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.

1,366 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.

    1. FOH says: “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!””

      That’s how cults get you too! “You can’t understand it, so just trust us to tell you what to think!

      I agree with you, FOH, that it only teaches Calvinism if you approach it with Calvinist glasses on, allowing your preconceived ideas of a few verses to taint the way you read the rest of the Bible and to override what you read in the rest of the Bible. I think that Christianity is a reasonable, rational faith that can be supported and validated through study. Not a contradictory, irrational “just accept what we tell you” kind of theology like Calvinism is.

      Just sharing a video that I think is excellent: “Greg Boyd – Calvinism Refuted in 10 Minutes”:

      https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=greg+boyd+refuting+calvinism&&view=detail&mid=1F8C46E081AE20C78E051F8C46E081AE20C78E05&&FORM=VRDGAR

      So clear and concise!

      1. Heather:
        Two things on your last post:

        1. In my overseas country of service as a missionary for 30+ years, I noticed the young (able to understand English) would flock to Piper’s sites and also read about “The Prince of Preachers” Spurgeon. The fact that “big names” like that can live with the very illogical dilemmas of Calvinism counts a lot to these young YRRs.

        2 “I think that Christianity is a reasonable, rational faith that can be supported and validated through study. Not a contradictory, irrational “just accept what we tell you” kind of theology like Calvinism is.” I agree and I am always humored and amazed when I see a Reformed seminary offering a class (or even a degree!) in “Apologetics”.

        Really? Defending the faith? To whom? Dead men? Debating with unbelievers? To what end? That you might “persuade” (Pauls’ words) or “convince” (Paul’s words) or “reason with” (Paul’s words) them?

        I chuckle because to me….. saying “Paul’s words” (showing that he reasoned with people to convince them) automatically shows that he was NOT a Calvinist. But to those with the glasses on…. and the crazed look… they say…… “See even ‘Calvinist Paul’ talks about convincing men—- since…” —-here it comes…..wait for it….. “Since we dont know who the elect are we try to convince them all!”

        How ridiculous “trying to persuade” a “dead man.” A “dead man” that God has purposely not chosen! That is a fool’s errand if I ever heard of one!

        Just the mere fact that Paul so often and differently describes that he is “trying to persuade” shows that he knows they are not dead in the way Calvinists say!

      2. FOH writes, “Just the mere fact that Paul so often and differently describes that he is “trying to persuade” shows that he knows they are not dead in the way Calvinists say!”

        If you had not deleted it from your Bible, you would know that Paul saw his role as that of planting and watering while it was God who gave the increase. When Paul says he persuaded, he meant that he planted and watered. It was God who saved – this through the gift of faith and His Spirit by which a person was born again..

      3. Heather,

        When a Christian athlete does some great feat she may say something like “God allowed me to do the….empowered me…gave me the strength…. I give all the glory to God,” but she is not saying she did nothing! (lots of days in the weight room and on the field!!). But it is a way of downplaying herself and giving glory to God.

        When the walls of Jericho fell it was partly because the people marched around the city as they were told.

        When the angel of death passed over during Passover, He only passed over the houses where people had applied the blood. No faith…no application of the blood…. God will not pass over.

        Did the people give Him the glory for that and for parting the Red Sea and the Jordan? Yes! Did they have to start walking into the raging waters first? Yes!

        Now, some Calvinists want to whisk away all of Paul’s teaching on “being all things to all men to win some” with a simple Calvin-lens interpretation of one verse taken out of context. Let’s see that context:

        “1 Cor 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. [dont stop there!!!] 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.[dont stop there!!] 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. ”

        Obviously Paul does not mean that he and Apollos “are not anything” since he goes on to say they will receive wages for their labor and that “THEY ARE GOD’S FELLOW WORKERS.”

        But in Paul’s effort to show that we should give the glory to God (but we still participate: see the walls, rivers, angels of death above) he downplays his part and gives glory to God.

        Now, Calvinists will systematically rip this out of context (what’s new) and then put on their Calvin-lens to say that “God gives the growth” mean precisely that God takes “dead men” and makes them “born again” so He can give them faith, so they can be “born again” again.

        Nah. That’s just coming to the Bible with answers, then looking for verses to prove it.

      4. heather writes, ‘Just sharing a video that I think is excellent: “Greg Boyd – Calvinism Refuted in 10 Minutes”: ”

        Boyd is an advocate of “free will”.. Regarding this, Calvinists make two arguments.

        1. “those who are in the flesh [the unsaved] cannot please God.” )Romans 8)
        2. “without faith it is impossible to please God,” (Hebrews 11)
        Therefore, those who are in the flesh [the unsaved] are without faith.

        1. “faith comes by hearing, ” (Romans 10)
        2. :hearing comes by the word of God.” (Romans 10)
        Therefore faith comes by the word of God.

        Calvinists conclude that no one can have faith until they hear the word of God (primarily, the gospel).

        Do you agree? If so, what is “free will” without faith? If not, can you give us your understanding of the Calvinist arguments above.

      5. FOH: “Really? Defending the faith? To whom? Dead men? Debating with unbelievers? To what end? That you might “persuade” (Pauls’ words) or “convince” (Paul’s words) or “reason with” (Paul’s words) them?”

        Heather: Isn’t that amazing! That they will think that God alone has any say in or influence over which “dead men” will come to life and in causing those chosen dead men to come to life, but then they will go out there and try to “persuade” men and reason with them to accept their theology.

        It’s like “You are all dead men! And like a dead body that just lays there – all dead – you can’t do anything to think about God or want God unless God has prechosen you and causes you to do it. But now let me try to reason with you and persuade you to believe in Him.”

        Mind-boggling! And yet they can’t see the problem with it. They’re just “Well, God said we are supposed to evangelize, even if we don’t know what effect it can have on someone since He’s already predestined who gets saved and since He alone causes it to happen. But we obey His command to evangelize simply because He told us to.”

        (Umm … if you have to “obey” God’s command to evangelize, doesn’t that mean you can disobey His command!?! And if you have to choose between obeying and disobeying, aren’t you right back to free-will!?!)

        FOH: “See even ‘Calvinist Paul’ talks about convincing men—- since…” —-here it comes…..wait for it….. “Since we dont know who the elect are we try to convince them all!”

        Heather: And so I guess that God NEEDS the help of the Calvinist to get those men saved, huh!?! So much for God being the ONLY factor involved in man’s salvation. Apparently, it’s “God’s election alone” plus “Calvinist evangelism.”

        And as far as “dead men” go, Jesus called the Prodigal Son “dead” also. And yet that dead man “came to his senses” and reasoned that it would be better to go back home to his father than stay in the hopeless condition he was in. So much for “dead” people being unable to think or reason or even want to come to the Father without God’s direct causation.

        It’s truly unbelievable sometimes, the level of delusional and denial that is necessary in Calvinism!

      6. heather writes, “I guess that God NEEDS the help of the Calvinist to get those men saved,”

        Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” Do you mind that God uses people to plant and water even when He ends up giving the increase?

        Earlier, Paul said, ‘we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” Do you agree that the spirit enables a person to know salvation – one of the things freely given by God?

      7. Heather,
        Many people know the story of the Reformed Seminary professor who takes his students on the first day of class to the local cemetery.

        He tells them…. start preaching!

        He then tells them….your audience is dead ….and it is like preaching in cemetery until God makes them alive.

        Then he takes them back to campus where most of them will have Apolgetics 501 and Evangelism 501 (or they may have Advanced Evangelistic Techniques 550).

        Yep…. stunning how they do that.

        If their Reformed Deterministic theology was correct, Paul is the most arrogant man alive to say ….

        “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. ” 1 Cor 9.

        Paul sure talks about his efforts, his winning, “as many” as possible. What Paul? The number is not set?

        Paul ….the greatest non-Calvinist of all time!

      8. What I find as a RED-FLAG – is the Calvinist when talking to people *AS-IF* they might be “elect” – seem to never tell them that Calvin’s god – (as the divine potter who makes the vast majority of his vessels – vessels of wrath) – DESIGNS the vast majority of mankind for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

        Why is it the Calvinist’s don’t tell people the WHOLE TRUTH?

        Because SECRETLY they know – that telling the WHOLE TRUTH would cause those people to reject their message.
        And every time they did that – they would have to claim there weren’t any “elect” people in each group.
        And then after being rejected 1000 times – it would eventually obvious their false-premise was an ILLUSION.

        The Calvinist knows if he tells the WHOLE TRUTH – Calvinism is sure to go the way of the dinosaur.
        And that tells us EVERYTHING we need to know. :-]

      9. Bullseye! If Calvinists are so sure of their theology, why don’t they put all of their cards on the table, rather than hemming and hawing and hiding ‘the scary stuff’ (as per R.C. Sproul)?

      10. Rhutchin: “Calvinists conclude that no one can have faith until they hear the word of God (primarily, the gospel)”

        Heather: So people hear the Gospel, understand the Gospel, respond to the Gospel, and then they have faith and are saved? So then Calvinists DON’T believe that we get faith only if we’ve been pre-chosen, and only AFTER the Holy Spirit regenerates us (the elect only!) to make us want God, seek God, and understand/respond to the Gospel!?! So we get faith by hearing the Gospel and responding to the Gospel, without being elected or regenerated first!?!

        Wow, I guess Calvinism and non-Calvinism has more in common than I thought!

      11. Heather
        Wow, I guess Calvinism and non-Calvinism has more in common than I thought!

        br.d
        WONDERFUL!
        We all recognize how Calvinism’s DOUBLE-SPEAK works!

        If the Calvinist weren’t double-minded – would he have no mind at all? :-]

      12. Calvinism – TULIPS

        Unconditional Election has it’s corollary
        Unconditional Rejection (in eternity past before either had done good or bad)

        Irresistible Grace has it’s corollary
        Irresistible Reprobation

        That is all you need to know to see what kind of a God the calvi-god is. The moral character of their deity. Nothing like the God of the Bible.

      13. Great correlations GraceAdict!
        I’ve never seen anyone connect those dots so well – but those are excellent!

        And that again reminds me – that Augustine synchronized the “Moral Dualism” of Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism into his doctrine and Calvin blindly carried it forward.

        Calvin’s god is not just “good” he is “Good-Evil”. Where Good and Evil are Co-equal, Co-Necessary, and Co-Complimentary. However it is the “good” side of the dualism the Calvinist will most always enunciate and the “Evil” side of the dualism – he will try to hide.

        But your correlations show the “good-evil” dualism excellently!

      14. heather writes, “So people hear the Gospel, understand the Gospel, respond to the Gospel, and then they have faith and are saved?”

        No. People hear the Gospel, receive faith (faith comes by hearing), and thereby understand the Gospel leading to a positive response to the Gospel whereupon the Holy Spirit enters in and they are saved (In Christ you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance).

        Then, “So we get faith by hearing the Gospel and responding to the Gospel,…’

        We get faith by hearing the Gospel and then exercise that faith to respond to the Gospel.

        Then, “without being elected or regenerated first!?!’

        Per John 3, a person must be born again (regenerated) in order to see and enter the kingdom of heaven. When a person is enabled to see and enter the kingdom of God, he then is able to hear the gospel, the good news about the kingdom.

        Not everyone who physically hears the gospel preached responds to that gospel in faith. Why not? Because faith is a gift of God and God chooses (or elects) those to whom He gives faith.

        Then, ‘I guess Calvinism and non-Calvinism has more in common than I thought!”

        Maybe, not.

      15. Rhutchin: “Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase (“God made it grow,” according to the NIV).””

        Heather: So are you saying then that God is simply the helper, that He helps grow what Paul plants? Because without the seed that Paul planted, there would be nothing to grow.

        Rhutchin: “Paul saw his role as that of planting and watering while it was God who gave the increase.”

        So I guess Calvinism would say that PAUL is the reason that any of them had faith to begin with! That MAN gives people faith, and God just helps it grow.

        So not only does God NEED Calvinist evangelist to save people, but now He NEEDS man to plant first so that He has something to help grow!

        Calvinism: A very man-centered theology!

      16. Yes Heather,
        You demonstrate the Calvinistic tendency to take any half-verse and make it say something that fits their pre-conceived notions.

        One could easy do that (like you do for this example) and make Paul the hero. He watered, he will get wages, he is a co worker of God. But that just shows the difference in how we come to Scripture. Non-Calvinists tend to look at the overall message of God…tenor of the Bible….. Calvinist focus on the 40 verses that defend their idea.

        Calvinists say, despite all of the thousands of verses to the contrary, the message of the Bible is that God —for His own good pleasure— created the VAST majority of mankind to condemn them to eternal torture….never intending to love them in the least.

        Their message is that all the evil in the world is His idea and His plan.

        Their message is that God commands us to love all even our enemy, but He does not.

      17. The distinction between Calvinists and non-Calvinists is ever evident on these threads. Whereas we nons seek to grapple with the most significant truths, like ‘What is God like?’ and ‘What is love?’ the Calvinist can only snatch prooftexts out of contest and defend his system.

        Most realize that serious questioners are looking at the same bible, reading the same words, so it is disingenuous to suggest people simply don’t know what the scriptures say.

        Rather, we are looking at those very same prooftexts and, like all of the early church fathers before Augustine, rejecting the determinist interpretations that do so much harm to the character and purposes of God.

        People who read or listen to countless explanations of Romans 9 or other prooftexts Calvies use, and seriously wrestle with all possible interpretations. I have probably read or heard at least 30 slightly different takes, and am not sure I agree 100% with any, but the more input I evaluate, the more I feel equipped to be fair and teachable.

        Most Calvinists I know just throw out ‘What about Romans 9?’, then close their ears to any alternative explanations you might offer. As if people have not been wrestling with these ideas for centuries.

        I am not ignorant of scripture or Calvinists’ take on it. I have studied it deeply over the last 20 years. That is not to say that makes me right, just basically aware of the general alternatives to Calvinism’s interpretations. I m not so sure the average Calvinist can honestly say the same.

        Even though I grew up in non-Calvinist churches, I was not really equipped to grapple with the issue if determinism. Most of us have to do our own homework. I believe this is why many are drawn to these pages.

      18. Heather writes, “So are you saying then that God is simply the helper, that He helps grow what Paul plants? Because without the seed that Paul planted, there would be nothing to grow.”

        Paul as a believer is commanded, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’ The gospel is the seed. Paul says, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” and “if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.”

        So, God saves us by the gospel, compels us to preach the gospel, and then brings the growth.

        Then, “So not only does God NEED Calvinist evangelist to save people, but now He NEEDS man to plant first so that He has something to help grow! ”

        That seems to be God’s plan – to use His elect to bring His elect to salvation.

      19. And any of the regular commenters here should be able to see that I am just messing with Rhutchin with these last couple comments. That I’m playing “Let’s pretend I’m Rhutchin for a day,” giving him a taste of his own nonsensical, twist-your-words medicine. Of course, I’m sure you all knew that, but I figured I’d say it for the sake of those who might take me seriously and think I’m off my rocker.

      20. FOH, Amen to your post starting with “When a Christian athlete …” (All your posts actually, but specifically this one right now.) Great way to understand what Paul is really saying and what his intentions are. And the best part is … it’s so logical and reasonable to understand it this way, it makes sense with the rest of the Bible, and it still keeps God’s character in tact.

      21. BR.D.: “Because SECRETLY they know – that telling the WHOLE TRUTH would cause those people to reject their message.”

        Heather: This is ironic because, in Calvinism, nothing anybody says or does should be able to cause someone to reject the truth. If someone has been predestined to be elected, then they will be saved, because of what Calvi-god does. If predestined to be a reprobate, then they will be a reprobate. Man cannot thwart what Calvi-god has fore-ordained.

        And so a Calvinist should never be afraid of pouring on the whole truth, every disgusting last morsel. Because it has no bearing on someone’s predetermined destiny anyway. Nothing does. So when a Calvinist tries to be careful or strategic about what they say then they are essentially denying their view of election, that God alone has predetermined everyone’s destiny, that it’s absolutely sure to happen because God predetermined it, that God controls the whole thing, and that nothing we do can change it or affect it.

        Calvinists say God is fully sovereign (according to Calvinism’s definition of it) on the one hand, but they live like they have some sort of influence over what happens on the other hand. They give themselves too much credit while talking like they give themselves none!

        TS00: “Rather, we are looking at those very same prooftexts and, like all of the early church fathers before Augustine, rejecting the determinist interpretations that do so much harm to the character and purposes of God.”

        Heather: What amazes me is how resistant the Calvinist is to realize what their theology does to the character of God. And how reluctant they are to reconsider their theology when others point out what it does to the character of God. Instead of seriously questioning their understanding of Scripture, they will cling with everything they’ve got to their preconceived ideas, using “mystery” and “two wills” and “two loves” etc., to gloss over all the wretched ways their view destroys God’s character and attributes. And the worst part is that they’ll think that they are doing Him a great service by doing this, by defending their view so dogmatically. They’ll think they are more humble because of it. In my mind, that can only be satanic. A brilliant satanic strategy!

    2. Calvinism can’t stand up to robust scrutiny that is why they use straw men so often or the weakest argument available for them to critique. A popular tactic of Calvinists is to use the 100 lb sledge hammer to squash real examination of the facts. This 100 lb. sledge is: “who are you oh man to question God ?” This is not meant to give an answer but instead to halt the question and squash the questioner. Now it is not God that is being questioned by the Non-Calvinist but instead THEIR false doctrine ABOUT God.

      HOWEVER, they try and make it sound like you are arrogantly questioning God, but in reality you are questioning what THEY have blasphemeously SAID ABOUT God. They try and silence the questioner who would dare to point out the ugly truth about their belief system.
      I find they desperately need to hide the ugly truth even from themselves, they dare not look deeply at the issues, so smash the objection quickly without examination. After they have used their 100 lb sledge hammer to squash any uncomfortable question and questioner they then quickly cover the remains with the “Mystery” Blanket saying; “we are too small to comprehend the infinite or if we could understand God we would BE God, we must simply accept Calvinism by blind faith and this will glorify God.” This allows them to blindly go on their merry way feeling proud about their humility in accepting contradictory ideas.

      Here is a brief look at some of the UGLY of Calvinism:
      Unconditional Election has it’s corollary
      Unconditional Rejection…. (in eternity past before either had done good or bad and even before evil existed they were Unconditionally Rejected )

      Irresistible Grace has it’s corollary
      Irresistible Reprobation….. with no hope of ever being loved at any time by their maker.

      Limited Atonement for the few or Scarce Atonement for the few… also has it’s corollary
      Limited or Scarce Love, Mercy and Grace in favor of Copious, Grandiose and Unequaled Wrath, Damnation and Destruction of those who were Irresistibly Created FOR Reprobation and Unconditionally Chosen FOR Rejection in eternity past!!!

      Rom 1:23 (They) changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man,

      “Calvinist’s behold your god”….a god made in the image of corruptible man.

      In Calvinism when one is being conformed to the image of his god what does that look like?

      “When we say God is Sovereign in the exercise of His Love, we mean that He loves who he chooses and God does NOT love everybody.” Arthur Pink Calvinist

      Who are you oh Non-Calvinist to question the image we have fashioned with our own hands and after our own likeness?

      1. Amen, Graceadict!

        I especially like “This 100 lb. sledge is: “who are you oh man to question God ?” This is not meant to give an answer but instead to halt the question and squash the questioner.” and “This allows them to blindly go on their merry way feeling proud about their humility in accepting contradictory ideas.” (so true!) and “Who are you oh Non-Calvinist to question the image we have fashioned with our own hands and after our own likeness?” (This is what they really mean!)

        And about the “Who are you to question God?” thing, some commenter here once pointed out the irony of Calvinist’s using that line. Because if Calvinism is true, then God Himself ordained that the person talks back to Him. How can one “talk back” to God when God controls every thought that person has? It’s God talking back to God through man.

        So when they challenge us about why we are talking back to God, we should say “I can’t control it. God ordained that I question Him and disagree with Calvinism!” And see what they say. That would be fun.

      2. Heather
        So when they challenge us about why we are talking back to God, we should say “I can’t control it. God ordained that I question Him and disagree with Calvinism!” And see what they say. That would be fun.

        br.d
        Yes that is fun!

        A few Calvinists coming in and out here have tried to insist that Calvin’s god never decreed I argue against Calvinism.
        They tried to attribute it to me alone *AS-IF* “Mere” permission exists within their system.

        When I brought up the fact that that for a Calvinist was DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS – they left and didn’t bother to come back.

        Others like JTL – may try to make some statement framed in such a way as to make it APPEAR as not DOUBLE-SPEAK.
        But that never works either – under scrutiny.

        I think most Calvinists use mental blocking techniques – and simply refuse to acknowledge contradictions and fallacies.
        That’s essentially what RH does.

      3. heather writes, ‘Because if Calvinism is true, then God Himself ordained that the person talks back to Him. How can one “talk back” to God when God controls every thought that person has?”

        God does not compel a person to say one thing or another (except in the case of His prophets). A person reacts to God and his external environment with the experience, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom he accumulates in his life, acting in concert with his sin nature,.

        Then, ‘So when they challenge us about why we are talking back to God, we should say “I can’t control it. God ordained that I question Him and disagree with Calvinism!””

        Just as Paul described, “You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”

      4. rhutchin
        God does not compel a person to say one thing or another (except in the case of His prophets)

        br.d
        Here the term “compel” is totally ambigous.
        Even in Theological Determinism – Calvin’s god doesn’t “compel” (if one means FORCE) prophests to do anything.

        In general the term “compel” in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) is misleading.
        Because INFERS a degree of creaturely autonomy that doesn’t exist.

        Calvin’s god does not “compel” creatures.
        He RENDERS-CERTAIN every nuerologocal impulse that will ever appear in the creature’s brain.

        Creatures simply FUNCTION robotically and have NO SAY in the determiniation of anything.

      5. br.d writes, “Here the term “compel” is totally ambigous.”

        Then use force or coerce. I don’y see a difference among the three in context.

        Then, ‘Even in Theological Determinism – Calvin’s god doesn’t “compel” (if one means FORCE) prophests to do anything.”

        Peter described it this way, “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” To be moved by the Holy Spirit is the same as being compelled, forced, or coerced. God gets His way.

        Then, “In general the term “compel” in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) is misleading. Because INFERS a degree of creaturely autonomy that doesn’t exist. ”

        LOL!!! More like creaturely subordination.

        Then, “Calvin’s god does not “compel” creatures.
        He RENDERS-CERTAIN every nuerologocal impulse that will ever appear in the creature’s brain.”

        That’s because God make the brain and understands it perfectly. God thereby knows the neurological impulses that are generated when a person puts his hand on a hot stove, has a gun pointed at his head, receives divorce papers, etc. Nothing new under the sun for God. In similar situations different people will react differently based on the unique knowledge, experience, and understanding each has.

        Then, ‘Creatures simply FUNCTION robotically and have NO SAY in the determiniation of anything.”

        Another bold claim without an argument to back it up.

      6. br.d
        Here the term “compel” is totally ambiguous.”

        rhutchin
        Then use force or coerce. I don’y see a difference among the three in context.

        br.d
        Even in Theological Determinism – Calvin’s god doesn’t “compel” (if one means FORCE) prophets to do anything.”

        In general the term “compel” in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) is misleading.
        Because it INFERS a degree of creaturely autonomy that doesn’t exist in Calvinism

        rhutchin
        LOL!!! More like creaturely subordination.

        br.d
        In the case of Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) we have TOTAL and ABSOLUTE subordination.
        Such that no degree of creaturely autonomy exists.

        Therefore Calvin’s god does not “compel” creatures.
        He RENDERS-CERTAIN every neurological impulse that will ever appear in the creature’s brain.”

        rhutchin
        That’s because God make the brain and understands it perfectly. ….etc.

        br.d
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god “merely” permits man to have any autonomous neurological impulse! :-]
        And if Calvin’s god isn’t smart enough to know the effects of the neurological impulses he CAUSES – then he ought not be CAUSING them. :-]

        In Calvinism creatures simply FUNCTION robotically and have NO SAY in the determination of anything.”

        rhutchin
        Another bold claim without an argument to back it up.

        br.d
        Excellent!
        Another example of *AS-IF* thinking!

        It came to pass you wrote “Another bold claim…”
        In that instance – as in every instance – Calvin’s god determined for you – what you would think and what you would write.

        Then Calvin’s god simply determined you not call that FUNCTIONALITY robotic.
        And that’s exactly what you did! :-]

      7. How does the Calvi-god claim to be distant from evil while still causing evil? Here is a parable that may help see how the Calvinist mind works regarding secondary causes and primary causes.

        A Drone flies high in the sky makes a direct flight to a destination and then locks onto it’s target a nursery full of Jewish children, they are simply hated because of being born Jewish, factors beyond their control. The first pass over the building the drone unleashes 2 missiles that vaporize the building with all the Jewish children and their teachers in it. A few happened to be in the playground when the missiles were fired so the drone makes a 2nd pass and this time guns down the remaining survivors.
        This is an outrage the international community quickly bands together and locates the drone. They capture the drone and bring the drone in, everyone condemns the drone for this terrible evil that was committed by the drone. A study group is set up to find out how this evil could have happened. They examine the drone and find that the computer onboard sends all the commands to the rudders and flaps to turn this way and that..they find that there is a gps system that is responsible for navigation and this too is integrated into the onboard computer.
        They also find the trigger on board that is engaged to release the missiles. This of course was also controlled by the onboard computer. With these findings the international court condemns the Drone, having examined the evidence they conclude the Drone truly is responsible for every movement that it made they can track it all back to the onboard computer. The onboard computer was in fact controlling all of the drones actions. The conclusion is the drone must be destroyed.

        Meanwhile the inventor, architect, manufacturer and the remote pilot of the drone is watching these proceedings from afar and is relieved that the court was not able to discern that yes the onboard computer was truly controlling the plane but it was he who was sending the messages into the onboard computer via radio signals.

        Even in our twisted earthly legal system here on earth we would not condemn the drone for it’s actions we would condemn the one sending those radio signals into the onboard computer via a remote device. This is a parable of how Calvinism says God uses secondary causes for evil while God still remains separate from it…this is how God can decree evil and control every synapse yet he is remote from the evil that happened.
        Isn’t the Calvi-god so holy and separate from evil…in him is no darkness at all…all evil is in the drone.

      8. Great analogy GraceAdict!

        Of course the Calvinist is going to argue that Calvin’s god does not use radio signals to control people.
        And therefore the analogy fails

        But the fact is Calvin’s god doesn’t need to use radio signals – all of the programming is built into the design at time of manufacture.
        Calvin’s god determines every microsecond of the drone’s activity from start to finish by immutable decrees.

        Then of course the Calvinist will argue that humans are not mechanical entities
        And therefore the analogy fails

        But no one is suggesting humans are robots ONTOLOGICALLY.
        Calvin’s god designs humans as biological entities yes.
        But robots FUNCTION as non-autonomous entities.
        Calvin’s god is the AUTHOR/ORIGINATOR of every neurological impulse – making humans FUNCTION robotically as non-autonomous entities.

      9. For instance, the Calvinist, to be consistent, would have to affirm that every birth defect, disease and neurological disorder arose from God’s determinative decrees. He intended them to come into being, and did whatever Calvinists want to imagine he does to make it happen.

