Born of God: Historical Context Shapes Theology

Revised and reblogged from this article, by Leighton Flowers

In the typical debate over Calvinism’s soteriological claims you will often see the non-Calvinist refer to John 1:12 to emphasize man’s responsibility to “receive Him” so as to be given the right to become a child of God.

John 1:12: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,”

One Non-Calvinist wrote this argument to a Reformed Baptist minister, John Samson, of reformationtheology.com:

“It is clear that belief comes first, THEN they receive the right to become children of God. He gave the right to become children of God to those who believe. He did not make those who are already children of God believe. You have reversed the passage. But not only that! He only gave the right to become children of God to those that believe…”

Samson cordially defended his Reformed perspective, saying in part:

“…The very next verse (V.13) of John chapter one actually qualifies the statement about how be become adopted children of God in verse 12. It does this by asserting that this gift does not come about by the will of man but through the new birth or regeneration.

Lets read the whole thing in context:

 “He [Jesus] came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1: 11-13). In other words, we all believe the gospel unto the adoption of God’s children because of the grace of God in regeneration, not because man exercised his unregenerate will. We were born of God, not by the will, but by the Spirit.” (emphasis added by Samson) <link>

This response aptly represents most Calvinist’s interpretation of this passage, but is this what the apostle John actually had in mind when he wrote this? Let’s explore a little deeper.

First, the text says that “He came to His own,” and most commentators agree that “His own” is a general reference to the nation of Israel, the lineage through whom Christ came. We must recognize the contrast between those who rejected Christ (Israel) and those who did receive or believe in Him (“as many as did receive”).[1] This narrative reflects on a similar dichotomy painted by the apostle Paul in Acts 28:23-28:

They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

 “‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” For this people’s [Israel’s] heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

The New Testament authors lived in a world that was drawn with thick cultural lines. How the Jews, Jesus’ own people, responded to their Messiah in contrast to how the Gentiles responded to the Jewish Messiah, and what that means and what the Church should do about it, is the overriding historical concern of the New Testament. It’s no wonder both John and Paul are addressing this question. Just as the apostle John sets up a dichotomy between those who rejected the Messiah (Israel) and those who received Him (Gentiles), so too Paul draws on this same generalized contrast between these two groups of people (Israel who has “become calloused” and the Gentiles who “will listen.”) John’s point is that God has granted the immoral barbarian Gentiles the RIGHT to be children of God through faith in Christ, though it was believed by many in the first century that this RIGHT was reserved for those of the circumcision alone (Israel).[2]

While recognizing the complexity of the Reformation period, the overarching concern during the Reformation was whether or not someone had to be a member of good standing in the Roman Catholic Church in order to be in good standing with God. The Catholic answer to this question was, “Yes, you must perform these specific religious works and adhere to these specific teachings as handed down to us by the Apostles”. The Reformers, even as they further split on other issues, answered with, “No, there is nothing a man must do to be saved, it is by grace alone by faith alone that one is a Christian”.

The Calvinist imports the historical concerns of the Reformation and, in so doing,  misinterprets the apostle’s reference to the “will of the flesh,” by applying it to our hyper-individualized modern soteriological conflict, handed down to us from the Reformation, over the nature of man’s free will, while ignoring the obvious Jew/Gentile context of the first century.[3] Samson takes the apostle to mean something like, “Man’s will has nothing to do with whether or not they will be born of God,” when clearly that is not the issue the apostle is attempting to address.

Instead, it is quite obvious from this context that the three points the apostle John lists here are in reference to the misconceptions of what Israelites perceived as their given covenantal “RIGHTS”[4]as direct descendants of Abraham:

  • not of blood = being a descendant or blood relative of Abraham (Rom. 9:7)
  • nor of the will of the flesh = being one who “pursued” or “ran after” the law so as to merit righteousness (Rom. 9:31)
  • nor of the will of man [husband’s will] = being married or in anyway connected to the patriarchal head

The apostle is knocking the legs out from under those Jews who think they have the RIGHT to be God’s child because of who their granddaddy is (blood), their law keeping efforts (fleshly running), or by patriarchal headship (husband’s will). John is not attempting to make a soteriological stance on the nature of man’s free will or responsibility in light of the gospel appeal.  This is simply not a concern of the author and is imported, whole hog, from the Reformation; a conflict that started 1500 years after the author penned the passage in question.

However, even if we did take on the concerns of the Reformation, the Calvinist understanding still does not stand up to scrutiny. In another passage Paul does teach us a little more about the matters of the will,

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. (Rom. 9:30-32)

Notice that Paul is not denouncing the pursuit itself. He is denouncing the manner or purpose of that pursuit. Is righteousness being pursued by works or by faith? Are you running after the law or are you running after Christ? People are responsible to will and to run (1 Cor. 9:24; 2 Tim. 4:7), but if they do so according to the law and the flesh they will never finish the race. They will not attain their goal. If, however, they pursue righteousness by faith in the only righteous One, they will attain it by grace.

Calvinists have mistakenly applied the scripture’s teaching on man’s inability to attain righteousness by means of the law as proof for their erroneous claims that mankind is born morally incapable of attaining righteousness by faith (i.e. “Total Inability” – Calvinist’s belief that man’s morally incapacity of fulfilling the law’s demands equals man’s moral incapacity to trust in the One who fulfilled that law in our stead).

Calvinists seem to think that a man’s inability to “climb a rope to heaven” (works salvation) equals man’s moral incapacity to confess those inabilities and place their trust in the only One who can successfully climb that rope in our stead (grace applied through faith). This moral incapacity to trust in Christ due to the Fall of Adam is simply never taught in the pages of scripture. Nothing in the Bible remotely suggests that the Fall has made mankind morally incapable of responding to God’s own life-giving, inspired, gospel appeal to be reconciled from that Fall!

All agree that we are born of God when we are saved, but no scripture ever teaches we must be born again in order to gain the moral capacity to believe the gospel. We are not given a new heart so as to confess we use to have a bad heart. That is simply getting the proverbial cart before the horse. <more here>  In fact, the apostle John clearly states that God gives new life “to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name,” and not to a group of very fortunate individuals chosen for no apparent reason before time began (i.e. “Unconditional Election”).


[1] “as many as received Him” – This phrase is equivalent to the pronouns whoever (Webster = “Any one without exception; any person whatever”) or whosoever (Any one; any person whatever) which fling open the door of salvation to both Jews and Gentiles. Sadly this was a truth the Jews had a difficult time accepting in the early church (cf Acts 11:11-3, 15:1, 21:20-23, Gal 2:12-14) for they felt that they had special benefits based on their physical (ethnic) lineage (Abraham, Moses, circumcision, etc). This open invitation (so to speak) is similar to Paul’s declaration (quoting the OT prophet Joel 2:32) that “Whoever will call upon the Name of the LORD (Jehovah) will be saved (cf will be “born of…God” = Jn 1:13).” (Ro 10:13). It follows that calling upon His Name is one aspect of receiving (and believing in) Yeshua the Messiah. It should be noted that throughout Scripture until the very end of His revelation, this “as many as” attitude reflects the Father’s heart toward His rebellious creatures, John recording And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)

Dr. Bob Utley on “as many as received Him” – This shows humanity’s part in salvation (cf. v. 16). Humans must respond to God’s offer of grace in Christ (cf. Jn 3:16; Ro 10:9–13; Eph. 2:8–9).

Received is aorist tense (at a moment in time, the moment we believed in Jesus) and active voice which implies that this receiving is a volitional choice, a choice of one’s will to believe.

“Received” (2983) (lambano) speaks of a literal taking hold of, obtaining or grasping. John often uses the terms accept/receive (lambano) in a theological sense – (1) Of receiving Jesus, negatively (Jn 3:11, 3:32); positively (Jn 1:12; 3:33; 5:43; 13:20). (2) Of receiving the Spirit, negatively (Jn 14:17), positively (Jn 7:39). (3) Of receiving Jesus’ words, negatively (Jn 12:48), positively (Jn 17:8)

Easton’s Bible Dictionary – Vine on John’s selection of lambano instead of paralambano (as used in John 1:11) – lambano, a simple but spontaneous acceptance from individuals, whether Jews or Gentiles, and so a simpler verb than that used before of the Jewish nation. Web Site: http://www.preceptaustin.org/john_112_commentary

[2] This Jew/Gentile dichotomy is also seen in the parable of the Wedding Banquet recorded for us in Matthew 22:1-14 and again in Romans 11:30-36: “For just as you (Gentile believers) once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their (Israel’s) disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you (Gentiles) they (the believing Jewish Remnant) also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all. (Jews and Gentiles) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

[3] Dr. James Leo Garrett wrote, “From Augustine of Hippo to the twentieth century, Western Christianity has tended to interpret the doctrine of election from the perspective of and with regard to individual human beings. During those same centuries the doctrine has been far less emphasized and seldom ever controversial in Eastern Orthodoxy. Is it possible that Augustine and later Calvin, with the help of many others, contributed to a hyper individualization of this doctrine that was hardly warranted by Romans 9–11, Eph. 1, and I Peter 2? Is it not true that the major emphasis in both testaments falls upon an elect people—Israel (OT) and disciples or church (NT)?” James Leo Garrett Jr., Systematic Theology: Biblical Historical, and Evangelical, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 500

[4] “The right” – When we believed in the Word, the true Light, we in turn received the privilege of access to God’s family. Paul goes a step further in Romans 5:1-2 explaining what happens when we were justified by faith (received and believed in Jesus) – “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom also we have obtained our introduction (prosagoge) by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:1-2)

Dr. Bob Utley on the right (exousia) – This Greek term can mean (1) legal authority or (2) right or privilege (cf. Jn 5:27; 17:2; 19:10, 11). Through Jesus fallen mankind can now know God and acknowledge Him as God and Father.

“To become” (1096) (ginomai) means to come into existence, to cause to become or come into being and signifies a change of condition, state or place. Ginomai is the root of the verb gennao (used in Jn 1:13) which means to beget, to give birth, to produce offspring (cp our English word – “gen”-erate). Ibid.

290 thoughts on “Born of God: Historical Context Shapes Theology

  1. This is such an important context at the beginning of John’s gospel, the gospel that John says he wrote so readers might first believe and then after believing they might have life… which is only given in the new birth. No reader would get the theological interpretation out of John’s introduction that Calvinists try to twist out of it, or should I say, into it.

    God does the birthing, as verse 13 clearly says. He doesn’t do it based on one’s blood heritage, good works done in the flesh, or by a ritual performed by the will of someone else. He does it to those who have received His Son in their spirit by faith, for He gave them the right to become born into His family.

    Reformed theology posits a fake “regeneration” that makes no-one immediately a child of God, nor does it immediately give everlasting life! What kind of birth does not make one immediately a child or give life? Very silly… besides being a clear rejection and twisting of clear Scripture teaching.

    For the Calvinist regeneration is kinda like a drug that had been before willfully refused by the woman that a man offered it to, along with his proposal of marriage to her… but then he slips it into her drink without her knowing and she immediately accepts his next proposal of marriage.

    Now does that sound like true love? And you can call a drugged woman’s “yes” her “personal responsibility” even though she was unable to do other because of a change the “drug” made in her, when it was given during the time she was still firmly rejecting the one making the proposal who was slipping her the drug without her understanding.

    I see no personal willing acceptance of that woman… nor do I see love in the one who caused the change in her instantly upon her using that drug.

  2. An excellent presentation of a much more legitimate interpretation of this passage. The one thing I would disagree with is the concept of our salvation resting on Christ’s keeping of the Law. Although I would grant that he kept the law perfectly, it is also stated repeatedly in scripture that salvation does not come through keeping the law – either men or Christ.

    Salvation is by grace, by putting our trust in God’s promises of sin atonement, forgiveness and everlasting life. It was essential for Jesus to be a spotless lamb, without sin; thus his keeping of the Law was indeed significant and necessary. But ultimately, we are not saved due to Christ’s keeping of the Law. We are saved by believing in the promises of God – that is faith. In my opinion, this error leads to much confusion, as it leads people to continue to believe it is all about ‘The Law’, when this simply is not so. Abraham was declared righteous before the Law ever existed. The purpose of the Law was to demonstrate our propensity to sin, not to show us how to be righteous. Putting our faith in Jesus’ keeping of the Law is only one step away from the Jewish error of putting their faith in their own ability to keep the Law.

    It is time we began to see what the Law was, is and was meant to be. It was not given to show us how to be righteous, but to show us that we would never be able to earn salvation by trying hard enough to be good. Keeping the Law will not, because it cannot, ever bring salvation and righteousness. Jesus kept the Law because he was righteous, he was not righteous because he kept the Law. In laying down his life, and shedding his own blood, Jesus provided atonement for our sin – not in keeping the Law.

  3. Eric,
    You said “We are not given a new heart so as to confess we use to have a bad heart.”

    True! I often say…. we are not “made alive” so that then we can “freely choose” to be “made alive in Christ.

    or ..

    we are not “given new birth” so that then we can “freely choose” to be “born again.”

    For the Reformed cart-before-horse idea to be true we would have to be born again twice.

  4. I have often brought up the Reformed idea of regeneration-precedes-faith.

    They make it clear that people are “too-dead” to respond in any way (RH even says they can do NO good thing at all). They claim they must have regeneration before they can “seek” in any way.

    I have laid out many scenarios where a person begins to read the Bible (alone or in a group) and after years of “reasoning” (Paul’s word) and “persuading” (Paul’s word) they repent and follow Christ.

    Now…..were they “seeking” all those years? If so, how? Had they been regenerated (so that they could seek)? Or were they seeking as unregenerated (in which case seeking then is possible)?

    Sproul tells us that regeneration and conversion are so close you cant see between them….. but what of the people gently, slowly coming to Christ from weeks, months, years of Bible study?

    This is yet another of the many biblical, logical, life-in-the-real-world inconsistencies of Calvinism.

  5. An excellant article.
    I wish this point could have been explained more : nor of the will of man [husband’s will] = being married or in anyway connected to the patriarchal head
    How does this differ from being born a Jew?

    1. Hi Ernest… my view is that “not by the will of man” excludes circumcision done by someone else to an infant and would also exclude therefore baptismal regeneration of infants by a priest.

  6. John 1:13-15 (NKJV)….
    He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    I agree with my Calvinist brothers that regeneration (or being “born again”) is a monergistic work of God. I just disagree with them when it occurs. To be clear. We are NOT “born again” because we believe. But we are “born again” AFTER we believe, which the verses above clearly state.

  7. Another great article!

    What stands out to me – is that it is so very human for any of us to get a sense of entitlement.

    We see the human propensity for this very clearly in our current social/political programs.

    The Jewish people of the OT were declared by God to be a people set apart for his name – as part of God’s promise to Abraham.

    But God suffered with them in the wilderness for 40 years.
    He then suffered with them after the establishment of the promised land – running off after other god’s who would promise them the least little thing.

    He then suffered with them corrupting the law, corrupting then temple, and corrupting its ministries.

    And they just kept remembering the many generations in which He had declared them his chosen people.
    Its no wonder they would engender a *FORM* OF godliness – and develop a strong sense of entitlement.

    The ironic thing – is even with Calvinism’s emphasis on exhaustive determinism – Calvinists themselves are not immune to having the same exact sense of entitlement.

    We observe it in the form of a self-righteous and antagonistic attitude towards others.
    The same exact attitude we read about it with the scribes and pharisees – and their antagonism against Christ.

    The poor Calvinist’s theology does not eradicate a carnal sense of entitlement from his nature.
    All the human boasting about having a theology that is “supposedly” more god honoring is just that – boasting.

    So in regard to a sense of entitlement – the scripture is correct when it says – there is nothing new under the sun.

  8. Question for anyone,doesn’t traditionalist believe in eternal salvation or the security of every believer?
    And if libertarian free will teaches that the will of man can choose to believe into Christ,how can that doctrine remain consistent unless the will of the believer would also have that liberty to choose to believe out of Christ and forsake salvation and finally perish?

    1. Good question Shawn. Some traditionalists don’t believe in OSAS. But also most believe that LFW doesn’t mean free to do anything at anytime. It just means free to choose between available options and to do otherwise at the moment of choice.

      Most believe that regeneration changes the nature so that choices now become limited, and losing faith is no longer a choice to their free will.

      1. I can second Brian’s statement on LFW

        A frequent definition I’ve see for Libertarian Free will is:

        The ability to choose between multiple options – and do otherwise.
        But the individual will make choices consistent with his nature.
        For example, a thief will choose between whether or not rob a grocery store vs a bank.

        Whereas in Theological Determinism – the thief’s freedom is limited to one single unique choice.
        That choice which the THEOS RENDERED-CERTAIN (at the foundation of the world) the thief would choose.

        As Peter Van Inwagen states:
        “Determinism is quite simply the thesis that the past determines one single unique future.” (Essay on Free Will, p.2)

        That is why Christian philosophers say:
        In Determinism there is no such thing as a forked path in the garden of life.

        However, in order to maintain a state of psychological normalcy – most determinists resolve to “make-believe” that do-otherwise does exist for them – even thought doing so is logically incoherent.

        This for example is something Stephen Hawking has acknowledged.

      2. BrianWagner or anyone else,I was under the impression that traditionalist all had SBC roots?So they would say that a persons choice to be saved is self determined by the individual,but afterwards the choices to stay saved are determined by God because God has given them a new nature?

    2. Shawn, I cannot speak for the ‘official’ opinion of Traditionalism, whatever that may be, but I tend to concur with your suggestion that the very freedom of the will that puts their trust in God requires the concurrent freedom to turn from him.

      It seems to me that we have usually been offered two extreme views. One asserts that nothing you ever do, however wicked, can separate you from God once you have been born again. The other suggests that you must live in fear of any misstep, as if one foul can throw you out of the game.

      Personally, I find neither of those options biblically consistent nor livable. Viewing the new birth/adoption into God’s family as the beginning of a new relationship, desired and chosen by both parties, I do not see it as a fear-based walk in which one wrong move might cause the contract to be null. I see it more like any human adoption, a genuine relationship intended to provide ongoing care and interaction, through good and bad.

      Or, to change metaphors, as with marriage, the goal, the ideal, is for the relationship to be permanent, through good and bad, sickness and health, etc. God is always loving and faithful, so the only possibility of divorce is if we choose to no longer be responsive to his loving faithfulness, and turn away to worthless idols. In my opinion, once one has truly seen and understood who God is, it is very unlikely that one would ever want to give him up for useless imitations, but I do not believe that God will ever hold one in a covenant against their will.

      I consider it a real possibility, but likely one rarely chosen. Most importantly, it is not something God holds over our heads, threatening to cast us aside should we not live in sinless perfection. Imagine adoptive parents who daily threaten their child to behave or be thrown out – simply is not who God is. He lovingly, patiently seeks to walk alongside us, understanding of our weakness and failings, offering us all that we need to grow into the likeness of his faithful Son.

      1. To put some skin on this, I have a close relative who had always longed to have children, but it did not come to pass. Rather late in life, out of the blue, the possibility of adopting a newborn literally fell into their lap, and this man and his wife accepted it as a gift from God. Sadly, (and I personally believe due to vaccines) this child suffers from a moderate degree of autism, with physical, behavioral and developmental struggles. This has brought a degree of stress and heartache that this couple had never foreseen; but they would never stop loving this child or wish him away. They will continue to do their best for him, love him and work through whatever comes their way. This is but a dim reflection of the perfect, faithful love God has for all men.

  9. I would agree while using that in comparison with God’s unconditional love for His own children by the new birth and even much more than we can comprehend.While Gods goodness has a temporary patience and long-suffering for all his creatures physically in this life.But this brings another question that heard asked awhile back that brings difficulties for some calvinism and arminianism.If God who scripture declares that He is all knowing,knows everybody and everything from beginning to end,and the Bible also teaches that there are different degrees of judgement according to His righteous justice and every day someone lives they are accumulating wrath eternally, if they end in unrepentant state according to Romans 2,how is God’s love displayed to them by allowing this wrath accumulated knowning that some day they will pay for all their sin?

    1. And that Shawn is the 64k dollar question! And it is why I believe the Scripture clearly teaches dynamic omniscience.

      Set foreknowledge in Calvinism, Arminianism, and Molinism.

      The future has to be set before creation to work out only one way for it to be known with certainty before creation that it will work out only one way. The certainty of knowledge is not the cause of it being set to work out only one way… but there is no other cause before creation than God to make that certainty or to create the necessity of a future working out only one way.

      But the future is not set to work out only one way… therefore it is impossible for God to know it as set to work out only one way for God does not know lies about the future. And that it is set to work out only one way is a lie according to Scripture.

      God knows the future as He has revealed it to be in His Word… with some will bes and some might bes. That is the truth about the future, and God only knows the truth about the future.

      That truth changes, but stays truth, as God’s knowledge of what will be turns to knowing it as what was, and His knowledge of what might be turns to will be if He wants it to or to what would have been if He wants it to. That is dynamic omniscience. Pretty simple really! 😉

      ********************
      Knowledge isn’t causitive, but immutably set divine foreknowledge is confirming of a set future working out only one way. I reject that Scripture and logic teach this as it relates to Libertarian Free Will (LFW) and decisions made by it.

      If a LFW decision requires a LFW to exist to make that decision,
      Then the LFW decision does not exist before the bringing into existence of that LFW.
      The LFW of man does not exist before creation, therefore the LFW decision of man does not exist before creation.
      If a LFW decision requires at least two options to freely decide between in any given circumstance
      Then there does not exist a LFW decision with only one option.
      If God knew before creation that the future was set to work out only one way,
      And if God’s knowledge is never wrong or able to be altered,
      Then something had to set that future to work out only that one way before creation for God to come to know that one completed future to work out only one way before creation.
      God was the only “something” that before creation could “set” the future to only work out one way and for Him then to be able to logically come to know it as set for certain.
      Therefore the future working out only one way not only makes the existence of a LFW decision impossible, since the LFW requires more than one option to freely decide between once the LFW comes into existence, it also makes the certainty of a LFW decision to be known before the creation of that LFW impossible, since the LFW and its choice didn’t exist before creation to be known.

  10. So are you saying Brianwagner that God doesn’t know who will be in heaven and who won’t I don’t understand ? Another thing comes to mind is Judas,was that God’s determination of events or was it just a one possibility that came true?

    1. Shawn, I don’t think I can state it more clearly. He knows all the possibilities that still exist. He knows who is in heaven now, of course, and who is now saved and thus will be in heaven soon, and He knows who is alive that still might get saved and who might yet be born and might get saved.

      He knows all that was, that is, that is unconditionally planned for the future and all that is still possible for His and other’s free choices for the future. No-one is unconditonally planned to be saved before they are born or at their birth.

      God did predetermine some events before creation and still did/does after creation. Judas was not eternally immutably predestined from before creation to be “Judas”.

      Choosing a Judas to be an apostle as someone who already had hardened freely his heart against the saving grace of God and then keeping him hardened as a vessel of wrath and permitting him to fulfill an exact event that brings about good was just of God.

      But decreeing a Judas eternally immutably predestined from before creation to be born hardened and to do that sin that Judas did would have been unjust for God to do, no matter even if good came from it.

      1. Brianwagner I’m wondering where the text of scriptures that teach that God only knows who are alive that might come to Christ?And how would that reconcile with text such as John 10:16 Jesus said And other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them I MUST bring and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd….that sounds very determinent and sure.

        Thank Shawn

      2. Thank you Shawn for your questions. I hope you believe that there is no justice in the idea of an eternal immutable predestination of all specific sins and damnations before creation.

        And I hope you don’t think Jesus’ words in John 10 should carry all the weight in support to be the clearest indication of individual eternal immutable predestination to salvation. The passage says nothing about before creation. Nor does it clearly prove Jesus is talking about any not yet born “sheep”. Jesus is probably talking about those Gentile sheep (saved) who were alive in His day or who were already dead and who will be gathered together with the saved sheep of Israel in the resurrection when all will hear His voice.

        Rom 9, 25
        No one is born a sheep or a goat! No one is eternally immutably ordained to be a sheep or a goat or one of a so-called elect group.
        God was not lying when He said that before an individual is in Christ they are not one of “His people” or “His beloved”. (Rom 9:25). He says very clearly that before they have His Spirit there are not one “of His” (Rom 8:9). He says very clearly that once one is a member of the elect, there is “nothing” that can separate them from His love! (Rom 8:37f)

    2. Hi Shawn,

      I think what you are trying to understand is within ‘time” as we know it. We have to remember that ‘time’ is a created thing, and we cannot understand anything without it. God is not bound by time and exists outside of it. Ask me to explain this and I can’t. All I can say is that God is eternal.
      God can look at His created world and universe (which would be puny compared to Him) before, during, or after, because He is outside of time. Within His created world He has made laws – Moral and Natural. All of these laws have limitations of what can be done within the law. For instance man can only jump so high, but he can choose to jump as high as he likes within the law put on how high God allowed that mankind can jump.
      Man can also disobey God, but this disobedience will not and cannot dethrone God and the things he purposes. God would be aware of the most heinous sin that could possibly be committed and man probably hasn’t reached it yet, who knows? Just because God knows, doesn’t mean that he purposes or ever purposed man to reach it.

      God can know the outcome of what men freely choose because that’s the way God designed it. So God would know who would be in heaven; not because He picked out who would be by a secret decree before men were born for unrevealed reasons as Calvinists erroneously teach, which is also very un-biblical.

      The best verse I believe that gives us an understanding and explanation is in Acts17:26-27 “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us”:

      The set in stone things are the “times before appointed” and “the bounds of their (our) habitation”. The things that are not set in stone are “that they should seek the Lord”

      So, can God can look ahead of when it is set in stone? Yes, because He is God and exists outside of time. He could even be there before it even happens because He is God and is outside of time. Don’t try and ask me to explain this because I am not God and exist within time.

      One thing we can be absolutely sure about is God’s promises. When He calls a sinner to repent and believe the gospel we can without a shadow of doubt know that He means it! Because he has made it possible “that they should seek the Lord”.

      When the bible says – “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead”.” – We can be absolutely sure they will be judged for not repenting and believing the gospel because God designed it that they could have.

      If someone doesn’t believe these things then they they don’t believe God is trustworthy with what He says in His word. We have to take God at His word and just believe what He says and that He says what he means.

      Thanks Shawn. God is always good!

  11. Thanks for the reply,the scripture is clear that God gives light whether it’s the light of 1creation,2conscience,3 law ,4 gospel,to his creation,Romans ch 1-2 declare,but it’s also clear that men in themselves will not respond savingly to seek God as Romans 3 declare there is none that seeks after God.
    Are you and Brianwagner saying the same thing on God’s knowledge it seems you have different views ? And wouldn’t God still be trustworthy and good if He left us to are sin and just condemnation?

