The Age of Accountability

Many church-goers grew up being taught to believe in the “age of accountability” (AoA), as was I. After all, we certainly see this taught in my own Baptist tradition as the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message states regarding man “as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.”

However, after going away to college and adopting five-point Calvinism, I became convinced that this was not a taught in the Bible.  I had been persuaded by my new Calvinistic mentors that this was a “man-made doctrine” created to help ease the pain of those who tragically lost a young child. After leaving behind Calvinism many years later and doing some more thorough study on the matter, however, I have come to firmly believe this doctrine has strong biblical roots.

Though not explicitly set forth in scripture (much like infant salvation which also is not explicitly taught) the principles for the AoA are quite plain in the text.

First, the bible is clear that “each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Rom 14:12)

Can a two-year-old baby who tragically dies in a car accident give this accounting of himself to God?  Can the mentally handicapped? Difficult circumstances like these lead us to ponder on such questions as to when one is held accountable for their sins before God.

Scriptures do not speak so much about a specific age[1] but simply to a time in everyone’s life when God’s truth is clearly made known. When a child comes to understand that they have sinned against God and deserve punishment due to their sins, then and only then can they give an account of their wrongdoings.  This is why we reference them being as being “accountable” (able to give an account for sin) or “responsible” (able to respond to Christ’s appeal). Some even prefer the “age of responsibility” because it connotes the child’s ability-to-respond of his own volition to the word’s of Christ, after all, every one of us will be judged by those very words:

“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” (John 12:48)

Let us look at some passages in scripture which convey these principles. According to John’s account, Christ indicates that one’s accountability depends, at least in part, upon one’s understanding of sin:

John 15:22: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.”

or

John 9:41: Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”

Paul likewise seems to indicate this same principle:

Romans 7:9-10: “I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me…”

Another passage often used to support this principle is the story of King David’s loss of a child. David seems to presume that one day he would be reunited with him:

 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ “But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Sam. 12:22-23)

It is also worth mentioning that Jesus spoke of allowing the children to come to him “for such is the kingdom of heaven” (Lk 18:16). And Jesus even uses a child as an example in one of his lessons declaring, “Anyone who becomes humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Apparently, heaven is made up of such, which certainly gives much credence to David’s words and actions after the death of his own son.

Am I meaning to suggest that children do not have the inevitable curse of sin upon them? No, it is only to say that God, in His graciousness, does not hold them accountable while they remain in their ignorance. As recorded in John 9:41, they are not held to account for the sins they did in ignorance. Other passages seem to indicate that God does graciously pass over sins because of his loving patience toward fallen humanity:

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:23-26)

And

“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:18-19)

The AoA principle can also be found in the Old Testament narrative. For instance, when God banned the unfaithful Israelites from entering the promised land he did so based upon age and ignorance:

“Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it.” (Dt. 1:39)

Likewise, when the prophet Isaiah foretold of the Messiah’s coming he spoke of when a boy “will know enough to refuse evil and choose good,” suggesting there is a time in the child’s life he remains without enough knowledge to make accountable moral choices (Isa. 7:16).

So too, the prophet Ezekiel seems to strongly indicate that guilt was not imputed from one’s parents, which would seem to contradict the idea that all people are born guilty for the sins of those who have come before him:

“The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” (Ezek. 18:20)

For a complete systematic proposal which covers both a Biblical and historical survey of this issue, I highly recommend Dr. Adam Harwood’s book, “The Spiritual Condition of Infants.” Harwood concludes,

“Those who claim that infants inherit sin and guilt are faced with the following inconsistencies in their viewpoint: First, it would be inconsistent for God to hold infants guilty of the sin of another person (Adam) because he states that he holds people responsible for their own sin, not the for sin of another person (Ezek. 18:20). Each of us will give an account of himself to God (Rom. 14:12). We will not give an account to God of our parents or grandparents or even our furthest descendants, Adam. Second, because the Scriptures indicate that God judges people for their sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions, it would be inconsistent for him to judge infants to be guilty of sin solely based on their sin nature.”

[1] Some believe the age of accountability could have been around 20 years old because this was the age when young men in Israel became accountable to serve in the army of Israel (or Ex. 30:14 mentions the census only counting those 21 years and older). Others believe the age of accountability to be around 12 or 13 due to this being the age when Jesus went up to Jerusalem with his parents and was found in the temple discussing the Law and asking questions. This was also the normal age for being received into Judaism as a “son of the law,” which would make him a full member of the religious community. https://bible.org/question/what-does-bible-say-about-age-accountability

Some have even speculated that when a child begins to recognize his or her own nakedness (as exemplified by Adam and Eve did in the garden after their sin) it may be an indication they have reached the age of accountability.

85 thoughts on “The Age of Accountability

  1. The Council of Dordt (art 17) and the PCA church say that infants of believing parents will get special grace.

    That is pretty convenient. It bypasses the “Doctrines of Grace” “individual election” idea of Calvinism.

    Infants of non-believing parents are a mystery they say. Is any of this based on Scripture? Nah, it just helps them sleep at night.

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    1. From the Canons of Dort

      Article 17: The Salvation of the Infants of Believers

      “Since we must make judgments about God’s will from his Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature but by virtue of the gracious covenant in which they together with their parents are included, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in infancy.”

      No doubt this language was added to the Canons of Dort to give Christians comfort in knowing that God’s unconditional hatred of the reprobate would not be applied to their children. “Whew….what a relief!” “Dodge a bullet there!”

      But the scriptural fallacy of this notion should be obvious.

      For Calvinists, all believers are elect and, at some point in time, all elect will become believers. You can’t be “elect” unless you are a believer. And if you are a believer, that’s proof positive that you always were “elect”.

      Now, with that in mind, Noah and his wife, since they were believers, must be among the elect. And if elect parents’ children are assured of being among the elect as well, that would mean that Noah’s children were elect. And if Noah’s children were elect, then that would mean that their children would also have to be elect. And so on and so forth. With that concept, and teaching, in mind, we eventually have universalism. Since all of mankind can trace their roots to Noah and his wife, than all of mankind is elect.

      Funny how a theology that rejects (and even hates) the idea of universalism, actually accepts a doctrine that endorses it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Philip,
        As much as I would like to go along with the things you say, I’m gonna have to challenge this one.

        It say, “….and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in infancy.”

        It is not talking about every offspring of every elect, right?

        But still….agreed that it is put there as a “calming factor” that has not Scriptural backing.

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      2. FOH,

        I thought the same thing (at first). But notice it reads… “which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature but by virtue of the gracious covenant in which they together with their parents are included”.

        That is why, for them, believers can be assured that their children who die in infancy are among the elect.

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      3. Phillip,
        I hear ya!

        I still think that we would have to give them the benefit of the doubt. Anybody using old reformed councils as their base line does not really deserve too much slack…. but I think most modern reformed-Calvinists would say that the first phrase was intended to go with the ones who died in infancy…..not all their offspring.