        I, on the other hand, can allege that God does not desire birth defects, disease or neurological disorders, but we, as humans have voluntarily misused the resources provided by God for good into harmful substances. Man has concocted and/or introduced thousands upon thousands of chemicals into the air, water, food, medicine and material goods with which we come in contact daily. I would allege that it is the harmful effects of these chemicals, mostly untested, that have wreaked havoc upon our atmosphere, biosphere, etc and brought malfunction, disease, poor health and death to many.

        Most importantly, I would allege that this quite apart from, and contrary to, God’s desire and plan for the resources he provided. Many of the things God intended for our good, we have misused for our and others’ harm. We consume too much of the wrong kinds of foodlike substances (made possible by chemical companies and their ilk) and end up with obesity, diabetes and countless other disorders. We abuse alcohol and other addictive substances, and end up with more disease and destruction. We pump toxic residues from our modern ‘progress’ into the air, water and ground, and only when social reformers protest are any steps taken to protect people from their harmful effects.

        Consistent Calvinists would have to lay all of the abuse and destruction mankind has produced at the feet of God. If he ordained whatsoever comes to pass in eternity past, before any creature was made, then it is he alone who can take credit – and blame – for whatever indeed comes to pass. Most of the time, however, Calvinists weave gossamer webs of make believe, non-free freedom to choose that br.d. so often describes in order to pretend that man is to blame for doing what God decreed them to irresistibly do. Worse, they accuse God of doing the same, holding man accountable for deeds that they could not but do, and threatening to punish them for not doing what they cannot do.

        This is a heinous system, and should be carefully examined and rejected by all who love truth, goodness and all of the genuine characteristics that make up the Creator God.

      10. And since all of that in their system is based on their embrace of Theological Determinism – (along with the system’s Gnostic elements) we can see why they spend so much time trying to masquerade their system to APPEAR as IN-deterministic as possible.

      11. I would agree. I would say my greatest desire is to expose that mask for what it is, so that others will not, as I was, be seduced into a system they is not all that it seems. I beat myself up all of the time, because I had actually studied Calvinism years before, and had no excuse for not understanding it. Yet, my pastor was able to convince me that his sort of Calvinism was different; just what I had been looking for! I was persuaded that, under compatibilism, one could have their cake and eat it too – just like rhutchin.

        What I was not aware of was the deception that underlay this, the shifting of meaning and non-disclosure of redefined terms, and that while left unsaid, the truly heinous parts of the system remained underneath the surface and could not be denied. I do not want others to be deceived in this manner, only to have their world rocked when they realize what Calvinism really is, underneath all of the double-talk, hemming and hawing. By that time one has usually built a community that is difficult to leave, so they are desperate to believe, as told, that they must just not understand Calvinism properly. Of course, you’ve never heard that one before. 😉

        I appreciate all you do to tear off the mask.

      12. You have a powerful testimony TS00
        And I thank the Lord exceedingly – that we’re all working together to tear off that mask :-]

      13. TS00 writes, “I had actually studied Calvinism years before, and had no excuse for not understanding it.”

        No excuse is right.

        Then, “Yet, my pastor was able to convince me…”

        You are to be convinced by the Scriptures. Remember the Bereans, “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea… These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Knda reveals your immaturity at that time.

      14. I was no doubt less mature then than now. I am less mature today than I will be tomorrow, for I intend to never stop growing.

        But in reality, what was most in play was how a clever, sly, charismatic narcissist can manipulate and deceive people into ignoring their own doubts and trusting him implicitly, all without them even knowing what was happening. Did I think I was being a Berean? Certainly, and thanks to the handy dandy new Calvinist lenses my pastor assured me would help me see so much more clearly, I began to see things differently than I had ever seen them. And when my logic, and former understanding would urge me to question, I was able to use all of the tools my pastor provided to fend them off:

        “When I speak from the pulpit, I speak for God.”
        “Who are you to question God, O man?”
        “These are not contradictions, they only seem to be. God’s logic is far above man’s logic.”
        “God is far above man, and much which we cannot understand must be seen as part of his mystery.”
        “Compatibilism is necessary to make sense of scripture, as it both teaches God’s sovereignty over whatsoever comes to pass (Divine determinism) and man’s accountability (Free Will). We don’t have to understand it, we simply have to accept it.”
        Etc.

        There ya have it, who am I to question God? So even if a few tiny doubts remain, I can just chalk ’em up to my puny, insignificant understanding. I need only be as humble as my pastor, and acknowledge that he was always right, as he was backed by councils and creeds, and, and Spurgeon, for heaven’s sake!

      15. Only deliberate dishonesty can turn

        “God does not desire . . . but we, as humans have voluntarily [rebelled] . . .”

        “. . . quite apart from, and contrary to, God’s desire and plan . . .”

        “. . . lay all of the abuse and destruction mankind has produced at the feet of God.”
        and

        “This is a heinous system, and should be carefully examined and rejected by all who love truth,..”

        into an affirmation of Calvinism. smh

      16. TS00 writes, “For instance, the Calvinist, to be consistent, would have to affirm that every birth defect, disease and neurological disorder arose from God’s determinative decrees.”

        Yes, that decree to Adam, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Every birth defect, disease and neurological disorder arose from Adam’s sin. Had Adam not sinned, there would be no birth defect, disease and neurological disorder. Such is the effect of sin on mankind.

        Then, “I, on the other hand, can allege that God does not desire birth defects, disease or neurological disorders, but we, as humans have voluntarily misused the resources provided by God for good into harmful substances.”

        A good Calvinist conclusion. I guess you did not reject everything you learned while under Calvinist teachers.

        Then, “Most importantly, I would allege that this quite apart from, and contrary to, God’s desire and plan for the resources he provided. Many of the things God intended for our good, we have misused for our and others’ harm.”

        Another good Calvinist conclusion.

        Then, “Consistent Calvinists would have to lay all of the abuse and destruction mankind has produced at the feet of God.”

        In one sense, because God was present when all the abuse and destruction occurred and did not exercise His omnipotent power to direct a different outcome. From the Proverbs, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He ponders all his paths,” and “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps…There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’S counsel–that will stand…A man’s steps are of the LORD;”

        Then, “This is a heinous system, and should be carefully examined and rejected by all who love truth,..”

        Fine. Make that argument from the Scriptures and don;t ignore the hard Scriptures.

      17. br.d writes, “In the case of Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) we have TOTAL and ABSOLUTE subordination.
        Such that no degree of creaturely autonomy exists.”

        How could the creature be autonomous with respect to God given that God created him? As the pagan king said in Daniel, “I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?”’

        Then, “Therefore Calvin’s god does not “compel” creatures. He RENDERS-CERTAIN every neurological impulse that will ever appear in the creature’s brain.”

        The corrupted nature of man dictates neurological impulses and guarantees the certainly of those impulses that God decreed.

        Then, “And if Calvin’s god isn’t smart enough to know the effects of the neurological impulses he CAUSES – then he ought not be CAUSING them.”

        God understands perfectly the corruption of the human nature and the neurological impulses generated by that nature. God caused this when He said to Adam, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die,” and then enforced that decree when Adam ate the fruit. Form that point, a good human nature that would have generated neurological impulses for good was corrupted and could only generate neurological impulses for evil.

        Then, ‘Excellent! Another example of *AS-IF* thinking!”

        LOL!! No argument here to back up his claim that – “Creatures simply FUNCTION robotically and have NO SAY in the determiniation of anything.”

      18. br.d
        In the case of Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) we have TOTAL and ABSOLUTE subordination.
        Such that no degree of creaturely autonomy exists.”

        rhutchin
        How could the creature be autonomous with respect to God given that God created him?

        br.d
        Since you’re always crafting statements designed to INFER various degrees of creaturely autonomy – you’ve answered your own question.

        Calvin’s god does not “compel” creatures. He RENDERS-CERTAIN every neurological impulse that will ever appear in the creature’s brain.”

        rhutchin
        The corrupted nature of man dictates neurological impulses and guarantees the certainly of those impulses that God decreed.

        br.d
        I noticed here you uses the word “dictates” rather than “determines”.

        The answer which your always trying to escape is simple – and I’ve had to say it way to many times.
        Calvin’s god is the SOLE DETERMINER of *ALL* – leaving nothing left over for creatures to determine.

        You’re simply showing everyone William Lane Craig is correct – as a determinist you need *AS-IF* thinking.

        rhutchin
        God understands perfectly the corruption of the human nature and the neurological impulses generated by that nature.

        br.d
        Calvin’s god understands it because he DECREED every micro-aspect of it.
        I notice here you use the term “generated” rather than “determined”.
        Again with the escape mechanism – unable to follow Calvinism’s CAUSE-EFFECT chain of sin and evil – back to its ORIGIN.

        rhutchin
        God caused this when He said to Adam, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;…etc

        br.d
        There you go again with that *AS-IF* thinking.
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god “merely” permits Adam to be or do anything.

        rhutchin
        LOL!! No argument here to back up his claim that – “Creatures simply FUNCTION robotically and have NO SAY in the determiniation of anything.”

        br.d
        The argument was there – Calvin’s god didn’t PERMIT you to acknowledge it.

        This time you wrote “LOL!!…..etc”
        So this time Calvin’s god determined that *FOR YOU*.

        I would guess Calvin’s god is having fun determining your thoughts FOR YOU.
        I’ve played with robots myself – so I know how much fun it can be!. :-]

      19. rhutchin: “How could the creature be autonomous with respect to God given that God created him?”
        br.d: “Since you’re always crafting statements designed to INFER various degrees of creaturely autonomy – you’ve answered your own question.”

        LOL!!! It was a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious to all but br.d – The creature cannot be autonomous with respect to God.

      20. rhutchin
        How could the creature be autonomous with respect to God given that God created him?”

        br.d
        Since you’re always crafting statements designed to INFER various degrees of creaturely autonomy – you’ve answered your own question.”

        rhutchin
        LOL!!! It was a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious to all but br.d – The creature cannot be autonomous with respect to God.

        br.d
        Whether the question was rhetorical or not – and whether or not Calvinist claim to reject creaturely autonomy – doesn’t detract from what the answer exposes. They need it!

        And I thank you for consistently providing examples of that. :-]

      21. br.d writes, ‘Whether the question was rhetorical or not –”

        br.d still doesn’t want to admit that a finite man is subordinate to an infinite God and thus, cannot be autonomous with respect to God. What can we expect from someone whose Bible seems to be the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy? Poor br.d. He never accepted what Paul said, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

      22. Poor Calvinists have a love-hate relationship with their own doctrine.
        You’ve blow your own cover on this I’m afraid – with all of those statements strategically designed to INFER various degrees of creaturely autonomy. Of course we are talking about FUNCTIONAL autonomy.

      23. br.d writes, “…with all of those statements strategically designed to INFER various degrees of creaturely autonomy. Of course we are talking about FUNCTIONAL autonomy.”

        By creaturely/FUNCTIONAL autonomy, you must mean autonomous with respect to other people. Calvinist see no problem with people being autonomous with respect to other people. However, man cannot be autonomous with respect to God – this because, only God is sovereign.

      24. br.d
        With all of your statements strategically designed to INFER various degrees of creaturely autonomy. Of course we are talking about FUNCTIONAL autonomy.”

        rhutchin
        By creaturely/FUNCTIONAL autonomy, you must mean autonomous with respect to other people.

        br.d
        Nope.
        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) there is no such thing as creaturely autonomy (including FUNCTIONAL autonomy) from Calvin’s god.

        rhutchin
        Calvinist see no problem with people being autonomous with respect to other people. However, man cannot be autonomous with respect to God – this because, only God is sovereign.

        br.d
        I really couldn’t care less what Calvinists muse about autonomous with respect to other people.
        That’s nothing but a red herring

        But let the discerning observer watch – and the Calvinist is guaranteed to craft statements designed to INFER various degrees of creaturely autonomy.

        Its part of their love-hate relationship with their doctrine. They NEED some things the doctrine robs them of.
        Most consistently: Creaturely autonomy, “mere” permission, and Foreknowledge via observation. They NEED those things.

      25. br.d writes:
        “Its part of their love-hate relationship with their doctrine. They NEED some things the doctrine robs them of.
        Most consistently: Creaturely autonomy, “mere” permission, and Foreknowledge via observation. They NEED those things.”

        Of course they do – scripture is filled with them; most people would reject Calvinism outright if they saw its true colors.

      26. TS00
        Of course they do – scripture is filled with them; most people would reject Calvinism outright if they saw its true colors.

        br.d
        Its interesting TS00 – I think that Calvinists not only deceive others with the DOUBLE-SPEAK – but they themselves fully embrace it – and that’s why they can’t discern it as DOUBLE-SPEAK.

      27. I agree. Most Calvinists in the pew just don’t know any better. And most don’t appreciate anyone messing with their comfort zone or asking painful questions. They have their system, the Sunday potluck is good and they have no desire to pour over theological or historical tomes to better understand where their system came from or what it actually requires one to accept as true about God. They simply quote the prooftexts and scripts they have been given, as if sent from heaven.

      28. Agreed…TS00… most people who embrace the system only know what was advertised. They haven’t actually opened the box and looked inside to see what they actually bought…they recite the advertising jingles or tag lines which are very misleading.

        REPROBATION is another one of those things they often conflate, They conflate it with DAMNATION

        Here are some quotes from Calvinists… Notice the difference between Reprobation and Damnation…as I find many knowledgeable Calvinists try to disguise their systematic by starting off talking about Reprobation but then subtly change the subject and start talking about their doctrine of Damnation instead. They purposefully do this to blur the lines and confuse the issues and present a softer appearance.

        I think all Christians agree with “damnation” but Calvinists have also invented “ Their Unique doctrine of Reprobation” way beyond what the Bible teaches.

        First What is damnation? “Damnation is the righteous condemnation and judgment of God upon the sinner who has not placed his faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.” That would be a pretty standard understanding of damnation in Christian circles.
        Now what is “Calvinism’s Reprobation”? Notice below how in Calvinism Reprobation is way beyond Damnation and precedes it.

        Calvinist Author Matthew J. Hart
        “Let it be clear: I am not going to deal with the question of the permissibility or justice of the decrees of damnation…I am instead defending here the righteousness of God’s decree of reprobation, that is, HIS Intentionally CAUSING MANY TO MERIT a decree of damnation, which is a different affair altogether.”
        Thank-you Matthew for clarifying that in Calvinism “reprobation is a different affair altogether” from Damnation.
        M. Hart’s definition of reprobation is that God is:
        “intentionally causing many to merit a decree of damnation”, and he highlights how different that is from damnation by saying, “which is a different affair altogether.”

        Has Matthew Hart gone rogue? Maybe he is not representing Calvinism? Well let’s look at another pretty good Calvinist, John Calvin himself:
        “WE cannot assign any reason for HIS bestowing mercy on his people, but just as it so pleases him, neither can we have any reason for His reprobating others but His Will.” Bk. 3Chap 22 para 11
        Notice how reprobation is not because of Sin, it actually precedes sin, logically and chronologically.
        At the very bottom Calvin says Reprobation starts and ends with “we have NO REASON for HIS reprobating others but His will”
        Damnation has a reason, SIN… Reprobation comes before SIN and Causes the creature to ONLY embrace sin SO THAT God might “rightly damn the creature”. Take careful note of this order: Sin, Damnation and Judgement ONLY come AFTER the decree and decision of REPROBATION… “neither can we have any reason for His reprobating others but His will” This is Calvinism at is foundation.

        CALVINISTS KNOW something about God:
        “We know with absolute certainty that the God of sovereign election and reprobation does not desire and long for the salvation of all men.” Calvinist professor Hanko

        Calvinist Vincent Cheung …You are not a Christian, because you are not chosen. God has destined and created some people for salvation, and destined and created all others for damnation. This is the doctrine of predestination, or the doctrine of election and reprobation…. Just as a lump of clay does not divide itself and make itself into vessels for various purposes, no man chooses what he is to be…. A reprobate is stupid and sinful, and remains stupid and sinful, because God makes him so… no one can challenge God’s decision to make a person into a reprobate, into a vessel of dishonor and of wrath.”

        In eternity past God simply decided on His own that he wanted Most people in Hell forever so God invented Reprobation, which is: on purpose, create most humans ONLY FOR Hell…no other option will ever be given to them…never genuinely love them…never provide a way of salvation, why? Because Reprobation doesn’t WANT salvation for them, never did and never will, that is also why Limited Atonement exists Jesus did NOT die for the Reprobate. Remember: Sin, Damnation and Judgment ONLY come after the irresistible decree of REPROBATION.

        Calvinists will often try and make you think Reprobation is because people have sinned… that is NOT the case Reprobation precedes the creature sinning, it precedes damnation and it precedes the judgment. All of these flow out of REPROBATION not the cause of REPROBATION.

        Satan wants people in Hell…God wants the vast majority of people in Hell
        Satan works for the destruction of people… God irresistibly works for the destruction of the majority of people.
        Satan does not love people ….God does not love MOST people

        Calvinism’s teachings have conflated God with Satan…this dishonors and profanes the Holy name of God. It does NOT glorify God.

        John Calvin:
        “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends. We say that he has been predestinated to life or to death” “We say, then, that Scripture clearly proves this much, that God by his eternal and immutable counsel determined once for all those whom it was his pleasure one day to admit to salvation, and those whom, on the other hand, it was His pleasure to doom to destruction.” (3:21:5-6)

      29. GraceAdict writes, “Calvinists will often try and make you think Reprobation is because people have sinned… that is NOT the case Reprobation precedes the creature sinning, it precedes damnation and it precedes the judgment. All of these flow out of REPROBATION not the cause of REPROBATION.”

        Under Calvinism, reprobation describes those who have no faith – the Totally Depraved. People are born reprobate and then sin. At the judgment, the reprobate are denied entry into heaven and incur damnation.

      30. GraceAdict
        Calvinists will often try and make you think Reprobation is because people have sinned… that is NOT the case Reprobation precedes the creature sinning, it precedes damnation and it precedes the judgment. All of these flow out of REPROBATION not the cause of REPROBATION.”

        rhutchin
        Under Calvinism, reprobation describes those who have no faith – the Totally Depraved. People are born reprobate and then sin. At the judgment, the reprobate are denied entry into heaven and incur damnation.

        br.d
        Notice how this Calvinist response is really nothing more than a SEMANTIC argument – because GraceAdict’s statement is TRUE.

        Calvinists are experts at presenting HALF-TRUTH statements.

        Under Calvinism the MANY are DESIGNED for reprobation.
        John Calvin:
        -quote
        Before men are born their lot is assigned to each of them by the secret will of God (Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.203)

      31. Rhutchin did not contradict anything GA said; he just tried to make it sound justifiable – with no success.

      32. Totally agree!
        If rhutchin finds a statement that is TRUTH-TELLING about Calvinism but doesn’t present a positive SPIN – he frequently responds with a statement designed to APPEAR as a correction. But which is actually nothing more than the Calvinists way of putting a good SPIN on it.

        Calvinism’s strong suit is manipulating language.
        As an author of false advertisement material a Calvinist could make a fortune! :-]

      33. I loved this one:

        The Sunday potluck is good – and they simply quote the prooftexts and scripts they have been given, as if sent from heaven.

        Yup!
        That pretty much sums it up! :-]

      34. GraceAdict quotes Pink, ““When we say God is Sovereign in the exercise of His Love, we mean that He loves who he chooses and God does NOT love everybody.” Arthur Pink Calvinist”

        As Paul explained, “As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” In context, Jacob was a child of promise (elect), thus loved, and Esau was not a child of promise (reprobate) thus unloved.

      35. RH writes: “As Paul explained, “As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” In context, Jacob was a child of promise (elect), thus loved, and Esau was not a child of promise (reprobate) thus unloved.”

        GA: Here is what the scriptures say: Rom 9:12  she was told, “The older will SERVE the younger.” 
        Rom 9:13  As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 

        You force (reprobate) into those verses but they actually say Esau was chosen to SEVER Jacob his younger brother. (I have never seen in scripture that serving your brother is a sign of Reprobation) Nothing about reprobation are in these verse.

        You also already know how the word “hate” is used in scripture when it is used in a context of choosing one over another. It does not mean Damnation but to choose instead of the other…in the case of Jacob, to choose to be in the lineage of the Messiah instead of Esau who “should have been in line” because he was the first born male. God chose Jacob counter expectation and custom, thus the word hate is used…see below… hate does not mean damn but to choose over another.

        Luk 14:26  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 

      36. Great point GraceAdict!

        Eisegesis is the process of forcing an external concept onto a specific verse which that verse does not convey.

        As we can clearly see from Calvinist posts here – Calvinism’s primary strong suit is SHAPE-SHIFTING language.

        Every serious Calvinist makes SHAPE-SHIFTING language his primary discipline and supremely focused skill.

        And that fact serves as a RED-FLAG that something is wrong with it.

      37. GraceAdict writes, “GA: Here is what the scriptures say: Rom 9:12 she was told, “The older will SERVE the younger.”
        Rom 9:13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” ”

        Leave it to GA to ignore context. Here is the context for Romans 9.

        Paul begins, “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,…” His concern is for the salvation of the Israelites in light of God’s promises to them. He then says, “it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.”

        To explain what he means by “children of promise,” Paul uses the examples of Isaac and Jacob and contrast them with Ismael and Esau. Thus, not everyone who is an Israelite is a “child of promise.” – “those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.”

        That is the context for Paul’s statement that “The older shall serve the younger.” It is the “children of the flesh” who serve the “children of promise.” Jacob is a child of promise, thus loved, and Esau is a child of flesh,” thus hated.

        Paul explains this further in Galatians 4, “he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar– for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children– but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.”

      38. Calvinism: “And so she went on, taking first one side and then the other, and making quite a conversation of it altogether… Oh dear, what nonsense I’m talking!” (Alice in Wonderland)

      39. Rhutchin says: “TS00 writes, “I had actually studied Calvinism years before, and had no excuse for not understanding it.””

        And he responds: “No excuse is right.”

        In context, TS00 clearly meant that they had studied Calvinism before, so there was no excuse for not understanding how wrong it was, for letting oneself get sucked into it.

        So yes, rhutchin, you are right: There’s no good excuse for getting sucked into it, for failing to see how wrong it is!

        I agree with you 100%!

  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!

      1. Hi Brian, thanks for your replies. I have always linked John 6.65, with John 6.44. Is this not a fair link?. What I mean is that it seems that Jesus simply exegetes 6.44, for himself in 6.65 . If he is not exegeting 6.44, in 6,65, then what.? Why do so few go to the commentary of Jesus himself. And it seems clear that “granted unto him” in 6.65, is not a forced internal change, but the Father deciding to send the Son, and also to share the son by “means”, which must, and can be adhered to. How does the Calvinist see 6.65, and the commentary of Jesus himself. It seems clear it is the Lords decision both to send the gospel the word and Jesus, not necessarily in that order. Where here does John even hint at forced regeneration ? How do they come to the conclusion that drag means forceful conversion?

      2. Mike Winger, at Bible Thinker, touches on the problem. The Calvinist places his theoretical framework above scripture, in effect trumping anything that scripture actually says with his preconceived systematic. Any time an individual places a framework over scripture they will ignore, redefine and reinterpret its meaning in order to force it into their framework, and appear unaware they are doing so.

        It is the way our minds work, and a perversion of the healthy process of building an accurate worldview. Note that scripture implores us to set our minds on God’s Word so that our faulty thinking can be renewed. But how does our thinking become faulty in the first place?

        We believe a lie, namely that God is not truly good and trustworthy. Or that men are inherently evil, justifying abuse, oppression and even murder. If we allow the lies and doctrines of men or demons to seep into our mind, our understanding of scripture and reality will be skewed.

        Satan, and his tools in this world, make great use of this process in order to work great deception upon mankind. I would even go so far as to say our entire modern world is a false reality which has most under its spell, disabling us from seeing how unnatural and evil are many of the foundational beliefs upon which modern societies are built.

        The mind has an inherent ability to compartmentalize, thus allowing an individual to hold completely antithetical beliefs without seeing their contradiction. People are programmed to unquestioningly embrace a system, rather than think carefully through all of its ramifications. It is wide-scale mind control, and it is very effective in manipulating people to loyally defend religious, political and other programs.

      3. Wonderful post TS00 – thank you!

        Yes – I”ve read testimonies from people who got sucked into the new age teachings – by teachers who actually use the bible.
        The process is always the same
        1) Teach the human mind EXTRA BIBLICAL concepts – until that mind embraces them as truth
        2) Use the bible as a book of PROOF TEXTS to affirm those EXTRA BIBLICAL concepts

        That human mind – from that point on – is guaranteed to read those EXTRA BIBLICAL concepts into every verse

      4. Grant asks “Why do so few go to the commentary of Jesus himself. ”

        Here is Jesus’ commentary in John 6:

        1. “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing,…”
        — “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;”
        — “no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
        — “everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.”

        Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.

      5. Grant… they read “granted unto him” to mean “passively received by him”, the same as “drawn” like a physical net that has no ability to refuse to be drawn and must end up coming. But they are just reading their theology into those verses.

      6. brianwagner writes, “they read “granted unto him” to mean “passively received by him”, the same as “drawn” like a physical net that has no ability to refuse to be drawn and must end up coming.”

        The initial read is that this reinforces the previous, “No one can come to me…” This identifies the Total Depravity of man and his inability to come to salvation absent the direct intervention of God in his life. This opposes the philosophy of TS00 and FOH.

        What does Jesus mean in saying, “granted”? It certainly traces back to His earlier statement, ““No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;..” linking “grant” to “draw.” This reinforces what the Baptist had said, “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” Paul expresses this when he writes, “God who has begun a good work in you…” and “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined…Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” then, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” To say that “it is granted unto him,” speaks to the active involvement of God in bringing a person to salvation. Paul writes, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

        Then Brian writes, “they read “granted unto him” to mean “passively received by him”,,,” Brian is correct, but he should have written, “passively but joyfully received by him.” to capture the Calvinist take on this.

      7. rhutchin
        Then Brian writes, “they read “granted unto him” to mean “passively received by him”,,,” Brian is correct, but he should have written, “passively but joyfully received by him.” to capture the Calvinist take on this.

        br.d
        This reminds me of of that scene in Bruce Almighty – where he stands on the wall – stretches out his hands – and commands “LOVE ME”. :-]

      8. I find it telling that Calvinists always weaves together snippets of unrelated passages to concoct their theories. One would think it would be most relevant to view what Jesus himself said about drawing men. One would then see how Jesus compares his own need to be lifted up to the serpent being lifted up on a pole. Both offer the life-giving remedy that is so needed, and both require voluntary trust.

        “and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” Jn 12:32

        The life and death of Jesus is the compelling, in-the-flesh manifestation of God’s love and desire to save all men. There could be no greater demonstration of God’s genuine love that could draw the prodigal back to his waiting father. But if that is not what one prefers to see in scripture, one will be tempted to concoct convoluted theories of one’s own.

      9. Those are excellent points TS00!
        The narrative of the serpent in the wilderness especially!
        And yes I can see how the Calvinist will gravitate towards those few verses which can be used to INFER determinism – while avoiding the thousands of places in scripture which presuppose the opposite.

        Good point!

      10. br.d writes, “And yes I can see how the Calvinist will gravitate towards those few verses which can be used to INFER determinism – while avoiding the thousands of places in scripture which presuppose the opposite.”

        The key terms, “INFER” and “presuppose.” In the end, you say nothing of substance.

