FACTORS BEYOND THE AGENT’S CONTROL?

by Leighton Flowers

We all intuitively know that it is morally wrong to condemn people due to factors beyond their control.

For example, this is why racism is so detestable. A person has no control over their skin color and thus it would be completely unjust to condemn or mistreat people on the basis of this factor. I think we can all agree that is a reasonable conclusion that can be intuitively affirmed.

But, what if that factor isn’t external but internal? For instance, what if someone is born with a mental disorder which prevented them from carrying out normal human functions but outwardly they looked normal? I think we all intuitively know that it would also be completely immoral to condemn the mentally disabled for their inability to function normally. Why? Because it is a “factor beyond the agent’s control.” Are we all in agreement so far?

But what if the factor isn’t external, like one’s skin color, or mental, like a inborn ailment? What if the factor is spiritual? Does this principle change? If so, on what basis?

If the reason one is condemned is for “factors beyond the agent’s control” (ie born spiritually dead, guilty of sins committed by ancestors, not savingly loved by their maker, not granted faith, etc) on what basis can we call their condemnation just?

How would condemning the reprobate within the Calvinistic worldview be in any significant way different than condemning all people born with blue eyes, for instance? Does making the condition a physical feature in any way change the principle regarding the condemnation of someone due to “factors beyond their control?”

Here are some passages to consider:

“The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” -John‬ ‭12:48‬

“They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” -2 Thessalonians‬ ‭2:10‬b

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” -John‬ ‭3:14-18‬

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” -2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17-21‬

According to the verses above it seems those who are condemned are condemned for refusing to believe and accept the truth God makes clearly known. And those who are saved are reconciled by replying in faith to God’s appeals for reconciliation.

The bad news is that we all would be condemned if not for His Provision of grace but it is our responsibility to confess our sin and trust in Christ so as to be saved, something that is not outside our control, which is what makes it such good news for the whole world.

To my Calvinistic friends: Before objecting please give a rational explanation as to how the reprobate (non-elect) within your world view are not ultimately being condemned due to factors beyond their control, or admit that is true and give a rational explanation as to how and why that is any more just than condemning people due to race or mental disabilities.

Also, before committing the “you too fallacy,” answer the charge brought against your position first and then we can discuss any charge you’d like to raise about our position.

Thank you.

362 thoughts on “FACTORS BEYOND THE AGENT’S CONTROL?

  1. Leighton,
    Our Calvinist friends will say something like, “We know it doesn’t make sense, but that’s what the Bible says so we believe it!”

    But that’s the beauty of it!!!

    The Bible only says that if you INSIST on a certain interpretation of a few certain verses. Otherwise, the Bible does not seem to be saying that at all!

    So yeah, chuck that idea that God is prejudice, immoral, or a “respecter of persons” and see in the Bible that He loves all men (not just “all kinds of men”) and that Christ gave His life that anyone can call on Him.

  2. I have nearly completely abandoned my “neo-reformed” doctrinal positions, so I’m generally in agreement with you. But on this point, I was taught a somewhat different perspective. The idea, based in part on Romans 3:10-11, was that everyone is under wrath because of sin (generally our own sin, although we inherit the sinful nature because of Adam). In my version of “Calvinist light”, as you’ve called it, Grace is freely offered to all. So if any sinner would turn in faith, they could be saved. However, no sinner ever does, because they love their sin. So for anyone to be saved, the Father must first draw him (John 6:44) and work a change in his heart. Therefore, He chooses some to save, and lets the rest continue on the path they’ve already chosen.

    I still partly believe it this way, with some adjustment. Since I’ve never believed in Limited Atonement (because it’s a position based more on logic than scripture), I really believe Grace for salvation is available to all. In John 3:16 Jesus says “WHOSOEVER believeth”, and in John 12:32 He says “I will draw ALL men unto me.” I still believe people will continue in sin until they have a heart change, but I believe that happens to everybody who hears the Gospel, “for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Romans 1:16) (also reference Rom 10:14). But while I believe everyone hearing the gospel is also given the Grace to respond, I believe they are also free to turn away from the truth (2 Tim 4:4; Heb 12:25).

    Now, I’m still in transition, so my thoughts on these things aren’t fully developed. I appreciate the help I’ve received through both your blog and your podcast.

    1. Welcome Everett! Enjoy!

      What if God’s light is powerful enough to draw anyone and everyone sufficiently to an opportunity and enablement to make a free decision… what’s the problem?

      And John 6:44 is not a gotcha verse if one recognizes that the one drawn is not logically guaranteed in that grammatical construction to either come or to be raised up just because he is drawn. Only the one drawn and who comes is promised to be raised up. Even if “drag” is used here or in John 12:32… the meaning is only to drag to a location… There is no guaranteed change made in the person’s nature just by being drawn. Once they are brought to the location or before the person, like Christ… they have to make a decision what to do next and how to respond to the options and information they now have in that location or before that person!

      The same Greek word for “drawn” is used in the LXX in Neh 9:30… and that group of Israelites, though drawn by God to the opportunity to obey Him, did not do it. The Hebrew word for “drawn” used in Neh 9:30 is also used in Hos 11:4-5, which again is showing that Israel was “drawn” by God with love to Himself, but they refused Him. Paul recalls this kind of drawing with love, using the words of Isaiah where God said – “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people” Rom 10:21. Does God only play act His love already knowing it only can and will be rejected? Not my God.

      Paul and Silas were “drawn” before the rulers of Philippi and then thrown into prison (Acts 16:19)… There they were free and able to either groan and complain or pray and sing! We know what they freely chose to do! I actually prefer the idea of “drag”. God graciously “drags” us to a place of decision. We cannot escape that “grace”, and we are now able and responsible for how we freely respond to it… making us clearly without excuse at the final judgment of God!

      *********
      Are you familiar with identifying distributed and non-distributed terms when premises are being evaluated as to what is logically valid to prove from them? In 6:44 the “no one can come” is a distributed term… but “the Father draws” is a non-distributed term. The “will be raised up” is non-distributed also.

      In brief Jesus is saying that all who come will be raised up. But the verse is not logically proving that they are the only ones to be raised up (deceased infants maybe also).

      And being drawn is necessary to enable coming, but the premise doesn’t prove it is the only thing necessary to enable coming (the context reveals looking at the Son and believing is also part of those coming). Nor does the verse guarantee that all who are drawn, and therefore enabled to come, will actually come.

      The emphasis on coming and believing is throughout this passage. It fits the purpose of the book…that unbelievers reading would be enabled/drawn to come and believe and then receive the everlasting life of the new birth (20:31). But reading doesn’t cause coming and believing.

      Reading determinism into these verses that don’t clearly prove it and whose purpose even contradicts determinism is just sad!

    2. Hello Everett and welcome!

      I’m very heartened by the degree of sincerity and integrity you express.
      And I must however acknowledge, from my experience, that that degree of sincerity and integrity is an indicator that you have not progressed into full Calvinism.

      Full Calvinism embraces what is commonly called “Universal Divine Causal Determinism”
      The thesis that all things without exception are determined by the THEOS at the foundation of the world.
      In Reformed vernacular – they are RENDERED-CERTAIN at the foundation of the world.

      Calvinist; Dr. James N. Anderson, of the Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte NC, in his published work Calvinism and the first sin, states it this way:

      “It should be conceded at the outset, and without embarrassment, that Calvinism is indeed committed to divine determinism: the view that everything is ultimately determined by God…..take it for granted as something on which the vast majority of Calvinists uphold and may be expressed as the following: “For every event [E], God decided that [E] should happen and that decision alone was the ultimate sufficient cause of [E].”

      Calvinist theologian R. C. Sproul states it this way:
      “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, God is not God”.

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

      Dr. William Lane Craig explains how determinism makes all things outside of our control:
      -quote:
      The difference between the person who weighs the arguments for determinism and rejects them and the person who weighs them and accepts them is wholly that one was determined by causal factors outside himself to believe and the other not to believe. When you come to realize that your decision to believe in determinism was itself determined and that even your present realization of that fact right now is likewise determined, a sort of vertigo sets in, for everything that you think, even this very thought itself, is outside your control. “

    3. Great to hear from you Everett!

      Please read the whole context of Romans 3.

      He starts with

      “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?”

      Then he says , “What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.”

      The whole setting is to show that all have sinned and all are equal in meriting death. So no one does enough right to undo the wrong….but not that no one can ever do even one tiny right/ good/ nice/ patient thing.

      His meaning is …dont count on a bit of credit for being a Jew.

      But 10-11 are used far too liberally by Calvinists. The verses go on to say this about ALL:

      “Their throats are open graves;
      their tongues practice deceit.”
      “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
      14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
      15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

      Do we literally all have the poison of vipers on our lips? Or is this his poetic way to make a point?

      We all have feet that are swift to shed blood?

      Nah….. these verses do not mean what Calvinists (in their NEED to prove Total Depravity) make them mean. Context!

      Stick around Everett and join some of us former Calvinists!

    4. After reading the replies to my comments, I thought I should clarify a couple of things.

      First, I think I may have been confusing about what I mean by “heart change”. I wasn’t taking into consideration that the Calvinists you normally encounter on this forum actually believe the person is essentially converted before he even makes the choice to repent and believe. I don’t believe there’s any “pre-decision” conversion like that. What I mean by “heart change” is that by the preaching of the gospel the fallow ground of the heart is broken up so that the person is able to receive the seed being sown by the preacher. It’s that person’s choice whether to reject it, or to allow that seed to take root and grow.

      Second, I’m aware that universalists often quote passages containing the words “all men” to support their errant doctrine. I don’t believe when Jesus said he would draw all men they would automatically be saved without their conscious decision to respond, repent, and believe.

      Third, I’m very aware of the warped view of the Sovereignty of God held by strict 5 point Calvinists. In fact, as I was experiencing the deconstruction of my own “Calvinist light” beliefs, I learned more about what “full Calvinists” believe than I had known prior. I remember being surprised, even shocked, by John Piper’s weird assertion that even when he’s playing Scrabble with his wife, God controls the tiles in the bag! I was equally surprised to learn that some of my friends actually believed that God in his sovereignty causes people to sin, contrary to James 1:3. I remember being appalled by a discussion in my men’s Bible study group where it was stated that God caused David to sin with Bathsheba. What???!!!! So, God then punished him in judgement for the sin that he had no choice or control over committing? Ridiculous, and highly offensive to malign God’s character that way! I spent enough years in deep sin myself to know that consequences I’ve reaped are my own fault.

      As far as the 5 points of the TULIP, I never believed in the “L”. The “I” fell apart when I couldn’t find that in scripture (in fact plenty of scripture in opposition). The “U” fell when I heard Leighton discussing the idea of Corporate Election, and just looking at the Election proof texts in context! The “P” went down while studying Hebrews (although I still don’t believe people just “lose” their salvation. I do believe people can renounce it, though.) So the “T” is the only one still standing, and it’s on really shaky ground as I’ve gained more understanding of what Calvinists actually believe on that topic, which seems to be quite different from my definition!

      Since that last bit was me going off on a tangent, allow me this last indulgence. I’ve been amused when watching Leighton debate a Calvinist as they assert that he somehow doesn’t understand the Calvinist position! I chuckle when he informs them of the number of years he spent as a Calvinist. But what really amuses me is that as they explain what they actually believe, I find more reasons to reject it. That’s right! I just didn’t understand what I was saying when I said I was Calvinist! Now that you’ve explained it, I’m pretty sure I don’t wanna be that anymore! LOL!

      1. Everett,
        That is music to my ears that you are farther than you think away from Calvinism!

        Hard-core Calvinists would say that means you are leaving the Gospel.

        Harder-core Calvinists will say that God determined that you would determine that Calvinism is not true!

        Average Calvinists will say that you are just preferring a different tradition/interpretation within the church (that’s nice).

      2. Everett, if you read here much you will find that many here once held to what they thought was Reformed Theology (Calvinism). It is usually a fuller understanding of the necessary doctrines to the system that leads people to begin doubting its veracity. I know many loving, God-fearing, bible -revering individuals who call themselves ‘Calvinists’, but would be appalled at these very necessary doctrinal assertions. They have been told, by pastors, authors and others that that is not ‘true’ Calvinism, or that it is Hyper-Calvinism, or that some things simply cannot be resolved so must be ‘held in tension’.

        In other words, rather than confront the assertions of the theological system honestly, head-on, many are reassured, distracted and encouraged to focus on more helpful things. It is this lack of transparency, of honestly addressing legitimate questionable assertions inherent to Calvinism that has led many of us to comment here, in hopes of informing, assisting and encouraging others who struggle with these issues.

        May God continue to bless and lead you – along with all of us – into more and more understanding as we spend time in his Word and learning from our life experiences.

      3. Haha! “Hyper-Calvinism” – yeah, that sounds familiar! And the constant appeal to mystery, all while concurrently being taught about “the plain meaning” of scripture!

      4. Everett
        I remember John Piper’s weird assertion that even when he’s playing Scrabble with his wife, God controls the tiles in the bag!

        br.d
        Its clear to me that John Piper is an expert at damage control language – what I call “cosmetic” language .
        Mostly he does this by using language that is strategically misleading and especially NOT truth-telling.

        As you can see from the quotes I provided from R.C. Sproul and Paul Helms – not only does Calvin’s god control which tiles are in the bag which Piper will pull out – he also controls every neurological impulse that will ever appear in Pipers brain – so that Piper cannot even have one single thought that he can call his own.

        ALL things without exception are determined (including every neurological impulse and every body movement) at the foundation of the world – millennia before Mr. Piper existed.

        The fact that John Piper cannot tell the truth – the whole truth – and nothing but the truth – when he speaks
        Should be a red flag that something is wrong with the doctrine.

        These unspoken truths are such that John Pipe will not allow himself to even enunciate them.
        That should tell you something!

  3. Leighton
    If someone is born with a mental disorder which prevented them from carrying out normal human functions…I think we all intuitively know that it would also be completely immoral to condemn the mentally disabled for their inability to function normally.

    br.d
    Personally – I wouldn’t automatically assume this for a *CONSISTENT* Calvinist.

    Calvin’s god makes the rules for the creature – and he remains remiss from complying to those rules himself.

    As Jesus related concerning the Pharisees:
    “Do what they say – but not what they do -for they do not do what they say”.

    This is actually the *CONSISTENT* conception of Calvin’s god – who specifically designs each vessel for a given purpose.

    You’ve heard of “designer” jeans?

    Calvin’s god creates each individual as a “designer” person
    Who is born to commit “designer” sins.
    So that Calvin’s god can condemn these individuals to eternal torments which he designed.

    And Calvin’s god cannot be held accountable or conformable to any humanly known system of ethics.

    So yes – that Calvin’s god creates “designer” persons with mental disorders – specifically so that he can condemn them – is perfectly *CONSISTENT*

    Now in regard to Calvinists acknowledging this:
    Calvinists are ultimately highly calculating pragmatic utilitarians in nature.
    Everything they acknowledge or not is ultimately dependent upon whether or not doing so benefits or hurts the future of the doctrine.
    And Calvinists leaders are not going to allow the doctrine to which they are so heavily invested – go the way of the dinosaur

    So how a Calvinist responds to the *CONSISTENT* conception of Calvin’s god – simply reflects the current psychology of each individual Calvinist – as well as the current popularity (or unpopularity) of Calvinism as a whole.

    Calvinist leadership will acknowledge and promote *CONSISTENT* Calvinism if doing so makes the doctrine more popular.
    As we normally see on other related issues – they will typically otherwise deny, mislead, equivocate, and evade.
    All for the sake of the doctrine.
    That’s just the nature of the beast.

  4. Leighton,
    Dont forget that Calvinists declare that not only does God judge a person for things done beyond their control…. but He makes the judgement eternal, conscious torment. I would consider that a miscarriage of justice in any other scenario

  5. Dr. Flowers
    You had an interaction with James White on youtube – in which you (using consistent logic) responded to an accusation – by pointing out that the Calvinist in accusing you of doing something wrong is quite literally complaining about what Calvin’s god RENDERED-CERTAIN you do. And did so at the foundation of the world before you existed. So you had no say in the matter. And thus what he complains about was determined by factors beyond human control. In effect – Whites accusation amounts to complaining about god’s will.

    When you pointed this out – White’s response was to get demanding and posturing a parent-child relationship. As if he were playing the role of a parent scolding the child and telling him to STOP IT. His reason for this demand was to appeal to the “so called” PRESCRIPTIVE will of god.

    When one thinks this through logically what one finds concerning Whites argument – he is arguing that god requires people to communicate AS-FALSE what they inwardly know to be TRUE. In other words the PRESCRIPTIVE will requires a certain degree of dishonest testimony from the Calvinist.

    Jesus teaches: “But let your communication be yea yea – or nay nay – for anything else comes of evil”
    So obviously – to obey the “so called” PRESCRIPTIVE will – forces the Calvinist to disobey Jesus’ command.

    Being caught between two masters – he must cleave to one and compromise the other.

  6. I just posted this on another thread, but thought it applied here:

    Calvinism, sadly, portrays God as an angry, bloodthirsty monster who demands a blood sacrifice to slate his furious anger at sinful man. This ‘angry God’ image has been cleverly used to manipulate and control the masses through fear by the institutional church through the ages. I view it as an utterly false, man-made image in marked contrast to the genuine revelation of God, through Jesus, as a loving, gracious, merciful Father, abounding in goodness, patience, and longsuffering love.

    We will not arrive at a true picture of God and salvation until we cast off the old traditions of men, and begin to see God as Jesus presented him. Calvinism and all of its curses, wrath and blood sacrifices remains forever locked into the ancient pagan perspective which Jesus came to overthrow.

    Rather than being born under the curse of an angry God, who is only driven by a narcissistic desire for glory to spare a select few from his fierce wrath, scripture weaves the story of men being repeatedly seduced and deceived by empty promises and lies by the masterful deceiver. Man’s only hope is to trust in God and his ways, to forgo his self love and learn to live in humble service to God and others. Contrary to Calvinism’s ugly penal substitution or the similar divine satisfaction theories of atonement, I believe that Christ came to conquer sin and death, not to abate God’s wrath.

    I’m still in the process of throwing off the old programming, but I no longer buy the wrath, anger and fear that orthodox christianity has so long traded in. I no longer fear their bogey man god, but believe him to be a mythological creature crafted from twisted scriptures. If one could strip off the preening masks of haughty Calvinists, and get his view of god in street vernacular, I imagine it would sound something like this:

    “So you think God is a Mr. Nice Guy, eh, a real Mr. Rogers? Some lilly-livered coward, who comes crawling to men and begs them to love him, and cries when they say ‘no’. Well you don’t know nothing about the sovereign, omnipotent ruler of the universe. God is fierce and all-powerful, and your childish little songs will not stop him from chewing you up and spewing you out of his mouth. Even now, he holds you over the fiery pit, ready to drop you in, and you deserve it. He could destroy this planet with one blow of his fist, and he doesn’t have to answer to you or anyone. Unless he elected you, draws you and regenerates you, you are doomed, and ain’t nobody going to rescue you with their goody two shoes ‘God so loved the world’. He’ll love whoever he wants to love, and cast the rest into the pit of hell where they belong.”

    But of course, it sounds so much better couched in pious, grandiose terms.

  7. Dr Flowers I’m certainly glad (they) haven’t decided the reprobate are those with blue eyes considering that is my eye color😁 this article makes sense and I know personally that it would have helped me at a certain point in my life. I know there are people out there surrounded by this aggressive systematic that need these very words to remind them they’re not alone. It clearly gives pause to the very fact that we are all created in His image!!! I’m sure it isn’t always easy going up against such an imposing opposition who don’t seem to even care if they serve a just God while maintaining it’s for His glory that they hold fast. I did have my sister (who is a calvinist) tell me about 2 1/2 years ago that God loves the mentally handicap.. sounded good, but since that time I’ve wondered why she can stop there with His provision and love instead of it being for all people🤔
    I agree with the verses you’ve given and love this statement you wrote;
    (According to the verses above it seems those who are condemned are condemned for refusing to believe and accept the truth God makes clearly known. And those who are saved are reconciled by (relying) in faith to God’s appeals for reconciliation.)
    It is clear that this is a God who not only is just, but perfect in love! We are all without excuse thanks be to God for the perfect sacrifice His One and only Son Jesus Christ to Him all honor and glory forever and ever!!! Thank you for what you are doing..

    1. Reggie writes:
      “It is clear that this is a God who not only is just, but perfect in love! We are all without excuse thanks be to God for the perfect sacrifice His One and only Son Jesus Christ to Him all honor and glory forever and ever!!!”

      Amen! How overjoyed I was to trade in my cruel, determinist god and restore my faith in the real thing – a God who loves all men, and neither decrees nor rejoices in evil. The apparent meaning of scripture is true – God loves and calls to all men to turn from rebellion, self-serving and wickedness and follow him! So glad you have discovered this too.

      1. Thanks Leighton for all your work in these issues. I do sense that we are getting some traction in the tug of war over the nature of grace.

        Enjoying the new book. Hope we can meet up again sometime.

        Doug S

  8. “To my Calvinistic friends: before objecting please give a rational explanation as to how the reprobate (non-elect) within your world view are not ultimately being condemned for reasons beyond their control, or admit that is true and give a rational explanation as to how and why that is any more just than condemning people due to race or mental disabilities.”

    If a person is born without legs, he cannot run. If a person is born without faith, he cannot enter heaven. As it is impossible for a person without legs to run, so it is impossible for a person without faith to enter heaven. Everyone seems to recognize this. Dr. Flowers has mischaracterized the issue.

    1. Dr. Flowers
      “To my Calvinistic friends: before objecting *PLEASE* give a *RATIONAL* explanation as to how the reprobate (non-elect) within your world view are not ultimately being condemned for reasons beyond their control,…..”

      rhutchin
      If a person is born without legs, he cannot run. If a person is born without faith, he cannot enter heaven. As it is impossible for a person without legs to run, so it is impossible for a person without faith to enter heaven.

      Everyone seems to recognize this. Dr. Flowers has mischaracterized the issue.

      br.d
      And that is supposed to be a *RATIONAL* explanation! :-]

      So we know Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN persons to be vessels of wrath – born without legs – without faith – etc.

      My question:
      Why does Calvin’s god RENDER-CERTAIN all Calvinists void of RATIONAL thinking and truth-telling. :-]

    2. Your example doesn’t address the idea of how we get faith. And that makes all the difference. If you say that God has to provide the faith (for the elect), then you are right back to God condemning the unelect for something they had no control over. But the Bible clearly shows that faith comes through hearing the Word and believing. And “believing” in the concordance isn’t about “God caused me to believe.” It’s about allowing yourself to be persuaded by something and, consequently, committing to it and putting your faith in it. It is done by the person, not by God. And “receive” (as in Romans 1:5, 5:11 – receiving grace, reconciliation) is along the same lines. It’s not passive, as though God forces it on you. It’s about taking it, about reaching out and grabbing ahold of what is offered to you.

      1. Hey Heather, so are you saying that whether or not a certain individual has faith is outside the decree of God?

      2. That’s right Heather,

        You are right about the “persuade” part, just as Paul addresses.

        2 Corinthians 5:11
        Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.
        [Being persuaded —by Paul — certainly implies the person is involved. You do not persuade a “dead” man….. and the “irresistibly-graced” person would not need any “persuading”!!!]

        Acts 9:22
        Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
        [Who is Paul “proving” it to? Dead mean? Irresistibly-drawn need no proof.]

        1 Cor 9: 19
        Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

        Acts 17:2
        As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures
        [You cannot reason with “dead” men and irresistibly-grace-elect should not need to be reasoned with. Here again, Paul is claiming that to some degree, his reasoning is making a difference.]

        Acts 28:23
        When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.
        [Paul is “trying to convince them” (even the ESV says this!!).]

        Acts 28:24
        Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.
        [Well, there you go….. the Bible clearly says that the words of Paul were what convinced some.]

        Acts 18:4
        And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
        [More persuading!!]

        Acts 19:8
        And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.
        [Over and over. Persuading and reasoning with. You dont do that with “dead men.” So being “dead” is not what Calvinists say it is.]

      3. FOH writes, “You are right about the “persuade” part, just as Paul addresses.”

        And as the Calvinist asks, “Why are not all persuaded?”

      4. Don’t fall for it Heather.

        RH has no children I’m guessing.

        Some are persuaded to something and others are not. It aint rocket science.

        Oh…. and the go-to Romans passage (in context….) is about saying it’s not just about Israel now….. He can open it up to anyone…. He will now have mercy on all who come to Christ (not just historical Israel). That’s not rocket science either but often taken out of context.

      5. rhutchin: “as the Calvinist asks, “Why are not all persuaded?”
        FOH: “Some are persuaded to something and others are not. It aint rocket science.”

        If not rocket science, why does FOH purposely avoid giving an answer. Maybe, because he knows that God determines why one is persuaded and another is not.

        – “…it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.”
        – “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me,…”
        – ‘we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,…”
        – “God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him….”
        – “For whom God foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”

      6. Heather,

        When Calvinists throw up the smoke screen requiring you to somehow tell them why some believe (or are persuaded) and some aren’t…. just go to the Bible.

        Joshua (and many others) give us good examples of choices people make…

        24:15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
        ———–
        So sometimes…. serving the Lord (or being persuaded, reasoned with, or convinced: all Paul’s words) seems desirable….. but sometime people see it and desire something else.

        Funny, for Calvinism to be true Joshua would have said this in way to make that clear:

        ….But if serving the Lord [is not what God elected you to do], then “choose” [irresistibly] this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates [and God ordained some of you to do that], or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living [and God ordained some of you for that too]. But as for me and my household, we [were elected to] to serve the Lord.”

        The Bible is full of examples where God even works with people to bring them along in their choices (not just presto give them faith).

        Remember Gideon and the fleeces?

        Remember the signs given to doubtful Moses?

        Remember Christ did the same ….. He performed many miracles to help people along…… (John 20:31) But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

      7. I love it!

        You’re free to choose – ONLY what Calvin’s god pre-determined you to choose.
        And don’t be surprised if he condemns you for NOT choosing the very thing he didn’t permit you to choose.

        HOTEL CALVIN-FORNIA
        You’re free to check-out anytime you like – but you can never leave.

      8. br.d writes, “You’re free to choose – ONLY what Calvin’s god pre-determined you to choose.!’

        God predetermined you to choose that which you desired to choose. That which you did choose in the course of time was based on your desires at that time and was made without any prompting from God. So, you were free to choose. That God knew the choice you would make before you made that choice did not affect the freedom of your choice as William Craig has shown.

      9. br.d
        In Calvinism you’re free to choose – ONLY what Calvin’s god pre-determined you to choose.!’

        rhutchin
        God predetermined you to choose that which you desired to choose.

        br.d
        You can’t say my statement is FALSE without telling a lie.
        Evading the truth with red-herrings is still evading the truth.

        rhutchin
        That which you did choose in the course of time was based on your desires at that time and was made without any prompting from God.

        br.d
        FALSE

        John Calvin
        -qoute
        Men can deliberately do nothing unless He INSPIRE it

        Funny!
        I’m 100 times more truth-full about Calvinism than you are rhutchin
        And that doesn’t surprise me at all! :-]

      10. br.d writes, “In Calvinism you’re free to choose – ONLY what Calvin’s god pre-determined you to choose.!’
        Then, “You can’t say my statement is FALSE without telling a lie.”

        Your statement is true but incomplete as I noted, “God predetermined you to choose that which you desired to choose. ” Both statements are correct and consistent.

      11. br.d
        In Calvinism you’re free to choose – ONLY what Calvin’s god pre-determined you to choose.!’
        Then, “You can’t say my statement is FALSE without telling a lie.”

        rhutchin
        Your statement is true but incomplete as I noted, “God predetermined you to choose that which you desired to choose. ” Both statements are correct and consistent.

        br.d
        Except that your statement is strategically worded to be misleading.

        The more TRUTH-FULL statement is:
        “Calvin’s god predetermined you to choose that which Calvin’s god predetermined you to desire to choose”.

        To Funny!
        I’m 100 times more truthful about Calvinism than you are rhutchin
        And I’m not surprised at all why :-]

      12. br.d writres, “Except that your statement is strategically worded to be misleading.
        The more TRUTH-FULL statement is:
        “Calvin’s god predetermined you to choose that which Calvin’s god predetermined you to desire to choose”.

        If you mean, predetermined through secondary means and not directly by God or through coercion by God, then, Yes – but you haven’t added anything substantive to the conversation. The person still gets what he wants and is happy with his choice no matter what God knows or when He knew it.

      13. br.d
        Except that your statement is strategically worded to be misleading.
        The more TRUTH-FULL statement is:
        “Calvin’s god predetermined you to choose that which Calvin’s god predetermined you to desire to choose”.

        rhutchin
        If you mean, predetermined through secondary means and not directly by God or through coercion by God, then, Yes

        br.d
        FALSE
        In Calvin’s Theological Determinism – the only one can predetermine/predestine anything is Calvin’s god.
        Unless you want to argue that Calvin’s god “merely” permits creaturely attributes (e.g. desires choices)
        So once again – I’m 100 times more truthful about Calvinism than you are! :-]

        rhutchin
        – but you haven’t added anything substantive to the conversation.

        br.d
        Silly bird!
        Since your statement is still strategically misleading – trying to SNEAK in “mere” permission in camouflaged form – your contribution is substantive – in the negative.

        rhutchin
        The person still gets what he wants and is happy with his choice no matter what God knows or when He knew it.

        br.d
        And now you’re right back to where I started with this thread

        Let [X] = ANY/ALL creaturely attribute (desire/choice/want/happy/sin-nature – anything the Calvinist want’s to point to as a CAUSE)

        In Calvinism you are free to [X] ONLY what Calvin’s god pre-determined as your [X].
        You have no control or say about what your [X] will be.
        And no other [X] is permitted or made available.

      14. rh writes:
        “The person still gets what he wants and is happy with his choice no matter what God knows or when He knew it.”

        Of course, Calvinism would never allow for God merely foreknowing future events, so someone is once again being disingenuous. Calvinism is similar to Huxley’s Brave New World, in which all men will be brainwashed and sedated so that they will love their helpless servitude. God slips us the unseen desire pill and we ‘happily’ desire whatever he has ordained. Fine I guess, if you don’t mind slavery.

        The obvious alternative, which frees one from Calvinism’s unpleasant side effect of making God the author of evil, is that evil exists because God does not exert complete, meticulous control of his creation. It is because man was gifted with freedom that sin occurs, not some dastardly divine decree. This is the option that anyone who truly understands anything about the character of God will always go with.

      15. Right on!
        Calvin himself called it the decrees “horrible” – from the Old French – meaning “dreadful” or “terrible”.

      16. TS00 writes, “God slips us the unseen desire pill and we ‘happily’ desire whatever he has ordained.”

        No. Those desires arise form the person’s nature in conjunction with his knowledge, experiences, wants, etc. The person does that which he desires. God does not need to slip any desires in; desires arise from within himself.

        Then, “The obvious alternative…is that evil exists because God does not exert complete, meticulous control of his creation. It is because man was gifted with freedom that sin occurs, not some dastardly divine decree.”

        God can gift man with such freedom even when He exercises complete, meticulous control of his creation. You have not really identified an alternative. All you say is that God, in the exercise of His complete, meticulous control, gifts man with freedom to sin. That is what Calvinism says.

      17. rh writes:
        “God can gift man with such freedom even when He exercises complete, meticulous control of his creation. You have not really identified an alternative. All you say is that God, in the exercise of His complete, meticulous control, gifts man with freedom to sin. That is what Calvinism says.”

        No, that is not what Calvinism says, or even if Calvinists say those words, they are contrary to the logical outcome of their doctrine. Calvinism does not ‘gift man with freedom to sin’; Calvinism curses man with the inability to not sin. That, my friend is a great big, huge, enormous difference that Calvinists pretend to not see.

        A pirate king can say disingenuously to his captive, ‘Would you like to walk the plank now?’ when all present know that the captive has no real choice; he will walk voluntarily, or involuntarily. Calvinists can say ‘man chooses his own desires’ when all who understand Calvinism know that man has no other choice than what has been ordained for him. He will desire what God has ordained him to desire, and nothing else. He will choose God’s ordained plan or he will choose God’s ordained plan.

        This shows what a logical conundrum Calvinism creates. For if man cannot do otherwise than he has been pre-ordained to do, there is no possibility of sin. It doesn’t matter if God says ‘Thou shalt not’ if God has ordained that ‘Thou shalt’. Now I guess I see why they must keep up with the pretense. Even the most clever Calvinist can’t get away with eliminating sin and remaining true to scripture.

      18. TS00 writes, “Calvinism does not ‘gift man with freedom to sin’ Calvinism curses man with the inability to not sin.”

        When God created Adam, He created Adam with the ability to not sin. Adam chose to sin. That resulted in corruption, so that Adam no longer had the ability to not sin; from that point Adam could only sin. Thereby Adam was cursed with the inability to not sin as were his descendants. Calvinism did not curse people; Adam did and Calvinism points out the significance of Adam’s sin.

        Then, “A pirate king can say disingenuously to his captive, ‘Would you like to walk the plank now?’ ”

        No, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…” so God says to people, you were born to walk the plank unless you avail yourself of Christ. Christ then said, ““No one can come to Me,… and “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me,…” Thus, Paul says, “…even when we were dead in our transgressions, God made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),…”

      19. rh writes:
        ” Calvinism did not curse people; Adam did and Calvinism points out the significance of Adam’s sin.”

        Another unbiblical and false assertion. Adam was a mere mortal, and had no power to curse anyone, let alone all humanity. Calvinism claims – and I assert falsely – that God cursed all of humanity in a fit of pique against Adam. They can try to put it on Adam all they like, but he did not possess supernatural power to change the nature of man. Nor would the true God do such a cruel, monstrous thing.

        rh writes:
        “People are rightly condemned, not necessarily because they sin, but because they are not righteous and they have been pre-ordained to this unrighteousness by Adam’s sin”

        Once again, unbiblical and illogical. Nowhere does the bible state that people are preordained to unrighteousness. That is simply a faulty interpretation by Calvinism. Nor need anyone be condemned due to any sin, for Jesus atoned for the sin of all men. The only reason anyone must die is because they deliberately refuse, in spite of all of the evidence he has provided through the ages, to believe that God is good, and the rewarder of those who seek him.

        God did not curse men with a sin nature. That is one of the most hideous errors of Calvinism, and what incredible damage thinking such a thing does. Countless people have assumed that they are hopeless and unloved by God. Countless others shrug off their fleshly indulgences as ‘not my fault’ and excuse their unholiness by appealing to that ol’ sin nature God inflicted them with. Tragic.

      20. TS00 writes, “Another unbiblical and false assertion. Adam was a mere mortal, and had no power to curse anyone,…”

        The consequence of Adam’s sin – “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” Adam ate and incurred spiritual death immediately and physical death eventually. Adam was then kicked out of the garden. His descendants inherited spiritual and physical death from Adam and could not re-enter the garden because of this. By Adam’s sin, his descendants were cursed.

        Then, “Nowhere does the bible state that people are preordained to unrighteousness.”

        Jesus said, ““That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” All people are born of the flesh – referring to a sinful nature – “the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit,…Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God..” Paul explains further, “those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,…For the mind set on the flesh is death,…because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

        All people are pre-ordained to unrighteousness by birth as a consequence of Adam’s sin and that condition can only be changed by rebirth as Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

      21. br.d
        rhutchin – what you’ve posted here is a CAUSE/EFFECT fallacy – POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC
        Translated as “after this, therefore because of this.”

        There are well-known religious superstitions false doctrines based on this fallacy.

        If you want to make a LOGICAL case that creatures are “preordained” to unrighteousness – you won’t do it by simply pointing to the STATE of the creature (post effect).

        You need a proof-text within scripture that provides an EXPLICIT correlation between CAUSE and EFFECT.
        In your case CAUSE will needs to be CLEARLY stated as Calvin’s god’s decree/ordination.

        Good luck with that one! :-]

      22. br.d writes, ‘If you want to make a LOGICAL case that creatures are “preordained” to unrighteousness – you won’t do it by simply pointing to the STATE of the creature (post effect). ”

        The effects of Adam’s sin define what God meant when He said, “…in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die…” You may define that phrase as you will; the Calvinist has staked out his position. If you can give an alternative position, then we can had that to your earlier claims: (1) take away God’s sovereignty, (2) make man autonomous, and (3) condition God’s knowledge on observation to define the contortions non-Calvinist have to go through to oppose calvinism.

      23. br.d
        what you’ve posted here is a CAUSE/EFFECT fallacy – POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC Translated as “after this, therefore because of this.” There are well-known religious superstitions and false doctrines based on this fallacy.

        If you want to make a LOGICAL case that creatures are “preordained” to unrighteousness – you won’t do it by simply pointing to the STATE of the creature (post effect). ”

        rhutchin
        The effects of Adam’s sin define what God meant when He said, “…in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die…” You may define that phrase as you will; the Calvinist has staked out his position.

        br.d
        its obvious the Calvinist has staked out a position!
        And its also obvious – that position is based on the logical fallacy I’ve described.
        And your newer quote – concerning what God said – still does not establish a CAUSE and EFFECT relationship which you require.
        I would call this position “easy-believe-ism”

        And concerning that – in another post you claimed I simply follow whatever someone else says
        And I responded – that was an example of “reverse attribution”
        Now you’re proving me right again.
        Too funny! :-]

        rhutchin
        If you can give an alternative position…..

        br.d
        You ask me to provide an alternative to a position to what you’ve derived from a logical fallacy!
        The Jehovah’s witness can provide an alternative – based upon the same exact logical fallacy.
        And in the end there will be two groups with alternative positions based on the same logical fallacy.

        Better for nobody to fall into that ditch!

        rhutchin
        then we can had that to your earlier claims: (1) take away God’s sovereignty, (2) make man autonomous, and (3) condition God’s knowledge on observation to define the contortions non-Calvinist have to go through to oppose calvinism.

        br.d
        Please provide the quote where I made these claims.
        Otherwise you’ve provided another excellent example of a straw-man :-]

      24. TS00 writes, “This shows what a logical conundrum Calvinism creates. For if man cannot do otherwise than he has been pre-ordained to do, there is no possibility of sin.”

        As Paul writes in Romans 2, “you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” People are rightly condemned, not necessarily because they sin, but because they are not righteous and they have been pre-ordained to this unrighteousness by Adam’s sin

      25. rhutchin
        No. Those desires arise form the person’s nature in conjunction with his knowledge……

        br.d
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god “merely” permits them and knows about them via observation. :-]

      26. rhutchin: “No. Those desires arise form the person’s nature in conjunction with his knowledge……
        br.d: “*AS-IF* Calvin’s god “merely” permits them and knows about them via observation.”

        No, as-if God decrees them having known them before they were conceived in the person’s mind.

      27. rhutchin
        No. Those desires arise form the person’s nature in conjunction with his knowledge……

        br.d:
        “*AS-IF* Calvin’s god “merely” permits them and knows about them via observation.

        rhutchin
        No, as-if God decrees them having known them before they were conceived in the person’s mind.

        br.d
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god knew them before they were in the person’s mind via observation

      28. br.d writes, “John Calvin
        -qoute
        Men can deliberately do nothing unless He INSPIRE it…”

        I found a fuller citation to be, ““But where it is a matter of men’s counsels, wills, endeavours, and exertions, there is greater difficulty in seeing how the providence of God rules here too, so that nothing happens but by His assent and that men can deliberately do nothing unless He inspire it.” It is cited from “Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God.” However, I have copies of that document and none of my searches turned up this passage. It sounds like something Calvin might write, but I think it has been divorced from context. Did br.d actually read this or was he just quote mining??

