Prevenient Grace: An Arminian Error

Why I Prefer Not To Be Called An Arminian:

I’ve often told people that I am not an Arminian, but that is not because I dislike Arminians; nor is it because we disagree over that many issues. In fact, Traditional Southern Baptists (Provisionists), like myself, agree with much of what many good Arminian brothers teach. But, there are several differences I have with my Arminian friends that should be noted. For instance, some classical Arminians have various views on the doctrine of eternal security and apostasy, which we address elsewhere.

Also, some Arminians teach the “foresight faith view” in order to explain God’s eternal plan of election. When I was a young Calvinist, I had been lead to believe the only real alternative to Calvinism was this seemingly strange concept of God “looking through the corridors of time to elect those He foresees would choose Him.” Notable Calvinistic teachers almost always paint all non-Calvinistic scholars as holding to this perspective. Once I realized other scholarly views were available, I became more open to consider them objectively.

I found a much more robust and theologically sound systematic in what is called “The Corporate View of Election,” which so happened to be the most popular view among the biblical scholars of my own denomination (Southern Baptists). Therefore, I have come to affirm the unified declaration of the author’s in the book titled Whosoever Will:

“We are neither Calvinists nor Arminians; we are Baptists!”

Even among Traditional Baptists, there exists various nuances over the nature of fallen humanity in response to God’s revelation. However, the Traditional statement, signed by many notable Traditional scholars, clearly denounces the concept of “Total Inability,” a view maintained by all Calvinists and many classical Arminian scholars.

“Total Inability” is the belief that all humanity is born incapable of willingly coming to Christ for salvation even in light of the Holy Spirit wrought truth of the Gospel, unless God graciously works to empower the will of lost man (effectually by way of regeneration for the Calvinist, and sufficiently by way of “prevenient grace” for the Arminian). Traditionalists simply do not accept the unfounded presumption that the libertarian freedom of man’s will was lost due to the Fall. As article two of the Traditional statement says,

“We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned.”

Notable Arminian scholar, Roger Olson, critiqued the Southern Baptist Traditional statement by calling it “Semi-Pelagian,” and I would like to respond to that charge here.

A Cordial Response To Dr. Roger Olson

I have much respect for the scholarship and work of Dr. Olson. I have used his resources many times in my own studies and find him to be a thoughtful and thoroughly biblical scholar in all respects. He unashamedly wears the label “Arminian” and defends his views as well as I have ever seen. However, I do have a small bone to pick with his teaching on “Prevenient Grace.” Dr. Olson clearly explains this perspective:

“Prevenient grace” is simply a term for the grace of God that goes before, prepares the way, enables, assists the sinner’s repentance and faith (conversion). According to classical Calvinism this prevenient grace is always efficacious and given only to the elect through the gospel; it effects conversion. According to classical Arminianism it is an operation of the Holy Spirit that frees the sinner’s will from bondage to sin and convicts, calls, illumines and enables the sinner to respond to the gospel call with repentance and faith (conversion). Calvinists and Arminians agree, against Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism, that the sinner’s will is so depraved and bound to sin that it cannot respond positively to the gospel call without supernatural grace. [LINK]

Notice that Dr. Olson frames the discussion in such a way as to set up “supernatural grace” as separate from “the gospel call,” as if the “graciously prevenient” work of God cannot actually be the work of the gospel itself. If I had the opportunity to press Olson on this point I would have to ask if he thinks the inspiration and preservation of our scriptures is a supernatural and gracious work of God or not. If it is, then the entire Arminian premise appears to be flawed.

What must be noted is that the gospel itself meets EVERY needed characteristic of this so-called “prevenient grace.” Using Dr. Olson’s own definition: The gospel goes before, prepares the way, enables and assists the sinner’s repentance and faith (Romans 10:14-17).

The gospel is inspired, written, carried, proclaimed and preserved by the direct activity of the Holy Spirit Himself. What more must He personally do to enable the lost who hear it to respond to it? Does God’s grace really need more grace to work? If so, where is that principle clearly laid out in the scripture?

In another article, Dr. Olson specifically addresses the “Traditional Statement” produced by many respected theologians associated with the SBC. The statement, according to Dr. Olson’s own article, reads as follows:

Article Two: The Sinfulness of Man

We affirm that, because of the fall of Adam, every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin. Each person’s sin alone brings the wrath of a holy God, broken fellowship with Him, ever-worsening selfishness and destructiveness, death, and condemnation to an eternity in hell.

We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned. While no sinner is remotely capable of achieving salvation through his own effort, we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.

Genesis 3:15-24; 6:5; Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 6:5, 7:15-16;53:6; Jeremiah 17:5,9, 31:29-30; Ezekiel 18:19-20; Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-18, 5:12, 6:23; 7:9; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 6:9-10;15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 20:11-15” (italics added)

This article seems to support the perspective I expounded upon above to which Dr. Olson takes to task by stating:

A classical Arminian would never deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will. Classical Arminianism (as I have demonstrated in Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities) strongly affirms the bondage of the will to sin before and apart from prevenient grace’s liberating work. Now, perhaps this is the point of the statement’s mention of “the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.” But that, too, can be interpreted in a semi-Pelagian way.

Dr. Olson makes the same fundamental error of our Calvinistic brethren by assuming one’s bondage to sin equals a moral incapacity to humble himself and confess this bondage in light of the truth plainly made known by the gospel. As far as I can tell, this is never taught in scripture but is merely theological baggage presumed upon the text.

In contrast to Olson, I would contend that it is by the means of the Holy Spirit inspired gospel that God directly works within man’s hearts prior to their acceptance and/or rejection of the appeal made by that gospel. In fact, I believe that is what the scripture is contending when it says:

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

This penetrating work into the “soul and spirit” sounds like the work of “prevenient grace” described by my Arminian brethren, yet the author of Hebrews simply refers to “the word of God” as accomplishing this work, not some extra working of grace that aids the otherwise incapacitated nature of fallen man.

Here are other passages that seem to teach that the scriptures, God’s inspired words, are sufficient even for the lost:

“…you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:15-16).

And

“Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17).

And

“The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63)

The Early Church Fathers likewise seemed to agree with this understanding:

Athanasius wrote, “The Holy Scriptures, given by inspiration of God, are of themselves sufficient toward the discovery of truth.”

Irenaeus, (130-202) wrote, “We have known the method of our salvation by no other means than those by whom the gospel came to us; which gospel they truly preached; but afterward, by the will of God, they delivered to us in the Scriptures, to be for the future the foundation and pillar of our faith,” (Adv. H. 3:1)

Olson continues to make his case by stating:

“Semi-Pelagians such as Philip Limborch and (at least in some of his writings) Charles Finney affirmed the necessity of the gospel and the Holy Spirit’s enlightening work through it for salvation. What made them semi-Pelagian was their denial or neglect of the divine initiative in salvation (except the gospel message).”

EXCEPT THE GOSPEL MESSAGE?!? That is kind of a huge exception to leave hanging there in a parenthetical afterthought. It is the GOSPEL–the “power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16)–the very appeal of Christ Himself for all to be reconciled from the fall (2 Cor. 5:20). Can we…or should we “EXCEPT it” from being “the divine initiative in salvation” without very clear biblical cause? Olson continues:

The problem with this Southern Baptist statement is its neglect of emphasis on the necessity of the prevenience of supernatural grace for the exercise of a good will toward God (including acceptance of the gospel by faith). If the authors believe in that cardinal biblical truth, they need to spell it out more clearly.

