Andy Stanley Interview

Andy Stanley, Pastor of North Point Community Church in Georgia, joins Leighton to discuss the practical impact of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention and the local church.


Some expressed concerns about Andy’s “unhitching from the OT” comments and I feel as if his interview with Dr. Michael Brown clear that issue up, which you can listen to here.

116 thoughts on “Andy Stanley Interview

  1. A very good open discussion that leaves me with some great points to implement. Appreciate the teachings that come forth. May the Lord continue to lead you both. Appreciate Andy’s sharing his thoughts on 1 Corinthians 9.

  2. I would agree with those who say that —at least part of— the reason for this upsurge in the New Calvinism is a way for people to avoid seeker-friend churches (add also Open Theology, Pentecostalism, faith movement, emerging church, etc).

    Of course Andy says that it is not “because of seeker-friendly churches” — because there is no real way to measure that.

    But as a whole—- I am convinced that this move “back to the reformation” is at least partly due to a desire to find a “firm foundation”. So, to avoid being labeled with some of the newer movements… many are reaching back into history…. claiming… “The old days were better…they were smarter and more holy then.” The find stability going with the older models.

    Where this has taken root in our area of service overseas there is also a movement toward head coverings, beards, and old (old!) hymns.

  3. At about minute 42-43 Leighton and Andy talk about how Calvinists differ on “God loving everyone”. AW Pink and others say no, and MacArthur says yes claiming “cuz He gives them sunshine.”

    I have commented numerous times on this site that you cannot say that shallow sunshine line to the 9-year-old boy working in a mine in Myanmar who will not see that sunshine and will die at 12 of abuse. Very shallow MacArthur. Better for you to just stick with Pink and declare Him to be the non-lover of the non-elect.

    Just own it Calvinist. According to Calvinism, the God who IS love, and the God who tells us to love our enemies….. only loves a very small section of humanity. We (you!) have no right to say to anyone “God loves you,” since (according to Calvinism) it is very likely that He does not.

    1. It’s always been interesting to me that far and away, the theologians and Bible teachers we look to for the greatest level of teaching, both today and in centuries past, are virtually all Calvinists! Doesn’t prove a thing, but…. Just a thought!

      Also interesting that the SBC was started by Calvinists, the man who gave the modern Church and Southern Baptist the greatest tool for training lay people in evangelism, D James Kennedy and evangelism explosion, was a five-point calvinist. I remember bringing that point up in seminary when my Systematic Theology professor at Southwestern had just said that Calvinism is an inhibitor to evangelism. You could hear the sound of crickets after I mentioned that!

      Regarding Calvinists not coming from mega churches, interesting that three of the most dynamic churches in Texas are led by Calvinists: Matt Chandler, Todd Wagner, and Matt Carter (The Austin Stone). Also interesting that the recent head of the International Mission board and pastor of a thriving mega church is David Platt, one of the most mission-minded people who have ever breathed oxygen and also one of the most humble. And of course John Piper, also as humble a man as you’ll ever meet, has arguably done more for missions in the modern day and is more passionate about them than anyone I know of. He went to Seminary opposed to Calvinism by the way, but, like RC Sproul, who was in the same boat, he was dragged into Calvinism once he allowed scripture to say what it says.

      None of the above proves anything theologically.
      Nor does this list I have constantly updated of wonderful Calvinists you know of, but it is a staggering array of the men who have most affected the Church in the last centuries. A bunch are actually universally acclaimed as giant pillars of the Church and theology, and includes the man who would be considered the greatest Baptist pastor of all time and one of the greatest evangelists of all time, Charles Spurgeon….

      Al Mohler
      Curtis Vaughan
      DA Carson
      George Mueller
      John Bunyan
      Basil Manly, Sr.
      B. H. Carroll
      John A. Broadus (” The people who sneer at Calvinism might as well sneer at Mont Blanc.”)
      Francis Schaeffer,
      J. I. Packer,
      Jay Adams,
      R.C. Sproul,
      James Boice
      Roger Nicole
      James Kennedy
      Swindoll mostly /probably
      John Piper
      Matt Chandler
      JD Greear
      Timothy Keller
      John Gill
      Jonathan Edwards
      Wayne Grudem
      Russell Moore (Andy Stanley said he said he embraces reformed theology) ohn Owen
      Carl F H Henry
      John MacArthur
      Matthew Henry
      George Whitefield
      David Platt
      Matt Carter (Austin Stone)
      Francis Chan
      Alastair Begg
      William Tyndale
      D Martyn Lloyd Jones
      William Carey
      Richard Furman
      Mark Dever
      Martin Luther

      There are tons of scriptures that support Calvinism, versus only a few that seem to oppose it. Two of my favorites to mention are Romans 8:30, where Paul says that EVERY person God called got justified! (Would love to hear an exegesis on that passage. Whom has God called??) And then Acts 13:48, which declares, “as many as were appointed unto eternal life believed!” This would be a totally misleading and unnecessary verse if Calvinism were not true!

      Having said all this, I am determined to stay open everyday to God’s voice and the possibility that he would direct me out of the calvinistic camp. If I don’t stay open to this, then I believe I am someone Paul warns against when he says, “if any man thinks he knows something…..”!

      God bless.

      1. There are plenty of passages that refute Calvinism if you would clear your mind of bias and let the scripture speak. Not meant hatefully. Question; In Romans 9:17 why did Paul use the example of Pharaoh? Why not just say God hardens whom He wills if that hardening has nothing to do with the hardened doing their own hardening first?

        This scripture totally refutes Calvinism. How can any one not elected change their mind?
        Matthew 11:21-24 (NASB77)
        21 ” Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
        22 “Nevertheless I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you.
        23 “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.
        24 “Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

      2. On the surface Acts 13:48 sounds impressive in support of Calvinism, but on closer scrutiny it suffers a fatal flaw. It doesn’t mention WHY they were appointed to eternal life. From God’s perspective it says he knows the end from the beginning…..Isa 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: How do we comprehend this….Isa 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 
        Isa 55:9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Again it says…..Rom 11:33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 
        Rom 11:34  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? The Spiritual mechanics of salvation are wonderful and enlightening to study, but in the end, I feel like Job. Job 38:1  Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 
        Job 38:2  Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Job 42:3  Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. In all these discussions God gives us sufficient, not exhaustive knowledge….Deu 29:29.

      3. Scott,

        There are perhaps 15-20 passages that appear to strongly support the various TULIP petals, but certainly not hundreds. In contrast, there are indeed hundreds that refute it. The key is to take off the lenses that refract everything you read through TULIP and instead just read the entirety of scripture without reaching for commentaries, videos, podcasts, and TULIP. Scripture is the best interpreter of scripture if you allow it to do its job and expose yourself to the entirety of it rather than starting with Calvinism’s “proof-texts” and then allowing those handful of passages to inform the other 31,000 verses in the Bible. Let the many inform the few rather than vice-verse.

      4. Totally agreed Steve!

        Its like a wise man once told me:
        Becoming a Calvinist is a process of navigation.
        It is a navigation process – based on bending what scripture says in order to make it conform to a theology.

        And if a man will unrelentingly bend his theology to make it strictly conform to only what scripture explicitly states. Don’t add anything to scripture, and don’t take anything away. That man will inevitably navigate his way out of Calvinism.

    2. If God really loves all people, then how come that He commanded Joshua to annihilate the residents of Canaan – that includes the babies and non-combatants as well as all animals? Are the residents of Canaan belongs to humanity? Are they people also? Did Christ lay down His life for these Canaanites? – If YES, then why is it that they were not given the opportunity to turn away from evil?

      If Christ lay down His life for the false prophets, then why is it that God’s command for them is to be stoned to death? Are False prophets also human beings?

      1. Canaan had been provoking the Lord for over 400 years before his patience ran out. The burning of babies on the fires of Molech was probably the last straw. God owes no one anything, you assume much. God knows all about suffering and death…Phil 2:6-8. Consider Job….Job 1:20  Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 
        Job 1:21  And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 
        Job 1:22  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. 

  4. At minute 46 Andy repeats the question of how to do ministry.

    See my many comments on Calvinist minister friends of mine who are frustrated in ministry since they have no way to tell people that sin is wrong since— with parishioners saying that if they sinned yesterday it was clearly God’s will of …. (sorry I forgot the name of that one of God’s many wills).

    He mentions apologetics and I found that interesting. Calvinist James White is constantly going around the country debating Muslims, Mormons, etc. Why? What for? They cannot pull out the over-used “because we are commanded to” line since that just aint true.

    Is White trying “to persuade men” (like Paul said)? Is he trying to “reason with them” (like Paul said)? Again….. why?

    That would mean that James White has something to do with them coming to Christ— which he would then completely reject.

  5. Women feeling maternally indifferent to their husbands
    Calvinism! Well some of women’s children won’t be saved! Is that because they did not go deep enough into love and adopt another child or move to a ghetto! Why won’t they be saved if the loving, just gospel is preached to them!

    At one point the point it is brought up about God determining our salvation! Why is it that we can believe that He knew when He would creat the world, He knew us before that, He knew what Israel would do from the prophecies given, He knew when Christ would come, and only He knows when Christ will return! He knows the beginning from the end but doesn’t know who will and will not follow him and therefore like in everything else He knows, He determines it to be so!

      1. Of course it was God who put Israel in bondage. He says that clearly many, many time in Scripture. Let’s go with what He says. What he also says is why it happened.

        Over and over He says that He does things because people do not obey Him. He says over and over things like “If you had obeyed I would have ….” “Because you did not obey…. I will not do what I said I would do…” “Because the people I said I would judge have turned to Me, I will not punish them…”

        He says in Jeremiah… “I did not tell them to say that… it never entered my mind.”

        So sure, He puts Israel in bondage to punish them…. but that does not mean all that happens is determined before time by Him.

    1. Butch,
      All that you bring up has been talked about multiple times (with Bible reference) in this blog. Have a look around. Please read what is written by other believers not just determinist-fatalists. I broadened my opinion based on what I found in Scripture.

  6. So Andy says he’s never sat in “one of these Churches,” and therefore doesn’t know how they do ministry! But he points out earlier that “they,” only visit once to a seeker church! What’s the difference!

  7. So leverage the Gospel so that you can tell people to try Jesus and promise them that their life will be better! Come on Leighton, you dont believe that do you! Y’all mentioned that the reformed message cannot be preached in basically third world countries but that can? Jesus never promised anything but persecution and that persecution, in my opinion, is starting from now, as in the past, from those who get away from the apostl s true teaching, just as those who killed Jesus thought they knew God!

    1. Butch:

      Being a little Calvinistically black & white arent you? You said ….

      “Jesus never promised anything but persecution….”

      He said none of those who follow Him “will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age…”

      He said, “Come unto me all who labor and I will give you rest….”

      He said He came to give life and life more abundant.

      He said, “It will be given to you. A good amount, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap.”

      He promised, “Power and authority to cast out demons and to heal all kinds of sickness and affliction.”

      He said, “Whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

      What are you even talking about?

  8. So a middle schooler needs a life change! Doesn’t need to have any intellect or mind, you know of Christ, to choose to follow? Just say he or she believes?

  9. Oh and the reason that the crowds were not as big at the end of His ministry is because He started calling them out to repentance and stopped healing their flesh!

  10. I believe the primary thrust of the argument against unconditional election is that it seems to make God a very unfair or cruel God, and so rejecting unconditional election solves that. But perhaps these three questions could show you the fallacy there, and how the opposing view puts God in the same light of unfairness:

    1. Can God save anyone? (Yes)
    2. How do you feel about God when He doesn’t answer every mother’s prayers and save all their kids? (He could have, but didn’t.)
    3. How do you feel about a God that creates millions of babies whom He knows will grow up to be unsaved adults and spend eternity in hell, yet He allows those little babies to be born anyway?
    Those are all true facts about our God. And denying unconditional election does not erase the appearance of unfairness, does it?
    Paul, anticipating the supposed moral dilemma in Romans 9, solves our problem:
    We are waaaaay too man centered! Who do we think we are!? How little awareness do we have of who we AREN’T? !
    “You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” Romans 9:19‭-‬21
    If you don’t understand the sovereignty of God, that passage is a massive affront to your omniscient knowledge of God’s fairness or rather his right, as Paul is declaring, to do whatever he desires! And it is a glorious right of his. He always does what he pleases, and we would never want it any other way. As Sproul said, the scandal is NOT that he saves some and leaves others in their sin. The scandal is that he saves ANYONE!!

    1. Scott,
      Stick around and read the posts of this blog….and the hundreds of comments using Scripture. All of the questions you raised are dealt with in this blog (and then some!). We discuss Romans 9 and the other 40 go-to passages of Calvinists many times in this blog.

      Typically guys like you will come and offer us a “silver bullet” that solves all of our questions but do not stick around to discuss —- or to read what we have to say.

      We are seeing some new names on this blog (perhaps guys who are following Andy Stanley around “to set him straight”) but I wonder how many of them will stick around.

    2. Scott,

      I, as a believer who is a former Calvinist, realize that you think you are saying something scandalously beautiful. But Sproul’s doctrine of reprobation teaches that God designed creation — before the world began and Adam sinned— with no intention whatsoever of saving the majority of His creatures created in Him image.

      They were designed from before time to be tortured for eternity. All this was before man was on the scene or did anything.

      Then God determined that Adam would sin. Rendering it certain. No choice involved (only the appearance of choice). Then (according to Mary-worshiping Augustine and Calvin) He made all men de facto sinners and condemned via Adam’s imposed sin.

      Then, according to this Greek-based philosophy He chooses to irresistibly save some of them. This you find scandalously beautiful.

      All of us who are saved by grace do see the beauty in His salvation. It is the non-beauty in His before time, irresistibly, immutably condemning of the majority that we do not understand…. or see in Scripture.

