Manipulation & Easy Believism

 

If you have been around church functions as long as I have you have seen just about every kind of motivation to get people to “come to Jesus” or just to “walk the aisle.”  And let’s just face it, sometimes people go way overboard in their attempt to “get people saved.”

I remember in my first VBS as a young pastor one of the workers coming to me with a group of over 20 kids ranging from ages 3 to 13 who she insisted were ready to be baptized. She apparently had taken it upon her self to offer the children an “altar call to avoid hell” in her recreation time.  Surprise, Surprise, not one of the kids wanted to go to hell!  As a compromise to her request, I agreed to meet individually with each child and try to assess if any were indeed ready for such an important decision.

One by one each child came into my office and, as I expected, proved not to have understood even the basics of the gospel appeal to repentance.  That was until Kimberly came in and sat down.  Kimberly was a delightful twelve-year-old girl who always wore a bright cheery grin.  But she wasn’t smiling this time.  I asked her why she came to the front to pray, fully expecting the same kind of shallow answers from the other kids.  She looked to the ground, shuffled her feet a bit, and then, to my shock, she looks at me with tears welling up and said, “Brother Leighton, I have sinned and I know only Jesus can forgive me.”  We talked for while and I found a spirit of broken submission. Repentance marked this young tender heart.  She was the only one we baptized that next Sunday.  Oh, and that VBS worker was not at all upset with me. It just so happened that Kimberly was her oldest daughter.

At the time this happened I was a Calvinist.  I hated manipulation tactics or even the hint of an “easy-believism gospel.”  False teachers, money hungry TV Evangelists, and health wealth prosperity preachers made my blood boil. I certainly was not about to allow an overzealous VBS volunteer manipulate a bunch of children!

So, now that I have left Calvinism one may think I embrace such evangelistic tactics?  Or maybe that I have at least mellowed out a bit against such things?

THINK AGAIN!

When I was a Calvinist at least I could fall back on my belief that false teachers did not have the chance of preventing the “elect ones” from being saved.  I did not see these manipulators of the gospel as a real threat to the eternal souls of people.  After all, my systematic taught me that God would certainly save all His chosen ones.  So, while I had a righteous indignation, I really did not see them as the threat they actually are in this world.

Sometimes I wonder why it is the Calvinistic believers who are the first to repudiate such tactics when it is those who believe as I do that should be the most indignant given what is at sake.

We all know strong faithful believers who first came to church or walked an aisle as a result of “questionable tactics” employed by “questionable motives.” So, were these tactics the means God ordained for His Holy ends? If so, then should we not respond to those means with the grace Joseph responded to his criminal brothers by saying, “What you intended for evil, God intended for good,” and let it go at that?

Why do manipulative means bother you?

1. Do you believe God ordained manipulative means to come to pass for His greatest glory?

2. Do you believe God purposed such unbiblical tactics to irresistibly draw out his elect ones (because He not only ordains the ends but the means)?

3.  Do you believe God is indignant toward some of the very means He ordained to draw His elect ones to salvation?

Do you see the problem with adopting the idea that God actually purposed the evil tactics to come to pass; rather than, His redeeming evil tactics to bring about a good purpose?

Inquiring as to how God brought about the good end without meticulously determining the means is tantamount to asking how an undefeated chess master soundly defeated every opponent.  Whatever answer you might attempt to offer, would you ever speculate that the chess master is somehow secretly determining his opponents every move in order to ensure his own victory? Or, would it be more beneficial to the “glory” of the chess master to conclude that he is so wise and great at the game of chess that every free move of his opponent was masterfully countered and turned into a victory?

God is a Master Redeemer. He knows how to take any move of his opponent and redeem it for His greater purpose.  How?  I have no idea and if I could figure it all out then it probably would not be all that impressive, because I am not all that bright.  No human is, by the way.  Some of us just haven’t come to that realization yet, in my humble (but accurate) opinion.

Think about all the human discoveries, studies, and disciplines that most of us cannot even begin to understand.   Neuroscience, molecular biology, thermodynamics, genetics, complex engineering and the list could go on and on. Even the greatest minds in each of these fields admit how little we really know or can understand of these disciplines. Are we so naive as to think we can put our peon minds around the inner workings of our infinite Creator God simply because we have a theology degree hanging on our wall? The subject matter of a theologian makes all other subjects look like child’s play in comparison.  We would be naive to presume we can explain exactly how our infinite God works within our temporal world.

All this to say that we cannot begin to draw hard and fast conclusions about God that may impugn His very character. I would much rather appeal to the mystery of man’s capriciousness than to impugn God’s character.  It makes little sense for God (or His followers) to express outrage against things that God Himself has determined beforehand will be the means to ensure His greatest glory.  There is no rational answer against the charge of divine culpability for moral evil if Calvinism’s claims are true. Calvin himself admitted as much when he wrote:

“How it was ordained by the foreknowledge and decree of God what man’s future was without God being implicated as associate in the fault as the author or approver of transgression, is clearly a secret so much excelling the insight of the human mind, that I am not ashamed to confess ignorance…. I daily so meditate on these mysteries of his judgments that curiosity to know anything more does not attract me.” (there are quotes from Piper, MacArthur, and Sproul appealing to this same mystery)

In the Calvinistic way of thinking, any critique of that which has come to pass becomes a criticism of God’s eternal self-glorifying plan. This interpretation requires the response of any and all rebukes of questionable means or evil actions to be answered with the all too commonly misquoted proof text, “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?”

If a Calvinist says, “Arminian preacher, you shouldn’t  manipulate people with your seeker-sensitive easy-believism gospel!”