        But point taken. Poorly worded by the Dordt guys…. but hey….. that’s what we have come to expect

        Liked by 1 person

      4. FOH,

        Think of it this way. Since God has predetermined the elect and reprobate (and that number is fixed) and you are a parent, what are the odds, statistically speaking, of your children being one of the elect? O, you might be lucky with one, maybe even two. But what about if you have 3, 4 or even 5 kids? What are the odds that they are all among the unconditional elect? Well, if you believe the Canons of Dort, you can be 100% sure, because of that covenant relationship.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Who is to say the Canons of Dort are to be taken as truth or on equal terms with Scripture?

        The Canons of Dort are a bunch of imperfect men who came together thinking they had the authority to determine how Scripture is to be interpreted.

        AoA applies to all created beings, not just those born of Christian parents. When Scripture talks about children of Christian parents being sanctified it is not referring to their salvation but that the light of Christ in their parents instructs them in His way of righteousness, a righteousness that if lived out will eventually lead to their salvation, if they continue in it. If the passage is assumed to be interpreted as them being guaranteed salvation simply because they have believing parents, this would directly contradict what God states clearly in Ezekiel; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. Each gives an account for their own deeds. Nobody’s righteous acts (except for Christ) save another person just as nobody’s wicked acts condemn another person to hell.

        So this whole thing that only children of believers are saved is absolute nonsense. The same nonsense that led to infant baptism.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good discussion, Leighton, of an important subject that many ask about. I’m glad you pointed to Paul’s words in Rom 7:9, which many, like Alford in his commentary, felt Paul was pointing to the condition of his heart in infancy before his conscience was awakened to the law of God.

    Here are three other verses that hint at childhood innocence – Eze 16:21 NKJV – “…that you have slain My children and offered them up to them by causing them to pass through [the fire]? Jon 4:11 NKJV – “And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left–and much livestock?” Mat 21:16 NKJV – … And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”

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  3. Some Additional verses:

    1 John 3:4
    sin is the transgression of the law.

    Romans 3:20
    the law is the knowledge of sin.

    Romans 5:13
    For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

    Romans 4:15
    where no law is, there is no transgression.

    Romans 4:8
    Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

    Romans 7:8
    For without the law sin was dead.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great article!

    I believe Jesus clearly teaches – God’s principle of responsibility/accountability has these – as directly proportionate to specific things given to the individual by God himself. We see this in the parable of the talents, and Jesus’ statement: “To whom much is given – much is required”. The scriptures, for example are a talent. And I believe there will be plenty of judgement on those who force interpretations on scripture, and raise up disciples after themselves, using dishonest means and strategies. Especially when the Lord gives them ample warning and opportunity to handle scripture, language, and logic in honestly – without putting their finger on the balancing scale and creating false balances with these. Every man’s work shall be tried – so as by fire.

    Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

    I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.

    Blessings Dr. Flowers!

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

    So, in the previous verses in Acts 17, you have a group of people who believe in NUMEROUS gods. And Paul tells them that their ignorance is something that God “winked” at.

    But NOW that Paul has TOLD THEM about the unknown God, NOW it’s time for them to repent.

    This has nothing to do with “election”, but it has everything to do with “ignorance”. God excuses ignorance. But once KNOWLEDGE (Name of Tree in Garden of Eden) is known…THEN one is held accountable to what they know. No knowledge, no accountability.

    Ed Chapman

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In the FOLLOWING reference, the key words are “DO BY NATURE”…NATURE…NATURE

    Not by COMMANDMENT, because they don’t know the commandment. And Paul calls this…GOSPEL.

    Romans 2:14-16 (KJV)

    14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

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

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

    Liked by 1 person

  7. John MacArthur from “The Salvation of Infants Who Die”

    “What is that age? You often hear that question asked. That’s really not the question because we’re not talking an age of accountability–get this in your mind–we’re talking about a condition of accountability! Get the word “age” out of this discussion. We’re talking about a condition of accountability, not an age.

    Who qualifies then, in our discussion, as an infant or a child who, dying, is saved–who dying, instantly goes to heaven? Who are we talking about? Answer: those who have not reached sufficient, mature understanding in order to comprehend convincingly the issues of law and grace, sin and salvation. I’ll say it again because I thought about it a long time and this is the way I want you to hear it. We are talking about someone who has not reached sufficient, mature understanding to comprehend convincingly the issues of law and grace and sin and salvation. This is certainly an infant in the womb, this is certainly an infant at birth, this is certainly a small child, and this is certainly a mentally impaired adult at any age! Anyone in the condition who cannot sufficiently understand and comprehend so as to be fully convinced of the issues of law and grace and sin and salvation.

    It’s not an age; it is a condition. From child to child, it varies, and, as I said, you have to include in this those who grow up mentally disadvantaged, mentally disabled, mentally retarded so as never to be able to have a sufficient, mature understanding and a convincingly comprehensive grasp of law and grace and sin and salvation. This is not an age; this is a condition. That’s who we’re talking about: people in that condition where they cannot, in a mature way, understand and comprehend convincingly these issues. We’re talking about those people.”
    ……………………………..

    Funny how all these disabilities are proof positive that you are among the elect. Mentally retarded/impaired/disabled? A sure sign of election. Babies who experience crib death? A sure sign of election. Babies aborted by the millions? Elect.

    But here’s the kicker brothers (sisters). Doesn’t MacArthur believe/teach total depravity/total inability? Is this not a “condition” of the worst kind? According to their own teachings, the Lost are completely unable to understand/grasp/comprehend any spiritual truth. The Lost are in essence “never to be able to have a sufficient, mature understanding and a convincingly comprehensive grasp of law and grace and sin and salvation”. They teach that lost man is “spiritually dead like a corpse.”

    Why would God be gracious regarding one condition while completely overlooking an even worse condition? Especially considering that in divine determinism, God is the cause/source of all these conditions. I mean, if you can’t comprehend, you can’t comprehend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Phillip:
      Bravo on that find.

      I have always considered this the height of hypocrisy. I think the brave reformed preachers who boldly say “many infants who die are not part of the elect” are more true to their theology.

      If “too dead” man is incapable of responding, then “not good enough condition” infant or impaired adult is no different. If God needs to give them supernatural (extra dose) faith then He can do that with an infant (or not).

      So….basically how dare reformers say “they are automatically elect” just because a person is an infant or impaired.

      Calvinists: Just be bold and stay true to your theology. Calvinism would require that the lion’s share of those who die in infancy were not chosen by God.

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      1. FOH,

        Arrogance from MacArthur (a same article)…..

        “If you survey reformed Calvinistic literature over 450 years since Calvin, you’ll find that the vast majority of all the writers believe that all infants who die are taken to heaven….. Now, let me kind of expand on that for this is very, very important. You see, it’s only pure, true, reformed soteriology –salvation– only pure, true, reformed soteriology can account for the fact that fallen, sinful, guilty, depraved children who die with no spiritual merit, die with no religious merit, die with no moral merit of their own, can be welcomed by a holy God into eternal glory! Only pure, reformed theology can allow for that because only the purist theology believes that salvation is all by grace!”

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      2. He is so funny….and blind!

        Actually the opposite it true!

        Their God randomly chooses who He wants (all others are refused). He could and would do that even for unborn….why would He not?

