Kingswood Hart: Who Are the Elect?

This blog post is copied below in its entirety with permission. Please follow the links if you would like to see more of Kingswood and his series in Romans. 

This is part of a series of posts on Romans. Click here for the contents page.

After considering Romans 11:1-6 in the previous post, now we’ll continue with verses 7-10.

Having established that God has not rejected the ethnic Israelites, Paul goes on to explain what has been happening “at the present time” (i.e. Paul’s present time – see verse 5):

“[7] What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,”

Because so many of Paul’s fellow ethnic Israelites have not trusted in Christ, he uses the word ‘Israel’ to refer to the unbelieving ethnic Israelites, saying that “Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking” (see Romans 9:31-32 for another example of the word ‘Israel’ being used in this way). They were seeking righteousness but wanted to obtain it themselves rather than accepting the offer of Christ’s righteousness (see Romans 10:3).

Paul then goes on to explain that there are a relatively small number of ethnic Israelites who have obtained righteousness. These are “the elect”. They correspond to the “remnant” from verse 5. Paul distinguishes “the elect” from “the rest”“The rest” is everyone else in ethnic Israel who is not “the elect”. (The Gentiles could also be categorised as “elect” and “non-elect”, but the context is clear that Paul is focusing on ethnic Israel in these verses. The hardening referred to is a hardening of some ethnic Israelites (not Gentiles). As the hardened ones are “the rest”, the “elect” ones must also be ethnic Israelites only.)

Paul divides ethnic Israel up into “the elect” and “the rest”. This is very important in understanding who “the elect” are, as we will see. This diagram shows the situation:

Ethnic Israel

“The rest” are “the rest” because they are not “the elect”. Paul does not need to give them their own title – he simply refers to them as “the rest”, which distinguishes them from “the elect”. We can therefore say with certainty that “the rest” are not elect. “The rest” are “the non-elect”.

Paul goes on to talk about “the rest” (picking up from verse 7):

“[7b] The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, [8] as it is written, “God gave them [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” [9] And David says, “Let their [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect]; [10] let their [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] eyes be darkened so that they [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] cannot see, and bend their [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] backs continually.””

So, the non-elect ethnic Israelites have been hardened: their eyes have been darkened and their ears do not hear. (A ‘stumbling block’ is also referred to in 9:33, which similarly speaks of the situation of the unbelieving ethnic Israelites.) A burden is weighing down on them and bending their backs. As they are not elect, and have had their eyes darkened etc., one might conclude that these non-elect ethnic Israelites will always remain in this state and will therefore never be saved.

However, let’s see what Paul has to say about this. Does Paul think that none of these non-elect ethnic Israelites will ever be saved? Let’s read through the rest of this section with only this question in mind:

[11] So I ask, did they [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] stumble in order that they [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] might fall? By no means! Rather through their [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make them [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] jealous. [12] Now if their [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] trespass means riches for the world, and if their [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect]full inclusion mean! [13] Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry [14] in order somehow to make my fellow Jews [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect]jealous, and thus save some of them [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect]. [15] For if their [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect]acceptance mean but life from the dead? [16] If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. [17] But if some of the branches [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect]were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, [18] do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. [19] Then you will say, “Branches [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” [20] That is true. They [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. [21] For if God did not spare the natural branches [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect], neither will he spare you. [22] Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect], but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. [23] And even they [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect], if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. [24] For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect], the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree. [25] Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect], until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. [26] And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; [27] “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” [28] As regards the gospel, they [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. [29] For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. [30] For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their[“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] disobedience, [31] so they [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] also may now receive mercy. [32] For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

Paul thinks that non-elect people, who have been hardened, can be saved!

This tells us a lot about Paul’s understanding of what it means to be “elect”. Paul started off (in verse 7) by dividing ethnic Israel into “the elect” (who have obtained righteousness) and “the rest” (who have not obtained righteousness, are non-elect, and have been hardened). “The elect” Israelites are those who are trusting in Christ, as they have obtained righteousness already (verse 7). Regarding “the rest”, Paul thinks it is possible for a non-elect person to trust in Christ and therefore be saved.

By Paul’s definition, when a non-elect person trusts in Christ, they will become part of “the elect”, as they will then have obtained righteousness. On an individual basis, therefore, a person can change from being non-elect to being elect. They move from the group of people called “the rest” into the group of people called “the elect”.

Another understanding of “election”

In contrast to this understanding of what it means for someone to be “elect”, there are some people who believe that everyone who does or will eventually trust in Christ has always been “elect” – even before they trusted in Christ, and that everyone who ultimately never will trust in Christ has always been “non-elect”.

The people who take this view therefore see the hardening of the non-elect that Paul speaks of as being permanent and unchangeable, such that they never will trust in Christ. They tend to argue that when Paul speaks in the following verses about more ethnic Israelites coming to faith, he is speaking of different ethnic Israelites than those who have been hardened. If we apply this consistently, the following situation arises. In verse 7, Paul states that the elect ethnic Israelites “have obtained” righteousness (i.e. this has already happened), while the rest (i.e. all other ethnic Israelites) have been hardened. If the hardening is permanent and cannot be changed, then Paul is teaching that every ethnic Israelite alive at his time of writing who is not already trusting in Christ never will trust in Christ. Paul would therefore have no hope for the salvation of any of his fellow ethnic Israelites that he is upset about (see 9:1-5). However, in Romans 11:13-14, Paul goes on to say:

“[13] Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry [14] in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.”

It is clear that Paul has hope for the salvation of at least some of the ethnic Israelites who are alive at the same time as him, who have not (yet) obtained righteousness, and who have been hardened. Therefore we can reject any interpretation of the text that has Paul teaching that none of these ethnic Israelites can be saved. The understanding of election/non-election as being eternally and unchangeably applied to individuals is therefore inconsistent with Paul’s teaching.

Paul’s understanding of “election”

So (having dismissed this false interpretation) “the elect” can correctly be defined as “those who are trusting in Christ”. It doesn’t also include people who will eventually trust in Christ but aren’t doing so yet. So all non-Christians are currently non-elect, whether or not they will eventually trust in Christ. They will only join “the elect” if and when they put their trust in Christ. “The elect” therefore corresponds to the church (i.e. the group of all true believers).

This is why the Bible uses so much corporate language to refer to the church (e.g. “the bride of Christ”“the body of Christ”, etc.). A common biblical phrase for “the elect” is those who are “in Christ”. Those who are “in Christ” share in the blessings that have come to Christ. For example, those who are “in Christ” share in Christ’s righteousness, and are considered as righteous due to being in Christ (Romans 3:21-26).

Another example is that Paul can say of Christians that God “seated us with him [Christ]in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). The Christians to whom Paul was writing were not individually seated in the heavenly places, but because they were “in Christ”, what was true of Christ was true for them.

Similarly, those who are “in Christ” share in Christ’s chosenness, as Christ is “the Chosen One of God” (see Luke 9:35, John 1:32-34 (NET Bible, including notes), and Isaiah 42:1 (with Matthew 12:18)). Just as, before a person becomes a Christian, they have no righteousness to claim as their own, so a non-Christian also has no chosenness of their own unless and until they can claim Christ’s chosenness through being “in him”.

Every spiritual blessing that the Christian has is “in Christ”, including the spiritual blessing of being chosen/elect (Ephesians 1:3-4). That is why Paul can say that God the Father “chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), while also saying of himself individually that Andronicus and Junia “were in Christ before me”(Romans 16:7). Paul was not always in Christ, but only became in Christ when he began to trust in Christ for salvation. Once he became “in Christ”, he became “righteous”“seated in the heavenly places” and “chosen before the foundation of the world” – all because these are true of Christ and therefore became true of Paul as he became “in Christ”.

This understanding of election is known as “Christocentric election” or “corporate election” (I prefer the first term as it recognises Jesus as the centre of the chosenness). We will continue in Romans 11 in the next post.

This was first published at the Predestination Station, where comments can be made.

184 thoughts on “Kingswood Hart: Who Are the Elect?

    1. Just jumping in, after a few busy weeks marrying off my first son. This is an excellent presentation of what being ‘elect’ or chosen means, and the only one that creates no inconsistencies. All that has been offered to us is and always has been ‘in Christ’, which is why it was predetermined, and irresistibly ordained to completion. God has always planned that those who put their trust in him come into all of his promised blessings ‘in Christ’, becoming one of those elect and chosen to receive eternal life. There is no other way, no earning or merit that can achieve what can only be ours as a free and undeserved gift.

      How marvelous that this incomparable free gift provided that ALL men might be saved gives God the genuine glory, untainted by cruelty or tyranny; a glory that he cannot help but receive because he is genuinely good, loving and merciful. He does not need to secretly choose and manipulate men. He does not need to employ unthinkable evil to provide contrast for his goodness. He does not need to play word games to hide the wickedness of some perverse scheme to deliberately condemn a great many men but make it appear as if it was their own free choice.

      Like the father of the wandering prodigal, he is ever waiting to welcome us back from our deliberate rebelliousness with a kiss and a feast. This my friends, is the genuine, beautiful, hope-filled, life-giving glory of our God who so loved us that he sent his Son to redeem us.

  1. Excellent!

    I like this bit – “A common biblical phrase for “the elect” is those who are “in Christ”. Those who are “in Christ” share in the blessings that have come to Christ”

    I have noticed after reading many commentaries by Calvinists on Ephesians 1:4, they for the most part drop the “In Him” part out of the verse and focus on the “Chose us” part. They tend to make it all about us instead of all about Him (Christ).

    It’s amazing how someone like Calvin can influence such a large portion of Christendom, so much so that they believe his writings are infallible and therefore read the bible through his template.

    This one quote from Calvin did it for me when I was reading his Institutes of the Christian Religion. Notice how he elevates his own writings to Scripture –
    “And since we are bound to acknowledge that all truth and sound doctrine proceed from God, I will venture boldly to declare what I think of this work (his institutes), acknowledging it to be God’s work rather than mine. To him, indeed, the praise due to it must be ascribed. My opinion of the work then is this: I exhort all, who reverence the word of the Lord, to read it, and diligently imprint it on their memory, if they would, in the first place, have a summary of Christian doctrine, and, in the second place, an introduction to the profitable reading both of the Old and New Testament.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Epistle to the reader

    1. Upon grasping how Augustine, Constantine and Calvin essentially co-opted and misled the entire Body of Christ, recasting them as ‘The Church’, one gains a whole new lens from which to view the entire world. All it takes is a very small number to introduce orthodox truth by fiat – be it religious, political or scientific – and entire civilizations wander in blindness for centuries, groping for the wall as if blind. It is almost as if scripture foretells – 😉 – the deep error into which mankind would be naively led by submitting to self-claimed authorities rather than faithfully listening to the Spirit of God within.

      In every era, in every field, it is the individual who dares to think for himself and question the authoritative ‘truth’ who is the heretic and dangerous person. Perhaps Jesus was not ‘kidding’ when he warned that those who ‘truly’ followed him would suffer as he did. Makes one wonder if it might be wise to re-evaluate the ‘great’ religious leaders of history who have enjoyed the wealth and adoration of society, whether they be Calvin or today’s celebrated religious leaders with fan-filled ministries and million dollar mansions.

  2. Well, I certainly know that the notion of “corporate election” is very popular and widely accepted by default with the alternative being the Calvinistic notion of unconditional election. However, whoever the “elect” are, it should be consistent throughout scripture.

    Nowhere in all scripture does it state plainly that those who are “in Christ” are the elect (if I am overlooking such passages, please point them out).

    I have pointed this out before, but it bears repeating.

    2 Timothy 2:10 (NKJV)….
    Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they (the elect) also (too) may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

    Again, using scripture, I can prove that “the elect” Paul is referring to is the nation of Israel. Even lost Israel.

    Romans 9:3-4a (KJV)….
    For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh; Who are ISRAELITES…

    Romans 10:1 (KJV)….
    Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for ISRAEL is, that they might be saved.

    Romans 11:13-14 (NKJV)….
    For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh (ISRAELITES) and save some of them.

    Acts 28:20 (KJV)….
    For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for THE HOPE OF ISRAEL I am bound with this chain.

    So with the above verses in mind, we have the following….

    2 Timothy 2:10 (NKJV)….
    Therefore I endure all things for the sake of Israel, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

    So here we have a clear, biblical reference to lost, unbelieving Israelites who the apostle Paul refers to as “the elect”. Paul knew full well who “the elect” are.

    With the corporate view of election in mind, here is how 2 Timothy 2:10 would read…

    2 Timothy 2:10 (NKJV)….
    Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the believing element of Israel and Gentiles, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

    That interpretation makes absolutely no sense since those who are “in Christ” have already obtained salvation. No. Whoever “the elect” are in 2 Timothy 2:10 they are definitely lost.

    Again, I fully understand the appeal “corporate election” offers, but as we see in 2 Timothy 2:10 it just doesn’t work.

    Discern brothers and sisters.

    1. Hi Phillip,

      I agree with you that 2 Timothy 2:10 is talking about elect Israel. However I also believe the church can be called elect as well –

      “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied”. 1 Peter 1:1-2

      “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” Colossians 3:12

      As I understand it there is elect Israel (The Covenant people) made up of Israelites (saved and unsaved). And then there is the elect church, made up of born again believers (from either Israel or Gentile)

      But there is also the elect angels – 1 Timothy 5:21, There is also the elect lady – 2 John 1:1

      There is also Christ who is elect – 1 Peter 2;6

      I see the church being called elect in this passage –

      “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”, which are then in chapter 2 of the same book is referred to as – “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” 1 Peter 2:9-10.

      Just to note, it says – “Which in time past were not a people”. This debunks the Calvinist argument that there were people being selected in times past obtaining mercy by some weird secret decree.

      Thanks Phillip, I think there is some wiggle room from a couple of perspectives in the non-Calvinistic look at the word “elect”.

      1. Blessings, Damon.

        I appreciate the feedback. This is a little long, but I wanted to be thorough. Please consider…..

        1 Peter 1:1-2 (NKJV)….
        To the pilgrims of the Dispersion (scattered among the Gentiles) in PONTUS, Galatia, CAPPADOCIA, ASIA, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

        Now compare that with the following…

        Acts 2:5-11 (NKJV)…..
        And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and CAPPADOCIA, PONTUS AND ASIA, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

        Peter is addressing/writing to the Jews/Israelites that had been scattered among the Gentiles.

        Now….

        1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV)….
        But you are a chosen generation (race), a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

        Almost verbatim what the Lord told Moses to say to the children of Israel.

        Exodus 19:3-6 (NKJV)….
        And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.”

        It was the House of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) that was told that they were once not a people, but now a people; not shown mercy, but who have now obtained mercy. This is confirmed in the book of Hosea….

        Hosea 1:6-11 (NKJV)…..
        Then God said to him: “Call her name Lo-Ruhamah, For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel (the Northern Kingdom), But I will utterly take them away (scatter them among the nations). Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah (the Southern Kingdom), Will save them by the LORD their God, And will not save them by bow, Nor by sword or battle, By horses or horsemen.” Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then God said: “Call his name Lo-Ammi, For you (the House of Israel) are not My people, And I will not be your God. “Yet the number of the children of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) Shall be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass In the place where it was said to them (the House of Israel), ‘You are not My people,’ There it shall be said to them (the House of Israel/the Northern Kingdom), ‘You are sons of the living God.’ Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together, And appoint for themselves one head; And they shall come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel (when the Lord will gather together His chosen people, the 12 tribes of Israel)!

        1 Peter 2:11-12 (NKJV)…
        Beloved, I beg you as sojourners (those who stay or reside temporarily) and pilgrims (a person who journeys, especially a long distance), abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles (where the House of Israel had been scattered), that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation (His second coming).

        Now…

        1 Peter 5:1-2 (NKJV)…..
        The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;

        Peter is addressing the elders (a pastoral position) to be overseers (position of leadership) of their local congregations. So we know that some of these Jews from the House of Israel are put in the pastoral positions of leadership of their local churches. As God’s chosen people (race) their calling and election (2 Peter 1:10) was/is to be a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6, Acts 13:47).

        So this is scriptural proof that Peter is addressing the House of Israel, the Northern Kingdom. And from where was Peter writing?

        1 Peter 5:13 (NKJV)….
        She who is in Babylon (the Southern Kingdom), elect together with you (the Northern Kingdom), greets you; and so does Mark my son.

        “She who is in Babylon” (where “she” was taken into captivity) would refer to the House of Judah, or the Southern Kingdom, who, together with the House of Israel (the Northern Kingdom), make up the whole nation of Israel/House of Jacob, God’s chosen ones (1 Chronicles 16-13, Psalm 105:6).

        God bless.

      2. Damon,

        Thanks, brother. That’s all I ask.

        Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)….
        The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

        The concept of elect/election is dominated by both the Calvinist (unconditional) and Arminian (conditional) perspectives. Most of our Bible schools and seminaries are indoctrinated with one or the other (or both) never giving any consideration that there just might be a plausible (and biblical) alternative.

        “But you are a chosen generation (race), a royal priesthood, a holy nation..”

        The “church”, or Body of Christ, is not a race nor a nation (that should be a clue). But the children of Israel definitely are.

        The word elect/election only appears in the Bible 23 (KJV) or 24 (NKJV) times. The overwhelming majority of them point to the nation of Israel (saved or lost).

        Any questions, please let me know.

    2. Hi Phillip, thanks for reading the post. The word ‘elect’ in the Greek just means ‘chosen’. It can be used in different ways depending on what choice is being discussed. God has made more than one choice in his existence. So I don’t think it’s wise to propose that “whoever the “elect” are, it should be consistent throughout scripture”. Each use of the word ‘elect’ should be assessed as to its meaning in its context. Sometimes it will relate to those trusting in Christ but sometimes it might not. It’s an unusual claim to say that every word in the Bible must mean exactly the same thing every time it is used.

      Regarding your 2Tim 2:10 quote, I’m not taking a view as to what the passage is saying, but it doesn’t have to mean the same thing as Paul meant in Romans 11:7. Your assertion that those in Christ have already obtained salvation isn’t entirely accurate. 2Tim 2 is talking about people enduring to the end, so has the meaning of “salvation” in view of salvation from God’s future judgement. In that sense of the word, salvation hasn’t happened yet for believers who are still alive. (See Romans 5:9: “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” – salvation is future here.) In 2Tim 2:10 Paul is looking ahead to salvation that he hopes will be attained by some people, and he refers to those people as “the elect”. So it’s not inconsistent for Paul to be referring to believers when he refers to the elect. (I’m not saying he definitely is, just that it’s not inconsistent if he is saying that.)

      So ultimately, referring to another verse in another book doesn’t prove what Paul means by ‘elect’ in Romans 11. What do you think he means by ‘elect’ in Romans 11:7, and how do you think that fits with what comes next in the chapter?

      1. Brother Kingswoodhart,

        Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. 3:09am. Wow, brother. You are either a night owl or on a way different time zone.

        You said… “In 2 Tim 2:10 Paul is looking ahead to salvation that he hopes will be attained by some people, and he refers to those people as ‘the elect’. So it’s not inconsistent for Paul to be referring to believers when he refers to the elect. (I’m not saying he definitely is, just that it’s not inconsistent if he is saying that.)”

        In your post you wrote… “So (having dismissed this false interpretation) ‘the elect’ can correctly be defined as ‘those who are trusting in Christ’. It doesn’t also include people who will eventually trust in Christ but aren’t doing so yet. So all non-Christians are currently non-elect, whether or not they will eventually trust in Christ. They will only join ‘the elect’ if and when they put their trust in Christ. ‘The elect’ therefore corresponds to the church (i.e. the group of all true believers).

        So with that in mind we have…

        2 Timothy 2:10 (NKJV)….
        Therefore I endure all things for the sake of “those who are trusting in Christ”, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

        Sorry, brother, but that just doesn’t work (I mean this lovingly, not sarcastically). We know from scripture that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) and that they have eternal life (1 John 5:13). There is zero chance that those “in Christ” will not obtain salvation. Those in Christ have, not may, but have obtained salvation. Otherwise, it would be silly, and inaccurate, for me to tell others that I am saved. Now there is a future glory that we still await, but my salvation is secure.

        If, however, we understand the elect to refer to the nation of Israel, we have…

        “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the nation of Israel, that they (the nation of Israel) also (along with the Gentiles/non-Israelites/the non-elect) may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

        This works perfectly, even supporting the possibility that they “may not” obtain salvation contingent upon their response to God. Another observation, though I am not an English major, the “also” or “too” is tied to “they” which introduces another group (not a benefit), other than “the elect”, which would have to refer to the non-elect, which, in this case would have to be the Gentiles. This aligns perfectly with Romans 11:13-14 and Acts 9:15.