      11. br.d
        And yes I can see how the Calvinist will gravitate towards those few verses which can be used to INFER determinism – while avoiding the thousands of places in scripture which presuppose the opposite.”

        rhutchin
        The key terms, “INFER” and “presuppose.” In the end, you say nothing of substance.

        br.d
        Silly argument! “Infer” and “presuppose” are descriptive terms in linguistics.
        The one who cannot discern their substance probably didn’t do well in English. :-]

      12. TS00 writes, ““and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” Jn 12:32”

        The term, “men,” is added by presumption. Jesus said that He would draw “pantas” to Himself. Jesus could not have meant “each and every individual,” because history declares many to live and die without hearing the gospel. Thus, Jesus meant that He would draw both Jews and non-Jews to Himself. So, Paul explains, “…by revelation God made known to me the mystery…which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,…”

      13. Jesus could not have meant [all without distinction] because history declares [NOT all without distinction].

        br.d
        William Lane Craig
        -quote
        It needs to be kept in mind that universal, divine determinism is an INTERPRETATION of Scripture, an INTERPRETATION that some Reformed divines themselves regard as irreconcilable with other clear teachings of Scripture.

      14. br.d quotes William Lane Craig, “It needs to be kept in mind that universal, divine determinism…”

        I think Craig meant universal, divine theological determinism. UDD would be that which describes natural events that occur absent God. Naturally, Reformed divines would see UDD as irreconcilable with other clear teachings of Scripture as they should.

      15. William Lane Craig:
        -quote:
        Universal, divine, causal determinism cannot offer a coherent interpretation of Scripture. The classical Reformed divines recognized this. They acknowledged that the reconciliation of Scriptural texts affirming human freedom and contingency with Scriptural texts affirming divine sovereignty is inscrutable.

        rhutchin
        I think Craig meant universal, divine theological determinism. …that which describes natural events that occur absent God.

        br.d
        Yeh – right – that’s why “Classical Reformed Divines” saw it in scripture!
        Your statement here reminds me of Ravi Zacharias laments – about Christians who make statements without thinking. :-]

      16. I love it when Calvinists are at least honest with what they believe rather than hiding behind deceptive words and invented terminology that misdirects the hearer. The Dishonesty employed to make things sound MUCH MUCH nicer than what they really are should be a HUGE RED FLAG to ALL. Yes I mean ALL. Not just a select group.
        I came across a reformed website that embraces TULIP consistently and is proud of it.
        Check this out from the Author D. Engelsma the quotes below are ALL (yes ALL) from his article no comments added by me, these quotes are not taken out of context, NOTICE the Hatred towards the Biblical Truth that God Genuinely LOVES ALL, this is Calvinism in all it’s distorted glory… see what you think :

        START of QUOTE:

        The Twofold Purpose of the Gospel David J. Engelsma

        Calvin faces the question, how can election be harmonized with the call of the gospel to others besides those who are saved?…

        Calvin’s answer is…that by external preaching all are called to faith and repentance, and that yet the Spirit of faith and repentance is not given to all.”2
        Addressing himself to the assumption that the external call to everyone implies a universal grace of God to all and a universal promise to all, Calvin reminds such objectors to election that God is not “under a fixed obligation to call all equally.”

        Calvin… in chapter 24 of book 3. He begins by stating that he will now treat “both of the calling of the elect, and of the blinding and hardening of the ungodly.”4 For Calvin, “the preaching of the gospel springs from the fountain of election,”5 that is, the preaching of the gospel is due to the eternal love of God’s heart for the elect, is God’s gift to the elect, and is intended to save the elect, and the elect only. Accordingly, the call of the gospel, “which consists not merely of the preaching of the word, but also of the illumination of the Spirit,” is exclusively for the elect.6 God withholds the call from the reprobate.

        …Calvin, for there are two species of calling—there is a universal call, by which God, through the external preaching of the word, invites all men alike, even those for whom He designs the call to be a savour of death, and the ground of a severer condemnation. Besides this there is a special call which, for the most part, God bestows on believers only, when by the internal illumination of the Spirit He causes the word preached to take deep root in their hearts.7

        The “special call,” or efficacious call, which consists of both the preaching of the gospel and the “internal illumination of the Spirit,”8 is for the elect alone. The call in the preaching comes also to many reprobates, but God’s “design” with the call to them is that it be to them a savour of death and the ground of worse condemnation. Calvin does not regard the external call of the gospel as grace to all hearers or as an expression of God’s sincere desire to save all.

        Calvin comes back to the assertion that the preaching of the gospel, and particularly the call of the gospel, has a twofold effect and that this effect is determined by God’s purpose in election and reprobation.
        …Those, therefore, whom He has created for dishonour during life and destruction at death, that they may be vessels of wrath and examples of severity, in bringing to their doom, He at one time deprives of the means of hearing His word, at another by the preaching of it blinds and stupefies them the more.9

        So far from being grace to the reprobate, the preaching of the gospel is a judgment against them, for by the preaching God blinds and stupefies them. “God sends His word to many whose blindness He is pleased to aggravate.”10

        He directs His voice to them, but it is that they may turn a deafer ear; He kindles a light, but it is that they may be more stupid; He employs a remedy, but it is that they may not be cured.11

        …Calvin declares it to be “incontrovertible, that to those whom God is not pleased to illumine, He delivers His doctrine wrapt up in enigmas, so that they many not profit by it, but be given over to greater blindness.”12
        Whether one agrees with Calvin’s interpretation of these texts or not, it is clear that he does not explain them as teaching that God is gracious in the gospel to elect and reprobate alike or that God sincerely desires all men to be saved.

        The Fiction That Grace Is Offered Equally to All

        Pighius made grace common to all men in the offer of salvation…
        Calvin calls this a “fiction.”
        “The fiction of Pighius is puerile and absurd when he interprets grace to be God’s goodness in inviting all men to salvation, although all were lost in Adam. For Paul most clearly separates the foreknown from those on whom God deigned not to look in mercy … Pighius … holds fast the fiction that grace is offered equally to all, but that it is ultimately rendered effectual by the will of man, just as each one is willing to receive it.16
        Pighius, “this worthless fellow,” thought to find an argument against election in the fact that “Christ, the redeemer of the whole world, commanded the gospel to be preached to all men, promiscuously, generally, and without distinction.”17
        Calvin makes plain that he is opposed not only to Pighius’ doctrine of free will, but also to his doctrine that God wills all men to be saved,
        Calvin castigates Pighius for teaching that the mercy of God extends to others than the elect:
        After this, Pighius, like a wild beast escaped from his cage, rushes forth, bounding over all fences in his way, uttering such sentiments as these: “The mercy of God is extended to everyone, for God wishes all men to be saved; for that end He stands and knocks at the door of our heart, desiring to enter.”22

        By Calvin’s standard, an accurate one, wild beasts abound today, running loose in even nominally Reformed churches. We will do our best to cage them and to muzzle their ravings about a grace of God for all that wishes all to be saved and that stands offering and begging at the door of the sinner’s heart. With the teaching of Romans 9 and Romans 11, Calvin refutes these “puerile dreams.”23
        God’s purpose with this call is determined by and is in harmony with His eternal counsel of predestination, election, and reprobation. He wills to call to save the elect, and He wills to call to work the condemnation of the reprobate. The call of the gospel to the elect is accompanied by the internal enlightening of the Spirit, so that they are efficaciously drawn to Christ by faith and are saved. The call to the reprobate is God’s demand, made in perfect righteousness and in utmost seriousness, that they do what is their duty to do. When God gives this command, He withholds from them the Spirit who alone is able to give the repentance and faith called for, whom God is not obligated to give to anyone, and instead hardens them in their unbelief.

        END QUOTE

      17. Nice Post GraceAdict

        Notice this statement from John Calvin
        So far from being grace to the reprobate, the preaching of the gospel is a judgment against them

        Here we see the element of the “Moral Dualism” found within Gnosticism.

        The “good” side of the “good-evil” dualism:
        When Calvin’s god has decreed a person do [X]
        And he then communicates that person do [X]

        The “evil” side of the “good-evil” dualism
        When Calvin’s god has decreed a person NOT do [X]
        And he then communicates that person do [X]

        If we know what to look for – we will discover various representations of the Gnostic “Moral Dualism” embedded within Calvinist language.

      18. Grace Adict writes, “Check this out from the Author D. Engelsma the quotes below are ALL (yes ALL) from his article no comments added by me, these quotes are not taken out of context, NOTICE the Hatred towards the Biblical Truth that God Genuinely LOVES ALL, this is Calvinism in all it’s distorted glory… ”

        Calvinism seeks to answer the question, “If God so loves the world, why doesn’t God save each and every person?” This is not hatred toward Biblical truth but a searching of Biblical truth to discover the answer.

      19. rhutchin
        Calvinism seeks to answer the question, “If God so loves the world, why doesn’t God save each and every person?” This is not hatred toward Biblical truth but a searching of Biblical truth to discover the answer.

        br.d
        A more clearly Calvinistic question would be:
        “If Calvin’s god loves his creatures then why does he design the vast majority of them for eternal torment in the lake of fire”

      20. br.d
        You want to add in there that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. Some of the vessels of wrath are even “baptize into the covenant” in Reformed churches.

        So here is that version…

        A more clearly Calvinistic question would be:
        “If Calvin’s God loves His creatures, and fearfully and wonderfully makes them in His own image, then why does He design the vast majority of them for eternal torment in the lake of fire?”

        Doesn’t that sound like a bizarre way to create?

      21. FOH
        A more clearly Calvinistic question would be:
        “If Calvin’s God loves His creatures, and fearfully and wonderfully makes them in His own image, then why does He design the vast majority of them for eternal torment in the lake of fire?”

        Doesn’t that sound like a bizarre way to create?

        br.d
        Yup! Where does scripture paint a picture of a THEOS who designs his creatures as vessels of wrath and then says “It is good”.
        Pretty contorted if you ask me.

      22. br.d writes, “A more clearly Calvinistic question would be:
        “If Calvin’s god loves his creatures then why does he design the vast majority of them for eternal torment in the lake of fire”
        FOH writes, “Doesn’t that sound like a bizarre way to create?”

        Perhaps, br.d and FOH did not understand the question, so let’s ask it again.

        If, “God so loved each and every person that He gave His only begotten Son,…” why doesn’t God ensure each and every person is saved?

      23. RH If, “God so loved each and every person that He gave His only begotten Son,…” why doesn’t God ensure each and every person is saved?
        GA Like FORCE them to OBEY? Like FORCE them to Love him? The Calvinist turns his back on the clear and simple solution laid out in scripture “Free Will” which answers all of the Calvinist questions without any contradictions and without profaning the Holy name of God BUT the Calvinist refuses to see that. He instead would rather embrace a gnostic idea of God by making God the Author of Evil, making God into a hateful being, create a secret will of God that just magically agrees with his own assumptions, and then use “mystery and paradox” to cover up all of his inconsistencies and misrepresentations of God’s moral character that he has just engaged in.

      24. GraceAdict writes, “he Calvinist turns his back on the clear and simple solution laid out in scripture “Free Will” which answers all of the Calvinist questions”

        Free will does not explain anything. Both those who accept salvation and those who reject salvation do so with “free will” so free will cannot explain why some accept and some reject. There is a motive or reason why some exercise free will unto salvation and some exercise free will to reject. GA is afraid to get into those reasons and then complains about Calvinists because they search the Scriptures to discover those reasons and motives.

      25. When Consistent Calvinists talk about Free will, they really don’t mean free will do they? They redefine almost every key term so that on the surface it seems like they are saying the same thing but in the end Free will is NOT free will.
        God first forcibly changes a person against his will through regeneration (nothing in that was desired by the person- not free will) and then that new creature now has no option but to believe. (Nice try but that is not free-will) All of this is not genuine free-will is it? it is still a puppet on a string, yet let’s pretend it is not.

      26. Yup – Calvinist talk about free is all based on subtle technicalities.

        Essentially the creature is free to be/do what Calvin’s god decrees
        Nothing more – nothing less.

        Where the creature is designed/decreed to be a frog – that creature is free to be a frog.
        But not free to be a humming-bird.

        Likewise where Calvin’s god designs/decrees a person to sin – that person is free to sin.
        But NOT free (and not permitted) to refrain from sin.

      27. “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” Henry Ford, 1909.

        Free to choose any color you want!

      28. You hit the bulls-eye once again FOH!

        I call that DOUBLE-SPEAK :-]

        Dr. William Lutz – Double-speak
        -quote
        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.

      29. GraceAdict writes, “When Consistent Calvinists talk about Free will, they really don’t mean free will do they?”

        Calvinists define “free will” as actions taken, or decisions made, by people not under coercion who are prompted to act by a reason or motive and the the action is taken willingly and voluntarily.

        Then, “God first forcibly changes a person against his will through regeneration (nothing in that was desired by the person- not free will) and then that new creature now has no option but to believe.”

        One might use the analogy or a blind man gaining his sight or a deaf man gaining the ability to hear. It opens up a whole new world from which they were deprived while unregenerate, blind or deaf. Regeneration removes slavery to sin and restores free will. Even GA did not complain when God regenerated him or demand that God reverse the change He had worked in him. Correct???

      30. GA,

        I am sure you will catch this huge mistake by RH….

        “Regeneration removes slavery to sin and restores free will.”

        I think that is what Arminians teach with “prevenient grace” (i.e Everyone needs/ and gets it) . but Arminians go on to add that man can then freely choose or not choose God.

        Of course there is no such freedom in “Irresistible Grace” —- but they cannot see that.

        Basically in Calvinism you are save twice. Regeneration “removes slavery to sin” and then justification removes consequence of sin.

        All of it being irresistible of course!

      31. FOH writes, “I think that is what Arminians teach with “prevenient grace” (i.e Everyone needs/ and gets it)…Of course there is no such freedom in “Irresistible Grace” —-”

        If everyone receives prevenient grace then it is irresistible and does not convey freedom “but Arminians go on to add that man can then freely choose or not choose God.” Arminians are mixed up under your philosophy.

      32. rhutchin
        If everyone receives prevenient grace then it is irresistible and does not convey freedom “but Arminians go on to add that man can then freely choose or not choose God.” Arminians are mixed up under your philosophy.

        br.d
        You might want to examine the logic (if one would call it that) of that statement

        Firstly- the fact that everyone receives it would not dictate its attributes (resistible or not) or what it conveys.
        Secondly – since the first premise is IRRATIONAL the second one simply follows the same error.

        Someone is mixed up alright! :-]

      33. br,d writes, “Firstly- the fact that everyone receives it would not dictate its attributes (resistible or not) or what it conveys.”

        If everyone receives X, then no one could resist receiving X – the gift of X was irresistible. Who really understands what you are trying to argue.

      34. br,d
        Firstly- the fact that everyone receives it would not dictate its attributes (resistible or not) or what it conveys.”

        rhutchin
        If everyone receives X, then no one could resist receiving X – the gift of X was irresistible.

        br.d
        In Theological Determinism this statement would be true – IF and ONLY IF – the THEOS determined everyone to receive [X]
        But it does not hold true – outside of Theological Determinism.

        Therefore the statement follows the “Fallacy of Hasty Generalization”

        rhutchin
        Who really understands what you are trying to argue.

        br.d
        I understand your situation here.

      35. FOH is absolutly correct here!

        There is absolutely no difference in compatiblisitic free will pre-or-post regeneration.
        Theological Determinism is exactly the same in both cases.
        And compatiblisitic free will is exactly the same in both cases.

        In both cases the creature is ONLY free do be/do what is DECREED.
        Nothing More – Nothing Less.

        So in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) regeneration makes not difference in the state of ones liberty.

        We must always remember:
        A Calvinist is a Determinist – wearing a mask of IN-determinism – reciting double-speak talking points.

        He rejects elements of Non-Calvinist doctrine and calls them semi-heretical
        But give him five minutes and carefully watch.

        He’ll be working to SMUGGLE those very elements back into his system – in camouflaged form. :-]

      36. br.d writes, “In both cases the creature is ONLY free do be/do what is DECREED.”

        Yet, he does so willfully and voluntarily, therefore not under compulsion or coercion by God, for reasons that God perfectly understands so that God knows what the creature will do before the creature has made that decision.

      37. br.d
        In both cases the creature is ONLY free do be/do what is DECREED.”

        rhutchin
        Yet, he does so willfully and voluntarily,

        br.d
        DUH!
        NO will or volition is permitted – other than what is DECREED.
        A nice little robot world! :-]

      38. br.d writes, “NO will or volition is permitted – other than what is DECREED.”

        Actually, God works through the wills of people to bring about events He has decreed. Examples in Scripture are the brothers of Joseph selling him, David’s adultery with Bathsheba, Peter’s denial of Christ, and the Romans crucifixion of Christ, etc. God’s actions are made possible by His infinite understanding of His creation even before He created the universe.

      39. br.d
        In Theological Determinism NO will or volition is permitted – other than what is DECREED.”

        rhutchin
        Actually, God works through the wills of people to bring about events He has decreed. ….etc

        br.d
        We understand how Theological Determinism works
        Calvin’s god decrees it.
        And nothing is permitted to falsify or negate that decree.
        Therefore NO will or volition is permitted other than what is decreed.

        And also – every neurological impulse is decreed – so that pretty much controls everything
        A nice little robot world :-]

      40. br,d writes, “We understand how Theological Determinism works
        Calvin’s god decrees it.”

        We have established that your definition of Theological Determinism disagrees with Calvinism. So, no sense to link them anymore.

        Then, “And also – every neurological impulse is decreed – ”

        But not initiated by God. God decrees but does not coerce neurological impulses withing the brain of the person. Thus, Peter denies Jesus not under compulsion of God’s decree (as communicated by Jesus) but willingly and voluntarily.

      41. br,d
        We understand how Theological Determinism works – Calvin’s god decrees it.”

        rhutchin
        We have established that your definition of Theological Determinism disagrees with Calvinism. So, no sense to link them anymore.

        br.d
        Not you’re call.
        However, you are still free to link what you want to try to link (or try to un-link in this case).

        And we also know every neurological impulse is decreed – which pretty much controls every.

        rhutchin
        But not initiated by God. God decrees but does not coerce neurological impulses withing the brain of the person.

        br.d
        Everyone here already understands determinism/compatiblism’s NON-Coercion argument.
        But trying to argue that the CAUSE of the EFFECT (i.e. the decree) is not “initiated” by Calvin’s god is going take a whole lot of double-speak! :-]

      42. br.d writes, “But trying to argue that the CAUSE of the EFFECT (i.e. the decree) is not “initiated” by Calvin’s god is going take a whole lot of double-speak!”

        God’s decree is not the cause of man’s action. God decreed, as attested by Christ, that Peter deny Christ, but God did not cause Peter to deny Christ. God’s decree made Peter’s denial certain, and Peter willfully and voluntarily made it necessary

      43. br.d
        But trying to argue that the CAUSE of the EFFECT (i.e. the decree) is not “initiated” by Calvin’s god is going take a whole lot of double-speak!”

        rhutchin
        God’s decree is not the cause of man’s action.

        br.d
        Yeh right! – and that’s why Calvinism is called “Universal Divine *CAUSAL* Determinism” :-]

        Causal determinism in Christian Philosophy is, roughly speaking, the idea that every event is CAUSED by an antecedent event.
        And in this case by a THEOS.

        But we’re all familiar with the Calvinist escape mechanism:
        Some creaturely attribute causes some creaturely attribute – causes some creaturely attribute – and on into infinite regress :-]

      44. br.d writes, “Causal determinism in Christian Philosophy is, roughly speaking, the idea that every event is CAUSED by an antecedent event.
        And in this case by a THEOS.”

        That is why “Universal Divine *CAUSAL* Determinism” in introducing the term, “Divine,” and defined by the Scriptures, provides for God to use secondary means to “cause” that which God has determined to occur.

      45. br.d
        “Causal determinism in Christian Philosophy is, roughly speaking, the idea that every event is CAUSED by an antecedent event.
        And in this case by a THEOS.”

        rhutchin
        That is why “Universal Divine *CAUSAL* Determinism” in introducing the term, “Divine,” and defined by the Scriptures, provides for God to use secondary means to “cause” that which God has determined to occur.

        br.d
        That’s right – the Calvi argument is going to be:
        Some secondary means – caused some secondary means – caused some secondary means – and on in to infinite regress.

        When in LOGIC – it is impossible for a secondary means to CAUSE itself.
        But rather every secondary means constitutes an EFFECT
        Which is itself CAUSED by a *PRIMARY* means or cause.

        But that’s the difference between LOGIC and Calvinism. :-]

      46. br.d writes, “That’s right – the Calvi argument is going to be:
        Some secondary means – caused some secondary means – caused some secondary means – and on in to infinite regress.”

        The ultimate cause of all things is God by virtue of His creation of the world through which secondary causes arise. God is the cause of salvation for one and not another because we are told, “(for Jacob and Esau not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls) it was said to it was said to Rebecca, “The older shall serve the younger.” Elsewhere, we read, “The wages of sin is death,” and “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” God gives life to the sinner, but God does not coerce or compel the sinner to sin. James explians this, “each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

      47. br.d
        That’s right – the Calvi argument is going to be:
        Some secondary means – caused some secondary means – caused some secondary means – and on in to infinite regress.”

        rhutchin
        The ultimate cause of all things is God by virtue of His creation of the world through which secondary causes arise

        br.d
        By virtue of his creation – by means of immutable DECREES of course !

        Calvinists – always trying to take the DECREE out of their DECRETAL Theology. :-]

        With their attribute of a secondary means causing some attribute of a secondary causing some attribute of a secondary cause – to infinite regress.

        Don’t ever try to ask the Calvinist to follow his Theologies CAUSAL chain back to its origin! :-]

      48. My favorite ploy is when he quotes scripture to support the opposite of what Calvinism asserts. Saves us from having to respond: Scripture says ‘A’, so even though Calvinism asserts ‘non-A’, we will pretend as if quoting scripture’s ‘A’ somehow confirms Calvinism’s ‘non-A’ and all is good. I presume the assumption is that everyone will run from the room screaming at the absurdity of it all, and the last one in the room wins.

      49. I know what you mean – watching rhutchin’s posts often reminds me of watching pin-ball machine! :-]

      50. TS00 writes, “Scripture says ‘A’, so even though Calvinism asserts ‘non-A’, we will pretend as if quoting scripture’s ‘A’ somehow confirms Calvinism’s ‘non-A’ and all is good.”

        How about citing a couple examples from the Scripture to demonstrate that you know what you are talking about.

      51. Vast assumption, based on presuppositions. Scripture never states that God decreed Peter’s denial. You lnow, as it has been addressed here humdreds of times, that it is mere Calvinist presupposition that foreknowledge equates to foreordination. You can make that assumption, but it would be nice if it was acknowledged as such.

      52. TS00 writes, “Scripture never states that God decreed Peter’s denial.”

        In Matthew 26, “Jesus said to Peter, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

        If that is not a decree of God, then either Jesus is not God or Jesus did not say, “you will deny Me three times.”

        Then, “that it is mere Calvinist presupposition that foreknowledge equates to foreordination.”

        Calvinism says that God’s infinite understanding begets His ordination of all things (foreordination of future things) and this begets His foreknowledge. Calvinism does not equate foreknowledge to foreordination; it says that God knows that which He has foreordained. That is not an assumption – if God does not know that which He foreordains, then something is wrong. If God forgets that which He has foreordained, then He is not God.

      53. TS00
        Scripture never states that God decreed Peter’s denial.”

        rhutchin
        In Matthew 26, “Jesus said to Peter, “Assuredly, I say to you….etc….If that is not a decree of God, then either Jesus is not God or Jesus did not say, “you will deny Me three times.”

        br,d
        The LOGICAL fallacy here is to make knowledge CAUSAL.
        In the NON-Calvinist world – the THEOS can have complete and comprehensive knowledge of future events without determining/decreeing those events.

      54. Exactly. To assert that Jesus foreknowing what would happen equates to Jesus preordaining and causing it to happen is just silly. Foreknowledge does not equal causation. God also foreknew that Cain would slay Abel, but he warned him, urged him to resist the temptation. But I guess he was just playing games, pretending as if Cain could do something other than what had been eternally destined in the heavens by irresistible decree.

      55. TS00 writes, “To assert that Jesus foreknowing what would happen equates to Jesus preordaining and causing it to happen is just silly.”

        That Jesus foreknows the future males the future certain with that being both determined and necessary without having to account for what makes that future determined or necessary. Calvinist say that God is sovereign so God necessarily determines the future and that future is necessary through God’s direct action (e.g., the impregnation of Mary) or through secondary means (e.g., the crucifixion of Jesus). If God is not sovereign, then whoever is sovereign determines the future.

      56. rhutchin
        That Jesus foreknows the future males the future certain with that being both determined and NECESSARY

        br.d
        Dr. William Lane Craig – Necessity equates to Theological Fatalism
        -quote
        Here he [a writer asking Dr. Craig a question] is admitting that foreknowledge of what a person will freely choose does not make the action *NECESSARY*. So long as he agrees with that he has repudiated theological fatalism.

        br.d
        Additionally Jesus can have complete certainty of a future event with that event solely determined by the creature’s Libertarian Free Will.

        Dr. William Lane Craig – when challenged to prove the existence of Divine Middle Knowledge
        -quote
        [We] …have merely to provide a Biblically faithful theory or model exhibiting the compatibility of God’s providence with libertarian free will…..as a theory which is epistemically possible.

      57. br.d writes, “Jesus can have complete certainty of a future event with that event solely determined by the creature’s Libertarian Free Will. ”

        Jesus having complete knowledge of a future event makes that event certain. Jesus having a complete understanding of all the factors that are in play that make the future necessary (including LFW) makes that future necessary. Jesus, by His understanding of the future, knows a future that is both certain and necessary.

      58. br.d
        Jesus can have complete certainty of a future event with that event solely determined by the creature’s Libertarian Free Will. ”

        rhutchin
        Jesus having complete knowledge of a future event makes that event certain.

        br.d
        As I’ve already said “certainty” is an EPISTEMIC attribute – so you’re simply restating my statement.

        rhutchin
        Jesus having a complete understanding of all the factors that are in play that make the future necessary (including LFW) makes that future necessary. Jesus, by His understanding of the future, knows a future that is both certain and necessary.

        br.d
        Everyone here but you knows – when you appeal to a future event being NECESSARY you are appealing to Theological Fatalism.

        Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy- Theological Fatalism
        -quote
        Theological fatalism is the thesis that infallible foreknowledge of a human act makes the act *NECESSARY*

        No one really cares whether or not you agree – since you make so many off-the-wall statements anyway.
        But you should at least be advised that everyone here knows better.

      59. br.d writes, “Everyone here but you knows – when you appeal to a future event being NECESSARY you are appealing to Theological Fatalism.

        Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy- Theological Fatalism
        -quote
        Theological fatalism is the thesis that infallible foreknowledge of a human act makes the act *NECESSARY*”

        Theological fatalism depends on infallible foreknowledge and ignores God’s infinite understanding. Foreknowledge only makes events certain. Understanding makes them necessary. So, if one ascribes necessity to foreknowledge, he either does not understand necessity or does not understand foreknowledge. Even br.d should be able to grasp that distinction. Maybe not!

      60. As I said I’m not going to pursue this with you – since you simply see yourself as more authoritative than all academia.
        Tell yourself whatever makes you happy.