A consistent answer would be: “Who are you to question God?”

When another Calvinist complains saying, “Lifeway, you shouldn’t sell heretical books in your bookstores.”

An appropriate answer may be, “Who are you to question God?”

If a Calvinist podcaster states, “Churches, you shouldn’t become a country club that tickles the ears of your listeners.”

What keeps us from saying, “Who are you to question God?”

God has not brought these evil choices to pass!  He is not the one who ordained specific evil desires and deeds. We should be angry at such abhorrent actions because God is genuinely angry too, and He is not angry at Himself (His secret hidden will) or His eternal plan of self-glorification. He is angry at THEM for their CHOICES, period.  We can and should join God in his rebuke of bad choices without feeling that we are rebuking God’s secret eternal unchangeable plan of self-glorification. <more HERE>

We can rest in the truth that God is supernaturally able to redeem the evil intentions and actions of His creatures to bring about His greater good. But nothing, absolutely NOTHING, suggests we need to adopt any systematic (or philosophical theistic theory) which even implies that God brings about manipulations of His gospel, evil desires, choices or actions through “meticulous providence” or some kind of “divine sovereign decree.”

56 thoughts on “Manipulation & Easy Believism

  1. Thanks Leighton,

    Indeed the “mystery” starts right away with God forbidding Adam to eat (while secretly willing that he eat).

    But even more blatant is in Genesis 4

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

    ——
    God clearly told him to do right (so, he could have, right?)

    God clearly told him he would be accepted if he did right (so he could have, right?)

    God clearly told him to dominate over sin (so he could have, right?)

    If God “mysteriously, secretly” willed him to bring the wrong sacrifice and kill his brother, then we have no way to know when God is telling what He really wants.

    1. FOH said : “If God mysteriously, secretly” willed him-Cain to bring the wrong sacrifice and kill his brother, then we have no way to know when God is telling what He really wants”

      No, we can still know what God wants for us to do through our conscience God speaks and specially today that we have the scriptures at hand, but not everything is revealed to us right away. There are also secret things that belongs only to God that He chooses not to reveal to us while living on earth like the time of Christ return to lift up the saints.

      Foh said: “God clearly told him-Cain to dominate over sin, (so he could have, right?)

      Genesis 4:6-7 was the confrontation made by God to Cain after the offering was made.
      It is clear that Cain was not properly instructed on what is the acceptable offering and the way it has to be offered so do with his brother Abel. This imply that God also allow both brothers Cain and Abel to make use of their “free will” (that was marred with evil after the fall to sin). It seems that Cain was the goat destined to hell while Abel was the Sheep destined for glory. Why is it that Abel made it successful to dominate over sin while Cain failed? = The answer is Predestination. Each human being has already a definite plan that God created for mortals.

  2. I am always intrigued how Calvinist/ determinists say that everything that happens is God’s will.

    He goes out of His way in Jeremiah (and other places) to make it clear that this is not true.

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

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

      1. God knows everything in the past present and future including the intents of man nothing is hidden to Him. The phrase “nor did it enter My mind” – is not conclusive to build a doctrine here to refute God’s being Omnipotent, Omniscience and Omnipresent. It cannot be denied that even the easy believism preachers believes on these attributes.

      2. God allows it to happen even if it is against His will. This very true with the 10 commandments (summarized by Christ in to 2 in the NT). Although it is God’s command and yet true that man can still disobey. John Piper called this as “God’s Will of Command”. The other one according to Piper is “God’s Decree of Command” – this is something that has been fixed and determined by God even if man will try to resist, the ending is that God is still the winner.

      An example of this is the assurance of Salvation given to the elect Jews/Israel and Gentiles. Once they have already entered that Union with Christ, they are already locked-up by the love of Christ – (Rom. 8:35-39) even they will try to eject from that union, it will not work. This is why, I am so amazed and so humiliated of my helplessness that God really loved me even before I existed on this earth. Though I’m not worthy, yet Jesus Christ extended His mercy towards me.

  3. Great article!

    I am far from a fan of the likes of Joel Osteen. Leighton is right; The Calvinist should be his biggest fan. Joel is fulfilling God’s will meticulously. In fact according to Calvinism God wouldn’t have it any other way and therefore determined it unchangeable.

    I mean, according to Calvinism who are we to talk back to God?

    The Calvinist who complains about easy believism is kind of silly when you look at it.
    You cannot get any easier than God automatically changing your desire insomuch that it is impossible not to believe……..it doesn’t get any easier than that.

  4. Good discussion Leighton. It’s always good to hear how God taught you through Scriptures and personal experience. We can certainly reject fleshly motives and methods used in evangelism and also teach and preach against them… But like Paul we can and should still rejoice out loud that God blesses the preaching of the gospel in spite of man’s fleshly choices used in preaching it.

    Philippians 1:18 NKJV — What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

    It brings God no glory to say He eternally immutably predetermined those fleshly motives or means. It brings Him glory to rejoice in how He chooses to woo souls to Himself with truth even when it’s preached from ungodly lips.

    I know the Calvinist likes to fall back on Joseph’s theology, as if it confirms their view of divine determinism. Genesis 50:20 NKJV — “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

    But as usual they try to prove too much from God’s Word in their proof texts. There is nothing about a pre-creation divine intention in this verse. It more naturally would be a divine intention formed after Joseph’s brothers made their intention evident in action… unless you want also to say God intended their evil!

    God certainly was going to get Joseph to Egypt one way or another… but what if Joseph’s brothers and father had responded better to God’s revelation through Joseph’s dreams and encouraged him to go to Egypt? Couldn’t God have intended (worked with) that family reaction for the same good result?

