A Charitable Discourse: Is Humility Bad?

A reader named Joey wrote one of the most thoughtful and well-reasoned comments I personally have seen on this page. For that reason and since the objection seems a common one, I thought it deserved its own post in response. His comment responded to Dr. Flower’s article entitled “Answering the Calvinist’s Most Popular Argument” so you can check out his original comment there.

Thanks for the comment, Joey. You write:

In this worldview, ‘saving faith’ or ‘belief’ is an action that anyone can exercise based on the individual’s inherent character (i.e. wisdom, intellect and spirituality).

I would change “character” to “characteristic/ability”. An ability that every single person who has ever been or ever will be born possesses since they were made in the Image of God and that characteristic was given to them by God.

Consequently, if ‘saving faith’ is derived from man’s inherent character, God is not the ultimate cause of that action.

Yes.

So then, it is up to man (though unregenerate) to exercise it whenever he chooses.

Yes, this puts the responsibility to respond to God’s gracious call for reconciliation onto man. God calls to man, God sends a Holy Spirit powered appeal to man, but man is responsible for what he does with that appeal. I’m not seeing the problem here.

Without this inherent ability of unregenerate man to freely obtain ‘saving faith’ out of his own inherent character, it is argued that man will not be held responsible for his eternal destiny.

That’s exactly the situation, yes.

Notice that our problem with the answer is not about whether ‘saving faith’ is worthy of salvation. We recognise that even ‘Non-Calvinists’ believe that God is not obliged to save anyone who has ‘saving faith’.

You’re a more fair-minded Calvinist than most. Almost every Calvinist I have discussed with will not cede a single inch of ground to our perspective and I appreciate you for doing so. Almost every Calvinist I have discussed with has, at some point, lobbed the “you believe man is in control of God” grenade in my direction as a way of winning the argument. Thank you for not doing so.

But, in their worldview, God has chosen to save those have ‘saving faith’ and them alone. The problem with the answer is two fold: 1) How it can be shown from the Bible that ‘saving faith’ is something ultimately generated by an unregenerated man’s inherent character (i.e. his intellect, his wisdom, and his spirituality).

How about everywhere (Eze 18:30-32; Acts 11:18; 15:9; John 5:40, John 6:53; 6:57; 12:36; 20:31; 1 John 1:12-13; Gal 3: 2,5; 3:26; Eph 1:13; Col 2:12; 2 Cor 3:14-16; 1 Tim 1:16; James 1:8). Not one time in the Bible does regeneration precede faith. Each time the Bible discusses such things, faith precedes regeneration. Remember, it is from an in-born, Image of God, ability/characteristic, not an unregenerated, self-built character.

Ultimately, if the ‘Non-Calvinist’ can show this exegetically then even the staunchest ‘Calvinist’ will have no other recourse than to bow to the authority of Scripture. Obviously, all ‘Calvinist’ believe that this is not warranted based on the Bible.

1 John 5:1 Does Not Teach Pre-Faith Regeneration
Does Regeneration Precede Faith?

2) How it can be defended that God has chosen to make salvation grounded upon man’s inherent character when it seems that the Biblical Gospel specifically points to an external action of the Trinity to save man.

Because it’s both. It is both an external action of the Trinity to save man and man using the ability given to them by way of the Image of God to respond to that action/appeal. The part where you are hung up is that on your view the action of the Trinity is irresistible because man is totally unable to respond, which of course we would argue neither are found in the Scriptures.

However, the word ‘ground’ as it is being used by ‘Calvinist’ refers not only to the basis or justification of God to save sinners but includes the ultimate cause of the sinner’s salvation.

That’s a fine point on its own if logical deductions weren’t a thing. But since they are, even Calvin recognized that this means that God is the cause, therefore, of the damnation of the vast majority of mankind. He even calls this doctrine “dreadful”. This is how Calvin put it:

Again I ask: whence does it happen that Adam’s fall irremediably involved so many peoples, together with their infant offspring, in eternal death unless because it so pleased God? Here their tongues, otherwise so loquacious, must become mute. The decree is dreadful indeed, I confess. Yet no one can deny that God foreknew what end man was to have before he created him, and consequently foreknew because he so ordained by his decree. –  Institutes III.xxiii.7

So you either have a picture of a God who restricts His power in order to put the responsibility on man to respond to His gracious saving work or a picture of a God who decrees, and causes, the damnation of the vast majority of humanity, unchangeably, without them having any chance at reconciliation, for the sole reason that He does not desire for them to be saved.

On non-Calvinism, Joey writes:

The Cross did not procurement the certainty of man’s individual fate but leaves it to the individual to either be saved or lost.

But God didn’t just send Jesus to the cross and then stop working in the world. He then used a blinding light to convince the smartest man in 1st century Judaism to become the greatest evangelist the world has known and to write most of the New Testament. He orchestrated it so that hundreds of people saw the risen Jesus and that fact was recorded and preserved down the annals of history. God sent His Spirit to empower the work of His followers to this day, and the Spirit does this sometimes in overt, earth-shaking supernatural power. God is continually at work to persuade man to be reconciled to Him. God worked to assure that at least some men would be saved, He just didn’t decree from the foundation of the world which individuals and how many would be saved.

If we ask a ‘Non-Calvinist’ what differentiates him from the person who ends up in hell, he will respond that it was his humility, wisdom and sipirituality that made all the difference.

This is biblical though. The Bible is clear that God gives grace to the humble (Prov 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5) and there is an entire genre of Scripture, wisdom literature such as Job and Proverbs, that claim wisdom to be desirable, honorable, and contributing to human flourishing. and so why are you using this as a negative criticism of our view? The humility does not earn the merit, that’s why grace is still required. But God has promised to grace with merit those who meet the condition. If you object to this you will have to be careful not to “answer back to God”.

In addition, you would have to show from Scripture that unbelievers have somehow lost the spiritual part of them given by the Image of God. Which I do not think you can do.

The ‘Calvinist’, however, believes that the ground of salvation is the work of the Trinity.

This is a completely different question than “who differentiates between a believer and unbeliever?” Surely, you would agree that a non-Calvinist also believes that the ground of salvation is the work of the Trinity. Of course, we believe that without the work of the Trinity there can be no salvation. We just don’t think the Scriptures teach this work is monergistic, irresistible, and without conditions.

Furthermore, I do not see how this rids you of the question, “What made you better?” You assume the answer “I humbled myself” is obviously wrong, but why is “God humbled me and not someone else” superior? Either way, humility is better than pride. Whether someone humbles themselves or God irresistibly does so, that person is still “better” or, at least, exercised a “better” ability.

One can easily claim superiority based on God’s choice to give them humility. Indeed, I would argue more so. On our view, choosing to humble oneself is an ability all of humanity possesses. It’s not special or superior if I use an ability everyone else has also. It would be like boasting about being able to blink. On the Calvinistic view, only a minority of humanity has been given that ability and a tiny, special minority the ability to understand that correctly. It is much easier to boast about being able to do what only a very small percentage of people can do.

The Spirit gives spiritual life to the sinner which leads him to believe in Christ and to grow in holiness; the Son provides for him the basis of his righteousness through the Cross; and the Father sent the Son and ordained the salvation of those whom he has chosen to save. In this worldview, nothing inherent in the person is the decisive factor of why he is saved.

I am whole-heartedly with you until you get to “the Father…ordained the salvation of those whom he has chose to save“. But my main rebuttal to this point would be that you have consistently assumed that the exercising of humility that leads someone to repentance and faith in Christ is a bad thing. But how can this be? We agree that the humility is not meritorious to save. With that out of the way, how is it a criticism of a soteriological position that humility is a condition of recognizing your need for a savior and trusting in Jesus for that salvation? “Your theology of salvation sets up humility as a condition to salvation” is not a criticism but a statement of fact. You have to add something else, another argument, hopefully with some biblical evidence, as to how humility being a condition of salvation is either immoral, irrational, or unbiblical. I don’t see an argument that gets you there but I’m open to being shown otherwise.

Everything points to the triune God. If we ask a ‘Calvinist’ what differentiates him from the person who ends up in hell, he will respond that it was not his wisdom, nor his intellect, nor his spirituality that made all the difference saved for the mercy of God.

It certainly sounds nice to say that everything points to the triune God, but is that what God does? It seems to me that God sends a member of that triunity to become a man, suffer as we suffer, and die an unjust and horrifying death on our behalf. The Prodigal Son parable pictures a God who humiliates himself in running towards his lost children. Again, it does not sound like a criticism to say, “On your system, God is about saving as many people as will be persuaded and humble themselves”.

As for what a Calvinist says what differentiates him from an unbeliever; I agree, a Calvinist would say “nothing”. But I do not see how that is an argument in favor of Reformed soteriology. I know you would not put it in these words, but a valid logical deduction from what you’re saying is that since God does not choose who to save based upon any condition, therefore, His choice is completely arbitrary. Arbitrary meaning “without a discernible reason”. The non-Calvinist says “I was persuaded by the Gospel message and I humbled myself” while the Calvinist says “I have no idea what God chose me, it was arbitrary”. How is that comforting or superior? At least on non-Calvinism, there is SOME discernible condition or reason. This all sounds academic until you’re talking to someone who asks you “Why didn’t God choose my father to believe?” and the honest answer is “I don’t know, His choices are arbitrary”. This is superior…how?

I think, at the end of the day, we all have a view that it was all of God’s doing that made the difference (Whether this fact is consistent based on our worldview is another story).

I appreciate the charitable and cogent nature of your thoughts, Joey. This was argued so fairly I thought it deserved a post in response as an example of how we can discuss our differences while being fair-minded to the other side. I would simply ask you to consider that while “it was all of God’s doing” may sound good, and I’m sure comes out of a place of genuine reverence for God, that perhaps viewing God’s choice to save as arbitrary has bigger problems. Add in the logical deduction that God not only chooses which individuals would be damned with no chance at reconciliation but also creates them as such, gives your view more problems than seeing humility as a condition to salvation.

137 thoughts on “A Charitable Discourse: Is Humility Bad?

  1. Great conversation! Well reasoned. I hope Joey ends up realizing which side the Scripture more clearly supports when it comes to election… 1.) individuals eternally immutably or 2.) one individual, the Son, with the added open opportunity to individuals to be added to Him through personal humility and faith.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Eric:
    Yes…. humility. And the ol’ Calvinist “man is stronger than God” card and strawman!

    I have mentioned many times in these pages that you never see the Israelites saying “We sure showed those Egyptians!” Nor do you see non-Calvinists saying, “We sure are more ___________ (fill in with intelligent, humble, righteous, etc).” NOPE! We get it!

    He rescued us. Like the Israelites….who applied the blood on the door in faith…. we exercised faith. But we did not save ourselves. Romans 4 makes it clear that faith is not a work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Precisely what Arminius taught.

      From another source (not my words)……

      First, it is “the decree . . . of God.” Arminius writes, “God indeed is the cause, as possessing the right of determining as he wills both about men as his creatures, and especially as sinners, and about his blessings.” He goes on to explain the “efficient,” “inwardly-moving,” “disposing,” “external,” and “instrumental” causes of predestination as well, each of which he locates in God’s person and work. Second, as God is the source, Arminius characterizes it as “from all eternity” and “eternal.” Arminius points to Ephesians 1:4, which states that God has elected believers in Christ “before the foundation of the world,” as well as Acts 15:18, to support this point. Again, referring to the definition above, Arminius defines election as based “in Christ.” This is its foundation. “God acknowledges, as His own, no sinner,” writes Arminius, “and He chooses no one to eternal life except in Christ, and for the sake of Christ.”

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      1. Nothing like waiting three days later to add clarification.

        I didn’t post the comment regarding Arminius as an endorsement, but rather to note the possible originality of the idea of those “in Christ” being the elect.

        I reject that notion as the abundance of scripture limits election to the people of Israel.

        Calvinists, and their Arminian offspring are both wrong (regarding election).

        Israel, My Elect (Isaiah 45:4).

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  3. Interesting! There is the analogy of a man who was in such debt that he would have to declare bankruptcy. A wealthy benevolent man wrote him a check to assume all of his debt. But he refused to cash the check saying “If I cash the check then I can take credit for paying my debt”. So refusing to cash the check he went bankrupt.

    Of course this world in which a debtor can be written a check which cannot be fully actualized without the recipient performing the action of cashing the check, is anathema to Theological Determinism. In that world, the THEOS does not empower the creature with the contra-causal power to (cash or not cash) the check.

    But I can see how this analogy fits with the blood applied to the doorpost in Exodus. Its interesting that God specified his people’s action of applying the blood on the doorpost, as the model of salvation from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. I notice that this model is conditional. He who does not apply the blood does not comply with God’s condition.

    Seeing that this condition is God’s design for the process – I find it ironic that anyone would argue this model is false – and the process should instead be interpreted (somehow) as unconditional.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. br.d
      Not only do they claim that the Scripture-given models (Passover, serpent-on-pole, ark) are false or irrelevant, but they have not one Scriptural OT image of the cross where there were no conditions on man.

      But! They agree with us that all these situations required faith—- and God gives the special faith needed.

      Of course that is found nowhere in Scripture either.

      Abram believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

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      1. Excellent point!

        Abram believed God, and it was credited to HIM as righteousness.

        Paul uses that as an analogy for the believer in Christ.
        But Calvinism rejects that model saying that it gives too much honor to man or makes man equal or above God.

        How they can then accuse others of forcing God to comply with a man made philosophy is a mystery to me! :-]

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Not to mention Hebrews 11

        11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

        —-if God infuses us with special faith…. why is it what is “hoped for”? Why are the ancients commended for it? I mean—in the determinist system they have nothing —-not one thing—- zero, nada—- to do with it, so what in the world are they commended for?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s absolutely right.

        As a matter of fact since Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) rejects Contra-Causal free will, it must also reject Contra-Causal decision making, as well as Contra-Causal thinking. In Theological Determinism, the individual believes whatever the THEOS determines the individual to believe – rather than the individual coming to a conclusion by weighing the pros vs cons, right vs. wrong, true vs false – because in order to do that the human mind requires the power of Contra-Causal thinking.

        As you point out, the full narrative of scripture affirms Contra-Causal thinking, acting and Contra-Causal responsibility on our part.

        For the narrative of scripture, and the God of scripture to represent that narrative, and yet it be false, the Calvinist can’t interpreted scripture at face value.

        Every instance in which Contra-Causal thinking is presupposed, must be re-interpreted using John Calvin’s secret decoder ring, in order to bring out some secret hidden meaning under the text.

        The reality is Calvinist thinking is double-minded.

        As Dr. Tomis Kapitan states it:

        “As a deliberator, he takes his future act to be yet undetermined. But as a determinist, he assumes the very opposite – that his future is already determined and fixed in the past, such that everything he does was previously determined by factors beyond his control. Thus the ascription of rational-inconsistency within the mental state of the deliberating determinist is secured.”

        Liked by 1 person

      4. So, yes, in staying with the Abel story… (the contra-causal idea)

        Genesis 4:6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

        Did God want Cain to bring the right sacrifice? Could Cain have done “what is right”? Could he have have “met the conditions” to be accepted by God? Simple reading of the Word would say so.

        Did Abel then do something “more right” than Cain? Apparently. Could he have in turn said or thought “my sacrifice was acceptable and Cain’s was not.”? Indeed he could have—- and many have struggled with this very humility concept.

        Calvinists tell us “Cain was completely free to do what he wanted” (always adding that he could only do what was evil because that is all he could want to do —being unregenerate).

        But what of Abel? No indication anywhere in Scripture that Abel (or ANY one in Scripture) had an extra infusion of faith or was regenerated first.

        That idea is simply brought to the text.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. br.d writes, “Of course this world in which a debtor can be written a check which cannot be fully actualized without the recipient performing the action of cashing the check, is anathema to Theological Determinism.”

      I don’t know that Theological Determinism gets into such things. However, both Calvinists and Arminians (and likely, most Traditionalists) agree that the unsaved are likened to a debtor who is offered salvation but refuses to “cash the check” and thereby cannot be saved. This is to say that man is Totally Depraved. This requires God to extend grace to the unsaved – prevenient grace to the Arminian; saving grace to the Calvinist; grace enable faith to Pastor Ronnie Rogers.

      Then, “In that world, the THEOS does not empower the creature with the contra-causal power to (cash or not cash) the check.”

      Actually, the Theos must empower the creature with the contra-causal power to (cash or not cash) the check if he is to cash the check.

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      1. br.d writes, “Of course this world in which a debtor can be written a check which cannot be fully actualized without the recipient performing the action of cashing the check, is anathema to Theological Determinism.”

        rhutchin
        Calvinists and Arminians (and likely, most Traditionalists) agree that the unsaved are likened to a debtor who is offered salvation but refuses to “cash the check” and thereby cannot be saved. This is to say that man is Totally Depraved.

        br.d
        I don’t think one realizes this statement is question begging. There is nothing in scripture that stipulates the unsaved are fated to refuse to “cash the check” and be saved. That is a conclusion assumed by Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism).

        In that world,[i.e., Theological Determinism] the THEOS does not empower the creature with the contra-causal power to (cash or not cash) the check.”

        rhutchin
        Actually, the Theos must empower the creature with the contra-causal power to (cash or not cash) the check if he is to cash the check.

        br.d
        Dr. Alvin Plantinga describes contra-causal power: The power to do otherwise where no antecedent conditions and/or causal laws determine that one will perform the action, or that he won’t” (Plantinga, God, Freedom, and Evil, p. 29).
        Obviously contra-causal thinking according to that definition doesn’t exist in Theological Determinism.

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      2. br.d writes, “I don’t think one realizes this statement is question begging. There is nothing in scripture…”

        As you are not one to appeal to Scripture your example of the debtor obiously does not do so. I merely used your example. We could always et into the Scriptures if you want.