        Also, we already know from Paul’s own testimony that it was the nation of Israel that he was willing to be accursed from Christ (Romans 9:3-4a). It was his love for Israel that he was willing to wear the chains (Acts 28:20). It was for the nation of Israel that he magnified his ministry to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13-14). For me, though I could be wrong, it is clear that the nation of Israel, his fellow Israelites, is to whom he is referring to in 2 Timothy 2:10.

        God bless, brother

    3. Phillip
      2 Timothy 2:10 (NKJV)….
      Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the believing element of Israel and Gentiles, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

      That interpretation makes absolutely no sense since those who are “in Christ” have already obtained salvation. No. Whoever “the elect” are in 2 Timothy 2:10 they are definitely lost.

      Again, I fully understand the appeal “corporate election” offers, but as we see in 2 Timothy 2:10 it just doesn’t work.

      br.d
      Can you explain your logic in this a little Phillip?
      I’m somewhat familiar with how “corporate election” is defined – but not up its nuances enough to know how you conclude it is logically excluded by 2 Tim 2:10.

      1. BrD.,

        Sure.

        In the article above it states…. “So ‘the elect’ can correctly be defined as ‘those who are trusting in Christ’. It doesn’t also include people who will eventually trust in Christ but aren’t doing so yet. So all non-Christians are currently non-elect, whether or not they will eventually trust in Christ. They will only join ‘the elect’ if and when they put their trust in Christ. ‘The elect’ therefore corresponds to the church (i.e. the group of all true believers).

        My point is “the elect” in 2 Timothy 2:10 refers to the nation of Israel, specifically Lost Israel, since it is for them that Paul is willing to endure all things. Our brother is suggesting it refers to the church, or the body of Christ. If that were the case we would have the following….

        “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the church, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

        You simply need to ask yourself “Does that make sense?” Is there any chance that the body of Christ won’t obtain salvation? Because “may” suggests the possibility they “may not”. My interpretation, however, would read…

        “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of Israel, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

        If my interpretation is correct (the elect refers to the Israelite people), Paul knows there is a real chance that every Israelite will not be saved. It is Paul’ heart that every Israelite is saved. He even magnifies his ministry to the Gentiles in hopes of saving as many Israelites as he can. Now the nation as a whole (all 12 tribes) will be saved, but not every Israelite. And it is this that causes Paul so much anguish.

        Hope this helps, brother.

      2. “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of Israel, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

        Thanks Phillip.

        How do we account for these texts:
        Romans 16:13 Greet Rufus, an outstanding ἐκλεκτόν “chosen” of Christ and also his mother……

        Rufus is known as a Latin/Roman name.
        If “elect” is limited only to ethnic Israel then Rufus would have to be a Jewish person with a Latin/Roman name.

        Colossians 3:12 Clothe yourselves therefore, as the elect ἐκλεκτοί “chose” of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

        Members of the congregation at Colossae were noted as having incorporated pagan elements into their practice, including worship of elemental spirits. Some scholars note the doctrinal problem at Colossae was probably the influx of Gnosticism – which typically afflicted Gentile and not Jewish believers.

      3. BrD,

        To be completely honest, Colossians 3:12 is one of perhaps two verses that still eludes me and requires further study, but regarding the other 22 times (NKJV) the use of the term “elect” is used, I can show it relates somehow to Israel. Not bad odds.

        In regards to Rufus in Romans 16:13, I see a distinction between the adjective “chosen” and the noun “the elect”. I know in English these words are somewhat interchangeable, but scripture seems to give a distinction (otherwise, why “chosen” and some places and “elect” in others?). Still, we have Israel, My elect (Isaiah 45:4) and Jacob His chosen ones (1 Chronicles 16:13, Psalms 105:6) so go figure. That said, Paul was his Roman name, but he was a Jew/Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin. I believe Luke was also Jew using his Roman name as well.

        Regardless, I stand by my interpretation of 2 Timothy 2:10.

        Thanks for the question. When the Lord gives me understanding for Colossians, I will let you know.

        Many blessings, brother.

      4. Good enough Phillip and thanks!
        Its an interesting topic – I can see why it peaks your interest.

        On the subject of looking into the Greek grammar – you might see if Brian has any thoughts you might find of interest.
        He’s pretty smart in that area!! :-]

    4. I think the 2 TImothy 2:10 passage simply reveals a truth that we are all well acquainted with – Not everyone within the church (not even every one who call themselves born again and are baptized as adults and are taking communion) are believers in Jesus Christ and there is no way we can know who will be the elect, in other words as humans we may not always be able to or are not discerning enough to know who belongs to Christ and who does not. Further it also reveals that those who are elect are not necessarily predetermined, but are based on present and future events – births, preaching, hearing / understanding, accepting the Gospel message. It also shows that all who are elect are not ‘elected’ so to speak, until they are in Christ. While it is true that it has been determined that those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world are chosen to be holy and blameless, those who are chosen are not chosen until they are in Christ. Which is why the Ephesians 1 passage continuously drills in the in Him …. in Him …. in Him over and over again. Without Him, none of those statements are true. Further Scripture also makes clear that those who are in Christ can fall away – Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Peter 2:1, 2 Peter 2:20,21, Matthew 24:24 / Mark 13:22. These passages make clear that falling away is not outside the realm of possibility but is a very real danger that is faced by Christians.

      The word elect is largely translated from 3 Greek words. In the Strong’s concordance they come at G1586, G1588, G1589. While there are plenty of verses with these Greek words, only a few have been translated with the English words elect or election. Many of the words that occur with these Greek words are translated as chosen, choosing, choice, etc. Ironically, while I had for a long time considered the NASB to be closest to the Greek because of its wooden reading, I have while doing the study on Election, found that the ESV and in many instances, even the KJV are far more literal translations of the Original (notwithstanding the Alexandrian and Byzantine traditions).

      While it is true that God knows all things and while He knows who will accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and who will fall away and who will endure to the end, that same knowledge is not available to us. So while God knows who are those who really constitute His church, and while God will separate the wheat from the tares, as Christians constituting the church we are not privy to that knowledge. Hence we have those who are not elect, those elect who will fall away and those who are all truly elect all as members of the church.

  3. “[15] For if their [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect] rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their [“the rest”, i.e. the non-elect]acceptance mean but life from the dead?”

    Here is a case where the term, “world,” refers to gentiles. From a Jewish perspective, there were Jews and then there was the world – the non Jews.

  4. “The Christians to whom Paul was writing were not individually seated in the heavenly places, but because they were “in Christ”, what was true of Christ was true for them.”

    I don’t know why the author inserts “individually” and he doesn’t explain his reasoning. I think he could have meant, “…were not physically seated in the heavenly places…”

    “What was true of Christ…” refers to Christ as an individual and Paul’s point is easily read as applying to each of the Ephesian believers individually. Paul emphasizes this by using the terms, “we,” and “us,” where he includes himself as an individual. His point is that he, as an individual, has been “blessed,,,with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,…” and so have each of the believers in Ephesus.

    Then, “This understanding of election is known as “Christocentric election” or “corporate election” (I prefer the first term as it recognises Jesus as the centre of the chosenness).”

    I did not see anything in this post that would identify this “understanding of election” as corporate election. All he did was separate the remnant from the rest of Israel. Why would that be unique to corporate election?

    Romans 11, “there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.” Here Paul refers to the elect, or remnant, within Israel “at the present,” or in the first century when Paul was writing. The Paul emphasizes that this is “according to God’s gracious choice,” – a point Paul makes when writing to the Ephesians, “God chose us.”

    1. You said “I did not see anything in this post that would identify this “understanding of election” as corporate election. All he did was separate the remnant from the rest of Israel. Why would that be unique to corporate election?”

      The point with this understanding of election is that an individual can move from being in “the rest” to being in “the elect”. That’s not the case for the Calivinistic understanding, which says that individuals are either always elect or always non-elect, and no one changes from one to the other.

      1. KH writes, “The point with this understanding of election is that an individual can move from being in “the rest” to being in “the elect”. That’s not the case for the Calivinistic understanding, which says that individuals are either always elect or always non-elect, and no one changes from one to the other.”

        Calvinism holds that God is omniscient and knew His elect before He created the world. In that sense, individuals are known to God as elect or non-elect and always have been and no one changes from one to the other.

        At the same time, the scriptures are clear that people move from “non-elect” status to “elect” status in the course of time – no one is born saved (or with the elect tag except in God’s mind) but becomes saved in time. So, people move from not being saved to being saved, and that is not a problem for Calvinism. However, I don’t think you are talking about elect/non-elect in the same sense as saved/not saved. You seem to be talking about the unsaved being tagged as “elect” even before they are saved. They are to God of course.

        So, what does this have to do with what Paul is writing about in Romans 11? I think Paul’s overall theme is salvation and this is his concern for Israel. Here Paul identifies the elect as the remnant or saved and the “rest” as the non-elect or unsaved. I think these terms are fluid and there is not a fixed number of elect and non-elect but the elect group can increase and the non-elect group can decrease as people in Israel are saved (even if that is a rare occurrence).

        Nonetheless, you tie this into “corporate election.” I still don’t know what your analysis has to do with corporate election – what does this understanding of election (as you spell out) have to do with corporate election??

      2. rhutchin
        Calvinism holds that God is omniscient and knew His elect before He created the world.

        br,d
        Interesting!
        Because he’s apparently not omniscient enough to remember things he decreed to infallibly come to pass.

        Because he makes -quote “active decisions to NOT RESTRAIN” the very things he (at the foundation of the world) “rendered certain” to infallibly come to pass.

        He (as Calvin instructs) treats them AS-IF they weren’t determined in every part.

        He appears to be additionally not be omniscient enough to know that the doctrine of decrees stipulates that ALL things which come to pass – do so infallibly – and from his own decrees!

        And he really should be omniscient enough to know that if something is going to come to pass infallibly – and an alternative comes to pass instead of it – then it really wasn’t infallible in the first place now was it.

        According Calvinist’s descriptions – he seems to miss a lot of these things.
        Perhaps he’s just a reflection of their own thinking. :-]

  5. DG Writes : “….But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” 1 Peter 2:9-10.”

    “Just to note, it says – “Which in time past were not a people”. This debunks the Calvinist argument that there were people being selected in times past obtaining mercy by some weird secret decree.”

    My Response : Never been debunked. The wordings ; “which in time past were not a people” – this refers to the picked out Gentile believers before time that will come out from the different nations, tongues and culture around the world. This is supported by the Story of the Prodigal Son., i.e.:

    The Father – represents God the Father with 2 ORIGINAL SONS in His Kingdom
    Elder Brother – represents the household of Jacob-Israel (Esau-Edomites not included here)
    Younger Brother (the one called as Prodigal Son) – represented by the picked out Gentiles before time.

    1. The Israelites cannot eat the swines left overs. It is against them even to touch those animals but the Gentiles can.
    2. The Israelites cannot allow themselves to work in a swine farm manage by Gentile owner, while the Gentiles can do it.
    3. The Elder brother has been so angry with his younger brother’s home coming. He doesn’t want to associate with his brother in the feast prepared by their Father. The Jews had been degrading the Gentiles and does not have a good relationship with them. They think that Salvation is only for the Jews, not to the Gentile world.
    4. His behavior is an expression of self-righteousness. Thou he prefers to stay in the field, yet he is always too far away from his Father that he cannot understand anymore His Father’s feelings about the restoration of his younger brother. His heart is full of hatred. This is a sign that he is also a lost sinner. (Both Israel and Gentiles are sinners)

    From this story told by Jesus Christ, He revealed here that both Israel and Gentiles has been His children before time in His Kingdom. Though they were not yet existing before the foundation of the World, It has been foreseen already and their destinies has been determined already before time.

    1. JT writes,

      “Younger Brother (the one called as Prodigal Son) – represented by the picked out Gentiles before time”..

      My reply – JT could have said the younger brother represents a Gentile, but no…

      Notice how JT just assumes that there were only certain Gentiles picked out before time. This would be because JT believes in the un-biblical “secret decree” to save only some for unrevealed reasons that Calvin talks about. This would be the “secret decree” that predetermined some for heaven and most for hell before anyone was born. This would be the “secret decree” that has “no cause” because it is an unrevealed secret why God only picked out a few to be saved and the rest for hell.

      Remember it is a “secret counsel” not based on anything known.

      But also know this – The only place in the bible that the phrase “secret counsel” is used is in Psalm 64:2 –

      “Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:”

      Yet Calvin used this phrase many many times in his writings as do most Calvinists today.

      1. Damon:
        But also know this – The only place in the bible that the phrase “secret counsel” is used is in Psalm 64:2 –
        “Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:”
        Yet Calvin used this phrase many many times in his writings as do most Calvinists today.

        br.d
        Spot-On Damon – excellent point!

        In ancient Rome – there were specially anointed priestesses called Vestal Virgins.
        Many of these priestesses had special *SEEING* powers allowing them to somehow know divine secrets.

        Its not unusual to see this “Vestal Virgin Anointing” mimicked by Calvinists.
        They always seem to have the “inside scoop” of things they declare divine secrets unknown to mortal man.

        This is why Dr. Jerry Walls likens Calvinists magicians.
        They can pull divine secrets out of their pockets – like captain kangaroo’s banana man! :-]

      2. DG writes, “But also know this – The only place in the bible that the phrase “secret counsel” is used is in Psalm 64:2 –
        “Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:”
        Yet Calvin used this phrase many many times in his writings as do most Calvinists today.”

        Then there is, “Surely the Lord GOD does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3) Combined with, ““The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 19) Consequently, that which God has chosen to reveal to us is found in the Scriptures and all other things have been hidden from us but can be assumed – as is true of those whom God has determined to save.

        There is nothing “un-Biblical” about God’s secret counsel – God really has not revealed everything to us but has kept some things hidden. Thus, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings (or believers) is to search out a matter.” (Proverbs 25) Jt is just doing what comes naturally to believers – “Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately.” (2 Timothy 2)

      3. Of course you can pick “secret counsel” out of another passage if you use 200 different bible interpretations of actual translations as does ol Rutchin here.

        And there’s the old “the secret things” belong unto the Lord” in Deuteronomy 29:29 which the Calvinist take right of Context – As if the passage is referring to Calvin’s “secret decree” when it doesn’t at all.

      4. Damon – just think – if you had one of Calvin’s crystal balls – you too could be one of the “special” ones – having the inside scoop on every divine secret! :-]

      5. DG writes, “Of course you can pick “secret counsel” out of another passage if you use 200 different bible interpretations of actual translations as does ol Rutchin here.”

        Or you can just track the Hebrew words translated as “secret counsel” through the OT.

        Then, “And there’s the old “the secret things” belong unto the Lord” in Deuteronomy 29:29 which the Calvinist take right of Context – As if the passage is referring to Calvin’s “secret decree” when it doesn’t at all. ‘

        How about telling us what the verse is really talking about.

      6. Rhutchin writes-
        “How about telling us what the verse is really talking about”

        My reply – More than happy to brother.

        Here’s the “secret things” of Deut 29:29
        “Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath; But with him that standeth here with us this day before the Lord our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day:”
        ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭29:14-15‬ ‭

        Here they are revealed –
        “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”
        ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:3-6‬ ‭

        Thanks RH, let me know if you need anything else brother.

      7. DG writes, “Here’s the “secret things” of Deut 29:29
        “Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath; But with him that standeth here with us this day before the Lord our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day:”
        ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭29:14-15‬ ‭”

        Combined with Ephesians 3, we know that the elect are in view. But your complaint was, “And there’s the old “the secret things” belong unto the Lord” in Deuteronomy 29:29 which the Calvinist take right of Context – As if the passage is referring to Calvin’s “secret decree” when it doesn’t at all. ” So, what’s the problem??

      8. Rhutchin replied –
        DG writes, “Here’s the “secret things” of Deut 29:29
        “Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath; But with him that standeth here with us this day before the Lord our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day:”
        ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭29:14-15‬ ‭
        Combined with Ephesians 3, we know that the elect are in view. But your complaint was, “And there’s the old “the secret things” belong unto the Lord” in Deuteronomy 29:29 which the Calvinist take right of Context – As if the passage is referring to Calvin’s “secret decree” when it doesn’t at all. ” So, what’s the problem??”

        My reply-
        Notice I explained that there is no problem with Duet 29:29. Because the “secret things” of that passage were revealed in New Testament.

        It is the Calvinist that creates a “problem” when they use this passage to say the “secret things” refer to Calvin’s “secret decree” to save only some while condemning the rest for “no cause” before anyone was born.

        Rhutchin will reply to this and say “I still don’t see the problem……and so on…blah blah blah. But that’s ok I’m not expecting him to see it.

        Calvinists are so blinded by the “secret decree” that they even bring it to the very passages that are supposed to build it, such as Rhutchin has done here with Deut 29:29.

        They just believe it because Calvin says it. And if Calvin (or their favourite confession) says it, then that settles it.

      9. DG writes, ‘It is the Calvinist that creates a “problem” when they use this passage to say the “secret things” refer to Calvin’s “secret decree” to save only some while condemning the rest for “no cause” before anyone was born.”

        We both seem to agree that Deuteronomy 29 can be explained by Ephesians 3, so that “…the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever…” refers to Paul, as a son, who was to preach to the gentiles with the secret hidden by God being that God always planned to save gentiles. This plan anticipated the rejection of Christ by the Jews and the grafting in of the gentiles as we read in Romans.

        The issue at this point is whether God planned to save all gentiles or just some and then come back and save all the Jews – particularly those Jews and gentiles who were rejecting Christ. The Scriptures provide a strong indication that God will not save all Jews and all gentiles.

        Now, does God know whom He will save. Calvinists, citing omniscience, say, Yes, but the identify of those whom God plans to save is among the “secret things” of God.

        Calvinists use this verse to say that there are “secret things” of God and these secret things are those things not revealed by God in the Scriptures – among the secret things would be the identities of those God plans to save.

      10. Rhutchin writes,
        “The issue at this point is whether God planned to save all gentiles or just some and then come back and save all the Jews – particularly those Jews and gentiles who were rejecting Christ”

        My reply – Notice how the Calvinist steers it toward an emotional appeal “as if” the reason God decided to save some was because of mans rejection of Christ. This is when they get on the wheel like a mouse running but getting nowhere.

        Remember it has “no cause”. So don’t let Rhutchin try and convince you that there is a cause behind the so called “secret decree”, because according to Calvinism there is “no cause” as to why some are saved and most condemned before they are born.

        So when Rhutchin says “the issue now is…”.
        He says that because his own belief system has created an issue that doesn’t even exist.

        Let’s hope RH resolves all of his issues.

        But, even Calvinists admit that their issues will always be contradictory this side of heaven……. so I’m not holding my breath waiting.

      11. CALVINISM – PARTISANSHIP IDENTITY – VICARIOUS BOASTING – THE SEDUCTIVENESS OF HERO WORSHIP:

        Kenneth Burke (1897), an American literary theorist, in “Attitudes Toward History”, writes:

        FIRST: The re-mapping of one’s identity with an elite group:
        “It is natural for a man to identify himself with the business corporation he serves. This is his birthright, and insofar as he is denied it, he is impoverished and alienated. But insofar as business becomes a ‘corrupt sovereign’, his only salvation is to make himself an identity, in an alternative corporation or elite group.

        SECOND: The boasting – a disguised form of self-inflation:
        One may note, however, the subtle ways in which identification serves as braggadocio. By it, the modest man can indulge in the most outrageous ‘corporate boasting’. He identifies himself with some corporate unit (church, guild, company, lodge, party, team, college, city, nation, etc.) –and by profuse praise of this unit, he praises himself.

        For he ‘owns shares’ in the corporate unit—and by ‘rigging the market’ the value of the stock as a whole, he runs up the value of his personal holdings.

        LASTLY: The hero worship:
        The function of ‘vicarious boasting’ leads into the matter of ‘epic heroism’ and ‘euphemistic’ vocabularies of motives. When heroes have been shaped by legend, with the irrelevant or incongruous details of their lives obliterated, and only the most ‘divine’ attributes expressed, the individual’s ‘covert boasting’ (by identification with the hero) need not lead to megalomania (extreme delusion of grandeur)….the legendary hero, is by definition, a superman. He is the founder of a line.

      12. DG writes, “according to Calvinism there is “no cause” as to why some are saved and most condemned before they are born.”

        This is wrong. God is the cause for some to be saved and some passed over and God acts according to the counsel of His will that reflects His perfect knowledge and understanding of all things and is His perfect wisdom..