  5. Jose Responding to the topic at hand: Personally I am against “easy believism” due to the following reasons:

    1. It appears to me that the gospel they bring to people is too cheap and they need to beg for people to positively respond to it.

    2. The practices of the “prosperity gospel” deceives people from obtaining riches in financial matters including healings of sicknesses and good health. Naturally people shall be attracted to these, but Only their preachers get richer because of that deceptions made by these preachers that God would bless them more if they will give their dollars in the offering. Easy believism happens here because these are the desires of the fallen man.

    3. The elect can also be a victim for this easy believism propagated by the pentecostals, but afterwards they will also realize the truth of the pure gospel of grace which the Calvinists are well known for. God is still the winner at the end even though the gospel that they first heard is a distorted one. The true sheep will come to his/her senses (activated by the Father,the Holy Spirit) the voice of the Good Shepherd and will depart from that group. Some of them does not have the courage to be labelled as Calvinists, maybe because they don’t want the pressure or ridicule coming from their former associates and friends.

    I will just continue my views next time due to time pressure. I need to stop first.

  6. Jose is here again commenting on Phil. 1:18 Why did Paul rejoice despite the fact that he is against false teachers and he even declared that there is a curse for those preachers of “another gospel” according to Gal. 1:8 (adding human efforts to the gospel of grace to obtain Salvation):

    1. Paul was in prison at the time he wrote this, Knowing that there are those preachers with evil motives yet he rejoices because of his confidence of God’s sovereignty that God is in control of everything. At the end God will still be the winner to turn out unpleasant circumstances into a blessing in disguise according to Rom. 8:28

    2. The theology on Predestination is not affected here because God acts according to His own pleasure. Nobody can question Him even those Bible scholars with brilliant minds here at soteriology 101. Man is only a created being with finite minds vs. God being omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent.

    3. If God will allow or dis-allow things to happen, well who are we to accuse Him? In fact we cannot do anything against Him.

    4. In a democratic country, we cannot forbid those prosperity gospel preachers and the cults to manipulate the gospel. To me, I am not threaten by these because those goats in the first place will never enter heaven. Even if the Calvinists will bring to them the pure gospel of grace, they won’t be saved because Christ did not offer His life for those goats.

    5. I am not the person who challenges anybody for a debate, but I also do react if in case my faith is under attack by those enemies of the cross.

  7. Jose’s reaction to the statement : “There is nothing about a pre-creation divine intention in this verse – Gen. 50:20”

    1. If there was none, then Why did Joseph acknowledge God’s Sovereignty in his statement to his bothers visiting him in Egypt?

    2. It cannot be denied that God is at work and is in control of the past, present and future. When he planned everything before creation, He already knows those details that will happen even those human intentions. God can allow those fleshly human intentions to happen and to have an alliance with evil, Why? because God is Sovereign and can never be threaten by anybody else. If He will totally restrict all of the activities of man on earth, then it would appear that Man is a created robot and God Is threatened by human actions, which is not true.

    1. Hi JTLEOSALAJ,

      You have said a lot but I’ll do a break down of just the last paragraph.

      You say – “It cannot be denied that God is at work and is in control of the past, present and future”

      Non-Calvinists agree that God is at work and in control of things, past present and future.

      You say – “When he planned everything before creation, He already knows those details that will happen even those human intentions”

      Non-Calvinists agree that God knows all of what man can do and his evil intentions.

      You say – “God can allow those fleshly human intentions to happen and to have an alliance with evil, Why? because God is Sovereign and can never be threaten by anybody else.”

      Non-Calvinists agree that God can ALLOW those fleshly human intentions to happen and to have an alliance with evil. Non Calvinists also believe God in His sovereignty is never threatened by anyone else.

      You say – If He will totally restrict all of the activities of man on earth, then it would appear that Man is a created robot and God Is threatened by human actions, which is not true.

      Non-Calvinists also believe that God does not restrict all the activities of man on earth, and that man is not created a robot.

      Calvinism says that everything that comes to pass, comes to pass because that is what God decreed to come to pass before the world began, right down to every thought and action that comes to pass. Calvinism says that it was determined unchangeable by the secret decree of God before the world began.

      There is actually no “allow” in Calvinism. There is actually no “human intentions” in Calvinism because they are just playing out God’s intentions. There is actually nothing to “restrict” in Calvinism because everything that comes to pass is un-changeably decreed to come pass that exact way by the secret decree before the world began.

      Non-Calvinists also believe in predestination. God predestined before the creation of the world that all who are found in Christ (which are believers in the gospel) will be sanctified and glorified. “….unto all and upon all them that believe……” Romans 3:22

      We do not believe that there was a “secret” decree that decreed that only some select individuals will be believers and not the rest for reasons unknown. Nor do we believe the bible teaches that anywhere.

      1. JTLEOSALAJ,

        When you say “the truth of the pure gospel of grace which the Calvinists are well known for”

        Do you mean the “secret decree” that decided to save only some and not the rest for reasons unknown before the world began? Because that’s the “gospel” that Calvinists are well known for.

        Or do you mean that salvation is by the grace of God in Jesus Christ through faith? because that’s the pure gospel that I’m thinking of, which isn’t constrained to Calvinism.

      2. “Secret Decree” that decided to save only some and not the rest for reasons unknown before the world began. = I don’t oppose to these so called “Secret Decree” due to the following reasons:

        1. The elect Jews both the 2 houses – Judah – Southern Kingdom and Israel Northern Kingdom were the partakers of the covenant that God will never turn away. Though they were the elect, still they fell into sin and deserve to go to hell, Why? Because all humanity have sinned according to Romans 3:23; 3:10-11. This is the reason why Christ was sent to save His people from their sins according to Matt. 1:21. It’s obvious that they also put their trust in Christ. This is the pure gospel that Jesus Christ will offer to them.

