventable by its nature but by God’s decree as to its outcome. God decrees the outcome (an event) and that decree makes the event unpreventable.

      173. br.d writes, “Except that the doctrine of decrees stipulates that *ALL* events which will come to pass (post decrees) are decreed at the foundation of the world – not one minute ago. Unless you want to argue that the foundation of the world was one minute ago.”

        rhutchin
        The Calvinist says that all events are decreed before the foundation of the world. The non-Calvinist says that some events are decreed in the course of time. In either case, the decree is the same. What’s your point?

        br.d
        It doesn’t matter what the non-Calvinist says.
        What matters is what Calvin’s doctrine stipulates.
        I think you get the point – but your doing your dance of evasion around it as you know how logically absurd it is.

        br.d
        Calvin’s god decides not to PREVENT an event that by its very nature is UNPREVENTABLE (by virtue of the immutable decree making it UNPREVENTABLE). ”

        rhutchin
        This is wrong. An event is not unpreventable by its nature but by God’s decree as to its outcome. God decrees the outcome (an event) and that decree makes the event unpreventable.

        br.d
        Your chasing your tail here.
        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) all events are decreed. And by virtue of the decree they are by nature UNPREVENTABLE. Or it is the STATE of the event that it is UNPREVENTABLE.
        In Calvinist language – rendered CERTAIN – FIXED IN THE PAST.
        The immutable decree is what gives it its nature. As I clearly stated (by virtue of the immutable decree)

        Your would like to assert the double-speak that an event can be decreed as both PREVENTABLE and UNPREVENTABLE by using equivocal language that infers it without clearly stating it..

        The only way you can argue that Calvin’s god can decree an event as both PREVENTABLE and UNPREVENTABLE is through double-speak.
        So far you’ve provided good examples. :-]

      174. br.d writes, “In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) all events are decreed. And by virtue of the decree they are by nature UNPREVENTABLE. ”

        How does nature work its way in? One decree may fix the nature to be that inherited from Adam. Another decree may fix an event involving this nature. Nature does not affect any particular decree; it is the decree that affects the nature. An event is affected by the decree; the event does not affect the decree. Nature never enters into the equation (at least, you did not explain how it might).

      175. br.d writes, “In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) all events are decreed. And by virtue of the decree they are by nature UNPREVENTABLE. ”

        rhutcnin
        How does nature work its way in?

        br.d
        Not nature as in birds and bees.
        Nature as in “The inherent character or basic constitution” or “Fundamental essential attribute”.
        Or an alternative word – the “STATE” of the event is that it is UNPREVENTABLE.
        UNPREVENTABLE is just another word for “immutable”.
        Its constitution is UNPREVENTABLE as a logical consequence of the decree being immutable.

      176. TS00 writes, “Gee, what a surprise: man ‘concurs’ with what God has dictated him to irresistibly do! ”

        God dictates that people be free to pursue their desires. Is it difficult for you to understand that God knows your desires and the things you will want to do in the situations that will confront you tomorrow or the next day or later? Even if we allow that God may not know exactly how you might choose is a particular situation, He can close doors on certain options while still providing for the choice you want to make.

        Google probably has a fix on your likes if you spend any amount of time on the computer and tailors ads and articles to which you are likely to respond positively. Do you doubt the enormous political influence Google, Twitter, and Youtube are wielding as they restrict conservative content and promote liberal positions? Do you understand that the tech giants are trying to mold your opinion not just to buy certain goods but also to determine how you will vote just like the news programs? Yet, you are still free are you not? So, if tech companies and news shows can figure out what buttons to push to get you excited, why don’t you allow God to be a lot smarter than they are?

      177. Quote derived from the language of Alan Greenspan – and his famous example of double-speak

        I know you think you understand what you thought God said in the bible – but I’m not sure you realize that what you thought God said was not what God meant”

        Perhaps Alan Greenspan learned this language from Calvinism.
        It sure follows their model :-]

      178. br.d writes, “That of Calvin’s god decreeing man’s every neurological impulse – so that they occur inevitably and unavoidably – such that man CANNOT do otherwise than what Calvin’s god decrees.”

        rhutchin
        It is also true that man concurs with God’s decree ans does not want to otherwise than what God decrees as this concurs with that which he desires to do.

        br.d
        Simple! That goes without saying. If Calvin’s god decreed you have a sinful neurological impulse, making that impulse occur within your brain inevitable and unavoidable – obviously you CANNOT DO OTHERWISE than to agree. And since Calvin’s god determined that desire occur in your brain – obviously he concurs with it. Unless he is a double-think god. hint-hint! :-]

      179. TS00,
        What you said reminded me that I have been thinking about what Calvinism represents.

        I am wondering about the Calvinists on this blog…..when they came to Christ. Did they say “Wow God loves me. God loves everyone. Christ died for our sins! This is Good News…I have to tell people!” (sure they did!)

        Maybe it was in Sunday School where all the children sang “Jesus loves me this I know…” and “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world….”

        We all came into belief in Christ thinking & believing that the offer was for “all the children of the world…”

        It is only later that Calvinists are taught a “higher understanding” …. and they learn to despise (or at least correct) these songs.

        Can you see Vacation Bible School in a Reformed church….

        “Okay kids…. now sing with me… ‘Jesus MAY love me this I can’t know…. for the Bible says He only loves some…'”

        “Okay kids sing along “Jesus loves some little children, a few children of the world….”

        Nah…. we all came to Christ believing that “Come unto me all who labor…” meant ‘all’ …. not ‘all kinds’ of laborers.

        It is only later that we are taught the Good News that Christ only died for a few. Good News!

      180. Dare one ask why those who tout a ‘God hates you and has a terrible plan for your eternal torture’ system don’t just come out and admit it? At least the Jesus freak wearing the ‘Repent, for the end is near!’ sandwich board offers his audience hope – there is still time for them to repent and be saved. The Calvinist merely pretends that his God loves and desires to save men, when all the while he is laughing up his sleeve that most of these reprobates are doomed. Unlike himself, who, with his impeccable doctrine, is obviously among the chosen ones.

      181. TS00 writes, “Why does Rhutchin attempt to avoid the indisputable fact that, under Calvinism, every single thing has been predetermined by God, including those so-called self-generated neurological impulses?”

        No avoidance by me. That God has determined all things – God works all things after the counsel of His will – is basic Calvinist doctrine.

        Then, “Why does he deceptively try to have it both ways, as do all who claim an illogical and impossible complementarianism of ‘God controls all things, but man is responsible for his own free choices’?”

        God predestined that man be free to choose without coercion from Him. People choose consistent with their desires and God has determined that those choices prevail.

        Then, “Under Calvinism, since all of our choices and actions have been predetermined and coordinated by God, we are that robin, who is born only capable of flying, and never swimming. ”

        Here TS00 refers to the corruption of man’s nature because of Adam’s sin so that people are slave to sin and cannot do other than sin. Thus, Paul explains in Romans 8, “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;” Paul lists the fruit of the flesh in Galatians 5, “the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these…” Calvinists merely note that which the Scriptures tell us. Thus, th mind set on the flesh does not generate neurological impulses that are good or seek good.

        Then, ‘What Calvinism alleges – falsely – is that man is the same kind of animal, with the appearance of complete freedom, but actually (shall we say secretly) limited to a very particular range of choices.”

        Calvinists go with Paul and not TS00 on this point.

      182. TSOO said: “But under Calvinism, this human nature was further limited by the direct curse of God to being sinful – THAT IS A BIG LIE – the one that they repeatedly try to hide in the fine print”.

        My Response :
        1. Its not “…A BIG LIE…” – It is the truth according to I John 1:8 ” If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

        2. If you still don’t believe the whole truth that Man is sinful, then:
        2.1 You are just deceiving yourself
        2.2 The truth is not found in you
        2.3 So… you are the one lying not the Calvinists, right ?

  6. Today’s daily reading included Proverbs 12:24

    24 Work hard and become a leader;
    be lazy and become a slave.

    ——there are tens of thousands of conditional verses like this in the Bible demonstrating that it is not all set in stone…. and we make choices that matter…that change the outcome.

    Everybody knows this to be true in their daily lives.

    Determinist-Calvinists deny it in their theology.

    Sad.

    1. FOH, I know we point this out frequently, but it is so significant. If one buys into the fatalism of Calvinism, there really is no hope or meaning in life. There is no looking to God for guidance and help if he has already determined what is to occur, and all must do as preordained, without fail. So, our failures – God’s fault. Our weaknesses, struggles, ignorance and so forth will not lead to striving with God’s help, but a mere shrug of the shoulders that ‘Hey, if I’m a lazy, good-for-nothing bum, that must be what God ordained me to be. Who am I to argue with God?’ There are no incentives to overcome weaknesses and no hope to overcome seemingly hopeless situations. I saw how this led to hopelessness and despair in my own life, and I am fairly sure it must do the same for others. Understanding that sin is NOT God’s desire for anyone, and that he has promised not only to deliver us from its curse (death), but to deliver us from its destructive grip on our lives. Calvinism short-circuits this process, and encourages the hapless believer to just ‘accept’ what God has brought into his life as his irresistible will. Thus, to me, this is no mere academic exercise – my desire is to help others see that there is meaning, hope and joy in life. We are not limited to some preordained destiny, for better or worse, but should humbly, trustingly, seek God’s assistance to grow into all that he desires us to become.

    2. FOH said: ” – – there are teens of thousands of conditional verses like this (Prov. 12:24) in the Bible demonstrating that it is not all set in stone… and we make choices that matter… that change the outcome.”

      My Response :

      1. It is denied (God is not pleased) because of the following reasons:

      1.1 The action behind on how it was produced was derived from the fleshly efforts of the fallen man
      1.2 The fallen man though working hard or struggling hard in his own accord to seek favor before God is still denied, why? because all of man’s good deeds are still filthy rags before God.