It seems only to be unclear to one who presumes that an additional work of supernatural grace is needed above that which is accomplished by the gospel itself, which begs the question of our disagreement:

Is another work of divine grace, besides that which the gospel accomplishes, needed to enable the lost to respond?

Show me in the Bible where such additional grace is said to be needed and I’ll be the first to recant my perspective on this. But, we must be careful in this discussion not to misapply texts having to do with God purposefully and judicially blinding the truth of the gospel from large numbers of Israelites due to their own rebellion. Dr. Olson certainly would not want to make the same hermeneutical mistake as the Calvinist on this point. Dr. Olson continues:

And they need to delete the sentence that denies the incapacitation of free will due to Adam’s sin. Leaving the statement as it stands, without a clear affirmation of the bondage of the will to sin apart from supernatural grace, inevitably hands the Calvinists ammunition to use against non-Calvinist Baptists.

With all due respect to Dr. Olson (and I really mean that when I say it), but the classical Arminians are strange bed-fellows with the Calvinists when it comes to their individualizing of the text and this particular error of separating the grace from its means. God’s gracious means to enable faith IS the Gospel. The TRUTH will set you free (John 8:32). The very words that Christ spoke and gave us to proclaim are “spirit and life” (John 6:63). Faith comes by hearing God’s gospel truth (Romans 10:14), and we will be judged by the very words of Christ (John 12:48). Dr. Olson continues:

It doesn’t matter what “most Baptists” believe or what is the “traditional Southern Baptist understanding.” For a long time I’ve been stating that most American Christians, including most Baptists, are semi-Pelagian, not Arminian and not merely non-Calvinist.

Likewise, it does not matter what classical Arminians believe or how ancient councils have framed this discussion. It is never right to label and dismiss people with manmade Catholic titles of heresy, especially when we all deny the heretical component of that original doctrine (i.e the denial of the sin nature and our need for a Savior from conception).

I would love to set aside the Pelagian boogeyman labels for a time and have a biblical conversation about any passage which Dr. Olson believes supports the unfounded idea that fallen humanity are born in such a condition that they cannot willingly respond to God’s own Holy Spirit inspired appeals to be reconciled from the Fall. It seems to me that God’s gospel appeals, in and of themselves, would be sufficient to do what He means for them to do. John 20:31 clearly lays out what his inspired words are meant to do:

“…these [scriptures] have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

Must we muddy the waters by suggesting that God, at some unknown point in the life of everyone, has to move in some other gracious way to enable all people to respond to the already gracious, powerful, Holy Spirit wrought truth of the gospel? What text necessitates such complex theological explanations? Why create a redundant theological term when the biblical word is more than sufficient? The GOSPEL is God’s enabling grace and the ONLY reason some do not have “ears to hear” is if they have become blinded or calloused against it because they have continually closed their eyes to the truth (John 12:39-41; Acts 28:23-28). There is nothing in scripture, as far as I can tell, which suggests men are born in such condition that would prevent them from responding to “the double edge sword” of the Holy Spirit’s soul piercing gospel truth (Heb. 4:12).

Olson writes:

Calvinists and Arminians stand together, with Scripture, against semi-Pelagianism. (Romans 3:11 and 1 Corinthians 4:7 to name just two passages.)

Regarding Romans 3:11, the teaching that “no one seeks God,” does not prove that no one can respond to God’s gracious means to seek and save us (i.e. through the gospel appeal). And the context of the 1 Corinthians 4:7 passage ironically warns us against saying you are of Paul or Apollos (i.e. of Calvin or Arminius) because “what do you have that you were not given?” How that supports the concept that the gospel itself is not a sufficient work of supernatural enabling grace is beyond me. In a follow up comment, Dr. Olson gives this less than helpful “litmus test” to determine if one falls into the heretic category:

The litmus test is this: Do you believe the initiative in salvation (speaking here of the individual’s salvation) is God’s or the human person’s? Can a sinner exercise a good will toward God apart from special assisting grace? If the answer to the first question is “God’s” and to the second is “no,” then I will count you an Arminian, not a semi-Pelagian.

Of course I believe God takes the initiative in salvation. He takes the initiative by sending the Law, His Son, the Spirit, the apostles, the Scriptures, and His Bride filled with Holy Spirit filled messengers to carry his powerful gospel appeal to every living creature. So, would I pass his first test question?

To Olson’s second inquiry, I would quickly say “no, a sinner cannot exercise faith apart from hearing the gracious truth of the gospel appeal.” Faith does come by hearing, after all. How will they believe in one whom they have not heard (Rom. 10)? So, would I pass his second test question, or can we assume the good doctor forgot his parenthetical exception of “the gracious gospel truth” leaving me to fail his heretical litmus test?

Means Mean Something:

Both Arminians and Traditionalists believe the Holy Spirit is personally working to enable the lost to come to faith so as to be saved.  We disagree as to the MEANS by which the Holy Spirit does this.

For instance, one Arminian friend of mine said to me, “In my mind even the thought experiment of whether the gospel is sufficient without the personal work of the Holy Spirit makes no sense…” I agree with him, that does not make any sense. 

Do you see the clear contrast between the Arminian and myself on this point? The Arminian thinks I believe “the gospel is sufficient without the personal work of the Holy Spirit,” whereas I actually believe, “the gospel is sufficient BECAUSE it is the personal work of the Holy Spirit.”

Should we ever conclude that God’s words, graciously inspired by His Spirit, are somehow insufficient to lead anyone who hears them to faith and repentance?

Need there be some kind of extra grace that makes the grace of the gospel powerful enough to lead one to salvation? I see no convincing evidence of this need in scripture, do you? If you do see it, is that because God has granted you a grace which makes you more capable of seeing truths revealed in scripture that He has kept from me and other believers? Or could it simply be that we all have the same gracious revelation and any errors of interpretation or suppressing of its truth is due only to our own free choices?

I suspect that much of the dispute within in the church over the centuries would not have been necessary if we simply dropped this unfounded presupposition that God’s gracious work needs more grace to work.

477 thoughts on “Prevenient Grace: An Arminian Error

  1. Could prevenient grace be that grace from God which has always been there from the beginning for all human beings in the form of God-given reason, freedom to choose between right and wrong, provision of law or moral truths and later gospel, and provision of spirit that empowers those who seek God? Not my idea; saw somebody else comment about it somewhere and found it persuasive.

    1. Scott Williams asks, “Could prevenient grace be…God-given reason, freedom to choose between right and wrong, provision of law or moral truths and later gospel, and provision of spirit that empowers those who seek God?”

      That’s fine. Now answer the question Calvinists ask, “How do you explain people rejecting salvation under those conditions?”

  2. Excellent article. I could not agree more.

    Romans 1:16 is the summation of this biblical trruth. The gospel IS the power of God! Requiring “prevenient grace” or “regeneration” as a means of Salvation effectively adds to the gospel and says the gospel IS NOT the power of God.

    Why would scriptures declare the power of the gospel if it was insufficient? Why would God not reveal his whole truth if more was required?

    I see A&C both upholding the satanic modus operandi in that God says one thing, but means something else. Satan is still deceiving as an angel of light.

    1. Welcome Steve.

      You are right. It’s like when the Philippian jailer asks “what must I do to be saved?” (first of all —-that was very shrewd of a “dead man” to ask that!!!).