        Calvin addresses this in his Institutes this way–

        “And truly God claims omnipotence to himself, and would have us to acknowledge it, – not the vain, indolent, slumbering omnipotence which sophists feign, but vigilant, efficacious, energetic, and ever active, – not an omnipotence which may only act as a general principle of confused motion, as in ordering a stream to keep within the channel once prescribed to it, but one which is intent on individual and special movements. God is deemed omnipotent, not because he can act though he may cease or be idle, or because by a general instinct he continues the order of nature previously appointed; but because, governing heaven and earth by his providence, he so overrules all things that nothing happens without his counsel. For when it is said in the Psalms, “He has done whatsoever he has pleased,” (Psa 115: 3) the thing meant is his sure and deliberate purpose. It were insipid to interpret the Psalmist’s words in philosophic fashion, to mean that God is the primary agent, because the beginning and cause of all motion. This rather is the solace of the faithful, in their adversity, that every thing which they endure is by the ordination and command of God, that they are under his hand. But if the government of God thus extends to all his works, it is a childish cavil to confine it to natural influx. Those moreover who confine the providence of God within narrow limits, as if he allowed all things to be borne along freely according to a perpetual law of nature, do not more defraud God of his glory than themselves of a most useful doctrine; for nothing were more wretched than man if he were exposed to all possible movements of the sky, the air, the earth, and the water. We may add, that by this view the singular goodness of God towards each individual is unbecomingly impaired. David exclaims, (Psa 8: 3) that infants hanging at their mothers breasts are eloquent enough to celebrate the glory of God, because, from the very moment of their births they find an aliment prepared for them by heavenly care. Indeed, if we do not shut our eyes and senses to the fact, we must see that some mothers have full provision for their infants, and others almost none, according as it is the pleasure of God to nourish one child more liberally, and another more sparingly. Those who attribute due praise to the omnipotence of God thereby derive a double benefit. He to whom heaven and earth belong, and whose nod all creatures must obey, is fully able to reward the homage which they pay to him, and they can rest secure in the protection of Him to whose control everything that could do them harm is subject, by whose authority, Satan, with all his furies and engines, is curbed as with a bridle, and on whose will everything adverse to our safety depends. In this way, and in no other, can the immoderate and superstitious fears, excited by the dangers to which we are exposed, be calmed or subdued. I say superstitious fears. For such they are, as often as the dangers threatened by any created objects inspire us with such terror, that we tremble as if they had in themselves a power to hurt us, or could hurt at random or by chance; or as if we had not in God a sufficient protection against them. For example, Jeremiah forbids the children of God ” to be dismayed at the signs of heaven, as the heathen are dismayed at them,” (Jer 10: 2) He does not, indeed, condemn every kind of fear. But as unbelievers transfer the government of the world from God to the stars, imagining that happiness or misery depends on their decrees or presages, and not on the Divine will, the consequence is, that their fear, which ought to have reference to him only, is diverted to stars and comets. Let him, therefore, who would beware of such unbelief, always bear in mind, that there is no random power, or agency, or motion in the creatures, who are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.”

      29. Such a horrid, cruel and sadistic man, asserting that all that is wrong in the world can be blamed on God. In reality, if a woman has insufficient milk supply it is likely due to ignorance or want, both brought on by wicked men, and not God. God is not the author or ignorance, want or any depravity. The same is true of disease, hunger and all that is wrong with this world. These are not wretched curses cast upon mankind by a malicious, cruel God, but the rejection by man of God’s authority and ways, which have brought upon humans ever increasing oppression, suffering and misery.

        What one sees in Calvin is a wretched theology, believing that bad things happen to ‘them’ because ‘they’ are not God’s special favorites. Except bad things don’t just happen to ‘them’. Righteous men suffer as well, because the god of this world has not yet been permanently dethroned; God temporarily ‘permits’ him to wreak harm upon his creation, before putting an end to evil once and for all. None, and I repeat none, of this evil was predetermined and ordained by God, but ‘merely’ foreseen and permitted. The Calvinist can pretend all he likes that there is no difference between actively ordaining and passively permitting, but the difference is huge. Mere permission of evil is a big enough pill to swallow; imagine being a Calvinist and having to believe all evil comes straight from the ordaining mind and determinate hand of God.

      30. Great point!

        And what is so totally ironic – is that Calvinists have a love-hate relationship with their own doctrine.

        They boldly reject “mere” permission, any degree of creaturely autonomy, and divine foreknowledge by observation.

        And then spend endless hours in deceptive word-juggling – attempting to SNEAK camouflaged forms of those very things back in.

        What is this poor Calvinist to do, except craft semantic masquerades of what he finds wanting.

        His language serves as a red flag that the Calvinist himself internally recognizes certain things are missing in his theology.
        It is missing patterns he finds consistently weaved throughout the entire fabric of scripture.

        He becomes like a barren woman, who speaks AS-IF she is not, in order to manufacture in mental imagery, what she lacks in real life. Credibility and plausible deniability otherwise lacking, are carefully crafted in the form of semantic illusions.

        Knowing the double-minded state of a Calvinist – certainly no one would want it!

      31. br.d writes, “[Calvinists] boldly reject “mere” permission, ,,,”

        That is because God is sovereign and necessarily rules His creation.

        Then, “…any degree of creaturely autonomy,…”

        That is because God can be autonomous or man can be autonomous, but both cannot be autonomous.

        Then, “…and divine foreknowledge by observation.”

        That is because Calvinists hold that God is omniscient.

        So, take away God’s sovereignty, make man autonomous, and condition God’s knowledge on observation and you have br.d’s god.

      32. br.d
        (1) “[Calvinists] boldly reject “mere” permission, ,,,”
        (2) …any degree of creaturely autonomy,…”
        (3) and divine foreknowledge by observation.”

        And then spend endless hours in deceptive word-juggling – attempting to SNEAK camouflaged forms of those very things back in.
        What is this poor Calvinist to do, except craft semantic masquerades of what he finds wanting.

        rhutchin
        (1) That is because God is sovereign and necessarily rules His creation.
        (2) That is because God can be autonomous or man can be autonomous, but both cannot be autonomous.
        (3) That is because Calvinists hold that God is omniscient.

        So, take away God’s sovereignty, make man autonomous, and condition God’s knowledge on observation and you have br.d’s god.

        br.d
        Thanks rhutchin – this is an excellent example of a strawman argument.

        But if you find me explicitly rejecting things – only to spend endless hours in deceptive word-juggling – attempting to SNEAK camouflaged forms of those things back in – you can then honestly attribute that to me. :-]

      33. rhutchin: “So, take away God’s sovereignty, make man autonomous, and condition God’s knowledge on observation and you have br.d’s god.”
        br.d: “Thanks rhutchin – this is an excellent example of a strawman argument.”

        In other words, br.d says his beliefs are not open to comment and he can believe anything he wants.

      34. rhutchin
        So, take away God’s sovereignty, make man autonomous, and condition God’s knowledge on observation and you have br.d’s god.”

        br.d
        Thanks rhutchin – this is an excellent example of a strawman argument.

        rhutchin
        In other words, br.d says his beliefs are not open to comment and he can believe anything he wants.

        br.d
        That conclusion is quite consistent with Calvinism’s pretzel logic!
        But its a stretch to actually call it logic.
        More like easy-believe-ism :-]

      35. TS00 writes, “These are not wretched curses cast upon mankind by a malicious, cruel God, but the rejection by man of God’s authority and ways, which have brought upon humans ever increasing oppression, suffering and misery.”

        This is what Calvinism says. God can cure all disease, give wisdom to all, provide abundantly for all, etc. God conditions blessing on obedience and curses on disobedience. “Now it shall be, if you will diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you will obey the LORD your God….But it shall come about, if you will not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.”

        Then, “Righteous men suffer as well, because the god of this world has not yet been permanently dethroned; God temporarily ‘permits’ him to wreak harm upon his creation,…”

        At the same time, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

        Then, “The Calvinist can pretend all he likes that there is no difference between actively ordaining and passively permitting,…”

        God cannot be passive in anything simply because He is God. There is no difference between actively ordaining and actively permitting, The difference is whether God blesses or curses – both outcomes God ordains..

      36. rh writes:
        “God cannot be passive in anything simply because He is God. There is no difference between actively ordaining and actively permitting,”

        Except that, by logic and definition, permitting is passive. There is no such thing as ‘active permission’.

      37. rh writes:
        “God cannot be passive in anything simply because He is God. There is no difference between actively ordaining and actively permitting,”

        br.d
        This is based on John Calvin creating and AD-HOC definition of the word “permit” – and ascribing to it CAUSATION as a meaning.
        So when Calvinists say Calvin’s go “permits” [X] they mean he CAUSES [X].

        But using this definition – since Adam did not obey – it follows that Calvin’s god did not “permit” Adam to obey.
        So even after creating altered definitions for words – Calvin still is ensnared in his own dilemmas.

      38. TS00 writes, “Except that, by logic and definition, permitting is passive. There is no such thing as ‘active permission’.”

        That’s basically the argument Calvin made against those who said that God only “permits” sin (recognizing that they were trying to separate God from any involvement in sin). Yet, Calvin recognized that God initiates some actions (e.g., destruction of Sodom, impregnation of Mary) and for want of a better term, permits, other actions (e.g., Cain murdering Abel, the stoning of Stephan). In each case, God decides the outcome and can never be described as passive toward anything that happens. No event can happen unless God have decreed it.

      39. rhutchin
        May 14, 2019 at 10:20 am
        [Calvinists] boldly reject “mere” permission”
        That is because God is sovereign and necessarily rules His creation.

        rhutchin
        May 14, 2019 at 2:06 pm
        God initiates some actions…….and for want of a better term, permits, other actions.

        br.d
        Its not hard to see how deceptive Calvinists can get with their use of “permission” language.
        A simple way to DECODE it is to simply replace the term with CAUSE/AUTHOR/RENDER-CERTAIN.

        So to decode rhutchin’s 2nd statement above:
        Calvin’s god CAUSES/AUTHORS/RENDERS-CERTAIN some events and CAUSES/AUTHORS/RENDERS-CERTAIN others.

        And you can see by the way he crafted the statement – the language is designed to SNEAK in a camouflaged form of “mere” permission.

        The Calvinist is intuitively aware that this form of Double-Speak – is the only way he escapes painting himself into a corner.

      40. br.d writes, “Its not hard to see how deceptive Calvinists can get with their use of “permission” language.
        A simple way to DECODE it is to simply replace the term with CAUSE/AUTHOR/RENDER-CERTAIN.”

        The non-Calvinists use “permit” in a different sense. Get them to use it correctly – in the manner you note.

      41. br.d
        “Its not hard to see how deceptive Calvinists can get with their use of “permission” language.
        A simple way to DECODE it is to simply replace the term with CAUSE/AUTHOR/RENDER-CERTAIN.”

        rhutchin
        The non-Calvinists use “permit” in a different sense. Get them to use it correctly – in the manner you note.

        br.d
        FALSE
        John Calvin created a PRIVATE definition for the term.
        Consequently in Calvinist language it has two radically different meanings
        And that is how they can so easily equivocate with it.

        The STANDARDIZED definition is from the Latin: “permettere”
        Defined as: To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over, to allow, or to grant.
        Prior to the Latin – we have the Greek άδεια which means “to give license”

        So non-Calvinists comply with the STANDARDIZED definition in order to avoid misleading people

        And Calvinists use a PRIVATE definition – which is always guaranteed to mislead.

        As we can see from rhutchin’s statement – they NEVER qualify the term when they use it.
        This is not by accident!

        Its done constantly by Calvinists to SNEAK a camouflaged form of “mere” permission into their statements.
        They do this to retain an APPEARANCE of being biblical.

      42. br.d writes, “John Calvin created a PRIVATE definition for the term…..The STANDARDIZED definition is from the Latin: “permettere”
        Defined as: To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over, to allow, or to grant.
        Prior to the Latin – we have the Greek άδεια which means “to give license.”

        Calvinists use the standard definition. The verbs used to define “permettere” are action verbs, “God lets,” “God gives up,” God grants.” It puts God in charge meaning that God is the active cause; nothing is “permitted,” unless God decides to permit.. The non-Calvinist focuses on “allow” as if it carries a meaning of lesser involvement than the other terms. It doesn’t and you don’t even try to defend the non-Calvinist position.

      43. rh writes:
        “Calvinists use the standard definition. The verbs used to define “permettere” are action verbs, “God lets,” “God gives up,” God grants.” It puts God in charge meaning that God is the active cause; nothing is “permitted,” unless God decides to permit.. The non-Calvinist focuses on “allow” as if it carries a meaning of lesser involvement than the other terms. It doesn’t and you don’t even try to defend the non-Calvinist position.”

        Silly, silly and triple silly. There is not a whit of difference between permit and allow, but a Calvinist in a corner sure can dance.

      44. TS00….

        Speaking of silly….. I just found this quote from Grudem’s book “Making Sense of Who God Is.” [it should be “making God who we need Him to be…]

        “​Cotrell has confused God’s decrees before​ creation with God’s actions in time. It ​is true that Calvinists would say that ​God’s eternal decrees were not ​influenced by any of​ our actions and cannot ​be changed by us, since they were made ​​​befor​e​ creation​.​ ​But to conclude from that ​that ​Calvinists think God does not react in time to anything we do, or is not influenced by anything we do, ​is s​imply​ false. ​No Calvinist theologian known to me​ has ever said that God is not influenced by what we do or does not react to what we do. He is grieved at our sin. He delights in our praise. He answers our prayers. To say that God does not react to our actions is to deny the whole history of the Bible from Genesis to revelation.

        Now a Calvinist would add that God has eternally decreed that he would respond to us as he does. In fact, he has decreed that we would act as we do and he would respond to our actions. But his responses are still genuine responses, his answers to prayer are still genuine answers to prayer, and his delight in our praise is still genuine delight.

        [Further down}
        ….​Now some may object that this view makes us ​mere​ ​”​puppets​”​ or ​”​robots​.”​ ​But we are ​puppets or robots​;​ we are real persons​.​ ​Puppets and robots do not have ​the power of personal choice or even individual ​th​ought ​. We​,​ by contrast​,​ think​,​ decide​,​ and choose.”

        ——–

        What?

        He decreed exactly what we will all do (and how delighted or grieved He will be about it) before time…. but we are are not puppets in His play. Why not…..cuz Grudem KNOWS we are not puppets.

        What?

        God decided it all before time exactly the way it will go and we cannot influence it one bit; we just act it out like puppets….but we arent puppets.

        Whatever….. if it helps you sleep at night Grudem!

      45. FOH writes, “He decreed exactly what we will all do (and how delighted or grieved He will be about it) before time…. but we are are not puppets in His play.”

        God made man and knows man intimately. God gave man the ability to think, to collect and understand information, and to make decisions. God’s decrees take into account all the thoughts and desires a person will have so that man is free to act but always subordinate to God’s decrees. God is intimately involved in His creation. As Hannah prayed, ““The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor;” Paul wrote, “…there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” Eli’s sons , “… would not listen to the voice of their father, for the LORD desired to put them to death.” In Exodus, ““Now Bezalel and Oholiab, and every skillful person in whom the LORD has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work in the construction of the sanctuary, shall perform in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.” Paul wrote that God, “…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;… For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” In the Psalm, “The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.” In the end, as Isaiah tells us, “Surely as I (the Lord) have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:” In all of God’s interactions with people, He has provided for people to have desires and to pursue those desires. Thus, “the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire…” so we have the warnings in proverbs to stay away from the wicked.

        God made man with the freedom to pursue his desires and God’s decrees make this certain. Man’s desires and intents of his heart are uniquely his own even though decreed by God. Thus, Paul, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!”

      46. TS00,
        It is completely useless to have this conversation with many Calvinists. They say Arminian things like this:

        “God gave man the ability to think, to collect and understand information, and to make decisions. God’s decrees take into account all the thoughts and desires a person will have so that man is free to act but always subordinate to God’s decrees.”

        While also saying

        “God’s eternal decrees were not ​influenced by any of​ our actions and cannot ​be changed by us, since they were made ​​​befor​e​ creation​.”

        They are mutually exclusive ideas. We cannot have meaningful significance and impact and decisions if all of that was decided immutably before time began. It just cannot be both ways.

        Now…… what happens is that they will say the silly part about eternal decrees before time (without biblical support mind you) and then the rest of the explanation they will talk just like an Arminian. Grudem does it in his books “Some people say this position makes people like robots. But we arent robots.” What? What a dumb explanation!!

        Here is me saying it to my kids:

        Absolutely NONE of you are allowed to go to the ball game tonight! When you get to the ball game make sure to buy a hot dog.

        Calvinist version of God:

        None of you can influence me or change at all what I have decided/ decreed/ willed/ ordained before time. Please make free-will decisions and call to me in prayer so that you can influence Me.

        Nonsense.

      47. rhutchin
        God’s decrees TAKE INTO ACCOUNT all the thoughts and desires a person will have

        br.d
        This phrase TAKE INTO ACCOUNT is specifically crafted to SNEAK in a camouflaged form of Foreknowledge via observation.
        And TAKE INTO ACCOUNT is language consistent with Libertarian Free will

        In Molinism we have “Middle Knowledge” – God’s knowledge of that state of affairs which would exist in the future – that a LIBERTARIAN FREE creature would have – given the circumstances that creature is in.

        Notice how rhutchin’s language allows for a context in which LIBERTARIAN FREE WILL exists.

        This language is not by accident – but is highly strategic!
        The Calvinist rejects many things – in this case LIBERTARIAN FREE WILL
        And then they use language designed to SNEAK in a camouflaged form of the very thing they reject.

        Calvinists intuitively know that this form of Double-Speak helps prevent painting oneself into a corner.

      48. br.d writes, “In Molinism we have “Middle Knowledge” – God’s knowledge of that state of affairs which would exist in the future – that a LIBERTARIAN FREE creature would have – given the circumstances that creature is in.”

        Of course, God determines the circumstances of the creature, and knows how the creature will react to those circumstances, not by observation, but because He created the creature. God knew Adam would eat the fruit before Eve handed him the fruit; God knew Cain would kill Abel before Cain first thought to do so. God did not have to coerce Adam to eat or Cain to murder – such was their desire.

      49. rhutchin
        God knew Adam would eat the fruit before Eve handed him the fruit

        br.d
        Calvin’s god knew because he AUTHORED and did not permit otherwise.

        rhutchin
        God knew Cain would kill Abel before Cain first thought to do so.

        br.d
        Calvin’s god knew because he AUTHORED and did not permit otherwise.

        rhutchin
        God did not have to coerce Adam to eat or Cain to murder – such was their desire.

        br.d
        Calvin’s god AUTHORED every creaturely attribute the Calvinist can point to – and did not permit otherwise.

      50. br.d writes, “Calvin’s god knew because he AUTHORED and did not permit otherwise.”

        Of course, Adam did not want to do otherwise. Adam did exactly that which he desired. Same situation with Cain and with all who sin. Thus, “I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself; Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.” and “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”

      51. br.d
        Calvin’s god knew because he AUTHORED and did not permit otherwise.”

        rhutchin
        Of course, Adam did not want to do otherwise.

        br.d
        Because Calvin’s god AUTHORS all creaturely attributes – and doesn’t permit otherwise
        The Calvinist will tell the truth up to a point – but a lie by omission is still a lie.

      52. You mean as in ‘Adam did not want to do otherwise’ because Adam COULD NOT want to do otherwise? Because Calvi-god ordains man’s desires so that he will do as Calvi-god ordains/determines/causes/directs/compels/desires/wills? Sort of an important concept to leave out, dontcha think?

      53. TS00 writes, “You mean as in ‘Adam did not want to do otherwise’ because Adam COULD NOT want to do otherwise?”

        Adam could not do otherwise because he had no desire to do otherwise. God gave Adam the ability to desire but did not plant specific desires within him except that God made Adam pure with no inclination toward evil. Once God made Eve and Adam saw her, he then desired her. God had ordained that Adam be ruled by his desires -especially as they related to Eve), and thereby made certain Adam’s decision to eat the fruit. Had Adam had more information, more understanding, and more wisdom, he could easily have done otherwise but God withheld such from Adam and with that knowledge, understanding, and wisdom he had at that moment, Adam could not do other than that which he desired consistent with his knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. God, by ordaining that Adam eat the fruit, did not also have to ordain coercive means for this to happen. Adam operated in a non-coercive environment (granting that seeing his wife offering him fruit that she had eaten could be viewed as coercive).

        In the past, you have strained to define free will and what it is to choose otherwise, so you have no room for objection in this instance. You can’t even conceive a situation where Adam could choose otherwise without denying Adam’s desires.

      54. Under Calvinism, the concept of fleshly desire is seriously misunderstood. All men are made of flesh, and built into that flesh are the natural desires for food, water, sex, etc. that ensure the survival of the species. But man is to rule over those desires, keeping them under control and in healthy moderation. When the individual fails to do this, sin arises.

        Any individual who is not a pathological narcissist has daily experiences denying and moderating his desires. Confronted with a buffet that offers endless culinary delights, a person must rein in the flesh and not overconsume. Married people experience times of physical desire that must be denied, as their spouse is not able or willing to comply. A parent suppresses his or her personal desires countless times a day, as they selflessly meet the needs of dependent infants. An employee frequently must suppress his true desires to comply with the demands of his employer.

        Again, only a pathological narcissist pursues only and always his own desires. Normal, healthy people are constantly juggling, moderating and suppressing desires that would not serve the best interests of others around them. I honestly do not see the slightest bit of truth to the ‘man always follows his desires’ mantra rhutchin spouts. I would certainly hate to live with such a person.

        This premise is neither logical nor proven by scripture or life. The man who cannot control his desires, but is controlled by them, is a man who is enslaved to sin and on his way to depraved living. It is absurd to posit that man only does as he desires, as this is repeatedly proven false in daily living. The concept of not letting one’s flesh rule over them is misunderstood, or intentionally distorted by those who seek to preserve the doctrine of Divine Determinism.

      55. TS00 writes, “An employee frequently must suppress his true desires to comply with the demands of his employer.”

        This is foolishness. A person does what he is told because his desire to avoid being fired and losing his paycheck overrides his “true” desires which true desires are to be wealthy and have to work for others. This is a childish look at personal desires. One spouse yields to the desires of the other because of a desire to avoid confrontation, or divorce, or whatever. The point here is that the Calvinist claim that the “strongest” desire at the moment prevails is not proven wrong by your examples. Your true desires always reveal themselves in the decisions and actions you take despite your denial of this – perhaps because you want to see yourself differently. If a person is not controlled by his desires, then what does control desires but the strongest desire? All the will does is sort desires by consequences and seek to gain positive consequences and avoid negative consequences.

      56. What a pagan, narcissistic view. We are simply controlled by our unchosen desires, what will be, will be. This is the myth God puts the lie to. We are not simply fleshly creatures who are helpless slaves to our desires, strongest or otherwise.

        The strongest desire of the flesh is to survive. And yet Jesus demonstrated, in perhaps the true meaning of the freedom from sin he provides, that one can conquer that desire of the flesh and lay down one’s life for others. That, my friend, is the ultimate proof of your error.

        Perhaps it is no wonder we are seeing the explosion of sexual abuse and other spiritual abuse issues within Reformed circles. When one rejects God’s call, as given to Cain, to rule over the flesh, one will eventually become its slave. Reformed Theology essentially opens the door to such concupiscence, admitted and decried by Calvin and Luther.

        They did not seem to understand how distorting the concept of sin and the flesh led people to believe it was a battle they need no longer undertake. Simply embrace the penal substitution atonement theory, and you’ve got Jesus to cover for you. No more worry about sin!

        For the genuine child of God, who wishes to not only escape the consequences of sin, but its gross enslavement, such theology will be no assistance. The believer who desires to be free from sin must take ever seriously its beguiling allure, and the need to resist it. Calvinism offers the willing sinner an excuse to ‘sin boldly’. I experienced this inadvertently, and was appalled to see that this mindset leads to a gradual carelessness concerning sanctification. My pastor saw it as well, and was dismayed; but of course he could not see that the root cause was the theology itself. Sin takes advantage of our faulty thinking and will eventually re-enslave us.

      57. TS00
        You mean as in ‘Adam did not want to do otherwise’ because Adam COULD NOT want to do otherwise?”

        rhutchin
        Adam could not do otherwise because he had no desire to do otherwise.

        br.d
        Here is where the Calvinist reminds me of the snake eating its own tail :-]
        [A] CAUSED [B] because [B] CAUSED [A]

      58. br.d writes, “[A] CAUSED [B] because [B] CAUSED [A]”

        Which has nothing to do with this discussion unless you had something relevant expressed in [A] and [B]. Of course, we don’t know because you have difficulty framing arguments.

        Here, we have God causes Adam to sin and Adam causes/desires his sin. Thus, God causes Adam to do that which he desires to do. The means for God causing Adam to sin is not external coercion but internal factors unique to Adam – his desires, will, knowledge, understanding, wants, needs, etc.

      59. br.d
        Here is where the Calvinist reminds me of the snake eating its own tail :-]
        “[A] CAUSED [B] because [B] CAUSED [A]”

        rhutchin
        Which has nothing to do with this discussion ……etc

        br.d
        Silly – is is the very focal!
        Here you say the focal point has “nothing to do with the discussion” – and then you carry on addressing the focal point.

        rhutchin
        Here, we have God causes Adam to sin

        br.d
        TRUE – but only in Calvinism

        rhutchin
        and Adam causes/desires his sin.

        br.d
        FALSE in Calvinism
        Unless you want to argue that Calvin’s god “merely” permitted Adam to have an attribute (e.g. desire/want/nature etc)
        Calvin’s god AUTHORS all creaturely attributes – and does not permit otherwise

        rhutchin
        The means for God causing Adam to sin is not external coercion but INTERNAL FACTORS unique to Adam – his desires, will, knowledge, understanding, wants, needs, etc.

        br.d
        Coercion is a superfluous red-herring – since *ALL* FACTORS are determined outside of Adam’s control.
        Calvin’s god AUTHORS *ALL* attributes and does not permit otherwise.

        But the Calvinist wants to claim [A] CAUSES [B] because [B] CAUSES [A]

      60. Yup! :-]
        Always reminds me of Genesis 3:1

        “And the Calvinist was the most subtle beast in the field of protestant Christianity” :-]

      61. TS00
        but a Calvinist in a corner sure can dance.

        br.d
        What do you think – is this rhutchin’s “greased pig” mode or his “dancing boxer” routine? :-]

      62. TS00 writes, “Silly, silly and triple silly. There is not a whit of difference between permit and allow, but a Calvinist in a corner sure can dance.”

        Exactly. It is the non-Calvinist who wants to make a distinction making God a passive player when the definition makes God an active player in permitting. That is what Calvin pointed to by identifying the non-Calvinist position as making “permission” to be “mere/bare permission.”

      63. rhutchin
        It is the non-Calvinist who wants to make a distinction making God a passive player when the definition makes God an active player in permitting. That is what Calvin pointed to by identifying the non-Calvinist position as making “permission” to be “mere/bare permission.”

        br.d
        FALSE
        The STANDARDIZED definition is from the Latin: “permettere”
        Defined as: To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over, to allow, or to grant.
        Prior to the Latin – we have the Greek άδεια which means “to give license”

        Nowhere in this definition is permit defined as CAUSE
        And the STANDARDIZED usage in language never conflates “permit” with CAUSE

        Its obvious Calvin created his own PRIVATE definition – making it mean CAUSE

        Since Calvinists know that no one outside of Calvinism ever uses the term “permit” to mean CAUSE – it becomes obvious Calvinists use it to SNEAK in a camouflaged form of “mere” permission.

        Paul: “Except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken?”.

        Jesus: “Let your communications be yea yea or nay nay – for anything else comes of evil”.

      64. Hutch, I would like to continue our previous exchange. You had said:

        “Yes – “…God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” and “…God does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What hast Thou done?’ If one says that God is omnipotent, he must agree with these. If you can legitimately take such Scripture to say that God does not determine all things, do so.”

        I replied with:
        Sure, I can. It does not even hint that God determines all things, only that He “does what He pleases” and “no one can ward of His hand or question him”. How does either of those phrases = determines all things? Those phrases say what they mean, they don’t “actually” mean something else in the background.

      65. Eric,
        I dont think you will get a biblical answer that will satisfy because the whole idea is based on what they BRING to the Bible.

        I quoted Grudem on this string today, and here is part of it,

        “It ​is true that Calvinists would say that ​God’s eternal decrees were not ​influenced by any of​ our actions and cannot ​be changed by us, since they were made ​​​befor​e​ creation​.​”

        They bring to the Word (based on a few verses that you are discussing) the idea that God decreed everything (unchangeable, immutable) before time. They do not NEED to prove it. It “must” be true or “He is not God”.

        But as you know they want it both ways….cuz a few sentences later Grudem says….

        “​But to conclude from that ​that ​Calvinists think God does not react in time to anything we do, or is not influenced by anything we do, ​is simply​ false.”

        We cannot influence Him, but we do influence Him.

        So….good luck with Hutch on that.

      66. FOH
        We cannot influence Him, but we do influence Him.

        br.d
        Excellent post FOH!

        Yes – the Calvinist focus is not on truth-telling.
        Its on making Calvinism APPEAR acceptable.

        Calvinism has its own unique INSIDER language, where many words, terms and phrases have duplicitous, illusory,
        and/or amorphous meanings.

        When a Calvinist communicates, he often presents by inference, conceptions that are the logical inverse of what he explicitly believes.
        Eventually this Doublespeak language becomes his normalcy, and he speaks it without even thinking.

        They speak a CODED language.
        Its then totally understandable that Calvinists complain they are misrepresented.

      67. rhutchin: “If you can legitimately take such Scripture to say that God does not determine all things, do so.””
        Eric Kemp:”Sure, I can. It does not even hint that God determines all things, only that He “does what He pleases” and “no one can ward of His hand or question him”. How does either of those phrases = determines all things? Those phrases say what they mean, they don’t “actually” mean something else in the background.”

        So, your argument is to ask a question:”How does either of those phrases = determines all things? ” Asking a question is not an argument. Regardless, if you could point to any event where God does not do as He pleases with regard to that event, then you could prove your case. You cannot, so you say I have to prove my understanding of the Scripture. Let’s look at that.

        The Scripture says, “God does whatever He pleases.” As God is omnipotent, He can intervene at any point in history and in any event and exert His will to gain the outcome He wants. The question is, Does God do this for all events – does God determine every event that happens? The Calvinist says that God has the final decision, by omnipotence, in every event. Thus, God decides whether to change the natural course of events to gain a different outcome or do nothing and let natural events play out. Either way, God determined the outcome. If that is wrong, then argue against it.

        Let’s look at God’s involvement in the world. Ephesian1 tells us that, “God works all things after the counsel of His will.” As a subset, Romans 8 tells us, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.” That seems conclusive to me.

        What does God determine with respect to salvation?
        – “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me.” (John 6)
        – “God made believers alive together with Christ.” (Ephesians 2)
        – “no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12)
        – “God delivered believers from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
        – “By grace you are saved.” (Ephesians 2)
        – – “So then [whether one is a child of promise] does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” (Romans 9)

        So, we can understand these verses to say that God determines who is saved.

        What of unbelievers”
        – Jesus said, “No one can come to Me.” (John 6)
        – “If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4)

        We learn from Job, that Satan cannot act but as God determines. We can understand these verses to say that God determines who is lost.

        In the important case of Salvation, we see that God does as He pleases and determines who will be saved.

        So, does God determine all things. If you can legitimately take the Scriptures to say that God does not determine all things, do so. Asking questions is not an argument. Is that all you have?

      68. Exegetical Fallacies – by Jerry Wierwille

        Fallacy #1:
        Biblical interpretation is susceptible to false premises in the process of exegesis by violating laws of language and logic, and maintaining faulty presuppositions.

      69. Rhutchin writes:
        “What does God determine with respect to salvation?
        – “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me.” (John 6)
        – “God made believers alive together with Christ.” (Ephesians 2)
        – “no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12)
        – “God delivered believers from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
        – “By grace you are saved.” (Ephesians 2)
        – – “So then [whether one is a child of promise] does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” (Romans 9)

        So, we can understand these verses to say that God determines who is saved.”

        You are correct only in saying that you ‘can’ understand (interpret) these verses to say that God determines who is saved. Far better, and far more consistent with the character of God, is to interpret them to mean that ‘God determines to save those who put their trust in him’.

        What a tragic, blasphemous and hideous distortion Calvinism makes of the genuine good news scripture gives us that if we simply trust God he will be faithful to save us, in spite of our lack of perfection, as well as anything that might happen in this world.

        How ugly, and inconsistent with all else that scripture reveals, to twist the meaning of such assuring verses into saying, ‘Don’t worry, since God chose who will be saved, none will be lost but those he deliberately created to perish. Either you were elect from eternity past, or he always intended to damn you.’

        Of course, Calvinists rarely put it so bluntly. They simply say that if God chose you, you shall not perish. It sounds so comforting when presented with only its positive side, that many embrace it and refuse to ever consider just what else it demands. It is comforting until you reason through to its unavoidable logical corollary, that if God did not choose you, you are hopelessly, helplessly, unavoidably doomed.

        Many prefer to avoid even pondering this inescapable corollary, which demands that God be partial, in randomly choosing some to save over others equally undeserving, cruel in creating a good many beings without even a chance to be rescued from the sin they were (supposedly) cursed with before they were ever born, and sadistic, in mocking the hopeless with empty calls to repentance and forgiveness which were never genuinely available to them.

        I yet recall as the most precious work the Holy Spirit ever did in my life the moment when, as a twenty year old college student he opened my eyes to the meaning of Romans 8:29-39:

        “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

        Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

        What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

        He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

        Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

        Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

        Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

        As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

        Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

        For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

        Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

        I had been examining Calvinism for the first of what would prove to be many times, as I was considering a relationship with the Calvinist I eventually married. And while I rejected the predestination and limited atonement necessary to this faulty system, in the process of pondering such things God freed me from the lack of assurance that often accompanies a lack of belief in OSAS.

        Having grown up in a Holiness denomination, I always struggled with guilt and fear, knowing that I could not possible be ‘good enough’ to call myself sinless, which my faulty doctrine dictated I must be. So vanquishing two errors with one stone, God gave to me the lifelong assurance and peace that my salvation was solely in his hands, and that nothing could separate me from his faithful love and promise, not even my imperfections.

        I praise him to this day for that precious revelation, and the unqualified assurance he gave to me that I was his, and need have no fear. But such a precious assurance did not demand that I sacrifice the love of God for all men, his sincere desire to draw all to himself to receive the benefit of his love, mercy and power to save. For that

      70. TS00 writes, “You are correct only in saying that you ‘can’ understand (interpret) these verses to say that God determines who is saved…I yet recall as the most precious work the Holy Spirit ever did in my life the moment when, as a twenty year old college student he opened my eyes to the meaning of Romans 8:29-39:”

        So, did God save you or do you still consider yourself reprobate?

      71. I would take issue with your terminology. I do not affirm reprobation, nor do I view salvation as something that happened in the past; rather, all who put their trust in God’s gracious provision for sin are promised salvation from a future judgment and second death.

        As I had long ago put my trust in God, and had walked with him for many years, this was a moment when the Spirit of God led me into greater understanding of his love for me. When the time was ripe, his Spirit revealed the meaning of words I had read many times but never understood. Without man-directed theological instruction, seeing the desire of my heart to understand, the Spirit of God ministered to my Spirit.

        This is the sort of intimate interaction I perceive many Calvinists do not understand, as they put too great emphasis on Gnosis and doctrine and too little on the deepening relationship which our beloved Father desires to have with us. When I realized that I had sacrificed something deeply personal for rote religion, I knew I had made a mistake. The false assurance of Calvinism’s Penal Substitution (ticket to heaven) does not compare to intimate communion with the living God.

      72. Hutch,

        “Regardless, if you could point to any event where God does not do as He pleases with regard to that event, then you could prove your case.”

        You keep assuming that God is pleased to determine all things. Why are you assuming that?

        “The Calvinist says that God has the final decision, by omnipotence, in every event. Thus, God decides whether to change the natural course of events to gain a different outcome or do nothing and let natural events play out.”

        “Ephesian1 tells us that, “God works all things after the counsel of His will.” As a subset, Romans 8 tells us, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.” That seems conclusive to me.”

        Conclusive to what, that in all things God is working after the counsel of his will? Of course, he is, how does that say He determines all events that happen? Same question for Romans 8. You’re just repeating passages that say God does one thing, you make a logical deduction they mean “God does all things”, and then tell me the passage means “God does all things”. But the Bible never says that.

        “If you can legitimately take the Scriptures to say that God does not determine all things, do so. Asking questions is not an argument. Is that all you have?”

        Yes, I take the Scriptures to say God is doing the specific things it says He is doing. You’re adding things to the Scriptures that God does, namely, “all things”. And you expect not to have to defend that claim? You’re getting salty about being asked the question?

      73. Eric:
        For the record, Calvinists take verses that say some particular thing and extrapolate that out as they like.

        They do that with the “He turns the heart of the king” verse and take it to mean He determines all things.

        Piper even does it (I kid you not) with the “man rolls the dice to cast lots but God decided the outcome” Proverb and makes it doctrine that He determines all things.

        Any kind of “He rules from the heavens” or “He is above all things” verse can be (and is!) taken by determinists to mean what they say.

        Keep up your logical/ biblical approach and perhaps some readers will “be persuaded” (cuz they do have a choice!).

      74. FOH writes, “They do that with the “He turns the heart of the king” verse and take it to mean He determines all things.”

        Did you purposely reverse this?? Calvinists take a verse like Ephesians 1:11, “God works (or determines) all things after the counsel of His will,” and then cite examples in Proverbs 21, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes,” or Proverbs 16, “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”

      75. Rhutchin writes:
        “Calvinists take a verse like Ephesians 1:11, “God works (or determines) all things after the counsel of His will,” and then cite examples in Proverbs 21, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes,” or Proverbs 16, “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”

        Just one possibility, as I look, for instance, at a verse like Proverbs 21:1. Water has certain properties, designed by God. And yet, should he wish to provide sustenance to a needy place or people, God can intervene so that water will flow to a particular place without overruling its natural properties. He could, perhaps, see that a channel is made, either by men or some other natural force.

        The same is true of a king. Scripture tends to portray the kings of this earth as not particularly open to following God, but arrogantly pursuing their own wills. A king, intent on pursuing his own personal wealth and pleasure is susceptible to fleshly temptations. God could easily see to it that the king’s selfish desires are channeled in a particular direction, without in any way interfering in the king’s intention to pursue selfish ends. A king set on building up a vast kingdom and possessions, may be led to overlook one intended victim when a more lucrative one appears. Thus, without either determining the king’s wicked ways or preventing them, God can work to channel them away from or toward some ends that will best serve his greater plan.

        That is just one possibility, and I am not claiming my contemplations are inerrant truth. It is ignorant and arrogant to assert that one’s particular interpretation of a word or words is the only possible one.

      76. TS00 writes,”Thus, without either determining the king’s wicked ways….”

        You will often sound like a Calvinist, as when you say, “A king, intent on pursuing his own personal wealth and pleasure is susceptible to fleshly temptations. God could easily see to it that the king’s selfish desires are channeled in a particular direction, without in any way interfering in the king’s intention to pursue selfish ends.” and “Thus, without either determining the king’s wicked ways or preventing them, God can work to channel them away from or toward some ends that will best serve his greater plan.”

