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 doctrine 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.

136 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.

    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.

      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.

      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.

      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

      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.

      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.

  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’?”

    1. Romans 5:12,19 – sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners

  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.

    1. Romans 5:12,19 – sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners

      1. Tyler,

        You had posted the following:
        Romans 5:12,19 – sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners

        My response:

        Leave it to the Calvinist to ALWAYS delete verse 13 from that.

        But in your case, not only verse 13, but 14-18 as well.

        Verse 13 is VERY IMPORTANT.

        For before the law, sin was in the world, but sin is NOT IMPUTED where there is no law.

        YOUR reference is discussing the DEATH OF THE BODY ONLY.

        And 1 Cor 15:36-the end of the chapter discusses this is LENGTH and detail that Adam was gonna DIE A NATURAL DEATH OF THE BODY NO MATTER WHAT HE DID OR DIDN’T DO.

        Also, Romans 4:15 is being missed by you as well.

        In other words, READ THE WHOLE BOOK before you make a conclusion.

        When God told Adam in Genesis, that the day that you eat of the tree of KNOWLEDGE of good and evil, you shall surely die, he was not discussing NATURAL death, but spiritual death. And ROMANS 7 explains this.

        My question, WHY DO CALVINISTS “ALWAYS” DELETE VERSE 13 from Romans 5 when discussing this topic?

        Ed Chapman

  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!

  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

  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.

  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.

    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.

      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!”

      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?

    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.

      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.

  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.

    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!

      1. FOH,

        For some of our reformed brothers, Planned Parenthood is “Election Headquarters”.

      2. 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.

  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.

    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?

    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.

    3. Phillip, Speaking of “the cold heart of a consistent Calvinist” … In a recent sermon, my Calvinist pastor clearly said that there is no age/condition of accountability, that we are all born wicked and depraved sinners who are in rebellion against God, that the only way to heaven is to repent of our sins, and that no one – “NO ONE!” – gets a free pass (not even babies or young children), meaning that since babies couldn’t repent before they died, then they died as unrepentant sinners. And he gave this message … ON MOTHER’S DAY!

      What the frick (I’m using stronger language in my head!) is wrong with his head that he would basically say “your deceased baby is in hell” … to mothers … on Mother’s Day!?! Un-freakin’-believable! A cold heart indeed!

      1. Heather:

        Perhaps the kinds words of Mr Calvinist Vincent Cheung will help:

        “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.”

        “….and need to become Christians.” But they cant if they aren’t “elect” ….. badooom chiii!

      2. But wait….. there’s more…..

        “Perhaps the same applies to those who are mentally retarded, although there seems to be no biblical evidence to say that some mentally retarded people are saved, since there seems to be no equivalent examples in Scripture. Their salvation is only a possibility. It is also possible that all mentally retarded people are damned. If this is the case, it would be misleading to complain that they are punished for being mentally retarded; rather, on the basis of the doctrine of reprobation, they would be created as damned individuals in the first place. There is no theological problem either way.” (Calvinist Vincent Cheung)

        There’s that Doctrine of Grace! They are not being impeded from salvation by being handicapped….. they were created to be damned anyway!! Comforting!

        So….if you spend 40 years taking care of your mentally challenged child who will never have the mental capacity to call on Christ, at least you can be comforted to know that it was not because he was mentally slow…. it just cuz he was damned all along.

        I am sure this will comfort all those parents.

      3. But just in case Vincent was not clear enough….

        “In itself, I have no problem with the idea that for anyone to receive salvation, in the absolute sense and without exception, he must exhibit a conscious faith in the gospel. This would mean that those who are unable to exercise faith are all damned to hell, and this would include infants and the mentally retarded, if we assume that they cannot exercise faith. I have no misgivings about this.”

        Phew…. I wouldn’t want him to have misgivings about that!

      4. Okay, so I guess I understand why most Calvinists deliberately hide from the reality of what their theology asserts. No one – except apparently this gentle soul – could live with such horror!