        Then, “Obviously contra-causal thinking according to that definition doesn’t exist in Theological Determinism’

        According to the definition you attribute to Plantinga, contra-causal power is powerless. So, what good is it?

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      3. rhutchin
        Calvinists and Arminians (and likely, most Traditionalists) agree that the unsaved are likened to a debtor who is offered salvation but refuses to “cash the check” and thereby cannot be saved. This is to say that man is Totally Depraved.

        br.d
        “I don’t think one realizes this statement is question begging. There is nothing in scripture that stipulates the unsaved are fated to refuse to “cash the check” and not be saved. That is a conclusion assumed by Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism). …”

        rhutchin:
        As you are not one to appeal to Scripture your example of the debtor obiously does not do so. I merely used your example. We could always et into the Scriptures if you want.

        br.d
        Perhaps you have a verse in scripture that stipulates that all persons in the category of “unsaved” are fated to stay unsaved.

        br.d
        Dr. Alvin Plantinga describes contra-causal power: The power to do otherwise where no antecedent conditions and/or causal laws determine that one will perform the action, or that he won’t” (Plantinga, God, Freedom, and Evil, p. 29).
        Obviously contra-causal thinking according to that definition doesn’t exist in Theological Determinism.

        rhutchin:
        According to the definition you attribute to Plantinga, contra-causal power is powerless. So, what good is it?

        br.d
        You’re welcome to provide sound rational evidence that contra-causal thinking according to that definition is powerless. :-]

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      4. br.d writes, “Perhaps you have a verse in scripture that stipulates that all persons in the category of “unsaved” are fated to stay unsaved.”

        Drawing on your example, not if they “cash the check.” Thus, we read in Acts, ““Believe in the Lord Jesus (i.e., cash the check if I understand your example), and you shall be saved,…” Who knows what you mean as you never really engage the Scripture.

        br.d
        Then, “You’re welcome to provide sound rational evidence that contra-causal thinking according to that definition is powerless.”

        As Plantinga defines it – “no antecedent conditions and/or causal laws determine that one will perform the action, or that he won’t.” Thus, there is nothing pushing a person to make a decision, so no decision will be made. Therefore, no power.

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      5. br.d writes, “Perhaps you have a verse in scripture that stipulates that all persons in the category of “unsaved” are fated to stay unsaved.”

        rhutchin
        Drawing on your example, not if they “cash the check.” Thus, we read in Acts, ““Believe in the Lord Jesus (i.e., cash the check if I understand your example), and you shall be saved,…” Who knows what you mean as you never really engage the Scripture.

        br.d
        This scripture indicates this (yet unsaved) person can be saved – not that he is fated to remain unsaved.
        Maybe you can try to find another one?

        br.d
        Then, “You’re welcome to provide sound rational evidence that contra-causal thinking according to that definition is powerless.”

        rhutchin
        As Plantinga defines it – “no antecedent conditions and/or causal laws determine that one will perform the action, or that he won’t.” Thus, there is nothing PUSHING a person to make a decision, so no decision will be made. Therefore, no power.

        br.d
        1) This is very interesting – in your mind something/someone has to PUSH a decision in a person’s mind to make it happen.
        This contracts your assertion that Calvin’s god doesn’t FORCE humans to make decisions.
        When PUSH and FORCE have the same inferential meaning.

        2) Again its question begging to assume just because some external power doesn’t PUSH a person to have a decision in their mind, that they can’t make that decision themselves.

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      6. br.d writes, “This scripture indicates this (yet unsaved) person can be saved – not that he is fated to remain unsaved.”

        Your example – cash the check – only dealt with the issue of what it takes to be saved and not how a person comes to have the check in the first place. You originally said, ““Of course this world in which a debtor can be written a check which cannot be fully actualized without the recipient performing the action of cashing the check, is anathema to Theological Determinism.” You did not introduce “fated” until a later comment. I am just dealing with your original illustration. You added, ” In that world, the THEOS does not empower the creature with the contra-causal power to (cash or not cash) the check.” However, this is false under Calvinism if not more broadly under Theological Determinism.

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      7. rhutchin:
        May 11, 2018 at 7:01 pm
        You added, ” In that world, the THEOS does not empower the creature with the contra-causal power to (cash or not cash) the check.” However, this is false under Calvinism if not more broadly under Theological Determinism.

        br.d
        I provided the definition of contra-causal thinking/power – which was provided – (below)
        Dr. Alvin Plantinga describes contra-causal power: The power to do otherwise where no antecedent conditions and/or causal laws determine that one will perform the action, or that he won’t” (Plantinga, God, Freedom, and Evil, p. 29).

        Perhaps you don’t know what “contra” means?

        In this case “contra-causal” means “contrary to being causally determined” – that is the definition in Christian Philosophy.
        Contra-causal = inderterminism.
        Indeterminism = the opposite of determinism
        Therefore contra-causal doesn’t exist in determinism.

        Based on that definition you called contra-causal powerless and said “what good is it”
        But now you insist it does exist in Theological Determinism.

        I think what you are thinking about is counterfactual power – not contra-causal power.
        If Calvin’s god causes you to think [A] then you will think [A]
        If Calvin’s god causes you to think [NOT A] you will think [NOT A]

        But of course that is determinism and not contra-causal.
        Therefore in Calvinism contra-causal does not exist.
        And by extension the Calvinist cannot think contra-causally.

        As William Lane Craig affirms.
        -quote:
        Universal causal determinism cannot be rationally affirmed:
        snippets:
        The difference between the person who weighs the arguments…..and rejects them [this is contra-causal thinking].
        vs
        one was determined by causal factors outside himself to believe [this is thinking via determinism]

        https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/molinism-vs.-calvinism

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  4. Let’s keep going in Hebrews…

    4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

    Abel brought a better offering —“Man-centered!!”

    He was commended as righteous— “man-centered!”

    God (imagine that!) spoke well of his offerings (does that make Abel “above God”?—- why all this “above God stuff?”)

    Abel still speaks? What does he say? Make wise choices!!

    Why does God’s eternal word say that Abel still speaks? Why not “God still infuses faith that Abel had nothing to do with”?

    So much about man, man, man in this whole chapter…..that God gave us.

    We’re not making this stuff up! It’s God word and I would tread very, very lightly to build man-made ideas that contradict it!

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    1. Calvinism claims that arbitrary, unconditional love is the ground of our salvation – a love that any person it is set upon cannot refuse. Based on this man-made concept, Calvinism has carried on the Roman Church’s teaching that marriage is also unconditional. Held up as superior to conditional love, I assert that scripture, and logic teaches differently.

      By definition, a covenant such as God offered to Israel, and later all men, is conditional. Read through the lengthy description of God’s setting spelling out this covenant, and you cannot miss that he sets forth promises that are conditional. If the people trust him, listen to him, follow him and obey him and his prophets, then they will receive the promises he has made to bless them. Should they not fulfill their pledges to God, however, scripture declares that God will be compelled by justice to reject and punish them. This is not cruel, it is logical and just.

      It is unconditional promises which are cruel, inviting, as they do, abuse and oppression. Christian marriage is the perfect example. Throughout the Church age, most teachers have, in my opinion erroneously, taught that divorce is forbidden; once married, always married, with very few exceptions. This ignores the law delivered to Moses, which distinguishes between legal divorce which allows both parties to remarry, and ‘putting away’ which is essentially a merciful choice to not enforce the death penalty upon an unfaithful spouse. When a spouse is found to have had premarital sex, or to have committed adultery, legally he or she should face the death penalty, if there are witnesses, or a resulting pregnancy. A merciful man (women had little to no power in this culture, and there was little evidence to prove a man’s transgressions) could choose to quietly ‘put away’ his unchaste spouse. Any other reason for separation required the official papers of divorcement, which proved that fornication was not the cause of the separation, and the woman was free to remarry. If put away without papers, the woman could never legally remarry, and would be considered an adulteress (and liable once again for stoning) should she live with another man.

      The Church’s teaching also requires the belief that Jesus was overthrowing the law of Moses, which did allow for divorce – as the Pharisees rightly pointed out in their attempt to trap him. Were Jesus do away with the death penalty for adultery – which is exactly the trap set for him – he would be ‘overturning the law’ and proving that he was not the Son of God as he claimed. And yet the Church claims he did exactly this. In reality, the Church’s teaching is based on a faulty (Church commanded?) translation, that conflates the meaning of divorce and ‘putting away’. These were entirely different processes, and what Jesus stated that God ‘hated’ was the Pharisees’ common practice, in imitation of Rome, of ‘putting away’ unwanted wives (who were not unchaste) without granting them papers of divorcement. Without the official papers to break the covenant of marriage, the man and woman remained married, and any remarrying would be, in God’s eyes, adultery.

      Although I seem to have gotten off track, my point is, there is no such thing as an unconditional relationship – not in a marriage and not between God and men. An unconditional marriage would allow either party to abuse and/or take advantage of the other, who would have absolutely no recourse but to endure any emotional, spiritual, physical or sexual abuse. Were God to offer ‘unconditional’ salvation, man could ‘Sin boldly’ as recommended by Luther, and God would have no recourse; if his covenant of grace was unconditional.

      This is a very significant point, which I believe is not often addressed. A relationship of any kind – a marriage, a business contract or a relationship between God and man – requires both parties to agree on terms, and always calls for the agreed on contract or covenant to be nullified if either or both parties fail to fulfill their pledges. It is unfair, unjust and utterly unlike God to allow anyone to be abused or oppressed by another, who makes promises, then does not keep them. Just as God reserves for himself the right to nullify a relationship in which the person no longer meets the terms of the covenant. Should a once trusting, loving servant of God turn from him and embrace a wicked, depraved lifestyle, God, as he declares in Ezekiel, will not continue to bless the person due to his earlier good behavior. Relationships/covenants are always based on ongoing commitment and fidelity, not a one-time promise.

      All that to say, Calvinism’s common assertion that ‘unconditional, determinist election’ is set forth in scripture ignores the countless narratives that prove just the opposite. Every time a man or a nation rebelled and refused to repent, God responded with the promised punishment. There was no ‘But you promised to love me no matter what’. This would be absurd, just as it is absurd to demand that a man or a woman remain sentenced to life in a marriage in which their partner no longer respects and relates to them as a loving spouse. There are many promises made in a marriage covenant, which all too frequently are broken long before infidelity occurs. In fact, a ‘dead’ marriage is almost a sure recipe for sexual infidelity, as has been proven again and again; even when the person involved is a minister or celebrated teacher.

      Jesus explained that God intended for relational covenants to be upheld faithfully by both parties who enter into them, but due to the hardness of sinful hearts, God allowed for divorce. (This divorce of Moses could not involve adultery, which called for stoning, and could never lead to papers of divorcement that allowed both parties to remarry.) What God ‘hates’, according to Jesus, was the abuse of women that was taking place under the misuse of ‘putting away’, which had become a casual practice, allowing men to unofficially cast off an unwanted wife and leave her with no viable option to remarry.

      Nor will God look upon the Calvinist and wink at a lewd and careless life, begotten by a faulty belief that God no longer ‘sees’ his sin, but Jesus’ righteousness. The distortion of everything from the atonement, to justification to regeneration allows for all sorts of godless behavior, such as burning an innocent man on green wood. Of course, Calvinists insist that no ‘elect’ man would ‘sin like the devil’ just because he can, but, logically, under the theology, he certainly could do so with no ramifications. If grace is predetermined, irresistible and unconditional, then only the all-controlling God of Calvinism could keep men from abusing their freedom to sin without punishment.

      Don’t get me wrong, God’s love is faultless and unfailing. All day long he holds his arms out to his rebellious children, and will joyfully welcome his penitent, prodigal loved ones home. But his love is conditional, as all just relationships are. God will not wink at evil, nor at the destruction and abuse it causes to others. All love is conditional. Even parents, hopeful as they will always be, cannot single-handedly keep a relationship going should their child walk away and ignore them. God, hopeful as he patiently calls men to repentance, will not forever exercise that patience, but will be compelled by justice to punish evil, and with great joy reward righteousness. Should we fall into dreadful sin, as did David, we can be forgiven, but will still endure the consequences of our actions. And should we refuse to humbly repent and submit to God’s loving authority in our lives, we will have earned our just punishment. And should we merely go through the motions, with no real love in our hearts, God will rightly judge that as well. I know this will earn me no favor with those who cling to OSAS, or believe no divorce (as I have always been taught), but I think it is time we stopped embracing the traditions of men and started studying scripture like Bereans.

      Like

  5. When I was a Calvinist I had my 40-50 go-to passages that I camped on, repeated.

    Now I can enjoy the whole Scripture. Today’s reading-through-the-Bible…

    1 Samuel 1-2:21. Hannah is without child. Eli thinks she is drunk and scolds her.

    She says….I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. 16 Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” (such pathos!)

    Oh in that case says Eli….May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him… (so human!)

    1:19 “When Elkanah slept with Hannah [also human], the Lord remembered her plea, 20 and in due time she gave birth to a son. ”

    Did the Lord do it? Yes! In response to her plea? Yes. Did He give her the plea? No record of that—- that idea is always brought to the text.

    The next part shows an amazing thing…

    She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”

    What does the great prophet’s Samuel’s name mean? “I asked the Lord for him.”

    What a “man-centered” idea. I (me, Hannah) asked the Lord for him. And He (Yahweh) responded to me!

    For all Hebrews….they heard every time…. “I asked the Lord for him.”

    That is the God of the Bible. The determinist theologian knows not what to do with that text! Or thousands of others like it!

    Like

    1. FOH:
      I am new to commenting on this blog, but have met Dr. Flowers, have heard him speak twice, and have been reading his blog now and then. All of that is to say I am just now learning your are a former Calvie. Good to hear you found your way our of quasi-theological Egypt.

      I am curious about your 40 to 50 verses and would like to read them. I know some would be familiar to me, but I have not heard 40 or 50. Would you be willing to publish them, please?

      BTW: the Calvies oft’ repeat “sola gratia.” But I guess they’ve never read Eph. 2:8. We are not saved by grace alone, but also “through faith.” Inherent in the word faith is the subjective aspect of exercising it. I agree that salvation if all of God, or more accurately, is from God. But the appropriation of it is not that exclusive. Salvation’s recipients must exercise faith even if it is God-given.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Norm,
        I use the “40-50 verses” as a loose term….giving them the benefit of the doubt.

        I mean Piper even uses the Proverb about casting the lot in the lap to “prove” that all evil comes from God….. so, man, they might even have 60!

        Anyway, they can easily be found by “finding” on the page comments from rhutchin or Troy in previous pages. It is always the same Eph 1:11, John 6:44 (been ’round the block on that one!), Romans 9, Roms 3:10-11, …Assyrians were made to attack Israel verses…Amos …..does calamity does not come without God causing it. ((Ready? They even use Eph 2:8-9 to say that faith is the thing given in that verse!))

        They NEVER deal with the thousands of verses others bring up. They just pull out the “we know that verse cannot mean that ‘God relented of what He would do’ because ……. ” (then fill in one of their cast lots in the lap Proverbs). These trump cards (one tiny out-of-context Proverb) can be played against thousands of verses. Use, re-use, re-use. All the Bible can be filtered through their 40 non-negotiable key verses.

        Every one of their verses is yanked out of context …..and scaffold-ed together (I like that term cuz it show a loose joining of rickety poles) with other verses to prove their point —- a point that they came to the Scripture with! ((Remember: no one starts out as a Calvinist–we all had to be taught it)).

        I could perhaps refer you to monergism.com to get their go-to verses, but that does not work! Why? Cuz they exegete hundreds of verses like Arminians on that site! I recently posted a message from a pastor Kent (on that site) that was full of clear non-Calvinist statements. But they were on that site in his sermon, and he “gets away” with it because he is well-known to be a Calvinist.

        Say any extreme free-choice idea you want (like “dont waste your life!”) but if you carry a Calvinist card you get a free pass.

        Like

      2. I hope you don’t mind if I add to this conversation.

        Basically, any verse in the bible whether in context or out of context, that can be used to affirm Universal Divine Causal Determinism.

        The concept that God meticulously is the source and originator of everything that occurs in time.
        Every neurological impulse, thought, desire, decision, etc – you will ever have.
        These are said to be fixed by immutable decrees at the foundation of the world.
        Thus every aspect of your being is fated.

        God has the only mind in the universe with the power to make contra-causal choices.
        This means that when you are faced with an A vs. B choice, God has already determined what you will choose for you.

        This is why Piper for example would appeal to the verse about the casting the lots.

        What the Calvinist does with those verses that don’t conform to that concept is to refuse to take them at face value.

        As William Lane Craig says:
        The problem with adopting determinism/compatibilism is that one ends up denying Scriptural texts which clearly affirm: genuine indeterminacy and contingency of the creature.

        What FOH and other non-Calvinists here at SOT101 point out, is that Calvinists take those “deterministic” texts in Scripture – which represent a small fraction of the whole, and assume they overrule the whole.

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      3. William Lane Craig says: “The problem with adopting determinism/compatibilism is that one ends up denying Scriptural texts which clearly affirm: genuine indeterminacy and contingency of the creature.”

        Craig also says that God is omniscient defining it this way, “The property of omniscience is the property of knowing that p, for any true proposition p, and not believing not-p, or, in other words, the property of knowing only and all true propositions.” So Craig defines God’s omniscience to deny “genuine indeterminacy and contingency of the creature.”

        Then, “that Calvinists take those “deterministic” texts in Scripture – which represent a small fraction of the whole, and assume they overrule the whole.”

        Not overrule but that they are true in the context of the whole.