      1. It is the former Calvinist who think they have something that is “scandalousor beautiful” or a “silver bullet .” With your response above you bend not only to a Pelagian doctrine , but also to Open Theism! I am not looking to be convinced of either! Andy Stanley has his own gospel and it is disappointing to see even Arminians go his route! The reason I probably won’t come back to discuss this with you is because you have already given yourself the bring yourself out of your sinful state to stand before God and claim him as yours! This is anathema! This is the Church ofman! So it is best to not waste my time arguing with you, and to focus on discipline those around me, dusting of my sandals as I go!

      2. Butch, none of that is shocking to any of us, though it is painful to think about either way. And the fact that your God would create a world where he knows all those innocent ones will spend eternity in hell and goes ahead and creates it anyway… does not relieve at all the supposed tension of an unfair God. It all stems from a misguided assignment of importance to man that, in relation to God, simply doesn’t exist. And so we can judge certain things with a judgement that is completely faulty.

        “To my great astonishment I found that the passages which speak decidedly for election and persevering grace, were about four times as many as those which speak apparently against these truths; and even those few, shortly after, when I had examined and understood them, served to confirm me in the above doctrines.”–George Mueller

        “Alas, I never read anything that Calvin wrote; my doctrines I had from Christ and his Apostles; I was taught them of God.”–George Whitefield, perhaps the greatest evangelist of all time.

    3. Scott and Butch:

      I just saw minutes ago a Piper bumper sticker “Dont waste your life!” (From the campaign and the book).

      For a Calvinist what does that mean?

      We can “waste our lives”? How?

      Can man do something God has not planned? If so….to what extent? What does it change. I mean, using the famous Calvinist phrase, Can man thwart God’s will?

      If man makes wise decisions (the whole gist of the book) then ….. what, things go “better”? In what way?

      Now keep in mind I like most of what Piper says in the book…. and that is precisely because he writes the book in a non-determinist way. He does NOT write the book in a Calvinist fashion, since he says so much “depends” on our behavior and choices.

      Here is an inspiring new-ish message by Piper. Very good speech (my daughter went to see him when he was in her town recently). Very NOT Calvinistic.

      Here are some of his statements in quotes (the “… parts” are my comments)

      “Should a Christian couple take their children into danger as part of their mission to take the gospel to the unreached peoples of the world? Short answer: Yes.”

      “Why? Because the cause is worth the risk, and the children are more likely to become Christ-exalting, comfort-renouncing, misery-lessening exiles and sojourners in this way than by being protected from risk in the safety of this world.”

      …the children are “more likely”??? We can affect what they become?

      …to become Christ-exalting.

      … You mean we can help our children become Christ-exalting? But I thought only Christ could do that? We participate? Is Piper being “man-centered”? Of course he is!!

      “What is the greatest good you can do for your children?”

      …Spoken like a true we-do-make-a-difference non-determinist.

      “He is thinking, How can I breed a radical, risk-taking envoy of King Jesus?”

      …We can “breed envoys” of King Jesus??! Is this the talk of a determinist, who “gives God all the glory”? Surely that is a man-centered concept that I can “breed an envoy of Christ.” Where is the outcry from Calvinists that Piper has a man-centered faith?

      “Perhaps we lose too many of our children because they weren’t trained as soldiers”

      … What do we “lose them” to? The world? How can we “lose them” to what is not God’s intention? Does he mean lose them from the faith? Sounds like it. If not…lose them to what? Are they not doing God’s will? So—what we do can help them better do God’s will? Once again….God’s glory and satisfaction appear to be dependent on our actions. Very “man-centered” stuff here.

      … But indeed, he can talk like an Arminian since all of the YRRs know he is a card-carrying Calvinist. If I talk like this in this comment section… If I talk like what I do matters in faith, love, kindness, and children’s outcome…. I am met with “Sir, you are man-centered, and it grieves me.”

      “Wasting your life is worse than losing it.”

      …So we do have a choice to do—-what?— non-wasting things or wasting things? So the future is not set? Right? If the future is set and known, then why does he talk like we can make future-changing decisions? Bad decisions, bad outcome. Good decisions good outcome.

      “A life not given to great things is not worth living.” …. What?

      ” We are not about rescuing people from earthly tyranny, but from totalitarian oppression and suffering in hell forever.”

      ….We rescue them!! Yes! Well said Arminius!

      …. Calvinists can argue all they want that the “dead man” cant do anything—but they cant claim that “God does everything” since Piper is telling men to rescues people from hell. Certainly he is espousing something that —at least sounds like it — is at least part dependent on men men making sacrifices to rescue people from hell.

      … If what Piper says here does not sound man-centered or “God-glory stealing” then nothing I say does either.

      “Our aim for our children is not historical influence, but eternal impact.”

      …Yes! The choices we make have eternal impact. We can impact eternity.

      …. Bad choices —bad impact. Outcomes are obviously not determined yet. Preach it open-theologian-Piper!

      …Why do we need to debate all these determinist-fatalist things when we can just let Piper tell us determinism is not true!

      ….What difference does it make if you preach that every particle of dust, falling bridge, raped child, is exactly where God wants it….if you then turn around and preach passionately that you can make a difference by your personal decisions?

  11. You can absolutely waste your life. We’re not talking about fatalism here. JI Packer’s book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God explains what an “antinomy” is– an apparent contradiction that is not a contradiction, where the two seemingly contradictory assertions are both true. And so God is sovereign but his sovereignty does not negate the responsibility of man. Every person will be responsible before God at the judgement for every decision they ever made. The Bible clearly teaches this and also teaches that God is Sovereign over everything. He works ALL THINGS after the counsel of his own will. In the Greek that’s ALL THINGS! 🙂

    1. Explain how a person can “waste his life” it God has controlled/ managed/ decreed/ willed/ rendered-certain all things.

      That automatically implies that he can do something that was not wanted by God.

      1. I’m making the assumption that you are a Christian who believes that the Bible is the word of God and that it is without error. If that is true, then you must affirm all the Declarations of scripture. Scripture says that God works all things after the counsel of his own will. He is omnipotent and omniscient and the sovereign King over all. Acts 4 says, “for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”
        Acts 4:27‭-‬28
        This is all true and yet at the same time we know that it is true that everyone must appear before the Judgment seat of Christ to receive recompense for what they did while they were in the body. You can philosophize all you want about these truths, but everything I just stated is pure scripture and it’s all true.

      2. Scott,

        Yes on all counts of believing Scripture. I am a leader in an evangelical mission and serving “from over here” for over 30 years.

        I was a Calvinist who put more emphasis on the verses you are quoting than the rest of the 99% of the Bible (i.e. making those gotcha verses have only one interpretation, and be the winner … and all other verses subject to them). In fact, the vast majority of the the rest of the Bible was confusing at best and contradicting at worse. Then I realized that there were other interpretations of the Acts 4 (dont forget Lydia, Romans 3:11, 1 Cor 2:14, John 6:44, etc) and the other 40-50 verses used to build a Calvinist case.

        Seeing the alternated interpretations of 40 verses helped me make sense of of the rest of the 99% of Scripture …. without having to play the “this passage cannot mean what it says” or “mystery” card every day in my reading.

  12. Scott,

    If God has controlled/ managed/ decreed/ willed/ rendered-certain all things, then anything man does is what God wants and is not a “waste.”

    What you are saying then is when man does these waste-life things he is doing things that God wants him to do, but doesnt want him to do?

    We are programmed/ controlled by God (your definition of sovereignty) but we can waste our lives by…. humm… not doing some things?

    So, if we do bad things (Piper’s waste your life) that is on us….. but God is still controlling us to do it? I’m confused.

    So if two seemingly contradictory assertions are both true….. you are satisfied with me saying that God sovereignly chose the elect, but He also did not choose them?

    You say, “God is sovereign but his sovereignty does not negate the responsibility of man.” What is man’s responsibility?

    U means he cannot change if he is elect or not.

    L means the sacrifice of Christ is not even intended for him.

    I means that all that he does is irresistible…. (really no choice).

    Where does his responsibility come in?

    I am looking for something new here. I am a seminary trained former Calvinist, so I know the 40-50 key verses. I’m just trying to make sense of how two opposites can be true.

    Again…. I want to apply the antinomy rule and say that God sovereignly chooses some, but Christ’s sacrifice is intended for all when He says “come to me, all who labor and I will give you rest.”

    1. Are you can do is affirm what you know for sure in Scripture. We know that it is the infallible word of God. When acts 13 says after the sermon, “AS MANY as were appointed unto eternal life believed” , you have to take that and intelligently ask yourself why God put that verse in there.
      When Paul says that our works on this Earth will be tested by fire and that those whose works are burned up will suffer loss, that is a picture of God’s judgement on inferior, WASTED activity. God’s sovereignty and man’s serious responsibility it’s a mystery. You have to accept that and know that if you could figure everything out, you probably wouldn’t be worshiping the god of the universe.

      1. Scott,

        When you and Butch suddenly showed up (were you following Andy Stanley?) I predicted that you would do what a lot of other young YRRs do. They come in, offer a silver bullet verse (one of the 40) as if we had not seen it before, say “case closed,” then move on.

        I am glad you have stayed a least a while.

        Let me just remind you that there are lots of different interpretations of verses and position in the body of Christ (my Pentecostal friends slam dunk me all the time on the “gotcha” tongues verses).

        In that same spirit of “why would God put that verse in the Bible” I have offered hundreds of verses that Calvinists have no answer for. Their only answer is to say “they dont mean that” and filter the whole Bible through their favorite 40 verses.

        I could spend hours re-typing them out here, of you could easily go to the scores of threads created on this site and search my name. Lots of verses…. in almost all the books of the Bible.

        I was a young Calvinist when the wave got started (MacArthur and I started being Calvinists around the same time—- I was at his church) . Later I put the Pink, Boettner, and Packer books down and read through the Bible (over and over). Woah doggies….. lots (thousands) of verses in there made no sense in Reformed theology (in a “why did God put that int he Bible” way).

        So I re-examined the 40 gotcha Calvinist verses. I’m much happier now…. and more biblical in my opinion.

      2. I’ve been a calvinist for about 45 years. You can have all your arminian friends make a list of the greatest Bible teachers they look up to and most of them will be calvinist, if they are honest. Sorry. Unfortunately, for many it just becomes a pride issue and they will never be persuaded otherwise. Fortunately, these things are not the essentials of the faith. There’s better things to be concerned about, like who are you evangelize in these days and who are you personally discipling. Those are the fun things that we know will be rewarded. Healthy people are doing those things and not arguing about Calvinism much! God bless.

      3. Scott,

        Oooops. The old “learned from great Calvinists” idea will not work.

        My dad refused to look at any new Bible translations coming out in the 60’s, 70’s 80’s or later saying “look how many people came to Christ from the KJV.” Yeah…. nah.

        Augustine. We got some stuff from him…. but he venerated Mary and other saints (do we keep that?)

        Calvin. Got some stuff from him…. but we all know he river-dunked people (“You have to understand,” they say, “Calvin lived in a different time…..”)

        J Edwards. Got some stuff from him but he was a slave-owning, slavery defender.

        Pink et al teach that Israel is no more but MacArthur does not.

        MacArthur teaches the gifts are no more, but Piper does not.

        Even the label “Calvinist” can be applied differently —especially of note are all the people lately showing Spurgeon clearly teaching that Christ’s sacrifice was not limited.

        Vincent Chung and some of the Banner people are eating “wimpy Calvinists” alive because they are not deterministic enough, given man too much blame or credit (“man-centered!”).

        Scott, you know who most often and most adamantly applied the “make a list of the greatest Bible teachers” idea?

        Yeah…. the Catholic Church.

        Just ask (lesser known,1300’s) Ramihrdus of Cambrai, Peter of Bruys, Gerard Segarelli, Marguerite Porete, Botulf Botulfsson, and others, Wycliffe, Hus, Tyndale…. also killed for not listening to those who know the Scriptures better.

        No doubt in the circles you run in most people will say that they learn most from Calvinists. There are other circles out there!

        An endless list of 500-page theology books was written by Dr Ben Witherington (Asbury). How many good theology books by Dr Roger Olson? Funny, yesterday I was in two different churches, and both of the pastors quoted Dallas Willard (which makes we think of the many non-Calvinists at Dallas Seminary).

        So, no, that idea that we have all learned most from Calvinists is not accurate.

      4. I just wrote this down, and wonder if you could tell me specifically why it is not true of you….

        If the scriptures teaching God’s unconditional election were not in the Bible at all, and there were no Calvinists, I’m thinking those like you would have eventually come up with a major objection to this aspect of the Gospel: Would you say, “All these billions of people that are going to hell! God knew of EVERY ONE of them before he designed the world, and he knew that every one of them was going to be born into this world by no choice of their own! They had nothing to do with it! Yet God caused them to be born just the same, knowing exactly what their eternal fate would be. This omniscient, omnipotent God chose for them to be placed here, and he didn’t have to. Or at any point he could have appeared to each one of them the way he appeared to Abraham or to Paul, in such a compelling way that once they saw his beauty and his love, they would have, of their own free choice, turned to him in repentance and faith to be saved. But alas, this God did not do that and that is very unfair and cruel. Therefore, we don’t believe this version of the Gospel, and we don’t believe that people will go to hell forever. That’s an unfair God that we reject and we reject those who teach such things!”

      5. Exactly Scott… We reject that the Scriptures teach what you just said. The gospel is good news for everyone. You want, it seems to make God sending people “to hell forever” a part of that good news. It’s not.

        You want to say God was able afterwards to go against what you say He knew before He designed a world, that He was able to be “compelling” a “free choice”. That contains two glaring contradictions. Do you see them?

        God is not locked in and limited to one future working out only one way forever, as Calvinism foundationally teaches. The Scriptures reveals clearly God making decisions after creation and the future revealed by Him with many “might bes”. Therefore it cannot be all “will bes” in His mind, or else He is lying to us in His Word.