      5. Woah doggies! This is where RH gets all his good logic about “first and secondary causes.” Calvinist Vincent Cheung again:

        “The detractor opposes the truth of Christian doctrine. His objection arises from the failure to recognize the obvious distinction between God’s decree and precept, between causation and definition, between what God causes to happen and what he commands men to do. This non-Christian confusion is also at the root of the long-standing aversion to acknowledge God as the author of sin. For God to cause men to sin in the metaphysical sense, and so that man has no freedom from God in any sense, does not mean that God himself is a sinner, or that he would be unjust to condemn sinners, or that he morally approves of sin in men, for whatever he morally approves would not be sin in the first place. The doctrine is that he metaphysically causes men to do what he preceptively forbids. There is no contradiction.”

        It’s all so clear now!! C’mon you “detractors” quit opposing the truth of all this Christ-like Christian doctrine!”

        …..well… ahem….. I mean unless you were ordained (excuse me, metaphysically caused) to oppose it…. then go ahead.

      6. FOH writes, “This is where RH gets all his good logic about “first and secondary causes.”

        Or from Calvin.

        “The third end of man’s creation which is so clearly and powerfully expressed by Solomon, “The Lord hath made all things for Himself, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Prov. xvi. 4), Pighius attacks in this way. With reference to God’s condemnation of the reprobate and His punishment of sin, he argues, “If we say that God in His eternal decrees had any respect to what would happen to each person after his creation, we must necessarily confess that the discrimination between the elect and the reprobate was, in the Divine mind, antecedent to the Fall of man. Whence it will follow that the reprobate are not condemned because they were ruined in Adam, but because they were already devoted to destruction even before the Fall of Adam.” To this witless argument I reply, What wonder is it that Pighius should thus (to use his own expression) indiscriminately confound all things in reference to the deep judgments of God, when he knows not how to make the least distinction between remote and proximate CAUSES! After men have looked this way and that way, they can never, by so doing, fix upon the cause of their destruction, nor upon the fault that produced it. And why? because the proximate fault rests with themselves. And should they complain that the wound is inflicted on them from some other quarter, the internal sense of their mind will bind them fast to the conclusion that the evil arose from the voluntary defections and fall of the first man. I know full well that the insolence of the carnal mind cannot be prevented from immediately bawling, “If God foreknew the Fall of Adam, and yet was unwilling to apply a remedy, we are rather perishing in our innocence by His bare external decree than suffering the just punishment of our sin.” And suppose we grant that nothing was in this way foreseen of God, or thus viewed by Him, the old complaint concerning original sin will still be made, and as loud as ever: “Why was not Adam left to sin for himself as a private individual, so as to bear the consequences alone? Why was he made to involve us, who deserved no such calamity, in a participation of the same ruin? Nay, under what colour of justice does God visit on us the punishment of another’s fault?” But, after all has been said that can be said on the subject, the internal feeling of every man’s heart continues to urge its conviction, nor will it suffer any child of Adam to absolve himself (even himself being his own judge) from the sin, the guilt, or the punishment consequent on the original transgression of Adam! Nor can anyone, in truth, raise a controversy on the matter. For as on account of the sin of one man a deadly wound was inflicted on all men, all men at once acknowledge the judgment of God thereon to be righteous!”

        Calvin, John. A Treatise of the Eternal Predestination of God . Kindle Edition.

      7. Who knew?

        Calvinist Vincent Cheung is a tongue-talking Pentecostal!

        “We could write an entire book on how the damnable heresy of cessationism perverts every doctrine of the Christian faith. It would occupy another volume to detail the incalculable damage that this demonic teaching has inflicted upon the church throughout history, and indeed on all of humanity.”

        So by that he teaches that John MacArthur (cessationist… dispensationalist, and since the 70’s Calvinist) is teaching a damnable heresy!

        Wow….. you just cannot make this stuff up. I wish the Reformed-Calvinists would talk it over and stop calling each other heretics!

      8. FOH… I think some are drawn to Calvinism because they like the “justified” feeling they get of denouncing others as heretics, a feeling born out of the anathematizing confessions/councils of RC and continued in the Protestant reformers.

      9. That could be. But seeing them wave the “heretic” flag at others (and me) so often has helped me stop doing it so much myself!