    1. The scripture you are referring to – “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” -Romans 3:10-11; This needs to be understood in light of context with the “as it written” scripture it is referring to. We must always go to the bible and see where it was written.

      When we go to the scripture it is a reference from Psalm 14:2 “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God” The previous verse states that “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God”. One can only be called foolish if he didn’t do what he could have done, otherwise it wouldn’t be foolish. Verse 4 states “Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.”

      Proverbs 21:16 says ” The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.”

      We can see that, YES, workers of iniquity have God given knowledge: And that, Yes, unregenerate are shown understanding. That is why God says these things, because men can respond to God. That is why God says “The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.”

      Understood in context we can see that God seeks men so much so that you have to be a fool to ignore it.

      We see in Jeremiah 4:14, God making an appeal to Israel – ” O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?”
      We then see in verse 22 – ” For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.”

      We can easily see that, yes, they had knowledge, and that, yes, they had understanding, But they chose to ignore God’s appeal to be saved. Not because they couldn’t but because they could have and didn’t because of their own foolishness.

      God is not saying one thing out of one side of his mouth and something else out of the other side. He really means it.

      Scripture has to be understood in light of Scripture and never contradicts itself, and especially when it refers to a “as it is written”.

      Thanks Shawn, I hope this is helpful.

      1. Hi Shawn, – Just to clarify my point. Left alone no one would seek after God if God did not appeal to men to seek after Him. But where in the bible does it say that that men cannot respond to God’s appeals? And there is a bible full of men responding to God’s appeals.
        “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us”. – This plan still remains. It’s not a failed plan.

        Thanks again Shawn.

      2. Damon men respond but not according to truth read my reply to fromoverhere below,God commands all men to repent doesn’t mean that men can do that but that they should do that.Did Jesus keep the Fathers will perfectly if not then He is no savoiur,Jesus said in John 6:40 that He came to do not His will but the will of his Father that sent him and that being that of ALL which the Father had given him He should lose nothing,if He failed this command then we are still in our sins with no hope,but His record is perfect as All that the Father has given will come and those who comes He never cast out or loses them,This is the God of scripture,Christ the Savior the good Shepherd who finds all His sheep and keeps them eternally!

        Thanks

      3. Damon
        God is not saying one thing out of one side of his mouth and something else out of the other side. He really means it.

        br.d
        Totally excellent point!!

        But in Calvinism it logically follows that is exactly what Calvin’s god does.
        Calvinists use highly ingenious language to make this APPEAR biblical.

        Calvin’s god has a SECRET will
        With which he knows [X] = TRUE

        But he also has a PRESCRIPTIVE will
        With which he communicates [X] is FALSE

        For example:
        He leads Adam to believe his will is for Adam’s obedience is TRUE
        But he SECRETLY knows what he is communicating is FALSE.

        He leads Cain to believe his will is for Cain to do well – is TRUE.
        But he SECRETLY knows what he is communicating is FALSE.

        He leads Israel to believe his will is for them to have life is TRUE
        But he SECRETLY knows what he is communicating is FALSE.

        This is why we observe a Calvinist communicating things *AS-IF* TRUE – he internally knows to be FALSE.
        And vis-versa.

        Scripture says (concerning man-made god’s) – they who worship them BECOME LIKE unto them.

  12. Shawn,

    Thanks for posting. Stick around and look at the many, many scriptural answers to Calvinism’s claim on this site.

    Please dont throw at us the 3-4-5 main verses (Roms 3:11) and when “we dont get it” move on. There are former Calvinists on this site trying to dialog.

    Now, Mark 10 tells us that Christ loved a young man and called him (certainly qualifying for the Calvinist’s “Christ must call His sheep”), and yet he “resisted the grace.”

    21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack….. and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving…”

    Scriptures seems to tell us he was seeking Christ: “a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him,” calling Him Good Teacher.

    One of the non-negotiables of Calvinism (the I in TULIP) is irresistible grace. This man was seeking Christ…. loved by Christ… called by Christ, and yet still resisted Christ’s extended grace.

  13. Shawn,
    Please dont forget that there are many more verses telling us to seek than the one poetic Romans 3 verses telling that man does not (naturally) seek. ((Dont forget it also say in that passage that ALL have venom under their lips there too)).

    Hebrews 11: 6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” He rewards those who seek Him. Not: He allows certain people to seek Him.

    I have posted many, many verses on another string about “seeking” including that Christ called out to the multitude on the hillside “seek first the kingdom.”

    All over the Bible it appears that it is possible for men to hear Christ’s call, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden.” There is no indication that this only applies to certain ones, but is a call to all who labor!

  14. Men respond but never in a salvantic way apart from grace,they may have zeal but not according to knowledge as did the Jew Romans 10.They seek but not in truth as did the man in Mark’s gospel as he came to Christ not as submitting to him as Lord and Savoiur but calling him good master and when bringing his own self righteousness and stating what shall I DO that I might have eternal life and Christ never gave grace but questioned the man on depravity and why do you call me good there is only one good which is God.The man didn’t know who Christ was and Christ never revealed himself but gave him the commandments which we both know that being impossible to keep to be saved.
    I’m glad you brought up this text it’s a classic that shows how the unregenrate seek God in self righteousness and Christ let that man walk away in his blindness . When Jesus seeks His dicibles he called the by name and they forsook what they where doing occupations and such and followed him,when Jesus went to heal the sick they was always made whole.ALL that the Fathers gives shall come to me and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out John 6:37.

    1. Shawn, Men cannot seek apart from grace… agreed. Praise His Name that He gives sufficient grace to all to enable seeking.

      As for John 6, 37
      John 6:37 speaks of the Father’s giving (present tense) to Christ. Therefore it would be calling Jesus a deceiver to suggest all had already been given to Christ, unless, of course, Jesus did not know the determinist doctrine very well.

      If determinism was true, Jesus would have known it and He would have said – “All the Father already gave to me will come to me.” The context of John 6 clearly indicates what kind of people the Father was actively giving to the Son… They were those who were looking to the Son and believing in Him (6:40). There is nothing in this chapter about pre-creation decrees or individual election. The determinist forces those ideas into these verses because he wants to see them there.

      The response of freewill is a condition that God sovereignly made part of the “giving” requirements to be met before the coming. No-one is given to Christ before creation. Remember the word “gives” in John 6:37 is present tense which clearly contradicts the determinist idea of some being eternally immutably given before creation.

      The context points to drawing, looking at, believing in, and other things in that are in the process and responses of whom the Father’s giving. Jesus is explaining these things to unbelievers because He wants them to keep seeking Him, but not just for food that perishes.

      If you can’t see that Jesus is being used by the Father in this context to draw people to a decision to trust Jesus for everlasting food, everlasting life… I certainly can’t share the context any more clearly than Jesus has.

    2. I would encourage you to do what most ‘orthodox’ christian religious institutions forbid – ditch all of the prepackaged explanations of scripture and begin to read and think for yourself. As FOH often demonstrates on these threads, such reading brings genuine insight and understanding.

      Calvinism would tell us that men do not seek God because he has barred them from doing so – one of the, if not the most awful and hopeless assertions ever made. If this be true, nearly everything that is or has been done in the name of missions or evangelism is a total waste of time, as most people cannot and never will be allowed to understand and believe as required by God. Because he cursed them with the inability to do so.

      Scripture presents a far different, and more reasonable explanation. Upon breaking God’s command, Adam and Eve hid themselves. Anyone who has ever had or been a child knows exactly how they felt. When a child does something wrong they hide, or avoid looking into the eyes of their beloved parents, due to their guilt, shame and fear.

      This is exactly the position that man find himself in as he follows in the fleshly footsteps of his fleshly father. Even those who do not have The Law, have a conscience that condemns their selfish and wicked behavior. Thus men are ashamed and afraid. Those who choose false gods offer them whatever sacrifices they believe necessary to pacify them. It seems that deep within lies an understanding of our imperfection and the potential wrath of whatever supernatural deity we believe exists.

      Understanding that the barrier between man and God is the fear of punishment and death, Paul teaches that what Israel long sought to do through ceremonial sacrifices has been accomplished once and for all by Jesus:

      “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom 8:1-4)

      Men do not seek God for one of two reasons, again detailed by Paul in Romans. Either they deliberately exchange the truth for a lie, choosing sin and wickedness over repentance, or they are fearful of what awaits them. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news to all who are willing to turn from rebellion and wickedness that there is no more condemnation for them. Their forgiveness is full and free, conditioned only upon their belief in God’s promises and willingness to now follow and abide with him.

      The story of the rich young man tells us that there is a choice we must make. We cannot serve both God and mammon. We cannot cling to both forgiveness of sin and sin. We cannot grow in wisdom and knowledge while holding tightly to our former ignorance. And God will not impose his good will upon us. He allows us to make the choice, even the dreadful choice to remain in sin and death.

      A few years back I walked with a dear friend through the valley of the shadow of death. She had come to my (now former) Calvinist church due to our families’ friendship. When faced with the inevitability of her own impending death, she was counseled by her husband and pastor to not speak of it, to not give up hope. She turned to me, as I was the only one who would speak openly with her of death. I would even say that a recent health crisis of my own had prepared me, forcing me to face my own mortality.

      Never, even once, did it enter my head to assure her that she was one of ‘the elect’. I may have been in a Calvinist church for a decade, but I never, truly, bought into their theology. Instead, I spoke of the many, many assurances we had of God’s love and faithfulness. God led me to books, in the thrift store no less, that spoke of heaven, which my friend read and reread in the dark nights.

      I rejoice to tell you that she came to a perfect peace. She carefully cleaned out her house, wrote letters to all of her loved ones, planned her funeral and asked me and others to perform certain tasks and even wrote out thank you notes to be given to us. She believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God was a rewarder of them that seek him trustingly, and she had put her full faith in him. She took him at his word, and appropriated each of his promises to her; not based upon a lifetime of being ‘good enough’ but based upon trusting in him, his forgiveness and his gift of life.

      A few years later, an elderly woman whose family we had known in our youth and brought into the Calvinist fold, had moved in with her family in her nineties. Although she did not embrace Calvinism, she certainly heard it for several years. Sadly, on her death bed, she was faced with uncertainty and fear, lest all that she had believed her whole life was wrong, and she must only hope that she was one of God’s ‘chosen’ elect.

      I cannot overemphasize the difference between the assurance of those who can only hope to be one of a select chosen few and those who appropriate God’s precious promises as being meant unquestioningly, for all who believe, with no secret lottery involved. One of my greatest desires is to share this ‘good news’ with those who have come under the spell of a theology that limits the love of God to a small select group and condemns all others to despair and hopelessness.

  15. Shawn,

    You replied with – “” God commands all men to repent doesn’t mean that men can do that but that they should do that.”

    Just think about that statement and dwell on it for a while. Hopefully you will see the irrationality in it. Ask yourself – why would God ask all men everywhere to repent when he knows that they cannot? and then judge them for not doing it?

    It would be like looking at a baby in a pram on a highway and yelling toward the baby “You should get out of there”. Which is a lot different than yelling at an adult on a highway and yelling “You should get out of there”.

    When God asks anyone to do something he means it. I like what a man of God once said – “There are 2 ways of getting to heaven; 1. Keep the law perfectly; And, 2. Repent and believe the One that has kept the law perfectly”

    The first you cannot do even when we should have. The second you can do even when He shouldn’t have.

  16. Damon,acutally Christ and the ruler when he asked him good master what must I do to inherit life and Jesus gave him the law right up front,he commanded him to do the impossible though it be something he should do it was something he couldn’t do,God commands the impossible throughout scripture to show our weaknesses and His strength,this is where natural thought rejects this because it seems to make God unfair,I think people do not keep in mind that the natural man cannot do as following God but also does not WANT to follow God either even if he could which is why he doesn’t repent and believe the gospel.

    1. Shawn,

      You are making the same old Calvinist mistake. The whole reason God brought in the law was to show that man cannot be Justified by the law. So, Yes, you are right that Jesus would use the law to show people that they cannot be justified by it. But, this was for the purpose of showing them that they can be Justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

      It is just plain wrong to say that just because Jesus asked men to fulfill the law (something they cannot do). To then say it must also mean that when he ask’s them to repent and believe, that this they cannot do either. It makes the Gospel totally void.

      I’m just going to say it Shawn. Calvinism is another gospel. Believing that salvation is by a secret decree before anyone was born for unrevealed reasons is not the gospel.

      I would say the only reason you believe that certain men cannot believe the gospel is because you believe they were not part of the selected ones by the secret decree before the world began? I would say that you believe that only certain men irresistibly accept the gospel because they were part of the selected ones to be believers by the secret decree before the world began.

      Shawn you make statements like “God commands the impossible throughout scripture to show our weaknesses and His strength”.
      Why would God want to show our weakness and His strength to people who were never picked out to be believers by the secret decree for unrevealed reasons before the world began – as Calvinism teaches? Why would God want to show our weakness and His strength to people who were saved by a secret decree for unrevealed reason before the world began? See, God showing anything doesn’t make any sense in Calvinism. In Calvinism you are either in Christ before you were born or not, and that’s it, and will not make one iota of a difference for anything.

      So all the talk about men’s wants, desires, natural thoughts, etc. etc. what difference does this make within Calvinism? None.

      Keep researching and reading these articles Shawn and I hope you can start to see the folly of Calvinism.

      1. Great points, Damon. Outside of the little well-crafted bubble, under closer examination, Calvinism simply holds no water. It makes everything pointless, all a vast exercise of God demonstrating his power for his glory to impress – who? Weak puppets who will dance on their heads if he so commands? Poor Calvin’s god – he has to create someone to impress, but their admiration will not satisfy his insatiable desire for praise.

        Then there is the real God, who created creatures with genuine freedom and creativity. A God who is unafraid of the vast creative potential they have, even to reject and defy him. His desire is not to impress them with how powerful he is, but to save them from self destruction and enable them to become the glorious god-imaged beings he designed them to be. He seeks not to tyrannize and frighten them into submission, but to win their trust and their love, and live in meaningful relationship with them forever.

        I truly pity those who believe the pathetic caricature Calvinism paints of our gracious, loving, merciful God. Persuaded that the only guarantee that they are one of the chosen few is if they are willing to bow to his despotic cruelty, they worship at the feet of a malignant idol, when all the time there is the God of scripture, who woos, loves and calls all to turn from wickedness and receive the gift of new life and a second chance.

      2. TS00,
        This is because they START with (come to the Scriptures with)…

        –The idea that God always gets what He wants (despite the hundreds of examples where He Himself says this is not true)..

        –The idea that man cannot hear God’s call (despite the many examples of faith listed in Scripture and particularly in Hebrews 11)

        –The idea that Christ died only for a very few (despite the many “all” and “whosoever” passages, including that He desires that all men come to Him. Indeed they force all of these many passages to mean “all kinds of men”).

        –The idea that men are “too-dead” (despite Luke 15 son being “dead” (called twice by Christ) and coming to his senses… and us being “dead” to sin—-but sinning).

        –The idea that men cannot seek (despite Hebrews telling us “He rewards those who seek Him”).

        I am afraid that despite all the thousands of verses that anyone provides them….. they will continue to come to the Scriptures with the answers and then filter all these thousands of verses through the Calvinistic interpretation of a few verses.

      3. Damon,why do certain men believe the gospel and certain don’t?Authority of Christ gives us the answer John 10:26 But you believe not because you are not my sheep.

      4. Damon,

        We have been through all this many, many times. Responses to all of Shawn’s 5-10 key verses are posted many times on these pages. In fact, some of us can even tell you what he next verses will be (Ephesians 1:11 anyone?)

        Here is a typical scenario:

        A young YRR newly-minted, energetic-to-pass-on-what-he-has-just-been-taught Calvinist discovers this site. He comes on with the 5-10 main verses, and is quite amazed that we “just dont get it” after giving the Calvinist interpretation of these verses.

        He (a “he” ….almost ALWAYS a young male) stays around for a few back-and-forths, and then leaves quite puzzled and upset that we “just refuse to understand.” ((of course —-according to Calvinism-determinism even our “refusing” to understand is what God planned anyway.))

        Some of us are even ex-Calvinists with seminary degrees….. but no matter…. all they have to do is flash the John 6:44 card.

        The very same Greek word is used when Christ says “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” So that would cover the “drawing” part!

        But you see that verse makes no sense to them since……because they come with the presupposition that God always gets all that He wants. So…. if Christ draws all men…. then all men would come (they say)!!!

        But of course we have Christ saying that is not true…. “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, ….how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

        Christ wanted….. He called….. He drew them (like the rich young ruler whom He told “come follow me”) but they dont come.

        Nope…. all these verses mean nothing…. They are all trumped by the Calvinistic interpretation of John 6:44 and a few other verses. Throw the rest of the Bible away…. or at best interpret it THROUGH the lenses of these few other verses.

        That what is called coming to the Bible with the answer in hand and making it say what “you know” to be true.

      5. I see in Shawn the same fear I see in most Calvinists, who cling to determinism as it promises them that they can never be ‘lost’, no matter what they do or don’t do. It if’s all of God, irresistibly determined, there is no need to pursue one’s salvation with fear and trembling, because it’s all in the bag. Many take great comfort in what I consider a false assurance.

        This is the primal fear that I see behind much of Calvinism. It is the same primal fear of the Judaizers, who stubbornly clung to their false status as the chosen people who could never be cast off. This in spite of all of the conditions and warnings given with their Law. This in spite of the countless Israelites who were punished for rebellion and disobedience. This in spite of all that Jesus taught about true righteousness being more than surface compliance with The Law.

        If we are planning on living a life of rebellion and/or disobedience, clinging to a few secret sins, then we should indeed have great fear. God does not offer an unconditional grace that overlooks deliberate sin, despite the many claims otherwise throughout history. He offers undeserved, unstinting grace, and forgives our failings when we genuinely repent of our sin. But he will not tolerate evildoers attempting to ride into heaven in the Trojan horse of Jesus Christ, carrying in their favorite sins. Jesus offers us unconditional forgiveness for genuine repentance, not a cover for ongoing self-seeking and wickedness.

      6. The Jesus who said…

        “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep…..” (John 10:26)

        Is the same Jesus who said…..

        “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)

        But I guess that verse gets overlooked by most.

      7. Shawn
        Damon,why do certain men believe the gospel and certain don’t?

        br.d
        This is a very common question.

        It is a matter of interpretation of scripture.
        If one assumes Theological Determinism when one reads John 10:26 (or any other verse) then one will assume that each individual man is RENDERED-CERTAIN to believe the gospel or RENDERED-CERTAIN not to (i.e. not permitted to believe).

        If one assumes LFW when one reads John 10:26 – then one will assume that men are “merely” permitted to choose to believe or not.

      8. “Why do certain men believe the gospel and certain (men) don’t?”

        Same reason certain men believe “regeneration precedes faith” and other men don’t.

        Free will. People can believe whatever they want to believe.

      9. Phillip
        Free will. People can believe whatever they want to believe.

        br.d
        Isn’t it ironic that Calvinists embrace doctrine which stipulates *ALL* things are RENDERED-CERTAIN before they were born.
        And that there is no such thing as Libertarian Free Will.

        And yet at the same time – go about their daily lives *AS-IF* the doctrine is FALSE and they do have libertarian free will.
        Calvinists sure have a self-contradicting and conflicted mental condition! :-]

        Have you heard the joke from Alvin Plantinga about a woman who read a book on solipsism?
        A Solipsist is a person who believes they are the only person who exists – everyone else is a figment of imagination.

        She wrote to the author of the book and said “I’ve discovered who I really am – I’m a solipsist – and I’m very relieved to know I’m not alone”

        This joke always reminds me of Calvinists! :-]

      10. Philip…

        More than that!

        Even in the camp of Calvinists some believe in the gift of tongues (Piper) and some dont (MacArthur)…. some believe in baptizing babies (Sproul) and some dont (MacArthur).

        Funny…. Calvinists are insistent about freedom to believe/not believe certain doctrines ….but somehow man has no freedom to hear Christ call “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden…..”

      11. BrD/FOH,

        Believing Calvinism is proof positive of “free will”.

        But, we all fall into that category in one way or another. Just look at all the different opinions here on this very blog. And, yet, we are all reading from the same text.

      12. Shawn’s question why some believe and some dont….

        Let’s let Scripture tell us!

        21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “….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.


        Jesus loved him. Jesus called him to follow him.

        Why did he not?

        Calvinist imposing on the Scripture: because he was not called (even though Christ is right there calling him!)

        Bible answer: because he owned a lot of stuff and did not want to.

        This aint rocket science!

      13. FOH
        This aint rocket science!

        br.d
        Absolutely correct!
        Its all a matter of what world-view one assumes as cannon.
        One brings his cannon world-view to the scripture.
        And what he perceives himself doing is interpreting cannon with cannon.

      14. TSOO
        I enjoyed your Freudian slip – too many Calvinists do view their canon as cannon. 😉

        br.d
        Funny isn’t it!
        But for me there is a more subtle assertion going on here.

        The Calvinist is actually asserting that Calvin’s exegesis is cannon and cannot be questioned.
        Calvin himself uses “Appeal to Divine Rigor” – (how dare you question god) whenever anyone questions his exegesis.
        Therefore he does what Jesus said of the Pharisees – he puts himself in the seat of Moses.

        Or in the NT context – he makes himself an Apostle and attributes his letters as part of the cannon of scripture.
        Calvin essentially did this to the Augustine – and then followed that by attributing the same divine authority to himself.

        And we can see this is rhutchin’s posts – where divine exegesis is AUTO-MAGICALLY assumed.

      15. Shawn,

        Thanks for your reply. So, I’m assuming you agree with what I stated you believe because you didn’t kick back at what I said. You just pointed to another verse to try and confirm it. (Again out of context mind you. Probably just to take the conversation down a rabbit hole).

        Let’s bring it back. Do you Shawn believe that only certain people were selected and placed in Christ before they were even born for unrevealed reasons by a secret decree of God, so that people are born into the world either destined to heaven or hell by this same decree, and that there nothing that can change it?

        Just answer the question – Yes or No. But my guess is you won’t. You will just point to another verse.
        See, Calvinists have a hard time saying with their lips what they believe in their heart.

        Yes or No Shawn?

  17. I’ll let the better informed respond to Shawn, but for me this provisionalist soteriology of salvation is robust and harmonizes with His Word much clearer to me. Thank you this is another great article! The Roman catholic idea of being in good standing does resonates with me, because I use to sit in the pews and tell God (at the time I wasn’t even sure if He existed) when I get it together I’ll come to you. What a lie (we can’t be good enough to seek Him)! Yet I would sit there singled out as unworthy & my exhusband and daughter would walk to the front & take communion, because they were better/entitled and my son & I remained seated unworthy not in good standing. Sounds a bit like calvinism to me the difference in this hyper individualized verses the Jew/Gentile sounds interesting and should cause them pause. Adherence to a faulty systematic even with such overwhelming evidence as to where this veering of Scriprure begins look at “the Augustine post here”… Maybe people are really misinformed about calvinism, and so I appreciate Leighton encouraging us to learn it from a calvinists perspective. One sad thing I’ve found though is calvinist don’t come right and admit it they side step saying these debates have always gone on etc.. They don’t want to come out and say or simply don’t understand the implication of who then is the author of evil? and ultimately sending most people to hell only to insure His own victory🤔 Hmm very narrow view of a God through just a thought can change the molecular composition of H2O to wine just one example of His Greatness. Or maybe they are just convinced this is a loving and just act of the Creator of all things?… after all they’re set even if their loved ones may not be🤔 hmm this seems counter productive to selfless..
    I actually called myself a Christian before I had a relationship with the Creator of; the heavens, earth and everything seen and unseen.. Colossians 1:16 NASB — For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.

    but even with this Christian title I don’t think I would have known how to pretend to be one🤔 I actually thought God if there even was One couldn’t be a God who would not allow nice people into heaven or something like that obviously blinded eyes & I didn’t know better!!! So why did Jesus have to come to die for a sinful world if we could save ourselves of course the answer is we can’t. Yet His love changed me in my brokenness so I find comfort in knowing this verse below that has been spoken here too!

    2 Thessalonians 2:10 NASB — and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

    To trust in TULIP as if it’s absolute authority above the clear revelation in Scripture is to reject many other passages. This notion of He gave me a drug ie forced me to believe is nothing less than unfortunate… I don’t idolize the fact that I’ve been born into God’s family, but rather I’m eternally grateful & long for others to know this undeserved love!!! I’m  not trying to convince myself I’m one of a select few… how could He possibly be working all things together for the good of those who love Him…. if knowing I love Him yet I care for others even people who bug me salvation hmmm i know I’m not good no one is why do i care??? I guess I’m determined to trust His transforming love is slowly transforming us from the inside out. And my hearts desire is for my daughter and son in law to have a relationship with Him too, but I’m so glad in the end i won’t be blaming God or being ok if He didn’t elect them, because that systematic is faulty they have libertarian freedom. I will continue to pray as James 5:16 says, because my hope is in Him and what He can do not in a man driven systematic. Thanks for continuing this work on this site others who struggle with trusting this deterministic system doesn’t seem to line up need to know they’re not alone🔔

    1. Reggie,when we came into the world as baby it was determined but not by us,I think we want control in so many ways but if I know if I had my way, I would not chosen spiritual life but death . Many people have some sort determinism belief as if there are those on this message board here that believes once saved alway saved which comes from the roots of reformed deterministic theologically , for Liberian free will to be consident you would have to say you can free will your way into Christ and you also have the liberty to free will out of Christ.

      Thanks for reading.

      1. Shawn
        for Liberian free will to be consident you would have to say you can free will your way into Christ and you also have the liberty to free will out of Christ.

        br.d
        Hi Shawn
        I would say your intuition on this moves in the right direction – however the phrase “free will your way into” would be equivocal language for me. So I personally wouldn’t use it.

        If we take LFW to mean: The ability to choose from multiple available alternatives and the ability to do otherwise…..

        Then yes I would agree that an interpretation of faith in the gospel and Jesus which assumes LFW – would be a faith which is both “UP TO” God the giver – as well as “UP TO” us the recipient of the gift.

        In this conception – God the giver (having LFW) would not falter from his position of offering the gift.
        But the recipient (having LFW) has available alternatives and the ability to do otherwise and thus the liberty to reject the gift.
        And many who read the warning verses in the NT interpret them as consistent with this.