      13. Calvin would have burnt you at the stake for saying that there is a cause! How dare you malign the pope of Geneva and say he is wrong! 😀

        “that men are rejected or chosen by the secret counsel of God, alleges NO CAUSE; as though the Spirit of God were silent for want of reason, and not rather, that by his silence he reminds us, that a mystery which our minds cannot comprehend ought to be reverently adored”
        John Calvin – Commentary, Romans 9

      14. John Calvin:
        “that men are rejected or chosen by the secret counsel of God, alleges NO CAUSE; as though the Spirit of God were silent for want of reason, and not rather, that by his silence he reminds us, that a mystery which our minds cannot comprehend ought to be reverently adored”
        John Calvin – Commentary, Romans 9

        br.d
        And when we untie this twisted statement what we get is:

        DON’T LOOK AT THE LITTLE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!!
        Just believe what I tell you!!

        Proverbs 14:15A
        It is a fool who believes every word

      15. rhutchin
        God is the cause for SOME to be saved and SOME passed over and God acts according to the counsel of His will

        br.d
        Thank you for affirming what I stated earlier – Calvin’s god wills SOME men saved.
        Now it is well acknowledged by rational thinkers – that SOME does NOT mean ALL.

        The self-contradiction is illustrated below:

        ALL [S] are [P]
        And at the same time
        SOME [S] are NOT [P]

        And again within Calvinist semantics:
        Calvin’s god wills ALL men saved
        And at the same time
        Calvin’s god wills SOME men NOT saved.

        Calvinism, in order to APPEAR to not contradict 1st Timothy 4, must SHIFT the term ALL MEN to a different referent.
        And here is what they end up with

        Out of the SUB-SET of Jews which Calvin’s god wills to save – ALL ARE JEWS
        Out of the SUB-SET of Gentiles which Calvin’s god wills to save – ALL ARE GENTILES
        Out of the SUB-SET OF MEN which Calvin’s god wills to save – ALL ARE MEN.

        As the reader can see – this rendering makes both the Holy Spirit and Paul appear as idiotic.

        Or we can frame it in the more classic Reformed semantics:
        Calvin’s god wills ALL men saved
        But not in such a way that Calvin’s god wills ALL men saved.

        That’s about as close to subtle double-speak as one needs to get. :-]

      16. br.d writes, “Thank you for affirming what I stated earlier – Calvin’s god wills SOME men saved.”

        I don’t think that was ever an issue. Only the Universalist ssay that God wills all men to be saved.

        Then, “Now it is well acknowledged by rational thinkers – that SOME does NOT mean ALL.’

        Not an issue either.

        Then, “And again within Calvinist semantics:
        Calvin’s god wills ALL men saved
        And at the same time
        Calvin’s god wills SOME men NOT saved.”

        Actually, it’s:
        Calvin’s god is willing for all ALL men to be saved either by their free will choice or God’s free will choice.
        And at the same time
        Calvin’s god wills SOME men NOT saved through His direct intervention.”

        Then, “Calvinism, in order to APPEAR to not contradict 1st Timothy 4, must SHIFT the term ALL MEN to a different referent.
        And here is what they end up with…”

        Actually, it’s:
        Out of the SUB-SET of ALL Jews which Calvin’s god wills to save SOME – ALL ARE JEWS
        Out of the SUB-SET of ALL Gentiles which Calvin’s god wills to save SOME – ALL ARE GENTILES
        Out of the SUB-SET OF ALL MEN which Calvin’s god wills to save SOME – ALL ARE MEN.

        Then, “As the reader can see – this rendering makes both the Holy Spirit and Paul appear as idiotic.”

        What is idiotic about it??

        Then, “Or we can frame it in the more classic Reformed semantics:
        Calvin’s god wills ALL men saved
        But not in such a way that Calvin’s god wills ALL men saved.”

        Actually, it’s:

        Calvin’s god wills ALL men saved generally.
        But not in such a way that Calvin’s god wills ALL men saved specifically.”

      17. br.d writes, “Thank you for affirming what I stated earlier – Calvin’s god wills SOME men saved.”

        rhutchin
        I don’t think that was ever an issue. Only the Universalist ssay that God wills all men to be saved.

        br.d
        This claim is so fallacious there a high school student would know better!
        It auto-magically assumes all Christianity embraces Universal Divine Causal Determinism (aka Calvinism)
        The Calvinist is in his own tiny unique world – asserting Calvin’s god does NOT will all men saved.

        But thank you again affirming the statement “Calvin’s god does NOT will all men saved”. :-]

      18. br.d
        In Calvinist semantics we have two contradicting statements:
        Calvin’s god wills ALL men saved
        And at the same time
        Calvin’s god wills SOME men NOT saved.”

        rhutchin
        Actually, it’s:
        Calvin’s god is willing for all ALL men to be saved either by their free will choice or God’s free will choice.
        And at the same time
        Calvin’s god wills SOME men NOT saved through His direct intervention.”

        br.d
        Thanks ! A wonderful example of how inventive double-speak can get!
        Your now in hip-boots wadding thorough it :-]

        Even with the added superfluous fluff – it still boils down to two self-contradicting propositions

        Calvinisms god wills ALL men saved
        And at the same time
        Calvin’s god wills SOME men NOT saved.”

        Or in classic reformed semantics
        Calvin’s god wills ALL men save – but not in such a way that Calvin’s god will ALL men saved.

        Can you provide some further examples of double-speak?
        This one was a doosy! :-]

      19. br.d
        This is what you have in Calvinist rendering of 1st Timothy 2:4
        Out of the SUB-SET of Jews which Calvin’s god wills to save ALL ARE JEWS
        Out of the SUB-SET of Gentiles which Calvin’s god wills to save ALL ARE GENTILES
        Out of the SUB-SET of MEN which Calvin’s god wills to save ALL ARE MEN.

        As the reader can see – this rendering makes both the Holy Spirit and Paul appear idiotic.”

        rhutchin
        What is idiotic about it??

        Out of the SUB-SET of posts rhutchin wills to post ALL are posts.

        Since you’ve embraced the double-speak – no one would expect you to see how this language is idiotic.

      20. br.d
        This is how Calvinism’s rendering of 1 Timothy resolves to:
        Out of the SUB-SET of Jews which Calvin’s god wills to save ALL of these Jews are Jews
        Out of the SUB-SET of ALL Gentiles which Calvin’s god wills to save – ALL these Gentiles are Gentiles
        Out of the SUB-SET of men which Calvin’s god wills to save – ALL of these men are men.

        rhutchin
        Actually, it’s:
        Calvin’s god wills ALL men saved generally.
        But not in such a way that Calvin’s god wills ALL men saved specifically.”

        br.d
        ALL men saved specifically!
        Another good double-speak example – thanks rhutchin!

        Then it logically follows:
        Calvin’s god does NOT will ALL men saved
        And at the same time
        Calvin’s god wills ALL men saved specifically

        Now that we’ve seen some examples of Calvinism’s double-speak language model
        Lets see the contrast with the language model of scripture

        This is good and acceptable before the Savior of our God.
        Who will have ALL MEN to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
        1 Timothy 2:3-4

        Dr. William Lutz – what is double-speak:
        -quote:
        Doublespeak is language deliberately constructed to disguise its actual meaning typically by conflating or conjoining mutually exclusive proportions. Doublespeak is language carefully constructed to APPEAR to communicate what in fact it doesn’t.

      21. This is below, but haven’t been following, so have to jump in here.

        “rhutchin
        Actually, it’s:
        Calvin’s god is willing for all ALL men to be saved either by their free will choice or God’s free will choice.
        And at the same time
        Calvin’s god wills SOME men NOT saved through His direct intervention.”

        Wow, you guys really have him in deep. He is making up explanations I have never heard any Calvinist use, and I thought I had heard them all! ‘Saved by either their free will choice or God’s free will choice’? I would love to see it explained how that works out in real time! Sounds like RH is inching his way out of Calvinism, but trying to keep one foot in the door. But hey, I will be happy if he escapes, whatever doublespeak he has to use to reassure himself that he maintains Reformed orthodoxy.

      22. TS00 writes, “I thought I had heard them all! ‘Saved by either their free will choice or God’s free will choice’? I would love to see it explained how that works out in real time!”

        Calvinism says that there is common grace and saving grace. Common grace involves the preaching of the gospel to the world and is akin to prevenient grace for the Arminisn. It is this grace that calls people to repent and believe the gospel as the free will crowd espouses. Whether anyone is actually saved is debated between Calvinists and non-Calvinists. However, all say that many people freely reject salvation under common grace. When people freely reject salvation, God is able to exercise His free will and save whom He will – to do this, God extends saving grace to His elect while passing over others.

      23. TS00
        Wow, you guys really have him in deep. He is making up explanations I have never heard any Calvinist use, and I thought I had heard them all! ‘Saved by either their free will choice OR God’s free will choice’?
        I would love to see it explained how that works out in real time!

        rhutchin
        Calvinism says that there is common grace and saving grace…..etc

        TSOO’s point is obvious.
        “Calvinism says” all sorts of crazy double-speak things.
        The double-speak within RH’s latest statement sighted here is his use of the logical operator “OR” .
        In Theological Determinism there is no such thing as “Man’s choice” OR “Calvin’s god’s choice”
        Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world determines “Man’s choice” – and makes that choice “Rendered Certain” before man exists.

        The ONLY choice accessible to man – is that choice Calvin’s god decrees – nothing more – nothing less.
        Rhutchin knows this to be true – but he will never acknowledge it – for obvious reasons.

        The good news:
        Calvinism’s CONTORTED LANGUAGE functions as a wonderful red-flag – alerting discerning Christians something is very wrong. :-]

      24. br.d writes, “In Theological Determinism there is no such thing as “Man’s choice” OR “Calvin’s god’s choice””

        Then, Calvinisn is not “Theological Determinism.” Calvinism allows that God’s omniscience makes all future events certain. These events are made necessary by God working directly on events (e.g., the impregnation of Mary) or through secondary means (e.g., the temptation of Eve and sin of Adam) – in each case, God determines the end result either by deliberate action or deliberate inaction.

      25. br.d
        In Theological Determinism there is no such thing as “Man’s choice” OR “Calvin’s god’s choice”
        Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world determines “Man’s choice” – and makes that choice “Rendered Certain” before man exists.

        The ONLY choice accessible to man – is that choice Calvin’s god decrees – nothing more – nothing less.
        Rhutchin knows this to be true – but he will never acknowledge it – for obvious reasons.

        rhutchin
        Then, Calvinism is not “Theological Determinism.”……etc

        br.d
        Calvinist James N. Anderson – Reformed Theological Seminary:
        -quote:
        “It should be conceded at the outset, and without embarrassment, that Calvinism is indeed committed to divine determinism…….take it for granted as something on which the vase majority of Calvinists uphold.”

        Calvinist Vincent Chung:
        Free will is logically impossible. If we picture the exercise of the will as a movement of the mind toward a certain direction, the question arises as to WHAT MOVES THE MIND, AND WHY IT MOVES TOWARDS WHERE IT MOVES….If there is any connection between moral evil and natural evil, the connection is not inherent, but SOVEREIGNLY IMPOSED BY GOD……NOTHING CAN HAPPEN or continue apart from his DELIBERATE POWER AND DECREE.

        Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Theological Determinism:
        -quote:
        Theological determinism is the view that God determines every event that occurs in the history of the world.
        Theological determinists, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and Gottfried Leibniz.”

        William Lane Craig – Four Views On Divine Providence:
        -quote:
        What TRULY distinguishes Helseth’s [The Calvinist’s] view is that it is a FORM OF DIVINE CAUSAL DETERMINISM. Helseth holds that God CAUSALLY DETERMINES EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS……..Universal Divine Causal Divine Determinism.

        Universal, divine, determinism nullifies human agency. Since OUR CHOICES ARE NOT UP TO US but ARE CAUSED BY GOD, human beings cannot be said to be real agents. They are mere instruments by means of which God acts to produce some effect….

        To understand Calvinism is simple:
        A Calvinist is a Determinist – wearing a mask of IN-determinism – reciting double-speak talking-points :-]

  6. JTLEOSALA:
    How does the story of the prodigal son support your statement : the ones picked out of the gentiles?
    If the whole nation of Israel was elect and if they are the older brother then the younger brother would be the whole gentiles as a group.
    Only those that are faithful in Christ of both nations are the elect in Christ (the Church).
    The story about the prodigal son does not bring support to individual gentiles being elected before time.

    1. Joel, I am with you concerning the composition of the church, (the body of Christ) are the elect house of Israel and the elect Gentile believers in Christ. The elect Gentiles come to faith in Christ individually not as a group. The entire Gentile world will not be saved… only the elect Gentiles and the house of Israel will become the legitimate beneficiaries of Christ’s death on the cross. Faithfulness in Christ , I think was not the basis of God’s choice for both nations.

      1. My argument is that the whole nation of Israel was elect but not all had faith which makes it corporate anyways. My argument is that when it comes to salvation, the gentiles as a nation are just as much elect as Israel ever was because of the deciding factor being faith.

      2. Joel B writes, “My argument is that when it comes to salvation, the gentiles as a nation are just as much elect as Israel ever was because of the deciding factor being faith.”

        So, the whole human race is elect in one sense – that all potentially can be saved. That one is actually saved is through faith and here we have a new elect.

  7. CALVINISM’S “SO CALLED” DIVINE SECRETS WHICH CALVINISTS SOMEHOW SEEM TO MAGICALLY KNOW

    Argument from incredulity is a logical fallacy, commonly observed by mystery religions.
    People will appeal to “so called” Divine Mysteries or Divine Secrets – in order to hide irrational or unpalatable aspects of the belief system.

    The argument from incredulity fallacy most often occurs when someone cannot provide viable evidence for certain claims they are making.
    It also occurs when an argument is self-contradicting.
    These arguer appeals to a“Divine Mystery”, a “Divine Secret” or attributes it to a “Divine Secret Council”.

    Example:
    John: “While taking pictures of the White House yesterday I saw Mary the mother of Jesus hovering outside of the president’s oval office window”.

    Jennifer: “Did anyone else in your group see this besides you?

    John: “No – no one else saw it – just me. I TELL YOU IT’S THE SOVEREIGNTY GOD!”

    Jennifer: “If no one else but you is making your claim – then how do you prove your claim is true?”

    John: “This happened according to the SECRET COUNCIL of God! – HOW DARE YOU JUDGE GOD!

  8. Brothers,

    I have a couple questions and observation that I would like to “bounce off” of you.

    In the article above, our brother writes… “‘The rest’ are ‘the rest’ because they are not ‘the elect’. Paul does not need to give them their own title – he simply refers to them as ‘the rest’, which distinguishes them from ‘the elect’. We can therefore say with certainty that ‘the rest’ are not elect. ‘The rest’ are ‘the non-elect’.”

    So my question is…. if someone can go from being “non-elect” to “elect”, is it possible to go from being “elect” to “non-elect”? In other words, these “ethnic” Israelites who make up “the rest”, were they always “the rest”? Were they born “non-elect”? God says that those who were cut off because of unbelief, that He was/is able to graft them back in again (Romans 11:23). Back in again to what? True Israel? How can they be grafted in “again” if they never belonged to begin with? Can someone lose their elected-ness?

    Another question. When God said “Israel, My Elect” (Isaiah 45:4) and “Jacob, My chosen Ones” (1 Chronicles 16:13, Psalms 105:6) was He referring only to the believing ones (small remnant) or the Nation as a whole?

    Finally. Romans 11:11 and 11:19….
    But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles…….You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.”

    In other words, if it wasn’t for Israel’s unbelief, they would not have been cut off. And if they hadn’t been “cut off” salvation would have never come to the Gentiles. Our (the Gentiles or non-Israelites) salvation was contingent upon their unbelief. I hope everyone is picking up on that.

    1. So my question is…. if someone can go from being “non-elect” to “elect”, is it possible to go from being “elect” to “non-elect”?

      br.d
      I like your inquisitive mind Phillip!
      It speaks very well of you.

      I’ll take a VERY loose stab at this question – but its only that.

      It would seem logical to assume – it depends upon how one defines “elect”.
      Scholars tell us that a significant part of Paul’s FATHERLY ministry – was helping believers to see their inheritance in Christ.

      “Now we are the sons of God – and it does not yet appear what we shall be -but we know when he appears we shall be like him”
      “If ye then be risen with Christ – set your affections on things above, not on earth”
      “That you may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height …knowing the love of Christ…and filled with all the fulness of God.”

      Scholars use the term “Now – but not yet” to describe this type of “eschatological” language in the N.T.
      A loving father (i.e. Apostolic ministry) longs for the children to fully grasp the inheritance they have in Christ.

      Of course in Calvinism – election is black and white.
      Elect status is for a “Frozen chosen” few who are granted the DIVINE GNOSIS.
      And of course – this is a very RIGID use of the term “elect”

      We might find the Apostolic ministry are not so rigid – and as such the term “elect” doesn’t indicate such a black & white status.

      But if a person falls away from the faith – and crucifies Christ afresh – it would seem to be like a person who purposefully determines to move to another country and reject his U.S. citizenship. If citizenship and “elect” are synonymous, then this one would be giving that up.

      But – as I say – this is only a VERY loose stab at your question.

      1. BrD,

        Thanks for the feedback. Your thoughts are always appreciated and insightful. Hopefully, others will chime in because, for the most part, I think the commenters here are smarter than the average bear.

        In the above article it reads…. “So ‘the elect’ can correctly be defined as ‘those who are trusting in Christ’. It doesn’t also include people who will eventually trust in Christ but aren’t doing so yet. So all non-Christians are currently non-elect, whether or not they will eventually trust in Christ. They will only join ‘the elect’ if and when they put their trust in Christ. ‘The elect’ therefore corresponds to the church (i.e. the group of all true believers).”

        In this sense, “elect” is synonymous with being “in Christ” which is referring to salvation. If “the rest” refers to the non-elect ethnic Israelites that would be the Lost. But notice that these “branches” were “broken off”, which means that at one time they were “attached” or how else could they have been “broken off”? So this would imply that they were at one time “elect” and lost their “elected-ness” when they were cut off.

        Obviously, I disagree with this notion since my understanding of 2 Timothy 2:10 suggests that even lost Israel is God’s elect.

        I like your citizenship analysis (though not sure it relates to election). I look at it this way. I am a native born Texan. Now people can move here and claim citizenship, but they will never be native born Texans. I can move to another state or country and apply for citizenship, but I can’t change the fact that I am a native Texan. So it is with the natural branches in Romans 11. Both Houses of Israel and Judah are actual physical descendants of Abraham. They can’t change that. As Gentiles we can get grafted in and become co-citizens, but only by going thru a legal process. But even then, we will never be the actual physical descendants of Abraham. And I lean (and until convinced otherwise) that is what makes them “elect”.

        Blessings, brother.

      2. Thanks Phillip – good points!

        Yes – I agree – I am a gentile and I will always be a grafted in member of the vine.
        Like the woman whom Jesus commended – I’ll take the crumbs under the table of grace gladly.
        Even crumbs from the Lord Jesus’ hand can be the greatest feast of all! :-]

      3. BrD,

        On another note, brother, you really should write a book and call it “As IF-isms”.

        Hilarious.

      4. I know!!!
        It really is hilarious!!

        John Calvin’s institutes of square-circles, married-bachelors, and indeterministic-determinism!

        Can’t help but think God must have given mankind Calvinism as a form of entertainment! :-]

      1. Kingswoodhart,

        Thanks, brother. I’ve already linked over once or twice, but you have much more to read. I will continue to venture over.

        Please believe me, brother, it is not my intent to be disagreeable. A lot of people are trying their best to define what it means to be “elect”. I respect what you are attempting to do. I know we both reject the Calvinistic teaching of “unconditional election to salvation” so that’s a good start. I do believe we have to be consistent with the term though, otherwise, Paul and the other writers of scripture would keep us guessing. We have to do our own homework and due diligence. We can’t trust “those who have gone before us” because that’s basically what the Calvinists do. Both the Calvinist (unconditional) and Arminian (foreseen faith) interpretations of election are heavily flawed. There has to be a viable, and biblical alternative.

        For me we should start where the term first appears and go from there.

        Isaiah 42:4 (NKJV)…
        “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.

        Our Lord Jesus is both a Jew and Israelite.

        Isaiah 45:4 (NKJV)….
        For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.

        No explanation needed (I hope).

        Isaiah 65:9 (NKJV)….
        I will bring forth descendants from Jacob (the 12 tribes), And from Judah (both tribe and Nation) an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, And My servants (the 12 tribes) shall dwell there.