        So, no, our lives were not set in His mind to work out only one way before creation, which makes the idea of His designing anything after knowing it that one set way, illogical. His knowledge before creation, and still today, contains mainly possibilities or things working out different ways, and His interaction with that knowledge freely, and also allowing mankind to interact with those possibilities freely, all for the praise of His glory!

      6. Brian,


        That is why we have many, long passages like Deuteronomy 30.

        15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

        17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

        19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.

        “I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.”

        “…then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you….”

        “But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, …. I declare to you this day that you will ….”

        “…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that …..”

        “listen to his voice, and hold fast to him….”

        This is all so personal and interactive. Man’s choices matter. God said so. If He says over and over in Scripture that we have these choices, it would seem very insincere to then say that He has already micro-managed all that will happen in an irresistibly, immutable way.

        Again, I am contented with the idea that Calvinists like Scott say we need to evangelize and disciple people and live Godly lives. In fact they are saying we need to live in such a way as to say “our lives and choices make a difference.” This is of course contrary to determinism (all has been immutably decided beforehand). If they speak and and act as if their lives make a difference (and we can or cannot waste our lives), then deep down they are not determinists. Which is great!

      7. 👍👍 Gotcha. That explains tons! I thought I was talking to Evangelicals. Guess what? EVERYTHING’S up for grabs with you guys! Leighton Flowers, do you ascribe? Bet you guys like Rob Bell, too? Debating Calvinism is absolutely the last thing you need to be concerned about. The best thing for you to focus on is that God will save ANYONE who truly repents and fully casts themself on Jesus Christ, the only Savior, who bore the wrath of God for all who will believe. That’s what I’m praying you will embrace and enjoy. God bless.
        “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” – John 3:18
        “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”–Jon 3:36

      8. That’s funny Scott!

        Brian has his doctorate from a very conservative seminary and teaches at a KJV Baptist College. Rob Bell hardly!

        You said, “That’s what I’m praying you will embrace and enjoy.”

        Really? According to determinist Calvinism, we have no say in the matter anyway, so what is it you are praying about? In fact, according to the fatalistic vision of reformed philosophy not one person has posted a thing on this blog that God did not —before time— immutably decree. Phew! That’s breathtaking! We are all just doing what we were decreed to do!

        The same stones were flung at Anabaptists by Calvin and all reformers by the Catholic church.

        Kind of like you, only maybe they were saying “I thought I was talking to Christians!”

        Your departure now will confirm exactly what I predicted a few days ago: A few post with silver bullet verses (“They must have never seen this gotcha verse!”)…. then disgust at us, using the universality moniker (I forgot to mention that you would pull out that idea) …. then announce your departure cuz you are wasting your time.

      9. Sorry Scott that you don’t sense they are brothers who are trusting only in the finished saving work of Christ, even though they disagree with your views based on reformed theology, and they also give Scripture reasons why.

        You are always welcome to discuss what specific weaknesses of interpretation you see in posts made by anyone. You will have to be careful though not to use specific ad hominem comments posted toward any individual.

      10. Scott,

        I am not sure I followed all of your meaning above. But I bet if I did it would show to me that we have a different understanding of what “omniscience” and “sovereign” mean.

        I’m pretty sure that anyone that comes to the Scriptures with a set understanding of “how God must be” will find in Scripture what He wants.

        Many people come to the Scripture assured that a monotheistic God cannot be both the Christ on the cross AND the Father He is talking to…. So they find all the verses that would “clearly teach” for instance, Christ in the garden praying to His father heaven… so “they cannot be both God.”

        This is how the world got Islam’s monotheism, the JWs and other anti-triune-God sects. They have plenty of verses to go with (but they must be compared with the rest of the Bible).

        Back to my previous posts on the idea that I used to come to the Bible with a few set “must be” definitions….. but now I prefer to allow the Bible to defined God.

        For instance: we have hundreds of verses and passages where it says God does or would change His mind, relent, repent ….

        Jeremiah 18:5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

        Despite these many, many passages, Calvinists will only teach from two passages: Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29.

        If you look at all the passages in context it appears that God is saying He will interact (react) with people. The Numbers and 1 Samuel passages can be taken as “This time, I will do this. I am not lying or whimsically gonna change my mind.”

        Scott, a person can choose to say the Numbers and 1 Samuel are literal and to be the standard…. and the many, many hundreds of other passages are just “figurative”. That’s fine. You have that choice!! We believe in choice. You choose to believe those verses are more important than the hundreds of others.

        I choose to go with the hundreds of times God says “I will not do this as I said…. if you only do this….”. Or the many passages where He said He relented, repented, changed His mind.

        I have been to many Calvinists sites. They all say “these passages do not mean what they say because ‘we know’ God is….”

        Nah. Best not to start with the answer.

      11. Scott,

        I dont have any trouble at all finding man’s wasted activity in Scripture…. that is not my point. (S’not hard for us; just hard for Calvinists).

        My point is how can that idea be reckoned with the idea that God irresistibly, immutably planned every thought/ action of man before time… and yet man can waste some of his actions.

        No one ever blames or holds responsible the glove…. only the hand.

        And to preach the extent of manipulation (gently put “Calvinistically-defined sovereign control”) of God on man…. and then say man can/ or cannot waste some actions is beyond mystery. It is just unnecessary contradiction.

        I have posted hundreds of verses on this site showing God saying, “I did not want you to do that,” or “If you had done X, I would have done Y,” or “I expected X but you gave me Y,” or “I promise I will destroy them, but if they repent I will withhold my hand.”

        God directs Samuel to say to King Saul. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.”

        And on and on. Hundreds, thousands of these direct words from God….telling man how He interacts as time goes on. Are these verses there to teach us something about Him?

        God tells Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” …. and yet Cain does not.

        Did God tell, empower, and want him to rule over it? Any natural reading of the passage would say yes. But Cain did not do what God wanted him to do.

        Calvinists superimpose on all of these passages the idea that it only “looks” like God wanted him to do right. Underneath God immutably decided/ willed/ planned/ decreed all along that Cain disobey.

        Now you have to apply your “Why did God put those verses in the Bible?” rule.

        Why? What does that teach us?

        For me, it teaches us that it is possible that God wants us to do something, but we do not do it.

        For Calvinists this is not possible. Deep down (finding which one of Reformed theology’s “God’s many wills” to apply) it will have to be God who decreed that Cain kill his brother, despite the passage showing Him saying not to.

        Scott, I know you will be tempted to roll out the 40 filter-verses that Calvinists use to filter the Bible with (you have rolled out a few already), but I prefer to go with the weight of the thousands of verses that show God interacting with creatures made in His image.

  13. To get to a few specifics dot-dot… When is that determinism and Calvinism are fundamentally different from each other. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand Calvinism. That’s a major problem and it leads to another fundamental problem I see which is that you simply reject what you can’t figure out. We live fully between the tension and two realities of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility teaches. This is not a problem for us at all, but because you can’t comprehend it, you reject it. What that does is reveal that you are theology is not based primarily on scripture, but rather on a certain philosophy that refuses to reconcile profound passages.

    To get to another specific, Brian rejects the notion that God will send people to Hell forever. This doesn’t surprise me when I read much of the words here and hear the tone behind them. I doubt that reformed theology is the only theology you have problems with inside mainstream evangelicalism.

    And by the way, having a seminary degree does not ensure that anybody is saved nor that they well keep from drifting into false doctrine.

    Additionally, you seemed to want to bolster your case by pointing out that there are great teachers who have different views on eschatology and some other not non-essentials.
    That’s an interesting line of reasoning.

    Also, I’m waiting to see the exegesis I requested regarding the passages above, one in Acts 4 and the other in Acts 13.

    Lastly, I’m thinking that your answer to my scenario about God creating millions of babies home he knew would never make it to heaven I created them anyway …. your way of dealing with how that would still seem like an unfair God is by saying that God doesn’t know whether or not those babies will end up in heaven or not because he doesn’t know what decisions they might make and what decisions they won’t make in the future. That’s called open theism and is erroneous.

    And just in case my words are confusing about an unfair God. I believe God always does the right thing and suggest thing and the good thing and is perfect in every way. And there is a sense in which Calvinism is not fair because instead of God leaving all sinners in their sin, he chose to save some and he chose not to save others. If he had been really fair he would have saved none of us and that would also be just. Again, the Scandal is not that he chose to save some and leave some unsaved. The Scandal is that he saved anyone. Hopefully that makes sense to you. God bless.

    1. Scott,

      I could not understand all that you wrote. Maybe some of it was dictated and came out differently?

      I did not see you ask for exegesis on Acts 4 and 13, but sufficient alternative interpretation for those verses and the 5-6-7 verses RH repeats in a loop are easily found on this site and hundreds of others. Trust me, you wont accept those ideas. You dont want to.

      A lot of this comes down to what one wants. With the internet any “answer” to any idea can be found and a person can go where he wants. I was a Calvinist, surrounded by them, in a church of Calvinists (still a member). After daily through-the-Bible reading I felt that the 40-50 key verses that are repeated and used as a filter just do not out-weigh and explain the thousands of contradictory verses I was seeing day after day. I did not “want” to be a Calvinist anymore. You “want” to be.

      Simply put, that is the reason the Calvinists do such gymnastics with ….. words like “all” (“all kinds”); Christ saying “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…. I wanted…. but you would not..”; “Come to me all who labor…”; “When I am lifted up I will draw all [kinds of] men to me” ….. and literally thousands of other verses in the Bible.

      Scott, you want to be a Calvinist…. believing that God purposely for His glory, created most of humanity in His image only to destroy them…. and “scandalously saves” some.

      I no longer want to believe that and no longer feel that the message and weight of Scripture teaches that. That is not Good News.

      You quote verses saying “Whoever believes in him is not condemned….” and “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life….”

      You quote them as-if that means anyone can. You want to and you need to feel like it is true. It sounds so simple and beautiful… whoever! Anyone! But the truth is you do NOT believe anyone can call.

      Imagine yourself with 10 co-workers at work. Per Calvinism, you dont know which ones of them are “chosen” or not. Very likely some of them will not come to Christ and therefore we not chosen. What do you say to them? Do you say “God loves you”? Do you take them to church or read Bible passages that say or imply that Christ died for them?

      You have mentioned the importance of evangelism.

      Can you look at all 10 of them of them and say, “Christ is saying to you…. ‘Come to me all who labor and I will give you rest.'” ?

      In all honesty Scott, you cannot.

      Can you say to them, “Listen to Christ’s words to you here….. 22:17 ‘And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.'” ?

      In all honesty you cannot.

      You cannot say to the non-elect that Christ is calling you to come to Him for rest. That would be untruthful. (Because for you…if Christ is really calling, they irresistibly must come.)

      Ask yourself, in all your years of being a Calvinist have you ever said “God loves you” to someone? Have you ever said to someone “Christ died for your sins”?

      This is just flat out untruthful and dishonest if that person is not chosen. And yet…. Calvinists do it all the time.

      Back to what I said above, Calvinists want to live, speak, and preach with the ability to say to anyone, “God loves you” but their theology adamantly teaches against that idea.

      1. Sorry about the poorly dictated post above! I was making the point that determinism and Calvinism are in fact very different.

        I know you have heard it before, but the reality is that dead people simply cannot choose God and so the offer of Salvation is given to everyone who hears and none of them will repent and turn to Jesus Christ. Dead men are dead in their trespasses and sins and there is nothing good in them, “… no not in any one” of them. This is simply scripture. No one will choose Christ. This in fact gives God the greatest Glory, because if I had what it took to choose Christ but my workmates didn’t have what it took to choose Christ, then I have something great to boast about. But no one will boast before God. I would never have chosen him had he not woken me up and shown me who he is, and given me faith and repentance. You can look up the scripture verses to find that in fact repentance is a gift. It’s ALL of grace.

        And again your condemnation of the scenario where God creates billions of people, choosing to mercifully save some , and thus knowing that billions will go to hell…. you believe that scenario makes God a bad and unfair God. But I am telling you that the scenario you embrace, where God doesn’t make the choice and leaves it up to every human being and yet KNOWS (because he “knows the end from the beginning”) that billions, because of their sin, will never turn to him and will go to hell forever, and yet he creates all of them anyway, this puts God in just as an unfair light as that of reformed theology. Again, I believe the reason you are obsessed with this kind of seeming unfairness is simply that you don’t understand what it is to be God, nor how horribly sinful man is, and what a scandal it is that God would save anyone. The only way you will ever change this is by studying the word of God further.

        Again, I have been a calvinist for at least 45 years and I continue to be open to God showing me the error of it, but just as guys like John Piper and RC Sproul were resistant to Calvinism and then eventually embraced it because they saw that it was the most faithful worldview when compared with scripture….. I can’t help but see that this is what the word of God teaches.

        God has always unconditionally elected people. Abraham was a pagan in what is now modern-day Iraq, and God Sovereign Lee chose to speak to him and choose him to be the father of his people. They were thousands and thousands of others in that country that God could have appeared to and giving them the same mercy and he didn’t. Take it up with God. He chose Israel. Negatively, we are told in the gospels that Judas was appointed to be a traitor who would betray Jesus and cause him to be crucified. These words are as plain as day. The greatest thing we can do is to get to know our God and how glorious he is, how Sovereign he is, how loving and merciful he is.

        I’ve shared everything I can with you, and I will leave it there. God bless!

      2. Scott,

        Curious that you have said twice that you’ve been a Calvinist for 45 years. What were you before?

        The national worker (pastoral colleague) that I worked with for 20 years recently became a Calvinist via his 20-something YRR son (who read it on the internet).

        He uses the words (in our language) “since I discovered Calvinism” now and again. He was a believer 40 years before he “discovered Calvinism” (actually his son got it off the internet and aggressively, enthusiastically infused it into their household).