        It is “free will” people who would be consistent. They preach that a person has to reject or accept Christ. An unborn has not had that moment so….in theory…. a gracious God would cover them since they did not get the chance.

        For MacArthur to say that ipso facto all unborn are elect/ chose/ ordained/ decreed by God is very similar to Universalism. I mean…the same statement could be made….. “….it’s only pure, true, reformed soteriology –salvation– ….only fallen, sinful, guilty, depraved children [and adults] who die with no spiritual merit, of their own can be welcomed by a holy God into eternal glory!

        One dies before birth and the other at 40 years old. No difference. Why is He is “obligated” to take the infants?

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    2. Phillip,
      Preparing for my next Sunday message and came across this just now….

      1 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
      ———

      A. You “learned” it.
      B. You “became convinced” of it.
      C. You are convinced cuz of those from whom [people] you learned it.
      D. From infancy you have known the Scriptures that can make you wise (not an extra-dose of faith) for salvation.

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      1. 1 Timothy 3:15…and how from infancy (childhood) you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

        FOH,

        One of my favorite verses to point out to our Calvinist/Arminian brothers. That and…..

        Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)…
        For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

        But for them? Nope. Pointless. Until you address man’s depravity (either by regeneration or being released from the bondage of sin), it (the holy scriptures/the word of God) will fall on deaf ears.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. More from MacArthur (same article)…..

    “So here’s a final summary: all children who die before they reach the condition of accountability, by which they convincingly understand their sin and corruption and embrace the gospel by faith, are graciously saved eternally by God through the work of Jesus Christ, being elect by sovereign choice, innocent of willful sin, rebellion, and unbelief, by which works they would be justly condemned to eternal punishment. So, when an infant dies, he or she is elect to eternal salvation and eternal glory. So, dear one, if you have a little one that dies, rejoice! Count not your human loss; count your eternal gain. Count not that child as having lost, but having gained, having passed briefly through this life, untouched by the wicked world, only to enter into eternal glory and grace. The true sadness should be over those children of yours who live and reject the gospel. Don’t sorrow over your children in heaven; sorrow over your children on earth, that they should come to Christ. This is your great responsibility, your great opportunity.”

    So, again, nothing says “elect” like infant fatality.

    MacArthur writes…. “The true sadness should be over those children of yours who live and reject the gospel.”

    Does he mean the reprobate? Those whom it pleased God to pass over? Vessels of wrath created for destruction all for His glory?

    MacArthur follows that with…. “This is your great responsibility, your great opportunity.”

    Responsibility? Opportunity? What opportunity do the lost have? Isn’t that number eternally fixed? And there’s no chance of an “elect” feeling the eternal flames.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Phillip,
      MacArthur is late to the party. He became a Calvinist when the wave hit So Cal in the late 70’s.

      He, like so many, preaches and lives like a non-Calvinist while trying to associate with the Sproul gang ((did you see them go at it over infant baptism?)). He is not a true “let’s just admit what we believe” Calvinist. Making all unborn the elect! How wonderfully gracious of him!! Just go the whole mile to Universalism, John!

      According to the quote you gave, the best thing a parent could do is let his child die in infancy and insure election. Why “risk” him getting older and “deciding against Christ”?

      You nailed it….There is no responsibility or opportunity…… for them. That fixed number is all set. Double-minded speaking at work…. and he really has polished it!

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      1. Phillip,
        In several of my responses I have mentioned abortion, only to go back and erase it before posting. Why? I hate abortion, and my wife and I have been on pro-life boards and been sidewalk counseling for many, many years. Why? Because what we do makes a difference. A Calvinist interpretation of Eph 1:11 does not render our “good works” useless. It is not all scripted in advance.

        But, as you say, for most Calvinists, and certainly for those who follow MacArthur….. abortion! Dont let them get old enough to “deny” Christ.

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  9. From the pen of Calvinist Vincent Cheung (regarding Infant Salvation)

    “The popular position that all infants are saved is wishful thinking, and continues as a groundless religious tradition. Those who affirm the doctrine of election have never been able to establish that all those who die as infants are elect. Their arguments are forced and fallacious. And those who reject the biblical doctrine of election lacks even this to fabricate a doctrine of infant salvation. Thus the invention deceives the masses and offers them hope based on mere fantasy. The way to comfort bereaved parents is not to lie to them, but to instruct them to trust in God. Whatever God decides must be right and good. It may be difficult due to their grief and weakness at the time, but if the parents cannot finally accept this, that God is always right, then they are headed for hell themselves and need to become Christians.”

    The cold heart of a consistent Calvinist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A little further down in that article from a “state what we really believe” Calvinist Vincent Cheung….

      “But whether a fetus, infant, or adult, if you can read this and understand this, then I am telling you that you must believe in Jesus Christ to save your wretched soul. As for my critics, yes, even obnoxious morons like you can be saved. My concern is not so much about whether embryos can exercise faith, but that as annoying and unintelligent as you are, whether you can exercise faith….. As for the embryos, if they perish, they will go where God decides – if they all burn in hell, they all burn in hell; if they all ascend to heaven, then they ascend to heaven – but if they live, I will talk to them in a few years.”
      ———-

      People follow these guys?

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    2. Phillip writes:

      “‘. . . It may be difficult due to their grief and weakness at the time, but if the parents cannot finally accept this, that God is always right, then they are headed for hell themselves and need to become Christians.’

      The cold heart of a consistent Calvinist.”

      This is not simply a snarky comment, as some Calvinists would view it. It is the heart of my reason for despising, rejecting and exposing Calvinism. I have seen too many kind and gracious souls turned into cold, heartless monsters by a theology that compels them to embrace a cruel, monstrous God without question.

      As its essence, Calvinism demands that you kill your heart, embrace a loveless God and renounce the compassion and love for your fellow man that Jesus tells us is the summation of the Law! True regeneration inspires a cold, selfish heart to grow endlessly in love for a good and trustworthy God as well as in genuine, heart-wrenching compassion for deceived and hurting mankind.

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  10. More from MacArthur (same article)…..

    “It is true they sin–little ones sin! Little children disobey, they’re selfish, they’re angry, etc. But they are incapable of understanding the moral essence of that sin, they are incapable of understanding God, and they are incapable of understanding the gospel. They are incapable of exercising a true repentance toward God and a saving faith so that they are with excuse, whereas the pagans in Romans 1 are without excuse because they are capable of knowing and understanding the revelation God has given them in creation and conscious and they are capable of faith. So, unbelief for them is a willful choice.”

    Again, if all men are born “spiritually dead like a corpse” then all are incapable of understanding sin, God, and the gospel. That is the essence of total depravity/total inability. And, besides, the gospel isn’t for them anyway. Their “good news” is that God hates them and Christ didn’t die for them.

    Also, Calvinism teaches that both faith and repentance are the gifts of God. So exactly how is fallen man capable of both?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Phillip,

      Are you kidding? You could have a whole website on the inconsistencies of MacArthur and Piper alone. They most definitely preach, talk, live like what they do matters, but theologize like it is all a done deal.

