Rebuttal of John Piper’s Article:“A Beginner’s Guide to ‘Free Will’”

John Piper is arguably the most influential Calvinist in the United States today and he consistently defends theistic determinism, the view that God is the decisive cause of all things, including every creature’s evil thoughts, desires or actions. As Piper puts it,

…God is the only being who is ultimately self-determining, and is himself ultimately the disposer of all things, including all choices — however many or diverse other intervening causes are. On this definition, no human being has free will, at any time. Neither before or after the fall, or in heaven, are creatures ultimately self-determining. There are great measures of self-determination, as the Bible often shows, but never is man the ultimate or decisive cause of his preferences and choices. When man’s agency and God’s agency are compared, both are real, but God’s is decisive. Yet — and here’s the mystery that causes so many to stumble — God is always decisive in such a way that man’s agency is real, and his responsibility remains.

One may read this and think to themselves, “Surely, given the preferences and choices of the worst pedophiles, abortionist, criminals, racists, and rapists our world has known, Pastor John does not really mean God decisively causes literally “ALL preferences and choices,” does he?! Yes, he does. And he makes it even more abundantly clear on his website:

“God . . . brings about all things in accordance with his will. In other words, it isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those who love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects for his glory (see Ex. 9:13-16; John 9:3) and his people’s good (see Heb. 12:3-11; James 1:2-4). This includes—as incredible and as unacceptable as it may currently seem—God’s having even brought about the Nazis’ brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child…

Nothing that exists or occurs falls outside God’s ordaining will. Nothing, including no evil person or thing or event or deed. God’s foreordination is the ultimate reason why everything comes about, including the existence of all evil persons and things and the occurrence of any evil acts or events. And so it is not inappropriate to take God to be the creator, the sender, the permitter, and sometimes even the instigator of evil… Nothing — no evil thing or person or event or deed — falls outside God’s ordaining will. Nothing arises, exists, or endures independently of God’s will. So when even the worst of evils befall us, they do not ultimately come from anywhere other than God’s hand.”[1]

John 2:16 plainly states that “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world,” but John Piper says it all comes from the hand of God.

James 1:13 clearly states, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone,” but Piper says God has decisively brought about not only every temptation but every preference and choice of everyone tempted and even every tempter.

God Himself said, “They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.” (Jer. 32:35)

Yet, John Piper’s doctrine would tell us that God “decisively caused” Judah’s preference and choice to sin in this deplorable manner. I believe this doctrine must be confronted for its blatant and gross mischaracterization of our God. I believe Piper, and many like him, are well-intending in their efforts to rightly exegete the whole counsel of God’s word. This is why I feel compelled to walk through each of his biblical arguments in this article in order to demonstrate clearly his faulty conclusions. He begins…

Before the fall of Adam, man was sinless and able not to sin. For God “saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). But he was also able to sin. For God had said, “In the day that you eat of it [the tree] you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17).

This paragraph establishes the liberty of will that God created within humanity as ones who bear His image. Even Calvinistic confessions acknowledge this original libertarian freedom:

  1. God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil. (Matthew 17:12; James 1:14; Deuteronomy 30:19 )
  2. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good and well-pleasing to God, but yet was unstable, so that he might fall from it. (Ecclesiastes 7:29; Genesis 3:6)[2]

This portion of Calvinistic confession is a good working definition of what we mean by “libertarian free will” (LFW), the categorical ability of the will to refrain or not refrain from a given moral action. Or more succinctly put, “a self-determined choice” or “agent-causation.” This is not a choice decisively caused by factors beyond the agent’s control. Adam and Eve had the freedom and power to will and to do that which was good or evil. That is libertarian free will and God’s sovereignty is in no way compromised by the fact that mankind was created with libertarian freedom (as some Calvinists attempt to argue so as to disprove the rationality of LFW).

It should be pointed out that this kind of libertarian free choice must not be characterized as “a causeless choice,” as John Frame attempted to do when he wrote,

The libertarian view states that some human decisions and actions, particularly moral and religious decisions, are strictly uncaused.[3]

This is an error. Was Adam and Eve’s free choice to eat the forbidden fruit uncaused? Of course not! Adam and Eve were the causes of their choice- which is why God holds them responsible.

Libertarians like myself are not attempting to argue that a moral agent’s choices are uncaused, but only that they are not causally determined by factors beyond the agent’s control (i.e. decisively caused by a divine sovereign decree). Instead, we would say that choices are self-caused. The cause of the choice is the chooser.

This does not mean, however, that the agent does not have reasons for his choices, but only that the reasons are influential, not decisive. The agent himself is the decisive cause of which desires he acts to fulfill. While this is a mystery beyond full comprehension, we see no more logical problem with affirming this claim than to affirm the same about the choices of our God, the One in whose image we were created. <More Here>

Piper, quoting Augustine, continues in his article to explain the results of the fall,

As soon as Adam fell into sin, human nature was profoundly altered. Now man was not able not to sin. In the fall, human nature lost its freedom not to sin.

The use of a double negative makes this statement a bit confounding.  If Piper simply means that fallen humanity cannot fulfill the demands of God’s law, but will always fall short (as taught by the Apostle Paul in Romans 3:23), then we would be in full agreement. But, it is clear, that is not all that Piper is meaning to say, he continues:

Why is man not able not to sin? Because on this side of the fall “that which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3:6), and “the mind of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7–8, my translation).

Or, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

Notice the word cannot twice in Romans 8:7–8, and the words “is not able” in 1 Corinthians 2:14. This is the nature of all human beings when we are born — what Paul calls the “natural person,” and what Jesus calls “born of the flesh.”

This means, Paul says, that in this condition we “cannot please God,” or, to put it another way, “we are not able not to sin.” The basic reason is that the natural person prefers his own autonomy and his own glory above the sovereignty and glory of God. This is what Paul means when he says, “The mind of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit .”

Notice how Piper has cobbled together several proof texts and smashed them side by side in order to create a systematic claim about the moral incapacities of mankind from birth? This is not a proper method of hermeneutics and can lead to many errors, even if unintentional.

Let’s unpack two of his primary proof texts and see if the Apostle Paul is intending to communicate Piper’s notion that due to the fall all people are born morally incapable to respond positively to God’s gracious appeals to be reconciled from that fall.

Romans 8:7-9 — “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”

Mankind’s inability to submit to God’s law does not prove their inability to trust in Christ who fulfilled the law for mankind.  Likewise, mankind’s inability to please God while acting in the flesh does not prove mankind’s inability to respond to the appeal of God in faith so as to receive his Spirit. Piper wrongly presumes that Paul’s warning against remaining in the flesh means that you cannot heed his warning and repent of your fleshly ways.

If I warn my rebellious son saying, “You cannot please me by acting selfishly,” does that suggest the child is unable to heed my warning, humble himself and repent of acting selfishly?  Of course not.  It only suggests that as long as my child continues to rebel and act according to his pride that he will not please me.  This verse says nothing of man’s inability to respond to God’s powerful truth and His gracious appeal to humble ourselves so as to be reconciled (2 Cor. 5:20).  Each individual has the choice to remain in their flesh and pride or respond to the Spirit’s call to humble themselves.  If you choose the former YOU CANNOT PLEASE GOD.

To be clear, no one is suggesting that man can please God apart from His enabling grace, such as the gospel appeal brought by the Spirit.  So, the question is whether or not the grace is actually “enabling” (as John 6:65 teaches), or does this grace “irresistibly” cause which choice the individual will make (as Calvinism presumes)?

1 Corinthians 2:14 — “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

So, the lost man needs someone to help him discern the “deep things of God” (vs. 10), right? Who better to do that than God’s chosen apostles? What are the means God uses to assist us in discerning spiritual truth if not his appointed messengers?  Is not the very epistle that Paul is writing to the carnal believers in Corinth a means of helping with their spiritual discernment?  And since the “brethren” in the Corinthian church are “not able to receive” these same “deep things of God” (1 Cor. 3:1-3), which previously were “hidden mysteries” (1 Cor. 2:6-8), one would be hard pressed to suggest that Paul was intending to teach that no one is able to understand the simple gospel appeal to be reconciled through faith in Jesus. <More Here>

Piper continues with this line of faulty reasoning:

The reason for this idolatrous preference is that we are morally blind to the glory of Christ, so that we cannot treasure his glory as superior to our own.

The Bible never teaches that mankind is born in a condition of moral blindness. Instead, it warns that one may become blinded, hardened, calloused and given over to their lusts if they persist in suppressing the truth of God over a period of time. <More Here>

Piper continues,

Satan is committed to confirming us in this blinding preference. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). So when the natural person looks at the glory of God, whether in nature or in the gospel, he does not see supreme beauty and worth.

Does this effort of Satan strike anyone as being completely unnecessary if the claims of Calvinism are true regarding man’s Total Inability from birth?

If we are born completely unable to see, hear, understand or respond willingly to the word of God, as the doctrine of Total Inability suggests, wouldn’t Satan’s work to blind people and snatch away the word be completely unnecessary and redundant?

Imagine visiting your local cemetery and discovering they hired a person to put blindfolds and earplugs on the corpses lest they respond willingly to the sights and sounds around the graveyard. Would this strike you as peculiar? <more here on the idiomatic use of spiritual deadness>

If you asked the cemetery’s director of operations why such an employee was hired and he sarcastically and confidently said, “Well, there are means to accomplish the ends. How do you think we keep corpses from responding to the sights and sounds around the graveyard except by means?” Is this not completely absurd? Piper goes on,

Where this wakening to the supreme glory and value of Jesus (called “new birth”) has not happened, the fallen human heart cannot believe in Jesus. That’s why Jesus said to those who opposed him, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44).

Here Piper is asserting, without Biblical justification, the idea of “pre-faith regeneration” (i.e. you must first be born again in order to believe in Jesus). Yet, just two verses prior to the one Piper referenced we read, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

Notice the order that Jesus asserts? He does not say to them, “I’ve refused to give you life so that you would certainly come to me.” No, he clearly puts the responsibility on to them for their refusal to come so as to have life. This is paralleled in John 20:31 which reads,

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Clearly, we are called to believe so as to be given new life in his name, not the other way around. Piper continues,

In other words, you cannot believe in Jesus while you treasure human glory over his. For believing is just the opposite. Believing in Jesus means receiving him as supremely glorious and valuable (John 1:12).