        Anyway my first 2 questions to him were:

        1. Where was it hiding? Why did it have to be discovered?

        2. Did you think you were a “I am better than the other guy” person before you discovered it? “No, of course not. I was saved by grace.” Did you think that you had somehow earned it? “No of course not.”

        Did ever one time in 40 years the idea, “I have something great to boast about” come into your mind? “No. Never. I knew that I was unworthy and save by grace through believing in Christ.”

        Okay…. I think this red herring of, “having something great to boast about” can be laid to rest.

        Scott, it doesn’t happen. No one boasts about it. It would be like the children of Israel leaving Egypt saying “we sure showed those Egyptians.” Nah… they knew God did it. (But they still had to —in faith— apply the blood on the door). Calvinists just set that straw man up to have something to knock down.

        Secondly, Yes, I know, I know “dead men dont make choices”….. but that is not what Christ says. Let me quote you Scott, “This is simply scripture.”

        Christ calls the prodigal son “dead” 2 times in Luke 15, yet he still “came to his senses” “In a far away land” and came to the waiting father.

        This is simply scripture.

        We are “dead to sin” yet we sin…..

        We are dead and buried with Christ….. yet we sin….

        This is simply scripture. Dead does not mean what Calvinists say it means.

        Oh…. and by the way…. saying “this is simply Scripture” adds nothing to the conversation. I makes someone look arrogant and self-serving.

        Also, if “simply Scripture” was that clear, we would all believe the same thing about every issue like the JWs and Catholics do.

        I was a sinner saved by grace, who never entertained the idea that this made me smarter or gave me anything to boast about. Then I was taught Calvinism and “discovered it” (about the time of Piper and MacArthur — at the beginning of the new-Calvinism wave). Later after many times through the Word…. I could see the flaws in it.

        The NT talks about 3 OT images of Christ:

        God provided the escape for Noah, who —in faith— built the ark.

        God provided the escape for the snake bite, but they had to —in faith— put the bronze snake on the pole, and go find it and look and live.

        God provided the escape for captive Israel, but they had to —in faith— kill the lamb, apply the blood to the door, and stay inside.

        He is the Great Redeemer….. He provided the escape (that we cannot provide) and we apply His blood in faith/ belief/ trust. This appears to me to be what the Scripture teaches.

      3. I pray you will actually read this entire post I’m writing right now. Otherwise, we are probably both wasting precious time we could devote to something else.

        I strongly believe the greatest motivation for your position against unconditional election is rooted in two main things. First, an outrage that God could ever be a God who chose people to be saved and who did not choose other people to be saved. This is fundamentally a PHILOSOPHICAL matter.

        The second motivation is related to the first. It is a belief that certain KEY scriptures teach something other than what Calvinists teach. One of the most prominent passages where you hold to this is Romans 9. If it says what Calvinists say it says about unconditional election, then you must embrace it. Man has all kinds of rational arguments that simply don’t stand under good exesesis. No good Christian is interested in wasting time on that kind of philosophy.

        Now watch carefully…

        Here is what would be called the passage of “full mention” regarding election (that is, it is the most thorough discussion of the doctrine in the entire Bible) I guarantee you don’t love this wonderful, extensive passage and wish it were not in the Bible at all. You certainly don’t meditate on it much! I think you want to make it say what it does not clearly say.

        I’m going to quote the whole passage here, but then I’m going to quote verse 14 which I believe is the key verse to SHOW you that Paul was talking about something SCANDALOUS and he KNEW that people would OBJECT, just like you are objecting, because it seems SO scandalous. The only question is do you understand the significance of verse 14? (I have is sick hunch that you will not even read the passage here right now!) Here’s the entire Passage:

        “And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for THOUGH the twins were NOT YET BORN and had NOT DONE ANYTHING good or bad, so that God’s PURPOSE according to His CHOICE would stand, not because of works but because of Him who CALLS, it was said to her, ” the older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I LOVED, but esau I HATED.” What shall WE [you] say then? There is no INJUSTICE with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy , and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion .” 16 SO then it does NOT depend on the MAN who wills or the MAN who runs, BUT on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ” for this very purpose I raised you up , to demonstrate my power in you , and that my name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth .” SO then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. YOU will say to me then, “WHY does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a RIGHT over the clay, to make from the same lump ONE vessel for honorable use and ANOTHER for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
        Romans 9:10‭-‬22


        Paul CLEARLY talks about INDIVIDUALS here, as well as nations. Verse 16 says, “.. the MAN who wills, or the MAN who runs.”!

        God chose to love the MAN, Jacob, and NOT the MAN, Esau, BEFORE they even came out of the womb. You can twist this any way you like, but it clearly says what it says. And what I really want you to saee is verse 14 …..

        “What shall we say then? There is no INJUSTICE with God, is there? May it never be!”
        Romans 9:14

        WHY is that verse so important? Because it PROVES that Paul is teaching what Calvinists believe he is teaching. Why does it prove it? Because it is, to the human mind, a scandalous teaching. Paul knew this, and so he voices your position before you even have the opportunity to speak it! He quotes your accusation of INJUSTICE and the fact that you don’t want this kind of God!

        NOTE: If Paul was only teaching what you claim he is teaching, then there would be no scandal to that at all. Verse 14 ONLY makes sense if Paul is actually stating something that seems philosophically scandalous: the notion that God would CREATE some people merely for a dishonorable use. You probably know that he is saying that in spite of how important you think humans are compared to God’s holy sovereignty, God is fully JUST to create one person like a pot created for the outhouse , that will later be destroyed, and to create another person specifically like a pot to be placed in a prominent place on his dining table! He he can and DOES create people in that way, and they may never understand why he chose to create them for one use or for the other.

        IF this is not what Paul is saying, and IF he is only teaching here what you say he is teaching, then he would not need to anticipate your objection! IF you don’t understand this, I think it proves your bias rules your interpretation and/or you are not reading the passage carefully. This passage, when honestly exegeted, will not allow you to say that Paul is not teaching something scandalous, namely that God chooses, before we are ever born, whom he will love and whom he will not love. YES, it seems VERY unjust to our limited minds. That is WHY Paul included verse 14. So don’t tell me again how unjust it is, Paul already said it for you. Tell us HOW these verses are not saying what calvinists say they are saying or don’t say anything at all.

        PROVE to us that that is not what is going on here. Believe it or not, I would be thrilled if someone could clearly show that this is not at all what part is teaching. I don’t want to be in someone’s camp; I want to know and follow the truth. So PLEASE deal with THIS passage.

        Please don’t tell me to go and look up a previous post. I want you to put in your own words exactly what this passage is saying and why my explanation is inaccurate. If you can’t do this with this passage from an exegetical position, especially regarding the verses I have highlighted, how can we have the kind of discussion that scripture demands?

      4. Thank you for your thoughtful post, Scott. You jump to the wrong conclusions, imo, when you prejudge any non–Calvinist here as having “outrage against God” or that we “don’t love” Romans 9. Are you outraged at the idea the God can sovereignly plan to give each person sufficient ability and opportunity to freely seek His mercy? I hope not.

        Here is my Overview of Romans 9 if you wish to interact with it or any specific verse.

        It would help if the context of Christ-like love for all the lost, demonstrated in Paul from verses 1-3 were recognized before reading the rest. It would also help to note that no verse mentions election before creation in this chapter, but that there is a “seed” that is currently being reckoned (present tense) in verse 6.

        It also would help if it wouldn’t be skipped over so easily that God’s purpose in hardening Pharoah was so that God’s Name would spread over ALL the earth in verse 17. And it would be helpful to read each time the phrases “will have mercy” and “will harden” more fully and literally as He will have mercy/harden with whom He “should” and “wants to” have mercy and harden.

        That should lead the reader to wonder on whom then “should” God have mercy or on whom does God “want” to have mercy. It is easy to discover that He wants His mercy to be on a people who were not His “people” or “beloved” before. This excludes the idea of a loved elect individual person before creation (besides Christ) being read into verses 25-26. But God will have mercy on those on whom He grants His righteousness which they pursued and came to possess through faith (vs 32). In fact He will have some kind of mercy on all (11:32), giving all a sufficient opportunity to hear His call to them to seek Him (10:18).

        The biggest confusion a Calvinist has is in not seeing that God’s sovereign choice of individuals according to Romans 9 was to help fulfill His promise of salvation in Christ, but it did not guarantee their personal salvation or damnation. The prophecy – Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated – did not guarantee the salvation of Jacob or of everyone in Israel, nor did it guarantee the damnation of Esau and of everyone in Edom.
        Here is evidence that Esau later became a believer and that any Edomites were welcome to become believers also.

        Gen 33:4, 10 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept…. “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.”

        Deut 23:7-8 Do not despise an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you. Do not despise an Egyptian, because you resided as foreigners in their country. The third generation of children born to them may enter the assembly of the Lord.

        Who does Esau remind you of in 33:4? Hint Luke 15:20.

      5. Thanks, Brian. I don’t think I’m outraged at anything that scripture clearly teaches! I understand that groups are spoken of in Romans 9, but Paul is also clearly talking about individuals. He uses this opportunity of discussion about Israel to talk about the entire matter of God’s Sovereign election. And I don’t think it matters that it doesn’t mention election before the foundation of the world when he talks about Jacob and Esau, but clearly he is making the point that God has the right to choose one person over another, prior to birth, when it has absolutely nothing to do with their predicted behavior. Not only was Jacob the second born, he was the big scoundrel and really didn’t deserve God’s grace. Of course, we never do!

        This passage clearly explains why we would see in Acts 13 48 that, after Paul preached, we are told that ” APPOINTED unto eternal life believed”. I looked up 28 translations and paraphrases of this passage and every one of them except one obscure paraphrase translates that word as either appointed, or ordained, or chosen. How confusing would God be to insert this verse if it doesn’t mean what it means.

        It reminds me in a slightly related way of Jesus’ prayer in John 17. Why is it that he says he does not pray for the world, but only for those whom God has given to him. He prays only for the elect. Wouldn’t it be the WORLD that needs his prayers much more? Would we object to Jesus right to only pray for the elect? Or is there another interpretation of this passage that you like?

        Since we are talking, one other thing I would be very interested in hearing is your interpretation on Romans 8:30, where Paul says that every single person whom God calls gets justified. You’ve probably analyzed that passage, but if you haven’t, look carefully and you will see that it seems to demand at least two things: One calling would be any time any human being hears the Gospel preached . Obviously not every one of those people gets saved. Yet Romans 8 talks about a call that happens…..and EVERY single person who hears that call gets justified. What is the alternate interpretation of this passage that would allow this verse to be true and yet allow a world where God calls everyone, yet not everyone gets justified? Your response on this would be very helpful. Thanks.

      6. Thank you for your thoughtful response Scott, and your questions. Yes, God does choose individuals for certain tasks… but not every divine choice is for salvation, and not every divine choice is before creation.

        As for my exegesis of Acts 13:48 (which actually includes a thoughtful dialog with a reasonable Calvinist after it), the link is below. I also am including links to brief papers on Eph 1:4 and Rom 8:29-30 for the exegesis I did on those passages also. I also have more specific comments on certain verses in Romans 9 if you are interested. Blessings.

      7. Scott and Brian,
        Thanks for the dialog.

        Let me just add that as thorough and thoughtful as Brian is, he is not the only person with ideas on these verses (I am not saying I dont agree, just dealing with the esoteric idea here… we are not alone).

        There are endless blogs, books, and Bible colleges (alliteration!) supporting a non-Calvinist approach.

        Certainly the hottest guy on the block is the New-Calvinism. I remember several other waves in the last 30-40 years also.

        Many in our evangelical network are more comfortable (“want to be”) in a safer, classical, reformed structure — no risk, no surprises.

        Others of our friends are out on the edge looking for the “new move of the Lord.”

        I was not happy being a Calvinist (previous posts would tell you how I was harmfully aggressive to people and even a fiance). I “was thrilled” to find the alternative, acceptable answers. Funny for me is that as I was going out the door a regular stream of bearded, tattooed, pipe-smoking YRRs were flooding in.

        If those in my network of friends and colleagues have as our goal to glorify Christ, proclaim His love and salvation, and live godly lives…. I’m fine in a big circle.

      8. Brian, I read your discussion with Keith Thompson regarding Acts 13:48. I really, really appreciate that kind of scholarship and I also appreciate the spirit in which you share it. It convicts me about the need to check my own attitude more often.
        The bottom line on that discussion seemed to be close to a draw, though, predictably, I think Keith was a little more convincing. It is interesting that out of the 28 translations and paraphrases I looked at, which were all that I could find at the moment, only one of them wind up with your interpretation, and it was a paraphrase I have never seen before.

      9. Thank you Scott for taking the time to read my exegetical dialog. I appreciate Keith Thompson and wish I could add a dialog like I had with him on that passage to my other exegetical papers on the other proof text passages of Calvinism.

        Thank you also for noticing my attempt to add Christian cordiality to my discussions.

        I hope you noticed that most modern translations of Acts 13:48 at least got rid of the theologically laden word “ordained” used in the KJV. I felt the middle voice interpretation was justified by two main points for the local context – 1. the contrast with the Jews who rejected everlasting life for themselves and 2. all the other verbal actions in vs 48 are done by the Gentiles themselves.

        But you may have noticed that I did concede that the passive meaning “were appointed” could still be correct, but in no way clearly makes God the actor of the appointing nor makes the appointing a precreation activity.

        I hope you take the time to read my other exegetical papers. Blessings.

      10. Brian,
        So happy to have an academic and nice (mostly happy about the nice part!) guy verbalizing some of these ideas.

        We are so often met with “universalists!” and “heretics!” and “false teachers!” by the young YRR guys that stop by and take a shot across the bow: “I’ll just quote Eph 1:11, and John 6:44 and they will come around.” And when we dont, the invective terms come out as a last shot before leaving.

        Not that I really care, but it is also worth note that the ETS and other groups find none of the ideas discussed here outside the evangelical world.