      2. We cannot afford to bend God’s eternal decrees in order to conform to our own fleshly efforts or even to the one you are pushing that the fallen man has the capabilities to brag something before God.

      3. Everything has been decreed by God including man’s inner convictions that will still happen in the future.

      4. Nothing escapes from God’s Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence. He is sovereign in all things. He is not bounded by time and History.

      5. Its not really “conditional verses”, why? Because it was already determined by God beforehand.

      1. “3. Everything has been decreed by God including man’s inner convictions that will still happen in the future.”

        Even child molestation? God decreed that some people would do that via a sovereignly designed impulse?

        Such thinking makes Calvin’s god the author of evil — and that may well be true of Calvin’s god.

      2. br.d citing Craig, “Reason 3: Universal, divine, determinism makes God the author of sin”

        Craig just flat out distorts on this point writing, “In contrast to the Molinist view, on the deterministic view even the movement of the human will is caused by God. God moves people to choose evil…and makes them do wrong.” That is Craig’s imagination and not Calvinism. Under Calvinism, God does not move people to choose evil or make people do wrong. Calvinists agree with James on this, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone (i.e., does not move people to choose evil or make them do wrong). But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.”

      3. Rhutchin writes:
        ‘Calvinists agree with James on this, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone (i.e., does not move people to choose evil or make them do wrong). But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.”’

        Actually they do not. A consistent Calvinist – I know, I know, that’s an oxymoron, but just for the sake of argument – would have to hate James as much as Luther did; for their loyalty is to their dogma, rather than the truth.

        In actual fact, Calvinism makes James’ statement, and much of scripture, nonsensical. But you are not likely to find an honest Calvinist who will admit it. They will continue their doublespeaking, talking-out-of-both-sides-of-their-mouths, have-it-both-ways ways, no matter how obvious their contradictions are to all who are not thoroughly brainwashed. My Calvie pastor did always turn a little red when he launched into doublespeak – maybe that’s blushing?

      4. TS00 writes, “Actually they do not. A consistent Calvinist would have to hate James as much as Luther did; for their loyalty is to their dogma, rather than the truth.”

        Here is Calvin on this:

        “Here, no doubt, he speaks of another kind of temptation. It is abundantly evident that the external temptations, hitherto mentioned, are sent to us by God. In this way God tempted Abraham, (Genesis 22:1,) and daily tempts us, that is, he tries us as to what are we by laying before us an occasion by which our hearts are made known. But to draw out what is hid in our hearts is a far different thing from inwardly alluring our hearts by wicked lusts.

        He then treats here of inward temptations which are nothing else than the inordinate desires which entice to sin. He justly denies that God is the author of these, because they flow from the corruption of our nature.”

        What is nonsensical about Calvin’s explanation?

      5. rhutchin:
        Craig’s imagination and not Calvinism. Under Calvinism, God does not move people to choose evil or make people do wrong.

        br.d
        Dr Craig is using deductive reasoning. He’s not fooled by Calvinism’s semantic word game arguments.
        And I know – you don’t like the word MOVE in this context.
        And I know – parsing words is hyper important in Calvinism – just like it is in politics and false advertising.
        Interesting how that works as a red flag! :-]

      6. br.d writes, “Dr Craig is using deductive reasoning. He’s not fooled by Calvinism’s semantic word game arguments.”

        Do you know where he lays out his deductive reasoning argument for all to see?

      7. What good would that do you?

        Also – see my quotes of Calvin asserting that Calvin’s god MOVES man via decrees

      8. br.d writes, “What good would that do you?”

        So, it seems that br.d has no idea where Craig lays out his logical argument against Calvinism. For all br.d knows, Craig just makes up everything he says about Calvinism.

        Let’s look at Craig’s teaching. Craig is a proponent of Molinism. Molinism describes how God considers all the possible worlds that He could create and then decides to create one specific world. We see that decision play out in Genesis. Calvinism comes along and looks at the world that Molinism says God created and uses Genesis to Revelation to describe that world.

        Under Molinism, all things that happen in the world created by God come about through various means. Calvinism says the same thing. It is God who causes events to happen in the world, then that is the case under both Molinism and Calvinism. Craig’s objection to Calvinism is nothing more than an objection to Molinism as they both say the same thing.

        So, if br.d can produce Craig’s argument against Calvinism, it would show that br.d might have read it and might even know what he is talking about and not just mindlessly quoting sound-bites from Craig.

      9. rhutchin
        Dr. Craig’s objection to Calvinism is nothing more than an objection to Molinism as they both say the same thing.

        So, if br.d can produce Craig’s argument against Calvinism, it would show that br.d might have read it and might even know what he is talking about and not just mindlessly quoting sound-bites from Craig.

        br.d
        This is exactly why I said “What good would providing Dr. Craig’s Deductive analysis do you”.

        Your logic is totally skewed by your need to make Calvinism masquerade as IN-determinism.
        If you knew anything about Molina you would know his urgency was to show how Libertarian Free Will is Biblical and how (what Alvin Plantinga calls “Morally Significant Acts” by created beings are annihilated within the philosophy of Theological Determinism

        So without realizing it – you’ve proven my point. :-]

      10. “For all br.d knows, Craig just makes up everything he says about Calvinism.”

        Really, Hutch?
        Such content is why you were banned at SBCToday.
        #snide

      11. If that is the case – he’s probably been testing his efficacy at other online forums – as everyone has come to see through the semantic shell games we observe from him here. :-]

        I seem to recall he got banned from another forum last year. So I wouldn’t anticipate it a surprise. He used to be highly pejorative to people here, especially to sisters who participated – and then unfortunately left having found the environment too aggressive. But he’s not doing that so much these days here – thank the Lord!

        I’ve always considered it a wonderful thing when sisters can feel safe participating in dialogs and being treated with respect. But Calvinists tend to have an “all is fair in war” mode of operation. And derive a sense of power when they can chase people off the forums.

      12. br.d writes, “I seem to recall he got banned from another forum last year.”

        Not me. Only SBCToday has conferred that honor on me.

      13. I’ll bet if I go back here to posts a year ago or so I will find it.
        One of the other participants was nagging you about being banned from another forum.
        Your explanation for why they banned you was similar to the one you provided for the SBC banning.

      14. br.d writes, “Your explanation for why they banned you was similar to the one you provided for the SBC banning.”

        Similar because the same event.

      15. br.d writes, “Thanks for confirming both events were bannings ”

        LOL!! What I confirmed was that both events were the same event – meaning that there really was only one event that you imagined to be two distinct events.

      16. Norm writes, ‘Really, Hutch? Such content is why you were banned at SBCToday.”

        No, I was banned from SBCToday because I was pressing people to explain why they should not be considered Pelagians. No one could explain it; so they banned me. I think I hurt some egos.

        Here, we have br.d citing Craig and he can’t cite any article where Craig explains the difference between the Molinism he espouses and Calvinism. I can’t find anything either – They have a terrible search engine at the Reasonable Faith website.

      17. No, you were banned for the reasons stated and for other behaviors you demonstrate at this blog. I know that because I was the moderator who banned you. Hurt egos? Don’t kid yourself.

      18. Norm writes, ‘you were banned for the reasons stated and for other behaviors you demonstrate at this blog.”

        No, Norm. I was there. I forget the man’s name, but he said I had three chances – and he said this after I had a couple comments in the pipeline that I could not withdraw. The final straw – already in the pipeline – was a comment where I merely defined the term, “Pelagian.” Immediately after, I was banned. It was all related to my pressing people on their Pelagian comments; they could not respond and did the only thing they could – ban me.

      19. No, Hutch. It was I. When I moderated the blog, you had commenting privileges. Therefore, no predecessor of mine could have banned you. I recall banning you. And, I must confess, it was enjoyable. Were I the moderator of this site, I would ban you here, too. I don’t know why anyone would spend any time answering you. I suppose it makes good practice.

      20. Norm writes, “When I moderated the blog, you had commenting privileges. Therefore, no predecessor of mine could have banned you. I recall banning you.”

        You may have been moderator, but there were other people involved. Did you make the three strikes and your out rule for me?

      21. rhutchin
        You may have been moderator, but there were other people involved. Did you make the three strikes and your out rule for me?

        br.d
        I remember doing that on occasion – but only for the purpose of giving you three chances to come up with a rational answer. :-]

      22. Thx, br.d — I needed a good laugh this morning.

        Interesting that Hutch approaches the truth of a matter with skepticism and an alternate explanation.

        Color me not surprised.

      23. yes I know.
        Many Calvinists on this forum (and I assume its the same for others) exhibit childish behavior patterns. Making up stuff as they go and then claiming to be rational. Occasional fight-flight behavior. A consistent high degree of hubris. etc. I suspect Calvinist authority figures promote that behavior based on an “end justifies the means” modus operandi.

        But I don’t consider that a Christ honoring strategy any more than I consider their expansive use of dishonest language tactics Christ honoring. With a true believer, one expects to see indicators of a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. And hubris behavior patterns is the antipathy of that.

        But the bright side is that everyone gets a kick out of watching a puppy chase its own tail.
        So I think part of God’s reason for giving us Calvinists is the entertainment they provide. :-]

      24. br.d writes, “I remember doing that on occasion – but only for the purpose of giving you three chances to come up with a rational answer.”

        LOL!! Yeah, given that you would only accept an answer that fit your worldview.

      25. br.d writes, “I remember doing that on occasion – but only for the purpose of giving you three chances to come up with a rational answer.”

        rhutchin
        LOL!! Yeah, given that you would only accept an answer that fit your worldview.

        br.d
        Right! Worldview is a good perception.
        So you should be able to see how that works in your case without my help.