      I have cited Piper’s book “Don’t Waste Your Life” and many articles (especially the two: God does do all the evil, Satan is God’s tool to do His evil) many times.

      Basically it is an easy target to find MacArthur saying one thing one minute, then another the next.

      If born a “dead corpse” it makes no difference if we reach the ability “to understand” since that is only given supernaturally anyway.

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  11. Quoting Dr. Harwood, ““Those who claim that infants inherit sin and guilt are faced with the following inconsistencies in their viewpoint: First, it would be inconsistent for God to hold infants guilty of the sin of another person (Adam))…it would be inconsistent for him to judge infants to be guilty of sin solely based on their (parents, I think he means) sin nature.”

    I have not read Harwood’s book on this so those who have can add more info. Adam sinned and one result was physical death – one consequence of his sin is that Adam would physically die. If infants are not guilty of sin, then why do infants die? Following Dr. Flowers argument, no child should die until the child reaches the age of accountability. Certainly, no mentally challenged person should die if they cannot determine right from wrong. Yet, even infants die, and this is correctly attributed to Adam’s sin. People are affected by the sins of others even if not guilty because of the sins of others.

    If an infant’s physical death can be traced to Adam’s sin, then what about their spiritual condition? In conception, are infants spiritually dead? Let’s assume that a person is not conceived/born in a spiritually dead condition. If that is true, then no child should die until it actually sins as even Adam did not die spiritually until he sinned and only then did he incur physical death.

    On the issue of infants, all people seem to become Calvinists in recognizing that it is God who saves and not the person who does anything to merit salvation. To avoid the Calvinist tag, Dr. Flowers and others say that infants don’t need to be saved because they have done nothing wrong. At the same time, infants are not righteous (and have no ability to do righteous acts even as they seemingly have no ability to do unrighteous acts). It is by the death of Christ that many are made righteous and this includes infants – not necessarily all infants.

    Believers ought to be confident concerning God’s protection over their children. Unbelievers have no such confidence (as if they cared).

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    1. rhutchin,

      You had said:
      “I have not read Harwood’s book on this so those who have can add more info. Adam sinned and one result was physical death – one consequence of his sin is that Adam would physically die.”

      My response:

      This is an incorrect assessment of Genesis 2 and 3.

      Adam was going to die a NATURAL death ANYWAY, whether he ate of the Tree of Knowledge or not. He was going to die a PHYSICAL deah ANYWAY.

      Adam did NOT begin his existence on this planet as a person that has eternal life.

      People seem to forget about the OTHER TREE that was in the garden called the TREE OF LIFE.

      The only way that Adam would have OBTAINED eternal life, was to eat of that tree.

      This is ALSO showed by God blocking that tree after the FALL, so that Adam would not GAIN eternal life in a fallen state.

      This is ALSO explained in 1 Corinthians Chapter 15, beginning with verse 36. The topic of that was pertaining to the resurrection. But that chapter begins at the beginning, to wit:

      36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

      42 … It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

      43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

      44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

      46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

      47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.

      48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

      49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

      50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;

      Keep a close eye, also on that last verse. BLOOD keeps the FLESH alive, for the live of the flesh is in the blood.

      Is there BLOOD in the body of an eternal body? Did Adam have BLOOD in his body BEFORE the fall? Flesh and BLOOD cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

      So, to say that Adam’s punishment was to die a physical death is INCORRECT.

      The death that he died was “on that day” was a SPIRITUAL DEATH, not a physical one.

      Adam was created to die anyway, and the only thing that would have stopped it was him eating of the OTHER TREE in the garden, which people seem to forget about and not mention.

      But God never told him about that tree, did he? He only told him not to eat of the Tree of KNOWLEDGE. Imagine that. God did NOT want him to GET KNOWLEDGE. God wanted Adam to be IGNORANT. In essence, God told Adam to NOT GET KNOWLEDGE.

      But Satan said, “I want you to know good and evil, and be just as smart as we (the demons) are.”

      Ed Chapman

      Like

      1. chapmaned24 writes, “This is an incorrect assessment of Genesis 2 and 3.
        Adam was going to die a NATURAL death ANYWAY, whether he ate of the Tree of Knowledge or not. He was going to die a PHYSICAL death ANYWAY.
        Adam did NOT begin his existence on this planet as a person that has eternal life.”

        You now need to include Genesis 3:17-19, “Then to Adam God said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,…By the sweat of your face You shall eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” Absent Adam’s sin, there is no indication in Genesis that God had declared, “you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” Even though there was a Tree of Life in the garden, we know that it was only the vehicle that God chose to accomplish His purpose – to sustain the life of Adam throughout time. That tree points to Christ as the true sustainer of life – “all things have been created by Christ and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

        That God now denies Adam access to the Tree of Life again points to Christ by whose life we are saved. No sinner has access to Life now except through faith and as God denies sinful humanity access to the Tree of Life in the garden, He grants access through faith in Christ. The physical death that Adam incurs from his sin points to the spiritual death that was also incurred and is a reminder of that spiritual death.

        When you say, “The only way that Adam would have OBTAINED eternal life, was to eat of that tree,” you forget that Jesus said, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life,…” Again we are led to connect the Tree of Life to Christ – a person cannot sin and eat of the Tree of Life at the same time.

        I think there is more going on in Genesis than you are yet willing to allow.

        Like

      2. rhutchin,

        What you just described in your comment is the BODY only. You did not describe the SPIRIT. The spirit is YOU without a body.

        So, the BODY does return to the earth. So…what happens with your spirit when you die? Do you believe that you exist after you die?

        If so, how?

        What God was telling Adam in YOUR Genesis reference of 3:17-19 is this:

        “Adam, since you did not eat of the Tree of Life, you did not OBTAIN eternal life, and therefore, you will die, JUST LIKE I FORMED YOU TO DO IN THE FIRST PLACE.”

        There is nothing that you can say to me to convince me otherwise, because i have already studied this out, which is why I included the 1 Cor 15:36-50 references about LIFE.

        I can also include 1 Thessalonians 5:23 as well as James 2:26 as well as Ecclesiastes about your spirit, which is YOU.

        LIFE requres a body. Dust is your body.

        In order for YOUR story to be true, then Adam BEGAN his existence on this planet with a body that does not die, and the ONLY way for that body to die is to have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge.

        But just the opposte is true. He began his existence on this planet with a body that dies, and he did not OBTAIN eternal life, therefore, his body dies JUST LIKE IT WAS FOMRED TO DO in the first place.

        Ed Chapman

        Like

      3. rhutchin,

        What you are doing in your comment is treating the TREE OF LIFE in the garden, as if it really didn’t exist in the garden at all, that it was nothing more than a spiritual metaphore only.

        Again, God BLOCKED access to the Tree of Life so that Adam could NOT gain eternal life in a fallen state. You seemed to have ignored that part of Genesis.

        So, therefore, your statement about sinning and eating of the tree of life…IT WAS POSSIBLE in the garden, otherwise God would not have blocked access to it. God did not want Adam to be in a fallen state with eternal life.