        Pretty clear.

        Isaiah 65:22 (NKJV)….
        They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

        Again, pretty clear.

        The fact that before the nation of Israel came into existence, God never referred to anyone as “elect”. Adam wasn’t elect. Noah wasn’t elect. Abraham wasn’t elect. Isaac wasn’t elect. That term/phrase wasn’t used by God until that tiny nation of Israel came into existence. That should tell us something.

        I believe when we view “the elect” as those “in Christ” we are going to our best to read that into the text. In other words, if the premise is wrong, then so will be the conclusion. Basically, I struggle with the notion that I am elect, because I elected to believe. God chose Israel, Israel didn’t choose God (Deuteronomy 7:7, John 15:16).

        I lean (though I could be wrong) that Romans 9 thru 11 is about the restoration of the nation of Israel, which was paramount to the Jewish people and promised/prophesized in the OT.

        Acts 1:6b (NKJV)….
        “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

        God bless, brother.

  9. Hi Phillip,

    Phillip writes –
    “In this sense, “elect” is synonymous with being “in Christ” which is referring to salvation. If “the rest” refers to the non-elect ethnic Israelites that would be the Lost. But notice that these “branches” were “broken off”, which means that at one time they were “attached” or how else could they have been “broken off”? So this would imply that they were at one time “elect” and lost their “elected-ness” when they were cut off”

    My take on this –
    This is where I think that the word “elect” should not always correspond to being “In Christ”. One can still be a castaway for service but still be in Christ such as Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 9:27. So when I read in Romans 11 that Israel can be cut off and the Gentiles be grafted in, I believe that passage is talking about service not salvation. The passage also warns that the Gentiles should not be high minded because they also can cut be cut off again (Not for salvation but for service)

    I believe that passage is talking about God’s dealings and what, how, why, and who he uses at different times for his service. I actually believe the Gentiles will be cut off again and Israel grafted back in for God’s service. I believe this will take place at around the timing
    of the rapture – 1 Thess. 4:17

    Just like “elect” Israel you have believers and unbelievers in which only the true saved believers by faith have the right to be called the “elect” in a salvation sense like Abraham, Jacob etc.

    Just like the “elect” church you have believers and unbelievers in which only the true saved believers have the right to be called the “elect” in a salvation sense.

    In Revelation Chapter 3 the Laodicean church is still called a church but Christ is on the outside knocking to come in. I believe this church represents the “Gentiles” that will be cut off again at the time of the rapture of the true believers. Then God will deal with Israel again, They through horrific troublesome times in the tribulation repent as a nation and are grafted back in again for the service of God.

    We could take up this whole thread discussing these things back and forth which would take the focus off what this thread is about, so It’s probably best we leave it for the sake of keeping things on topic (my opinion).

    But Phillip, you do raise some interesting points that are worth considering and I have been pondering on them, so thank you brother.

    1. Damon,

      Here’s another theory (and that’s all it is right now so take it with a grain of salt). What if Romans 11 is about the restoration of the nation of Israel (both Houses) and has nothing to do with the church, or Body of Christ?

      Romans 11:25-27 (NKJV)….
      For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part (temporarily, not permanently) has happened to Israel (the House of Israel/the Northern Kingdom) until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel (the whole nation) will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob (the 12 tribes); For this is My covenant with them (Hebrews 8:8), When I take away their sins.”

      Maybe the Gentiles that get grafted in are those Gentiles during the tribulation period that accept Jesus as the promised Messiah?

      Zechariah 8:23 (KJV)….
      Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, “We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”

      Just a thought.

  10. Thanks Phillip,

    I will look at this a little closer, but my immediate thought is – If this passage is talking about only blindness happening in part, as in, to the northern kingdom only and not to the southern kingdom, then where is the southern kingdom that accepted Christ? (that were not blinded)

    It would mean that God is dealing with 2 separate saved groups – a remnant (Southern Remnant of Israel) and also the church. But the Scriptures in my opinion teach that there is only the church in this dispensation – Yes, made up of both believing Jews and Gentiles but they are a new body altogether.

    It has been helpful for me to understand God’s economy of dealing with people, and in my opinion when overlapping times of God using Israel and the Gentiles for service only ever brings confusion. I believe they are distinct – Whenever God is using Israel He isn’t using the Gentiles, whenever God is using the Gentiles He isn’t using Israel (Whether Northern Kingdom or Southern Kingdom).

    This verse has been a great verse for me to understand that we are not to get confused with overlaps – 1 Corinthians 10:32. “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God”.
    Here we see 3 separate economies of how God views things, that in my opinion should not be overlapped in His use of service.

    At the moment we have Jews (unsaved Israel), we have Gentiles (unsaved Gentiles), we have the Church of God (saved Jews and Gentiles)

    When we look at the service of God using Israel it was predominately Jews but also some Gentiles (strangers)
    When we look at the service of God using the Church it is predominately Gentile but also with some Jews (by descent only).

    Thanks Phillip, I hope that make some sort of sense as to how I understand things in that regard.

    1. Damon,

      You said… “It would mean that God is dealing with 2 separate saved groups – a remnant (Southern Remnant of Israel) and also the church. But the Scriptures in my opinion teach that there is only the church in this dispensation – Yes, made up of both believing Jews and Gentiles but they are a new body altogether.”

      I am a dispensationalist as well. I believe God’s program for the nation of Israel is currently on hold. So there is no over-lapping. Sorry if I implied differently.

      Suffice it to say that I would have to go back to the beginning of Romans 11 to explain all of this, but for the sake of time and space here I prefer not to. But I will say that in Romans 11:2-4 when Paul references Elijah, we have to remember that Elijah was a prophet to the House of Israel, the Northern Kingdom only. So it makes me wonder if that is the Israel he is referring to in verse 7.

      Romans 11:25-27 (NKJV)
      For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

      Now does this “fullness of the Gentiles” refer to the completion and eventual rapture of the church and then in verse 26 God turns His attention back to the nation of Israel? Maybe. Or, as I mentioned earlier, does this “fullness of the Gentiles” refer to those Gentiles who will cling to the Jews in Zechariah 8:23? Remember, the House of Israel was divorced and scattered among the Gentiles. God did this for a reason (1 Kings 12:24).

      Romans 11:26-27 (NKJV)…..
      And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob (the 12 tribes); For this is My covenant with them (the House of Israel and the House of Judah), When I take away their sins.”

      There is no mention here of the body of Christ. Just that “All Israel”, or both Houses, we be saved.

      Again, and this is just a theory and nothing more, if Romans 11 is about the restoration of the nation of Israel, this all occurs after the rapture of the church and during the tribulation period, so there is no over-lapping. The church, or body of Christ, is removed and then, and only then, does God turn His attention back to restoring the nation of Israel by “gathering together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Isaiah 11:12, Matthew 24:31).

      I know this is a lot to take in, brother, and probably sounds confusing. I have been studying this for years now, so it makes a little more sense to me (though by no means do I have it all figured out).

      Again, just a theory and nothing more.

      Blessings, brother.

      1. Thanks Phillip, yes it is a big subject that’s for sure.
        Have a look at “Herald of Hope” website, they have a lot of great information concerning these things which I have found very helpful with my studies on eschatology.
        Thanks again brother.

  11. Brothers,

    Addressing both uses of the term “elect” found in 2 John. Just thought I would share and I would appreciate any feedback (pro or con).

    2 John 1:1 and 2 John 1:13 (NKJV)…
    The Elder, To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth……..The children of your elect sister greet you. Amen.

    Now please consider….

    Ezekiel 23:1-4 (NKJV)…
    The word of the LORD came again to me, saying: “Son of man, there were two women, The daughters of one mother. They committed harlotry in Egypt, they committed harlotry in their youth; Their breasts were there embraced, Their virgin bosom was there pressed. Their names: Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister; They were Mine, And they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah.”

    Then I found this from the Jewish Encyclopedia…

    “The symbolic meanings of the names themselves serve to complete the entire picture. ‘Oholah’ means ‘tent’, and is meant to signify that the tent of God is Samaria, the capital of Israel. ‘Oholibah’ signifies ‘My [God’s] tent is therein’; that is, the Temple which is located in the center of the territory of Judea, on Zion. It is remarkable that the prophet, contrary to Lev. xviii. 18, represents two sisters as the simultaneous wives of a single husband.”

    Now here is scriptural support that both nations/houses of Israel are referred to as “sisters”.

    Jeremiah 3:8 (NKJV)….
    Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel (the Northern Kingdom) had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah (the Southern Kingdom) did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.

    So the two (2) elect sisters in the Book of John could be referring to both the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom; both the House of Israel and the House of Judah, making up the entire nation of Israel. Oholah/Samaria, the Elder, the capital of Israel/the Northern Kingdom is writing to Oholibah/Jerusalem, the younger sister, the capital of Judah, the Southern Kingdom. John, the author, is one of the children (sons and daughter) of Oholah/Samaria. Just two more example of “the elect” referring to the nation of Israel.

    Now this is not to imply that these weren’t believing Jews. However, their election is due to them being the actual physical descendants of Abraham and the recipients of the promises and covenants. Israel, My Elect (Isaiah 45:4). Jacob, My Chosen Ones (1 Chronicles 16:13).

    Just some spiritual food for thought.

    God bless.

    1. One thing to consider
      John appears to use this as a standard greeting pattern

      For example in his 3rd letter
      1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

      If this was an echo of a historical reference concerning ethnic Israel – I suspect we would see many similar echos throughout John’s narratives. I’m not familiar with anything in his narratives that would indicate that. And I’ve never heard of a scholar deriving that from his letters.

      1. BrD,

        “John appears to use this as a standard greeting pattern. For example in his 3rd letter 1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.”

        And that’s an interesting observation. And it is odd that in his opening letter (1 John) he avoids the term “Elder” completely. Another observation is the term “elect” is void and both the 1 and 3 letters. Not sure what that tells us. Of course both Houses already knew they were the elect of God. Peter knew they were elect (1 Peter 1:2 and 5:3). Paul knew they were elect (Romans 8:23, 2 Timothy 2:10). God told them they were elect (Isaiah 45:4, 1 Chronicles 16-13, Psalms 105:6). Jesus knew they were elect (Matthew 24:22, 24, 31). Maybe it was just getting redundant. Still, I will continue in my studies and see where the Lord takes me.

        “And I’ve never heard of a scholar deriving that from his letters.”

        That doesn’t surprise me. But I greatly appreciate your feedback, brother. Your comments and observations are a blessing. And your “As If-isms” are classic! Book material!

        Every blessing, brother.

  12. Brother Damon (All),

    This is not church language. This will all happen after the church has been removed and during/after the tribulation period…

    Hebrews 8:6-13 (NKJV)…..
    But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant (the Mosaic Covenant) had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My (Mosaic) covenant, and I disregarded (divorced) them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel (why is the House of Judah omitted?) after those (tribulation) days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Supports Hosea 1:6-11. The House of Israel abandoned/forgot Torah, the House of Judah did not). None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” (the new covenant made with His blood Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20) He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

    Now take this and apply it to Romans 9-11.

    Blessings!

  13. Hi Phillip,

    Yes I agree with you there. The only difference I have is that the reason it doesn’t mention Judah is because there will be no divisions in that time period leading into the millennial kingdom. I believe Israel will just be called Israel as it was at the first.

    “Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
    And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
    And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:” Ezekiel 37:16-22

    Thanks again Phillip..

    1. Damon,

      Great scriptures.

      Regarding “the House of Israel” in Hebrews 8:10, the reason I lean this is speaking specifically to the Northern Kingdom is twofold. First, our Lord just used the distinction from the House of Judah just two verses earlier. Second, it was the House of Israel that abandoned/forgot Torah. The House of Judah was still practicing the law even during Christ’s earthly ministry. If the Lord had said “whole House of Israel” or “All Israel” or even “Jacob”, then that might have given us the understanding He was speaking about the 12 tribes.

      Now…..

      Ezekiel 11:15-20 (NKJV)….
      “Son of man, your brethren, your relatives, your countrymen, and all the house of Israel in its entirety, are those about whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem (in Judea) have said, ‘Get far away from the LORD; this land has been given to us as a possession.’ Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.”’ Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”’ And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

      “I will be their God.” There’s that phrase again, and if you read Hosea 1:6-11 you will notice that phrase was reserved for the House of Israel only. The House of Judah was shown mercy, but the House of Israel was not. Israel was divorced. Judah wasn’t. It won’t be until the House of Israel comes to its senses (much like the prodigal son) that she will return home and be re-united with the House of Judah. This is when the 2 sticks will come together and the Lord “will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.”

      Now here’s the part our non-Calvinists brothers will appreciate. Look again at Ezekiel 11:19…

      “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh.”

      Our Calvinist brothers use this as one of their “proof texts” to support the notion of “regeneration precedes faith”. Bless their hearts. So flawed. First, notice this is speaking about the House of Israel (the Northern Kingdom). Second, this occurs after they return home (not before). Third, as a result, the Israelites will “walk in His statutes and keep His judgments” (Ezekiel 36:27). I know this has nothing to do with this thread, but just thought that was a nice little tidbit.

      Thanks for interacting, brother. It’s appreciated and a blessing.

      God bless you.

      1. Thanks Phillip,
        Yes the Calvinists like to use that passage out of context that’s for sure! They fail to read on (or ignore) how Israel are brought to their knees in repentance, which is explained in Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39.

        Thanks again brother. I’ll ponder some more on the passage in Hosea.

  14. Kingswoodhart,

    Thank you for providing this link.

    https://predestinationstation.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/romans-1117-24-can-unbelieving-ethnic-israelites-still-be-saved/

    So working with your analogy, the tree at one point was made up solely of the natural branches (ethnic Israelites). They are there by default. Over time, some branches became believers (no one is a believer at birth) while others never believed, or believed for a while only later to leave the faith. When these branches became faithless, or never had faith to begin with, they were cut off and replaced with believing unnatural branches (or Gentiles). The unnatural branches (Gentile believers) couldn’t be grafted in until after the unbelieving natural branches (ethnic Israel) were cut off.

    You wrote… “The olive tree therefore has two types of branches – natural branches (believing ethnic Israelites) and wild olive shoots (believing Gentiles). They both share the benefits of ‘the nourishing root of the olive tree’.”

    It is as though you are suggesting the olive tree is evolving from ethnic Israel to the Body of Christ. At first, the entire tree is purely ethnic Israel, but eventually is replaced with the Church.

    Regarding the broken off branches, you give us two alternatives. They are either….

    1. Someone who for a time appears to be a Christian, but actually isn’t, later “falls away” and is then clearly not a Christian. In this situation, they never really had faith to begin with and were never really a Christian.

    2. Someone who really is a Christian, with real faith, later falls away and no longer has this faith and is therefore no longer a Christian.

    Later, you added… “While Paul does clearly teach that it is possible for a believer to become an unbeliever in this passage, he does not state explicitly whether or not it will actually happen.”

    Here’s the problem as I see it. Any branch, prior to being cut off, is “a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree.” It is only when, or after, that branch is cut off does it lose access to those benefits. The Type 1 person in this scenario isn’t even an option. Those with a “false faith” never have access to “the root and fatness of the olive tree”. That then leaves us with the Type 2 person, who has true faith, only to become a non-believer (again).

    Personally, I lean that a born again believer can never be unborn again. Once a child of God, always a child of God.

    Also, I think Romans 11:26-27 is quite clear.

    And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”

    I see no mention here of the church or the body of Christ. If you want to replace Israel with the church, what do you do with Jacob, which is a clear reference to the 12 tribes?

    Compare Romans 11:26-27 with Hebrews 8:7-12….

    For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

    This is not “church language” but a clear reference to the nation of Israel. “When I will take away their sins” is synonymous for “and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more”. Both related to forgiveness. It is both the House of Israel and the House of Judah that make up Jacob, or the 12 tribes.

    That is why I lean that Romans 11 is about the restoration of the nation of Israel.

    God bless.

  15. Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

    Those thousands of verses being referred to here at SOT 101 leaning to man’s goodness, self-efforts, self-righteousness is completely denied by the verse above concerning the doctrine of Salvation by Grace. Man has no whatsoever share or part in the salvation process. Man cannot save himself by his self-righteousness, self seeking efforts. God is the One completely in-charge in the Salvation of the elect.

    v. 13 For I speak to you Gentiles in as much as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry.

    Romans chap 11 is not only intended for Israel but also for the Gentile Elect as being grafted to the tree.

    1. jtleosala
      Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

      Those thousands of verses being referred to here at SOT 101 leaning to MAN’S GOODNESS, SELF-EFFORTS, SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS is completely denied by the verse above

      br.d
      The UNSTATED presupposition within this assertion is fallacious.

      No Non-Calvinist here at SOT101 ever claims MAN’S GOODNESS, SELF-EFFORTS, SELF-RIGHTEOUSNES buy man anything – since the scripture clearly states ALL good things come from above.

      In the context of SOT101 this assertion is simply another one of Calvinism’s fabricated straw-men.

      The multitude of verses provided here at SOT101 however do clearly present the general narrative of scripture.
      Which denies Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) as a filter through which men force scripture – to affirm a man-made doctrine.

      The good news:
      Calvinism’s CONTORTED LANGUAGE functions as a red-flag showing the discerning Christian that something is very wrong with it.
      Jesus – without fail – speaks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

  16. Br.D writes : “The multitude of verses provided here at SOT101 however do clearly present the general narrative of scripture.
    Which denies Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) as a filter through which men force scripture – to affirm a man-made doctrine.”

    My Response : Determinism of God in scripture for humans is one thing that cannot be denied. Anyone who will attempt to go against with it, will just stumble and fall. Using those so called “general narrative of scriptures” to counter this teaching will never be successful. The scriptures will never contradict itself, so that this teaching remains standing and never been moved. You call it as “man made” but… — the fact will never be changed. Those who deflected, God decreed them to be so and becomes the antagonists of our days…

    1. br.d
      “The multitude of verses provided here at SOT101 however do clearly present the general narrative of scripture.
      Which denies Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) as a filter through which men force scripture – to affirm a man-made doctrine.”

      jtleosala
      Determinism of God in scripture for humans is one thing that cannot be denied. Anyone who will attempt to go against with it, will just stumble and fall.

      br.d
      This is nothing more than an empty claim – your obligation is to show (without irrational thinking) how it is the case.
      And since the general narrative of scripture affirms the opposite – your task will not be easy.

      Additionally – the very reason Calvinism is double-speak is in order to align itself with the general narrative of scripture
      And this is why contradiction is the NORM in Calvinist thinking.

      jtleosala
      Those who deflected, God decreed them to be so

      br.d
      Thank you for affirming my argument.

      jtleosala
      and becomes the antagonists of our days…

      br.d
      To be more precise “and becomes the TOOL of Calvin’s god of our days”
      Powerless to DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god decrees.
      According to Calvin – you along with every creature are being used the same way.

      Also you should be careful not to be ungrateful for what Calvin’s god decrees me to infallibly do.
      Calvin teaches your god will -quote “strike you with greater blindness on account of your ungratefulness”
      And I wouldn’t want to see that happen to you! :-]

      But then you can’t change that anyway – if it happens – it was rendered-certain before you were born.

  17. Philip’s quote above says : “…Over time, some branches became believers (no one is a believer at birth) while others never believed, or believed for a while only later to leave the faith.”

    My Response : “… and those who dwell on the earth will marvel whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world …” – Rev. 17:8 = According to this verse, the writing of the names in the book of life has been done already by God before the foundation of the world. Meaning, there is no more names added into that book of life because it has been determined by God already before the foundation of the world, even if no humans existed yet. If their names appear already in the book of life before they were born on earth, they were tagged already as believers possessing Salvation in Christ.

    2 Tim. 1:9 “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us before time began”. = This verse also says that Salvation has been provided already to the elect before time, yet most the non-Calvinists bloggers here denies this truth.

    1. Philip
      Over time, some branches became believers (no one is a believer at birth) while others never believed, or believed for a while only later to leave the faith.”

      jtleosala
      My Response : “… and those who dwell on the earth will marvel whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world …” – Rev. 17:8 = According to this verse, the writing of the names in the book of life has been done already by God before the foundation of the world.

      br.d
      Philip didn’t say they weren’t elect. He said they weren’t believers at birth. According to Calvinism one has to be given faith to believe. You believe you are elect – did Calvin’s god give you the faith to believe at birth? You’ve been a believer ever since your birth? I doubt it. :-]

      But your argument here is interesting – for you are arguing that at the foundation of the world – things are rendered-certain – and CANNOT BE ALTERED. Which means an ALTERNATIVE CANNOT come to pass in the place of what has been rendered-certain.