        However if Theological Determinism is assumed to be true rather than LFW – then the warning verses are what Paul would call “UNCERTAIN-SOUNDS”. Because Theological Determinism eradicates “alternate possibilities”, “do otherwise”, and “up to us”.
        In Theological Determinism nothing is “up to us” – but rather RENDERED-CERTAIN before we are born.

        William Lane Craig who holds to LFW refers to 1 Corinthians 10:13 as an example:
        God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape

        Craig states:
        God has provided a way of escape…and it’s entirely “UP TO US” whether we avail ourselves of it or not.

        But for the Theological Determinist this verse would be and UNCERTAIN SOUND.
        Because if the person has “A Posteriori” knowledge that he sinned – then it follows he was not permitted to escape.
        And in such case the way of escape exists only as a facade.

    2. Yes Damon,Romans 9:18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires and He hardens whom He desires.
      And thats talking about individuals not nations.
      God elects,calls,and reveals himself to some while He hardens others by passing over them and leaving them in their own self determined sinful and willful condemnation.

      1. Damon wrote-
        “Do you Shawn believe that only certain people were selected and placed in Christ before they were even born for unrevealed reasons by a secret decree of God, so that people are born into the world either destined to heaven or hell by this same decree, and that there nothing that can change it?

        Just answer the question – Yes or No.”

        Shawn Answered –
        “Yes Damon,Romans 9:18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires and He hardens whom He desires.
        And thats talking about individuals not nations.
        God elects,calls,and reveals himself to some while He hardens others by passing over them and leaving them in their own self determined sinful and willful condemnation”

        So it should be clear here that Shawn believes that God before the creation of the world for unrevealed reasons by a secret decree picked only certain individuals to be believers and placed them in Christ while hardening the rest of the individuals. So you are either born into the world in a hardened condition by the secret decree or In Christ by the secret decree and there’s nothing you can do about it.
        Even more Shawn says that the hardened condition that they are born in is a “willful” “self determined” condition which happens, according to Shawn, by God “passing over them”. I’m not sure if Shawn means that they become hardened at the time God passes over them? (or it could be that Shawn just hasn’t thought about it enough), Because Calvinism teaches that it was God that determined that they be born into the world in this hardened condition as ‘according to Calvinism’ Esau, Judas, and Pharaoh being the example of all the non-elect, who, according to Calvinism are vessels MADE for destruction (Hell).

        This begs the question – Why would any Calvinist be on a forum trying to convince people of something that cannot be changed? You are either in or out by a secret decree; and no argumentation, reasoning, convincing, praying, seeking, pleading, change of mind, or even the gospel can do anything to change it. Calvinism makes void the Gospel of Jesus Christ and mocks the work of the cross.

      2. Damon
        Why would any Calvinist be on a forum trying to convince people of something that cannot be changed?

        br.d
        I hope you don’t mind if I answer that question Damon.

        Because Theological Determinism makes them lean in one direction – while scripture makes them lean in the opposite.

        Elijah sums it up when he says “How long will you halt between two opinions”

        Calvinism forces one to be double-minded
        And out of that comes their library of double-speak talking-points.

  18. Hello Br.d,I believe 1 Corinthians 10:13 gets pulled out of context somewhat without starting in verse :1 ,Paul starts off by addressing the church with the old testament example how Isrealites where delivered out of Egypt,baptized unto Moses, did all eat of the same spiritual meat and drink of the Spiritual drink out of the rock which was Christ was examples of the same profession as the Corinthians had but here is the key some where overthrown and died in the wilderness ,sins that acutally in progressing in time of trial overcame them and they where destroyed.In verse :12 there is a warning for those who “think they stand take heed lest they fall,which to me can be a warning to those who think they stand in confidence of their own power and ability in themselves,but it’s definitely a warning not to do what the former Israel did.We should always make God fearing,God glorifying choices,working out are own salvation with fear and trembling,but at the same time it’s acutally God working in us to will and do his good pleasure Philippines 2:12-13 teaches us.Its all of God!

    Verse :13 to me teaches sovereignty and future assurance to God’s people as we learn there is no temptation taken us that isn’t common to man,and that GOD is faithful who will not suffer or let us be tempted more than we can bear,but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it.
    This reminds me of Romans 8:28 how that God works things out for the good of people and that He must allow a temptation or there would never be one and with that will also make a way of escape that you may be able to bear,may be able to bear is very strong in the Greek the NASB translites that you will be able to bear it!This means to me no matter what comes my way that might appear to be stronger than me and overthrow my faith and destroy me God is stronger and in trials He is working in me sanctification through trials of faith,even when I fall to show me my weakness that will cause me to trust in His grace even the more!The righteous fall seven times and rise again!As Jesus also promised to Peter that Satan desired to sift him as wheat but assured Him that his faith would not fail not because of Peter’s libertarian free choice but because Jesus interceding prayer for Peter,Luke 22:31-32,And we know that whoever is born of God overcomes the world John 5:4.

    1. Shawn
      Verse :13 to me teaches sovereignty and future assurance to God’s people as we learn there is no temptation taken us that isn’t common to man,and that GOD is faithful who will not suffer or let us be tempted more than we can bear,but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it.

      br.d
      Thank you Shawn.
      But if verse 13 reminds you of the divine attribute of sovereignty – then you know that the concept of “mere” permission (in regard to divine sovereignty) is rejected in Calvinism.

      In such case one is not “merely” permitted to sin. And/or “merely” permitted to not sin.

      In Reformed vernacular one is RENDERED-CERTAIN (from the foundation of the world) to sin.
      Or RENDERED-CERTAIN (at the foundation of the world) to not sin.

      In such case your sin is “UP TO” the THEOS who determines your sin (at the foundation of the world).
      You don’t exist at the foundation of the world – so you don’t have any say in the matter.

      For example:
      Lets say the THEOS (at the foundation of the world) RENDERED-CERTAIN you will sin at 10AM tomorrow morning
      At the foundation of the world the THEOS (having divine omniscience) knows that you will sin at 10AM.
      If you do not sin at 10AM tomorrow morning – then what the THEOS knows is false.
      And thus divine omniscience is falsified – and this is an impossible situation.
      Therefore you have no escape from that sin.

      There is NO escape from that which is RENDERED-CERTAIN
      If you believe you have an escape from that sin – then you have a false belief – and you have an allusion.

      And in Theological Determinism *ALL* things which come to pass are RENDERED-CERTAIN.
      Again – if you believe you have an escape – then you have a false belief

      This is why I say – for the Theological Determinist (aka Calvinist) verse 13 is an UNCERTAIN SOUND.
      I’m assuming you can understand this as rational reasoning?

  19. The Bible is full of answers to your question.
    Proverbs 19:21 There are many devices in a man’s heart,nevertheless the counsel of the Lord,that shall stand.
    Joseph brothers lied and deceived their father in sinful jealous envy as they meant it for evil But God meant it for good,Gen 50:20 . You will never be able to understand the mystery of how God works,but there is no such thing as a world without purpose.And if you follow libertarian free will thats where it will end.
    We both must admit that God has to even determine that a person will even live to make a choice at 10:00 tomorrow lest we find yourself fighting against the sovereignty will and determinate council of God.

    1. Shawn
      The Bible is full of answers to your question.
      Proverbs 19:21 There are many devices in a man’s heart,nevertheless the counsel of the Lord,that shall stand.

      br.d
      Sorry Shawn
      This verse can be interpreted to affirm Libertarian Free Will

      Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world RENDERS-CERTAIN your every sin.
      You do not exist at the foundation of the world – so you have no say in the matter.
      You cannot escape what has been RENDERED-CERTAIN

      You may wish to make-believe you can – by quoting a bible verse
      But making-believe is childish thinking.
      When I became a man – I put away childish thinking.

      Shawn
      Joseph brothers lied and deceived their father …….

      br.d
      So apply Calvin’s assertion to this.
      At the foundation of the world Calvin’s god RENDERED-CERTAIN every one of Joseph’s brothers sins.
      Joseph’s brothers cannot escape from what is RENDERED-CERTAIN any more than you can.

      Shawn
      God meant it for good,Gen 50:20 .

      br.d
      So now you have RENDERING-CERTAIN evil – to bring about good.

      Shawn
      You will never be able to understand the mystery of how God works

      br.d
      AS-IF the Calvinist somehow knows divine secrets and mysteries that other don’t
      That is called GNOSIS (i.e. Gnostisism)

      Shawn
      but there is no such thing as a world without purpose.And if you follow libertarian free will thats where it will end.

      br.d
      This is FALSE
      I hardly doubt you will argue that the God of scripture does not have have Libertarian Free Will.
      This argument would make his choices without purpose.

      Here I assume you are blindly repeating something someone told you without thinking it through.

      Shawn
      We both must admit that God has to even determine that a person will even live to make a choice at 10:00 tomorrow lest we find yourself fighting against the sovereignty will and determinate council of God.

      br.d
      Here you are faithful to Calvin’s doctrine – so now allow you mind to follow it to its logical conclusion.

      1) Your every sin is RENDERED-CERTAIN at the foundation of the world
      2) You do not exist at the foundation of the world – so you have no say in the matter
      3) There is no escape from what is RENDERED-CERTAIN

      Therefore – 1 Corinthians 10:13 makes perfect sense where God creates a world with LFW
      But it becomes double-speak with Theological Determinism.

      I think you can see this – but you don’t want to acknowledge it.
      And I understand your plight
      I understand the love-hate relationship Calvinists have with their doctrine.

      I feel sorry for Calvinists because their doctrine forces them to be double-minded.

  20. Shawn
    lest we find yourself fighting against the sovereignty will and determinate council of God.

    br.d
    Here is another great example of Calvinism’s double-speak.

    The Calvinist believes that Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN the creature’s every neurological impulse.
    And at the same time he wants to believe the creature can fight against what is RENDERED-CERTAIN

    Thank you Shawn for an excellent example of pure double-mindedness!

    1. Proverbs 21:1 The kings heart is in the hand of the Lord,as the rivers of water HE turneth it wheresoever HE WILL.

      BR D My question to you is if God is not the determiner,then who is,are you?

      1. Shawn,
        Does this verse teach us that God CAN turn the heart of a king … or He DOES turn every action of every person at all times?

        A Christian man looks at porn…. did God turn his heart that way. That is what you are saying?

      2. Shawn
        BR D My question to you is if God is not the determiner,then who is,are you?

        br.d
        Here is your problem Shawn.
        You want to believe that Calvin’s god determines (i.e., RENDERS-CERTAIN) every neurological impulse you will ever have and every sin you will ever commit – by factors outside of your control.

        But at the same time you are constantly seeking to evade that very belief system.
        You want to make-believe you can -quote “fight against” and/or “escape” what is RENDERED-CERTAIN.

        I understand determinism and therefore I understand the reason for the double-mindedness.
        You can’t actually live out determinism and retain a state of mental normalcy.

        Jesus says “Let your communication be yea yea or nay nay – for anything else comes of evil.

        But the poor unfortunate Calvinist cannot obey Jesus – because he has another obligation.
        In order to cleave to Calvinism – he must communicate:
        – Determinism is TRUE *AS-IF* FALSE
        – RENDERED-CERTAIN is *AS-IF* NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN
        – Theological Determinism *AS-IF* Natural Determinism
        – Mere Permission doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does.

        Also
        When Jesus says “My sheep hear my voice”
        When Jesus says “All that the father gives will come to me”

        You don’t know if those promises of scripture apply to you or not – because that is according to the secret counsel.
        For all you know Calvin’s god may be (as Calvin teaches) holding out salvation as a scepter of greater condemnation to you.

        I do feel sorry for your situation Shawn!

  21. Fromoverhere the text says He turns the heart whithersoever He Will,to say that it says He can turn it is to turn that text on its head and deny it.

    Everything in me that is good is of God and everything else is my fault if I ever make a choice in faith to glorify God it was all of him and none of me this is the testimony of scripture as Paul said for by the grace I am what I am.

    Now the question is are you sovereign in your choices,can you frustrate the determinate council of God it seems as if Brd avoided the question.

    1. Shawn
      Now the question is are you sovereign in your choices,can you frustrate the determinate council of God it seems as if Brd avoided the question.

      br.d
      Actually Shawn I stated the answer to that question very clearly – while you kept sliding around it.
      If you remember – you asserted that one can -quote “fight against” or -quote “escape” the sovereign will and determinate council.

      While I specifically stated the following
      1) All of your sins are RENDERED-CERTAIN at the foundation of the world
      2) You don’t exist at the foundation of the world – so you don’t have a say in the matter.
      3) There is no escape from what is RENDERED-CERTAIN

      I pointed out the condition of double-mindedness – which appears to be what someone avoided! :-]

  22. I did not say we could escape what God has determined but of course we can kick or fight against the pricks as Paul but of course we will lose.

    Believing men are responsible and also that God is sovereign is not double minded if that is what you are referring, people get in trouble when they hold to one while dismissing the other.

    Now the question again ,can you stop God from doing what He wills to do with what you call your libertarian free will?

    1. Shawn,
      This has been discussed many many times on this blog.

      No one is saying we can stop God. or we are stronger than God.

      There is a difference between God can do whatever He wants (what we believe) and “everything that happens is what God wants” (what you are proposing).

      If you use “turns the hearts of kings” verses to prove determinism/Calvinism, then you are saying that ALL that happens (everything: including sin, torture, rape) IS what God wants.

      Is that what you are saying? Everything that happens was willed/ decreed/ wanted by God?

      Hundreds and hundreds of times in His word God says….. “If you do this, I will do this….but if you do this…I will do that…”

      What do you do with those verses?

      1. God has a revealed will and a secret will as seen with Abraham as God commanded him to offer his son Issac a sacrifice,but God’s hidden will was coming up the other side of the mountain in the ram that God provided for himself.

        God hates sin as He only is holy,but in order for sin to reign God must allow it,He stopped the Egyptian king from taking Sara in adultery.
        He is own the throne of the universe restraining satan and sin we all better be thankful that God did not let the murder,rape,ect, come out of our heart that was in there,WE are all WICKED if left to ourselves if you dont see this then you don’t know who you really are.

      2. Shawn
        God has a revealed will and a secret will…….

        br.d
        This conception is an unfortunate aspect of dualism – a derivative of Augustine’s Gnosticism.
        The THEOS’ dualistic wills are self-opposing.
        They are good-evil.
        This results in Calvin’s god’s word being untrustworthy.

        For example:
        He communicates to Adam AS-IF his will is for Adam’s obedience – when he knows that is false.
        He communicates to Cain AS-IF it is within Cain’s control to do well – when he knows that is false.
        He communicates to Is real AS-IF choosing life is within their control – when he knows that is false
        The NT states “the promises of God are yea and amen” – but for the Calvinist this is false

        Shawn
        in order for sin to reign God must ALLOW it

        br.d
        Here is an example of Calvinism’s double-speak language.

        This statement infers “Mere” permission which is rejected in Calvinism.
        Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES every sin and then RENDERS-CERTAIN every sin.
        Whatever is not RENDERED-CERTAIN is not allowed.

        He then holds others responsible for the very things he FIRST-CONCEIVES and RENDERS-CERTAIN.
        AS-IF those things were in their control – when he knows that is false.

    2. Shawn writes:
      “Now the question again ,can you stop God from doing what He wills to do with what you call your libertarian free will?”

      Of course, neither Calvinist nor non-Calvinist suggest that mere men can ‘stop God from doing what He wills’ ever. That is merely a red herring.

      If one desires to honestly discuss the issues, one must state them correctly and without equvocation.

      The Calvinist asserts that God alone determines whatsoever comes to pass. Not only can man not ‘stop him from doing what He wills’, man has absolutely no option but to do exactly as He wills, always and without exception. Which, of course, demands that any sin and evil that exists does so at the predetermined will and decree of God that it shall, without exception, exist.

      The non-Calvinist asserts that God alone determines how his creation will function, and that scripture (and common experience) teaches that God created man in his image, meaning the ability to think, reason and make choices, unlike all of the rest of creation which must simply perform as instinct and unavoidable conditions demand. This God-created gift of freedom of choice necessitates the possibility of evil, as freedom of choice requires the ability to choose yea or nay. Scripture clearly states that there is no evil whatsoever in God, and that any evil chosen by man is neither desired nor determined by God, but chosen by man contrary to God’s express desire and will. Scripture repeatedly insists that God desires that all men resist sin, turn from wickedness and avail themselves of the second chance of life offered through Jesus.

      Neither position suggests that man can ever ‘stop God from doing what He wills’, so it is a moot question. The fact that God himself designed and gifted man with a free will does not in any way suggest that he sacrificed his sovereignty or became less than he always was by doing so. Scripture also teaches that this freedom of choice can in many ways be limited or shaped by God, who controls all things outside of the freely chosen moral actions of men, which, again, he could without question control, but chose not to do.

    3. Shawn
      I did not say we could escape what God has determined but of course we can kick or fight against the pricks as Paul but of course we will lose.

      br.d
      This is closer to logically consistent.
      It thus follows that the “way of escape” as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:13 cannot be (in Calvinism) an escape from what is RENDERED-CERTAIN.

      Thus were Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN that you sin at 10:AM tomorrow morning – there is no escape from it.
      This is either true for you or not – yea or nay –
      And as Jesus says “any other communication comes of evil”

      Shawn
      Believing men are responsible and also that God is sovereign is not double minded if that is what you are referring, people get in trouble when they hold to one while dismissing the other.

      br.d
      I was very clear in what I posted.
      I will make it easier by put it into the form of a syllogism for you:

      1) You cannot escape from what is RENDERED-CERTAIN.
      2) ALL things (including your sins) are RENDERED-CERTAIN

      Conclusion:
      3) There is no such thing as a way of escape from his sins – since they are RENDERED-CERTAIN before you were born.

      The double-mindedness comes in when you embrace something as TRUE one minute and FALSE in the next.

      Shawn
      Now the question again ,can you stop God from doing what He wills to do with what you call your libertarian free will?

      br.d
      The answer would be no.
      Certainly a tiny worm of a human like me – is not going to stop the most powerful being in the universe from doing anything.

      Libertarian free will – as it has been defined – is the ability to choose from alternatives and to do-otherwise.
      Determinism entails the thesis that all things are determined by factors outside of one’s control.

      If Libertarian Free will does not exist – then the God of scripture does not have the ability to choose from alternatives and to do-otherwise.
      I personally believe he does.
      And if he wants to create humans in that same image – he is certainly not limited to determinism.

    4. Shawn
      I did not say we could escape what God has determined but of course we can kick or fight against the pricks as Paul but of course we will lose.

      br.d
      Here we have an echo of scripture “kicking at the pricks”
      This is logically and ethically coherent with Libertarian Free will.
      But again – with Theological Determinism there are certain things that need to be unpackaged.

      Just like your sin – any kicking you do – is also RENDERED-CERTAIN at the foundation of the world.
      And again – you don’t have any say in the matter of whether you will kick or not.
      Your kicking is caused by factors outside of your control

      To hold that you have any degree of autonomy.
      Or that your kicking is within your control – would be an example of double-mindedness.

      1. Brd,are you reading and following the whole context around 1 Corinthians 10:13?
        This apostasy of sin was about how many of Israel after been led out of Egypt were overcome by sin and destroyed.Not just falling in one sin but sin that habitationly acutally separated them from the promise land and brought much death they for the most part denied Gods power in every way..:12 exhorts the church to accountability and :13 reads this closing promise
        God is faithful who WILL NOT allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you WILL BE able to endure it.NASB
        This text speaks of God’s determination not to let his people be overthrown by sin and finally perish.
        God always exhorts us in His word to stay in the faith and His true sheep follow Him,John 10:27.
        If you will chain reference verse :13 out you will find out this verse will cross referenced with Romans 28 -39 nothing shall separate God’s people from Him John 10:28 and they will NEVER perish.1 John 5:4 Whoever is born of God overcomes the world!

      2. Shawn
        Brd,are you reading and following the whole context around 1 Corinthians 10:13?

        br.d
        Here is your statement on 1 Corinthians 10:13

        Shawn
        March 19, 2019 at 9:02 am
        Verse :13 to me teaches sovereignty and future assurance to God’s people as we learn there is no temptation taken us that isn’t common to man,and that GOD is faithful who will not suffer or let us be tempted more than we can bear,but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it.

        Shawn
        This apostasy of sin……. :12 exhorts the church to accountability and :13 reads this closing promise….This text speaks of God’s determination not to *LET* his people be overthrown by sin and finally perish.

        br.d
        Your back again with the double-speak
        Here your language states -quote “not *LET* his people be overthrown by sin”

        Why do you need to be reminded by a non-Calvinist that In Calvinism there is no such thing as “mere” permission.
        Double-mindedness is when one believes something is true and false at the same time.

        What you have is:
        Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES every sin and then RENDERS-CERTAIN every sin.
        The only thing Calvin’s god *LETS* happen is what he RENDERS-CERTAIN to happen.
        Nothing more – nothing less is permitted or made available.
        Your attempts to evade that fact simply show double-mindedness.

        Shawn
        God always exhorts us in His word to stay in the faith and His true sheep follow Him,John 10:27.

        br.d
        But in Calvinism that verse is his EXPRESSED will only
        And his SECRET will is the opposite.

        And you don’t know if Calvin’s god (as Calvin teaches) is holding out salvation as a scepter of greater condemnation.
        So for you that verse is what Paul calls an UNCERTAIN SOUND

        Shawn
        If you will chain reference verse :13 out you will find out this verse will cross referenced with Romans 28 -39 nothing shall separate God’s people from Him John 10:28 and they will NEVER perish.1 John 5:4 Whoever is born of God overcomes the world!

        br.d
        Again – in Calvinism – all of those verses are his EXPRESSED will only.
        And his SECRET will is the opposite.
        So you have no certainty if those verses apply to you or not because that is according to the secret counsel.

        For you to think otherwise is simply double-mindedness.

        As a Calvinist the promises of scripture are not “yea” and “amen” for you.
        They are maybe yes – maybe no.

        You may be ordained for damnation – and you don’t know which is the case.
        So as I’ve said before – I do feel sorry for you Shawn

  23. I would agree that we all believe that the will of man has freedoms but we don’t agree on the limits of that freedom,Adam’s will was free from sin to serve God ours is not,man’s free will to please God died that day and must be made alive to respond in God pleasing God glorifying way.

    If we define death as really dead = totally incapable of responding to a living God until made alive then and only then will salvation be of grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone according to scripture alone.

    1. Shawn
      Adam’s will was free from sin

      br.d
      How is this not double-mindedness?
      In Theological Determinism – Adam’s will is not free to will/choose anything other than what Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN.
      And not even one neurological impulse can come to pass that is not RENDERED-CERTAIN.
      Nothing more – nothing less is permitted or made available

    2. Shawn:

      You said “If we define death as really dead = totally incapable of responding ……”

      I preferring to let the Scripture speak. In Luke 15 Christ used the word “dead” two times to describe the son. Yet….. that son “in a far away land” “came to his senses”. He was not brought back to life by the father. He was not irresistibly drawn by the father.

      So Shawn….. please dont make “dead” be incapable. It means….dead in sin…and continuing that way leads to eternal death.

      We are told we are “dead TO sin” right? Incapable of sinning? Nah.

      I’m afraid you are not letting the Bible speak but are simply repeating back the talking points of Calvinist books and sites. Read the Bible! Let it speak to you. It is supposed to be understood by all people in all times. It does not need special help from “doctors of the law” teaching us about 2-3- 4 wills of God, about semi -pelagianism, about supra-lapsarianin. Nah.

      Come unto me all who labor and are heavy laden.

      1. Fromoverhere,1) sin is dead to believers because Christ died for their sin which separates them completely freed from its guilt and condemnation, positionaly in Christ sin is dead and justification lives,God’s people have no sin in Christ.
        2)believers are dead to sin as they a freed from its power they no longer are slaves to it as the new birth enspouses them to a new master Christ freeing them from the old one satan,if the Son sets you free you shall be free indeed Now they have fruit before God for the glory of God, the total depraved natural man is alive to sin in this regaurd
        3)believers are not yet dead to the presence of sin because the body of death we still have until death Therefore of any man says he has no sin he is a liar and truth not in him 1 John states.

      2. Shawn,
        First of all I have to admit that your posts are hard to read. There are run-on sentences, and I have a hard time following your train of thought.

        Secondly, I don’t really want to discuss here our “position in Christ”. I am aware of what we did not have and what we now have being redeemed by the blood of Christ.

        My point is simple. Calvinists bring to the Bible their strong definition of “dead in sin” and insist that “dead” means incapable. Obviously when Christ Himself used the word twice in Luke 15 about the son, His use of the word “dead” did not mean incapable (since it says the son “came to his senses”). If the Calvinist sense of “dead” was true, he could not “come to his senses”. You are not dealing with the semantic issue here.

        Calvinists insist that “dead” means incapable when it has to do with salvation (since that works for the man-made idea of TULIP) but they say it is “figurative” or “metaphorical” when used in the other places.

        Just like they do with “whosoever” and “all” and “anyone” . Christ did not die for all men…He died for “all kinds of men”.

        Come unto me “all kinds of you” who labor….

        John 12:32
        And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all “kinds of ” people to myself.”

        Nah…. that’s not what Christ says…. it’s just what Calvinists make Him say.

    3. Shawn,
      On another note about what you said, “If we define death as really dead = totally incapable of responding…”

      Did you see that Paul says he “reasons with men”? That “he persuades men”?

      Shawn….. why does Paul say he persuades men? Dead men cant be persuaded and “irresistibly drawn” people dont need to be. These verses from Paul make no sense in Calvinism.

      By saying this…. according to Calvinism…. Paul would be “robbing God of His glory” or at least making it look like Paul had something to do with it and the “persuaded person” has something to do with it, using his “reason”.

      Why would the Scripture deceive us by making it sound like “we persuade men” when it was unilaterally decided by God before creation?

      1. Fromoverhere,arminianism interpretation of spiritual death is utterly wrong and is not described in the Prodigal son but in the epistles.

        Col2:12 who raised Him from the dead :13 when you were dead in your Trang and uncircumcision of the flesh.

        Was Jesus dead physically?What does physical death mean vs physical life? Who raises the dead?It’s the same type the Apostle is making,death is total separation from Life,that’s why it must be by grace believers are saved Ephesians 2:4-8 explains very Cleary arminianism and the flesh mulk the waters.

    4. Shawn:

      You said…
      “I would agree that we all believe that the will of man has freedoms but we don’t agree on the limits of that freedom…”

      Tell us what man is free to do?

      Sin? Yes?

      Is man free to do anything nice, kind, patient? Can an unsaved man share his meal with a hungry person? Help an old lady across the street? Give money to hurricane victims?

      Can a unbeliever do a kind act?