        Yes, Jesus is the tree of life on a spiritual level. BUT there was indeed a real tree in the garden that if Adam would have eaten of it, would have accomplished the SAME EXACT THING as Jesus does now. It was not there as JUST A METAPHORE.

        And I wish that people would stop with the “TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSE” statements, when they have no clue themselves as to what that really is. It’s easy to say, but EVERYONE has their own interpretations of WHAT that purpose is.

        Ed Chapman

        Like

      4. chapmaned24 writes, “What you are doing in your comment is treating the TREE OF LIFE in the garden, as if it really didn’t exist in the garden at all, that it was nothing more than a spiritual metaphore only.”

        There was a tree and had Adam been able to eat from it, he could have lived forever – but, at the same time, his body seems to have begun to degrade per God’s pronouncement in v19. Perhaps God needed to expel Adam as the means to accomplish the pronounced penalty.

        However, it is before Adam sinned that the purpose of the tree of life is confusing. God had declared his creation very good so you are saying that death was part of that “very good.” Yet, God ties death to the disobedience of eating the fruit (2:17). So, could death result outside the eating of the fruit? If you figure it all out, let everyone know how it all works together.

        Like

    2. rhutchin,

      And based on my last comment, the only way that a baby is accountable for sin, is at the point of KNOWLEDGE of sin, all because that is the name of the tree in the garden.

      Ignorance is “winked at”.

      Ed Chapman

      Like

      1. chapmaned24 writes, “the only way that a baby is accountable for sin, ”

        There are two problems: one is sin and the other is righteousness. Are children born righteous (or sinners who eventually sin)?.

        Like

      2. I go for option #3 – Roger – innocent of Adam’s guilt, but with a sin nature. Ezekiel 18:20 NKJV — “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

        Like

      3. brianwagner writes, “I go for option #3 – Roger – innocent of Adam’s guilt, but with a sin nature. ”

        Would you identify a “sin nature” with the “mind of the flesh” Paul describes in Romans 8, “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” If not, could you provide the definition of a “sin nature” that you find in the Scriptures?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes, Roger, and the flesh can never satisfy God, before or after regeneration. But the spirit of man is able to freely respond to God’s gracious initiatives with faith, before and after regeneration.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. brianwagner writes, “the flesh can never satisfy God, before or after regeneration.”

        Romans 8 says “please” not “satisfy.” Thus, we can tie it to Hebrews 11, “…without faith it is impossible to please Him…” Thus, the sin nature exists in the absence of faith. Once faith is introduced, the person walks by the spirit and not by the flesh.

        Then, “But the spirit of man is able to freely respond to God’s gracious initiatives with faith,…”

        The key phrase being “with faith.”

        Then, “… before and after regeneration.”

        Obviously after regeneration. But before?? Ephesians 2 says, “you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” This condition prevailed until “God made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” Don’t you often cite the parable of the soils tt clearly tell us that only the good soil receives the word and thereby faith so as to produce a positive response.

        Like

      6. Roger… I think you should get checked for Alzheimers… and do a word study on what the Greek word for “please” means in Rom 8 and Heb 11. 😊

        Faith is expressed in the second and third soils and possible in the first along with salvation. I am surprised you forgot. Luke 8:12 NKJV — “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

        Like

      7. rhutchin,

        Do you know what YOUR religion keeps missing?

        THe DEFINITION OF SIN.

        NO, the biblical definition of sin is NOT “miss the mark”. That is the dictionary definition.

        KNOWLEDGE is the key word.

        The Bible states:

        SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW and

        THE LAW IS THE “KNOWLEDGE” OF SIN.

        I keep stressing the word KNOWLEDGE.

        Without that knowledge, you are NOT responsible, or accountable, and sin is NOT imputed.

        ——————————–

        SO…let’s begin at the BEGINNING…

        After Adam got KNOWLEDGE, God separated himself from Adam.

        AND HERE IS THE KEY POINT:

        God showed Adam how to RESUME the relationship. HOW? By killing an animal. That animal COVERED THEIR SIN, their nakedness, their shame.

        And from then on, Adam maintained sacrifices.

        It’s so simple. It has nothing to do with INABILITY.

        Your theology is BIZZARE to say the least.

        Ed Chapman

        Like

      8. The only way that you can be THE MIND OF THE FLESH is to first have KNOWLEDGE of sin. You can’t be subject to the laws of God is you have no clue as to what the Laws of God are.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. rhutchin,

        Yes, children are indeed born righteous. They have NOT SPIRITUALLY DIED. God NEVER DEPARTED THEM.

        God departs when they get knowledge. That’s the way that it happened with Adam and Eve. And that is the same process that happens with every human ever born.

        When a human gets a CONSCIENCE of GUILT AND SHAME…that is when UNRIGHTEOUSNESS begins.

        YOUR theology is backwards, because in order for someone to be DEAD in their sin and transgressions, that person had to have been ALIVE FIRST.

        As this article states about Romans 7, Paul was ALIVE before he knew, and once he knew, he died.

        And as I have noted with Romans 5:13, BEFORE THE LAW SIN WAS IN THE WORLD, BUT SIN IS NOT IMPUTED WHERE THERE IS NO LAW.

        What is not imputed? Why?

        Did you happen to READ 1 Corinthians 5:36-50 at all? Read it in SEVERAL DIFFERENT versions.

        BLOOD is what keeps the EARTHLY FLESH alive. What keeps an eternal body alive? Blood? Flesh and BLOOD cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

        Righteousness is without the knowledge of good and evil. Without the law. Ignorance. So yes, children are born righteous.

        Ed Chapman

        Like

      10. chapmaned24 writes, “Yes, children are indeed born righteous. They have NOT SPIRITUALLY DIED. God NEVER DEPARTED THEM. ”

        When Adam sinned, he became unrighteous and spiritually dead. How can Adam convey righteousness to his children when he has no righteousness to convey to his children? How can Adam convey spiritual life to his children when he has no spiritual life to convey to his children?

        Like

    3. rhutchin,
      And also based on my previous 2 comments, this also shows that:

      a) There is no such thing as “Original Sin”

      and

      b) Children without KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL are NOT spiritually DEAD in their sins and trespasses.

      God is STILL with them.

      They only die a spiritual death at the moment that they know GOOD AND EVIL.

      After all, that is how NATURAL LIFE goes to. There is a proper order of events.

      NATURAL LIFE = Life comes first, then death comes next. THEN resurrection comes last, and all of us will be resurrected for the purpose of judgment. The so-called unsaved ones will die again, but the saved ones will never die again.

      Spiritual Life = Spiritual life comes first, then spiritual death comes next. THEN the RESURECTION comes last…we call that resurrection specifically, “BORN AGAIN”, HENCE THE WORD “AGAIN”, which is another way of saying, THE SECOND TIME, or BORN TWICE.

      Born ONCE was when you were CREATED as a spirit. You are a spirit dressed in a body, right? Well, your spirit was NOT created at BIRTH or as a fetus. You were created LONG before you were born, long before you were a fetus.

      People seem to forget that part of the equation, too, in that you existed long before you got a body to live in.

      Something to ponder:

      WHEN were YOU created?