This is why the natural person cannot please God. For he cannot believe God in this way. He cannot receive him and his Son as supremely valuable. But the Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please him [God]” (Hebrews 11:6). Or, as Paul says, even more dramatically, in Romans 14:23, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

The Bible never says humanity is required to recognize and fully know and accept the supreme value of Jesus in order to be saved. As born again believers we will certainly grow to know the supreme beauty and value of our Savior, but Piper makes it seem as if we must get to that point BEFORE we can simply humble ourselves and confess our need in faith.

Piper said, “you cannot believe in Jesus while you treasure human glory over his,” and we agree.  But who is responsible for what he most treasures? Piper assumes without biblical support that mankind lacks the moral capacity to humble himself and confess that the pursuit of his own glory leads to destruction. Over and over again the Bible teaches that it is man’s responsibility to humble himself and put his trust in God. Calvinism teaches this is ultimately God’s responsibility while still maintaining that mankind will be judged as if it is really their responsibility. This is not biblically established nor is it rational.

While we would agree that mankind’s freedom to choose is restricted to the confines of his nature, we disagree as to what those confines are in relation to sinful humanity. For instance, a man is not free to flap his arms and fly around the world no matter how much he may will to do so. He is confined by his physical abilities. So too, there are moral confines on the abilities of sinful man’s will.

We would agree that mankind is born incapable of willingly keeping the demands of the law so as to merit salvation. And we would also agree that those who sin are in bondage to sin. We would NOT AGREE that mankind is born incapable of willingly admitting that he is in bondage and in need of help — especially in light of God’s gracious, Holy Spirit inspired, clear revelation — by means of the law (a tutor) and the gospel (a powerful appeal to be reconciled).

Suppose a man was born in a prison cell and never told that he was in a cell.  He was simply unaware of anything outside the walls of his world.  We would all agree that the man is born in bondage and incapable of even recognizing his position. But, suppose someone came into his cell and told him of the world outside the walls.  Is the fact that he was born in bondage sufficient to prove that he is incapable of hearing the messenger and believing his message? Of course not. You can acknowledge the bondage of the man from birth without assuming he is also born incapable of believing the testimony of the messengers sent for the purpose of helping him to be set free.

The belief that a man is born in a prison cell is distinct from the belief that the man is incapable of acknowledging that he is in a prison cell and accepting help to escape when it is clearly offered. Calvinists have pointed to passages that prove mankind is born in the cell while assuming mankind is incapable of humbly admitting they are in a cell and trusting in Christ to set them free.

No passage in all of scripture ever suggests that fallen men are incapable of willingly responding to God’s own appeal to be reconciled from their fallen condition.


[1] Mark R. Talbot, “’All the Good That Is Ours in Christ’: Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us,” in John Piper and Justin Taylor (eds.), Suffering and the Sovereignty of God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2006), 31-77 (quote from p. 42).

[2] Chapter 9 of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, which closely models the Westminster Confession of Faith, both highly regarded by Calvinistic scholars.

[3] https://frame-poythress.org/free-will-and-moral-responsibility/

260 thoughts on “Rebuttal of John Piper’s Article:“A Beginner’s Guide to ‘Free Will’”

  1. Always good to revisit these important passages that Calvinists try to prove too much from. Thanks Leighton!

    It’s amazing how Calvinists can’t see how powerful God’s light is to give a sufficient opportunity and ability to each person to free seek Him and His mercy. Nicodemus, Cornelius, and Lydia all were responding to the light before their regeneration. This short sightedness by Calvinists is mostly connected to their lack of seeing how merciful God is, and how willing He is to be freely rejected, which is an integral part of the beginning of any covenant love relationship.

  2. Leighton,
    There will be push-back that you are not making God “Sovereign” enough….or making “man stronger than God.”

    There will be push-back that you are not making man “dead” enough….

    There will be push-back that you are not making God “the ordainer of all things” ….even sin…. (why they want that, I’m not sure).

    But when it comes down to it, you, yourself may need to be willing to re-examine your position on foreknowledge. If God knows every decision ahead of time (even from a Libertarian point of view) it would seem that His knowledge of it “locks it in.”

    His openness is worth considering as the scriptural option to theistic determinism.

    1. Another option is chaotic compatibilism, which is basically determinsitic compatibilism rescued from the extreme monergism of traditional Calvinists. But… I think we all want Leighton to join our own teams. 🙂

      Anyway, I think the thrust of your comment is right on the money. In some human traditions there’s a memetic “arms race” to be who can be most “hardcore” with the extremes of God’s inscrutability and control vs. the extreme of the “Total Maggotry” of man. It’s just Bildad — who God rebuked — back to haunt us.

      1. So true Stanrock!

        Often I feel like believers are in an “Our God’s bigger ‘n your God!” race that leads them to read into Scripture more and more constraining and controlling “attributes”. “More Sovereign” …”More ordaining” “More omniscient” than yours!!!

        Make Him so big and so powerful and so all-controlling that even if He wants to be (and He does) He cant be personal!

        I still hear Calvinists say we have “a personal relationship with God,” even when later they say He controls our every move! What?

  3. CALVINISM’S *AS-IF* THINKING IN JOHN PIPER’S LANGUAGE

    One of Calvinism’s tactics is to NEVER define the difference between the term “determine” as it pertains to Calvin’s god vs. “determine” as it pertains to the creature.

    1) Where every neurological impulse a creature will have is RENDERED-CERTAIN by factors outside the creature’s control – NO neurological impulse is ever actually determined by the creature.

    2) Where there is no such thing as ALTERNATE POSSIBILITIES – there is no such thing as the creature choosing between one thought-option (i.e. choice) vs another.

    3) Therefore on a strict definition of the term “determine” – where no “determination” is UP TO the creature – there is obviously no such thing as a creature having anything that is determined by the creature’s “SELF”.

    But the Calvinist needs to call them “self-determined” *AS-IF* they are.
    This language of INFERENCE is designed to assign a degree of autonomy to the creature that doesn’t actually exist in this system.

    The term “AGENT” as it pertains to the creature is another term that really doesn’t belong in this language. In this scheme the creature is really nothing more than an INSTRUMENT with its every aspect determined by the THEOS.

  4. ““The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4).”

    Not according to Calvinism. It is Calvin’s god himself who has blinded (accursed) all men to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. What a tragic god to put one’s faith in.

    1. TS00
      What a tragic god to put one’s faith in.

      br.d
      Right on TS00
      In fact in Calvinism there is no such thing as a person putting faith in Calvin’s god.
      Since its the case that Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN every neurological impulse.
      There is no such thing as the creature having any impulse that doesn’t originate from Calvin’s god.

      Calvin’s god applies faith into the creature – by factors outside the creature’s control.
      That faith is not the creature’s faith – but Calvin’s god’s faith – applied to himself – using the creature as a medium.

      If the Calvinist is lucky – he won’t be acting as a medium for a counterfeit spirit! :-]

      1. br.d, you’re right. It’s even worse – what a tragic life, knowing that you were irresistibly chosen to ‘worship’ a cruel, heartless, deceptive tyrant, and clap and cheer when he points to the millions he deliberately created for destruction. Never mind that some of them might be your parents, siblings and friends. If such were true, I would be crossing my fingers that I was not ‘chosen’.

      2. Like John Piper who publicly states that he doesn’t know if his two biological children were designed by Calvin’s god to spend eternal torment in the lake of fire. But he never states that about himself – which would be just as logical for him to do.

        If he did – that would put in the face of all Calvinists the fact that none of them know whether or not Jesus died for them personally.

        Calvin teaches that his god deceives a -quote LARGE MIXTURE of Calvinists into believing they are saved in order to magnify their torments in the lake of fire. Give them a temporary taste of salvation and then – quote STRIKE THEM WITH GREATER BLINDNESS.

        And they want to call that a “doctrine of grace”!

    2. Actually, not according to Brian who wrote above, “Calvinists can’t see how powerful God’s light is to give a sufficient opportunity and ability to each person to free seek Him and His mercy.” Calvinist would point to Job to conclude that Satan (the god of this world) cannot blind anyone absent God’s decree that he be free to do this. However, Satan then becomes the instrument whereby God blinds the minds of unbelievers, so that we can conclude that God has blinded unbelievers by His instrument, Satan.

      1. If God calls it “good news” to be proclaimed to every creature… how can it be designated as designed by God to be “bad news” to any. Their rejection of that good news is what invites the warning and proclaiming of the bad news of coming judgment for their rejection of His mercy offered to them freely, imo. Those that reject, God does allow Satan often to veil the gospel “in” them (- εν – not “to”) that they had once heard. But that heart is still able turn to the Lord, and that veil will be taken away. (2Cor 3:16)

        Romans 11:32 NKJV — For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
        Psalm 145:8-9 NKJV — The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.
        Romans 10:21 NKJV — But to Israel he says: “All day long I have stretched out My hands To a disobedient and contrary people.”
        Matthew 5:7 NKJV — Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

        Prevenient Grace to every person is –
        God using dreams, sickness, and messengers with each man 2 or 3 times to draw him (Job 33:14-30)…

        God giving light to each man before regeneration (John 1:4-13)…

        God ordering the circumstances of nations so that each man should seek and possibly find Him (Acts 17:26-27)…

        God using creation and conscience to make plain in each one He exists and to feel conviction of sin to lead to repentance (Rom 1:29-30, 2:4, 14-16)…

        These are all evidence of sufficient enabling grace before regeneration and proof all do hear and receive mercy that they can freely and humbly accept or reject (Rom 10:18, 11:32).

      2. Brian,
        Your words are correct and biblical…. but I am afraid they will fall on deaf ears.

        Calvinists start with TD and “deadness” which requires a person to be born again before they can be born again in Christ. It requires them to be made alive before they can be made alive in Christ. It requires them to be given faith before they can demonstrate any faith at all.

        I have watched many people come to Christ slowly in “seeker Bible studies.” It is impossible to believe that during the, say, 4 years it takes them in Bible study (avidly searching the Scriptures) that they were “dead” God-hating, and non-seeking.