        Just be advised everyone already knows appealing to NECESSITY is Theological Fatalism

      61. br.d writes, “Just be advised everyone already knows appealing to NECESSITY is Theological Fatalism”

        Just to be clear. The appeal to necessity in Theological Fatalism is made on the basis of God’s foreknowledge and not His understanding. As William Craig argues, foreknowledge makes future events certain but not necessary.

      62. br.d
        Just be advised everyone already knows appealing to NECESSITY is Theological Fatalism”

        rhutchin
        Just to be clear. The appeal to necessity in Theological Fatalism is made on the basis of God’s foreknowledge and not His understanding. As William Craig argues, foreknowledge makes future events certain but NOT necessary.

        br.d
        Everyone already knows – the appeal to *FUTURE* events being *NECESSARY* is Theological Fatalism.
        As Dr. Craig affirms in the statement you quote – “certain but NOT necessary”

      63. br.d writes, ‘Everyone already knows – the appeal to *FUTURE* events being *NECESSARY* is Theological Fatalism.”

        Just to be clear. The appeal to necessity in Theological Fatalism is made on the basis of God’s foreknowledge and not His understanding. As William Craig argues, foreknowledge makes future events certain but not necessary.

      64. br.d
        ‘Everyone already knows – the appeal to *FUTURE* events being *NECESSARY* is Theological Fatalism.”

        rhutchin
        Just to be clear. The appeal to necessity in Theological Fatalism is made on the basis of God’s foreknowledge and not His understanding. As William Craig argues, foreknowledge makes future events certain but not necessary

        br.d
        You’ve almost got what everyone else here already knows.

        You should already know that neither foreknowledge or understanding are CAUSAL.
        So Foreknowledge in and of itself does not CAUSE events.
        Likewise understanding in and of itself does not CAUSE events.

        Therefore with both understanding and its sub-category “foreknowledge” it logically follows that events are CERTAIN but not NECESSARY.

        When one appeals to NECESSITY in either case one is appealing to Theological Fatalism

        You are of-course welcome to take whatever position makes you happy.

      65. br.d writes, “When one appeals to NECESSITY in either case one is appealing to Theological Fatalism”

        Theological Fatalism appeals to foreknowledge as the cause of the fatalism. br.d finally gets i right when he says, “So Foreknowledge in and of itself does not CAUSE events. Likewise understanding in and of itself does not CAUSE events.”

        So, what has he been trying to say up to this point??

      66. br.d
        When one appeals to NECESSITY in either case (divine understanding or divine foreknowledge which is a subset of divine understanding) one is appealing to Theological Fatalism”

        rhutchin
        Theological Fatalism appeals to foreknowledge

        br.d
        And foreknowledge is a subset of divine understanding.
        You’re welcome to take whatever position makes you happy.
        But all forms of fatalism are hinged on an appeal to NECESSITY.

      67. rhutchin: “Theological Fatalism appeals to foreknowledge”
        br.d: “And foreknowledge is a subset of divine understanding.
        You’re welcome to take whatever position makes you happy.
        But all forms of fatalism are hinged on an appeal to NECESSITY.”

        You are getting closer. Divine understanding is that which allows God to will all things – to ordain all things, so that Paul can write “God works all things according to the counsel of His will.” In ordaining all things God has foreknowledge of that which He will do and knows all that will happen in His creation even before He creates. However, as Craig has argued, foreknowledge only makes the future certain; it does not make the future necessary. Thus, fatalism makes a false appeal to foreknowledge to show necessity.

      68. rhutchin
        Thus, fatalism makes a false appeal to foreknowledge to show necessity.

        br.d
        Wooow! Talk about a fly ball to left-field! :-]

        Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
        -quote
        Theological fatalism is the thesis that infallible foreknowledge of a human act makes the act NECESSARY

      69. rhutchin: “Thus, fatalism makes a false appeal to foreknowledge to show necessity.”
        br.d
        Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
        -quote
        Theological fatalism is the thesis that infallible foreknowledge of a human act makes the act NECESSARY>

        Yep. Thanks for the citation.

      70. There is no use, br.d, when a person will continually flip-flop, ignoring the reality that one thing contradicts another, then feign surprise when anyone suggests he is being inconsistent. It is all just a game.

      71. br.d writes, “the THEOS can have complete and comprehensive knowledge of future events without determining/decreeing those events.”

        LOL!!! So, a THEOS can have complete and comprehensive knowledge of future events without that future being certain or necessary. I guess the Theos’ knowledge is neither “complete” nor “comprehensive” if the future is not determined/decreed/

      72. br.d
        In the Non-Calvinist system the THEOS can have complete and comprehensive knowledge of future events without determining/decreeing those events.”

        rhutchin
        LOL!!! So, a THEOS can have complete and comprehensive knowledge of future events without that future being certain or necessary. I guess the Theos’ knowledge is neither “complete” nor “comprehensive” if the future is not determined/decreed/

        br.d
        I guess you haven’t heard of divine Middle-Knowledge – where divine infallible certainty is an epistemic attribute. :-]

        BTW – if you’re going to appeal to the future being “necessary” – then you’re appealing to Theological Fatalism which I don’t think you really intended to do.

        Otherwise – what you have (in Calvinism) is of course Theological Determinism.
        And as we can see – Theological Determinism itself is not necessary for full and comprehensive divine omniscience.

      73. br.d writes, “I guess you haven’t heard of divine Middle-Knowledge – where divine infallible certainty is an epistemic attribute.”

        Middle knowledge deals with a possible future. When God chooses the world to create, He then has a complete and comprehensive knowledge of the actual future.

        Then, “BTW – if you’re going to appeal to the future being “necessary” – then you’re appealing to Theological Fatalism which I don’t think you really intended to do.”

        Fatalism deals with a future that has no purpose where a person cannot overcome his future. Theological fatalism does not exist since God gives the future purpose and people can overcome their future with God’s help – nothing fatalistic about that.

        Then, “and as we can see – Theological Determinism itself is not necessary for full and comprehensive divine omniscience.”

        Sure, it requires God to be sovereign. Of course, if God is not sovereign, then He is not God.

      74. br.d
        “I guess you haven’t heard of divine Middle-Knowledge – where divine infallible certainty is an epistemic attribute.”

        rhutchin
        Middle knowledge deals with a possible future. When God chooses the world to create, He then has a complete and comprehensive knowledge of the actual future.

        br.d
        And provides a way for complete comprehensive omniscience of future free creaturely events without the need for predetermining them.

        BTW – if you’re going to appeal to the future being “necessary” – then you’re appealing to Theological Fatalism which I don’t think you really intended to do.”

        quote from Dr. William Lane Craig provided.

        rhutchin
        Fatalism deals with a future that has no purpose where a person cannot overcome his future. Theological fatalism does not exist since God gives the future purpose and people can overcome their future with God’s help – nothing fatalistic about that.

        br.d
        No need for me to pursue this with you – since Theological Fatalism has been for years well defined in Christian Philosophy.
        Tell yourself whatever makes you happy.

        BTW: we can see – Theological Determinism itself is not necessary for full and comprehensive divine omniscience.”

        rhutchin
        Sure, it requires God to be sovereign. Of course, if God is not sovereign, then He is not Go

        br.d
        That is in fact the philosophy of the Theological Determinist.

      75. br.d writes, “And provides a way for complete comprehensive omniscience of future free creaturely events without the need for predetermining them.”

        Yet, in creating the world, God determined – made certain – that which He knew through His complete comprehensive omniscience of the future. The issue then is the extent to which God’s interaction with the world makes some events necessary. For example, God’s impregnation of Mary made that event necessary.

        Then, “BTW – if you’re going to appeal to the future being “necessary” – then you’re appealing to Theological Fatalism which I don’t think you really intended to do.””

        Whether the future is fatalistic depends on God’s involvement. When Romans 8 tells us, “God works all things together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose,” we would not label that fatalistic as it reveals purpose in the future. However, where Romans 8 tells us, “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God,” we could call that fatalistic as the person cannot change his situation and does not want to change his situation. Theological Fatalism suggests involvement of a Theos, but it really refers to the lack of involvement of a Theos reducing it to simple Fatalism. What does “theological” impart to fatalism that is not already there?

        Then, “Theological Fatalism has been for years well defined in Christian Philosophy.”

        Theological Fatalism is generally premised on knowledge of the future as the vehicle to remove freedom of choice. It completely ignores infinite understanding of future free choices as the vehicle for ensuring free choice. I think Theological Fatalism is a confused term.

        Then, ‘BTW: we can see – Theological Determinism itself is not necessary for full and comprehensive divine omniscience.”

        Agreed. But full and comprehensive divine omniscience.begets Theological Determinism. When God created a world for which he had full and comprehensive divine omniscience, He created a fully determined – or certain – world. Then, by His infinite understanding of that world, He ensured the necessity of of those events that were determined/certain.

      76. In other words, rh embraces fatalism, but asserts, falsely, that if there is a ‘purpose’ behind the lack of genuine freedom given to creatures to control their fate then it can be declared not fatalism.

        In reality, fatalism simply requires that all things be preordained, and men have no genuine alternative to the predetermined events that will irresistibly come to pass. This is, indeed, what Calvinism asserts, while trying to mask it under terms such as compatibilism, or pretending that men ‘choose’ that which has been unavoidably decreed for them. All that lipstick does not disguise their pig.

      77. TS00 writes, “fatalism simply requires that all things be preordained, and men have no genuine alternative to the predetermined events that will irresistibly come to pass.”

        No. Fatalism says that a person’s destiny is controlled by an impersonal environment and nothing a person can do can overcome his destiny – life becomes meaningless. By giving life meaning, fatalism disappears. Somehow, allowing God to know the future before it happens makes life meaningless to some people.

      78. RH: Writes “Somehow, allowing God to know the future before it happens makes life meaningless to some people.”

        GA: Once again RH uses the term “know the future” but what he means is irresistibly determines the future so that there is no real choice…That is Calvinism’s understanding of Sovereign.
        If you really meant “know the future” there would be NO Argument…but we know that you don’t mean that. It is a word game that you play.

      79. Good point!
        Calvinists often use the strategy of deflecting to divine knowledge as a way of HIDING the divine decree.
        Generations ago – Calvinists were bold in their presentation of the HORRIBLE DECREE.
        If the mainline Christians didn’t like it – the Calvinist simply didn’t care.

        But today’s Calvinist looks for any mask he can find to hide the DECREE behind.

      80. GraceAdict writes, “Once again RH uses the term “know the future” but what he means is irresistibly determines the future so that there is no real choice…”

        God can determine the future by doing nothing as when God did nothing to keep Eve and then Adam eating the fruit. God determined that they would eat the fruit by opening the garden for Satan to enter and tempt Eve. God certainly did not misunderstand the consequences of giving Satan access to the garden.

      81. rhutchin
        God can determine the future by doing nothing

        br.d
        If you were in Geneva and John Calvin heard you say that – he would have your tongue run through with a hot iron :-]

        John Calvin
        It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the ***AUTHOR*** of them. Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God (pg 176)

        Author in the Old French of Calvin’s day is the word: “Auctor” – which means Originator, Creator, Instigator

      82. br.d writes, “If you were in Geneva and John Calvin heard you say that – he would have your tongue run through with a hot iron :-]”

        Not really. Calvin recognized that authors future events through secondary causes taking advantage of His understanding of those causes and the impacts they will have.

      83. br.d
        f you were in Geneva and John Calvin heard you say that – he would have your tongue run through with a hot iron :-]”

        rhutchin
        Not really. Calvin

        br.d
        What a hoot! rhutchin remakes both Calvinism and Calvin’s god in his own image! :-]

      84. rhutchin
        Fatalism says that a person’s destiny is controlled by an impersonal environment…etc

        br.d
        Only where Fatalism is NON-Theistic.
        Additionally – there is a difference in general meaning between the terms Fatalism and Fate.
        Fatalism is often defined as a psychological disposition of hopelessness.

        Theological Fatalism however does not LOGICALLY entail a disposition to hopelessness.
        On the contrary there are Theological Fatalists who insist it gives them a great sense of relief and confidence to believe a THEOS is in control of all things in the universe.

        The term FATE in its usage however is frequently synonymous with PREDESTINE.
        John Calvin uses it this way in the Institutes.
        -quote
        But how oft was it the FATE of the Church among the Jews to be so defaced that no comeliness appeared?

      85. br.d writes, “On the contrary there are Theological Fatalists who insist it gives them a great sense of relief and confidence to believe a THEOS is in control of all things in the universe.”

        Where the THEOS is the God of the Scriptures, no one would call it fatalistic.

      86. br.d
        On the contrary there are Theological Fatalists who insist it gives them a great sense of relief and confidence to believe a THEOS is in control of all things in the universe.”

        rhutchin
        Where the THEOS is the God of the Scriptures, no one would call it fatalistic.

        br.d
        You’ll have to take that up with them.
        But I suspect their sense of relief and confidence probably is based on their belief that their THEOS is the god of scripture.

      87. As I said – I’m not going to bother to pursue this with you since Theological Fatalism has been well defined for years in Christian Philosophy. And you obviously see yourself as more omniscient than all academia.

      88. If I am not mistaken…RH used to clearly argue against simple Foreknowledge and argue for Foreordination/Causation now it seems like he is trying to cover his tracks by trying to make it sound more vague but in the end he is saying the same thing.

      89. For a very long time – judging from his posts – I thought rhutchin was a teenager.

        He certainly is highly imaginative – and extremely tenacious.
        Even when he’s simply just making stuff up out of thin air – he’ll double-down on it.
        when gets that way – he’s just chasing is own tail – and its a waste of time to get sucked into that game.

        A few of his claims over time have been so antithetical to Calvin – I’m certain if he had made them in Calvin’s day in Geneva – Calvin’s magistrates would have had him publicly flogged.

        I’m not sure about how stable what he says today is – cuz it will may very well change tomorrow.

      90. GraceAdict writes, “RH used to clearly argue against simple Foreknowledge and argue for Foreordination/Causation now it seems like…”

        In the absence of an argument, GA gets it wrong again.

      91. rhutchin
        One might use the analogy or a blind man gaining his sight or a deaf man gaining the ability to hear.

        br.d
        Except that in the gospel narratives blind people know they are blind and they WANT to see.
        In the Calvinist narrative – blind people don’t know they are blind and the don’t WANT to see.
        The regeneration process occurs WITHOUT their prior consent.
        Simply because a DEAD person cannot KNOW, WANT, or CONSENT.

        The regeneration process involves Calvin’s god ZAPPING the DEAD person with a DIVINE SPARK
        That’s the way the ancient Gnostics in Augustine’s day would describe it.

      92. Exactly br.d!

        Let’s use an analogy of lepers ….. oh wait…. there is a biblical story of lepers.

        Luke 17:11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

        14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

        15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

        17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

        ——–

        A. They call out for help!

        B. To answer RH ubiquitous question of why would anyone pass up Christ all things being equal ….nine of them do not return to Christ at all.

        C. Christ tells the “unchosen foreigner” ….. “your faith has made you well.”

        One story alone dismantles Calvinism …..and there are hundreds like it!

      93. FOH writes, “A. They call out for help!…”

        Calvinism adds that God well understood the way these events would unfold even before He created the Universe. Nothing Calvinism says has been dismantled.

      94. br.d writes, “The regeneration process occurs WITHOUT their prior consent.”

        Yes. Whether Calvinist or Arminian grace is without prior consent.

        Then, “The regeneration process involves Calvin’s god ZAPPING the DEAD person with a DIVINE SPARK
        That’s the way the ancient Gnostics in Augustine’s day would describe it.”

        Or as the Scripture describes it, “God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),…”

      95. br.d
        The regeneration process occurs WITHOUT their prior consent.”

        rhutchin
        Yes. Whether Calvinist or Arminian grace is without prior consent.

        br.d
        We we’re referring to “grace” which is a different topic – we were talking about the process of regeneration.
        In the Arminian view regeneration does not occur prior to consent.

        The regeneration process involves Calvin’s god ZAPPING the DEAD person with a DIVINE SPARK
        That’s the way the ancient Gnostics in Augustine’s day would describe it.”

        rhutchin
        Or as the Scripture describes it, “God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),…”

        br.d
        As Dr. Ken Wilson in his research on Gnosticism in Augustine notes.
        Many of the proof-texts used by Calvinists today were used identically by the Gnostics in Augustine’s day.
        This differentiates Calvinism from Non-Calvinist usage of scripture.

      96. br.d writes, “We we’re referring to “grace” which is a different topic – we were talking about the process of regeneration.”

        Regeneration is by grace. It is unmerited. Grace initiates the process of regeneration. To say that a person is saved by grace is to say that a person is saved by actions initiated by God one of which is regeneration. So, not a different topic; just a more complete topic. As you state, “The regeneration process involves Calvin’s god ZAPPING the DEAD person with a DIVINE SPARK” Note that you have God beginning the action through regeneration. Ephesians 2 puts it this way, “…even when we were dead in trespasses, made God us alive together with Christ..”

        Then, “Many of the proof-texts used by Calvinists today were used identically by the Gnostics in Augustine’s day.”

        That just says that the Gnostics were reading the Scriptures and getting some things right. As long as people are reading the Scriptures, they are more likely to get it right. It is when the Gnostics deviated from the Scriptures that they got into trouble.

      97. br.d
        We weren’t referring to “grace” which is a different topic – we were talking about the process of regeneration.”

        rhutchin
        Regeneration is by grace. It is unmerited…..etc

        br.d
        I’m comfortable talking specifically about Calvinism’s process of regeneration.

        And Dr. Ken Wilson’s research shows many of the proof-texts used by Calvinists today were used identically by the Gnostics in Augustine’s day.”

        rhutchin
        That just says that the Gnostics were reading the Scriptures and getting some things right.

        br.d
        Too funny! :-]

      98. br.d
        A more clearly Calvinistic question would be:
        “If Calvin’s god loves his creatures then why does he design the vast majority of them for eternal torment in the lake of fire”
        FOH writes, “Doesn’t that sound like a bizarre way to create?”

        rhutchin
        Perhaps, br.d and FOH did not understand the question,

        br.d
        Not a logical assumption.
        I understood the question – and on top of that understood its wording was not clearly Calvinistic

        I think the clearly Calvinistic answer is that Calvinism inherited the component of MORAL DUALISM from the ancient Gnostic/NeoPlatonist doctrines of Augustine’s day. And in that MORAL DUALISM good and evil are co-equal, co-necessary, and co-complimentary.

        That being the case – Jon Edwards answer would probably be:: The glory of evil is necessary for the glory of good to shine forth.

      99. From FundamentallyReformed website
        “God holds creatures responsible for their sin, even when God was the One who foreordained that sin to happen, and used it for His ends.”
        These guys actually believe this stuff…But of course God is not the author of evil (wink wink)
        …and BR.D you are being unreasonable to say Calvinism adheres to moral dualism when it comes to God’s nature.

      100. GA:
        That is a good quote! Yes, unbelievable.

        They teach (clear, quotable on their web sites) that man is responsible for his sin even though God immutably, irresistibly, eternally ORDAINED that the person commit all of those sins.

        If we try to ask how does this add up to mercy, grace, and love (especially what we see Christ / Paul telling us to be like)…. they (in there Calvin-burn-them-at-the-stake sort of way) answer…..”who are you to question the potter?”

        Good News!

      101. FOH : If we try to ask how does this add up to mercy, grace, and love (especially what we see Christ / Paul telling us to be like)…. they (in there Calvin-burn-them-at-the-stake sort of way) answer…..”who are you to question the potter?”

        GA: Even though they say who are you to question the potter….what they really mean is who are you question John Calvin or me Calvin’s disciple? What they say about the potter dishonors HIS HOLY name but they are happy to do so… it baffles me.

      102. Yes….and when referring to the potter, they overlook the fact the the potter being mentioned is first found in Jeremiah 18-19 where God actually says He will change His plans if man does such-and-such!

        “That cannot be!” they cry….. followed by some contorted, convoluted “explanation” of what God “must have meant.”

        Why?

        All to support their version of what God “must be like.”

      103. FOH writes, “they overlook the fact the the potter being mentioned is first found in Jeremiah 18-19 where God actually says He will change His plans if man does such-and-such!
        “That cannot be!” they cry….. followed by some contorted, convoluted “explanation” of what God “must have meant.”

        We see here that FOH cut out those verses that tell us that God has infinite understanding of all things and with that infinite understanding is able to work all things according to the counsel of His will. FOH has a very abbreviated version of the Scriptures that allows him to drink milk all the time and never have to chew meat,

      104. Calvinists always deflect to “infinite understanding” as a way to avoid the DECREES

        In order to HIDE the fact that in Calvinism “infinite understanding” (in the form of Foreknowledge) is the CONSEQUENCE of DECREES.

        Just because a being has “infinite understanding” does not necessitate or force that being to DESIGN people for sin or eternal torment.
        And “infinite understanding” does not necessitate designing people to function as robots or puppets.

      105. They cannot live with the idea that their philosophy dictates that God ordained/ decreed/ willed all sin, so they talk about “infinite understanding.”

        Nah…. just own it Calvinists….. Calvinism teaches that God decreed all sin…for His glory.

        What is puzzling is that they want to have such a huge God with “infinite understanding” but they cannot allow Him to be big enough to have created a world where He achieves His will and still gives man free will. That’s not a big God; that’s a small one.

      106. Yes – its clear to me that Calvinists have a love-hate relationship with their own doctrine.
        And that’s why Calvinist language is full of DOUBLE-SPEAK.

      107. THANKS BR.D and FOH
        Your back and forth on this is so clear. It is so clear but I guess one who has hardened his own heart wills not to see it. That is their choice and they are free to make it. A God less than Sovereign would be afraid to give man that choice BUT HE has given us that choice so here we are…

      108. GraceAdict,

        It is extremely important to note the difference between our Calvinist version of sovereign will …..and say, AW Tozer’s

        “God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, ‘What doest thou?’ Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.”

        Piper’s version of God’s sovereignty demands that every man’s choosing very evil was immutably decreed by God.

        Tozer’s version of God’s sovereignty says that man’s choosing evil (or good) was part of God’s sovereign plan —- not that God Himself would choose which choice the man should make but that he (man) should be free to make it.

        There is a huge difference!

        Tozer’s answer’s RH’s “gotcha” question of why God does not save all men (even though He loves them all)….

        “Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.”

        God was not afraid to let the creatures that He loved (and created in His image) reject Him or call out to Him.

      109. FOH writes, “Tozer’s answer’s RH’s “gotcha” question of why God does not save all men (even though He loves them all)….
        “Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.”
        God was not afraid to let the creatures that He loved (and created in His image) reject Him or call out to Him.”

        Having moral freedom does not tell us how moral freedom is exercised. For that we need to look at the reasons/motives that determine how one exercises his moral freedom. Calvinists say that those who are slaves to sin will exercise their moral freedom to sin.

      110. GraceAdict writes, “A God less than Sovereign would be afraid to give man that choice BUT HE has given us that choice so here we are…”

        No conflict with God having infinite understanding of the man He created even to knowing the decisions men would make before they personally and freely made them.

      111. rhutchin
        No conflict with God having infinite understanding of the man He created even to knowing the decisions men would make before they personally and freely made them.

        br.d
        We know Calvin’s god has “infinite understanding” cuz he always does exactly what the Calvinist says! :-]

      112. br.d writes, “We know Calvin’s god has “infinite understanding” cuz he always does exactly what the Calvinist says! :-]”

        More importantly, God does exactly what He wants (and then He tells everyone, including Calvinists, what He has done).

      113. br.d
        We know Calvin’s god has “infinite understanding” cuz he always does exactly what the Calvinist says! :-]”

        rhutchin
        More importantly, God does exactly what He wants (and then He tells everyone, including Calvinists, what He has done).

        br.d
        Well – of course in Calvinism that would be his “Enunciated” will.
        But then we have his SECRET will – which is often the total opposite of his “Enunciated” will.
        And of course he doesn’t reveal is SECRET will – cuz then it wouldn’t be a secret

        But the interesting thing in all this is how many of those SECRET things the Calvinist seems to always know! :-]

      114. br.d writes, “But then we have his SECRET will – which is often the total opposite of his “Enunciated” will.”

        Everyone recognizes this. God gave Israel the Ten Commandments and expected them to obey those commandments.

        In Joshua, we read, ““This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” Then, we read, “Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God.” However, God understood the hearts of the people and knew that they would depart from His laws. God’s enuciated will is found in the law. God’s secret will is found in the actions of the people. No secrets here.

      115. br.d
        But then we have his SECRET will – which is often the total opposite of his “Enunciated” will.”

        rhutchin
        Everyone recognizes this. God gave Israel the Ten Commandments and expected them to obey those commandments.

        br.d
        Sure but ONLY Calvin’s god commands with his “Enunciated will” – the very things he SECRETLY doesn’t permit.

      116. br.d writes, “Sure but ONLY Calvin’s god commands with his “Enunciated will” – the very things he SECRETLY doesn’t permit.”

        Everyone pretty much understands this. God commanded that which He knew would not be obeyed. AS God said to Israel, ““Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. When I have brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey, of which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and filled themselves and grown fat, then they will turn to other gods and serve them; and they will provoke Me and break My covenant. Then it shall be, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify against them as a witness; for it will not be forgotten in the mouths of their descendants, for I know the inclination of their behavior today, even before I have brought them to the land of which I swore to give them.”

      117. br.d
        Sure but ONLY Calvin’s god commands with his “Enunciated will” – the very things he SECRETLY doesn’t permit.”

        rhutchin
        Everyone pretty much understands this. God commanded that which He knew would not be obeyed

        br.d
        Sorry
        No other theology would ever think to embrace the idea of a THEOS who uses his supernatural powers to not permit the very things he commands.

      118. It is amazing how unable the Calvinist is to grasp what most others can so readily understand. God ‘using’ man’s evil hearts and plans to accomplish his will, as in Joseph and Jesus, is entirely different from God dreaming up, ordaining and irresistibly causing man’s evil actions.

        How hard is it to grasp that God knew what Joseph’s brothers’ hatred would lead to, and that he trumped their plan to kill him by presenting them with an opportunity to get rid of him and profit from it? This does not require God to ordain and plant the evil desire to kill Joseph, and it certainly does not require him to approve of such a plan.

        But then, Calvinists love to ignore the verses that describe God’s displeasure with the wicked things men do, things that never even entered his mind. (How do you ordain something you never thought of?) The same is true of the murder of Jesus, and any other evil act described in scripture. Because God foresaw an evil deed, and wove together – as only he can – various elements to bring good out of the evil the perpetrators intended does not make God the author or source of the evil act. It seems to me that only wilful blindness makes this difficult to see.

      119. TS00 asks, “How hard is it to grasp that God knew what Joseph’s brothers’ hatred would lead to, and that he trumped their plan to kill him by presenting them with an opportunity to get rid of him and profit from it?”

        How hard is it to grasp that God knew this before He created the universe and that it was all part of His plan?

        Then, ‘Calvinists love to ignore the verses that describe God’s displeasure with the wicked things men do, things that never even entered his mind. (How do you ordain something you never thought of?)”

        When God says that “things that never even entered his mind” He means that He never would command such things. To say that God never thought of all the evil that people would desire to do is to deny Him infinite understanding of the people He created and makes God ignorant. TS00 is certainly ignorant, but that does not mean that God must also be ignorant.