      If your answer is along the line of “in the womb”, then you are INCORRECT. Your body was FORMED in the womb, but your spirit, which you, was CREATED, not formed.

      Ed Chapman

      Like

      1. chapmaned24 writes, “a) There is no such thing as “Original Sin”

        All people agree that Adam sinned in eating the fruit. Original sin refers to the impacts of that sin on Adam and his posterity. As there were impacts of Adam’s sin on himself and his posterity, and the term, “original sin,” was coined as a short-hand for these impacts, then there is such a thing as “original sin.”

        Like

      2. rhutchin,

        Original Sin…If I were you, you need to do better research as to what people believe regarding that term.

        The problem with YOUR theology from my perspective is that you rely on CHURCH FATHERS to dictate to you as to what to believe, instead of researching the answers yourself.

        When you research, you will find that the concept of ORIGINAL SIN is a terrible false teaching.

        Catholics started that, and you still believe the Catholics, while at the same time, condemning the Catholics. Wipe the slate clean, and begin again back at the drawing board.

        Ed Chapman

        Like

      3. chapmaned24 writes, “When you research, you will find that the concept of ORIGINAL SIN is a terrible false teaching.”

        If it is a false teaching, then you would be wrong to say, “There is no such thing as “Original Sin” as even you identify it as a false teaching.

        I guess we have another point on which the Reformers needed to correct the Papacy.

        Like

      4. edchapmaned24 writes, “They only die a spiritual death at the moment that they know GOOD AND EVIL. ”

        There are two consequences following Adam’s eating the fruit. One is that he became spiritually dead and the other is that he came to know good from evil. I think they are mutually exclusive concepts having nothing to do with each other. So, in your scheme, children should become spiritually dead the minute they sin. A knowledge of good and evil should not entail spiritual death without sin, should it? Just trying to get a sense of where you are coming from.

        Like

      5. rhutchin,

        NO…they become spiritually dead at the KNOWLEDGE that they sinned. Not at the sin itself.

        Again, Romans 5:13

        Romans 5:13

        Romans 5:13 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
        Sin was in the world before the Law of Moses. But God does not consider people guilty of sin if there is no law.

        Like

      1. rhutchin,

        That’s a pretty BIZZARE answer. Last I recall, creation was OVER and God rested. I didn’t know God is STILL in the creation business. He just took Saturday off, and resumed work on Sunday, bright and early? Stopped at Starbucks on the way to work?

        So, are you saying that your future great grandchildren have yet to be CREATED? God is STILL in the THINKING process? Sketching out the details? Working on the blueprints?

        In Genesis chapter 1, Animals were CREATED before Adam.

        In Genesis chapter 2, Adam was FORMED before animals.

        The reason that I keep mentioning SPIRIT, which is YOU, is because Spirit is created, body is formed.

        You are FORMED of the DIRT.

        Dirt was created in on the first day. BODY is dirt. You LIVE in a body. You, spirit, live in body.

        So you are telling me that God is STILL creating spirits? Very BIZZARE, dude.

        Ed Chapman

        Like

    4. “If infants are not guilty of sin, then why do infants die?”

      Is this a serious question? Infants die due to abortion, disease, SIDS, and other causes.

      “On the issue of infants, all people seem to become Calvinists in recognizing that it is God who saves and not the person who does anything to merit salvation.”

      Statements such as the ones I have cited from you make it almost impossible to take you seriously.

      Perchance Calvin and I agree on some point, that does not make me a Calvinist; it makes Calvin a biblicist like me.

      Like

      1. norm writes, “Is this a serious question? Infants die due to abortion, disease, SIDS, and other causes.”

        I think your claim here is that infants always die because of conditions created by factors outside them. That they never die through any internal genetic condition with which they are born such defects being derived from the corruption resulting from Adam’s sin.

        Like

  12. FOH,

    Regarding my previous post about elect parents and their children.

    “Our children, before they are born, God declares that he adopts for his own when he promises that he will be a God to us, and to our seed after us. In this promise their salvation is included.” –Institutes, book 4, chapter 15, section 20

    Presbyterians refer to Loraine Boettner’s “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination” which says..

    “The Scriptures seem to teach plainly enough that the children of believers are saved; but they are silent or practically so in regard to those of the heathens.”

    Hence, my example of Noah and his offspring.

    Like

    1. phillip,

      “”“The Scriptures seem to teach plainly enough that the children of believers are saved; ”

      In that scenario, how is it possible for ANYONE to be lost? It’s impossible, in that scenario, for anyone to break the chain for lost people to even exist. In that scenario, no one can be lost, ever. In that scenerio, everyone is saved.

      Do they even know what they are saying? That would mean that there is a ROYAL BLOOD LINE ONLY, but then if you trace the roots, who would be the very first “unbeliever” would still come up as the question, because it would still be impossible for one to exist.

      So again, do they even realize the nonsense that they are saying?

      Ed Chapman

      Like

      1. Ed,

        All of this is the result of the Calvinistic doctrine of unconditional election (to salvation) and unconditional reprobation (to damnation).

        No doubt there were those in the congregation during Calvin’s time that questioned the salvation of their own children. This belief, apparently, still persisted during Loraine Boettner’s day. Those of the reformed faith just wanted/needed to know the eternal destiny of their little ones, if they died in infancy or not.

        This notion is so obviously flawed it is astounding most don’t (or didn’t) see thru it (of course, Calvinists, like most, are not taught to think for themselves). My previous point was, if the children of believers are among the “elect”, then all of mankind is “elect” because we can all trace our roots back to Noah (who was a believer). We can go back even further with Adam and Eve. Obviously believers. So what about Cain? On the flip side, Abram came from a pagan family, yet Boettner wrote that the scriptures were silent regarding the destiny of the children of “the heathens”. Kind of ironic since Paul was commissioned by God to preach to “the heathens”.

        Sometimes I wonder if people, like Boettner, have even opened the Book. And, sadly, I question the honesty of those who claim they were Calvinists long before they read Calvin.

        Like

  13. Calvin’s covenant theology was the necessary substitute for infant baptism, which he retained as a symbol, while slightly adjusting what he claimed it symbolized.

    The initial Roman Church, and its offspring Calvinism both desired a mechanism by which the masses were compelled to remain in ‘The Church’ even should they abhor and privately reject its teachings or actions. If persons must be baptized to go to heaven, obviously all men must make sure they remain in good standing with The Church and have their children baptized. The man-made ceremony of ‘last rites’ was added on, I’m guessing, to prevent the masses from exiting once their children were all properly baptized.

    Calvinism simply reverted to the bloodline covenant theology of Judaism, the very one refuted and rejected by Paul in the Romans they claim sets forth their theology! The election of the parent produces a sort of ‘spiritual’ circumcision or baptism of their child, making them eligible for heaven, as best I can understand.

    I would posit that this ‘assurance’ was the biggest draw to Calvinism of my formerly Catholic Calvinist pastor and his formerly Catholic wife. Nor did they appear to limit this covenant election to children who died in infancy. They were firmly convinced that their ‘covenant children’ were elect by promise – salvation by bloodline, rather than faith.