        Like

      4. Hi everyone

        One of the main scriptures I come across when reading about Calvinist belief, is Ezekiel 36:
        26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
        27And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

        And they say, it is from this “new heart” that faith to believe and repentance comes from. This to them is an example of regeneration coming first.

        When I read the whole chapter, I saw that the verse prior says:

        25Then will I SPRINKLE CLEAN WATER upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

        When I looked into this, commentators say it is referring to the Blood of Jesus in the NT
        “sprinkle … water — phraseology taken from the law; namely, the water mixed with the ashes of a heifer sprinkled with a hyssop on the unclean (Numbers 19:9-18); THE THING SIGNIFIED BEING THE CLEANSING BLOOD OF CHRIST sprinkled on the conscience and heart (Hebrews 9:13, Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:22; compare Jeremiah 33:8; Ephesians 5:26).”

        So if/since this be the case. Then it still points to faith first, since the only way the blood is personally applied is by believing in the work of Christ on the cross and His resurrection.

        I would be interested in your views on the use of the Calvinist of this verse.

        One OTHER thing, when it comes to all the verses in the bible where man exercise faith, I have not seen the sentence..”and God put it in their hearts to believe, or have faith etc) ie words to that effect.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Clare:
        you never will see in the Bible that idea that He put faith in their hearts. That idea is brought to the text ….and basically contradicts the hundreds of verses that talk about personal faith (see Abraham, David, Moses, Noah, Heb 11).

        Like

      6. Hi Clare, I think you have the model or process that God designed and shows in scripture correct.

        He ordered the people of Israel to apply the blood on the doorpost – and Paul would call that a “foreshadow of things to come”.
        This is why scholars refer to “types and shadows” of the O.T. which have “continuity” into the N.T.

        Thus God’s plan of salvation as it is declared (taking it at face value) in scripture is conditional.

        Why would God make-believe people are responding to his love – as independent creatures.
        When all along, (as the Calvinist envisions), he is actually moving people around like sock puppets?

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      7. br.d and Clare,

        As I have stated many times on these pages…. God graciously provides the way of escape to people (Noah, Passover, snake-on-pole, Christ) but He requires that —- in faith —- we respond. Many evangelicals (Christian Church, Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ) believe that believer’s baptism is part of salvation. That would be faith, plus action for them.

        Ironically some of my “baptismal regeneration” (church mentioned above) friends are being pulled into the YRR wave by the popularity (and “Don’t Waste Your Life” books) of Piper and Sproul, and MacArthur.

        So incredibly ironic that they can hold both to be true. What? Does God put them in the water also!?

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      8. FOH writes, “God graciously provides the way of escape to people (Noah, Passover, snake-on-pole, Christ) but He requires that —- in faith —- we respond.”

        Of course, God then gives the person the faith necessary to evoke the response He requires.

        Like

      9. br.d
        This is humorous!

        Your response comes as an email to me saying that you said “excellent point!” (When I mentioned the many times the OT shows Noah, Abraham, Moses, Israelites, Passover —and the need for individual faith).

        The way the web site is set up….your comment falls under Rhuthchin’s and it makes it look like you said that to his comment that “God gives people the faith.”

        Every time I post about a Scriptural passage that requires man to have faith, I predict that someone will “bring to the text” the idea that “God gave them that faith.” Of course they say that —-with no scriptural support.

        And of course they can offer no OT types of Christ/the cross that support that idea.

        They just make it up out of thin air! Very dangerous! Very contradictory to the Scriptures!

        But they just repeat it. Rinse…repeat…despite what Scripture says (or in their case never says).

        Like

      10. Yes – I don’t embrace the Calvinist line that God must cast a spell over people to make them believe or like him.
        I agreed with your post.

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      11. br.d writes, “I don’t embrace the Calvinist line that God must cast a spell over people to make them believe or like him.”

        Or God could just regenerate people and give life to their dead spirit as the human spirit has an affinity for God’s spirit.

        Like

      12. br.d
        “I don’t embrace the Calvinist line that God must cast a spell over people to make them believe or like him.”

        rhutchin:
        Or God could just regenerate people and give life to their dead spirit as the human spirit has an affinity for God’s spirit.

        br.d
        But then Calvin’s doctrine (which is much more radical than that statement) wouldn’t be unique and plagued with ethical issues.

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      13. br.d writes, “But then Calvin’s doctrine (which is much more radical than that statement) wouldn’t be unique and plagued with ethical issues.”

        Which means that whatever ethical issues people see in Calvinism are to be attributed to the imaginations of those people and not to reality.

        Like

      14. br.d writes, “But then Calvin’s doctrine (which is much more radical than that statement) wouldn’t be unique and plagued with ethical issues.”

        rhutchin:
        Which means that whatever ethical issues people see in Calvinism are to be attributed to the imaginations of those people and not to reality.

        br.d
        Either that or Calvinists are forced to wear “see no evil” blinders – like the remaining followers of David Koresh doe – who are still alive. :-]

        Since at least some of Calvinism’s ethical issues are easy to recognize within the general body of Bible based Christianity the probability is those issues are not imagined but real.

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      15. br, d writes, “When all along, (as the Calvinist envisions), he is actually moving people around like sock puppets?”

        Actually, Calvinists envision God confining people into “fenced yards” in which they are free to do as they desire. A “fenced yard” might be the condition of being spiritually dead; or of not having faith; or being enslaved to sin.

        Like

      16. br, d writes, “When all along, (as the Calvinist envisions), he is actually moving people around like sock puppets?”

        rhutchin
        Actually, Calvinists envision God confining people into “fenced yards”

        br.d
        Let the reader discern if that is logically consistent with a Theos determining every neurological impulse people have. :-]

        Like

      17. br.d
        Yes….and let the reader see Henry Ford’s meaning when he was asked whether they had the choice of other colors for their new Model T.

        “They can have that car in any color they want……as long as it’s black!”

        Sock puppet is better. Fatalism-Calvinism says that everything that has happened so far (murder, rape, innovation, discover, relationships, crime, sex, drugs, and rock and roll) has been minutely orchestrated/ ordained/ decreed/ willed/ desired by God …. and yet He is not the origin of any sin.

        Simple conversation starter with a Calvinist friend: Does God always get what He wants?

        Like

      18. FOH:
        Simple conversation starter with a Calvinist friend: Does God always get what He wants?

        br.d
        Yes, Dr. Jerry Walls has a similar observation when he compares Calvinism to Atheism – since both embrace determinism.
        In determinism every neurological impulse in our brain is caused by antecedent factors beyond our control.

        Since the Atheist doesn’t believe in a god, they believe those antecedent causal factors all proceed from nature.
        NATURAL determinism.

        The Calvinist believes in a god (theos) who functions as the source and originating antecedent cause.
        THEOLOGICAL determinism.

        But when it comes to sinful evil events – suddenly the Calvinist attempts to make the theos disappear from the causal chain.
        In order to hide the fact that his god is the source/author/originator of the event.

        That’s why – rutchin for example – always points to some natural intermediate antecedent as the cause of sin and evil
        He’s working to make his theos disappear from the picture – like the magician does with his disappearing rabbit.

        So for sinful even events, the Calvinist forces himself to become an apologist for NATURAL determinism.
        Like the Atheist, he blames all sinful evil events on any natural antecedent cause he can think of.
        Want – desire – inclination – sinful nature – fallen nature – reprobate nature – you name it.

        Dr.Walls also points out that the ethical problem the Calvinist has is even greater than that of the Atheist.
        Within NATURAL determinism, nature is not an intelligent being who INTENDS to cause sinful evil events.
        But the Calvinist can’t evade the fact that his god has full INTENT when it comes to authoring sins and evils.
        And that puts the Calvinist into a panic attack attempting to make the antecedent actions caused by his god disappear.
        So Dr. Walls likens Calvinists to Magicians who can make their god appear and disappear at will. :-]

        Liked by 1 person

      19. br.d
        yes….thanks. I have noticed that rhutchin makes God go away a lot. Indeed he has a very man-centered theology.

        Like

      20. ‘fenced yards’??? Where does scripture describe those? Nothing like making it up as you go along. The closest thing I see is a door, at which Jesus knocks, and which we are urged to open so that he can, and will, come in. But of course, the Calvinist is either deaf or ignorant, and is unable to open the door. Which would make his ‘fenced yard’ a prison.

        Like

      21. TS00

        We have the opposite of “fenced yards” all over the Scripture. I see it every day. Today’s reading in 1 Samuel 2… Priest Eli to his sons…

        24 You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord’s people are not good. 25 If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede?”

        Obviously these guys are doing things that God (Yahweh, the Eternal One) does not want. They are outside any “fence” created!

        God says “don’t do it”….the priest says “don’t do it”…. the people say “don’t do it”—- but they do.

        There is no way on earth to make this (or Cain’s disobedience, or the wickedness in Noah’s day… or sacrificing children to Molech) something that is “God’s sovereign will” and I shudder to think why man is so pompous and audacious to say that.

        Liked by 1 person

      22. Thruthseeker:
        Which would make his ‘fenced yard’ a prison.

        br.d
        Yes! That’s funny isn’t it!
        I often say God gave us Calvinists as a form of entertainment.

        Calvinism is more like Hotel California, then a fenced yard.
        You’re free to check out any time you like – but you can never leave.
        or
        You’re free to have a thought that Calvin’s god didn’t predestine you to think.
        But you can never have a thought that Calvin’s god didn’t predestine you to think. :-]

        Liked by 1 person

      23. Great, now I’m going to be singing all day ‘Welcome to the Hotel Calvinfornia’! 😉

        Like

      24. ts00 writes, “‘fenced yards’??? Where does scripture describe those? ”

        It’s an illustration. The same principle as Satan complained concerning Job, ““Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side?” but in the opposite direction.

        Like

      25. ts00 writes, “The closest thing I see is a door, at which Jesus knocks, and which we are urged to open so that he can, and will, come in.”

        That comes from Revelation and refers to Jesus knocking on the door of the church. Jesus is always interacting with believers in many ways.

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      26. br.d writes, “Let the reader discern if that is logically consistent with a Theos determining every neurological impulse people have.”

        Obviously, if God did not create people with neurological impulses, they would have none.

        Like

      27. br.d
        Let the reader discern if that is logically consistent with a Theos determining every neurological impulse people have.”

        rhutcnin
        Obviously, if God did not create people with neurological impulses, they would have none.

        br.d
        For the Calvinist – its more logically consistence to say “if Calvin’s god doesn’t decree each neurological impulse they would have none.”

        Remember, what Calvin says: You are to go about your office *AS-IF* everything is NOT determined in every part.
        And your enunciations of sins and evils are consistent with those instructions. :-]

        Like

      28. Clare,

        Astute observation.

        First we have to remember this is written to “the House of Israel” (Ezekiel 36:22) and not the nation as a whole.

        Now, in content….

        Ezekiel 36:24-28 (NKJV)….
        For I will take you (the House of Israel) from among the nations (the Gentiles), gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell (live) in the land that I gave to your fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob); you shall be My people, and I will be your God.

        In short, the cleansing, new heart, new spirit, and keeping of the statutes and judgments only happens after the House of Israel has returned to their own land.

        Like

  6. I just posted about the Lord “responding” to Hannah’s prayer.

    What can that mean to a determinist?

    How can God respond to a man (woman!)? Doesnt that —for them— “lower Him”?

    He already “predetermined” it all right? So how can He “respond” in any way?

    And why does He allow that to even be said …..if (according to them) He cannot afford to look in any way “lower” than men.

    Like

  7. It’s so true about Calvinists kicking the can down the road so to speak.

    The Calvinist seems to think it is a bad thing to say someone’s own intellect, wisdom, or any other word that could be used in response to the gospel to accept that they are sinners in need of salvation. Yes, the Non-Calvinist believes they have these things at their disposal, but they also believe by the grace of God everybody has them at their disposal. That’s what they they tell their non-believing friends and family. They tell them to use their God given intellect or wisdom to believe the God given gospel.

    The intellect, wisdom, or any other word that could be used is supplied by God, there’s no doubt about it. But it’s using that intellect, wisdom, or whatever other word that can be used in place of free will to deny God is the problem.

    The Calvinist also has to say it was their intellect and wisdom given by God that made them cry out to God for salvation. They just believe God only gave it to them at some point in their lives (the can kicked down the road) and that others are barred from access to it. In a sense they think that they have a certain intellect and wisdom that was reserved only for them from before they were born by a secret decree for no given reason.

    Call it intellect, wisdom, whatever. Whatever it is we all have it because it is what God will judge us for. Did we use it to believe we are sinners in need of salvation in response to the gospel, or did we use it to believe that we do not need salvation in response to the gospel.

    Whatever it is. God says it holds us accountable. It’s easier to just call it – free will.

    “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” Romans 3:22-24

    “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” Acts 17:31

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Damon you are so right!

      “They tell them to use their God given intellect or wisdom to believe the God given gospel.”

      Ironically James White debates all kinds of faiths and there are many apologists who “reason” with people (what does reason mean: appeal to “their reason”!).

      I am have mentioned my 30+ years on the mission field. I often bump into people talking strategy, contextualization, and methods…. and then I find out they are Calvinists. They have no idea how completely contradictory all those things are!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true FOH. I have friends and family members who are Calvinists that do that very thing as well.

        I hear them being disappointed that Joe Blogs just won’t humble himself to the gospel. They even say “oh well, he’ll have to answer to the Lord one day”

        In practice they go against everything they defend.
        I mean, if Joe Blogs will have to answer to the Lord one day for rejecting their appeal (which is God’s appeal being the gospel);
        Then obviously it should be understood that Joe Blogs had the ability but didn’t use it.

        This is where the Calvinist starts tripping over words and going around in circles in my opinion.

        They don’t blame God for Joe Blogs rejecting their appeal; but then argue with you that Joe Blogs (rejecting the appeal) has not been given the special ability needed to accept it because God decided not to give it to him from before he was born by a secret decree for no given reason. And yet, they still say he will have to answer to the Lord one day 🌛-🌜

        All because they hold so tightly to an unbiblical secret decree that supposedly decreed irresistible salvation for some and not others for no given reason before they were born.

        This unbiblical doctrine trumps everything to the Calvinist. Even clear biblical revelation that refutes it.
        Even the passages they use do not specifically state anything about their doctrine. The doctrine is read into all the passages they use.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Damon,
        Two things about your comment.

        1. They talk as though it is the people making the choice, but they theologize as if it is entirely God’s doing. They verbalized/ preach a “man-centered” approach, because it is TOO difficult to say “Okay, I guess Dad was just not chosen by God.” They prefer to say “We told him the gospel many times ….but he would never listen and repent.”

        Calvinists: Just own it!! Just say it straight. Just own and proclaim “for God’s glory” that your dead, unsaved friend/ father was just not chosen! Don’t nimble-foot around it saying “We tried to tell him!” (as if it was him who had the choice to make).

        2. Paul says that he does “all things to win some” and Acts 19:8 (even in the ESV!) says…

        And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.

        (A) He went to a strategic place (synagogue), (B) he did it for 3 months (long!), (C) he spoke boldly (hard!), (D) he reasoned (appealed to their “reason”, and (E) he was persuading them (see Acts 18:13) .

        All of this points to the “man-centered” approach that the Calvinists loathe!

        We tell people to speak boldly (not timidly). Why? Because it makes a difference.

        This verse is “man-centered” in appealing to their reason, and it is man-centered in Paul “doing all things to win” “speaking boldly” . Man has a part.

        Calvinists, in their effort to lift God up, distort the true situation.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I was just thinking about the situation where a young girl is being beaten by her boyfriend.
        She is totally adamant that he has no problem and blames herself for the events.
        “He really loves me deeply – and I’m to blame because I get him upset”
        We can see she’s not being honest with herself.
        But that could be for one of two reasons.

        Firstly, she may have an emotional need to believe she is loved by a man, and the reality of his behavior compromises that belief.
        So she convinces herself and functions *AS-IF* his problem doesn’t exist.

        The second reason could be altruistic dishonesty – she’s trying to protect him.
        Perhaps he’s a pastor and she needs to be dishonest for the sake of his ministry.

        I think Calvinists are in the same psychological situation.
        If they allow themselves to be honest – they would have to reject Calvinism and they’re not psychologically prepared for that.
        Embracing double-think then – becomes a necessary evil.
        Once they get used to the double-think – they’re minds have no ability to recognize the condition.

        Liked by 4 people

      4. This is how cognitive dissonance works. If the truth demands a sacrifice we are unwilling to face, instead, we will refuse to face the truth. We provide ourselves with all manner of excuses, and if we can find some ‘respected authorities’ to give us good ammunition, we can dim that voice of the Spirit to near silence. Should it nonetheless break through all of our well-laid defenses, we will simply say, ‘Who am I to question Calvin, the Westminster Divines and R.C. Sproul?’ We ‘humbly’ (or so we tell ourselves) bow to our chosen authorities, and tell ourselves that ‘scripture is not up to individual interpretation’. And God, being a non-coercive god who will not force us to listen or do what he asks, will eventually leave us to our own chosen paths. That is the saddest moment – when God acknowledges that there is no use in holding out his arms to us any longer.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes I agree TruthSeeker

        My introduction to Calvinism came with a few phases of responses.
        First of all I noticed the vicarious boasting that comes with an “elect” status and instantly identified it as religious flesh.
        Next, I was struck with the “author of evil” implications on its image of God.
        Then I started to become aware of the pervasive degree to which its language is designed to mislead people.
        After reading on the subject of Determinism I learned about its necessity for double-think.

        I think if the general population of evangelical Christianity can recognize those red-flags, Calvinism will have a very difficult time propagating itself. And I think that is the reason we see Calvinist pastors lying their way into congregations.

        Like

      6. Yes Damon,
        Many have stated on these pages that a big part of Calvinism is brought to the text:

        What God must be like.
        What sovereignty must mean.
        What omniscience must mean.