      120. TS00
        It is amazing how unable the Calvinist is to grasp what most others can so readily understand.

        br.d
        Don’t you chalk this up to indoctrination?
        Most cult experts today will say that this phenomenon comes about by what is called: “Milieu control”
        A term coined by psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton

      121. br.d writes, ‘No other theology would ever think to embrace the idea of a THEOS who uses his supernatural powers to not permit the very things he commands.”

        God permits people to obey or not obey. God understands that people will not obey. God’s understanding does not restrict the actions people take, it only establishes that people will take those actions. God can command obedience while understanding that people will not obey.

      122. br.d
        ‘No other theology would ever think to embrace the idea of a THEOS who uses his supernatural powers to not permit the very things he commands.”

        rhutchin
        God permits people to obey or not obey.

        br.d
        For Calvin’s god it is different – for Calvin’s god it is yes and no.
        This is one thing that manifests Calvinism’s incorporation of the Moral Dualism of Gnosticism.

        Obviously Calvin’s god permits people to obey his SECRET will – human attributes he FIRST-CONCEIVES and RENDERS-CERTAIN.
        So he obviously permits people to obey his SECRET will.

        However Calvin’s god knows it is a LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITY for the creature to DISOBEY his SECRET will.
        He also knows he cannot PERMIT the creature to falsify or negate his decree.
        Therefore disobeying the SECRET will – is a LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITY and is not thus permitted.

        But then there is his “Enuciated” will
        Which is often the direction opposite of his SECRET will.

        And Calvin’s god knows that when his “Enuciated” will is the opposite of his SECRET will – then it is LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for people to obey it. So in this case – people are NOT PERMITTED to obey the “Enunciated” will – while at the same time they are NOT PERMITTED to escape obeying his SECRET will.

        rhutchin
        God understands that people will not obey. God’s understanding does not restrict the actions people take, it only establishes that people will take those actions. God can command obedience while understanding that people will not obey.

        br.d
        You should know by now – understanding is not CAUSATIVE
        The immutable DECREE is.

        Calvinism is classified as DECRETAL Theology – Don’t you remember?

      123. br.d writes, “You should know by now – understanding is not CAUSATIVE
        The immutable DECREE is.”

        Neither God’s understanding nor His decrees nor His knowledge is causative even though all encompass the means, or cause, to make that which is made certain by the decree also necessary by the causes. So, the Jews were the cause of Jesus being crucified (as Peter says, “let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified…) even though we later read, “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together “to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.”

      124. br.d
        You should know by now – understanding is not CAUSATIVE
        The immutable DECREE is.”

        rhutchin
        Neither God’s understanding nor His decrees nor His knowledge is causative

        br.d
        There is so much irony – in the love-hate relationship Calvinists have with their own doctrine!
        Always trying to take the DECREES out of DECRETAL Theologically
        And trying to take the CAUSE out of Universal Divine *CAUSAL* Determinism.

        Where secondary means just happen to magically CAUSE themselves! :-]

      125. rh writes:
        “Neither God’s understanding nor His decrees nor His knowledge is causative even though all encompass the means, or cause, to make that which is made certain by the decree also necessary by the causes. ”

        This sentence gets the gold star for the most convoluted, gobbledy gook nonsense I have heard a Calvinist mutter yet. 😉 I would love to see anyone try to make sense of it. I think a few more euphemisms would have really topped it off. 😉

      126. FOH writes, “They cannot live with the idea that their philosophy dictates that God ordained/ decreed/ willed all sin, so they talk about “infinite understanding.”

        Actually, “infinite understanding” is a Scriptural concept that you cut out of your Bible, so you would not have to deal with it.

      127. br.d writes, “Calvinists always deflect to “infinite understanding” as a way to avoid the DECREES”

        Not really. God’s infinite understanding makes it possible for Him to work all things after the counsel of His will (decree all things)

        Then, “In order to HIDE the fact that in Calvinism “infinite understanding” (in the form of Foreknowledge) is the CONSEQUENCE of DECREES.”

        This is wrong, It is infinite understanding that enables God to decree all things and God’s decree of ll things is His foreknowledge.

        Then, “Just because [God] has “infinite understanding” does not necessitate or force that being…”

        That is true of God – God was, and is, not forced to do anything nor required by necessity to do anything.

      128. br.d
        Calvinists always deflect to “infinite understanding” as a way to avoid the DECREES”

        rhutchin
        Not really. God’s infinite understanding makes it possible for Him to work all things after the counsel of His will (decree all things)

        br.d
        Like it takes a whole lot of “infinite understanding” to decree a whole lot of sin and evil! :-]

        But here is the interesting question:
        Does the degree of sinfulness of the sin and the evilness of the evil come about because his decree?
        OR
        Does he decree specific sins and evils because of their maximum degree of sinfulness and evilness?

        br.d
        In Calvinism “infinite understanding” (in the form of Foreknowledge) is the CONSEQUENCE of DECREES.”

        rhutchin
        This is wrong, It is infinite understanding that enables God to decree all things and God’s decree of ll things is His foreknowledge.

        br.d
        Here you’ve simply affirmed the very statement you claim to be wrong. :-]

      129. br.d writes, “Like it takes a whole lot of “infinite understanding” to decree a whole lot of sin and evil! :-]”

        Well, if you know what “infinite” means, then you know it is a “whole lot.”

        Then, “But here is the interesting question:
        Does the degree of sinfulness of the sin and the evilness of the evil come about because his decree?”

        God’s decree makes sin certain but does not make it necessary.

        Then, “Here you’ve simply affirmed the very statement you claim to be wrong. :-]”

        LOL!!!

      130. br.d
        Like it takes a whole lot of “infinite understanding” to decree a whole lot of sin and evil! :-]

        rhutchin
        Well, if you know what “infinite” means, then you know it is a “whole lot.”

        br.d
        Yup that describes a “whole lot” about Calvinism.

        But here is the interesting question:
        Does the degree of sinfulness of the sin and the evilness of the evil come about because his decree?
        OR
        Does he decree specific sins and evils because of their maximum degree of sinfulness and evilness?

        rhutchin
        God’s decree makes sin certain but does not make it necessary.

        br.d
        Hmmmmm – an answer to a completely different question.

        Since you know all there is to know about Calvin’s god – and he always does exactly what you say – I assumed you would have the answer this question also.

      131. br.d writes, “Yup that describes a “whole lot” about Calvinism. ”

        More importantly to this discussion, it describes a “whole lot” about God.

        Then, “Hmmmmm – an answer to a completely different question.”

        God’s decree makes sin certain but does not make it necessary. That answers your first question. The second question relates to God’s eternal plan and the Scriptures say nothing about God requiring “maximum degree of sinfulness and evilness.”

      132. rhutchin
        God’s decree makes sin certain but does not make it necessary. That answers your first question. The second question relates to God’s eternal plan and the Scriptures say nothing about God requiring “maximum degree of sinfulness and evilness.”

        br.d
        Oh the question wasn’t about “requiring” anything.
        It was about whether Calvin’s god DECREES the maximum sinfulness of sin and the maximum evilness of evil – and whether that maximum sinfulness and evil is specifically from the DECREE – or whether he specifically DECREES it because of its maximum sinfulness and evil.

        Since his decrees are “for his good pleasure” I wouldn’t anticipate it has anything to do with “requiring”

      133. br.d writes, “It was about whether Calvin’s god DECREES the maximum sinfulness of sin and the maximum evilness of evil – and whether that maximum sinfulness and evil is specifically from the DECREE – or whether he specifically DECREES it because of its maximum sinfulness and evil.”

        God does not decree “maximum sinfulness of sin and the maximum evilness of evil” nor does God decree sin because of its maximum sinfulness and evil.- if He did people would be utterly depraved and not just totally depraved.

        Then, “Since his decrees are “for his good pleasure”

        God’s decrees accomplish His will even to using evil as we see in the case of Joseph and Christ, As Isaiah said of Christ, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;….”

      134. br.d
        It was about whether Calvin’s god DECREES the maximum sinfulness of sin and the maximum evilness of evil – and whether that maximum sinfulness and evil is specifically from the DECREE – or whether he specifically DECREES it because of its maximum sinfulness and evil.”

        rhutchin
        God does not decree “maximum sinfulness of sin and the maximum evilness of evil” nor does God decree sin because of its maximum sinfulness and evil.- if He did people would be utterly depraved and not just totally depraved.

        br.d
        Well that would LOGICALLY resolve to Calvin’s god NOT decreeing those sins and evils which constitute “maximum” sinfulness/evilness.
        And that would be a denial of the doctrine of decrees.

        And Calvin tells us its -quote “for his good pleasure”

        rhutchin
        God’s decrees accomplish His will even to using evil as we see in the case of Joseph and Christ, As Isaiah said of Christ, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;….”

        br.d
        So since that which is determined is UNIVERSAL – that obviously includes sins and evils which constitute “maximum” sinfulness/evilness. (for his good pleasure of course)

      135. br.d writes, “Well that would LOGICALLY resolve to Calvin’s god NOT decreeing those sins and evils which constitute “maximum” sinfulness/evilness.”

        No. God can decree “those sins and evils which constitute “maximum” sinfulness/evilness” but this does not require that God decrees all sin because they ‘constitute “maximum” sinfulness/evilness.” By example, Joseph’s brothers first intended to kill Joseph but were limited by God to selling him. God decreed their actions but not their killing Joseph – killing would have been the maximum” sinfulness/evilness. The doctrine of decrees establishes God’s power to decree all events but does not require that He decree any particular event nor that such event be a “maximum.”.

        Then, “So since that which is determined is UNIVERSAL – that obviously includes sins and evils which constitute “maximum” sinfulness/evilness. (for his good pleasure of course)”

        I don’t see a basis for introducing “maximum.”

      136. br.d
        “Well that would LOGICALLY resolve to Calvin’s god NOT decreeing those sins and evils which constitute “maximum” sinfulness/evilness.”

        rhutchin
        No. God CAN decree “those sins and evils which constitute “maximum” sinfulness/evilness”

        br.d
        Here you say NO to my statement and then affirm it.
        But you use the term CAN when the correct term is DOES.

        rhutchin
        but this does not require that God decrees all sin because they ‘constitute “maximum” sinfulness/evilness.”

        br.d
        We’ve already established – per Calvin – its -quote “for his good pleasure” so we already know “require” is not a factor.

        And since that which is determined is UNIVERSAL – that obviously includes sins and evils which constitute “maximum” sinfulness/evilness. (for his good pleasure of course)”

        rhutchin
        I don’t see a basis for introducing “maximum.”

        br.d
        “maximum” and “minimum” are categories found in almost everything.
        You have a “maximum” logical potential as well as a “minimum” logical potential.

        Same categories exist with all of those sins and evils Calvin’s god DECREES.
        In this case those that constitute “maximum” sinfulness and evilness.

      137. br.d writes, “Here you say NO to my statement and then affirm it.
        But you use the term CAN when the correct term is DOES.”

        No. God can but He does not have to do so.

      138. br.d
        Here you say NO to my statement and then affirm it.
        But you use the term CAN when the correct term is DOES.”

        rhutchin
        No. God can but He does not have to do so.

        br.d
        Sorry – if it comes to pass – (and we know “maximal” sins and evils do come to pass) then Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world) DECREED it. Its just that simple!

      139. br.d writes, “Sorry – if it comes to pass – (and we know “maximal” sins and evils do come to pass) then Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world) DECREED it. Its just that simple!”

        The issue is not whether “maximal” sins and evils do come to pass but whether all sins and evils are maximal as your original statement said, “It was about whether Calvin’s god DECREES the maximum sinfulness of sin and the maximum evilness of evil…”.

      140. br.d
        Sorry – if it comes to pass – (and we know “maximal” sins and evils do come to pass) then Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world) DECREED it. Its just that simple!”

        rhutchin
        The issue is not whether “maximal” sins and evils do come to pass but whether ALL sins and evils are maximal as your original statement said,….

        br.d
        Nothing in the question stipulated ALL

        Here is the original question
        Does the degree of sinfulness of the sin and the evilness of the evil come about because his decree?
        OR
        Does he decree specific sins and evils because of their maximum degree of sinfulness and evilness?

      141. br.d writes, “Here is the original question, “Does the degree of sinfulness…”

        I guess you meant:
        Here is the original question
        Does the degree of sinfulness of some sin and the evilness of some evil come about because his decree?
        OR
        Does he decree specific sins and evils because of their maximum degree of sinfulness and evilness?’

        Since God is sovereign and necessarily decrees all things, including all sin, regardless of degree, then all sin is by His decree regardless of degree. God would decree some sin to be the maximum degree of sinfulness and evilness (e.g., the crucifixion of Christ) in order to accomplish His purpose.

      142. br.d
        br.d writes, “Here is the original question, “Does the degree of sinfulness…”

        I guess you meant:
        Here is the original question
        Does the degree of sinfulness of some sin and the evilness of some evil come about because his decree?
        OR
        Does he decree specific sins and evils because of their maximum degree of sinfulness and evilness?’

        br.d
        The original question was fine because it nowhere qualified ALL as you mistakenly thought it did.

        rhutchin
        Since God is sovereign and necessarily decrees all things, including all sin, regardless of degree, then all sin is by His decree regardless of degree.

        br.d
        Yes – “ALL” sin is by his decree – regardless of the degree of sinfulness and evil that he decrees.
        But of course that is assumed and was therefore never the question.

        rhutchin
        God would decree some sin to be the maximum degree of sinfulness and evilness (e.g., the crucifixion of Christ) in order to accomplish His purpose.

        br.d
        Another point that is commonly stated by Calvinists – but that doesn’t answer the question either.

        It really doesn’t matter – I don’t think Calvinism has a REAL answer for that specific question – so don’t worry about it.
        But I did get a kick out of asking it! :-]

      143. FOH writes, “They teach (clear, quotable on their web sites) that man is responsible for his sin even though God immutably, irresistibly, eternally ORDAINED that the person commit all of those sins.”

        FOH, following in the footsteps of Jefferson, cut out the parts of the Scripture telling us about (1) Joseph and his brothers, (2) the Assyrians in Isaiah 10, and (3) the crucifixion of Christ.

      144. Yea!
        What they don’t tell you is whenever Calvin’s god immutably decrees man to sin:
        1) He does not permit man to be or do otherwise.
        2) He does not make any other options available to man.
        3) He gives man the illusion that he permits man to refrain from that sin
        4) He gives man the illusion that alternatives from that sin exist.

        This THEOS has some REAL character issues!
        Looks more like the Greek god Zeus to me.
        Or even more-so like the Greek god Pan – because he is benevolent to some and malevolent to others!

      145. GraceAdict writes, “From FundamentallyReformed website
        “God holds creatures responsible for their sin, even when God was the One who foreordained that sin to happen, and used it for His ends.”
        These guys actually believe this stuff…But of course God is not the author of evil (wink wink)”

        We have examples in Scripture where “God holds creatures responsible for their sin, even when God was the One who foreordained that sin to happen, and used it for His ends.” They include (1) Joseph and his brothers, (2) the Assyrians in Isaiah 10, and (3) the crucifixion of Christ. In each case the perpetrators acted willingly and voluntarily so that God is not the author of sin even though He works all things according to the counsel of His will. Perhaps GA could actually deal with the Scriptures and tell us how they do not illustrate what Calvinists conclude.

      146. rhutchin
        We have examples in Scripture where “God holds creatures responsible for their sin, even when God was the One who foreordained that sin to happen

        br.d
        Firstly – the term “Foreordain” is deceptively misleading – in Calvinism the correct term is “DECREED”
        And DECREED = DESIGNED
        This makes all the difference.

        In the NON-deterministic view of these scripture texts – the THEOS “ordains” human events without designing people to function as robots.

        In Theological Determinism view of these scripture texts – (by virtue of divine determinism) people are designed to function as robots.

      147. br.d writes, “In Theological Determinism view of these scripture texts – (by virtue of divine determinism) people are designed to function as robots.”

        Then, Calvinism and Theological Determinism are two different things. Under Calvinism, God has given man the ability to respond freely (as Calvinists define the term) to his environment with all future decisions of men known to God because of His infinite understanding.

      148. br.d
        In Theological Determinism view of these scripture texts – (by virtue of divine determinism) people are designed to function as robots.”

        rhutchin
        Then, Calvinism and Theological Determinism are two different things.

        br.d
        Sorry – what gives Calvinism its distinctiveness and makes it unique – is in fact its foundational corner-stone – Theological Determinism.
        I’m afraid you’re saddled with it – and all of its LOGICAL consequences.

      149. br,d writes, “Sorry – what gives Calvinism its distinctiveness and makes it unique – is in fact its foundational corner-stone – Theological Determinism.”

        Except Calvinism makes man to be in the image of God and to willfully and voluntarily do as God has decreed without compulsion or coercion by God. Examples in the Scripture are the brothers of Joseph in the sale of Joseph, the crucifixion of Christ, the denial of Christ by Peter, etc.

        If you insist that “In Theological Determinism view of these scripture texts – (by virtue of divine determinism) people are designed to function as robots.”” then Calvinism is not the same as Theological Determinism.

      150. br,d
        Sorry – what gives Calvinism its distinctiveness and makes it unique – is in fact its foundational corner-stone – Theological Determinism.”

        rhutchin
        Except Calvinism makes man to be in the image of God and to willfully and voluntarily do as God has decreed without compulsion or coercion by God.

        br.d
        The No-Coersion argument is totally consistent with Theological Determinism – and a compatibilist view on free will.
        And I’m sure you will say that Calvin’s god’s DECREES have no force! :-]

        rhutchin
        If you insist that “In Theological Determinism view of these scripture texts – (by virtue of divine determinism) people are designed to function as robots.”” then Calvinism is not the same as Theological Determinism.

        br.d
        We understand – Calvinists have a love-hate relationship with their system.
        That’s why they’ve developed a highly evolved library of double-speak

        And remember – I never conflate Theological Determinism with scripture.
        That would turn scripture into double-speak.
        And Calvinists are already head-long into that all by themselves.

      151. br.d writes, “I never conflate Theological Determinism with scripture.”

        This because Theological Determinism has nothing to do with Scripture. Calvinism requires that we hold to the Scripture.

      152. br.d
        I never conflate Theological Determinism with scripture.”

        rhutchin
        This because Theological Determinism has nothing to do with Scripture. Calvinism requires that we hold to the Scripture.

        br.d
        What a hoot!

        Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
        -quote
        While there is much debate about which prominent historical figures were Theological Determinists, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and Gottfried Leibniz all….espouse the view….

      153. br.d writes, “Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
        -quote
        While there is much debate about which prominent historical figures were Theological Determinists, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and Gottfried Leibniz all….espouse the view….”

        It’s definition and yours appear to be different.

      154. br.d writes, “Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
        -quote
        While there is much debate about which prominent historical figures were Theological Determinists, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and Gottfried Leibniz all….espouse the view….”

        rhutchin
        It’s definition and yours appear to be different.

        br.d
        Since all Christian Philosophy recognizes Calvinism is predicated on Theological Determinism – efforts to try and double-speak one’s way out of it is simply going to look silly and childish.

      155. br.d writes, “Since all Christian Philosophy recognizes Calvinism is predicated on Theological Determinism – efforts to try and double-speak one’s way out of it is simply going to look silly and childish.”

        As the Westminster Confession states it, “God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin,nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”

        So, by example, God decreed that Peter deny Christ and Peter willfully and voluntarily denied Christ. When you define Theological Determinism, you always seem to leave out the last part. If the last part – Peter’s willful and voluntary action – is excluded from Theological Determinism, then Theological Determinism does not describe fully the Calvinist system.

      156. br.d
        Since all Christian Philosophy recognizes Calvinism is predicated on Theological Determinism – efforts to try and double-speak one’s way out of it is simply going to look silly and childish.”

        rhutchin
        As the Westminster Confession states it, ….etc

        br.d
        Dr William Lutz – Double-Speak
        -quote
        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.

      157. br.d writes, “Dr William Lutz – Double-Speak
        -quote
        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.”

        Good. No incongruity, therefore no doublespeak. The Westminster Confession passes the test.

      158. br.d
        Dr William Lutz – Double-Speak
        -quote
        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.”

        rhutchin
        Good. No incongruity, therefore no doublespeak. The Westminster Confession passes the test.

        br.d
        What a hoot! :-]

      159. rh writes:
        “Then, Calvinism and Theological Determinism are two different things. Under Calvinism, God has given man the ability to respond freely (as Calvinists define the term) to his environment with all future decisions of men known to God because of His infinite understanding.”

        Of course, the key phrase is ‘as Calvinists define the term’. If one can redefine the meaning of words, define up as down, evil as good, controlled as free, then one can say pretty much anything without meaning what any normal person would.

        One can redefine ‘elephant’ as ‘fruit fly’ and declare that elephants are flying all around the bananas. There is no end to the creative declarations one can make, as long as the meaning of words can be changed to suit one’s whims. This, I eventually discovered, is how my Calvinist pastor could preach for over a decade before I realized that he did not mean the same thing as what I – and most others – heard when he used ‘biblical’ terms. This is why I felt deceived and defrauded, and greatly grieved that I had allowed my children to be brainwashed all those years.

        This is also why it is so important to point out, as is so frequently done here, how deceptive and duplicitous Calvin-speak is. Nor is it an accident. They deliberately use terms and phrases that are biblical and precious to the believer, and the naive never know that they have an entirely different meaning under the unique definitions of Calvinism.

        Or go to the discussion page on Facebook for Sot101, and you will read story after story of people whose churches were stealthily taken over by a Calvinist pastor who was not up front about his beliefs and agenda. I, for one, do not view it as an accident. The deception is deliberate, as most people will reject Calvinism if confronted with its claims clearly. But more and more people are waking up to what is going on, so the deceptive tactics are unlikely to continue working.

      160. Great post TS00!

        As Dr. Flowers often says – “Calvinists have the same English language – but they have their own dictionary”

      161. TS00 writes, “Of course, the key phrase is ‘as Calvinists define the term’.”

        Calvinists define “free will” as an action taken willfully and voluntarily reflecting reason/motive. If you think this is wrong, then argue against this definition. To then write, “One can redefine ‘elephant’ as ‘fruit fly’ and declare that elephants are flying all around the bananas.” is disingenuous but typical of the way the non-Calvinist must argue against Calvinism.

      162. rhutchin
        Calvinists define “free will” as an action taken willfully and voluntarily reflecting reason/motive.

        br.d
        Reason/motive being attributes determined by factors beyond the creature’s control – as are all of the creature’s attributes.

        As Calvin says:
        -quote
        “Since this CANNOT BE ASCRIBED TO NATURE, it is perfectly clear that it has come forth from the….plan of God” – (Institutes)

      163. As I see the growing anti-Calvinist movement online, I am encouraged that people are beginning to engage with this theology, rather than be steamrolled into accepting it without question. Calvinism only works with the use of mind control and manipulation – it cannot stand up to honest examination. Most can see the absurdity of insisting that Calvi-god ordains the actions, instills the requisite desire, then blames man for doing the evil: ‘Bad boy, you did exactly what I ordained, motivated and irresistibly brought to pass!’ Even the most junior thinker recognizes the absurdity of such a claim. It really doesn’t matter how many steps one puts between Calvi-god and the action – if he ordains ‘whatsoever comes to pass’ then he has to accept the blame for any evil that comes to pass.

      164. TS00 writes, “Calvinism only works with the use of mind control and manipulation – it cannot stand up to honest examination.”

        Calvinism makes simple statements about God that even you can understand. They are:
        1. God has infinite understanding;
        2. God has a will that takes advantage of His infinite understanding;
        3. God is sovereign over His creation;
        4. God works all things in His creation according to the counsel of His will.

        One application of God’s working is Romans 8, “God works all things together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” The “all things” include both evil and good and God works all things for good in the lives of His elect. God is not to be blamed for the evil that occurs in the lives of His elect, but He is responsible for that evil as His purpose is to use that evil for good.

      165. TS00
        It really doesn’t matter how many steps one puts between Calvi-god and the action – if he ordains ‘whatsoever comes to pass’ then he has to accept the blame

        br.d
        Excellent point and excellent news!

        The typical Calvi- escape mechanism is to argue:

        Some attribute of the creature – caused some attribute of the creature – caused some attribute of the creature….
        And on into infinite regress.

        Anything to keep from following the causal chain back to its origin! :-]

      166. br.d writes, “I understood the question – and on top of that understood its wording was not clearly Calvinistic”

        Despite understanding the question, br.d still refuses to answer the question. Let’s ask it again.

        If, “God so loved each and every person that He gave His only begotten Son,…” why doesn’t God ensure each and every person is saved?

      167. br.d
        I understood the question – and on top of that understood its wording was not clearly Calvinistic

        Here is the CALVINISTIC question:
        “If Calvin’s god loves his creation why does he create the vast majority of them for eternal torment in the lake of fire”

        I then provided the clearly Calvinistic answer for you – by paraphrasing Jon Edwards.

        “The glory of evil is necessary to make the glory of good shine forth”

        So not only did I answer the question – I also removed the misleading wording out of it
        That’s a WIN WIN! :-]

        So now its your turn – as a Calvinist is your answer in agreement with Jon Edwards?

      168. br.d writes, “I then provided the clearly Calvinistic answer for you – by paraphrasing Jon Edwards.”

        Just to be clear, are you saying that your position is the same as Edwards? Normally, you seem miffed at all things Calvinist and go to great lengths to avoid saying anything that you believe making me wonder if you believe anything at all.

        Then, “So now its your turn – as a Calvinist is your answer in agreement with Jon Edwards?”

        If Edwards is good enough for you, he is good enough for me. So, we agree on something Calvinistic.

      169. br.d
        I then provided the clearly Calvinistic answer for you – by paraphrasing Jon Edwards.
        So now its your turn – as a Calvinist is your answer in agreement with Jon Edwards?”

        rhutchin
        Just to be clear, are you saying that your position is the same as Edwards?

        br.d
        Of course not!
        That would make me a Gnostic / NeoPlatonist Christian.

        rhutchin
        If Edwards is good enough for you, he is good enough for me. So, we agree on something Calvinistic.

        br.d
        And since Edward’s answer isn’t good enough for me – is it still the case that Edwards answer is good enough for you?
        Yea or Nay?

      170. rhutchin: Just to be clear, are you saying that your position is the same as Edwards?”
        br.d: “Of course not! That would make me a Gnostic / NeoPlatonist Christian.”

        br.d still refuses to answer the question. Let’s ask it again.

        If, “God so loved each and every person that He gave His only begotten Son,…” why doesn’t God ensure each and every person is saved?

      171. rhutchin
        Just to be clear, are you saying that your position is the same as Edwards?”

        br.d
        Of course not! That would make me a Gnostic / NeoPlatonist Christian.”

        rhutchin
        br.d still refuses to answer the question. Let’s ask it again.

        If, “God so loved each and every person that He gave His only begotten Son,…” why doesn’t God ensure each and every person is saved?

        br.d
        With the specific wording of this question – it has two answers:
        1) In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) the reason Calvin’s god doesn’t ensure every person saved – even though the god of scripture is said to love every – is because Calvin’s god – for his good pleasure – chose to design the vast majority of the human race for eternal torment in the lake of fire. Since that is the case – one has to derive his own GUESS about what kind of “love” that is.