        Is this not what the scriptures say, “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Did not God determine the birth of the king and the circumstances of his birth? Did not God install him as king? Now, you agree that God directs )or channels) his steps. Yet, you claim no to believe what you write.

      77. Logically, the very existence of sin, evil and death proves that God does not deterministically do only as he pleases, deterministically ordaining all things to be, unless one concedes that God is pleased by sin, evil and death, thus determined, that they should exist. Note that under a deterministic system, there is no possibility of God ordaining that something ‘could’ exist; hence Calvin’s harsh condemnation of ‘mere permission’. Under Determinism, all must exist as it does, because God has ordained that it should be so.

        This is the hopeless conundrum of the Calvinist, as he tries to hold to the logical impossibility of a good and holy God ruling deterministically and the existence of evil, apart from making God the willing author of evil. Either he does not determine all things, or he is evil. The magical, mystical have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too compatibilism is a feint, and a not terribly convincing one at that. It simply cannot hold up to logical examination. Hence the constant appeal to authority.

      78. TS00 writes, “Logically, the very existence of sin, evil and death proves that God does not deterministically do only as he pleases,…”

        Because God is omnipotent, sin, evil, and death could not exist unless it pleased God for them to exist. Otherwise, God would prevent such things.

      79. rhutchin
        Because God is omnipotent, sin, evil, and death could not exist unless it pleased God for them to exist. Otherwise, God would prevent such things.

        br.d
        Please provide a scripture verse which EXPLICITLY states this.

        And please don’t waste my time using a proof-text like “and Methuselah begat Lamech” :-]

      80. I, for one, completely reject the assertion that sin, evil and death please God. I haven’t the slightest doubt that such deeply displeases him. Not only does he say so countless times in scripture, but the existence of atonement, punishment and the entire plan of redemption only make logical sense if God hates sin and evil and has a plan to deal with them once and for all. Just as he has spelled out. The only logical explanation for sin and evil, and one which takes into account the entirety of scripture, would be if God had created man with the freedom to resist his will and good pleasure.

        But Calvinists insist on maligning God’s character, asserting that he desired, ordained and deliberately brought into existence sin and evil. I will leave it to the reader to study scripture and discern the truth for himself. If you come to scripture with Calvinist spectacles, or any other lens that distorts the meaning of the words, you will of course only see what you came convinced you would see.

      81. I understand and agree with you TS00

        But Calvinists are so full of double-speak – it won’t be long before rhutchin is crafting statements designed to portray the opposite of what he currently stating.

        So nothing Calvin’s say surprises me at this point.

        A truth about Calvinism which they refuse to acknowledge – is the fact that there is absolutely nothing about Calvin’s god that human being can possibly trust – except that he does whatever he pleases.

      82. Which is why I allege that the Doctrines of Grace are actually the Doctrines of Despotism. There is no freely offered love, no healing balm for the disease of sin and no full and free atonement that offers life to all who respond in trusting faith to God’s promises.

        There is only control, control, control, as a God who determines whatsoever comes to pass in his created world is the only determining factor to what will be. If he wants a sinless world, he will make it thus. If he wants sin and evil, he will make it thus. One need not even look at scripture to see what God says he wants – one need only look around, for whatever has come to pass is what he wanted to come to pass.

        In the non-Calvinist alternative, God created beings with a genuine freedom of choice. That means they are able to choose evil, when he truly only desires that they choose good. They are able to reject him, when all he ever desired was to dwell with them in loving harmony. They are able to take the matter of earth and forge weapons that harm and kill, when God desires that men love one another and live peaceably together.

        I could go on and on, but I trust I made my point. Under Calvinism, whatever is, is what God desired, or what pleases him to have exist. The alternative worldview sees God relinquishing the control he could very easily have, and allowing mere mortal creatures to resist his will and do things that do not at all please him. Which better conforms with the narratives of scripture, and reality as we know it?

      83. The ironic thing is – all of the very things that you point to as despotic in Calvinism – Calvinists refuse to acknowledge – and yet at the same time do everything they can to evade and escape how it might apply in their own lives.

        No logical sane person understanding that aspect of Calvinism would want to be one.
        And I feel sorry for them myself!

      84. The sad thing is that what it really requires is either ignorance of the true facts or extreme selfishness. I believe the former is true of so many, who hear their pastors and leading Calvinists speak as if they can hold to both Divine Determinism and a John 3:16 grace. It cannot be done, but many are fooled. It is the second category, those who actually know what Calvinism demands that most disturbs me. Let’s acknowledge that under their system, they – if they are indeed elect – partake of all of the many blessings we so desire. And yet, they have no qualms about shrugging off the many who never had a chance, for whom Jesus did not die, and for whom grace was never truly intended.

        I try to hope that most Calvinists fall into the former category, and simply do not apply consistent logic to their system, instead trusting their beloved authorities to do the heavy lifting. But for the arrogant and hard-hearted, who proudly proclaim ‘I am an unapologetic, 5-point Calvinist’ as one recently posted on another blog, I feel only horror and dismay. They know full well that their theology demands a dictatorial God who deliberately created many for unavoidable destruction, and they shrug it off as if it doesn’t matter. Oh well, too bad, who am I to question God? How sad is that? They don’t even know that something important inside of them, the love for others that Jesus commanded, is missing.

      85. Yes I totally agree.
        You are echoing the topic of David Hunt’s book – in regard to Calvinism he asks “What love is this?”

      86. br.d writes, “You are echoing the topic of David Hunt’s book – in regard to Calvinism he asks “What love is this?””

        Hunt appears to be an Universalist judging by his book.

      87. br.d
        “You are echoing the topic of David Hunt’s book – in regard to Calvinism he asks “What love is this?””

        rhutchin
        Hunt appears to be an Universalist judging by his book.

        br.d
        I wonder how much different that would be from being a Gnostic NeoPlatonist. :-]

      88. TS00 writes, “leading Calvinists speak as if they can hold to both Divine Determinism and a John 3:16 grace.”

        John 3:16 is deterministic. Only those who believe in Christ receive eternal life, and only those who receive faith then believe. Those who do not believe have hearts that are Totally Depraved and their minds have been blinded by Satan. There is no ability for such to believe unless, and until, God gives then that ability through a new birth and faith.

      89. TS00 writes, “The alternative worldview sees God relinquishing the control he could very easily have, and allowing mere mortal creatures to resist his will and do things that do not at all please him.”

        This is what Calvinism says. Did not God stand by and do nothing while Adam ate the fruit? Did not God stand by and do nothing as they crucified the Christ? God is always allowing people to resist His will – it is His major complaint against Israel and the common theme of all the prophets, major and minor.

      90. rhutchin
        This is what Calvinism says. Did not God stand by and do nothing while Adam ate the fruit?

        br.d
        What a hoot! Didn’t Calvin’s god stand by CAUSING Adam do eat the fruit – *AS-IF* he “merely” permitted it.

        rhutchin
        Did not God stand by and do nothing as they crucified the Christ?

        br.d
        Didn’t Calvin’s god stand by CAUSING them to crucify Jesus – *AS-IF* he “merely” permitted it.

        rhutchin
        God is always ALLOWING people to resist His will

        br.d
        Calvin’s god is always CAUSING people to resist his will *AS-IF* he is “merely” allowing it.

        CONCLUSION:

        Understanding Calvinism is easy:
        A Calvinist is a determinist – wearing a mask of IN-determinism – reciting double-speak talking points. :-]

      91. TS00 writes, “But Calvinists insist on maligning God’s character, asserting that he desired, ordained and deliberately brought into existence sin and evil.”

        Could Satan have entered the garden without God’s approval? Didn’t God stand by and do nothing as Satan tempted Eve and she ate the fruit. Didn’t God also watch as Eve offered the fruit to Adam and Adam ate and He did nothing? What part of the process did God not determine by His inaction if nothing else? What did you think was going on??

      92. br.d writes, “Please provide a scripture verse which EXPLICITLY states this.”

        We have examples.

        In speaking of David’s punishment, ““Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your companion, and he shall lie with your wives in broad daylight.”

        Of Eli’s sons, “Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the LORD…Thus the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for the men despised the offering of the LORD…Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting. And he said to them, “Why do you do such things, the evil things that I hear from all these people? If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for the LORD desired to put them to death.”

        Elijah on Mt Carmel, “Then it came about at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that Thou, O LORD, art God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again.”

        In the rebuilding of the temple, “they observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had caused them to rejoice, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them to encourage them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.”

        These are examples of Ephesians 1, “God works all things after the counsel of His will.” And Solomon, “Consider the work of God, For who is able to straighten what He has bent? In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider– God has made the one as well as the other.”

      93. rhutchin
        Because God is omnipotent, sin, evil, and death could not exist unless it pleased God for them to exist. Otherwise, God would prevent such things.

        br.d
        Please provide a scripture verse which EXPLICITLY states this.
        And please don’t waste my time using a proof-text like “and Methuselah begat Lamech” :-]

        rhutchin
        We have examples:
        In speaking of David’s punishment, ““Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your companion, and he shall lie with your wives in broad daylight.”

        br.d
        Where does god in this text EXPLICITLY state he is pleased about this?

        rhutchin
        Of Eli’s sons, “Now the sons of Eli were worthless men…….for the LORD desired to put them to death.”

        br.d
        Where does god in this text EXPLICITLY state he is pleased about this?

        rhutchin
        In the rebuilding of the temple, “they observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread ….etc

        br.d
        Where does this text EXPLICITLY state sin, evil, and death could not exist unless it pleased God?

        I remember a certain bible teacher who asserted any Christian man without a butch hair cut was living in sin because Paul says: “Nature teaches it is a dishonor for a man to have long hair”.

        That’s what Calvinist hermeneutics looks like :-]

      94. br.d writes, “Where does god in this text EXPLICITLY state he is pleased about this?”

        We read in the Psalm, “God does whatever He pleases.” Then we read of God that God desired to put the sons of Eli to death. Your question is “Where does god in this text EXPLICITLY state he is pleased about this?” How explicit do you want it – “God does whatever He pleases.” Why would we think that God is not pleased to kill the sons of Eli since that was His intent?

      95. br.d
        Where does god in this text EXPLICITLY state he is pleased about this?”

        rhutchin
        We read in the Psalm, “God does whatever He pleases.”

        br.d
        DUH! The context of that verse is to affirm that God is not limited and can do whatever he wants.
        It does not state he is pleased with everything he does.

        The scripture also speaks of god’s displeasure.
        Your theory would include the deriving of pleasure out of displeasure – which is a totally sophomoric and irrational hermeneutic.
        Its also classified as Sadistic Personality Disorder

        rhutchin
        How explicit do you want it

        br.d
        EXPLICIT enough to escape fallacious hermeneutics – which is unfortunately what you have.

        rhutchin
        – “God does whatever He pleases.” Why would we think that God is not pleased to kill the sons of Eli since that was His intent?

        br.d
        See answer above.
        Who appointed you to speak for God – things that God does not speak for himself.

        Eisegesis (/ˌaɪsɪˈdʒiːsɪs/) is the process of interpreting text in such a way as to introduce one’s own presuppositions, agendas or biases. It is commonly referred to as reading into the text.

      96. br.d writes, “It does not state he is pleased with everything he does.”

        It also does not say that God is displeased with His actions. If God were displeased with any action He could take (ordain in eternity past), he is able to do otherwise and the presupposition ought to be that God does.

        Then, “The scripture also speaks of god’s displeasure.”

        The Scriptures say that God is displeased with the actions of people. If you know a Scripture that tells us God was displeased with an action He took, ow about sharing it.

      97. br.d
        “It does not state he is pleased with everything he does.”
        The scripture also speaks of god’s displeasure.
        Your theory would include the deriving of pleasure out of displeasure – which is a totally sophomoric and irrational hermeneutic.
        Its also classified as Sadistic Personality Disorder

        rhutchin
        It also does not say that God is displeased with His actions.

        br.d
        But it does say that God experiences displeasure – so you’re back to god experiencing pleasure in being displeased.

        rhutchin
        If God were displeased with any action He could take….the presupposition ought to be that God does.

        br.d
        You really need to take a course in elementary logic!
        This fallacy is called “Evidence from Absence”

        Catholic version:
        The bible doesn’t say that Mary was born without sin – the presupposition out to be that she was

        rhutchin
        The Scriptures say that God is displeased with the actions of people. If you know a Scripture that tells us God was displeased with an action He took, ow about sharing it.

        br,d
        DUH!
        (1) It is EXPLICITLY recorded in scripture that experiencing displeasure is something that God does.
        So you want him to take pleasure in doing that – and you’re back to Sadistic Personality Disorder

        (2) In Calvinism – whatever comes to pass with the creature – is what Calvin’s god does with the creature.
        Your theory has Calvin’s god taking pleasure in expressing displeasure.

        But then – since Calvinism is 90% double-think – this doesn’t surprise me at all! :-]

      98. Y’all get pretty confusing sometimes. 😉 I would suggest that God’s displeasure is with the actions of men, but the logical implication of Divine Determinism demands that he is displeased with actions he himself ordained. So, in effect, he is displeased with what he himself ordained and brought to pass. Subtle distinction, and one that the Calvinist constantly tries to distort, affirming God’s meticulous divine control over everything one minute, then asserting that man is to blame for his own evil (meticulously controlled) acts the next. ‘God alone determines whatsoever comes to pass’, and ‘man is responsible for his own sinful choices ‘ cannot both be true, but the Calvinist appears to be free from any bounds of logic.

        How silly of Calvi-god to ordain that man would do nothing but evil all day long, then be so angry at them for doing evil that he consumes them all in a flood! How silly of Calvi-god to ordain that Israel would be stiff-necked and rebellious, then constantly express his displeasure at their stiff-neckedness and rebellion; and even try to punish them into repentance! Silly Calvi-god, how can man ever turn from what he has decreed must be?

        Calvinism, or Divine Determinism, requires a foolish God, who condemns with one hand what he ordains and brings irresistibly to pass with the other. And he peevishly blames the poor dupes who only do what he ordains and wills. ‘You, oh man, will burn for being hopelessly sinful’. Er, didn’t he (supposedly) curse the poor wretch to be born sinful and not offer him any escape from such an estate? Silly, silly Calvi-god.

      99. TS00 writes, ‘‘God alone determines whatsoever comes to pass’, and ‘man is responsible for his own sinful choices ‘ cannot both be true, but the Calvinist appears to be free from any bounds of logic.”

        The death of Christ disproves this. “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Thy holy servant Jesus, whom Thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur.”

      100. Exactly right!
        He AUTHORS [X] – and does not permit [NOT X] – and then holds the creature accountable for [X].

        Logic tells us – Calvin’s god CANNOT RENDER-CERTAIN both [X] and [NOT X] because one negates the other.
        He can only RENDER-CERTAIN one of them.

        This is why Peter Van Inwagen in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will writes:
        “Determinism may now be defined: it is the thesis that there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.”

        Therefore Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN Adam’s sin – and does not permit Adam to NOT sin.

        This is like a father locking his daughter in a closet and then punishing her for being in the closet.

      101. br.d writes, ‘Therefore Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN Adam’s sin – and does not permit Adam to NOT sin.”

        Yet, God provides for Adam to pursue his desire.

        Then, “This is like a father locking his daughter in a closet and then punishing her for being in the closet.”

        You are not good at examples. It should be, “”This is like a father locking his daughter in a closet and telling her not to do X even though he knows she desires to do X and then punishing her for doing X while in the closet.”

      102. br.d
        Therefore Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN Adam’s sin – and does not permit Adam to NOT sin.”

        rhutchin
        Yet, God provides for Adam to pursue his desire.

        br.d
        A Calvinist can tell the truth up to a point – but a lie by omission is still a lie.
        Calvin’s god AUTHORS all creaturely attributes – and doesn’t permit otherwise.

        Then, “This is like a father locking his daughter in a closet and then punishing her for being in the closet.”

        rhutchin
        You are not good at examples. It should be, “”This is like a father locking his daughter in a closet and telling her not to do X even though he knows she desires to do X and then punishing her for doing X while in the closet.”

        br.d
        Actually I the example perfectly!
        Your version was just lying by omission. :-]

      103. br.d writes, ‘(1) It is EXPLICITLY recorded in scripture that experiencing displeasure is something that God does.”

        Fine. Just cite the Scripture to which you refer. We know that God is displeased with the actions of people. However, we need the Scripture you reference where God is displeased with His actions.

      104. br.d
        (1) It is EXPLICITLY recorded in scripture that experiencing displeasure is something that God does.”

        rhutchin
        Fine. Just cite the Scripture to which you refer. We know that God is displeased with the actions of people. However, we need the Scripture you reference where God is displeased with His actions.

        br.d
        You’re not getting it
        Being displeases is something God can *DO*.
        Your theory has God taking pleasure in *DOING IT* (i.e. being displeased).

        And secondly – Calvin’s god being displeased with the actions he MAKES others DO is simply Calvin’s god being displeased with what he himself DOES.

        So your theory becomes even more twisted – Calvin’s god taking pleasure in being displeased with what he himself did.

      105. br.d writes, “So your theory becomes even more twisted – ”

        br.d could not find Scripture to support his claims, so he loses it.

      106. br.d
        You’re not getting it
        Being displeases is something God can *DO*.
        Your theory has God taking pleasure in *DOING IT* (i.e. being displeased).

        And secondly – Calvin’s god being displeased with the actions he MAKES others DO is simply Calvin’s god being displeased with what he himself DOES.

        So your theory becomes even more twisted – Calvin’s god taking pleasure in being displeased with what he himself did.

        rhutchin
        br.d could not find Scripture to support his claims, so he loses it.

        br.d
        Too funny!
        The Calvinist makes a claim which turns out to be fallacious and then asserts someone else makes a claim.
        Burden of proof always rests on the initial claim – not the one who showed that claim to be silly and absurd :-]

      107. Another thing you’ll find with Calvinists – (and its especially pronounced with Hutch) is Double-Speak.

        Calvinists explicitly claim to reject certain things – but when you scrutinize their statements you find they use a ton of highly subtle language tricks to SNEAK those things – right back into their system.

        – any decree whatsoever of creaturely autonomy
        – “mere” permission
        – divine foreknowledge via observation

        Their system is full of self-contradictions – which they’ve historically tried on people and gotten caught.
        And when they get caught – they simply learn how to reword statements to better cloak the contradiction.

      108. Eric – if you haven’t see this video – its worth checking it out

        Even an atheist can see through Calvinism’s world of incoherence

        Calvinism is intrinsically irrational

      109. br.d writes, ‘Somehow the link didn’t get populated:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5hrTkrd1JI

        This is Dan Coutney’s critique of Dr. James Anderson’s view of Original Sin and the question of Why Adam sinned. No one, not even the Calvinist, says that the Scriptures tell us why Adam sinned, so all theories on this are speculative.

      110. rhutchin
        This is Dan Coutney’s critique of Dr. James Anderson’s view of Original Sin and the question of Why Adam sinned. No one, not even the Calvinist, says that the Scriptures tell us why Adam sinned, so all theories on this are speculative.

        br.d
        BING!
        Theories and speculations presented without hesitation – YUP he’s following John Calvin’s example alright! :-]

      111. Eric Kemp writes, “You keep assuming that God is pleased to determine all things. Why are you assuming that? ”

        First we have the Psalm, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” and “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.”

        What is covered by “whatever”? Paul in Ephesians, “God works all things after the counsel of His will” As a subset of this, in Romans, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.” The assumption is that Ephesians and Romans help us to understand the Psalms. To this,we can add a multitude of verses that also describe things that God has does or will do. That is a standard exegetical method. So, you need only discover one thing that God has not determined to cause us to see if we have misunderstood the point made first in the Psalms.and then reinforced elsewhere in the Scriptures.

        Then, “…you make a logical deduction they mean “God does all things”, and then tell me the passage means “God does all things”. But the Bible never says that. ”

        To say, “God works all things,” means the same as “God determines all things.” If we say that God does all things, then we recognize God’s rule over secondary forces. Thus, God determined that Christ should die and accomplished this through the Romans and Jews. You are free to offer an alternative rendering of “God works…”

        Then, “I take the Scriptures to say God is doing the specific things it says He is doing. You’re adding things to the Scriptures that God does, namely, “all things”. And you expect not to have to defend that claim?”

        The claim is, “God works all things after the counsel of His will.” The Greek is, “panta energountov,” and it can be translated as “works all” or “works all things.” I don’t see how I am adding, “all things,” to the Scriptures. However, if you want to argue that point, do so.

        Then, “You’re getting salty about being asked the question?”

        If I am getting “Salty” it is only because you claimed to be able to argue the point that God does not determine all things and have not lived up to your claim.

      112. Hutch, “If I am getting “Salty” it is only because you claimed to be able to argue the point that God does not determine all things and have not lived up to your claim.”

        Every new sentence you write commits an informal logical fallacy. This one is a moving the goalposts and a red herring. I was asking YOU to defend YOUR positive claim which you became incensed at being asked about.

        “First we have the Psalm, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” and “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.””

        This is a begging the question fallacy where you have already been asked, twice, how “does what he pleases” means “pleases to determine all things” and you have twice now ignored the question and re-asserted the question begging statement as if you’d never been asked about it.

        “So, you need only discover one thing that God has not determined to cause us to see if we have misunderstood the point made first in the Psalms.and then reinforced elsewhere in the Scriptures.”

        A single example of this, a theme found all over the Bible where God distances himself from the choices of his nation, “and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind”, Jer 19:5.

        “To say, “God works all things,” means the same as “God determines all things.””

        This is another begging the question. Things are not true just because you say they are, Hutch. In order to be doing exegesis, you would have to actually SHOW that “work” = “determined”, not just start by assuming your conclusion.

        Further, it’s almost like you assume there were not any words in the Greek that Paul could have used to mean “determine” (hint: there are) but decided to use a decidedly un-deterministic word like “work” as if there is something outside of Himself that God is working with really not cause Paul likes to be confusing, apparently.

        “The claim is, “God works all things after the counsel of His will.” The Greek is, “panta energountov,” and it can be translated as “works all” or “works all things.” I don’t see how I am adding, “all things,” to the Scriptures.”

        This is being deliberately obtuse, cause I know full well you understood my point. Which is this; you are quoting passages that says “God does these sets of things specifically named”, particularly, “works in all things that happen for his purposes”. Yet you are claiming it means “God determines every thing that happens”. That’s simply not what it says and the only thing you can do is continue to beg the question that it does.

      113. indeed it is…but somehow it never seems to make a difference.

        Logic and Scripture are on your side Eric but ……

      114. FOH
        Logic and Scripture are on your side Eric but ……

        br.d
        Right on FOH! Calvinists ignore logic – because of the human ego refuses to give up its thrown.

      115. FOH writes:
        “indeed it is…but somehow it never seems to make a difference.

        Logic and Scripture are on your side Eric but ……”

        . . . when you can ignore the actual statements of scripture and pretend like it says something else,
        . . . when you can employ euphemisms so you can have your cake and eat it too,
        . . . when you can bounce back and forth from one assertion to its polar opposite,
        . . . when you can hold two irreconcilable beliefs at the same time,
        . . . when you can adjust your definitions on demand,
        . . . when you can make Calvinism mean whatever you want it to at the moment,

        . . . it’s pretty hard to have a logical discussion.

      116. The looking glass of Calvinist language

        CALVINIST (i.e., Humpty Dumpty)
        “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

        ALICE
        “The question is, whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

        CALVINIST (i.e., Humpty Dumpty)
        “The question is, which is to be master—that’s all.”

      117. One might just pin this quote, due to the constant use of word games present. Some appear to believe they can ignore all rules of logic, along with those of the English language, borrow the very words of scripture, then pull fabricated claims out of the magic hat. Such were the tactics of Humpty Dumpty, who brazenly refused to be restricted to commonly agreed upon meanings of words, upon which all meaningful communication is grounded. With such tools, one is always right, inventing new definitions or grabbing a euphemism to deny earlier, contradictory statements. Minus sound logic and consistent definitions, words have no meaning, turning the Word of God into a playground for deceivers.

      118. Eric Kemp writes, “I was asking YOU to defend YOUR positive claim which you became incensed at being asked about. ”

        Let’s rehears what went before:
        rhutchin: “If you can legitimately take such Scripture to say that God does not determine all things, do so.””
        Eric Kemp:”Sure, I can.

        So, now you realize you have nothing and will focus on getting me to defend my position. That’s fine.

      119. rhutchin: “First we have the Psalm, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” and “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.””
        Eric Kemp: “This is a begging the question fallacy where you have already been asked, twice, how “does what he pleases” means “pleases to determine all things” and you have twice now ignored the question and re-asserted the question begging statement as if you’d never been asked about it. ”

        We established that God does as He pleases. So, no issue there. Now, we cite Paul, “God works all things after the counsel of His will.” To say, “God works all things” is to say that God determines all things. To say “after the counsel of His will” is to say that God does as He pleases. Instead of begging the question, I accept the statement of the Psalms, “God does as He pleases,” I don’t see an issue with that. Your issue seems to be my association of the Psalms with Ephesians.

        Then, “In order to be doing exegesis, you would have to actually SHOW that “work” = “determined”, not just start by assuming your conclusion.”

        The translations have “works all things or everything,” (common trans), “accomplishes all things,” (NET), “makes everything work out.” (NLT), “does all things,” (BBE), “God always does what he plans,” (CEV), “All things are done according to God’s plan and decision;” (GNT), “who does everything that he wills to do,” (ISV), “which makes everything work the way he intends.'” (GOD’S WORD trans). If you don’t like the word, “determine,” then elt’s use the various translations that have been offered. I see no difference between the meaning given in those translations and “determine.”

        Paul could have used a different Greek word, but chose to use a stronger term. The term, “ergon,” leaves no doubt that it is God who is the active agent bringing all things about. That God works all things tells us that God is responsible for all that happens.

        Then, ‘you are quoting passages that says “God does these sets of things specifically named”, particularly, “works in all things that happen for his purposes”. Yet you are claiming it means “God determines every thing that happens”. That’s simply not what it says and the only thing you can do is continue to beg the question that it does. ”

        This is no more than your personal opinion. You are presupposing a definition of “determine,” that you are hiding from us. I simply equate “determine” to “works” to say that God works all things,” means that “God determines all things.” Thus, if we say that God determines who is saved, we mean that God works out who is saved (according to the counsel of His will).

        The verse is straightforward in establishing God’s involvement in all things and being the final arbiter of all that happens. You seem to have problems with this.

      120. br.d
        John Calvin created a PRIVATE definition for the term…..The STANDARDIZED definition is from the Latin: “permettere”
        Defined as: To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over, to allow, or to grant.
        Prior to the Latin – we have the Greek άδεια which means “to give license.”

        br.d
        May 14, 2019 at 7:50 pm
        A simple way to DECODE it is to simply replace the term with CAUSE/AUTHOR/RENDER-CERTAIN.

        rhutchin
        May 15, 2019 at 7:43 am
        The non-Calvinists use “permit” in a different sense. Get them to use it correctly – in the manner you note.

        rhutchin
        May 15, 2019 at 1:48 pm
        Calvinists use the standard definition.

        br.d
        This is easily shown to be FALSE
        If TRUE – Calvin would not have not had to create a qualified form – which he called “mere” permission.

        Calvin knew that nowhere in the STANDARDIZED language is “permitted” defined as CAUSED.

        Take this proposition for example
        “SOT101 permitted rhutchin to post comments”

        It is totally fallacious to interpret this as SOT101 CAUSED rhutchin to post comments.

        rhutchin
        The verbs used to define “permettere” are action verbs, “God lets,” “God gives up,” God grants.” It puts God in charge meaning that God is the ACTIVE CAUSE; nothing is “permitted,” unless God decides to permit..

        br.d
        Its easy to see where this argument is fallacious
        Everyone knows there is a difference between CAUSE and permit.

        rhutchin
        The non-Calvinist focuses on “allow” as if it carries a meaning of lesser involvement than the other terms. It doesn’t and you don’t even try to defend the non-Calvinist position.

        br.d
        FALSE
        Its not a matter of focus – its a matter of STANDARDIZED definitions which become STANDARDIZED usage within language.

        CONCLUSION:
        Calvinists already have the word CAUSE – which they can use without producing deceptive equivocations.
        Calvinists know how people use the term “permit” within STANDARDIZED language.

        The reason Calvinists use “permit” in statements while they PRIVATELY mean CAUSE – is obvious.
        It allows them to SNEAK in a camouflaged form of “mere” permission

      121. br.d writes, “It is totally fallacious to interpret this as SOT101 CAUSED rhutchin to post comments.”

        That’s because SOT101 is not God and does not give me life nor makes me in His image nor rules over me. At the same time, like God, SOT101 could prevent me posting comments.

      122. br.d
        It is totally fallacious to interpret this as SOT101 CAUSED rhutchin to post comments.”

        rhutchin
        That’s because SOT101 is not God and does not give me life nor makes me in His image nor rules over me. At the same time, like God, SOT101 could prevent me posting comments.

        br.d
        Thus confirming that the STANDARDIZED definition and usage of “permit” was never intended to represent (be defined) as CAUSE

        John Calvin decided to NOT use the word “FATE” because of the baggage the word carries.
        Its obvious that for Calvin the term “permit” also carries baggage – which Calvin called “odious” (i.e. repulsive).

        He should have stopped using this word altogether – just like he stopped using the word “Fate”

        Instead he created a PRIVATE definition for “permit” to make it mean CAUSE.

        However no one adopts Calvinist definition – replacing the word CAUSE in sentences with the word “permit”.
        Because doing so creates equivocation.

        Therefore:
        Defining “permit” to mean CAUSE is a PRIVATE practice – exclusive to Calvinism.
        Thus it meets the criteria from being a PRIVATE interpretation.

      123. rhutchin
        This is what Calvinism says….etc

        br.d
        What Calvinism obfuscates is the important thing.
        The language is designed to give it an acceptable appearance.

      124. br.d writes, “John Calvin
        -qoute
        Men can deliberately do nothing unless He INSPIRE it…”

        rhutchin
        I found a fuller citation to be, ““But where it is a matter of men’s counsels, wills, endeavours, and exertions, there is greater difficulty in seeing how the providence of God rules here too, so that nothing happens but by His assent and THAT MEN CAN DELIBERATELY DO NOTHING UNLESS HE INSPIRE IT” It is cited from “Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God.

        br.d
        Good – I’m glad you found it.
        I found the citation from within the book “Is God the Author of Sin?” by Timothy Zebell
        Zebell lists the citation of Calvin’s statement as being on page 171-172 of “Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God”

        rhutchin
        However, I have copies of that document and none of my searches turned up this passage. It sounds like something Calvin might write, but I think it has been divorced from context. Did br.d actually read this or was he just quote mining??

        br.d
        It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand Calvin’s statement.
        And the fact that Calvin contradicts himself in another statement – what else is new!

        The primary characteristic of Calvinism is self-contradiction. :-]

      125. Whenever I read Calvin’s Institutes, even when I was still in camp, I always got the impression that he was a wily, master of prevarication. He deliberately crafted his words to give himself plenty of wiggle room, and plausible deniability. Very untrustworthy.

      126. TS00
        Whenever I read Calvin’s Institutes, even when I was still in camp, I always got the impression that he was a wily, master of prevarication. He deliberately crafted his words to give himself plenty of wiggle room, and plausible deniability. Very untrustworthy.

        br.d
        Exactly!
        Calvin was not a theologian by training – he was trained as a lawyer.

        Remember the lawyer who tempted Jesus?
        His strategy was to prevaricate on the meaning of the word “neighbor”.

        John Calvin was just following that lawyers practice!

        You are very astute to see all of the equivocations and weasel language in Calvinist writing.
        They constantly evade telling the truth – the whole truth – and nothing but the truth.
        And yes I agree – this makes Calvinist language untrustworthy.

        But that is also their image of god.
        He says one thing and secretly means the opposite.

      127. br.d writes, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand Calvin’s statement.”

        If, indeed, Calvin did say it. I did not find it in the document noted by Zebell. You, like an obedient sheep, just accept it and move on.

      128. br.d
        It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand Calvin’s statement.”

        rhutchin
        If, indeed, Calvin did say it. I did not find it in the document noted by Zebell. You, like an obedient sheep, just accept it and move on.

        br.d
        Now that’s an excellent example of reverse attribution.

        When you see me following Calvin – believing the THEOS determines everything in every part – and at the same time going about my office *AS-IF* that is false – then you’ll know I’m an obedient sheep accepting it and moving on.

        Until then – I’m having fun watching Calvinists here to do that. :-]

      129. br.d writes, “Now that’s an excellent example of reverse attribution. ”

        Meaning that br.d has no idea whether Calvin said this as he just relies on what people tell him.

      130. br.d
        “Now that’s an excellent example of reverse attribution. ”

        rhutchin
        Meaning that br.d has no idea whether Calvin said this as he just relies on what people tell him.

        br.d
        Meaning you once again attributed something to me that is actually consistent with yourself. :-]

        Now on the issue of Calvin’s quote – you said you looked in a document.
        That’s not the same thing as a book sold by an official publisher.
        If you like, you could email the document you have to Brain – and he can email it to me.
        Then I can find out the authenticity of that document
        And if its authentic – I can also perform a thorough search.

      131. I am able to verify the quote from looking at an online copy of the book.
        Calvin’s statement starts as the last sentence on page 175.
        And the sentence carries over to the top of page 176.

        You may want to verify the document you have is authentic.

      132. br.d writes, “I am able to verify the quote from looking at an online copy of the book.”

        So, how about a website?.

      133. br.d writes, “If you like, you could email the document you have to Brain – and he can email it to me.”

        I bought the book in the kindle edition off Amazon. All I need is the kindle location for the citation. on some key words on paragraphs around the citation.

      134. Sorry to say – I think Kindle page numbering is going to be way different. You’re limited to the kindle keyword search feature.

      135. br.d writes, “Sorry to say – I think Kindle page numbering is going to be way different. You’re limited to the kindle keyword search feature.”

        Exactly. So, give me some key words or phrases in surrounding paragraphs to help me get close.

      136. I posted the link for page 176
        Its in google books
        You should be able to find it easy enough.
        Again – the statement starts at the bottom of page 175 and is carried over to page 176

      137. Here is br.d’s reference citation from https://authorofsin.pressbooks.com/chapter/in-the-words-of-john-calvin/#return-footnote-28-16:

        “But where it is a matter of men’s counsels, wills, endeavours, and exertions, there is greater difficulty in seeing how the providence of God rules here too, so that nothing happens but by His assent and THAT MEN CAN DELIBERATELY DO NOTHING UNLESS HE INSPIRE IT”

        br.d wrote, “Look on the top of page 176 for the ending of the statement.

        https://books.google.com/books?id=Cpf6sWdobC0C&pg=PA175&lpg=PA175&dq=The+hand+of+God+rules+the+interior+affections&source=bl&ots=TJzS_J_GYP&sig=ACfU3U2Uxh-kCz9MMPaK9LTnMYmsnbyNJA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjIr_LllpviAhVmTt8KHbHhBDkQ6AEwAHoECAcQAQ#v=snippet&q=in%20their%20hearts%20to%20make%20them&f=false

        The bottom of page 175 for the beginning of it.”

        I did not find the cited statement in the book linked by br.d. The last sentence on pg 175 begins, “The hand of God rules the interior affections no less that it superintends exterior affections; nor would God have effected by the hand…”

        And continuing on to pg 176

        “…of man that He decreed, unless he worked in the hearts to make them will before they acted.”

        Apparently, br.d cannot read if he makes such a gross error. The citation he employs to denigrate Calvin [“John Calvin -qoute “Men can deliberately do nothing unless He INSPIRE it…”] is not valid from what I can see. It seems to be much ado about nothing. So much for br.d’s scholarship.

      138. rhutchin
        Men can deliberately do nothing unless He INSPIRE it…”] is not valid from what I can see. It seems to be much ado about nothing. So much for br.d’s scholarship.

        br.d
        One can’t find something
        And he thus auto-magically assumes that inability must be attributed to someone other than himself
        Again with the reverse attribution!

        Not only did I find this quote in the google book online – but author Timothy Zebell in his book “is god the author of sin” also found it.
        It is referenced on the website Theology in Tension.com
        It is referenced on the website “Safeguardyoursoul.com”
        it is referenced on the website “bjorkbloggen.com”

        They say most people learn something after the 3rd time.
        I wonder how many times one’s reverse attribution must manifest – before one learns from it! :-]

      139. nr.d writes, “Not only did I find this quote in the google book online…”

        How about a link to that quote from Calvin? The link you provided did not have that quote, at least not on page 175-176. There is a statement there that is somewhat like the quote you use, but your quote, regardless who attests to it (as non-Calvinists can spread false quotes), may only have been an attempt to paraphrase Calvin (and not very well).

        If you actually found the quote you have been using, how about a true link to that quote. Show us that your scholarship is accurate.

      140. rhutchin
        If you actually found the quote you have been using, how about a true link to that quote. Show us that your scholarship is accurate.

        br.d
        You are too funny!
        Step 1 (open up google web-site)
        Step 2 (Enter the following text string “john calvin,men deliberately do nothing unless he inspire it”)
        Step 3 (Review all web-references looking for search text string shown in bold)
        Step 4 (Right-click on google link to web-site and choose “OPEN IN NEW TAB”
        Step 5 (Open the web-page and search for the word “INSPIRE”)
        Step 6 (Verify the statement and its reference)

        Note:
        In 5 minutes – I found around 6 web–pages listing this statement and its reference to John Calvin
        Give it a try – it will boost your scholarship! :-]

      141. br.d originally quoted Calvin to say, “Men can deliberately do nothing unless He INSPIRE it…” I challenged that. So–
        br.d
        You are too funny!
        Step 1 (open up google web-site)
        Step 2 (Enter the following text string “john calvin,men deliberately do nothing unless he inspire it”)
        Step 3 (Review all web-references looking for search text string shown in bold)
        Step 4 (Right-click on google link to web-site and choose “OPEN IN NEW TAB”
        Step 5 (Open the web-page and search for the word “INSPIRE”)
        Step 6 (Verify the statement and its reference)
        Note:
        In 5 minutes – I found around 6 web–pages listing this statement and its reference to John Calvin.

        I followed br.d’s instructions and I did not find that quote in any of Calvin’s writings. br.d claims he saw it.

        We need a third party to go through br.d’s procedure and find the quotation from Calvin, the document in which it appears and the page number. br.d provided such earlier and I followed his link and did not see the phrase under discussion. Can anyone else find it and substantiate br.d’s claim?

      142. rhutchin: “as the Calvinist asks, “Why are not all persuaded?”
        FOH: “Some are persuaded to something and others are not. It aint rocket science.”
        Then FOH: “When Calvinists throw up the smoke screen requiring you to somehow tell them why some believe (or are persuaded) and some aren’t…. just go to the Bible.”

        Once again, we see that FOH purposely avoids giving an answer. Maybe, because he knows that God determines why one is persuaded and another is not and he does not want to admit it.

        So, FOH obfuscates and says, “So sometimes…. serving the Lord (or being persuaded, reasoned with, or convinced: all Paul’s words) seems desirable….. but sometime people see it and desire something else.” He gets close when he says, “The Bible is full of examples where God even works with people to bring them along in their choices (not just presto give them faith).” But then he retreats saying, “Remember Christ did the same ….. He performed many miracles to help people along…… ”

        Why can’t FOH give a straight answer to a simple question??

      143. heather writes, “Your example doesn’t address the idea of how we get faith….But the Bible clearly shows that faith comes through hearing the Word and believing.”

        We agree, No need to mention the obvious.