        Logic is very mathematical in its structure.
        The law of non-contradiction for example.
        Its either “yay” or “nay” – anything else comes of evil.

        Let the SOT101 reader look for signs of “True-False”, “Yay-Nay” as the mode of thinking within Calvinism.
        If you look for it – you’ll find it permeates their language.

        Its so ingrained in them – they don’t have the ability to discern it themselves.
        But the sincere observer can! :-]

      26. Speaking about how William Lane Craig refers to Calvin’s god MOVING man – there are some interesting quotes from Calvin himself affirming this language:

        “For, according to its abettors [of determinism], there is nothing in this providence, which they call universal, to prevent all the creatures from being MOVED CONTINGENTLY, or to prevent man from turning himself in this direction or in that, according to the mere freedom of his own will. In this ways they make man a partner with God”

        Will it now be said that man is MOVED by God according to the bent of his nature, but that MAN HIMSELF gives the MOVEMENT any direction he pleases? Were it truly so, man would have the full disposal of his own ways.

        Hence we maintain…….men are so governed as to MOVE exactly in the course which he [Calvin’s god] has destined

        John Calvin Institutes chapter 16
        Calvin is not afraid to declare his god MOVES people.
        And not afraid to say people CANNOT DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god MOVES them to do.

        Perhaps your hyper sensitivity with the word is unnecessary. :-]

      27. jtleosalaj: wrote, “3. Everything has been decreed by God including man’s inner convictions that will still happen in the future.”
        Norm responded, “Even child molestation?”

        Even Norm cannot deny this. Norm knows that God is present at each child molestation; that God sees every detail of the molestation and knows the thoughts of the child and the perpetrator; that God has the power to put a stop – even prevent – the child molestation; and that God makes a decision – a decree – not to become involved. The only think left for Norm to deny is that God has perfect knowledge of the future.

        Then, “God decreed that some people would do that via a sovereignly designed impulse?”

        The impulse arises from a corrupt nature – resulting from Adam’s sin. God designed Adam in His image and Adam began as sinless. he then sinned and blew everything.

        Then, “Such thinking makes Calvin’s god the author of evil — and that may well be true of Calvin’s god.”

        Author in the sense that God created Adam who then sinned.

      28. Rhutchin writes:
        ‘The impulse arises from a corrupt nature – resulting from Adam’s sin. God designed Adam in His image and Adam began as sinless. he then sinned and blew everything.

        Then, “Such thinking makes Calvin’s god the author of evil — and that may well be true of Calvin’s god.”

        Author in the sense that God created Adam who then sinned.’

        Let’s just unpack this little theory a bit. One more time.

        So the impulse to ‘sin’ ‘arises from a corrupt nature’ – ‘resulting from Adam’s sin’. As Brian Wagner so rightly points out, the use of third tense does not eliminate God’s culpability. For the Calvinist ‘the impulse [to sin] arises from a corrupt nature’ cannot negate that it ultimately – like all things – arises from God. Tacking on ‘resulting from Adam’s sin’ is also illegal via Calvinism, as their God does not ‘respond’ to man’s actions, but determines them. It is absolutely absurd for a Calvinism to claim that their Sovereign God brings ‘whatsoever comes to pass’ to pass – except for the curse of the corrupt nature, which Adam brought to pass. Just sheer nonsense.

        Not only, under Calvinism, did Adam have the ability to do anything other than God ordained him to do (and no, Calvinistic Sovereignty cannot borrow ‘permit’ from non-Calvinists; ordaining and permitting are two completely different things – one is causative, the other is responsive. Calvinism does not allow God to be responsive. Naturally, Adam had no power to institute a curse upon mankind; only God could change the very nature of his creation so that all would henceforth have a ‘corrupt nature’. This could only have been done by a Sovereign God. And if he only did it in response to Adam’s sin, then obviously God is NOT in Sovereign control of all things, but simply responding to a choice which he did NOT ordain Adam to make. Anyway you slice it, you still end up with Calvinism’s Sovereignty in shreds.

        However, if the Calvinist wants to grant that ‘just this once’ man had real freedom and God’s response to ‘Adam’s sin’ was to ensure that all men in the future could do nothing but sin, ya still have to wonder about the character or intelligence of their God. He hates sin so much he makes everyone its slave? When you have a God who could make the world however he wishes – cause he is the sole causative power in the universe – you kinda think that if he didn’t like sin, he just wouldn’t invent it, right? I mean, this isn’t rocket science. He could have avoided all of the sin, evil, suffering, etc. and just made the world as perfect as he is. I guess sinless perfection just isn’t glorious enough. God needed evil.

        ‘God designed Adam in His image and Adam began as sinless. he then sinned and blew everything.’ Now this is about as deceptive as a Calvinist can get. What does this even mean, when spoken by a Calvinist? How could Adam, or anyone, ‘blow’ God’s plan? I thought he was Sovereign? That his will was always done, and only what he desires and ordains comes to pass? If Adam was capable of ‘blowing’ things, then Calvinism is dead wrong about God’s Sovereignty. Which is it – they simply cannot have it both ways. (But don’t think for a minute it will cause them to stop trying! They will just explain that God’s ways are higher than man’s ways, and we simply cannot perceive his magic God logic, which is the opposite of the logic which allows us to make sense of the world!)

        And if Adam could choose to do evil, then there really isn’t any need for a curse, now is there? Obviously, mankind was already quite capable of doing evil. What sort of God would want men to be unable to do good? That is not only the most preposterous response one can imagine, it is downright evil. It doesn’t matter how many ‘sins’ Adam might have done, that in no way justifies God then cursing his creation so that sin was not only possible, but unavoidable. The true forewarned punishment was the curse of death, which indeed became man’s inescapable reality until Jesus created an escape route.

        Of course the deceptive Calvinist will never come right out and say it, but if their definition of Sovereignty were true, then Adam could only have sinned if God wanted, predetermined, ordained and caused him to. Any other suggestion denies the Calvinism’s Sovereignty, which asserts that God planned and brings to pass whatsoever comes to pass. That means everything, all, the whole enchilada – including Adam’s alleged sin, which really belongs to God, lest we be guilty of attempting to take credit for something by our own ability.

        So, God ordained Adam to sin, because he wanted him to sin. Whether this was an excuse to curse all of his creation with a sin nature that compelled all of them to sin because God enjoys sin, or just a clever ruse to get himself some ‘glory’, it nonetheless, unavoidably makes God the one and only reason that sin and evil exist in the world. Which should not even need ti be spelled out, as, under Calvinism’s Sovereignty, God is the one and only reason for the existence of anyone or anything. Don’t go trying to give man any of God’s glory – he is the one, sole, determinitive ordainer and bringer-to-pass of whatsoever comes to pass. To God be the glory!

        The use of secondary means does not rob God of his well-deserved glory. Man can do nothing apart from God, nor hope to diminish his sole, Sovereign responsibility over ‘whatsoever comes to pass’ – however much the Westminster Divines (always sounds like a soul group) wished and asserted it.

        Either God is the sole, Sovereign cause of all things, or he is not. No use asserting weasel words like ‘resulting from Adam’s sin’ or ‘Adam blew it’. Asserting that Adam – or any man – can be blamed for doing what God ordained him to do – whatever ol’ words one chooses to explain it – doesn’t hold any water. Unless, of course, Calvinists are ready to retract their longstanding claims that God is Sovereign in the manner which they staunchly assert.

      29. Sorry, Hutch. I am not willing to engage your circular reason based on unbiblical biases. It is not that I am incapable or intimidated. It is that I’d rather spend my time more fruitfully than engaging your futility.

      30. What, you don’t like going round and round in useless, illogical, contradictory, nonsensical circles? I suppose you prefer to talk with people who are honest, open and willing to genuinely interact with your ideas? Me too. (Yet sometimes he provokes me into a response, which of course just leads into the same, useless circular reasoning, leading nowhere. Someday I will learn.)

      31. Exactly! Some prefer debate rather than discussion.

        A superior debate team defending abortion could defeat a lesser team, but that does not make abortion right. It simply means that the winning team were more skilled in debate tactics (as so many Calvinists are) e.g., straw men, false equivalencies, etc.

        Those who are willing to discuss (not debate) come to the table readily admitting that no one has a complete understanding of certain matters, but a thoughtful interaction may increase the knowledge of all involved and may even lead to the truth.

        Thoughtful, well-intentioned discussion requires transparency. It is transparency of another type that leads one to proclaim, “The Emperor (Calvin) Has No Clothes!”

      32. Norm, writes, “Thoughtful, well-intentioned discussion requires transparency.”

        Yet, you seem to have a hard time revealing your positions are certain issues. For example, do you agree that God is present at every child molestation and while He has the power to stop any, or all, of them, He chooses not to do so? How about a little transparency on this issue.

  7. You refer to my non-dialoguing dialogue – it’s a skill I learned under Calvinism. 😉 The Universalist at least starts with the proper premise – unlike the Calvinist: ‘God so loved the world’. Yet both fall on the same stone, which is a deterministic God which compels men like robots to his desired destiny. I agree with Universalism, that if God was a Meticulous Determinist, all men would be saved. But he is not, thus each and every individual ever loving created must choose, some day, at some moment in time, whom they will serve. All of history, with its terrible dichotomy between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is a reflection of the genuine freedom of choice that a good, holy, omnipotent Creator granted to his lovingly crafted creatures, and the choices that they made to choose evil over good.