        If they are “regenerated” right before they finally show faith in Christ (after 4 years)….. was that “God-hating” “deadness” all those 4 years? Sure doesnt seem to be —even as many of them invite others to come hear the truth with them BEFORE they profess faith.

        I have never met a Calvinist who can explain this to me.

      3. FOH writes, “I have watched many people come to Christ slowly in “seeker Bible studies.” It is impossible to believe that during the, say, 4 years it takes them in Bible study (avidly searching the Scriptures) that they were “dead” God-hating, and non-seeking. ”

        “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” What explanation is there for a person to resist the Holy Spirit for 4 years but that God was merciful to them. So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

      4. See what I mean? No one ever answers this question. Just silliness. And verses quoted out of context.

        One of the bedrock themes of Calvinism is that no can or would ever seek God. We are all God-haters until we are regenerated and made to have faith, then we “freely” (albeit irresistibly) accept the awesome truth before us.

        My point remains unanswered. A person freely attending seeker Bible studies and reading and searching the Bible for 4 years is not a God-hater. He is not “too-dead.” But rather ….. Is in the process of “coming to his senses” (Luke 15). Being persuaded (Paul). Being reasoned with (Paul). Being convinced (Paul).

        A too-dead man cant be “persuaded” and a made-alive, irresistibly-drawn man does not need to be.

        Sorry Paul, all your verses about persuaded, convinced, and “reasoned with” are all made a mockery of by Calvinists.

      5. FOH writes, “One of the bedrock themes of Calvinism is that no can or would ever seek God.”

        This from Romans 1, “that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”

        Then in John 6, Jesus says, “No one can come to Me,…”

        Calvinist bedrock themes are founded on Scripture.

        Then, “My point remains unanswered. A person freely attending seeker Bible studies and reading and searching the Bible for 4 years is not a God-hater. He is not “too-dead.””

        How did you arrive at that conclusion. Does not Jesus say, ““Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;”

        Seems like such people could easily add 4 years of seeker Bible study to the list.

      6. Conversation with a Calvinist:

        New believer: I am so happy to have found new life in Christ!

        Calvinist: You did not find it. It found you.

        NB: Yes I give all the glory to God. Let me tell you about it. A friend invited me to a Bible Study. At first I thought, “That is “foolishness.” I dont want to study a 2000 year old book! Foolishness!” Then some time went by and I realized that I was missing something in my life so I thought I would have a look.

        I began the Bible study and each week learn more about a God who loves the world (me!). Many verses were clear that God loves the whole world and I was touched by that.

        I continued to go with a few Christians and many others who were seeking like me. After a while people began to drop off, losing interest or just disagreeing (they were just “not convinced”). But I did my homework and read the Bible each day—looking for the truth.

        After four years I was persuaded. I, repented, called on the name of Christ, and by faith was born again.

        Calvinist: Hummm….. First of all when you started you were dead.

        NB: Oh yes, dead in my sin….and headed toward eternal separation from God.

        C: No I mean. Dead….totally depraved….could do not good….make no good decision.

        NB: Well I…..

        C: Furthermore, you were a God-hater

        NB: But I….

        C: Nope. You wanted nothing to do with God.

        NB: You mean all those 4 years?

        C: Yep. No such thing as a “seeker”. We have a half-verse in Romans that proves that!

        NB: But the Bible study leader would regularly challenge us with Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” He told to have faith, like Christ told people. He showed us many verses where Christ Himself said “your faith has saved you” and about a Gentile “not in all Israel have I seen such faith!” All those many, many verses telling us to have faith!

        C: Nope. None of those verses mean what they say. You could not have faith. You were dead, not seeking, and a God-hater. Period. And the Gospel was foolishness to you.

        NB: It WAS foolishness to me …..until it wasn’t. It was as if during those 4 years the Word of God and other believers “persuaded” me (like Paul says in 2 Cor 5). These believers “reasoned with me” like Paul did with the people for weeks in Acts 17.

        C: Nope. You were a God-hater until He regenerated you (I mean if He even did, cuz none of us can even really know if we are saved).

        NB: I felt like my understanding and faith were growing for those 4 years until I proclaimed Christ.

        C: Nope. You were a dead, God-hater up until seconds before you got saved. You see, some really smart guys with Ph.D.s follow our leaders Calvin and Augustine and they tell us regeneration “precedes faith” but only by a millisecond.

        NB: Wait. Are we talking about the same thing here? My story is like dozens of other people’s story from our seeker Bible study. I was seeking God and reading His word for 4 years, and then in faith reached out to Him. You are telling me I was a totally depraved, dead, not-seeking, God-hater for all those 4 years and then just seconds before I proclaimed Christ He regenerated me (which by your rules then allows me to seek Him)?

        C: Yep.

        NB: So what was I doing those 4 years?

        C: Deceiving yourself and others. Self-seeking. God-hating.

        NB: And then right befo….

        C: Yep. Poof! You were regenerated and given faith and then irresistibly drawn.

        NB: Those 4 years of studying the Bible had nothing to do with it? Those 4 years of friends diligently persuading me and reasoning with me (like Paul says) had nothing to do with it?

        C: Nope. You were dead. They were talking to a dead man. Blah-blah, ba-blah-blah….just talking to a dead man. Didn’t matter what they said or when they said it…cuz you were too-dead to hear it until you were regenerated 4 years later.

        NB: Wow. That doesnt really sound like Good News…..

      7. FOH I loved this!

        Especially this one:
        Calvinist:
        Yep…..we have a half-verse in Romans that proves that!

        If it weren’t so true – it would be hilarious! :-]

      8. FOH writes, “A friend invited me to a Bible Study. At first I thought, “That is “foolishness.” I dont want to study a 2000 year old book! Foolishness!” Then some time went by and I realized that I was missing something in my life so I thought I would have a look. ”

        So, we don’t actually have a 4-year study. We see this person in 1 Corinthians 1, “…the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” At some point, after some time went by, the person is changed from one who is perishing to one who is being saved. God has made His presence known.

        Then, “I began the Bible study and each week learn more about a God who loves the world (me!). Many verses were clear that God loves the whole world and I was touched by that.”

        But not able to confront his sin at this point. Seems to think that God loves him because he is lovable. That will change when he sees himself as someone unlovable.

        Then, “But I did my homework and read the Bible each day—looking for the truth.”

        Why does he doe this when others are dropping off. Again, we see God at work.

        Then, ” You were a God-hater until He regenerated you (I mean if He even did, cuz none of us can even really know if we are saved).”

        This seemed to have happened when he stopped seeing the Scriptures as foolishness and saw it differently. It is no longer veiled.

        Then, ‘ I was seeking God and reading His word for 4 years, and then in faith reached out to Him. You are telling me I was a totally depraved, dead, not-seeking, God-hater for all those 4 years and then just seconds before I proclaimed Christ He regenerated me (which by your rules then allows me to seek Him)?”

        Here, the C response is, No. NB was not seeking for four years but only after “some time went by” and he found that he started seeing it differently. However, he still needed faith, and this was something God had to give him. In the process of studying, he found that a hope that he never had before and a conviction that the Scriptures were true. He could see that he was being drawn into the Scriptures at oen time seeing those scriptures as foolishness and then seeing that they were truth and that they were talking about him and the sinful life he was living. He began to recognize that he was being irresistibly drawn to Christ.

        [For a former Calvinist, you seemed to have been pretty much an immature Calvinist given what you write in your comment.]

      9. Let the reader of my story note several things:

        1. I am not dialoging with RH since we have all seen that he will say whatever he needs to say to slide through a situation. Br.d and Brian have caught him in enough double talk to show that. I am just making a broader point to anyone listening.

        2. One of my points (I tried to used quotes to point that out, since italics are not possible in these posts) was that it was “foolishness” to him —until it wasn’t somewhere along the way. Much more of a gradual persuading, rather than instant changing from God-hater to Christ-lover by the Calvinist version of regeneration.

        Notice that in the response RH quotes the 1 Cor 1 verse NORMALLY (always) used by Calvinists as those who are in the church… yet “being saved” in this case is a person “in the process” of coming to salvation (not yet saved for years to come).

        This is important to note: Calvinists will (often) use a passage to mean one thing but in another situation it means something else.

        Calvinists should STOP using this verse (it’s one of their magic 40) to mean that it is foolishness to all others than those who are ALREADY saved. Because he just used it as an explanation of a person who put foolishness aside and pursued salvation (for years).

        JTL constantly uses this verse to “prove” that it is foolishness to everyone before regeneration (salvation) when RH clearly says it is not. Oh well, another double-meaning contradiction from Calvinists.

        3. The next clear, slip-of-tongue contradiction is when RH says “the person is changed from one who is perishing to one who is being saved.” What is this change called in biblical terms? Regeneration? Then that means he is regenerated years before salvation (a real no-no for Sproul followers!). If not regeneration…..what is the “change” and initiated by whom? The “dead” person?

        Wait. Is this a new idea of “pre-regeneration precedes regeneration”?

        Sounds like RH is saying that the “dead” person is “changed” from a God-hater/ Gospel-only-foolishness to a “seek first the kingdom” person. But what in Reformed theology is that called? See new term above “pre-regeneration”.

        To be clear: In Reformed theology you are a God-hater, non-seeker, dead person UNTIL regeneration. There is no wiggle room in there. Clearly RH’s response does not represent well Reformed theology. RH is much more Arminian than he thinks.

        4. The next clear contradiction is the question “Why does he do this when others are dropping off.” Christ addresses this many times in Scripture with His “You of little faith” (meaning: they should have and could have had more), or “I have not seen faith like this in all Israel,” and Abel choosing one thing and Cain another. Joshua giving people people the choice “Choose for yourselves this day.” Mary/ Martha “she has chosen the good thing.” This kind of “why did he chose it?” idea is ALL over Scripture! We see it and feel it every day ourselves choosing to sin or obey in our daily walk.

        5. Wow! What a telling phrase here: “This seemed to have happened when he stopped seeing the Scriptures as foolishness and saw it differently. It is no longer veiled.” So true! (and so not-Calvinistic!) . “he stopped seeing the Scripture as foolishness…” So true.

        But again…. and this is well documented…. Calvinist teach that a person CANNOT consider the Scriptures as anything but foolishness until they are regenerated! So how did he “stop seeing the Scriptures as foolishness”? And so many years before salvation?