      10. Fromoverhere, The quotes from Cheung make me want to cry. Those kinds of teachings are when my blood starts boiling and when I pull out my stronger language and, yes, when I start calling Calvinism “heresy.’ (I try not to do that often, but when they start condemning people to hell that Jesus came to die for … when they start denying salvation for those whom God loves and whom Jesus came to save … when they deem anyone out of reach of God’s grace and forgiveness … well, then I WILL pull out the “heresy” card! Because it doesn’t get much more wretched and vile than that.)

        And yet, it’s refreshing to hear a Calvinist be so honest with what they believe. If only all Calvinist preachers were this honest, there’d be a lot less people getting sucked into it, sitting in the pews tolerating the questionable teachings, unaware of what the Calvinist preacher really believes because they dress it up so well. If only all Calvinists were this honest, there’s be a lot less “Calvinists” out there!

      11. heather writes, ” If only all Calvinists were this honest, there’s be a lot less “Calvinists” out there!”

        Most people who lean Calvinist believe that God is omniscient and knew when He created the world the identities of those who would be saved and those who would be lost. Take away omniscience, as you seem to have done, and many people would have no reason to consider Calvinism.

      12. Just like Luther helped reclaim the definitions of “repentance” and “justification” back to biblical meanings… the definition of “omniscience” must also be reclaimed. Until this happens, Calvinists will continue to claim their definition borrowed from neo-platonism is the “right” one, inspite of clear biblical evidence to the contrary. Very sad.

      13. Rhutchin, I agree with you that “many people … have no reason to consider Calvinism.”

        (Wow, taking things out of context is fun and effective! I can see why Calvinism relies on it!)

      14. That’s funny Heather!

        Dont forget the Calvinist motto: Never waste a chance to take a half-verse out of context!

      15. Add to that the circular reasoning JR has been so accurately laying out – read one’s presuppositions into any verse and, voila, you can make it mean exactly what you think! Wonder of wonders.

      16. Fromoverhere, I love it: “Never waste a chance to take a half-verse out of context!” I read it to my husband yesterday and he got a chuckle too.

        TSOO, I totally agree about the circular reasoning and reading presuppositions into verses. I believe that’s what Calvinism is founded on!

      17. Rhutchin, Do you not realize that your comment about people having a “reason to consider Calvinism” flies in the face of Calvinism’s belief that God alone controls/determines our decisions? You are betraying your Calvinist beliefs by suggesting that we can consider what we think about things, contemplate God and His nature, and have a reason to make a decision about Him.

      18. Oh Heather…you are so sweet! You keep using logic with RH!

        He will always “be right”. He has never —-that I have seen —- said…. Oh yeah, you are right. Nope. If you receive any response it will be some convoluted “We are free to do what our nature says we can do…” —- which of course will contradict another previous statements.

        But many have gone down this round-n-round rabbit hole before you.

      19. heather writes, “Do you not realize that your comment about people having a “reason to consider Calvinism” flies in the face of Calvinism’s belief that God alone controls/determines our decisions?”

        God, through His infinite understanding, is able to incorporate all of our thoughts and desires into His decrees regarding the actions He will take in the course of history. Isaiah 10 is a good illustration, ““Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Yet he does not mean so, Nor does his heart think so; But it is in his heart to destroy, And cut off not a few nations.”

      20. Heather, you will soon notice that the Assyrians are rh’s current favorite answer to nearly all inconsistencies. What most people perceive as a description of God using a brutal, God-hating people who have no respect for life for his own purposes, rh sees as God raising up, approving and determining every cruel, bloody action thereof. Somehow, in his mind, this ‘proves’ the mystery of men’s free choices being determined by God. Both, while completely antithetical to one another, are somehow ‘mysteriously’ true. He appears unable, or pretends to be, to grasp the concept of God simply allowing, and steering in a particular direction, the evil, rebellious deeds of men, and insists that such steering proves determination.

        What most would call making lemonade out of lemons, determinists assert are circumstances God both desired and ordained. They do not allow God’s foreknowledge, omniscience and omnipotence to grant him the ability to work all things together for his purposes – even choices he neither desires nor approves. To consistent Calvinists – were there such things – God must originate and ordain the evil choices himself, rather than simply allow them to serve his purposes.