      11. Thank you FOH for the kind words. I am waiting to hear if the ETS SW regional, which is discussing Molinism as its main topic in the first week of March in New Orleans, will let me present a minor paper on the topic – Post Creation Divine Decision Making and Dynamic Omniscience. I’ll let you know so you can pray for me in that endeavor. 😉

      12. Brian,
        I hope and pray that they do!

        Tendency with some groups/ networks is to only let guys in who will follow the Confessions/ Councils etc.

        “No sense letting anyone else present an idea they found in the Word since we have it all figured out. We set it permanently in stone in the early years of the Reformation. Case closed.”

        I find this extremely humorous and ironic. That is exactly what the Catholic church said! The reformers were all considered heretics!

      13. Scott,

        I see that Brian has taken the time to get back to you. Keep in mind also that entire books have been written by evangelical academics that offer a different, healthy interpretation of Romans 9. Please dont ignore them, insisting that someone re-type it out for you in the comment section of a blog post.

        You said…. “Believe it or not, I would be thrilled if someone could clearly show that this is not at all what part is teaching.”

        If this would be as thrilling to you as you say, then please do what I did some years ago and put down the Pink, Boettner, and Van Til (perhaps Sproul and Piper in your case….. or and look for other alternatives by evangelicals.

        Certainly any response that I would make about Romans 9 would include the idea that the early context is Paul’s grief about his brothers of Israel. I would mention that the context is about the Jews thinking the plan is all about them and not the Gentiles (including chapters 10-11). I would also mention that Paul’s illusion of the Potter refers back to Jeremiah 18 where God talks specifically about doing something different with the clay that was being worked in his hands.

        I will include (below) that quote and see if that indicates that the Potter claims to the right to “relent and not do what He planned.” We need to, as you say, “LET THESE VERSES SAY WHAT THEY SAY !”

        It is about God’s mercy. Paul quotes that Exodus 33 verse “have mercy on whom I will…” That verse was given to Moses right before God redeemed His people at Passover (blood of the lamb applied in faith on the door). It seems like it was a direct indication to stubborn Israel that God’s mercy will now extend beyond them. The Potter can do what He wants with His mercy. He (in Romans 9:8) reserves the right to include non-Israel in and who are they to say to Him that He cannot (just as He made clear at the Potter’s house in Jeremiah)?

        The Potter’s house in Jeremiah 18 tells us that if He plans non-mercy to someone and they “repent of their evil” then He will show mercy…. since He can show mercy on whom He wants.

        Jeremiah 18:1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

        5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted,10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.


        Romans 9 helps us understand when Christ says, “when I am lifted up I will draw all men to Himself.” We (non-Israel) would not come if the Father did not draw us (John 6). We are called and invited. As in the wedding parable (Matt 22), not just the first ones invited but now “all they could find were called” but only those who were “properly dressed” (“clothed in Christ”) were chosen (being called and drawn is not enough…. putting on Christ, “applying the blood on the door” is required.)

        God now shows mercy not just on those “born in physical descent” (9:8) but those “born again” who have “clothed yourself in Christ.” (Gal 3:27).

      14. Thanks for taking the time to write that. Brian has not yet responded to my request for a good alternative explanation of Acts 13:48, “and as many as were appointed unto eternal life believed.” It seems that this should read, as many as believed were appointed unto eternal life. What is your interpretation of that?

        I also requested an explanation on John 17…. Why is it that Jesus says he does not pray for the world, but only for those whom God has given to him. He prays only for the elect. Why isn’t he praying for the world that all of them would be saved? Is there another interpretation of this passage that you like?

        … And then the one other thing…. Romans 8:30, where Paul says that every single person whom God calls gets justified. You’ve probably analyzed that passage, but if you haven’t, look carefully and you will see that it seems to demand at least two things: One calling would be any time any human being hears the Gospel preached . Obviously not every one of those people gets saved. Yet Romans 8 talks about a call that happens…..and EVERY single person who hears that call gets justified. What is the alternate interpretation of this passage that would allow this verse to be true and yet allow a world where God calls everyone, yet not everyone gets justified? Your response on this would be very helpful. Thanks, my friend.

      15. Scott,
        Here is a quick go at Acts 13:48. Do not think I will have time now for the two others you just mentioned.


        Again, let me say I get what you are saying. I knew/used all the main talking points (“dead men dont make choices”), verses, and even partial verses (Acts 13:48b) as a young Calvinist.

        1. Doctrine: First thing I want to ask, is Luke trying to establish a very precise doctrine in Acts 13?

        If so, my Pentecostal friends would remind us that in Acts 2, Acts 4, Acts 10 and Acts 19 when believers receive the Holy Spirit they speak in tongues. Non-Pentecostals downplay this and have “Historical Acts is not about doctrine” explanations.

        So let’s keep that in mind.

        2. Half-verses: Also, we dont really like to take a half-verse (out of context) and say all of Christendom must yield to a single idea taken from it…. especially an idea that would have ramifications on hundreds of other parts of the Bible. The out-of-context, half-verse approach would have people “hating their father and mother” as the words of Christ said.

        3. Context: Now, let’s see the context of this verse. In 13:14 it says “On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down.” So we see a set up of what I referred to in my Romans 9 letter. Paul is gonna break the news to the brethren that the mercy goes out beyond them.

        The leaders even ask Paul to speak (15) and he goes into a long talk about how “it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.” and then he tells them but…. “The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus…”

        They had Christ first, but rejected Him. But he repeats the offer …. (38) “I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” Get ready…..

        The next Sabbath almost the whole city (in a Gentile area) is there to hear and the Jews are “heaping abuse on them.” Paul says “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.”

        There it is. There’s the Potter reshaping the clay to include His mercy on more than Israel…. stating it clearly here:

        “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
        that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

        So this is one of the historic moments when the plan is seen to go beyond Israel to (eager, God-fearing) Gentiles.

        4. The verse: That brings us to the verse (or half-verse) that Calvinists quote. The first (unquoted) part says this:

        “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord.” Wow. Remember where we are. Way over in Antioch in present-day Turkey. There are LOTS of Gentiles there. We are told that almost the whole city is there…. so that means lots of Gentiles hearing this. (side note on this: Are these Gentiles “seeking”? Looks like they are.)

        So when it says, “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord,” does that mean all of them? Every Gentile there (hundreds…thousands?) was glad about this and honored God’s word? Perhaps it is best to understand that in a general sense…. many/ some of the Gentiles there were glad about this.

        Here “Gentiles” is used in a general sense—- to show in juxtaposition to “this is only for the Jews.”

        Some other points to see:

        A. Previously it says the Jews “rejected Him.” Certainly not all Jews did. So, general, again. It also means they rejected what was a sincere offer right? This is a place where we see an offer/ calling/ drawing being rejected. That would complicate “irresistible grace” (I mean you can’t really reject something if it is not offered). This certainly matches the idea of “but you were not willing” that we see all over Scripture. God offers/ draws, but man says no. God is resisted all over Scripture. I just dont see irresistible grace in Scripture (Whoa… I mean I see how it “must be true” in order for Calvinism to work, but I do not see it demonstrated in Scripture, just assumed.)

        B. Seeking. Calvinists tell us people cannot seek yet thousands of Gentiles are “seeking” to hear about this (If they all turned to Christ, then yeah, that would still fit the “regenerated/ given faith/then seek” model, but to think that all of the thousands that are “seeking” that day did indeed come to faith is a stretch. Meaning: that plenty were indeed seeking, yet did not go all the way…. of course that dings the Calvinist idea that “men cannot seek.” Of course we have the rich young ruler who actually seeks out Christ and walks along side him —and whom Christ feels compassion for— who just rejects and walks away. That of course dings the “can’t seek” and the “irresistible grace” since the Scripture records him pretty clearly both seeking and resisting Christ!).

        C. This verse talks about believing…. but does not say that certain people cannot believe…. just that some did. Specifically highlighting Gentiles…. which is the point.

        D. My Greek is rusty, but Brian’s is good so I will let him comment on the verb τεταγμένοι (or tasso) and the Greek order-structure of the verse. Some say it is the only place this verb is found in the NT. In other literature it is translated “devoted to”. …. rendering the verse something like “those who were devoted to eternal life, believed.” Or… those who were devoted to this idea that eternal life is in Christ, believed.

        A couple commentaries I fell on said things like: “…it is probable…looking to the general drift of the theology of the English Church in the early part of the seventeenth century, that the word “ordained” was chosen as expressing that dogma.”

        Matthew Henry uses the word “disposed to” (like “devoted to” above) and says, “As many as were disposed to eternal life, as many as had concern about their eternal state, and aimed to make sure of eternal life, believed in Christ…”

        Benson says, “The meaning of the sacred penman seems to be, that all who were deeply and seriously concerned about their eternal happiness…. openly embraced the gospel..”

        The Cambridge Commentary says, “In the controversies on predestination and election this sentence has constantly been brought forward. But it is manifestly unfair to take a sentence out of its context, and interpret it as if it stood alone.” It goes on to say it is being used to juxtapose/highlight the Jewish unbelief.

        Of course, this half-verse being one of the 40 main filter-verses for Calvinism, there are plenty of commentaries saying the Calvinist interpretation.

        E. Funny… let’s talk about “all” here. Does all mean “all” or “all kinds”? Ha! Kind of humorous that dozens and dozens of times Calvinists want to say “all does not mean all” but here they do! Christ says when He is lifted up he will drawn all men to Himself. That sounds pretty clear! But nope…. that “all” is not accepted.

        Here —in the obvious immediate context of “not-just-the-Jews,” the all could easily be seen as a way of saying the “all” of believers now included the eager Gentiles not just the Jews.

        All who were going to be part of the Potter’s new-clay-form, appointed plan, believed.

        I realized of course that to many this quickly-typed alternative explanation will not suffice. Primarily cuz they dont “want” it to. For me, again, dealing with 40-50 gotcha verses that dictate all of Calvinism is a lot more fun and satisfying (and easier) than dealing with the thousands of verses that seem to contradict it.

        A person can choose (free will!) to adhere to Calvinistic interpretations of the 40 verses and then filter all other parts of the Bible through them ….. but I was a little like you said Scott “would be thrilled” to find alternative interpretations. And I was thrilled when I did!

        Reading trough the Bible daily I found myself constantly encountering new contradicting verses… and constantly going back to the same 10-20-30 verse to explain them away. That got both tiresome and suspicious to me.

        I can honestly say that all of the verses I held as gotcha, filter verses have acceptable, evangelical, non-Calvinistic alternatives… and having those renders understandable so much of the Bible I was forcing myself to ignore (Saying “that does not mean what it says” several times a day).

        Hope this helps.

      16. Wow, thanks for all those words! Hope you were able to copy and paste some of them. I definitely don’t believe in taking one verse and building a Doctrine out of it, and of course, ax is a history book, not primarily a teaching book like Romans is.
        Regarding the commentators you quoted on Acts 13:48, it seems you chose ones that are not in favor of reformed theology. I understand! You quoted Benson, and not only is he against unconditional election he even says that know where does the New Testament say that a Believer can’t lose their salvation! I would cross him off of your quote list.

        As I said above, I looked at 28 translations of that verse and every single one of them Translate appointed as either appointed or ordained or chosen. These are usually teams of Scholars who worked hard to give the best possible translation of the passage. Those translations would be much more reliable than certain commentators who have a bias against
        unconditional election and an effectual call. (By the way, that passage in Romans 8:30 clearly says that those who were called were justified. And those who were justified were glorified. So I want to hear how the called could all be justified (which is clearly the sense of the grammar, if words mean anything) unless there are TWO calls from God _-a general call and an effectual call. Hopefully you understand what I’m talking about.

        When Jesus said that no one can come to him unless the father draws them, the word that was used for “draws” is the same word that was used when Paul and Silas were “dragged” to the jail in Acts 16.

        You said, “Calvinists tell us people cannot seek yet thousands of Gentiles are “seeking” to hear about this….”
        I believe the fallacy and what you are saying here is that you do not like having the tension between a sovereign God who moves in people’s lives, and the responsibility of people to seek him. Calvinists do believe people can seek God, but only because he is drawing them to himself.
        Left to yourself, you would never respond to the gospel other than to reject it. That’s why God must reveal his Beauty to us and open our eyes and grant us faith and repentance. That is the call that always brings justification. We know many people who have been called to Christ through a sermon but did not respond. But when God calls the way Paul is talking about in Romans 8, you come!

        If you don’t believe this, then you believe that when you and your neighbor heard the gospel you chose Christ because you had what it takes to repent and believe but your neighbor was more sinful and fallen than you and did not have what it takes. Obviously this shows merit on your part.

        We all have a tendency to not want to believe that if God is 100% Sovereign over this world, then man has no choice or man is not responsible for his choice. This is why Paul says and Romans 9, “you will say, how can he find fault!… ” It seems scandalous, but it is true.

        Just for grins, I will include this list of scholars and evangelists that we all look up to. Believe me, you do! The guys that founded the Southern Baptist convention were Calvinists. The man who would likely be called the greatest Baptist pastor of all time, who baptized so many people it’s amazing, Charles Spurgeon, was a calvinist.
        A man a man who might be considered the greatest evangelist of all time, George Whitefield, was a calvinist. The man who might be considered the greatest prayer Warrior and man of Faith, George Mueller, was a calvinist. The man who would pretty much universally be agreed to be the one who impacted the churches in America and even around the world with the best evangelism training program ever devised, D James Kennedy, was a calvinist. Three of the men whom I consider to be as fervent about missions and church-planting as anyone I know, John Piper, David Platt, and Matt Chandler, are all Calvinists (You can stream The Passion Conference in Atlanta and Dallas and DC today and tomorrow and watch Matt speak!). The man who is considered to be possibly the greatest intellect ever produced in the United States, Jonathan Edwards, was a calvinist. The man who wrote what the majority of Christians would say is the greatest Christian book ever written, Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan, a Calvinist. And it goes on and on and on and on…. Curious! It doesn’t prove that the doctrine is true, but you know it won’t go away!