        How does he “stop” being dead?

        There is NO answer for this in Calvinism. For them….he must remain a dead, non-seeking, God-hater until regeneration. RH has stated this many times.

        Yet….. they talk like “a person can choose” to see the Scriptures as non-Foolishness.

        6. For the rest of this Arminian-sounding response I will need to quote it and put my response in [brackets].

        Here, the C response is, No. NB was not seeking for four years but only after “some time went by” and he found that he started seeing it differently [How? He is a dead man. How can he “start to see anything?] . However, he still needed faith, and this was something God had to give him [This of course is Calvinist speculation. They insist this is true because of TD and “deadness”—which the man is clearly NOT displaying] . In the process of studying [Studying as a dead man?] he found that a hope that he never had before and a conviction that the Scriptures were true [What? this is pure Arminianism!!!!!!! He cannot ‘find’ or ‘have a conviction’ as a dead man. Really this is RH showing how Calvinists use Arminian terms] . He could see [ dead men cannot ‘see’ anything!!!] that he was being drawn into the Scriptures at one time seeing those scriptures as foolishness and then seeing that they were truth and that they were talking about him and the sinful life he was living. He began to recognize [Dead men cannot ‘begin to recognize’ anything!!! This is right out of the Arminian playbook] that he was being irresistibly drawn to Christ.

        7. Let the reader note that this is my last response to this thread. Let the reader also note —-in print—- multiple times….. that a God-must-do-it-all Calvinist has put man as an active player (before regeneration). Clearly man is not as dead as Calvinism says if he can by his own choice:

        ——–

        be “in the process” of coming to salvation.

        change

        “stop seeing the Scripture as foolishness…”

        choose to see the Scriptures as non-Foolishness.

        “start seeing it differently”

        “study the Scriptures”

        “find that a hope that he never had before and a conviction that the Scriptures were true”

        “see that he was being drawn into the Scriptures”

        “see that they were truth…”

        “begin to recognize”

        Clearly this person was not dead. Clearly this person is “seeking God” (impossible in Calvinism).

        Clearly…. above all….. very clearly RH has described a synergistic salvation process. RH clearly states this. What RH describes here is not monergism.

        It is not monergistic when you say that a dead, non-seeking, God-hating person can start, stop, change, see, find, recognize etc.

        That is not deadness.

        Lastly, let the reader note that OF COURSE one can defend Calvinism if one is allowed to quote Arminian-sounding verses, and use Arminian terms like choose, see, seek, fine, change, realize, recognize, start, stop, etc.

        But none of those terms sound so very Totally Depraved do they?

      10. FOH
        One can defend Calvinism if one is allowed to quote ARMINIAN SOUNDING verses, and use ARMINIAN TERMS like choose, see, seek, fine, change, realize, recognize, start, stop, etc.

        But none of those terms sound so very Totally Depraved do they?

        br.d
        Totally Right-on FOH!

        All of those terms REQUIRE some degree of NON-DEAD-NESS and are logically incoherent with TOTAL DEPRAVITY.

        The fact that a theology forces its adherents to speak with forked-tongue – is a RED FLAG that something is wrong with it.
        The Holy Spirit is not the author of confusion – our of DOUBLE-SPEAK.

      11. Calvin’s god shares the “good news” to the “MANY”

        Hey all of you “MANY” out there – here is the “good news”

        I designed each of you specifically to spend eternity in total-excruciating-torment – within a lake of fire.

        Yea – I know I’m playing a shell-game with the word “good” here.
        But ever since John Calvin taught me how to play shell-games with words – its been one of my favorite games!

        BTW:
        In case you didn’t already know.
        When I say “my sheep here my voice” – I’m playing a shell-game with the word “sheep”
        And when I say: “God is love” – I’m playing a shell-game with the word “love”.
        And when I say man has “free will” – I’m playing a shell-game with the word “free”.

        Just so you understand how the Calvin shell-game works! :-]

      12. brianwagner writes, “If God calls it “good news” to be proclaimed to every creature… how can it be designated as designed by God to be “bad news” to any.”

        Paul said, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. for we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.” Bad news to those who are perishing.

        Then, “Those that reject, God does allow Satan often to veil the gospel “in” them (- εν – not “to”) that they had once heard. But that heart is still able turn to the Lord, and that veil will be taken away. (2Cor 3:16)”

        Rather than, “those who reject have the gospel veiled” it says “those who turn to the Lord have the veil removed.” Nothing is said about the veil being placed because of an initial rejection. At least, not that I see in the text. Paul said, ‘ our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,” and the initial condition of man is that he is perishing and in need of salvation.

        John 1 tells us, “…the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Thus, Paul tells us, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,…”

        Then, ‘God using creation and conscience to make plain in each one He exists and to feel conviction of sin to lead to repentance (Rom 1:29-30, 2:4, 14-16)…”

        We see that, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”

      13. The context of The savors in 2Cor 2… fits the ABAB parallelism and Paul’s teaching of dying to self, his example/savor to believers… and life and light of the glorious gospel to unbelievers.

        Paul says it is his gospel that got veiled. It was already “in” them from his ministry before in Corinth, now being covered by false teachers inspired by Satan. Of course they are still perishing. They are unbelievers. But it does not need to remain that way if they turn their hearts to the Lord.

        Some did suppress the truth, and Paul warns in Rom 1 what happens when they do. Paul does not say all suppress the truth when given. In fact he confirms the opportunity for those who don’t.

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

      14. brianwagner writes, “The context of The savors in 2Cor 2… fits the ABAB parallelism…”

        “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ,
        — in them that are saved, and
        — — in them that perish:
        — — To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and
        — to the other the savour of life unto life.

        So, I agree. If you want to make your case, do so.

        Then, “Paul says it is his gospel that got veiled. It was already “in” them from his ministry before in Corinth,…”

        Yes, even as the minds of Israel were veiled when Moses was read. So, Paul draws a conclusion, those who are perishing heard the gospel preached and that gospel was veiled and hidden from them so that they perish..

        Then, “But it does not need to remain that way if they turn their hearts to the Lord.”

        Yes. However, as Satan is able to blind them on;y because God has decreed it, so God must restrain Satan if they are to be able to turn to Christ.

      15. rhutchin
        God must restrain Satan if they are to be able to turn to Christ.

        br.d
        Calvinists are so funny!

        Restraining what Calvin’s god RENDERED-CERTAIN Satan do – WOOPS but that’s immutable and not restrainable!
        or
        Restraining what Calvin’s god did NOT RENDER-CERTAIN Satan do – WOOPS – but that was never going to come to pass anyway!

        These poor Calvinists have been robbed of “mere” permission.
        So in order to manufacture a facade of it they click their shoes 3 times and MAKE-BELIEVE they do!

        Follow the yellow-brick RESTRAINABLE PREDESTINED road ! :-]

      16. br.d writes, “Restraining what Calvin’s god RENDERED-CERTAIN Satan do – WOOPS but that’s immutable and not restrainable!”

        God ordained Satan to deceive for a time and the ordained that Satan not be able to deceive. God never restrains that which He has ordains. God unfolds His plan in the course of time having given Satan freedom to deceive at times and not at other times. Satan can only go as far as God ordains (or renders-certain) Nothing is done by “mere” permission but all is done with the consent of God.

      17. br.d
        Restraining what Calvin’s god RENDERED-CERTAIN Satan do – WOOPS but that’s immutable and not restrainable!”

        rhutchin
        God ordained Satan to deceive FOR A TIME and then ordained that Satan NOT be able to deceive.

        br.d
        Thank you rhutchin – for opening up the curtain so we can see the invisible strings.

        One puppet string is pulled – RENDERING-CERTAIN the puppet go in one direction up to a certain point.
        And (as it logically follows) not permitting that puppet do otherwise.

        Then a different puppet string is pulled – RENDERING-CERTAIN the puppet go in another direction up to a certain point.
        And (as it logically follows) not permitting that puppet do otherwise.

        AND PRESTO!
        That is exactly how a puppet is controlled! :-]

      18. br.d writes, “That is exactly how a puppet is controlled! ”

        Actually, No. In the case of the puppet, the string is used to initiate movement of the puppet arm/leg In the case of God, the string is used to restrain movement initiated by Satan/the wicked.

      19. br.d
        That is exactly how a puppet is controlled! ”

        rhutchin
        Actually, No. In the case of the puppet, the string is used to initiate movement of the puppet arm/leg In the case of God, the string is used to RESTRAIN movement initiated by Satan/the wicked.

        br.d
        Now you’ve gone full circle – and contradicted yourself

        Restrain movement that Calvin’s god RENDERED-CERTAIN – WOOPS! – that’s immutable and cannot be restrained.
        or
        Restrain movement that Calvin’s god did NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN – WOOPS! – that’s not going to come to pass anyway.

        In Calvin’s Theological Determinism – there is no such thing as creaturely movement without it being AUTHORED and RENDERED-CERTAIN by Calvin’s god.

        The creature doesn’t have the power to RENDER-CERTAIN any initiation of any movement.
        And NO movement happens that is not RENDERED-CERTAIN.

        So your back to the puppet.

        As John Calvin puts it:
        -quote
        Hence they are merely instruments, into which God CONSTANTLY INFUSES THAT ENERGY that he sees meet, and turns and converts to any purpose at his pleasure.

      20. br.d writes, “Restrain movement that Calvin’s god RENDERED-CERTAIN – WOOPS! – that’s immutable and cannot be restrained.
        or
        Restrain movement that Calvin’s god did NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN – WOOPS! – that’s not going to come to pass anyway.”

        God’s restraint of movement is rendered-certain or ordained. Where God restrains movement, He has rendered-certain, or ordained, such restraint. It is because God restrains an event that the event is not rendered -certain, or ordained. I don’t see why this is an issue. Certainly not a contradiction.

        Then, “In Calvin’s Theological Determinism – there is no such thing as creaturely movement without it being AUTHORED and RENDERED-CERTAIN by Calvin’s god.”

        As attested by Scripture, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being;”

        Then, ‘The creature doesn’t have the power to RENDER-CERTAIN any initiation of any movement.
        And NO movement happens that is not RENDERED-CERTAIN.”

        This because man is subordinate to God and God has the final say on all the creature sets out to do and this by virtue of His omnipotence. However, this does not make the creature a puppet as God most often restrains the evil desires of the creature.