      How? He is dead. He is totally depraved. He cannot hear God’s call or do one nice thing. Period. If he is spiritually dead he cannot do anything that is spiritually nice, right? We all know that is just not true….and yet Calvinism teaches that people cannot hear God’s call. give their lives for another, yes….but hear God, no.

      1. FOH
        Shawn:

        You said…
        “I would agree that we all believe that the will of man has freedoms but we don’t agree on the limits of that freedom…”
        Tell us what man is free to do?

        br.d
        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) the creature is free *ONLY* to be/do what Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN.
        Absolutely NOTHING otherwise (including any freedom) is permitted.

        To do otherwise:
        – Adam was not permitted.
        – Cain was not permitted.
        – The children of Israel who threw their babies into the fire were not permitted
        – Lucifer and angels who fell were not permitted
        – Joseph’s brothers were not permitted
        – Judas was not permitted.
        etc etc

        So much for freedom!

      2. With freedom like that, one can see whom to blame for those who will perish. Man CANNOT believe, and yet the Calvinist calmly asserts that ‘He is without excuse’. Sheesh, an average first grader can see the problem with that.

      3. Right on.

        Jesus – Luke 17:9
        Does the master praise his servant for simply doing that which he was commanded to do? I think not

        Gilbert VanOrder, Jr  – Calvinism: An Examination of the Problems in Reformed Theology
        -quote:
        “If a man can do nothing to change his condition, then he cannot be held responsible for changing his condition”.
        Calvinists have to resort to double‐talk in order to explain how human responsibility is still involved even though it
        isn’t.

      4. According to Calvinism, man has no excuse for his sin. Except for the fact that God irresistibly determined that he would sin, and he absolutely no power to do anything but that which God has decreed. Again, this is only possible by disengaging one’s ability to think and reason, which is the first order of any good Calvinist brainwasher.

  24. Adams will was free from sin as his nature was created upright,and not enslaved to evil.

    Brd, was the fall not RENDERED – CERTAIN that it would happen, or did it frustrate him stopping His will,was the fall and redemption not RENDERED -CERTAIN in the plan God before the foundation of the world?

    1. Shawn
      Adams will was free from sin as his nature was created upright,and not enslaved to evil.

      br.d
      In Theological Determinism every part of Adam’s nature is RENDERED-CERTAIN at the foundation of the world
      Adam was not free from what is RENDERED-CERTAIN any more than you are.
      At the same point in which Adam’s every sin was being RENDERED-CERTAIN – so weren’t all of your sins.

      So in Theological Determinism the Adamic fall is nothing more than one section of a choreographed theater show
      Your sins originated in Calvin’s god’s mind before Adam even existed.
      So your sins all play out today as a current part of that choreographed theater show.
      And there is nothing you can do to stop yourself from play acting your part.

      Shawn
      Brd, was the fall not RENDERED – CERTAIN that it would happen, or did it frustrate him stopping His will,
      was the fall and redemption not RENDERED -CERTAIN in the plan God before the foundation of the world?

      br.d
      According to Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) *ALL* things without exception are RENDERED-CERTAIN at the foundation of the world. Every interaction between Calvin’s god and man are all meticulously programmed in advance down to every neurological impulse you will ever have.

      Now the idea that Calvin’s god gets frustrated with what he CONCEIVES and RENDERS-CERTAIN – only speaks of an emotionally unstable deity.

      And any Calvinist who wants to believe Adam had any degree of autonomy is double-minded.

  25. Brd,I don’t believe you answered the question,was the fall ordered by God,or the serpent,or man’s lbfw ,or was it just by chance,or accident, did it catch God off guard,could it have happened another way?

    1. Shawn,
      I will let brd answer that one.

      Here is a question for you along that line….

      Genesis 4:6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
      —————–

      Could Cain have done right? Did God want him to do right? Did God really mean that Cain had a choice to do right and he would be accepted?

      1. Fromoverhere asked could Cain done right?
        Let’s define right which would be to bring a blood sacrifice which showed faith and dependence on Christ atoning death for sin,Cain brought the offering of the ground a work of his own hands which was evil . The answer is no,1 John 3:12 tells us that Cain was of the evil one,NLT says he belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother.
        There are the two lineages the children of God in Abel and the children of the devil in Cain.
        Did God want him to do right?In God’s commanding will yes,God did not lose his ability of authority to command,man lost his ability to serve.
        Did God really mean if you bring the right sacrifice will you not been accepted?Absolutely as its impossible for God to lie,it’s just possible for man to perform,God’s commanding will is what a man should do,God’s will of decree is what He will perform . Not two opposing wills,but Two ways in which He wills,now some will say that isn’t fair?Had Cain gotten fair it would have been immediate death for his sin not a command to perform.

        Question for you,when God commanded Abraham to offer up Issac did He mean it was it His will? What was the ram goat brought in for if He did mean one thing or only way He willed?

      2. Sorry Shawn,

        I could not understand what you wrote about Cain. My point is simply that Eternal God came down and told Cain to do right….. therefore in any sense of logic that God created us with…. it must have been possible for Cain to do right. But according to Calvin-Piper’s “three-wills of God” (or maybe 4) it was NOT possible for Cain to do right, it was only God rubbing it in Cain’s face. (telling him to do it but making it impossible).

        Per your question about Abraham. Let’s see what Scriptures says. The passage says twice that God will provide the lamb. Then…

        12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
        ————-

        God says that at that point he knew Abram trusted Him. That is what He wanted to know. That is what His word says.

    2. Shawn,
      Another couple questions for you. You (rightly) said Adam had a perfect sinless nature….

      1. How could a sinless person sin? He was the opposite of “dead” right….yet chose death. A “not dead person” chose death….. A “dead person” can chose to follow Christ. Apparently we are not lock into only dead or not-dead behavior.

      2. Did you notice that the first thing the post-sin Adam…. who was “too-dead” ….. did was to cover his nakedness (which was “good” thing)? How could he do a “good thing”? Dont get excited. I’m not saying it was good-enough-to-save. I am just asking how he could do anything good. Reformed theology teaches that a “Totally Depraved” person only does totally depraved things. Never a good thing.

      1. Question for you,when God commanded Abraham to offer up Issac 1)did He mean it,was it His will? 2)What was the ram goat brought in for if He did mean one thing or only way He willed?

        This is the question you didn’t fully answer

        1)Was it Gods will for Abraham to offer Issac?yes or no?
        2)Was it Gods will to provide himself a lamb?

      2. Shawn,

        I fail to see any connection. Read the story. It was God’s will to see if Abraham would do it or not. To see to how far he would go in obeying. This proves nothing for the deteminist side.

        If anything it is clearly against deteminism. God, Eternal God says…. “Now I know that you fear God….”

        Shawn…. this is God saying in His own words that “now” “He knows” —- which means He did not know before.

    3. Shawn
      Brd,I don’t believe you answered the question,was the fall ordered by God,or the serpent,or man’s lbfw ,or was it just by chance,or accident, did it catch God off guard,could it have happened another way?

      br.d
      There are two schemes:

      The LFW scheme is one in which the God of scripture endows man with the ability to choose among alternatives and do otherwise.
      In that scheme “mere” permission does exist.
      The THEOS “merely” permits the serpent to choose among alternatives and do otherwise
      And “merely” permits man to do so also.

      Nothing in that logically equates to chance or accident.
      And nothing logically equates to the THEOS being caught off guard.
      And yes – it could have happened a different way.

      Then there is the Theological Determinism scheme:
      Here every neurological impulse of the serpent and of man are RENDERED-CERTAIN before they exist.
      “Mere” permission does not exist.
      The serpent functions in perfect obedience to the divine will – he is not permitted to do otherwise.
      The man functions in perfect obedience to the divine will – he is not permitted to do otherwise.

      As I have said – everything in this scheme is a meticulously choreographed theater show.
      There is no such thing as man or angels in rebellion against God.
      They are all operating in perfect obedience to the divine will.

      As John Calvin says:
      “They are FORCED to do Him service.” (Institutes I, 17, 11).
      “Men can deliberately do nothing unless He inspire it” (eternal predestination of god)

      You can choose which scheme you prefer.
      But a Calvinist who believes Theological Determinism and also that man has any control over himself is double-minded.

      1. You say here that there was different possibilities of the outcome,but you said that it could not happen by chance,a chance by Google dictionary is a possibility of something happening,the verb of possibility is do something by accident and not design,this is inconsistent double – minded arminian theology.

        To flush this out the only alternative possibility that would make a difference is Adam not sinned is this right?

      2. Shawn
        You say here that there was different possibilities of the outcome,but you said that it could not happen by chance,a chance by Google dictionary is a possibility of something happening,the verb of possibility is do something by accident and not design,this is inconsistent double – minded arminian theology.

        br.d
        Calvinist arguments are often not logical – but rather trifling over word definitions.

        What you are arguing is that God of scripture doesn’t have different possibilities from which to choose.
        He doesn’t have different possible outcomes from which to produce.
        Because on your “semantic” argument – the word “possibilities” (by definition) equates to chance or accident.
        And nothing he does is by chance or by accident.

        You might just as well argue that all of his choices are pre-determined by factors outside his control.
        So this argument fails.

      3. One of the telling omissions of Calvinism is explaining evil, or even the existence of a Devil or Satan in a world in which God has determinitively decreed whatsoever comes to pass.

        Shawn, like other Calvinists, quote reassuring scriptures concerning God assisting people to not resist temptations, while ignoring the obvious: had God not ordained the temptation to do evil in the first place, there would be no evil or temptation to resist.

        Satan, and his supposed responsibility for tempting to evildoing, is the huge elephant sitting on Calvinists’ laps, yet they glibly pretend he is not there. All of their tidy explanations amount to nonsense at best, and malevolence on the part of God at worst, as he designed a world deliberately to entail sin, evil, suffering and death.

        It is only, as far as I can understand, the existence of a God-given freedom of choice that provides a reasonable and moral explanation for the existence of evil, the need for redemption and the punishment of those who reject a freely offered pardon. This the Calvinist simply refuses to fully face.

        He does his little flower dance, fabricating doctrines piecemeal from verses taken out of context, invents unscriptural concepts such as original sin, Total Depravity (in the Calvinist sense), irresistible grace and countless other concepts that fit his scheme and are based on nothing more than taking a few verses out of context of the unvarying biblical story of man’s freely chosen rebellion and God’s response of mercy which freely offers undeserved grace and life to the repentant sinner.

        So many get all caught up in the heady thrill of the doctrinal debate, never aware that the day will come when what they really long for is a genuine loving, merciful God who desires and will freely provide life for whosoever will put their trust in him – no hidden strings, no secret wills, no eternal decrees damning countless millions to unavoidable destruction and death.

        For many months, as I was walking away from Calvinism, I sought to get a dear friend to face this reality and choose with full understanding the god of Calvinism, who loves and provides salvation for only a chosen few. As on these threads, this friend sought desperately to avoid the big question, and push the well-tread memes. Like pulling teeth, I was able to get him to face, for a fleeting second, the sort of god he was embracing. All he would allow was ‘It isn’t really very nice’.

        Can you imagine having to say about the God who so loved the world that he sent his only Son to suffer and die, who with him will surely give us all that we might ever need, that He ‘really isn’t very nice’? But don’t imagine for a second that the grateful Calvinist will actually confront this god with this ‘not niceness’, because, hey, at least he chose to spare them. Too bad about all the others, you know, the ones they say they care about, pray about, preach to, mourn over, etc., despite asserting that God coldly and cruelly created them for the very misery they can never escape.

        May we who know and understand the real heart of God, his boundless love, mercy and desire to redeem all of his creatures boldly denounce the false caricature of a cruel, partial, controlling tyrant that Calvinism has crafted. I would not even want to be chosen by such a god, and agree with King James (Yes, that one) that no other concept ever posed has created more atheists, and I quote:

        “This doctrine is so horrible, that I am persuaded, if there were a council of unclean assembled spirits assembled in hell, and their prince the devil were to put the question either to all of them in general, or to each in particular, to learn their opinion about the most likely means of stirring up the hatred of men against God their Maker; nothing could be invented by them that would be more efficacious for this purpose, or that could put a greater affront upon God’s love for mankind, than that detestable formulary, by which the far greater part of the human race are condemned to hell for no other reason, than the mere will of God, without any regard to sin; the necessity of sinning, as well as that of being damned, being fastened on them by that great nail of the decree before-mentioned.”

      4. TSOO
        All he would allow was ‘It isn’t really very nice’. – But don’t imagine for a second that the grateful Calvinist will actually confront this god with this ‘not niceness’, because, hey, at least that god chose to spare him.

        br.d
        I know what you mean TSOO
        its like the Calvinist brain is mushed up into a crazy irrational world of cherry picking “believe only what I want to believe”

        The doctrine tells them their eternal fate is a SECRET and they have an 80% chance of being vessels of wrath.
        But the brain makes-believe the opposite
        It forces them to make-believe all is “good” and not “evil” for them – while the doctrine tells them the opposite.
        .
        So Calvin’s gospel of doom can stare them straight in the face and their brain is conditioned to see only what they want to see.
        Who wouldn’t want that mental condition!! :-]

      5. I wouldn’t!

        It is what psychologists call compartmentalization, which allows individuals to wall off inconsistent and contradictory beliefs in their minds in order to avoid the cognitive dissonance of their contradictions. This is, IMO, what Calvinist pastors/teachers excel in training people to do. It creates a divided mind, or what you often call ‘double-mindedness’, quite without the individual even knowing it, and it is very difficult to heal a disease you are unaware of.

        I believe this is exactly what the Pharisees excelled in, distorting and twisting The Law to arrive at beliefs and behaviors that were the opposite of what God intended for his children. Note how it was their deceptive teaching that Jesus unfailingly challenged and rebuked. And their final ‘religion’ was eerily similar to Calvinism. A controlling deterministic god chose only a select people, and all others were to be rejected as global refuse.

      6. TSOO
        It is what psychologists call compartmentalization, which allows individuals to wall off inconsistent and contradictory beliefs in their minds in order to avoid the cognitive dissonance of their contradictions.

        br.d
        Exactly!!

        You are very astute to discern the distinction between Calvinism’s theology and Calvinism’s psychology!
        A certain percentage of Calvin’s institutes of square-circles and married-bachelors – is instructing his reader in how to think.

        Calvin auto-magically assumes – everything he writes has the authority of scripture – and is taboo to question.
        You can see that clearly reflected in Calvinist posts here – they auto-magically assume it also.

        The problem is – 80% of Calvin’s god’s will is only EVIL continually.

        And that’s why Calvin instructs his disciples into all sorts of mental gymnastics
        The brain is conditioned to acknowledge the probability of EVIL for others – but only GOOD for one’s self.

      7. TS00 and br.d,

        I am afraid that you guys are talking way over Shawn’s head. As usual, br.d is logically answering questions that most determinists dont even know they have!

        I have found since becoming an ex-Calvinist that many, many (most) Calvinists (especially the YRR, newly-minted ones) do not even know all of what they are defending.

        They know the “end from the beginning,” and Romans 9, and Eph 1:11 …and 10-15 other key verses and they charge in full steam. They have no idea they are defending Calvin’s teaching that God ordained all sin.

        In addition, I think that English is not Shawn’s first language (no harm there, since I lived 30 years in a country where my English was not the national language!). My point is that some of the points we make are being missed and we have (at least I do) a tough time following his writing.

        My work load is heavy right now and I will be traveling to another continent for a while….. may not hear from me much.

      8. Thanks FOH!
        Yes – I agree – he appears to have been taught some sequential reasoning – but he often jumbles the sequences up together in a compresses manner. I often have to read his posts a few times to see if I understand where he is going.

        I’m curious however – if he is from the same congregation that rhutchin is from?
        I’d like to know if Calvinists are being assigned to SOT101 by their pastors.

      9. br.d,

        I wrote previously to Brian on the side that sometimes I feel that some of these guys are just there to waste our time. I am certainly trying to cut back on wasted effort (and as you know will not respond to RH at all…. that is just nonsensical).

        I believe that we all have better things to do and I personally would rather use the time “to persuade men” (as Paul said) and “reason with them” (Paul again) so that they might seek Him (Paul again) and see the beauty of Christ and choose to follow Him, repent and be baptized (Peter that time).

      10. Yes I agree FOH
        As summer weather comes around I’ll have more out-doors responsibilities myself.
        So I know what you mean about prioritizing one’s time

        I’m curious if Brian alluded to the possibility that Calvinists are being sent here on assignment.
        It would make sense – given their war strategy to invade and take-over the SBC, non-reformed churches, and Pentecostals.

      11. Br.d, I haven’t sensed that kind of infiltration, nor have I seen any proof or testimony of those being “sent” here to disrupt. I had heard it happened for the FB Sot101 site, where “post and ghost” sometimes happens by a few in a row, which makes you think they were put up to it. Just keep in mind there are more people listening in or perusing the comments from time to time than one might realize. The Lord, of course, reads them all. 😉

      12. Thanks Brian,
        Was there something I posted that would be questionable or reflect poorly on SOT101?
        I assumed what I posted in my last post was widely recognized.
        Perhaps that is a subject best left to another environment?

      13. No, BrD… I would let you know! That final comment – “The Lord, of course, reads them all” – was more for those reading everything that need such a reminder! 😉 The “keep in mind there are more people listening” comment was to be an encouragement to see this a bigger help to others than we often may realize.

      14. Wonderful!
        And thanks Brian.
        Very glad to have – and stay within – your excellent oversight!

  26. Tsoo,your reply sure sounds like the Romans 9 response in opposition against the sovereignty of God.
    But the Potter has the right to do as will.

    1)The great error of human reasoning is to start with what it thinks love should be and molds a god into that image . God is love,but love isn’t God,start and end with God.
    2) When human reason tries to get God off the hook it gets hooked in theological error.
    3) If the fall didn’t happen by design or decree then it was by chance,and the God of the Bible is not a God of chance but surety and promise.

    Atheist believe all things came into being by chance or possibilty that’s why if you ride that train of thought far enough it’s last stop dead ending that there is no God .

    1. Shawn
      Atheist believe all things came into being by chance or possibilty that’s why if you ride that train of thought far enough it’s last stop dead ending that there is no God .

      br.d
      The logical fallacy here is the conflation of chance with possibility.

      Jesus says “With God all things are possible”

      By your conflation this verse equates to: “With God all things are by chance”
      So this argument again fails.

      1. Brd,I’m asking again 1)out of the possibilities was there one in which the fall of Adam not happen?
        2) if so did God know which would be the prevailing outcome?

        Study the word possible in the Greek there in Matthew and it means mighty,powerful,able to perform vs impossible weak or unable, doesn’t mean a chance determined outside of God’s power, Jesus she with men salvation is impossible.Why is that?soteriology 101 the dead can’t raise themselves.

        You must forgive my English sometimes me and my phone have spelling issues.

      2. Shawn
        Brd,I’m asking again
        1)out of the possibilities was there one in which the fall of Adam not happen?

        br.d
        Yes – that is what “alternative possibilities” means.

        Shawn
        2) if so did God know which would be the prevailing outcome?

        br.d
        Absolutely – yes!
        Divine omniscience is not limited.
        Divine knowledge includes the perfect knowledge of every possible contingent outcome.

        Shawn
        Study the word possible in the Greek there in Matthew and it means mighty,powerful,able to perform vs impossible weak or unable, doesn’t mean a chance determined outside of God’s power, Jesus she with men salvation is impossible.Why is that?soteriology 101 the dead can’t raise themselves.

        br.d
        So again – this rejects the proposition “all things are possible” with God.
        But instead what Jesus is saying is: “all things are δυνατά (i.e, powerful) with God”.

        Thus it follows the God of scripture does not have alternative possibilities from which to choose.
        His every choice is therefore determined by factors outside of his control.
        This argument rejects divine omnipotence.

        Shawn
        You must forgive my English sometimes me and my phone have spelling issues.

        br.d
        No problem at all Shawn – I might have to read you posts a few times – but I think I understand where you are going most of the time.
        But thank you for saying so – that was kind of you. :-]

      3. You may be right if so they would be very inconsistent atheist modern science the big bang theory are atheistic and thats based off chance.

        1. The Supreme Being; Jehovah; the eternal and infinite spirit, the creator,and the sovereign of the universe.

      4. Shawn
        You may be right if so they would be very inconsistent atheist modern science the big bang theory are atheistic and thats based off chance

        br.d
        Well the belief systems of fatalism, determinism, and stoicism appear with the Greeks years before Christ.
        So it makes sense that Atheists would fall into those different camps.

    2. Shawn
      Atheist believe all things came into being by chance or possibilty that’s why if you ride that train of thought far enough it’s last stop dead ending that there is no God .

      br.d
      BTW Shawn – more Atheists believe in determinism than don’t. The famous Richard Hawkins for example.

      So by your reasoning – it follows:
      if you ride that train of thought far enough it’s last stop dead ending that there is no God . :-]

      1. Shawn
        Brd,I’m asking again
        1)out of the possibilities was there one in which the fall of Adam not happen?

        br.d
        Yes – that is what “alternative possibilities” means.

        Shawn
        2) if so did God know which would be the prevailing outcome?

        br.d
        Absolutely – yes!
        Divine omniscience is not limited.
        Divine knowledge includes the perfect knowledge of every possible contingent outcome.

        I agree with omniscience,but where in scripture do you find God calling out different possibilities which He leaves in the hands of man to determine what actually will be the outcome for future events,as if plan A doesn’t work but plan B did?

      2. Shawn,

        You said this….

        “….where in scripture do you find God calling out different possibilities which He leaves in the hands of man to determine what actually will be the outcome for future events,as if plan A doesn’t work but plan B did?”

        Really? You’re kidding right? Most Calvinists says these hundreds (or thousands?) of passages dont mean what they say, but they dont do what you did and deny they exist.

        I just quoted you one yesterday:
        “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.”

        But there are hundreds of times when God says to the leaders of Israel….. “If you do this, I will do this… but if you do this…I will do this…” Hundreds!

        Like this….

        Jeremiah 18: 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.

      3. Another great passage for you Shawn:

        1 Samuel 13:13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “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.
        ————

        God WOULD have kept Saul’s family if Saul had obeyed. He says it right there

      4. Shawn:

        Here is Isaiah 5

        1 I will sing for the one I love
        a song about his vineyard:
        My loved one had a vineyard
        on a fertile hillside.
        2 He dug it up and cleared it of stones
        and planted it with the choicest vines.
        He built a watchtower in it
        and cut out a winepress as well.
        Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
        but it yielded only bad fruit.

        3 “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah,
        judge between me and my vineyard.
        4 What more could have been done for my vineyard
        than I have done for it?
        When I looked for good grapes,
        why did it yield only bad?
        5 Now I will tell you
        what I am going to do to my vineyard:
        I will take away its hedge,
        and it will be destroyed;
        I will break down its wall,
        and it will be trampled.
        6 I will make it a wasteland,
        neither pruned nor cultivated,
        and briers and thorns will grow there.
        I will command the clouds
        not to rain on it.”

        7 The vineyard of the Lord Almighty
        is the nation of Israel,
        and the people of Judah
        are the vines he delighted in.
        And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
        for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.
        —————

        He says “What more could have been done for my vineyard?” God did so much to help them!!

        God says, “When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?” God expected “good grapes” from them.

        Even though He helped them, and even though He expected them to follow, they did not. So now…He “will make it a wasteland.”

        He wanted something else, but based on their actions, He is going to go with a different plan.

        There are hundreds of examples like this in the Bible. What do they mean Shawn?

        Does that sound like He has determined every action before time began or more like sometimes He is reacting to what man decides and does?

      5. Shawn
        I agree with omniscience,but where in scripture do you find God calling out different possibilities which He leaves in the hands of man to determine what actually will be the outcome for future events,as if plan A doesn’t work but plan B did?

        br.d
        This question has been asked many times by believers over the years.

        William Lane Craig for example – reviews ancient reformed divines who conclude there are two streams within scripture. One in which God is sovereignty in control – and one in which God endows man with alternate options and the ability to do otherwise. These reformed divines concluded that both streams are to be accepted – and they concluded this as a mystery which scripture does not reveal. So you can obviously see these reformed believers concluded this as a part of their interpretation of the general narrative scripture.

        A somewhat well known Calvinist today is Gregory Koukl associated with “Stand to Reason” ministries.

        In his book “Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions” he writes this:
        -quote:
        The problem with determinism, is that without freedom, rationality would have no room to operate. Arguments would not matter, since no one would be able to base beliefs on adequate reasons. One could never judge between a good idea and a bad one. One would only hold beliefs because he has been predetermined to do so. Although it is theoretically possible that determinism is true…..no one could ever know if it – if it were. Everyone of our thoughts dispositions and opinions would have been decided for us by factors completely out of our control. Therefore in practice, arguments for determinism are self defeating.”

        I think in Calvinism Gregory Koukl is an anomaly!
        But obviously he believes he is seeing Libertarian Free Will in the general narrative of scripture.

        Then there is the major stream in Calvinism following Jonathon Edwards and staunch determinism.
        That I suspect is the stream of Calvinism which you follow – and represents the majority view in Calvinism.
        And Calvin of course was a staunch determinist.

        So there is no need for me to point to any specific scripture verses – but suffice to say that the general narrative of scripture can be interpreted to consistently affirm that God gives man TRUE and GENUINE alternative choices and the ability to do otherwise.
        And that God is then able to hold man accountable for the degree of control over himself – which God gives man to independently exercise.

        In Determinism – however we have a God who communicates what he knows to be false throughout the whole of scripture.
        And that is another reason one should reject the deterministic interpretation.

    3. Why do you present the false dichotomy that all things must be either A) determined or B) chance? You conveniently leave out the scriptural depiction of events, which is neither A nor B, but C) organic freedom.

      As for option A, God could have meticulously designed, created and controlled his creation. Had he done so, he would be solely responsible for whatever resulted, including any sin or evil that might exist. This is not the picture represented in scripture.

      As for option B or C, God could have created a non-determined world, in which he exerted no influence on the free moral choices of beings he created with the ability and right to make such choices. However, a sovereign and omniscient God, who is outside of the limitations of time as we know it, is unable to create a world in which he cannot see the end from the beginning.

      Mortal men struggle to grasp the concept of the eternal God, outside of the construct of time and space. A common error, as in Calvinism, is to assert that an all-knowing God must also be an all-determining God, yet scripture does not consistently paint such a picture. Rather, it presents, as little as our limited minds can grasp, the reality of a sovereign, omnipotent and omniscient God who, while foreseeing all things, does not determinitively control all things.