        2) In IN-determinism (Non-Calvinism) what the THEOS does is to set life and death before people. And he does so such that both life and death both exist as REAL options both being TRULY available to people. And the THEOS “merely” permits people to choose between those options. In this view there is no “Enunciated” (i.e. benevolent) along with its Gnostic DUALISM – a “SECRET” malevolent will.

        I won’t bother to ask you for an answer because I already know the answer will be couched in exculpatory language which I’ve already seen a thousand times.

      172. br.d writes, “1) In Theological Determinism…”

        This is not br.d’s position so he is evading the issue.

        Then, “2) In IN-determinism (Non-Calvinism) what the THEOS does is to set life and death before people.”

        br.d continues to avoid answering the question. Let’s ask it one more time. If, “God so loved each and every person that He gave His only begotten Son,…” why doesn’t God ensure each and every person is saved?

      173. br.d
        2) In IN-determinism (Non-Calvinism) what the THEOS does is to set life and death before people.”

        rhutchin
        br.d continues to avoid answering the question. Let’s ask it one more time. If, “God so loved each and every person that He gave His only begotten Son,…” why doesn’t God ensure each and every person is saved?

        br.d
        Obviously you’re not getting the answer you want – so you keep asking the same question over and over as if you didn’t’ get an answer.
        I think we’ve seen this before

      174. br.d writes, “Obviously you’re not getting the answer you want – so you keep asking the same question over and over as if you didn’t’ get an answer.”

        Br.d continues to avoid giving an answer. He will attempt a Calvinist answer and then say that he disavows the Calvinist answer. So, let’s give try another chance to give his answer. If, “God so loved each and every person that He gave His only begotten Son,…” why doesn’t God ensure each and every person is saved?

      175. br.d
        Obviously you’re not getting the answer you want – so you keep asking the same question over and over as if you didn’t’ get an answer.”

        rhutchin
        Br.d continues to avoid giving an answer……So, let’s give try another chance to give his answer….

        br.d
        I’ll bet you’re mother called you a willful child when you were young! :-]

      176. br.d writes, “I’ll bet you’re mother called you a willful child when you were young!”

        br.d is getting upset but it is still not an answer. It is a simple question, so let’s ask it again, If, “God so loved each and every person that He gave His only begotten Son,…” why doesn’t God ensure each and every person is saved?”

      177. br.d
        I’ll bet you’re mother called you a willful child when you were young!”

        rhutchin
        br.d is getting upset

        br.d
        Woow!
        Oh yes I forgot that attribute of “projection” (i.e., reverse attribution).
        However I don’t think that attribute by itself is directly related to the willful child attribute..
        They both just happen to be consistent! :-]

      178. br.d writes, “Woow!
        Oh yes I forgot that attribute of “projection” (i.e., reverse attribution).
        However I don’t think that attribute by itself is directly related to the willful child attribute..”

        Still no attempt to answer the question. So, let’s try one more time. If, “God so loved each and every person that He gave His only begotten Son,…” why doesn’t God ensure each and every person is saved?”

      179. Of course br.d has been around these parts to know that is not a sincere question. You know darn well the non-Calvinists’ explanation for why God neither compels any man to be saved, nor destines any man to be lost. It is the ultimate dividing line between Calvinists and most others – it was God’s sovereign choice to grant men a choice. But you know that.

      180. TS00 writes, “– it was God’s sovereign choice to grant men a choice. But you know that.”

        Actually, the issue is not that God grants people a choice but whether God grants all people equal choice – that is what I know. God granted His elect a choice that enabled them to come to salvation while not granting the reprobate the same choice. Had God granted all people an equal choice either all would come to salvation or all would reject salvation.

      181. RH writes — “Had God granted all people an equal choice either all would come to salvation or all would reject salvation.”

        GA – I believe you have revealed the stumbling stone upon which you continue to stumble. Your statement above is the foundational assumption that you embrace and evaluate every answer through that lens. However that lens is NO WHERE stated in the BIBLE you have brought an extra-biblical assumption into the debate and that assumption has NO scripture whatsover to back it up. You need to rid yourself of these false assumption in order to see what scripture is actually saying. While you hold fast to this error you CANNOT embrace the Truth… You have identified your own error…”Had God granted all people an equal choice either all would come to salvation or all would reject salvation.” Is not a biblical truth…it is at best man-made.

      182. Some of rhutchin’s pronouncements make me think of a person who inserts a quarter into his left ear – and out pops one of his crazy statements. Of course pronounced without blinking. :-]

      183. rh : “Had God granted all people an equal choice either all would come to salvation or all would reject salvation.”

        GA: “Is not a biblical truth…it is at best man-made.”

        You are correct, GA. Not only is it not a biblical truth, it is bad logic and unsupported by common experience. There is absolutely nothing that requires different people who have a free choice to all make the same choice. In fact, I’m guessing the odds are very much against it. But rh sees the world as mechanistic, and people are robots who have only one ‘best’ choice which all must make.

        I’m not sure if rh has no family or friends, or what; if one hangs around a few different people one will quickly see how unique each is. I’ve five young adult children, and the chances of them making the same exact choices in any situation are very slim, in spite of having the same upbringing by the same parents. I have known many God-fearing people in my life, yet none of them have lived their lives exactly like any other.

        The diversity of people God has created leads me to believe that God is not after mechanical look alikes. Even when we are all Christlike in our love for God and man, the expression of such will be unique to the individual. Otherwise, God could have made one lapdog human who performed exactly as desired and avoided all of the drama.

      184. TS00 “Otherwise, God could have made one lapdog human who performed exactly as desired and avoided all of the drama.”
        Agreed
        Calvinism is so full of faulty assumptions such as the one we are discussing. Also the assumption of “gnostic dualism” that evil is co-equal and co-necessary in order for God to be properly glorified. Under that gnostic assumption one must pity the eternal God who in all of eternity past existed without evil being manifest, HIS evil side must have been so frustrated. The “Gnostic Calvi-god” in eternity past was frustrated about not expressing His evil side so He had to make creatures, designed, motivated and propelled by HIM to do evil, so that now these acts of evil could bring the “Gnostic Calvi-god” the glory due his name; evil being co-equal and co-necessary and also co-contributors to God’s Glory. .

        RH argues that the Calvi-system upholds free will BUT In the Calvi-system at what point does man actually have a free choice? The answer is NEVER.
        Why? Because in eternity past Billions and Billions of years ago before there was any man or even the earth the Calvi-god designed what each man would be, just as HE wanted him, doing exactly everything that HE wanted him to do, thinking the exact thoughts and only the thoughts that HE designed and wanted him to think, then in time and space the “Gnostic Calvi-god” created this pre-designed, pre-programmed man for the evil that HE dreamed up and HE irresistibly designed him to do. Every evil thought or deed ever done came about this way.
        Plus this man at no point from eternity past to present had any other option but the evil designed and decreed by HIS creator. Everything man or satan has ever done is, in 100% harmony with God’s desires and DECREES and it is said to bring HIM maximum Glory. The reason everything evil happens is that evil Brings HIM the maximum Glory. (What a clever lie of the devil)
        If it happened ie (Hitler or the Child rapist) every single act was dreamed up first by the “Gnostic Calvi-god” in eternity past, then the person who would do the act was irresistibly designed for that purpose.
        The Calvi-god chose him to do that before he had ever done anything good or bad, before he existed he was designed and chosen for that deed. The chosen one for this evil deed never had AN option and it was irresistibly handed to him to do that act for the Glory of “Gnostic Calvi-god”.

        But then to make it sound Biblical we must pound the pulpit and say with great emphasis: “God, however, is not the author of evil He is Holy, we must not judge God according to our standards of right and wrong, Sovereign God can do whatever He pleases we simply bow before him and worship. I am humble enough to admit this is a hard saying and I do not know how it all fits together but that is no reason to reject this precious truth, it is one the mysteries of God.”
        Calvinist think that statements like this exonerate themselves and absolve them of Blasphemy.
        What they do is no small evil for they speak Evil of our Holy, Loving God. The God of Truth and Light… God is light in HIM there is no darkness at all. The systematic of Calvinism Blasphemes God, it does NOT honor God, it dishonors God.

        Calvin speaks evil of our God and modern day Calvinist continue the tradition
        David J. Engelsma
        The call in the preaching comes also to many reprobates, but God’s “design” with the call to them is that it be to them a savour of death and the ground of worse condemnation. Calvin does not regard the external call of the gospel as grace to all hearers or as an expression of God’s sincere desire to save all.

        …Those, therefore, whom He has created for dishonour during life and destruction at death, that they may be vessels of wrath and examples of severity, in bringing to their doom, He at one time deprives of the means of hearing His word, at another by the preaching of it blinds and stupefies them the more.9
        So far from being grace to the reprobate, the preaching of the gospel is a judgment against them, for by the preaching God blinds and stupefies them. “God sends His word to many whose blindness He is pleased to aggravate.”10
        He directs His voice to them, but it is that they may turn a deafer ear; He kindles a light, but it is that they may be more stupid; He employs a remedy, but it is that they may not be cured.11 End Quote

        With a theology like that it is no wonder that Calvin had his hand in the torture and killing of true believers. Calvin appears to have never repented of his evil deeds so can we safely assume by Calvin’s own standard that he was never a true believer? That his faith was a false faith a human faith… If we are to follow TULIP the Calvinist would have to affirm that one going to his grave never repenting of such hideous public evil deeds must never have been saved in the first place but he only had an outward appearance? What do you think?

      185. GraceAdict writes, ‘Calvinism is so full of faulty assumptions…Also the assumption of “gnostic dualism” that evil is co-equal and co-necessary in order for God to be properly glorified.”

        This is not an assumption under Calvinism. Under Calvinism, God is sovereign and everyone and everything is subordinate to Him.

      186. RH ” This is not an assumption under Calvinism. Under Calvinism, God is sovereign and everyone and everything is subordinate to Him.”

        If that were the whole truth and nothing but the truth then we would be in agreement… But that is a half truth under Calvinism. Sovereign means divine determinism… in Calvinist terms you smuggle in additional false assumptions, like God must be the Author of Evil (while not being the author of evil) in order for Him to be Sovereign. Half truths and New definitions for terms allows the Calvinist to sound biblical while meaning something completely different.

      187. GraceAdcit writes, “Sovereign means divine determinism… in Calvinist terms you smuggle in additional false assumptions,…”

        Because God rules over His creation and does so as sovereign, nothing escapes His rule – He is aware of everything that happens , down to every shiver of every atom, and He rules over this. Necessarily, nothing can happen that God does not determine by His action.

        So, name one thing, event, etc that God does not rule over and determine.

      188. RH claims God is the Cause of ALL evil..
        “So, name one thing, event, etc that God does not rule over and determine.”

        GA
        1Jn 1:5  …God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  (There is a lot of Darkness that God does NOT claim as coming from Him – He allows it because He has created a world where there is Free-will but that is NOT the same as what you attribute to God.)
        Do Not be Deceived Brothers
        Jas 1:13  Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 
        Jas 1:14  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 
        Jas 1:15  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 
        Jas 1:16  Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 

        GOD does not claim this evil as His own, or coming from HIM or being Decreed by HIM. However Calvinism does…It profanes God’s Holy name. It makes Satan and the Flesh simply another manifestation of the Gnostic God of Calvinism.

      189. GraceAdict writes, “1Jn 1:5 …God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. (There is a lot of Darkness that God does NOT claim as coming from Him – He allows it because He has created a world where there is Free-will but that is NOT the same as what you attribute to God.)”

        God rules over the darkness and no darkness would exist without God decreeing (or determining) that it exist. Not a good example.

        Then, “Jas 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
        Jas 1:14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
        Jas 1:15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. ”

        God rules the person and understands all his desires. God can affect a person’s desires (God opened the heart of Lydia) but can do nothing to change a person’s desires. In each case, God rules the situation and determines the outcome. Not a good example.

        Then, “GOD does not claim this evil as His own, or coming from HIM or being Decreed by HIM.”

        Only God can decree evil, because evil cannot exist unless God decree it. When God said, “Thou shalt not…” He decreed what was evil. When God watched as Cain killed Abel and did nothing, He decreed Abel’s death – an evil act. Nothing can happen except by God’s decree as God rules everything and nothing proceeds except by God’s decree..

        Try again, Name one thing, event, etc that God does not rule over and determine (or decree).

      190. RH – You are a very smart person. But the way you take the WORD of God and change it to mean just the opposite of what it says is down right scary. I know Calvin as a lawyer had this ability as well…so you are following in the steps of your mentor that is clear…but is there no scripture that you won’t twist to mean just the opposite of what it says just so it fits with your man-made system?

        I think Jesus’ words to the Pharisees and the scribes would be appropriate:
        Mar 7:7-9 …teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
        And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!

      191. GraceAdict writes, “…you take the WORD of God and change it to mean just the opposite of what it says is down right scary….”

        Then, argue the case from those Scriptures and make sure you are not giving your own private interpretation to the Word.

      192. GraceAdict writes, “RH argues that the Calvi-system upholds free will BUT In the Calvi-system at what point does man actually have a free choice? The answer is NEVER. Why? Because…”

        God has infinite understanding and by that infinite understanding God can know all effects of all causes, including the reasons and motives of people, before those causes affect change. God is the first cause of His creation and God’s understanding of His creation is infinite.

      193. RH – Conflates omniscience with Causation. These word tricks and redefining of words are cute but this is where the error in doctrine enters your system.

      194. GraceAdict writes, “RH argues that the Calvi-system upholds free will BUT In the Calvi-system at what point does man actually have a free choice? The answer is NEVER. Why? Because…”

        br.d
        I think what GraceAdict is arguing here is that such a choice is not GENUINELY free.
        It being the case – in Theological Determinism – the creature is ONLY free to be/do what the THEOS determines.
        And the creature has NO SAY in what the THEOS determines.
        That in fact is the LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE of Theological Determinism – with or without compatibilistic free-will.

        And the degree of infinite knowledge of the THEOS in no way changes that attribute of creaturely freedom.
        Calvinists deflect to “infinite knowledge” as a strategy to INFER the THEOS knows by OBSERVATION (rather than by decree) what the creature would determine – and then simply determines that.

        But it should be obvious – that strategy is simply designed to eliminate culpability from the THEOS.

      195. br.d writes, “I think what GraceAdict is arguing here is that such a choice is not GENUINELY free.”

        What does, “genuinely,” free mean? That God cannot understand everything about a person and from that understanding knows the decisions a person will make before he makes them?

        Then, “It being the case – in Theological Determinism – the creature is ONLY free to be/do what the THEOS determines.
        And the creature has NO SAY in what the THEOS determines.”

        Again, just because God understands the person, why does this mean that a person exercises no say in his decisions.

        Then, “Calvinists deflect to “infinite knowledge” as a strategy to INFER the THEOS knows by OBSERVATION (rather than by decree) what the creature would determine – and then simply determines that.”

        This comes out of the vivid imagination of br.d and has no resemblance to reality.

        Once again, God has an infinite understanding of His creation, and this understanding is used by His will so that God works (or decrees) all things according to the counsel of His will.

      196. br.d
        I think what GraceAdict is arguing here is that such a choice is not GENUINELY free.”

        rhutchin
        What does, “genuinely,” free mean? That God cannot understand everything about a person and from that understanding knows the decisions a person will make before he makes them?

        br.d
        Well if a THEOS determines you to commit a hideous sin tomorrow morning at 10AM
        And you are NOT FREE to refrain from committing that sin.
        Then some people would define that as NOT GENUINE freedom.

        Then, “It being the case – in Theological Determinism – the creature is ONLY free to be/do what the THEOS determines.
        And the creature has NO SAY in what the THEOS determines.”

        rhutchin
        Again, just because God understands the person, why does this mean that a person exercises no say in his decisions.

        br.d
        We understand your need to make Determinism *APPEAR* as IN-deterministic as possible.
        In any way make Calvinism APPEAR to simulation of Libertarian Free-dome as much as you can.

        But as the Calvinist confessions state it:
        -quote
        His decree cannot depend upon anything in the future or anything outside of Himself.

        On a practical level – the fact that the person doesn’t exist when the determination is made – makes it the case the person has no say in that determination.

        Additionally- Calvin says the decree is not based on anything having to do with the state of nature.
        -quote
        For it did not take place by reason of NATURE that, by the guilt of one parent, all were cut off from salvation.

        Then, “Calvinists deflect to “infinite knowledge” as a strategy to INFER the THEOS knows by OBSERVATION (rather than by decree) what the creature would determine – and then simply determines that.”

        rhutchin
        This comes out of the vivid imagination of br.d and has no resemblance to reality.

        Once again, God has an infinite understanding of His creation, and this understanding is used by His will so that God works (or decrees) all things according to the counsel of His will.

        br.d
        As always – I’m happy to let SOT101 readers discern and make up their own minds as to where the TRUTH is vs the DOUBLE-SPEAK. :-]

      197. br.d writes, “Well if a THEOS determines you to commit a hideous sin tomorrow morning at 10AM”

        That determination reflects God’s understanding of the factors that result in a person making a decision. God’s determination is not to interfere with those factors thereby providing for natural events to play out naturally. As God decides that He will not be involved in the person’s thinking or decisionmaking, how does His understanding and knowledge of a person’s future decision remove the freedom of the individual?

        Then, “We understand your need to make Determinism *APPEAR* as IN-deterministic as possible.”

        Nope – deterministic it is.

        Then, “On a practical level – the fact that the person doesn’t exist when the determination is made – makes it the case the person has no say in that determination.”

        Of course, the person is involved as the determined events appear in time when the person does exist. God understands the events that are to occur and knows what will happen but does not coerce the known outcome. This provides for the person to act as God understand that he will act and he acts willfully and voluntarily.

        Then, “Additionally- Calvin says the decree is not based on anything having to do with the state of nature.
        -quote – “For it did not take place by reason of NATURE that, by the guilt of one parent, all were cut off from salvation.”

        It was not by reason of nature but by violation of God’s command, “Do not eat the fruit,” that, by the guilt of one parent, all were cut off from salvation.

      198. br.d
        Well if a THEOS determines you to commit a hideous sin tomorrow morning at 10AM then you are NOT FREE to refrain from committing that sin at 10AM tomorrow morning – which means you have no say in the matter of NOT committing that sin.

        rhutchin
        That determination reflects God’s understanding of the factors that result in a person making a decision.

        br.d
        Those factors being neurological impulses that appear in your brain – which he AUTHORED. If he doesn’t have understanding of what he AUTHORS he’s in trouble :-]

        rhutchin
        God’s determination is not to interfere with those factors thereby providing for natural events to play out naturally.

        br.d
        There goes Calvin’s god again – AUTHORING events for himself to interfere in (or not) – what a hoot! :-]

        rhutchin
        As God decides that He will not be involved in the person’s thinking or decisionmaking,

        br.d
        rhutchin – we understand you’re trying to make Calvinism *APPEAR* as IN-deterministic as possible.
        Creating a THEOS that decides to not be involved in a person’s thinking – when he is REALLY the AUTHOR of every neurological impulse.

        rhutchin
        Nope – deterministi.d

        br.d
        I won’t even bother to respond to such silliness.

        And – on a practical level – the fact that the person doesn’t exist when the determination is made – makes it the case the person has no say in that determination.”

        rhutchin
        God understands the events that are to occur and knows what will happen but does not coerce the known outcome. This provides for the person to act as God understand that he will act and he acts willfully and voluntarily.

        br.d
        Like I said – if you were to make such a statement in Calvin’s Geneva – he would have your tongue run through with a hot iron.

        Additionally- Calvin says the decree is not based on anything having to do with the state of nature.
        John Calvin
        -quote –
        “For it did not take place by reason of NATURE that, by the guilt of one parent, all were cut off from salvation.”

        rhutchin
        It was not by reason of nature but by violation of God’s command, “Do not eat the fruit,” that, by the guilt of one parent, all were cut off from salvation.

        br.d
        1) Not by reason of NATURE that they did what they did – but by reason of Calvin’s god’s SECRET will.
        2) The creature is ALWAYS in TOTAL OBEDIENCE to Calvin’s god’s SECRET will.

        You’re NON-Calvinism Calvinism is pretty funny these days! :-]

      199. rhutchin
        That determination reflects God’s understanding of the factors that result in a person making a decision.

        br.d
        Understanding of things *AS-IF* he didn’t AUTHOR those very things!
        This is an excellent example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking pattern

        Theological Determinism *AS-IF* IN-determinism
        “Mere” Permission doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does.
        Foreknowledge via observation doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does.
        And Calvin’s god is the AUTHOR of all things *AS-IF* he isn’t
        True *AS-IF* False
        False *AS-IF* True

        Why everyone wouldn’t want to embrace Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking – is a mystery! :-]

      200. Thanks BR.D
        Some times I think RH is starting to see the light and agree that Universal Divine Causal Determinism is not how God put together this world BUT then it becomes obvious he is just trying to hide his true beliefs behind other slippery terms and He is doing the “AS IF” jig again. Thanks for exposing the double speak that is constantly at play.

      201. br.d and GA,
        No matter how many times you catch RH saying contradictory statements it will not matter.

        He just starts the next post stone-faced as if nothing was said. Even for this post he might say “Why doesn’t FOH make his case…..”

        But boys….that’s the point. You have both made a case many, many times over. But that does not count for him. Only agreement with him counts. Only Calvinism counts (but not that really, since he constantly disagrees with that Calvin can be quoted to say).

        But it is a no-win situation…. and I wish someone had told me a year ago when I started with a flurry to respond to him. I will not engage with him now. Too many other things to do in life!

        I will just add here (as I have said before) that I work with believers from all backgrounds. We have agreed to disagree on certain points. I do not get that feeling from RH. I only get the “my way or the highway” feeling ….. or more like Calvin’s burn-them-on-green-wood-fires feeling. It’s too bad….and I dont wanna engage.

        I may see some of the posts (as I did with this one) but the constant as-if-both-are-true, merry-go-round is a waste of time.

        They will take little shots across the bow “FOH was sleeping in class” or “Why can’t TS00 seem to make his case….” but they never answer my simple questions:

        Can you do anything that is not the will of God?

        Is everything you do exactly what God wants you to do?

      202. Great post FOH!

        And I’ve always appreciated the power of your two questions (at the end of your last post)

        It would be great if we had one single post that answers in TRUTH.
        Then we could simply respond to rhutchins “constant as-if-both-are-true, merry-go-round” posts by posting that link.
        I’ll see if I can think of something.

      203. FOH: “Can you do anything that is not the will of God? Is everything you do exactly what God wants you to do?”

        These are great questions but what scares me about Consistent Calvinism is that they actually believe: “If it happened then that is proof that it really was what God wanted, it was His will” “When anything happens that becomes 100% proof that this thing was God’s will”

        This makes God the author of evil rapes, Hitler’s deeds, even Satan’s evil deeds. It profanes the Holy name of God, while pretending to Glory God.
        Under Calvinism
        “If it happened that is proof that it is God’s will and only what is God’s will happens here on earth 100% of the time” I wonder what their heaven looks like, where God’s will is also done 100% of the time? Not any different than here and now.

      204. FOH writes, “they never answer my simple questions:
        Can you do anything that is not the will of God?
        Is everything you do exactly what God wants you to do?”

        People can disobey God’s will expressed in His laws.
        People cannot disobey His will as expressed in His omnipotent decisions.
        Everything people do is exactly what God wants them to do even to disobeying His laws

      205. rhutchin
        People can disobey God’s will expressed in His laws.
        People cannot disobey His will as expressed in His omnipotent decisions.
        Everything people do is exactly what God wants them to do even to disobeying His laws

        br,d
        TRUE!

        So we have the following:

        1) It is LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to disobey Calvin’s god’s SECRET will.

        2) Where Calvin’s gods “Enunciated” will is the direct opposite of his SECRET will – it is LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to obey his “Enunciated” will.

        3) Since disobeying the SECRET will is NEVER PERMITTED – then it follows – when it is in direct opposition to his “Enunciated” will – by default he does NOT PERMIT obedience to his “Enunciated” will. (rule of logic – transference to the consequence)

      206. rh writes:
        “People can disobey God’s will expressed in His laws.
        People cannot disobey His will as expressed in His omnipotent decisions.
        Everything people do is exactly what God wants them to do even to disobeying His laws.”

        Wow, can you even imagine worshiping such a God? One who expresses one will in his law, but omnipotently decrees the opposite to actually happen. Everything people do is exactly what God wants. So much for the verse rh recently quoted:

        “And God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth….'”

        One simply cannot make a logical description of God’s words and actions in the great flood if people only do exactly what God wants them to do. What would be the reason for God approving of Noah’s righteousness, were it only what God had irresistibly ordained? What would be the reason for God’s wrath over the violence which filled the earth, if that was exactly what God ordaiined? What would be the reason for the great flood which destroyed nearly all living beings, if all had only done exactly what God wanted?

        The only response, and it is not an acceptable one in my opinion, is to suggest that God orchestrated this whole debacle for a show. The poor masses who were decreed to wreak violence upon the earth were destined for destruction – they had no other choice; yet God went through the pretense of being angry at them for doing what he had ordained. Noah, who really deserved no accolades, was simply the man God chose to behave righteously, so he could have someone to bestow his ‘grace’ upon.

        This, of course, is repeated throughout all of the biblical narratives. If all is as God ordained, decreed and wants, then all his talk of sin, wrath, people doing what he neither wanted nor even thought of, etc. is simply hogwash. You might as well throw your bible away, as God is so dishonest and dissembling it means virtually nothing.

        If God not merely foresaw – as most Christians would affirm – but foreordained whatsoever would come to pass, then he is a monstrous tyrant who cruelly punishes people who are nothing more than helpless puppets, following a script that was written before they were ever born.

        So, yeah, when Calvinists play semantic games to try and hide the less palatable aspects of their theological system, most of us would say they believe one thing, but live ‘as if’ another is so.

      207. TS00
        So, yeah, when Calvinists play semantic games to try and hide the less palatable aspects of their theological system, most of us would say they believe one thing, but live ‘as if’ another is so.

        br.d
        So True!!

      208. I think what we see is someone who has inadvertently painted himself in a corner and doesn’t have away of escape other than to try to bluff his way out.

      209. Thanks GraceAdict!
        I like that “The AS-IF Jig”

        I also call it Calvinism’s 2-step dance routine :-]

      210. GraceAdict writes, “Universal Divine Causal Determinism is not how God put together this world”

        – Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
        – Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”
        – Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image,…”
        – And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth….”
        – God said to Jacob: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body.”
        – “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
        – A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
        – The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
        – God makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them.
        – God takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth, And makes them wander in a pathless wilderness.
        – God works all things according to the counsel of His will…
        etc. etc

        So, what do you call it?

      211. rhutchin
        So, what do you call it?

        br.d
        Dr. William Lutz on Double-Speak
        -quote
        “Double-Speak is the incongruity between what is said and what is NOT said”

        In other words – what something is CALLED vs what something IS.

        The Calvinist has no problem CALLING his theology *Universal* Divine Causal Determinism.
        The tap-dance comes into play in regard to how UNIVERSAL that determinism is for him.

        Take the sum total of things determined
        And sub-tract *ALL* from it (the number of things determined by the THEOS)
        How many things do you have left over for the creature to determine?
        If in fact it is UNIVERSAL – then it follows the answer is zero.