        Wayne Grudem
        Russell Moore
        Al Mohler
        Matt Carter (Austin Stone)
        Curtis Vaughan
        DA Carson
        George Mueller
        John Bunyan
        Basil Manly, Sr.
        B. H. Carroll
        John A. Broadus (” The people who sneer at Calvinism might as well sneer at Mont Blanc.”)
        Jared C Wilson
        Francis Schaeffer,
        J. I. Packer,
        Jay Adams,
        R.C. Sproul,
        James Boice
        Roger Nicole
        James Kennedy
        Swindoll mostly /probably)
        John Piper
        Matt Chandler
        JD Greear
        Timothy Keller
        John Gill
        John Owen
        Carl F H Henry
        John MacArthur
        Matthew Henry
        George Whitefield
        David Platt
        Francis Chan
        Alastair Begg
        William Tyndale
        D Martyn Lloyd Jones
        William Carey
        Richard Furman
        Mark Dever
        Martin Luther

        Sorry for the bad auto text!

      17. Scott,

        Merit idea: What did Abraham have? Merit or faith? Are we just going round and round here? Nowhere does Abraham get to boast….and yet no where is it ever said that God gave him faith. Romans 4 contrasts his faith and works. His personal name is mentioned a lot. God called, warned, cajoled, reminded plenty of other people in the OT and they said nope. Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness. Let’s let the verses say what they say (quoting you).

        Hebrews 11 has a lists of people mentioned for their faith and says a couple times, “these were all commended for their faith.” It is just silly to insist that the Bible is “commending them” for something they had nothing to do with and were irresistibly made to do! 11:39 “These were all commended for their faith.” Let’s let these verses say what they say (quoting you).

        Even if one takes the given-faith position, what is the point of all these mentions of Abraham’s faith and Hebrews 11? To teach us to have faith? We cant! So what in the wide world is the point? There is no point to Hebrews 11. Jon Bloom, a close associate of Piper wrote a book of 35 Bible stories about faith, challenging the reader to have faith (Title is “Where is Your Faith?” in the language I read it in…. funny). I have quoted the (very Arminian-sounding) preface several times on these pages to show that most Calvinists will theologize like they are Calvinist but will write and live like we have non-God-imposed choices about faith (which Calvinism teaches we do not). I dont have a problem with Calvinists so as long as they are living like non-Calvinist, fine! And they are!

        You’re killing me with the “two calls” thing. Was Christ calling the rich young ruler?

        Mark 10:21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

        Christ is right there calling him. You have two choices Scott.

        Christ is not sincerely calling him (even though it says He felt love for him). Christ never desired or intended that the man follow him.


        Christ is calling him, drawing him, loving him…. but still giving him the freedom to say no.

        The Calvinist says the first one…. calling him but not really meaning it (cuz if Christ called “he would come!” …quoting you). So Christ’s call to him was insincere. What do we learn from that passage then? Christ insincerely calls people? That’s deception.

        If that man follows Christ can he turn around and say ” I did it! I’m better than the other guys!”? Nah, that is just a childish straw man that Calvinists set up.

        What is your take on the rich young ruler?

      18. By the way, Scott, every reformer that ever stood trial before the priests of the Catholic church was reminded that all the previous good teaching had come from the Catholic church. So the list of teachers idea is fine but holds no weight.

        In that list we could find several different (contradicting) variations of Calvinism…. and literally tons of differences on lots of other questions, so they are not obviously all right all the time. Again, no weight…. putting our trust in the doctors of the law (remember my story how my dad say KJV was the only real translation cuz look at all the good it has done?…. or dont you read anything I write?

        I mean Augustine worshiped Mary, and Edwards owned slaves and staunchly defended slavery, so best not to put too much hope in man.

      19. Scott:

        Below is the preface of the book “Not By Sight” written by Jon Bloom of Desiring God (forward John Piper).

        His short preface illustrates the point that whereas they may theologize about Total Depravity….they preach like man can hear God’s voice and exercise faith.

        In the whole book it never talks one time about God limiting salvation, or God giving faith (you only talk about that when you theologize—-not in books that retell 35 Bible stories!!). All 35 of his Bible stories are about how people exercised faith and how you need to also!

        The entire lesson and theme of the book is that every person needs to have faith.

        —————- (preface by Jon Bloom)———


        WHAT DOES JESUS REALLY want from you? So much needs to be said. But boiled down to one sentence it’s this: “Believe in God; believe also in me” ( John 14:1). That’s why when the apostle John wrote his gospel, he used some form of the word “believe” eighty-five times in twenty-one chapters. What he remembered Jesus emphasizing in his teaching and preaching was believing.
        Whether or not you believe in Jesus is the most important issue of your life because “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” ( John 3:36).

        You see, “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb.11:6). But believing in Jesus is very difficult. It’s difficult because “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), and he works with all his might to blind “the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2Cor. 4:4). And he is constantly trying to lead believers astray (Matt.24:24).

        Because of this, it is crucial that followers of Jesus learn to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2Cor. 5:7). In other words, we must learn to trust God’s promises more than we trust our perceptions. This theme is woven through the Bible from beginning to end. The purpose of this little book is to imaginatively reflect on the real experiences of real people in the Bible in order to help you grasp and live what it means to “trust in the LORD with all your heart, and not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Its goal is to help you believe in Jesus while living in a very confusing and painful world.Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” ( John 6:29). My prayer is that God will use this book to encourage you in the most important work you will ever do in your life.


        Notice that the book has not yet started and he is preaching like an Arminian!!

        Believe (85 times in John!!) Sounds like it’s possible!

        Not once here —nor anywhere in the book— does he say “Whoever” actually means “all kinds of people.” It is written like it is possible for anyone to believe.

        Without faith it is impossible to please God —–and Bloom even says we must seek Him —–sounds good! sounds possible!!!

        But believing is difficult……oh here it comes……the staunch Calvinist is gonna say it is difficult (impossible) unless God gives you faith!

        NO!!!!! He says it is difficult because of Satan!

        Satan has to blind the minds of unbelievers or else they would see! He is not giving any (ANY!) credit to God for revealing or giving faith. It is all about you vs Satan.

        Then he adds that Satan is constantly trying to lead believers astray! This guy is no Calvinist! Believers cant be led astray!!

        Then…it is crucial that we walk by faith. It sounds so personal, so doable. So human. Well, so man-centered.

        We must “learn” to trust God’s promises. He doesn’t give that faith to us?

        The goal of the book is to help us believe in Jesus. We need help? I thought we got that faith given to us?? If that book helps us in any way, could that not be “glory-robbing” from God? Would the author get to boast “my book helped people believe in Jesus.”?

        The most important work we will ever do is to believe in Jesus. Work?

        He sounds like an Arminian Nazarene!

        This kind of Theologize-like-a-Calvinist, but preach like Wesley illustrates to me that IT MAKES NO REAL DIFFERENCE to be a Calvinist.

        Bloom is so inconsistent with his theology ….and he hasnt even yet told one Bible story (which are all about about personal faith)!!

      20. Bro! That was not a valid point at all. You simply don’t understand that as I have said numerous times now, we understand God’s sovereignty and election, and we also understand that God holds all people responsible for their sin and for what they choose. My job is not to find out who the elect are and only talk to them about making the right choice. That’s where you miss it. Everyone is to be invited to turn to Christ. God’s mysterious choice is just that… A mystery. One day we will know who the elect are. One day we will know who are the wheat and who are the tares.

      21. Yes…. Scott…. Calvinists live and preach like Arminians…I get that !

        But when you “only talk to them about making the right choice,” do you say to them things like “Christ loves you” “Christ died for your sins”? If they are non-elect that is a falsehood! This is where the cake-and-eat-it-too falls apart!

        Your way out is simply saying…. “yes but we cannot know.” Beeeeeep goes the buzzer. If you do not know (and if it is very likely not true, perentage wise) then you must/ should say it differently. It would be more consistent to say “Christ may have died for your sins.”

        Let’s be honest….. If you feel that the Bible demands that you tell everyone “Christ died for you” then He did! Otherwise you are simply telling some people (the non-elect) a falsehood. God did not command us to lie to the majority of the world…. telling everyone that Christ died for them (when our theology requires that He did not!).

        You, Scott, cannot tell everyone “Christ loves you.”

        You cannot, or should not, say, like Bloom…. “believing in Jesus is difficult” when in fact your whole theology is built on the idea that you get that faith from God and it is irresistible! Saying it “is difficult” certain puts some of the “believing power” on you!

        Man, I can’t believe you cannot see that and call out your own guys. I dont have a problem with Calvinists….. just Calvinists living like Arminians and denying it the whole time.

      22. I have been aware of that discussion for a long time. Most calvinist proclaim the gospel in a way that is faithful to verses like John 3:16. And not at all hung up on what you are talking about. Again, the sovereignty of God the mystery of his elect and the command to proclaim the gospel to all the nations …. All of those are critical.

      23. Scott,
        Of course you know that rookie non-Calvinists pull out John 3:16 when they meet their first Calvinist.

        The Calvinist eats him alive by declaring and explaining that “world” does not mean the whole world. Just like all means “all kinds” etc.

        The point being that Calvinists go to great lengths to say that the many, many verses that say “whosoever, all, world” …. do not mean what people think they mean. God really doesn’t love the whole world. Christ really didn’t die for everyone.

        Now you tell me that “Most calvinist proclaim the gospel in a way that is faithful to verses like John 3:16.”


        I mean, it’s simple, if Limited Atonement means that Christ did NOT die for most people, then Calvinists should not be saying to all people “Christ died for you.” I would expect you could agree with me on this. Vincent Chung does…. he solidly, openly declares that God does NOT love most of the world and Christ did not die for most of the world. That is a consistent Calvinist.

        Inconsistent ones tell anyone and everyone Christ died for you. That is a falsehood. Deception. If you said “Christ may have died for you” I would understand.

        You cannot call a falsehood (saying “Christ died for you” to someone who ends up being non-elect) antinomy. It’s just false.

        Honestly I am stunned that you do not agree.

      24. You’re just spinning your wheels here. Even if Calvinism was not true, God being Sovereign as he is could still apply Christ’s death only to those that he knows ahead of time will choose him, and no one could argue with him!

        Honestly, the big deal is simply that your view of God’s sovereignty is way too small. You have no idea how massive his control is over the universe, over every molecule, and yet, because he is God and you are not, he can hold you responsible for your choices and you have no clue how he does that! That’s because he’s God and we’re not!

      25. Scott,
        I have no problem with you believing that. You sleep at night believing that. I could not.

        Aint no shame…. Those answers dont work for me. And I do not find it that way in the Word.

        Not all believers have the same definition for words….. especially the ones that are not even in the Bible.

      26. And I love, love, love the company I’m in. And that theology harmonizes the scripture much better than anything else I’ve seen. But we are just spinning our Wheels here and I don’t believe you are really open to changing your view. So I want to and this conversation now. It’s been good. Thanks for your time. God

      27. Yup, lightweights like Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, Charles Spurgeon, John MacArthur, John Piper….. Why would anyone want to quote them?! God bless!

      28. Funny…. this discussion is taking place on an “Andy Stanley” thread. He has one of the fastest growing evangelical ministries/ churches in America, yet your first word for him were derogatory. For you…. he doesn’t count.

        You count your favorite guys and dont realize that they are not the favorite guys of all of Christendom. My work is leading a team in the unreached portions of countries I cannot put in print. In those countries, these people are unknown. We give them the Scripture and lift up the name of Christ. It’s not about western civilization and those with the biggest microphone here. Might does not always make right.

      29. It’s a non-issue. Do you seriously want to take that up with passionate, fruitful, missions and evangelism guys like David Platt, John Piper, Tim Keller, Matt Chandler, Francis Chan ……
        REALLY? ! Wanting to compare what God is doing through them with what he’s doing through others? I don’t think so. God is mightily blessing their gospel centered Ministry just like he is blessing the ministries of those who are not Calvinists.

      30. An easy answer to that: The fact that God is blessing their ministry does not mean that everything they believe is correct.

        No one is saying God is not blessing the ministry of Piper. That does not de facto mean that all of his positions are correct (ask MacArthur who is angry at him for being charismatic).

        God blessing their ministry has no bearing on whether their position on Calvinism is correct. My point has been that no Calvinist should be saying “Christ died for you” randomly to people since they do not believe it is true.

        Per the blessed ministry thing….. Ted Haggard had the fastest growing church in America, and was head of the National Association of Evangelicals …. until he ….. well, was disgraced. So we do not make theological decisions based on rock star status.

      31. Everyone knows that! Everyone is aware of the validity of what you just said. But if you want to take another look at that list I posted of great calvinist, if you are honest, you will see that you are lobbing dirt clods at guys that to put it nicely, are every bit as concerned about solid theology As You Are. And the reality is that in their churches there is probably a good bit more theology being taught then elsewhere. I know that from experience. Neither I nor you are going to solve the controversy of Calvinism versus Arminianism in such a way that everybody is going to come over to one side. We are passionately serving the Lord and making disciples, and one day we all know.

        But again, I think you have to admit, that if you took the people on that list off of your library and off of your podcast list, there would be a amassive loss on your part. If you think I’m blowing smoke, take another look at it! I am part of one of the prominent southern baptist churches in America, where are pastor could very well end up being the president of the SBC, and he is not a calvinist, but he is constantly reading and quoting from guys like Piper and Tim Keller and Al Mohler, Etc.