      Then the answer—even in the ESV …. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved….”

      Paul does not say, “Well…. we have a Gospel… but we need to add regeneration or a special kind of grace to it first. Just hold that thought.”

      1. The Philippian jailer asked, “What must I do to be saved?”
        “So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
        – Acts 16: 30b-31

        This is a prime example of a straightforward statement of salvation being predicated on voluntary, individual belief in the living ‘Word’, Jesus Christ, with no disclaimers or limitations.

        Were Calvinism true, and only a limited and preselected subset of humanity chosen and irresistibly decreed to be saved, one might expect such a ‘truth’ to here be spelled out. To do otherwise, if such things were the Gospel of salvation, would be, for Paul, God’s chosen servant, to be dishonest.

        Yet, how does Paul respond to the simple, heartfelt question, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ Does he set forth the Calvinistic Doctrines of Grace, in their five, mutually dependent components?

        No, he does not, but simply responds, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . .’

        Such an answer would not only be misleading but outright deceptive if the truth of the matter is that no man actually CAN believe unless they are a part of that secret subset chosen by God.

        No Calvinist that I know of claims to know who is and isn’t ‘chosen’. Nowhere in his writings does Paul even mention the secretive, arbitrary, irresistible ‘election’ and ‘regeneration’ of Calvinism, so we can safely state that he never claimed to know who made up this secretive, elite group. So we can rule out the possibility that Paul knew the jailer was ‘elect’ thus did not see the need to spell out the entire process. The jailer had been terrified and stunned at the events that had just taken place, almost taking his own life until he was stopped by Paul. But nowhere is it suggested that some sort of secretive, unsought supernatural regenerating act had been performed on him by God. Without doubt, scripture could have recounted such an act had it occurred. Indeed, were this the way God truly works, why would it not be spelled out? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

        If God intends for people to understand the Calvinistic gospel, and in order to be honest, (were Calvinism true), Paul would have to respond something to the effect of:

        “Do? There is nothing you can ‘do’ to be saved. God sovereignly chose, in eternity past, those who he determined to set his love upon and irresistibly bring to himself. As this is a limited, arbitrary group, the names of which none but God knows, all you can do is wait and see if you are irresistibly drawn to him by his supernatural intervention. Perhaps this earthquake was designed for just such an event in your life.”

        Of course, the jailer would most likely respond to such an answer with, ‘Huh?’

        To which Paul might respond, ‘You see, all men, yourself included, are Totally Depraved, unable and unwilling to hear, respond and come to God for salvation. I myself was totally dead until God blinded me on the road to Damascus and regenerated me. Those who are a part of the elite selected club called ‘the elect’, like me and those with me, must at some point be supernaturally changed by God, which we call regeneration. When this happens, as it inevitably does to all who are ‘elect’, the individual will be transformed, made new and be given the ability to believe in Jesus and eternal salvation as a gift of God. All you can do is wait and see if this happens to you.’

        The jailer, who quite contrary to Calvinism appears to desire to receive salvation, might be a bit discouraged. He might, out of love for his family, express sorrow that he could not promise them any assurance of salvation either, as all must wait and see if they are supernaturally regenerated and ‘given’ faith to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

        Anyone who suggests this is actually what takes place in Acts 16 is either greatly inventive or a liar. Indeed, no such teachings be found anywhere in scripture. Amazingly, the most important, significant event in all of human existence is never actually properly spelled out, according to Calvinism, but must be pieced together from various widespread snippets of information, an interpretation rejected by all early church leaders until forced upon Geneva by John Calvin in the sixteenth century.

        Instead, we are consistently led by scripture to believe that we are able to make a free, voluntary choice to believe in Jesus, or to not believe in Jesus. Nowhere do any of the disciples state that ‘You must believe, but you can’t, so wait and see if you will be regenerated so that you CAN believe. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you, a totally depraved, undeserving worm can actually, by your own choice and in your own power, believe in God. It is all God’s choice and entirely God’s doing, so there is no need for you to imagine anything contrary. In fact, it is silly of you to pretend as if you desire to be saved, as no one, apart from regeneration can desire, seek or find God.’

        Such assertions we find nowhere in scripture, ever, but only in the ramblings of false teachers who claim to be men of God infused with special insight to deliver to mankind.

      2. TS00,
        You have pointed this out several times in a clearly worded way.

        What is even worse for Calvinists along this line can be demonstrated this way:

        These past holidays we attended the moving-toward-Calvinism church where my daughter is on staff. The pastor who claims to be a Calvinist said clearly at all three services: “Christ is calling every person in this room to follow Him.” “We want everyone who is here to clearly hear our message that Christ died for you.”

        Well…. now…. that is a very conflicted Calvinist —-but he’s certainly not alone!!!

        Only the hard core Calvinists tell people “Do not tell everyone that Christ loves them! It is just not true!”

        Most (almost all) Calvinists want to naively go along claiming to be “Calvinists” while at that same time telling everyone they meet (or in this case a room of a thousand) that Christ died for all of them.

        That is just NOT Calvinism. The whole idea of the Calvinist L (Limited Atonement) is that Christ did NOT die for most people.

      3. FOH writes, “The pastor who claims to be a Calvinist said clearly at all three services: “Christ is calling every person in this room to follow Him.” “We want everyone who is here to clearly hear our message that Christ died for you.”

        1. The Pastor should have said, ““Christ is commanding every person in this room to follow Him.

        2. The Pastor should have clarified context, “We want everyone, no matter the color of your skin, your nationality, your economic situation, your sin, etc who is here to clearly hear our message that Christ died for sinners.” Jesus said, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Paul said, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”

      4. rh writes:

        “2. The Pastor should have clarified context, “We want everyone, no matter the color of your skin, your nationality, your economic situation, your sin, etc who is here to clearly hear our message that Christ died for sinners.” Jesus said, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Paul said, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”

        And what a distorted mess he makes of scripture. What does color of skin, nationality, etc. have to do with the fact that no one but a select, predetermined few can hear the message that Christ died for them – because he didn’t die for most. Under Calvinism, he did not come to call the righteous but SOME select few sinners, to repentance. The faithful saying of Calvinists is that Christ Jesus came into the world to save SOME select few sinners.

        Why not preach what you believe? Why not come right out and say that many are [deceptively] called, but only a predetermined few can really come? Why not acknowledge upfront that God does not love all, does not desire to save all, Jesus did not die that all may be saved, and that the Calvinist gospel is completely different from what the average Christian has heard and believes?

        Rarely will one hear such clear, non-deceptive teaching from Calvinists. So proud of their theology, but too ashamed to proclaim it honestly. Because no one would remain in their pews handing over their precious tithes, and we can’t have that, can we?

      5. TSoo writes, “Under Calvinism, he did not come to call the righteous but SOME select few sinners, to repentance. The faithful saying of Calvinists is that Christ Jesus came into the world to save SOME select few sinners. ”

        Of course, TS00 believes that all will be saved. I wish it were true.

      6. False accusation, and you know it. TS00 believes God’s statements that he desires none to perish, and wills that all would turn from wickedness and live. And of course, all of scripture sets forth this stated desire, along with the conditions set forth by which anyone can be redeemed and restored to relationship with him. Because he not only desires, but provides the means by which anyone can be saved. “What must [we] do to be saved?” according to Acts 16? You know the answer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . .” This is no new concept. Calvinists know
        full well that the vast majority of non-Calvinists are not Universalists, so it is obtuse and deceptive to pretend otherwise. In Calvinism, there are no conditions, just God’s determinitive decrees that SOME be saved and the rest have absolutely no opportunity of being saved. Rather a different picture than what you falsely paint of my beliefs.