    Or, as per Calvinism, God secretly decreed the evil along with the good, causing WHATSOEVER comes to pass in his meticulously controlled creation. If I help a senior across the street, it is because God planned that I should. If I brutally murder my own child, it is because God planned that I should. Much as they hem and haw about compatibilism, and how the unregenerate ‘might’ believe if they so ‘desired’, they are just blowing smoke. Under their tidy little system, man has no choice. He will only believe, indeed only CAN believe, if God ‘makes’ him believe; and it does not matter what euphemism they employ.

    But seriously, how can any honest Calvinist (Is that an oxymoron?) try and escape the central plank of their theological system, which is that the only reason any man will suffer eternal punishment is because God did not desire to extend to them his gracious offer of forgiveness. Worse, he created them for the very purpose of eternal torture. Which of Calvinism/Reformed Theology’s planks does Rhutchin wish to negate?

    Total Depravity, or better Total Inability, which supposedly necessitates that God alone does whatever ‘believing’ is done in this world, because ‘dead men’ don’t ‘believe’? They don’t walk, talk and breathe either, but we’ll let that pass.
    Unconditional Election, which is God’s arbitrary, irrevocable ‘decision’ necessitated by Total Depravity, to choose who will be saved?
    Limited Atonement, which asserts Jesus only died for ‘some’, because God would never waste that precious blood? This plank alone assures that God most definitely did not offer all men a way to escape their predetermined destiny of eternal torment.
    Irresistible Grace, also necessitated by that nasty little curse of Total Depravity, placed on utterly innocent men and women before they were born, which requires God to do some mystical, magical unforced forcing of men to do as HE chooses, and ‘believe’. (Hey, what’s a little brute force when its for the greater good? You’ll thank me someday. Said every cruel despot known to mankind, but never God.)
    Perseverance of the Saints, which is the hook that draws so many well-meaning Baptists into such rank apostasy. I mean, who can pass up a ‘Get Out of Hell Free Card’ which allows one to keep a few pet sins to pass the time?

    In spite of deceptive attempts to claim allegiance to scripture, Calvinism insists that God does NOT and NEVER DID desire to save ALL men. Why would he, when he dreamed up the whole sin, hell and cross scheme to ‘reveal’ his ‘glory’? Calvinism’s God needs sin, needs sinners and needs to have fuel for his eternal, wrathful fodder in order to impress the lucky few with just how lucky they are.

    Calvinism’s God sent Jesus to die for only SOME (Calvinism’s elect) and all others, for whom Jesus did NOT die, most certainly DO NOT and NEVER WILL have an opportunity to turn from their preordained wickedness and ‘escape’ their preordained destiny – because it was not written in the cards for them. What possibly could they have ‘faith’ in even if Calvinism’s God repented of his stinginess and gave them some – the blood of Jesus which was not shed for them?

    Alas, under Calvinism, men do not fit themselves for destruction because God respects the free choice which shaped men ‘in the image of God’ rather than animals, and sadly allows those he loved enough to die for to reject this marvelous, undeserved, Universal offer of grace. Oh, no, Calvinism wouldn’t want a namby-pamby God like that . . . they prefer the one who irresistibly breathes life into some, as in the first birth. (Even Calvinism grants a certain measure of Universalism – we were all born once, without choice.)

    But the second ‘birth’ must be freely chosen, a ‘choice’ revealed and demonstrated throughout God’s history of dealing with men. No man, anywhere in scripture, was forcefully ‘born again’ as he was, initially, forcefully ‘born’; this is the clear meaning that somehow escapes Calvinists, who assert that God indeed coerces (by secretive ‘secondary means’) the new birth of a select group of individuals who alone will escape God’s inexplicable ‘wrath’ at those he created to carry out his predetermined ‘sin’ plan. Even Saul, temporarily stricken with blindness, had the freedom to refuse the call of God. God got Saul’s attention in a unique manner, but he was also called to a very unique mission – yet Saul had to choose to be ‘born again’ to become ‘Paul’ as Abram became Abraham, and Jacob became Israel. (I speak in the language of men, as God’s unfathomable omniscience knew which way Saul’s heart would lead him, before Saul or Paul was ever born.)

    Hence Jesus pointed out the absurdity of a ‘teacher’ of Israel not understanding the groundwork that the history of Israel had laid for the message of the gospel: Although no man ever chose to be ‘born’ into existence, God graciously grants men the ability to choose to be ‘born again’. That is, for all men can choose – or refuse – to embrace the free offer of God’s atonement for sin and receive new life, which will be without sin, suffering or end. The first birth gives physical life, the second, spiritual life. The first birth is unchosen, the second, equally unattainable by man’s own effort, nonetheless must be freely chosen.

    1. TS00
      You made me notice something.

      Our Calvinist friends play the “dirty universalist” card on us all the time….but it is actually the Calvinists who are universalists. Albeit, a small …very small universe.

      They agree with the universalist that —in the end, God forces/ directs/ decrees all men to be saved. They just define the number as .015% and not 100%. It’s the same “forcing”.

      1. FOH, writes:
        ‘….but it is actually the Calvinists who are universalists. Albeit, a small …very small universe.

        They agree with the universalist that —in the end, God forces/ directs/ decrees all men to be saved. They just define the number as .015% and not 100%. It’s the same “forcing”.’

        Exactly! Calvinists and Universalists alike believe that God predetermines who will be saved. The Universalist, at least, recognizes that a loving and gracious God, if deterministic, would save all. The Calvinist thinks God is a monster, who would deliberately predestine many to an unthinkably terrible fate, when he could so easily have saved them, in the exact same manner he chose to save the few.

      2. I think of them more as ‘stingy Universalists’ – They both believe God does the exact same thing, but Calvinism’s God is so stingy he only saves a few.

      3. Seriously, if you are going to believe it salvation all God’s unilateral choice and doing, why not at least go with the ‘choose ’em all’ bandwagon? You still have a tyrant for a God, but at least he is a benevolent tyrant.

      4. Sorry for the mangled sentence. Should read: Seriously, if you are going to believe salvation is all God’s unilateral choice and doing, why not at least go with the ‘choose ’em all’ bandwagon? You still have a tyrant for a God, but at least he is a benevolent tyrant.

      5. FOH writes, “it is actually the Calvinists who are universalists.”

        Actually, the universalists are Calvinists. Calvinists believe that God saves whom He will but not all; Universalists, like the Calvinists, believe that God saves whom He will and will save all

    2. TSOO said: “… total inability, which supposedly necessitates that God alone does whatever believing is done to this world, bec. dead man don’t believe ? They don’t walk, talk and breath either, but well let that pass…”

      My Response :

      1. God does not deny the limited freedom that He gave to man, but He can still make use of that limited freedom by BENDING IT in order to conform to His decreed plan.

      2. Please don’t exaggerate because I also don’t believe that man was a created robot. Man was endowed with limited freedom that is not in equal amount with God nor it will supercede his Maker.

      3. It is not true that the fallen man can’t have faith- but what kind of faith?—even the cults and demons have faith and yet they are not saved. Fallen man can still walk and breath… come on … may be this is just your way of pouring out your disgust…

      4. God cannot be sovereign in all things if there is still somebody out there that is much powerful than Him. Being the bestower of limited freedom to man, He has the right to even manipulate it anytime He may wish to do so. And you cannot complain to that…

      1. jtleosalaj
        1. God does not deny the limited freedom that He gave to man, but He can still make use of that limited freedom by BENDING IT in order to conform to His decreed plan.

        br.d
        This is a great example of deceptive language.
        It attempts to paint a false picture of Calvin’s god “Merely Permitting” man to think/say/do things that which Calvin’s god did not decree he think/say/do – which is totally rejected by Calvin. Yet Calvinists craft language designed to masquerade it.

        To understand Calvinism and its double-speak just remember:
        He is a “Determinist” wearing a mask of “IN-determinism” – he recites double-speak talking points.
        The key is understanding that his mind is mentored in and embraces double-speak.

      2. Then, to add insult to injury, guys like this parade forth scriptures in supposed defense of their schemes, wringing out of them meaning that would make even Calvin blush. I’ve seen a good deal of scripture twisting in my life, but seriously? I have often wondered why so many scoff at scripture. The Calvinist tells himself it is because they ‘hate God’; but sometimes it is simply that they despise the unsupportable suppositions he makes, abusing what should be treated with serious study and humble reflection.

      3. TS00 and br.d,

        You guys beat me to the response.

        I will notice (comment on) very non-Calvinistic verses from my everyday reading. If I had the time I could do this every day…. I mean the Bible is literally FULL of passages that are either treated with “it doesnt really mean that” of completely ignored by Calvinists.

        Then, well-intending Jose comes along and basically says

        1. Nope. That’s not right.

        2. Not right either , etc.

        His last several responses have been just talking, or rather talking-points, no Scripture. And when we do get Scripture, rest assured that the same 10 verses will be used (out of context).

        Daily reading. Nope, not true… filter with this verse. Rinse, repeat.

        Romans 3:10 is the classic out-of-context verse he uses.

        Elsewhere on this blog I have commented on and given the link for MacArthur’s 80-minute sermon on the Prodigal Son. MacArthur calls it the “Parable of the Seeking Father.” He goes on and on about how dead the son is (the father holds a burial service for him he says).

        Even though he later reads that the son “comes to his sense” “in a faraway land” and “returns to the father” he still throws in a line from Romans 3 saying, “It’s the father who seeks him, because we all know what Romans 3 says…. no one can seek….”

        I kid you not. That just demonstrates his commitment to the presuppositions of Calvinism. He elevates the we-all-have-viper-venom verse over all other “seek” verses:

        Seek first the kingdom

        Seek and you will find

        Anyone coming to God must believe that He rewards those who seek Him

        Devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD

        God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him

        Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

        You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

        I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

        Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

        The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

        Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

        The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

        I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.

        Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger.

        Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

        Many of these verses were spoken to large crowds of unbelievers. They are told that they can and should seek God!

        But blind adherence to the one verse in Romans 3 (right next to the one that says we ALL have “viper venom on our lips,” and our “throats are open sepulchers”)—- makes them ignore all these verses and many more.

      4. Great post FOH!

        Speaking of how Calvinism twists everything in scripture……

        CALVINISMS DOUBLE-SPEAK VERSION OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD

        There once was a good shepherd who had 100 totally depraved sheep.

        For one of the totally depraved sheep, the good shepherd dedicated a room in his house, ensuring it all the lush comforts his good house could provide.

        The other 99 totally depraved sheep, he sent to a torture chamber to be tortured to death.

        Once the shepherd’s good pleasure was accomplished, he turned to the one totally depraved sheep he had saved and said:

        “I have saved the one totally depraved sheep and passed over the 99, because the 99 were totally depraved.”

      5. br.d,
        What you said makes me remember….

        If a person is interested and open-minded he can see that the couple Calvinist go-to verses about “the things of the flesh cannot please God” are true for believers as well as unbelievers. Meaning… they use those verses to say we are “too-dead” …. but in Romans 7 Paul calls himself a slave to sin…. and tell us that his carnal actions cannot please God.

        It is just bad hermeneutic to assume (presuppose) that any discussion of “things of the flesh” means pre-salvation.

        It is even worse hermeneutic to say that any mentioned of things of the flesh means a person is too-dead to hear God’s call. Just read Roms 7 and see what Paul says about himself as a saved person. His description could easily be used as the “too-dead” person and yet he is talking about a saved person.

      6. FOH writes, “Calvinist go-to verses about “the things of the flesh cannot please God” are true for believers as well as unbelievers. etc.”

        Oh, FOH!!! You, as a former Calvinist, know that the believer is just an unbeliever who has been quickened – made spiritually alive – and is now indwelt by the spirit of God. Paul says, “I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good (i.e.who is a believer). For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” Then, in Galatians, “you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Only believers care about pleasing God and they know that “the things of the flesh cannot please God.” No Calvinist says that things of the flesh go away when one believes in Christ and becomes indwelt by His spirit – if anything they know that the war has just begun.

      7. Well said.
        God told the people of Israel that by their behavior, they blasphemed his reputation among the gentile nations.
        The principle works the same way with Christians.
        Case in point – Calvinist double-speak – even atheists are smart enough to see through it..

        For an example watch “Calvinism: Intrinsically Irrational” on youtube.

  8. Let me first address the question…

    Has God chosen you from the beginning (for salvation)?

    No. Not me at least.

    Isaiah 45:4 (KJV)….
    For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect……

    Could it be just that simple?

    How many times have our Calvinists brothers asked…. “Do we know who the elect are?” or say “we don’t know the identity of the elect, so we preach to all indiscriminately.”

    So, do we really believe when Paul spoke of the elect, his audience had no clue to whom he was referring? Since all the people of Israel had during and up to Paul’s writings were the OT scriptures, do you really think the people had no clue who the elect were? Did Paul know?

    I say “yes”. Paul knew exactly who the elect were.

    2 Timothy 2:10 (KJV)……
    Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

    Romans 9:3-4a (KJV)….
    For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh; Who are Israelites…

    Romans 10:1 (KJV)….
    Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

    Romans 11:13-14 (NKJV)….
    For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.

    Acts 28:20 (KJV)….
    For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.

    So, with these scriptures in mind, we get the following…

    2 Timothy 2:10 (KJV)……
    Therefore I endure all things for Israel’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

    That is the only interpretation that works. Both the Calvinistic and Arminian views of election fall short. The Calvinist view of unconditional election (to salvation) doesn’t work because of both “may” and “also”. “May” suggests the possibility that the elect won’t obtain salvation (which within their scheme the elect’s salvation is a certainty) and “also” suggests inclusion, not exclusion. For Calvinism to be correct, the verse would have to read….

    Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they, and they alone, will obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

    However, because “also” implies inclusion, whoever the elect are, the non-elect are not excluded. The non-elect may also obtain salvation. That would be the gentile nations. The Arminian view of election doesn’t work because for them the elect are those who are already “in Christ”. This is how the Arminian view would read….

    Therefore I endure all things for those in Christ Jesus, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

    These people are not in a position where they “may” obtain salvation. Those “in Christ” have already obtained salvation. The Arminian view, as well, suffers from the word “also”, because salvation is excluded to those in Christ.

    I believe what Paul is writing to Timothy is to remind him that although he is out preaching the gospel of Christ to the gentiles, don’t think for a minute that he has turned his back on the people of Israel.

    Acts 9:15 (KJV)…..
    But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel….

    God bless.

    1. In the face of all these verses, why, o why do Cals continue with a death grip to hold on to Calvin’s faulty doctrines? I think one reason is that they do not have the courage to admit that the Emperor has no clothes. There have been too many books, too many sermons, too many “Gospel” conferences for them to admit by the 1000s, “Hey, we’ve been wrong.”

      Calvin’s soteriology is entirely bankrupt. When will our brethren admit it?

      1. Blessings Norm.

        Well, I agree with you that there is a form of “brainwashing” (for lack of a better term) going on, but we all suffer from that to some degree. There are even some non-reformed Baptists who would struggle with the verses/evidence provided. Also, there are some non-Calvinistic rebuttals that fall flat on their face.

        Most people within Christendom see election as one or two options. The Calvinistic answer being unconditional and predestined. The basic non-Calvinistic, and Arminian response, is that we become elect once we are “in Christ”. According to this view, I am “elect” because I elected to believe. In other words, God chose me because I chose Him. I believe that view is just as weak (even laughable), perhaps even weaker than the Calvinist view.

        The biblical fact is the word “elect” doesn’t appear in scripture until Israel is mentioned. In other words, prior to Israel there was no “elect”. Period. Even though Abram might have been chosen to be the father of that tiny nation, Abraham, himself, was not part of the elect (Abraham was not an Israelite). That distinction was reserved for the nation of Israel.

        Satan knows full well who the “elect” are. That is why he has been after that tiny nation ever since God made His covenant with Abraham. All biblical prophecy is directed at Israel. All Christendom could be completely destroyed and wiped off the face of the earth and God’s promises could still be fulfilled. But if Satan could be successful in annihilating the nation of Israel, then God’s promises have failed and would make Him a liar. He would have lost His sovereignty and Satan knows it.

        Matthew 24:22 (KJV)……
        And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake (the nation of Israel) those days shall be shortened.

        Revelation 12:13 and 17 (KJV)….
        And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child……. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

        There are actually people (preachers) out there declaring that “the woman” is the church. O the error of replacement theology. It should be obvious to the brain dead that “the woman” is the nation of Israel. “Mine Elect”.

      2. Norm writes, “Calvin’s soteriology is entirely bankrupt. When will our brethren admit it?”

        When those who claim it to be bankrupt are able to provide counter arguments to RC Sproul and others (e.g., Gertsner, the Puritans such as Edwards and Owens) who produced reasoned arguments from the Scriptures for Calvinist positions.

  9. nurluhouse writes, “1. First of all it starts with the “you are a universalist” stick in your eye. (they play that card early and often!).”

    If one uses the Universalist argument, then why isn’t he an Universalist? ts00’s primary point is that God loves all people. Yet, God knew before He created the universe that all people would not be saved nor was it God’s intent that all people would be saved. So, does God really love all people or some more than others. ts00 is somewhat shallow in his arguments.

    Then, “Piper often quotes…Jonathan Edwards …..pointing that God DOES in fact take pleasure in evil since He needs it to contrast with His goodness.”

    Maybe you could explain why God permits people to do evil when He could easily stop it. Certainly, God does not allow anything to happen unless it is according to His plan and serves His purpose. Do you know God’s purpose for the evil acts in which people engage while God watches and does not stop.

    Then, “…we all know that in Calvinism, no such offer is made….”

    It is not an offer; it is a command. “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17)

    1. Hutch: You wrote this,

      “When those who claim [Calvinism] to be bankrupt are able to provide counter arguments to RC Sproul and others (e.g., Gertsner, the Puritans such as Edwards and Owens) who produced reasoned arguments from the Scriptures for Calvinist positions.”

      Your words were in response to my words: “Norm writes, ‘Calvin’s soteriology is entirely bankrupt. When will our brethren admit it?'”

      The “counter arguments” you say are needed before Calvinism can be declared bankrupt already are voluminous. First, there is the BIble. Then, I refer you to former Calvinist Ronnie Rogers and his book, “Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist: the disquieting realities of Calvinism.” It’s an outstanding academic and theological treatise that shows Calvin’s utter bankruptcy. If you would read it, you will see that Rogers debunks the soteriology of Calvin as espoused by Sproul, Gertsner, Edwards and Owens and any other calvinistic writer for that matter. They may have provided “reasoned arguments,” but they are not reasonable.

      At SBCToday, a blog where you once frequently commented, Calvin’s notions have repeatedly and roundly been exposed for their theological vacuity. Many times, the Calvinists who would normally comment there would not venture into the “room” when Rogers’ had a post on that “wall.”

      I also commend the post on this blog by Dr. Eric Hankins on Romans 9 and reprobation. His sound hermeneutics and exegesis demolish Calvin’s invention of reprobation, and thus renders Calvinism impotent, bankrupt, pointless (multiple choice!).

      Of course, this blog has done the same thing. So, it rings incredibly hollow for you to require counter arguments to Calvin’s progenitors on a very blog that continually offers such.

      Come back after you have read Rogers’ book. You can get an e-version for $6.99 on Amazon.

      1. Norm,
        This is a common occurrence.

        “You sleeping-in-class universalists have never given a response to _________________. ”

        You can fill in that blank with any one of the scores of posts from this very site….with the very title!