        And this is where we see every Calvinist do his tap-dance.
        At least he’s truthful enough to *CALL* it universal

      212. GraceAdict writes, “Universal Divine Causal Determinism is not how God put together this world”

        – Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
        – Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”
        – Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image,…”
        – And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth….”
        – God said to Jacob: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body.”
        – “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
        – A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
        – The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
        – God makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them.
        – God takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth, And makes them wander in a pathless wilderness.
        – God works all things according to the counsel of His will…
        etc. etc

        So, what do you call it?

        br.d responded, “In other words – what something is CALLED vs what something IS.”

        Fine. How about telling us what it is?

      213. br.d
        “In other words – what something is CALLED vs what something IS.”

        rhutchin
        Fine. How about telling us what it is?

        br.d
        UNIVERSAL which means *ALL* without exception

        Take the sum of all things determined
        Subtract *ALL* from it (the number determined by the THEOS)
        How many things are there left over for the creature to determine?

      214. br.d: “In other words – what something is CALLED vs what something IS.”
        rhutchin: “Fine. How about telling us what it is?”
        br.d: “UNIVERSAL which means *ALL* without exception”

        So, you define ““Universal Divine Causal Determinism” by defining, “UNIVERSAL” to mean “*ALL* without exception.” Isn’t there more to it than that given that the Scriptures say::

        – Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
        – Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”
        – Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image,…”
        – And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth….”
        – God said to Jacob: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body.”
        – “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
        – A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
        – The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
        – God makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them.
        – God takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth, And makes them wander in a pathless wilderness.
        – God works all things according to the counsel of His will…
        etc. etc

        To this, GraceAdict says, “Universal Divine Causal Determinism is not how God put together this world.” What is the point your are trying to make in this discussion?

      215. br.d
        In other words – what something is CALLED vs what something IS.”

        rhutchin
        Fine. How about telling us what it is?”

        br.d
        UNIVERSAL which means *ALL* without exception – so as I said multiple times and you simply ignored:

        Take the sum total of things determined
        And sub-tract *ALL* from it (the number of things determined by the THEOS)
        How many things do you have left over for the creature to determine?
        Because it is defined as UNIVERSAL – it follows the answer is zero.

        That is your answer.
        But you will make like you didn’t get one of course! :-]

      216. br.d writes, ‘Understanding of things *AS-IF* he didn’t AUTHOR those very things!”

        Understanding of things as the basis for God authoring those very things! Without understanding, there is no authoring.

      217. RH : “Understanding of things as the basis for God authoring those very things! Without understanding, there is no authoring.”

        GA: For my clarity on what you are saying are you saying: “God knows what a rapist will do so then God authors what that rapist will do?” “God knows what Satan will do so then God Authors what satan will do?” I honestly think this is what you are saying can you confirm?

      218. GraceAdict writes, ““God knows what a rapist will do so then God authors what that rapist will do?””

        Let’s use an example in present time. God is present when a rapist first desires to rape and then assaults a woman and rapes her. God had the power to redirect the thoughts of the rapist before the rape and to send police to stop the rapist before the rape. God did not do this. Thus, God, because He had power to prevent the rape and did not do so, is said to be the author of the rape. By His understanding, God knew these events would play out even in eternity past and even this is part of the plan He conceived in eternity past. IF not, then God has limited understanding and is not omnipotent.

      219. rhutchin
        Let’s use an example in present time.

        br.d
        I like the example of the private asking the general “Permission to speak freely sir”

        In UNIVERSAL divine causal determinism we have (act 1 – scene 3):

        The general (role played by Calvin’s god) asks the private to tell him X
        Then the general DETERMINES the private will say “Permission to speak freely sir”
        Then the general speaks his part and says “Permission granted”
        Then the general DETERMINES what the private will say.

        And the whole thing is choreographed from start to finish.

      220. br.d writes, ‘In UNIVERSAL divine causal determinism we have (act 1 – scene 3):

        And the whole thing is choreographed from start to finish.”

        Of course, Calvin would say that the words determined by God to be spoken by the person are attributed fully to the person who is then responsible for those words for God does not coerce those words to be spoken.

      221. br.d writes, ‘In UNIVERSAL divine causal determinism we have (act 1 – scene 3):

        And the whole thing is choreographed from start to finish.”

        rhutchin
        Of course, Calvin would say that the words determined by God to be spoken by the person are attributed fully to the person who is then responsible for those words for God does not coerce those words to be spoken.

        br.d
        A robot is not coerced by its program – it just can’t do otherwise
        And everyone knows – even when a person’s every neurological impulse is meticulously choreographed within a script – that person is still responsible for those impulses and not the writer of the script :-]

      222. br.d writes, “A robot is not coerced by its program – it just can’t do otherwise.”

        LOL!!! A robot does exactly what it is programmed to do – – it just can’t do otherwise.” It doesn’t need to be coerced because it does not want to do otherwise. So, what’s your point?

        Then, ‘And everyone knows – even when a person’s every neurological impulse is meticulously choreographed within a script – that person is still responsible for those impulses and not the writer of the script ”

        Of course. God’s understanding of His creation is perfect, so He can know how a person will behave into the future. That which a person does by necessity is properly attributed to the person. If a person views pornography day and night and then goes out and rapes a child, God understands perfectly what is happening in the person’s mind, and the person is totally responsible for his behavior.

      223. br.d
        A robot is not coerced by its program – it just can’t do otherwise.”

        rhutchin
        LOL!!! A robot does exactly what it is programmed to do – – it just can’t do otherwise.” It doesn’t need to be coerced because it does not want to do otherwise. So, what’s your point?

        br.d
        Same functionality in Calvinism
        The creature can’t “want” otherwise – because it is designed to “want” what it is predestined to “want”.

        But I already know what your next move is.

        Some attribute of the secondary means – caused some attribute of the secondary means – caused some attribute of the secondary means – and on into infinite regress.

        Nice little exculpatory argument designed to keep one from tracing-back up determinisms causal chain. :-]

      224. br.d
        Understanding of things *AS-IF* he didn’t AUTHOR those very things!”

        rhutchin
        Understanding of things as the basis for God authoring those very things! Without understanding, there is no authoring.

        br.d
        Thankfully – we are able to discern Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language patterns :-]

      225. br.d writes, “Thankfully – we are able to discern Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language patterns ”

        Fortunately, br.d cannot explain what he is talking about and no one else understands him.

      226. br.d
        “Thankfully – we are able to discern Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language patterns ”

        rhutchin
        Fortunately, br.d cannot explain what he is talking about and no one else understands him.

        br.d
        I’ll bet if you ask the others what Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking pattern is – they will know.
        But then you’ll simply say they also don’t understand it
        We know a lot of Calvinist thinking patterns :-]

      227. br.d writes, “I’ll bet if you ask the others what Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking pattern is – they will know.”

        OK. How about it – FOH, TS00, Brian and all those lurking about. Explain what br.d means by “Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking pattern.”

      228. One example of AS IF would be:
        Universal Divine Causal Determinism…This is at the bottom of what Calvinism teaches, this is their foundation. BUT since this is unliveable Calvin told his followers they must live *AS IF* nothing was determined, since they don’t know what is determined.

        X is true but X is unliveable so live AS IF x is false.

      229. GraceAdict writes, “BUT since this is unliveable Calvin told his followers they must live *AS IF* nothing was determined, since they don’t know what is determined.”

        Yes. That’s pretty much the only example br.d uses. That is just a common sense approach for young believers until they mature and grasp the notion that they can trust God in every situation because He has the future under control. I kinda thought he meant something more than that. A lot of believers have a hard time living as if God has everything under control including Calvinists.

      230. But that is pretty BIG wouldn’t you agree?…. Absolutely everything is placed under that umbrella. Universal Divine Meticulous Determinism of every thing. Even if you are trusting Him or Not, that lack of Trust is Determined by God FOR you.

      231. GraceAdict writes,”Absolutely everything is placed under that umbrella. Universal Divine Meticulous Determinism of every thing.”

        No. The only thing in view here is the believers ability to trust God to have control over everything. However, br.d has said:

        “Theological Determinism *AS-IF* IN-determinism
        “Mere” Permission doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does.
        Foreknowledge via observation doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does.
        And Calvin’s god is the AUTHOR of all things *AS-IF* he isn’t
        True *AS-IF* False
        False *AS-IF* True”

        Seems like br.d means more than you ascribe to him. However, if you can explain what he means, that would be pretty neat.

      232. rhutchin
        “Theological Determinism *AS-IF* IN-determinism
        “Mere” Permission doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does.
        Foreknowledge via observation doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does.
        And Calvin’s god is the AUTHOR of all things *AS-IF* he isn’t
        True *AS-IF* False
        False *AS-IF* True”

        Seems like br.d means more than you ascribe to him. However, if you can explain what he means, that would be pretty neat.

        br.d
        Nope – br.d means exactly the same thing in every one of these cases.
        And GraceAdict is correct – Calvin’s teaching of living/thinking *AS-IF* determinism is FALSE – is the underlying principle of them all.

      233. rhutchin
        That is just a common sense approach for young believers until they mature and grasp the notion that they can TRUST God in every situation because He has the future under control

        br.d
        Funny Calvin didn’t preface this as directed towards “young believers”

        And what is this maturing believer supposed to TRUSTING Calvin’s god for?

        Here are a few things Calvin teaches one to trust Calvin’s god for:

        – He can trust Calvin’s god for designing the vast majority if humanity for eternal torment in the lake of fire.

        – He can trust Calvin’s god to speak his “Enunciated” will through scripture – while knowing the SECRET will may be the exact opposite – and his end – eternal torment in the lake of fire

        – He can trust Calvin’s god to create him as one of the -quote “LARGE MIXTURE” of those whom salvation is held out as a savor of greater condemnation – whom Calvin’s god will strike with greater blindness – and then throw in the lake of fire.

        There are way to many things a maturing Calvinist can learn to trust Calvin’s god for!
        Even though most of them involve the lake of fire. :-]

      234. GraceAdict
        X is true but X is unliveable so live AS IF x is false.

        br.d
        Excellent answer GraceAdict!

        John Calvin
        each ought to so to apply himself to his office, *AS THOUGH* nothing were determined about any part

      235. br.d writes, “Those factors being neurological impulses that appear in your brain – which he AUTHORED. If he doesn’t have understanding of what he AUTHORS he’s in trouble :-]”

        By authored, Calvin accepts secondary means. Thus, God create da brain and put it in a body such that putting one’s hand on a hot stove would generated neurological impulses as would looking down from the Empire State bldg as would seeing your neighbor’s new car. God does not initiate those neurological impulses but built those reactions into the brain to respond to anything that stimulated the body. As God understands the brain He made, He can know how it will react in specific situations that God arranges as when Peter is confronted by the girl or David looks across to the building where Bathsheba is bathing.

        Then, “There goes Calvin’s god again – AUTHORING events for himself to NOT interfere in again – what a hoot! :-]”

        God worked all things into His plan in eternity past including those times when God involves Himself in the affairs of people (e.g., the impregnation of Mary) and when He does not (e.g., the stoning of Stephen). So, God authors events that come about by His direct action and events that come about through secondary means without His direct action. Pretty impressive to me even if you deride God for doing this.

      236. br.d
        Those factors being neurological impulses that appear in your brain – which he AUTHORED. If he doesn’t have understanding of what he AUTHORS he’s in trouble :-]”

        rhutchin
        By authored, Calvin accepts secondary means. …etc

        br.d
        Too funny! I always get a kick out of your arguments where Calvin quotes “XYZ” doesn’t mean “XYZ” :-]

        But alas I know – its all about making Theological Determinism *AS-IF* IN-determinism

        And there goes Calvin’s god again – AUTHORING events for himself to interfere/intervene/prevent in (or not).
        *AS-IF* creatures actually had an attribute that Calvin’s god (the potter who makes vessels of wrath and honor) didn’t himself AUTHOR
        What a hoot! :-]

        rhutchin
        God worked all things into His plan in eternity past including those times when God involves Himself in….etc

        br.d
        Yes I know – AUTHORING things for himself to be involved in – *AS-IF* he didn’t AUTHOR them! :-]

        Calvinism’s infamous *AS-IF* thinking pattern.
        Where all things are determined by the THEOS *AS-IF* they aren’t
        So we see that Calvinists are forced to live in an *AS-IF* world.

        Who wouldn’t want to run right out and sign up for that! :-]

      237. TS00 writes, “There is absolutely nothing that requires different people who have a free choice to all make the same choice.”

        I said, “Had God granted all people an equal choice…” Different people who have equal choice will choose the same. If different people are also “different” in some manner then they do not have “equal” choice and will choose differently on at least one decision. The issue of salvation is a no-brainer choice. Different people with equal choice will choose salvation. If a person does not choose salvation then he is different in some respect from the others. We can explain this by 2 Corinthians 4, “…if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,whose minds the god of this age has blinded,…” or 1 Corinthians 1, “…the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

        So, when you say, “if one hangs around a few different people one will quickly see how unique each is,” you mean that people are not equal and not equal in their ability to make choices.

        Then, you say, ‘I’ve five young adult children, and the chances of them making the same exact choices in any situation are very slim,” What you mean is that they do not have equal choice – they are different from each other and those differences translate into different choices.

      238. Wow, I suspect that rh has Apsberger’s or some other degree of autism, as his thinking is completely mechanistic, as tends to be the case with such persons. One of my family members with Apsberger’s struggles to understand how neuro-typical people process verbal and especially non-verbal cues in order to determine socially appropriate behavior. Something has been severed in their brains, disabling them from performing these perpetual, unconscious processes that make social interaction possible and pleasant.

        Neuro-typical people are not programmed like computers, although they are more likely than the Apsberger’s individual to avoid social pitfalls, such as standing too close, telling inappropriate jokes or staying longer than is welcome. While there is a subconscious process that assists us in knowing when we are making others uncomfortable, it does not lead all people to function in the exact same manner.

        We are all unique individuals, and our personalities, egos, needs and desires will be expressed in unique ways. Attend any party or social gathering and you will not see even two persons who express themselves in the exact same manner. You may be able to classify people, such as ‘the life of the party’ types, ‘introverts’ or ‘know-it-alls’, but no two individuals will react in the exact same manner at all times to the same stimuli.

        This is the nature of unique, individual beings, something rh and much of Calvinism appears to be in ignorance of. God did not make men who are robots which, when exposed to the same input, will automatically produce the same pre-programmed response. I will add that ‘the flesh’ is actually that part of humans which is pre-programmed to induce certain responses to the desire for food, water and other sensual needs. While necessary to life, even these fleshly desires allow for some degree of variation, and individuals have the ability to monitor and control their response to these fleshly, life-preserving desires.

        A rational human being, confronted with the fleshly desire for food, can nonetheless embark upon a hunger strike in protest of some injustice, denying the primal desire to live. Because men are not robots, they can make choices, and those choices can vary to very great degrees. Some men are entirely sensual and can deny themselves nothing. Thus we see those who will rape, steal and murder in pursuit of some desire. Others have a high degree of self control, and will deny themselves in order to put others’ interests first.

        Scripture does teach that the sensual man is unaware of the dangers of sensual excess, or the need to control his passions in order to benefit others. This is part of what becoming a mature child of God is all about. We learn to confront and control our fleshly nature, denying personal excess and thinking of the needs of others rather than simply our own natural desires.

        To turn all of this into minutely pre-programmed behavior is to turn man into an animal. It appears that rh simply does not truly understand what being made in the image of God means; that is understandable, as Calvinism has distorted that concept into something that is neither logical nor supportable by common evidence.

        If equality means sameness then, no, God did not make all men and women equal. There is a vast degree of variations in the physical qualities, mental abilities, and a broad array of circumstances that assure broad distinctions in the lives people live. What we do all have, apart from the physical and mental damage that is frequently caused by the toxification of our world, as well as the cultural oppression of abusive authorities, is the ability and freedom to make individual choices with who and what we are. These choices are not required to be identical to ensure that men have equality of freedom.

      239. TS00 writes, “There is a vast degree of variations in the physical qualities, mental abilities, and a broad array of circumstances that assure broad distinctions in the lives people live.”

        What TS00 argues is that people are unique individuals who, presented with the same choice, will make different decisions. That is why we have the elect and the reprobate. So long as we understand that LFW (or whatever free will) does not change the uniqueness of people, we can understand how some become elect and some remain reprobate. As TS00 argues, God is not under obligation to give people equal choice so that so each has an equal ability to choose salvation. It is because God does not give people equal choice that people’s unique abilities with the totality of their biases are able to present different decisions when presented with the same choice. The argument now concerns the extent to which God can affect the decisions people make thereby dividing people into elect and reprobate. Calvinist say that we can trace a person’s decision on salvation, and whether the person becomes one of His elect or remains reprobate, to God’s action; therefore God’s will.

      240. rh writes:
        “As TS00 argues, God is not under obligation to give people equal choice so that so each has an equal ability to choose salvation.”

        Except that TS00 argued no such thing. 😉

      241. rh writes: “As TS00 argues, God is not under obligation to give people equal choice so that so each has an equal ability to choose salvation.”
        YS00: Except that TS00 argued no such thing.

        Yet, TS00 appears to believe it given his extended remarks on human freedom. What else could the reader conclude?

      242. RH: “Different people with equal choice will choose salvation”

        GA – What you RH are actually saying in your post is that “The Same Person” cloned 4 Billion times and put in the exact same environment at the exact same time in time and space, with the exact same DNA will choose the same thing every time. That is NOT the world that God has created.. Besides that you ignore the fact that even if they did have the same DNA man is a living spiritual being that is also created by God to have a will and be an individual not a cookie cutter being. This is where authentic free-will comes in, man is created in the image of God of his creator to also be creative, requiring unique free choices

      243. Rh appears unable to grasp either the unique individuality or the genuine freedom each person has been granted by God. I am beginning to suspect that it is the Apsberger’s types who become and remain deceived by Calvinism, as it reflects their somewhat impaired view of the world. It is definitely the two Apsberger’s males in my family who are deeply Calvinistic, while most others are very inconsistent, rejecting most of the major premises of the system without realizing that this makes them ‘not’ truly Calvinists. It just happens to be their ‘tribe’.

      244. TS00 writes, “the genuine freedom each person has been granted by God.”

        If only TS00 could define “genuine freedom” Only God has “genuine” freedom and that because He has infinite understanding of Himself and whatever He creates. People have little understanding of anything and given that understanding comes from the fear of the Lord, does TS00 really think their will be an explosion in understanding anytime soon??

      245. GraceAdict writes, “What you RH are actually saying in your post is that “The Same Person” cloned 4 Billion times and put in the exact same environment at the exact same time in time and space, with the exact same DNA will choose the same thing every time.”

        No. I am saying that different people given the same choice will make different decisions based on their unique biases. Override those biases and give those people an equal choice and they will all make the same decision. The equal choice distinction seems to be the purpose of LFW. If LFW does not involve equal choice, then what does it do that people are so excited about it?

      246. What we argue for is that LFW is required for the greatest ethic to exist…Genuine LOVE…I do not believe that LFW was God’s ultimate Goal for man…God’s Goal for man is that man be in a Genuine LOVE relationship with his creator WHICH requires LFW not a robot. LFW is the means to a Goal if you like…not the Goal itself. Check these verse out.
        Mat 22:36  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 
        Mat 22:37  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 
        Mat 22:38  This is the great and first commandment. 
        Mat 22:39  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 

        In a Robotic type world you can have a form of “obedience” but NOT LOVE that requires LFW.

      247. GraceAdict writes, “…NOT LOVE that requires LFW.”

        Why does “love” (genuine or whatever) require LFW? What about LFW makes this necessary?

      248. GraceAdict writes, ‘You have identified your own error…”Had God granted all people an equal choice either all would come to salvation or all would reject salvation.” Is not a biblical truth…it is at best man-made.”

        It’s common sense. God gave us a brain so that we can think, If all have an equal choice, then how do some make different decisions than others??

      249. It’s magic for the determinist! The change of will happens without information or persuation, and with partiality towards some by a supposedely impartial God! That’s not how I read it! 😉

      250. Yep, which is why I could no longer be a part of my Calvinist Church. Once I fully understood its implications, I realized I would have to invite my neighbors with ‘God might love you, and might want you to be delivered from death. Why don’t you come and see what happens’. It just didn’t seem to have the appeal that the genuine gospel does, which truly draws all men to God:

        “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

        I simply didn’t relish explaining ‘the catch’ in the offer the rest of my life. Nor, frankly, would I want to follow such a God.

      251. TS00
        I realized I would have to invite my neighbors with ‘God *MIGHT* love you, and *MIGHT* want you to be delivered from death.
        Why don’t you come and see what happens’.

        I simply didn’t relish explaining ‘the catch’ in the offer the rest of my life.

        br.d
        The Lord was able to prick your conscience.

        The vast majority of Calvinists appear to have something going on inside them which dulls that.
        And allows them to NOT speak the truth – the whole truth – and nothing but the truth – when they speak to people.
        This allows them to hide the dark-side of Calvinism and focus on some *POSSIBLE* bight-side.

      252. True. And they don’t particularly appreciate being called out on it. I say if you are going to assert some astonishing claim, you at least need to own it.

        Wanna call yourself ‘Reformed’? Then you need to confess and defend why God deliberately refuses to save many whom he could just as easily have ‘chosen’ to redeem.

        Don’t go telling people that God loves them if your theology asserts he just might not. And no word games – nobody is going to buy ‘love’ that gives sunshine and rain in preparation for the kill.

      253. TS00 writes, “Wanna call yourself ‘Reformed’? Then you need to confess and defend why God deliberately refuses to save many whom he could just as easily have ‘chosen’ to redeem. ”

        We don’t know why – except that God’s decision was made after the counsel of His will – but we do know that God deliberately refuses to save many based on Matthew 7, ““Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

      254. Rhutchin writes: “God works through the wills of people to bring about events He has decreed.”

        It’s one thing to say that He appeals to their wills, or works with the decisions they make, or guides them to the decision He wants them to make but lets them decide whether to obey or not, and then He works their obedience or disobedience into His plans. Biblical!

        But it’s another to say He controls them and causes them to do what they do (or forces them to have the desires He wants them to have), in order to get His will done. Not biblical!

        I feel sorry for the Calvinist’s god – far too weak and small-minded to manage anything other than the things he causes.

      255. Rhutchin writes: “God works through the wills of people to bring about events He has decreed.”

        br.d
        Notice how the Calvinist always avoids telling the WHOLE TRUTH.
        Calvin’s god DECREES the wills of people to bring about events he as DECREED.
        So that he can blame someone for the things he DECREES. :-]

        I think that person would be functioning as what is called a PATSY

      256. br.d writes, “Notice how the Calvinist always avoids telling the WHOLE TRUTH.
        Calvin’s god DECREES the wills of people to bring about event he as DECREED.
        So that he can blame someone for the things he DECREES. :-]
        I think that person would be functioning as what is called a PATSY”

        We have the example of this in Isaiah 10:

        “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Yet he does not mean so, Nor does his heart think so; But it is in his heart to destroy, And cut off not a few nations.”

        Maybe br.d can take this Scripture and tell us the whole truth.

      257. rhutchin
        God works through the wills of people to bring about events He has decreed

        br.d
        Notice how the Calvinist always avoids telling the WHOLE TRUTH.
        Calvin’s god DECREES the wills of people to bring about events he has DECREED.
        So that he can blame someone for the things he DECREES. :-]
        I think that person would be functioning as what is called a PATSY

        rhutchin
        We have the example of this in Isaiah 10:…..
        Maybe br.d can take this Scripture and tell us the whole truth.

        br.d
        Thank you for providing an example of how Calvinists use scripture to justify not telling the WHOLE TRUTH (about Calvinism).
        And as far as br.d taking that scripture to tell the WHOLE TRUTH (about Calvinism) would be to conflate Calvinism with scripture.
        And that would be an abuse of scripture
        What we use for evidence is Calvin’s doctrine.

        Bottom line:
        Calvin’s god DECREES the wills of people to bring about events he has DECREED.
        Making people function as PATSIES so he can blame them for what he DECREES.

      258. br.d writee, “Thank you for providing an example of how Calvinists use scripture to justify not telling the WHOLE TRUTH (about Calvinism).”

        You would not find br.d addressing the truth of Scripture. He runs away from Scripture.

      259. br.d
        Thank you for providing an example of how Calvinists use scripture to justify not telling the WHOLE TRUTH (about Calvinism).”

        rhutchin
        You would not find br.d addressing the truth of Scripture. He runs away from Scripture.

        br.d
        And you say others have opinions! :-]

      260. br.d writes, “And you say others have opinions!”

        An opinion backed up by observation and experience. You will not find br.d addressing the truth of Scripture. He runs away from Scripture; this supported by observation and experience..

      261. br.d
        And you say others have opinions!”

        rhutchin
        An opinion backed up by observation and experience. You will not find br.d addressing the truth of Scripture. He runs away from Scripture; this supported by observation and experience..

        br.d
        As I’ve said – language is easy to manipulate – which is Calvinism’s strong suit.
        The rules that govern language are very loose – and as everyone here watching your posts observes – Calvinists use that to their utmost advantage.

        The rules of LOGIC however have become a fixed standard – and when Calvinist attempt to twist it – under LOGICAL scrutiny their gig is up.

      262. br.d writes, “As I’ve said – language is easy to manipulate – which is Calvinism’s strong suit.”

        LOL!!! br.d is still running away from Scripture. Lets’ remind br.d of the Scripture br.d runs from:

        “We have the example of this in Isaiah 10:…..
        Maybe br.d can take this Scripture and tell us the whole truth.”

      263. rhutchin:
        “You would not find br.d addressing the truth of Scripture. He runs away from Scripture.”

        I would take that as a compliment, that instead of prooftexting with contorted and out of context verses, you actually view the overarching themes of scripture, which are displayed throughout, without contradiction.

        Thus, we can affirm that God is love, as it is plainly stated, and any single verse or event that appears to suggest otherwise, we are probably not understanding correctly. We can accept God’s multiple assertions that he desires none to perish, all to turn from wickedness, etc. and if any single verse or snippet appears to suggest otherwise, we know we are not properly interpreting what is being said.

        This is so basic. Anyone can take verses out of context and create monstrous claims. And many have, including our old friend John Calvin, who was the king of twisting scripture into unrecognizable shapes and making blasphemous, unthinkable charges against a truly loving, merciful and holy God, in whom there is no evil or injustice whatsoever.

      264. One of RH’s strategies is to set himself up as the judge and you the one he is judging – and try to goad you into defending yourself.

        Of course that is an act of futility because as the judge he can simply say you didn’t meet his satisfaction.
        *AS-IF* meeting whatever is his satisfaction is the golden standard.

        None of us here should be fooled into falling into that trap.

        In vain is the net spread in the SIGHT of any bird. :-]

      265. heather writes, “But it’s another to say He controls them and causes them to do what they do (or forces them to have the desires He wants them to have), in order to get His will done. Not biblical!”

        People’s desires come from their sin nature and their lack of faith. As br.d will point out, God made them with a sin nature and withheld faith from them thereby causing them to be who they are. Paul describes this in Romans 8, “those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh…For to be carnally minded is death…Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” That is why we get the description in Genesis 6, “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually., and Jeremiah 17, ““The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked;” God understood that this would be the result of Adam’s sin when He told Adam not to eat the fruit. In His control of sinful humanity, God does not have to force people to do evil but needs only to restrain people from the sin they strive to do, so that people are Totally Depraved but not Utterly Depraved. I see this as Biblical.