      7. TS00 writes, “Because he not only desires, but provides the means by which anyone can be saved.”

        This is basically what the Calvinist says, except that Calvinism recognizes that God does not provide the means by which everyone can be saved; a conclusion with which you seem to agree when you start out your comment, “False accusation, and you know it.” God necessarily must provide the means for anyone to be saved – Christ’s death for sin, regeneration and faith – or else none could be saved. Thus, you are correct when you say, “In Calvinism, there are no conditions, just God’s determinitive decrees that SOME be saved and the rest have absolutely no opportunity of being saved.” So, how is your belief any different than this? If a person is not saved it can only be because an omnipotent God did not do that which was required to save the person.

      8. rh writes:
        ” If a person is not saved it can only be because an omnipotent God did not do that which was required to save the person.”

        That, sir, is blasphemy, and the very reason I speak out against Calvinism. I pray for your soul.

      9. TS00,
        I just wrote about the conflicted Calvinist who says that Christ died for everyone.

        If you would like to see how a Calvinist can spend a whole message saying nothing at all….have a look at Piper’s message

        “In what way did Christ die for the non-elect?”

        https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/in-what-sense-did-christ-die-for-the-non-elect

        It says nothing…. but sounds sweet. At one point he says….

        “Now, we’ll come back to this in just a moment to answer the question “For what tangible reason did Christ die for the non-elect?”

        But he doesnt. He never does. He just says tell everyone to repent….but never, ever makes any connection to the title of the message or the promised connection to a tangible reason.

      10. This sort of confused Calvinist (see Dr. Flowers’s most recent post on nominal Calvinists) is very common, even among pastors. When we left our former Calvinist church and were in the process of moving, we visited a great many churches, most of which claimed to be Reformed. I could not believe the conflicted statements I heard week after week, like the one in which the pastor, urging his people to believe that prayer was important and effectual, stated:

        “This might surprise you all, but I want you to know that all things are not set in stone, and prayer actually matters.”

        It sure as heck surprised me, because he claimed to adhere to the Westminster Confession and the teaching that God has ordained, in eternity past, whatsoever will come to pass. There is nothing that will happen that any amount of praying or not praying could possibly change. But very, very few people actually have a consistent understanding and living out of what Calvinism demands. It is simply unlivable, as you have often pointed out.

        No one would pray, simply because God commands them to, if they thought it did not make a whit of difference. I know some will say the difference it makes is within the one who prays, but that is not actually what scripture suggests, IMO. Nor do I believe many could stand the meaninglessness and fatalism which consistent Calvinistic thinking would lead to. So most compartmentalize and do not really think consistently as their systematic would, of followed, dictate.

      11. TS00 writes, “This is a prime example of a straightforward statement of salvation being predicated on voluntary, individual belief in the living ‘Word’, Jesus Christ, with no disclaimers or limitations.”

        And that must be why TS00 believes that everyone who hears a straightforward statement of salvation is saved. Good for him.

      12. FOH writes, “You are right. It’s like when the Philippian jailer asks “what must I do to be saved?” (first of all —-that was very shrewd of a “dead man” to ask that!!!).”

        Or it is the natural question for one to ask if he has been regenerated.

    2. Another interesting thing that Paul tells the Philippian jailer….

      “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

      He tells him that the offer is good for his household too (and they did not “get regenerated” yet to ask!).

      1. FOH writes, “He tells him that the offer is good for his household too (and they did not “get regenerated” yet to ask!).”

        But could they also believe without first being regenerated?

      2. I do not think their was an offer there at all the way I read it FOH.

        It was an assertion of certainty from the Apostle Paul that Scriptures bear witness to the fact that it did happen.

        Acts 16: 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

        32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

        33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

        34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

        I know you equate salvation with regeneration so even by your own belief they were regenerated. If I am understanding this conversation correctly.

        It was of the Lord’s doing adding to the church daily those who were being saved.

        Acts 2:47 -praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

        Apologize if I have misunderstood you. I probably have jumping in on just one reply and not following along with the whole conversation. Although I do not think you would refute what I have said above.

        Blessings

    3. Steve Johnson writes, “Romans 1:16 is the summation of this biblical truth. The gospel IS the power of God! Requiring “prevenient grace” or “regeneration” as a means of Salvation effectively adds to the gospel and says the gospel IS NOT the power of God. ”

      Add 1 Corinthians 1, “the message of the cross is…to us who are being saved it is the power of God…we preach Christ crucified…to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” The gospel is the means God uses to regenerate a spiritually dead person and the means God uses to convey to the regenerated person assurance and conviction in Christ.

  3. 1 Cor.2:14 comes immediately to mind, the natural man can not understand spiritual things. Of course scripture warns not to harden your heart in the day when you hear the voice of God, so obviously some level of at least potential understanding is implied, (certainly I agree His Spirit and His voice are in the word of God and active). Now we understand that there is hearing (mundane, “heard it before”) and then there is hearing (spiritual, “life changing”). It seems both aspects or concepts of the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit are validated. I find this discussion fascinating and helpful. My own experience was that although I had heard the gospel clearly before, I never responded like I did the night the Spirit of God convicted me of my sin and graciously showed me the way of salvation through the foolishness of “hearing the gospel” in the ritual healing of lepers.

    1. Hello Donald and welcome

      Eventually – the Calvinist systematic forces the believer’s mind into a state of double-mindedness.
      The most unfortunate part being – his mind looses any ability to discern the condition.
      It totally becomes his normalcy.
      Double-think becomes the only way he can think.
      And the outward expression of double-think, is double-speak.

      Blessings!

    2. Hi Donald, here are my thoughts on 1 Corinthians 2, 14

      The man operating just from what can be discovered by human wisdom will not look positively upon that which is presented as revelation from God. [Though he is certainly able to have a fairly accurate objective understanding of what that revelation says], it will seem foolish to him to believe that it is true and for him to believe and practice. And [until he receives spiritual conviction and illumination] he is unable to recognize that this divine revelation must be spiritually investigated.

      Do you think God is unable to communicate effectively spiritual conviction and illumination to the mind and heart of an unregenerate person? Is He that weak? The Scripture says He gives His powerful light to all.

      Light then Faith then Life. John 1:4-13, 12:35-36, 20:30-31. It’s a shame Calvinists reject God’s clear sovereign plan just so that they can remain loyal to their pagan born philosophy of determinism… a philosophy from natural man!

      Paul was not talking about how someone gets saved in 1Cor 2… he was instead telling the Corinthians not to think highly of man’s philosophy, for man’s soul does not originate, welcome, or understand that spiritual things must be revealed by God.

      The Greek in this verse says “understand that” not “understand them, because”. The “them” is not in the text. Paul is saying that natural man will not understand “that” from human wisdom he will never discern correctly the things of God… not even from neo-platonism!

      God spoke effectively to unregenerate minds in Ezek 18:31, telling Israel to repent and get a new heart, just like He effectively spoke to unregenerate Adam, Cain, Nicodemus, and Cornelius. They understood some of what was said.