      But this contradictions your previous assertion that ( -quote “ALTERNATIVES are available to man at the moment” )
      Calvin’s god renders-certain X but an ALTERNATIVE of X can come to pass instead of X.
      Which means X is both rendered-certain and NOT rendered-certain at the same time.
      Your testimony here shows Calvin’s god is not omniscient – he believes X is true when X is actually false.

      So we observe more double-speak
      Nothing to see here – move along – move along. :-]

      1. BTW: An integral part of Gnostic doctrine (during Augustine’s day) was that “elect” people are BORN believers at birth

        The Gnostic terminology stated “ELECT persons are BORN into a FIELD of salvation – while Non-ELECT persons are BORN into a FIELD of damnation.

        Calvin himself even though his doctrine relies on Gnostic derivatives – was at least careful to not use their terminology.
        He was smart enough to know – if he used Gnostic terminology – Christians in his day would connect the dots.

        You may want to follow Calvin’s model in that regard – else discerning Christians will identify Gnostic derivatives in your statements.

        But of course those who are familiar with ancient Gnosticism will anyway.
        So try as they might – Calvinists can’t completely hide it. :-]

      2. My Response to Br. D. : No one argues here with the issue on the elect. With regards to being “believers at birth”, you said no one becomes believers at birth. I just cited Rev. 17:8 and 2 Tim. 1:9 to emphasize God’s eternity plans for the elect. Most of us here believes that both elect and non-elect comes out of this world as sinners. The non-elect’s destiny has been determined already before time that their names were not written in the book of life according to Rev. 17:8 and Rev. 13:7-8.

        The alternatives that you have mentioned in my previous comments cannot be considered as a problem, because it was part of God Plan for man to use his freedom to the completion of God’s dead end final decree. It cannot be considered as an alteration to the completion of God’s decrees.

        You are the one who says God is not omniscient, not us because for your side God cannot yet determine the future Salvation of people before the foundation of the world. Your side promotes that Salvation can only be known by God by the time man will actively believe in Jesus. Isn’t this a proof of your side’s undermining God’s omniscience?

      3. jtleosala
        The alternatives that you have mentioned in my previous comments cannot be considered as a problem, because it was part of God Plan for man to use his freedom to the completion of God’s dead end final decree.

        br.d
        Thank you jtleosala for providing another example of double-speak.

        At this point I think your unable to discern TRUE from FALSE.

        Take a look on this web page of logical fallacies and look up the word “Tautology”:
        https://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logical-fallacies

        It is the fallacy of circular reasoning.
        The arguer provides no rational evidence to show his argument is true.
        Because his position is irrational – he simply keeps repeating his position over and over – to convince himself it is true.
        This is a manifestation of either childishness or indoctrination.

        I’ll address the SOT101 reader at this point concerning this since you don’t have the ability to handle rational reasoning.

        For the SOT101 reader – here is what jtleosala wants to believe:

        1) Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world believes it is TRUE that X is created to infallibly come to pass.
        2) But X is not created to infallibly come to pass X – therefore it is FALSE.
        3) An ALTERNATIVE of X comes to pass instead of X

        CONCLUSION:
        Divine omniscience requires that a being know the truth value of every proposition.

        According to this Calvinist – Calvin’s god’s believes X is TRUE when X is actually FALSE – therefore he is not omniscient
        This Calvinist cannot embrace even the most fundamental rule of logic – that TRUTH does not equal FALSE.

      4. jtleosala
        YOUR SIDE promotes that Salvation can only be known by God by the time man will actively believe in Jesus. Isn’t this a proof of your side’s undermining God’s omniscience?

        br.d
        AH! This tells me that you – at least to some decree internally – you do recognize your position fails to show divine omniscience.

        But here you are simply creating another straw man.
        Please provide a quote from me where I stated what you assert above.

        Additionally – your position shows that Calvin’s god can believe something that is false.
        That position is so totally fallacious – I don’t know how you can even start to consider yourself as having the ability to discern other peoples beliefs on omniscience.

        I gently suggest you do an inventory of your own immature thinking patterns before you try to examine others.
        One needs to take baby steps before one can run with the solders.

  18. LED ABOUT IN CIRCLES BY CALVINISM’S LANGUAGE –

    1 Samuel 23:7-24:22 shows us clearly that God has complete and comprehensive foreknowledge of things that would happen or could happen – but which do NOT in fact happen. David asks God two questions: Will Saul come to Keilah to get me? – yes he will. When Saul comes, will Keilah give me into his hand? – yes they will. These are two events, which God foreknew as “subjunctive conditionals”. They would happen only if certain conditions were met. And God had foreknowledge of them – but not as divinely predestined events. So foreknowledge all by itself does not make events certain to come to pass – like predestination does.

    Now Calvinism makes assertions which under scrutiny eventually resolve to self-contradiction. Firstly they assert that Calvin’s god predestines EVERY PART of EVERY event which comes to pass – down to the slightest vibration of the minutest atomic particle – as well as every neurological impulse you will ever have.

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

    Calvinist R. C. Sproul asserts the same: “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, God is not God”.

    Calvinist Paul Helm asserts the same: “Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by God, but every twist and turn of each of these is under the direct control of God”.

    But his assertion becomes problematic under the scrutiny of biblical rationality and biblical ethics.

    As Dr. Michael Heiser when responding to questions on notions of predestination which contain Gnostic derivatives: “Gnostic thinking operates on certain presuppositions which turn everything about God on its head – which presuppositions if one follows to their logical conclusions – eventually make God the cause of evil.”

    This specter of making god the – (in Calvin’s vernacular) “author” of evil – is not so much problematic for Calvinists who enjoy reciting Calvin’s statements to one another behind closed doors – outside the reach of the non-Calvinist ear.

    Where these become problematic – is in their negative impact on Calvinism’s recruitment incentives. Calvinists need to make their theology at least appear as a credible form of Christianity. And it is here that Gnostic “author of evil” conceptions become problematic.

    This is why Calvinism’s language has evolved into a language permeated with double-speak. In order to camouflage the problem – the Calvinist resorts to subtle language tricks – implicitly denying the very propositions he explicitly asserts. And of course under scrutiny this is recognized as self-contradicting.

    How to discern the nature of Calvinist language:
    If one examines Calvinist language – one will eventually recognize an AS-IF mode of thinking.
    Where things are TRUE AS-IF NOT TRUE.

    Human nature and human choices are (at the foundation of the world immutably and infallibly rendered-certain) AS-IF they are NOT.
    Man’s every –quote “thought and desire , are kept in being by God and every twist and turn of each of these is under the direct control of God” AS-IF they are NOT.

    When one learns to analyze this AS-IF thinking pattern in Calvinist statements – one will find the Calvinist – as Elijah found the people of Israel – “halting between two opinions”.

    The poor Calvinist is literally forced into this state of double-think in order to retain a degree of Biblical alignment as well as a sense of human normalcy. Unfortunately, this forces him to rely upon a language that consistently borders on deceptive.

    The discerning Christian will want to learn how this language works – and how and when its components are deceptive – or else he is doomed to be led about in circles by it.

    1. Excellent post!

      One might be forgiven for suspecting that John Calvin, tyrannical ruler overseeing the oppression, torture and murder of many in Geneva and throughout the then-known world, was never a child of God. Thus, it would come as no surprise that he more or less introduced the concept of doublespeak, which has prevailed upon the earth – particularly within the institutional church – ever since.

      One can imagine the training ‘conferences’ he held for his minions, with titles such as ‘How to Proclaim a Lie While Seeming to Defend its Opposite’, or ‘How to Use Scripture to Destroy the Message of the Gospel’. How about ‘How to Proclaim the Anti-Christ Gospel of Divine Determinism AS-IF Defending the True Gospel of Divine Grace’. Too harsh, you say? How then, do men like Calvin, Sproul and the pied Piper get a pass for asserting that God meticulously controls the movement of all ‘molecules’, better known as evil men, who oppress, rape, abuse, torture and murder others at will?

      “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, God is not God”. (R.C. Sproul)

      Was Sproul ever honest enough to state clearly that it is [Calvin’s] God who oversaw the atrocities of the Holocaust, or the countless other atrocities committed in the name of ‘war’? Do these men stand in front of their gullible followers and openly admit that the theology they are submitting to undeniably puts the origin, execution and results of all Evil in the hands of [Calvin’s] God; and that it is for this reason so many have rejected it? Do they then explain that, like all oppressive, authoritarians, [Calvin’s] God has cleverly crafted plausible deniability by means of fabricating illusions of ‘choice’ so that he can hold men responsible for the evil deeds he eternally ordained and irresistibly brings to pass? And that these illusions must be maintained at all costs, even to the sacrifice of reason, logic and common sense? No to mention, love, kindness, gentleness, mercy and so on.

      With the addition of one word, Sproul’s doublespeak can be converted into truth (Which reveals how cunning doublespeak is, ‘technically’ true while leaving out important details.):

      “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, [Calvin’s] God is not God”.

      Auschwitz contained such molecules. Nagasaki contained such molecules. Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen contain such molecules. I contain such molecules; for each and every unrighteous thought, word and deed that I issue arises from my resistance to the righteous ways of God. This is the freedom with which God created man, and from whence Evil arises. It is this Evil that the truly righteous and just God both warns against, and constantly urges men to flee.

      You were right, Mr. Sproul: Calvin’s God is NOT God.

      1. Wonderful post TSOO!!

        I especially loved this very insightful and potent statement:

        [Calvin’s] God has cleverly crafted PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY by means of fabricating ILLUSIONS of ‘choice’ so that he can hold men responsible for the evil deeds he eternally ordained and irresistibly brings to pass? And that these ILLUSIONS MUST BE MAINTAINED at all costs, even to the sacrifice of reason, logic and common sense? No to mention, love, kindness, gentleness, mercy and so on”

        You hit the bulls-eye big time!! :-]
        Thanks!

      2. TS00 writes, “Was Sproul ever honest enough to state clearly that it is [Calvin’s] God who oversaw the atrocities of the Holocaust, or the countless other atrocities committed in the name of ‘war’?”

        Yes. Are we to think that God was ignorant of those events and in minute detail? Of course not – even you have to agree that God is omniscient with regard to the present even if you deny that God has perfect foreknowledge of the future. In addition, God is omnipotent, so He could have brought about a different outcome had He wanted. God was there; God oversaw the atrocities of the Holocaust. To deny this is to bury one’s head in the sand.

        If you think the holocaust was impressive, look at the events surrounding the destruction of Israel recorded in Lamentations. “With their own hands compassionate women have cooked their own children, who became their food when my people were destroyed. The LORD has given full vent to his wrath; he has poured out his fierce anger. He kindled a fire in Zion that consumed her foundations.”

      3. TS00 writes, “Was Sproul ever honest enough to state clearly that it is [Calvin’s] God who oversaw the atrocities of the Holocaust, or the countless other atrocities committed in the name of ‘war’?”

        rhutchin
        Yes. Are we to think that God was ignorant of those events

        br.d
        Calvin’s god wouldn’t be very smart if he was ignorant of atrocities he MADE people do. :-]
        It being the case he rendered-certain they NOT DO OTHERWISE.

      4. br.d writes, “Calvin’s god wouldn’t be very smart if he was ignorant of atrocities he MADE people do.”

        Under Calvinism, God does not have to make people do evil – the incentive to sin comes from the sin nature.

      5. br.d
        “Calvin’s god wouldn’t be very smart if he was ignorant of atrocities he MADE people do.
        After having rendered-certain the NOT DO OTHERWISE. :-]

        rhutchin
        Under Calvinism, God does not HAVE TO make people do evil – the incentive to sin comes from the sin nature.

        br.d
        Right – but it logically follows that Calvin’s god does HAVE TO render-certain ALL incentives – he does HAVE to render-certain ALL sin nature – and he does HAVE to render-certain people DO NOT DO OTHERWISE – or else Calvin’s doctrine fails.

        A rational person can connect these dots.
        Apparently Calvinists don’t have the liberty to do so :-]

      6. Ah yes, the handy dandy ‘sin nature’. This clever invention is intended to shield [Calvin’s] God from the true and logical assertion that he is the ‘author of Evil’.

        Of course, the Calvinist must first stir up a great deal of dust to distract from the ‘first sin’ of Adam and questions about how it came to pass if a good and holy God created ‘sinless’ man. Then, with dust still swirling, the claim is made that Adam brought about that dastardly ‘sin nature’ or, as Calvinists like to call it, ‘Total Depravity’. Naughty, naughty boy – he ruined the entire creation. Did this occur during the ‘first nap’ of [Calvin’s] God, or how does Calvinism explain the entrance of original sin without it being God’s deliberate doing, along with whatsoever else comes to pass in his sovereign creation?

        The logical question which puts such silliness to rest is ‘How does a mere man, Adam, have the power to cast a curse upon all future men?’ Of course, Adam has no such power, and the Calvinist must admit that it was, surprise, surprise, [Calvin’s] God who cursed man with a ‘sin nature’ which made him unable to not sin. Supposedly, because of the sin of the ‘father’, Adam. Maybe [Calvin’s] God needs to go back and reread Ezekiel. Seems like some pretty clear promises were made that the son would never be held responsible for the sins of the father; and God was pretty unhappy that he was being accused of such injustice by ‘his own people’. Please explain, Calvinist, how you justify accusing God of cursing unborn men, who have done no wrong, as a response to the sinful act of another man, over whose actions they have no control or responsibility?

        Then, please explain how this can lead to any other conclusion than that [Calvin’s] God deliberately ordained and brings to pass, fates, if you will, all sin and evil by his very own command/curse? Which, by the way, Calvinism then asserts [Calvin’s] God, and [Calvin’s] God alone, can undo, if and when he chooses; again obliterating any pretense that sin and Evil exist except by the sole desire and determination of [Calvin’s] God.

      7. TS00 writes, “please explain how this can lead to any other conclusion than that [Calvin’s] God deliberately ordained and brings to pass, fates, if you will, all sin and evil by his very own command/curse?”

        No dispute. No sin can occur without God declaring that it should happen – otherwise God would prevent the sin.

      8. TS00 writes, “please explain how this can lead to any other conclusion than that [Calvin’s] God deliberately ordained and brings to pass, fates, if you will, all sin and evil by his very own command/curse?”

        rhutchin
        No dispute. No sin can occur without God declaring that it should happen – otherwise God would prevent the sin.

        br.d
        1) If Calvin’s god believes he can PREVENT or RESTRAIN the very things he renders-certain he is not omniscient.
        2) If Calvin’s god believes Calvin’s doctrine – that at the foundation of the world he renders-certain ALL things that will come to pass infallibly – and then Calvin’s god -quote “makes an active decision to not restrain” that which is infallibly rendered-certain – then he is not smart enough to know the difference between the terms: “Fallible” and “Infallible”.

        In such case, not only is he not omniscient – he’s doesn’t even have the intelligence of an adult human.

        According to our current Calvinist testimonies here at SOT101 – Calvin made a defective god! :-]

      9. br.d writes, “1) If Calvin’s god believes he can PREVENT or RESTRAIN the very things he renders-certain he is not omniscient.”

        God made His decisions as to whether to prevent certain events before He created the world. Once God created the world, all events were certain, and known to God, including the actions that God was to take to prevent any events.

      10. br.d writes, “1) If Calvin’s god believes he can PREVENT or RESTRAIN the very things he renders-certain he is not omniscient.”

        rhutchin And there is no
        God made His decisions as to whether to prevent certain events before He created the world ….etc

        br.d
        All you seem to be able to recite are irrelevant red-herrings rhutchin – you’re loosing your edge.
        .
        If Calvin’s god believes (like you do) that he can render-certain something to be immutable and infallible – and then PREVENT or RESTRAIN that (making it NOT immutable and NOT infallible) – then he is a god of FALSE-TRUTH, fallible-infallibility and mutable-immutability.

        In Christian doctrine an omniscient being knows the TRUTH-VALUE of every proposition.
        And there is no such thing being both TRUE and FALSE at the same time in logic or in scripture.

        Therefore according to the testimony of current Calvinists here at SOT101 – Calvin’s god does not meet the criteria for omniscience.

        Me thinks the irrationality of this particular THEOS is just a reflection of the irrationality of the Calvinist who thought him up. :-]

      11. You are assuming to yourself a “mature christian believer” … yet the opposite is the one projected by your apaling posts with your opponents here. You behave like that because you are acting on your own fleshly way without God’s intervention. Rutchin is right saying that “Adam’s corrupt nature has been transferred to you and now rules everything you do” (is the one prevailing in your life every time you type your response, anger towards the Calvinists rules out within your heart) and that God has deserted you … so that you shall be culpable of your acts. When you will face God in the day of accounting, you can’t blame God or even pass the blame to Him because of your mode of reasoning that It was God who made you like that. The poor Br.D., views himself as a “robot” when he knows he is not.

      12. As if any of that makes any sense whatsoever.
        I wouldn’t feel right re-posting any of that diatribe – its not fit for re-posting

        I can see your simply angry because your statements are taken as childish.
        Welcome to reality. :-]

        I think some day you’ll realize God through me provided a little mature feedback to help you learn how to think.
        But obviously not today.

        BTW: I’m not in the least upset or insulted by your post.
        I understand where it comes from – so no problem.

      13. You are assuming to yourself a “mature christian believer” … yet the opposite is the one projected by your apaling posts with your opponents here. You behave like that because you are acting on your own fleshly way without God’s intervention. Rutchin is right saying that “Adam’s corrupt nature has been transferred to you and now rules everything you do” (is the one prevailing in your life every time you type your response, anger towards the Calvinists rules out within your heart) and that God has deserted you … so that you shall be culpable of your acts. When you will face God in the day of accounting, you can’t blame God or even pass the blame to Him because of your mode of reasoning that It was God who made you like that. The poor Br.D., views himself as a “robot” when he knows he is not.

      14. br.d writes, “If Calvin’s god believes (like you do) that he can render-certain something to be immutable and infallible – and then PREVENT or RESTRAIN that (making it NOT immutable and NOT infallible) – then he is a god of FALSE-TRUTH, fallible-infallibility and mutable-immutability.”

        This is nonsense. God rendered everything certain when He created the world and this included the certainty that God would prevent or restrain in certain events. God is an active participant in His creation as is seen in his interaction with Israel through His prophets.

        Then, ‘Therefore according to the testimony of current Calvinists here at SOT101 – Calvin’s god does not meet the criteria for omniscience.”

        That’s a nice opinion. Maybe you can devote some effort to explaining why this could be true. You did not do this in this comment or in any previous comments where you basically offer more of your personal opinions.

      15. br.d
        “If Calvin’s god believes (like you do) that he can render-certain something to be immutable and infallible – and then PREVENT or RESTRAIN that (making it NOT immutable and NOT infallible) – then he is a god of FALSE-TRUTH, fallible-infallibility and mutable-immutability.”

        rhutchin
        This is nonsense.

        br.d
        Here the law of non-contradiction is asserted as nonsense.

        rhutchin
        God rendered everything certain when He created the world and this included the certainty that God would prevent or restrain in certain events. – etc

        br.d
        Right – I know – in Calvin its:
        Infallible AS-IF NOT infallible
        Immutable AS-IF NOT immutable
        Rendered-certain AS-IF NOT rendered-certain

        We understand Calvinism’s AS-IF thinking model.

        br.d
        ‘Therefore according to the testimony of current Calvinists here at SOT101 – Calvin’s god does not meet the criteria for omniscience.”

        rhutchin
        That’s a nice opinion.

        br.d
        “Personal opinion” is what you asserted about John Calvin’s instructions -quote: “go about your office AS-IF nothing is determined in any part”
        While at the same time – Calvinist statements consistently exemplify that very mode of thinking.

        The “That’s just your opinion” fallacy:
        This is a derail attempt, when someone cannot prove their position as rational – they simply refuse to accept reasoning or logic – with a blanket statement: “that’s your opinion”.

        rhutchin
        Maybe you can devote some effort to explaining why this could be true.

        br.d
        When my remarks follow sequential reasoned logic with unambiguous language – in responce to double-speak talking-points
        When so many times I’ve laid out what the Calvinist must show “logically” – which of course double-speak cannot do.
        And those are answered by reciting the same double-speak talking points AS-IF repeating it will make it come true.
        I think we have another example of reverse attribution here. :-]

      16. br.d writes, “When my remarks follow sequential reasoned logic…”

        I agree. Now, you just need to develop premises whose truth can be verified instead of opinions that you cannot prove to be true. Sequential reasoned logic is great when one can apply it to truth.