        If one comes to the text with the Greek idea that God “necessarily” (gotta use that word) decreed all cuz we know how He is, then no matter how many passages you quote that say things happen that He doesnt want—- it wont change a thing.

        “We already know how God is and those hundreds or thousands of passages can’t possibly mean what they say!”

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Though this portion of scripture was referenced, I thought I would provide it here. Now for clarity, Peter is addressing Jews (albeit believing Jews). But there is still application for us.

    I Peter 5:4-6a (KJV)….
    “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves.…”

    Simply put, humility is not a gift. It is something that we have to conjure up ourselves.

    Like

    1. So true Phillip, Good post!.

      Humility is a required response from the Lord. Whosoever does not humble themselves to the gospel will be judged for not humbling themselves to the gospel.

      It’s really quite simple isn’t it.

      Thanks to the Lord for the humbling gospel message.

      Like

  9. br, d writes, “When all along, (as the Calvinist envisions), he is actually moving people around like sock puppets?”

    rhutchin
    Actually, Calvinists envision God confining people into “fenced yards” in which they are free to do as they desire.

    br.d
    This language is designed to hide the fact that Calvin’s god doesn’t determine everything – desire/want/nature you name it – in every part.
    Just a tiny little omission! :-]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. woops!

      Correction:
      This language is designed to hide the fact that Calvin’s god determines EVERYTHING – desires/wants/nature – you name it –
      And in every part. :-]

      Liked by 1 person

    2. br.d writes, “This language is designed to hide the fact that Calvin’s god doesn’t determine everything”

      It is a given that God determines everything simply because He is sovereign.

      Like

      1. rhutchin
        Actually, Calvinists envision God confining people into “fenced yards” in which they are free to do as they desire.

        br.d
        This language is designed to hide the fact that Calvin’s god determines everything – (wants – desires – nature) – in every part.

        rhutchin
        It is a given that God determines everything simply because He is sovereign.

        br.d
        Ok, then we can make the Calvinist language more forthright and include those “given” parts that are always omitted.

        Calvinists envision God confining people into “fenced yards” in which they are free to do as they desire.
        But with the caveat that Calvin’s god determines/predestines everything they desire in every part.
        And he makes it so they cannot desire otherwise than what he determines/predestines they desire.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Daily reading… 1 Samuel 2:24 God sends a messenger to Eli the high priest.

    28 I chose your ancestor Aaron from among all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer sacrifices on my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the priestly vest[e] as he served me. And I assigned the sacrificial offerings to you priests. 29 So why do you scorn my sacrifices and offerings?

    —God chose (“chose”— the overused Calvinist word) Aaron’s line for service…. but no… they didn’t do it. God does not always get what He wants.

    30 I promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi would always be my priests. But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me.

    — God says (here and many, many times) that He will honor those who honor Him, and despise those who think lightly of Him.

    Those are His words! Not mine…. Not Arminius…. not Wesley!

    Recently a “Meg” declared on another page that if people just read their Bibles more, they would lean reformed.

    Why? Not with the relentless, daily passages like this.

    God makes so much of His relationship conditional. We make choices. He says it Himself.

    Like

  11. My wife is reading next to me and read out loud:

    He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matt 9:12,13).

    Questions to fatalist-Calvinists:

    1. Jesus told the Pharisees and tax-collectors to “go and learn.” Could they go and learn? Sound like they had all they needed to do that.

    2. “I desire mercy” Can we show it? Do what God desires? Yes. He is telling sinners to do what He desires. No reference that we need something special (infusion of faith) to do that.

    3. He came to call sinners (“those who are sick”) to repent. To the simple reader, it sounds like it is possible for sinners to repent…. and that is what He is calling them to do.

    We never see verses like “I am not calling everyone to repent, only the chosen.”

    Sinners can repent…. they dont need regeneration first. Whose human idea is that!?

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  12. Daily reading John 5

    Calvinists twist the meaning in Romans 3:11 saying no one seeks God …to help their Total Depravity cause. But Jesus says…

    39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.

    They are seeking….even in the Scriptures. And they could see Christ. But they refused to come.

    Seeking. Searching. Refusing. Not got withholding faith….. just unrepentant (yet capable) humans.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FOH writes, “They are seeking….even in the Scriptures.”

      So you assume. Later, in John 6, Christ will say, “No one can come to me…” So, Christ says here, “Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” They refuse because they cannot come to Christ without help.

      Like

      1. Rhutchin writes:
        “So you assume. Later, in John 6, Christ will say, “No one can come to me…” So, Christ says here, “Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” They refuse because they cannot come to Christ without help.”

        So, if these men had only known the truth about Calvinism they could have rightly upbraided Jesus for not giving them the help they needed to come to him. They could have condemned his Father for having so little love that he did not ‘help’ them, who were helpless without him, and shamed Jesus for condemning them for that which they were unable to do.

        This they did not do. Because they did not lack any necessary help, they simply believed they did not need Jesus at all; not for a change of heart and not for ‘the Way’ to God he declared himself to be. Instead, they chose to put their trust in their traditions and ceremonies and the false concept of a ‘chosen people’, an irrevocable covenant, despite all of the warnings given to Moses about how disobedience would annul the covenant. Much like Calvinists. Jesus came offering the true bread of life, and many preferred their mess of pottage. Sorry, I mix my metaphors – their rotting manna.

        Each man has a choice to make. He can trust in God, and his promised provision, or he can hoard extra manna and see it turn to worms. Pharisees and Calvinists hoard up a manna that, when they look to it for sustenance, will have turned into rot and worms. There is no bread that will last but that which God provides, and it literally falls from the heavens with no partiality. It is free for all men to partake of, if they choose; but the Pharisees chose to reject Jesus as the bread of life, the lamb of God sent to atone for sin once for all time. Instead, they looked to their circumcision and the memory of a sacrificial system that was nothing but the foreshadowing of the great atonement that had now arrived in the flesh. They rejected the true ‘Way’ for their inferior way to God; hence, they did not come to his drawing.

        Rhutchin loves to use phrases, taken out of context, and give them meanings that the weight of scripture cannot bear. The same passage that says ‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day’ only a few verses earlier states:

        ‘For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.’

        Note the parallel language. And a bit later, speaking metaphorically, Jesus uses the same language, saying: ‘he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day’. One could, of course, rip such a verse out of context and assert that cannibalism was being proclaimed, as indeed some did; false teachers will never cease to distort the meaning of scripture. Which is why prooftexting wars are futile. One must read the entire message of the bible, as a whole, to understand the confusing parts.

        These men did not come, not because they lacked God’s necessary but withheld help, but because they thought that they did not need Jesus. They believed they were the ‘elect’, the truly loved, the ‘chosen people’ of God, and would obviously receive his blessings. They ignored, nay, even denied, the conditions of the covenant that were clearly set forth for all to see and know. These people did not come because they did not believe in Jesus and all that proclaimed he was the long awaited anointed one, or Messiah.

        Instead, they had made up a faulty religion that rested on election and partiality, and this is what they put their trust in. Jesus was the drawing card that God offered to all men, without partiality. He said that when he was lifted up he would draw all men unto himself, yet his teaching always asserted that this ‘drawing’ merely enabled men to come. Jesus said all were able, but some ‘refuse to come to me to receive this life’. Calvinism says the problem is with God not giving men the ability to come.

        Every man has the ability and responsibility to choose whether or not they will come in response to the drawing card provided by a loving, merciful God, exactly as Jesus described. Or they can shrug and say, ‘If I am chosen, I am chosen. I don’t need you.’ Just as many did then, and many do today, even while claiming to hold as most holy the very Word of God – distorting it now as they did then.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ts00 writes, “they simply believed they did not need Jesus at all; not for a change of heart and not for ‘the Way’ to God he declared himself to be….”

        This describes the reprobate. “…those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,…the mind set on the flesh is death,…because 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;…” “remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

        Like

      3. Much of the error lies in falsely insisting that to draw is to apply an irresistible force. In reality, that which was translated ‘draw’ did not imply such a force, and more than its English translation.

        A moth is drawn to a flame. A butterfly is drawn to flowers. A man is drawn to a woman. The pure in heart are drawn to God, to light and the truth, justice and righteousness it reveals. The wicked are drawn to darkness, for it conceals their evil deed. Yet none of this is by force. In each case, the drawing is not compelled.

        Calvinism falsely asserts that man is like a butterfly who no longer desires flowers, and helplessly perishes while the fields bloom profusely, because God does not give him the necessary ‘desire’ to be drawn to the flowers of life.

        Scripture paints a different picture. It suggests a deceiver, who invents a toxic substitute for that which gives life. Like ‘sugar’, it is sweet to the taste, and promises delight, but leads to obesity, cancer and death. The true ‘Way’ of life was revealed to us in Jesus, and confused, deceived men could once again see the difference between the living nectar and the toxic sugar. But the choice was theirs as to which they would consume.

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      4. Calvinism’s irresistible grace leans way to close the principle of witchcraft, magic spells, potions etc.
        Perhaps Lucifer looked at Calvin’s god’s irresistible grace model and decided to copy it.
        And the result was the “seducing” spirit. :-]

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      5. TS00
        Your idea of a deceiver matches Scripture.

        “The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

        Calvinists say that the saving and the not-saving of all people is totally God’s pre-determined, before-time plan but Scripture tells a totally different story.

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      6. Oh by the way TS00 in your idea of a deceiver….. Piper would agree with you. From his desiringgod site.

        “Paul expresses his concern for the faith of the Thessalonians like this: “I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:5). Paul knew that Satan’s design is to choke off the faith of people who have heard the word of God.”

        So these unbelievers have faith?

        But Satan chokes it off?

        I thought Calvinists teach that only God can give faith and once given it is irresistible.

        They are so inconsistent!!!

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      7. Totally hit the bulls-eye FOH!

        I don’t think I’ve read anything from Mr. Piper that wasn’t double-speak designed to make Calvinism appear generic.
        Same for John MacCarther
        Both of these guys can manufacture self-contradictions without blinking.
        I suspect that’s what has propelled them to be voices of influence in the guild. :-]

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      8. ts00 writes, “Much of the error lies in falsely insisting that to draw is to apply an irresistible force. In reality, that which was translated ‘draw’ did not imply such a force,…”

        This is wrong. The Greek is not unclear here – the word means to drag and incorporates the use of force. The word is used of fishermen pulling a net filled with fish to their boat. In 6:44, it says that God must drag a person to Christ for them to believe in Christ.

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      9. Rhutchin writes:
        “ts00 writes, “Much of the error lies in falsely insisting that to draw is to apply an irresistible force. In reality, that which was translated ‘draw’ did not imply such a force,…”

        This is wrong. The Greek is not unclear here – the word means to drag and incorporates the use of force. The word is used of fishermen pulling a net filled with fish to their boat. In 6:44, it says that God must drag a person to Christ for them to believe in Christ.”

        This, of course, is an opinion, a deliberate choice to apply Rhutchin’s preferred meaning to a word. However, Thayers Greek Lexicon, for example, suggests it could be intended more metaphorically, suggesting: “I by my moral, my spiritual, influence will win over to myself the hearts of all”. One of the common practices of those who deceive is to present a possibility as a fact. We must always admit that our interpretation of the translation of non-original manuscripts is not certain, nor is anyone else’s. Hint: When a defender uses words like ‘clear’ and ‘certain’, you should proceed with caution. I am still learning to overcome this church-taught certainty.

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      10. TS00, but it’s worse than that. In my last exchange with Hutch, he admitted, full stop, that he knows nothing about hermeneutics and does not care to. So he doesn’t know anything about how definitions of words fit into sentences nor how to evaluate how the author is using these words. But he claims to know an entire doctrine of salvation based upon a single word’s possible definition while at the same time admitting he has no interest in hermeneutics.

        Take this sentence in English for example:
        “Oh, you’re daughter came with you?”
        “Yea, I dragged her along”

        English speakers understand how to evaluate what “dragged” means in this context without trying because we’ve lived our entire lives doing the work of translating English sentences. But the Bible was not written in English and is from a culture two thousand years gone. Hutch thinks we don’t need to do any extra work to understand what biblical sentences mean in their context, yet claims to know what they mean. It is a position that, quite literally, should not be taken seriously.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Eric you are correct.
        This is called hyperbole.
        In Matthew 5:29 is Jesus literally teaching people to gouge out their eyes?

        If one approaches the text with certain presuppositions embraced as unquestionable truth – then yes one can interpret the text that way.

        Calvinists are first taught to embrace the presupposition of Universal Divine Causal Determinism
        They are taught to embrace it as unquestionable truth.
        Once the human brain embraces this, it quite naturally interprets everything to affirm it.

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      12. br.d,

        As far as what they are taught first I have found this….

        Dont start with Limited Atonement!!!! Whatever you do!! People just do NOT wanna hear that Christ did not die for all —-cuz we all say that He did for most of our lives. (Notice the Wikipedia page on TULIP calls the L “justification by faith” —since limiting Christ’s atonement is so —–harsh to say!) They cant even bring themselves to say it….and certainly not first!

        I have found that since 4 of the TULIP points are God-centered Calvinists chose to start with how bad man is. Platt has been doing that a lot lately.

        Extract every “dead” idea out of the Word and outrun the text (MAKE it say man is incapable) .

        Everyone is willing to talk about how bad we are (not how bad God is in limiting His grace).

        So get that T in there right way. (((Ignore all verses that say we are “dead to sin” yet still sin)))

        “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”—- must have been given some special faith (just repeat that idea over an over!!!)

        If you can get that established —–that man is too dead —-then smooth sailing. Cuz you gotta have some kind of regeneration-intervention if the person is a corpse. Like Abraham was a corpse, right?

        Cain was a corpse when God told him he could and should dominate over sin, right? Oh well, God must have left him as a corpse since he did not respond in faith.

        God tells Cain (and the whole world in His word) that Cain could and should dominate over sin and then just does not enable him to do so! The rest of us would call that being deceitful.

        Like

      13. yes – Calvinist language is designed to present a false attribution.

        Take for example a village people who are obligated by law to drown their female new-borns.

        The village people say: “we gave the baby a bath – but unfortunately it didn’t survive”

        And this model of semantics is ubiquitous in Calvinist language.

        Perhaps they secretly think they are fooling people with these tricks.
        But once one figures out their language model – it actually highlights their ethical conundrum.

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      14. br.d
        The trump card of all semantics is over displayed in these pages.

        We lay out biblical, logical situations….. only to see them swept away with a ….

        “Yes but since God is sovereign and God is omniscient….we ‘necessarily’ know that those verses do not mean what they appear to mean.”

        Of course this requires that one brings to the table, or brings to the word their OWN definition of what those words mean.

        We should let Scripture ….the Lord Himself …define what His sovereignty means.

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      15. Absolutely correct.
        Its a psychological ensnarement.
        But the Lord is able to deliver.

        One way to catch a monkey is to glue a jar to the floor and put a banana in it.
        He can keep a grip on the banana – but he can’t get his hand and the banana out of the jar. :-]
        His unwillingness to let go of the banana keeps him there.

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      16. And to be completely honest, we must acknowledge that words are open to various interpretations. In other words, we cannot kand on a few ‘gotcha’ verses and assume we have arrived at Truth. We must honestly examine all of scripture to see if our current understanding can bear the weight of what we are reading. If not, we must do the hard work and be willing to toss out any long held, much loved beliefs that do not stand up to serious study. Loyally defending our preferred worldview is not productive.

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      17. rhutchin:
        The Greek is not unclear here – the word means to drag and incorporates the use of force.

        (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges commentary on John 12:32)
        Man’s will is free; he can refuse to be drawn: and there is no violence…

        (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament)
        There is no thought here of force or magic. The term figuratively expresses the supernatural power of the love of God or Christ which goes out to all (12:32) but without which no one can come (6:44). The apparent contradiction shows that both the election and the universality of grace must be taken seriously; the compulsion is not automatic-

        br.d
        The additional problem here for the Calvinist is how he contradicts himself.
        He asserts the scripture teaches Calvin’s god uses force – while he simultaneously asserts that Calvin’s god doesn’t use force

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you Eric for your post. With deadlines on paper on Church History and upcoming exams, I did not notice that my response got a full response on this blogsite. Appreciate it.

    First, I am glad not to be accused of misinterpreting Dr. Flowers. It seemed that, my summary of his points is fairly accurate.

    So let’s go to the two challenges I’ve noted. 1) How it can be shown from the Bible that ‘saving faith’ is something ultimately generated by an unregenerated man’s inherent character (i.e. his intellect, his wisdom, and his spirituality). 2) How it can be defended that God has chosen to make salvation grounded upon man’s inherent character when it seems that the Biblical Gospel specifically points to an external action of the Trinity to save man.

    This puts the discussion right into focus since my fidelity is to God’s Word. Both challenges points back to our highest authority not our preference or tradition. My principle is simple: God’s Word shapes my worldview. It does not matter whether biblical truths conforms towhat I want or what I perceived is the ‘ideal’ or ‘fair’ scenario. In my worldview, the apriori in the Bible are basic and does not need proving. Thus, if it is Biblical, no matter my mind’s protestation, ultimately, the biblical perspective wins. That’s my personal principle which I believe, not everybody shares in this forum. Be that as it may, I appreciate the response because it points me to several biblical passages.

    On challenge 1. I am not sure how the biblical passages cited proves that ‘saving faith’ is something ultimately generated by an unregenerated man’s inherent character. I will withold my response until I see how the verses argued for the case. While an article was attached arguing for logical order or conditionality on being saved, the basic contention here is not that there are aspects in soteriology that are conditional. Surely, justification is conditioned upon faith. Progressive sanctification is conditioned upon our response to holy living. Thus, showing conditionality in several aspects of our salvation is not anywhere contested by Reformed Dogmatics. What we are interested though is one particular aspect of salvation. How can unregenerate person comes to saving faith in Christ? It seems that from your worldview, fallen human beings can respond in ‘saving faith’ to the call of Gospel becasue they bear the Imago Dei. God does not need to regenerate them in order for them to respond in faith. That seemed to be argument. I have to see how the Scripture systematically teaches this. At this point, I don’t see how this is the case from the verses presented.