    Like

    1. Note that the ‘tools of the trade’ for the ‘rulers’ of the Institutional Church are very similar to those of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Their man-made traditions – a total corruption of the genuine Law of Moses – led to their personal accruing of power, position and personal wealth.

      When and where individuals broke away from this hierarchical, authoritarian structure – just like the original Anabaptists – you see the stereotypical impoverished man of God, who simply desires to seek and serve the lost. Such godly men are being swallowed up once again by an institution that seeks to rebuild the universal Institutional Church, which they fondly tell themselves is The Kingdom of God.

      Like

      1. TS00

        Thank you for citing the Anabaptists, who were murdered by Reformers for advocating believers-only immersion.

        Calvin had no ‘gratia’ for Servetus.

        Like

      2. phillip writes, “From what I have read, Calvin had no “gratia” for anyone who opposed him.”

        From what I read, Calvin was intolerant of those who abused the Scriptures. I don’t think he got exercised over what people thought of him. But, if you have some nice citations to the contrary, they would be interesting.

        Like

  14. To anyone who can help,
    My name is Zach, and I would like to be saved. I’ve been in church my whole life and I thought I was saved at nine, but a few years ago I fell into some bad sin. For about a year I was letting myself fall into the same sins ignoring my guilt for the most part and at times asking for forgiveness but continuously going back until I just could not handle myself on the inside with the sin. Today I truly want away from all my sin, but I am scared that maybe I was never saved and have sinned to much for God to be willing to save me now. I am quite terrified I am an apostate because I sinned so much. I am here because I believe in Professor Flower’s understanding of God’s word so I seek his help or anyone affiliated with him and this ministry. I am really confused about the gospel. I am afraid that maybe I haven’t repented correctly or enough or maybe The Spirit isn’t drawing me anymore. Maybe I am believing incorrectly. I know the problem is me, but I don’t know what about me. I have spent large amounts of time the past few months praying for God to save me and begging for forgiveness. But I still feel afraid, empty and I have no assurance. I trust completely in who Christ was and what He did at the cross and that He alone can save me. I just don’t know if He is willing to save me anymore granted that I am not saved already. I don’t have anyone to talk to about this because I am growing a part from my home church beliefs (theologically) and there isn’t anyone I know personally that can help me. I need Christ to either save me or assure me that I His because I am depressed and miserable.

    Like

    1. Hey Zach,
      My name is Eric and I work with Dr. Flowers on this ministry. I would love to discuss this with you further if you would like; traineralakemp@gmail.com.

      “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)

      That’s it. He is faithful even when we are not. He will fulfill His promises, and He has promised to show grace to the humble (James 4:6). Not to the righteous, to the humble.

      Beyond that, this does not stop our sin from affecting us emotionally. It also sounds like you are isolated. Isolation is the devil’s playground. Reach out. Find a church. Talk to friends even if it is painful and makes you vulnerable.

      Again, please email me if you’d like to

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Zachery Dyer writes, “I know the problem is me, but I don’t know what about me. I have spent large amounts of time the past few months praying for God to save me and begging for forgiveness.”

      I hate to profile, but is your problem sexual (specifically, do you find yourself attracted to the same sex)? Are you actually engaging in sinful behavior or are you unable to control your thought life and fear that your Walter Mitty behavior man manifest as actual physical sin?

      Like

    3. Zach… my name is Brian Wagner, and like Eric, I help Leighton monitor the comments. The key is not your feelings though your desire for freedom from sin and for assurance of salvation is probably a good indication you are already saved or close to entering that rest in Christ.

      And the key is to make sure your trust is only in Jesus, not only to save you from hell but to also trust Him to save you from your sin habits, both the ones outward and the ones inward. When you trust someone you follow their advice and keep talking to them asking them to show you the way to get victory over your sinful habit.

      But for assurance that you are in the family of God will only come as you examine your life to see if God’s life is present. Read and meditate on 1John which was written for that very purpose.

      Do you feel the Spirit’s presence in the form of a hatred of sin, a love of righteousness, a love of believers and especially of the Lord? Do you get joy from worshipping Jesus and serving Him? These would all be indications of His life within. If you can call God “Father” and not feel that is odd… that too is an evidence to look for.

      If you would like to discuss further…my email is brianwagner@vbc.edu

      Like

  15. The Calvinist dogma that regeneration precedes faith is the never-ending enemy of the gospel, a baseless assertion that is nakedly laughable and doubly so if Calvinists ever truly believed in comparing Scripture with Scripture. This fake doctrine should die a million deaths.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeff Danieoni writes, “The Calvinist dogma that regeneration precedes faith is the never-ending enemy of the gospel, a baseless assertion that is nakedly laughable and doubly so if Calvinists ever truly believed in comparing Scripture with Scripture.”

      Said by someone who has no clue of the basis for this “dogma.” Forunately, Dr. Flowers has just posted a comment on this very subject. Take your game there.

      Like

      1. Roger…Don’t make such judgments of a person’s ability… you might question it… but it is better to critique the opinion itself on this site and to stay away from ad hominem.

        Like

  16. DID GOD GIVE US THEOLOGICAL DETERMINISTS FOR ENTERTAINMENT:

    Deep-Brain Stimulation for Parkinsons – 1999 (Banati, Goerres, Cagnin, Myers, Gunn)

    George has electrodes temporarily implanted in the brain region that controls his head movements. When neurosurgeon José Delgado (1973) stimulates a specific electrode by remote control, George turns his head. Every time this occurs, unaware of the remote stimulation, George falsely attributes his head movement solely to himself: “I’m looking for my slipper.” “I heard a noise.” “I’m restless.” “I was looking under the bed.””

    The Theological Determinist (aka Calvinist) can say: George’s head movement was the sole byproduct of his own “self-determination”. But the neurosurgeon, who determines which way George’s head will turn, knows better. He recognizes the Determinist is simply in denial, deceiving himself with half-truths, attempting to polish the image of personal investments.

    This could however be quite entertaining!

    For the Theological Determinist, a THEOS resides external to him, functioning just like Jose’ our neurosurgeon above, determining in advance, every choice he will make. Except the THEOS doesn’t use electrodes – he uses immutable decrees. Nevertheless, the THEOS determines every neuron that will fire in the Theological Determinist’s brain. Every neuro-electrical path is predetermined – designed to make the Theological Determinist think in circles – in a constant state of self-deception.

    George moves his head and says: “I was looking under my bed”.
    And the Theological Determinist sitting in the bed next to George says: “Yes that’s the Good News!”.

    I have to admit – if nothing else – this is good entertainment! :-]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. br.d writes, “The Theological Determinist (aka Calvinist) can say: George’s head movement was the sole byproduct of his own “self-determination”. ”

      This is an inaccurate description of Calvinist belief. Calvinists are clear that God made man in His image with the innate ability to reason and make decisions based on the information he has and his understanding of that information and to seek his desires. As to God’s use of self-determining people, we have this description from Isaiah, “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hands is My indignation, I send it against a godless nation And commission it against the people of My fury To capture booty and to seize plunder, And to trample them down like mud in the streets. Yet it does not so intend Nor does it plan so in its heart, But rather it is its purpose to destroy, And to cut off many nations.” Here we see God decree – “the rod of My anger” – and Assyria’s self-determination – “it does not so intend Nor does it plan so in its heart, But rather it is its purpose to destroy.”

      br.d has an active imagination and he is entertaining – but not accurate.