        The fact that rh constantly reverts to mere permission, as poor br.d tries to consistently point out – keeps him busy! – suggests that he is uncomfortable with either blaming God for the evil Calvinism insists he ordained, or with the fact that scripture so often demonstrates something entirely different.

      21. TS00,
        Exactly! RH goes to the (wicked, bloody) Assyrians to insist that God does evil via people.

        Then when he is reminded that he said that, he says “God allows” it.

        Go read Piper’s sermons on the same idea. Even the ones where Piper is TRYING to say that God causes all things including evil are full of the word “allow”.

        It’s just flat out too hard for most people to say except for Helm and Vincent Cheung. They just dont wanna own it.

      22. So my pastor says there is no age of accountability because we are all born totally depraved and that repentance is required for salvation, and he alludes to the idea that babies who die do so before they can repent and so, therefore, they must be in hell because they never repented (i.e. God willed them to go to hell). But I found a verse this morning which presents a huge conundrum for his view on this (that is, it SHOULD present a conundrum to any rational, logical person, but Calvinists will find some twisted way to weasel out of this):

        “So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” (Matthew 18:14)

        My Calvinist pastor (ex-pastor) would say that babies who died never repented, and so dying as wicked, depraved, unrepentant sinners means they are in hell, that God willed them to go to hell. But how is that possible if it’s NOT God’s Will for them to perish?

        If Calvinists say there is no age (or condition) of accountability – that babies are not covered by God’s grace and so if they die, they go to hell because God predestined it – then Calvinists would have to say that the opposite of God’s stated Will is being done. God said it’s NOT His will for them to perish, but Calvinists say it is His Will that they perished. According to Calvinism, God’s Will is always done, and everything that happens is because God wills it. But the only way for them to be right about “babies in hell” is if God’s Will doesn’t happen. If God wills the opposite of His Will to happen. (And this is exactly what they will try to say, with some sort of convoluted, rambling reasons for why it supposedly “makes sense.”)

        Saying there is no age of accountability totally contradicts this verse. But Calvinists (like my pastor) have to say there is no age of accountability because an age of accountability implies that we are responsible for our decisions when we are old enough to understand the Gospel, and this implies that we can make a decision about God, Jesus, faith, and salvation. And Calvinists can’t have us running around thinking we can make decisions because that flies in the face of their idea of “total inability.” Having an age of accountability would contradict their idea that we are totally depraved from birth and that we are so depraved that we are total unable to do anything – even think about God or want God or accept Jesus – unless God makes us do it.

        No wonder they have to deny an age of accountability! If you pull that card out of the house of cards they’ve built, it would take down “total depravity” and “total inability” and the whole thing would collapse.

        Additionally, Matthew 18:10 talks about the angels seeing the face of the Father when they look at the little ones. How can the angels see the face of the Father in (as Calvinists would view infants) wicked, depraved, unrepentant sinners who would supposedly kill their parents in their sleep if they had the chance?

        If that’s what the Father looks like (as Calvinism would have to conclude), then maybe it’s time to find another father!?!

        Calvi-god is not the God of the Bible! It is a horrible, twisted, destructive misrepresentation of our holy, loving, gracious, just God!

      23. Heather writes:
        “Calvi-god is not the God of the Bible! It is a horrible, twisted, destructive misrepresentation of our holy, loving, gracious, just God!”

        Amen. And to all Calvinists reading, it is not our desire to attack you, but to spare you from a false and ugly caricature of God that motivates us to write what we write. I would not wish Calvi-god on anyone, nor would any lost sinner be likely to embrace him. Of course, consistent Calvinist would not be deterred by this sad fact, as they do not believe Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, but only the elect. It is my greatest desire that those who have been deceived come to see the true beauty and gracious love for all men that the true God, who is love, has.

        Despite what you have been told, God’s plan of salvation is NOT all about his glory, but his love for deceived, helpless sinners. Which is, when seen in its true form, a most glorious and splendid thing.