        2. “Salvation is by the grace of God in Christ Jesus through faith” = This is also the gospel proclaimed by easy believism preachers, but they add something like: obedience to the law, good works, self-determinism in seeking God, promising material prosperity and wealth if you will accept Christ. This is no longer pure gospel. I call it as “adulterated gospel” or “another gospel” as the apostle Paul declared in Gal. 1:8.

        When the Calvinists uses this, it is purely the work of Christ, man has no whatsoever contribution made in seeking God in order to be saved.=This is what I embrace, maintain and preach,

      3. Hi DG :

        I have no disputes with God’s Decree. I fully believe on it, but I also believe that there are things which God have commanded for man to do and yet man has the capability to dis-obey because man is not a created robot-I don’t mean here that man is more powerful than His creator. When a believer sins, (compared to the branch), he/she is being trimmed/disciplined by God the Father without asking anymore permission. When man dis-obey it doesn’t mean that God is helpless and becomes the loser.

        God acts according to His own pleasure. When He allow or dis-allow things to happen we cannot question Him. He can even make use of satan in order to accomplish His “Decree of Command” for mankind.

        Pentecostals are allergic with the “Secret Decree” simply because it is a great blow bursting them on their own doctrine of Universalism Atonement of Christ. I will not beg for them to embrace Limited Atonement, after all if they really belong to the goats, nothing can be done despite Calvinists persuading them, still they will go to hell.

  8. JTLEOSALAJ

    You say the reason you believe in a “secret decree” to save only some and not the rest before the foundation of the world for reasons unknown is because – Quote “The elect Jews both the 2 houses – Judah – Southern Kingdom and Israel Northern Kingdom were the partakers of the covenant that God will never turn away. Though they were the elect, still they fell into sin and deserve to go to hell, Why? Because all humanity have sinned according to Romans 3:23; 3:10-11”

    Are you saying that because Israel was called God’s elect that everyone from the house of Israel is saved?
    I think that is the very problem Paul is addressing in Romans 9. People are not saved by election. It is by the grace of God through faith that people are saved and not by being “elected”. Israel were elected for God’s service therefore can be called elect, but that doesn’t mean that all of them believed and were saved.
    It was the majority of the Jews at the time of Christ that believed they were saved by election. They thought that by being part of the Covenant people guaranteed their salvation for no other reason than that they are “elect”. That’s the issue Paul is knocking on the head.

    Calvinists are making the same mistake in my opinion.

    Salvation is by the grace of God through faith – Period.

    I am in agreement with you on your points on easy believism with these prosperity preachers and so on.

    But, I am also wary of the one who adds anything to salvation by the grace of God in Jesus Christ through faith “….unto all and upon all them that believe……” Romans 3:22 ”

    Like someone who might say “not unto all, but only upon those who God elected to be saved by a secret decree for reasons unknown before the world began. To me this is adding or distorting the gospel as well, not to mention un-biblical.

    1. Agree to DG :

      “Judaism” does not save the Jews/Israel. As God’s elect they need the offer of Christ to them, Why? Because all human race have sinned according to Rom. 3:23; Rom. 3:10-11. A former member of Judaism, Saul who became Apostle Paul without prejudice left/abandoned Judaism upon his conversion to Christ.

      I think not all of the Jews are saved due to the following evidences in the Bible:

      1. The pharisees belongs to Judaism which strongly insist God’s covenant for them alone and yet they were the number one opposition during the time of Christ. They were labelled as hypocrites.

      2. The young rich man who approached Jesus Christ attempted to obtain salvation and brags of his obedience to the law since he was young, yet turned out to be a goat also at the end of his conversation with Jesus Christ.

      3. I John 2:19 They (heretic-Jews) went out from us, but they were not of us, they would continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

      Question: How do read Rom. 10:26-28 “… all Israel will be saved…”

  9. JTLEOSALAJ,

    My understanding is those verses in Rom 11 are talking about the New Covenant that will be made with Israel toward the end of the tribulation. When God “will turn back ungodliness from Jacob”

    “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.”
    ‭‭
    “All Israel” from my understanding when I read the OT is speaking about Israel as a nation (or the majority if you like).

    I realise that this isn’t the only interpretation of this passage. Mine is what most baptists have held to on this passage.

    1. DG said in his previous comments that :

      1. “… people are not saved by election.”

      My response : If you refer the term “People” to Israel, I can say that God still will save those hard-headed Israelites by offering them the “IRRESISTIBLE GRACE OF GOD” according to Romans 11:26 “… He (God) will turn away ungodliness from Jacob”. v.27 …”I will take away their sins” v. 28 “… they are beloved for the sake of the fathers and in v. 29 For the gifts and Calling of God are irrevocable.

      This only means that it was already God’s prior decision that they (All Israel) were saved, and that this will never be changed anymore even if they refuse the gospel that Christ offered to them during the time of Christ’s ministry on earth. It is a fact that they cannot resist God’s action to :

      a. turn away ungodliness from Jacob-Ro. 11:26
      b. take away their sins Rom. 11: 27
      c. they are the beloved for the sake of the fathers Rom. 11:29

      2. “…but doesn’t mean that all of them believed and were saved.”

      and also DG commented in the later part that : “All Israel” from my understanding when I read the OT is speaking about Israel as a Nation (or the majority if you like)

      DG, my bro. in Christ, You now AGREE with me (based on Romans 11:26-29) that ALL ISRAEL will be saved. It is also obvious that you agree now to my previous comment that :
      ” … They (Israel) were the partakers of the covenant that God will never turn away”.