        “As John Calvin puts it:
        -quote
        Hence they are merely instruments, into which God CONSTANTLY INFUSES THAT ENERGY that he sees meet, and turns and converts to any purpose at his pleasure.”

        As affirmed by Scripture, ‘For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” and “The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.” Thus, “Jesus was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” which afterward the disciples proclaim, ““For truly in this city there were gathered together against Thy holy servant Jesus, whom Thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur.”

      21. br.d
        Restrain movement that Calvin’s god RENDERED-CERTAIN – WOOPS! – that’s immutable and cannot be restrained.
        or
        Restrain movement that Calvin’s god did NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN – WOOPS! – that’s not going to come to pass anyway.”

        rhutchin
        It is because God restrains an event that the event is not rendered -certain, or ordained. I don’t see why this is an issue. Certainly not a contradiction.

        br.d
        Right! –
        Thank you for acknowledging you don’t see any contradiction in Calvin’s god restraining something that he knows is not going to come to pass.

        In Calvin’s Theological Determinism – there is no such thing as creaturely movement without it being AUTHORED and RENDERED-CERTAIN by Calvin’s god.”

        rhutchin
        As attested by Scripture, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being;”

        br.d
        AH! but the problem for you is that you have to:
        – “go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part”
        – “and thinking that future events *MIGHT* happen one way or another”

        While at the same time – you hold to Theological Determinism – where those are FALSE.

        The creature doesn’t have the power to RENDER-CERTAIN any initiation of any movement.
        And NO movement happens that is not RENDERED-CERTAIN.”

        rhutchin
        This because man is SUBORDINATE to God and God has the final say on all the creature sets out to do and this by virtue of His omnipotence. However, this does not make the creature a puppet as God most often restrains the evil desires of the creature.

        br.d
        I don’t think your mind has the capacity to connect the dots here.
        You want to believe
        -quote
        “Actually, No. In the case of the puppet, the string is used to INITIATE MOVEMENT of the puppet ”

        And at the same time you want to acknowledge
        – The creature doesn’t have the power to RENDER-CERTAIN any initiation of any movement.
        – And NO movement happens that is not RENDERED-CERTAIN.”

        Thus your mind obviously doesn’t have the capacity to see these as contradictions.

        “As John Calvin puts it:
        -quote
        Hence they are merely instruments, into which God CONSTANTLY INFUSES THAT ENERGY that he sees meet, and turns and converts to any purpose at his pleasure.”

        rhutchin
        As affirmed by Scripture….etc

        br,d
        Quote all the scriptures you want – but it is still obvious to everyone here that as a Calvinist you must halt between two contradictions.
        And yes – we all know your mind doesn’t connect the dots – so you don’t see the contradictions.

        That is part of the Calvinist’s DOUBLE-THINK psychology.

      22. br.d, I suspect that some may wonder why you continue to point out, and lure rhutchin to demonstrate, how he says one thing, only to later affirms the exact opposite. How, one wonders, can one possibly embrace such antithesis and remain sane? I would like to say that it is not only an affliction of the contradictory Calvinist, but that this is a tool by which Satan deceives us all.

        I find it helpful to ponder such things, so that I can scout out when tactics of deception are being used effectively on me. Psychology has its own vocabulary, but whether you call it denial, rationalization, dissociation or some other name the process is pretty much the same. The trauma created by evil is very real and very destructive, and the mind will do everything it can to preserve its functioning in the face of such evil.

        For example, in the case of a child who is abused by a parent or other trusted adult, the trauma is severe. The cognitive dissonance between the belief that a parent is to be loved and trusted and the reality that this person brings them great physical harm is irreconcilable without some sort of mental defense mechanism. The child either dissociates or compartmentalizes in order to deal with the pain and confusion.

        I believe the same thing takes place on a smaller scale all of the time. Perhaps one is a life-long Republican, weaned on the ideology that they are ‘the good guys’ who are out to save mankind from ‘the bad guy’ Democrats, or that America is the white hat of the world. What will this person do when he is confronted by unjust, wicked actions by members of his idolized party equal to or more serious than those of ‘the bad guys’?

        He must either consciously confront the false dichotomy of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ or, more common, he must invoke some sort of denial or compartmentalization in order to retain his naive beliefs in spite of all evidence to the contrary. I hate to have to admit how easily we fall prey to such deliberate tactics of deception. Our only hope of avoiding this mind manipulation is to realize that there are wicked forces who seek to shape the thoughts and behavior of men. Such wicked powers deliberately strategize and manipulate the direction of our falsely composed, media-created reality, and always have, beginning with the first false picture painted in the garden.

        Such wicked powers, known in scripture as demonic forces, have created and/or co-opted the organizations and institutions upon which this world is built. They are active, every minute of every day, seeking to deceive, manipulate and wreak destruction upon this earth and the people who inhabit it. And yet, taught from the cradle that these institutions serve the greater good, are for our protection and benefit, few are willing or able to confront the blatant evidence of evil within all such man-made institutions, yes, including even so-called Christianity.

        It is a very difficult task to overthrow the programming that has shaped our minds from birth, and to allow God to renew them into proper thinking form. We cannot do this on our own, and must be willing to lay down all of the idols that we look to for knowledge, safety and the ever elusive ‘good of mankind’. Sadly, well-meaning men can easily be deceived by persuasive evil men, causing them to embrace, support and spread false and destructive beliefs and actions. But for the grace of God, and clinging closely to an intimate relationship and walk with him, we will continue to become victim to the many deceptions of the evil one, again and again.

        We are all too often deceived into looking to men and institutions for the salvation from sin, evil and death that only God can provide. I am perhaps alone in my perception that the faulty doctrines of Calvinist theology have been used to wreak havoc upon individuals and the associations they create in the name of building God’s kingdom on earth. It seems to me to be simply another example of the deceit that scripture warns will overtake, effectively, the whole world, including, if possible, the very (non-Calvinist definition) elect.

      23. TS00,

        Thanks for that. I have addressed your ideas elsewhere (and begged to disagree with you) that Calvinism is surreptitious and evil, so I will not do that here.

        I think that the good-guy bad-guy thing you mentioned is a tricky thing. Certainly in the area of politics, and age of bombastic tweeting.

        Even though our modern American system only provides us with two main political parties, I do not think that life is really always a list of either / or choices (just sometimes).

        As you know, I have been an overseas missionary for 30+ years, so to me, a church with a vibrant outward-thinking missions program is important. But…. it is also important for me to NOT be in a church that is foisting the philosophy of Mary-worshiping Augustine. So…. it becomes a sort of prioritizing —- on a continuum scale.

        For instance I would prefer a church with a weak missions program (that can be fixed with the right input) that is strongly non-Calvinistic. One can be fixed…. but once a church caves into the new wave of the YRR fad, it will take a while for it to right itself.

        Now…. applying that to the things you mentioned: political parties.

        My drop dead (no pun intended) limit for politics is the pro-life issue. If you have not seen the new film “Unplanned” you should do so. I will only go to a theater to support a Christian movie (never for anything else). The only two films I have seen in 30 years have been Gosnell and Unplanned, and both of them exposed the ugly side of the pro-abortion movement….. which is 100% supported by the Democrat party.

        I am afraid that for me and many like me, that is a line in the sand that becomes a line in concrete.

        Are Democrats right on some things (and even more right than Republicans)? No doubt.

        Are they “dead” wrong on abusing the human rights of the unborn. Yes…. and watch them try to out-do each other on this issue in the upcoming primary. It will be appalling.

        As with a church (some things you like, some you dont), so it is with other issues. If you want to abandon both parties (as I have done many elections) and vote a smaller, more worthy party, that might work for you, but remember that one party has systematically stifled the voice and human rights of the unborn. And they will make quite a show of it in the next 18 months.

        This is intended as a friendly comment to you. This is off the topic of this blog and this post, so I will not comment on this further here.

      24. Thanks TS00

        There are a few things you mentioned in this post that make me wonder if you were addressing this to me or some other person.

        Here they are:
        Thanks for that. I have addressed your ideas elsewhere (and begged to disagree with you) that Calvinism is surreptitious and evil, so I will not do that here.

        Now…. applying that to the things you mentioned: political parties.

        This is intended as a friendly comment to you. This is off the topic of this blog and this post, so I will not comment on this further here.
        —————————————————

        Did I state directly that Calvinism is surreptitious and evil?
        I don’t believe I ever did – so I don’t know what you mean here.

        Did I post something that asserted a political party or politics?
        I don’t remember doing so.

        Thanks

      25. I’m a little confused, or someone is . . . 😉 I believe br.d, you may have mistaken FOH’s comments to me as coming from me to you? In any case, I think he was addressing my comments rather than yours.

      26. FOH, thanks for taking the time. I am pretty much apolitical, as I don’t trust any of them. 😉 But my history has been among staunchly conservative Republicans, so if I poke, I tend to poke there. I do not put my trust in either party, or any political or man-made institution to deliver us from evil, or even to deliver on their promises – they never have. I basically ignore them all as much as possible. I think they play their assigned roles, so I don’t put much credence in either ‘party’ protecting the weak, the powerless and those who we are called to assist. The irony of the warmongers protecting the helpless is difficult to overlook. I am anti taking life period, even if my own is in jeopardy. Just thought I’d sneak that in before we drop the political talk. 😉

      27. br.d writes, ‘Thank you for acknowledging you don’t see any contradiction in Calvin’s god restraining something that he knows is not going to come to pass.”

        Recognizing that it does not come to pass because God ordained to restrain it.

        Then, “In Calvin’s Theological Determinism – there is no such thing as creaturely movement without it being AUTHORED and RENDERED-CERTAIN by Calvin’s god.”

        By virtue of His omnipotence, nothing can happen without God’s approval. So, David cannot take Bathsheba to bed without God decreeing that he do so. Man is subordinate to God so God can overrule anything man sets out to do. Thus the Proverb, “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”

        Then, ‘The creature doesn’t have the power to RENDER-CERTAIN any initiation of any movement.
        And NO movement happens that is not RENDERED-CERTAIN.”

        Why is that an issue? Only God can render any event certain. Man can only render an event possible. Man can plan his way but God directs his steps.