      Like

      1. rhutchin:
        This is an inaccurate description of Calvinist belief. Calvinists are clear that God made man in His image with the innate ability to reason and make decisions based on the information he has and his understanding of that information and to seek his desires.

        br.d
        Actually Calvinists are not clear on this – but rather perform a tap-dance of self-contradictions to convince themselves.
        That is part of the entertainment factor. :-]

        Firstly, Calvinism asserts Theological Determinism which stipulates what was clearly stated:
        – quote: “the THEOS doesn’t use electrodes – he uses immutable decrees.
        Nevertheless, the THEOS determines every neuron that will fire in the Theological Determinist’s brain.”

        And the Calvinist (just like George above turning his head), wants to call that human functionality “Self-determining”
        He wants to make-believe the THEOS doesn’t determine his every neurological impulse.

        See THE FATED MENTAL PHENOMENON OF THE DELIBERATING DETERMINIST
        https://soteriology101.com/2017/10/04/10499/comment-page-1/#comment-24598

        He wants to attribute his decisions to himself.
        He finds Theological Determinism unpalatable.

        Then the Calvinist further contradicts himself asserting that Theological Determinism didn’t exist prior to the fall – while at the same time he asserts Theological Determinism as the divine model from the foundation of the world.

        The whole show is an elaborate top-dance of contradictions.
        He likes to quote scriptures to affirm both sides of his contradictions – *AS-IF* the bible affirms contradictions.

        Yes, this whole show is quite entertaining! :-]

        Like

      2. br.d writes, ” Calvinists are not clear on this”

        So, we have a difference of opinion. You make a lot of claims that you are free to support through evidence. Why not use that freedom to provide something substantive.

        Like

  17. rhutchin
    So, we have a difference of opinion. You make a lot of claims that you are free to support through evidence. Why not use that freedom to provide something substantive.

    br.d
    More reverse attribution!
    Too funny!
    And I totally understand why. :-]

    Due to double-think – the Calvinists *REAL* difference of opinion is within himself.
    Calvinism’s double-think makes it the case that they have two opinions for just about everything.
    He loves me – he loves me not.
    He elects me – he elects me not.
    He causes me – he causes me not.
    He determines my every neurological impulse *AS-IF* I’m self-determined.
    And the list goes on.

    The Calvinist who is *REALLY* looking for something substantive – can start by casting off double-speak.
    But then he’ll have to cast off Calvinism. :-]
    I thank the Lord for SOT101 and for those who have!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “But are you not being a trifle naive? It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head.”

      C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

      John Calvin long ago provided one of the ‘other such weapons’ that has taught men to be inconsistent in their thinking, without suffering too much from cognitive dissonance. Such inconsistency has been carefully, cleverly devised by the enemy of our souls to confuse and deceive. We have been fed, for centuries, countless false ideas portrayed as orthodox truth, and since it comes from ‘The Church’ we dare not question it.

      Thus, we can call ourselves men who ‘love our enemies’, and munch popcorn as we view unarmed people and cities that have been blown to bits in the name of ‘defense’, or children dragged away from parents who dare attempt escape from repressive so-called governments. We have been trained to believe it is perfectly normal for some to be fabulously wealthy while others die from hunger and lack of fresh water. All it takes is a few evil men and often fabricated stories to prove that loving is simply too dangerous in the ‘real world’, thus we can lay our heads upon our soft pillows and sleep in peace.

      We have exchanged the truth for a lie, again and again, until we can no longer easily tell the difference. In a world like this, thinking ‘normally’ qualifies as insanity, and questioning the official narrative is the one unforgivable sin. If a group of so-called experts declare that God arbitrarily chooses winners and losers, all are supposed to bow and worship this man-made idol whenever the worship music plays. If a group of so-called experts declare that such and such a ruler is ‘evil’, all are supposed to applaud when weapons of mass destruction are launched upon innocent men, women and children. It is difficult to discern truth in a world that is mad from top to bottom, and that which calls itself ‘The Church’ has a ‘god’ who creates and destroys helpless people for his own good pleasure.

      Like

      1. Truthseeker,
        You write well.
        Putting contrast up to contrast.
        Perhaps you’ve considered the literary field – if that isn’t already the case?

        Oh – and I loved that screw-tape section.

        Especially:

        “Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head.”

        Good one!
        Although in Calvinist cases, I suspect its not since they were boys – but “young and restless” Arminians – drawn away by “so-called” evangelism. :-]

        Like

      2. Ah, but what is it that makes them so ripe for the pickings? Could it be that the foolish ‘programming’ we receive from our youth, the ‘I love Lucy’ and ‘Gilligan’s Island’ trained people to shrug off inconsistency and absurdity? Despite repeated attempts to enjoy what my peers enjoyed, I mostly watched such programs to howl at the never-ending insults to intelligence and reason. My presence was not welcomed by my siblings, due to my annoying habit of commenting on how preposterous the premises were. Even today, my grown children make me promise not to groan out loud before they will watch a movie with me. I often fail.

        It is not that I have no imagination, but it always seemed somewhat unhealthy to me to blur the distinctions between reality and impossibility. It lessened my natural response to the true wonders of nature as I walked or rode my bike. I simply preferred to exercise my mind as I pondered real problems, or questions about how the world works, or why we are here. This was all entirely subconscious at the time – I was just a ‘spoilsport’ or ‘born old’, or so I was told. Today I consciously suspect the damage that is done to one’s ability to think by frequent exposure to irrational and impossible media. And yes, one can find it as present in the so-called ‘News’ programming and supposed live social media recordings as in the entertainment media.

        The implausible is usually just that – implausible. Today’s ‘miracle’ rescues and suspenseful traumatic events are eerily similar to the routine television programming of earlier days, and I suspect they have much the same agenda of training people to suspend disbelief in the illogical and unlikely. It serves to blur the distinction between possible and impossible, reality and virtual reality. This does not strike me as a benevolent agenda. But then, perhaps due to my overactive imagination ( 🙂 ) I believe in a real enemy of our souls who is the ‘god of this world’ and uses many of the things we perceive as benign entertainment and technological progress for our harm, rather than for our good.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. “Substantive”
        Now that is a word that has a different meaning to different people.

        For me “Substantive” is sound logic that doesn’t collapse in upon itself with self-contradicting talking-points.

        We believe it is unquestionably true that Calvin’s god determines all things (internal and external to us) and in every part.
        But we go about our office *AS-IF* that is false – and tell ourselves we are “self-determined”.

        That must be an example of what a Calvinist calls “substantive”.

        But to a logical person its just double-speak talking-points. :-]

        See William Lane Graig’s CALVINISM CANNOT BE RATIONALLY AFFIRMED
        https://soteriology101.com/2018/01/29/calvinisms-conflation/comment-page-1/#comment-24882

        C’est la vie!

        Like

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