      For me I do maintain my belief that : God cannot turn away to His covenant for Israel, for in doing so, this would mean He is unfaithful and a liar, and unchangeable or having unstable mind with His promise.

      I just mentioned at least 3 examples on the side of Israel, i.e.: Pharisees, the rich man who approached Jesus Christ and the false teachers mentioned in 1 John 2:19 just to go along the current with your view, but it doesn’t mean that I’m giving up my former statement (“They (Israel) were the partakers of of the covenant that God will never turn away”

      1. JTLEOSALAJ,

        You stated – “God still will save those hard-headed Israelites by offering them the “IRRESISTIBLE GRACE OF GOD”

        I’m not sure if you can see the inconsistency of that statement. Calvinism says that individuals are saved by a secret selection process before they were born for reasons unknown. The only ones that will be saved are those picked out for it from before they were born according to Calvinism. so when you say “offer” – what is there to offer? Besides according to Calvinism it’s irresistible isn’t it? So any “offer” is not a legitimate offer. It can only appear like an “offer” in Calvinism.

        The way I understand God “turning ungodliness away from Jacob” is when they realize that they have crucified their Messiah. They (as a majority will realize and repent of their own free will and believe the gospel, by the grace of God in Jesus Christ through faith, just like anybody else. It is the gospel that is power of God unto salvation, Not the Calvinist magic wand of “irresistible grace”. Actually that terrible time of God’s judgement in revelation sounds like a lot of people will repent, believe and be saved. Rev. 6:9-14

        Zech 12:10 “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn”

        You say – “DG, my bro. in Christ, You now AGREE with me (based on Romans 11:26-29) that ALL ISRAEL will be saved”

        Thanks for calling me your brother. We can still be brothers, I like that.
        When I say that I believe that “all Israel” will be saved, I mean the majority that are left at that time during this terrible time of God’s judgement during the tribulation as described in the book of Revelation. I mean it in the sense of the majority. When it states in the OT “all Israel”, it means the Majority or the establishment if you like.
        .
        Here’s an example – Josh 7:25 “And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones”

        I don’t think that that there were 3 million people standing around in a circle with stones in their hand taking shots at Achan if you can get the picture?

        Again, this is a good example of Calvinists reading “election” to salvation by a ‘secret decree’ for the ‘select some’ before the foundation of the world for no given reason into every part of Scripture. When nowhere in scripture is this ever taught.

      2. Hi DG: I don’t dispute with you regarding your statement : “The only ones that will be saved are those picked out for it from before they were born according to Calvinism”

        That is very true with God’s statement in Romans 9:12-13 as cited by Paul. God picked out Jacob-Israel but left out Esau-Edomites (before they were born-Still inside their mothers womb). Esau and his seeds are not saved. This is supported by the book of Obadiah.

        That means the whole house of Jacob-Israel only-the Original Sheep (the 12 tribes sons of Jacob; Judah-Southern Kingdom; the rest of the brothers – Northern Kingdom)

      3. JTLEOSALAJ,

        Of course, you wouldn’t dispute that statement. I am glad you affirm that statement as what Calvinists believe. I certainly don’t believe it or that the bible teaches it.

        God picked out Jacob (the Israelites) for service not salvation. Remember not all Israel are saved, because not all believe.
        God rejected Esau (Edomites) for service. That doesn’t mean that any descendant from an Edomite can’t be saved. You may just be one yourself somewhere along the line?

        Again this is yet another good example of Calvinists reading a preconceived idea into Scripture – the idea that God selected only a few select individuals to be believers from before that were born for unrevealed reasons by a so called “secret decree”. Which isn’t taught anywhere in Scripture.

      4. DG said: “God picked out Jacob (the Israelites) for service not Salvation”

        My Response : Baut Paul is saying that ALL ISRAEL will be SAVED based on Rom. 11:26-27. There is no mention of SERVICE but SALVATION cited by Paul from the OT. This is what the Bible says about the covenant made by God with Israel.

        DG said: They (as a majority will realize and repent of their OWN FREE WILL and believe the gospel…”

        My Response : This is what the pentecostals are insisting the use of their own free will in seeking God. I have already explained this that FREE WILL is considered spiritually dead because it was already marred with SIN-thus using that free will is an offense to God that is why it is counted by GOD as VOID of no effect according to Romans 3:10-11- “There is non righteous, no not one. There is non who seek God.”

        You keep on insisting that “another gospel” that is adulterated with fleshly human effort to be applied with Israelites in seeking God. It is no longer the GRACE of God. The GRACE of God is operative before the act of Seeking. God needs to do this, Why? because man is dead and cannot seek God in His own accord. If man will try to use his own free will it wont work. You go to Christ and tell Him, “see I was saved because of my own effort.” Christ came down to seek and save the lost not vice versa.

      5. JTLEOSALAJ writes,

        “Free will is an offense to God that is why it is counted by GOD as VOID of no effect according to Romans 3:10-11- “There is non righteous, no not one. There is non who seek God.”

        Then – “The GRACE of God is operative before the act of Seeking. God needs to do this, Why? because man is dead and cannot seek God in His own accord.

        What a non-Calvinist means by the grace of God being operative BEFORE some can seek, is this-
        God made us – God’s Grace!,
        God sent his Son for us- God’s Grace!, God makes known his Salvation – God’s Grace! God convicts of our sin – God’s Grace!, God promised to save the believer – God’s grace!