        Then, “Thus your mind obviously doesn’t have the capacity to see these as contradictions.”

        Maybe that is because you cannot explain the contradiction. Man can plan his way (to go here or there) but God directs his steps to that way He has ordained.

      28. br.d
        Thank you for acknowledging you don’t see any contradiction in Calvin’s god restraining something that he knows is not going to come to pass.”

        rhutchin
        Recognizing that it does not come to pass because God ordained to restrain it.

        br.d
        To funny!
        Calvin’s god authors an event so he can restrain it!

        What exactly was the STATE of this event prior to the point where Calvin’s god “so called” restrained it?
        – RENDERED-CERTAIN – WOOPS! it is then immutable and cannot be restrained.
        – NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN – WOOPS! – it is not going to come to pass anyway.

        However – nothing to prevent Calvin’s god from creating an event for himself to restrain!
        Its called arm wrestling with one’s self. :-]

        br.d
        In Calvin’s Theological Determinism – there is no such thing as creaturely movement without it being AUTHORED and RENDERED-CERTAIN by Calvin’s god.”

        rhutchin
        By virtue of His omnipotence, nothing can happen without God’s approval.

        br.d
        This is a SEMANTIC equivocation – because you can’t know my statement above is TRUE
        Here the term “approval” is used instead of AUTHORED and RENDERED-CERTAIN because “approval” works to INFER a degree of creaturely autonomy. So this is an evasion strategy.

        rhutchin
        Man is subordinate to God so God can overrule anything man sets out to do.

        br.d
        This is the same exact SEMANTIC equivocation strategy.
        Here the terms “Subordinate” and “overrule” are used to INFER a degree of creaturely autonomy.

        Thank you for providing an example of Calvinist double-think.
        The Calvinist must believe there is ABSOLUTELY NO creaturely autonomy
        And at the same time believe there is

        rhutchin
        Thus the Proverb, “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”

        br.d
        Thank you for providing a verse that does not affirm Calvin’s Theological Determinism
        Notice here who steps are being directed.
        In Calvin’s Theological Determinism – they are not man’s steps – they are Calvin’s god’s steps.

        The creature doesn’t have the power to RENDER-CERTAIN any initiation of any movement.
        And NO movement happens that is not RENDERED-CERTAIN.”

        rhutchin
        Why is that an issue? Only God can render any event certain. Man can only render an event possible.

        br.d
        “man can render an event possible” – this one must have been pulled out of someone’s wild imagination.
        Not even Calvin’s Theological Determinism asserts that.

        rhutchin
        Man can plan his way but God directs his steps.

        br.d
        A great scripture which is logically consistent with IN-determinism.
        But is contradiction with Calvin’s Theological Determinism – wherein it is FALSE.
        Man has no control over any part of himself – so his “way” and his “steps” are not his to control.

        Thus your mind obviously doesn’t have the capacity to see these as contradictions.”

        rhutchin
        Maybe that is because you cannot explain the contradiction.
        Man can plan his way (to go here or there) but God directs his steps to that way He has ordained.

        br.d
        Here is where you obey Calvin’s instructions – going about *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part.
        In this case all of man’s attributes

        You are forced to make-believe man has his own “way” and his own “steps” *AS-IF* man is in control of these things.
        Where in your theology – it is logically consistent – that that conception is FALSE.

        I thank the Lord my mind is not ensnared in that double-think mental condition!

      29. rhutchin is unable, or unwilling, to grasp that his painting of man as deriving his own plans is the point that non-determism makes in its refutation of Calvinism. He views the world just as the non-Calvinist does, with man free to make his own choices, and God, of course, able to intervene whenever he chooses. But he refuses to acknowledge it, and pretends as if his worldview aligns with the meticulous determinism of a God who originates and controls all things, and man simply plays his resistless, non-creative role. It is like the child who insists he believes in the Santa Claus story, but is fully aware that his parents are out Christmas shopping for him.

      30. TS00
        It is like the child who insists he believes in the Santa Claus story, but is fully aware that his parents are out Christmas shopping for him.

        br.d
        Good one!

        In times past I’ve said – the Calvinist is like a barren woman, who speaks AS-IF she is not, in order to manufacture in mental imagery, what she lacks in real life. Credibility and plausible-deniability otherwise lacking, are carefully crafted in the form of semantic illusions.

        Let [X] = The THEOS determines *ALL* things – so there is nothing left-over for anyone else to determine.

        The Calvinist is forced to hold [X] as both TRUE and FALSE at the same time.
        And he’s been mentally conditioned to not see any contradiction in that.

        Father God commands
        (1) Do not bear false witness

        Jesus commands:
        (2) Let your communication be “yea-yea or nay nay” for anything else comes of evil.

        But Calvin teaches an additional doctrine of the PRESCRIPTIVE WILL.
        Which forces the Calvinist to disobey (1) and (2)

        A man cannot serve two masters.
        In order to cleave to one – he is forced to compromise the other.

      31. TS00 writes, “…his painting of man as deriving his own plans is the point that non-determism makes in its refutation of Calvinism. He views the world just as the non-Calvinist does, with man free to make his own choices, and God, of course, able to intervene whenever he chooses…”

        Man does derive his own plans but then God directs implementation of those plans. Man is free to make choices consistent with his desires but the implementation of those chooses is up to God.

      32. rhuthcin
        Man is free to make choices consistent with his desires

        br.d
        No one here is fooled by those language tricks.

        In Calvin’s Theological Determinism all of man’s attributes are NOT free and NOT permitted – otherwise than what is RENDERED-CERTAIN. Thus all of man’s attributes are TOTALLY control by Calvin’s god – and man has NO control over them and no say in the matter.

      33. Hmmm… if you don’t know ABAB parallelism does not agree with ABBA chiasm… then moving towards understanding in conversation will be difficult. And Paul’s discussion of Jewish hearts being veiled was followed by his confirmation that such hearts can turn to the Lord and have the veil removed.

        Repentance before regeneration confirmed! Praise the Name of Jesus Christ our merciful Lord!

      34. brianwagner writes, “if you don’t know ABAB parallelism does not agree with ABBA chiasm… then moving towards understanding in conversation will be difficult. ”

        So, it wasn’t your fingers fumbling over the keys. Well, if you can’t spell it out, then I guess it will be difficult to continue. Unless, you go into teacher mode.

        Then, “And Paul’s discussion of Jewish hearts being veiled was filled by his confirmation that such hearts can turn to the Lord and have the bowl veil removed. Repentance before regeneration confirmed! ”

        But Paul does not tell us how this might come about, does he? So, nothing really confirmed.

      35. I’m glad Roger that you affirmed you understood what I said. Of course, you remain free to reject it… but I keep hoping some day you will trust that understanding as accurately representing God and God’s Word… He wants all to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

      36. Brian I agree! and Rhutchin sorry it’s hard with some of the things you try to refute, because your rebuttal still doesn’t completley harmonize with the entirety of Scripture!
        1 John 5:19 NASB — We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

      37. Reggie writes, “your rebuttal still doesn’t completley harmonize with the entirety of Scripture!”

        I have no idea what your point is. Any chance you can explain your thinking on this?

      38. Yes Rhutchin in your responses though I appreciate the Scriptures you use and the fact that you want to defend the glory of God with them. They do not prove the point of your systematic that God is determining every thought and action & therefore only allowing a select few (the fortunate ones) created in His image to be in relationship with Him. To me your responses are trying to give glory to Calvin, or maybe your own perseverance to argue. I could be completley wrong & I don’t claim to be a scholar just a sinner saved by His mercy and grace! Why does it appeal to you that (if your systematic is true which I trust it is NOT) you serve a God who most of His creation can’t even trust?

      39. Reggie
        Why does it appeal to you that (if your systematic is true which I trust it is NOT) you serve a God who most of His creation can’t even trust?

        br.d
        This is TOTALLY INSIGHTFUL Reggie!

        And I would add – a god that cannot be trusted by “any” of the creation.

        Calvin’s god:
        – Communicates to Adam – that he is to obey – while NOT permitting Adam to obey
        – Communicates to Cain that he can “do well” – while NOT permitting him to “do well”
        – Communicates to Israel to “choose life” while NOT permitting them to “choose life”
        – Communicates to the church “my sheep hear my voice” – while NOT permitting them to be “his sheep”.

        The Calvinist doesn’t know if he’s designed for heaven – or designed for eternal torment in the lake of fire.

        The only thing about Calvin’s god any creature can TRUST is the fact that he will do what he pleases.
        He might just as well be a PAGAN deity.

      40. This is SO true ( And I would add – a god that cannot be trusted by “any” of the creation.)
        and thank you for the references of Adam and Cain great reminder!

      41. Brian, Brian, Brian,
        You said Calvinists are “free to reject what you say.”

        Now that’s a good one. According to them, none of us are free to accept or reject anything. By God’s plan you and I are only —let’s see they put this —- only following His ordained plan to not accept “the Gospel” and the “Doctrines of Grace” so that that “Gospel”, in contrast, can be all the more glorifying.

        Sadly, by many Calvinist’s interpretation we are not doing the work of the Gospel but the anti-Gospel.

        But again…. I simple tell them that (according to Reformed Theology) we can do no other.

        It all seems so sadly deterministic-fatalistic.

      42. Absolutely TRUE FOH!

        Calvinist have followed the blind leader Calvin – being unwittingly led into a DITCH OF DOUBLE-THINK.

        They expressly reject that “mere” permission does not exist
        And then craft statements that can only be logically coherent where it does exist

        They expressly reject the notion that any degree of creaturely autonomy exists
        And then craft statements that can only be logically coherent where it does exist

        They expressly reject the notion that divine foreknowledge via observation exists
        And then craft statements that can only be logically coherent where it does exist

        They expressly assert that the THEOS determines all things in every part
        And then go about their office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part.

        Calvinists have been robbed of “mere” permission, all creaturely autonomy, and divine foreknowledge via observation.

        Yet the poor soul intuitive finds these patterns consistently weaved throughout the entire fabric of scripture.
        So what is this poor soul to do, except craft semantic masquerades of what he finds wanting.

        He becomes like a barren woman, who speaks AS-IF she is not, in order to manufacture in mental imagery, what she lacks in real life.