      Actually the Greek word in 1Cor 2:14 is ψυχικος (soulish) not σαρκικος (carnal). The idea is of a person who evaluates everything based on naturalism (human philosophy) and rejects the supernatural or at least rejects the idea of revelation from God.

      Paul is saying it is only from the revelation of God that spiritual things can be understood. The Corinthians were listening to the “wisdom of men” (Greek philosophers) and Paul was rebuking them gently for it. For that was part of what was leading to dividing them into groups following men, instead of following the Scriptures, which were God’s revelation through His prophets and apostles (1Cor 4:6).

      All of Calvinism is based on Greek philosophy… It was the neo-platonism made popular in Christianity through Augustine (determinism, non-sequential reality, impassibility). And it still infects popular Christian theology today.

      Another legitimate anti-Calvinism view based on grammar and context is also found in this 15min by an ex-Calvinist pastor/evangelist – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAaUWnr8Kx8

      1. brianwagner writes, “The man operating just from what can be discovered by human wisdom will not look positively upon that which is presented as revelation from God…And [until he receives spiritual conviction and illumination] he is unable to recognize that this divine revelation must be spiritually investigated.”

        The Calvinist distinguishes the natural man as a person without faith. The person without faith is unable to recognize that this divine revelation must be spiritually investigated. Brian is correct when he says, “[until he receives spiritual conviction and illumination] where spiritual conviction is defines in Hebrews 11 as faith.

        Then, “It’s a shame Calvinists reject God’s clear sovereign plan just so that they can remain loyal to their pagan born philosophy of determinism… a philosophy from natural man!”

        Calvinism, if anything, is a philosophy of faith – no one can be saved without faith (in Christ) and faith is a gift from God to His elect.

        Then, ‘Paul was not talking about how someone gets saved in 1Cor 2… he was instead telling the Corinthians not to think highly of man’s philosophy, for man’s soul does not originate, welcome, or understand that spiritual things must be revealed by God.”

        Paul was distinguishing between the natural man (without faith) and the spiritual man (with faith). It is the person without faith of whom it can be said “for man’s soul does not originate, welcome, or understand that spiritual things must be revealed by God.”

        Then, “Paul is saying that natural man will not understand “that” from human wisdom he will never discern correctly the things of God… not even from neo-platonism!”

        Natural man cannot understand because he is without faith (in Christ).

        Then, “All of Calvinism is based on Greek philosophy… It was the neo-platonism made popular in Christianity through Augustine (determinism, non-sequential reality, impassibility). And it still infects popular Christian theology today.”

        Brian continues to resist Calvinism’s emphasis on faith falsely accusing it of relying on Greek philosophy. Calvinism is based on the Scriptures and thereby gives a precedence to the necessity of faith in salvation that Brian seems to reject.

      2. rhutchin
        The Calvinist distinguishes the natural man as a person without faith.

        br.d
        That’s because the Calvinist has to use deceptive language – to HIDE more than he reveals

        The TRUE “T” in the TULIP

        “T” Totally Predestined Nature:
        The state of man’s nature at any instance in time is totally predestined prior to creation, and therefore absolutely nothing about any part of man’s nature (or anything else for that matter) is ever up to any man.

      3. BRD,
        You keep stating this so clearly, but I think it was predestined before time for our resident Calvinists-determinists to NOT understanding.

        We need to give them space. All that they understand was programmed in them from before time, so our logical, biblical explanations will not make sense to them.

        Come to think of it, that must be a pretty comfortable place to live. Just relax and do whatever you feel like (even sin!) because God decreed you would do that before time anyway!

      4. So, does the Calvinist ever have to apologize for doing anything wrong? ‘I’m sorry, honey, that God made me so stubborn and arrogant.’ How do they confess and repent of sin, ‘Uh, sorry God for, er, doing what you made me do, even though you really didn’t want me to do it, and commanded me not to do it, but predetermined that I would . . .’

      5. TS00,
        I have asked that kind of question many times on these pages. Most of the time it is right in the middle of the dialog with a Calvinist. I never get a response from them about how that w

        Do they need to apologize for something that God predetermined that they do? Do they need to even be chagrined about something that they did at the end of the day knowing that… for some strange determinist reason… the thing they did was what God wanted?

        No answer will be given by any of our Calvinist friends. I am still waiting.

      6. FOH asks, “Do they need to apologize for something that God predetermined that they do? Do they need to even be chagrined about something that they did at the end of the day knowing that… for some strange determinist reason… the thing they did was what God wanted? ”

        I think we have answered this before. Let’s grant that God does not really know what will happen in the future – let’s pretend that God doesn’t really understand the impacts of His actions or the actions of His creation. Somehow that understanding just eludes Him. God still rules over His creation and has a perfect knowledge of all that is unfolding. No person enters into temptation without God knowing what is happening and no person succumbs to temptation without God knowing what is happening. God has the power to intervene in His creation to change any outcome He wants. God could stop Cain from murdering Abel; He could stop David from committing adultery with Bathsheba; He could have stopped Herod from putting James to death just as He stopped Herod from putting Peter to death, etc. He did not; thus, God got what He wanted because it was all part of His plan.

        There is no event that can occur that God could not reverse had He wanted. Thus, God becomes the determiner of all events as they play out even where God is largely ignorant of the future. All the Calvinist adds is that God knew what was happening in present time and knew these things in eternity past. So, anything that happens reflects God’s will even as it does the person’s will. So, whether looking at events from a Calvinist perspective or a non-Calvinist perspective, God becomes the determiner of all that happens. How are people to react to what they do? Whether Calvinist or non-Calvinist, they are to repent and believe the gospel. They are not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, that they may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. They are to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

      7. rh writes: “Let’s grant that God does not really know what will happen in the future – let’s pretend that God doesn’t really understand the impacts of His actions or the actions of His creation. Somehow that understanding just eludes Him.”

        This, of course is a straw man, and is not what either FOH or I believe or proclaim, as rh well knows. In question is not God’s omniscience, knowledge, wisdom or understanding, but his ‘authorship’ of all things. The only viable alternative to God being the sole author and determiner of all things – including all evil – as far as I can see, is the assertion that God has granted freedom of choice to men, and the accompanying accountability for such freedom that brings with it the warnings of punishment and death should men use that freedom to choose evil over good.

        Rh writes: “God still rules over His creation and has a perfect knowledge of all that is unfolding. No person enters into temptation without God knowing what is happening and no person succumbs to temptation without God knowing what is happening. God has the power to intervene in His creation to change any outcome He wants. God could stop Cain from murdering Abel; He could stop David from committing adultery with Bathsheba; He could have stopped Herod from putting James to death just as He stopped Herod from putting Peter to death, etc. He did not; thus, God got what He wanted because it was all part of His plan.

        There is no event that can occur that God could not reverse had He wanted. Thus, God becomes the determiner of all events as they play out even where God is largely ignorant of the future.”

        And here, rh simply begs the question. He assumes that ‘whatsoever happens’ is from God’s determination, deliberately conflating foreknowledge with determinism. This, of course, is the crux of the difference between the non-Calvinist and the Calvinist. (For the OT, the belief that God’s omniscience involves the knowledge of whatsoever ‘might’ come to pass, is not a denial of God’s omniscience, but a denial that all things are predetermined and ‘forever settled in the heavens’.) All non-Calvinists, however, deny that God’s foreknowledge of what is or what might be equates to either determination or approval thereof. That is the distinction between foreknowledge and predetermination.