      266. rhutchin
        People’s desires come from their sin nature and their lack of faith.

        br.d
        *AS-IF* their sin nature could be what it is without Calvin’s god AUTHORING it and DECREEING it.

        rhutchin
        As br.d will point out, God made them with a sin nature and withheld faith from them thereby causing them to be who they are.

        br.d
        What br.d says is – Calvin’s god AUTHORS/DESIGNS every part of every attribute of the creature – and DOSE NOT PERMIT any attribute to be otherwise than what he specifically AUTHORS/DECREES. So every attribute you want to blame has its SOURCE in Calvin’s god.

      267. br.d writes, “What br.d says is – Calvin’s god AUTHORS/DESIGNS every part of every attribute of the creature – and DOSE NOT PERMIT any attribute to be otherwise than what he specifically AUTHORS/DECREES. So every attribute you want to blame has its SOURCE in Calvin’s god.”

        More simply, God gives people a sin nature and withholds faith from them. As Paul explains in Romans 9, “So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy….Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens…What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,…”

      268. Br.d. said earlier: “Some of rhutchin’s pronouncements make me think of a person who inserts a quarter into his left ear – and out pops one of his crazy statements. Of course pronounced without blinking. :-]”

        Made me giggle!

        When my husband reads rhutchin’s stuff, he hears it in Sheldon’s voice, from Big Bang Theory. But I hear it in the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher.

      269. TS00 says: “I find it telling that Calvinists always weave together snippets of unrelated passages to concoct their theories.”

        They are the children of Calvin! In his Institutes, Calvin uses Psalm 33 (verses 6 and 13) to support his idea that God controls everything: “God created the heavens, He beholdeth the children of men.” He takes two separated verses, mashes them together, and then basically says “See, since God caused/controlled the creation of the heavens, He must also necessarily cause/control every detail of His creation, including us. Because He talks about men in the same chapter where He talks about creating the heavens. Therefore, He controls everything we do, just like He controls the heavens.”

        Yet – DUH! – he clearly ignores one of the verses right in the middle, verse 10: “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the people.”

        If God is controlling men, then why does He have to thwart their plans? Aren’t those really just HIS plans that He’s thwarting then, because He controlled the people, causing them to make those plans? That’s one bizarre, self-sabotaging god, pointlessly causing plans that he then has to thwart! (And how does one get “controls” from “beholdeth” (I.e. “looks upon”)? You have to do some severe stretching to get that!)

        The Calvinist method: Pick the verses you like, use them to reinterpret any other verses that can be twisted to be Calvinistic, and ignore the rest or explain them away with “mystery.” Voila! Calvinism!

      270. Heather:
        You said….

        “The Calvinist method: Pick the verses you like, use them to reinterpret any other verses that can be twisted to be Calvinistic, and ignore the rest or explain them away with “mystery.” Voila! Calvinism!”

        I need to add a disclaimer. It sounds in the above like there are a lot of verses to choose from. No so. Maybe you could say “Pick from the around 40-50 go-to verses Calvinists use …..use them to interpret….”

      271. heather writes, “If God is controlling men, then why does He have to thwart their plans? Aren’t those really just HIS plans that He’s thwarting then, because He controlled the people, causing them to make those plans?”

        God uses the evil desires of people to accomplish His plans. Examples of this are Joseph’s brothers seeking to kill Joseph but only able to sell Joseph to the slave traders because that was God’s plan and the Assyrians in Isaiah 10 who wanted to pillage, rape, and kill but were denied the ability to do this to Israel until God said so. Thus, the Proverb, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”

      272. rhutchin
        God uses the evil desires of people to accomplish His plans

        br.d
        This is a great example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.
        In this case *AS-IF* a person can have a desire that Calvin’s god did not AUTHOR and did not impose on the creature as FATE.

        Thanks for another great example rhutchin :-]

      273. rhutchin: “God uses the evil desires of people to accomplish His plans”
        br.d: “This is a great example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.”

        As supported by Scripture.

        Joseph said to his brothers, ““But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

        Then, in Acts, ““Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know–Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;…For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.”

      274. Rhutchin says: “’Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation’…. Maybe br.d can take this Scripture and tell us the whole truth.”

        Yeah, it’s “God using people’s self-chosen evilness to accomplish His plans. And since they chose to be evil – with no help from Him – He can JUSTLY punish them for it later.”

        But what would Calvinists say? “Calvi-god caused them to be evil, then he made them attack his people, then he punished them for being evil when he himself caused them to be that way and they had no choice about it. Oh, and he’s still just and loving and good and righteous and trustworthy!”

        HOGWASH!

      275. How dare you do the very thing I DECREED you to do!
        Now I’m really going to enjoy punishing you for that!

        What – you say I didn’t give you any other option?
        What – you say I didn’t PERMIT you to do otherwise?
        What – you say I DESIGNED you to be/do everything you be/do?

        Well all of that is beside the point!

        You see – the problem I have here is – if I give you the option to DO OTHERWISE then what I DECREE then you may not choose to sin like I want you to. Then how am I supposed to have all of the sins and evils I take so much pleasure in?
        You see my dilemma don’t you?

        Now right about now – you’re supposed be thanking me for DECREEING you do all sorts of sins and evils.
        But of-course HA-HA your not going to do that unless I DECREE it are you!

        So guess what – I’ll just DECREE you NOT do that – and then punish you for NOT doing it!

        I just love making evil good!

      276. Rhutchin: “Calvinism seeks to answer the question, “If God so loves the world, why doesn’t God save each and every person?”

        Yes, Calvinism seeks to answer this question. And it does so by deciding for itself what God’s love accomplishes. It decided that if God truly loves someone then He WILL save that person (instead of the Biblical view of His love where, out of love, He paid the price for all sins and made salvation available for all).

        And since they start with a wrong view of His love, they then have to decide what this means for those God didn’t “elect”. (However, election itself – “forced salvation – is something Calvinism also created). And so they philosophize that God must not love those who aren’t saved because, according to them, God only saves those He loves and only loves those He saves.

        Calvinism is a big bag of assumptions and misconceptions and errant philosophical musings from the very beginning, reducing God’s love from big to tiny – reducing God from a God who loves all people, wants all people to be saved, and who made salvation available to all to a god who only cares about a few people enough to save them (when he has enough power to save all) and who derives sick pleasure and glory from deliberately damning everyone else to hell. But what else would you expect from a 26-ish-year-old lawyer with delusions of grandeur and a legalistic, controlling, megalomaniac personality!?!

      277. Heather,

        Part of the problem is that Calvinists start with ideas like “God of everything or God of nothing.” “Controls everything or controls nothing.” And they they pick Scriptures that might (if interpreted their way) uphold that idea.

        But that is not the God of the Bible who is constantly rejected by people,…. who constantly holds out His hand to a people who may say no…..who, in many places in the Bible (many places) tells them “you did not do what I wanted!”

        How can they build this “controls everything or controls nothing” idea when He says himself that they are constantly rejecting him?

        They just do it cuz it sound like it makes him more awesome….not cuz Scripture says it that way. If it even remotely clearly said that “He control everything” (even our sins included) then we—who want to follow Him would believe it.

        They have taken a Greek understanding of God and made it the template for the biblical God.

        Nah…..not biblical, not necessary….. and certainly makes Him far less loving than He is commanding us to be!

      278. FOH writes, “How can they build this “controls everything or controls nothing” idea when He says himself that they are constantly rejecting him?”

        By virtue of being sovereign, God is in control of everything He created. Your complaint seems to be how God exercises His sovereignty.

        Then, “But that is not the God…. who constantly holds out His hand to a people who may say no….”

        Yet, God knows (wink, wink) that people without faith will always say no (except in your Bible where you cut out that stuff).

      279. rhutchin
        By virtue of being sovereign, God is in control of everything He created. Your complaint seems to be how God exercises His sovereignty.

        br.d
        How many hundreds of times have I heard a Calvinist complain against Calvin’s god’s DECREE to make a non-Calvinist criticize Calvinism.

        Jesus said to the Calvinists: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”
        And they all thought he was giving them permission to compete with each other! :-]

      280. BR.D., Love your “How dare you …” comment. That is totally the Calvinist’s god. And I simply can’t understand how they don’t – won’t – acknowledge it. It’s a truly amazing, complex web of slippery lies, able to keep its hold so tightly on so many intelligent people, many of whom really do want to be humble and to honor God. It’s sad.

        I think there will be a heavy eternal price to pay for the Calvinist teachers who put these shackles-of-lies on such well-meaning Christians. Such a shame. It’s hard for me to watch my old church grow more and more entrenched in Calvinism, knowing that no one will heed my warnings unless they want to. And unfortunately, their Calvi-pastor is such a powerful speaker that no one will want to consider that he might be wrong.

        It’s like watching a ship hit an iceberg and start sinking slowly. And I am on a lifeboat, frantically waving my hands at them, trying to get them to see that they are going down and need to get off the ship, or at least fix the hole. But they just keep talking and laughing, “praising God” together, unaware that the ship is going down.

        And all I can do is watch, hoping and praying that they realize it someday too.

      281. Heather, that is exactly how I feel, only my spouse and some of my kids are on that ship. It makes it hard to just stand helplessly by, but as God exemplifies, love cannot force anything on another.

      282. Rhutchin says: “By virtue of being sovereign, God is in control of everything He created. Your complaint seems to be how God exercises His sovereignty.”

        No, my complaint is with how Calvinists have decided for themselves – contrary to Scripture – how God has to use His sovereignty in order to be a sovereign God.

        I believe that God can exercise His sovereign control however He wants, even by giving people free-will, the ability to make their own decisions about if they will accept or reject Him. if they will obey or disobey. And I believe this is what Scripture clearly shows again and again.

        It’s Calvinists who refuse to accept how God Himself has decided to use His control and exercise His sovereignty. They will only accept the idea that sovereignty means that He has to be the ultimate, active cause of everything that happens, even sin and evil and deliberately putting people in hell.

        Calvinism: Mankind telling God how God has to be in order to be God!

      283. heather writes, “I believe that God can exercise His sovereign control however He wants,…”

        No problem with Calvinists on that.

        Then, “…even by giving people free-will, the ability to make their own decisions about if they will accept or reject Him.”

        Isn’t faith necessary to free will and particularly, that decision? IF, Yes, I don’t understand the point you are trying to make.

        Then, “They will only accept the idea that sovereignty means that He has to be the ultimate, active cause of everything that happens, even sin and evil and deliberately putting people in hell.”

        Given that God is sovereign doesn’t He have the final say on anything that happens – having the power to prevent whatever He wants and able to withhold His power for those things He does not want to prevent?

      284. Rhutchin says: “God uses the evil desires of people to accomplish His plans.”

        Spoken like a true non-Calvinist!

        Because the God of the Bible does work people’s evil desires/decisions into His plans. Whereas Calvi-god CAUSES the evil desires of people for his plans, giving people no choice but to be evil and do evil. And then he punishes them for it.

      285. heather writes, “Spoken like a true non-Calvinist!”

        Non-Calvinists don’t disagree with Calvinists on everything. Both agree that people are born with a sin nature and without faith, thereby Totally Depraved. They believe that faith is a gift from God. etc.

      286. rh writes:
        “Non-Calvinists don’t disagree with Calvinists on everything. Both agree that people are born with a sin nature and without faith, thereby Totally Depraved. They believe that faith is a gift from God. etc.”

        Nice try. Only a select few non-Calvinists believe these things. Some have been brainwashed into the concept of Total Depravity or a sin nature that demands one must sin. Some believe that faith is a gift from God. Most do not.

        Most believe that in some way sin came into this world when Adam sinned; few really try to understand how or why or what exatly that means, other than to believe scripture’s teaching that all sin and require a savior. Most believe that faith is the required response to God’s revelations and promises.

      287. TS00 writes, “Only a select few non-Calvinists believe these things….Most believe that in some way sin came into this world when Adam sinned; few really try to understand how or why or what exatly that means, other than to believe scripture’s teaching that all sin and require a savior. Most believe that faith is the required response to God’s revelations and promises.”

        In other words, most non-Calvinist believe what they are told to believe and don’t try to understand what they are told.

      288. TS00 said: “My favorite ploy is when he quotes scripture to support the opposite of what Calvinism asserts. Saves us from having to respond: Scripture says ‘A’, so even though Calvinism asserts ‘non-A’, we will pretend as if quoting scripture’s ‘A’ somehow confirms Calvinism’s ‘non-A’ and all is good. I presume the assumption is that everyone will run from the room screaming at the absurdity of it all, and the last one in the room wins.”

        Love it! Calvinists totally do this by quoting Scripture like “The Bible says God doesn’t cause anyone to sin,” but then they go right into the sovereignty of God in causing all that happens (which – duh! – includes sin). But they must think that if they quote the Bible verse first, then we will shut off our critical thinking skills and go “Hmm, I’m not really sure what he’s saying, but he said God doesn’t cause sin, so he couldn’t possibly be saying now that God causes sin. I don’t really understand what he’s saying, but I guess I can trust that he knows what he’s talking about. Because he just quoted Scripture.”

      289. heather writes, “Calvinists totally do this by quoting Scripture like “The Bible says God doesn’t cause anyone to sin,…”

        This from James, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;…”

        Then, “…but then they go right into the sovereignty of God in causing all that happens (which – duh! – includes sin).’

        This from Ephesians 1, “…works all things according to the counsel of His will,…”

        So, maybe you can apply your critical thinking to explain these verses to mean something other than what they say.

      290. “…works all things according to the counsel of His will,…”

        This, and Rom 8:28 are almost too easy. There is absolutely no reason to assert that such statements demand predestination and meticulous divine control of whatsoever comes to pass. What they do tell us that whatsoever does come to pass, however awful or evil the rebellious choices of man might be, is not beyond God’s ability to turn into a part of his long-term plan for the redemption of his creation. It is almost laughable, in my opinion, to claim that these verses prove determinism. I read in them the exact opposite.

      291. TS00 writes, “What they do tell us that whatsoever does come to pass…is not beyond God’s ability to turn into a part of his long-term plan”

        Ephesians says, “God works all things according to the counsel of His will,…” It does not say, or imply, what you want – that God CAN ONLY work all things according to the counsel of His will” You are watering down the Scriptures at this point weakening the point made by Paul.

    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!

    5. I think I’m stuck here too. I’ve been secretly reading things and hiding from my Calvinistic friends and church family. It’s scary lol. But I now am started to believe that God calls All men to accept his gift. It’s a free choice. Because he graciously out of his Sovereignty lets them make it. I now view sovereignty in a different way. Lord help me in this. I’ve been a Calvinist for 10 years. Went though the “cage stage” and now regret my hate I spewed on friends 🙁 How do I undo this? I will always believe though in perseverance of the saints. I believe He keeps those in him forever. He does it though.

      1. Hello Christina – and welcome!

        Firstly – I thank the Lord for what he has done in your life.
        I especially thank him that he opened your eyes concerning Calvinism and is in the process of delivering you from it.

        In your lament over things you’ve done – I remember the Apostle Paul lamenting about things he did to the saints before he believed in Jesus. The Lord can use all thing we lament about for the good – as he redeems those very parts of us that were at one time abusive or hurtful – and He makes those very things become our strong Christ-like characteristics. But as long as we remain soft towards him, we will always feel that lament.

        There are others here who have come out of Calvinism – and I hope you’ll find fellowship, enlightenment and commiseration with them.

        Blessings!
        br.d

      2. Christina:
        It is great to hear of others that a moving away from Calvinism. Keep posting! Share with others the things that led you out.

        I have been doing that for some time now.

      3. Welcome Christina! I also believe the word is clear that those born into God’s family by His grace through faith are kept forever in His family. I pray the Lord gives you wisdom on how to help your loved ones understand God’s sovereignty according to Scripture. Leighton was a closet non-Calvinist for a number of years, as I recall. 😊

      4. Hello Christina, I am so glad that God has moved your heart to begin to see him as he truly is. If you have been reading here, you know that many of us were involved with or seduced by Calvinism for a number of years before we also began to see that it just did not add up to what scripture teaches about the love and mercy of God. For me it was a marvelous, joyful day when I felt that the loving God of my youth was restored to me.

        Just cling to him, and seek his guidance as he continues to add more and more to your understanding. That’s really all any of us can do. It can be hard to reject beliefs we have long held; especially if they are also held by our family and friends. Don’t be afraid to cast aside former preconceptions and consider alternatives. It never hurts to consider possibilities – even those we later deem faulty.

        I will confess that it has been a sometimes difficult journey, but I would not go back for anything. I am so thankful to be able to witness to a genuine love of God for all men, and his unquestionable desire to grant all an abundant, eternal life in fellowship with him. This is the greatest gift ever offered, and its worth exceeds all other things, even the fellowship of our most dear ones on this earth. I will be praying for you.

    6. For what it’s worth, the simplest and most biblically-consistent way for me to understand the “Father draws” and “I will draw all men” verses is that the only way anyone comes to Jesus is because God “drew” them. But this is not just for certain people exclusively. All people are “drawn” to God, meaning that He gives light enough and knowledge enough to all people (through the works of His hands and the work of the Holy Spirit) to be able to find Him, to draw them to Jesus. So anyone who comes to Jesus has been drawn by God. But those who reject Jesus don’t reject Him because they weren’t drawn, but because they resisted the draw that God put on their hearts, on all men’s hearts.

      To me, “drawing” doesn’t mean “must be saved.” It’s simply that we couldn’t come to God unless God made it possible for us to come to Him. We couldn’t find Him unless He wanted to be found and made it possible to find Him. And since He wants to be found, He gives us all enough knowledge to know the truth (and the opportunity to respond), but we decide whether to accept or reject it.

      This is how I see it, balancing God’s work and man’s responsibility to respond. This fits both the “No one can come to me unless the Father draws them” verse and the “I will draw all men” verse. And it fits the “God doesn’t want anyone to perish” verse and the “Jesus died so that all men may be saved” verse and the “All men are without excuse because God’s works are clearly seen in nature” verse and many more.

      The draw is there for all. But we choose whether to respond to it or resist it.

      1. heather writes, “the simplest and most biblically-consistent way for me to understand the “Father draws” and “I will draw all men” verses is that the only way anyone comes to Jesus is because God “drew” them.”

        Thus, you affirm the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity and the need for God to intervene to save anyone. Most people come to the same conclusion as you.

        Then, ‘All people are “drawn” to God,…”

        What is Jesus’ promise to the individual God draws, “I will raise him up at the last day.” Despite Brian’s grammatical claim that he has not figured out how to apply, Jesus’ promise is certain – Jesus will raise up the individual whom God draws to Him. We know this from v37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out,” and v45, ‘Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.”

        When you say, “All people are “drawn” to [Christ],…” you mean, “everyone who has heard and learned from the Father is drawn to Christ.” “Drawing” is defined in v45 as hearing and learning from the father. So, ““No individual can come to Christ…” unless “the Father draws that individual through hearing and teaching,” so that the individual who hears and is taught comes” and to that individual Jesus says, “I will raise him up at the last day.”

        Then, “To me, “drawing” doesn’t mean “must be saved.”

        It’s fine for you to hypothesize a position. Now you just need to incorporate v37 and v45 into your thinking.

      2. Rhutchin says: “Thus, you affirm the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity and the need for God to intervene to save anyone”

        I most certainly do not, not in the way you see it. (But if it makes you feel better to keep thinking that, then go ahead. Because if you can make it sound like we all secretly believe what you do, then I guess you win, right?)

        I believe in depravity, as in man is fallen now and cannot save himself. But not in Calvinist Total Depravity, that man cannot think about or respond to God unless God makes him do it. And I believe that God works in man to help us come to Him (He calls to all of us and gives us all enough evidence of Himself in nature and in our hearts so that we all know He’s real and can realize our need to seek Him and find Him), but I do not believe in the Calvinist idea that God only intervenes in the hearts of the elect to make them come to Him.

        My view and yours are very different!

      3. Well done Heather. Don’t take the bait or the goading.

        The Scripture is FULL of hundreds of times where God (The Sovereign “God of the Armies of Israel”) calls and pleads but people do not come. So….yes He draws!

        Can we refuse? All one has to do is read the Bible (without presupposed lenses) and she will see that man refuses God’s call (even His chosen/ called people) all the time!

        He calls…but we can say no. That is what Tozer is talking about when he says a Sovereign God is big enough to give real choices.

      4. FOH writes, “That is what Tozer is talking about when he says a Sovereign God is big enough to give real choices.”

        Even Tozer knew that there is no real choice without faith and when God gives a person assurance and conviction, we have what Paul describes in Colossians, “…our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance,…And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all…” and Thessalonians, ‘…we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

      5. rhutchin
        Even Tozer knew that there is no real choice without faith

        br.d
        I think Tozer knew that choice that is made IRRESISTIBLE by an overwhelming supernatural force – is having one’s choice s made in advance FOR them.

        In such case the creature is NOT PERMITTED to choose between two alternatives – because only one option is made available – that option having already been chosen for them.

        Now the Calvinist can fabricate and ILLUSION that the creature in such case is PERMITTED to choose between “election vs. Non-Election” (i.e. Salvation vs damnation). But that is simply an ILLUSION the Calvinist needs in order to make his system APPEAR biblical.

      6. br.d writes, “I think Tozer knew that choice that is made IRRESISTIBLE by an overwhelming supernatural force – is having one’s choice s made in advance FOR them.”

        That supernatural irresistible force is “faith.” Even Tozer surely recognized the irresistible power of faith and for God to give a person faith is for God to make the choice in advance for the person.

        Then, “In such case the creature is NOT PERMITTED to choose between two alternatives – because only one option is made available – that option having already been chosen for them.”

        That’s what faith does because faith is assurance and conviction. Faith reduces the salvation decision to one option.

        Them “that is simply an ILLUSION the Calvinist needs in order to make his system APPEAR biblical.”

        Where is the illusion? What about faith and its irresistibility is not Biblical?

      7. br.d
        “I think Tozer knew that choice that is made IRRESISTIBLE by an overwhelming supernatural force – is having one’s choice s made in advance FOR them.”

        rhutchin
        That supernatural irresistible force is “faith.”

        br.d
        You always conflate CAUSE with EFFECT
        In this case faith is the EFFECT – and the IRRESISTIBLE FORCE is the CAUSE

        In Calvinism the creature is NOT PERMITTED to choose between two alternatives – because only one option is made available – that option having already been chosen for them.”

        rhutchin
        That’s what faith does….etc

        br.d
        Again – faith is an EFFECT which Calvin’s god actualizes in the course of the human time-line.
        The CAUSE (the SUPERNATURAL FORCE) is actualized prior to the existence of the human time-line.

        rhutchin
        Where is the illusion?

        br.d
        All one has to do is read and THINK my statement through.

        Where Calvin’s god makes available to you only ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED option (election vs Non-election)
        And you have the ILLUSION that he has made available to you both options.
        Anyone who can THINK LOGICALLY can recognize that as an ILLUSION.

        But we don’t expect LOGICAL THINKING from Calvinist of course
        Because we understand why Calvinists need those ILLUSIONS! :-]

      8. FOH is absoutly correct!

        Also if you haven’t seen Kevin’s video (Beyond the fundamentals) you might want to see it.
        Kevin’s focus is on the WHOLE context of these verses rather than ripping individual verses out of their pages and forcing external meanings into them in order to use them a proof-texts.

        The video is on youtube. “Calvinist Problems with John 6:65”

      9. heather: “the simplest and most biblically-consistent way for me to understand the “Father draws” and “I will draw all men” verses is that the only way anyone comes to Jesus is because God “drew” them.”
        rhutchin: ” “Thus, you affirm the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity”
        heather: “I most certainly do not, not in the way you see it.” Then, ‘I do not believe in the Calvinist idea that God only intervenes in the hearts of the elect to make them come to Him.”

        So, your problem is not with Total Depravity to which you certainly agree (“I believe in depravity, as in man is fallen now and cannot save himself.”), but with election. Your problem is not with John 6:44 but with 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me,…”

      10. Rhutchin says: “No individual can come to Christ…” unless “the Father draws that individual through hearing and teaching,” so that the individual who hears and is taught comes” and to that individual Jesus says, “I will raise him up at the last day.”

        So let me get this straight: You believe that God uses the Word to draw people to Him (a Word that has been given to all men – Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, Titus 2:11), not that we come to God by being elected and regenerated BEFORE we even hear the Gospel? And if we really hear and learn what God is trying to tell us through Scripture and come to Him because of it, we will be saved and be raised up at the last day?

        Most people come to the same conclusion as you. When they read and understand the Word correctly.

      11. heather asks “So let me get this straight: You believe that God uses the Word to draw people to Him (a Word that has been given to all men – Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, Titus 2:11), not that we come to God by being elected and regenerated BEFORE we even hear the Gospel?”

        If God uses the word to draw a person to Christ, doesn’t that suggest that God chose to draw that person prior to using the word to affect that choice? Doesn’t a person have to be born again before they can see the kingdom of God, so doesn’t that suggest that a person must be born again (regenerated) prior to using the word to draw the person to see the kingdom?

      12. heather writes, “You believe that God uses the Word to draw people to Him …not that we come to God by being elected and regenerated BEFORE we even hear the Gospel?”

        Election and regeneration precede, and enable, one hearing the gospel. Hearing the gospel is the means of receiving faith. By faith one comes to Christ.

        Then, “And if we really hear and learn what God is trying to tell us through Scripture and come to Him because of it, we will be saved and be raised up at the last day?”

        Yes – as “everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Christ.”

        Then, ‘Most people come to the same conclusion as you. When they read and understand the Word correctly.”

        On that point, we agree.

      13. Rhutchin, A Calvinist’s Total Depravity IS Election. The are both a part of each other. And don’t call it “depravity” (which is a biblical idea). Call it what you really mean it is: Total Inability. A person who is total unable to come to God unless God causes them to can ONLY come by election, by God choosing to elect them. And God causes only the elect to overcome their Total Inability in order to come to Him. Total Inability IS a part of Election. Election IS a part of Total Inability. And neither has anything to do with a biblical view of depravity and how we truly come to Christ.

      14. heather writes, “A Calvinist’s Total Depravity IS Election”

        Not exactly. Total Depravity makes election necessary.

        Then, “Call it what you really mean it is: Total Inability. ”

        True “inability” because of the absence of faith. Without faith no one can be saved.

        Then, “A person who is total unable to come to God unless God causes them to can ONLY come by election, by God choosing to elect them.”

        Or they can come on their own volition without the grace of God. If a person reasons that he needs to be saved without God gibing him faith, then God will accept him. But, as you said, “the simplest and most biblically-consistent way for me to understand the “Father draws” and “I will draw all men” verses is that the only way anyone comes to Jesus is because God “drew” them.”

        Then, ‘Total Inability IS a part of Election. ”

        That’s closer. Both TD and election are part of salvation – the one describing the need for salvation and the other describing God’s part in salvation.

        Then, “Election IS a part of Total Inability. And neither has anything to do with a biblical view of depravity and how we truly come to Christ.”

        The Biblical view of depravity is that which you described, “..the simplest and most biblically-consistent way for me to understand the “Father draws” and “I will draw all men” verses is that the only way anyone comes to Jesus is because God “drew” them.” Depravity is such that no one can overcome their depravity and come to Christ on their own – God must draw him. That is also Total Depravity.

        Calvinists say that God elects to draw certain people; you say that God elects to draw all people. We know from Romans 8, “…whom God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that Christ might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom God predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”