        Then, ” If you say that God has to provide the faith (for the elect), then you are right back to God condemning the unelect for something they had no control over. ”

        You are correct as Paul demonstrates, “What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”

      144. rhutchin
        You are correct…..etc

        br.d
        In other words Calvin’s god does NOT permit the creature to obey.
        And then condemns the creature for NOT obeying.

        And Calvinists want to call their twisted justice Biblical.

      145. br.d writes, “In other words Calvin’s god does NOT permit the creature to obey.
        And then condemns the creature for NOT obeying.”

        God gives people the freedom to obey if that is their desire. God does not force a person to disobey. That a person is condemned for his disobedience is because he disobeyed of his own volition. “…the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” “Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”

      146. br.d
        In other words Calvin’s god does NOT permit the creature to obey.
        And then condemns the creature for NOT obeying.”

        rhutcnin
        God gives people the freedom to obey if that is their desire.

        br.d
        Calvinists know how to tell the truth up to a point – but a like by omission is still a lie
        ALL creaturely attributes Calvinists want to point to – are ALL determined by factors outside the creatures control.

        rhutcnin
        God does not force a person to disobey.

        br.d
        No one here is fooled by that trick either.
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god’s decrees have no force. :-]

        rhutcnin
        That a person is condemned for his disobedience is because he disobeyed of his own volition

        br.d
        Calvinists know how to tell the truth up to a point – but a like by omission is still a lie
        ALL creaturely attributes Calvinists want to point to – are ALL determined by factors outside the creatures control.

        CONCLUSION:
        Calvin’s god does NOT permit the creature to obey.
        And then condemns the creature for NOT obeying.

        And Calvinists want to superimpose their ideas of twisted justice into the narrative of scripture

        CONCLUSION:

      147. br.d writes, “ALL creaturely attributes Calvinists want to point to – are ALL determined by factors outside the creatures control.”

        So, what attribute was not determined by factors outside the creatures control?

        Then, “Calvin’s god does NOT permit the creature to obey.”

        God normally does not restrain a person doing that which he desires. If a person wants to obey God, he can choose to obey.

      148. br.d
        ALL creaturely attributes Calvinists want to point to – are ALL determined by factors outside the creatures control.”

        rhutchin
        So, what attribute was not determined by factors outside the creatures control?

        br.d
        Elementary Math:
        Take ALL and subtract ALL and how much do you have left over :-]

        rhutchin
        God normally does not restrain a person doing that which he desires.

        br.d
        No one here is fooled by those language tricks
        Your last “restrain” statement is: – Calvin’s god restrains events already restrained.

        Calvin’s god CAN’T restrain anything he RENDERS-CERTAIN
        And anything NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN is not going to come to pass – so nothing to be restrained.

        I Wonder why Calvinists love to chase their own tails all the time. :-]

        rhutchin
        If a person wants to obey God he can choose to obey.

        br.d
        Calvinists tell the truth – but only up to a point
        But a lie by omission is still a lie.
        ALL attributes (which includes wants) are controlled by Calvin’s god.

        As Calvinist Paul Helm’s says about it:
        -quote
        Every twist and turn of each of these is under the direct control of god

        So everyone here already sees through those deceptive statements.

      149. br.d: ALL creaturely attributes Calvinists want to point to – are ALL determined by factors outside the creatures control.”
        Then: Take ALL and subtract ALL and how much do you have left over :-]

        You agree with the Calvinists that “ALL creaturely attributes…determined by factors outside the creatures control.”

      150. br.d
        ALL creaturely attributes Calvinists want to point to – are ALL determined by factors outside the creatures control.”
        Then: Take ALL and subtract ALL and how much do you have left over :-]

        rhutchin
        You agree with the Calvinists that “ALL creaturely attributes…determined by factors outside the creatures control.”

        br.d
        Calvinists are double-minded, evasive and dishonest on this point as on others.
        .
        You for example – In one post – evade trying to point Attribute-A as the CAUSE of Attribute-B
        And your next post – you try to point Attribute-B as the CAUSE of Attribute-A

        Your silly WHACK A MOLE game with creaturely attributes. :-]
        All to evade – Calvin’s god as the TRUE CAUSE/AUTHOR

        Calvinists are ensnared by their own dishonesty

  9. We have to ask ourselves why God says so many time things like “I did this so that men might know that I am…..” or when John says “Christ did these miracles the we might believe…”

    If faith was just a given-not-given thing, these kind of “I’m giving you proof” sentences are meaningless.

    Gideon: God could have (and in Calvinism would have) just given him faith —- no questions asked, irresistibly. But….nah…. God works with feeble Gideon to give him the signs he need (not imputes some given-faith). Many long scenes in the Bible just like this indicate that God does not just infuse an irresistible faith.

    Zechariah asks how can this be true? Bummer. Mute for 9 months. Why didn’t God just give him faith?

    ———–
    1 Samuel 14:10
    “But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the LORD has given them into our hands; and this shall be the sign to us.”

    God could have just given Jonathan faith but in stead He goes along with the sign idea of Jonathan.

    ———

    Exodus 4:1-9

    “Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.'” The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent;”

    God could have just given Moses faith…. but nah…. He gives him signs to help his feeble decision-making.

    —-

    Joshua 24:17

    “For the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did these great signs in our sight and preserved us through all the way in which we went and among all the peoples through whose midst we passed.”

    Notice that Joshua does not say “The Lord who gave us faith….” No he says ….. He did great signs….in our sight!!!! That is not given-faith. That is like Paul “persuading men.”

    These were God’s “chosen people” with signs and miracles and even they did not believe …all the time. Back and forth they went. If that was the faith God “gave” them, it sure was not very efficacious!

    ———–

    Numbers 16:28-30

    “Moses said, “By this you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these deeds; for this is not my doing. “If these men die the death of all men or if they suffer the fate of all men, then the LORD has not sent me.”

    God could have just “given them faith” but nope….. He gave them sign…. and they had to make a choice. Over and over and over.

    1. FOH writes, “We have to ask ourselves why God says so many time things like “I did this so that men might know that I am…..” or when John says “Christ did these miracles the we might believe…”

      God does these things to persuade people. So, we have to ask again, “Why are not all people persuaded?” FOH can’t seem to answer this even though he said that the answer is not rocket science. (suggesting that the answer was really simple).

      1. FOH
        We have to ask ourselves why God says so many time things like “I did this so that men might know that I am…..” or when John says “Christ did these miracles the we might believe…”

        rhutchin
        God does these things to persuade people.

        br.d
        Calvin’s god does “things” to persuade people *AS-IF* he “merely” permits “things” to persuade people.

        Calvinists and their “fully orbed” system of double-speak – what a hoot! :-]

      2. br.d writes, “Calvin’s god does “things” to persuade people *AS-IF* he “merely” permits “things” to persuade people.”

        God’s elect are persuaded as-if God knew that they would be persuaded. The reprobate are not persuaded, because God offers no direct help (regeneration) to such persuasion as He does for His elect.

      3. br.d
        Calvin’s god does “things” to persuade people *AS-IF* he “merely” permits “things” to persuade people.”

        rhutchin
        God’s elect are persuaded *AS-IF* God knew that they would be persuaded.

        br.d
        And you think you are a rational thinker!
        Too funny! :-]

        I suspect this was another attempt to SNEAK in a camouflaged form of foreknowledge via observation.

        rhutchin
        The reprobate are not persuaded, because God offers no direct help (regeneration) to such persuasion as He does for His elect.

        br.d
        OOOOH! The super religious jargon! :-]

        I just cut to the chase – and acknowledge Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN every neurological impulse.
        Trying to call that process “persuasion” is simply an attempt to SNEAK in “mere” permission – in camouflaged form.

        But I get that doing that SNEAKING those things in – is necessary for the Calvinist to appear biblical! :-]

  10. CALVINISM’S PRIVATE INTERPRETATION OF “PERMISSION” LANGUAGE

    rhutchin
    May 14, 2019 at 10:20 am
    [Calvinists] boldly reject “mere” permission”
    That is because God is sovereign and necessarily rules His creation.

    rhutchin
    May 14, 2019 at 2:06 pm
    God initiates some actions…….and for want of a better term, permits, other actions.

    br.d
    May 14, 2019 at 7:50 pm
    Its not hard to see how deceptive Calvinists can get with their use of “permission” language.
    A simple way to DECODE it is to simply replace the term with CAUSE/AUTHOR/RENDER-CERTAIN.”

    rhutchin
    May 15, 2019 at 7:43 am
    The non-Calvinists use “permit” in a different sense. Get them to use it correctly – in the manner you note.

    br.d
    The STANDARDIZED definition is from the Latin: “permettere”
    Defined as: To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over, to allow, or to grant.
    Prior to the Latin – we have the Greek άδεια which means “to give license”

    Equivocation is a logical fallacy that relies on *IMPLICILTY* alternating between the different meanings a single word can have.

    Paul: “Except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken?”.

    Jesus: “Let your communications be yea yea or nay nay – for anything else comes of evil”.

  11. br.d
    “It is totally fallacious to interpret this as SOT101 CAUSED rhutchin to post comments.”

    rhutchin
    That’s because SOT101 is not God and does not give me life nor makes me in His image nor rules over me.

    br.d
    And this is where Calvinism’s PRIVATE definition for the term “permit” comes from – based upon their EXCLUSIVE doctrine.
    But that doctrine is EXCLUSIVE to – and found ONLY in Calvinism
    And that is what makes it a PRIVATE interpretation.

    rhutchin
    At the same time, like God, SOT101 could prevent me posting comments.

    br.d
    Now see how the Calvinist needs to SNEAK in a camouflaged form of Libertarian Free will

    In a Libertarian Free world there is no LOGICAL conundrum with the THEOS preventing an event.

    But its a LOGIC IMPOSSIBILITY for Calvin’s god to alter/change/prevent an event that he has made IMMUTABLE.
    The only event he can alter/change/prevent is one that is NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN to come to pass.
    And that event wasn’t ever going to come to pass in the first place – and thus nothing to alter/change/prevent

    The Calvinist obviously needs some form of Libertarian Free will – to APPEAR biblical. :-]

  12. LEARNING CALVINIST TALKING-POINTS IN THE PRISON CELL OF THEOLOGICAL DETERMINISM

    In the prison cell of Theological Determinism – prisoners learn Calvinist talking-points.

    Here are just a few:
    1) God did not force or coerce you to be here – you’re just not permitted to be anywhere else.

    2) You’re free to go anywhere you desire – you’re just not permitted to desire anything else.

    3) You’re here because of your attributes – you’re just not permitted any other attributes.

    4) You believe it true – the THEOS is the ORIGIN and CAUSE – but live and speak AS-IF it is false.

    1. br.d writes, “In the prison cell of Theological Determinism – prisoners learn Calvinist talking-points.
      Here are just a few:
      1) God did not force or coerce you to be here – you’re just not permitted to be anywhere else.
      2) You’re free to go anywhere you desire – you’re just not permitted to desire anything else.
      3) You’re here because of your attributes – you’re just not permitted any other attributes.
      4) You believe it true – the THEOS is the ORIGIN and CAUSE – but live and speak AS-IF it is false.”

      1. God does ordain the time and place of a person’s birth and this without consulting the person.
      2. God gives a person freedom to be anything or go anywhere consistent with the person’s desires.
      3. You live because God gave you life and sustains your life from day to day. God creates a person with specific attributes (people do not have wings; not all are Einsteins). Some things just cannot be changed – as Jeremiah argued, ““Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good Who are accustomed to doing evil.”
      4. People know the truth but have been deceived to believe a lie. Thus, Romans 1, “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”

      1. rhutchin writes:
        “People know the truth but have been deceived to believe a lie.”

        Once again, utterly inconsistent and logically impossible. If one ‘knows the truth’ one cannot be ‘deceived to believe a lie’. Being deceived to believe a lie is the same as not knowing what is true. But of course the Calvinist seeks to avoid any mention of the free choice man here makes to embrace a lie. It is very tempting to point to the quoted statement as a clear example of this.

        The real premise of Romans 1 – I am amazed any Calvinist would dare to quote such a blatant discounting of his own theology – is that man knows the truth and deliberately chooses to ignore it. He lives as if the lie is true, but he knows that it is not. This is the only reason scripture can affirm that he is without excuse. Were he deceived, as for example Eve was, he would be without blame. But knowing wrong, and pursuing it anyway, as Adam did, is sin.

        Man only becomes hopelessly deceived, and totally depraved upon repeatedly ignoring the truth, as revealed by the Spirit of Truth, and determinedly embracing its opposite. Eventually the Spirit of Truth will no longer even be heard, and God will abandon him to his obstinate choice to resist the Truth. Such a person is capable of the most heinous evil, as his conscience is completely seared, and truth can no longer enter into his decisions.

      2. TS00 writes, ‘The real premise of Romans 1… is that man knows the truth and deliberately chooses to ignore it.”

        Romans 1 deals with those who “who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” It further says, ‘even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Then, “they exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” Where did this “lie” come from and what basis would they have for believing a lie over the truth. It is Satan who, “is a liar, and the father of lies.” We know that, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” You say that man does all that is described in Romans 1 on his own. I say he has help – Satan, the father of the lie that people believe.

        Then, ‘Were he deceived, as for example Eve was, he would be without blame. ”

        Eve was innocent and did not have a sin nature. The people described in Romans 1 have a sin nature and are not innocent – they are wicked. They are living a lie as they – “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” of the sin nature. They are everything Romans 3 describes them to be.

        Then, ‘Man only becomes hopelessly deceived, and totally depraved upon repeatedly ignoring the truth,”

        In Ephesians 2, Paul describes what believers were before God quickened them, “you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” Then he says, “I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;”

        It is because man is hopelessly deceived, and totally depraved that he ignores the truth.

      3. Rhutchin quotes Romans 1, then again ignores, or utterly twists, what it says.
        But let’s not pick and choose selectively. Read the entire passage, which makes it even more obvious:

        18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

        24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

        26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

        28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. 29 They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

        None of these verses, in any way, shape or form suggest that the depraved people described are deceived. Indeed, it states the exact opposite specifically, repeatedly, I have pointed this out to this commenter multiple times, so it is not as if this is new territory. Let’s just list a few of the descriptions that prove without question that this passage is not talking about deceived men:

        by their wickedness suppress the truth
        For what can be known about God is plain to them
        his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived
        So they are without excuse, for . . . they knew God
        they exchanged the truth about God for a lie
        Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die

        None of these phrases describe a person who is deceived, contrary to Calvinism’s major premise of God-cursed Total Depravity. People are not totally depraved because they are cursed by God and unable to discern truth, but because they reject and suppress the truth that God has made clear to them. They open themselves up to increasing error and darkness of the soul because they suppress the truth that they know. And eventually, the God who respects the free choices of men, abandons them to their chosen folly.

        I have rarely seen such blatant twisting of words. One might justly call it exchanging the truth for a lie.

      4. TS00 writes, “None of these verses, in any way, shape or form suggest that the depraved people described are deceived.”

        v25 says, “…they exchanged the truth of God for a lie…” If one exchanges the truth for a lie, he has been deceived. It is very easy to deceive a depraved person because he wants to believe a lie. For depraved people, “that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them….” so what happened? We see that “their foolish heart was darkened.,,,” Darkened by what? To think that depraved people are not deceived is naive in my opinion.

      5. Someone ignored everything I spelled out in my former comment. Being deceived and deliberately suppressing what one knows is true are two distinctly, incompatible events. When one is deceived, they are led to believe something is true which is not. When one knows the truth and suppresses it, that is an entirely different concept.

      6. TS00 writes, “Being deceived and deliberately suppressing what one knows is true are two distinctly, incompatible events.”

        I agree. My point is that being deceived can precipitate one’s suppressing the truth. Absent a deception, what reason would a person have for suppressing the truth?

        Then, ‘When one is deceived, they are led to believe something is true which is not. When one knows the truth and suppresses it, that is an entirely different concept.”

        Agreed. However, in order to suppress one truth, one must think there is a greater truth that takes precedence. This opens the door for deception.

      7. br.d
        In the prison cell of Theological Determinism – prisoners learn Calvinist talking-points.
        Here are just a few:
        1) God did not force or coerce you to be here – you’re just not permitted to be anywhere else.
        2) You’re free to go anywhere you desire – you’re just not permitted to desire anything else.
        3) You’re here because of your attributes – you’re just not permitted any other attributes.
        4) You believe it true – the THEOS is the ORIGIN and CAUSE – but live and speak AS-IF it is false.

        rhutchin
        1. God does ordain …….etc.
        2. God gives a person freedom to be anything or go anywhere consistent with the person’s desires.
        3. You live because God gave you life….etc

        br.d
        Thank you for providing further examples of the Calvinist talking-points
        Especially (4) :-]

      8. Calvinism declares that God alone is the sovereign determining force in whatsoever comes to pass in his creation. Leighton’s post says it succinctly. All of the deflections to ‘desires’ or secondary means are just attempts to avoid confronting the legitimate charge of the injustice of the Calvinist scheme. It is this indisputable injustice that always dooms Calvinism in the court of public opinion. Hence the dissimulation, hedging and not quite forthright explanations one nearly always encounters when interacting with Calvinists.

        Calvin well knew what the response would be to his proposal of predestination, which inevitably entails a horrible decree of reprobation. There is no escape from this horrible decree, in more ways than one. Let us hear it from the horse’s mouth, as found in Calvin’s Institutes:

        “If such a barren invention is accepted [that Adam sinned because he had free choice], where will the omnipotence of God be whereby he regulates all things according to his secret plan, which depends solely upon itself? Yet predestination, whether they [the objectors] will [admit it] or not, manifests itself in Adam’s posterity. For it did not take place by reason of nature that, by the guilt of one parent, all were cut off from salvation . . . . Scripture proclaims that all mortals were bound over to eternal death in the person of one man [Adam] (cf. Rom. 5:12 ff.). Since this cannot be ascribed to nature, it is perfectly clear that it has come forth from the wonderful plan of God . . . . Again I ask: whence does it happen that Adam’s fall irremediably involved so many peoples, together with their infant offspring, in eternal death unless because it so pleased God? . . . The decree is horrible indeed, I confess. Yet no one can deny that God foreknew what end man was to have before he created him, and consequently foreknew because he so ordained by his decree . . . . And it ought not to seem absurd for me to say that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his descendants, but also meted it out in accordance with his own decision. For it pertains to his wisdom to foreknow everything that is to happen, so it pertains to his might to rule and control everything by his hand.”

        If you call yourself a Calvinist, read these words again and again until you grasp their meaning. There is little leeway in understanding Calvin, nor is it possible to excise any of his more unpalatable teachings, as all are essential for the system of Divine Determinism to stand. If God unconditionally chooses who will be saved, based on nothing to do with the individuals themselves, then it is unavoidably true that he also unconditionally chooses who will be damned, based on nothing to do with the individuals themselves.

        Much as Calvinists try to sneak it in, one simply cannot blame a man’s damnation upon his own choices. God has chosen who he will save and who he will not, and so it will unchangeably be. All intervening events, all desires, choices or sins are simply secondary means determined by God to bring forth his ordained end. No man, woman or child ever can or will do anything apart from the predetermining decree of God. There is no avoiding this conclusion. And yet, when confronted with these facts by opponents, Calvinist after Calvinist dances around the truth, desperately afraid to admit what cannot be denied.

        One can engage in disputable debates over minute details all day long, but it does not change the most pertinent facts. Under Calvinism, God, and God alone, has determined, in eternity past, who shall be saved. There is nothing anyone can do or not do to effect or change these predeterminations. It is pure foolishness to pretend that there is any good news gospel for those whom God has not chosen to save. It is a lie to assert that Calvinism allows that Jesus provided atonement for all men, when Calvinistic predestination demands that all whom Jesus died for will unfailingly be saved, and all others will unfailingly be damned. No one is damned due to sin, but sins due to being damned.

        You want to believe such things? It is your choice to do so, but do not kid yourself that Calvinism means anything less than what is here stated. Nothing has ever shaken me to the core like realizing that spiritual leaders I once trusted had played me for a fool.

        Instead of laying out and discussing the clear meaning of Calvinistic predestination, word games were employed and salient truth denied. The only point of creating a theory called ‘compatibilism’ is to hide the hideous truth, and to appear to align with the thousands of scriptures that portray God’s love for all, his offer of grace to all and his stated desire that none perish. None of these earnest calls to repent can have any genuine meaning under Divine Determinism, but dissimulation and deflection work well to refocus attention elsewhere.

        Choose you this day, dear believer, which God you will serve. The God of Calvinism controls all things, determines the fate of all before they come into being, then pretends that his predetermined reprobation is ‘punishment’ for the very sin he irrevocably cursed men with. You may try and line this cruel, sadistic God up with the loving gracious God of scripture, but there is no similarity.

        Calvinist teachers will tell you, as they told me, that you can have it both ways. You can, they will tell you, believe that God alone predetermines and brings into being whatsoever comes to pass, and at the same time place the blame for sin and death on the individual. This is, however, as illogical and absurd as it first sounds. If God alone deserves the glory for whatsoever is good, God alone deserves the blame for whatsoever is bad.

        And when you are told, in response to your misgivings, that you MUST believe these horrible things about God because scripture asserts them, I say to you, you have the right to answer back, ‘Actually sir, that is simply one interpretation of certain verses. There are others, which I choose to look at for myself.’ This is the key to not being bullied into buying a package of goods you do not really like or need.

        The good news, my friend, is that the revelation of God to man really is good news. He truly loves you, and all men, in exactly the same way – unfailingly. His offer of forgiveness, grace and eternal life is genuine, and freely available to whosoever will believe it. All that he has done, from the very start, is for our good, that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

        Wouldn’t it be truly good news to know that the promised blessings of God are not limited to a select few? Wouldn’t it be truly good news to be able to tell everyone you meet that God loves them and desires to bestow upon them immeasurable gifts of love? Wouldn’t it be truly good news to never again have to securely lock away all thoughts of the cruelty of a God who creates men without even a chance to be free from sin and death?

        There is really only one thing one must give up in rejecting Calvinism, and that is the freedom to sin without accountability. Some will scoff, but that is the sole distinguishing benefit of Calvinism and the only reason to cling to such a hideous theology. It falsely assures men that their sins will not come into play, that their future is set, and that nothing they ever do or don’t do can threaten their eternal security.

        So there is that. You will have to put your trust in the goodness, mercy and faithfulness of God, rather than in some secret, irreversible decree, some Judaistic covenant that cannot be challenged. But I am here to tell you that he is more than worthy of your trust. He is love and goodness and truth and beauty and all that is worth living for. He is a God you can delight in without reservation, who truly desires and seeks your good. He is glorious because he is good, rather than a narcissist in perpetual need of receiving involuntary ‘glory’.

      9. Wow TS00,

        You nailed that succinctly and passionately!

        I will quote you often!

        I will add one thing to the following:

        “One can engage in disputable debates over minute details all day long, but it does not change the most pertinent facts. Under Calvinism, God, and God alone, has determined, in eternity past, who shall be saved.”

        I would simply add this (since you did say “facts”)

        One can engage in disputable debates over minute details all day long, but it does not change the most pertinent facts: Under Calvinism, God, and God alone, has determined, in eternity past, who shall be saved. God, and God alone, has determined immutably, in eternity past, every action, sin, or thought, good or bad, that any person has ever done or had.

        On another string of this blog I provided the systematic theology quote from Grudem that says that He has done this and nothing we can say or do will change it.

      10. Not caused by nature – but by Calvin’s god’s will.
        It is a barren invention…that Adam sinned because he had free choice.

        But we already know that Calvinists have a desperate need to find a way to get around these.

      11. TS00 writes, “If God unconditionally chooses who will be saved, based on nothing to do with the individuals themselves, then t is unavoidably true that he also unconditionally chooses who will be damned, based on nothing to do with the individuals themselves.”

        As Romans 9 affirms. “Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad–in order that God’s purpose in election might stand:not by works but by him who calls–she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated….So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy….So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires….”

        Then, “Calvinist teachers will tell you…You can…believe that God alone predetermines and brings into being whatsoever comes to pass, and at the same time place the blame for sin and death on the individual.”

        As Isaiah 10 affirms, “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hands is My indignation, I send it against a godless nation And commission it against the people of My fury To capture booty and to seize plunder, And to trample them down like mud in the streets. Yet it does not so intend Nor does it plan so in its heart, But rather it is its purpose to destroy, And to cut off many nations…So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness.” For he has said, “By the power of my hand and by my wisdom I did this, For I have understanding; And I removed the boundaries of the peoples, And plundered their treasures, And like a mighty man I brought down their inhabitants,..Therefore the Lord, the GOD of hosts, will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors; And under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame.”

  13. In response to some questions in the comments…

    Why aren’t some people persuaded by the Gospel?

    Because they don’t want to be.

    And does saying that people can make a choice about Him mean that whether we have faith or not is outside of His decree (i.e. His control, His Will)?

    No. It simply means that He has decreed to give us the right to make decisions, to choose Him or reject Him. We have a right to make decisions because He gave us the right to make decisions, even about Him. If we choose Him, it’s because He made it possible. If we don’t, it’s because He allows us to reject Him.

    Would a Calvinist say that a sovereign God can’t give us the ability to make choices, if He wanted to? That He can’t work people’s choices into His plans? Is He not big enough, wise enough, or sovereign enough to do that?

    1. Heather writes, ‘Why aren’t some people persuaded by the Gospel?
      Because they don’t want to be.”

      That’s what the Calvinist says.

      Then, ” If we choose Him, it’s because He made it possible. If we don’t, it’s because He allows us to reject Him.”

      That’s what the Calvinist says.

      Then, “Would a Calvinist say that a sovereign God can’t give us the ability to make choices if He wanted to? , ”

      No.

      Then, “That He can’t work people’s choices into His plans? Is He not big enough, wise enough, or sovereign enough to do that?”

      No and Yes.

      1. Heather ‘Why aren’t some people persuaded by the Gospel?
        Because they don’t want to be.”

        rhutchin
        That’s what the Calvinist says.

        br.d
        And what the Calvinist hides is that that occurs after Calvin’s god AUTHORS every neurological impulse – and no autonomous thoughts are permitted! :-]

        Heather
        If we choose Him, it’s because He made it possible. If we don’t, it’s because He allows us to reject Him.”

        rhutchin
        That’s what the Calvinist says.

        br.d
        And what the Calvinist hides is that that occurs after Calvin’s god AUTHORS every neurological impulse – – and no autonomous choices are permitted! :-]

        Heather
        Would a Calvinist say that a sovereign God can’t give us the ability to make choices if He wanted to? , ”

        rhutchin
        No.

        br.d
        With the tinny little caveat – that ability is determined for them by Calvin’s god – and no autonomous ability is permitted.

        Heather
        “That He can’t work people’s choices into His plans? Is He not big enough, wise enough, or sovereign enough to do that?”

        rhutchin
        No and Yes.

        br.d
        Non-Calvinist version:
        The eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. A.W. Tozer

        Calvinist version
        They can do nothing unless he worked in their hearts to *MAKE* them will before they act. (John Calvin Concerning the eternal predestination pg 175)

      2. Heather
        “If we choose Him, it’s because He made it possible. If we don’t, it’s because He allows us to reject Him.”

        rhutchin
        “That’s what the Calvinist says.”

        Perhaps the Calvinist might say this, but it is not so according to his official theology. Note the distinctions:

        Non-Calvinism:
        If we choose Him, it’s because He made it possible, sending his Son to manifest and make known his love and mercy to lost sinners. If we don’t, it’s because He allows us to reject Him and his genuine offer of pardon and eternal life.

        Calvinism:
        If we choose him, it’s because He made it possible, by the mystical, unsought work of the Holy Spirit who regenerates the elect sinner making him newly able to desire and choose to believe in God’s salvation, which was effectively, and only, worked for those chosen by God to irresistibly receive it. If we don’t, it’s because we are reprobates, rejected by God and slated for eternal damnation in eternity past, cursed for the sin of our father, before we were ever born or able to do right or wrong, and made permanently unable to believe in or choose God.

        You might notice a slight, ahem, difference, even if Calvinists deceptively use the wording of non-Calvinists in order to mislead unwary believers.

      3. TS00
        Even if Calvinists deceptively use the wording of non-Calvinists in order to mislead unwary believers.

        br.d
        You hit the bulls-eye again TS00!

        And the reason they do – is because they intuitively know – in order to be one with scripture – they desperately need the very things their system forces them to reject.

      4. br.d writes, “And what the Calvinist hides is that that occurs after Calvin’s god AUTHORS every neurological impulse…”

        Yes. God created each person, weaving each on into a distinct individual. God gives each person knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. God directs each perosn’s steps and knows all the circumstances of their lives. God knows each person’s desires even before those desires come into the person’s mind. God knows the thoughts of each person before any think them. God ordains all that a peroson does without forcing them to act in one way or another and total knowledge of the choices a person makes before he chooses them.

        Then, “– and no autonomous thoughts are permitted! ”

        No person will think any thought that God does not know beforehand he will think and even ordained that he think the thought.

        Then, ‘With the tinny little caveat – that ability is determined for them by Calvin’s god – and no autonomous ability is permitted.”

        God creates some to be Einstein’s; others to be idiots and everyone in between. Some people have perfect memories; others not. Some understand complex issues easily; others not so. Some are given experiences that make them great; others not so. God makes all peopel, directs their steps, and protects or not. All this is done within God’s eternal plan that encompasses the movement of every atom from the beginning to the end. All this is done with people who want to do what they want and have no desire for the things of God.

        Then, “Calvinist version: They can do nothing unless he worked in their hearts to *MAKE* them will before they act.”

        It si God who gives knowledge understanding, and wisdom. It is God who creates man with a sin nature that desires nothing of God;s plan. No evil desire arises form man’s evil nature unless God says it will. God places trials and tribulations before people, allows Satan to tempt them, surrounds them with evil company or bad advisors all to “make” them do His will.

      5. rhutchin writes:
        “It is God who creates man with a sin nature that desires nothing of God;s plan. No evil desire arises form man’s evil nature unless God says it will.”

        I can only call such what it is: ‘Blasphemy’. God has never created a sin nature, has not prevented men from desiring and doing well, and has never ordained a single evil desire, thought or deed. A person who dares make such accusations against God, who is the very essence of goodness, love and justice should tremble at the thought of one day standing before him. I tremble for them.

      6. TS00 writes, “God has never created a sin nature, has not prevented men from desiring and doing well, and has never ordained a single evil desire, thought or deed.”

        When Adam sinned, he incurred a corrupted nature that was then inherited by his descendants. Paul describes this to believers in Ephesians 2, “you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” In Galatians, Paul says this, ‘the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” God knew all this when he opened the womb to the conception and birth of evil people. Adam’s sin led to the corruption of everyone who would be born because that was the punishment for his sin. Adam’s descendants would be just like him and not one was born except by God’s decree and not one person lives another day except by God’s decree. It is all according to God’s plan.

      7. rhutchin
        When Adam sinned, he incurred a corrupted nature that was then inherited by his descendants.

        br.d

        Dr. James N. Anderson, of the Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte NC, – “Calvinism and the first sin”
        -quote:
        Calinists can affirm a sufficient…explanation for Adam’s sin: God decreed it.

      8. br.d writes, “Dr. James N. Anderson, of the Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte NC, – “Calvinism and the first sin”
        -quote:Calinists can affirm a sufficient…explanation for Adam’s sin: God decreed it.”

        Yes. Had God not decreed it, Satan could not have entered the garden, Eve could not have been tempted to eat the fruit and would not have offered the fruit to Adam, and Adam would not have eaten the fruit. It all begins with God’s decree.

      9. rhutchin
        Had God not decreed it, Satan could not have entered the garden, Eve could not have been tempted to eat the fruit and would not have offered the fruit to Adam, and Adam would not have eaten the fruit. It all begins with God’s decree.

        br.d
        All that religious blather!
        I just cut to the chase – Calvin’s god AUTHORS every neurological impulse!

        A nice little world of people functioning as robots :-]

      10. br.d
        And what the Calvinist hides is that that occurs after Calvin’s god AUTHORS every neurological impulse and no autonomous thoughts are permitted!”

        rhutchin
        Yes. God created each person, weaving each on into a distinct individual. God gives each person knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. God directs each perosn’s steps……etc

        br.d
        Created each person such that he would determine their every neurological impulse – and no autonomous thoughts are permitted! ”

        rhutchin
        No person will think any thought that God does not know beforehand ….etc

        br.d
        See how the Calvinist needs to SNEAK in divine foreknowledge via observation! – In order to remain Biblical of-course :-].

        rhutchin
        All this is done within God’s eternal plan that encompasses the movement of every atom from the beginning to the end.

        br.d
        Exactly!
        But just wait a minute – and watch the Calvinist about face – and SNEAK in the very things he just rejected!

        rhutchin
        All this is done with people who want to do what they want and have no desire for the things of God.

        br.d
        There you have it!
        The Calvinist needs to SNEAK in a degree of creaturely autonomy – and “mere” permission of the creaturely desires.
        Just to remain Biblical of-course :-]

        rhutchin
        It is God who creates man with a sin nature that desires nothing of God;s plan.

        br.d
        BING!

        rhutchin
        No evil desire arises form man’s evil nature unless God says it will.

        br.d
        More precisely – no desire arises unless Calvin’s god AUTHORS it.

        rhutchin
        all to “make” them do His will.

        br.d
        BING!

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Men can deliberately do nothing unless He *INSPIRE* it. (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God pg 171–172)

      11. br.d writes, “The Calvinist needs to SNEAK in a degree of creaturely autonomy – and “mere” permission of the creaturely desires.”

        Not autonomy, just creaturely freedom.

        Then, “John Calvin-quote
        Men can deliberately do nothing unless He *INSPIRE* it. (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God pg 171–172)”

        Earlier br.d wrote, “I am able to verify the quote from looking at an online copy of the book.
        Calvin’s statement starts as the last sentence on page 175.
        And the sentence carries over to the top of page 176.”

        I don’t think he has actually found that quote yet. I have not. I am pretty sure no one else has either.

      12. br.d writes, “The Calvinist needs to SNEAK in a degree of creaturely autonomy – and “mere” permission of the creaturely desires.”

        rhutchin
        Not autonomy, just creaturely freedom.

        br.d
        The tiny little freedom to do ONLY what Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN. :-]

        Then, “John Calvin-quote
        Men can deliberately do nothing unless He *INSPIRE* it. (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God pg 171–172)”

        rhutchin
        Earlier br.d wrote, “I am able to verify the quote from looking at an online copy of the book.
        Calvin’s statement starts as the last sentence on page 175.
        And the sentence carries over to the top of page 176.”

        I don’t think he has actually found that quote yet. I have not. I am pretty sure no one else has either.

        br.d
        Too funny! :-]

  14. Rhutchin, A few things in response to your comments …

    That God “foreknows things” and that He “decrees or ordains things” (by which Calvinists mean “causes”) are two very different things. VERY DIFFERENT! But you seem to keep trying to blend them into one thing, bouncing back and forth as if they are inter-changeable. They are not. God can foreknow what will happen, and choose to allow it or block it. Or He can cause things to happen. And I think He works in both ways, at different times. Sometimes causing, sometimes allowing. But He NEVER causes the things He commands us not to do, and He never prevents us from doing the things He commands us to do (unless the person first hardened their own heart, and then God further hardens it, making their choice permanent). That is a contradiction of His character, of who He is. Calvinists do not see the proper, biblical distinction between cause vs. allow. And they end up changing God into a horrible, monstrous, contradictory, illogical, irrational version of Himself. Calvinists really need to spend some more time trying to figure out the difference between cause and allow, because it greatly affects their theology and their view of God. And they will be held accountable for the version of God they preach to others.

    [For example, God says that He establishes (ordains) all governments, right? Which we often take to mean that He deliberately chose all the leaders, that He controls them all, right? But in Hosea 8:4, He says “They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval.” Either God is lying in one of those verses because they can’t both be true if “ordains” means “controls/causes” … or we misunderstand “ordains.” We assume it must mean that God controls all the leaders and governments. But I think it’s more accurate to say that “ordains” doesn’t have to always mean “cause.” Sometimes, it can simply mean that He gives us what we demand, that He allows us to get our way, even if He doesn’t want it for us. God doesn’t always “cause.” Sometimes He simply “allows.” This is the only way both those verses can be true.]

    And I would challenge you to find in Genesis the part where God cursed Adam and Eve like this: “I am now taking away your right to think on your own or to make any decisions on your own. You and your descendants shall now do only what I cause you to do.” Being totally unable to make decisions or to think on our own was not a consequence of the fall. But losing our position with God was. Being spiritually “dead” doesn’t mean we can’t think or seek or make decisions. It means we are separated from God and unable to save ourselves. So God sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for us, to offer salvation to anyone who wants it.

    And you quoted from Ephesians “we too formerly lived in the lusts of the flesh … and were by nature children of wrath.” How can this be if they were predestined from before time began to be the “elected” ones? They could never have been “children of wrath” if they were never destined for wrath but only for salvation.

    You mentioned “creaturely freedom”. What is that? Freedom from what? From control (i.e. God’s control)? Freedom to do what? To make decisions? How is “creaturely freedom” different from free-will? And “freedom to do exactly what God predestined you to do” won’t cut it. Because that’s not freedom at all.

    And finally, why do you spend so much time debating about this issue if God has already predetermined what we will all decide? Do you think you can somehow influence or override what God has sovereignly fore-ordained? Does He “need” you to help Him carry out His sovereign Will? If He does, then that means something hinges on your obedience, that you can have an effect on what happens in life, and that you can choose whether to obey His command to debate this issue or to disobey it. And if He “needs” you to obey His commands, and if you can choose between obeying or disobeying, and if your choice has an effect … then you are right back to free-will, to the freedom/responsibility to make choices.

    I can see that you want to honor God for the mighty God He is. And I can appreciate that. But if He has chosen to allow mankind to make decisions that He will hold them accountable for … and yet you keep insisting that mankind cannot make any decisions because God decides everything for us … then you are not really honoring Him for the God that He is. I think Calvinism is “Mankind telling God how God has to be in order to be considered God.” And in doing so – in trying to uphold their version of God’s sovereignty – they do disastrous damage to His character, His Gospel, His grace, love, forgiveness, Jesus’s sacrifice, people’s chance of salvation, people’s faith and trust in Him, etc.

    I know it’s hard to break free from Calvinism because it feels like you are dishonoring God. But I suggest reading the Bible without any Calvinist glasses on. Get to know Him as He reveals Himself to be. You might be surprised to see that He’s far different than you’ve been led to believe. And it will set you free and open up your eyes to His grace and love in a way you never imagined. Blessings to you!

    1. Good post Heather!

      If you haven’t seen it yet – you may be interested in a presentation given by William Lane Craig on the underlying notion that drives the Calvinist view of divine foreknowledge.

      Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXUMhSmeivE

      rhutchin however is well known here at SOT101 for using Double-Speak on foreknowledge in his exculpatory arguments.

      John Calvin forcibly rejected the idea of divine foreknowledge via observation.
      Calvinists however find themselves needing to SNEAK IN (in camouflaged forms) foreknowledge via observation – as part of their exculpatory arguments.

      They do the same thing with divine permission.
      What Calvin calls “mere” permission – he also forcibly rejected.
      But again Calvinists find themselves needing to SNEAK IN (in camouflaged forms) “mere” permission – as part of their exculpatory arguments.

      So you will see this effect in rhutchin’s statements – especially regarding divine foreknowledge.