      Perhaps pointing out an obvious exception would help. Scripture warns against demonic divination, which presupposes that there are other spiritual forces, apart from God, that can foresee future, not yet existent events. If we assert that foreknowledge entails predetermination, we must grant that these demonic spirits also predetermine the future which they foresee; few would be willing to grant this.

      However difficult for mortal minds to grasp, there is a distinction between a supernatural power to foreknow future events and the supernatural power to determine such events. The non-Calvinist does not deny that God has the ability to determine whatsoever comes to pass; they simply assert that such a reality is not what is presented by the whole of scripture. Such a reality is never plainly declared by scripture, but merely deduced by human reasoning from a selective few prooftexts. Indisputably, others have always offered alternative interpretations of the same prooftexts, although this is conveniently ignored or denied by many Calvinists.

      While God indeed created mankind with the freedom to reason and make moral choices, the possibility of all things being left to random chance is forestalled not only by nature of his knowledge of future events, but by his understanding of Truth. God knows, in a way that we are only sadly beginning to comprehend, that unrighteousness, selfishness and wickedness lead always to suffering, oppression and death. In a sense, one might say that the wicked will inevitably self destruct.

      It is this inevitable destruction, and death, which God desires to forestall. He has intervened to provide a remedy, which only he could provide; yet he will not, as it were, mandate men to be treated against their will. Unlike every false authority on earth, God does not rule by cruel tyranny, but allows men to make choices – even the most awful of choices.

      Had God not granted created beings the right of free moral choice there would indeed, never have been evil, as in him there is no evil or wickedness of any sort. Having created men with certain abilities and rights, he also set limits upon his own unlimited power. Despite having the power, and certainly the right, to do whatsoever he wished, God did not compel men to be righteous by divine fiat. He has allowed, in his infinite wisdom, the working out of unrighteous, selfish choices to be displayed in all of its destructive ugliness. Yet God forbid that any assert that he himself desires, wills or personally ordained such evil to come into existence. Such a thing would never come into his mind (to do) whereas, of course it was always in his foreknowledge that it would be.

      This is the distinction Calvinism totally misses. Instead of granting that what God desires is different from what he ‘allows’ and most certainly foreknows, Calvinism falsely asserts that God fore-ordained the wicked choices of men.

  27. Just fyi, this is NOT “church” language. The body of Christ has long been removed and the age of grace is over. This is God dealing with His Elect people, the children of Israel. Peter warns his Jewish brothers to make their calling and election sure.

    Matthew 25:14-30 (NKJV)….
    “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

    “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

    “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

    “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

    ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

    If Calvinism is true, and its divine determinism, this story rings hollow. The story reads that His servants were acting on their own accord, without any interference or influence from the Master. Each was given according to his own ability. However, with the “light” of Calvinism we now know that God was/is working “behinds the scenes” thus ensuring the failure of some, while assuring the success of others. According to Calvinism, God was giving some (the good and faithful) a competitive advantage (albeit road maps, lighting, transportation, technology), while denying the same to the others (the wicked and lazy). So we know that the “good and faithful” servant wasn’t really “good and faithful”. At least, not on his own accord. And the “wicked and lazy” servant wasn’t really “wicked and lazy”. Again, not on his own accord. Each was just fulfilling his script he had been given. The difference, if any, between the “good and faithful” servant and the “wicked and lazy” servant lies with God who determines all things.

    Calvinism adds so much to scripture (like these) that just isn’t there.

    1. Phillip
      So we know that the “good and faithful” servant wasn’t really “good and faithful”. At least, not on his own accord.
      And the “wicked and lazy” servant wasn’t really “wicked and lazy”. Again, not on his own accord.
      Each was just fulfilling his script he had been given. The difference, if any, between the “good and faithful” servant and the “wicked and lazy” servant lies with God who determines all things.

      Calvinism adds so much to scripture (like these) that just isn’t there.

      br.d
      I totally agree Phillip!
      Jesus says: “Does the master commend his servant for doing the very thing the master commanded him to do? I think not!”

      Dr. Alvin Plantinga puts it this way:
      It would be ridiculous to give moral praise to a robot for putting your soda can in the recycle bin rather than the trash can, if that is the only thing the robot can do. Given that a creator determines what the robot does, and given the robot’s exposure to an empty soda can, it’s going to take the can to the recycle bin because that is what its creator determined it to do.

      The robot doesn’t have two choices – it only has one. It doesn’t have the choice between alternative possibilities. It cannot do otherwise.

      Similarly, the people in the possible world under consideration (people whom god determined to do only good) have no choice about being good. Since they are designed in such a way that good is the only thing they can do, their options are the same as the robots. And they deserve no more praise for doing what they do than the robot.”

  28. 1 Corinthians 3:6-15 (NKJV)….
    I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

    Again, just more jibber jabber if Calvinism is true. “Each will receive his OWN reward according to his OWN labor”? “He will receive a reward”? What a joke. The system is rigged.

    How can there be any reward for responding to His revealed will, when we are all held captive by His secret decreed will?

    Again, the topic of “rewards” in heaven is meaningless if Calvinism is true.

    1. fromoverhere wrote

      I fail to see any connection. Read the story. It was God’s will to see if Abraham would do it or not. To see to how far he would go in obeying. This proves nothing for the deteminist side.

      If anything it is clearly against deteminism. God, Eternal God says…. “Now I know that you fear God….”

      Shawn…. this is God saying in His own words that “now” “He knows” —- which means He did not know before.

      Could you exegete this fromoverhere,it appears that you taken a text out of context and denied Gods omniscient?

      Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him (Genesis 18:18,19).

      For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things (1 John 3:20).

      Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; his understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5).

      For he knows those who are worthless, and he sees iniquity without investigating (Job 11:11).

      1. Shawn:

        You list 3 verses that say God is great and mighty….and indeed He is. He is all that He says. But none of your verses….and no verse in the Bible declares that God has ordained everything that comes to pass….plans everything that comes to pass…. or cannot be persuaded to change the plans He has.

        Exodus 32:7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

        9 “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”
        ————-

        But Moses pleads with Him and He changes His mind.

        Exodus 13:17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
        —————————-

        God— Almighty God— says “If they face war, they might….” He has not determined what they will do (if they face war). He does not say He knows what they will do (if they face war). He says ….”they might.” That is not the deterministic God portrayed by Calvin.

        All of hundreds and hundreds of verses like this make no sense to Calvinists. Calvinists just proclaim “those verses dont mean what they say…”

        Then what DO they mean?

        We need to let God speak for Himself.

      2. Shawn:
        “Could you exegete this fromoverhere,it appears that you taken a text out of context and denied Gods omniscient?”

        What is out of context? God says “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

        That’s a pretty clear context. A pretty clear statement.

        There’s more…..

        Gen 22:16 “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you…”
        ——

        God says….”Because you have done this…” (meaning …. if you had done something different I, the Lord, would have done something different)

        God does not say “Because I have planned all along….or because I made you do this…. or because I gave you the faith to do this…”

        Nope.

        God say “I will surely bless you”…..why? because of what Abraham did and was willing to do.

        What is the problem with this exegesis?

        First problem: It does not match up with TULIP so we have to deny that is says what it says. “The words out of God’s mouth do not mean what they clearly seem to mean” ….says the Calvinist. You can go that way if you want…but I prefer to just let God speak for Himself.

  29. IS IT HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO TRUST CALVIN’S GOD

    How does a human develop trust? Are there psychological prerequisites built into the human design necessary for trust to develop?

    REPEATABILITY AND CONSISTENCY OVER TIME:
    As children we are told there are 24 hours in a day. And consistently over time, each day does in fact complete 24 hours.

    We are told that gravity allows us to stand, walk, run, and keeps us from floating off into space. And consistently over time, we discover the repeatability of gravity.

    We are told we can rest our full weight into chairs of all kinds. And consistently over time we discover the repeatability of this also.

    These examples point to two key requirements necessary for a sentient creature to trust: repeatability and consistency over time.
    These are the two key requirements built into our nature necessary for us to develop trust.

    A little girl who happily reaches out to a dog and gets bitten, learns not to trust. And a dog that is arbitrarily praised by his master one minute and arbitrarily beaten by his master the next – learns not to trust. For sentient creatures trust is fully reliant upon repeatability and consistency over time.

    HE LOVES ME HE LOVES ME NOT
    Calvinists, it seems to me, have a challenging situation in this regard. Calvin’s god has an EXPRESSED will with which he communicates things to people as TRUE. But with his SECRET will he knows what he is communicating is FALSE.

    Calvin’s god deceives Adam into believing he wills Adam’s obedience – when he knows that is false.

    Calvin’s god deceives Cain into believing his will is for Cain to do well – when he knows that is false.

    Calvin’s god deceives Israel into believing he has set before them life and death – that they have the choice between two possibilities – when he knows that is false. Thus he communicates with his EXPRESSED will – what he knows to be false.

    This in scripture he communicates in with his EXPRESSED will – what he knows to be false.

    So what characteristic about Calvin’s god is thus repeatable and consistent over time?
    He communicates to people what he knows to be false.

    For the Calvinist – All of the promises of scripture are *NOT* yea and amen.
    They are:
    Maybe yes – maybe no
    Maybe life – maybe death
    Maybe salvation – maybe eternal torment
    Maybe good – maybe evil
    Maybe he loves me – maybe not.

    1. Brd,I asked a previous question which you may have answered somewhere in the mix,but to follow up where in scripture did God lay out multiple possible outcome of future events as if plan A didn’t happen plan B or C was what came to pass?

      1. Shawn
        Brd,I asked a previous question which you may have answered somewhere in the mix,but to follow up where in scripture did God lay out multiple possible outcome of future events as if plan A didn’t happen plan B or C was what came to pass?

        br.d
        I did answer that question – here
        -quote
        So there is no need for me to point to any specific scripture verses – but suffice to say that the general narrative of scripture can be interpreted to consistently affirm that God gives man TRUE and GENUINE alternative choices and the ability to do otherwise.
        And that God is then able to hold man accountable for the degree of control over himself which God gives man to independently exercise.

        However, on the part of your question concerning plan A,B,C – I’m not sure what you mean.

  30. Fromoverhere these text plainly state God knows everything and you are saying He was unlearned with Abraham outcome This test was not for God to know but for Abraham and those thereafter to prove faith is followed works and God confirmed this to Abraham and us.

    Note here that God chose Abraham to keep the way of the Lord and to bring obedience and blessing would surely come to pass = for I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord…it’s because of God chose that makes the effect.

    Abraham WILL SURELY become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have CHOSEN him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him (Genesis 18:18,19).

    I believe you have taken a difficult text and read your doctrine into it while denying the plain totality of scripture that God’s knowledge is unlimited,wow I’m shocked.

    Whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and HE KNOWS EVERYTHING (1 John 3:20).

    1. Shawn
      I believe you have taken a difficult text and read your doctrine into it while denying the plain totality of scripture that God’s knowledge is unlimited,wow I’m shocked.

      br.d
      Shawn where does FOH explicitly say in his post – that God did not know what Abraham would do?

      1. fromoverhere wrote

        I fail to see any connection. Read the story. It was God’s will to see if Abraham would do it or not. To see to how far he would go in obeying. This proves nothing for the deteminist side.

        If anything it is clearly against deteminism. God, Eternal God says…. “Now I know that you fear God….”

        Shawn…. this is God saying in His own words that “now” “He knows” —- which means He did not know before.

    2. Nah Shawn…. It aint so just cuz you repeat it over and over.

      None of those verses say what you are making them say.

      So you are saying that God promised to make Abraham great and therefore there is no way he was gonna fail that Isaac test?

      How about the hundreds of times God said….. Thus sayeth the Lord ….and then He did a different thing because the circumstances changed. He changed His mind. I have no problem with that. All that he told Abraham He would do was conditional on Abraham’s obedience.

      For instance….. Jonah…

      3:2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

      4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”

      That was the message the Lord gave him. Forty days and judgement comes. Period. The Lord says 40 days and judgement. Period.

      This was not “turn or burn”…. This was…. in 40 days you are toast. Period.

      10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them.

      He had DECLARED He would do it (like He told Abraham He would make him great). But He changed His mind.

      Jonah even got mad at Him cuz he knew He was the kind of God who changed His mind.

      There is no problem here. God even says (I quoted you the passage in Jer 18) that He will change His mind on promised judgement if people repent. There is no problem here.

      Oh….. for you this is a problem because of YOUR doctrine.

      It is not me who is bringing a doctrine to the Bible…..like you accuse me of. I am just taking God at His word.

      It is Calvinists who force verses like “He is above all things” to mean that everything that happens is because God made it happen exactly that way.

      Well…. Shawn…. this leaves you with a God who determined/ willed/ decreed/ ordained all sin, rape, murder and torture while telling us not to do it.

      It leaves me with an even stronger God who can bring about His ultimate will while still letting man mess things up all along the way.

      1. Fromoverhere,if you think changes His mind because He learns new information then He is no different than us and you denied His immutabillity
        the immutability of God is related to His omniscience. When someone changes his/her mind, it is often because new information has come to light that was not previously known or because the circumstances have changed and require a different attitude or action. Because God is omniscient, He cannot learn something new that He did not already know. So, when the Bible speaks of God changing His mind, it must be understood that the circumstance or situation has changed, not God. When Exodus 32:14 and 1 Samuel 15:11-29 speak of God changing His mind, it is simply describing a change of dispensation and outward dealings toward man.

        Numbers 23:19 clearly presents the immutability of God: “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?” No, God does not change His mind. These verses affirm the doctrine of God’s immutability: He is unchanging and unchangeable.I really hope this helps you.

      2. Right on cue Shawn.

        Go find the 2 verses that say God is not going to change His mind that time (read it in context and it is clear…He means –that time—at that moment). I have dealt with this many times in these pages.

        But I am not surprised.

        Calvinists always take those two quotes out of context (look who said it) and use them to trump the hundreds of examples in Scripture where God literally changes His mind. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David….all saw God “relent from what he said He would do.”

        But no….. not for Calvinists. All those hundreds of stories are not accurate…. They can’t be right? …… Because we ripped those two verses out of context and declare that God never changes His mind.

        Yeah…. Like we are supposed to “hate our parents” right? (context!). The quote you gave is clearly meaning that God would not go back on what He was going to do right at that moment. It was not meant as doctrine.

        The Lord is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah…. what if there is 50, 40 30…God is literally negotiating with Abraham.

        Really Shawn…. really? You are gonna quote a verse out of context and declare that God never changes His mind?

        Isaiah 38:1 “The Lord says, ‘Make those of your house ready, for you will die and not live.’” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord, 3 and said, “O Lord, I ask you from my heart to remember now how I have walked with You in truth and with a whole heart. I have done what is good in Your eyes.” And Hezekiah cried with a bitter cry. 4 Then the Word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, 5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘The Lord, the God of your father David, says, “I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears. See, I will add fifteen years to your life.
        ————-

        The LORD said you will die and not live.

        Then. I have heard your prayer and ….will add to your life…

        Jonah—Ninevah

        Moses on the mountain.

        Jeremiah ….. “Then I will relent from what I had planned….” (Jeremiah 18)

        Over, and over and over.

        This not a problem…. and you are wrong…. this does not make God like me….how silly!

        He is the Creator…. He creates how he wants and He tells us what He is like.

        It is only men with Greek philosophy ideas that tell that all these hundreds and hundreds of verses are not true.

        Is that you Shawn? All these hundreds of examples of God changing His mind are not true for you?

        I spent many of my Calvinist years explaining these verses away. Day after day saying….. “Oh they dont mean what they say, cuz they cant cuz we Calvinist know better what God must be like.”

        Nah…. dont start with the answer Shawn….. just read the Word and listen to what He says about Himself.

      3. Hey Shawn,
        You dont know this but I dont read doctrine books anymore (I finished two seminary degrees but prefer to just read through the Bible now).

        So, often I will post what I have been reading. Here is one I posted just a few days ago….

        Daily through the Bible brings me to Numbers 23. I encounter one of the 2 passages that many people use to “prove” that God never changes His mind.

        Nums 23: 18 This was the message Balaam delivered:

        “Rise up, Balak, and listen!
        Hear me, son of Zippor.
        19
        God is not a man, so he does not lie.
        He is not human, so he does not change his mind.
        Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
        Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
        20
        Listen, I received a command to bless;
        God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!
        21
        No misfortune is in his plan for Jacob;
        no trouble is in store for Israel.

        ———-

        Context tells us that this is a message from Balaam the diviner to Balak the heathen. We can hardly say it is a setting for eternal doctrine. It is God’s message to those people at that moment.

        Also in context we see it is delivered as poetry, using metaphor and allegory.

        Third we see that there is MUCH misfortune in God’s plan for Jacob and Israel (later). They will be judge harshly and soon. So he cannot be meaning this poetry as eternal doctrine. Balaam is saying that AT THAT TIME, God will not change His mind (and AT THAT TIME has no misfortune planned for Israel). It seems to be Balaam’s way of saying God will not change His mind on this matter.

        Since God’s word shows us many times, in many books, and in many ways of speaking that He does change His mind…. it seems hermeneutically incorrect to insist that this one poetic passage should trump all those.

        God changes His mind in context with Noah, Abraham, Moses, Nineveh, Jeremiah… and plenty of others.

        For me, the argument that God never changes His mind based on this verse (and one in 1 Samuel) holds no weight against the many times He says so Himself.

      4. FOH
        For me, the argument that God never changes His mind based on this verse (and one in 1 Samuel) holds no weight against the many times He says so Himself.

        br.d
        The clincher for me – is that Calvin’s god speaks false propositions continuously throughout scripture.
        The Calvinist answer for that is that it is not “up to us” to judge the divine being.

        But the Calvinist is left with a deity who bears false witness continuously – which by our very design – is humanly impossible to trust.
        Therefore the Calvinist is left with no assurance as to whether or not statements made by God in scripture are true or false.
        So the Calvinist ends up with a significant percentage of scripture being a book of statements they cannot trust.

        The institutes of 1001 false statements.
        How about that as an advertisement for a theology?
        How many biblical consumers would want to buy that product if they knew – that was what they were getting?

        So Calvinists have to hide that aspect of the product in order to sell it.
        And they unwittingly become dishonest sales agents.

      5. Shawn, God *became* flesh. That must be admitted to be a change of some kind, rejecting the error of defining immutability as static in all aspects of the divine nature. If that can’t be admitted, discussion is futile in going forward.

        Balaam, the false prophet, was only pointing to God’s immutability as it relates to His truthfulness, especially when He makes an unconditional promise. God cannot lie (a defining of His omnipotence), nor can He change His mind about something promised unconditonally.

        But that He has and does change His mind about somethings He planned that had conditions associated to them is crystal clear in Scripture. His mind also corresponds to the truth of the reality Scripture reveals.

        So what is known by Him as future changes and becomes known as past in His mind after the event takes place. Right? Are you willing to admit Shawn that the incarnation was a change for God of some kind and that God’s thoughts change in agreement with the truth of reality in His Word?

  31. Brianwagner,God always stays true to His nature as when Christ became man it didn’t effect the nature or character of God,wast it the first time He became man, absolutely .The bottom line is that God is entirely consistent. In His holiness, God was going to judge Nineveh. However, Nineveh repented and changed its ways. As a result, God, in His holiness, had mercy on Nineveh and spared them. This “change of mind” is entirely consistent with His character. His holiness did not waver one iota.

    The fact that God changes His treatment of us in response to our choices has nothing to do with His character. In fact, because God does not change, He must treat the righteous differently from the unrighteous. If someone repents, God consistently forgives; if someone refuses to repent, God consistently judges. He is unchanging in His nature, His plan, and His being. He cannot one day be pleased with the contrite and the next day be angry with the contrite. That would show Him to be mutable and untrustworthy. For God to tell Nineveh, “I’m going to judge you,” and then (after they repent) refuse to judge them may look like God changed His mind. In reality, God was simply staying true to His character. He loves mercy and forgives the penitent. “Has God forgotten to be merciful?” (Psalm 77:9). The answer is, no.
    Do you understand the difference when we change our mind it to improve ourselves to be better but God is perfect we are not.

    We change our mind when we receive new unlearned information,do you believe that there are some things God doesn’t know?

    1. Shawn,

      Woah, woah, woah….. Nobody is saying God is changing in his character, holiness, and love! That is a straw man!

      Your noticeable improvement in grammar and syntax shows us that you did a cut and paste from Gotquestions or quora. I encourage everyone to go read this article and see how they do not even deal with the question. https://www.gotquestions.org/God-change-mind.html

      That is a relatively cheesy answer they put on their site and I would encourage you to think it through for yourself.

      You said (or I should say, quoted from the site) “The fact that God changes His treatment of us in response to our choices has nothing to do with His character. In fact, because God does not change…” This is just a reformed way of skirting the issue.

      In the Bible….. God clearly says many times…… “I will do this” and later does not do it.

      He told Hezekiah….. “you will die.” Hezekiah cries and reminds God all he has done. God changes His mind and gives him 15 more years.

      That is not Hezekiah repenting!

      Moses tells God (paraphrase) “If you strike them down in the desert the Egyptians will say…..” So God does not do it. That is not Moses (or the people) repenting!

      He says I will destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Period. Abraham says but what if….. and God says okay if there are 50, 40, 30. That is not repenting! That is God conversing with man in real time. God is changing His plan (or willing to change it) in real time with man. Why else in the world did He even put these stories in there if it wasn’t to teach us what He is like?

      He gave a message to Jonah…. In 40 days Nineveh will be judged. Period. This article (that you cut and pasted from) makes it sound like there was a condition. There was not.

      Many passages say “my plans” (Jeremiah 18) showing clearly that God PLANS to bless so-and-so……. but if they are unfaithful He will change His plan!! This is the very kind of thing Reformers say NEVER happens —- because they say —-like you did “this would make God no different than us.” Baloney!

      Reformed-Calvinists lock themselves in by saying God does not change His mind. Then when they read about Hezekiah….they say ” He always planned to give Hezekiah 15 years.” What? That is just a ridiculous mockery of God’s word…. to say “He told Hezekiah you will die…but He always planned to give Him 15 years, wink-wink.”

      That makes Him either a liar or a tricky deceiver.

      Even worse, the Reformed CARM site says that God planned before time to declare it one way and also planned to change His mind.
      What? And all that is suppose to “prove” that He doesn’t change His mind (I mean that doesn’t count as changing His mind because He planned to change His mind—-contradict Himself— before time).

      All this silliness just because we come to the text with the Greek understanding of what God must be like. Let’s let the Bible tell us what He is like.

    2. Shawn writes:
      “Do you understand the difference when we change our mind it to improve ourselves to be better but God is perfect we are not.

      We change our mind when we receive new unlearned information,do you believe that there are some things God doesn’t know?”

      No one has suggested that God changes his mind because his character shifts, nor is this an essential aspect of mortals changing their minds. Not only does Shawn dance around the scriptures presented that reveal God has repeatedly changed his mind, he pulls two unsupported concepts out of his hat:

      Changing our minds is a means to improve ourselves.
      Changing our minds reflects the receipt of new unlearned information.

      These might appear like sound reasoning to Shawn, but they are mere assertion and he does not provide a scintilla of evidence to back them up. People change their minds for countless reasons, including in response to some emotional appeal or threat, guilt, entreaties, compassion, passing anger, insistent badgering, desire to compromise, desire to be done with the issue and many others.

      Why did God relent from destroying Ninevah, destroying all of Israel but Moses, or ending the life of Hezekiah? Why did God bargain with Abraham for the lives of those in Sodom and Gomorrah; or was that not in good faith? As FOH so well points out, there are countless, hundreds upon hundreds of scriptures that contradict the peculiar claims of Calvinism – and Calvinists simply ignore them and cling loyally to their disproven doctrines of men.

      I’m not sure why Shawn can pull indefensible assertions out of thin air and present them as true and trustworthy, but it does suggest how he can live with the cognitive dissonance required by Calvinism.

      1. This is where rhutchin would say “Calvin’s god changing his mind was part of his eternal plan”.

        In other words – Calvin’s god RENDERED-CERTAIN that he would – at a certain time – *PLAY ACT* changing his mind.

        Making all of God and man’s interactions within scripture a highly choreographed theater show.

        Shakespeare couldn’t do better! :-]

      2. Which leads back to another comment you recently made on how untrustworthy Calvin’s god is. It explains why Calvinism is simply a religion, a packaged set of doctrines which one adopts, memorized and parrots back on command. My experience suggests that many, who like me have known a living, growing, life-changing relationship with the living God soon grow weary and hopeless under the unsatisfactory ‘dead’ religion of Calvinism. We find ourselves longing to once again walk and talk with a faithful, trustworthy Father who will do all that he has said he will do.

      3. I do believe you have an anointing TSOO!
        I can see you standing before a congregation happily saying amen! :-]

      4. There is nothing special about me. I simply desire truth, at whatever cost. In response to that, God is constantly whittling down my personal collection of well-polished idols. Some take longer to let go of than others . . . but they all have to go.

    3. I forgot to mention the greatest example of God changing his mind:

      He sent his Son so that we might be pardoned, released from the sure threat of death. I for one am sincerely glad that God changes his mind in response to the hearts and actions of men.

    4. Shawn,

      You have kids? Imagine doing something like this:

      You tell your family about your planned vacation. For 6 weeks you tell your family you are going to the beach this year for vacation. Two days before school is out, you announce that you “changed your mind” and you all are not going on vacation.

      Boo Hoo whimper the children! They ask “Really? You changed your mind? What made you change your mind Dad?”

      “I didn’t really change my mind. I planned all those 6 weeks to now ‘change my mind.'”

      “So you never really intended to take us on vacation?!”

      “Yes I did. But I also planned to change my mind.”

      “What? That was not changing your mind. That was just deceiving us.”

      You can change your mind. So can God. But if we say we planned from the beginning to say one thing and ALSO planned from the beginning to contradict that one thing, that is just deception.

      1. An interesting point made by Dan Gracely in his book, Calvinism: A Closer Look, is how Calvinists make a habit of ‘allowing’ and condoning behavior by God that would be condmned by reasonable men in any other being. The very Godlike facilities of reason, logic and moral accountability are rendered meaningless if what is true for us is untrue for God. If the examples given in scripture, revealing who God is, what he desires and how he acts are not applicable to us, then we are left without a moral compass.

        Calvinism constantly employs this error, excusing God for partiality, lovelessness and cruelty that would be quickly condemned in one’s rulers or neighbors. Imagine having a neighbor who has two sons, and loves, nourishes and provides for the future of one, but allows the other to flounder and perish. When asked, the neighbor responds that he chose only one child to love and pour his blessings upon, while the other was always intended to perish, and merely existed to show how ‘loved’ the chosen one was. There is not a reasonable man on earth that would proclaim the ‘glory’ of this father; and yet Calvinism will proclaim this very same action in God as the most praiseworthy, glory-bringing behavior.