        Credibility and plausible-deniability otherwise lacking, are carefully crafted in the form of semantic illusions.

        I thank Jesus every day – that I didn’t follow Calvin down into his ditch of irrational double-think!
        There but for the grace of God go I!

      43. FOH writes, “According to [Calvinists], none of us are free to accept or reject anything.”

        According to Calvinists, people are free to reject salvation and not free to accept salvation (without God’s help)

      44. rhutchin writes:
        “According to Calvinists, people are free to reject salvation and not free to accept salvation (without God’s help)”

        Seriously, does this writer not see how absurd a statement, and all of Calvinism’s impossibly contradictory statements, are? If you are ‘not free’ to accept something, then you most certainly are not ‘free’ to reject it – it is your only option. There is no ‘freedom’ without options. Same ol’ foolishness, stated again and again and again . . .

      45. TSOO I agree it is illogical to not see how (If you are ‘not free’ to accept something, then you most certainly are not ‘free’ to reject it – it is your only option.)
        FOH great story dialogue! and Amen Br.d God is certainly not a God of confusion!! Each of your points are clear & be recieved well and others are listening. Unless they are determined not to! Ugh how silly that even sounds!!! that is God in a box!

      46. TS00 writes, “Seriously, does this writer not see how absurd a statement, and all of Calvinism’s impossibly contradictory statements, are?”

        They are free in the Calvinist sense of not being coerced by outside forces to reject salvation. They are free in the Libertarian sense because their slavery to sin supposedly allows for the acceptance of salvation even though that option is never exercised as it is so undesirable as to be irrelevant (thereby needing God’s help to choose the salvation option).

      47. rhutchin
        They are free in the Libertarian sense because…….etc

        br.d
        A wonderful example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking.

        Libertarian does not exist *AS-IF* it does.

        Peter Van Inwagen – The Oxford Handbook of Free Will:
        -quote:
        “Determinism [in any form], may now be defined: it is the thesis that there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.”

        Libertarian defined:
        The ability to choose between a RANGE OF OPTIONS – that choice being consistent with one’s nature.
        Where one is TRUE the other is FALSE.

        But Calvinists need “the libertarian sense” because it is weaved into the fabric of scripture.
        So they have to find ways to sneak it back into their system.

        “Mere” permission doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does
        Libertarian choice doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does
        Creaturely autonomy doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does.
        Divine knowledge by observation doesn’t exist *AS-IF* it does.

        Calvinist Double-Speak is the outward expression of Calvin’s Double-Think.

      48. Peter Van Inwagen – The Oxford Handbook of Free Will:
        -quote:“Determinism [in any form], may now be defined: it is the thesis that there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.”

        This is verified by God’s omniscience.

        Then, “Libertarian defined: The ability to choose between a RANGE OF OPTIONS – that choice being consistent with one’s nature. Where one is TRUE the other is FALSE.”

        The options not being equally desired by one’s nature so that one option, being heavily favored, would always prevail. For example, the option to take a poison or not take a poison would always result, under normal conditions, in a person choosing not to take a poison. Without faith, the choice between acceptance and rejection of salvation would always result in rejection as this is consistent with one’s nature.

        Then, ‘But Calvinists need “the libertarian sense” because it is weaved into the fabric of scripture.”

        Of course, this definition above is nothing more than the Calvinist definition where one always chooses according to the strongest desire as determined by one’s nature at any moment in time. So long as that definition applies, there is no conflict with Calvinism. True Libertarian Free Will would not include “that choice being consistent with one’s nature” as that phrase turns LFW into Calvinist free will.

      49. br.d
        Peter Van Inwagen – The Oxford Handbook of Free Will:
        -quote:“Determinism [in any form], may now be defined: it is the thesis that there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.”

        rhutchin
        This is verified by God’s omniscience.

        br.d
        In Calvin’s Theological Determinism – yes that is logically consistent.
        And this is the reason Peter Van Inwagen, Robert Kane, and other Christian philosophers also state
        -quote
        “In Theological Determinism there is no such thing as a garden with a FORKED PATH”

        And John Calvin realizes this when he states:
        -quote
        ““All future things being uncertain to us, we hold them in suspense, *AS-IF* they might happen either one way or another.”

        So this is why Calvinists have *AS-IF* thinking.
        They don’t have “mere” permission, “ALTERNATE POSSIBILITIES”, and a future that “MIGHT HAPPEN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER”

        So Calvinists go about their office *AS-IF* Theological Determinism is FALSE
        *AS-IF* “mere” permission, “Alternate Possibilities”, and “Libertarian” do exist – while at the same time knowing they don’t

        “Libertarian defined: The ability to choose between a RANGE OF OPTIONS – that choice being consistent with one’s nature. Where one is TRUE the other is FALSE.”

        rhutchin
        The options not being equally desired by one’s nature so that one option, being heavily favored, would always prevail…..etc

        br.d
        No one here is fooled by that statement.
        In Calvin’s Theological Determinism *ALL* creature attributes are RENDERED-CERTAIN – thus determined by factors outside of the creatures control.

        But Calvinists need “the libertarian sense” because it is weaved into the fabric of scripture.”

        rhutchin
        Of course, this definition above is nothing more than the Calvinist definition where one always chooses according to the strongest desire as determined by one’s nature at any moment in time. So long as that definition applies, there is no conflict with Calvinism. True Libertarian Free Will would not include “that choice being consistent with one’s nature” as that phrase turns LFW into Calvinist free will.

        br,d
        I don’t think you’ve thought out the logical implication of what you’re agreeing with here.
        The Calvinist is forced to live with two compartments in his mind which stand in total contradiction to each other.

        In one compartment of his brain he embraces Proposition-A
        – it is TRUE that *ALL* things are determined by the THEOS – and in in every part.

        In the other compartment of his brain he holds Proposition-A as FALSE
        Where Calvin teaches:
        – Go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part – and the future MIGHT happen one way or another.

        This is why – for example – you cling to the magical-thinking idea that Calvin’s god “restrains” or “intervenes to prevent” events.
        Those conceptions are logically coherent *ONLY* in a world where Theological Determinism is FALSE.

        Calvinist’s internally realize they’ve been robbed of the inherent characteristics of a Libertarian world
        And that’s why they look for ways to sneak them back into their system.

      50. br.d writes:
        “Calvinist’s internally realize they’ve been robbed of the inherent characteristics of a Libertarian world
        And that’s why they look for ways to sneak them back into their system.”

        I have said it before, but I suspect that they are in complete denial, and simply doing their best to deal with the cognitive dissonance that their illogical, contradictory beliefs inevitably create. The healthy mind strives for order and reason. There is simply no denying that Determinism and autonomy cannot coexist, and any person willing and/or able to confront the logic of the possibility will be forced to admit it.

        However, if you have staked your life upon a belief system that claims the opposite of what scripture teaches, and you have been taught that the only way to life is believing the scriptures, you are faced with an impossible situation. You confess opposing, contradictory, antithetical truths, and must either reject one, or hide the dissonance from your conscious mind.

        The way the human brain can do this is to compartmentalize, holding the contradictory beliefs in separate compartments within the brain, never the twain shall meet. This is how men are able to hold to antithetical beliefs that would otherwise make them literally insane. It is a defense system for dealing with irreconcilable evil and trauma that Satan has manipulated to deceive and mislead many.

        Sadly, this ability of the brain to compartmentalize under trauma has been used by evil men to deliberately shatter people’s minds, creating multiple personalities and mentally ill individuals who can be manipulated to take on different personalities. These broken individuals can be manipulated to perform as desired at the command of the controller who knows the ‘map’ of their reconfigured mind. This is mind control at its most evil extreme.

      51. Yes – I totally agree TS00!

        How unfortunate for the non-Christian world to see such a testimony!
        I was listening to an online chat with Tim Stratton from “Free thinking ministries” the other day

        He was talking about witnessing to college students.
        He said that it never fails – they will argue against a belief in God because of evil.
        And it always boils down to their particular conception of God – which all to often is Deterministic/Calvinistic.

        Since he is highly capable of rational reasoning – he is able to show them – that conception is false.
        And this opens a door for them to consider the Gospel and to consider a God who loves them and desires their well-being.

      52. TS00 writes, “There is simply no denying that Determinism and autonomy cannot coexist,…”

        A basic tenet of Calvinism – either God is autonomous or man is autonomous; both cannot be autonomous.

      53. rhutchin
        A basic tenet of Calvinism – either God is autonomous or man is autonomous; both cannot be autonomous.

        br.d
        Calvinists EXPLICITLY make statements like this – especially when it comes to “good” events.
        But as soon as the topic is on “evil” events – out come the equivocations – where some degree of creaturely autonomy is INFERRED.
        Calvinists intuitively know that scripture does not attribute to man – what man has no control over.
        So they must craft statements that INFER enough creaturely autonomy to at least APPEAR biblical.

        Like the equivocal term “subordinate”
        Where “TOTAL SUBJECTION” is the UN-equivocal TRUTH

        And like where Calvin’s god has the equivocal: “last word”
        Where the “ONLY WORD” is the TRUE UN-equivocal TRUTH.

        And many many many more! :-]

      54. TS00,

        Just let RH talk TS00. The more he talks the more we see how untenable Calvinism in… both in human logic and Scripture.

        You see, they start with a presupposition that God cannot (CANNOT under any circumstances) have created a world where He will get His ultimate wishes while allowing man some freedom to obey or disobey Him.

        This is why I cannot discuss this with some Calvinists. They bring certain things to the table as truisms —-but they are only their own parameters—- imposed on the Word.

        Take for instance this absolutely un-scriptural statement: “either God is autonomous or man is autonomous; both cannot be autonomous.”

        This categorically flies in the face of hundreds and hundreds of verses of the Bible where God says “I did not want…” “you did not do what I asked…” “I did not expect you to do that…” “I expected this but got this…” “I would have kept you on the throne….but you….”

        “I would have given you all this land but you disobeyed.” “You are now doing worse than the people I brought you to this land to throw out…”

        If you this…I will this….but if you this…I will that…”

        On and on and on….. Not only hundreds of verses, but every sort of construction (tenses, moods, etc in original) and almost every book of the Bible and type of literature (psalm, proverb, history, epistle). Almost as if God is trying to make it clear HOW He created the world.