      1. Divine foreknowledge and human freedom
        www youtube.com/watch?v=mXUMhSmeivE

        (I separated the www because the server here seems to want to remove the link)

    2. heather writes, “That God “foreknows things” and that He “decrees or ordains things” (by which Calvinists mean “causes”) are two very different things. VERY DIFFERENT!

      I agree. That God foreknows the future makes the future certain. That God is omnipotent means that He ordain that future as He could have changed that future. As you say, “God can foreknow what will happen, and choose to allow it or block it.” However, that future is made necessary by the actions people take.

      Then, “He NEVER causes the things He commands us not to do, and He never prevents us from doing the things He commands us to do”

      I agree. However, God still knows what we will do absent His involvement in causing/preventing.

      Then, “Calvinists do not see the proper, biblical distinction between cause vs. allow.”

      For the Calvinist, there is no difference between “cause” and “allow.” That is because God is omnipotent and able to bring about certain events (e.g., the flood of Noah; the impregnation of Mary) or do nothing and natural events will play out as He knows they will (e.g., Cain murders Abel; the Jews stone Stephen), In both cases, God knew the outcome, but not because He observed them first and God incorporated those events into His eternal plan, so no event that is to occur is unaccounted for by God.

      Then, “But I think it’s more accurate to say that “ordains” doesn’t have to always mean “cause.” Sometimes, it can simply mean that He gives us what we demand, that He allows us to get our way, even if He doesn’t want it for us.”

      That’s what Calvinism says. By ordain, Calvinism means that God is always the remote cause of all events and man is the proximate cause of all things. By “cause,” Calvinists do not mean “coerce” or directly affect. God causes some events through secondary causes (e.g., Cain murders Abel). God, being omnipotent can get any outcome He wants; therefore the events the do happen are said to be caused by God regardless whether God directly causes those events or works through people to bring about those events. A good example of this is God’s use of the Assyrians in Isaiah 10.

      Then, “I would challenge you to find in Genesis the part where God cursed Adam and Eve like this:..Being spiritually “dead” doesn’t mean we can’t think or seek or make decisions.”

      Calvinism agrees with the point you are making. Remember that God still knows the future perfectly. So, despite a person’s ability to think and make decisions, God knows what they will think and what decisions they will make even before they think it or decide it.

      Then, “And you quoted from Ephesians “we too formerly lived in the lusts of the flesh … and were by nature children of wrath.” How can this be if they were predestined from before time began to be the “elected” ones?”

      That God elects people to salvation means that God decided to intervene in the lives of certain people to bring them to salvation. As Paul explains, “…when God who had set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles,…” God determined that the penalty for Adam’s sin was separation from Him (spiritual death). This spiritual death was then inherited by Adam’s descendants (e.g., All have sinned; you were dead in trespasses and sins). That God brings certain people to salvation does not prevent any other person hearing the gospel and seeking salvation.

      Then, “You mentioned “creaturely freedom”….And “freedom to do exactly what God predestined you to do” won’t cut it.”

      It is free will – the ability of people to think and make decisions. God still knows the future perfectly, so God knows what people will think and decide before they do this. So, God predestines or ordains a perosn’s place of birth, culture, the knowledge that a person gets from studying, his experiences in life, the spiritual death of the person, etc. and these factors bias and limit his thinking and decisionmaking ability, God incorporates all this into His decisions before He created the world to intervene in the affairs of people to affect the outcome He wants.

      I’ll address your remaining comments later.

      1. Heather
        Then, “He NEVER causes the things He commands us not to do, and He never prevents us from doing the things He commands us to do”

        rhutchin
        I agree. However, God still knows what we will do absent His involvement in causing/preventing.

        br,d
        See Heather – here is an excellent example of Double-Speak.

      2. While you are clearly a Calvinist, you seem to differ from a core teaching of Calvinism when you say that God doesn’t prevent any other person from hearing the Gospel and seeking salvation. Not preventing them from something means allowing them the possibility of doing it. That’s not a traditional Calvinist view. In Calvinism, people cannot truly hear the Gospel and seek salvation unless God causes them to, unless He has chosen them and regenerates them in order to hear the Gospel. In Calvinism, man cannot seek God unless God causes them to seek. And He only causes to seek those whom He has chosen to save.

        With that one sentence, you contradict your whole premise that God alone causes what we think and believe and do. For if God didn’t elect them, then He chose them to be unelect, which means that He won’t cause them to hear the Gospel and to seek Him … which means that they cannot hear the Gospel and seek Him unless they somehow have the ability to do these things on their own. Without His prompting. So does this mean that God elects some people and controls only the elect, but that He allows the others to make up their own minds and doesn’t control them? That the unelect can operate outside of His divine control? (And yet later you say that God predestines the spiritual death of people. So He predestines their spiritual death, but yet still allows them the possibility of seeking Him? How does that work?)

        “Ordaining the future because He knew it would happen and didn’t change it” does not mean He caused it to happen the way it did. It means exactly what you said … basically that “He knew it would happen and chose not to change it.” Meaning that He allowed it to happen that way. That doesn’t mean “caused it to happen that way.” Knowing that someone would sin and allowing them to sin is far different than causing them to sin. (And I think people should stop using the word “ordains” when talking about this issue because it can have two different meanings, and that confuses the issue. To me, it generally means He knew what would happen and allowed it, but to Calvinists it means He causes everything that happens. It would be much less confusing if Calvinists simply said “cause” when they mean “cause.”)

        If I may point out, if God’s foreknowledge of an event means that He “causes” it to happen that way and that nothing different could have happened, then why did He tell David (in 1 Samuel 23) that the people of Keilah would hand him over to Saul if David stayed in that town? Because of that warning, David chose to flee the town and not be handed over. God foreknew what would happen if David stayed, but David left. If what Calvinists say is true – that God’s foreknowledge really means He ordains it (causes it) – then God was lying when He said He foreknew the people would hand David over? In Calvinism, “foreknowledge” means “sure to happen because God causes it to happen.” But the thing God foreknew here – that the people would hand David over if he stayed – didn’t happen. And if God had preplanned all along that David would leave, then why would God tell him that there was any other possible outcome? There shouldn’t be any other possible outcome (according to Calvinism) than what God foreknows (i.e. fore-plans and foreordains and causes).

        You talk about God incorporating everything to get the outcome He wants. I do not disagree with this. I think God – in His wisdom and foreknowledge – knows how to work everything into His plans and purposes. But He doesn’t do this by things like causing us to sin or to be evil, by causing us to make the decisions we do. I do believe He can and does “manipulate” circumstances to get people into a position where they will willingly choose what He wants them to choose. But He doesn’t override their right to make the final choice to obey or disobey. He might set up the circumstances to get them into the position He wants them in, but they still have to make the final choice to obey or disobey Him. For example, He wanted Paul (then “Saul”) to be His apostle. So Jesus stopped him on the road and blinded him with a brilliant light and spoke to him. God knew that this is what it would take to get Paul to see the truth, to be willing to obey Him. BUT … and this is where Calvinism would disagree … Paul still had the choice to obey or disobey, to accept or refuse. God didn’t not force Paul to believe the truth; He just made the truth so blindingly clear that He knew Paul would see it and accept it. God can and does work circumstances to His favor, to get His plans done. But we choose to be resistant to Him and His prodding, or we choose to agree with Him and be obedient. And in His wisdom and sovereignty, He can and does work our obedience or disobedience into His plans. He can work all our choices into His plans, but they are still OUR choices. Which is why He can hold us accountable for them.

        I gently and lovingly suggest that you don’t respond so quickly to comments here. Take some more time to really think this stuff through, to research it on your own, to explore your ideas about this deeply, to see where it all ultimately leads and what it really says about God and how it really compares to the Bible. This issue is not ultimately a debate between anyone here. It’s between you and God. Spend time quietly with God and His Word, in prayer, working through these things. It clearly seems as if you are not really taking the time to listen to anything being said here. Not even to what you yourself are saying, to see how nonsensical and contradictory it is and what it really says about God. You seem much more concerned with simply firing off comments and winning a debate. And if you turn it into a “must win the debate” thing, you will miss out on what the Lord would tell you about His Truth if you had just taken the time to explore this issue with Him, in prayer and in the Word, all on your own, with no one to impress or debate. (I know you are trying to honor God by defending Him here in the way you think He needs defending. But He doesn’t need us to defend Him. He needs us to be willing to spend time with Him – listening to Him, learning from Him, opening our hearts to truth.)

        Feel free to address all my comments as you want to. But I won’t be responding for now. It’s time for me to spend my own quiet time with the Lord – something I desperately need after the exhausting weekend I had of trying to take care of my alcoholic mother.

        You know … I read of a Calvinist once who used a line like this against someone who disagreed with him: “Why do you insist on believing that in order to be held morally accountable for our choices, we have to have the ability to make choices?”

        How do you reason with such nonsense!?! If that Calvinist is willing to cling to the idea that being held accountable for our choices doesn’t mean we have to be allowed to make choices … then there is nothing anyone can say that would get through to him. He was clinging to absolute nonsense yet couldn’t see it, thinking all along that his gibberish was reasonable and true. If someone doesn’t want the truth, they won’t see it.

        I really do hope you take some of the time you spend commenting and use it instead on praying and reading the Bible, with fresh eyes, without Calvinist theologians telling you how to read it. it will make all the difference in the world and in your faith and in your view of God. Take care, and thank you for a lively debate. You are helping to keep me sharp!

      3. Good analysis!

        rhuthcin’s statements – (slightly more than other Calvinists) – always remind me of Dr. William Lutz, description of DoubleSpeak:

        -quote:
        “Doublespeak is language designed to evade…..to make the unpleasant appear pleasant, the unattractive appear attractive, or at least tolerable. Basically, it’s language that pretends to communicate, but really doesn’t. It is language designed to mislead, while pretending not to. Doublespeak is not a slip of the tongue or a mistake in use of language. It’s exactly the opposite. It is language used by people who are very intelligent, and very sophisticated in the use of language. And know that you can do an awful lot with language.

        Doublespeak is not a matter of subjects and verbs agreeing; it is a matter of words and facts agreeing. Basic to doublespeak is incongruity, the incongruity between what is said or left unsaid, and what really is. It is the incongruity between the word and the referent, between seem and be, between the essential function of language—communication — and what doublespeak does — mislead, distort, inflate, circumvent, obfuscate.

        Double-speak works by taking advantage of the inherent implicitness of meaning conveyed through everyday language.
        It takes advantage of the fact that normal everyday language use is fundamentally cooperative. Doublespeak exploits these principles to do just the opposite: to appear like honest communication while actually hiding incriminating facts. “

      4. heather writes, “While you are clearly a Calvinist, you seem to differ from a core teaching of Calvinism when you say that God doesn’t prevent any other person from hearing the Gospel and seeking salvation.”

        For example, Calvin writes, “But if these two members of the sentence be read in conjunction, as they ever ought to be– “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked;” and, “But that the wicked turn from his way and live”– read these two propositions in connection with each other, and the calumny is washed off at once. God requires of us this conversion, or “turning away from our iniquity,” and in whomsoever He finds it He disappoints not such an one of the promised reward of eternal life.”

        Then, ” Not preventing them from something means allowing them the possibility of doing it.”

        No. It leaves them to their own devices and such devices may or may not allow them the possibility of doing it.

        Then, “That’s not a traditional Calvinist view.”

        Actually it is, as the above quote from Calvin affirms.

        Then, “In Calvinism, people cannot truly hear the Gospel and seek salvation unless God causes them to,…”

        As affirmed by Scripture, ““No one can come to Me [Christ says], unless the Father…” So, the truth of your statement, “In Calvinism, man cannot seek God unless God causes them to seek. And He only causes to seek those whom He has chosen to save.”

        More later as time permits.

      5. heather writes, “With that one sentence, you contradict your whole premise that God alone causes what we think and believe and do.”

        I don’t say it is God alone. God is the remote cause (having determined that a person is born, born with a sin nature, etc.) and the person is the proximate cause of what he thinks and believes (based on his sin nature, knowledge, experience, etc.).

        Then, “if God didn’t elect them, then He chose them to be unelect, which means that He won’t cause them to hear the Gospel and to seek Him … which means that they cannot hear the Gospel..”

        By “hear the gospel” you mean “hear w/ spiritual ears” not physically hear as many other than those God elects will hear the gospel and will choose to respond as they desire.

        Then, “So does this mean that God elects some people and controls only the elect, but that He allows the others to make up their own minds and doesn’t control them?”

        That’s what it means. But not out of God’s divine control. God is still in control but does not control them to prevent them seeking their desires.

        Then, “And yet later you say that God predestines the spiritual death of people.”

        technically, God ordains everyone’s spiritual death as all people inherit Adam’s corrupt nature. God helps His elect and does not help the reprobate; the reprobate can physically hear the gospel and do with it as they desire.

        More later.

    3. heather writes, “why do you spend so much time debating about this issue if God has already predetermined what we will all decide?”

      When Paul spoke to the Bereans, we read, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” So, we investigate the claims people make for the Scriptures to determine what they are telling us. God has predetermined to give us these Scriptures and only these Scriptures, so we investigate them. In the Proverbs, we read, “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” So, people here sharpen each others views of that which the Scriptures tell us, by citing the Scriptures to explain their views. The Proverbs also say, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” Taking “kings” to refer to believers, we see that God expects His elect to search out the Scriptures as in done on this site. Thus, the continuing citation and discussion of the Scriptures among people of different persuasions.

      Then, “And if He “needs” you to obey His commands, and if you can choose between obeying or disobeying, and if your choice has an effect … then you are right back to free-will, to the freedom/responsibility to make choices.”

      God puts before His believers a new command, “Love one another.” This is a free -will decision made possible by the freedom conveyed to believers by the truth, as Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” So, we examine the scriptures to determine truth by which we gain greater freedom from the corruption of the world and of our old nature that continues to plague us as we read in Romans 7.

      Then, “if [God] has chosen to allow mankind to make decisions that He will hold them accountable for … and yet you keep insisting that mankind cannot make any decisions because God decides everything for us … then you are not really honoring Him for the God that He is.”

      I don’t not say that God makes decisions for us. Following Calvin, people make decisions based on the old nature with which they are born or the new nature given to them by God. In neither case does God coerce one decision or the other. However, believers are given the Holy Spirit to help overcome the old nature and follow the new nature as that nature is enhanced during the process of sanctification.

      Then, “I think Calvinism is…”

      Your thinking is erroneous. If you think that Calvinism “…do disastrous damage to His character, His Gospel, His grace, love, forgiveness, Jesus’s sacrifice, people’s chance of salvation, people’s faith and trust in Him, etc.” then bring up the Scriptures that you see supporting your view and let’s see if you have taken into account all the Scriptures tell us.

      Then, “I know it’s hard to break free from Calvinism because it feels like you are dishonoring God.”

      I think you meant, “…it feels like you are honoring God.” Actually, it is more than a “feeling.” It comes form the exegesis of the Scriptures (rightly or wrongly).

      then, “I suggest reading the Bible without any Calvinist glasses on.”

      I do this. In all your comments, you made only one reference to Scripture (Hosea). Why do you do this?? Should you not back up your complaints about Calvinism with specific reference to the Scriptures??

  15. Rhutchin,

    Another thought: You say God controls and causes all things we do, right? And I assume you mean “for His glory and HIs plans,” since Calvinists believe that God causes everything that happens for His glory and His plans.

    Does God cause people to abort their babies for His glory? Does He cause child abuse for His glory? Does He cause homelessness and starvation for His glory? Does He cause divorce and murder and addictions for His glory? Is He causing my mom to give up on life and to repeatedly try to drink herself to death … for His glory?

    If so … then why do we try to stop any of this from happening? If God is trying to do it all for His glory!?!

    Why do we try to help the homeless and those with addictions? Why do we try to fight abortion and murder and abuse? Should I have bothered this morning with gathering up my drunk mother from the place she was drinking alone all week, with encouraging her to go to counseling, with basically forcing her to get in my car so I could take her to the airport so she could go home and get help?

    Why should we fight any of this if God is causing it all for His glory? Aren’t we just interfering with His efforts to get glory then?

    John Calvin says that Satan’s big goal is to extinguish God’s glory. But then Calvinists say that God causes everything that happens for His glory, that He even controls Satan for His glory. So does that mean that God causes Satan to try to extinguish HIs glory … for His glory? You know what Jesus says about a house divided against itself, right? That it can’t stand. And yet Calvi-God seems to work against Himself and contradict Himself all the time. It’s nuts!

    Calvi-God is not the God of the Bible! Calvi-God is a figment of people’s imagination. It’s people telling God how God has to be in order to be God!

    And I don’t think the real God will take too kindly to that!

    Can I suggest something? I suggest you (and all of us) pray and ask God to reveal to you who He really is and how He really acts. Tell Him that you really want to know the truth, that you are willing to know the truth, even if it means finding out you’ve been wrong all this time.

    If you are balking at these suggestions – if you find yourself resisting them or coming up with excuses to not do them or rehearsing all your Calvinist arguments – then you should examine your heart to see if you really want God’s truth, or if you’d really rather just cling to your own version of the truth.

    I am offering this suggestion out of genuine concern. I would love to see as many captives (of Calvinism) set free as possible! Blessings!

    1. Just in case you are not aware – Calvinists deal with questions such as this – with a doctrine that stipulates two divine wills.

      The “prescriptive/spoken” will.
      And the SECRET will.
      These two wills are in complete opposition to each other.

      For example, Calvin’s god’s “prescriptive/spoken” will is found in his command that Adam not disobey and eat of the forbidden fruit.

      However Calvin’s god’s SECRET is a supernatural force that does not permit Adam to obey.

      Disobedience is forced upon Adam as his unavoidable fate.

      But if you already know these things – please ignore this post.

      1. I replied here, but don’t see it. So I will try again.

        Br.D,

        Thank you and TSOO for all your comments here. You are both so right on! And yes, I do know about what you are saying here. I just wish Calvinists would be able to see how unreasonable and contradictory and unbiblical their views are. Their view of God and His sovereignty completely alters His character and Jesus’s sacrifice and salvation and everything. But they can’t see it. And they won’t ever see it if they don’t want to see it. This is why Jesus spoke in parables. Because He knew there was no point in giving the truth to those who don’t want it, who will only turn on you and attack the truth. Pearls before swine. It’s unfortunate how many good, well-meaning people are held hostage by Calvinism. It’s not much different than a cult. Such a shame. Thanks again to you and to TSOO for all your comments here and your efforts to stand up for truth. And thank to the authors of this blog for speaking out against Calvinism. All we can do is our part to share the truth, to plant seeds, and then we have to leave the rest up to the person and God.

        God bless!

      2. Thank you Heather and yes I agree with you.

        I believe the reason we observe Calvinists in DoubleSpeak is due to the burdens the belief system forces on them.

        Dr. Alvin Plantinga uses a true real-life story to exemplify this.
        He tells the story of a certain professor who wrote a book on what it was like to live as a Solipsist.
        (a person who believes he is the only real living human and all other persons are figments of his imagination)

        He published the book and a lady in the UK read it and wrote a letter of appreciation to him.
        She stated how relieved she was to recognize she is also a Solipsist.
        And she was so relieved to know she wasn’t alone!

        I think you get the humor in that story! :-]

        But Dr. Plantinga gives the story also to show how some belief systems inadvertently force the human mind into a state of Double-mindedness in order to embrace it.

      3. br.d writes, “I believe the reason we observe Calvinists in DoubleSpeak is due to the burdens the belief system forces on them. ”

        br.d is always free to identify examples of Double-speak when they occur and explain how the language used adheres to the definition of Double-Speak. He is good at claiming Double-speak but not good at explaining his claims.

      4. br.d
        “I believe the reason we observe Calvinists in DoubleSpeak is due to the burdens the belief system forces on them. ”

        rhutchin
        br.d is always free to identify examples of Double-speak when they occur and explain how the language used adheres to the definition of Double-Speak. He is good at claiming Double-speak but not good at explaining his claims.

        br.d
        Heather gets it!

        And as I’ve said – the most efficient and provable method is to simply let the Calvinists provide the examples.
        And oh do they!

        All I need do then is shine the spot-light on those examples.
        Open minded SOT101 readers are smart enough to connect the dots.

        Those who predisposed not to – don’t have eyes to see or ears to hear. :-]

      5. br.d
        Heather gets it!”

        rhutchin
        Great!! Maybe Heather will address the deficiencies in your claims.

        br.d
        You are funny rhutchin! :-]

    2. heather writes, ” You say God controls and causes all things we do, right?”

      Yes, respecting God as the remote cause and people as the proximate causes. We see this illustrated in the example of Joseph and his brothers, “….as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” and the Assyrians of Isaiah 10, “I send Assyria against a godless nation And commission it against the people of My fury To capture booty and to seize plunder, And to trample them down like mud in the streets. Yet it does not so intend Nor does it plan so in its heart, But rather it is its purpose to destroy, And to cut off many nations.”

      Then, “Does He cause homelessness and starvation for His glory?”

      Yes, as explained in Deuterinomy, “But it shall come about, if you will not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you…Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock…The LORD will make the rain of your land powder and dust;…You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall violate her; you shall build a house, but you shall not live in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but you shall not use its fruit…ou shall bring out much seed to the field but you shall gather in little, for the locust shall consume it. You shall plant and cultivate vineyards, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall devour them.”

      Then, “why do we try to stop any of this from happening? If God is trying to do it all for His glory!?!”

      Because there is glory in obeying God.

      Then, “Calvi-God seems to work against Himself and contradict Himself all the time. It’s nuts!”

      No. Paul says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.” and “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” and “God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” God is working out His plan without contradiction.

      Then, “I am offering this suggestion out of genuine concern.”

      Yet, you never cite the Scriptures as if they have nothing to offer. Absent reference to the Scriptures, everything you say is no more than your personal opinion. You need to reinforce your opinions with proper Scriptures (i.e., truth) turning your opinions into exegesis of the Scripture.

      1. rhutchin
        Yet, you never cite the Scriptures as if they have nothing to offer.

        br.d
        Language is easily manipulated and distorted – and this is no less the case with the language of scripture.

        Take for example this equivocal argument:
        “Gender IDENTIFICATION” is what IDENTIFIES a person’s true gender – and not personal preference.”

        This is not a LOGICAL argument – its a SEMANTIC argument.

        Calvinists arguments using scripture follow the same exact model.
        They are not LOGICAL arguments – they are SEMANTIC arguments.

        That is why Calvinist arguments always collapse under the scrutiny of LOGIC.

        Take for example the Calvinist deceptive appeal to divine intervention/prevention.
        Which LOGICALLY boils down to Calvin’s god AUTHORING events for himself to intervene to prevent.
        To present the ILLUSION that he didn’t AUTHOR them.
        The only way Calvinists can forward these types of arguments is by using the SEMANTICS of illusory language.

        As Dr. Jerry Walls says:
        -quote:
        “If Calvinists didn’t rely so heavily on misleading rhetoric – Calvinism would loose all credibility in two years”

        And back in 1855 writes Francis Hodgson writes:
        -quote:
        “The apology for this gross misapplication of language…..is found in their distressing emergency.
        In no other way can they, with any plausibility, meet their opponents.”

      2. br.d writes, “Which LOGICALLY boils down to Calvin’s god AUTHORING events for himself to intervene to prevent.”

        I have addressed this before, so I am perplexed at your continuing false claim. God authors all events including those events where He intervenes in the affairs of people. He does not author an event in which He then intervenes. Those events in which God intervenes are included in those events He originally authors. God is the remote cause of all events and some events involve people as proximate causes with examples being the situation involving Joseph and that involving the Assyrians.

      3. br.d
        Which LOGICALLY boils down to Calvin’s god AUTHORING events for himself to intervene to prevent.”

        rhutchin
        I have addressed this before, so I am perplexed at your continuing false claim. God authors all events including those events where He intervenes in the affairs of people. He does not author an event in which He then intervenes.

        br.d
        Yes – here is your self-contradicting irrational response to that question:

        br.d
        May 7, 2019 at 12:44 pm
        What is the exact STATUS of the event he RESTRAINED prior to RESTRAINING it?

        You have two options:
        1) RENDERED-CERTAIN and thus immutable – and cannot be restrained
        2) NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN and therefore not going to come to pass in the first place

        rhutchin
        May 8, 2019 at 9:53 am
        Immutable and can’t be restrained because it was already restrained.

        Thank you for proving my point!
        And thus it LOGICALLY boils down to Calvin’s god AUTHORING events for himself to intervene to prevent :-]

      4. br.d writes, “Yes – here is your self-contradicting irrational response to that question:”

        Can someone explain br.d’s argument?

      5. br.d
        Yes – here is your self-contradicting irrational response to that question:”

        rhutchin
        Can someone explain br.d’s argument?

        br.d
        Its elementary my dear Watson!

        This has been explained LOGICALLY about 10 times
        But one has to give up MAGICAL THINKING in order to understand LOGIC.

        Firstly:
        In Calvin’s Theological Determinism it follows:
        1) The event [X] WILL NOT come to pass unless its STATUS = RENDERED-CERTAIN.
        2) If the STATUS of [X] = RENDERED-CERTAIN – then [X] is immutable and cannot be altered/changed/prevented.
        3) So in order for Calvin’s god to prevent [X] its STATUS *MUST* = NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN
        4) If the STATUS of [X] = NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN – then it was never going to come to pass – thus nothing to prevent.

        Secondly:
        In LOGIC – the process of PREVENTION entails changing that events STATE from “COMING TO PASS” to “NOT COMING TO PASS”.
        And in Calvinism’s case – to meet that criteria its STATUS *MUST* = RENDERED-CERTAIN

        Thus the question I posed to you – and your irrational answer:

        br.d
        May 7, 2019 at 12:44 pm
        What is the exact STATUS of the event he RESTRAINED prior to RESTRAINING it?

        You have two options:
        1) RENDERED-CERTAIN and thus immutable – and cannot be restrained
        2) NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN and therefore not going to come to pass in the first place

        rhutchin
        May 8, 2019 at 9:53 am
        Immutable and can’t be restrained because it was already restrained.

        However – there is nothing to prevent Calvin’s god from AUTHORING an event for himself to APPEAR to prevent.
        Especially for the purpose of presenting the ILLUSION of not having AUTHORED it.

        Which we already know is the REAL reason for this Calvinist argument! :-]

      6. br.d writes, “3) So in order for Calvin’s god to prevent [X] its STATUS *MUST* = NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN”

        This is wrong as has been explained. That which God prevents (e.g., Joseph’s brothers killing him) is included among those things God has rendered certain.

        The error of (3) makes the conclusion (4) wrong. It can only read, “4) If the STATUS of [X] = RENDERED-CERTAIN – then it was always going to come to pass – thus making certain God’s intervention to prevent.”

        Your logic is erroneous through the misspecification of (3) leading to an erroneous (4), as was explained before.

      7. br.d
        3) So in order for Calvin’s god to prevent [X] its STATUS *MUST* = NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN”

        rhutchin
        This is wrong as has been explained. That which God prevents (e.g., Joseph’s brothers killing him) is included among those things God has rendered certain.

        The error of (3) makes the conclusion (4) wrong. It can only read, “4) If the STATUS of [X] = RENDERED-CERTAIN – then it was always going to come to pass – thus making certain God’s intervention to prevent.”

        Your logic is erroneous through the misspecification of (3) leading to an erroneous (4), as was explained before.

        br.d
        In order to prove this is LOGICALLY TRUE – you will have to show how Calvin’s god can alter/change/prevent and event that has its STATUS = RENDERED-CERTAIN prior to it being altered/changed/prevented.

        Until then – what you have is Calvin’s god AUTHORING events to give the APPEARANCE of preventing them.

        What we need here is “mere” permission to make your theory work.

        But what we have is an excellent example of Calvinism’s need to SIMULATE a world of IN-DETERMINISM
        In order to stay aligned with scripture.

        But what we have here is a good example of Calvinism’s square-circles and married-bachelors – good luck with that! :-]

      8. Calvinism robs the Calvinist of “mere” permission.
        But there are LOGICAL consequences to not having “mere” permission.
        Calvin’s god AUTHORS every event.
        Every event Calvin’s god AUTHORS “certain” to come to pass – giving it the STATUS of “unalterable/unpreventable”..

        But the Calvinist sees the God of scripture altering/preventing/restraining events.
        And there events in scripture are perfectly LOGICALLY coherent in a world where “mere” permission exists.

        So the Calvinist needs to find a way to MIMIC or produce the ILLUSION of “mere” permission.
        He wants to say that Calvin’s god AUTHORS the event prior to himself preventing it.
        And he wants to say Calvin’s events were -quote “already” altered/prevented/restrained” in Calvin’s god’s mind – before they were altered/prevented/restrained.

        But he doesn’t want to acknowledge that that LOGICALLY boils down to Calvin’s god AUTHORING events for himself to alter/prevent/restrain.

        So sad!
        The Calvinist has been robbed of “mere” permission.
        And in order to remain aligned with scripture – he has to find a way to manufacture a camouflaged form of it.

      9. Good description. And to perform this feat, they must create an illusive (because logically impossible) concept of man’s desires or choices that somehow arise from something other than God’s direct determination.

        When they say God ‘ordained’ an evil event they mean ‘allowed or permitted, but Calvinism does not allow or permit such things, so they seek to use euphemism to blur their meaning. They want to cling to two contradictory truths, because one is demanded by their theological system and the other is demanded by scripture and reason.

        Non-Calvinists agree that a sovereign God could prevent evil, but due to gifting his created beings with reason and choice, he has self-limited his limitless power to allow for their free choices. So the non-Calvinist grants that evil exists by the ‘mere permission’ of God, but never due to his desire, determination or causation, either directly or indirectly. They have boundless scripture on their side.

        Again and again God, in scripture, states that he did not wish for an individual or people to perform a certain act, and/or that he was angry when they did such and such an evil thing. He makes this abundantly plain in Jeremiah 19:3-5:

        “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: . . . ‘For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods . . . they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Baal to burn theirs sons in the fire as offerings to Baal – something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.’”

        Scripture could not be much more helpful in making sure we understand that this evil – sacrificing children – did not stem God. If child sacrifice never entered his mind, then he most certainly did not desire or decree this evil thing. Calvinism blatantly denies what this, and countless other passages, state about God not being the source of man’s evil choices.

        And this, in a nutshell, is the whole point of the system. To deny man’s responsibility for his own choices, to remove the seriousness with which we are called to consider our lives and our choices. This leads to a lackadaisical mindset, leaving men and women vulnerable to sin and error. This is why I perceive it as a doctrine of demons.

      10. Awesome post TS00!

        I am reminded of Calvinism’s DREADED FALSE HOPE syndrome.
        The Calvinist who even starts to REALLY think LOGICALLY about his system is sliding into dangerous territory.

        The only psychological escape he has is DOUBLE-THINK:

        BELIEVE [A] is FALSE *AS-IF* [A] is TRUE.

        “Mere” permission doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does.
        Divine Foreknowledge via observation doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does.
        The THEOS determines all things in every part – *AS-IF* he doesn’t.
        Every sin that came to pass was RENDERED-CERTAIN and thus there was NO way of escape *AS-IF* there was.

        And the list goes on.

        And they want to call that living the Gospel! :-]

      11. The whole affair always reminds me of Lewis’ Screwtape Letters; Satan really knows how play to our flesh and sell us a tempting bill of goods.

      12. TS00 writes, ‘When they say God ‘ordained’ an evil event they mean ‘allowed or permitted, >>>”

        By this Calvinists mean that God decreed it whatever word is used.

      13. br.d writes, “But the Calvinist sees the God of scripture altering/preventing/restraining events.”

        That is because we read of such things in the Scriptures. For example, Joseph’s brothers, plotted to kill Joseph, but God intervened through Reuben and he was sold to the slave traders. Thereby, God sent Joseph to Egypt according to His plan. There are many other examples.

        Then, “But [the Calvinist] doesn’t want to acknowledge that that LOGICALLY boils down to Calvin’s god AUTHORING events for himself to alter/prevent/restrain.”

        No. God authored the events as we see them recorded in the Scriptures. God did not author Joseph’s death but He did author the brother’s desire to put Joseph to death. Everything we read in the Scripture was authored by God exactly as recorded. One need not go further than that recorded in the Scriptures.

        God did not author an event that He then altered unless you have an example where He did.

      14. rhutchin writes:
        “No. God authored the events as we see them recorded in the Scriptures. God did not author Joseph’s death but He did author the brother’s desire to put Joseph to death. Everything we read in the Scripture was authored by God exactly as recorded. One need not go further than that recorded in the Scriptures.

        God did not author an event that He then altered unless you have an example where He did.”

        Wow. Just, wow.

        Can anyone really think this way, or is it just playing games with words?

        God authors everything. God first authored the brothers’ desire to kill Joseph, then prevented them from doing so. What kinda God does this man believe in? Really? ‘Ha, ha, just for fun I’m going to make these guys want to commit murder – of their own kin. But then I will prevent them from actually doing it. I mean, hey, I need something to do all day. Then I can burn these guys for desiring to committing murder.’

        All in the day of Calvi-God, the crazed maniac who creates evil in order to prevent it.

      15. TS00 writes, “God first authored the brothers’ desire to kill Joseph, then prevented them from doing so. ”

        Calvinists believe that God knows the thoughts of a person before he thinks them – God is sovereign even over the thoughts of people. God has the power to remove any thought that He does not want to arise in the mind of a person. If God does not remove such thoughts, then He becomes the remote cause (or author) of the thoughts (because He made the person w/a sin nature) while the person is the proximate cause of his thoughts. Of course, God’s decisions were made in eternity past but implemented in the course of time.

      16. TS00
        God first authored the brothers’ desire to kill Joseph, then prevented them from doing so. ”

        rhutchin
        Calvinists believe that God knows the thoughts of a person before he thinks them

        br.d
        An excellent example of the Calvinist attempt to SNEAK (in camouflaged form) Foreknowledge via observation.

        The TRUTH:
        Calvin’s god knows them because Calvin’s god AUTHORS them.

        rhutchin
        God has the power to remove any thought that He does not want to arise in the mind of a person.

        br.d
        An excellent example of the Calvnist attempt to SNEAK (in camouflaged form) “mere” permission.

        The TRUTH:
        Here Calvin’s god would be removing the very neurological impulse he himself AUTHORED.

        rhutchin
        If God does not remove such thoughts, then He becomes the remote cause (OR AUTHOR) of the thoughts

        br.d
        BING!

        rhutchin
        because He made the person w/a sin nature

        br.d
        BING! Calvin’s god AUTHORED the sin nature in every part.

        rhutchin
        while the person is the proximate cause of his thoughts.

        br.d
        Calvinist Paul Helms
        -quote
        Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by God, but EVERY TWIST AND TURN OF EACH OF THESE IS UNDER THE DIRECT CONTROL of God

        John Calvin:
        -quote
        The hand of God rules the interior affections…they can do nothing unless he worked in their hearts to *MAKE* them will before they acted

      17. br.d
        But the Calvinist sees the God of scripture altering/preventing/restraining events.”

        rhutchin
        That is because we read of such things in the Scriptures. For example, Joseph’s brothers, plotted to kill Joseph, but God intervened through Reuben and he was sold to the slave traders. Thereby, God sent Joseph to Egypt according to His plan. There are many other examples.

        br.d
        A LOGICALLY coherent in a world where “mere” permission exists.
        So sad Calvinists need to manufacture camouflaged forms of “mere” permission. :-]

        Then, “But [the Calvinist] doesn’t want to acknowledge that that LOGICALLY boils down to Calvin’s god AUTHORING events for himself to alter/prevent/restrain.”

        rhutchin
        No. God authored the events as we see them recorded in the Scriptures. …etc

        br.d
        TA claim repeated over and over – without any LOGIC to prove it.

        rhutchin
        God did not author an event that He then altered unless you have an example where He did.

        br.d
        My analysis shows what LOGICALLY follows with Calvin’s god – not the God of scripture.
        BIG DIFFERENCE! :-]

        Since my belief system is not Calvinism – I am not robbed of “mere” permission.
        And don’t have to face the LOGICAL consequences of not having it.
        Divine prevention in that context is logically coherent.

        So unfortunate for Calvinists who have to manufacture arguments designed to MIMIC “mere” permission – in order to align themselves with scripture.

      18. br.d writes, “In order to prove this is LOGICALLY TRUE – you will have to show how Calvin’s god can alter/change/prevent and event that has its STATUS = RENDERED-CERTAIN prior to it being altered/changed/prevented.”

        No. God does not alter His plan; God alters the plans of men. Thus, ‘The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Your thinking is skewed on this. Yet, in no case, do the Scriptures record that God changed anything that He had rendered certain. If you think otherwise, perhaps you can explain your thinking (maybe heather will help you).

      19. br.d
        In order to prove this is LOGICALLY TRUE – you will have to show how Calvin’s god can alter/change/prevent and event that has its STATUS = RENDERED-CERTAIN prior to it being altered/changed/prevented.”

        rhutchin
        No. God does not alter His plan; God alters the plans of men.

        br.d
        AH! here is another attempt to MIMIC “mere” permission.
        By creating the ILLUSION that events called “the plans of men” are not RENDER-CERTAIN by Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world) before men exist.

        Remember Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world) AUTHORS all events – which includes “the plans of men”.
        So this again LOGICALLY proves – Calvin’s god is altering what he has AUTHORED.

        To bad – Calvinists don’t have “mere” permission!
        They wouldn’t have to manufacture FAKE and IRRATIONAL forms of it.

        rhutchin
        Yet, in no case, do the Scriptures record that God changed anything that He had rendered certain.

        br.d
        Easy answers – I don’t make the mistake of conflating Calvinism with scripture. :-]

      20. Your challenge about me not providing Scripture is understandable, fair enough. I tried to send links to my blog and the posts with the Scripture to back up my view, but it didn’t go through. Click on my name here, and it should take you to my blog, The Anti-Calvinist Rant. Or google “anti-Calvinist rant blogspot” to see if you can find it. Or google my other one – “My Crazy Faith” blogspot, and find a link in the right side-bar. (I’m not sure which way is easiest to find it.)

        Then look in the archives (in May’s posts) for these posts: “Does Romans Teach Predestination?” and “Does Ephesians Teach Predestination?” and “Controversial ‘Predestination’ Verse” and “Predestination Does Not Mean ‘No Choice.'”

        It’s all there. Although I doubt you’ll find it sufficient or very intelligent. But have fun reading anyway! However, I do not allow comments on my blogs, so if you want to comment on them or tear them apart, you’ll have to start your own blog for that 🙂

        And FYI, I asked “Does God cause those things FOR HIS GLORY” not simply “Does God cause those things?” I agree He causes bad things to happen sometimes, for His reasons, such as storms or droughts. Many times this is for discipline or punishment, a curse for the people’s disobedience (after He gave them the option of obeying or disobeying, oftentimes warning them first of the consequences that go with both). And yes, He does cause “bad things” for His glory sometimes, such as the plagues in Egypt. But this is far different than causing people to sin or to disobey or to go to hell for His glory. I should have clarified that I meant God does not cause people to sin for His glory (child abuse, affairs, addictions, murder, etc.). He lets us sin and uses it for His glory. He might even encourage us to act out the sin that is already in our hearts so that He can use it. But He does not control us or cause us to sin, as if we had no choice about it. He does not cause us to do the things He commands us not to do. (Funny how you pulled out only the homelessness and starvation examples I brought up, and yet you didn’t address the sinful examples like abortion, murder, etc.)