        What a Calvinist means by God’s Grace being operative BEFORE some can “seek”, is this – You were picked out of multitudes to be a believer before you were born by a “Secret Decree” for reasons unknown. You cannot resist it when it comes upon you even though you are resisting it. You will submit to it and cannot do otherwise. I have determined it unchangeable- God’s Grace!

      6. DG said: “This doesn’t mean that any descendant from an Edomite can’t be saved. You may just be one yourself somewhere along the line”

        My response : Esau-the Father of Edomites-his repentance is not genuine according to :
        1. Hebrews 12:17 “… he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears”.
        2. Hebrews 12:15 “… he fall short of the GRACE OF GOD”.
        3. Hebrews 12:15 ” he is the root of bitterness. In the OT apostate is called as “ROOT” that produces poison
        4. Obadiah 1:1-4 talks about God’s pronouncement of judgment to Edom
        vv. 5-9 talks about How Edom will be annihilated
        vv. 10-14 talks about why Edom will be annihilated
        vv. 15-16 talks about Edom and the Day of the Lord
        vv. 17-21 talks about Israel’s complete triumph over Esau-the father of the Edomites

        5. Obadiah 1:18 “The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph as a flame; but the house of ESAU shall be stubble; they shall kindle him and devour them, and NO SURVIVOR shall remain of the house of Esau for the Lord has spoken.”

        DG said that “there are Edomites that will be saved”, but Obadiah 1:18 says “NO SURVIVOR” on the house of Esau shall be left out. They will be completely annihilated. It means DG is lying… This verse becomes his enemy and does not believe on this verse.

      7. And yet Herod the Great in Acts chapter 12 was a descendant of the Edomite’s. And he showed up after they were supposed to wiped out. Obviously there were descendants of Edomites that survived? What more shall I say?

        It amazes me how someone can be quick to call someone a lier before considering the facts.

      8. DG uses Acts 12:1 citing Herod as one who came out from the Edomites

        My Response: Obadiah 1:18 will come to pass or will still happen in the future events. It has not yet happened as of this time because this is the prophetic destiny of Esau-the father of the Edomites. Some Bible scholars are saying that the modern day Edomites today are the countries that have perpetual war with the nation of Israel. They-Edomites engaged intermarriages with the Ishmaelites-the son of Hagar and father of the Arabs/Muslims. e.g. Iran, Palestinian Terrorists with unending conflict with the nation of Israel.

        Genesis 28:9 So Esau went to Ishmael and took Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nabajoth, to be his wife in addition to the wives he had.

      9. I hope I don’t run into an Edomite on the streets and tell them that Christ paid for their sins and died that they can repent, believe and go to heaven……….wouldn’t that be a lie to them. I’ll ask them if they are an Edomite before I tell them that lie.

        Said with tongue in cheek of course 🙂

      10. My response : It’s not a lie because Edom is destined to perish even if you will offer to them the gospel it will not work for them, Why? God has declared that He hated Esau even before he was born from his mother. Maybe you can tell Joel Osteen to pay for sins of the Edomites then he can go to Christ and tell Him: “What can you say Lord, I am Joel Osteen, Did I perform well in my soul winning manipulative attempts” ?

        Any manipulation of the gospel will never work in obtaining Salvation.

      11. There it is folks! This is a classic example of lumping a man like Joel Osteen in with anyone that isn’t a Calvinist.

        See, there are a lot of Calvinists such as this that hate soul winning, when even God says in his word – “He that winneth souls is wise” Prov 11:30.
        Of course this can only be done by the gospel (death, burial and resurrection of Christ) which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes.

        There’s nothing wrong with telling people the gospel because it can win souls! Be a soul winner!

      12. My Response : Yes I agree to Prov. 11:30 “…He who wins souls is wise”

        1. You may be called as wise, if you WILL NOT MANIPULATE the gospel. Any one who will manipulate the gospel is cursed according to Gal. 1:8. This made Joel Osteen cursed because of his ulterior motives to become richer and richer by using his manipulated gospel to deceive people.

        2. The gospel has the power to save for those that the Father will give to the Son, but for the perishing it is just foolishness-I Cor. 1:18
        It is a futile attempt to offer the gospel to those that are perishing, Why Christ did not offer His life to those goats.

      13. I think you need to let go of Joel Osteen. The bible warns of these men. Don’t let it bother you.

        On the other hand there is nothing wrong with manipulating people with the gospel. I’m glad it manipulated me. If the preaching of the cross is called manipulation – bring it on! I say. Call it what you will.

        Just don’t tell people that they are saved by a “secret decree” before they were born for reasons unknown, because that’s not the gospel either. There’s no cross in that one either.

      14. DG Says : “There is nothing wrong with manipulating people with the gospel…”

        My response is :

        DG : says there is nothing wrong… But the Bible says its wrong. God will curse those who will… according to

        Gal. 1:8 Sed licet nos aut de caelo evangelizet vobis praeterquam quod evangelizavimus vobis anathema (Latin Vulgate)

        But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be cursed.

      15. What? The preaching of the cross and Christ crucified is “another gospel”? I don’t think so!

        Whereas preaching that men are saved by a “secret decree” from before they were born for unknown reasons is.

      16. I Cor. 1:18 says: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”

        No matter how you will offer the gospel to the goats that are destined to perish, it will not work Why? Because Christ did not offer His life for those goats. Christ did offer His life only to the sheep according to Christ Himself in His declaration in John 10:11, 15

      17. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish (past tense) foolishness; but unto us which are saved (past tense) it is the power of God.”
        ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭

        Even the version you are reading still doesn’t prove that only some individuals are selected to be a believer by a “secret decree” from before they were born for unknown reasons .