      2. TSOO
        An interesting point made by Dan Gracely in his book, Calvinism: A Closer Look, is how Calvinists make a habit of ‘allowing’ and condoning behavior by God that would be condemned…

        br.d
        Yes – that brings up a whole other topic
        A doctrine that makes “Be ye Holy as your heavenly father is Holy” farcical.

        But this reminds me also of a scriptural principle.
        We become like unto what we worship. (Psalms 115:8)

        Calvin’s god speaks with forked tongue – and unfortunately they who worship him do become like unto him.

  32. Fromoverhere,if you say that God doesn’t know everything you have departed orthodox Christianty,that’s the bottom line.I think that is what you are saying if I’m wrong correct me.

    1. Shawn:
      Who decides what is orthodox? The Orthodox Christians are alive and well and very numerous. Do you count yourself among those who call themselves Orthodox Christians?

      God knows everything He wants to know. He —in His sovereignty— chose to created in such a way that He can interact with free creatures. That is the definition of love. It is a choice not a feeling, right? But a choice by non-free creatures is not love.

      Do you ever say “God wants to have a personal relationship with you”?

      It’s not personal if God gives you every decision, desire you will ever have. Think about Shawn. Determinism-Calvinism really does make puppets out of people. If they cannot react and interact with God in such as way that is personal then at best they are robots. Do you feel like a robot? Do you think your decisions matter? Do you think that you can change your direction….improve your life…. improve your future?

      Does what you say influence people? Does being nice to someone make a difference?

      How? If is all planned….then that is why people say “fate” “karma” “Qadr” (Islam) ….”do what you want.”

      There is not such thing as a “personal relationship” if God makes all the decisions.

  33. Fromoverhere said
    God knows everything He wants to know. He —in His sovereignty— chose to created in such a way that He can interact with free creatures.

    1 John 3:20
    in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and KNOWS ALL THINGS.
    Psalm 139:1-4
    Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, YOU KNOW IT ALL.
    Matthew 10:30
    “But the VERY HAIRS of your head are ALL NUMBERED.
    Hebrews 4:13
    And there is NO CREATURE hid from His sight, but ALL THINGS are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
    Acts 1:24
    And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen

    These text are very clear when read with faith.

    God says He doesn’t know those that perish,that is not in as a personal child He only knows His sheep in a salvantic way,but He still knows all men in a universal way.

    Where is the text that teaches God limits his knowledge please?

    1. No Sean ​….​those texts are ​”​clear​”​ when read with ​your ​doctrinal preference.

      For instance ​since ​w​he​n​ doe​s knowing the hairs on your head have to do with controlling all things everywhere at all times? Actually knowing the hairs on my head is not very difficult right now at this stage​!​ The point in that passages ​is ​that ​H​e cares for you​ (not He controls all things/sin/misery). He​’​s not trying to establish the doctrine that says that ​H​e determined all your actions before time​.​ ​You should not try to run too far with any​ ​one passage Sean​. That’s not hermeneutics; that’s not exegesis it’s ​eisegesis.

      Of course insisting on your doctrine as you are doing means​ that​ God is responsible for the ​H​olocaust ​and every other butcher​ous​ act ever committed in history. Don’t say ​H​e ​”​knew​”​ about them or ​H​e ​”​allowed​”​ them​;​ you must say that ​H​e ordained them. There isn’t any other option for you ​than to say that God​ ​ordained​/​ planned​/​ desired​/​ willed​/​ decreed​/​ those heinous acts.

      ​For you, God always gets what He wants and everything that happens is what He wants…. even rape and the Holocaust.​

      ​I ​have already provided you with plenty of texts where it says that God didn’t know​…​ ​o​r that ​H​e was expecting something​, but something else happened. These verses are in ​th​e Bible ​in many ​long ​and ​numerous texts​.

      The Bible ​is ​saying th​e​s​e​ thing and you have to explain ​them away constantly​.

      God says He “might do this​”​ ​…..​or it says ​”​I would have done this if you had done this​” and “I wont do this if you dont do that.” All of those text​s​ imply that he is interacting with man in time​.

      I find it humorous that you said these verses say such a thing ​”​when read with faith​.”​ ​N​o ​…you read them with your doctrinal position​, and make the “hairs on the head verses” mean God produced the Holocaust!​

      Funny to see you cite the verse ​where ​it says ​H​e knows all things. We have a couple of kids in our house ​that we “know-it-all​”​ because they know everything​…​ right​?​ God knows everything there is to know and everything ​H​e wants ​to know.

      God ​create​d​ the universe in such a way that ​H​e lets some of it play out in real time​. You get that feeling when you’re reading The Bible​, don’t you? Real action…real decisions…. real faith (see all the name of real people in Hebrews 11). ​ God is acting ​and ​reacting with man.

      You do not get the feeling that is a script in a video and that man has no choice but to do what God has already predestined to do. That is what you were proposing Shawn​. You are saying that everything that we do ​—-​including sin and moral failure ​—- has all been planned out ​b​y God​.

      That is the ​Reformed ​position​.

      ​We sin…because He planned it.

      He “changes His mind” because He planned to “change His mind.”

      You have to try to explain all these hundreds of texts away. I don’t have to​. ​ I just accept them. Does that make God small for me? Not at all​!!!​ ​The creator God is even greater for me than ​H​e is for you because ​H​e can ​achieve​ ​H​is ultimate will despite everything that happens​— despite man doing things He does not want— despite man doing things He did not plan.

      ​I​t is only a small God that has to control everything that happens to make sure ​He gets ​H​is way​.​

      ​My idea is that ​God can be​at you at any game ​no matter where you put your piece on the board. Th​e Reformed idea is that He makes you put your piece on the board so that ​H​e can ​win.

      Nah… that’s not the way the Bible portrays Him. ​

      1. Fromoverhere wrote

        I ​have already provided you with plenty of texts where it says that God didn’t know​…​ ​o​r that ​H​e was expecting something​, but something else happened. These verses are in ​th​e Bible ​in many ​long ​and ​numerous texts​.

        Hebrews 4:13
        And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

        Acts 1:24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen.

        Jeremiah 23:24
        “Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.

        For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things (1 John 3:20).

        More pasting but it doesn’t matter if it’s truth does it,I’m going to very honest with you or anyone who thinks God’s knowledge is limited to the thoughts and hearts and actions of all men by of other text they think says so because they are influenced by Libertarian free willism to make it work,you have a double minded religion with a double minded god that has a double minded bible that contradicts itself.There is no escape from this.

      2. Shawn
        you have a double minded religion with a double minded god that has a double minded bible that contradicts itself.There is no escape from this.

        br.d
        If this is true – then he is in good company with Calvinism :-]

      3. Shawn,

        That’s it?

        That’s what you got?

        Some verses about “things not being hidden from Him.”?

        Of course He sees all things. All things that can be seen….. He sees them.

        But …. your theology… taken to its logical end gives you a God that not only sees it all, but declared/ decreed it all. You are left with a God that decreed the actions we do (we do not do them freely right?). He does not want you to sin, but you do right? In reformed theology, He decreed that.

        So your sin is actually accomplishing His will, right? Since you cannot “thwart” His will right? (Please dont send me some non-biblical ideas that He has 2-3-4-5 different wills, cuz all that means is that we can never know what His “real” will is at any one moment).

        Short recap of a true story: My reformed pastor friend is in his office with a crying couple. The man has been cheating on his wife for years. She is wailing. The pastor says the actions are not good. The husband says…. “But you have been teaching us that God has several wills. It might be against God’s “will of command” for me to cheat, but it must have been God’s “divine, secret will of decree,” right? Or else I would not have been able to do it right? So it was God’s “divine will” right?”

        Oh Shawn…..

        You tell me I am outside “orthodoxy” because I take God at His word when He says He “regrets” having done so-and-so (many times in the Bible). Or because I quote God saying “I might” or “I was planning” or “I was expecting…but you” or “I will do this if you do this”…. and literally thousands of other verses like this.

        If you go to Reformed sites….. they take these thousands of verses and basically say “They can’t mean what they appear to mean since we ‘know’ what God is like. He has your hairs numbered. He can’t have regrets!”

        Once again, man saying he knows better what God is like then God can say about Himself.

        So, yes accuse me of a finding in the Bible a God who allows things to happen that He did not plan (and still wins!)

        And I tell you that you have God that decrees all sin, evil, and rape, since certainly man is not allowed to do something that is not His divine, decreed will.

    2. Shawn,

      You asked….

      “Where is the text that teaches God limits his knowledge please? ”

      We could say the same about a lot of positions held (Trinity for example).

      All throughout the Bible, God says things like “regret” “relented” “repented” “they might” “I would have…” “I you do this, then I will do this…. but IF you do this….” “now I know that you…” “perhaps they will…”

      He tests people to see what they will do.

      He relents and give Hezekiah 15 years after saying he would die soon.

      He tells Nineveh that He WILL destroy them…. then changes His mind.

      He sends the liberated Israelites around another way because it says (Exodus 13)…. 17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”

      “If the face war”?? “They might”? God says that. What does that mean Shawn?

      Here is one of many…..

      Jeremiah 36:1 In the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now. 3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn from their wicked ways; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.”

      The LORD says….. “Perhaps when the people of Judah hear….. they will turn.”

      Why does God say “perhaps”… “they might” “I would have…” “if on you had, I would have….” “If you do this, then I will do this….”?? Thousands of times in the Bible.

      Why does He talk like this in the Bible, over and over and over, for all of us to read, if it is only deceiving us to think that ANYTHING is a “might”? Reformed theology (by taking 3-4 vague verses about “end from the beginning”) make all of these verses just meaningless…. or even deceptive.

  34. Brianwagner wrote

    Just keep in mind there are more people listening in or perusing the comments from time to time than one might realize. The Lord, of course, reads them all. 😉

    I agree here with you Brianwagner,He’s omnipresent and omniscient! 🙂

    1. Well Shawn I noticed you struggled a little with saying whether the incarnation was a change or not for God. You said it “didn’t affect the nature” of God but you did admit it was the “first time He became man”. Hmmm.

      Are you willing to admit the word “became” means a change took place that God experienced? If not… I’m serious… we cannot have a reasonable conversation any further.

      If you admit a change took place then you are admitting immutability has certain qualifying factors to its biblical definition. Are you willing to admit that?

  35. Brianwagner,how do you define immutable?When I say it I mean His character and attributes doesn’t change.

    When God became He experienced for the first time humanity attributes, but it never changed His,He was still fully God.

    1. Shawn, If one person of the Godhead “became” flesh and the other persons didn’t… how is that not a change to the nature of God? Even if the change is adding on human nature to one person of the Godhead making Him different than the others… that is a change. Right?

      I won’t discuss further with you, unless you admit God can experience changes of various types. We haven’t even talked about the false doctrine of impassibility. And I hope some day you will see how your loyalty to a theology has caused in you a rejection of clear Scripture.

      1. Brian,

        Puuuhleeeeese talk about impassibility!

        I am often stunned when I read Reformed sites talking about impassibility.

        Shawn, that Reformed doctrine says that —-not only does God not change His mind, or change in any way but— He has no emotions whatsoever. That would require Him to “change” in some way if He did. Get it?

        So…. He cannot be pleased or displeased, angry, sad, happy, grieved. He cannot have joy, disgust, disappointment, sorrow, compassion, frustration.

        They say we only “think” He has those things. Because, you see, if He is pleased about something, that means He went from displeased to please, or a neutral state to pleased. And that implies change. And…. as we know…. Reformed-determinist-Calvinists all declare that He cannot experience change— AT ALL. Period.

        Their entire theology is based on this idea of changelessness. Not just in His character and love, Shawn….. oh no! In ANY way at all… He cannot change …..they say.

        So….. now we have another thousand verses talking about all of the above emotions…. but nope….. they are discounted, skirted, downplayed, and “explained”. Have a look for yourself …. some sites say things like, “we only think He is saying He is pleased.” And “He is pleased in real time because He planned to be pleased before time began. Since He planned to “change” it is not really changing.”

        What?

        How many times have we said to ourselves and others: “You should not do that, since that is not pleasing to God.” “My brother, you are outside the will of God.” “I want to know the will of God in this matter.”

        Well…. none of that makes sense with Reformed theology and impassibility. Oh, they SAY these things, that’s for sure!!! But they are inconsistent with their theology.

        We can’t do something that is “pleasing to God” because that would mean we can alter His eternal state. That would mean our actions can affect His eternal state….. and they can’t have that!!

        We can’t do something “outside the will of God” because that would mean that we have “thwarted His will” (you need to learn to use “thwart” cuz it comes up all the time on the reformed sites).

        The more I read about impassibility, the more I see what lengths men will go to defend a Greek presupposed idea of what God “must be like….or He is not God.”

  36. Fromoverhere wrote
    But …. your theology… taken to its logical end gives you a God that not only sees it all, but declared/ decreed it all.

    Yes this is the God of scripture.

    Isaiah 46
    9 “Remember the former things long past,
    For I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is no one like Me,
    10 DECLARING end from the beginning,
    And from ancient times things which have not been done,
    Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
    And I WILL accomplish all My good pleasure’;
    11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
    The man of My purpose from a far country.
    Truly I have spoken; truly I WILL bring it to pass.
    I have planned it, surely I Will DO IT.

    God knows it all ,sees it all,and has DECLARED
    it all that His purpose will come to pass.

    The Bible has much to say about free will,that is God’s free will.

    1. I think many have made too much out of Is 46:10. God knows all the ends that He has declared to be ends already… But that says nothing about the inbetween events that He and man can freely interact to establish… He knows all those possibilities perfectly… But God has not yet made choices for all the inbetween possibilities, which to cause or permit.

      Isaiah 46, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times [things] that are not [yet] done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’

      Look carefully at Is 46:10 again and realize that it does not prove what I think you think it does… that is, you think God is clearly saying that all things were eternally immutably determined even before creation (or at least known already as set to work out only one way after creation). But it is only teaching that God declares the end from the beginning/from ancient times. It does not say “before” the beginning.

      In fact He has declared the end (Christ’s coming to reign) from the beginning/ancient times (by Enoch).
      Or it may mean something more general. It may mean that if God declares an end from a beginning you can be certain that it will come about. But He has certainly not declared to us every end. And what is in between the beginning and the end of something includes many undetermined, undeclared possibilities.

      ********

      He can rule the universe any way He wants. And He is not locked into one set future forever, for He chose not to be. The phrase “all knowing” has to be interpreted and defined by Scripture and not by pagan philosophy.

      Just like all powerful includes that He is unable to lie, and all present includes that He is not still in the past, and eternal includes that He is not already in the future, and immutable includes that one person of the Godhead became flesh (the God-man) forever, so all knowing includes not knowing something as false as true.

      One set future forever is false.

    2. Shawn,

      A couple of things here.

      First, everyone one of the verses you quote is from the 40-favorite, go-to, filter-everything-through-these verses, list. You can get them all from monergism.com and many reformed sites. Really what happens is a repetition of the same 40-ish verses over and over.

      Secondly, you take a verse that says

      My purpose will be established,
      And I WILL accomplish all My good pleasure’

      ———-

      And you make that verse say more than it says.

      It says He will accomplish His purposes. I have told you many times He can take the free-will folly of men (that He did NOT ordain or decree) and still win. He wins Shawn. He accomplishes His purposes. Amen!

      But that is NOT the same as saying every evil IS His purpose. That is what you are defending. Yes …I know the go-to verse (Joseph) “you meant it for evil but God for good.” No doubt God acts in mighty ways and turns the evil ways of men….

      But what you are defending is that even the evil ways of men (ALL the evil of all men at all times) is exactly what God wanted… planned… wished… ordained.

      Yuk.

      Really…. just yuk.

      That is truly not the Good News message of the Bible: “All your filthy rags are really God’s intention and divine will!”

      Is it?

      1. Calvinism leaves no room for God simply arranging people, places and things to accomplish his plan, without needing to determinitively control each individual like a puppet on a string. Foreknowing men’s hearts, God can arrange that a righteous, compassionate woman is born into a village where an orphan in great need will appeal to her spirit-led desire to serve others. Seeing that a man’s heart is deeply wicked and violent, God can arrange so that one wicked king is in a position and place to set his sights on another wicked king. Knowing that Joseph’s brothers would seek to vent their jealous rage upon him, God could perhaps arrange a windstorm, or a sick servant to ensure that an Egyptian caravan arrived at just the right place at just the right time to entice them to sell him into slavery instead. God would know that getting rid of Joseph forever and profiting by it would appeal to their covetous natures.

        God indeed has his hand in these, and many other things; but he does not require the meticulous control of every aspect of every individual’s behavior to accomplish his ultimate ends. It also calls us to be faithful – for he might have a plan for us to step in and prevent some evil, if we will only remain open and sensitive to his leading.

        I do not understand why this seems so difficult for Calvinists to grasp. It is not like non-Calvinists deny that God intervenes in many ways in his creation, and works to prevent or inspire one action over others – but in his infinite wisdom and foreknowledge, he can do this without manipulative coercion. By granting men the moral freedom to make real choices, God has created a world in which men can freely love and respond to him, and live in eternal, voluntary fellowship with him. The sin and evil which leads to death will someday work itself out, leaving the redeemed and newly created to dwell in the righteous glory of God forever.

      2. TS00,
        You write so well …. and sounding less….hummmm, angry these days. Good!

        You said: “By granting men the moral freedom to make real choices, God has created a world in which men can freely love and respond to him, and live in eternal, voluntary fellowship with him.”

        Yes, it’s what I have been trying to express to Shawn. It is not a “personal relationship” if God makes us do everything we do!

        As far as God achieving His purposes…. If a 3 year old plays a Grand Master of chess, that kid can make any move he wants and the Master wins.

        Imagine if someone said to the Master, “You can only beat that kid if you tell him exactly where he has to move his pieces.” Pretty silly huh?

        The Master would say…. “Nah…. he can move however he wants and I will win.”

        Multiply that 100 times over (we are dumber than the kid and God smarter than the Master), and you get the idea.

      3. FOH, you are kind. God has graciously applied his healing balm to the wounds that were still fresh when I first stumbled into this place. The heartbreak and disillusionment from feeling deceived by the people I most loved and trusted was very great. I was very quickly triggered by hearing the same arguments and twisting of scripture that was used on me.

        I can still get riled at those who appear to be knowingly twisting scripture and playing word games. But I am a little more able to see that many are sincerely deceived, and simply parroting the lines they have been taught. I know so many like that . . . For them, I have great compassion and, like you, a desire to share my own experiences in hopes that they may be able to cast aside the blinders and begin to think independently and free of preconceived ideology.

        I have no illusions that I have it all figured out, and my journey to greater understanding will last until I draw my last breath. But I rejoice to have my faith, hope and joy in serving a genuinely good and loving God restored, and to be able to truly share that good news with others. (No hidden clauses necessary.)

  37. I would like to say I am thankful for this opportunity to look at all these points of differences some I knew of and some I didn’t it actually causes one to search the scriptures if I’m wrong about something then it’s my prayer that should be that God would grant repentance,and yours should be the same.We can also make strong points without being hateful to each other.

    1. Nice words Shawn.

      Indeed…. let’s honor Christ.

      You dont know my testimony that I have shared elsewhere on these pages.

      After Bible School and Hebrew and Greek (before Seminary)… I became a Calvinist. I was quite rude to people (especially a woman that I came close to marrying) because of my in-your-face way of pushing Calvinism.

      I am happy to have seen the way through Calvinism and truly hope to help others do so. To honor Christ.

      1. FOH
        Without getting personal – I’m always very curious about the sociological aspects of Calvinism

        Your situation with the girl you almost married while you were an “in-your-face” Calvinist…
        Was she also a Calvinist…or would she have married you despite your Calvinism?

        Also what I understand from statistics/demographics of Calvinism – that it is the religion of white Anglo-saxon males.
        And very few if any Calvinists (in a serious or knowledgeable sense) are female.
        In other words – like your girlfriend – they marry Calvinist men despite their Calvinism.

      2. br.d
        To your questions…

        She was a strong believer and certainly not a Calvinist! Nor were many folks at that time before it was all the rage….with the recent YRR wave. Piper had not popularized it yet.

        That was long ago and I am happily married to a gal who was raised in a Reformed church (father was a pastor)….who is an avid non-Calvinist now!

        Yes, demographically it is heavily slanted toward young, white, educated, males from “generic” Bible/ Community (non-Pentecostal) church backgrounds. It is making a little ground overseas because of Piper’s books being translated (I have shared about seeing this in my 30 years overseas in missions).

        NOTE: I dont think it is taking off in China (underground) church…..and certainly not part of the rapid church growth in Africa and So America. But then again, since a lot of this growth is in Pentecostal circles, many Calvinists might doubt if “it is real Orthodox” Christianity.

        Remember they seem to be the gatekeepers.

      3. Thanks FOH!
        Yes I note Calvinist leaders – who are keen not to allow Calvinism go the way of the dinosaur – are keen to infiltrate the Pentecostal population – because it is statistically the fasted growing Christian population in the world. While other institutionalized church is growing obsolete.

        I don’t think Calvinists would have taken on the label “evangelical” – if it weren’t for a strategic interest in gobbling up non-reformed churches.

        Thanks for the confirmation! :-]

  38. Plotinus’s doctrines of god – the “ONE”:

    (Notes derived from “The Permanent Influence of NeoPlatonism on Christianity” – W.R. Inge)

    Plotinus (203-270 AD), was the leading philosopher of the school called “Neo-Platonism,” which became a major transmitter of the doctrines of Plato into Catholic Christianity – particularly through Augustine, who was heavily influenced by Plotinus’ doctrines. Plotinus is first and foremost, a follower of Plato, but with a few twists of his own. He essentially converts Plato’s doctrines on metaphysics into a monotheistic religion.

    Plotinus’s named his god the “ONE”. And Plotinus described his god as INEFFABLE and IMMUTABLE. This gave rise in NeoPlatonist Christianity – to what is known as “negative theology”, which insisted that one should never say anything at all about god – if in doing so one were to say anything that might limit him.

    God, says Augustine, is beyond comprehension and INEFFABLE: he is best described by negatives; best known by nescience; best adored in silence. ” Ne ineffabilis quidem dicendus (est) quia et hoc cum dicatur aliquid dicatur.”
    So for Augustine, the first person of the NeoPlatonic trinity is “beyond being”.

    God, also says Augustine …..neither thinks nor feels. “Aeternitas ipsa Dei substantia est.”
    The resemblances to Plotinus’s god here should be obvious. The “ONE” is beyond everything, even beyond the most exalted intelligence. God is ABSOLUTELY IMMUTABLE according to Plotinus – and thus to Augustine.

    This, at any rate, maintains the reality of the conflict between good and evil, and the eternal significance of what happens in time. But ABSOLUTE IMMUTABILITY, as understood by Plotinus and Augustine, leaves no room for this conception; when Augustine says, “Since the Word of God is ONE, by whom all things were made, and all Things exist together and IMMUTABLY in him, and all things are ONE”.

    In NeoPlatonism good and evil are co-equal and co-necessary constituents of the “ONE” existing in “undifferentiated” form.

    William Lane Craig:
    -quote
    Scripture indicates that God is unchangeable in certain attributes. Namely, His existence, character, faithfulness, wisdom, council, and the thoughts of his heart.

    However, under the influence of Greek philosophy, traditional Christian theology came to embrace the immutability of God in a very radical sense to mean the “ABSOLUTE” changelessness of God in every respect. This is one of the unfortunate areas where I think those who decry the influence of Greek philosophy on biblical thought are correct.

    The Emotions of God in the Theology of Augustine – Joseph M. Hallman
    -quote
    The ABSOLUTE IMMUTABILITY and IMPASSIBILITY became solidly established attributes of God in Christian theology due mostly to the influence of Augustine. Theologians have recently begun to question whether views of God which uphold these attributes in an ABSOLUTE sense and which threaten to deny the relatedness of God in his temporal creation, are entirely appropriate.

  39. Shawn,
    Today in church we studied Mark 5

    27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

    30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

    31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

    —–

    I have shared this before when I come to it while reading through the Bible.

    She has faith and approaches Jesus. There is no indication that she “was given that faith” since Jesus appears unaware.

    —–

    32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

    —-

    What? Jesus is looking around to see who had done it. It does not say that He was waiting for her to come forward….knowing who she was.

    If Jesus had given her the faith (the Reformed position) then this passage is very deceptive!

    She trembles cuz she is unclean… but in faith… she dares to touch his clothes.

    Jesus is in a hurry, being smashed in a crowd, and is touched by an unclean woman.

    This woman was healed immediately —by touching Him—- apparently without Him even knowing anything about it or planning it. If He planned all this —before time— then He sure does a good job of tricking the crowd into thinking it is happening by faith in real time, without his prompting.

    What does He say to her? “Daughter, your faith has healed you.”

    Yes…. I know…. this is where the Calvinists jump up and say “yes… but she couldn’t have faith…” or “But we ‘know’ that this faith was given to her…. cuz we know she was ‘too-dead’ to have faith.”

    Nah… the Bible does not tell us that. Here we have a person seeking Christ (something Reformers say men cannot do)… and she is rewarded for daring. Hey… that sound just like Hebrews 11:6

    “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

    That is what she did…. and that is what Christ did.

    Praise God that He calls all men (not just “all kinds of men”) to seek Him, and that He is compassionate (not “impassible”) to reward them (Heb 11:6) for their simple faith.

  40. Brethren,
    There are two sides to every coin. To argue that one side represents the entire coin is to error.
    Regarding soteriology doctrine, Calvinists see one side and Arminians see the other side.

    Methodists should see both sides, because George Whitfield followed Calvin on soteriology, while John Wesley followed Jacobus Arminius. Wesley and Whitfield though lifelong friends, never understood they were each only partially correct, but when taken together they were indeed correct.

    “Many are called” (Arminian soteriology), “few are elected” (Calvinist soteriology) is how Jesus Christ stated this fact.
    “We were chosen before God created the earth, predestined for salvation” (Calvinist soteriology)…”You are called and elected after you believed” (Arminian soteriology) is how the apostle Paul stated this fact to the Ephesians.

    Continuing to argue with your brethren over soteriology is like two brothers arguing over what is the square root of twenty-five. You say five and your brother says negative five. Okay, who is right?

    Neither is exactly correct, because the exact, correct answer for, “What is the square root of 25?” is {5, -5}.