        This, of course, has been discussed endlessly, not only on these pages, but in the annals of history as non-Calvinists have debated Calvinists for centuries, so I will not tread well-worn ground. I will simply point out, once again, that to ‘foreknow’ is not to ‘determine’. To ‘allow’ is not to ‘author’. To ‘permit’ is not to ‘command’. To allow disobedience to exist is not to approve of or decree disobedience. Any who do not understand these distinctions would be well advised to study these issues further.

        God knowing all things is not the same as God determining all things. Rh, I’m afraid, must be accused of being disingenuous, at best, in pretending that he is not fully aware that these are the central distinctions at the core of the debate between Calvinists and non-Calvinists.

      8. TS00 writes, ‘The only viable alternative to God being the sole author and determiner of all things…”

        Calvinists do not say that God is the sole author and determiner of all things but that He is the final arbiter of all things, thereby being the determiner of all things, bringing all things into conformity to His will and working through His creation to accomplish His purpose. God is the author of His plan that incorporates the willful actions of His creation throughout. God’s plan always prevails and is never diverted by the actions of people whether it be Cain murdering Abel, David committing adultery, the Jews stoning Stephen, etc. As evil events are part of His plan, God is the author and determiner of evil events because He has the power to prevent all evil events but does not do so. That God has granted people freedom of choice within His plan does not make them autonomous in their decisions but they are always subordinate to God’s will used by God for His purposes as the Assyrians of Isaiah 10.

        Then, “He assumes that ‘whatsoever happens’ is from God’s determination, deliberately conflating foreknowledge with determinism.”

        That God has an omniscient knowledge of all future events means that those events are certain to occur and determined, but God’s knowledge of future events is not that which determines all things. As God is the first cause of all things given that He creates the world, He is the ultimate determiner of all that happens as nothing could happen without His act of creation.

        Then, “All non-Calvinists, however, deny that God’s foreknowledge of what is or what might be equates to either determination or approval thereof.”

        It is when we incorporate God’s omnipotent power and His sovereign rule over His creation that we find that God is the final arbiter of all that happens, therefor the determiner of all that happens, and all things all part of His plan thereby approved by Him.

        Then, “That is the distinction between foreknowledge and predetermination.”

        Agreed to by both Calvinists and non-Calvinists who seem to agree that God’s predetermination of all things derives from His omnipotence and sovereignty and comes from the counsel of His will.

        Then, “To ‘allow’ is not to ‘author’. To ‘permit’ is not to ‘command’. To allow disobedience to exist is not to approve of or decree disobedience. ”

        God never “passively” allows or permits any event – there is no mere permission. Rather, God “actively” allows and permits meaning that everything comes under His scrutiny and requires His decree in order to come about. Calvinists note that God decreed all things in eternity past

        Then, “God knowing all things is not the same as God determining all things.”

        God’s knowledge of all future events makes future events certain but not necessary.

      9. TS00,

        I’m wondering again why you even bother.   It takes about 2 mins of searching to find a complete rebuttal by Calvinists of what RH says.
         
        With a clear title like ” Does God Control All Things All the Time?” Piper makes statements like: 

        “How do we know that God always controls everything? My answer is that we know this because the Bible teaches it.”

        Now, he goes on to stretch a few verses beyond their meaning and of course he uses the word “permit” in there.  I mean they use a different dictionary and famously make opposing statements be true all the time.
          
        Not clear enough for Calvinists?

        How about Piper’s article called “Has God Predetermined Every Tiny Detail In the Universe, Including Sin?”

        Here he says…. stunningly clearly…

        “Has God predetermined every tiny detail in the universe, such as dust particles in the air and all of our besetting sins? Yes.”

        So…let no reader here fall for the “RH Ruse.”  

        Calvinists are extremely clear about it.  God causes (predetermines) everything to happen….even our sin. 

        Any Calvinist proposing something different is just pushing a “rhuse” (the h is silent).

      10. Roger, you still refuse the clear evidence of God’s love for all, seen in His giving enlightenment faith to all so that they can be able to freely seek or freely reject seeking His love. Why you want to continue to believe in such an unloving God that is partial and chooses to reject and torment multitudes never able to seek Him is very hard to understand and very sad.

        The parable of the sower speaks clearly of the shallow and thorny soils (hearts) having understanding and faith before regeneration. Right? Where did that faith come from, if not from God and His Word. That is enlightenment faith leading to repentance, and before regeneration.

        Satan knows that even the hardened heart is still able to believe as long as the word remains there to think about.

        Luke 8:12 NKJV — “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

        Romans 2:4 NKJV — Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

        Stop despising the riches of God’s goodness to everyone Roger!

      11. brianwagner writes, “you still refuse the clear evidence of God’s love for all, seen in His giving enlightenment faith to all so that they can be able to freely seek or freely reject seeking His love.”

        What is “enlightenment faith”? Is it the faith of which Paul writes in Romans 10, where he says, “faith comes by hearing”? Can’t be since all people do not hear the word, and all people do not receive that faith – but that seems to be “saving faith” and required for salvation.

        You seem to be talking about God’s common grace akin to what Paul writes about in Romans 1. I’ll let you explain it.

      12. Others, Roger, will see you ignored answering my questions about those who had faith before regeneration in the parable of the sower. I’m still praying for you to humble yourself before God’s clear truth in His Word. He loves you and everyone else in the world, even those who reject His truth. I’ve nothing more to add in this thread.

      13. I don’t think Calvinism is a disease of the heart.
        I think its a disease of the brain.
        Although there is always a link between the two
        It generally takes some kind of lust of the flesh to draw a person into a state of ensnarement.

        I think one way a Calvinist can get delivered – is when the Lord shows them that Calvinism inherently requires a measure of dishonesty.

      14. brianwagner writes, “you ignored answering my questions about those who had faith before regeneration in the parable of the sower.”

        I had a couple minutes to write a response and thought to best to clarify what you meant by the term, “enlightened faith.” It kinda sounds like prevenient grace. Anyway, while you are doing your research to figure it out, I will go back and address the parable.

      15. brianwagner writes, “The parable of the sower speaks clearly of the shallow and thorny soils (hearts) having understanding and faith before regeneration. Right?”

        I don’t think that is necessarily so. For the one it says, “They believe for a while, but in a time of testing fall away.” For the other, “they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.” If there was understanding, it was very shallow. If there was faith, we apply the test from James. The problem is that it sounds like the falling away and lack of fruit is permanent. In the good soil, “these are the ones who, after hearing the word, cling to it with an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance.” Certainly, these hearers were marked by both regeneration and faith as bearing fruit requires both.

        The issue of the order for regeneration and faith is not resolved in the parable. Even the issue of salvation is cloudy. The seed sown on the path is not salvation; the seed sown on good soil is salvation. The two soils in between are indeterminate – not enough information is provided to tell.

        Jesus prefaces His explanation of the parable saying, “You have been given the opportunity to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that although they see they may not see, and although they hear they may not understand.” It would seem that the good soil fits the first outcome. As Jesus refers to hearing but not understanding and the two middle soils are only said to hear, then this would point to a lack of understanding and a lack of salvation – no faith. So, I disagree with your statement, “…sower speaks clearly of the shallow and thorny soils (hearts) having understanding and faith…”

      16. Luke 8:13 NKJV — “But the ones on the rock are those who, when they 👉hear,👈 receive the 👉word👈 with joy; and these have no root, who 👉believe👈 for a while and in time of temptation fall away.”