      24. heather writes, “…babies who die do so before they can repent and so, therefore, they must be in hell because they never repented…”

        In Calvinism, God chooses whom He will save. Whether a baby or an adult, it is God who saves the person. The mistake is to think that God is obligated to save all babies and is not free in the matter. If God is obligated to save all babies, then why is he not obligated to save all people as adults are no more spiritually aware than babies. So, did God save all the babies who died in Noah’s flood or in Sodom. God commanded Israel to devote all to destruction in the promised land including the babies. Was God obligates to save all those babies” No. Did God save all those babies? We don’t know. It is because of this that believers pray for their children, grandchildren, etc. even before they are born. People are not saved by repentance; they are saved by God. Repentance is a product of salvation, not the cause of salvation.

      25. Rhutchin says: “The mistake is to think that God is obligated to save all babies and is not free in the matter.”

        Heather says: “Actually, the mistake is to think that Calvi-god is the real God.”

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Calvinism is a theology where man decides how God has to be in order to be God. And then they find verses here and there, taken out of context, to support their assumptions about God. As FROMOVERHERE likes to say about Calvinist methods, “Never waste a chance to take a half-verse out of context!”

      26. heather writes, “Calvinism is a theology where man decides how God has to be in order to be God.”

        Actually, Calvinists begin, more or elss, their theology with the pagan king who said, “I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation.All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’”

      27. And somehow, Rhutchin, you missed this part: “So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” (Matthew 18:14) Because you keep insisting that it is God’s Will for babies to perish, if He so desires them to. Yet right here in this verse He tells us His desires, that it’s not His Will for them to perish.

        But if, as Calvinists would say, He deliberately causes babies to go to hell, then He is acting against His stated Will. God says what He wants to have happen, yet Calvinists keep insisting He will actively cause the opposite thing if He desires it. When He’s already told us what He desires! Calvinists don’t listen to what the Scripture says; they just keep trying to press God into their mold.

        (Okay, now bring on the half-verse taken out of context to “prove” me wrong.)

      28. heather writes, ““So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” (Matthew 18:14) Because you keep insisting that it is God’s Will for babies to perish, if He so desires them to.”

        Let’s look at context. “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.“Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea….What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

        Note the language, “…these little ones who believe in Me….” That seems to be more restrictive than you want. However, you may take this as a “half-verse taken out of context” if that is your desire.

      29. This issue of “age of accountability” will never be able to be proven conclusively. I believe it’s an issue that God has decided to veil on purpose. Because can you imagine what kind of ritual child slaughters there would be by religious zealots if God clearly spelled out what the age/conditions of accountability were? If God has chosen to not teach it clearly, then no one can prove it conclusively.

        Therefore, we have to look at what we know of God and at other things He’s said in His Word for support for an age of accountability, which this Soteriology post has done. Ultimately, though, our belief about this will rest on our view of God’s character.

        A Calvinist chooses to view God as someone who has pre-decided the eternal fate of all people, who did not cover all men’s sins with Jesus’s death, who has ultimately not given man a choice in accepting or rejecting Him, and who has predestined most people to conscious, eternal torment for the sins they had no choice about committing and the unbelief that God “forced” on them. And this “elected to hell” idea extends to innocent children also. And so for them, the Matthew 18 verse about God not wanting little ones to perish means only that He doesn’t want the “elected” little ones to perish. (Yet, if this passage is only about the elected little ones, then why the stern “you deserve to die” warning for anyone who causes an “elected” little one to stumble? Are those elected little ones not eternally secure? What kind of stumbling could they possibly do that would warrant such a warning, if they are elected to heaven and nothing can change it? Not even their stumbling? And also, why would God say that it’s not HIs Will for the little ones (the “elected little ones”) to perish, when Calvi-god really Wills that NO elected person perishes, little or big? Why single out the little ones here?)