        You would have to believe the unbiblical statement and read that into the text. As Calvinists do.

      18. On a quick note – don’t you believe Joel Osteen’s “ulterior motives” were brought about by the secret counsel of God and were deemed unchangeable by God’s “secret decree”. Because his “ulterior motives” have come to pass haven’t they?

      19. Yes, Joel Osteen’s ulterior motive in gospel manipulation came to pass because of God’s decree-Agree to this, bwah hah hah… Do you believe also that Joel Osteen is destined to hell? like Judas Iscariot, a traitor to Christ in order to fulfill Christ’s death on the cross?

      20. Anyone who ends up in hell is because they they rejected the legitimate offer to be saved.

        When you say – “Joel Osteen is destined to hell”. Do you mean because he wasn’t one of the hand picked ones that were picked out from before they were born by the “secret decree” for reasons unknown?……Joel Osteen predestined to hell by the “secret counsel” of God from before he was born for reasons unknown……is that what you mean?

      21. There was no legitimate offer of Grace made by God to Joel Osteen, so how can he be saved? He cannot saved himself as what he is doing now in his preachings. Adding human effort to seek God, its not a pure gospel. How can he be saved if he is dead spiritually and is disconnected to the True Vine. He can do nothing according to Jesus Christ, right?

      22. You say Joel Osteen is – quote “Adding human effort to seek God”. And this is coming to pass right? And according to Calvinism all things that come to pass, come to pass by the “secret counsel” of God that determined it unchangeable before the world began right?

        Then what “human effort” is Joel Osteen adding to God’s secret counsel decree that determined what he is doing unchangeable? Because everything that comes to pass is for God’s glory according to Calvinism. Even Joel’s actions.

        I still don’t think you will see it though. Or refuse to face it.
        I don’t know?

      23. My Response : Your understanding about “Everything is decreed by God” – seems to me that Your view for Man is a ROBOT that is always manipulated by God. That God never give man the opportunity to decide for himself. May I ask you, Are you a robot ? If you deny, then you are NOT A NORMAL BEING, maybe half-human and half machine, like Robo – Cop.

        It appears that God did not allow Adam and Eve to use their freedom because, God is threatened by the time His commandments are violated. If this is your view, then you have a problem on the sovereignty of God.

      24. Huh! Calvinism says everything that comes to pass is by God’s secret decree, not me.

        Am I missing something here 😀?

      25. My Response :

        1. So… are you a ROBOT ?. Pentecostals are saying that they are NOT A ROBOT… and you ???

        2. God destroyed humanity during the global flood, a very clear manifestation that God dislike what the people were doing during Noah’s time. This means that this is against His will.

        3. God sent fire to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, a very clear manifestation that God was offended and disliked what people did and it was against His will.

        4. Maybe, you can do some pornography videos and have it shown in your church worship service and call it as decreed by God and that God gets the glory… Can you do that ? and still say honestly to yourself : “Lord, I am doing this for your glory”? “Lord, I have done this because this is what you want for me to do” Come on…

      26. JTEOSALAJ,

        It is Calvinism that says God brings all things to pass for his own glory, including every evil act of man. It was all predetermined by the “secret will” of God before the world began according to Calvinism. And according to Calvinism whatever comes to pass was determined unchangeable.

        So are you now disgusted in what God brings to pass? For his own glory.

        Who are you O man to talk back to God?

        All said with my tongue in cheek of course 😉

      27. DG Said : “Yet in your point 1, you act “as if” man was not a robot and had the freedom to “exercise his own will”.

        My Response : It is now clear to me that your view for Man is a ROBOT without WILL and is always manipulated by God. Well, be it if that’s you assess of yourself, a ROBOT. Sorry we have a different view on the issue…

      28. Mmmmmm. How can I get you to see your confusion? I don’t know if I can to tell you truth?

        I actually don’t believe we are robots JTLEOSALAJ.

        I am trying to show you that if you hold to Calvinism. We can can be nothing but programmed robots.

        It is Calvinism that says all things that come to pass, including every evil thought and action are predetermined to come to pass before the world began by a “secret decree” of God. Calvinism says all this brings God glory. According to Calvinism nothing comes to pass that God didn’t want and cause to come to pass by His “secret decree.

        If you do not agree with this, then maybe you are not a Calvinist? Or a “I want my cake and eat it too” kind of Calvinist.

      29. DG said: “Can you tell me what came to pass by the “will of command” that wasn’t fixed? Where does your point 1 fit? Or is it just an imaginary thought?

        My Response is:
        1. Man was able to violate God’s will of Command. In fact even the good works of man is still considered as filthy rags that cannot be used
        to obtain Salvation.

        2. My point No. 1 will fit in to the use of Man’s will without being manipulated by God- But when it comes to seeking Salvation the use of this
        free will that is marred with evil/sin will never work, Why? Because Salvation is a FREE GIFT provided by Christ to those that are dead
        spiritually.

        3. It is not just an imaginary thought because it is obviously supported by Scriptures.

      30. You still don’t see it. EVERYTHING that comes to pass. That means everything that has ever happened and everything that will happen. That includes every minute detail of every minute sin and thought of that sin.
        ALL this comes to pass by the “will of decree”. Because nothing comes to pass that wasn’t by the “will of decree” according to Calvinism.

        So again, what imaginary world have you seen “God’s will of command” in?

        I can’t spell it out any plainer unless you take off Calvin’s glasses.

  10. Daily reading in Nehemiah

    1:5 “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

    8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

    ————

    Nehemiah helps us define God’s Sovereignty.