    Calvinism argues for God’s ‘effective grace’ that must be given to fallen man before he responds in ‘saving grace’ based on two assertions:

    1. The positive description about the nature of fallen man as found here:

    https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/piper/depravity.html

    2. The positive descriptions of the work of God on fallen man in order to be saved as found here:

    https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/piper/irresistable.html

    Which of these worldviews present the biblical data in a more consisten or systematic way depends on the reader. My own conviction is that the Reformed View is more consistent and more systematic in the handling of the biblical data. But let me know your thoughts.

    On challenge 2. Calvinists argue that the main ground of their salvation is the work of the Trinity alone. With this view, they see even their response of ‘saving faith’ as God’s gracious work in their hearts without such ‘effective grace’ they would have continued to rebel against the Gospel command to repent and believe. I’ve stated that, ‘The Spirit gives spiritual life to the sinner which leads him to believe in Christ and to grow in holiness; the Son provides for him the baiss of his righteousness through the Cross; and the Father sent the Son and ordained the salvation of those whom he has chosen to save.’ Whilst you agree with the Calvinist on most of these points, you do not agree that God ordained the salvation of those whom he has chosen to save. I think that is the heart of the issue and where the discussion should focus. For, if this is biblically accurate, it seems that the Calvinistic worldview is justified namely that the ‘ground’ of salvation is the work of the triune God alone and that no part of fallen man is the ‘ground’ of his slavation. Hopefully, there is a way where this could be discussed further.

    Some side topics. You stated that Calvinists believe that ‘since God does not choose who to save based upon any condition, therefore, His choice is completely arbitrary.’ Also, when ask why he God chose a person to be saved, the Calvinist is left saying, ‘I don’t know, His choices are arbitrary…’ As Calvinist though, I am not forced to answer in these terms. The Scripture informs my worldview and, thank God, he did provide a reason why he has chosen to save a people to himself. The reason is not found in our inherent character but found in God. Ephesians 1 grounds our response as always. God has chosen us in Christ ‘to praise of the glory of his grace’, ‘according to his good pleasure’, ‘according to the counsel of his will’, ‘to the praise of his glory’. God is never arbitrary of his choice to save people. Contrary to view presented here, the Reformed worldview will respond that the reason why he has ‘chosen us’ before the foundation of world is not because of our ‘inherent character’ (i.e. our spirituality, humility, good works, faith, etc)… but because of God’s inherent character (i.e. he wants to extol his grace). That in a way drives me everyday to my knees in humility and gratitude at the greatness of such mercy. And it drives me to mission knowing that God has chosen to save and that nothing can stop him from saving even the worst rejecter of the Gospel.

    Hope this helps. God bless you all.

    Like

    1. Joey:
      I would like to stay with your ‘arbitrary choice’ idea….expressed below.

      —“The Scripture informs my worldview and, thank God, he did provide a reason why he has chosen to save a people to himself.”

      The ‘reason’ is because He wants to have a people to Himself. It is the manner that we are discussing.

      The Scripture does inform us! The three examples of the type of Christ:

      EGYPT: Pharaoh wakes up to his dead son. “What happened,” he asked his men? “Well God just ‘arbitrarily’ nuked our kids and saved theirs.'”

      NOAH: Water rising…..”Hey, why is that man’s family safe?” “Well God just ‘arbitrarily’ provided him a boat.”

      SERPENT: “Why am I not getting better from my snakebite like that guy?” “Well God just ‘arbitrarily’ healed some.”

      God provides salvation. Always with a condition. I know, I know that hurts your being-taught-Calvinism ears…. as it did mine! We want it all to be in God’s hands!!! I get that!

      But we cannot make it that way (to honor God) if He did not make it that way.

      God provides the solution. But the blood has to be applied in faith. The boat had to be built. The serpent had to be made, then found, and looked at.

      If God wants to have human faith be part of His salvation plan that is His choice.

      I taught that this human faith is a work, but Romans 4 is clear that faith is not a work and nowhere in the Bible does it say that “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” is some kind of given-to-him faith. There is no Scriptural basis to say that Abraham was so “totally depraved” that he could not have faith and many scriptural indications (such as all of Hebrews 11) that we can have faith.

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      1. Thank you for your response. As mentioned already, none of the followers of Reformed theology deny conditionality in several aspects of soteriology. For example, we believe that faith in Christ is a necessary condition for justification. What we disagree though is that we also believe that ‘faith’ is conditioned by a changed nature from being dead in sin through the effective grace of God. Meaning to say, fallen man, without God’s grace, will continue in his rebellion to the Gospel call. I’ve given already the Scriptural proof above. So, hopefully, we can move passed general assertion that there are no Scriptural proof and deal with the argument already presented.

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      2. Joey:

        This is where the difference is. You say…

        “Meaning to say, fallen man, without God’s grace, will continue in his rebellion to the Gospel call.”

        You assume that to be true. You say you have proven it, but I dont see Scriptural proof.

        I seen in Genesis non-fallen man (perfect Adam) choosing sin.

        I seen in Scripture:

        “Fallen” “dead” Cain being told (4:7) If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (I have never seen a Calvinist answer this in all my years)

        “Fallen” “dead” Noah, believing enough to build the ark (no special faith implied at all).

        “Fallen” “dead” Abraham, believing and having it credited to him as righteousness (no special faith implied at all, even though his faith is mentioned several times in the NT. Paul had every chance in Romans 4, and Galatians 3 to make it clear that this amazing faith did NOT come from Abraham. But no. It is never said or implied).

        “Fallen” “dead” Abel, Enoch, (and all the others mentioned in Hebrews 11) having faith (no special faith implied at all).

        Yours is an argument from silence…..i.e. “Well they must have received that faith from God cuz monergism.com tells us so.”

        When I was a Calvinist I just kept repeating “dead men dont make choices” and the sheer repetition made it so!

        Joey….. we need Scripture!

        For every one example of the Word saying someone has faith can you give a reference where that faith was given? No?

        For every 10 examples? 100 example? No.

        There are no examples of faith being given. There are hundreds or thousands of biblical examples (giving names….eternally in God’s word) where their faith is what made the difference.

        I know that is anathema to the ears of an enthusiastic YRR, since monergism seems to be so much more glorifying to God. But we cant make the Scripture say what it doesnt say, just to make ourselves feel like we are giving God more glory.

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      3. @Fromoverhere

        Thanks for the opportunity Fromoverhere. You ask where in Scripture does it say that faith is given. Let’s deal with this one first:

        For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him (Philippines 1:29).

        In this passage, Paul writes to the believers in Philippi of his desire to visit them. He reminded them to stand firm and contend for the faith of the Gospel with no fear even from those who would persecute them. Then he adds that he is sure that those who oppose the Gospel will surely be destroyed but those who believe will be rescued. Now here comes the Paul’s reason why he knows the believers in Philippi would persevere: God granted them faith (“not only to believe”) and he granted to them perseverance (“but also to suffer for Him”) on the basis of Christ.

        I can give another one. But let’s stick to this first. Let me know your thoughts.

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      4. Thanks for that Phil 1:29 verse Joey:

        Let’s back up in Phil 1.

        12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.

        ——–what has happened to Paul (misery he has undergone) has advanced the gospel. That should in Calvinist terms be considered “man-centered” since —according to that position, nothing human can advance the gospel—- only God.

        14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

        —–more, Paul-uplifting words that potentially distract from the it’s-only-God position.

        15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

        ——–This has nothing to do with the man-has-no-part position. Even preaching Christ out of envy and rivalry can lead to Christ being preached and people coming to Christ. Why does God allow such expressions in His word that only lead us to think that we have some part in it???

        Does Paul —in ANY way— have something to do with people coming to Christ?

        20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed,

        ———-he expects and hopes that he wont be ashamed? Might/ might not. That does not sound like he is teaching determinism….

        25….and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

        —-they progress by his being there…. and this is “on account of me.” Very down-to-earth, man-centered. Not “sola” anything. Paul is taking an active part in their progress and joy in the faith. Is this “man-centered” (“Paul-centered”), like when Paul says he is all things to all men to win some…or he persuades men to Christ?

        27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

        ———–what can man do that is worthy of the Gospel? Have faith? What does “worthy of the Gospel” mean?

        “Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit…”

        —–It must be possible to not “stand firm”? How so?

        “….striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.”

        ——How do people “strive for the gospel”? Is that a “man-centered” idea?

        29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him….

        —–So what you are saying here Joey, is that in this context, out of nowhere, after demonstrating several times the human aspect of the situation, Paul decides to (with a half-verse) establish a doctrine that our faith was given to us? Why does he talk about the possibly being ashamed, “on account of him,” conducting in a “manner worthy of the gospel,” standing firm, and striving— If it is all “given to us.” ?

        After all the above context we can’t just pull a half-verse out of a chapter and say “granted” means “he gave us faith.”

        In a very real way ALL of us here would say we have been granted the right/ability to believe. We could not believed in Christ unless God had made that possible! We have been granted to believe. Or as the KJV says “it is given us to believe.” Or as the NLT says “given the privilege of trusting in Christ.”

        I have served over 30 years in a foreign country as a missionary. Long ago I was granted the right to be a citizen. I have not done it. Others have. They were granted the right to their citizenship there. So was I.

        Furthermore, what of the rest of that verse…. “but also to suffer for him.”

        Is Paul establishing a doctrine here in this verse that every believer will suffer for Christ?

        Sorry, Joey, I don’t quite see that this lays down the doctrine that

        (a) all faith is given to us

        (b) everything that ever happens is cuz God ordained it.

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      5. @Fromoverhere

        Thanks mate for the effort! I’ll let the readers decide if that response remotely answers the clear statement of Paul.

        God bless!

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      6. Joey,

        Both sides are claiming “clear statements.”

        I see that you are going to discuss this with Eric and use the same 40-ish verses used all the time (I know, I am an MDiv seminary grad, former Calvinist who did the same —-even though you denigrate my Greek!)

        Acts 4:28 (God decreed it but man is responsible)
        Phil 1;29 (faith is “given”)
        1 Cor 2:14 (“truth is folly to dead men”)
        Acts 16:14 (Lydia)
        Phil 2:13 (God works in you)
        Eph 1:11 (counsel of God)
        John 15:6 (“I chose you”)
        1 Cor 1:30 (God chose what is weak)

        You have not mentioned yet:
        Rom 3:11 ( no one seeks God)
        Rom 9 (the gold standard —only seen their way)
        John 6:44 (cant come unless God draws us)

        There are a few more…..but we wont expect anything beyond those. They can all be found on monergism.com and in fact you linked us directly to that site for explanation in first responses. Newly-minted Calvinists eagerly point people to these few verses in a “you must not have noticed these verses yet!” sort of way. Kind of a “if you only read these, and listen to me for a minute, you will get it.”

        These are always the same cherry-picked verses that are used to scaffold together the Calvinist idea. All the rest of the Bible must be filtered through these verses (and the Calvinist interpretation of them).

        If Calvinists dare to go outside of these texts (i.e. exegete other passages of the Bible, like MacArthur or Piper) they will sound as Arminian as the next guy—- as we have shown countless times on these pages (I sat under MacArthur for years). They exegete in traditional, or Arminian fashion all the rest of the Bible— but they get a pass from other colleagues cuz they hold to TULIP.

        Now when they come to the plethora of “all” “the world” “whosoever will” “I persuade men” I do all things to win some” “don’t shipwreck your faith” (and the hundreds and hundreds of “change His mind” “I the Lord did not want you to do that…”) —– they just start with “we know these passages dont mean that because….” (this is where you apply the Calvinist verse filter). Or they just pull out “mysterious, unexplainable compatibilism”.

        We don’t really expect anything new here. We just see the same verses trotted out by the YRR who most recently found this blog. Likely you will go the way of young Troy and others who give up after a while and say “you guys are just refusing to understand!” (which we find ironic since in determinist-Calvinism, one cannot “refuse” anything!).

        Joey, in my case, I would have NEVER stumbled on these verses and assembled a position as this (I had studied Greek and Hebrew in undergrad and never “seen” it) . You really have to be taught reformed theology and it is all the rage (YRR) these days.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Joey, I appreciate the response and boy do I understand the fervor at the end of the semester. Just got through my first year of Hebrew and it was a wild ride. Church history was one of my favorites. It’s a fascinating subject to me.

      “My principle is simple: God’s Word shapes my worldview. It does not matter whether biblical truths conforms to what I want or what I perceived is the ‘ideal’ or ‘fair’ scenario. In my worldview, the apriori in the Bible are basic and does not need proving. Thus, if it is Biblical, no matter my mind’s protestation, ultimately, the biblical perspective wins. That’s my personal principle which I believe, not everybody shares in this forum.”

      Perhaps I can help illuminate why not everyone in this forum shares this principle, I will try to be brief:
      1. The principle can often be leveraged to shield main points of contention from criticism. For example, it is often our critique that Reformed systematics informs you what the Bible says and if we attempt that critique and you respond with “But that’s just what the Bible says” we end up talking past one another. Dr. Flowers often calls this the “bunny versus the duck” in reference to that optical illusion. We’re asking for you to see the “duck” ie. where we’re coming from, and if you have an a priori principle that the “bunny” ie. the Reformed systematic is “just what the Bible says” it is going to prevent you from seeing the “duck” and discussion is impossible.
      2. Outside of Reformed systematics, we are all of us, all the time, wearing certain “goggles” of cultural and individual bias that color how we see the text and, if we’re not careful, what we put into the text. This unavoidable practice can be mitigated, and hopefully expunged, by careful study of the socioeconomic culture of the Ancient Near East. If such study is not a part of one’s hermeneutic, I’m sorry, you’re not reading the Bible. Again, this critique is not solely for Reformed folks, they just happen to be, in my experience, the most blind to their own “goggles”
      3. This principle creates what many theologians before me have thought is a huge problem with our view of God. If God is so “other” than us, that our unfair is His “fair” and our “up” is His “down” and our “good” is His “bad” then, as C.S. Lewis put it, we might as well say we worship We-Know-Not-What.
      4. If Rom 1 isn’t saying that God has given us HIS moral compass by which we are made without excuse for violating that moral compass then I do not know what it is saying.

      “1. I am not sure how the biblical passages cited proves that ‘saving faith’ is something ultimately generated by an unregenerated man’s inherent character. I will withold my response until I see how the verses argued for the case.”

      I guess I’m not sure what you’re looking for but I can make some guesses to help move things along if that’s OK. The argument is that the Bible shows the logical order of faith and it goes “first faith, then regeneration” each time in the Bible. Of course, it’s an “implication” that this faith is generated by the man out of his abilities granted by the Imago Dei but implications can be strong right? I understand that this next sentence sounds snarky but it can’t be helped: If the man generates faith, and then is given new life, as the biblical data shows, then it is reasonable to conclude that the man produced this faith apart from the new life he subsequently received, is it not? And if there is no opposing Biblical evidence that the new life was, secretly, given to him beforehand, should we not go with the only reasonable implication we have? Perhaps that is not the kind of thing you’re looking for but I thought I’d take a stab. Please clarify and I’ll adjust accordingly.

      “Thus, showing conditionality in several aspects of our salvation is not anywhere contested by Reformed Dogmatics. ”

      But how can this be true when the “U” in TULIP is literally “Unconditional Election”? I mean, I guess you could be saying that the election is unconditional but the actual act of saving is conditioned on the production of faith. But if the faith was also elected/ordained/decreed, then how is that a true condition? If God sets the condition and then meets the condition, does not that destroy the condition? “God gives grace to the humble” becomes a tautology then because it really means “God gives grace to those he graced (by decreeing they would become humble)”.

      ” How can unregenerate person comes to saving faith in Christ?”

      I think I see our first real disconnect here. You have an unrecognized assumption. You assume the unregenerate cannot and then demand biblical evidence to show you that they can. But is that assumption valid? You would have to show, from biblical data, that the unregenerate are incapable of responding to God. I don’t think you can which is why I’m a non-Calvinist.

      ” I have to see how the Scripture systematically teaches this. At this point, I don’t see how this is the case from the verses presented.”

      Where did you get the principle that truths in Scripture must be taught systematically for them to true/trusted? If your worldview is informed by Scripture, what biblical data informs how truths must be delivered for them to be true?

      Would you like me to read one of those links and respond to it?

      On God’s arbitrary choice to save certain individuals, you respond: “God has chosen us in Christ ‘to praise of the glory of his grace’, ‘according to his good pleasure’, ‘according to the counsel of his will’, ‘to the praise of his glory’. . God is never arbitrary of his choice to save people.”

      But this doesn’t answer the charge. Or, more specifically, misunderstands the charge. The charge is not “God has no discernible reason for choosing certain individuals for salvation”. I understand your view that God’s glory is served in His choice to save certain individuals. The charge is: “God’s choice of which individuals to save is arbitrary”. This seems to me objectively true on Calvinism.

      Cheers!

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      1. Thanks Eric for your response. Hopefully, I can keep up with the discussion given the many responsibilities I need to attend to. But, from time to time, if there is a time to relax, I will read and respond to some of the posts here.