        Brian is incredibly patient answering the John 6:44 question many more times than I would have….. only to hear “you never dealt with John 6:44.”

        Motto: When a biblical answer is not what you want, just claim you’ve never heard it!

      2. Some Calvinists are like cult members. They need de-programming. Despite sound biblical evidence of Calvin’s bankruptcy, the Calvinites refuse to admit their error. They have too much invested in the faulty system to admit it is false. They are much more prone to quote Piper, Sproul or the Puritan writers than they are the Bible. I know this to be true b/c I moderated for two years the SBCToday blog. And I have just recently begun to regularly visit this blog.

        I could hardly ascribe to the soteriology of man who says that God sends people to hell “for his good pleasure.” And Calvin wrote just that! That falsehood alone is enough for me to reject Calvin. But he also provides many others reasons for rejection as well.

      3. Norm,
        Many will quote Piper at length.

        I have quoted him in dozens of comments in the comment section of quite a few different pages of SOT101.

        He is so conflicted, organizing a campaign (bumper stickers!) and writing a book called “Don’t Waste Your Life.”

        In the book, 100% of the time he is making the case that we can be different, think differently, impact the world, change our direction…… all good things but all “man-centered”. ((and all very —-the future is not settled —- on their face)).

        At the same time, numerous places on his desiringgod site he affirms and re-affirms that all that happens —-good or bad— is orchestrated by God.

        So….no real way to waste your life if you are just doing what you are programmed to do.

        Determinism is not a way of life.

      4. FOH writes, “Brian is incredibly patient answering the John 6:44 question many more times than I would have….. only to hear “you never dealt with John 6:44.”

        It appears to me that Brian is still working out the kinks in his explanation of 6:44. Nonetheless, I haven’t seen the “Traditionalists” going the route he has taken.

      5. FOH… there will always be those who will see “kinks” where there aren’t any… and then ignore the clear teaching of God’s marvelous grace and mercy sufficiently available to all, enabled by Him to freely receive or reject it… I believe they just can’t picture God being more merciful then they are! Very sad.

      6. brianwagner writes, ” there will always be those who will see “kinks” where there aren’t any…”

        If I remember correctly, your explanation involved something about something being “distributed” across something. Kinda shows the impression your explanation made on me that I don’t remember the details. I then asked how that works given that the verbs are singular – how do you distribute anything over a single object. I don’t remember you responding to that question. Wouldn’t that count as a kink?

        Then, “I believe they just can’t picture God being more merciful then they are! ”

        Are you kidding! All Calvinists hope the Universalists turn out to be right. Doesn’t everyone??

      7. First… you must not understand the term “distributed” as it relates to logic. Get someone to help you there. Geisler’s book – Come Let Us Reason, is good.

        Second, I don’t hope universalism is true, because I exalt in God’s justice also. But creating people to be damned in not just.

      8. brianwagner writes, “you must not understand the term “distributed” as it relates to logic. Get someone to help you there. Geisler’s book – Come Let Us Reason, is good.”

        That supports my point. You cannot explain it yet, so that is a “kink” in your theory.

      9. Very funny, Roger. Just because I don’t explain terms doesn’t mean I can’t. You really do need a course in logic. You could just ask what the term “distributed” means instead of saying I have “kinks” in my explanation. Perhaps the “kinks” are in your faulty education that didn’t teach you the basics of logic, or in your pride of not being willing to ask for the explanation but to just put forward a denial that one actually exists, even though an adequate one was given. You just didn’t understand it!

        Basically – “distributed” means the term in the premise is true in all circumstances, and “undistributed” means the term in the premise is only by this statement proven to be true in some circumstances. So when the premise uses “all” or “none” with a term, that term is distributed in that premise. If there is not “all” or “none” used with a term, that term is undistributed in that premise. I won’t charge you for this lesson in logic, because I count you a friend, in spite of some of your seemingly haughty comments. 🙂

      10. brainwagner writes, “Basically – “distributed” means…”

        I guess I was not clear. I meant to ask how “distributed” contributes to our understanding of John 6:44? Originally, you said something to the effect that the Calvinist understanding of John 6:44 was not necessarily the right one since the terms could be distributed (I don’t recall you saying that anything was undistributed, but if it fits, do so). I then asked you what you meant by that. You never explained. that I know of, and here we are.

        We read, ““No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

        The logical argument would seem to run like this:

        Initial condition: No one can come to Me..
        Premise 1 – If the Father draws him, he will come to me
        Premise 2 – If he comes to me, I will raise him up.
        Conclusion: If the Father draws him, I will raise him up.

        If you do not accept that sequence, you can offer another. Otherwise, we see the initial condition is distributed as we would expect from an universal negative. As the premises are in the singular, we look at this as undistributed or true only in some circumstances, i.e., those in which God draws a person. However, we could easily render the above as “All the Father draws…I will raise all.”

        Somehow, I don’t think you had that in mind. Thus, I asked to explain what you were thinking with regard to 6:44.

      11. Brian,
        Dont fall for any request for further explanation. Your words (and lots of others like them) are easily found on the net for anyone with ears to hear.

        As for the God having mercy part…. in the many years since I left the Calvinist camp, I have noticed that when people talk a tad ‘too much’ about God’s love and mercy, Calvinists are quick to pounce with justice and wrath. Calvin made no effort to hide his position that wrath, double-predestination, and even the having-people-think-they-are-saved-but-are-not idea all serve to better show His justice and glory.

        Pretty hard to really be too merciful when you are carrying that wrath-is-good, torture-for-His-glory card up your sleeve.

      12. If your theology dictates that God has unavoidable, inescapable, predetermined-to-bring-him-glory wrath toward any person then you absolutely have no right to talk about God’s mercy. Only the most merciless being could condemn – without even a possibility of escape – another being to suffering and death when he ‘rescues’ a select few in this exact same state, who are no more or less deserving.

        It is this false and hideous corruption of God’s nature and revelation that has given many an excuse to reject him. All genuine believers should know, and defend, the true character of God, which is absolutely loving and merciful, extending grace to all without exception – conditioned only upon their putting their trust in Him and turning from the destructive paths of sin.

        Yes, I believe it is another great error of Calvinism to claim that God is unconcerned with our life after regeneration, overlooking our sinful ‘works’ as long as our ‘doctrine’ is correct. Understanding the nature of God’s limitless love and grace introduces the ‘power of love’ to transform hearts and lives, which IS what God seeks, not doctrinally correct Pharisees.

      13. ts00 writes, “Only the most merciless being could condemn – without even a possibility of escape – another being to suffering and death when he ‘rescues’ a select few in this exact same state, who are no more or less deserving.”

        OK – that is the argument made by the Universalists. Perhaps you mean to waffle on the meaning of “possibility of escape.”

      14. Rhutchin writes (once again!):
        ‘OK – that is the argument made by the Universalists.’

        The Universalists are absolutely correct when they state that a good, gracious, loving and just God would never perform as Calvinism asserts. With this, nearly all non-Calvinists would agree. Where they part ways is in whether or not God warns of punishment and wrath against those who know and refuse his loving offer of grace. I agree with Universalists that there is no hint of unjustice with God, thus reject Calvinism’s assertions as not only ‘horrid’ but utterly inconceivable and untrue. Must God save all men to be just? Rhutchin, as well as most Calvinists, know full well that is not the argument of non-Universalist non-Calvinists. Rather, they assert that he ‘must’ – really ‘would’ – not pretend to desire that none perish while providing atonement for only a select few, and orchestrating inescapably the destruction of the rest and be just.

      15. TS00

        Here is the most pertinent idea in both your recent posts:

        “…not pretend to desire that none perish while providing atonement for only a select few, and orchestrating inescapably the destruction of the rest and be just.”

        One of the biggest flaws of Calvinism is that it promote a God who PRETENDS to want all/ love all, but really one makes atonement for .0015%. That does not make Him very “loving.”

        It only makes Him monstrously deceptive.

      16. fromoverhere,

        You had said:
        “That does not make Him very “loving.”

        It only makes Him monstrously deceptive.”

        My response:
        “…for His TWISTED PERVERTED COSMIC enjoyment in entertainment called…GOD’S GLORY.”

      17. FOH writes, “Calvinists are quick to pounce with justice and wrath.”

        That is because Calvinists are convinced that the Scriptures clearly tell us that God will not save each and every person. Those who died at God’s hand – through means – such as in the flood of Noah, Sodom and the cities, the Amalekites and other tribes in the promised land, etc. are not thought to have been saved.

      18. Hutch:

        Yes, I read Ronnie’s book. But I never was convinced of Calvin’s tripe well before that.

        I don’t intend to re-hash with you or anyone else the matters already settled by God, His word, and explained by Rogers, Flowers, et al.
        If you will honestly interact with Ronnie’ book, I believe you will be pressed to re-evaluate your Calvinism.

        I am sure we can get some of Ronnie’s posts from SBCToday to be posted here, and you can interact directly with him if you want. He will stay with you as long as you don’t restate his position in order to try to prove your own, which is a habit among many of the Calvies I’ve seen who post at SBCToday.

        BTW: Citing John 6:44 is typical of Calvinists. It raises a point not at issue with the Trads I know. Neither does it undermine what Trads believe about the salvific process.

        “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

        I know no Trad who would say this opposes any part of their beliefs. So if you believe it too, then, well…..

        It is as simple as Leighton has said in the video above: Who finally decided that you would follow Christ, you or God? If you say God decided, then you hold to Calvin’s view.

        Calvinists believe that God has decided for the “elect” that they will be saved irresistibly (even though there is not one single verse to support that notion. if you know any, please list them.) Where we part company is whether God’s drawing is the final action in one’s coming to Christ for salvation. Trads believe that God does draw, no question, but also that the one drawn has a choice in how to respond and is thus not irresistibly drawn.