        And your idea that God is the ultimate (“remote”) cause but that people are the proximate cause is still basically saying “God causes us to do what we do, God causes us to sin.” As you say, we either operate by the old nature (unable to respond to God or to obey) or the new nature that He gives only to the elect. So if someone has an old nature, it’s because God prohibited them from getting a new nature (because He didn’t “elect” them,) and so they have no choice but to operate by their old nature. God alone controlled whether they would be sinful/disobedient/rebellious or not. They really don’t have a choice. They are acting the way God pre-decided they would act, and can act no other way. This is still God controlling them, causing them to sin. Trying to make a differentiation between “remote cause” and “proximity cause” doesn’t change that. It’s just trying to make it sound like you have a legitimate argument.

        I agree with br.d about the double-speak. I think Calvinists use a lot of confusing words and ideas to make their view sound more scholarly, logical, or legitimate than it really is. I guess if their theology is not clear enough, logical enough, reasonable enough, and solidly biblical enough to convince people it’s true, then maybe they can at least confuse people with rambling words and ideas, to the point where other people will simply start nodding their heads in agreement. Not even sure what they are agreeing to, but too confused to disagree. (This has been fun. Thanks!)

  16. And actually, what I mean is that God does not cause sin or wickedness or cause us to go to hell PERIOD. Not even just not “for His glory.” I realize it confuses the issue a bit the way I wrote it above. But I included the “for His glory” part because that’s how Calvinists try to justify their view that God causes sin and unbelief. They think that if they say “God causes people to sin or to go to hell FOR HIS GLORY,” then no one will disagree with them. Because who wants to deny God’s right to get glory however He decides to?

    But … biblically … God does not cause people to sin or to be wicked. Yes, He sometimes causes bad things (natural disasters, illness, etc.), but He never causes the things He commands us not to do (sin, rebel, reject Him). Nor does He prevent us from doing the things He commands us to do (obey, believe, etc.). But He can and does let us choose what we want to do, and then He works our choices into His plans, for His glory. He didn’t cause Assyria to be wicked, but He did use their wickedness to discipline Israel. It’s like God picked up the wicked Assyrians and said, “Since you’re going to choose to be wicked anyway, then be wicked over here by Israel.” He did this to discipline Israel and to turn their hearts back to Him. And this is why God could justly punish the Assyrians, because He didn’t cause them to be wicked. They chose to be the wicked people they wanted to be. And God just worked it into His plans.

    1. Heather
      They chose to be the wicked people they wanted to be. And God just worked it into His plans.

      br.d
      Yes – I am reminded of how Dr. Jerry Walls put it – in terms of the divine chess player.

      In the Calvinism scheme – he wins by CAUSING the other player to make specific moves – which he then takes advantage of.

      In the Non-Calvinist scheme he “merely” permits the other player to make his OWN moves.
      He doesn’t have to design the other player to function as a puppet/robot in order to win.

      He leaves people free to love him because of who He is – and in spite of who they are.
      Unlike Calvin’s god – people don’t have to be programmed to act *AS-IF* they love him.

      1. br.d writes, “In the Calvinism scheme – he wins by CAUSING the other player to make specific moves – which he then takes advantage of.
        In the Non-Calvinist scheme he “merely” permits the other player to make his OWN moves.”

        Here, there is no difference between “causing” and “merely permitting” in affecting God’s will. That which God causes, He is the direct influence on the outcome (e.g., the flood of Noah; the impregnation of Mary). That which God”merely permits” uses an intermediary to influence the outcome but is still accomplished for His purposes (e.g., Satan’s torture of Job; the Assyrians in Isaiah 10). br.d has not separated God from willing the final outcome by using terms like “cause’ and “merely permit.” There is no example from Scripture to which br/d can point to illustrate the difference he thinks he make. this is just an example of double-speak by br.d and everyone knows it.

      2. br.d
        In the Calvinism scheme – he wins by CAUSING the other player to make specific moves – which he then takes advantage of. In the Non-Calvinist scheme he “merely” permits the other player to make his OWN moves.”

        rhutchin
        Here, there is no difference between “causing” and “merely permitting” in affecting God’s will. That which God causes, He is the direct influence on the outcome.

        br.d
        What a hoot rhutchin – you so consistently want what John Calvin says you can’t have.

        For Calvin – Calvin’s god AUTHORS [person X]’s not only every decision – but every neurological impulse.
        That’s a far cry from “merely” permitting [person X] to make AUTONOMOUS decisions.

        And John Cavlin says you can’t have “mere” permission – calling it a REVOLTING FRIVOLOUS REFUGE.

        But I can see why you need “mere” permission so much.
        Its a matter of staying aligned with the general pattern of scripture.

        rhutchin
        That which God”merely permits” uses an intermediary to influence the outcome but is still accomplished for His purposes (e.g.,
        Satan’s torture of Job; the Assyrians in Isaiah 10).

        br.d
        Firstly:
        Your appeal to intermediary influences is a good example of the AD HOC fallacy:
        Description:
        Very often we desperately want to be right and hold on to certain beliefs, despite any evidence presented to the contrary. As a result, we begin to MAKE UP STUFF despite the fact that we have no real evidence for what we are MAKING UP.

        Secondly:
        If you had said that in Geneva in Calvin’s day – he would have had your tongue run through with a red-hot iron.
        Good thing you waited till now! :-]

        rhutchin
        There is no example from Scripture to which br/d can point to illustrate the difference he thinks he make.

        br.d
        Silly bird! Its not mine but John Calvin’s point – he is the one who REJECTS the notion of “mere” permission.

        Too bad the Calvinist is robbed of “mere” permission, all creaturely autonomy, and foreknowledge via observation.
        Forcing the Calvinist to find ways to SNEAK (in camouflaged form) these things back into their system.

        Only this time it was not as well camouflaged as the normal attempts! :-]

      3. br.d. writes:
        “Too bad the Calvinist is robbed of “mere” permission, all creaturely autonomy, and foreknowledge via observation.”

        This is the important point, for those who are, perhaps, on the fence. Honest, consistent Calvinism cannot affirm mere permission, creaturely autonomy or God’s providence based upon foreknowledge or observation. It is not, as some attempt to claim, merely a matter of not agreeing 100% with Calvin. One cannot, logically, be a 1, 2, 3 o 4-point Calvinist. Not because it is ‘forbidden’, but because it is impossible. The system requires all 5 codependent points.

        The system cannot uphold human autonomy in any form. I don’t know how many ways one has to say it, but Divine Determinism is antithetical, contradictory, the very opposite of human autonomy. Nothing can make two opposite, contradictory things both true at the same time. If God were to perform such a feat, you can be sure he would describe and explain his exception to his established laws of nature, as he did all other miracles.

        Isn’t the slightest bit odd that rather than questioning their contradictions Calvinism always asserts a ‘miracle’ or divine mystery. It couldn’t possibly be that they simply have it wrong, now could it? It couldn’t possibly be that the reasonable alternatives offered by others contain the solution to their ‘mysteries’, now could it?

    2. Heather, you know the drill . . . and the script. Most of us grow weary of rhutchin’s games and just leave him to dance alone. 😉 We comment for the sake of others who want to sincerely wrestle with important ideas, rather than dogmatically defend Calvinism. Unlike rh, most who comment here have been non-Calvinist, then Calvinist, then former and/or anti-Calvinist. That gives us a rather broad perspective of the topics, from nearly every angle. Those in the bubble remain, well, in the bubble.

      It is people who have nagging doubts, who admit that there are things about Calvinism that just don’t seem to jive with scripture, logic or actual experience who we seek to present with careful reasoning as to why we have rejected the Calvinist interpretations of scripture. This, I know from your blogs, you understand well.

  17. Rhutchin says there is no difference between causing or permitting when it comes to accomplishing God’s Will. I agree that God can use the things He causes and He can use the things He simply permits (such as allowing us to sin, to make our own decisions) for His Will. He can work everything into His Will.

    But Calvi-god can only handle the things He alone causes. He cannot handle any other factors than what He causes, than the things He has predetermined from the very beginning. Calvi-god is not as wise, powerful, omniscient, or sovereign as the God of the Bible, who can work many different factors into His plans, weaving all things together for good and for His plans, even the things He doesn’t cause.

    And the biggest difference between “cause” and “permit” isn’t necessarily about getting His Will accomplished. It’s about who causes sin, wickedness, and people to go to hell. This is where the huge, critical difference is between cause and permit. If God causes sin and causes wickedness and causes people to go to hell then the vast majority of the Bible is a lie and a cosmic joke, and God is not who the Bible shows Him to be.

    But if obedience and believing in Jesus and accepting salvation are choices that we have to make … and if, even though He calls us to obey and believe and accept eternal life, He allows (permits) us to sin, to reject Him, and to disobey … then the Bible makes sense and God is consistent. Because then, in His Word (as we see all throughout it), God can really say and mean that He truly does love all people, that He wants all people to be saved, that Jesus died for all, that we can seek Him, and that we can choose this day whom we will serve. And if it is our choice, He is truly just when He holds us accountable for our choices, when He lets us face the consequences of our choices. Because they are OUR choices!

    Calvinism is an illogical, contradictory pile of nonsense that messes up the whole Bible, in order to make it all fit their misunderstandings of a few “Calvinist-sounding” verses. And this destroys God’s character and the Gospel Truth.

    The God of the Bible can be trusted. Calvi-god cannot.

    I’ve said this before on my blog: If someone can’t see how disastrously different Calvinism is from the Bible, then they either don’t really understand Calvinism or they don’t really understand the Bible.

    There’s no other way to say it!

    1. Heather,
      Great to have you posting!

      If you caught Leighton’s video showing that young Blaze reporter (Allie Stuckey) being interviewed by Orthodox Jew Ben Shapiro, you will be amused (unpleasantly).

      She explains Calvinism to him and he is dumbstruck at how it sounds. Of course as an Orthodox Jew he rejects Jesus, but what he rejects is the Christian message that Christ died for the possible salvation for everyone…. if they only believe in Him (which is not believable to him). He “gets it”. He just doesnt want it.

      But then she lays on the Calvinism and he no longer “gets it”. It is wildly crazy to him: square circles.

      Now a Calvinist was say ….. “Yes FOH it is foolishness to him…like the Scripture says.”

      Well anything is foolishness if you make it foolish.

      1. I just saw Ben Shapiro’s interview with her last week!

        When she started to explain Calvinism – he said “How do you square that circle”?

        Ben Shapiro is a very logical person – I loved how instantly he saw through it. :-]

    2. Great post Heather!

      Just in case you don’t know – rhutchin has pulled that theory out of a magician’s hat before.

      Its based on the premise that with our without Calvin’s god – events would unfold exactly the same – one way or the other.
      And you can see his motives for the theory.

      He can therefore argue that Calvin’s god can’t possibly be culpable or responsible for anything – since everything would occur exactly the same with or without the influence of Calvin’s god.

      Its nothing more than a grasping at straws fantasy.
      But it does show how inventive Calvinists can get! :-]

      BTW: In the “Calvinism is intrinsically irrational” video – you see another inventive Calvinist there coming up with his pet theory – to try to relieve Calvin’s god from bearing any responsibility for what he AUTHORS.

      This is another characteristic of Calvinists – a lot of them are highly inventive in this way.
      But all of their inventions eventually collapse under the scrutiny of LOGIC.

    3. heather writes, “God can work everything into His Will.”

      Then, presuming God does work all things into His will (per Ephesians 1, “God works all things after the counsel of His will”), it seems that we can agree that everything that happens is God’s will either because He is the direct cause of an outcome or He uses an outcome for His will. As God knew all this before He created the world, everything is working out as He planned.

      Then, ” …the God of the Bible, who can work many different factors into His plans, weaving all things together for good and for His plans, even the things He doesn’t cause.”

      The God of the Bible is the Calvinist God. Calvinism adds that God worked all this out before He even created the world. Once God creates the world, everything works out as God planned.

      Then, “the biggest difference between “cause” and “permit” isn’t necessarily about getting His Will accomplished. It’s about who causes sin, wickedness, and people to go to hell. ”

      In Job, we see that Satan could not act without God’s approval. That is no different than today. Satan can only place temptations in front of people after first getting God’s approval. God see all sin before it is affected and has the power to stop any sin He wants. God’s decisions were made before He created the world, so now God is affecting His plan through sinful people – the brothers of Joseph, the Assyrians and Babylonians, the Jews and Romans, and even Saul of Tarsus.

      Then, “This is where the huge, critical difference is between cause and permit.”

      OK. What is that difference to God who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and sovereign over His creation?

      Then, ” If God causes sin and causes wickedness…”

      Yet, God caused Joseph to be delivered to Egypt, He punished Israel for its sin, He put Christ on the cross, and gave Saul of Tarsus influence among the Jews to put believers into prison, killing some. What sin or wickedness was unknown to God before it happened and not used by God for His purposes?

      Then, “if obedience and believing in Jesus and accepting salvation are choices that we have to make…”

      Are this not choices that people can only make if they have faith? Doesn’t faith come from hearing the gospel? Yet, all who people who physically hear the gsopel preached do not submit to Christ in faith. Obedience to Christ is a no-brainer and all should do this if they are free to make that choice, yet so many people do not. There is more here than you seem willing to acknowledge.

      Then, “I’ve said this before on my blog: If someone can’t see how disastrously different Calvinism is from the Bible,”

      Can we assume that you explain such things on your blog despite your refusal to do so here?

      1. rhutchin
        He uses an outcome for His will. As God knew all this before He created the world, everything is working out as He planned.

        br.d
        There you go Heather – this is another example.
        “He uses an outcome for his will” – is language designed to distance Calvin’s god as the AUTHOR of every event.

        I think you can guess which events those would be! :-]

      2. br.d writes, ““He uses an outcome for his will” – is language designed to distance Calvin’s god as the AUTHOR of every event.”

        No. It just separates God as the remote cause from man as the proximate cause. Thus, God decreed to send Joseph to Egypt and is the remote (and ultimate) cause of Joseph going to Egypt while Joseph’s brothers were the proximate cause (through whom God accomplished His plan). Judas’ betrayal of Jesus serves as another example of the remote/proximate cause distinction.

      3. br.d
        “He uses an outcome for his will” – is language designed to distance Calvin’s god as the AUTHOR of every event.”

        rhutchin
        No. It just separates God as the remote cause from man as the proximate cause.

        br.d
        William Lane Craig
        -quote
        Of course, secondary causes retain all their properties and powers as intermediate causes, as the Reformed divines remind us, just as a stick retains its properties and powers which make it suitable for the purposes of the one who uses it. But these intermediate causes are not agents themselves but mere instrumental causes, for they have no power to initiate action.

      4. Consistent Calvinism makes all men mere sticks with which God moves the stones. Yet very rarely do Calvinists admit this, and many more don’t even understand. All the talk of desires, means, secondary causes, etc. is designed to muddy the waters, so that people become lost in the murkiness and ashamed to admit their confusion. Like the admiring crowd, they are afraid to confess that they do not see the Emperor’s fine clothes, but only his naked torso. But surely all the esteemed authorities must be right, and every one knows that only idiots cannot see the glory of the king’s finery.

        Most Calvinists hear all of the fawning over the fabulously clothed Calvinism, and do not want to be the one to say, ‘Uh, I don’t see it’. So they join in, and pretty soon, they all but forget the doubts and nagging questions that once left them uncertain.

      5. br.d quoting Craig, “br.d
        William Lane Craig
        -quote
        But these intermediate causes are not agents themselves but mere instrumental causes, for they have no power to initiate action.”

        Craig should know better. It is because secondary causes are able to initiate action that they are held accountable for their actions. We see this with Cain in murdering his brother, the Assyrians whom God uses to punish Israel, Judas in betraying Jesus, and Saul of Tarsus in his persecution of the Jews. It is too bad that Craig relegates Scripture to secondary status to his personal opinion.

      6. br.d quoting Craig, “br.d
        William Lane Craig
        -quote
        But these intermediate causes are not agents themselves but mere instrumental causes, for they have no power to initiate action.”

        rhutchin
        Craig should know better. It is because secondary causes are able to initiate action that they are held accountable for their actions.

        br.d
        John Calvin – Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God (pg 175)
        -quote
        “The hand of God rules the INTERIOR AFFECTIONS….nor would god have *EFFECTED* by the hand of man what he decreed, unless he worked in their hearts to *MAKE* them will before they acted.”

      7. br.d
        William Lane Craig
        -quote
        But these intermediate causes are not agents themselves but mere instrumental causes, for they have no power to initiate action.”

        rhutchin
        Craig should know better. It is because secondary causes are able to initiate action that they are held accountable for their actions.

        br.d
        What Dr. Craig knows is LOGICAL – because in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) the actions of secondary instruments (i.e. creatures) are determined/caused by factors outside of the creature’s control. Therefore the initiation of that action is also outside of the creatures control.

        As universally understood – enunciated by the “Consequence Argument” (see Peter Van Inwagen)

        If Theological Determinism is true, then all of our neurological-impulses, desires, choices, and actions are the inevitable unavoidable consequence of immutable decrees, set in motion at the foundation of the world. And our every creaturely function is fated to occur at a specified time. Also, at the moment they are fated to occur, they do so framed and modulated by the state of nature, which exists at that time in which they occur. And the state of nature which exists at any time is likewise fully determined.

        But it is not up to us what supernatural forces/decrees are set in motion millennia before we were born. Neither are any neurological-impulses, desires, choices, and actions decreed to infallibly occur up to us. And neither is the time these are fated to occur up to us. Nor is the state of nature, which exists at any time (including our own) up to us. Therefore the consequences of these things are not up to us.

      8. Ha-ha-ha! Rhutchin, you are funny! Accusing me of refusing to point out how different Calvinism is from the Bible when all I’ve done is continuously point out how different Calvinism is from the Bible! Ha-ha-ha! (And as I said before, all my heavy, Scripture-backed stuff is on my blog. But I assume you won’t read it because you won’t be able to comment on it there. And I don’t think you’ll read what you can’t comment on. Because that would involve listening more than talking.)

        And no, we can’t agree that everything that happens is His Will, as in He causes it to happen. Because the Bible says that He works all things out for His Will, not that He causes it all for His Will, not that everything that happens is His Will. It’s not that He plans everything that happens; it’s that He takes all that happens and works it into His plans. He lets us make our choices, and then works it into His plans. But He doesn’t pre-plan or cause the choices we make. It’s like (for a silly illustration) the difference between buying ingredients and making the dinner I preplanned to make … and letting my kids pick out ingredients and then turning it all into something good, even though I didn’t preplan it or cause it to happen that way. (And of course, all illustrations fall short at some point. So don’t go feeling like if you can find problems with this example then you won the theological argument.)

        And Satan (when it came to Job) was allowed by God to choose how to attack Job, within boundaries God set up around Job’s life. But this doesn’t mean God caused Satan to do what he did. Or that God preplanned what Satan would do. Or that He willed Satan to do it. But God did give permission to Satan to act freely within boundaries, as He allows for us too. And God can take whatever we do and work it into His plans, into something good.

        And as I said, the difference to God between whether it’s “God causes sin” or “God permits sin” is that one turns Him into an untrustworthy, illogical, contradictory monster (Calvinism! Which says God causes sin but punishes us for it, regardless of how you try to hide or deny it.) and the other doesn’t. One completely alters God’s character and the Bible, and the other doesn’t.

        If I was God and knew that I didn’t cause sin, yet someone kept insisting that I cause all the sins that happen, I’d be incredibly displeased! So maybe instead of asking me what difference it makes to God, you should be asking God this. If you’re willing to listen, He’ll tell you.

      9. heather writes, “Accusing me of refusing to point out how different Calvinism is from the Bible when all I’ve done is continuously point out how different Calvinism is from the Bible! ”

        But, heather, you have failed to cite the Scriptures on which you base your conclusions. How can you say that you have pointed out how Calvinism is different from the Bible when you never cite where that difference occurs in the Bible? perhaps, you do this in your blog – could you provide the address for your blog and I will check it out.

        Then, “we can’t agree that everything that happens is His Will, as in He causes it to happen. Because the Bible says that He works all things out for His Will, not that He causes it all for His Will,”

        Maybe we can agree that God is in control of all that happens given that He can affect the outcome he seeks.

        Then, ” It’s not that He plans everything that happens; it’s that He takes all that happens and works it into His plans.”

        Yet, His plans were finalized before He created the world. Should I assume that you buy into an Open Theist type philosophy where God does not know the future. However, given that God can affect any outcome He wants from evil events, our disagreement seems to be a timing issue – does God make His decisions in the past or what to make those decisions in the course of time? Either way, God’s decisions are the same.

        Then, “Satan (when it came to Job) was allowed by God to choose how to attack Job, within boundaries God set up around Job’s life.”

        The Calvinist would say that God knew exactly what Satan would do while you say that God did not know what Satan would do and only learned this when He observed Satan’s choices.

        I think the omniscience issue – What does God know and when does He know it – is the issue between us. If so, that is fine – we have resolved a major distinction you make with Calvinism.

      10. And, Rhutchin, if you want to see my Scripture to back up my views, why I say Calvinism is totally different from the Bible, here is my post, “Why Is Calvinism So Dangerous?” (with a little taken out for space)

        So … Why is Calvinism so dangerous?

        Because it teaches the opposite of what the Bible teaches!

        Calvinism thinks it correctly understands the Word. But what it does is twist each verse until it supports its view of predestination, of God micromanaging everything (their definition of “sovereignty”), and of “total human depravity” where people are so depraved that no one can think about, want, or come to God unless God makes them do it (which is absolutely not in the Bible. In fact, the exact opposite is in the Bible. God calls us over and over again to seek Him, and He says He will hold us accountable if we resist Him or ignore Him).

        [Hey, Calvinists … Do you want a test to see what’s driving your view of this issue? Pray and ask God to reveal to you if you are wrong in your understanding of this issue, if you are reading the Word wrong, trying to make it fit your own ideas of what it says. Tell God that you want to know the truth and give Him permission to open your eyes to truth, even if it means finding out you’ve been wrong this whole time.

        Now … how did it make you feel to think about doing that? Did you get offended at the suggestion that Calvinism is wrong? Did you bristle and stiffen your neck, as in “I’m not praying that! I know I’m right!”? Did you scoff? Do you want to throw away everything I am saying – and going to say – because you’ve predetermined that I don’t know what I’m talking about, simply because I disagree with your view? Did you start coming up with all sorts of reasons for why you’re right and rehearsing all the theological arguments that “support” Calvinism?

        Are you more concerned with protecting and defending your view than you are with God’s opinion of it? How much is your pride driving your theology? Are you willing for God to correct you if you are wrong? Do you want to know His truth more than you want to cling to your pride and your feeling of intellectual and theological “superiority”?

        What’s in your heart?

        So now, pray and ask God to reveal truth to you, to show you if you’ve been wrong. Determine in your heart that you really do want to know the truth, no matter the cost. Don’t just think about praying it. DO IT!]

        Many Christians don’t want to get into this issue. It’s messy and uncomfortable and confusing. And so we straddle the fence, saying “Oh, it doesn’t really matter what we think about this as long as the Gospel is preached and people come to Jesus.”

        But does it really “not matter”?

        We also don’t want to get into this issue because Calvinists have made it seem like their view of the Gospel is absolutely “what the Bible says.” We’ve been fed that line so many times by the multitudes of popular Calvinist preachers and authors that we don’t even think to doubt it. We don’t even realize that they could possibly be wrong. We just keep drinking the Kool-Aid we’re given.

        But I think it’s definitely worth doubting. Worth thinking about deeply. Worth researching. Worth debating.

        And to be fair, most Calvinists do not have some sinister plan to lead people astray. Yes, some of them are smug and dogmatic and condescending and rude. But most are truly good, humble people who are simply trying their best to honor God and His Word. Some of our favorite church-friends are Calvinists. They are some of the best, most kind-hearted, godly people we know. And it was never an issue between us or between others in the congregation because no one ever pushed their views excessively and dogmatically. (Not until our new pastor came along.)

        So I am not necessarily speaking against the average Calvinist, but against Calvinism and the dogmatic Calvinist teachers. I think most Calvinists in the congregation are just good people doing their best to honor God and to be true to the Word. It’s just that they’ve been taught a view that has added little twists and tweaks to Scripture until it “fits so nicely” with Calvinism that they don’t even know to question it. And they have been taught that to be a good, God-honoring, humble Christian, they have to accept this Calvinist teaching and not dig too deeply for reasonable answers because it offends God and because, as mere humans, they can’t understand it anyway. (That’s how I started to get sucked into Calvinism in my high-school/college years. We were taught that Calvinism is just the way it is and that to be a good humble Christian meant accepting it. And so I humbly, faithfully did.)

        But once you start really researching Calvinism and what the Bible really says, without twists or tweaks, it all falls apart.

        And maybe that’s what makes it so dangerous: Calvinists truly believe it and think they are honoring God and the Word by spreading it.

        So let’s see some of what Calvinism says and how different it is from what the Bible teaches. (I’ll add verses where appropriate.) And ask yourself if it really “doesn’t matter.”

        1.
        The Bible says … Jesus died for all, loves all, and wants all men to be saved
        (John 3:16-17 and 5:24, Titus 2:11, 1 Timothy 2:4-6 and 4:10, Romans 5:18 and 10:13. This first point alone is really all you need to see how twisted and dangerous Calvinism is.)

        Calvinism says … Jesus died only for the elect, loves only the elect, and only wanted the elect to be saved

        [To make this work, Calvinists say “all men” and “whosoever” and “the world” really mean “just the elect” or “all KINDS of men, but not ALL men.” Lots of verses to twist. Calvinist authors will literally say, “Jesus does not love everybody and did not die for everyone.”

        But look at 2 Peter 2:1. This verse says that Jesus’s death even bought the false teachers, the very ones who deny Him. Jesus’s death paid for all men’s sins, even those who “bring destruction on themselves.”

        If Calvinism is correct, then either God is lying about Jesus “buying” the false teachers … or God “elects” false teachers because Jesus only bought the “elect” with His blood, and those guys were “bought” by Jesus, according to the verse. (And then, of course, the “destruction” they brought on themselves would have to be something other than hell, because the “elect” can’t go to hell).

        So which is it: Lying God or Elected False Teachers?

        And if Calvinism is correct, then God is lying about whatever “destruction” they brought on themselves. They didn’t do it; God did. For His glory … right, Calvinists!?! So why would He give them credit for saying they “brought destruction on themselves,” making it sound like they power over their choices and some sort of effect over their lives. Wouldn’t that be “stealing God’s glory” and saying God is not as sovereign and “in control” as Calvinists say He is!?!

        You know, I kinda wish Calvinists would stop “sneaking” their theology into churches, softening it up to make it more palatable, to infiltrate deeper and deeper without being noticed until it’s too late. Have the guts and integrity to honestly tell hurting people and God-seekers what you really believe: “Well, I don’t know if God loves you or if Jesus died for you or if you are one of the elect. He only loves and died for and saves a few select people. But there’s nothing you can do about it anyway. Your eternity is already sealed. And none of us will truly know who’s elected and who’s not until eternity. So best of luck to you. May you win the ‘salvation lottery’!”

        It would be a lot easier to identify them if they just said it like they really think it is.]

        2.
        The Bible says … God is not willing that any man should perish, and no one is beyond God’s saving grace.
        (2 Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 33:11, Romans 11:32, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, Romans 3:23-24, Titus 2:11)

        Calvinism says … God predestined most people for hell, they were never offered grace

        [Calvinism will try to weasel out of this one by saying that God doesn’t really predestine the unelect for hell; He just doesn’t elect them for heaven, which means they end up in hell. HOGWASH! It’s the same thing. It’s just trying to soften up a terrible belief, to make it seem like God doesn’t really predestine people for hell. But if God is the one who preplans who goes to heaven, and the rest have to go to hell because He didn’t plan for them to go to heaven, then He indeed preplans who goes to hell. Don’t buy into Calvinism’s double-talk. They talk out of both sides of their mouth and expect people to accept it.]

        3.
        The Bible says … We are responsible for our choices, sins, and unbelief
        (Rom 10:3 and 11:20,23, Joshua 24:15, Matthew 23:37, James 1:13-15, 2 Thessalonians 1:8 and 2:10)

        Calvinism says … God causes all sin and unbelief, but we are still held accountable for it.

        [Calvinism expects you to accept the absurd, illogical idea that God causes sin and unbelief but is not responsible for it, and that even though we don’t choose to be unbelievers, according to them, we can still be justly held accountable for it. It’s more double-talk and nonsense. If God causes it, He’s responsible for it. And there would be nothing just or righteous about holding us responsible for something He causes. It’s nonsense. But when you question Calvinists on this, they say, “Well, we might not like it but we have to believe it because it’s what the Bible says. Who are we to question God!?! And you won’t be able to really understand it till eternity anyway, so don’t think too hard about it.” They shame you into not disagreeing with them, making you feel unhumble if you do.]

        4.
        The Bible says … When we repent and believe, we become saved and receive the Holy Spirit
        (Acts 2:38, Ephesians 1:13)

        Calvinism says … The “elect” are prechosen to be saved, then the Holy Spirit comes to the elect to make them repent and believe. Being chosen comes before salvation, and receiving the Holy Spirit comes before repentance and belief.

        [In many areas, they ignore or explain away the verses that clearly contradict them. And they build their theology on a collection of vague verse or verses taken out of context, trying to make their view sound legitimate.]

        5.
        The Bible says … God expects us to seek Him
        (Amos 5:4, Isaiah 55:6, Deuteronomy 4:29, Hebrews 11:6, Acts 17:27)

        Calvinism says … No one can seek God unless God makes them seek

        [Calvinists support this idea by saying we are “dead people,” that we are like dead bodies who can’t do anything unless God makes us do it. But this is simply a ridiculously bad and wrong analogy. We are not physically dead, just spiritually dead, which means we are separated from God. Our brains still work, and God expects us to use our brains to seek Him.

        Calvinists also get this idea by reading into Romans 3:10-11. They say it means we are so depraved that we can’t possible want, seek or believe in God, unless He makes us do it. But the verses don’t say that. They are simply saying that we are self-centered by nature and don’t generally desire or seek the things of God, and that we can’t do anything to save ourselves. We have no righteousness of our own to earn our salvation, and neither will our bloodline save us. And this is why God has to be the one to get our attention, to make Himself known, and to make salvation possible. He wants us to see what’s missing in our lives, to desire Him, to seek Him, and to accept the gift of salvation He made possible. And if we refuse Him, He can hold us accountable because He has made Himself abundantly clear through His creation – Romans 1:20.]

        6.
        The Bible says … Satan blinds eyes, but Jesus takes the veil away when we turn to Him. (2 Corinthians 4:4 and 3:16) And “receive” and “believe” (in the concordance) are active, not passive. We do them. “Receive” means to reach out and grab ahold of what is being offered to you (salvation). And “believe” is to let yourself be persuaded by something (the truth) and to commit to it.
        (Romans 1:5, 5:11, 5:17, 8:15, 10:4, 10:13, Ephesians 1:13, John 1:12)

        Calvinism says … God blinds eyes (causes the unelect to not believe in Him) and opens eyes. If He doesn’t open your eyes, you can’t find Him. He causes the elect to believe in and receive Jesus, with no response needed on our parts. It’s done to us, not by us.

        [I think they partly think this because Acts 16:14 talks about God opening Lydia’s heart to believe Paul’s message. Calvinists say this means that God caused her to believe. But if you look at that verse, you’ll see that she was already a worshipper of God, a believer. Most likely, it’s that God caused her to see the need to be baptized, because the very next thing she does is get her family baptized. And Calvinists will point to Luke 24:45, about God opening the minds of the disciples to understand the Scriptures. But once again, this isn’t causing unbelievers to believe. It’s opening the minds of those who already believe to help them grow in their wisdom and faith.]

        7.
        The Bible says … Generally, according to the concordance, a “hardened” heart is retribution for having first hardened our own hearts and resisted God for so long, even after He’s been patient and long-suffering with us.
        (Romans 9:18. And in John 12:37-39, “they would not believe” resulted in “they could not believe.” And in Ezekiel 20:21-25 and Romans 1:21-24, the people rebel against God, so He lets them become hardened and defiled, handing them over to their own sinful rebellion. A simple study of what the concordance says about many of the words Calvinists hinge Calvinism on will defeat the idea of Calvinism.)

        Calvinism says … God chooses whose hearts to harden and whose to turn to Him, with no input/responsibility on our parts.

        [2 Peter 3:9 says God is patient with us, wanting everyone to be saved. But what’s patience for, if He’s already predestined who goes to heaven and if He controls when we get saved? And notice in Romans 11:4-5 how God chooses His people. The people chose whether they would serve Baal or not. Then God chooses those who did not worship Baal. The people’s choice of whom they worshipped affected whether God chose them or not. And for further biblical proof that WE choose to harden our hearts, see Zechariah 7:11-13. Why would God get angry with them if He caused them to resist Him? He must like making Himself angry, because He’s the only one responsible for anything in this world. According to Calvinism.]

        8.
        The Bible says … We are to evangelize because it’s how people will hear the Gospel so that they can believe. That by hearing the Gospel, we can believe, and by believing, we inherit eternal life.
        (Romans 10:14, John 20:31)

        Calvinism says … Evangelize because God told you to, even though God’s already decided where everyone will go. The elect will be saved and the unelect will be damned, no matter what. But we still have to obey God’s command to spread the Gospel.

        [Makes no sense! Calvinism says that we are elected before we can even respond to the Gospel, and that we can’t respond to the Gospel or believe in Jesus unless God first regenerates us and gives us the Holy Spirit.

        So then, why should we spread the Gospel if it can have no influence over a person anyway, because their eternities have already been decided?

        But the Bible says, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)

        So according to the Bible, the very reason God gave us the Scriptures was so that we could learn about Jesus and believe in Him, and that by believing, we could inherit eternal life. Biblically, it’s “read the Bible, learn about Jesus, want Jesus as your Lord and Savior, believe in Jesus and put your faith in Him, get the Holy Spirit and inherit eternal life.”

        But Calvinism flips that all around. It’s “get chosen for eternal life before you ever encounter Jesus or the Gospels, then God gives you the Holy Spirit to regenerate you and to make you want Jesus, and now you can understand the Gospel, which really had no effect on your salvation anyway because you were elected/saved before you could read, understand, or respond to the Gospel. There is no ‘choosing’ to believe in Jesus. You believe because God made you believe. And you inherit eternal life even before God makes you believe in Jesus.”

        And here’s something else for Calvinists to consider: If we have to obey God’s command to evangelize, it means we can disobey. And if we can choose between obeying and disobeying, we are right back to free-will, to us having a choice.

        On a different but similar note: I also think Calvinism affects our prayer life. If Calvinists believe that God causes everything that happens, they might not see prayer accurately. After all, why pray if everything’s already been planned and if prayer doesn’t make a difference because humans can’t affect anything that happens?

        Calvinists will say that prayer is about showing our dependence on God, about humbling ourselves before Him, about connecting with Him. And yes, that’s all a part of it. But I also believe that the Bible clearly shows that prayer does have an effect on what happens. I believe God has chosen to work through and with mankind’s cooperation and prayers, to a degree. Prayer is what activates God to do His Will. And without it, God doesn’t always intervene. Prayer is not just for show; it really does matter and make a difference and affect what happens. For more on this, see my Bible Study lesson on Prayer and see “Prayer, Faith, and God’s Will” (about the times prayer doesn’t seem to “work”).]

        9.
        The Bible says … God shows His love and His justice by sending Jesus to the cross to pay for our sins.
        (Romans 3:25-26, Romans 5:8)

        Calvinism says … God shows His love by saving the elect (and by caring for the unelect on earth) and He shows His justice by damning the unelect to hell.

        [They change God’s love from one kind to another, saying that God shows His love to the elect by saving them and to the “unelect” by caring for them while they’re on earth. But God Himself says He shows His love by sending Jesus to the cross to pay for our sins. And contrary to Calvinism, He doesn’t say He shows His justice by sending the “unelect” to hell. He says He shows His justice by sending Jesus to the cross to pay for our sins. Why is this so hard to understand? Clearly, since Calvinists believe God’s saving love saves the elect, they can’t use His love as the reason He damns the unelect to hell. So they have to find different “godly-sounding reason” for why God would damn the unelect to hell. And I guess calling it “His justice” sounds godly enough to make it believable.]

        10.
        The Bible shows that … “Sovereignty” means that God is the highest authority there is. There is no one above Him and no one He is accountable to. He has the power to do whatever He wants. But I believe part of what He wants is to allow us to make decisions, within any boundaries He sets up. And, being sovereign, He knows what we will choose to do and how to work it for good. He also knows how to manipulate circumstances to encourage us to get on the path He wants us on, but He doesn’t over-ride our free-will. He calls us to obey and believe, but the final choice is ours.
        (Such as when He blinded Saul on the road to Damascus, calling Saul to become Paul. He didn’t override Saul’s right to decide, He just made a very strong case for why Saul should believe in Him, making Himself so clear that Saul was compelled to become a believer.)

        He holds all things in His hands, is aware of everything, and knows how to work everything into His plans. Sometimes He works out His will by causing things to happen (but never by causing sin), and sometimes He works out His will by just allowing things to happen, such as letting us choose to sin/disobey and then working it into His plans. But He can and will work everything – even the things He lets us choose to do – into something good.
        (Remember that in Job’s story, God didn’t cause the tragedies that hit Job. God let Satan pick the tragedies, within boundaries. God doesn’t always “cause.” Many times, He simply “allows.”)

        Calvinism says … “Sovereignty” means that God preplans and causes everything that happens, even sin and unbelief, for His plans and glory.

        [So God causes the very sin that He died to save us from? And He causes unbelief, even though He calls us to believe in Him over and over again? Yep, makes perfect sense!

        Did you know that the NIV has the word “sovereign” in it almost 300 times. But it’s not in the KJV anywhere. Where the NIV says “Sovereign Lord,” the KJV simply says “Lord.” For some reason they felt the need to add it to Scripture. And keep in mind that the definition of “sovereign” refers to the position a person is in – it’s being the highest authority/ruler there is – but it doesn’t specify how the person uses their authority.

        Calvinists build their whole theological framework on the belief that “sovereignty” means “micromanaging,” that since God is “all powerful,” He always uses His power all the time to control everything. But “sovereign” basically just means “the one who is in ultimate control over all,” not “He has to use His power to control/cause everything that happens.” This is adding things to the definition of “sovereignty.” Sovereignty doesn’t mean God has to control everything, but that He is in a position to control everything, that He gets the final say on everything, that He is accountable to no one because there is no one above Him.

        When you misunderstand “sovereignty,” your whole theological view will be wrong from the very beginning because you are trying to force Scripture to fit your view of sovereignty, instead of simply correcting your view of sovereignty to fit Scripture.

        Essentially, I think most Calvinists are trying to be humble when they view “sovereignty” as “God controls and causes everything.” They are trying to lift God up as high as they can and to lower humans as low as they can. But if their view of “sovereignty” and of how God acts is contradicting Scripture – and they refuse to consider if they’re wrong and to correct it – how humble are they really?]

        (See “What Does ‘God Is Sovereign’ Mean?” And see Tony Evan’s sermon on God’s sovereignty, which says that sometimes God causes things and sometimes He just allows things, but that He holds all things in His hands and works it all out for good. Also see “Connecting With God For A Breakthrough” – a good biblical view of man’s responsibility and God’s actions.)

        11.
        The Bible says … God is glorified when people praise Him, trust Him, believe in Him, preach the good news, obey Him, etc.
        (Psalm 29:1-2, 86:12, 96, 115:1- glorify God for His lovingkindness and truth, Isaiah 42:12, Matthew 5:16, John 15:8, Romans 15:9- glorify Him for His mercy, 1 Cor. 10:31, 2 Cor. 4:15- spreading grace and thanksgiving glorifies God, 2 Cor. 9:13, 2 Thess. 1:11-12)

        Calvinism says … It glorifies God to send people to hell.