        I do want to let you know that my commitment to Reformed Theology is subservient to Scripture. So on point 1, you have it reversed. Scripture informs my theology not the other way around. That is why, Scriptural authority is king and I will allow it to test my tradition, even my conviction of Reformed Theology or my subscription to my particular reformed creed. On point 2, I hold on to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics. The study of surrounding contemporary writings and culture (such as Near Eastern literature) beside the OT canon does have a place in my hermeneutical system. But, it will never be the main or primary interpretive context that drives our understanding of OT text. On point 3, I disagree that our moral intuition should more or less be similar to God’s (i.e. what seems fair to us should be the measure on which we evaluate God’s actions). For one, the distinction between creator and creature is vast and the prerogatives of the creator is vastly and infinitely wide than the creature. I therefore suggest that rather than human moral intuition as our rule, we submit to Scriptural revelation on what God can and can not do and not box him of our own sense of what is or is not fair for him to do.

        On challenge 1. Your main assertion is that fallen man have the ability to generate saving faith on the basis of having the Imago Dei. I respect your opinion that none of the verses you have provided actually states the argument you are trying to defend. Instead, you have derived a certain proposition out of your understanding that the verses you have presented states that ‘new life’ comes after faith. I still think that even if the premise is true, it does not lead to the conclusion you seek to establish. Be that as it may, you have argued that if ‘new life’ comes after faith then faith must have been generated apart from the ‘new life’. It seems to me that part of the argument is ‘new life’ = ‘regeneration’. Not so! Hopefully, our theological training have drilled on us that theological concepts are not necessarily the same as the biblical terminology. ‘New life’ as a biblical terminology as used by different authors is not necessarily referring to the theological concept of ‘regeneration’. In Biblical Theology, ‘life’ can be a present possession, a transformative description versus the old life, or it can refer to the eschatological life after death. So here, we have to be careful with our proof text.

        What I am asking though is whether the Bible reveals in propositional terms that fallen man is not able to respond positively to God. And whether there are positive description of God’s action that is the cause of man’s coming to saving faith. So on point 1, I want to discuss 1 Corinthians 2:14 where in propositional language, Paul said, ‘The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.’ And on point 2, I want to discuss Acts 16:14 where in propositional terms, Luke made a commentary, stating, ‘The Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul was saying’. If indeed, your proposition is true that fallen man can respond because he or she posses the Imago Dei, please help explain, how these two propositional truths is consistent to your worldview?

        Several questions/statements you have asked or made (side topics):

        1. If God sets the condition and then meets the condition, does not that destroy the condition?

        Answer: Not according to Scripture. Philippians 2:12-13 gives us the example: ‘Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.’ Here it is commanded to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Yet it is God who works so that those who are commanded will ‘WILL’ and ‘ACT’ according to the command. And this gracious assurance of the effectiveness of God’s grace is according to ‘his good pleasure’. God issues the condition and fulfils the condition and yet does not destroy the authenticity of the condition.

        2. Where did you get the principle that truths in Scripture must be taught systematically for them to true/trusted? If your worldview is informed by Scripture, what biblical data informs how truths must be delivered for them to be true?

        Answer: From the nature of Scripture itself. For example, the preaching of the early church draws systematically from the relationship of the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants to defend the messiahship of Christ. They did not resort to disoriented historical narratives. Peter assumed that our understanding of Scripture can be distorted and that some people will find it hard to read Paul’s letters; thus assuming that there is a certain system or organisation upon which Scripture should be understood. So yes, the NT writers saw that the canonical witness are to be understood according to an organised (systematic) manner that preserves authorial intent, respects genre and a system that promotes awareness to the historical and chronological nature of each of the canonical text. Hopefully, your seminary is teaching you this, otherwise, I will be very sad if this has not been discussed in your Biblical Theology classes or Systematic Theology classes.

        3. The charge is: “God’s choice of which individuals to save is arbitrary”.

        Answer: Arbitrary to who? Not to God. Ephesians 1:11 states that God does all things according to the counsel of his will. Therefore his choice of his people will never be arbitrary. It is, as Scripture say, deliberated in his triune mind. The charge of arbitrariness is really just a complaint: ‘I do not know why me or that person, therefore, I will just charge him with arbitrariness’. Well, the fact that God did not tell us why he has chosen a particular people for himself is no reason to accuse him of arbitrariness because God said it is not. What we do know is that he has chosen them not because of any of their inherent characteristics but by his mercy. John said, ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.’ (John 15:16). Also Paul said, ‘Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world . . . God chose what is weak in the world . . . God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not . . . so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus’ (1 Corinthians 1:26–30).

        Sincerely,
        JH

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      2. Joey
        We’re all busy I’m sure, especially on the weekends. There are of course no time expectations on these responses.

        “The study of surrounding contemporary writings and culture (such as Near Eastern literature) beside the OT canon does have a place in my hermeneutical system. But, it will never be the main or primary interpretive context that drives our understanding of OT text.”

        What about the NT text?

        I’m not sure what “main or primary” means. The point I’m making is that if you do not allow your study of Ancient Near East culture (including the time of Jesus) to help remove your Western 21st-century goggles, you’re going to either miss or misinterpret large swaths of the text. Only through this kind of study can topics such as individualism vs. collectivism, honor/shame, patronage etc be explored. And it’s only in the context of those cultural markers, that most 21st century Western readers are mostly, if not wholly, unaware of, can the Bible be rightly understood.

        “On point 3, I disagree that our moral intuition should more or less be similar to God’s (i.e. what seems fair to us should be the measure on which we evaluate God’s actions). “

        Of course, you must disagree on this point or you would have to question the whole of Reformed soteriology.

        “For one, the distinction between creator and creature is vast and the prerogatives of the creator is vastly and infinitely wide than the creature.”

        How does this necessitate seeing our moral intuition as wholly different than God’s?

        “I therefore suggest that rather than human moral intuition as our rule, we submit to Scriptural revelation on what God can and can not do and not box him of our own sense of what is or is not fair for him to do.”

        But your “therefore” here doesn’t point back to a substantive argument and your overall point here ignores the reason I gave as for why our moral compass was given to us by God and accurately reflects his. Oh well.

        “It seems to me that part of the argument is ‘new life’ = ‘regeneration’. Not so! “

        And then…

        “In Biblical Theology, ‘life’ can be a present possession, a transformative description versus the old life, or it can refer to the eschatological life after death. So here, we have to be careful with our proof text.”

        It seems like your tactic here is to demand denotative evidence of truth, ignoring the logical inductive arguments I made, while not providing any denotative evidence of your own. You acknowledged that I made an inductive case and then didn’t respond to it. You also strawmanned my argument. I didn’t say that “each time the Bible talks about ‘new life’ it lines up perfectly with the regeneration theological category”. You created an argument I didn’t make and then responded to it.

        “What I am asking though is whether the Bible reveals in propositional terms that fallen man is not able to respond positively to God.”

        Instead of discussing what it is that biblical texts are saying in their context, you are setting up standards of evidence that you are forcing onto the text. Got it.

        “So on point 1, I want to discuss 1 Corinthians 2:14 where in propositional language, Paul said, ‘The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.’”

        In the context of 1 Cor 2 Paul is talking to believers about receiving spiritual wisdom, not about how they received salvation. Next.

        “And on point 2, I want to discuss Acts 16:14 where in propositional terms, Luke made a commentary, stating, ‘The Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul was saying’.”

        How did the Lord open her heart? Through irresistible means decided upon from eternity past? Or through her hearing the message of the Gospel? Either seems plausible. So that’s not as propositional to your view as you make it sound.

        But seriously, on Acts 16:14, do you really think non-Calvinists have no answer to how the Lord opens up the hearts of those that receive his message? Like, do you think we haven’t thought of it before?

        And, let’s be clear, your view isn’t just that “God opens up the hearts of those that believe in Him” but that he does so in a specific way, through irresistible means ordained for that individual from eternity past. So you don’t get to simply say “See, God opens up the heart” and walk away into the sunset. That doesn’t make your case.

        “If indeed, your proposition is true that fallen man can respond because he or she posses the Imago Dei, please help explain, how these two propositional truths is consistent to your worldview?”

        Even if I take those passages as you say I should take them, they don’t get you to “irresistible grace” and they don’t get you to “man is a corpse unable to respond to anything spiritual ever”. You are making logical inferences given to you by your worldview the same as I am. The frustrating part is that you’re setting up the difference between us you are “just reading your Bible” and I’m doing something other than just reading my Bible.

        “Philippians 2:12-13 gives us the example: ‘Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.’ Here it is commanded to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Yet it is God who works so that those who are commanded will ‘WILL’ and ‘ACT’ according to the command.”

        Right, so this is the part where your view of how God works is completely informed by your worldview. You assume, for no biblical reason I can see, that “working” means “irresistibly causing”. I honestly don’t even know how to begin to unwind the tangle you’ve made out of this verse.

        “God issues the condition and fulfils the condition and yet does not destroy the authenticity of the condition.”

        Direct contradiction. This would be like me asking my son to clean up his room knowing full well he is tied to a chair in the living room and then either punishing him for not doing what I decreed he cannot do (by tying him to the chair) or cleaning up his room for him and saying “since you cleaned up your room, you now get your allowance”. Pure nonsense.

        I asked, “Where did you get the principle that truths in Scripture must be taught systematically for them to true/trusted? If your worldview is informed by Scripture, what biblical data informs how truths must be delivered for them to be true?”
        You answered, “From the nature of Scripture itself.”

        You are importing, whole hog, Western scientific, scholastic, post-Enlightenment epistemology onto the text written by Ancient Near East Hebrews who had no thought to Greek step logic but instead employed Hebrew block logic. But the real problem is that you are blind to it. You assume that “organized” = “systematic” and seem completely unaware of the mountain of biblical evidence that the Hebrew writers of the Bible cared nothing for exact chronological accuracy, embraced paradox, and frankly had entirely different standards of what qualified as a compelling argument.

        “3. The charge is: “God’s choice of which individuals to save is arbitrary”. Answer: Arbitrary to who? Not to God.”

        Arbitrary to man. Seems like we agree when you say “Well, the fact that God did not tell us why he has chosen a particular people for himself is no reason to accuse him of arbitrariness because God said it is not.” But that’s the definition of arbitrary, we don’t know and cannot understand the reason…it’s arbitrary.

        “The charge of arbitrariness is really just a complaint: ‘I do not know why me or that person, therefore, I will just charge him with arbitrariness’.”

        Yes, and it is an accurate and effective one.

        Cheers!

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      3. Eric writes:
        “The frustrating part is that you’re setting up the difference between us you are “just reading your Bible” and I’m doing something other than just reading my Bible.”

        I get so weary of this silly tactic brainwashed into fundamentalist conservative Calvinists. Another common way they state this is ‘There is only one truth’ as if this justifies them claiming to have a full understanding of that ‘truth’ and demanding that all others agree. I had a friend say this to me just yesterday, and I knew it was pointless to go any further. When a person has been persuaded that they have access to ‘the truth’ and that all who think differently are obviously God-hating, baby killers who denounce scripture and seek their own pleasure, there really is not much room for discussion.

        What these legalistic fundamentalists can never grasp is that no man, no council and no denomination can genuinely assert that they have a corner on ‘truth’. We see through a glass darkly, and the sooner we humbly acknowledge that, the sooner we can grant grace and respectful consideration of alternative viewpoints. I am well acquainted with those who believe that ‘submitting to scripture’ means agreeing with their personal interpretation thereof. They truly do not see their own blindness and arrogance.

        I am just so done with talking to people who are so ‘sure’ of their understanding that they condemn all other possible interpretations. You think you have all the answers? I have no interest in talking to you. The one thing I am sure of is that I cannot be sure of anything, and I am eager to discuss anything with people who are able to humbly admit the same. 🙂

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      4. @Eric Kemp

        Before I continue my correspondence, I want to confirm that you and Dr. Flowers share the same theological stance with regard to what you wrote on hermeneutics and what your view of anthropology (i.e. that fallen man has the Imago Dei and therefore by his own nature able to respond to the Gospel). Being a contributor of his blog, can I safely assume this?

        I wanted to focus on the two biblical passages I have brought up then respond to side topics.

        The main thesis that you have advanced is that fallen man has the Imago Dei and therefore by his own nature, even in a fallen state, he is able to respond to the Gospel. Consequently, such position seemed to deny that fallen man need the ‘effective grace’ of God for him to come into faith. If God exerts causal power on fallen man and make his grace effective (i.e. without failure), it would undermine human responsibility.

        I brought up two verses for discussion to examine the thesis.

        The first passage is a proposition in Scripture which talks about the ability of the ‘natural man’. Paul, by inspiration, wrote: ‘The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.’ (1 Cor 2:14).

        The main rebuttal to this point is that ‘Paul was talking to believers about receiving spiritual wisdom, not how they received salvation.’ However, 1 Cor 2 is talking about receiving salvation by the proclamation of the Gospel. Firs, Paul was recounting how he proclaimed the ‘testimony of God’ (v1) to his audience. This testimony was about ‘Jesus Christ and him crucified’ (v2), the Gospel itself. Paul said that the effectiveness of his proclamation was a ‘demonstration of the Spirit and of power’ and that the resultant ‘faith’ brought about by such proclamation ‘rest in the power of God’ (v. 3-5). He then described two categories of humans: the Mature (v 6) and the Immature. The characteristics of the ‘immature’ is likened to the rulers of this age who are unable to understand the ‘hidden wisdom of God’ (v. 8). The reason being is that the ‘hidden wisdom of God’ can only be understood by the Spirit’s revelatory work (v.10, 11). The main actor in the granting of revelation, according to Paul, is God himself — ‘God has revealed to us through the Spirit’ (v10). It was God who gave the Spirit and Paul exhorts that they received the Spirit from God effectively enabling them to ‘understand the things freely given us by God’ (v12). They proclaimed this truths in power to those who are ‘spiritual’, i.e. those whom God has given the Spirit (v13). At this point, we know that the Mature in v6 and the Spiritual in v13 are the same category of people: the people whom God has revealed the ‘testimony of God’ (v1) which is the Gospel (v2) and which is the ‘hidden wisdom of God’ (v7). So now we get a clear grasped of v14. The ‘natural person’ are not believers! They are people whom God has not revealed the ‘hidden wisdom of God’. They will remain in such condition unless the Spirit of God is given to them by God. They will not understand the ‘testimony of God’ (v1, which is the Gospel v2) for they need the Spirit (i.e. it is ‘spiritually discerned’). Thus, the rebuttal offered against this verse is erroneous on two points: 1. The ‘natural person’ are not believers. 2. Paul is exactly talking about salvation.

        The second passage is Acts 16:14, a commentary offered by Luke regarding the work of God in Lydia’s heart. Here, there we derive two propositions: 1. God opens the heart of Lydia in order for her to respond to the Gospel. A consistent view of 1 Cor 2 whereby God has to give the Spirit in order for the ‘natural person’ to understand the Gospel. 2. The effectiveness of this work of God. It did not fail to achieve its purpose. It has power in it. God’s work was not frustrated. Again, a consistent view of 1 Cor 2 whereby the resultant ‘faith… rests in the power of God’.

        The main rebuttal to these points can be summarised in two points: 1. The work of God in opening Lydia’s heart is not effective. It may fail to achieve its purpose. Lydia has the power that can frustrate and prevent God from effectively opening her heart so that she will not respond in faith. 2. The work of God in opening Lydia’s heart is matter of proclamation of the Gospel. On the second point, such interpretation is not plausible based on the narrative. Note that there are two actions that were being narrated by Luke. First, he narrated that Paul preached to the women (v13) and then God opened the heart of one person who heard them preached (v14). The preaching came first and then God’s work opening particularly Lydia’s heart. If we want to force the equivalency of ‘preaching’ and ‘God opening the heart’ then the commentary is unnecessary for it will mean that God opened the heart of all women because Paul preached not just to Lydia but to several women. But here, the particularity of the work of God in Lydia’s heart among the women whom Paul preached, means that such action by God is not the same as the preaching of Paul. On the first point, the charge that God’s work in Lydia’s heart could fail, i.e that it is not an ‘effective action’ is not our burden to rebut. For, the text says that such act of God was indeed effective. It is the burden of the one who challenges the Scriptural proposition to give evidence that Lydia can frustrate God’s opening her heart and responding in faith. Note the similarity of the phraseology in Luke 24:45 whereby Jesus ‘opened their [the disciples] their minds’. Imagine if such power is frustrated or not effective. This is the same charge that is being levelled against Acts 16:14 and as people of God, I implore such perspective to be abandoned.

        Side topics:

        1. NT and Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) literature and cultural context

        I specifically pointed to OT because ANE is most often associated with the OT rather than NT. Most academic literature associate hellenistic influence and hebraic culture in the NT. Be that as it may, there are studies of how ANE have shaped some of the language of the NT in one of my readings of JETS.

        2. How does the creator-creature distinction necessitate seeing our moral intuition as wholly different than God’s?

        Because of the prerogative of the creator as creator. A concrete example would be, we are commanded not to murder. But the creator can take away life as he pleases. We can not charge God of murder because he is the giver and taker of life as the creator.

        3. The charge that I ignore the argument that ‘If God is so “other” than us, that our unfair is His “fair” and our “up” is His “down” and our “good” is His “bad” then, as C.S. Lewis put it, we might as well say we worship We-Know-Not-What.’

        I thought that was answered. God is ‘other’ than us categorically when I argued for the creator-creature distinction. The charge that such otherness would result to worshipping ‘We-Know-Not-What’ can not be levelled against the Christian God for he has revealed himself in Scripture. He told us how he is different from us i.e. his prerogatives and authority over creation.

        4. The charge that I made a strawman argument: ‘You acknowledged that I made an inductive case and then didn’t respond to it. You also strawmanned my argument.’