    Yours in Christ,
    George Fitt

    1. George,

      Actually, Calvinism and Arminianism are the same side of the coin, just with subtle nuances. Both affirm total depravity/total inability. Both affirm some form of irresistible grace.

      Matthew 9:35-37 (NKJV)….
      Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful (or many), but the laborers are few.”

      I say throw the worthless coin away.

      God bless, brother.

      1. Agreed. I could never embrace Arminianism, as it retains most of the errors of Calvinism. Jacobus Arminius was a staunch Calvinist, and only posed the possibility that OSAS was not so clearly affirmed by scripture. He retained the rest of the dogma he had been trained under.

      2. Phillip,

        Arminians were persecuted by Calvinists after the Synod of Dort. Sounds like different sides of the coin to me.
        Arminians are considered to be Semi-Pelagian, while Calvinists are Augustinian according to “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Paul Enns. And of course you know Pelagious and Augustine had very different views on the affect of Adam’s sin..

        My point is that there are two separate ways to salvation. One where God chose a few before the beginning of the world and the other where the many are called to seek God. Salvation for both ways is by grace, through faith, in Christ.

        Yours in Christ,
        George Fitt

      3. George,

        Actually, there is only one biblical way to salvation. That is by grace thru faith in the finished works of Jesus Christ.

        Calvinists believe God unconditionally chose to save a predestined few. Arminians (traditionally) believe God chose to save a select few based on His foreknowledge of their foreseen faith.

        Both Calvinists and Arminians hold to the Augustinian notion of prevenient (irresistible) grace. So both are infected with the Augustine virus.

        So I see Catholicism on one side of the coin and its offspring Calvinism, along with its offspring Arminianism, on the other.

        Again, throw that worthless roman coin away.

        Blessings, brother.

      4. Phillip,
        You keep saying Arminius and Calvin taught very similar doctrine on salvation. I Googled it and found otherwise. Here’s a sample:
        “Arminius taught that Calvinist predestination and unconditional election made God the author of evil. Instead, Arminius insisted, God’s election was an election of believers and therefore was conditioned on faith. Furthermore, Arminius argued, God’s exhaustive foreknowledge did not require a doctrine of determinism.”
        Yours in Christ,
        George Fitt

    2. Hi George… I can appreciate your concern for brothers to get along. We try our best to keep things civil and with brotherly love here. But there is real harm in believing Calvinism’s unhealthy view of Scripture’s teaching concerning salvation.

      Calvinism’s harm

      The issue isn’t Calvinism as much as it is the false underlying teaching in it of
      the eternal immutable predestination of all things before creation to work out only one way.

      That harmful teaching affects one’s motivation for evangelism and one’s confidence in prayer and one’s trust in the clarity of God’s self revelation in the Scriptures.

      2Co 5:14 NKJV – For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; [the clear motivation should be love for all the lost when witnessing, but for the Calvinist it is only duty]

      Mat 24:20 NKJV – “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.” [the clear indication that their prayers would be used in determining when the fall of Jerusalem would happen, but the Calvinist denies prayer changes or influences divine choices not yet made]

      Gen 6:6 NKJV – And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. [the clear indication that God was sorry that He made man, and was grieved in His heart, but the Calvinist denies that God can experience such grief].

      *******
      Do you have the motivation of longsuffering love for all, especially those that are hardened against the gospel and aggressive towards you?

      Or does your motivation of duty in evangelism get too quickly satisfied and the thought of their probable reprobation make you move away from them too soon?

      Or does the thought that if they are elect they’ll get saved anyway ever enter your mind, and also make you move away from them too soon?

    3. Although the thought here is well intended – the human dispositions we see historically are far to well established.

      I agree with the others on Jacobus Arminius.
      He put a lot of effort into defending himself arguing he was a Calvinist.

      And its probably true that those who followed after Calvin were more Calvinistic than Calvin was.
      And those who followed after Arminius were much less Calvinistic than Arminius was.

      I think Calvinists call anyone who is less Calvinistic than them “Arminian” – and this is supposed to represent a pejorative as a heretical label. But I think Calvinists do this simply as a chess-game strategy – because it puts the recipient on the defensive.
      Keeping someone on the defensive – facilitates the aggressor who uses the strategy to maintain a strategic advantage.

      So if a Calvinist tries to label me Arminian – I understand that as just a carnal war strategy.

      But if one follows the logical implications of Calvin’s conceptions – one observes a deity who functions as a deceiver.
      And if one studies Calvinist language practices long enough – one finds it saturated with its own form of dishonesty

      Why any God honoring Christian wouldn’t warn against such things is a mystery to me.

      Blessings!

  41. George writes – “There are two sides to every coin. To argue that one side represents the entire coin is to error.
    Regarding soteriology doctrine, Calvinists see one side and Arminians see the other side.”

    My reply – I hear this quite often from people who never look into the implications or have studied the issue. Somewhere along the line they usually have had brief introduction, put a little bit of thought into it, dismiss it, and then just parrot the line that George used.

    The issue is Calvinism vs Non-Calvinism, not, Calvinism vs Arminianism.

    The issue deals with SALVATION. So to say there are 2 ways to be saved depending on what side of the coin you want to look at is very un-biblical. And this is the reason it’s such a big deal and should be.

    My opinion is that to hold to both Calvinsm and Arminianism is an even a bigger error. To hold onto two false views is worse than holding onto one. And then to be double minded in those two false views is probably even worse.

    “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” James 1:8

    “When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 2 Corinthians 1:17-19

    “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Matthew 6:24a

  42. Soteroligy is a huge issue and the question is this is all 100 percent the work and will of God,or does man have his percentage in it?

    With all due do respect and we do need to patient in love while explaining the truth ,and if I am wrong in area I want to learn where at.I really believe fellows that salvation is by grace alone is defined in the Bible as God’s will and work alone,Ephesians 2 :8-9 speak this with clarity and to say else is robbery of God’s grace.

    I believe that to confess that salvation is of grace and to then say the will man acutally has something to do that made the difference is real double mindness and theological double speak.The Roman catholic church has done this for years,I remember reading a question on a Roman catholic message board that asked beside the Calvinist is any other protestant different than us and the answer to that is no when it concerns the will of man in salvation, the catholic just goes further and with more conditions and church ordinances and traditions.

    If Jesus done the same thing for Judas that He did for Peter then who made the difference?If you don’t hold that salvation is a monergism work of God alone then your forced to say Peter.

    I think we can all see the tension in different text of scripture,if we are honest, it’s my conviction that people aren’t letting the clear text speak in totality to clear up those that can be confusing.

    1. “I saved myself” – Red Herring/Straw Man

      God doesn’t give the same grace to everyone… but He does give sufficient grace to enable each to freely seek and to trust His mercy. Therefore none have an excuse, and salvation is all of God, who paid for it, and offered it, and gave it to each one who trusted Him for it.

      It is a red herring that suggests the one who was saved after trusting their savior and after trusting the means of their salvation would then turn around and say or believe – “I saved myself.” The one grabbing the rope and letting the rescuer pull them to safety does not turn around and say – “Boy, didn’t I do a good job in saving myself.”

      It is a red herring/straw man argument in an attempt to legitimize determinism which has the bigger problem of denying that determinism logically makes God the author of sin and that it also makes Him the unjust and everlasting tormentor of those He supposedly decreed guilty and to be hardened by Him for someone else’s sin, before anyone was ever created by Him.

      The typical “so it all hinges on man” argument is silly. A “hinge” is no good if there is no door or someone to open that door. So also is the argument “so man is the ultimate decisive factor in his salvation.” I can decide to trust Jesus, but unless He decides to give me forgiveness and everlasting life, what good, how “decisive”, is my decision compared to His? If Christ had not died and rose again and offered me salvation and granted it to me… all my “decisions” in the world would make no difference.

      1. Brianwagner wrote,
        The one grabbing the rope and letting the rescuer pull them to safety does not turn around and say – “Boy, didn’t I do a good job in saving myself.”

        Brianwagner this is the point of which the door of salvation hinges on,the man being rescued isn’t alive and just needs some help,he is said in scripture to be DEAD and at the bottom of the ocean covered in sin, he’s needs resurrection grace!

        Ephesians2:5-6 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
        6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

        The text says we were raised up with him and Christ was literally raised from a literal death . There is no escaping from scripture what spiritual death is which a total separation from Life!

        The sinner don’t need a robe or help,they need Life and that is only found in God himself,not in the dead sinner.

      2. Shawn,
        We see your point…. and we have heard the same thing many times. We just dont think that Scripture bears it out.

        1. From the Greek we know that Eph 2:8-9 does NOT insist or teach that the faith is given to you (even Calvinist scholars agree with this, but the rank and file Calvinists keep repeating it!!!).

        2. We do not see DEAD the way you do. Despite me showing you in Luke 15 that Christ Himself called the son “DEAD” two times….. he still “came to his senses”. Also I have told you that we are DEAD to sin but still manage to sin. Dead does not mean what you are forcing it to mean.

        I get it. It works for you. I sounds good. It sounds like it “gives God the most glory.” I get that cuz I did it too.

        But, despite these clear biblical answers above, you still repeat the Calvinist (non-biblical) talking points. It is baffling to me! Honestly.

        The Israelites were slaves in Egypt. No way out (that is a clear image of us being slaves to sin). No way out. God had to rescue them. God had to rescue us.

        God gave them the plan and His plan included the blood of the Lamb.

        But they still had to APPLY the blood in faith. That blood was not spread on the doorpost FOR them. They had to apply the blood in faith. They were “dead” in slavery…. but still had to APPLY the blood in faith.

        That Passover story is the most repeated story in the Bible and certainly an image of the blood of Christ.

        It is given to those of us in slavery (to sin) and we have to apply it in faith.

        We are not “too-dead” to do so….. no matter how many times you repeat it.

      3. FOH
        They were “dead” in slavery…. but still had to APPLY the blood in faith.

        br.d
        Yes – a “type and shadow of good things to come”.

      4. Rom 5:6… spiritual death is not inability

        Paul uses the word weak/sick to describe our condition – Rom 5:6 NKJV – For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

        It is a major twisting of a Bible word – “dead” – away from its biblical roots and giving in to a meaning borrowed from modern medicine – “inability” or “no function”. The heart ceases to function and the brain isn’t working and the person is pronounced dead!

        But biblically we know that a person continues to function after death… just without a body and in a different place! He is just “separated” from his body, which is the basic meaning of physical death in Scripture, and the spirit is separated from the indwelling presence of Christ, which is spiritual death.

        The Calvinist needs to factor in what Paul meant in Rom 5:6 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

        Being “weak” doesn’t sound like “dead” or inability to me. This same Greek word is consistently translated “sick” in the Gospels.

        Before salvation we have a terminal illness even though often before feeling conviction we might not feel too bad. But the Doctor tells us we’re dying and we need to trust Him and take this miracle cure that He spent all He had to make and offer to us. We also need to repent and stop trusting the other “cures” others have offered.

        Mark 2:17 NKJV — When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

        God speaks all the time to “dead” people throughout Scripture and expects them to hear and understand. He’s not wasting His breath.

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

      5. Thanks Brian,

        Calvinists have to

        1. Make “dead” say more than it does.

        2. Force Eph 2:8-9 to read that faith is the thing given (against scholarship).

        3. Ignore all the “weak” “sick” verses.

        4. Ignore all the “I persuade men” verses by Paul (you dont persuade a dead man… and an “irresistibly chosen” one needs no persuading.

        5. Ignore the 3 main OT images of the cross: Ark, serpent-on-pole, Passover… all of which required application and action by people with faith.

        6. Ignore all the many places where Christ says, “Go, your faith has made you whole.” (nothing about being dead and given that faith).

        7. Mis-interpret all of Hebrews 11 and force every one of the people listed to be a person with “given-faith” ….even though 11:6 says people must believe He exists and believe that He rewards those who SEEK Him.
        ————

        All that takes a lot of effort and is (mostly) based on human (Greek) logic saying how God “must be” and a few verses interpreted in their own way.

        Phew! That sounds exhausting all that making, forcing, ignoring!!

      6. Great list FOH that says it all! Thanks. I think I’ll keep it and start adding to it. For example, a subset of #4 would be – Ignore all the warning verses (e.g. Heb 3:7-8) about being lost forever if you reject the gospel. The gospel is not for the so-called reprobate to begin with and the so-called elect will never be lost, so God is giving a lying threat to everyone in those warnings. Of course, many Calvinists have no problem with God doing moral evil… They just say He does the moral “evil” thing, but for Him it’s not moral evil. But He said very clearly – He cannot lie! Very sad.

        One of the most harmful things about Calvinism is that it takes the Bible out of the layperson’s hands each time they are told, “Well those verses don’t mean what you think they mean. They were only written that universal sounding way to trigger “regeneration” in the will/heart of God’s special chosen, which I am, and maybe you are if you agree with me. So you better listen to my theological take on all those passages you think clearly mean God loves all He made in His image and don’t believe that He sufficiently calls all to be able to seek and find Him. If you don’t listen to me, and start to disagree with me, and all those fine scholars that I quote from, then you probably aren’t elect!” And don’t think for once, the layperson doesn’t feel this way when confronted by cultic authoritative mentality.

      7. so true…

        I forgot to add to the list…. since it is so often discussed…. that they have to:

        8. Re-interpret all the the “all” verses to mean “all kinds of men” (and this includes all the whosoever, everyone, etc). “Come to me all “kinds of men” who labor and are heavy laden….”

      8. Brian writes:
        “One of the most harmful things about Calvinism is that it takes the Bible out of the layperson’s hands each time they are told, “Well those verses don’t mean what you think they mean. They were only written that universal sounding way to trigger “regeneration” in the will/heart of God’s special chosen, which I am, and maybe you are if you agree with me. So you better listen to my theological take on all those passages you think clearly mean God loves all He made in His image and don’t believe that He sufficiently calls all to be able to seek and find Him. If you don’t listen to me, and start to disagree with me, and all those fine scholars that I quote from, then you probably aren’t elect!” And don’t think for once, the layperson doesn’t feel this way when confronted by cultic authoritative mentality.”

        Well put. I am also filing this away as a succinct explanation of the covert manipulation that often leads susceptible believers into the Calvinist fold, however reluctantly. Then they are carefully brainwashed with the rest of the ‘proper’ interpretations of scripture, and never realized that genuine, spirit-led thinking has been subtly replaced with rote memorization. Very subtle, very effective and very tragic.

      9. Brianwagner
        One of the most harmful things about Calvinism is that it takes the Bible out of the layperson’s hands

        br.d
        Yes this is absolutely correct!
        That is another left-over from Catholicism that never got purged out of the reformation.
        A priest mediator standing between man and scripture – standing over your shoulder telling you what every verse means.
        And that verse X doesn’t mean what it says.
        Not allowing you to think for yourself.

      10. Well put, Brian.

        This red herring was filleted long ago, and the newbies who try and reincarnate it show how recently they have come to the game.

        Do we have a say in our salvation? Absolutely. Does this leave God trembling in fear of losing some of his ‘glory’? Absolutely not.

        First and foremost, God does not seek his own ‘glory’ above the well-being of his creatures, despite what the Westminster Confession or any other gang of men say. Anyone who claims such a thing knows little of Jesus, and his giving and self-sacrifice.

        Secondly, God not only has no fear of ‘sharing the glory’, there is simply nothing any mortal can do to steal it. Man is created. All that he is, he owes to his Maker. All that he does depends upon the very breath breathed into his God-designed and God-given body. The ability to think and reason in a godlike manner – superior to all other creatures – was solely God’s idea and the most amazing aspect of creation. It puts man’s creation of computers to shame, yet no one would declare that the ‘miracles’ of technology proclaim the glory of the little bits of steal and plastic rather than the cleverness of the men who designed and crafted them.

        One might pause here to speculate that the only logical purpose in creating an autonomous, rational, creative being is because one intends to grant him the freedom to generate autonomous, rational, creative choices. It is telling that the demonic forces that impel the evil in our world have undertaken endless research into creating the sort of man Calvinism asserts God desires – one who retains the ability to function, but whose brains has been reinvented into a submissive robot who does his duty without seeking the emotional or relational aspects that give life its deepest meaning. One who will obey his authorities happily and without question. The sort of Artificial Intelligence wicked men seek to create would have no power to resist or refuse to fulfill the every demand of its makers. Such tyrannical control is not the goal of a good and loving God, despite the fact that he alone could successfully accomplish it.

        Such an other-controlled ‘person’, if you could call him that, could never be considered healthy or whole, as self-selected relationship is the higher purpose that which gives meaning and joy to life in spite of even the most difficult circumstances. This significant error leads the Calvinist into the quagmire of God inventing evil, a meaningless, predetermined life, the cruelty and injustice of a tyrant who dictates then punishes sin and the untrustworthiness of a God who declares selfless love while playing endless deceptive games with helpless creatures whose every thought, word and deed have been predetermined and will, irresistibly and unfailingly, come to pass .

        All because of a little red fish, the myth still floats that God is threatened by the autonomy he dreamed up and gave existence to. Such a myth is not only illogical, it is laughable, for even the grandest of man’s towers cannot threaten God’s position as ruler of the universe. To suggest that God quakes at the thought of men rebelling against his good and perfect will is to have missed the entire story of scripture, for that is exactly what man has done – and God is not shaken.

        God is not only not personally threatened by this rebellion, which he foresaw; his interventions are all for the sake of the wicked, rebellious creatures, who God alone understands are headed for misery and self-destruction. When disgust at the evil, oppressive, murderous acts of men nearly led him to call the whole thing off, the sincere heart of one man held God back. Noah reminds God that there is hope for this seemingly hopeless creature of his, that one little spark of righteousness can survive in the suffocating den of evil which earth has become.

        And God determines to never again threaten extinction of the whole creation. (How’s that for a double Calvinist-wrecking whammy? First, God responds in wrath to man’s wickedness and nearly wipes out the whole human race, then he promises to never respond in such a way again!) Instead, he promises to send a second ark to deliver those few in a million who, despite not attaining sinless perfection, retain a love for that which is beautiful and good.

        The very first oddity I recall in my former Calvinist pastor was his hatred for the story of Noah. He refused to let his wife put the cute little arks and animals she desired in their children’s nursery, and, to my astonished face, denied that scripture declares Noah a righteous man, and walked away. End of subject.

        Only many years later did it all make sense, for Noah’s Ark is a foreshadow of the salvation that Jesus would someday provide. Scripture in no way, shape or form suggests that Noah was predetermined or chosen to be supernaturally, irresistibly regenerated, or that he was in any way different from the millions who perished in the flood – apart from a sincere heart that remained true to God.

        Noah was not the one dead man ‘chosen’ and irresistibly transformed to life in order that he would believe in and serve God, as Calvinism requires. Rather, Noah was the one living man who ‘found’ grace in response to his simple willingness to seek what was right and just, in a world that was utterly filled with self-serving, murderous wickedness and condemned to death. There is no mistaking that God responded to Noah’s heart and actions, rather than controlling them. Noah found ‘grace’ – escape from death – because he was alive. The rest did not receive grace, and received the due punishment of death for their sin.

        As FOH frequently points out, Noah is only one in a long line of stories that depict the same message. The message of sinful men nonetheless receiving God’s grace and being declared righteous, based not on their own sinless perfection, but on their unfailing belief in a good God and his promises.

    2. Shawn
      If Jesus done the same thing for Judas that He did for Peter then who made the difference?If you don’t hold that salvation is a monergism work of God alone then your forced to say Peter.

      br.d
      This appears to be some kind of logical argument.
      Monergism is just a word that affirms Theological Determinism.

      Doublemindedness is defined as holding to something as both true one minute – and false the next.
      If you want to embrace Theological Determinism – there is no such thing as “mere” permission and there is no such thing as a god who makes a way of escape for your sin, no such thing as Adam being permitted to obey – etc.
      So one needs to make up his mind instead of halting between two opinions.

      What we find in Calvinists is in order to align themselves with scripture – they must halt between two opinions.
      That the THEOS determines *ALL* things in every part
      That NOTHING is determined in any part.
      Unfortunate situation becomes double-mindedness – which results in a dishonesty in his language.
      And this is also seen in his conception of god – who speaks with forked tongue.
      So he must craft philosophical schemes like an EXPRESSED will and a SECRET will – to hide the dishonesty he finds in his deity.

      Shawn
      I think we can all see the tension in different text of scripture,if we are honest, it’s my conviction that people aren’t letting the clear text speak in totality to clear up those that can be confusing.

      br.d
      Yes Shawn – this is correct for both sides – for obvious reasons.
      There is no such thing as a sinless interpretation of scripture.

      And we know that Calvin’s use of Augustine’s conceptions was to raise them to the authority of scripture.
      And Calvinists today use Calvin’s conceptions giving them the authority of scripture and using them to interpret the data of scripture.
      And then unfortunately position themselves in the seat of Moses
      And are not honest enough with themselves to recognize the process.

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
      And all interpretation of any data is subject to the ways the human mind interprets that data.

      If you teach a man to hold as cannon that the earth is flat
      He will open up the scriptures and find verses to prove it
      And then he will argue that the scripture demands it and your use of scripture is wrong.
      That is not a reflection of scripture – its a reflection of the human mind.

      1. br.d

        This is what I tell Calvinists… and what got me out.

        If you come to the Scriptures with Calvinism as true….. you can “find” it and force Scripture to say it …. especially using vague, poetic verses like “above all things” “end from the beginning” etc.

        But if you read through the Bible in a year, and do this year after year, you encounter every day (and I mean EVERY day) verses and whole passages that sound like God is passionate, interactive, and listening to men.

        Every day you see passages that contradict the teaching of deterministic-Calvinism. Every day you have to say to yourself: “Hummm, that passage looks like it says so-and-so but I ‘know’ it cant say that since we ‘know’ how God must be.”

        Yeah…. well that gets tiring after a while if you are honest with yourself.

        You want…. crave… that personal relationship with God that the Bible describes, but Calvinism does not allow for that (Oh, Calvinists will refer to it all the time….but the bottom line of the theology says all things are already decided and God did all the deciding… so not personal at all).

        So…. yeah…. of course people can find Calvinism in the Bible (so do the JWs, Mormons, Catholics, etc)…. but in a practical way it is only because they come to the Bible telling it what they want it to say.

      2. Great post FOH

        Gordon Fee has his own way of describing it.
        He calls it “The bible + Calvin”.

        If you take away Calvin – you are left with just the Bible.
        And all of Calvin’s worshiped cannon superimposed into scripture – fades away like the chaff in the wind. :-]

      3. FOH writes:

        “Every day you see passages that contradict the teaching of deterministic-Calvinism. Every day you have to say to yourself: “Hummm, that passage looks like it says so-and-so but I ‘know’ it cant say that since we ‘know’ how God must be.”

        Yeah…. well that gets tiring after a while if you are honest with yourself.

        You want…. crave… that personal relationship with God that the Bible describes, but Calvinism does not allow for that (Oh, Calvinists will refer to it all the time….but the bottom line of the theology says all things are already decided and God did all the deciding… so not personal at all). ”

        Yes, and amen! What a truly marvelous day it was, and I can still feel the rush of joy, when I finally, after an all night struggle, turned away from entertaining the theology of Calvinism. With bleary eyes, sitting in front of my wood stove, I picked up my bible. It was literally as if my long-blinded eyes could once again see!

        Finding the good, loving, merciful God of my youth once again in the pages of scripture was such a gift. I will never forget the feelings of that day. I knew I would soon be facing the turmoil of ‘coming out’, of leaving my church, confusing my children and perhaps wrecking my marriage – yet the sheer joy of finding God once again made it all seem as nothing.

  43. Shawn writes- “Soteroligy is a huge issue and the question is this is all 100 percent the work and will of God,or does man have his percentage in it?”

    My answer is that salvation is 100% of God. And believing or rejecting the gospel is 100% the responsibility of man, because that is how God set it up to be. And God promised to save the believer. 100% the plan of God because He is God and does what He pleases.

    1. Exactly! And God has done his 100%, and nothing man does or does not do will detract from that. Man can say yes, no, or dilly-dally around, but God alone could and did provide the atonement and life he has offered them. His ‘part’ was accomplished, ‘finished’ with the self-sacrifice of Jesus. Now, we must respond to the greatest gift ever offered.

      1. I would even say to any Calvinist out there, that there had better be some % of their own belief in the gospel, otherwise they will be judged for having 0% of belief in the gospel.

        They might say “I do but it’s not my own faith”.
        Well I would say then if it’s not yours then you will be judged for your own faith not someone else’s.

      2. No one will stand before God and calmly assert: “I could do nothing else but sin. I waited and waited, but you gave me no faith.” Most Calvinists simply do not understand that this is exactly what their assertions would produce, or simply push such troubling thoughts from their minds.

      3. That’s right TSOO,

        Fancy showing up to God with a borrowed faith that is not your own. Especially when what he first gave you still remains in unbelief because it was born that way.
        I think God would look straight past the so called “irresistible faith” and judge the one that still remains.

      4. TS00
        Most Calvinists simply do not understand that this is exactly what their assertions would produce, or simply push such troubling thoughts from their minds.

        br.d
        I think this is where Calvin teaches people how to think.
        This is where Calvinism contains elements of Catholicism

        Calvin insists that he has control over certain parts of the believers thinking processes.
        Calvin postures that everything he sets out is absolutely to be embraced without question.

        This follows the Catholic doctrine of Ex-Cathedra
        When the pope speaks ex-cathedra he speaks as the voice of god
        And “sensus fidi” is demanded of the church
        Which means the church is to accept whatever the pope says as the word of god and embrace it without question.

        In Calvin’s case – much of his theology is in logical contradiction to scripture
        So the Calvinist’s mind must be conditioned with thought blocking techniques that keep the mind from connecting logical dots that would allow them to see those contradictions.

      5. The problem guys is that young, newly-minted, Calvinists have been convinced (with logic) that the 100% that God does must include “forcing” (it is called “irresistible grace”) people into the kingdom. They do this with all kinds of human rhetoric and reasoning like “they wouldnt choose it otherwise…”

        And all this is scaffolded on top of a few verses interpreted exactly their way.

        They cant “hear” what you are saying cuz they are so absolutely convince that dead means “Total Depravity”.

        But we have hundreds and hundreds of examples in Scripture to show that God is actually the opposite of this. He does not force His way on every one at every moment.

        Look at some of His most faithful guys: Adam (nope. He was perfect yet chose Eve and sin over God); Noah (not bad…. but remember the drunken moment with the son?); Abraham (nah… gave his wife away to another dude); Moses (pretty good, but the striking the rock and pretending with the veil); David (“man after God’s own heart” but the women!! woah…. no!).