        [This is simply Calvinists trying to find a “good” explanation for why God “predestines” people to hell. They say everything God does is for His glory. And so we have to simply accept that if He predestines men to hell, it must be for His glory somehow. Find me the verse that says this! It’s simply more convoluted reasoning to try to make their view legitimate. And if God causes everything for His glory – even sin, unbelief, and “predestining” people for hell – Calvinists would have to conclude that murder glorifies God … and abortion and child abuse and suicide and rape and every other sin out there. Because, after all, God “causes” everything that happens for His glory. Right!?! Why then should we take a stand against any of this? Why be concerned for those going to hell? Wouldn’t that be fighting against the things God is doing to bring Himself “glory”? Wouldn’t it, Calvinists!?!]

        12.
        The Bible says … Jesus’s death accomplished what it was supposed to, buying salvation for all men so that we can believe and be saved. Salvation is a gift, bought by Jesus’s blood, that we choose to accept or reject.
        (1 Timothy 2:6 and 4:10, Romans 5:18)

        Calvinism says … God didn’t give people the choice to accept or reject Jesus, because if people could reject Him, it would be a waste of His blood. And if we claim we can “accept Jesus,” then we are “working for our salvation,” unhumbly believing we can earn salvation. The only way it can be all God’s doing is if we do nothing to get it, not even “accept it.” The only way for Him to be in total
        control is for Him to be the one who chooses the elect and causes them to believe.

        [There is not one verse in the Bible that teaches any of this. It’s purely man-made reasoning to support a flawed theology. Jesus’s blood was never wasted. It did exactly what it was supposed to do. And how can accepting a free gift that was made available to us because God planned for it and sacrificed His life for it be considered “working for/earning salvation”? On the contrary, accepting a gift we know we could never create or earn for ourselves – eternal life in heaven – is an act of humility, of thankfulness, of love.]

        13.
        The Bible says … Some “predestination” verses are about God predestining believers to grow to be more like Christ and to bring God glory, not about God predestining “the elect” for heaven.
        (Ephesians 1:11-12. And Romans 8:28-30 says those God foreknows – those whom He foreknows will become believers – are predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus. And other “predestination” verses, I believe, are actually about things like Israel’s destiny, specific biblical people, God’s general plans for mankind, God choosing which generation would be the first to have Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and – as a couple writers suggest – about God predestining the means of salvation, forgiveness of sins through Jesus’s death. You have to look at each one in context. I believe that every verse that sounds like “predestined to heaven or hell” can and should be read in one of these other ways.)

        Calvinism says … “Predestination” verses are always about God predestining if we go to heaven or hell.
        (No wonder they have so much support for their view. I wonder, how can Calvinists ignore all the verses that say Jesus died for all, God loves all, salvation is available to all, God wants us to seek Him, we have to choose between obedience and obedience, etc. – all those many verses that clearly contradict Calvinism – and they zero in on a just a couple verses about predestination and election that seem to support Calvinism, building their whole theology on a misunderstanding of those verses? It’s strange. Instead of questioning those few “Calvinist” verses, studying what they really mean until it falls in line with the rest of the Word, they alter what the rest of the Bible says to uphold their misunderstanding of those few verses. Really, it’s amazing!)

        14.
        The Bible says … Some verses about salvation, according to the concordance, are not about eternal salvation. They are about God planning to spare believers from the wrath that He will pour out on the ungodly in the end times.
        (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9, Romans 13:11, Hebrews 9:28, 1 Peter 1:5. Particularly of note is 2 Thessalonians 2:13, which says “God chose you to be saved.” This sounds very “predestined to heaven,” until you see that the concordance doesn’t say this “saved” is about eternal salvation. It says this “saved” is about God promising to spare believers from the upcoming, end-times wrath.)

        Calvinism says … Verses about “chosen to be saved” are always used to prove that God chooses/predestines who gets eternal salvation and who doesn’t.
        (If you research carefully, you’ll see that many of the so-called “predestination” verses are not really “predestined to heaven or hell” verses at all.)

        15.
        The Bible calls us to search the Scriptures, to be discerning about what we are taught, to carefully and correctly handle the Word.
        (2 Timothy 2:15, Acts 17:11)

        Calvinists tell us that we don’t have to understand predestination or Calvinism, but that we need to simply accept it because it’s “what the Bible says.” And they will make you feel like an unhumble Christian if you question this view, accusing you of rebelling against God’s Word.

        [As I pointed out earlier, watch out for their double-talk. They speak out of both sides of their mouth and expect you to accept it without question. They’ll say “I’m not saying God predestines people to hell. I’m just saying He doesn’t predestine them for heaven.” And “I’m not saying God is responsible for sin. I’m saying that God is sovereign and causes all things for His purposes, even sin, but we are still responsible for it.” And “I’m not saying God doesn’t love everyone, just that God has chosen to show His love to the elect by saving them.” Lots and lots of nonsense!]

        16.
        The Bible can be read and understood by all, and it’s quite clear and consistent in its teachings. It makes sense.

        Only Calvinists can really understand the Bible because they “know the code” (my own wording, not theirs), like claiming that “whoever” and “all” and “world” really mean “the elect.” And their views only seem valid by building their theology around the few Bible verses that sound “predestination” at first, and then by explaining away or twisting the multitudes of verses that contradict Calvinism. But their theological view falls apart in the face of Scripture as a whole and in light of how God acts in the rest of the Bible. In the end, Calvinism creates many more questions (unanswerable questions) than it answers, and it creates tons of illogical contradictions about Scripture and God’s character. This is why they have to always come back to “You don’t have to understand it. You just have to accept it because it’s what the Bible says.”

        (Umm … No! It’s not!)

        17.
        And lastly, I think Calvinism overemphasizes God’s wrath/glory, while underemphasizing His love. In fact, they believe God doesn’t even really love all people, only the elect. They believe it brings God glory to predestined most people to hell. And since it’s about His glory, we just have to accept this teaching. Because we are too tiny to understand it.

        But of course we can’t understand it. You can’t understand an unbiblical, imbalanced view.

        Yes, God’s glory should be held up high. The highest. But to do this, Calvinists reduce humans too low. They base our value only on the glory we can being God.

        But … God Himself believes we have value and He loves us tremendously, enough to send Jesus to die for all of our sins, no matter how “low and insignificant” we are in comparison to Him. Just so we could have a relationship with Him in heaven. Because, I believe, He wanted it. He wanted us!

        Here is an excerpt from my “Letter To Our Elders” post:

        Another reason I don’t care for our pastor’s preaching is that it’s all information for the head, theological academic stuff. It’s not preaching for the heart, for the hurting heart, for life. There’s no encouragement in there, no “God loves you and you matter to Him,” no “let’s figure out how to get through these hard trials of life together,” etc. It’s always just more theological and academic information for the mind.

        Calvinist teaching is always loaded with how depraved we are, how insignificant we should feel before God, how virtually worthless we are apart from the glory God gets through us, about how God has predetermined everything, about how we have no effect on God or on our lives, about how our choices are not really our choices because we are just acting out the parts God’s already written for us, about how our eternity has already been decided for us and we can’t change it, and about how God causes everything but we are still accountable. And how we don’t have to understand how that works, we just have to accept it! Or else we’ll be dishonoring God. (Which is kinda ironic because if we bring God dishonor it would have to be because He caused us to bring Him dishonor, because according to Calvinism God causes everything.)

        But sometimes, we just need to be reminded of how much God loves us, how valuable we are to Him, how He can and will help us through this hard life. But when the sermons are all about God being so far above us, about how low in the dirt we should view ourselves, about God only being concerned with His own glory and how we should only be concerned with that too … well, it’s really hard to connect with a God like that, to want a relationship with a God like that, to feel like He wants a relationship with us.

        Sometimes we don’t need another theological beating. Sometimes we just need a heavenly hug.

        And it’s interesting because Calvinist pastors usually avoid messages about how God loves you and Jesus died for you. They have to avoid these because they don’t know, according to their Calvinism, if God loves everyone in the audience or if Jesus died for everyone in the audience. Because, according to Calvinists, God only loved the elect and Jesus only died for the elect. So you won’t hear those general “God loves you” kinds of messages from them.

        And Calvinists are not about God’s love. They’re all about God’s glory, our insignificance, His ultimate control, our complete inability to do anything. And I kinda see that it’s true. Calvinists like to remind us regularly about how we are only here for God’s glory, so that He can glorify Himself through us. I have no problem with God being glorified and with bringing Himself glory in what He does (that’s only appropriate), but sometimes it’s nice to hear that He made us because He loves us, because He wants a relationship with us, not just because He is looking for another way to bring Himself glory.

        I don’t think God made us just for His glory. I think He also made us for His enjoyment. Because He wants people to love, and He wants people to love Him. Because it brings Him joy. I found a verse – 2 Corinthians 5:4-5 – about one of the reasons why God made us, and this passage doesn’t say it’s only all about His glory: “… we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who made us for this very purpose …” To me, this sounds like the very reason God made us was so that we could have eternal life in heaven with Him. He wants us in heaven with Him. And that is the reason He made us. Even though He is glorified through everything, I think one reason He made us is because He wanted us, not just because He needed to glorify Himself by creating us. And that’s a God I want to get close to and to love; One who wants to get close to me because He loves me.

        What is it that Paul prayed about for the Ephesians?

        “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

        God is not just about using us to get more glory. God was completely complete in Himself before we ever came along. He needs nothing from us.

        But He does want us! He wants us to know His love fully, deeply. Knowing His love is what will fill us completely with the fullness of God. Not reducing ourselves to such tiny, insignificant worms who are only here because God wanted to bring Himself more glory.

        God made us out of love! God wants us to come to Him, to spend eternity with Him, because of love!

        My heart is aching for some good, godly encouragement about God’s love. For some practical messages about how He’ll carry us through the hard times and how His love for us spurs us on to love Him more, etc. I don’t need more academic information, especially when it’s loaded with Calvinism. My soul is drying up there. Ugh! But that’s my own personal thoughts about this. And yet, I know I’m not the only one thinking it. Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!

        Calvinism is dangerous because it draws people away from the heart of God, from the Truth about His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, character, Jesus’s sacrifice, etc.

        And this is just a little bit of it.

        Calvinists believe they are being true to the Word and that those who disagree with Calvinism are not. They will say that we are ignoring “hard truths” taught in Scripture – like God is all-controlling and we have no control of our own and God predestines people to hell for a reason – because we don’t like those ideas, because they make us uncomfortable or we can’t understand them. And so they say we ignore Scripture or twist it to make it say something that we like better, to give us more “control.”

        But as you can see, I haven’t twisted Scripture at all. In fact, I am simply stating it just as it is, no twists, no changing the meanings of words (like “all” and “whoever”), no confusing conclusions that force me to say “But you don’t have to understand it; you just have to accept it.”

        It’s Calvinism that twists Scripture, that reads into it things that aren’t there, that uses confusing double-talk, that ignores the verses that clearly contradict it, that changes the meanings of words, that takes verses out of context, that comes up with convoluted reasoning for its views (such as “If people could reject Jesus, it would be a waste of His blood” and “It glorifies God to put people in hell”), etc.

        Instead of being able to point to Bible verses that clearly teach their views, they have to create biblical support by mashing together various verses, oftentimes taken out of context or slightly altered to fit what they want it to say. And they take their own ideas of things – such as their views of what “ordains” and “sovereignty” mean – and build Scripture around it, instead of building their ideas around Scripture. (You can see this in their arguments like, “If God really loved all people then He would save all people; but since all people are not saved, it must mean He doesn’t love all people the same.” Instead of believing, as the Bible says, that God shows His love by sending Jesus to die for us so that He could offer salvation to all of us, they view it as “He saves those He loves, which means He only really loves those He has chosen to save – the elect.” And so they have to redefine “God’s love” and “the world” and “whosoever” in John 3:16 to make it fit with their idea that God saves those whom He loves and only really loves those whom He saves. When all along, God says He shows His love by sending Jesus to pay for our sins, buying us all the opportunity for eternal life, but it’s up to us to accept it.)

        Calvinists are master manipulators, trying to validate a confusing view that contradicts what the rest of the Bible clearly, plainly, and consistently tells us about salvation and grace and Jesus’s sacrifice and God’s character and His attributes, etc. No wonder they always have to end with “You don’t have to understand it; you just have to accept it. But it will all make sense in eternity. We humans are just too limited to truly understand it now.”

        I wonder if Calvinist theologians have unconsciously complicated Scripture – if they came up with all their convoluted reasonings and “hidden meanings” – because it feels more “intelligent” that way – as if the more complicated and “hidden” the truths of Scripture are, the more intelligent they are to understand it, to have discovered what God’s really trying to say “between the lines.” And being so “wise” about difficult teachings and being willing to accept these difficult teachings in faith makes them feel more humble, like they are willing to accept distasteful and confusing teachings that we “stubborn, blinded, prideful” believers aren’t willing to accept.

        But I think sometimes we can miss the forest for the trees. I wonder if Calvinists fail to see the clear teachings of Scripture because they are trying to complicate it, because it makes them feel more intelligent and more humble. I wonder if the Calvinist theologians unconsciously think, “Scripture can’t really be that clear and simple and straightforward, can it? That even the most simple-minded, common person can understand it? No … it has to be more complicated than that, and so it takes us super-minds to understand it, to tell the simple people what God’s really trying to say.”

        But sometimes, God uses the foolish things, the simple things, to shame the wise (1 Cor. 1:27). The “wise” can’t see the simple things – the plain truth of Scripture – because they are too busy being “wise.” And so the plain truth of Scripture sounds like foolishness to them. And they actually unconsciously elevate their intellect and humility, while all along talking about how tiny, low, and insignificant we humans are and how humble it makes us to accept, in faith, the confusing, illogical things they teach us.

        If this doesn’t make you deep-down-in-your-soul angry, if you don’t see how Calvinism twists what Scripture really says, then you either don’t really understand Calvinism or you don’t really understand the Gospel. (I’m not saying this condescendingly, but matter-of-factly. There’s just really no other way to put it. And to be honest, I myself didn’t really understand the Gospel for a long time – because I was trying to force it into a “Calvinist” mindset.)

        And considering all the differences I’ve shown you – about how differently they view Jesus’s sacrifice, God’s character, salvation, man’s responsibility, etc. – can anyone really say that it “doesn’t matter” what we believe about this?

        It matters.

        It matters greatly!

        Our view of God and faith and salvation and the Gospel will be greatly affected by our view of this. And it’s worth really studying until you come to an answer on it. Don’t ever let a Calvinist church or preacher or author make you feel like a bad Christian if you doubt or disagree with Calvinism.

        (Honestly, the more I learn about how twisted Calvinism is, the more angry I get and the more I want to cry – to literally sit down and weep – about how it’s destroying the Gospel Truth, the character of God, and people’s faith. That’s why it was time for me to stop tolerating it at my church and to finally speak up. And it may be time for me to remove my name from membership at our church, something I’ve been contemplating for years. I can’t support our pastor’s view of Scripture and God and salvation. It breaks my heart to hear God and the Gospel preached this way! To see the grace of God limited so much. To see Jesus’s precious sacrifice reduced to a “gift” that’s only available to a special few.)

        I’m not saying that this issue isn’t confusing or that there aren’t verses that do sound like “predestination” at first reading. And second reading. And third reading. It took me years to work through this and to find the view that fits best with Scripture and God’s character.

        And what I found is that those “predestination” verses – the few that seem to support Calvinism – only support Calvinism if you read them with “Calvinist glasses” on. And if you don’t dig any deeper. (And for every verse that sounds like predestination, there are so many more that contradict that idea.)

        What you need to do is look up older translations of those verses and look up the words in the concordance and keep Scripture in context and keep God’s revealed character in mind (and be willing to find out that you might have been wrong all along). And when you do this, you begin to see that it’s not predestination/Calvinism and that the Bible isn’t as confusing as it seems and that it does actually reveal a consistent character of God from one end to the other – a truly loving, just, and righteous God.

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Calvinism makes a mess of the Gospel. But once you get rid of Calvinism and predestination, it all makes sense.

        (Now, you’ll have to excuse me while I go sit down and cry for awhile.)

        [And for the record, there is one thing Calvinism and I agree on, and it’s that a true believer can’t lose their salvation. I believe that a true believer who has the Holy Spirit will not be able to “lose their salvation,” even if it might seem like it for a time, such as during a tragedy or a particularly hard season of life. If you are truly a believer but have drifted from the Lord, you will always feel the pull of the Holy Spirit, trying to call you back. And if anyone does “leave the faith,” they were never really a Christian to begin with. The information might have been in their head, but not in their heart. (Here is a post on that.)

        However, where I disagree with Calvinism is that they say God makes someone a believer, that no one can ever really be sure that they are one of the elect until heaven, and that sometimes God causes the unelect to feel secure in their “fake salvation” so that He can solidify their damnation in hell more. (I don’t know if current Calvinists hold to this, or if it was just from John Calvin’s time.)

        I believe that we can know we are saved if we did what God requires of us in the Bible: believed in the Lord Jesus and accepted His sacrifice on our behalf. And if we have the Holy Spirit, He will guide us in our faith and godly wisdom and help us grow to be more like Christ, even though we won’t do it perfectly and we will stumble and fall and struggle along the way. We grow to reflect Christ more because we are saved, not to “prove” or ” earn” or “secure” our salvation. It’s just the natural result of a true believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit and abiding in God, through prayer and His Word.]

      11. heather writes, “The Bible says … Jesus died for all, loves all, and wants all men to be saved (John 3:16-17 and 5:24, Titus 2:11, 1 Timothy 2:4-6 and 4:10, Romans 5:18 and 10:13. This first point alone is really all you need to see how twisted and dangerous Calvinism is.)

        This is nice but you skirt the real issues. First, you ignore the issue of faith being required to respond to Christ. Do you mean to say that all people hear the gospel and all people receive faith to believe? Second, you ignore the definition of “all” or “world” that Calvinist, based on Ephesians 3, say is defined as “Jew and non-Jew.” You should define the Scripture from which you conlude that “all” means each and every individual and argue for your definition over the Calvinist definition.

        Then, “But look at 2 Peter 2:1.”

        “…the Master who bought them…” can be a reference ot God. It is God who put Christ on the cross as a payment for sin. That it was God who paid the penalty for our sin through the death of Christ. This would agree with Hebrews 11, “…he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” and 1 John 2, “…if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;…”

        More later.

      12. Oh, Rhutchin, here’s one more. Since you asked. Now, no more accusing me of not having Scripture to back up my views.

        From my post, “If Calvinism is true, then God is a liar”:

        Calvinism includes the belief that God has ordained everything (as in He pre-plans and causes everything that happens), that He predestined from the beginning of time whether you will go to heaven or hell, that Jesus only died for the “elect,” and that the unelect were never offered salvation because God willed them to go to hell for His purposes and glory.

        But if Calvinism is true … then God is a liar!

        I mean, listen to a few of their teachings in a nutshell, without all the fancy, convoluted Calvinist arguments to defend those ideas …

        The Bible says God does not cause sin or cause people to sin, but Calvinism says God causes everything, even sin.

        The Bible calls us all to believe and it places the responsibility to believe on us, but Calvinism says God blinds most people so that they cannot believe and that if we believe it’s because God predetermined we would and caused us to.

        The Bible says God wants all people to come to Him and wants no one to perish, but Calvinism says God withholds salvation from most men because He wills them to perish, for His glory somehow.

        The Bible says God loves the world and so He sent Jesus to die for us so that we might live, but Calvinism says God loves only the elect and that Jesus died only for the elect.

        Calvinism – when you simplify it – completely contradicts the Word. And the only way it can sound somewhat believable is when they add all their fancy, convoluted arguments and reasoning. Does God need us to clarify His Word with all sorts of complicated, twisted reasonings? How is it that men couldn’t properly understand God’s Word until John Calvin came along? (I mean, yes, the Catholic church screwed it up, but that’s not the Bible’s fault.) Is Calvinism making God’s truth clearer?

        Or is it trying to smoosh its bad theology into Scripture, where it doesn’t fit or belong?

        (A warning to Calvinists: If you are going to change Jesus’s sacrifice for all people into a sacrifice for a “few prechosen people,” and if you are going to say that God doesn’t love all people the same, and if you are going to tell others that they can’t seek God when the Bible tells us over and over again to seek Him, and if you are going to say that God predetermines most people will go to hell for His pleasure and glory when, in the Bible, God calls us all to obey Him and tells us that “whosoever” wants to believe in Jesus can believe in Jesus … you had better be absolutely sure that your theological view has rock-solid support from the Bible! Because the Bible clearly and regularly teaches something far different than Calvinism. And I don’t think saying “Oh, but there’s a deeper, hidden meaning underneath what the Bible says” is going to be an acceptable excuse for changing what God says. If you are going to change the clear, consistent Gospel Truth that much, you had better be absolutely sure that you are right. For you will be held accountable for spreading Calvinism to others. And for those who are just nominal Calvinists, who blindly support Calvinism without really knowing what it teaches, you had better find out. Because you also will be held accountable for the people you affect when you say, “I’m a Calvinist.” For holding up Calvinism as Gospel Truth.)

        Let me ask this to people who have read the Bible: If you read the Bible from beginning to end, without any Calvinist theologians telling you what to think or how to read it, would you be more likely to conclude that God loves all people and offers salvation to all, and that we are responsible for our choices and actions and beliefs … or would you be more likely to conclude that God causes everything that happens, even sin and unbelief, that He really doesn’t love all people and that Jesus didn’t die for everyone, and that the calls to believe and obey are “phony” because He’s already pre-decided where we all go and how we will behave?

        And if you were unsure at all, wouldn’t it be erring on the side of caution to assume that if God said He loved all people and Jesus died for all people, He meant all people? To assume that “you will find Me if you seek Me” means “seek Me and find Me”? To assume that “whoever calls on the name of Jesus shall be saved” means “whoever does it,” not “whoever’s programmed to do it”? To assume that when God tells us to choose between obeying and disobeying, it means that we can choose between obeying and disobeying?

        And if you were unsure at all about choosing between two views of God, which one would be the safer, more reasonable choice (especially since you will have to give an account to God for the way you presented Him and the Gospel to others):
        1. The view of God as a loving, righteous, just God who wants all people to believe in Him, who died for all, who made salvation available to all, but who gave us the choice to accept or reject Him, to obey or disobey, and so He can and will justly hold us accountable for our choices. And a God who, in His sovereignty and wisdom, can work everything into His plans, even our self-chosen sin and rebellion … or …
        2. The view of God as an unreasonable, illogical, unjust monster who causes every little thing that happens, even causing people to sin, but who then holds us accountable for sinning … who, in the Bible, calls us to “believe” and “seek” and “obey,” when He knows that we can’t choose to do any of that because He’s already decided and preplanned whether we will believe, seek, or obey … who loves only a few chosen people and sent Jesus to die only for those few people … who has predestined most people for hell even though He caused them to reject Him … and who expects us to still consider Him “just, righteous, and loving” in spite of all this.

        If it was unclear at all … if you were going to stand on the Word alone, without all the confusing Calvinistic reinterpretations and arguments … which is the safer, more reasonable, more Scripture-supported view?

        I think one of the best things a Calvinist can do is, first of all, pray and ask God to show you the Truth, even if it means showing you that you’ve been wrong all this time (and really mean it, because if you don’t mean it, you’ll only see what you want to see), and then read the Bible from beginning to end, with fresh eyes, with no Calvinist glasses on, and see how He acts, what He says, and how He interacts with people. And as you do this, figure out if it sounds like He micromanages everything, even sin and unbelief … or if it sounds like He has given us the right and responsibility to make choices and decisions that He holds us accountable for.

        For the record, I have been a Christian for over 30 years. I have been reading the Bible since I was a preteen. I am currently on my 6th or 7th time reading the Bible from beginning to end. And I know how to study. I have a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree. So I know how to study things deeply and carefully. I don’t want anyone to think I am some sort of newbie at reading the Bible. I have been doing it for many years. And although I leaned toward Calvinism in my late teens because I was led to believe it was truth and because I wanted to accept the “truth” like a good Christian, I have been deeply studying it for several years now, due to our pastor’s dogmatic stance on it. And the more I study, the more messed-up Calvinism gets. The more wicked it gets. And the more I have to speak out against it, to help all those who are unwittingly led into accepting it too because they’ve been told it’s “truth” and that they have to accept it to be a good, humble Christian.

        (And for the record, the only thing Calvinism and I agree on is that true Christians can’t lose their salvation. But I don’t necessarily see it the same way they do. But, in my view, if you are truly a believer, then the Holy Spirit is in you to stay, even if you go through hard times when you’re faith is shaky. Here is a post I wrote on that.)

        So let’s take a look at some of the ways God has to be considered a liar … if Calvinism is true.

        (A note for Calvinists: Take off the Calvinist glasses, toss out the complicated Calvinist explanations, and read Scripture plainly, as it was written, to see what it really says.):

        1. 2 Peter 3:9: “[The Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” If, as Calvinism says, God has already predetermined that most people will go to hell because it brings Him glory somehow, then He indeed wanted people to perish and didn’t want everyone to come to repentance. So God would be lying by saying He really does want all to come to repentance and no one to perish.

        God to the people: “Hey everybody, I want you all to come to repentance …” (tee-hee-hee) “… I don’t want anyone to perish.” (snicker, snicker)

        And He’d be lying to say He was patient with us, wanting to give everyone the chance to be saved.

        God: “Look how patient I am, waiting for all of you” (tee-hee-hee) “to find salvation in Me.” (giggle, giggle) “That’s right, I’m giving you plenty of time to come to Me.” (Ha-ha-ha, suckers! You have no choice. It’s already been decided for you!)

        There is no need to be patient with us if He Himself has already decided who will be saved and when they will be saved and if no one but the “elect” can be saved. It’s nonsense!

        [More nonsense: Calvinists explain this away by saying that God can want one thing but decree another, as in “He can want all people to be saved but decree that most people will go to hell for His glory and His reasons.” Yes, I agree that God can want something but decree another … but not as in “God wants all men to be saved but predetermines most will go to hell.” That is illogical and contradictory! I believe it’s like this: “God wants all men to be saved, but He has decided to give us a choice. Instead of ‘forcing’ us all to choose Him, as He wants us to, He allows us to reject Him and, consequently, to end up in hell.” This is how God can logically, biblically want one thing but decree another. And it fits with His character, with His desires, with Scripture, with logic, and with man’s responsibility and accountability to the Gospel.]

        2. Deuteronomy 4:29: “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” And in Amos 5:4, God says “Seek me and live …” But Calvinism says that we can’t seek Him unless He makes us seek Him. And we can’t find Him unless we were prechosen to find Him. So either Calvinism is wrong … or God is lying when He makes it sound like we are responsible to seek and find, that by seeking we find. (And why command us to seek when we can’t seek anyway? What a waste of paper the Bible is … if Calvinism is true! I mean, there’s no need for us to read the Gospel if we can’t choose to respond to the Gospel. There’s no need to tell us to obey or believe if we can’t choose to obey or believe.)

        Question: If God is the one who forces the elect to believe, why would Jesus marvel at the faith of the centurion (Matthew 8:10/Luke 7:9)?

        Jesus to the people: “Oh my goodness, look at the amazing faith this person displayed in Me! I am astonished to see such great faith!”

        God whispering to Jesus: “Uh, Jesus … remember that we gave him that great faith! Don’t act so surprised, or else people will start to think that the centurion had something to do with his faith!”

        Jesus: “Uh … April Fools! Gotchya, didn’t I? Of course I’m not surprised by this! I made him be this way!” (Phew! Thanks, Father. I almost slipped up there.)

        And wouldn’t pointing out this man’s great faith mean that Jesus was somehow “giving credit” to the man, credit that really belonged to God if God chooses who to give faith to, for His purposes and glory? Why would Jesus give God’s credit to a man?

        Additionally, why would Jesus be amazed at the lack of faith of the people in Mark 6:6, if God Himself is the one who, from the beginning of time, has chosen whom to give faith to and whom to withhold it from?

        Jesus to the people: “Wow, I’m shocked at how unbelieving you guys are!”

        God to Jesus: “Uh, that’s out fault, remember! Our decision.”

        Jesus to God: “Uh, yeah, I forgot for a second whom we gave faith to and whom we didn’t. There’s just so many people to keep track of. But I remember now. Thanks for the help.”

        Jesus to the people: “Just to clarify: I am just pretending to be shocked. It’s a dramatic show to emphasize how … um … how … wait, I know, it’s sarcasm. It’s like ‘Wow, how unbelieving you are’ when I really mean ‘Duh! Of course you’re unbelieving. I made you that way!'”

        (Now, I’m not saying that anything truly surprises God. He knows everything. But I am saying I think it brings God delight to see people who choose to be faithful. It brings Him grief to see faithlessness. He has given us a choice, and He has emotions in response to what we choose.)

        3. Romans 5:18 and 1 Timothy 2:6 say Jesus’s death was a ransom for all men. But Calvinism says Jesus’s death didn’t cover all men, that it only covered the “elect.” They say that God really meant “only the elect” or “all kinds of men” when the Bible clearly and consistently says “all men,” over and over again. So who is lying?

        Titus 2:11: “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” Not if Calvinism is true! If Calvinism is true, the grace of God for salvation appears only to the elect! And then God would be intentionally misleading people, making it sound like we all have the chance to be saved.

        2 Peter 2:1 says that Jesus’s death even bought the false teachers, those who deny Him. Yet Calvinism says Jesus didn’t die for the “unelect,” which clearly would include false teachers who deny Him and who introduce destructive heresies. But 2 Peter 2:1 says that the Lord “bought them,” those who “bring destruction on themselves.” Once again, who’s lying?

        A Calvinist’s 2 Peter 2:1: “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies that God planted in their minds and caused them to introduce, even denying the sovereign Lord who didn’t buy them with His blood – bringing swift destruction on themselves, but not really because no one can bring anything on themselves because God has to cause everything that happens.”

        (Did you know that the NIV is one of the only translations to have the word “sovereign” in 2 Peter 2:1. Almost all the other translations – older ones – just say “Lord” or “Master.”)

        And how about:

        “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life… Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son… Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:16-19)

        Big fat lie … if Calvinism is true!

        Because if Calvinism is true, God only loved the elect and only the elect will have eternal life! And so the verses should read: “For God so loved the elect that He sent Jesus so that only the elect would have eternal life. Whoever is elected is not condemned, but the unelect are condemned and can do nothing about it because God has pre-decided that they will perish. Light has come into the world for only the elect, but the unelect love the darkness because God created them to love the darkness and to never see the Light.” There! That’s better! Now it fits with Calvinism!

        4. Calvinism says that God blinds the minds of unbelievers, that it’s up to Him to open people’s minds or close people’s minds. But 2 Corinthians 4:4 says “The god of this age [Satan] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ …” If God really does the blinding, then He’s lying when He blames Satan for it. Besides that, if Calvinism is true then God controls everything for His purposes and glory. He’s the only operating force in this world, which means that He causes Satan to blind unbelievers. Once again, it comes back to God. Yet God makes it sound like Satan does it. I wonder why God would give Satan the “credit” for blinding unbelievers if God Himself is the one who blinds unbelievers for His own glory?

        Kinda shooting yourself in the foot there, God, aren’t ya!?! You did something for Your glory … but then You attribute it to Satan! You’re sharing Your glory with Satan!?!

        (FYI: God does blind people at times in the Bible, but He does it in response to their self-chosen hard-heartedness. Basically, if they don’t want to believe, He gives them what they want – unbelief.)

        5. Romans 1:20 says that since we can clearly see God through His creation, we have no excuse for not believing in Him. But Calvinism says that the unelect are predestined to not believe in God, no matter how much creation points to a Creator. The unelect have no chance to believe in Him because God blinded them. That right there would be the ultimate excuse for not believing in God. “But God, You created me to not believe in You!” Is God lying when He says that we can see Him in His creation and believe, and that we are responsible for our choice to not believe because He is so clearly seen in His creation?

        God: “Listen up, people! You can easily see that I exist when you look at My creation. And so I will hold you accountable if you don’t – for not seeing Me and not seeking Me. You have no excuse for not knowing I was real … Uh, wait, I mean the elected people can see Me when they look at My creation. Actually, they have to see Me because I am forcing them to. But the unelected people will never see Me because I created them that way. But I am still going to hold them accountable, even though I made them that way. But they can’t use that as an excuse. When they stand before Me, I’m still gonna ask them, ‘Why didn’t you believe in Me?’ And when they say, ‘But God, You made me to not …’, I’m gonna interrupt them and yell, ‘NO EXCUSES! You should have seen Me in creation!’ And then for My own glory and pleasure, I’m gonna damn them to hell for all of eternity for not seeing Me in creation. You’re welcome, people of the world! Aren’t you glad to have such a good, righteous, loving, just God controlling your every move!?! I mean, just imagine what kind of monster God you could’ve gotten! You dodged a bullet there, didn’t you? Well, I mean, at least the elected people did.”

        6. Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers chicks under her wings, but I caused you to be unwilling, so I don’t really have anyone to blame for my sadness but myself.” Umm … yeah … that’s not what it says. It says “but you were not willing.” If Calvinism is true, God made them unwilling to believe. Therefore, He’s lying by making it sound like they chose to be unwilling, that they chose to resist Him. Or He’s simply confused about who really causes people to be unwilling.

        7. Calvinists say God causes people to be unbelievers, to have hard-hearts, to sin. But … “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry. ‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 7:11-13)

        Wait a second … What’s this I read!?! They “refused” to pay attention? They turned their backs and stopped listening? They made their hearts hard? Oh boy! Did John Calvin know about this? ‘Cuz he’s be most unhappy to see God contradicting him like this?

        If Calvinism is true, God is lying when He assigns blame to the people, and He is punishing them for something He caused! Hallelujah, what a wonderful, just, righteous God we serve! That He would cause us to sin and then punish us for it! Hallelujah! Let’s sing of God’s glory forever!

        And why would God get angry for something He caused? Silly God! He could have prevented His own anger if He had just forced them to listen. He didn’t have to cause them to not listen. But, I don’t know … maybe He likes getting angry now and then, and so He creates people who won’t listen, just so He can pretend to be angry with them? And, I wonder … why would He say that because they wouldn’t listen when He called, He won’t listen when they call … when, all along, He’s the one who caused them to not listen? What a silly little charade our God likes to engage in every now and then, just for His own amusement!

        And not only does God cause Himself to get angry every now and then, but He causes Himself to grieve and be filled with pain.

        “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.” Genesis 6:5-6

        Well, this makes it sound like mankind chose to be evil, and it grieved God to see how wicked mankind had become. But, thanks to John Calvin, we all know this isn’t what God meant to say. Because God causes men to be wicked and evil. Therefore, God caused His own grief and pain. Because it pleased Him to do so. So essentially, God is a sadomasochist – causing others and Himself pain because He likes it.

        Clearly, the Holy Spirit was confused (or intentionally misleading) when He caused the authors to write this. But with John Calvin’s help, we can clearly understand what the Holy Spirit meant to say:

        “The Lord saw how great He had made men’s wickedness and how evil He had made men’s hearts to be. And He was grieved that He made men to be so evil and wicked, and His heart was filled with the pain that He caused Himself.”

        So! Much! Better!

        [None of this makes any sense! But it is the Calvinist God. And how do Calvinists respond when we question their nonsense? They say, “Well, God is sovereign and so He causes everything, even sin and unbelief, but He is still just in holding us responsible for it. We don’t have to understand it; we just have to accept it.”

        Say WHAT!?! That’s nonsense! It’s not even a real answer. It’s nonsense.

        And they get you to agree to it by, first, making it sound like “sovereignty” means “total and complete micromanaging” (when it doesn’t mean that) and then by saying, “Well, the Bible teaches God’s sovereignty, and we don’t have to like it but we have to accept it. Humble Christians don’t question God.” They speak nonsense, and follow it with shaming and manipulation and double-talk to get you to agree to the nonsense. (Hmm, I wonder … how do cults operate!?!)

        Did you know that according to the concordance, which uses the KJV, the words “sovereign” and “sovereignty” are not in the KJV Bible anywhere? From what I can tell, it’s used almost 300 times in the NIV, but never in the KJV. The KJV simply says “Lord.” Interesting! I wonder why they felt the need to add a word that is barely in the older translations.

        And while Calvinists like to define “sovereignty” as “God causing or controlling everything that happens,” the definition of “sovereign” has nothing to do with “causing or controlling everything.” It doesn’t imply any action. It’s a state of being, a description of the position God is in. He is above all, the “Master,” He possesses supreme power. BUT … this doesn’t imply the action of always using His power to control everything. Calvinists have added this idea to the definition of “sovereignty.” (And then this word has been added to many verses in the NIV.)

        Yes, God is sovereign. He has the power to control everything, but He has chosen to not always use it to control everything. Calvinists have a misunderstanding of sovereignty. And then the problem is that instead of just fixing this wrong view of “sovereignty” (and “ordains” and “predestines”) so that it agrees with Scripture, it twists Scripture to fit its wrong views. Ugh! It’s so wrong!

        Or … maybe the Bible is wrong and Calvinists are right? Maybe the Bible got it all twisted up, and Calvinists fixed it?

        (Here is what Tony Evans says about God’s sovereignty, about how God sometimes causes things or sometimes just allows things, but how He holds it all in His hands and works it all out for good. Also see “Connecting With God For A Breakthrough” – a good biblical view of mankind’s responsibility and God’s actions.)]

        8. Once again, Calvinism says that God causes and predetermines everything, even sin and unbelief (causing people to not believe in the truth). But James 1:13-15 says God does not tempt anyone to sin, and John 8:44 says that Satan is the father of lies. Clearly, if Calvinism is true – that God causes people to sin and to believe lies – then how wrong is it for God to claim that He doesn’t tempt people to sin and that Satan is the father of lies?

        So … let me get this straight … the Calvinist God commands people to do things that He created them unable to do (seek Him, obey Him, believe in Him), but He causes them to do things He commands them not to do (sin, reject Jesus, etc.).

        Yep, makes perfect sense!

        John Calvin was a theological genius!

        [Once again, Calvinists respond to this kind of conundrum with “God causes everything, even sin, but we are still accountable for our sin. We can’t understand it, but we just have to accept it.” It’s double-talk and nonsense. Because all along the way, the Bible is clear that God doesn’t cause sin, that we choose to sin, and that it’s why we can be held accountable for it.

        Question for Calvinists: Does saying something enough times make it true?

        And doesn’t saying that we are still somehow accountable and responsible for our sins imply that we did something to deserve to be punished? That we have an effect on what happens to us? I thought, according to Calvinism, that we couldn’t do anything to affect our lives or the outcome of our lives. So apparently, the elect do nothing to be saved (not even believe in Jesus on their own), but the unelect do something to deserve the punishment they get. Where is “God’s sovereign control” now, if we did something to somehow “deserve” our damnation? It isn’t all God’s doing then, is it?

        No wonder it takes a genius like John Calvin to figure this all out. I guess I’m just not smart enough to understand it all. Good thing John Calvin came along when he did, or the Gospel might always have been a confusing mess to us!

        But wait … now I’m wondering … what then is the “way out of temptation” that God provides in 1 Cor. 10:13 … if God Himself is the one who causes us to sin or not sin? Why provide a “way out” when He is the one who put us there? Why tell us that we can find a way out when He alone determines if and when we get out? What does “God is faithful and will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” mean if He Himself controls our sin and unbelief? He’s faithful to … what? … keep us from sinning if He chooses to keep us from sinning, but cause us to sin if He predetermines that we sin? And how can we “bear” anything, when God Himself decides if we bear it or not?