        If you want to deal directly with these matters, then further dialog is possible. But if you want to engage in the issues jn a manner as you did at SBCToday, then you will be talking to yourself.

      19. Norm:
        No need of biblical reference. They start with their own interpretation of “dead” and have to figure a way out from there….

        And yes they talk to themselves a lot. My (adult) son saw the Bible study he was attending morph right in front of him over the space of a year. It went from studying passages systematically to studying only the “doctrines of grace.” He described it like a shark tank after about a year….all of them circling for the lone fish who was not following….

        All topics, passages led to Calvin….ending often with internet perusing of Dordt and Westminster.

        He left. Was no longer a Bible study.

      20. Norm,

        I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes on this one, but I saw you mention a popular John 6:44.

        I gotta ask a stupid question, cuz I don’t know the answer as to where that argument goes.

        My question:

        Doesn’t the very next verse continue the conversation of verse 44? To wit:

        45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

        Doesn’t that show a qualifier, that one must hear, and learned of the father first?

        And if so, doesn’t that say that THEY that have, will be CONVINCED IN THEIR OWN MIND? Convinced in their own mind. Convinced in their own mind…

        I think this goes along the line of a topic that was to the audience ONLY…the Jews…not the Gentiles. Why do I say that?

        Simple…verse 45 again…and they shall e ALL TAUGHT OF GOD. If it’s written in the PROPHETS, that kinda tells me that this prophesy is in regards to Jews, not Gentiles.

        ALL will be taught of God, not most, not some, but ALL, and that word convinces me that ALL is Jews…Hence ALL Israel will be saved (Romans 9-11)

        So, to me, the whole context of Chapter 6 is regarding the Jews only, since it was THEIR forefathers that were fed MANNA, and Jesus is contrasting to THEM that he is the Bread of Life.

        Jesus time and time again tells them of the one who the FATHER sent…and Jesus said that he was NOT SENT BUT TO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.

        Later, after he resurrected did he talk about us OTHER SHEEP.

        Yes, many things that Jesus said pertain to us, but I think from time to time we need to separate between what is prophesy for the Jews that Jesus discusses with the Jews only, vs. everyone else, us lowly Gentiles.

        Ed Chapman

      21. chapmaned24 writes, “So, to me, the whole context of Chapter 6 is regarding the Jews only, since it was THEIR forefathers that were fed MANNA, and Jesus is contrasting to THEM that he is the Bread of Life.”

        Had Christ said in 6:44, “None of you can come to me,,,” it would be easy to conclude that Christ was speaking directly of the Jews and specifically His audience. Instead, He says, “No one can come to me…” He uses a universal negative. However, there is no reason to limit this to the Jews. Certainly, if the Jews could not come to Christ, there is no reason to think that a non-Jew could do so.

      22. Yes, there is a reason, and that reason is so stated in the very next verse. PROPHECY. That is not prophesy to the Gentiles, but to the Jews.

      23. chapmaned24 writes, “Yes, there is a reason, and that reason is so stated in the very next verse. PROPHECY. That is not prophesy to the Gentiles, but to the Jews.”

        However, it is only through prophecy that any person, Jew or gentile, can believe in Christ. That is Paul’s message in Romans 10. Jesus is using generic language, and while the Jews in His audience would certainly understand that His teaching applies to them, God inspired John to write these words so that we today would understand that this applies to us equally.

      24. chapmaned24 writes, “That very next verse is also key as it states a PROCEDURE on how the Father draws them. ”

        I agree. So, we should not think that God’s drawing has to force the person against his will nor does God merely persuade (not really meant by “draw”). Rather God opens his mind to understanding thereby Christ becomes irresistible to him.

      25. It has nothing to do with IRRESISTIBLE. I’ll never forget the first time I heard that word in your circles. It’s misleading.

        They have the ability to reject. They will CHOOSE from their own free will by in fact being persuaded. Why? Because Jesus REVEALS HIMSELF to them.

        Deuteronomy 29:4 (TO THE JEW ONLY)
        Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

        That is a quote that Paul mentions in Romans 9-11.

        The Lord BLINDED the Jews, so that they may NOT SEE.

        John 9:41 (NOTE THE WORDS “NO SIN”????????????????????????
        Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

        Blind Jews have NO SIN until they say that they can see.

        It’s up to God to UNBLIND whom he blinded. He did allow SOME Jews to understand. The REST of the Jews are in a SLUMBER.

        He didn’t blind the Gentiles.

        Ed Chapman

      26. chapmaned24 writes, “It has nothing to do with IRRESISTIBLE…They have the ability to reject.”

        Reject what?? God’s drawing? God’s teaching? The drawing and teaching are irresistible. Perhaps you mean that once drawn, they have the ability to turn around and go back to where they were or that they decide not to follow God’s teaching. That would require motive – What motive would a person have to draw back from God or not do what God had taught him? Maybe, you mean that a person draws back because God blinds him to truth. So, what are you trying to say??

      27. Stop using that word, “irresistible”. Only a steak dinner is irresistible. You Calvinists need to ditch that word, because YES, the fathers drawing is indeed irresistible. They WONT reject, because they will finally KNOW, because Jesus will REVEAL HIMSELF to them. Irresistible has NOTHING to do with it. Get rid of that word, man. Free will.

        Do you know WHY God used the Pharaoh? Do you? He was going to let the people go several times. God tells Moses to go tell the Pharaoh to let the people go. Pharaoh says, “OK”, but God hardened his heart to change his mind so that he would NOT let the people go?

        WHY?

        Let’s hear your NATURAL MAN routine of an explanation!

        See, now YOUR religion will tell you that this is the forefront example that God does what he will to people. NO NO NO NO.

        God has a STORY to tell, THRU the Pharaoh, but you people don’t get it because you are the NATURAL MAN.

        Like I said about Joseph. The natural man only thinks it’s a story about Joseph. But God USED Joseph to tell a story about Jesus. God used Abraham to tell a story about Jesus. God used David to tell a story about Jesus. God used Noah, to tell us a story about Jesus. God used Soloman to tell us a story about Jesus. God used ALL of the Jewish required FEASTS to tell us a story about Jesus. God used Jonah to tell us a story about Jesus.

        So, your unregenerate garbage is just that….garbage. Natural man sees none of what I said above. Expository preaching sees none of that stuff, either.

        The Pharaoh was indeed shown mercy by God all because God USED him to tell a story. Pharaoh is in heaven. There is no doubt in my mind at all. BASED ON THE BIBLE.

        Ed Chapman

      28. The rich young ruler was drawn to Jesus, but found the God-man’s teaching resistible.

      29. Good point Norm… and Jesus loved him to… but he went away in unbelief. Did Jesus love someone God hated eternally immutably? 😉

      30. Norm and Brian:
        Calvinists will say just that!! Piper’s site, referring to the man’s wealth says…

        “But its power is so blinding that when Jesus held out real treasure to this man in exchange for the counterfeit, he wouldn’t trade. And what he did was choose poverty over incalculable eternal wealth.”

        The story says that Jesus loved him and offered him life (and the site makes that clear), and then goes on to say that the man chose not to follow.

        We are left with the idea that God has really given man the possible choice…… or that

        Christ loved the man wanted and wanted him to come, but the Father had immutably NOT enabled him.

        That means either Christ was not able to achieve his goal, or his offer was really insincere.

      31. Norm and Brian:

        If you think this story (Rich young man) leaves Calvinists conflicted (Christ loves and calls but man resists)…. oh no!

        They just preach like Arminians “earthly prosperity can make people spiritually destitute.” (meaning: you aren’t destitute inherently, but money might make you that way!)

        Have a look at this message on Piper’s site and see that several times they make Arminian claims about money making the man able to resist the call of Christ.

        Then they say rather shamelessly…. “Your generosity is helping make others rich.” Meaning….you give to us and we tell others about the riches they have in Christ. They become rich because you give to us. Notice a real lack of immutable, eternal call in the whole message.

        Determinism is not a way of life.

        https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/rich-young-man-the-impoverishing-power-of-financial-prosperity

      32. norm writes, “The rich young ruler was drawn to Jesus, but found the God-man’s teaching resistible.”

        Many find the teachings of Jesus attractive but Jesus will say to some of them, “I never knew you.” Such is the rich young ruler. However, as it says that Christ loved him, there is implied here that God will draw him to Christ and this drawing will not be resisted.

      33. Norm;
        Be prepared for those who say that the “rich young man” eventually did come to Christ.

        If Christ’s love and call are irresistible…. then the man must have come later (they will say).

        But this demonstrates clearly that they MAKE the Scripture say what they want it to say.

        The Scripture gives us the very clear passage that this man outright resisted/ rejected Christ. Calvinists will say “yes, but we dont want this example since we know better!”

        Wait for it….

      34. FOH, already implied, with no valid evidence for doing so – merely the desire to ‘make up’ whatever is necessary to cling to faulty theology.

      35. Hey Norm,

        This just in….

        I went to monergism.com (a hub for determinists) and looked for their interpretation of the rich young man…..

        https://www.monergism.com/search?keywords=rich+young+man&format=All

        If you listen to their posted recording you will hear a very, very Arminian message all about the choice of the young man.

        This preacher does not pretend that the young man went on to accept Christ. He says that the man goes away “haunted by what might have been.”

        Is there anything that “might have been” for a determinist? No!

        Is there any way (within Calvinism) for a man called by Christ to resist? No! (and yet….this story, and this “Calvinist” pastor, show it to be the case).

        More statements in this message:

        “Wealth is a handicap. The greater your wealth the higher your handicap.” “It’s difficult to have a lot and trust a lot.”