        Because of Saul and Solomon and the other bad kings the whole Rescued-Israel-is-gonna-be-better-than-the-heathens plan did not work out so well.

        They were so bad…. God even says what they did, was not part of His plan at all: Jeremiah 32:35, ” . . . nor had it entered My mind that they should do this . . . ”

        But all this means nothing to someone who is convinced that God determined/ decided/ decreed everything ahead of time “for His glory” (even all that “glorious sin and rape”).

  44. I finished watching the 3 1/2hr episode of Leighton’s latest online discussion with Calvinist James Martin. What I found really bizarre was that whenever Leighton would bring up a biblical argument with sound reasoning it would be dismissed away as if the passage would only be relevant if what it was saying is possible……things like repenting, seeking, the appeals to come to Christ etc. etc.

    Its like the Calvinist lives in a world where the first world failed. Its like they have 2 parallel worlds going on side by side and they can just jump from one to the other whenever they feel like it.
    It seems that like they actually live in the world of plan B where the gospel failed completely in the world of plan A. They talk in the realm of world A and what could be if all the appeals of the gospel had have worked, but since it didn’t and everyone rejected it they then jump to world B where no one comes to Christ by the appeals of plan A.

    I really believe it is a subtle twist and another gospel. It’s a plan B gospel and not a plan A.

    1. Damon
      Its like they [Calvinists] have 2 parallel worlds going on side by side and they can just jump from one to the other whenever they feel like it.

      br.d
      Yes – I believe this is an attribute of Gnosticism within Calvinism – its called dualism.
      You will notice a large number of conceptions enunciated by Calvinists manifest as antithetical pairs.
      That is Gnostic thinking.

  45. ​I have mentioned a few times that what helped me understand Calvinism was reading the Bible through each year. Today’s section includes Deut 5-6.

    6 “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.

    7 “You must not have any other god but me.

    8 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 9 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 10 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those[b] who love me and obey my commands.

    ———
    Notice the reference to slavery and rescue in Egypt. Just like us: slavery and rescue from sin. Those who applied the blood on the door at Passover were spared.

    He gives a few “must not” “must not” verses and then says…

    10 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

    I (the Lord) lavish love on those who love Me and obey My commands (is that the Calvinist “will of command”?). Anyway, sounds pretty “if you do this, I will do this.”

    Then it goes on…

    16 “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
    —-

    What does someone “get” if they honor their parents? Then you will live a long, full life…. You can actually alter your future by being obedient? Sounds like it…. unless of course, once again, “this passage doesn’t mean what it says.”

    Don’t believe me? Look at Ephesians 6.

    6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
    —–

    Even the NT repeats this idea that IF you obey and honor your parents you do well and will enjoy a long life.

    Does that sound like everything has been determined? Doesn’t it sound like God is saying the future is not set and yours will be better if you obey your parents?

  46. Installment 2 of daily reading Deut 5-6.
    The people want Moses to go listen to god for them

    27 Go yourself and listen to what the Lord our God says. Then come and tell us everything he tells you, and we will listen and obey.’
    ———-

    Moses says back to them…
    28 “The Lord heard the request you made to me. And he said, ‘I have heard what the people said to you, and they are right.
    ———–

    So that is God saying “they are right.” Interesting…. these whimpy people who are scared told Moses something and God says “they are right.”

    Then…. amazing….He (the Lord God Almighty) goes on to say…

    29 Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever.
    ——–

    “Oh that they would”. This is God “wishing” for something. Aand even saying…. and if they do (this thing He is saying) they and their descendants will prosper forever. What does that mean Calvinist friends when God says “Oh that they would…”?

    So, we know in determinism that every thing that happens is what God wants (man cannot thwart His will). But here it sounds very much like God WANTS them to obey…. but they dont.

    Did they obey? Nope. And (determinism again) their disobedience must have been what He planned before time, right?

    So which is it? “Oh that they would obey me” or “He didnt really want them to since they didnt.

    Funny…..this is not a gotcha passage (like the repeated Calvinist 40 verses). This is ALL OVER THE BIBLE.

    For good measure, Moses repeats it again.

    32 So Moses told the people, “You must be careful to obey all the commands of the Lord your God, following his instructions in every detail. 33 Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.

    Ask a Calvinist…. even a Calvinist pastor this simple question:

    Could the children of Israel have obeyed the Lord as Moses and God pleaded with them to do?

    1. If they say “yes, of course they could have obeyed.” Well then history would have been very different (it was not planned before time).

    2. If they say “no, all things happened as God wanted them to happen” (which is in fact Reformed theology), then God is being very deceptive here acting like He reeeeeaaaally wants the to obey.

    “Oh that they would…”

  47. Installment 3 of Deut 5-6, daily reading.

    You must obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, 2 and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the Lord your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3 Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

    ———–
    Over and over and over they are told if they fear the Lord and obey Him it will go well. By the way….one of the ways it goes well with them is that they have “many children.” That is a blessing of the Lord. Just sayin…

    The it goes on…

    7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
    [Why? So they will follow.]

    12 be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.
    [They were not to forget. Sounds like that was at least a possibility—not set in stone that they would disobey.] [Forget or not forget…choice is yours]

    14 “You must not worship any of the gods of neighboring nations, [or] …. His anger will flare up against you, and he will wipe you from the face of the earth.

    18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so all will go well with you. [again and again and again He says it.]

    Do this…get this… Do that …you get that..

    That is not determinism.

  48. Luke 7:16-35 is the NT passage for today.

    16 Great fear swept the crowd, and they praised God, saying, “A mighty prophet has risen among us,” and “God has visited his people today.”17 And the news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding countryside.
    ———————

    They believe because they saw what He did. Reminds me of John 10 and John 14 when Christ says… “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.”

    Sounds like He is saying …. You dont believe me but you will believe when you see these miracles. Now that’s persuading someone! No “given-faith” there just persuading them with miracles like the disciples did later.

    So John’s disciples ask him, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting?” Does Jesus say—- “My elect will know.” Nah… He just says….look at all the miracles I am doing to prove it and persuade you!!!

    Then He goes on to say..
    23 “And he added, “God blesses those who do not fall away because of me .'”

    What? Christ says God will bless if you do not fall away. He doesnt say….. God blesses you by making you not fall away.

    After a few more comments the passage says….
    29 When they heard this, all the people—even the tax collectors—agreed that God’s way was right, for they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and experts in religious law rejected God’s plan for them, for they had refused John’s baptism.

    Even the tax collectors said God’s way if right! Why? Because they “were the elect”? Nah….cuz they had taken a step of faith and been baptized by John.

    But here is the real stunner….. look at verse 30 Did verse 30 hit you like a ton of bricks?!

    30 “But the Pharisees and experts in religious law rejected God’s plan for them…”

    What? They rejected God’s plan for them? Were they “thwarting” God’s will? Sounds like they were thwarting. Thwart, thwart, thwart…… I can just hear them now. God had a plan and they rejected it?

    So we can reject God’s plan? Calvinist scream all the time “FOH, you are saying that man is stronger than God. Man cannot thwart God’s plan!!”

    Thwart they did.

    Scripture says they rejected God’s plan for them…. but c’mon…. who in their right mind is gonna turn around and say…. “see that makes the Pharisees stronger than God”?

    No, just cuz I says that man can thwart God’s will (which is what the Bible tells us) that does not mean I am elevating man over God. That’s just silly.

    Wasn’t it young Shawn who recently mocked and said God does not function “as if plan A doesn’t work but plan B did?”

    What about these Pharisees who “rejected God’s plan for them”?

    1. Every single time an individual sins, God’s will is thwarted. Which is why Jesus instructed his disciples to pray that soon God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven, that soon men will cease resisting and thwarting God’s good and perfect plan for his creation.

  49. Tsoo replied,
    No one will stand before God and calmly assert: “I could do nothing else but sin. I waited and waited, but you gave me no faith.” Most Calvinists simply do not understand that this is exactly what their assertions would produce, or simply push such troubling thoughts from their minds.

    Oh yes we who understand when one has the correct interpretation of Romans 9 that will be a response from the flesh of human reason according the text.I don’t believe you haven’t represented the falling creature well though,he doesn’t wait on God to save him,he hates God.He cannot believe and he will not believe.He is without excuse.

    Romans 9:18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
    19 ¶ You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”
    20 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?

    1. Shawn writes:
      “He cannot believe and he will not believe. He is without excuse.”

      Now how can any rational person not see the utter lack of logic here? If he CANNOT believe, then he has the absolute, ultimate excuse – ‘I cannot do what you demand, because you made me unable to do so.’ This is so obvious, and yet Calvinists can say, without blushing, ‘Man cannot believe’ and ‘Man is without excuse.’ Mind blowing.

      1. Tsoo replied,
        Now how can any rational person not see the utter lack of logic here? If he CANNOT believe, then he has the absolute, ultimate excuse

        I see these terms of rational logic being tossed around alot on here and I believe deep down this might be used to describe human reason which is what Paul was dealing with in the objections to the text.

        Romans 9:13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”
        14 ¶ What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!

      2. The biggest confusion a Calvinist has is in not seeing that God’s sovereign choice of individuals according to Romans 9 was indeed to help fulfill His promise of salvation in Christ, but those choices of individuals 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 else in Israel, nor did it guarantee damnation of Esau or of everyone else 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.

      3. Shawn writes:
        “Romans 9:13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.””

        I do imagine, in this day and age, that most people would realize that this is an idiom, a turn of phrase that has long been misinterpreted by those who know nothing of the ancient languages.

        In the same manner, Jesus elsewhere commands people to hate their father and mother – yet almost no one would claim that he genuinely intended for people to begin hating their parents. This idiom was used to express degrees; by ‘hating’ one party and ‘loving’ another, a distinction was being made as to what one’s priorities should be. An individual should love God so much, that his very deep, natural love for his parents would seem like hatred in comparison.

        Unquestionably, God chose Jacob over Esau, and one can gain much insight from studying the possible reasons. What one would be foolish, and misled by, is granting the English concept of ‘Esau I have hated’ as a literal interpretation of an ancient idiom. And yet Calvinists continue to do this, to this very day, in spite of countless reference materials which can shed greater light upon the subject. God selected Jacob for a task, and it was important that all future men would understand that this was God’s task, and was not an obligation based upon the deservedness of the people involved.

        Distorting the reason for God explaining that Jacob was chosen for the task and privilege of revealing the revelation of God’s love for all mankind, Calvinism falsely asserts that Jacob was chosen for ‘salvation’ – which is not the point made at all. Repeatedly, scripture makes very clear that not only Jacob, but all of the people of Israel were unworthy of their chosen task. They were often condemned as idolotrous, stiff-necked, rebellious people; yet God accomplished his plan in spite of their sin and rebellion.

        Unfortunately, long, long ago, Calvin sowed many seeds of misunderstanding which have taken firm root in the theology that yet bears his name. Once again, and a thousand times I will say that the Calvinist owes it to himself to study and understand what other god-fearing men say about the passages of scripture for which they hold to a unique interpretation. It is ignorant and unproductive to pretend that theirs is the only possible explanation. The genuine seeker of wisdom does not refuse consideration of all possibilities, but listens with careful, prayerful thoughtfulness and seeks God’s leading into greater understanding. That process is short-circuited when the individual simply adopts the prepackaged system of another man or men, as is often the case with institutional religions.

      4. Shawn
        I see these terms of rational logic being tossed around alot on here and I believe deep down this might be used to describe human reason

        br.d
        Shawn – I think you are saying you don’t have the ability to tell the difference between true and false.
        Is that what is being enunciated here?

    2. Shawn:
      You said “he hates God.”

      I never understood how Calvinists could say that all people hate God. All people are God-haters.

      The Bible talks a lot about God-fearing Gentiles, who were not believers. Does it really mean they hated God?

      Lydia went down to the river to pray and was a “worshiper of God” (well before she met the disciples and heard the Gospel). Was she a God-hater AND a worshiper of God?

      Devout Catholics who go to mass every morning and call out to Christ (but just dont know the saving Gospel) are they really God-haters?

      The Rich young ruler was seeking Christ and called Him good (he just had too much money). Was he a God-hater?

      Paul in Athens:

      Acts 17:23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

      Were they God-haters or just ignorant?

      “Some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.”

      Were the latter ones God-haters?

      Cornelius in Acts 10:2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.

      Was he a God-hater all those years?

      You are just repeating the Calvinist talking points….but it’s not backed up by Scripture

      1. And that’s what you see with the countless brainwashed Calvinists who read their little Calvinist books, and listen to their Calvinist podcasts and swallow whole everything their Calvinist pastor says. They can memorize and repeat illogical nonsense because it never goes through the filter of their mind. Logic, reason and consistency with scripture and real life are all abandoned, replaced by rote memorization of prooftexts and talking points. And they call that a ‘relationship’. That it is not – it is simply empty religion.

    3. Shawn,
      Are you aware that whole books have been written on the non-Calvinist interpretation of Romans 9?

      Are you aware that the Potter’s story comes from Jeremiah 18?

      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.
      ————

      Plan A…pot He was shaping marred, so He went to plan B (just like you said He never does).

      It goes on to say if He plans to tear down a nation and they repent He will change His plans. What does that mean Shawn?

      That is why Paul used that in Romans 9 to show Israel that He can now include the Gentiles. He does what He wants….It is talking about nations not individuals!

      It only says what you are saying if you want it to say that.

    4. Shawn
      when one has the correct interpretation of Romans 9

      br.d
      Shawn its statements like this that reveal an infantile approach to Biblical scholarship and little more than posturing.
      We’re used to this – from another Calvinist who spent years in inflated posturing here.
      So I guess I shouldn’t have had higher expectations.

      1. The moment a Calvinist can accurately and fairly explain any of the non-Calvinist interpretations of Romans 9 is the moment I will consider him in search of honest truth and understanding. Pretty much every commenter on these threads can do justice to Calvinism’s interpretation of Romans 9, despite disagreeing with it. Yet the average Calvinist not only cannot explain the alternatives, he typically believes that there are no legitimate alternatives. No one can properly debate a topic without fully understanding his opponent’s position. Calvinists almost universally fail to do this.

        From my first months in my former Calvinist church, I was constantly holding up my hand to challenge the pastor’s characterization of what non-Calvinists believe about this and that. I was constantly forced to say, ‘Maybe someone out there believes this, but I have to say that none of the non-Calvinists I know hold to your portrait of non -Calvies’ beliefs. It certainly does not describe what I hold to.’ He usually granted the legitimacy of my statement, then proceeded as if I had never spoken.

      2. TS00
        He usually granted the legitimacy of my statement, then proceeded as if I had never spoken.

        br.d
        Proceeded as if that which is staring one in the face doesn’t exist.
        That reminds me of the youtube videos – the way typically Calvinists respond to Dr. Flowers :-]

  50. Fromoverhere writes
    1. From the Greek we know that Eph 2:8-9 does NOT insist or teach that the faith is given to you (even Calvinist scholars agree with this, but the rank and file Calvinists keep repeating it!!!).

    We have two really different views of faith and of death and I think we should flush these out with scripture, and
    I’m really not concerned with what Calvinist scholars say or non Calvinist scholarship proclaim,but what does scripture teach,I believe the faith is a gift God,so are you saying that faith isn’t God’s gift to a man?

    1. Shawn,

      Of course we are saying that faith is not the gift mentioned in that verse!! Grace is!

      Think about it….. all those people listed in Hebrews 11…

      4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

      [How does Abel still speak to us? We are encouraged to have faith by his example!!! In the Calvinist model…. you cannot “have faith” you have to sit there and be “given faith”. So Abel teaches us nothing then…]

      5 By faith Enoch ….For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. [He pleased God. Can God be “pleased”? That means He “changes”. Also….Enoch pleased God with his faith…. not God gave Enoch faith.]

      6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. [We must believe. We must seek. That pleases God.]

      7 By faith Noah, ….built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith. [He acted on his faith —- like applying the blood in faith. He “became” an heir by his faith.]

      8 By faith Abraham, ….obeyed and went…

      9 By faith he made ……

      13 All these people were still living by faith when they died….. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. [It even says that God is not ashamed to be called their God!!]

      17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. [It even says AGAIN that this was a test.]

      20 By faith Isaac…..

      21 By faith Jacob…..

      22 By faith Joseph……

      23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. [Moses’ parents had faith! What does it say ….. they acted and they we not afraid.]

      24 By faith Moses….. refused……He chose…He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt…

      27 By faith he left Egypt…. he persevered….. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. [He refused, he chose, he regarded, he left, he persevered, he kept the Passover —- the APPLICATION of the blood.] [ All of these are acts of faith— it even says “he chose”…. by free will!]

      29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land….[they had to take the steps of faith]

      30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell… [they had to march around it in faith]

      31 By faith the prostitute Rahab…. [she had to welcome the spies.]

      32 And what more….. Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets….

      39 These were all commended for their faith… [They were commended for their faith! You do not give someone something and then say “congratulations on having that”. ]

      ————-

      Shawn…. what does all this teach us? Have faith!!

      Jesus says, “Ye of little faith…” That means “have more!”

      Jesus says, “If you only had faith….” He means…. Have faith!

      That is why we say “walk in faith” “steps of faith” “grow in faith” “enduring faith”

      None of this make sense if you just wait for God to give you faith.

      Grace is unmerited favor.

      Faith is believing in that.

      The first one you cannot do for yourself (God gives Grace)

      The second one you can.

      That is the whole point of the hundreds and hundreds of verses about faith. Otherwise….what do any of these verses mean Shawn?

      1. Fromoverhere you’re Ephesians interpretation is very mute,everything that accompanies salvation is a gift of God repentance,faith,redemption,forgiveness,perseverance,glorification.

        You are running to other passages that exhort men
        to faith,I’m wanting us to examine the origin of faith where it comes from not the actions or result of faith.

        You seem to be separating grace as God’s gift to man and faith as man’s gift to God am understanding you correctly?

      2. Shawn,

        Oh my, yes you are understanding me.

        Shawn, my guess is that you have surrounded yourself exclusively with people who promote the Greek philosophy idea that God does everything (the script was written long ago and God decreed it).

        They also insist that man is dead (even though the prodigal son who Christ said was “dead” came to his senses) and incapable of hearing God’s call.

        They also insist that grace is from God (true) and faith is from God (where does it ever say that? The Bible never says that.).

        but you just repeat, repeat, repeat.

        Even if I show you 400 verses (Christ saying “your faith has healed you” “why do you lack faith?” “he was surprised by their faith” “if you have faith you can….” “God-fearing Gentiles with faith” “worshipers of God with faith” ) you will just repeat what you have been taught….. people cannot have faith … man is dead …. total depravity.

        Unless you at least listen to and wrestle with the passages (100 times more than any Calvinist passages) you will just repeat, repeat, repeat.

        I know. I did.

      3. All of these interactions with Shawn display what happens when one attempts to interact with an unthinking loyalist, rather than a person determined to grapple with options and come to the best possible understanding.

        When I confront a confusing passage, or one that I am aware is interpreted differently by various parties, I do everything I can to get better understanding. I look it up to see the word for word interpretation from the original language. I read all the commentaries I can uncover, looking for insight and hints of bias. I examine its context to see to whom, by whom and in what circumstances it is written. I compare it to as many other passages on the same subject as I can find and I hold it up, prayerfully, for God to instruct me. Then, I hold my conclusions loosely, allowing them to be further refined and improved by the study of scripture, interactions with other believers and/or scholars and the leading of the Holy Spirit. I never feel that I have ‘arrived’ at the one and only complete and perfect understanding, nor do I expect any other man to do so.

        The worst possible, and least constructive approach is to restrict oneself to those who share the same worldview and theological baggage, and to barricade one’s mind with their singular prooftexts and interpretations. To hold up a theological concept like a revered idol is to turn it into a false god, who can never be questioned, doubted or cast down.

        My favorite verses of scripture are Ps 25:4-5:

        “Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
        teach me thy paths.
        Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
        for thou art the God of my salvation;
        for thee I wait all the day long.”

        I cannot earnestly pray this when I am looking to men and following their lead, rather than seeking the most precious gift of God’s own guidance. I had to learn this the hard way, after being browbeaten by Calvinism to submit to ‘the authority of scripture’, by which it was meant, their particular interpretation of scripture. It is much more healthful and satisfying to engage, once again, with the living God.

      4. Shawn
        Fromoverhere ….You are running to other passages that exhort men to have faith.

        br,d
        Shawn can you provide a scripture which EXPLICITLY states the THEOS exhorts or commands a man to do the very thing which the THEOS has RENDERED-CERTAIN that man not do?

        Please – no scripture verses that rely on vague or imaginative inferences.
        Looking for a verse that states this EXPLICITLY and without equivocation.
        Thanks

      5. Three gifts of faith from God.

        The ability to believe is a gift of God at birth to all. The information, at least sufficient light, or revelation to enable seeking His mercy, which He paid for in Christ, is given as the faith to trust in to each person a few times in their life.

        That enlightenment (the revelation faith) and opportunity to believe it (to exercise their ability faith) is given by God to each. If they do, the change in the new birth to continually believe (permanent faith) is given to each who exercise their God-given ability to believe (ability faith) in the God-given information (revelation faith) when the opportunity is there.

        But God doesn’t do the believing for us.

        *******

        Yep… believing the Scriptures according to normal rules if grammar and context does oppose Calvinism. The noun faith with the definite article “the” normally refers to the enlightenment “faith” that God must give .

        The verb “believe” is the ability faith, and the parable of the sower proves unregenerate people can exercise faith in a positive way.

        The verb “believe” in Greek, in the present tense, continuous action, stands for those born into God’s family whose faith expressed before that is now changed to be everlasting. Praise His Name!

    2. Shawn
      I’m really not concerned with what Calvinist scholars say or non Calvinist scholarship proclaim,but what does scripture teach

      br.d
      Let me de-code the wording of this statement.

      I am unwilling to acknowledge there are other legitimate interpretations of scripture (as Calvinist scholarship acknowledges)
      I only consider my own interpretation of scripture legitimate – even if doing so disagrees with Calvinist scholarship.

      1. Fromoverhere writes,
        I mean….. He is deceiving us by saying it is “her faith” or this Gentile has great faith….. when He gave it to them. And besides….. why does He never, never, never say “I gave you the faith you have in me”?

        Answer to the question : it is her faith because gave it to her as gift by His grace Ephesians 2:8,its my salvation because God gave it to me but not because it originated from me.

        Why does the Bible not say that I gave you the faith to believe in me?

        It’s does Ephesians 2:8,but since you don’t accept that one,here’s another
        Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

      2. Shawn
        Answer to the question : it is her faith because gave it to her as gift by His grace Ephesians 2:8,its my salvation because God gave it to me but not because it ORIGINATED from me.

        br.d
        Thanks Shawn – please provide the quote here from someone who asserted that faith ORIGINATES from man rather than the THEOS.

      3. br.d. I suppose I could be your bad guy. Admittedly, God is the object of our faith, this without him there would be no power or promise to believe in, but the faith itself is man’s response to who God is. You either believe that he is good, loving and trustworthy or deny his character, or even his very existence.

        Personally, I would allege that if faith could be ‘given’ to man by God, it would be ‘given’ to all men. The weight God puts upon it as being more valuable than perfect behavior, suggests the value with which he views it. This value rests in it being a voluntary response to God’s revelation of himself, a life-altering trust in that which is unseen, incomprehensible and often difficult to cling to in a fallen world.

        Perhaps I stand alone, but I see God as providing all that man needs to be forgiven, reborn and someday glorified. Yet he declares throughout scripture that the condition of such gifts is genuine faith. And if you are like me, it is often as small as a mustard seed, as I wrestle with doubt, fear and discouragement that the promise is so slow to arrive.

        But God sees, and values, that tiny little seed of faith, and seeks to strengthen and increase it. He exercises his faithfulness, even in the midst of trying circumstances, causing my faith to grow ever deeper roots and to eventually produce the desired fruit of good works.

        I am not ashamed of this interaction, of God seeking and rewarding my response to him, for it is the very thing upon which our salvation is conditioned and anchored. It is certainly in no way taking credit for the atonement and grace that God alone could provide – it is simply applying the blood to the doorpost, the looking to the serpent in the wilderness which God requires in order for us to receive that which he has offered. God’s faithfulness is sure and unchanging – the only variable is man’s response.

      4. TS00
        Perhaps I stand alone, but I see God as providing all that man needs to be forgiven, reborn and someday glorified.

        br.d
        I see this statement as the opposite of a claim that faith ORIGINATES with man rather than God.

        TS00
        Personally, I would allege that if faith could be ‘given’ to man by God, it would be ‘given’ to all men.

        br.d
        I think this is correct – however for me God gives faith in measures – which are moderated by how a man uses it
        As Jesus teaches in the parable of the talents.
        For example, God gave a certain type of faith to young David who used it to kill Goliath.

        But he did not give David aspects of faith which he gave to Elijah – who prayed and the wood/water were consumed with fire, or the aspects of faith he gave to Moses who lifted his rod and the red sea was parted.

        When a person walks into a room and sits down in a chair – he exercises a type of faith – that the chair will hold his body.
        A man can lie to a young girl who exercises faith that what he says is true even if it isn’t.

        Calvinists can’t deny this type of faith is common to all men whether saved or not.
        If a young girl can exercise faith in a man who lies to her – why can’t she exercise that same faith in the message of the Gospel?

        Calvinists have to argue that that would be a different kind of faith.
        But what scripture verses EXPLICITLY declare that to be the case?

        I think Calvinists twist the scripture to make it APPEAR to conform to Augustine’s philosophy.

    3. Shawn
      There are so many verses about having faith…

      John 20: 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

      ——————-

      Jesus did signs that John wrote about….SO THAT you may believe ….You dont need to have miraculous signs to prove to people who you are if you can just give them faith (and if you give them faith, the signs do nothing).

      Paul says “he persuades men” ….. You dont persuade someone that God irresistibly gave faith to!

      Paul says “he reasons with men” ….. You dont reason (use logic) with someone that God irresistibly gave faith to!

      Many times Christ says “Go, your faith has healed you.” or (about a Gentile) “Not in all the house of Israel have I seen such faith.”

      What is the point?

      What is the point, Shawn if Christ is actually referring to some “given-faith” that Christ Himself knew about and gave them?

      I mean….. He is deceiving us by saying it is “her faith” or this Gentile has great faith….. when He gave it to them. And besides….. why does He never, never, never say “I gave you the faith you have in me”?

      Below is the Calvinist idea of faith in the Rich Young Ruler story.

      Christ loved him and called him to follow….. but the man walked away sad because Christ did not give him faith. What? That makes no sense and teaches us nothing.

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