        I, however, based on His Word, see God as someone who truly loves all people, who covered all people’s sins (even babies) with Jesus’s death, who gives all people the chance for salvation and who blocks no one from salvation, who instructs us to seek Him and choose Him but who leaves the choice up to us, and who has a heart especially for children. And so I see this Matthew passage as being not about elected children only, but about all children. I believe Jesus is saying that all children have a natural willingness to believe in Him, in childlike trust. And He is instructing us to be like them, to willingly trust Him and believe in Him. And because children are natural-born trusters who will easily believe in Him, He is warning anyone against causing one of them to stumble (I would say “to fall away from Him”). He doesn’t want any child to perish, to fall away from Him. It’s not His Will for children to perish or for people to fall away from Him. (Therefore, God doesn’t automatically condemn babies who died to hell, because there is no such things as “elected” or “nonelected” babies. If a person hasn’t reached the age to be able to choose the right and reject the wrong, then they are covered by God’s grace. It’s not God’s Will for them to perish.)

        Our view of God will strongly influence our view on this issue. I believe in a truly loving, gracious, merciful, fair God who will not punish those who could not make a choice about Him.

        Calvinists. on the other hand, believe God can and does elect people (babies included) to hell, based not on any choice of theirs but merely on His own whims. And they will say that it’s for God’s pleasure and glory. If a Calvinist wants to believe this, then that’s their problem.

        But I will err on the side of not accusing God of causing sin/unbelief but then punishing people for those things He caused. I will err on the side that says God is gracious to those who are incapable of making a decision, that He doesn’t hold people accountable for things they had no control over … instead of, as the Calvinist would say, that He gave man no choice about believing or not believing in Him and that He punishes the “non-elect” with conscious, eternal torment for some sick pleasure or glory-hunting of His.

      30. Agreed. Had I a father like Calvi-god, I would consider myself part of a destructive, dysfunctional family from which I would be desperate to escape. My wealthy father, a king, wishes to kill me, his firstborn son. For no reason, other than it makes him feel powerful. He allows me to live on a small estate, but I know that there is a price on my head and, when the time is right, he will have me killed as he has always planned. Whereas my younger brother, whom he ‘loves’, lives in splendor, receives all of the bounty of his table, and is assured the promise of his throne.

        Until Calvinists recognize the true picture their theology paints of god, they will continue to be mind-controlled by flowery phrases and faulty logic into worshiping a cruel, murderous idol which is not the true God. And note that the worship of false gods always serves to benefit the religious leaders of his cult. From the Pharisees of old, to the priests in early centuries to modern day celebrity mega-pastors, the religious leaders feed upon the sheep, threatening and imprisoning them with distortions and weighty burdens, while they grow rich and fat. Just as in days of old, the people often live with great want while paying tithes so their ‘leaders’ can live like kings.

        Take a look at any of these celebrity religious idols, who lead huge churches, write books and hold conferences; note the luxury in which they live, with mansions, luxury cars and private jets. Then consider the King of kings, who walked dusty streets with nowhere to lay his head. He offered up his very life that men might see the goodness and mercy of God. It is enough to make one recall the disgust Jesus had for the religious leaders, who were viewed by the people as holy and righteous.

        This is the elite, fat cat class of men who have handed down the ‘truths’ we are supposed to view as orthodox and unchallengable. Note that their view of God supports an authoritarian, hierarchical class of rulers and a helpless, submissive class of followers. Picture any of your preferred theologians wrapping a towel around his waist and washing dirty feet. Ain’t gonna happen.

      31. TSOO, Love your comment starting with “Agreed! Had I a father like Calvi-god …”. So good!

        And do you all remember this song, My Jesus …

        https://www.bing.com/search?q=my+jesus+todd+agnew&form=EDNTHT&mkt=en-us&httpsmsn=1&refig=2f369f61a36d4e60f7bb31033ebcbc01&PC=HCTS&sp=1&qs=AS&pq=my+jesus+t&sc=8-10&cvid=2f369f61a36d4e60f7bb31033ebcbc01&cc=US&setlang=en-US

        That’s the Jesus I serve!

        And Rhutchin said: “In Calvinism, God chooses whom He will save.”

        He’s right … In CALVINISM, God chooses whom he will save. Not in the Bible.

  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?

    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.

  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).

    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

      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.

      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

      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

      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.

    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

      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)?.

      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.

      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?

      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.

      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.

      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.

      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

      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.

      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

      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?

    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

      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.”

      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

      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.

      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.

      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.

      1. chapmaned24 writes, “Where were you before you were conceived in the womb? ”

        I was in the mind of God as one of His thoughts.