      17. br.d
        “When my remarks follow sequential reasoned logic…”

        rhutchin
        I agree. Now, you just need to develop premises whose truth can be verified instead of opinions that you cannot prove to be true. Sequential reasoned logic is great when one can apply it to truth.

        br.d
        Well you’re at least stepping in the right direction – even though the mask of rational reasoning is obvious.

        Your latest argument:
        : “Calvin’s god renders-certain every neurological impulse” AND AT THE SAME TIME “Calvin’s god has nothing to do with it”

        Again – I’m happy to let the SOT101 reader discern whether that is applied to truth or applied to double-speak
        Calvinists simply do not conform themselves to rules of logic – doing so doesn’t work for them.
        But masquerading it does. :-]

      18. br.d writes, “Your latest argument:
        : “Calvin’s god renders-certain every neurological impulse” AND AT THE SAME TIME “Calvin’s god has nothing to do with it”

        That is not an argument I have made. It’s your personal opinion of Calvinism that you have been promoting.

      19. br.d writes, “Your latest argument:
        : “Calvin’s god renders-certain every neurological impulse” AND AT THE SAME TIME “Calvin’s god has nothing to do with it”

        rhutchin
        That is not an argument I have made. It’s your personal opinion of Calvinism that you have been promoting.

        rhutchin
        November 7, 2018 at 2:20 pm
        God rendered EVERYTHING certain when He created the world………You are doing what you want AND GOD HAS NO PART IN IT.

        br.d
        I stand corrected – your wording is slightly different that I remembered.
        Your term EVERYTHING would obviously include every neurological impulse.
        And “has no part in it” would equate to “has nothing to do with it” so close enough.

        One who speaks double-speak as much as Calvinists is bound to be confused by his own statements.

      20. br.d writes, “Your term EVERYTHING would obviously include every neurological impulse.
        And “has no part in it” would equate to “has nothing to do with it” so close enough.”

        In this instance, I addressed your personal decisions and said that God had no part in it – in causing you to make your decisions. God is omniscient and knows everything about you including every neurological impulse in your brain. However, God does not tempt you to sin nor does he do anything else to force you to act contrary to that which you desire.

      21. br.d
        “Your term EVERYTHING would obviously include every neurological impulse.
        And “has no part in it” would equate to “has nothing to do with it” so close enough.”

        rhutchin
        In this instance, I addressed your personal decisions and said that God had no part in it – in causing you to make your decisions.

        br.d
        Thanks rhutchin a great example of self-contradiction – the Calvinist is NOT FREE to discern

        You’re chasing your tail now – no sense doing that for my sake.
        But if you wish to continue – as in all previous instances – I do find it entertaining. :-]

      22. “Calvin made a defective god!”

        Pretty much sums up Calvinism, which the commentary here simply illustrates.

        It would appear that [Calvin’s] God has a similar language disorder to the one my spouse and my father-in-law has. You would not believe the confusion, missed events and needless frustration (Okay, sometimes anger!) that arises from the mistaken use and/or interpretation of everyday language. It is very confusing at first, but if you live with someone like this you soon begin to interpret their misspoken words to others without missing a beat. Until that important college recital is missed, or multiple phone calls and great stress are exerted combating an issue that never existed. People unfamiliar with this disorder might easily assume the speaker is either stupid or deliberately deceptive, neither of which is true. The meanings of words simply get confused somewhere in the midst of transmission, sometimes with synonyms, sometimes antonyms. ‘Apple’ easily becomes ‘orange’, ‘yesterday’ becomes ‘tomorrow’ and ‘yes’ inadvertently turns into ‘no’. I learned many years ago to dig deeper if things sounded the least bit ‘funny’, a skill that came in handy when I discovered Calvinist doublespeak.

        For [Calvin’s] God, ’causes’ becomes ‘allows’, ‘do not desire’ becomes ‘determinitively decree’ and ‘ordains’ becomes ‘refrains from restraining that which he ordained’. Except that we all know that the Creator of all things has no disorders, no difficulty expressing exactly what he means. The issue is simply one of the listener hearing what he wishes to hear, rather than what is truly said.

      23. TS00 writes, “For [Calvin’s] God, ’causes’ becomes ‘allows’, …”

        The term, “allow,” is used by non-Calvinists (and who knows what they mean by it?). For Calvinists, it means that God gives people freedom to do as they desire without interference from Him. However, because God is sovereign, for God to allow is for God to cause (through secondary means).

        Then, “…‘do not desire’ becomes ‘determinitively decree’

        Do you have am example of this?

        Then, “…and ‘ordains’ becomes ‘refrains from restraining that which he ordained’. ”

        Not really, God is the final arbiter of all events and necessarily ordains all events.

        Then, “Except that we all know that the Creator of all things has no disorders, no difficulty expressing exactly what he means. The issue is simply one of the listener hearing what he wishes to hear, rather than what is truly said.”

        The Jews had a real problem in this respect. Many “religious” people have issues with that which God says (Matthew 7).

      24. yes – totally agree.

        The big red-flag the shows Calvinism has a massive problem – is the contortionist act it does with logic and language.
        And when logic and language are twisted and contorted – one’s reading of scripture will follow that pattern.

        Well said TSOO!

      25. Theological Determinism (which by the way was first conceived by the Greek STOICS) presupposes a specific MODEL Of causation.
        In which events occur within a CAUSAL CHAIN.

        Rhutchin for example – in his posts – used to classify humans as “Dominoes” .
        This is because in Theological Determinism every event is CAUSED by an ANTECEDENT event.
        Until you get to the SOURCE/ORIGIN of that CAUSAL CHAIN.

        So Domino-1 causes Domino-2 causes Domino-3 causes Domino-4 – etc – until the last Domino in the chain produces the END result.

        Now when it comes to GOOD events such as salvation – the Calvinist wants to POINT to the SOURCE/ORIGIN (i.e. Calvin’s god)
        They want to attribute Calvin’s god as the SOURCE/ORIGIN of all GOOD events.

        What the Calvinist is **TERRIFIED** of – is using the same thinking when it comes to SINFUL EVIL events.

        Trying to walk a Calvinist back – up that chain – from Domino-4 caused by Domino-3 caused by Domino-2 etc.
        And as soon as you get to Domino-1 the Calvinist goes into **TERRIFIED** MODE!

        Question to the Calvinist:
        What caused Domino-1?

        Calvinist:
        Domino-1’s inclination

        What caused Domino-1’s inclination?

        Calvinist:
        Domino-1’s nature

        What caused Domino-1’s nature?

        And you get the gist of the Calvinists answer to these questions.
        He’s going in circles – and that’s all his brain can accomplish on this question.

        He is absolutely **TERRIFIED** of following the causal chain back to its SOURCE/ORIGIN when it comes to SINFUL EVIL events.

        Dialog with Rhutchin – asking him these questions is like chasing a greased pig.
        Your wasting your time.
        I always stand back and let him chase his own tail – when it comes to this question.

        Who doesn’t find a puppy dog chasing his tail entertaining? :-]

      26. br.d writes, “Now when it comes to GOOD events such as salvation – the Calvinist wants to POINT to the SOURCE/ORIGIN (i.e. Calvin’s god)…What the Calvinist is **TERRIFIED** of – is using the same thinking when it comes to SINFUL EVIL events.”

        No Calvinist I know is terrified. Good events result from God involving Himself in the affairs of people to bring about good events. Bad events happen when God divorces Himself from the affairs of people giving people freedom to do whatever evil they want.

      27. rhutchin
        Bad events happen when God divorces Himself from the affairs of people giving people freedom to do whatever evil they want.

        br.d
        That answer sure looks like TERRIFIED to me :-]

        John Calvin disagrees:
        -quote “NOTHING happens except by the direct will and decree of god”

        logic:
        Calvin’s god divorcing himself from the affairs of people logically resolves to calling Calvin’s statement above FALSE

        Where EVERYTHING including every neurological impulse is rendered-certain before each person is born by Calvin’s god – then it logically follows Calvin’s god divorcing himself from the affairs of men is a logical impossibility.

        Additionally:
        In Calvinism “Calvin’s god giving people the freedom to do whatever they want” is simply deceptive language.
        In Calvinism people are free to be/do ONLY what Calvin’s god renders-certain they be/do – nothing more – nothing less.

        But some people prefer sugar coated fairy tales to logic. :-]

      28. br.d writes, “divorcing himself from the affairs of people logically resolves to calling Calvin’s statement above FALSE”

        It says the same thing. That which God wills and decrees covers all His interactions with people.

        Then, “Where EVERYTHING including every neurological impulse is rendered-certain before each person is born by Calvin’s god – then it logically follows Calvin’s god divorcing himself from the affairs of men is a logical impossibility.”

        LOL!!! So, you have “…EVERYTHING including every neurological impulse is rendered-certain…” by God but this cannot include God “…divorcing himself from the affairs of men…” God created the human brain that works using neurological impulses, and it works without God having to keep making it work. God made Adam and could then walk away and have nothing to do with Adam and Adam would go on with life doing whatever pleased him. God does not have to insert Himself into the human environment in order for humans to interact with each other.

        Then, “In Calvinism “Calvin’s god giving people the freedom to do whatever they want” is simply deceptive language.”

        Nothing deceptive about it. God gave you freedom to write whatever goofy stuff you want – even though He knew everything you would write before the thoughts even formed in your mind. You are doing what you want and God has no part in it. Of course, God has rendered everything you do as certain and did so when He created the world. Necessarily you act according to your desires and God just made certain that the corrupt nature of Adam was transferred to you and now rules everything you do..

      29. John Calvin
        -quote “NOTHING happens that but by the direct will and decree of god”

        br.d
        “divorcing himself from the affairs of people logically resolves to calling Calvin’s statement above FALSE”

        rhutchin
        It says the same thing. That which God wills and decrees covers all His interactions with people.

        br.d
        We already know all of his interactions with people – he renders-certain their every neurological impulse.
        You calling that “divorcing himself from their affairs” reveals more about you than it does about Calvin’s god.

        br.d
        “Where EVERYTHING including every neurological impulse is rendered-certain before each person is born by Calvin’s god – then it logically follows Calvin’s god divorcing himself from the affairs of men is a logical impossibility.”

        rhutchin
        LOL!!! So, you have “…EVERYTHING including every neurological impulse is rendered-certain…” by God but this cannot include God “…divorcing himself from the affairs of men…

        br.d
        Same answer as above – doubling down on irrational only continues the display.

        rhutchin
        ” God created the human brain that works using neurological impulses, and it works without God having to keep making it work.

        br.d
        Irrelevant red-herring since it is the case that he renders-certain every neurological impulse they will ever have,

        rhutchin
        God does not have to insert Himself into the human environment in order for humans to interact with each other.

        br.d
        Same answer as above – doubling down on irrational only continues the display.
        In Calvinism “Calvin’s god giving people the freedom to do whatever they want” is simply deceptive language.”

        rhutchin
        You are doing what you want and God has no part in it.

        br.d
        And you think that is logical with Calvin’s statement above!
        I almost embarrassed for how this is making you look – – – – but not quite. :-]

        rhutchin
        you act according to your desires and God just made certain that the corrupt nature of Adam was transferred to you and now rules everything you do.

        br.d
        In Calvinism this is statement is deceptive.
        Since it is the case that Calvin’s god renders-certain ALL corrupt nature – ALL inclinations – ALL sin – ALL EVIL – all neurological impulses etc.

        Sure looks like the Calvinist is still TERRIFIED to walk that causal chain back to its SOURCE. :-]

      30. I’m afraid Calvin would no more accept RH’s logic than can we. He kind of makes it up as he goes along, apparently oblivious to how he constantly contradicts earlier statements. It is as if he has simply thrown logic out of the window and just recites meaningless statements that appear to keep his bubble intact.

      31. br.d writes, “We already know all of his interactions with people – he renders-certain their every neurological impulse.”

        This seems to be a big deal for you, but you cannot explain why it has anything to do with the ongoing discussions. God created Adam with a brain and Adam’s brain works using neurological impulses. God certainly knows each neurological impulse that occurs in the human brain and knew them when He created the world. So what? What’s the point?

        God explained future events through His prophets and all those future events entailed neurological impulses in human brains that were certain. So!!!

      32. br.d
        “We already know all of his interactions with people – he renders-certain their every neurological impulse.”

        rhutchin
        This seems to be a big deal for you,

        br.d
        It is one of Calvinism’s UNIVERSAL SCOPE propositions.
        And saying: “Calvin’s god renders-certain your every neurological impulse” AND “Calvin’s god has nothing to do with it” is the Calvinists response.

        I’m happy to let SOT101 readers recognize which statement is double-speak. :-]

        rhutchin
        but you cannot explain why it has anything to do with the ongoing discussions.

        br.d
        Been here – done that – got my T-shirt.
        One can lead a horse to water but not make him drink.
        My responses to Calvinist double-speak are not for the benefit o the Calvinist since their minds are locked.
        I provide analysis for the SOT101 readers whose minds are free to think.

        rhutchin
        God created Adam with a brain and Adam’s brain works using neurological impulses. God certainly knows each neurological impulse that occurs in the human brain and knew them when He created the world. So what? What’s the point?

        br.d
        I’ve responded to this irrelevant red-herring a dozen times.
        Since Calvin’s god renders-certain every neurological impulse – and NO ALTERNATIVE of what has been rendered-certain can come to pass – referring to how Adam’s brain works AS-IF that were FALSE is simply irrational double-speak.

        rhutchin
        God explained future events through His prophets and all those future events entailed neurological impulses in human brains that were certain. So!!!

        br.d
        Same answer as above. -and also the discerning Christian learns to not conflate Calvinism with scripture.

      33. br.d writes, “And saying: “Calvin’s god renders-certain your every neurological impulse” AND “Calvin’s god has nothing to do with it” is the Calvinists response.”

        Under Calvinism, God is sovereign over His creation and is involved in every event either being hands-on (e.g., the impregnation of Mary) or choosing not to be hands-on thereby allowing evil people freedom to act as they desire (e.g. the stoning of Stephen). There is not a molecule, atom, neutron, neurological impulse, etc. that is outside God’s control.

        Your other comments don’t say anything.

      34. br.d
        The Calvinist saying: “Calvin’s god renders-certain your every neurological impulse” AND “Calvin’s god has nothing to do with it” is the Calvinists response.”

        rhutchin
        Under Calvinism, God is sovereign ….etc
        There is not a molecule, atom, neutron, neurological impulse, etc. that is outside God’s control.
        If this is a quote from Calvinist Paul Helms I can see why you would want to alter it with distancing language.

        -quote:
        “Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by God, but every twist and turn of each of these is UNDER THE DIRECT CONTROL of God”. :

        rhutchin
        Your other comments don’t say anything.

        br.d
        But of course they don’t – to a Calvinist – his mind is locked – so that’s to be understood.

        The value of my posts are for the SOT101 reader whose mind is free to think and recognizes the value of well established rules of rational reasoning held in common – such as the law of non-contradiction. Rules which Calvinism must evade.

        Thank you Dr. Flowers for your ministry – and for providing this wonderful platform!

      35. RH writes:
        “Under Calvinism, God is sovereign over His creation and is involved in every event either being hands-on (e.g., the impregnation of Mary) or choosing not to be hands-on thereby allowing evil people freedom to act as they desire (e.g. the stoning of Stephen). There is not a molecule, atom, neutron, neurological impulse, etc. that is outside God’s control.”

        Once again I must point out the sleight of hand that is being attempted, as RH pretends that Calvinistic ‘Sovereignty’ is the same as non-Calvinist sovereignty. He oh so casually describes the non-Calvinist perspective that, whereas God has all power and authority to control all things, he has deliberately set aside that control and given man the freedom to choose his own actions, i.e. ‘act as they desire’. The non-Calvinist asserts that this is the explanation for the existence of evil in a world created by an omnipotent, good deity.
        In other words, evil exists because in granting freedom of action to man God in effect ceded authoritative control of each man’s individual molecules, atoms, neutrons, neurological impulses, etc. to each man. In granting man this degree of autonomy or self control (still to some degree limited, as God not only controls outside factors but also the length of each man’s days) God has released his own control of said molecules, etc.

        This is logical, and is at least a reasonable explanation for the existence of Evil in a world created by a good and Holy God. Other, logically consistent explanations include:

        1) There is no God.
        2) There is a God, but he is Evil.
        3) There is a God, but there are powers equal to or greater than his that orchestrate Evil.
        4) There are multiple gods, and evil arises from their internal squabbles or power plays.

        The most illogical and inconsistent explanation for the existence of Evil is that of Calvinism, which asserts that:

        1) There is a God.
        2) He is good.
        3) He is omnipotent, sovereignly, determinatively decreeing and controling whatsoever comes to pass in his creation.
        4) Evil exists due to man following his own desires.

        This explanation cannot hold up to logical examination. It there is a God, if he is wholly good and wholly in control of ‘whatsoever comes to pass down to the tiniest atom, etc.’ and there are no other powers in existence that challenge his sovereign control, including the ‘desires’ of men. There is no logical explanation for why Evil exists. The Calvinist is forced to admit that God is the author of Evil, and invented it, and the pretense of man ‘choosing to follow his own desires’ in order to showcase his own ‘Glory’ in overcoming the Evil he ordained.

        However, rare is the Calvinist who will admit that [Calvin’s] God is the sole author, originator and bringer-to-pass of sin and Evil. And understandably so, as this not only casts dishonor upon the holiness of God, but also makes him utterly unjust to ‘punish’ evildoers for the Evil that was his own, ultimate doing.

        So, the Calvinist must resort to word jugglery. He must attempt to uphold scripture’s claims that there is no Evil within the Holy, omnipotent God, and thus he would never purposely ordain or tempt man to do Evil with Calvinism’s assertion that God originates, ordains and controls all Evil (i.e., whatsoever comes to pass). This is logically impossible; A and non-A cannot both be true at the same time in the same manner. God cannot be wholly free from Evil and wholly responsible for the Existence of Evil at the same time. Unfortunately for the Calvinist, his task it to uphold and/or hide this logical fallacy in whatever fashion he can.

        So, out of one side of his mouth, the Calvinist recites scripture, and out of the other cites Calvinistic theology. The real skill lies in keeping people from seeing the contradictions of these and recognizing the logical implausibility of two, utterly contradictory assertions being true at the same time in the same manner. The Calvinist must seek to build partitions in the minds of his listeners, keeping them from comparing and cross-examining the truth claims they have been fed. This is the same sort of compartmentalization or dissociation that all mind control and uncontested abuse is based upon. It is done by distraction, emotional manipulation, fear-mongering, love-bombing, peer pressure and all other manner of milieu control methods.

      36. TS00 writes, “4) Evil exists due to man following his own desires.”

        the term, “evil,” is not a noun – it is not a living entity. “Evil” is a descriptor applied to the acts of a person (He does evil.) or to a perosn’s character (He is evil.) That which is “evil” is that which is contrary to God’s will for the behavior of people. The Ten commandments describe how God wants people to behave. Violating those commands is evil and the person doing so can be described as evil. So you should have written, – with an introductory premise:

        3) God grants people the freedom to disobey His commandments.
        4) People are evil and do evil acts when they follow their own will/desires and not God’s will/desire (as expressed in His commandments).”

        Then, “The Calvinist is forced to admit that God is the author of Evil, and invented it, and the pretense of man ‘choosing to follow his own desires’ in order to showcase his own ‘Glory’ in overcoming the Evil he ordained.”

        By “author of evil” you mean that God forces people to disobey His commands. However, this cannot be according to James, with whom Calvinist agree. God did not make/force/impel nor did God make Adam with a desire for sin. Why did Adam eat the fruit? Answer that question and most disputes on the problem of evil would disappear.

        I don’t see that your argument against Calvinism is any different than for non-Calvinism. No one knows why Adam ate the fruit, and no one knows where evil desires originated.

      37. rhutchin
        God renders-certain EVERYTHING

        br.d
        Obviously this includes EVERY Neurological impulse people will every have
        But then – wait for it! ……

        rhutchin
        People are evil and do evil acts when they follow their own will/desires and NOT GOD”S WILL/DESIRE (as expressed in His commandments).”

        br.d
        Yes – classic!
        This is how Calvinists seek to evade: “NOTHING that happens does so without his DIRECT WILL and DECREE

        They add this little fine-print clause “as expressed in his commands” and think that makes the problem go away.
        .
        So what do we have:
        Calvin’s god has a SECRET will and a EXPRESSED will
        And these two wills are not only different but will sometimes totally OPPOSED to each other.