        … sounds exactly like the order given in Rom 10:17 word 👉 hearing 👉 faith

        It’s God’s Word that’s heard and believed, the heart is not ready to commit, so the belief hasn’t taken root and might be choked by other cares. Regeneration doesn’t deepen the shallow ground or get rid of the thorns to make the soil good. Humble personal repentance does and then comes regeneration.

        Ezekiel 18:30-31 NKJV — “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord GOD. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit….”

        Repentance at the call of God and then a new heart and a new spirit!

      17. So clear Brian!!!

        Call of God

        Repentance

        New heart, new spirit.

        Matt 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

        The call is to all!

      18. FOH writes, “Matt 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
        The call is to all!”

        But only those with faith respond to that call. The requirement for faith seems to irk FOH. However Paul said in 1 Corinthians, “we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. ” Paul makes the call of God more powerful than you do.

      19. rhutchin
        But only those with faith respond to that call.

        br.d
        INTERPRETATION
        Only those whom Calvin’s god installs with a special software upgrade called “faith” can have said functionality

        rhutchin
        Paul makes the call of God more powerful than you do.

        br.d
        Well – since in Calvinism – every impulse that appears within the human brain does so INFALLIBLY and thus IRRESISTIBLY – authored by an external mind. That explains the “power” you as a Calvinist would be thinking of!

        Isn’t it uncanny how humans always end up looking like ROBOTS in Calvinism! ;-]

      20. Brian,

        Colossians 2:13 (CJB)….
        You were dead because of your sins, that is, because of your “foreskin,” your old nature. But God made you alive along with the Messiah (how?)….by forgiving you all your sins.

        Regeneration does not precede faith. It doesn’t even precede justification. A guilty sinner must be pardoned, or declared “not guilty” before he is given new life.

        Hope all is well, brother.

      21. phillip writes, “Regeneration does not precede faith. It doesn’t even precede justification.”

        In John 3, the new birth enables a person to see the kingdom of God. So, you have the order, (1) hear the gospel, (2) receive faith, (3) justification, (4) see the kingdom of God, (5) enter the kingdom of God. Is that correct?

      22. brianwagber writes, “Luke 8:13 NKJV — “But the ones on the rock are those who, when they ��hear,�� receive the ��word�� with joy; and these have no root, who ��believe�� for a while and in time of temptation fall away.”

        … sounds exactly like the order given in Rom 10:17 word �� hearing �� faith”

        You seem to be saying that everyone who hears the gospel preached receives faith. I think the “hearing” Paul speaks of in Romans 10 incorporates understanding and that would explain why some “hear” the gospel and respond positively to it while others “hear” the gospel and respond negatively to it.

        Then, “It’s God’s Word that’s heard and believed, the heart is not ready to commit, so the belief hasn’t taken root and might be choked by other cares. ”

        “..the heart is not ready to commit…” because there is no faith and “belief hasn’t taken root.” In John 6, we read, “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Those disciples who turned back did not have faith but Peter expresses his faith as, “You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

        Then, “Regeneration doesn’t deepen the shallow ground or get rid of the thorns to make the soil good.”

        Regeneration comes from the seed as does faith. The good soil can only be good because God made it good and the seed was able to prosper in it. How else could the good soil be called “good” unless it had been prepared for the seed.

        Then, “Repentance at the call of God and then a new heart and a new spirit!”

        Paul describes the person without faith as “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God…no one does good, not even one…There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Then in Ephesians, Paul says, “you were dead in the trespasses and sins…But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—” God makes the person alive when he is dead in his sins. This must precede faith as no one who has faith can be described as dead in sin.

      23. rhutchin
        You seem to be saying……..

        br.d
        Anyone here ever notice how Calvinists always have to MASSAGE and TWIST everything to make it conform to their image? ;-]

      24. rhutchin
        Regeneration comes from the seed

        br.d
        Its hilarious how Calvinist are always trying to make Calvinism APPEAR normal

        Regeneration in Calvinism comes from a supernatural source – and occurs INFALLIBLY
        A seed is not a supernatural source.
        Neither can a seed make something occur INFALLIBLY.

        All events occur INFALLIBLY in Calvinism
        And nature does not have the attribute of INFALLIBILITY – and cannot produce anything INFALLIBLE
        Therefore there is no such thing as a naturally occurring event in Calvinism

      25. brdmod writes, “Regeneration in Calvinism comes from a supernatural source – and occurs INFALLIBLY
        A seed is not a supernatural source.”

        Peter writes, “Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth through the Spirit in sincere brotherly affection, love one another from the heart fervently: having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and remains forever.”

        The seed in the parable is the word of God and Peter says it has a supernatural source – it is the word of God.

      26. rhutchin
        br.d writes, “Regeneration in Calvinism comes from a supernatural source – and occurs INFALLIBLY
        A seed is not a supernatural source.”

        br.d
        And is that TRUE or is it FALSE?

        rhutchin
        Peter writes, “Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth through the Spirit in sincere brotherly affection, love one another from the heart fervently: having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and remains forever.”

        br.d
        Thank you for providing another total disconnect!

        In Calvinism whatsoever comes to pass with a person’s soul – occurs INFALLIBLY and IRRESISTIBLY – by factors totally outside of the person’s control.

        And its not LOGICALLY possible to “purify” something – when doing so is totally outside of ones control!
        So trying to mix the Calvinism with that verse – becomes another example of trying to produce something that is LOGICALLY INCOHERENT.

        rhutchin
        The seed in the parable is the word of God and Peter says it has a supernatural source – it is the word of God.

        br.d
        And in Calvinism – the supernatural source is what produces regeneration – which is IRRESISTIBLE and INFALLIBLE

        Try as hard as he might – the Calvinist is not going to get something IRRESISTIBLE and INFALLIBLE out of nature! :-]

      27. rhutchin
        it says, “They believe for a while, but in a time of testing fall away

        br.d
        And in Calvinism – a person “falling away” is LOGICALLY incoherent.
        1) A person who is INFALLIBLY NON-ELECT – is INFALLIBLY NOT-SAVED and has no election/salvation to “falling away” from.
        2) A person who is INFALLIBLY ELECT is INFALLIBLY SAVED – and has no NON-ELECTION or NON-SALVATION to “fall away” into.
        3) In Calvinism every perception, thought, choice, belief etc which comes to pass within the human brain – does so IRRESISTIBLY by infallible decree. So TESTING or NON-TESTING is hardly ever going to be a determining factor.

        Welcome to Calvinist Bible Class #666
        In this class we teach you 666 ways to force scripture to conform to our TRUE canon – Exhaustive Determinism
        Come watch as we twist it into an IRRATIONAL PRETZEL :-]

      28. brdmod writes, “And in Calvinism – a person “falling away” is LOGICALLY incoherent.”