      2. 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

    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.

      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.

  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.

    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

      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.

      2. phillip,

        Ya, I understood what you were saying. My comment was more of a “I second that!” for your comment, agreeing with you whole heartedly.

        Ed

  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.

    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.

      1. TS00

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

        Calvin had no ‘gratia’ for Servetus.

      2. Norm,

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

      3. 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.

      4. Rhutchin,

        In fact, from Calvin’s own comments in that link, I think you may be right, that he wasn’t upset when people opposed him. That is, at least, he wasn’t upset that people opposed his wicked actions. He delighted in it. “Many people have accused me of such ferocious cruelty that I would like to kill again the man I have destroyed. Not only am I indifferent to their comments, but I rejoice in the fact that they spit in my face.”

        This is a man who delighted in the evil he did, and didn’t care that people opposed his evil actions.

        Is this a man people should be standing up for and defending?

  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.

    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

    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?

    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

  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.

    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.

      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.

  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! :-]

    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.

      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! :-]

      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.

  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!

    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.

      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. :-]

      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.

      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!

  18. Much like the Federal Vision Advocates among the Presbyterian Church, you are agreeing with a doctrine not because you’ve found it in scripture, but because you think it would vindicate God who needs no vindication from guilt against children he created and because you think children are good apart from Christ. God is Holy and is the standard by which all goodness is to be measured. To be less than perfect is to be guilty of sin. Therefore, you are contending that all creatures are born in a state of utter perfection, and thereby worthy in and of themselves to be in the presence of the God of the Universe. This is absolutely unbiblical nonsense. As you are wont to do, you have made unsupported inference from a spattering of texts and pretended that your implied argument refutes an explicit one that can be found in abundance if you are willing to let texts speak for themselves. I’d recommend taking this to a debate stage and learning a lesson in exegesis.

    Psalm 143:2 – Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.

    Romans 11:32 – For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. (c.f. Galatians 3:22)

    Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

    2 Chronicles 6:36 – “there is no one who does not sin”

    Isaiah 53:6 – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way

    Micah 7:2-4 – The godly has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net. Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge.

    Romans 3:9-12 – What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (c.f. Psalm 14:1-3, 53:1-3)

    1 John 1:8,10 – If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we say we have not sinned, we make [God] a liar, and his word is not in us.

    Mark 10:18/Luke 18:19 – And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”

    Romans 5:12,19 – sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners.”

    1. Tyler… you have given a man-made definition for the guilt of sin – “to be less than perfect”.

      God does indeed “consigned all” to disobedience… but it is only when they first disobey they are “made” sinners. He taught very clearly one is not held guilty for their father’s (like Adam) sin.

      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.”

      1. brianwagner writes, “it is only when they first disobey they are “made” sinners. He taught very clearly one is not held guilty for their father’s (like Adam) sin.”

        Presumably, that is why no one dies of natural causes until they personally sin – otherwise, where still innocent, they die from the external acts of others (abortion, pregnancy complications, neglect, murder, birth defects, SIDS, disease, floods, fire and brimstone, etc.) Obviously, sinners can also die from some of those causes. The issue is whether God views them as unrighteous even before they personally sin.

        Regarding Sodom, Abraham asked God, “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?’ God responded, “If I find in Sodom ten righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” I guess we should not expect to find many babies among a city of Sodomites.

      2. I’m guessing Roger that we would both agree that there is a difference in being innocent from birth and having the righteousness of God through faith.

        There were presumably many innocent babies in Sodom, not guilty of Adam’s sin or their own, and not yet having the righteousness of God which is only through faith. So they could not be counted among the 10 possible righteous. Right?

        And we believe with Abraham that “the Judge of all the earth will do right” by them, including not damning them or declaring them guilty for Adam’s sin, since He clearly taught guilt doesn’t work that way. But you ignored discussing that clear Scriptural proof from Ezekiel 18. hmmmm?

      3. brianwagner writes, “But you ignored discussing that clear Scriptural proof from Ezekiel 18. hmmmm?”