        I did carefully said, ‘Be that as it may, you have argued that if ‘new life’ comes after faith then faith must have been generated apart from the ‘new life’. It seems to me that part of the argument is ‘new life’ = ‘regeneration’. Not so! Hopefully, our theological training have drilled on us that theological concepts are not necessarily the same as the biblical terminology. ‘New life’ as a biblical terminology as used by different authors is not necessarily referring to the theological concept of ‘regeneration’. In Biblical Theology, ‘life’ can be a present possession, a transformative description versus the old life, or it can refer to the eschatological life after death. So here, we have to be careful with our proof text.’ Now, if that is a strawman, you may point where I have strawmanned your argument.

        5. You said: ‘You assumed, for no biblical reason I can see, that “working” means “irresistibly causing”. I honestly don’t even know how to begin to unwind the tangle you’ve made out of this verse.’

        If what you mean by ‘irresistibly causing’ is that God’s work is effective and will not fail, then guilty as charged! But the reason why I hold to this is not because of Calvinism. It is what the text says. It says, ‘for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure’ (Phil 2:13). Notice that God is the one works in us and that work’s goal is that we ‘WILL’ and ‘WORK’ for his good pleasure. There is no hint in here that the goal of God’s work will somehow fail, that is, somewhere along the way there is someone who will not ‘WILL’ and ‘WORK’ despite God working in that person. To let this passage say such thing is doing eisegesis not exegesis.

        6. I said that on basis of Phil 2:13 as an example, “God issues the condition and fulfils the condition and yet does not destroy the authenticity of the condition.” You replied that this is a ‘Direct contradiction.’

        Without a clear exegesis of the text though, the charge of direct contradiction is empty. Phil 2:13 is a test case whether the position that you hold is true. Human analogy such as what you have given will not work here. Let’s deal with the text and let it shaped our theology instead.

        7. You stated: ‘You are importing, whole hog, Western scientific, scholastic, post-Enlightenment epistemology onto the text written by Ancient Near East Hebrews who had no thought to Greek step logic but instead employed Hebrew block logic. But the real problem is that you are blind to it. You assume that “organised” = “systematic” and seem completely unaware of the mountain of biblical evidence that the Hebrew writers of the Bible cared nothing for exact chronological accuracy, embraced paradox, and frankly had entirely different standards of what qualified as a compelling argument.’

        This is where I want to know whether you and Dr. Flowers share the same hermeneutical principle. I want to know because Dr. Flowers belong to SBC denomination and I want to talk to some professors on the legitimacy of this view within the denomination. I want to know if this is your own position or if this is a shared position. If this is not Dr. Flowers’ position, then I hope Dr. Flowers will somehow put up a disclaimer or even provide for a clear guideline on his blogsite on who can contribute within the bounds of doctrinal integrity.

        8. It seemed that the last comment is an admission that the choice of God of his people is not arbitrary. You said that it is arbitrary only from the point of view of man. And you happily admit that this is more of a complaint of not knowing why God has chosen a certain people over the other. I am happy with that answer. However, with all due respect, you may complain all you want but it will never be effective to people whose commitment is to Scripture as the ultimate authority (not our complaints for what God has not revealed to us). The Scripture sid, ‘The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law’ (Deut 29:29).

        Sincerely,
        JH

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  14. CALVINISM – MENS REA & ACTUS REUS – EQUALLY FOR GOOD & FOR EVIL

    The INTENT to execute or produce a (good or evil) outcome is officially known as “MENS REA”. Otherwise known as “Good or Evil Intent”.

    The MEANS or POWER to execute or produce a (good or evil) outcome is officially known as “ACTUS REUS”. The power to cause a (good or evil) event.

    Since Calvin’s god decrees/determines/predestines every neurological impulse the creature can have, it logically follows that Calvin’s god is the source, originator, primary-actor, designer and engineer of every means, and designer and engineer of every aspect of the creature. Thus the nature of the creature, and every internal aspect of that nature, in every part, is the execution and production of Calvin’s god.

    Calvin’s god moves creatures through direct or secondary means regardless of whether the event is good or evil.
    Since there is no difference in the role Calvin’s god plays, between good events vs. an evil events, it logically follows that attribution of INTENT and MEANS to Calvin’s god are identical in both cases.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point. It is logically untenable to assert that God meticulously determines whatsoever comes to pass, but that man is personally responsible for ‘choosing’ those things irresistibly ordained for him to perform. One or those other is responsible for what comes to pass; it cannot be both. It does not fix the inescapable contradiction to suggest God uses means to bring about his desired ends, if those ends are unchangeably ordained. Either God chooses our paths, or we do. Secretive means, implanted desires and other invisible methods of getting us to do his will does not allow for justly condemning us for desiring and doing exactly what God irresistibly decreed.

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      1. Exactly ThruthSeeker!

        Calvinists want it both ways.
        When it comes to good events they assert the proposition
        When it comes to evil events they deny the proposition – but try to evade getting caught by using language tricks. :-]

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      2. See comment below on what is logical or not. The question is whose logic are we going to follow, yours or the Scripture? See below and test your reasoning by Scripture.

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    2. Hi there. The problem with your argument is that it dpended so much about assumptions of what is humanly logical. In other words, it does not argue from Scripture.

      Here’s the thing. Majority of Calvinists are committed to the highest authority of Scipture. Our worldview derives from it. Our apriori are derived from it too. When you accuse us of saying ‘If God does this… then logically… God is responsible for this’ without the authority of Scripture, it means nothing to us. It is a man made assertion.

      We believe the Bible teaches that everything comes to pass by God’s decree. But it also states that God held men responsible. Two truths that according to Scripture, are apriori in our worldview.

      Let’s test these assertions with Scripture. For example, Scripture says,

      24Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25who through the mouth of our father David, your servant,d said by the Holy Spirit,

      “‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
      and the peoples plot in vain?
      26The kings of the earth set themselves,
      and the rulers were gathered together,
      against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

      27for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. (Acts 4:25-28).

      Here are the facts you can derive from this:
      1. God is Sovereign (v.24).
      2. The believers asked why the Gentiles rage and people rebelled against the Messiah (v.25). And the answer to that question is that God predestined it to take place (v28). The actions of Pilate, Herod, Jews and Gentiles were predestined. We can not escape this from the text.
      3. Yet God held them responsible for their actions.

      This is the biblical worldview of the Scriptural writers. We can protest all we want from this worldview and how they understood what it means for God to be Sovereign. But the Scripture is the Scripture. For reformed folks, it is the ultimate authority even higher than human logic.

      So, my suggestion is that you test your logical deductions if it squares with Scripture. For example, you said if God decrees, then God is the primary actor of both good and evil. Is that what Scripture say? Let’s even narrow it to Acts 4:25-28. Is that what the passage say? Do we really want to accuse God of being the primary actor of the murder of his Son? He surely predestined it to happen and even predestine Herod, Pilate, Jews and Gentiles to rebel against Christ. Was God culpable of the moral evil (in fact, the greatest moral evil that humanity did) against God the Son? Think of it.

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      1. Joey:
        This Acts 4 go-to passage is in the 40-50 go-to passages for Calvinists. Most Calvinist commentators new to this blog will pull out that passage and we have dealt with it many times.

        1. This is about the crucifixion, the most central event in all history. There is no question that God micromanaged the crucifixion. That does not mean—– and the passages is not intended to mean —- that God micromanages what color tie you wore on Sunday or what you ate for breakfast. They are just not the same.

        To say that because God micromanaged the crucifixion, He therefore designed for and desired (takes glory in!) all the rapes of every two year old girl in history. Other events in history are just not connected in that way….and shame on anyone that puts those heinous acts on God’s eternal design.

        2. Joey…..there is a lot more Scripture out there!! Hundreds of times in His word God says
        “I did not want…”
        “If only you had…”
        “Why did you not….”
        “I expected you to ….but you did not”
        “I regret that I have….”
        “If only you would have ….I would have ….”
        “I did send those men….the thought did not even come into my mind….”
        “If you repent I will not send the calamity that I have promised to send…”

        All these hundreds (thousands?) of passages cannot be just whisked away by a reform-crafted exegesis of Acts 4.

        What can all of those clear passages (“draw near to God AND HE will draw near to you”, “seek first the kingdom”) possibly mean in the determinist reformed position?

        3. Many have provided answers to your post (the old Acts 4 God-did-it-but they-are-responsible idea) if you want to look. If you are like I was, you dont look for those answers, you just keep reading exclusively from Calvinists. This Acts 4 idea is cut and paste from Piper and makes many assumptions (I know…I made them all too). Classic re-used passage expected to trump the rest of the Bible.

        Sorry…. there are a lot of ex-Calvinist believer in Christ who are just not coming to the text with the same presuppositions that you are.

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      2. Joey
        Hi there. The problem with your argument is that it dpended so much about assumptions of what is humanly logical. In other words, it does not argue from Scripture.

        br.d
        Hi Joey, firstly your post was way too long to respond too.
        But your first point is based upon a logical argument – which means you’ve defeated your own argument.
        Secondly, Jesus argues from scripture – but his presentation of scripture is always under-girded by and requires logic.

        Thirdly, language is super easy to interpret based upon subconscious false presuppositions..
        This for example, is how verses were interpreted to affirm a the flat earth and a heliocentric universe prior to Copernicus.
        Two people can argue about scripture eternally and completely miss the mark because of presuppositions.

        Thirdly, if one’s belief system is “supposedly” scripture based, but is logically fallacious then its not of God.

        Finally, it is my observation that Calvinists appeal to scripture because language is very easy to manipulate.
        Logic is wonderful because the standards that govern it are not manipulable.
        Since Calvinism is consistently self-contradicting, its understandable why Calvinists don’t do well with and avoid logic.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Mate, I see no interaction whatsoever other than others have discussed it. The only rebuttal is that, the crucifixion is a special event and should not be the framework on which we view other events. But that is not the argumentat at this point. The crux of the matter is that the accusation that it is logically necessary to accuse God of evil if he predestines events to occur with certainty does not stand with Scripture. The decree of God removes human culpability as argued, but here is the test case laid out in Scripture that challenges that presupposition. God decreed, men acted, men were held responsible. Who are we going to believe, Scripture or our own logic.

    Believe me, I am not picking a fight. I am old enough to understand that theological issues such as this is too precious to make it a matter of scoring points. I did not study theology just to follow Piper. I can read the Scriptures, study the original languages, and study church history so that we would have a clear perspective on what great men have taught and how it squares with Scripture. I invite you to do the same.

    (It is so easy for me to accuse you merely of parroting Wesleys defense or Arminius’ or Dr. Flowers’ or the Open Thiests with those ‘God regretting or changing his mind’ passages. But it will not advance the conversation. And it is disrespectful. So, by God’s grace, in view of his mercy, and the Cross, we can discuss this things brotherly. I invite you to focus on Scripture and discuss things one passage at a time.)

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    1. Joey,
      Please excuse me if I was disrespectful.

      The problem is here:

      “God decreed, men acted, men were held responsible. Who are we going to believe, Scripture or our own logic.”

      1. You set up the straw either-or that basically says “my interpretation or you are using your own logic.” ((This was my tactic before — “Oh so you have a man-centered theology, huh” —- implying that it is “my way” or a man-centered way.. Yikes! nobody wants to hear that!)). That is not respectful either. I’m not using “my own logic,” just Scripture.

      2. The question is not whether God could decree something and then use every means possible within the limits He may put on Himself to achieve that goal (like I said He that event is gonna happen—and He will make sure), but whether it necessarily follows that ALL events are micro-managed, decreed in that fashion. “Your own logic” says yes and mine says —-show me the Scripture.

      I am very comfortable reading that Acts 4 passage (in Greek also, since you mentioned it).

      But, this is what you are making that passage say:

      27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate [all men everywhere at all times] met together with the [every crooks and killer in the world] Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to [plan every rape, torture, heinous crime] conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They [all only] did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.

      You are outrunning the text.

      I have seen that text used many times in a sermon of a Calvinist to say —-see God decrees and man is still responsible. Presto they just say it and make it so—in ever evil case! Waaaay too much mileage is taken from that narrative.

      Why not take our understanding or this from the thousands of other verses that I can provide that clearly say that men do lots of things that God does not want and “didn’t even enter His mind.”? Or Jeremiah 18 “….If you repent I wont send that…and the ones I plan to bless I wont bless if they….”

      Reformed guys never study those passages…and if they do….they just start with “we know God does not mean what He says here…..(play anthropomorphism card now).

      Let’s have a look at all those texts!

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  16. @Fromoverhere

    Mate, with all due respect, I don’t think you know Greek with the level of response you have just made.

    Let’s leave it at that then. Thank you for the conversation.

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    1. Joey,
      How incredibly patronizing of you!

      My intention was not to use Greek but to show that you are taking a very specific passage about the incredibly significant Crucifixion and making it doctrine for God decreeing all evil and still holding man responsible.

      Oh my how patronizing reformed guys can be!

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      1. FOH,
        I was thinking you were going to respond to Joey’s comment like this:

        Mate, with all due respect, I think you are co-opting scripture in order to advance an earthly principality and power.

        Let’s leave it at that then. Thank you for the conversation.

        :-]

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      2. br.d
        Well we know they are “co-opting scripture in order to advance an earthly” philosophy.

        Meanwhile, every situation we suggest may be met by the same patronizing remarks.

        Funny….. rhutchin has said we never deal with John 6:44, and Greek-expert and teacher Brian has dealt with it, what, 5-6 times from all the possible angles.

        Still he is met every time with the same patronizing ….. “you have never answered 6:44.”

        All they mean is “if your answer does not agree with me you did not answer,” or “everyone is unspiritual, unbiblical, and ‘using logic’ …..unless they agree with us!”

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      3. Yes that’s correct FOH.
        This is called “Milieu Control”
        The brain is conditioned to ignore anything which does not affirm indoctrinated dogma.

        Paul says “we all see through a glass darkly”

        Calvinists don’t claim the glass they see through is doesn’t have any darkness
        They just assume out of all of the glass on planet earth – theirs is the least dark

        I think Paul would certainly classify them as “Super Christians”. :-]

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      4. @Fromoverhere

        Mate, hopefully we can get passed ad-hominems. If you see my effort to invite you to focus on the text of Scripture and reason from there as patronising, wewill both be wasting our time.

        If you want to go to Jeremiah 18 or Jer 19:5 or Jer 32:35, we can. Put forth your exegesis and I invite you to let Scripture be our final authority. Do you want to discuss Jer 19:5 and Jer 32:35 first? Let me know how you interpret these passages.

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      5. Joey:
        Great. And thanks for hanging in there. You go first. You submitted the exact verses below. Please tell me what they tell us about God.

        Jer 18:7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

        Jer 19:5 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.

        Jer 32:35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molek, though I never commanded—nor did it enter my mind—that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.

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      6. @Fromoverhere

        It was you who accused reformed christians with these words:

        ‘Why not take our understanding or this from the thousands of other verses that I can provide that clearly say that men do lots of things that God does not want and “didn’t even enter His mind.”? Or Jeremiah 18 “….If you repent I wont send that…and the ones I plan to bless I wont bless if they….”

        Reformed guys never study those passages…and if they do….they just start with “we know God does not mean what He says here…..(play anthropomorphism card now).’

        So I expected that you have a ready exegesis for this. Now it seems that you do not want to do that and want me to do the leg work for you. I will not do that.

        Nice talking to you though. I do not think it will benefit both of us to continue to discuss this as it seems to be that you will just dance around every Scripture that’s being put forward. You will not deal with Acts 4 and when allowed to give a positive stand on the verses you have brought up, you will not deal with it too! (Forgive me for the frustration but we both have better things to do with our time. Love the Lord, love your wife and children, love your church and elders! God bless you.)

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      7. Joey:
        You crack me up!

        I dont need to exegete those passages…..they speak for themselves! He is saying that the things those people did were not decreed by Him and never even would have entered His mind/plan.

        God says in Jer 18 if you do X then I will change my plans!

        ((I know the two passages where —in a very defined context— God says he is not like a man to change His mind (whimsically or lie etc) . They do not relate)).

        So, “mate” (it just kinda sounds like you are saying “bucko” in a snarky way to me when you say that) I honestly was giving you the first go….since my point was that reformed guys dont discuss those, right?

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  17. Calvinist statement:
    “God decreed, men acted, men were held responsible. Who are we going to believe, Scripture or our own logic.”

    br.d
    Perhaps here the Calvinist is asserting that logic and scripture are at odds with one another.

    However take a closer look at the language within this statement.
    Scripture is not qualified in any way – but logic is qualified as -quote “our own”.

    This language is designed to hide the fact that scripture is reliant upon “our own” interpretation.
    The honesty behind this statement is not trustworthy.

    It would be more intellectually honest stated this way:

    What are we going to believe, “our own handling of Scripture” or “our own handling of logic.”

    Secondly, this whole line of argument affirms what critical thinkers observe with Calvinists.
    According to Calvinist interpretation of scripture
    1) Calvin’s god is irrational
    2) Calvin’s god bears false witness.

    In order to hide these problems Calvinists are taught proof-texts supported by double-speak talking-points and language tricks.
    These talking points and language tricks are designed to hide the system’s ethical problems and its numerous self-contradictions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks br.d. No offense, but I have to let Scripture have its pre emminence over your ‘logic’. None of your responses have dealt with a clear example from Scripture that is a defeater of your logical deductions. Unless, that is dealt with, then we both will be wasting our time.

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      1. Joey
        Thanks br.d. No offense, but I have to let Scripture have its pre emminence over your ‘logic’. None of your responses have dealt with a clear example from Scripture that is a defeater of your logical deductions. Unless, that is dealt with, then we both will be wasting our time.

        br.d
        Thanks Joey for letting me know.
        But remember, if one’s reasoning is plagued with falsehoods, one’s handling of scripture is going to proceed from the same.
        Jesus’ appeal to scripture is optional. But his reasoning being grounded in sound logic is not.
        But I completely understand one not being prepared to engage with that reality coming from a Calvinist background.