        It is the language of the parable. “Those on the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; but these have no root, who believe for a while, then fall away in time of temptation. ” There is no mention of understanding. To the disciples, Jesus had said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ “

      29. rhutchin
        brdmod writes, “And in Calvinism – a person “falling away” is LOGICALLY incoherent.”

        rhutchin
        It is the language of the parable. “

        br.d
        Which means – the language of the parable – when attempted to be TWISTED into the Calvinist system – becomes LOGICALLY incoherent

        rhutchin
        Those on the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy;

        br.d
        Because that was what was INFALLIBLY decreed – they cannot do otherwise – at pain of falsifying the INFALLIBLE decree

        rhutchin
        but these have no root, who believe for a while, then fall away in time of temptation.

        br.d
        Not in Calvinism – the NON-ELECT have no ELECTION or SALVATION to fall away from.
        That’s why trying to force that parable into Calvinism is LOGICALLY incoherent.

        rhutchin
        To the disciples, Jesus had said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ “

        br.d
        And in Calvinism – the human brain cannot have an impulse or perception that does not appear in the human cranium IRRESISTIBLY – by INFALLIBLE decree – Authored by an external mind.

        Isn’t it uncanny how much humans always end up looking like ROBOTS in Calvinism?? :-]

        But anyway – as I said before
        In Calvinism – a person’s election is either INFALLIBLY TRUE or INFALLIBLY FALSE.
        And to claim something INFALLIBLY FALSE needs to persevere is LOGICALLY incoherent
        And to claim something that is INFALLIBLY TRUE – needs to persevere in order to stay INFALLIBLY TRUE – is also LOGICALLY incoherent.

        Just goes to show what happens when you try to mix Calvinism with scripture :-]

  4. Those that are destined to be tormented in hell-(the vessels created for destruction) will never be saved. They are in hell because God did not extend His mercy on them. ALL humanity (elect and non-elect) are sinners and are bound to hell, yet God in His mercy extended His mercy to some who are undeserving but not to all otherwise, ALL humanity (including the false prophets, ba-al, the Pope and the cults) will go to heaven. God’s true love-that does not demand any return (unconditional love) brings the elect people to heaven otherwise it would be insincere and a mockery for God to offer love to all when the reprobates are still to be tormented hell. There might exist head knowledge faith from among the reprobates but there is no saving faith for they are unable to understand deeply spiritual things of God. They are only foolishness to them. They will never grasp to see, nor hear the offer (seed sown) for it was not meant for them. Their sight of the seed seems to be the motive of the multitudes who were feed by Christ. According to Christ Himself, they kept on following Him because of the material food. (Just like the adulterated gospel that is offered by the Prosperity Gospel and word of faith movement).

    1. JT
      Those that are destined to be tormented in hell-(the vessels created for destruction) will never be saved.

      br.d
      You mean – those whom Calvin’s god specifically designs for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure.
      Why not speak the TRUTH and say it?

      JT
      They are in hell because God did not extend His mercy on them.

      br.d
      FALSE
      “mercy” in Calvinism comes in two different forms – just like love does.
      There is the “mercy” Calvin’s god has for those whom he designs for eternal torment
      There is the “mercy” Calvin’s god has for those whom he designs for the other.

      JT
      ALL humanity (elect and non-elect) are sinners and are bound to hell,

      br.d
      FALSE
      Calvinism’s divine potter of Romans 9 specifically designs the MANY for hell before they are created.
      And he design’s the FEW for the other.

      Why can’t Calvinists tell the TRUTH?

      JT
      yet God in His mercy extended His mercy to some who are undeserving but not to all otherwise,

      br.d
      Cmon JT – we all know that is a FALSE picture!
      See answer about “mercy” above

      JT
      ALL humanity (including the false prophets, ba-al, the Pope and the cults) will go to heaven.

      br.d
      You messed up! You meant to say they were specifically designed for eternal torment in the lake of fire

      JT
      God’s true love-that does not demand any return (unconditional love)

      br.d
      Why can’t Calvinists tell the TRUTH?
      Calvin’s god has two kinds of love – see answer on mercy above

      JT
      brings the elect people to heaven otherwise it would be insincere and a mockery for God to offer love to all when the reprobates are still to be tormented hell.

      br.d
      Another FALSE picture!
      He designs and creates the MANY specifically for eternal torment while he is conceiving them in his mind before he creates them.

      JT
      There might exist head knowledge faith from among the reprobates but there is no saving faith

      br.d
      which is all by his design – to come to pass IRRESISTIBLY in their brains – by infallible decree

      JT
      for they are unable to understand deeply spiritual things of God.

      br.d
      which is all by his design – to come to pass IRRESISTIBLY in their brains – by infallible decree

      JT
      They will never grasp to see, nor hear the offer (seed sown) for it was not meant for them.

      br.d
      which is all by his design – to come to pass IRRESISTIBLY in their brains – by infallible decree

      JT
      Their sight of the seed seems to be the motive of the multitudes who were feed by Christ. According to Christ Himself, they kept on following Him because of the material food. (Just like the adulterated gospel that is offered by the Prosperity Gospel and word of faith movement).

      br.d
      which is all by his design – to come to pass IRRESISTIBLY in their brains – by infallible decree

      And last of all – that might be YOU!
      Cuz you have no way of knowing what LOT in life Calvin’s god designed and created you for.

      When you get to the lake of fire – you’ll have a better idea! :-]

      1. Brdmod writes, “You mean – those whom Calvin’s god specifically designs for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure.
        Why not speak the TRUTH and say it?”

        Better yet, just quote the verse–

        “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath made for destruction, and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory, us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?” Romans 9

        Can’t get more truthful that that.

      2. br.d
        “You mean – those whom Calvin’s god specifically designs for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure.
        Why not speak the TRUTH and say it?”

        rhutchin
        Better yet, just quote the verse–

        br.d
        Better yet – just tell the TRUTH.

        rhutchin
        Can’t get more truthful that that.

        br.d
        When it comes to the Bible YES.
        When it comes to Calvinism NO.

        And when it comes to a Calvinist describing Calvinism TRUTHFULLY – he strategically leaves a HUGE amount of room left over! ;-]

      3. rhutchin: Better yet, just quote the verse–
        br.d: Better yet – just tell the TRUTH.

        rhutchin
        Same thing.

        br.d
        Not for the Calvinist!

        That’s why John Calvin had to write the Calvinist’s canon – the “Institutes of an OXYMORONIC religion” :-]

  5. TWO INTERESTING QUESTIONS

    Why is it – that trying to mix Calvinism with Scripture – is so often like trying to thin an oil-based paint with water?

    Why is it – that Calvinists are not comfortable with the face of Calvinism as it is – and need to paint it – to make it look like something it isn’t?

    1. br.d writes, “Why is it – that trying to mix Calvinism with Scripture – is so often like trying to thin an oil-based paint with water?”

      Because you understand neither Calvinism nor Scripture??

      Then, “Why is it – that Calvinists are not comfortable with the face of Calvinism as it is – and need to paint it – to make it look like something it isn’t?”

      Because, you not being a Calvinist tend toward misrepresenting Calvinism??

      1. br.d
        Why is it – that trying to mix Calvinism with Scripture – is so often like trying to thin an oil-based paint with water?”

        rhutchin
        Because you understand neither Calvinism nor Scripture??

        br.d
        That’s easy!
        Scripture is RATIONAL
        And that’s the difference :-]

        Then, “Why is it – that Calvinists are not comfortable with the face of Calvinism as it is – and need to paint it – to make it look like something it isn’t?”

        rhutchin
        Because, you not being a Calvinist tend toward misrepresenting Calvinism??

        br.d
        INTERPRETATION
        You not being a Calvinist – means you haven’t had your Calvinist training
        10001 ways to paint a cosmetic mask on the face of Calvinism to make it look like something it isn’t

        Cuz we don’t like what we see under the mask :-]

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