        Ezekiel 18 seems to deal with judgement for another’s sin. However, we need to harmonize Romans where it says, “There is none righteous.” Even though Ezekiel speaks of the righteous, this seems to be a moral righteousness and not a reference to salvation – thus, they do not have a righteousness that would allow them to enter heaven. I’ll give you a stab at harmonizing these two seemingly contrary Scripture.

        Then, “There were presumably many innocent babies in Sodom,…So they could not be counted among the 10 possible righteous. Right? ”

        Given that the Sodomites were not righteous and counting Lot, his wife, and his two daughters as righteous, you would need 6 righteous babies to prevent destruction of Sodom. Even throwing in the other cities, I guess that they didn’t make the count. So, either there were almost no babies or no righteous babies.

      4. Brian:
        So many Calvinist want it both way. Man is inherently a sinner….but …. not babies. They invoke the “age of accountability” on that while maintaining that all are cursed while in the womb. Once again….. they want two opposing things to be true.

      5. FOH… exactly. Living with contradiction doesn’t seem to be a problem for Calvinists if one can believe God predestined everything, including sin, but is not culpable for that sin.

      6. The (un)balanced world of a Calvinist:

        All men are condemned through Adam’s sin….. but not babies.

        “God is love” and loves all His creatures….. except the ones He created for wrath and destruction.

        Christ “died for all men” … except the ones that His atonement is limited “away” from.

        God ordained/ decreed/ willed/ desired everything that happens…. but is not responsible for the sin.

        God “wants” all men to come to Him….. but does not make the way possible for most of them (making it impossible).

        Salvation is monergistic….sanctification is synergistic.

        God has already decided all things (even your “synergistic” sanctification…. but “wasting your life” is possible and you do decide things.

        And on and on they go, believing two contradicting ideas.

      7. FOH writes, “So many Calvinist want it both way. Man is inherently a sinner….but …. not babies.”

        LOL!!! Guess you never really were a Calvinist. Why do you think people baptize babies – (Hint: babies are sinners from birth)?

    2. Tyler writes:
      ” To be less than perfect is to be guilty of sin.”

      What a horrific, and unscriptural definition. I know; I grew up with that unhealthy burden, and I lay the blame at the feet of bad doctrine. Nor was my early background Calvinist, but Calvinism is the Father of all Protestantism, and many of its errors remain.

      Being less than perfect is not to be guilty of sin. What a tragic and destructive burden this places on the genuine, God-seeking heart. A more accurate meaning of the words translated as ‘perfect’ would be ‘complete’ or perhaps ‘meeting your full potential’. I found an excellent commentary on this very thing by Dennis Bratcher, who writes:

      “The word “perfect” that we often use in religious conversation is frequently misunderstood. We tend to apply an unqualified philosophical meaning to it and have it mean “without flaw” or “without error” or put it into other absolute categories. It then becomes easy to say that Jesus’ command in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:48), “Be therefore perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect,” is a laudable goal, but one that is impossible for human beings to achieve since we cannot possibly be perfect. . . .

      The problem in this thinking is that the Hebrew word (tam or tamim) does not carry the meaning of “without flaw” as does the term “perfect” in English. It normally means complete or mature or healthy (for example, Lev 22:21). That meaning of mature dominates most use of the equivalent Greek term in the New Testament (telos).”

      See http://www.crivoice.org/perfect.html for his entire comment.

    3. This faulty definition of ‘perfect’ has inflicted wounds upon many people. I know so many parents who wrongly punish their children for simply being immature, rather than gently training them in ways that are right. In reality, parents should reflect the patience and kindness of God, who is gentle toward out weakness and immaturity, and seeks to guide us into greater wisdom and maturity. Sin, like children’s behavior worthy of punishment, requires a deliberate decision to rebel against a known and understood command. It has absolutely nothing to do with how ‘perfect’ we are in our actions, but whether our desire is to obey or to resist.

      1. Amen, TS00 – If two things can both be good, and even one better than another in some ways, as the Word of God clearly teaches for certain things, then both are perfectly not sin and perfectly available to choose between to please God. It’s God’s definition of “perfection” we seek, not man’s imposed definition, which has locked God into a false fatalistic reality that can only work out one “perfect” way in their assumptions, and without biblical evidence in support.

    4. Tyler,

      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.

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