        For example:
        His EXPRESSED WILL in his command to Adam – where he deceived Adam into believing his EXPRESSED will was his ONLY will.

        While his SECRET will was the total opposite of what he EXPRESSED.

        Following this model of a SECRET will opposed to EXPRESSED will – we have the divine will for each Calvinist EXPRESSED within scripture.
        But remember – the EXPRESSED will can be the total opposite of the SECRET will.

        So the Calvinist ends up getting deceived like Adam – assuming the EXPRESSED will is his ONLY will.
        Only to find out (in the lake of fire) – the SECRET will was the total opposite of the EXPRESSED will (within scripture).

        Calvinists sure have a lot to look forward to! :-]

      38. br.d writes, “Right – but it logically follows that Calvin’s god does HAVE TO render-certain ALL incentives – he does HAVE to render-certain ALL sin nature – and he does HAVE to render-certain people DO NOT DO OTHERWISE – or else Calvin’s doctrine fails.”

        God told Adam that eating the fruit would result in death – Calvinists understand that to be spiritual as well as physical death. Adm ate the fruit and God now enforces the penalty. All who are born are spiritually dead and will physically die. Spiritual death includes being born with a sin nature, devoid of faith, with which the person cannot do good. God has rendered that certain. As the leopard cannot change its spots, so the spiritually dead person cannot change his nature.

      39. br.d
        “Right – but it logically follows that Calvin’s god does HAVE TO render-certain ALL incentives – he does HAVE to render-certain ALL sin nature – and he does HAVE to render-certain people DO NOT DO OTHERWISE – or else Calvin’s doctrine fails.”

        rhutchin
        God told Adam…etc

        br.d
        So what in my statement above is logically FALSE in Calvinism?
        Right …..so now you’ve gone into your tail chasing mode – but you didn’t have to do that for my account.

        By your testimony Calvin’s god is not omniscient enough to know that Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god renders-certain Adam do – unless (insert a Calvinist’s hidden deceptive conditional here) Calvin’s god renders-certain Adam do something else.

        No going forward any further on this question with you rhutchin – your mind only allows circular reasoning on this topic.
        You might as well give up now instead of chasing your tail. :-]

      40. br.d
        “Right – but it logically follows that Calvin’s god does HAVE TO render-certain ALL incentives – he does HAVE to render-certain ALL sin nature – and he does HAVE to render-certain people DO NOT DO OTHERWISE – or else Calvin’s doctrine fails.”

        rhutchin
        God told Adam that eating the fruit would result in death…etc

        br.d
        Right – but Calvin’s god does not tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
        He beguiled Adam while Satan beguiled Eve
        He led Adam to believe he WILLED “Adam Obeys” come to pass – when he WILLED the opposite.

        So Calvin’s god speaks with forked tongue – we already knew that!

        eyes they have – and do not see
        ears they have – and do not hear
        And they who MAKE them are LIKE UNTO THEM.

        This biblical principle explains why Calvinists speak with forked tongue.

      41. br.d.
        You know… and I know that Determism teaches, and Calvin himself taught, that all that happens is what God made-certain to happen.

        One response to you was this…

        “Under Calvinism, God does not have to make people do evil – the incentive to sin comes from the sin nature.”

        Calvinists love to blame everything on man’s fallen nature and nothing on God’s rendering-certain decrees. Whatever. But the above sentence makes no sense EVEN for Calvinists. This is just nonsensical since Adam did evil and had a sinless nature.

        There is just no biblical way to say, “Adam’s incentive to sin came from his sin nature.”

      42. FOH:
        There is just no biblical way to say, “Adam’s incentive to sin came from his sin nature.”

        br.d
        Excellent catch FOH!
        And yet a Calvinist can make that stuff up without blinking – and then claim he is BIBLE BASED.

        Ye right!
        Calvinism’s irrational world of crooked logic is about as much sourced from scripture as Bill Clinton’s mother is sourced from Bill Clinton! :-]

      43. FOH writes, “…Adam did evil and had a sinless nature. There is just no biblical way to say, “Adam’s incentive to sin came from his sin nature.”

        That is not an issue. Nor is God’s control over events disputed as all agree that God is omnipotent. The point here is that no one – even you – can explain why Adam sinned. God certainly did not make Adam eat the fruit even though God had decreed that Adam eat the fruit.

      44. FOH writes, “…Adam did evil and had a sinless nature. There is just no biblical way to say, “Adam’s incentive to sin came from his sin nature.”

        rhutchin
        That is not an issue.

        br.d
        Either this point went over one’s head – or one is in evasion mode.
        FOH’s point is clear – the Calvinist assertion “Adam’s incentive to sin came from his sin nature” does not have its source in scripture – but rather is scripture forced to serve someone’s doctrine.

        rhutchin
        The point here is that no one – even you – can explain why Adam sinned.

        br.b
        FALSE
        John Calvin explained why Adam sinned – Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world rendered-certain “Adam will disobey”.
        rendered-certain means Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE than what Adam is rendered-certain to do.
        Unless (insert Calvinist deceptive conditional subjunctive here) Calvin’s god renders-certain Adam do something else.

        rhutchin
        God certainly did not make Adam eat the fruit

        br.d
        Irrelevant red-herring since he rendered-certain every neurological impulse Adam would ever have

        rhutchin
        though God had decreed that Adam eat the fruit.

        br.d
        CORRECT! – wonderful!
        You see – a Calvinist doesn’t have to speak double-speak when he doesn’t want to.
        But this one is the exception and not the rule so don’t hold your breath :-]

      45. br.d writes, “FOH’s point is clear – the Calvinist assertion “Adam’s incentive to sin came from his sin nature” does not have its source in scripture ”

        Calvinists do not assert that “Adam’s incentive to sin came from his sin nature.”

      46. br.d
        “FOH’s point is clear – the Calvinist assertion “Adam’s incentive to sin came from his sin nature” does not have its source in scripture ”

        rhutchin
        Calvinists do not assert that “Adam’s incentive to sin came from his sin nature.”

        br.d
        Right – and they don’t assert “Calvin’s god has nothing to do with it”

        I’m happy to let SOT101 readers review Calvinist double-speak statements on this issue as well.

      47. TSOO
        The 8 words a Calvinist can NEVER say:

        “Calvin’s god has nothing to do with it.”

        br.d
        Never say and be honest – but we understand any belief system that cannot conform to the law of non-contradiction will have a self-serving form of honesty.

      48. Seriously. The minute a Calvinist says ‘Calvin’s God had nothing to do with it’ wouldn’t the gig be up? Wouldn’t even the most junior, naive, uninitiated student fall on the floor laughing, saying, ‘You really had me going there!’?

        And yet, this is what Calvinism does repeatedly. And not just Calvinism, but Orthodox Christianity as a whole. IMO it all began with – and I apologize to all of the orthodox here – the concept of the Trinity. The minute orthodox authority could demand that people recite words that they could not understand, but which seemed to assert a clear contradiction, was the minute they instituted effective thought control. They effectively convinced persons that they simply could not comprehend the truth about God, thus must bow to the authority and proclamations of the ‘annointed ones’, even if they seemed logically absurd. It is literally a version of Hans Christian Anderson’s Emperor who wore no clothes. If you can persuade people, or frighten them, into disbelieving their own eyes, you gain complete control of them. The only dangerous people are those who, like a small child, will state incredulously, ‘But the Emperor is wearing no clothes!’

      49. Yes – I think we see the same thing going on with the media

        I’m not an abject fan of Dr. Noam Chomsky.
        But when he released his documentary “Manufacturing Consent – manipulating people through mass media” I could see he had that right.

        Years ago there was a Christian Sociology professor who likened Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather to priests who represent a religion.

      50. The ‘heretics’, those who were tortured and murdered by both the Roman and Protestant Church, were those who stated truthfully what their own eyes told them was true: ‘But the Emperor is wearing no clothes!’ Such people will always be called ‘heretics’, ‘Pelagians’, ‘liberals’, ‘conspiracy theorists’ or whatever the pejorative of the day is.

      51. TS00 writes, “The 8 words a Calvinist can NEVER say:
        “Calvin’s god has nothing to do with it.”

        True. Under Calvinism, God is Sovereign and necessarily, the final arbiter of everything that happens.

      52. TS00 writes, “The 8 words a Calvinist can NEVER say:
        “Calvin’s god has nothing to do with it.”

        rhutchin
        True. Under Calvinism, God is Sovereign and necessarily, the final arbiter of everything that happens.

        br.d
        Right about now it would be cool to find the Calvinist here who made that statement – even inferentially.
        Knowing how double-speak works – we’re bound to find it here somewhere. :-]

      53. RH:
        “God certainly did not make Adam eat the fruit even though God had decreed that Adam eat the fruit.”

        Prime example of either a language disorder, or Calvinistic doublespeak.

        The logical, thinking person, without an ax to grind, would perceive ‘make’ and ‘decree’ as more or less synonymous, or at the very least pointing to the same fact. If [Calvin’s] God decreed, so that it is rendered certain, without fail, that Adam eat the fruit, then the thinking, logical mind would find it quite reasonable to assert that [Calvin’s] God did indeed ‘make’ Adam eat the fruit. That is not to explain ‘how’ [Calvin’s] God made Adam do so, but simply that [Calvin’s] God was the originating, driving force behind it – and all things, according to Calvinism – coming to pass. In typical English usage, ‘make’ or ‘made’ asserts the irresistible power to bring something to pass, just as does Calvin’s ‘ordained’ or ‘decreed’.

        This is not too difficult for the properly functioning mind. If [Calvin’s] God ‘decrees’ whatsoever comes to pass, then one might properly state, granting typical English usage, that [Calvin’s] God ‘made’ Adam eat the fruit. It doesn’t matter whether he used:

        1) A stick, gun or other weapon of force.
        2) A carrot, candy or other irresistible lure.
        3) Neurons programmed to fire in a particular manner.
        4) A magic spell which supernaturally controls existing matter beyond normal laws of nature.
        5) Any other means one might imagine.

        I will say it again: If [Calvin’s] God ‘decrees’ whatsoever comes to pass, then one might properly state, granting typical English usage, that [Calvin’s] God ‘made’ Adam eat the fruit.

      54. TSOO
        Prime example of either a language disorder, or Calvinistic doublespeak.

        br.d
        The pirate captain looked at the man and said:
        “You have two choices – you can walk the plank or you can walk the plank – whatever you do will be your choice”
        Its only fitting that a pirate captain should mimic Calvin’s god! :-]

      55. br.d writes, “The pirate captain looked at the man and said:
        “You have two choices – you can walk the plank or you can walk the plank – whatever you do will be your choice””

        The Psalmist was like the pirate captain, “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.” You can sin, or you can sin. As Paul said, “…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;”

      56. br.d writes, “The pirate captain looked at the man and said:
        “You have two choices – you can walk the plank or you can walk the plank – whatever you do will be your choice””

        rhutchin
        The Psalmist was like the pirate captain, …..etc
        And Paul …etc

        br.d
        Wonderful example!
        Here the Calvinist equates authors of scripture with a pirate captain and his “you have two choices”.
        I suppose this would make the pirate captain’s offer of two “so called” choices Biblical. :-]

        btw:
        The pirate captain is mimicking Calvin’s god who gives you “so called” choices
        You can be/do what he renders-certain – or you can be/do what he renders-certain – but whatever you do will be your choice.

        Thanks for explaining what Calvinism does with scripture :-]

      57. Br.d. writes:
        “btw:
        The pirate captain is mimicking Calvin’s god who gives you “so called” choices
        You can be/do what he renders-certain – or you can be/do what he renders-certain – but whatever you do will be your choice.

        Thanks for explaining what Calvinism does with scripture :-]”

        Let’s break it down even further, in case some struggle with making logical inferences. And there may be others, which I have omitted.

        Hypocrite or Deceiver
        (Offered by The Pirate Captain, Calvinism and all other Godfathers who make the pretense of offering a choice where there is none.)
        “You can do A (which he has secretly made impossible) – or you can do B (what he has secretly rendered certain). But whatever you do will be your choice.”

        Honest Tyrant
        “You will do A, willingly or unwillingly”

        Limited Choice
        “You can do A, or you can do B.”

        Free Choice offered by Wise and Loving Authority
        “The right thing to do is A, and I strongly encourage you to do this. But you have the freedom to do as you choose, and here is what will happen if you choose something other than A. Choice B will lead to this. Choice C will lead to that. Choice D will lead to this and that. And so on. Choose wisely, for you have been informed and warned, and you will bear the responsibility for the choices you make.”

      58. Wonderful post TSOO!
        It really shows the contrast between the God of scripture and Calvin’s god.

        I especially like this:

        You can do A (which he has secretly made impossible) – or you can do B (what he has secretly rendered certain). But whatever you do will be your choice.”

        Peter Van Inwagen remarks about this.
        The Calvinist will try to use what Van Inwagen calls a “hidden subjunctive conditional ” argument.
        In other words – a deceptive argument.

        It goes like this:
        Calvinist:
        Adam COULD DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god rendered-certain Adam do.

        Van Inwagen responds:
        Yes by Calvin’s god rendering-certain Adam DO OTHERWISE.
        Van InWagen identifies this argument as a deceptive language trick.

      59. What we then must add to this story is the message of the gospel.

        When God offered man the freedom to choose, he sadly foreknew that man would abuse that choice to his own destruction. So God cursed man for his sin and all died.

        No, God offered man grace. He paid the debt for the sin himself, by offering up his own Son, and offered, with clearly stated conditions, a full, unmerited pardon. Whosoever would believe in God’s goodness, acknowledge their own sin, and put their trust and hope in God’s not-yet-fully-seen plan would be guaranteed salvation from the wrath of God against unrepentant Evil.

        Note what a different gospel message this is from the one offered by Calvinism. All have sinned. All deserve punishment. All are freely offered grace, if they respond in faith to God’s message of love, which was manifested in the person, words and deeds of Jesus. Come, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Come, all who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and you will be filled. The offer is there, it is clearly set forth and earnestly made to one and all alike. Yet each man must choose. Will he look for healing and life to the one raised up like the serpent in the wilderness, or will he stubbornly refuse to believe and perish in his sin?

      60. Yes – Dr. Michael Heiser, (expert on gnosticism and grammatical exegesis) says that he believes the Hebrew term for “in our image” in Genesis – incorporates the characteristic of having some form of what we would call libertarian free will – whatever form of freedom to choose God himself has.

        He endowed a form of that type of freedom as an essential part of his creation of man – so that man would not have to love him robotically.

        But this of course required allowing man to NOT love him irresistibly.

        And that ability to not be manipulated by an irresistible supernatural force puts man in a position where he can love God for what God is – rather than by a superficial irresistible force.

        In Calvin’s case – a force that forces without forcing :-]

      61. TS00 writes, “When God offered man the freedom to choose,…”

        “…offered…”? So, you are saying that God offered Adam free will that Adam accepted and then abused.

        Then, “Yet each man must choose. Will he look for healing and life to the one raised up like the serpent in the wilderness, or will he stubbornly refuse to believe and perish in his sin?”

        And if people “stubbornly refuse to believe” can’t God then choose some of them to save as the Calvinist says He can do?

      62. br.d writes, “It goes like this:
        Calvinist:
        Adam COULD DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god rendered-certain Adam do.”

        It should be:
        Calvinist:
        Adam is responsible to do what God rendered-certain Adam would not do.

        In the same manner, people are responsible to obey God when God rendered certain that they would be born with a nature that prevented this outcome.

      63. TSOO
        Wow. How is this even rational? I think RH has finally lost it. :-]

        He reaches his sophism limit eventually.
        He’s more sophisticated at manipulating language than the other Calvinists here.

        But since Calvinism is all double-speak – he can’t help but eventually trip over it.
        Its just a matter of time.
        But you watch – it won’t phase him one tinny bit – he’ll act as if it never happened – without skipping a beat.
        Its the nature of the beast. :-]

      64. ‘Nature of the beast’ is apt. I literally felt, at such blatant irrationality and vile cruelty that I was staring into the pit of hell. Had to take a walk to get it out of my head.

      65. Sorry to hear that!
        Taking a walk is a really good thing.
        I’ve certainly been there!!
        Some times its healthy to ask the Lord to help me understand why and what I’m feeling
        It can be the triggering of very old wounds.

      66. br.d
        “It goes like this:
        Calvinist:
        Adam COULD DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god rendered-certain Adam do.”

        Peter Van Inwagen’s response – “This is based upon a deceptive conditional subjunctive”

        rhutchin
        It should be:
        Calvinist:
        Adam is responsible to do what God rendered-certain Adam would not do.

        br.d
        A lovely example of double-speak – thank you rhutchin!!

        But more precisely:
        Calvin’s god holds Adam responsible for doing the very thing Calvin’s god renders-certain Adam do.

        And of course – Adam CANNOT DO OTHERWISE than what Calvin’s god renders-certain.
        Unless (insert deceptive conditional subjunctive here) Calvin’s god renders-certain Adam do something else.

        Does anyone here notice here how much Calvinism uses word-craft to evade logic? :-]

        Jesus without fail – speaks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
        This fact alone differentiates Calvinism from Christ.

      67. TS00 writes, ““You can do A (which he has secretly made impossible) – or you can do B (what he has secretly rendered certain). But whatever you do will be your choice.”

        It should be: “You are commanded to do A (the impossibility of which is certain by God’s omniscience) – or you can choose to do B (what he has secretly rendered certain by Adan’s sin). But whatever you do will be your desire.”

      68. TS00
        ““You can do A (which he has secretly made impossible) – or you can do B (what he has secretly rendered certain). But whatever you do will be your choice.”

        rhutchin
        It should be: “You are commanded to do A (the impossibility of which is certain by God’s omniscience) – or you can choose to do B (what he has secretly rendered certain by Adan’s sin). But whatever you do will be your desire.”

        br.d
        This carefully evades the DETERMINATIVE CAUSAL SOURCE
        “You are commanded to do A
        – which is RENDERED-CERTAIN as IMPOSSIBLE by immutable decree
        – And which includes RENDERING-CERTAIN everything about you including your inclination/desire/nature etc
        – And this is thus EPISTEMICALLY certain within Calvin’s god’s omniscience
        OR
        You can choose to do B
        – which is RENDERED-CERTAIN AS NOT ACTUALIZABLE
        – Which means it will not exist to be accessible to you

        So Adam – since your desire/sin/nature/etc were all RENDERED-CERTAIN without your consent – now you’re free to do whatever you desire.

        Now that’s what call FREEDOM! :-]

      69. TS00 writes, “That is not to explain ‘how’ [Calvin’s] God made Adam do so, but simply that [Calvin’s] God was the originating, driving force behind it…”

        The “how” is that which explains what made Adam eat the fruit. God decreed that Adam eat the fruit and then the means, the “how,” of Adam eating the fruit. God “made” Adam eat the fruit only by also decreeing the “how” or the means for it to happen. We know that the “how” involved Satan deceiving Eve, and Eve, after eating the fruit herself, then presents the fruit to Adam to eat. We may speculate about Adam’s dilemma at this point and seek to understand why he decided to eat the fruit, but the Scriptures are silent on this.

        Then, “In typical English usage, ‘make’ or ‘made’ asserts the irresistible power to bring something to pass, just as does Calvin’s ‘ordained’ or ‘decreed’.”

        To ordain or decree is only to make a decision. The execution of that decision is the “make” or “made.” Two separate and unique actions are involved. God can personally decide that X should happen and then entities other than God can execute the decision. For example, God can decree that Stephen be stoned to death. That decree is then carried out by the Jews to whom God has given the freedom to stone Stephen.

        Then, “5) Any other means one might imagine.”

        How about using sinful people to whom God has given freedom to act as they desire. So, God uses Satan to tempt Eve by giving Satan access to the garden knowing that God seeks to destroy His creation.

        Then, “I will say it again: If [Calvin’s] God ‘decrees’ whatsoever comes to pass, then one might properly state, granting typical English usage, that [Calvin’s] God ‘made’ Adam eat the fruit.”

        You offered an opinionated argument for this rather than sequential reasoned logic. You fail to deal with “how.”

        Your argument is like this:

        1. God decrees that Adam eat the fruit.
        2. Let’s ignore how God executes His decree that Adam eat the fruit.
        3. Therefore, God made Adam eat the fruit.

      70. RH writes:
        “Your argument is like this:

        1. God decrees that Adam eat the fruit.
        2. Let’s ignore how God executes His decree that Adam eat the fruit.
        3. Therefore, God made Adam eat the fruit.”

        Actually, the logical statement would read:
        1. God decrees that Adam eat the fruit.
        2. By (fill in the blank with your chosen means) God executes his decree that Adam eat the fruit.
        3. Therefore, God made Adam eat the fruit.