        “It is easy for an earnest person wanting to serve God to be drug away and enslaved.”

        “Wealth can pervert one’s values.”

        “Wealth can corrupt attitudes.”

        “Wealth can destroy and steel one against the objective requirement to enter the kingdom of God.

        “What you do with your wealth will determine your spiritual health, and to a great extent, the destiny of your family.”

        “If you are becoming wealthy, then you stand in great danger.”

        “Give this way [a lot] so that if affects your life…for your soul’s sake.”

        “Divestment and investment. That is what God calls us to.”

        “Everyone needs to drop the thing that they are holding on to; whether it is their wealth, or their pride, or a passion, or a person…. you are to drop it. And Ask God to come in His grace. And change your life. And He can do the miracle which you cannot do.”

        I fail to see how this message made its way on to the monergism site!!!

        If this guy was not a card-carrying Calvinist, his words would be excoriated BY Calvinists as extremely “man-centered”. His Calvinism makes absolutely no difference in his preaching.

        Determinism is not a way of life.

      36. Reminds me of the sermon my former (Calvinist) pastor taught, telling us how he ‘literally’ wept for the millions who would be ‘lost’ because we – ‘The Church’ – were not faithful to our calling. WHAT??? I looked around expecting others to be either stunned or laughing, but all just nodded their unthinking heads in heartfelt sorrow and repentance. My spouse gave me a dirty look for not just submitting humbly to the teaching of the dear leader.

      37. TS00

        Dont forget we can just pick up a copy of Piper’s best-selling “Don’t Waste Your Life” where he says similar things many times!

        His disciple Jon Bloom says it over and over in all of his books and articles.

        It is like the proof-reader is living in two worlds (the every-dust-particle determinist world, and the “we can possibly waste our lives” world).

        Oh…that’s right…. they ARE living in both those worlds. It’s ALL good! Just claim Calvinism —- and then you can say whatever Arminian thing you want!

      38. Will the Calvinist god be crying for the unsaved, as well? And I will bet that the Calvinist preacher was flat out lying about crying, too. I get the feeling that Calvinists boast with a “neener neenner, neener, I was chosen, but you are not!”.

        But what I want to know…How does a Calvinist KNOW that they are IN THE CLUB of chosen or not? How do they know that THEY HAVE FAITH? It could be that Satan gave them a counterfeit faith. How do they know?

        Ed Chapman

      39. chapmaned1924 writes, “How does a Calvinist KNOW that they are IN THE CLUB of chosen or not? How do they know that THEY HAVE FAITH?”

        The same way all believers know – they find Christ irresistible and hope in Christ for forgiveness of sin, justification, and eternal life.

      40. chapmaned24 writes, “Only Calvinists see Christ as irresistible.”

        If you say so. Somehow, I don’t think that is the case for all non-Calvinists.

      41. If the Jews were NOT blind, then Jesus would have never been crucified. And I know that would make many in Christendom happy, because they can’t stand the Jews for crucifying Jesus.

        But what if Jesus wasn’t crucified? Peter drew his sword to stop it from happening.

        You would still be in your sins, with no savior if he hadn’t died on that cross. It pleased the Father to bruise him.

        Why? So you can be saved.

        That is why the Jews are blind. For YOUR SAKE. But people want to bad mouth the Jews for rejecting Jesus. Pffffft.

        Ed Chapman

      42. chapmaned24 writes, “That is why the Jews are blind. For YOUR SAKE. But people want to bad mouth the Jews for rejecting Jesus. Pffffft.”

        I agree.

      43. And please note that verse 45 states:
        “Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”

        EVERY MAN EVERY EVERY EVERY MAN. Not some, not a few, not many, but every. Heard and Learned. Therefore, no one rejects.

        Hmmmmm….where can you find an example of this? How about the PROPHESY of Joseph and his BRETHREN?

        Joseph is Jesus, and the BRETHREN of Joseph is the JEWS. Hence, Romans 9-11.

        Jews are the clay that God is USING to show us that righteousness cannot be by the law that God gave THEM ONLY, and told them to obey,and God fully knew that NO ONE can obey.

        Why would God give them a list of do’s and don’ts, knowing that they would fail?

        Wouldn’t it be to SHOW US the way? So that he could give THEM mercy?

        The Jews treated Jesus badly, just like the brothers of Joseph. Joseph HID himself so that his brothers had no clue as to who he was.

        But his brethren went to him for FOOD (BREAD OF LIFE, Jesus), and then Joseph REVEALED to his brothers who he was, and Joseph gave them mercy.

        Not one brother was doomed.

        Ed Chapman

      44. chapmaned24 writes, “And please note that verse 45 states:
        “Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”
        EVERY MAN EVERY EVERY EVERY MAN. Not some, not a few, not many, but every. Heard and Learned. Therefore, no one rejects.”

        That is wrong. We have a conditional. It is not every man in the world but every man “who has heard/learned from God” The phrase “comes to me” has the meaning, “believe in me.” The Universalist argues that every man means that each and every individual in the world will learn from God, so all are saved. The non-Universalist argues that the conditional, “who learns from God,” can be some number less than each and every individual, so the statement does not mean that all will be saved. We have a similar situation in John 3:16. God loves the world but not every individual is saved – only those believing in Christ inherit eternal life.

        then, “where can you find an example of this? How about the PROPHESY of Joseph and his BRETHREN?”

        I like your explanation. I don’t think it applies to John 6:44-45.

      45. I am not a universalist, so let’s dispense with that nonsense. All Israel will be saved. The Jews were given a law of Moses that God knew that they would fail at.

        You people spread a fairy tale about God imputing faith, yet that is not the truth.

        God BLINDED the Jews, and God will UNBLIND the Jews. Simple as that. Therefore, DUE to the fact that God gave them a law of Moses fully knowing that they will fail, God will show them mercy.

        You see, I am NOT from the circles of REFORM theology. And because of that, we do not argue “regeneration”, a topic that you guys can’t seem to shut up about.

        Righteousness is the word to concentrate on.

        Self, and God’s.

        Law vs. No Law. Self is by the law, which equals FAIL, NO LAW at all equals WIN WIN. Belief is YOUR OWN, not an imputation.

        Because that is where you will find the truth, rather than a mysterious fairy tale about a god that must FORCE you to believe. No one outside of reform theology buys off on that stuff.

        I will give you an example about that NATURAL MAN thing that you guys always bring up.

        The Story of Joseph is PROPHESY of the relationship between Jesus and the Jews that rejected him. The SPIRITUAL MAN sees that.

        The NATURAL MAN will reject that the story of Joseph is anything other than JUST a story of Joseph.

        That is what that means, and since you guys are all about Expository preaching, you do indeed reject the story of Joseph being prophesy of Jesus, regarding his relationship with the Jews that rejected him.

        So you guys can’t even interpret that NATURAL MAN doctrine right. You would have missed Jesus, too..all because YOU would be looking for a man named Emanuel.

        Ed Chapman

      46. chapmaned24 writes, “All Israel will be saved.”

        Does that include each and every Jew from Jacob down to judgment day?

        Then, “You people spread a fairy tale about God imputing faith, yet that is not the truth.”

        Actually, I say God gives His elect faith, but He imputes righteousness to them.

        Then, “And because of that, we do not argue “regeneration”, a topic that you guys can’t seem to shut up about.”

        Just think new birth of John 3 as it is one and the same to the Calvinist.

        Then, “…rather than a mysterious fairy tale about a god that must FORCE you to believe. No one outside of reform theology buys off on that stuff. ”

        No one inside reformed theology buys that stuff either.

        Then, “The NATURAL MAN will reject that the story of Joseph is anything other than JUST a story of Joseph.”

        Good think the Calvinists understand that the story of Joseph is more than just an event in history. Joseph was a type of Christ.

      47. Just a couple of drive-by comments, as I have no interest in being drawn into one of these slug fests:

        I would suggest that the ‘blinding of the Jews’ describes what occurred in order for what would seem unthinkable to take place: the crucifixion of their own long-awaited Messiah. Once this occurred, Paul and the other apostles were free to reveal the ‘mystery’ of what Jesus was all about, hence the New Testament. The Jews are not still ‘blinded’ by God and awaiting some future unblinding – all of that took place long ago. At this point in time, there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles; all distinctions have been forever eradicated. Read Paul a little more carefully.

        Hint to Ed: Many Calvinists seek to assert an illogical irresistible ‘force’ that does not force. God irresistible, irrevocably determines ‘whatsoever comes to pass’, yet men somehow ‘choose’ to follow this irresistible, inevitable plan. Not sure if they actually believe this, or if it is just an argument they use to mask the cruelty and injustice of God ordaining evil then punishing the patsies who performed his will.

      48. TS00
        Your 2nd paragraph is especially accurate. There are some who ignore biblical answers to Calvin’s “irreconcilable tensions.” They would rather argue than discover truth, obviously. I choose not to engage such types, and that is usually borne out to be a wise decision since such people eventually are banned from commenting because their true motives eventually become evident. Besides, the Bible tells us to stay away from contentious people.

      49. Speaking of contentious people!

        Have you ever gone to Amazon and looked at the book reviews of a good Arminian or non-Calvinist book? Amazing. Just go to the one-star reviews. Most of them will not be reviews at all—in fact no indication that the person has ever even seen the book!

        They just paste in there some ranting tirade against anything but the “doctrines of grace” (which is kind of ‘ungracious’ and ironic if you think of it). Give it one star, call him a universalist, add some aggressive no-one-is-right-but-us comments, and call that a review!

        Why do they allow themselves to do such an ungracious and disingenuous thing? They feel like they are on a mission for God… a mission for the truth, and the end justify the means!