        I know, I know … it’s my tiny brain. My tiny, limited, human brain simply can’t understand such grand ideas, so I’ll have to wait till eternity to see clearly. Till then, I just have to trust in John Calvin … oops, I mean “God”!

        Honestly, the sermon that made me go “I am done listening to this pastor” was the one where our pastor said that God ordains everything (as in preplans/causes everything) for His glory … even childhood abuse (included in the list of “God-ordained” tragedies). He said whatever happened in your life was God’s Plan A for your life, for your good, for His glory, for His purposes, to humble you, etc., and that you just have to trust Him.

        It’s one thing to say God allowed it – that He allowed someone to make a disastrous choice and do bad things to others (that’s an unfortunate part of us having free-will, the right to do wrong), and that He can heal it and use it for good, if you let Him.

        But it’s another thing to say that God Himself causes people to commit horrible, violent sins – sins He commands them not to commit – because “it brings Him glory somehow, it’s for your own good, and because He knew you needed it to humble you”! What!?! Are you frickin’ kidding me!?! That is horrifying! (See my post “Does God Cause Childhood Abuse?”)

        God uses people’s self-chosen sin and wickedness for His purposes and glory, but He doesn’t cause them to sin and be wicked!

        What was it that Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…” How can man “intend” to do anything? According to Calvinism, there is only One who is allowed to have any intentions and whose intentions have any effect of the world: God! Maybe Joseph misunderstood how mankind and how God operates. But, that’s understandable … because John Calvin hadn’t come along yet to explain it all.

        This pastor also believes God commands spanking, and that spanking should hurt. I, however, believe the Bible commands discipline, not necessarily spanking.

        Question for the pastor: So, pastor, you spank your children and grandchildren. Why?

        I would imagine the answer is something about helping train them up in the right path, teaching them to obey.

        Oh, but wait! You believe we have no control over our lives, over the path we take and whether we obey or not. You believe God controls everything that happens. But then you spank your kids to affect their upbringing. Are you saying that you have some sort of control over their lives, how they act, who they become? When God alone, according to you, has the power and is the only operating force in this world? How can you believe you can affect your kids’ lives and behavior when you don’t even have an effect on your own beliefs about God? Hmm?

        And if God wanted your children to turn into little monsters, for His glory and purposes, why would you interfere with that? Why think you can interfere with that? Shouldn’t you let God raise your kids, especially since we have no control or influences over anything in life anyway? And why keep pretending like we do? What’s going to happen is going to happen. It’s already been predetermined since before time!

        I would imagine him saying “Well, God needs us to obey Him, to discipline our kids, because that’s how He’s going to work out His plan in their lives.”

        Oh, I see … so God needs us. He needs us to accomplish something He couldn’t do Himself. Where is the completely, in-control, “sovereign” God now? If He “needs” our obedience to accomplish His Will? And besides, if He expects us to obey His command to discipline our kids (the pastor would say “spank”) doesn’t that mean we can disobey? And if we can choose between obeying and disobeying, doesn’t that bring us right back to free-will? Oh, I know, it must be that God caused you – predestined you – to spank your kids, and you have no control over it, right? (Boy, I wish John Calvin was here to help explain this all to me!)

        I don’t think this pastor would be happy that I am speaking out against Calvinism. But let me ask this: If he truly believes that God causes everything for His purposes and glory, that nothing happens unless He causes it and ordains it, then can he really get upset with me for speaking out against Calvinism? I didn’t choose to do it. I had no choice. God made me do it!

        You know, if Calvinists tell you enough times that you can’t understand Scripture clearly and that you just have to accept what they say in faith, then you will stop looking for answers and stop thinking you should have answers. They make you feel “unhumble” for digging for reasonable, logical truth, as if you are trying to find out things mere humans are not supposed to know. If you really study them and their arguments, you’ll begin to see that they use almost cult-like techniques to ensnare you and to prevent you from questioning them. It’s actually quite scary!]

        9. Calvinism says that Jesus only died for the elect, that the elect are prechosen before they are born, and that the unelect were never offered saving grace. But … Romans 11:32: “For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” Who’s lying? Is God lying when He says that we are “all” in the same boat? Oh, I know … He must be talking about two different groups of “all men” in this verse, but He leaves it obscure enough so that only the Calvinists – the super-special chosen ones – can understand it: “For God has bound all unelected men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on all elected men.” There! Much better! See how much more clearly Calvinistic is it when we insert the words God must have meant to include but forgot to include! (Phew! Thank God for men like John Calvin, or we might never have been able to understand what God was so clumsily trying to say.)

        10. Calvinists say God wanted/planned for/caused Adam and Eve to eat the fruit. But God commanded them not to eat the fruit. Did God command them to do the opposite of what He really wanted them to do? How do you trust a God like that? So then when God says “Keep the marriage bed pure,” surely He must mean to do the opposite, right? And if I have an affair, then it was His Will that I have an affair because He causes everything that happens, right? For His purposes and glory, right? Thank You, Calvinists, for completely undermining every command God gave. Because clearly He might really mean the opposite and cause the opposite of whatever He commands us to do!

        11. The Bible teaches there’s a spiritual war going on around us. How could that be if God causes everything and if everything works out exactly the way He planned? To have a war, you need at least two sides that oppose each other, that work against each other. But if Calvinism is true, there is only one Being that operates in this world and that influences this world: God! So is God lying whenever He talks about a spiritual war? Was the angel in Daniel 10 lying when he said that he was prevented from delivering the answer to Daniel by demonic forces who opposed him? Is this “fake opposition” – God working against Himself because “God controls everything”? Is this a real spiritual war? Or is it a farce, a dramatic show orchestrated by an “all-controlling” God?

        And what about Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”? If God is the only active force in this world, if He controls and instigates evil for His purposes and glory, isn’t this Bible verse telling us to not let God (the controller of evil) overcome us but that we should overcome Him? Isn’t that a bit contradictory? And why try to overcome evil if God Himself is behind that evil and has a purpose for it and if He’s trying to bring Himself glory through it? Hmm, surely God must be confused about who’s in charge of evil if would He tell us to overcome evil when He Himself is in control of that evil! Maybe when He told us to overcome evil, He forgot that He was causing that evil for His purposes and glory! Silly God! So confused sometimes!

        Why would God say “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7), if God Himself decides who submits to God and if He decides who won’t be able to “resist” the devil? If Calvinism is true, shouldn’t it read “Submit yourselves to God … if He makes you submit yourselves to Him. Resist the devil … if He’s predetermined that you’ll resist the devil. Because you can’t do anything on your own. God has to do it all for you. And now that I think about it, I don’t even really know why I am telling you to submit and resist … because telling you to do these things can have no effect on whether or not you do them. Hmm? I’m confused.”

        Why would God warn us in 1 Peter 5:8-9 to “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. So resist him, standing firm in the faith…” if you can’t do anything about it? If you are not in control of any of this? Peter doesn’t sound like a Calvinist to me: Self-control? Control of the self? Resist the devil? Instead of “You don’t have any influence over yourself because God determines everything, even if you resist the devil”? Stand firm in the faith? Instead of “God causes you to have faith and will keep you firm in the faith”?

        But maybe I’m reading it wrong!

        Oh, and what is the fruit of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and God-control. Oops, scratch that, it actually says “self-control.” Interesting. I didn’t think self-control was possible, according to Calvinism. I guess the Bible must be mistaken.

        12. Calvinists say God shows His love to the elect by saving them and to the unelect by caring for them while they are on earth. And they say He shows His justice by damning the unelect to hell. But the Bible says God shows His love AND His justice by sending Jesus to die on the cross for us. (Romans 3:25-26, Romans 5:8) So who’s wrong? Who’s lying?

        God: I am going to show My love to all men by sending Jesus to the cross to pay for all sins!

        Calvinists: Uh, no, God! We told you: You show two different kinds of love. A saving love for the elect, and a “providing food and water” kind of love for the unelect.

        God: Oh, yeah, that’s right. But the Bible’s already been written. Oh well, I guess I’ll get John Calvin to fix it in the 1500’s. But at least I can exercise My justice by sending Jesus to the cross to pay the price required for mankind’s sin.

        Calvinists (closing their eyes, pressing their fingers to their foreheads, slowly shaking their heads back and forth in exasperation): Come on, God. We thought You’d catch on by now! You don’t show Your justice by having Jesus pay the price required for everyone’s sin. You show Your justice by not covering the sins of the unelect with Jesus’s blood, by not offering them salvation, by forcing the unelect to be unbelievers, and then by damning them to hell for it! Why is that so hard to figure out!?!? And … let’s go over this again … You show Your amazing love by …”

        God: “Oh, I know … by sending Jesus to the cross to pay for all men’s sin!”

        Calvinists: “UGH, NO!!! You show Your amazing, wonderous love by sending Jesus to die only for the elect and by giving the unelect food and clothes for 80 years or so before damning them to hell for all of eternity for what You made them do! You know what, I’m tired. I need to go lie down. This is exhausting!”

        13. In 1 Samuel 23:12-13, David asks God if the people of Keilah will hand him over to Saul if he stays there. God says they will, so David leaves. How could God have a different outcome in mind if He always preplans everything that happens? If God preplanned that David left and wasn’t handed over, there was no possible alternative ending and, therefore, He was lying by telling David there was.

        “Uh, yeah, David, sure they’ll hand you over to Saul if you stay, so you better leave” (giggle, giggle, wink, wink).

        14. In Samuel 13:13-14, Saul had disobeyed the Lord, and Samuel tells him that God would have established Saul’s kingdom if he would have obeyed. Once again, how could God have had any other plan in mind if He preplans everything? If Calvinism is true, then God would’ve been lying to imply that Saul had an effect on what happened.

        “Uh, yeah, sure I would have established Saul’s kingdom if he had obeyed. But he didn’t obey because I caused him to not obey, so there really was no chance of him obeying or of ever having his kingdom established. But if it were possible for him to obey – which it wasn’t – then I would have established his kingdom. But I really wouldn’t have. Because I predestined him to not obey and to lose his kingdom. But yeah, if he would have obeyed, I would have. But not really!”

        15. In Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus says that if His miracles had been done in Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom, they would have repented. How can that be if God predetermines everything, even people’s rejection of Him? If things are predetermined, they would not have repented because they didn’t repent. But Jesus says they would have repented, if the circumstances were different. Was He lying? Or did the people really have the choice about how they responded to Jesus? Did their choices really affect the outcome?

        Jesus to the people: “Those people in Sodom would have believed if they saw the miracles I did.”

        God whispering to Jesus: “Uh, no! Remember they didn’t believe because I predetermined they wouldn’t believe and I caused them to not believe. So, no, they wouldn’t have believed for any reason because I willed them to be unbelievers.”

        Jesus: “Uh, okay, let me clarify that … They would have believed if they saw the miracles I did … if God wanted them to believe. But He didn’t, so they really wouldn’t have believed. But if He wanted them to, then they would have. Does that make sense? No!?! Well, you don’t have to understand it; you just have to accept it! In about 1500 years, it will all be clearer because a man named John Calvin will be born. Wait for him to explain it all to you more thoroughly.”

        16. Why would God tell Nineveh that they would be overthrown in 40 days if He never intended to overthrow them anyway? Either He lied … or the people’s response really did affect the outcome?

        Jonah: “Hey, Nineveh, you will be overthrown in 40 days! But you really won’t. Because God’s already predestined that you won’t be overthrown. But even though you won’t really be overthrown, repent so that you aren’t overthrown, which is what God’s already planned anyway. Wait, God, I’m confused. What am I warning the people about?”

        God: “Jonah, you’re making a mess of this. Just tell the people to wait for John Calvin.”

        17. Calvinism says God “ordains” everything, meaning that He preplans/causes everything. But Calvinists misunderstand “ordains.” Yes, many times God does “cause” things to happen. But other times, God simply “allows” what happens, such as our sin and rebellion and unbelief. In His sovereignty and wisdom, God knows what will happen and He chooses to allow what will happen because He can work it into His plans. This is a biblical view of God “ordaining” everything that happens. But a Calvinist views “ordains” as God preplanning/causing everything that happens. But if that is true, then we need to cut out these verses because God is lying:

        Hosea 8:4: “They [Israel] set up kings without my [God’s] consent; they choose princes without my approval.” (How is that possible, God? You must be lying, because there can never be a leader You didn’t pre-choose and preplan and cause to be a leader!)

        Acts 14:16: “In the past, [God] let all nations go their own way.” (Impossible! You can never “let people go their own way” because that would imply they can make decisions. So You must mean, “I let them go the way I caused them to go, and then let them feel like they were really going their own way, like they made decisions on their own.”)

        Isaiah 30:1: “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine.” (All plans are Your plans, Lord. Everything that happens is because You made it happen. No one can carry out a plan that You didn’t make and cause. So why are You lying by saying things happened that were not Your plans? John Calvin would be so disappointed in You! You’re totally contradicting him!)

        Jeremiah 19:4-5: “They have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods … They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offering to Baal – something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.” (Come on, God, admit it … Not only did You make them forsake You, but You most definitely did plan for them to burn their sons in the fire, because everything that happens is because You made it happen. And nothing can happen without You causing it. You caused them to burn their sons in the fire. Why … Why!?! … do You keep acting like You had nothing to do with that, acting like they chose to do this despicable thing on their own? But no worries, God … John Calvin clarified everything so that we could know the real truth!)

        And we also have to get rid of (or twist) every verse that tells people to choose between obeying God or disobeying God and that calls us to seek God and that tells us Jesus died for all and loves all. Because, according to Calvinism, we can’t choose to obey or disobey; God determines that for us. And we can’t choose to seek Him, unless He makes us do it. And He doesn’t love all and He didn’t die for all, only for a few elect. So there’s no need for these irrelevant, nonsensical verses in the Bible.

        So who is lying? Who is wrong? Who misunderstands the Gospel and how God operates: God or Calvinists?

        Thank God for John Calvin! Without him, we might never have noticed all the mistakes God made in His Word! We might never have known what God really meant to say!

        Calvinism preaches half-truths, twisted Scripture, “secret meanings to words,” and illogical contradictions that they expect you to blindly accept. Do not listen to it! If you are not trying to force Scripture into a Calvinist framework, the Bible is quite clear and makes sense and has consistent teachings about God and the Gospel.

      13. Okay, this one is my fave:

        “Jonah: “Hey, Nineveh, you will be overthrown in 40 days! But you really won’t. Because God’s already predestined that you won’t be overthrown. But even though you won’t really be overthrown, repent so that you aren’t overthrown, which is what God’s already planned anyway. Wait, God, I’m confused. What am I warning the people about?”

        God: “Jonah, you’re making a mess of this. Just tell the people to wait for John Calvin.”

        The Calvinist will take umbrage at your making fun of God; but we both know that you are only making fun of how absurd God would have to be were Calvinism true. Thankfully, he is not the confused, bumbling, egotistical, crazy dude who says one thing but means another that Calvinism requires him to be.

      14. TS00 writes, “The Calvinist will take umbrage at your making fun of God; ”

        God is willing for you to make fun of Him. God first warns Nineveh and then works in the hearts of the people to obey that warning. We know this because Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” and Paul said, “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;” Without God moving in the hearts of the people of Nineveh, they would not have repented. That which Paul wrote about Israel applies to us today, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” So, the example of Nineveh is given to us that we might know our condition in the flesh and that we cannot be saved except God save us. Is it no wonder that those whom God saves worship Him.

      15. As you, me, FOH and countless others through the ages have discovered, simply reading the bible for yourself quickly reveals the enormous holes in Calvinism’s theology. It seems to me that the only reason Calvinism ever got a hold in the first place (which it quickly lost) was partly because of his manipulation and despotism, but also because people did not have a half dozen bibles in their homes which they could pick up and peruse at their pleasure.

        Calvin could make wild claims – as he did – and few would be able to prove whether they were consistent with scripture or not; because they would only know what he shared with them. This still works today with believers who do not read and study the Word for themselves. But if you start reading, and, like me, try to keep a list of verses that contradict Calvinism, you will soon find yourself writing out nearly the entire bible. It became clear that it would be much easier to write down the verses that seem to uphold Calvinism than those that negate it.

      16. TS00 writes, “But if you start reading, and, like me, try to keep a list of verses that contradict Calvinism, you will soon find yourself writing out nearly the entire bible.”

        Yet, TS00 is never able to recall those verses to support the personal opinions he offers. Such a shame. Much helpful discussion might be encourages if he could do so.

      17. Gee, I could have sworn FOH and I have detailed many of those passages time and again. Maybe rh should go back and reread what has been written over the last few years. It is not scripture that is wanting, but careful large-scale interpretation thereof. Of course I no longer rely on the prooftext game, by which Calvinism stands: pull a verse here, cull a fragment there, then make something up about what it means. Just read it . . . all. (Non-Calvi ‘all’ as in ‘all’.) The story arises repeatedly from narrative after narrative. God creates in love. Man sins. God offers forgiveness. Man accepts. God forgives. Rinse, repeat. From sin and death to eternal life.

        No secret ‘first causes’. No hidden scripts. No cruel, harsh deity. No dis-ingenuousness. Love, mercy, life – that’s good news.

      18. TS00 writes, “I could have sworn FOH and I have detailed many of those passages time and again.”

        FOH is famous for his listing of the thousands of verses that call people to repentance or salvation. He, of course, always seems to neglect to mention that faith is required to respond to those invitations. One might think that FOH believes that people can respond without faith. That seems to fit his philosophy.

        Your comments are normally devoid of Scripture and comprised mostly of your personal opinions. Perhaps from now on, we will see a different TS00.

      19. Rhutchin, When you talk about God’s plans being finalized before creation, you mean that He’s planned out everything that will ever happen and that everything happens exactly according to His plans. Honest question: Where is the Scripture to back this up? Un-twisted, in-context Scripture.

        Also, I do agree that God is in control. Absolutely. I just don’t believe He controls everything. He can be in control without controlling everything. He can allow people to make choices, and work it into His plans. And He can do this because He knows what they will choose. But He doesn’t cause them to choose what they do.

        And no, Calvinism would say that God preplanned/caused what Satan did to Job, that He controlled Satan’s moves, not just that He knew what Satan would do. (If you say God merely knew it but didn’t cause it then you couldn’t really call yourself a Calvinist.) I’m the one who says that God knew what Satan would freely choose to do, and He allowed it anyway. Even if He didn’t cause it or preplan it.

        And no, the issue between us isn’t “What does God know and when?” It’s “what does God cause?”

        And fyi, with the posts I included from my blog, I will not be replying to people’s comments on my posts. I would rather simply open them up for others to comment on. But I will stay out of it. I already said all I need to say in my posts, and I don’t need to further elaborate on them or defend them. Take them or leave them as you will. But I will not reply to comments on them. Just so you don’t think I am snubbing you or not answering you. I don’t allow comments on my blog precisely because I just want to put them out for people to read and do what they want with, but it’s not my job to get involved with what others think about them. (And as I pointed out in another comment, click on my name to find my blog. That should take you there.)

      20. heather asks, “Honest question: Where is the Scripture to back this up?’ (God’s plans being finalized before creation”

        We should agree that the prophecies reflect God’s plans regarding the first and second coming of Christ. The seventy weeks of Daniel 9 are very specific. This requires that God take into account any events that could throw off the prophecy. Your question is whether God’s plans take “everything ” into account. In Isaiah 44, we read, ““Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. And who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place.” God puts a test before so-called gods – “let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place.” The challenge is to declare anything this is to happen because a god should be able to do this. Thus, God is declaring that He is able to do this. This is in line with Ephesians 1, “God works all things after the counsel of His will” and more specifically, Romans 8, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” As people are called according to His purpose, we conclude that God has a plan to accomplish His purpose. In Ephesians 3, we read, “This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,” That God had an eterna; purpose tells us that He had planned from eternity to accomplish His purpose.

        Then, “I do agree that God is in control. Absolutely. I just don’t believe He controls everything. He can be in control without controlling everything.”

        I agree. Many people confuse God being in control with God controlling (or e.g., forcing people to do evil). However, God is necessarily controlling the extent to which people can do evil – thus people are Totally Depraved but not Utterly Depraved. Of course, God is sustaining the universe ensuring that physical laws work – gravity, thermodynamics, etc. So, it is necessary that God be controlling a lot of things but in control of everything. God can control what people do through various means – a policeman standing in front of a bank will deter a robber. Turmoil in Venezuela with lead to higher oil prices using up a greater portion of one’s income to buy gasoline. So, did God pre-plan all that happens. Certainly He could.

        Then, “the issue between us isn’t “What does God know and when?” It’s “what does God cause?”

        If God knows everything that will happen in the future and knows this before He created the world, then by creating the world, God sets in motion all that is to happen – He causes all to happen. If we agree that God knows everything that is to happen, then we must agree that God causes everything.

      21. rh:
        “If God knows everything that will happen in the future and knows this before He created the world, then by creating the world, God sets in motion all that is to happen – He causes all to happen. If we agree that God knows everything that is to happen, then we must agree that God causes everything.”

        This is the sort of misrepresentation by Calvinists that deceives so many who are unwary and unwilling to investigate for themselves the teachings of Calvinism. This is what most concerns me with the whole program.

        Here we have the misrepresentation that Calvinism simply asserts that God foreknows all things, and is the ’cause’ of all simply by nature of being the Creator. Ah, so we only believe in God’s foreknowledge after all, and can rid ourselves of the nasty little concepts of irresistible predestination, eternal decrees and God ordaining evil for his glory. This, of course, is not at all what Calvinism teaches. It is the opposite. It is what anti-Calvinism teaches, in rejection of Calvinism’s controlling, deterministic God who has not only foreseen from a distance but deliberately brought into existence every thought, plan, word and deed of every creature. Every single one.

        Were this misstatement what Calvinism actually asserts, there would be no Calvinism vs. non-Calvinism, as both would be asserting the same beliefs. It is a deliberate misrepresentation of the undeniable, well-documented assertions of Calvinism in order to not have to admit what a fool Calvi-god is for setting all things irrevocably in place, then getting mad about the results.

      22. TS00
        This is the sort of misrepresentation by Calvinists that deceives so many who are unwary and unwilling to investigate for themselves the teachings of Calvinism. This is what most concerns me with the whole program.

        br.d
        Bulls-eye again TS00!

        Yes – the level of consistent and ongoing intellectual dishonesty – serves as a RED-FLAG that Calvinism cannot possibly be anything other than man-made.

      23. TS00 writes, “there would be no Calvinism vs. non-Calvinism, as both would be asserting the same beliefs.”

        Of course, Calvinism and Armiinianism have the same beliefs about God – being omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, etc. They also agree that people are Totally Depraved and that grace is required to enable a person to be saved. There is disagreement between the Calvinists and the Open Theists on God’s omniscience.

      24. Brian can correct me if Im wrong, but I believe the difference is in how one defines and describes omniscience at work. Both assert God’s omniscience.

      25. The orthodox statement concerning divine omniscience is philosophically qualified as “Essential Omniscience”
        Which is defined as being fully cognoscente of and knowing the TRUTH-VALUE of every proposition.
        And the “essential” component of omniscience stipulates there is never any point (in time or out of time) at which this knowledge is not known.

        Calvinists punt to omniscience a large percentage of the time as a deflection strategy.

        They are not really appealing to omniscience per-say but specifically to Foreknowledge.

        And they don’t want to directly appeal to Foreknowledge because they know they have their own private interpretation of it which can be contested.

        So appealing to omniscience is a back-door strategy.
        It works to MASK the fact that they are actually appealing to Foreknowledge (i.e., their interpretation of Foreknowledge).

        Its a very old trick – but once you’re familiar with it – the trick will no longer works.

      26. br.d writes, “Calvinists punt to omniscience a large percentage of the time as a deflection strategy.”

        The omniscience of God is a basic doctrine in Calvinist theology and well known. No deflection strategy here.

        Then, “They are not really appealing to omniscience per-say but specifically to Foreknowledge.”

        Foreknowledge is a subset of omniscience and refers to knowledge of the future. God’s knowledge of the future is a much discussed subject.

        Then, “And they don’t want to directly appeal to Foreknowledge because they know they have their own private interpretation of it which can be contested.”

        To contest the Calvinist doctrine of foreknowledge is to contest its doctrine of omniscience. The doctrine is understood and not contested as much as an alternatives are offered.

        Then, “So appealing to omniscience is a back-door strategy.
        It works to MASK the fact that they are actually appealing to Foreknowledge (i.e., their interpretation of Foreknowledge).”

        Calvinist appeal to their definition of foreknowledge as others appeal to theirs. The Calvinist definition of foreknowledge is well know; thos ewho propose alternatives are not always upfront with their definitions.

        Then, “Its a very old trick”

        For what purpose?? Given that everyone knows the Calvinist position; it is not in dispute.

      27. br.d
        Calvinists punt to omniscience a large percentage of the time as a deflection strategy.”

        rhutchin
        The omniscience of God is a basic doctrine in Calvinist theology and well known. No deflection strategy here.

        br.d
        Here we have the FALLACY OF NON-SEQUITUR – something being well known misses the point altogether.

        They are not really appealing to omniscience per-say but specifically to Foreknowledge.”

        rhutchin
        Foreknowledge is a subset of omniscience and refers to knowledge of the future. God’s knowledge of the future is a much discussed subject.

        br.d
        Another irrelevant red-herring – here its apparent someone simply wants to have something to say :-]

        And they don’t want to directly appeal to Foreknowledge because they know they have their own private interpretation of it which can be contested.”

        rhutchin
        To contest the Calvinist doctrine of foreknowledge is to contest its doctrine of omniscience.

        br.d
        And you say I make unprovable claims!
        This NON-SEQUITUR is a doosy! :-]

        rhutchin
        The doctrine is understood and not contested as much as an alternatives are offered.

        br.d
        Woow! And on that logic pro-abortion vs pro-choice are not contested as much as alternatives are offered – now that’s impressive! :-]

        The Calvinist doctrine of Foreknowledge = Fore-Ordination is not only contested by the majority of Christianity – it is REJECTED.

        So appealing to omniscience is a back-door strategy.
        It works to MASK the fact that they are actually appealing to Foreknowledge (i.e., their interpretation of Foreknowledge).”

        rhutchin
        Calvinist appeal to their definition of foreknowledge as others appeal to theirs. The Calvinist definition of foreknowledge is well know; thos ewho propose alternatives are not always upfront with their definitions.

        br.d
        Too funny!
        I would love to see a *REAL* example of No-Calvinists who are -quote “not always upfront with their definitions”.

        What we have here is REVERSE ATTRIBUTION – projecting Calvinist behavior patterns onto others. :-]

        Then, “Its a very old trick”

        rhutchin
        For what purpose?? Given that everyone knows the Calvinist position; it is not in dispute.

        br.d
        That is of course what you’ve been trying to claim – but (see above) easily shown to be full of FALLACIES.
        Therefore my statements still stand – thank you.

      28. br.d writes, “The Calvinist doctrine of Foreknowledge = Fore-Ordination is not only contested by the majority of Christianity – it is REJECTED. ”

        In favor of what – Open Theism?

        Then, “on that logic pro-abortion vs pro-choice are not contested as much as alternatives are offered”

        The positions are well known and action is being taken to pursue one outcome or the other. In Calvinism vs non-Calvinism, the doctrinal positions are known – one is correct and one is not. Therefore, omniscience is not a deflection strategy – deflection from what?

      29. br.d
        The Calvinist doctrine of Foreknowledge = Fore-Ordination is not only contested by the majority of Christianity – it is REJECTED. ”

        rhutchin
        In favor of what – Open Theism?

        br.d

        The Calvinist doctrine of (Foreknowledge = Fore-Ordination) is simply a way to define Foreknowledge for the purpose of affirming Theological Determinism. Which the majority of Christianity has REJECTED throughout church history – and is classified as one of “Augustine’s Inventions”.

        Then, “on that logic pro-abortion vs pro-choice are not contested as much as alternatives are offered”

        rhutchin
        The positions are well known and action is being taken to pursue one outcome or the other. In Calvinism vs non-Calvinism, the doctrinal positions are known – one is correct and one is not. Therefore, omniscience is not a deflection strategy – deflection from what?

        br.d
        -quote “action is being taken to pursue one outcome or the other” – What a hoot! :-]
        The word games here are all too obvious.

        All that to try to evade the fact that Calvinism’s Foreknowledge = Fore-Ordination doctrine is a contested interpretation.

        The good news:
        Calvinism’s SHAPE-SHIFTING language all by itself – serves as a RED-FLAG that Calvinism is man-made.

        I think anyone with an open mind who reads my original post on the deflection strategy will recognize it.

        Bottom Line:
        To claim that anyone who contests Calvinism’s private interpretation (Foreknowledge = Fore-Ordination) is the equivalent of denying/rejecting/contesting the ORTHODOX doctrine of omniscience is a FALLACIOUS and dishonest argument strategy.

        I think you’re in your dancing boxer routine at this point – and my post must have hit a nerve! :-]

      30. br.d writes, ‘The Calvinist doctrine of (Foreknowledge = Fore-Ordination) is simply a way to define Foreknowledge for the purpose of affirming Theological Determinism. Which the majority of Christianity has REJECTED throughout church history – and is classified as one of “Augustine’s Inventions”. ”

        Again, we ask: In favor of what? The meaning here is that the person rejecting, Foreknowledge = Fore-Ordination, must believe something. What is it that thy believe? Just tell us what you believe.

      31. br.d
        The Calvinist doctrine of (Foreknowledge = Fore-Ordination) is simply a way to define Foreknowledge for the purpose of affirming Theological Determinism. Which the majority of Christianity has REJECTED throughout church history – and is classified as one of “Augustine’s Inventions”. ”

        rhutchin
        Again, we ask: In favor of what? The meaning here is that the person rejecting, Foreknowledge = Fore-Ordination, must believe something. What is it that thy believe? Just tell us what you believe.

        br.d
        William Lane Craig – details the problems with “Foreknowledge = Fore-Ordination view
        Here: youtube.com/watch?v=mXUMhSmeivE

        What Calvinism brings to Foreknowledge – is essentially the simple proposition that Calvin’s god knows what he decrees.
        Thus it LOGICALLY follows
        – Calvin’s god Foreknows [X] as TRUE simply because he FIRST-CONCEIVED and then RENDERED-CERTAIN [X] as TRUE
        – In such case [X] has its SOURCE/ORIGIN in Calvin’s god’s mind.

        One can reject that equivalence – simply favoring the NON-equivalence.
        And Christian philosophers such as William Lane Craig, Alvin Plantinga, etc (see link above) provide one example of that.

      32. br.d writes, “What Calvinism brings to Foreknowledge – is essentially the simple proposition that Calvin’s god knows what he decrees.”

        Thus, God decrees, first, and thereby knows. Craig reversed the order leading to confusion.

      33. br.d
        What Calvinism brings to Foreknowledge – is essentially the simple proposition that Calvin’s god knows what he decrees.”

        rhutchin
        Thus, God decrees, first, and thereby knows. Craig reversed the order leading to confusion.

        br.d
        I’m afraid the confusion is yours.
        The proposition [P] = [Q] does not have an order.
        No one ever said Calvinists are short on hubris! :-]

      34. Just another sideshow to distract. Most people – apart from Calvinists – understand the distinction between foreknowledge and fore-ordination. They are not synonyms, and it is pure presumption to assert the philosophical theory that foreknowledge requires fore-ordination.

        Scripture tells us otherwise, else God is simply playing games with men. When God gave Moses The Law, and commanded all of Israel to keep it, he knew full well that they would not. And yet, he offered promises and warnings in line with the real choices they had to make. When God warns Cain of the sin that seeks to master him, even knowing what Cain’s choice would be did not negate God’s genuine warning which genuinely desired that Cain would make the right choice.

        Were God controlling and manipulative, yet wanted to appear to allow freedom of choice, he could have arranged it so that man could only choose between particular choices. If we are sneaky, we can offer our children the choice between our favorite gourmet pub and a salad bar joint, knowing full well which they will choose. Had we offered them genuine freedom, we may have ended up at McDonald’s.

        An honest look around us reveals that men have an unlimited number of choices. We do not see merely saints and villains, but all manner of variations in between. That is because each individual determines how much or how little of God’s light they allow into their lives. Reality does not at all reflect a black and white determinism.

        As well as I know them, my five children continue to surprise me. As they grow in maturity, experience, knowledge of the world and themselves, the choices they make reflect those changes. What a joy to see my vegetable-hating son order a salad! What a surprise when my most gregarious child chooses to stay home on a Friday night and go to bed early, because he has a big morning ahead of him.

        The glorious truth is that we have an enormous potential to become so much more than we now are. We can counteract character failings, overcome addictions, change bad habits – because God has not limited us by setting our future in stone. He is our most ardent cheerleader, urging us to learn and grow in wisdom and maturity.

        What a hideous, depressing and hopeless worldview Calvinistic Determinism presents. There is little hope for the addictions we or our loved ones battle. Hated jobs, abusive relationships, and other unhealthy aspects of our lives appear inevitable burdens we must simply bear as ‘God’s will’.

        I cannot overstate the sense of freedom and the joy I felt when exiting the Calvinist fold once and for all. Many others have expressed the same feelings. My circumstances hadn’t immediately changed, apart from walking away from much that I loved; but I had a new hope, an assurance that I could walk toward a brighter future. I knew I had chosen a difficult, and frequently lonely path, but I no longer experienced the fear and despair that fatalism produces.

      35. TS00
        I cannot overstate the sense of freedom and the joy I felt when exiting the Calvinist fold once and for all. Many others have expressed the same feelings. My circumstances hadn’t immediately changed, apart from walking away from much that I loved; but I had a new hope, an assurance that I could walk toward a brighter future. I knew I had chosen a difficult, and frequently lonely path, but I no longer experienced the fear and despair that fatalism produces.

        br.d
        Wonderful post and wonderful testimony TS00!
        I’m so very glad you are here! :-]

      36. TS00 writes, “Most people – apart from Calvinists – understand the distinction between foreknowledge and fore-ordination. ”

        The idea that “foreknowledge = Fore-ordian” is from Craig and is a little off but you have to work with what people believe. It should actually be “Fore-ordain => Foreknowledge.” In Calvinism, God first ordains and that which He ordains becomes His knowledge, so foreknowledge does equal fore-ordains but suggests a different ordering.

        Then, ‘Were God controlling and manipulative, yet wanted to appear to allow freedom of choice, he could have arranged it so that man could only choose between particular choices.”

        Most people recognize that people are slaves to sin and can only sin. Paul wrote, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?”

        Then, “That is because each individual determines how much or how little of God’s light they allow into their lives.”

        This can happen only after they receive faith.

        Then, “As they grow in maturity, experience, knowledge of the world and themselves, the choices they make reflect those changes.”

        Introduce faith and the growth is dramatic toward God.

        Then “The glorious truth is that we have an enormous potential to become so much more than we now are. ”

        This is true only of believers.

        Then, “What a hideous, depressing and hopeless worldview Calvinistic Determinism presents. ”

        Of life without faith. Thus, Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.

      37. Yes, indeed TS00! Just like Luther promoted that the definitions of repentance and justification be returned back within biblical perimeters, the doctrine of omniscience also needs to be returned. No one who believes in inerrancy of Scripture is denying omniscience… they are just asking that it be Scripturally defined and not continue to be defined by the neo-platonic corruption of it, made popular in Christianity by Augustine.

      38. heather
        Honest question: Where is the Scripture to back this up?’ (God’s plans being finalized before creation”

        rhutchin
        Your question is whether God’s plans take “everything ” into account…..

        br.d
        Heather do you see how this Calvinist response subtly works to shift from (thus evade) the TRUTH of the question?

        rhutchin
        If we agree that God knows everything that is to happen, then we must agree that God causes everything.

        br.d
        This is another part of the Calvinist’s shifting strategy

        William Lane Craig shows how this is fallacious

        Here: youtube.com/watch?v=mXUMhSmeivE

      39. I know this is far away from the post I wrote (I couldn’t find a way to get this comment to fit right after my post), but I wanted to add one small clarification to my post “Why Is Calvinism So Dangerous?”

        In point #16, when I say “Only Calvinists can really understand the Bible …” what it should say is that “According to Calvinism, only Calvinists can really understand the Bible…” On my blog, the “What The Bible says” part would be in one color, and the “What Calvinism Says” part would be in a different color. So the differentiation would be clear on my blog. But the colors didn’t show up here.

      40. heather writes, “when I say “Only Calvinists can really understand the Bible …” what it should say is that “According to Calvinism, only Calvinists can really understand the Bible…”

        You should say, “Anyone who understands the Bible would become a Calvinist.”

  18. BR.D., It’s interesting that Rhutchin (or any Calvinist) would say that events would happen in the same way, with or without Calvi-god’s influence. Where is the sovereignty in that!?! How can their God be as sovereign as they say He is if He really has no influence over the events of the world, no ability to change it? To make Him not responsible for sin, they have to ultimately deny their view of His sovereignty. They contradict themselves too much to be taken seriously. It’s amazing. And amusing. In a sad, pathetic way.

    FOH, thanks for the encouragement and Shapiro video suggestion. I’ll have to watch it. I started it the other day, but got interrupted. Sounds like it should be interesting.

    1. On the Shapiro video – there is just a tiny segment there where she talks about being Calvinist.
      Which I found surprising – since for the most part – the demographics of Calvinism are mostly white Anglo-saxon males. :-]

      On rhutchin’s arguments – and arguments I’ve seen with other Calvinists – what they boldly assert with one hand – they eventually retract with the other. However they don’t want to get caught doing that – for the obvious reason. So the retraction part is typically done in a very subtle way – using highly inferential language.

      For example – in one statement – they will boldly reject [X] = TRUE.
      And then later make another statement that only can be logically coherent where [X] = FALSE.
      Or they will do the reverse.

      This is why observers call Calvinist thinking Double-Think – and its outward expression Double-Speak.

      John Calvin for example taught the THEOS determines all things in every part.
      But then later he instructs his disciples to -quote “go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part”.
      Which as you can see – is the total reverse.

      I call this Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking pattern – and its quite ubiquitous with them.

      If you stay on the look-out you’ll observe Calvinists frequently enunciating these three:
      1) “mere” permission does not exist.
      But then later make 100 statements *AS-IF* it does

      2) Divine Foreknowledge via observation does not exist.
      But then later make 100 statements *AS-IF* it does.

      3) Creatures make absolutely no autonomous decisions.
      But then later make 100 statements *AS-IF* they do.

      If you watch for it – you will observe this with rhutchin’s posts.
      Occasionally he will make a very bold statement – perhaps to the effect that “mere” permission does not exist because of divine sovereignty. But just wait and he’ll later make 100 statements that INFER “mere” permission.

      And he exhibits zero discernment to recognize those statements as Double-Speak.

      1. br.d,
        There is an important observation to make in light of point #3.

        3) “Creatures make absolutely no autonomous decisions.”

        RH is very clear that man IS FREE and always does what his heart desires (meaning….he is autonomously doing evil…the only thing he wants to do). As in…”he is completely free to do what he wants….and he does…. only evil.”

        But where that falls apart is with believers: we continue to sin and the silly axiom no longer applies. No one can say that “all our heart wants to do is evil” —-so God let’s us.

        That makes a mockery of the new birth and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

        Not to mention that God gives us the Holy Spirit, the Word, and commands so that we wont sin. But we do. That cannot possibly be the “will of God.” But it is to Calvinists! The “hidden, secret, sovereign will of God.”