        So at the very least, these guys are amazing indispensable teachers. What guys like them and MacArthur etc etc teach is so valuable to the Church , (and I’m talking about stuff that doesn’t even mention Calvinism), that I believe if you are not regularly exposing your people to them, you are cheating them.
        That statement has nothing to do with my desire to win you over to Calvinism. It’s just something that I am passionate about. The most life-changing books I’ve read in the last 30 years we’re written by Tim Keller and John Piper. If you are not soaking them up, you’re cheating yourself because of a petty bias regarding Calvinism. Tellers book on prayer is one of the greatest books ever written. His stuff for Skeptics is amazing. His book on idolatry is super enlightening, his devotional on the Psalms is absolutely amazing. Piper’s book on Christian Hedonism, Desiring God, is an absolute life-changer. And his daily podcast, Ask Pastor John, is probably the one thing I would like to get every Christian listening to regularly. Very very little in there on Calvinism.

        Okay, I’m done ranting! But seriously, you are a pauper if you are missing out on what those guys write and say.

        The reason there is an amazing wave of spiritual fervor in the younger Generations right now is actually because of guys like John Piper, Matt Chandler, David Platt, Francis Chan…. what God is doing through guys like them and John MacArthur is far more important than any discussion about Calvinism.

      32. Not lobbing dirt clods.

        Read, listen to lots of guys. Most of the ones you mentioned and more (spent years at MacArthur’s church). Thirty years ago you would have listed Clark Pinnock in that list…with all his good books on apologetics, discipleship. His journey left him out of the fold however.

        He and Packer were buddies and fellow British/Canadian Calvinists. Pinnock just kept moving. I have always enjoyed his stuff. Appreciate Greg Boyd (Baptist General Conference just like Piper) and Tom Oord (Nazarene), but I’m pretty sure you would blacklist their stuff. Wouldn’t touch it.

        BTW, funny, if you go to their books at Amazon, you will see a good number of “reviews” of their work. Very often it is obvious that the 1-star “reviewer” did not even read the book, but rather just trolled for it, dissed it, and pasted in all kinds of (often angry-sounding) reformed info. This happens all the time. “Defenders of the truth!”

      33. Scott
        And the Rich Young Ruler…. did he resist Christ? Was Christ’s (loving) call “Come follow me” resistible?

      34. Is your point really that every time Jesus preached, everyone would have to get saved if Calvinism is true? I think you probably understand the theology better than that. Or…..
        The same Holy Spirit speaks through God’s word whether it was Jesus speaking or it is a modern-day evangelist!

      35. Wow.

        I made no point about Jesus preaching elsewhere as you say.

        My point is simple. You said when Jesus calls “you come!”

        This is all based on the “effectual call” idea (one of the many extra-biblical terms —-like 3 wills— that Calvinists bring to the table).

        So, here we have an example of Christ himself (not Paul or you or me) calling a man. Scripture says he had love for him. Scripture says he called him “come follow me.” Scripture says that the man walked away rejecting and resisting him.

        So when does the “When Christ calls, you come!” part start?

        Is it only defined the way Augustinian theologians want to define it? Or should we —– quoting you —- let the Scripture speak for itself.

        I got so tired of putting all my trust in the rock star Calvinist line up. Tired of poo-pooing whole stories like this. Tired of reading how Christ called the Prodigal son “dead” two times and yet he “came to his senses” and came to the waiting Father (who did not “irresistibly make” him come).

      36. I understood exactly what you said and meant. Again, you are spinning your wheels. God proclaims the gospel through his people, filled with the spirit. He’s been doing that since the prophets in the Old Testament. He did it through Jesus, and he does it through you and me. He calls everyone to repent and believe. But he does to his elect what he did to the Apostle Paul. He knocks us off our horse! One day every lost person is going to wonder why God didn’t do to them what he did to Paul and to Abraham and to CS Lewis who said he was dragged kicking and screaming into the kingdom. But it happened….and God is good and glorious, and has Mercy on whom he will have mercy. We do well not to question it.

      37. So….
        one last time….

        You are okay with Calvinists saying to anyone and everyone….. “Christ died for your sins.” ?

        I only hear you making negative statements about me, “spinning my wheels, lobbing dirt clods.”

      38. My back and forth with Scott (Calvinist) on this thread helped me see again a few thing.

        1. Resistible call: Scott said, “But when God calls the way Paul is talking about in Romans 8, you come!” —- referencing the so called “effectual call” of God.

        I mentioned several times the Rich Young Ruler account where Christ “had compassion on the man” and “had love toward him” and said “Come follow me.” As we know the man resisted Christ’s grace. That is a clear case of resistible grace. Or, the only other option, was that Christ was not calling him with a real call…. meaning He (Christ) had no intention for the man to follow. That requires the reader to take upon himself the responsibility to say that “Christ had love toward the man and called him, but He did not mean it or he would have come.”

        2. “Died for you” : It appears that Calvinists are okay with preaching a very Arminian-based message to all people (every person) : “Christ died for you.” At first glance we would say, what is wrong with saying that!?

        But “Limited Atonement” (the L in TULIP) declares clearly that Christ did NOT die for all. We often hear “We cannot know who the elect are.” Yes, to that I would say, so you should be saying “Christ MAY HAVE died for you.” or “Christ died for some sinners.” Apparently Calvinists do not see anything wrong with saying “Christ died for you” to any and every person…. some of whom —by their theology He did not die for.

        3. Rock stars: Over and over I received a list of great Calvinist writers. Once I was told that God is blessing these guys…. so could they be so wrong? It only made me think of the Catholic church saying over and over to the reformers: “Look at all the saint before you, could they be so wrong? Who do you think you are Jan Hus (1369-1415)? What right do you have to translate Wycliffe (1325-1384)? Heretics!”

        As far as the “God has blessed them” idea …. that is the most used line of all the prosperity Gospel teachers. “God is using me and blessing me… I must be right!”

        I repeatedly heard 10 or so of the same 40 verses that are always used. Personally, I believe there are other interpretations for these 40 verses and I believe the entire rest of the Bible bears witness to a Sovereign God who chose to create man in His image and give him choices to make.

        As always, I am primarily documenting these ideas so that believers —-feeling the aggressive push of the YRR-wave — will have some ideas to think about.

        Christ says “Come to me all who labor and I will give you rest….” But He wont make you come…. just like He didn’t make the rich young ruler come.


    2. The first day of reading gets me to start the Bible all over again.

      Prov 1:1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

      2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
      to help them understand the insights of the wise.
      3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,

      The proverbs can teach all people…. not just believers. They are “do this and it will go better for you” type proverbs. Even non-believers can apply most of these rules.

      For the next 31 chapters we will see good life principles.

      All of this indicates that we have choices…. make choices…. affect our future…. affect outcomes.

      None of this implies/ states that everything has already been set in stone. What’s the point of any of this “purpose is to teach people to live” stuff if we dont have choices and affect our outcome!?

      Calvinists will answer…. “of course we have choices!” ….. but nah, their theology teaches differently.

      You cannot do anything that God did not decree you to do.

      You cannot please or displease God — he is immutable and impassible. You cannot anger Him (that implies change). You cannot give Him pleasure or satisfaction (that means change. He is immutable and impassible).

      You cannot do something He does not want (that is “man-centered”). All that people do is exactly what He wants. If that were not so, then man would be able to “thwart God’s will.” If man can “thwart God’s will” then man is more powerful… (see above for “man-centered”).

      We must now invent “multiple wills”. God wants it but He doesnt want it. He wills it but He doesnt will it. Just call it tension and beauty and mystery.

      So…. when it’s all done…. if we are to live like we have choices and can impact our future and need to decide between good and bad choices every day and hour….. then what is the point of determinism?

  14. A man is walking down the street saying “Good News! You have a golden lottery ticket in your pocket” to every person he passes.

    Many do not even bother looking in their pocket. Others are excitedly reaching in their pockets to see if some slight of hand has taken place. Others look to see if in fact the ticket they bought is a golden one. Almost all are disappointed and see that the man was being untruthful.

    One man (on his way to cash in his golden ticket) hears and reaches in and verifies that he still has the ticket in his wallet.

    He later sees the Good News man again and asks….. “How did you know I had that golden ticket in my pocket?”

    He replies, “I didn’t know who did, but my job is to tell everyone.”

  15. Yes, and then you can apply Acts 13:48…..
    “And as many as were appointed unto eternal life believed.” God elects, we believe!
    (Note: It doesn’t say (and SHOULD if you are correct), “As many as believed were appointed unto eternal life.” So clear. Don’t fight the antinomy. Both God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are true!

  16. Scott,
    You said…

    “God elects, we believe!”

    If God has elected someone before time….. can he NOT believe?

    If God has not elected a person….. can he believe?

    I dont call that antinomy (who uses that word anyway? Dictionary say Kant and Karl Marx were the main users of that word).

    Answering these simple questions: If God elected someone, can he NOT believe?

    “No. He must.”

    If God has not elected a person….. can he believe?

    “No he cannot.”

    What part or responsibility does that person have?

    “None” (“if he did, he would boast about it!”)

    1. J.I. Packer likes that word. It’s a good one. You kind of undermine your efforts when you start bringing up Karl Marx.

      It’s really pretty simple, though it IS scandalous, or Paul wouldn’t have anticipated you guys and said….. “What shall we say then? There is no INJUSTICE with God, is there? May it never be! YOU will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? FOR WHO RESISTS HIS WILL?” [That sounds like it was tailor-made for you.] On the contrary, WHO ARE YOU , O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?–Romans 9:14‭, ‬19‭-‬20
      You can talk about the Old Testament reference to the Potter all you want, but there is a lot more going on here than that. He’s not just speaking to Jews! And it definitely sounds like he is speaking to those who want to mock the notion that God would create some people solely to demonstrate the glory of his wrath against sin. Why does he say that? Because he knows it is offensive to the uninformed mind and heart.

      1. Context. Context.

        You can keep repeating the same things. BTW, I notice you include a person, or persons (rock stars for you), in almost all your posts. Again, the Catholic church listed the saints and scholars to all the reformers as reasons to not look further, so not sure what that is about.

        As I said there are loads of blogs and books that deal with the Romans passage.

        It is obvious that you are gonna just keep repeating the same few verses and listing new rock stars. I dont think you would be as “thrilled” as you said to see another idea on these passages.

      2. The problem with that “impressive” list of theologians is that God’s word is not a popularity contest. There’s no TULIP involved in salvation….none..Act 16:30  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 
        Act 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house….Why do certain people insist we navigate their private theological obstacle course to get saved.?

      3. Richard,
        In that old conversation with Scott I was amazed (really) at how often he would do the name dropping and insist that “everyone has been blessed by those guys.”

        I have been an overseas missionary for 30+ years and in most of the remote places I work people have never heard of those guys! And just think of the explosive (Pentecostal), African, South American, and Chinese church growth movements. They could not care less about MacArthur and Packer!

        And one more thing…. his list of “doctors of the law” that agree on one thing, all disagree on lots of other things (the gifts, end times, infant baptism, worship style etc) so what does that prove to list them?

        I never went along with that and listed a bunch of non-Calvinists since….. well…. that just does not prove a thing.

  17. I’d like to say a bit more about the I of TULIP.

    Irresistible grace says that “When the God that Paul is talking about calls you, you come.”

    There are countless (literally!) examples in the OT where God extends His grace to people and they do not come. Over and over.

    But let us just look at the personal encounters with Christ. We have Christ himself calling and people following “I will make you fishers of men.” (followed)

    We have Christ himself calling and people resisting:

    (Matt 23, Luke 13) Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

    (Matt, Mark, and Luke) Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

    (Matt, Luke) Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. “And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.

    Some even followed Him for a while…. then resisted.

    (John 6:66) From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

    These were not curious onlookers. The Word calls them “disciples”.

    What do we learn from these passages?

    Non-Calvinists learn that God loves and calls but does not force irresistibly. Letting the passages speak for themselves, this appears not only to be evident, but to be one of the points of the stories!

    Calvinists (who come to the Bible with the idea that “When the God Paul is talking about calls, you come!”) do not believe that God’s grace is resistible. If he calls you or shows you the way…. you will come. Thus, if Christ was “really” calling they would have come.

    And yet…. here from Christ are examples (some repeated in 3 Gospels) where Christ is clearly loving and calling and people are resisting.

    We are left with the conclusion —one that Calvinists must boldly make —- that Christ’s call to these people was not from God or just not sincere.

    At that point what does the passage teach us?

    1. Hey, it occurred to me as I was reading 1st Corinthians 15, that your objections to how Calvinists focus on the nuances of the word “all”, your objection is a bit hypocritical, unless you are deep into false doctrine. What do I mean by that?

      “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
      1 Corinthians 15:22

      You may know that your friend, Rob Bell, has shaped an entire ministry now, related to the notion that evangelicals don’t like the word “all” and that we have to manipulate what it means, explaining it our way because if we let it say what it says then the scriptures like the above teach that eventually Christ will save everyone.

      But hopefully you know that in fact there are many many nuances, not only with the use of this word, but in many other places. This person who wants to prove their point and is eager to shut out other opinions will ridicule those who are trying to explain things more thoroughly.

      So I just thought this would be good to bring up and give you the opportunity to make a noble gesture and admit that you might have overstepped a little in your attacks regarding Calvinists and the word “all”. 🙂

      1. Scott,

        You did not address that comment to anyone so I’m not sure who you meant.

        If to me, I dont think I will answer due to the unfriendly tone.

        “your objection is a bit hypocritical, unless you are deep into false doctrine.” (two choices: either a hypocrite or teacher of false doctrine)

        “You may know that your friend, Rob Bell…” [really?]

        “….who wants to prove their point and is eager to shut out other opinions will ridicule those who are trying to explain things more thoroughly.”

        “…admit that you might have overstepped a little in your attacks regarding Calvinists and the word “all”.”

        I apologize here if I have had an unfriendly tone. I am sorry if I have ridiculed you on a personal level. I see myself discussing the merits of a theological/philosophical position…. not really the character of a person. I often see Calvinists come on this site and use harsh terms or make accusations (false teacher, heretic, universalist, and apostate are not uncommon). “Just calling it like it is man…” they say. Partly it is because they do not see us as fellow-members of the body of Christ.