    A. He says that God keeps his covenant, “with those who love him and keep his commandments.” That is completely conditional on man’s actions. God tells us here (and in hundreds of passages like this) that He will act according to man’s actions. Not all decreed before time.

    B. Nehemiah says, “We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave…” There is no room for Piper’s (not-in-the-Bible) idea of two will or two decrees. Nehemiah makes it clear that they did not do what God wanted in any way (even uses the word “decrees’).

    C. Nehemiah quotes the Lord in a phrase we hear in hundreds of places in almost all the books of the Bible: “If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you…. but if you…. then I will.”

    How can anyone reading these hundreds and hundreds of statements from the Lord dare to add to the Bible and say these phrases dont mean what they say?

    Please also notice that I am not quoting and re-quoting the same passages over and over like Calvinists to proof-text a point.

    Daily Bible reading will rinse away man-made Calvinism.

  11. When I refer to hundreds of passages where the Lord says “If you will ….then I will” or passages where the Lord says, “I did not command you to do that evil thing….nor did it enter my mind” —- it is common to hear Calvinists say “we do not get our doctrine from that.”

    No kidding. THEY do not get their doctrine from that, because they dont want to. They dont let it shape their doctrine in any ways —except to come up with some man-made idea of God having two opposing wills (He says dont sleep with another person’s wife, but if that has happened —- it must have been His will of decree).

    Let’s let the Bible tell us How God Is.

  12. It says in Romans 3:23 that all humanity (including God’s elect Israel) are sinners. Also in Romans 3:10-11 No one is righteous and that no one is seeking God-(includes the nation of Israel)

    The above verses will help us to understand that :

    1. Man has willfully disobeyed God and no one becomes righteous even though they will attempt to use that “free will that is marred with evil;contaminated with the virus of sin will ever please God to grant them Salvation

    2. If man disobeys God’s command it means that God has allowed it to happen. If He did not allow it to happen then it wont because God has the capability to override Man’s will.

    3. Don’t say that the Calvinists will say : “A person sleeps with another’s wife -It must have been His Will of Decree” – This is very bad because as if you are charging God as the author of evil/sin. Please remember that when God created satan he was prefect and the most beautiful of all angels. Also true with Man was created after in His own image, without sin. The tree of knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden has no poison (not intrinsically evil or poisonous) that can cause death, because everything that God created was good and that God can never be the author/creator of SIN and can never commit sin because He is absolutely perfect.

    4. Why did God gave those commandments? My Answer: So that man will be able to exercise his will whether to obey or disobey. This is what John Piper is saying – “God’s will of Command” e.g.: like the 10 commandments that can be disobeyed/ignored by man, But as for “God’s will of Decree” – this is something that Man cannot evade or resist for it will surely come to pass. It has been decreed/destined by God, it is fixed and cannot be changed anymore.

  13. JTLEOSALAJ writes

    “This is what John Piper is saying – “God’s will of Command” e.g.: like the 10 commandments that can be disobeyed/ignored by man, But as for “God’s will of Decree” – this is something that Man cannot evade or resist for it will surely come to pass. It has been decreed/destined by God, it is fixed and cannot be changed anymore”

    Calvin and John Piper and Calvinism says that everything that comes to pass is fixed and cannot be changed which was decreed/destined by God before the world began by the “secret decree”.

    So when JTLEOSALAJ says that “God’s will of command” “can be disobeyed/ignored by man” what does he mean? When all things that come to pass are the “will of decree”. And if all things that come to pass are the “will of decree” and nothing of the “will of Command” then there has never been a broken commandment…..because according to Calvinism all things that come to pass are by the unchangeable “will of decree”.

    But you just don’t understand Calvinism!…………actually I don’t think they do either.

    1. DG Said: “So when JTLEOSALAJ says that “God’s will of Command” can be disobeyed/ignored by man,” what does he mean?

      My answer:

      1. The whole human race is guilty of SIN = the very proof that man has the capability to disobey. Man is not a created robot=meaning God
      still allowed it to happen by letting man exercise his own will without manipulating it. God foreknows everything even the inner intentions
      of man before he was created. In other words, man’s disobedience is still a part of God’s eternal plan

      2. “God’s will of Command” can be ignored/dis-obeyed, but God’s “WILL of DECREE” is superior than “God’s will of Command” = This is
      fixed, destined and cannot be changed.

    2. DG Says : “And if all things that come to pass are the “will of decree” and nothing of the “Will of Command” then there has never been a broken commandment… because according to Calvinism all things that come to pass are by the unchangeable “Will of Decree”.

      My Response :

      1. DG says “… then there has never been a broken commandment … “, But the Bible clearly says that ALL HAVE SINNED AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD according to Romans 3:23

      2. If there was no broken commandment then there is no need for Jesus Christ to offer His life on the Cross.

      1. JTLEOSALAJ,

        You might just be on your way out of Calvinism if you stop and think about that. 😁

  14. JTLEOSALAJ,

    I don’t think that you can see your circular reasoning. Calvinism says EVERYTHING that comes to pass is by God’s will of decree – The unchangeable will of decree that decreed the very thought and action of every sin in every detail to come to pass.

    When you say – “God foreknows everything even the inner intentions”, that’s because according to Calvinism God implanted those inner intentions right down to the finest detail. Every evil intention and action that comes top pass is by what you call “God’s will of Command” that cannot be changed.

    Yet in your point 1, you act “as if” man was not created a robot and had the freedom to “exercise his own will”.

    Can you tell me what came to pass by the “will of Command” that was wasn’t fixed? Where does you point 1 fit? Or is it just an imaginary thought?

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