        However, as a participant at SOT101 I still retain the option to cordially analyze the falsehoods of your statements.
        And you retain the option to cordially engage or not – however you wish. :-]

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      2. @Br.d

        Indeed our presuppositions are beginning to take shape. But empty an suggestion that Reformed theologians are not prepared to engage your inbiblical logic is just that — empty suggestion. The argument has been pit forward — a clear defeater of the proposition that if God decrees then human responsibility is obliterated against the Acts 4. No response, only empty assertions.

        And the most discouraging thing in this whole conversation is the assertion that ‘Jesus’ appeal to scripture is optional.’ That is jaw dropping from people who who pledge allegiance to Sola Scriptura and Tota Scriptura. Hopefully, not all of Dr. Flowers followers espouses that heretical view.

        With that said, I do not think we will both benefit from continuing this conversation. I think I have given enough opportunity for you to respond biblically and to let your ‘logic’ be subservient to Scripture. Since that is not happenning, I think we better spend our time and effort on skmething more worthy of our time.

        Like

      3. Joey
        @Br.d Indeed our presuppositions are beginning to take shape.

        br.d
        Actually these presuppositions have been solidified for years.
        And many groups, including Calvinism use them as cannon through which to interpret scripture.

        Joey
        But empty an suggestion that Reformed theologians are not prepared to engage your inbiblical logic is just that — empty suggestion.

        br.d
        The standards which govern truth from falsehood are well established in logic and you can’t manipulate them.
        You’ll have to comply with and meet those standards if you seek to show my logic is un-biblical.
        Otherwise this statement is simply a smoke-screen

        Joey
        The argument has been pit forward — a clear defeater of the proposition that if God decrees then human responsibility is obliterated against the Acts 4. No response, only empty assertions.

        Br.d
        This statement doesn’t’ make sense – is this supposed to be an example of biblical logic?

        Joey
        And the most discouraging thing in this whole conversation is the assertion that ‘Jesus’ appeal to scripture is optional.’ That is jaw dropping from people who who pledge allegiance to Sola Scriptura and Tota Scriptura.

        Br.d
        So tell me
        when Jesus said “If I cast out demons by the power of Beelzebub by whom do your sons cast them out” was he appealing to scripture or to logic?

        Or when Jesus said “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out?” was he appealing to scripture or to logic?

        Obviously Jesus appeals to scripture – but as the Son of God he is not obligated to.
        But reasoning from falsehoods is not an option for the *TRUE* God.

        Joey
        Hopefully, not all of Dr. Flowers followers espouses that heretical view.

        Br.d
        At what point did I acknowledge myself as a “Flowerist” ? Too funny! :-]

        Joey
        With that said, I do not think we will both benefit from continuing this conversation. I think I have given enough opportunity for you to respond biblically and to let your ‘logic’ be subservient to Scripture. Since that is not happenning, I think we better spend our time and effort on skmething more worthy of our time.

        br.d
        Again, if one’s reasoning is plagued with falsehoods, (or less than honest) ones use of scripture is going to proceed from that.
        Bottom line Joey – I understand you are trying to control the rules of dialog – which is a consistent Calvinist tactic.
        Sorry I won’t be tricked by it – so we’re back to where we were before

        As a participant of SOT101 (thank you Lord for SOT101) I reserve the right to cordially analyze falsehoods in your statements.
        And you reserve the right to cordially respond as you see fit.

        It’s a win-win situation for everyone! :-]

        Liked by 1 person

  18. FREE WILL IN CALVINISM – IS COUNTERFACTUAL FREE WILL

    The term “Free Will” is composed of two words: “free” and “will”. The word “will” obviously refers to the human will. But concerning the word “free”, we must ask the question: free from what?

    Calvinism embraces the philosophical position of Universal Divine Causal Determinism. Theological Determinism, which is the view that a Theos (i.e,. a god) determines absolutely everything, and with absolutely no exceptions. Absolutely nothing can happen unless it is specifically determined to happen. If yesterday an atom or molecule moved to the right, then the Theos MUST have determined it to move to the right.

    Calvinist Paul Helm: “Not only is every atom and molecule, EVERY THOUGHT AND DESIRE, kept in being by God, but every twist and turn of each of these is UNDER THE DIRECT CONTROL OF GOD”. (The Providence of God).

    Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin: “The Omniscience of God merely programmed into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions, which include our sins and failures as well as our successes”. (The Doctrine of The Divine Decree)

    What these Calvinist statements tell us about the Calvinist view of the human will, is that the Calvinist believes every twist and turn of the human will is under the direct control of God. In this view, the Theos is the absolute determiner. If it came to pass that you chose heads rather than tails on a coin toss, then the Theos MUST have determined you choose at that coin toss, and determined you choose heads.

    So in what way is your will free on this view? The answer depends upon what the Theos determines. Lets say, the Theos determines you to raise your right hand. Your will is free to raise your right hand. But your will is not free to raise your left hand or your foot instead. And your will is not free to refuse to raise your right hand. Your will is free to will, only what the Theos determines it to will.

    So how is freedom of the will counterfactual on this view? First lets give the standard definition.

    Counterfactual:
    A conditional statement the first clause of which expresses something contrary to fact. (Webster’s Dictionary)

    Example:
    – Where Ronald Reagan is born in 2000 – Ronald Reagan cannot be president in 1981.

    Here are 5 logically valid counterfactual statements relating to Adam’s fall in Calvinism:
    1) Where Calvin’s god determines Adam’s will to obey – Adam’s will is not free to disobey.
    2) Where Calvin’s god does not determine Adam’s will to obey – Adam’s will is not free to obey.
    3) Where Calvin’s god determines Adam’s will to disobey – Adam’s will is not free to obey.
    4) Where Calvin’s god does not determine Adam’s will to disobey – Adam’s will is not free to disobey.
    5) Where Calvin’s god does not determine Adam do one of these two – Adam cannot do one of these two.

    Now sometimes you will here it stated: Calvin’s god decreed/determined Adam free to obey or disobey.

    This decree is superfluous, because it doesn’t provide the necessary condition for Adam to do either. Remember, for anything to come to pass, Calvin’s god MUST determine it to come to pass. And this decree doesn’t determine anything come to pass. Adam cannot do either (obey or disobey) unless Calvin’s god determines Adam to do one of them.

    Therefore the one Adam did, is the one Calvin’s god MUST have determined Adam do.
    As Calvinist Paul Helm would put it: Every twist and turn of Adam’s will is under the direct control of God.

    Like

  19. To my Calvinist friends:

    Let’s just assume both sides (non-Calvinist, Calvinist) feel that the Scriptures are on their side. So, putting aside all the proof-texts on both sides, let’s just discuss each side’s message.

    The non-Calvinist message is that God created a perfect world, and perfect, free man chose to sin. Sin entered the world and the only remedy is Christ. Christ’s payment covers anyone that has faith in His work. Anyone can have it (Abraham believe the Lord…). This is the way God planned it and He sends His people out on active missions “to be all things to all men to win some.” He sends “the beautiful feet” of his followers to preach and “to persuade men.” He tells people to seek first the kingdom and He often prepares the way by sending people to “worshippers of God” (Lydia).

    The Calvinist message is that God created with a plan to send 98% of His creation to Hell. Before any of them were ever born, they were designed and created for destruction. Christ’s payment covers the few that God chose before time to save. God sends His people out to tell all men to repent. The ones who have been enabled to repent will do so. His church is to preach this universal call to repentance and to try to persuade men, but only the one that have been regenerated (those chosen before time began) will (indeed must) repent.

    Now…..assuming both sides have Scripture on their side —-which one is really “Good News?”

    Calvinist say, “FOH if you dont like it, that’s your problem, because that is what Scripture teaches.” Ah, that’s not the exercise ….remember both sides say “that is what Scripture teaches.”

    Which message is Good News?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You mean ‘the good news, which shall be to all people’? Truly, how can any Calvinist claim that it is ‘good news’ to all people that the vast majority of them don’t stand a chance in hell – because they were created by God for the inevitable fate of winding up in hell. I defy anyone to with a straight face claim that is ‘good news which shall be to all people’. The Calvinist gospel is ‘good news’ to the so-called ‘elect’ who receive an arbitrary ‘get out of hell free card’ which allows them to live however they like, and yet receive the undeserved blessings of everlasting life and the glories of heaven. It sure as shootin aint good news to the rest of mankind. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi WildsWanderer,

      I don’t know what you are referring to at that web page but I noticed Calvinist double-speak immediately.

      -quote:
      While my wife and I shared…..the bad news which made the good news good……that, by nature, all men and women were spiritually dead in their sin and found guilty before a holy God.

      This semi-deceptive statement only confirms my observation that Calvinists are actually mentored in semi-deceptive double-speak.

      In Calvinism, the “news” is that Calvin’s god, (as the heavenly potter), designs all pots so that they cannot desire/be/do otherwise than what he specifically determines they desire/be/do.

      This is about as “good” as a man who lights 1000 houses on fire, so that he can save a few, and declare himself benevolent.

      Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil

      Like

    2. WW
      Thanks for the tip. Not sure I have the courage to read another Arminian post at desiringgod.

      Outside of saying he is a Calvinist, and occasionally posting the “we know the bridge collapsed and killed people for God’s glory” post and the occasional “all evil really does come from God…I mean ‘is allowed by God'” post…. most of Piper’s site is as Arminian as you can get.

      Dont waste your life!!! Remember that Piper book and campaign?!

      It’s up to you baby. You make choices….you influence people…. their lives can be affected by your decisions…even coming to Christ.

      Determinism is not a way of life.

      Like

  20. I was just sent an offer to go to a missions conference in January. I noticed all the speakers were Calvinists. Two comments:

    1. The videos and statements of the speakers show that they may theologize as Calvinists, but they live like they are not. They talk like the things they do (prayer, human effort, human pain, giving, going, strategizing, contextualizing, eloquence of delivery, etc) make a difference. If they do it —-and do it well — better results.

    That is a very non-Calvinist, non-determinist idea. Bravo for them that it does sound like Paul (“I am all things to all to all men, to win some” and “I persuade men”) ….but remember, Paul was not a Calvinist.

    2. This conference has a very looooong statement of faith (cut and pasted from Calvinist sites). Notice below…. and this is so revealing (especially how they go out of their way to say it).
    —–

    “7.2 We believe that the atonement of Christ for sin warrants and impels a universal offering of the gospel to all persons, so that to every person it may be truly said, “God gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life.” Whosoever will may come for cleansing at this fountain, and whoever does come, Jesus will not cast out.

    7.3 We believe, moreover, that the death of Christ did obtain more than the bona fide offer of the gospel for all; it also obtained the omnipotent New Covenant mercy of repentance and faith for God’s elect. Christ died for all, but not for all in the same way. In His death, Christ expressed a special covenant love to His friends, His sheep, His bride. For them He obtained the infallible and effectual working of the Spirit to triumph over their resistance and bring them to saving faith.”
    —–

    Their point 7.2 looks like Christ makes a “universal offer” —-which of course is what all people come to Christ believing (“Christ died for you!”). Whoever believes! Whosoever will…. They boldly say it!! Bravo!

    Then….crash….. “…uh….let me explain”

    He did not “really” offer to all (they say He did “more than offer”). He obtained it—-for the elect.

    Key phrase: “Christ died for all, but not for all in the same way.” This concept is 100% NOT found in Scripture and is pure conjecture. They simply bring it to the text, repeat and repeat it and make it so.

    Of course, if you are towing the Calvinist line you can see that this is just religious-sounding mumbo jumbo. They just have to add this man-made qualifying statement because they just made it sound like (God forbid!) “whosoever will”.

    Of course 7.2 can be shown and quoted from Scripture, but 7.3 has to be scaffolded from their philosophical position.

    Sad is the person who preaches to people “Christ died for you!” ….but then has to add, let me explain….maybe not.

    Sad is the person who says Christ is making “a universal offer” ….but then has to add, let me explain….not really to everyone.

    Sad is the person who quotes Scripture to say “Whosoever will may come!” …but then has to add, let me explain….I need to qualify that statement. It doesn’t really mean that.

    Sad is the person whose “Good News” message is, “Christ died for all, but not for all in the same way.”

    Like

    1. It appears to me, rather than them being non-Calvinist in their practice, I have a suspicion they are in fact following Calvin’s instructions.

      -quote:
      Each ought to so to apply himself to his office, as though nothing were determined about any part.
      (John Calvin – Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God – pg 171)

      This is one of the reasons Calvinism is observed as double-think.

      The disciple is to:
      A) Believe everything is determined in ever part
      B) Go about his office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part.

      Proposition [A] is true *AS-IF* Proposition [A] is false.

      Like

    2. FOH writes:
      ““Christ died for all, but not for all in the same way.”

      I vacillate between being sad and being angry at this false, blasphemous really, teaching. Absolutely never in scripture’s teaching of Christ dying for ‘all men’ does it put in a disclaimer ‘but not for all in the same way’. This is pure and simple ‘adding to scripture’. To do so does not lead, as so many distortions do, to slightly off-base thinking – it leads to the denial of the gospel of God so loving the world that he sent his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him might be saved. Some ‘whosoever’ – which is an absurd oxymoron – not the only ‘whosoever’ that retains any meaning, which is completely unlimited.

      What honest Calvinist (is that another oxymoron?) cannot see the vast difference between this gospel of partiality which denies even the possibility of redemption to many and the gospel that is proclaimed as good news which shall be to all people? It is past time people stopped hiding behind, ‘But Spurgeon believed it’; or Piper, Sproul or any other Reformed idol.

      It is an ugly, distorted gospel that bears no resemblance to the genuine, merciful, loving grace God has provided for all who will look to it for salvation.

      Like

  21. Hey Eric,
    Hope you are doing well, interesting discussion you all have going here. I would like to join in. Not to refute your own refutation. At least not at this time. There has been a lot of talk of faith not be a grace or a gift being granted or given by God. It is described as something everyone has within them as a natural ability it seems. If I understand right. I think I can add something of value to the conversation. I thought you and I had a good and respectful discussion on John 6 although it may got a little lively at times I still think we stayed within the bounds of harmony. Then we ended it by agreeing to disagree in love. I sent you a couple more emails which you did not answer so I figured you were mad or offended in some way. The emails were not about John 6 either. I don’t know maybe you blocked me. But I apologize if did anything wrong. I quote you from our discussion, “let’s show each other some grace” and I ask you to forgive me. I give you my word I will not quarrel with anyone even if I am baited in that direction but just ignore it and move on. I will practice self-control and behave myself. If not you can ban me. I am willing to discuss with anyone except BR.D. he is a different bird and seems a little irrational so I will ignore him for the sake of peace to keep harmony in the unity of the Spirit.

    I am going to use “proof-texting” I think it has been given a bad rap. I know the dangers of it. No individual text I use will be taken out of context to be used as a pretext. We all do it. You did it when you responded to the article above and said you could quote many more. Others here have did it too. We all did it when we are talking about a certain subject of the Bible and we mention well Ephesians 2:6 says……. Theologians and Bible Scholars of the past and present have done it in their Systematic Theologies and Commentaries to confirm and bolster what they are presently performing exegesis on. Get this my friend Eric, the Bible uses the Bible to perform “proof-texting” I know you are saying what in the world is he talking about. Think about Jesus in the wilderness being tempted by the Devil. After 40 days Jesus was starving, very hungry. The devil knew he had a good opportunity to test and temp Christ and said you are the Christ the Son of God, command these stones to be turned to bread and eat. Jesus said, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. This continued to happened as Jesus told the Devil it is written and quoted and singled individual verse from the old Testament. Jesus also did this with the Jews, Scribes and Pharisees. The Apostles did it. Especially Paul. Do I even have to mention the individual citations of individual verses in the book of Hebrews. Dr Flowers does it in every article he writes and he is not all that good at it and there is the danger when you have not done proper exegesis first. I will give you an example. Dr Flowers thinks Hebrews 4:12 speaks about the written inspired word of God. It does not. If he will look at it in context especially with the next two verses he would understand it is speaking of Christ the essential and eternal Word of God. Read verse 13 and 14 and I have many other ways of proving this also. Many many scholars take this stance as verse 13 is speaking of a person in connection with verse 12. But Dr Flowers just pulls it out of context and says see all you need is the written word of God to save people. And they just need to hear it, all the time denying the eternal work of the Holy Spirit (John 6:45) Jesus said in John 8:34, “Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.” Unable, the inability shows up again. How many times in the book of Revelations do we hear, “He that has ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit of the Lord says” This is a special work of the Spirit to give ears that can hear and understand and accept the things of the Spirit.

    Of course the people Jesus was talking to had ears and were hearing him. Most other translations say, “you cannot even hear me including the KJV.

    Here is a link I posted on reader of a article on Proof-texting. “A Biblical Basis for Proof-Texting Intimately Connected with Biblical Hermenutics and Biblical Exegesis.

    Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.

    https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/115078674/posts/2172

    I guess I am wanting to do a topical study on saving faith. If one feels I have done violence to the text or passage we can talk about it showing each other grace as you and I did..

    I was also hoping Eric you would let the others on Soteriology101 see the rest of our discussion on Soteriology101 so they could chime in on it. You don’t have to and I know you know that brother. I just wanted to get further response and see if something could be added.

    It can be found here in the link below. It is up to you brother. I thought you did well brother and I did also but we both just agreed at the end and we both could give reasons why we think the other is wrong. I am willing to let the others on Soteriology101 look at what I said and tell me what they think because I am sure they will side with you.

    https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/115802822/posts/163

    But if nothing else please think about giving me a chance on this discussion. Keep me on a short leash like you did last time.

    As you say my Elect Brother in Christ, Cheers

    Like

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