        Maybe it is because … you said…. you think “we look to for the greatest level of teaching, both today and in centuries past, are virtually all Calvinists!” No matter how long another list is (and I have one), you will downplay those guys and say the other guys are better.

        It is what you want. You like it. You are comfortable there. These guys are your stars. That is fine.

        You see Scott, that is fine with me! I work closely with Calvinists, who know me, and we have great fellowship. But I also work with Pentecostals and they run in different circles and have different rock stars (very well known to them, but likely unknown to you). Same with my Mennonite friends (different circles), Brethren friends (different rock stars). Note also that the massive wave of church growth in Latin America, Africa, China, would know little if at all of the rock stars you list.

        Have past and present Calvinists been a blessing to the Church? Sure. Non-Calvinists? Indeed.

        I have seen that most non-Calvinists can accept Calvinists (note the years that Greg Boyd publicly prayed for Piper while Piper was calling him a heretic and trying to get him removed everywhere) … but it seems the reverse is more difficult.

      2. And I apologize as well for any unfriendly tone. I was trying to be funny and no doubt, a bit cynical. I don’t even know your name! Are you Leighton flowers or someone else?

        I see great interaction on the part of Calvinists with their Arminian brothers…. BUT, I also see arrogance I’m on calvinist. I am headed to the Gospel Coalition 2019 conference in Indianapolis in April, and there will be a good mix there. The Together for the Gospel Conference that happens every other year on the off years is also a great venue for interaction with those on both sides of the doctrines of Grace. There’s probably a lot of opportunity for both of us to discuss motives and misunderstandings and fleshly attitudes on both sides!

        I would like to discuss the nuances in those two passages I have quoted, and yes they were intended for you. And I would like to see a conciliatory statement regarding what may have been an over-the-top attack on our discussion of the word “all” on your part. 🙂 I say that with the friendly smile on my face and don’t mean any harm by it. I think there might be a need to man up and admit the validity of my point.

        So hopefully we can do that here. God bless.

      3. Thanks.
        I missed the point about where you want me to be conciliatory about “all”. What did I say and what is the point again?

      4. 🙂 I don’t keep track well of all the past discussions on this site, but I’m pretty sure you and Brian Wagner are the only ones who have been speaking to me. So I’m pretty sure you were pointing out at one point that Calvinists have to explain nuances regarding the places where “all” or “whosoever”, is used, to show that it is not necessarily supporting the arminian view. Was that you, or was that someone else? Surely though, you know what I’m talking about…. and you understand how it relates to the logic of Rob Bell?

      5. I think you asked three time for conciliatory remarks from me about a comment. I’m not sure I can make remarks if you are vague about what it was (or if it was even me)…. and I certainly have no explaining to do about Rob Bell. What?

        I did say this….

        “E. Funny… let’s talk about “all” here. Does all mean “all” or “all kinds”? Ha! Kind of humorous that dozens and dozens of times Calvinists want to say “all does not mean all” but here they do! Christ says when He is lifted up he will drawn all men to Himself. That sounds pretty clear! But nope…. that “all” is not accepted.”

        We were discussing Acts 13:48. Is this what I am to reconcile about?

      6. Yes, that paragraph you just referenced where you spoke about all is what I was vaguely remembering. If you reread the last few posts I have made here I think you can easily follow what I was saying and what I was requesting. After re-reading them, you are still confused, let me know.

        And again, what’s your name?

      7. I dont think that I will be able to do all that you ask …. and I am not sure why you are so intent on conciliatory remarks from something so not-sure (“vaguely remembering”), maybe here…. go look this up…. etc. (telling me to “man up” about something that is so kinda vague).

        I am still employed full time and do not have that time right now.

        Names: Many people who post do not give their names for various reasons. I cannot implicate my organization nor all my colleagues in sensitive areas. I dont do social media (facebook, etc), have my own blog, etc since our team has decided we need to stay lower profile with names.

      8. I was not referencing the Acts 13:48 passage when I was discussing “all”!

    2. …..And when other passage regarding the need to point out the nuances of the word “all”, is…..

      “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
      Romans 5:18‭-‬19

      I’m guessing that your theology is healthy enough that you are going to take great pains to explain to Rob that the second occurrence of
      “all” here is not speaking of the same group mentioned in the first use of “all”! And the second use of the phrase, “the many”, is not pointing to the same subset that the first use of “the many” is pointing to!
      At that point, I imagine Rob would be really killing and delighting his followers by showing how evangelicals have to dance around certain words and phrases and verses to make their points about the Gospel!

      Are we having fun yet?

    3. 🙂 You can make your conciliatory statement now with, no doubt, a bit of a defense as well, and then maybe we can even tease out how you and I interpret those two passages?
      Or you could pass it over to Brian.

    4. Fromoverhere, I apologize for posting all over the place, but I just use the closest reply prompt. Why do some posts have a reply prompt and others don’t?

      1. No apology needed and I do not know why the site bugs so much

  18. Careful of this guy…..unhitching the Old Testament! Where did he go to seminary? Joh 5:46  For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 
    Joh 5:47  But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? Rom 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 1Co 10:11  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

  19. It simply might have been a right, wiser and careful choice to say we need to unhitch from the ‘old covenant’ as ‘new covenant’ people of God. Sadly, the way Andy did word his intentions about interpretation were the wrong words about the claimed truth of scripture he wanted to exhort a people towards. Many assumed what he must have meant outside his greater context and a more carefully consider explanation . I know my heart jumped at the comment when it went ‘virus in the church’ and sadly his words are still being repeated and mocked even if his name is left out ) but I gave the benefit of the doubt hoping that context would reveal something about the ‘wrong statement’. Thank God he saw the error of his words to explain himself and was able to correct. Hey, the good news: lots of people then heard for the next few weeks and months the gospel in the New Testament along side the prophetic divine other witness from the Old Testament! Yep, 1 corinthians 15, the gospel presented, according to the scriptures, Isaiah 53 plus a lot more! And… hopeful the school teach verses will more often be used to support the related New Testament texts being taught, for prophetic Example. 🙂

    ( About Andy’s conversation with Jeff Durban,too: Jeff well understanding at this point Andy is not ever going to be and has never “unhitch” from the Old Testament, but understanding Jeff knew he was rising to the argument because he wanted to defend what he knew as the real issue at hand Andy ( rightly ) was taking on: the false theologies of dominionism. To Jeff’s credit, he knows he should represent the opposing position in its actual held context. ( Oh, Andy, when you were pointing to the main point of sharing the message of the resurrection as the kingdom of God’s mission and Jeff was challenging back as to the Jewish understanding I wanted to jump through the you tube video and call out : Paul to the Athenians in Act 17, Act 17, Acts 17!!!)

    And Leighton: Love in Christ !- Yes, assume the best, don’t assume the worst. Even when I disagree with someone I think the best of them unless/until they give me enough evidence not too. And even in that, must often, even if I would state their wrong, it is most often they are wrong but because they believe they hold what is for the best. When we are deceived, we are usually deceived that we hold to the better way, not because we intend evil intentionally. There is so much assuming the answer of another persons deductive reasoned position, with the unbeliever and even between the professing, instead of wondering and verifying the answer they have for their reason.

    love not any other “ism” except the only perfect ‘ism’ that holds no counterfeit position, our baptism by the Holy Spirit,
    tammy ( always reference 1 Corinthians 1-3, for example)

    1. What is the first sin of humanity? Is it eating the forbidden fruit? No, it’s doing what Mr. Stanley is doing….doubting God’s word. Yea, hath God said…Genesis 3:1 He wants Jesus without the Old Testament. Does he realize the genealogy of Jesus goes back to Genesis 1? Does he realize that Jesus said if you don’t believe Moses, who wrote Genesis that you won’t believe Him? Joh 5:46  For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 
      Joh 5:47  But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? Instead of defending the Scriptures, Mr. Stanley takes the easy way out and caves into liberal theology and atheistic evolution and accommodates them by “unhitching” the Old Testament. And so Jesus’ words come true. Jesus defined marriage based on Genesis. Mar 10:6  But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 
      Mar 10:7  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; Notice it says from the beginning of creation man and woman were made….not after hundred of millions of years of asexual reproduction morphing into human beings. So Mr. Stanley sides with the speculators posing as scientists, instead of believing God’s word. The result of this is not believing Jesus’ definition of marriage resulting in churches promoting homosexuality, homosexual marriage and it’s spreading. I’ve seen rainbow flags flying in front of churches. Are we not warned of this trend..1Ti 4:1  Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons;. Mr. Stanley ends up promoting a politically correct God. He will have to become a Creationist to defend God’s word. Jesus is the quintessential Creationist, Mark 10:6. Time for Mr. Stanley to listen to Jesus instead of accommodating speculators.

      1. Richard, I agree in part, being Andy Stanley is so focused on the resurrection revealed he ( I believe from what I have gathered of his words ) that he misses the doctrinal importance that God fulfilled HIs own witness standard/command of at least 2 witnesses: according to scripture ( referencing 1 Corinthians 15 ) the Christ must be the fulfillment of the 1st Old Testament witness: divinely/beyond the natural prophetic, Jesus resurrection proving that which is scripture. Does he miss the focus of God’s power in guarding us even today with the truth throughout history in the mystery, explaining to us the full picture, to include past and future about how the present mystery was and is and is to come revealed, fully know?

        I am also an unashamed believer in the actual Creator of the 7 day creation: Exodus 31:17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and ON the seventh day he rested and was refreshed. ( or have I assumed to much?)

        Again, precept upon precept it is a mystery revealed in the good news of Our Witness: Rev 19:10b Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.” From First to Last, from Beginning to End. As far my part with typing in the Alpha and Omega I wanted to be a witness of truth and love to Andy Stanley, pointing out both the error and the truth. I don’t see Andy Stanley as a “brood of vipers”. I see him as a professing child being disciplined : Matthew 24:24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

        Sometimes we are as deceived about our actions we claim to God’s glory as we are about our words, this as we share in our moments an experience. Both are under the command of God. Reference Ephesians 6:10-24 For example: this is an experience as we take in communication, being a gift from God since the beginning. ( The movements of communication/language were fully functioning in the garden, so only in our time presently would we consider using language that Adam at one day old appeared older, instead of the correct analysis in Adam’s first day he was fully functioning upon God’s creative 6th creation day, sooooo prophetic, every word that comes from the mouth of God 🙂

        Sorry, I digress, anyway… many are falling for the signs and wonders of certain scientific evaluations, instead of considers the lens for scientific evaluation:material tested through the history revealed by the Omniscient Creator. But, God knows the truth of every heart and mind and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. God’s Word is living and active. Our God is able , and even works even while He is at rest! { Yet, my heart breaks when I am laughed at by professing believers, close friends, who view me as an embarrassment and want me to be quiet on such matters. PS: I am obviously not silenced, but He calls us to be still.)

        Yes, I was probably too generous towards Andy Stanley because of what he reveals as his consistency of a path of thought. I probably was too generous because I believe he has a disconnect he doesn’t see and his profession is the gospel, according to the scriptures, of which I believe he does still hold a discount about the power behind all that it witnesses to. So, I can only go by the testimony of his mouth as related to his profession, trusting God knows if he really believes the good news, according to the scriptures of 1 Corinthians 15.

        Should we attempt to copy him: Should he be challenged to check if he is in the faith , according to the deeds of his sharings of Genesis? ( maybe the moderator will send these onto Andy.) But, there is a lot of people, professing christian scholars, I would guess to have shepherded Andy Stanley’s thoughts, which he believes supports a misguided position. ( for example Norman Geisler. I love Norman,too, but think the scripture showed him wrong on the science he accepted as to the age of the earth. Yep, called to test the spirits of men’s teaching no matter how smart or who they are, to see if sprit of the teaching came from God) Then again, maybe Andy has changed his position since the last confessions I can find on the internet….about the Genesis.

        for me, always reference 1 Corinthians 1-3,4 example, love a sis in Christ,
        It is always worth repeating 1 Corinthians 15, for the defense of the good news by which we are being saved, TOGETHER FOREVER, well….. if we both really believe the truth, love the truth, believe in the Truth. The world will know we are his disciples by our love for each other, here. Yep, even now someone may see and hear …..

  20. Hello Michael Hranek and welcome!

    You’re statement to Dr. Flowers has been personally conveyed – and thank you for making it.

  21. Hi Tammy
    I did forward your post to Dr. Flowers as he would want to know the validness of the issue.
    But I did also remove the original post – as I wasn’t sure if it confirmed.
    And it appears that was the best thing to do.

    My sincere thanks for you follow up post!
    Blessings br.d

    1. Hi br,
      If you removed my posts I would not want the one you sent to Leighton up either, being the last one. I would only want the last one to remain up IF you did not take down my other posts. So, that should not go up now as it would be without context.

      And thank you. Please, forgive me. I was a bit in a rush to comment because of my other major concern in the church and the ‘homework’ I had done on related connecting issues that theologically entered the big picture of Andy’s critics: dominionism
      So, thanks for removing.
      But feel free to share the link about the enneagram, with everyone.😁💞

      Hopefully Leighton might be able to address the subject with Andy.

      About the Richard Rohr connection: it is often a norm for the many falling for the enneagram to also not discern Richard Rohrs false Christian heresies, So, I had followed Andy on Twitter ( me- Rob_Tam_ Gayton) and as a follower of Andy I was tweeted the devotion of Richard Rohr- so then I followed up and saw the enneagram meeting schedules in July 2019 .


      As a ps in case you actually look at my Twitter. I have done some focusing on Desiring God guys on Twitter because of my Pastors history to the ‘movement ‘ of NewCals- My pastor has been a John Piper and Tim Keller lover and our church is reformed Calvinist leaning, alot, He came to Illinois from McLean.

      But I think my pastor loves the truth over ‘rightness’.

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