        I not only did not ‘ignore’ how God uses means to execute his decrees, I spelled out multiple possibilities. It makes absolutely no difference which ‘means’ one fills in the blank with in premise 2, as I explained. It can be brute force, seduction, magical ‘tada’ or secretive, unseen predetermination of neural impulses that appear to man as autonomous free choices. Doesn’t matter. God ordained and ‘made’ the sin of Adam occur, along with all future acts of Evil if he decrees ‘whatsoever comes to pass’ and uses ANY means to bring to pass his decrees of ‘whatsoever’ to pass.

        It really isn’t very difficult.

      71. TS00 writes, “Actually, the logical statement would read:
        1. God decrees that Adam eat the fruit.
        2. By (fill in the blank with your chosen means) God executes his decree that Adam eat the fruit.
        3. Therefore, God made Adam eat the fruit.”

        This reduces to:

        1. God decrees that Adam eat the fruit.
        2. Through Eve’s presentation of the fruit to Adam, God executes his decree that Adam eat the fruit.
        3. Therefore, God made Adam eat the fruit.

        So, how does the conclusion follow from the premises? It doesn’t because the premises don’t link God to Adam eating the fruit – you basically seem to define “decree” as “made making your Premise 1 and conclusion say the same thing, “God made Adam eat the fruit.” You end up expressing an opinion.

      72. rhutchin
        So, how does the conclusion follow from the premises? It doesn’t because the premises don’t link God to Adam eating the fruit

        br.d
        This is where the Calvinist is TERRIFIED to trace the CAUSAL CHAIN of his believe system back to its SOURCE/ORIGIN.
        Everyone who can think clearly knows that 2 must be preceded by 1
        A secondary event does not cause itself.

        But the Calvinist has 2 causing 2 causing 2 causing 2 – etc.
        So here is where he goes into his tail-chasing mode.

        The best course of action here is to stand back and watch the puppy chase his own tail. :-]

    2. Any argument cannot be won by the use of harsh language throwing insults to the opponent up to the point of insulting God. It cannot be denied that the God that we acknowledge is also the same God that you treasured in your lives. I saw Pastor Flowers in one of his debates with Dr. White in the you tube and there he acknowledges the Calvinists as friends and never insulted the God of Dr. White. I don’t understand why the allies of Pastor Flowers here possess in them a very strong and deadly serpentine venom against their opponents when they express themselves in this blog. A christian believer who have been forgiven by God has nothing to boast of himself but needs to remain humble at all costs.

      1. jtleosala
        Any argument cannot be won by the use of harsh language throwing insults

        br.d
        There is no such thing as winning an argument by simply repeating a fallacy over and over AS-IF that would make it true..

        There is no harsh language or insults n my posts to you jtleosala – just tough love.
        When a child does not get feedback from a mature person – they do not grow properly.
        You apparently have not gotten mature feedback in regard to fanciful ideas about how a THEOS who can believe in falsehoods and still be omniscient.

        Did that THEOS create you – or did you create that THEOS?
        Prove all things – hold fast to that which is good.
        When I was a child I thought as a child – but when I became a man I put away childish thinking.

  19. CALVINISM’S LANGUAGE MODE – CONTINUED INSIGHT FOR THE DISCERNING CHRISTIAN

    BS – also known as bollocks in Europe, nonsensical, gobl-de-goop, high-sounding-religio-speak, claptrap, and quite frequently double-speak.

    BS is typically an argument mode, which needs something to be true now and false later (whichever serves the arguer’s immediate purpose).

    Primarily BS is language that facilitates obfuscation and equivocation, and can be observed as spider-web sentences presented as legitimate explanations.

    BS is the primary language mode of a blind-guide who wants to be perceived as an authority on a given subject. As Jesus says: they love to sit at the head of the table and be seen in the seats of honor.

    BS is untrustworthy language, because a thing presented as true one minute and false the next – has no stable truth-value, and there is therefore nothing legitimate to trust.

    You simply learn that whatever the BS artist says – can be understood as BS.

  20. Taken from an assortment of comments.

    Rhutchin writes… “By ‘author of evil’ you mean that God forces people to disobey His commands. However, this cannot be according to James, with whom Calvinist agree. God did not make/force/impel nor did God make Adam with a desire for sin. Why did Adam eat the fruit? Answer that question and most disputes on the problem of evil would disappear.”

    Calvinist Vincent Cheung explains… “If I am right, then they must be wrong. The question is, how can they be right without self-contradiction — that God controls all things, but he really doesn’t, that God causes all things, but he really doesn’t? The Reformed is fond of appealing to ‘mystery’, ‘paradox’, and ‘antinomy’, which are nothing but more dignified and deceptive terms for saying, ‘Clearly, I contradict myself, but I don’t care.’ Instead, it seems to me that divine sovereignty is an altogether clear and coherent doctrine. It is so easy to understand. I have also answered the almost universal abuse of James 1:13. Temptation and causation are two different things, and the topic is causation, not temptation.”

    Rhutchin writes… “So, how does the conclusion follow from the premises? It doesn’t because the premises don’t link God to Adam eating the fruit – you basically seem to define ‘decree’ as ‘made’ making your Premise 1 and conclusion say the same thing, ‘God made Adam eat the fruit.’ You end up expressing an opinion.”

    Later Rhutchin adds… “That is not an issue. Nor is God’s control over events disputed as all agree that God is omnipotent. The point here is that no one – even you – can explain why Adam sinned. God certainly did not make Adam eat the fruit even though God had decreed that Adam eat the fruit.”

    Again, for clarity and consistency, we turn to Vincent Cheung….

    “Calvinists often affirm that Adam was free before the Fall. But again, I always speak of freedom relative to God, and from this perspective, I would say that Adam had no freedom whatsoever even before the Fall. To be ‘free’ from sin is irrelevant. The issue is whether Adam was free from God to choose to remain free from sin – he was not. In addition, I would not say that God permitted Adam to fall, but that God caused it.”

    Calvinist Vincent Cheung removes the “as if-isms” and “double speak” and states his stance clearly and consistently.

    “God did it!”

    1. Beautiful analysis Phillip!

      Thank you for this post!

      VIncent Cheung proves – there is at least ONE intellectually honest Calvinist in the present world! :-]
      The rest are just masquerade artists.

    2. phillip writes, “But again, I always speak of freedom relative to God, and from this perspective, I would say that Adam had no freedom whatsoever even before the Fall. ”

      This is the distinction I was trying to make. Only God has free will. Adam, because he is not God cannot have the freedom of will that God enjoys.

      Then, “The issue is whether Adam was free from God to choose to remain free from sin – he was not. In addition, I would not say that God permitted Adam to fall, but that God caused it.”

      Cheung does not exclude secondary sources in this citation. By opening the garden to Satan and giving Satan freedom to tempt Eve, all the time knowing the end result, God can be said to have caused Adam to sin. Yet, Satan did as he desired – God did not have to force him to tempt Eve. Eve then did as she desired – God did not have to force Eve to eat the fruit or to offer the fruit to Adam.

      1. rhutchin
        God did not have to force him to tempt Eve. Eve then did as she desired – God did not have to force ….etc

        br.d
        Right – but he DID have to:
        – Render-certain Adam’s/Eve’s nature IN EVERY PART
        – Render-certain Adam’s/Eve’s desire IN EVERY PART
        – Render-certain Adam’s/Eve’s inclinations IN EVERY PART
        – Render-certain Adam’s/Eve’s thoughts IN EVERY PART
        – Render-certain Adam’s/Eve’s choices IN EVERY PART.

        NOTHING OTHERWISE from what Calvin’s god renders-certain to exist can exist.
        Whatever does not exist is not accessible to creatures.

        Therefore Calvin’s god made being/doing OTHERWISE not accessible to Adam/Eve.

      2. Rhutchin writes… “Only God has free will.”

        I’m not even sure I agree with this.

        Can God sin? No.

        Can God be unrighteous? No.

        Can God be unjust? No.

        Can God lie? No.

        There are somethings that even God cannot do; not because he isn’t all powerful, but precisely because of who He is. Even God is enslaved to His divine nature.

      3. Excellent point Phillip!
        Yes – I would agree the God of scripture does restrict or modulate his being and behavior in accordance to the standard of his Holiness.
        That would fall in line with “Perfect Being” theology.

        This is not the case though with pagan ruler-ship models.
        All the way from Egypt – through Babylon etc – there has been a form of ruler-ship called the “God-Man-Ruler”
        In Egypt, for example, the Pharaoh was held as being linked with the divine.

        In Babylon, and later in Rome the ruler was called PONTIFEX MAXIMUS “Bridge builder between heaven and earth”
        The Roman pope would adopt this title – and it follows the “God-Man-Ruler” model – where the Pope speaks “EX-Cathedra”

        Later this “God-Man-ruler” model would appear with Reformed protestants – called “The Right of Kings”.
        The king was established by God.
        And therefore the king could not be judged by any earthly authority.
        But key to this – the king did not have to submit himself to his own standards of ethics and morality.
        He could put a man in prison for adultery – and be blameless committing all the adultery he pleased.

        The king could not be blamed for breaching his own standards of morality because that was the image of God held by Reformed Protestants.
        Calvin’s god can commit any evil he wants to for his good pleasure and be held blameless.

        Calvin’s god cannot be constrained by his own moral standards.
        John Piper says the believer can be assured that the God of heaven is impeachable.
        But notice how deceptive this language is.
        It simply means he can commit any evil he wants to and not be held accountable for his own standards.

        When a person has no boundaries of standards of behavior – there is nothing to trust about that person
        Since this is the case – THERE IS NOTHING TO TRUST in Calvin’s god – except that he will do whatever is his good pleasure.

      4. Phillip writes:
        “Rhutchin writes … “Only God has free will.”

        I’m not even sure I agree with this.

        Can God sin? No.

        Can God be unrighteous? No.

        Can God be unjust? No.

        Can God lie? No.

        There are somethings that even God cannot do; not because he isn’t all powerful, but precisely because of who He is. Even God is enslaved to His divine nature.”

        A very perceptive comment. Not sure I have ever heard it put quite like that, but in so doing you provide a better definition of what it means to be enslaved to one’s nature. God is enslaved to his nature entirely – there is no sin or evil in him, and there never will be. Man, on the other hand, even when he was yet without sin was not made of the same holy, perfect substance that is God.

        Calvinism’s definition of the sin nature, of man being unable to do anything but sin, is found nowhere in scripture. What is suggested, as is true with God, is that one will not act contrary to one’s nature. Until sin came into existence, it was utterly contrary to anyone’s nature to sin. The possibility had never occurred; i.e, it was not ‘natural’ to think of disobeying God. Once disobedience was suggested, and followed through on, it was no longer unheard of, or ‘contrary to human nature’.

        Indeed, it became increasingly a natural behavior; one that, unless resisted, leads inevitably to corruption and eventually, inescapable depravity. But this is still far from the unsubstantiated claims of Calvinism as to what scripture means by a ‘sin nature’, how it works, if or how it can be resisted, etc. What scripture explains is how something that was once unnatural became ‘natural’, and how this new state of dis-ease between God and man called for a remedy.

      5. phillip writes, “There are somethings that even God cannot do;…Even God is enslaved to His divine nature.”

        So, if God were not enslaved to His divine nature, could He sin? Yes, but He still would not sin because of His divine nature. God’s divine nature ensures that God will not sin even if He could sin with or without being enslaved to that divine nature.

      6. Rhutchin writes…

        “Cheung does not exclude secondary sources in this citation. By opening the garden to Satan and giving Satan freedom to tempt Eve, all the time knowing the end result, God can be said to have caused Adam to sin. Yet, Satan did as he desired – God did not have to force him to tempt Eve. Eve then did as she desired – God did not have to force Eve to eat the fruit or to offer the fruit to Adam.”

        Again, for Calvinistic clarity, we turn to Vincent Cheung…..

        “To say that God is not the author of sin necessarily means that his sovereignty cannot be direct and exhaustive. That God is totally sovereign is something that the Bible clearly teaches. On the other hand, that God is not the author of sin is something that men wish to maintain against the Bible. Therefore, they affirm both, and most theologians attempt to work around it with permissive decrees (but the concept makes no sense), secondary causes (but does God directly cause and control these “secondary” causes or not?), and compatibilism (but this is irrelevant, since if God controls all things, then the fact that men make choices and what choices they make are also controlled by God, so that this means only that God is compatible with himself; thus the idea is a red herring that does not address the question). When you refuse to accept nonsense and press the issue, they throw up their hands and call it a mystery, and call you a heretic if you insist that the biblical doctrine is clear. But if this is permitted, then anyone can hold any position on any issue, and just call it a mystery…… As for secondary causation, I have addressed this a number of times. If all else fails, I can say that I did not write the books, but my computer did. The fact that I was typing on it when the books appeared does not nullify the authorship of the computer or its moral responsibility, but only establishes it. If the reply is that the computer is not an intelligent mind but a dead object, I would insist that Dual Core is superior to a lump of clay (Romans 9). In any case, if God’s authorship is only so distant (I did not make the computer, the software, nor did I make or control the electricity), he might not be so clearly the author of sin.”

        So, again, no matter how our reformed brother twists it…

        “God did it!!!”

      7. Phillip,
        Indeed Calvinists are left to “God made all the sin happen.”

        And our local Calvinists say that “man commits sin because he has no choice. He has a sin nature.” Of course this gives NO explanation of Adam, who did not have a “sin nature.”

        Everything is shrugged off to “can’t help it — man cannot NOT sin since he has a sin nature.” But…. that leaves no explanation for Adam’s sin. And none is ever given. They paint themselves into a corner and then ….. out some some diversionary “shiny object”.

      8. John Calvin cannot explain the conundrums Augustine’s Gnostic/NeoPlatonic doctrines resolve to.

        So his answer is always – DON”T QUESTION WHAT I SAY

        My first introduction to Calvinism years ago was through a Calvinist pastor who made one statement over and over.

        You Can Trust Me!

        As soon as he said that I knew he was a blind-guide.

        “The fool believes every word” – Proverbs 14

      9. rhutchin is doing what rhutchin always does with other Calvinist statements – making them into rhutchin’s image!

        God decided to make man in his image – and the Calvinist wants to return the favor.

        Not only do they do it to God and scripture – the do it to each other. :-]

      10. Perhaps because it is Sunday, and we are trained to seek a sermon on this day, I offer up a short one for your perusal. This somewhat tedious doctrinal debate over the nature of sin and its atonement mostly ignores the simple and beautiful message of the gospel, distilled in the statement of John the Baptist:

        ‘Behold, the lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29, RSV)

        For a full explanation of how this works, see Jesus’ own description, in John chapter 3, often distilled down into one verse (but I encourage you to read the entire chapter):

        ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16, RSV)

        The death and resurrection of Jesus renders mute the whole ‘problem’ of sin, as Jesus did what was necessary to ‘take it away’. This was my realization, after week upon week upon week of hearing about what dreadful sinners we are in my Calvinist church. Many a former attender left the church, burdened by a sense of discouragement from being constantly beaten down with the ‘bad news’. What possible good could it do me – and others – to hear endlessly what depraved sinners we were? One can call it a sin nature, slavery to sin or whatever one wishes; but at the end of the day, Jesus set us free from the debt and curse of sin! As Peter described it:

        ‘He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.’ (1 Pet 2:24)

        Why do we argue endlessly about the origin and extent of our sin, when we should be spreading the good news that it has been taken away? You might say that ‘sin’ is yesterday’s news. We get it already – we had a problem that we could not resolve, and we needed help. Whether we were rotten to the core, too dead to hear or however you want to put it, Jesus was and is the entire solution to our sin problem. What I, and other sinners, need and want to hear about, experience and rejoice in is our deliverance and healing – the ‘good news’ that Jesus came bearing. Let us learn more about how we can die to sin and live to righteousness, rather than needlessly discuss the origin, terms and extent of the sin from which we have been granted freedom.

        Ah, but to those who fancy themselves the holders of the keys to the kingdom, who proclaim their own importance and authority to ‘rule over’ others, condemnation and fear is a necessary tool. Just let people believe that they are fully forgiven, and they will not come begging, with purses in hand, for the sacraments and ordinances you insist are so necessary to put them ‘right with God’. Once persuaded that a relationship with God is not about circumcision, baptism or tiny wafers, people might realize that they do not need organized Religion or its self-claimed authorities to save their souls from hellfire. Even worse, they might realize that there is no longer a temple or a priesthood to which they owe their tithe and offerings! Follow the money and you will inevitably be led to the false teachers.

        I no longer care much about Calvinism’s definition of sin – the sin that the Lamb of God has taken away once and for all. Nor do I buy into the ancient, long since eliminated requirement that some ceremony or other is necessary to apply the blood of the Lamb to my account. No more doorposts. No more circumcision. No more temple walls, keeping people out or in. Jesus’ greatest threat was not in renting the veil in two, but in wrenching the purses of the people out of the hands of the gold-adorned rulers. By asserting that salvation comes through faith in God – not temple rites – Jesus was essentially stripping institutional Religion of its former role, along with its ill-gained power and wealth.

        The good and glorious news is that God is our loving Father, who simply asks all men to trust him and walk with him. It is not about ‘Israel’. It is not about ‘The Church’. It is not about ‘the elect’ (at least, not the false Calvinist definition thereof). It is not about the historical, orthodox creeds. It is not about the correct definition of sin, the properly divided atonement theory or a well-devised systematic theology.

        One no longer need carry the ancient burden of properly preparing the sin sacrifice and seeking to follow the minute requirements of the law. The Priesthood, with all of its power, wealth and authority, was done away with when the once-for-all sacrifice was made. Or, shall we say, as Jesus did, that we now have a priesthood of believers, rather than a hierarchical religious system. Does anyone really believe that the ancient religious battles were over the proper definition of the Trinity, and the preservation of the faith, rather than a cockfight for the right to sell tickets to heaven?

        What Jesus came to freely give us, ‘The Church’ – falsely masquerading as The Body of Christ – has always sought to take away. Whereas Jesus promised to give us all that we need, via the very Spirit of God, The Church, as an institution – however well-meaning many individuals within might be – falsely asserts that we need her to instruct and intercede for us. As if the Spirit of God was never promised, and never delivered. We need, so we are told, The Church’s sacraments, doctrines and blessings, given in return for our faithful ‘support’.

        One of the biggest dangers of Calvinism is its attempt to reapply the yoke of sacramental, institutionalized Religion upon the modern evangelical world, which had mostly succeeded in escaping it. All it took was a generation of false religious celebrities, leading The Church into confusion, idol worship and sexual abuse, to lay the path for a return to rigid, sacramental fundamentalism, creedalism and doctrinal debate – the dead Religion of the Pharisees which Calvinists so love.

        Just take a look at the leading spokespersons for Christianity and Calvinism and see how many humble tentmakers exist, as opposed to arrogant men building wealth-creating institutions and amassing personal fortunes for themselves and their children. These celebrity ‘priests’ can easily morph from traditional Baptist, to radical Reformed, to Charismatic and back again – wherever the money is. Tripping over their sex scandals along the way, these modern priests vie for the top slots that provide the greatest wealth and honor, as well as an endless supply of trusting victims with open pockets. Massive religious organizations have been built, and passed on to those with the right name, the bloodline priesthood of Aaron replaced by the family of Graham. And, like the sons of Eli, the sex scandals and abuses of the sons continue to bring dishonor and shame to the so-called ‘house of God’. Ordinances and bloodlines might produce Priests, but sacrifice demonstrates the love of God at work.

        I doubt that God has any greater concern over petty doctrinal disputes than Jesus did when the rulers of the day attempted to trip him up with them. He always cut to the heart of the matter, which was receiving and giving love to God and to others. Sin loses its frightful sting once we become aware that Jesus has taken it out of the equation, for those who put their trust in him.

        The Church has for too long been allowed to place false limits on the gracious redemption provided for all men, varying with its particular creeds. Calvinism presents this error in its ugliest extreme, withholding the precious gift of forgiveness to sin-weary men and reestablishing a limited, predetermined salvation for the chosen few.

        I expose you, who would burden men once again with the weighty yoke of sin and guilt, as the deceivers that you are. Behold, all who are weary and heavy laden, and put your trust in Jesus, the Lamb who has taken away the sin of the world! Let no one withhold from you this gift of life, freely offered by God to whosoever will believe and receive it.

      11. Wonderful TSOO!

        Jesus is the golden standard. :-]

        And this is the testimony – that light came into the world – and darkness could not put it out.

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