        These are not the words of a puppet-master. This is not the description of a world where man has no autonomy.

        But —- remember—- it SOUNDS more pious to say this about God…. which is one reason that so many YRR guys are falling for it. They think that a real reading of these thousands of verses “makes God weak” and they can’t have that. So they come up with ridiculous 2,3,4,5 “wills” of God. To make Him “how He must be.”

        It gets so dizzying it makes it impossible to keep track of what we are suppose to do.

        Again… the Christian man who commits adultery simply has to say that he had no “real autonomy” and that the “ultra-autonomous God” was ultimately the one who willed/ desired him to commit adultery.

        If this silly statement is true….
        “either God is autonomous or man is autonomous; both cannot be autonomous,”

        then ultimately God was the origin of that man’s adultery.

        That makes God “strong” alright!!!

        And hideous.

      55. Doublespeak is when “not free to accept salvation (without God’s help)”

        becomes

        ” They are free in the Libertarian sense because their slavery to sin supposedly allows for the acceptance of salvation even though that option is never exercised as it is so undesirable as to be irrelevant (thereby needing God’s help to choose the salvation option).”

        Poor Calvinist, stuck with a dastardly, untenable theology, he must constantly dance with words and meanings in order to attempt to align man’s theology with scripture and common reality.

        ‘Supposedly’ allows? ‘So undesirable as to be irrelevant’? Not under Calvinism, which does not allow the ‘dead man cursed with inability’ to ‘supposedly’ accept salvation. Under Calvinism the ability to accept salvation DOES NOT EXIST; how deceitful to claim that it is an option that ‘is never exercised as it is so undesirable as to be irrelevant’. False, false, false. There is NO option for Calvin’s dead, unregenerated, reprobate sinner to ‘choose’ a salvation that was never even offered to him. Naughty, naughty to leave out that pesky little plank of Calvinism that asserts that Christ only died for a select few, thus there is no salvation for the, literally, God- damned sinner to choose. Funny how the Calvinist always neglects to mention this.

        You simply cannot hold to one system, but try to argue from the tenets of another which negates it. All simply collapses into nonsensical meaninglessness. These guys must think people are nincompoops.

      56. TSOO
        All simply collapses into nonsensical meaninglessness. These Calvinists must think people are nincompoops.

        br.d
        William Lutz – American Linguist – on DoubleSpeak
        -quote:
        Basic to DoubleSpeak is incongruity!

        The incongruity between what is SAID and left UNSAID.
        The incongruity between the WORD and the REFERENT – between the SEEM and BE.

        What DoubleSpeak does?
        It misleads, distorts, inflates, circumvents, and obfuscates.”
        -end quote

      57. TS00 writes, ‘becomes
        ” They are free in the Libertarian sense because their slavery to sin supposedly allows for the acceptance of salvation even though that option is never exercised as it is so undesirable as to be irrelevant (thereby needing God’s help to choose the salvation option).”

        No. “their slavery to sin supposedly allows for the OPTION of salvation…” Acceptance is determined by one’s nature and desires. (as even br.d affirmed in another comment).

      58. Whatever, as we watch rhutchin debate himself. They’re his words, not mine. Apparently, even he can’t keep up with his ever changing explanations. 😉

      59. I think you’re observation is correct TS00
        rhutchin will eventually go into tail-chasing mode.

        And this reveals how much Calvinist thinking is magical-thinking – full of self-contradictions.
        I feel sorry for any person who gets ensnared in that belief system.

      60. Call it ‘double-speak’, mafia talk, or whatever you wish, all rational onlookers recognize the false freedom offered in an ‘offer you can’t refuse’. When pirates invite a prisoner to walk the plan, no one is going to honestly say that the man ‘chose’ to walk the plank. Surrounded by armed pirates, he had no other choice, apart from a more violent death in pursuit of hopeless resistance. When two mob hit men show up and make you an ‘offer you can’t refuse’, no onlooker would deny the coercion involved, even if the guns were never pulled.

        If God merely were to ‘allow’ us to ‘freely choose’ the only option available to us, just like the pirates and the mafia, he would be the same sort of controlling tyrant, determining by obvious but unused ‘force’ another individual’s fate. Don’t think for a second that the prisoner could escape forced death by ‘not choosing’ it. Nor can man, under Calvinism, escape the forced choices God has predetrmined.

      61. TS00 writes, “Nor can man, under Calvinism, escape the forced choices God has predetrmined.”

        The choices are forced consequent to Adam’s sin and the slavery to sin imposed on his descendants. That is why Calvinists reject Libertarian Free Will even though slavery to sin is said to allow for the option of choosing salvation.

      62. rhutchin
        The choices are forced consequent to Adam’s sin

        br.d
        No one here is fooled by that.

        We already know in Calvinism *ALL* human attributes are determined by factors outside their control.
        Therefore they have no control over any attribute.
        What Calvin’s god does NOT RENDER-CERTAIN he does not permit.

      63. br.d writes, “We already know in Calvinism *ALL* human attributes are determined by factors outside their control.
        Therefore they have no control over any attribute.”

        Everyone agrees to that. A baby does not pick it’s parents, place of birth, physical and mental capabilities, etc. By virtue of Adam’s sin, the baby is also born with a sin nature and has no say in that.

        Then, “What Calvin’s god does NOT RENDER-CERTAIN he does not permit.”

        Thus, God renders-certain, or ordains. all things. This the consequence of God’s omnipotence and ability to render-certain, or ordain, whatsoever He pleases. Thus, the Psalms, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” and “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.”

      64. rhutchin
        The choices are forced consequent to Adam’s sin

        br.d
        No one here is fooled by that.
        We already know in Calvinism *ALL* human attributes are determined by factors outside their control.
        Therefore they have no control over any attribute.”

        rhutchin
        Everyone agrees to that. A baby does not pick it’s parents, place of birth, physical and mental capabilities, etc. By virtue of Adam’s sin, the baby is also born with a sin nature and has no say in that.

        br.d
        Sorry you’re too late – “Adam’s sin” is already accounted for in “*ALL* human attributes”

        And What Calvin’s god does NOT RENDER-CERTAIN he does not permit.”

        rhutchin
        Thus, God renders-certain, or ordains. all things. This the consequence of God’s omnipotence and ability to render-certain, or ordain, whatsoever He pleases. Thus, the Psalms, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” and “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.”

        br.d
        Quote all the scriptures you want to – you still won’t escape the logical consequences of Theological Determinism.

        – You don’t have one single neurological impulse that is under your control – since *ALL* of your attributes are determined by factors outside your control.

        – You don’t have ALTERNATE POSSIBILITIES

        – You don’t have “Libertarian Free will” and thus you don’t have “Libertarian thought” – which is the ability to choose between a RANGE OF OPTIONS – since your every choice is FIXED IN THE PAST – by factors outside your control

        – And after you’ve sinned – you know that sin was RENDERED-CERTAIN – and there is no escape from that which is RENDERED-CERTAIN.

        But these things are contradictory to the general narrative of scripture.
        So you are forced to “go about your office *AS-IF* these things do exist and – Theological Determinism is FALSE.

        Since that entails living in a world of contradiction – the Calvinist can’t allow himself to acknowledge it.

      65. br.d writes, ‘Sorry you’re too late – “Adam’s sin” is already accounted for in “*ALL* human attributes”
        And What Calvin’s god does NOT RENDER-CERTAIN he does not permit.”

        So, we seem to agree – We already know in Calvinism *ALL* human attributes are determined by factors outside their control.
        Therefore they have no control over any attribute. Same for non-Calvinism.

        Then, “– You don’t have one single neurological impulse that is under your control – since *ALL* of your attributes are determined by factors outside your control.”

        Yes, so Jeremiah, “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” and it’s earlier application in Genesis, “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” This is the way people are born and they have no control over that.

        Then, “But these things are contradictory to the general narrative of scripture.
        So you are forced to “go about your office *AS-IF* these things do exist and – Theological Determinism is FALSE.”

        I don’t see a contradiction. Certainly God, by His omnipotence, determines all that happens even if He were not omniscient, but the believer not knowing what God has ordained, relies on the Scriptures to guide his life. He does not live *AS-IF* God has not ordained all things but *AS-IF* the Scriptures guide us to those conclusions that God has ordained. For example, obedience to God leads to His ordained blessing; disobedience leads to His ordained cursing. Therefore, the believer obeys God and receives the ordained (rendered-certain) blessing.

      66. rhutchin
        The choices are forced consequent to Adam’s sin

        br.d
        Sorry you’re too late – “Adam’s sin” is already accounted for in “*ALL* human attributes”
        And What Calvin’s god does NOT RENDER-CERTAIN he does not permit.”

        rhutchin
        So, we seem to agree

        br.d
        FALSE
        Blaming a creature’s attribute which is RENDERED-CERTAIN by factors outside that creatures control – is “altruistic” dishonesty.

        rhutchin
        We already know in Calvinism *ALL* human attributes are determined by factors outside their control.
        Therefore they have no control over any attribute. Same for non-Calvinism.

        br.d
        Dr. Bella Depaulo, Social Scientist, – The Hows and Whys of Lies writes:
        -quote
        “Altruistic dishonesty occurs when a person is working to protect a ‘target’. A high percentage of people who rationalize the use of dishonest language, experience some sub-level degree of discomfort, but which is effectively outweighed by rationalizations. And they generally do not regard their lies as lies. And this is especially true with people who are working to protect a ‘target’.”

        You don’t have one single neurological impulse that is under your control – since *ALL* of your attributes are determined by factors outside your control.”

        rhutchin
        Yes, so Jeremiah, “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” and it’s earlier application in Genesis, “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” This is the way people are born and they have no control over that.

        br.d
        Thank you for noticing how logically consistent scripture is with IN-determinism – you’ve proved my point for me!

        But Calvin’s Theological Determinism is contradictory to the general narrative of scripture.
        And that is why you are forced to -quote “go about your office *AS-IF* these things do exist and – Theological Determinism is FALSE.”

        rhutchin
        I don’t see a contradiction.

        br.d
        We’re already aware of that inability – and we understand the psychology behind it.

        Calvinist Proposition-A
        – ALL things are determined by the THEOS – and in every part

        Calvinist Proposition-B
        – Go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined by the THEOS – in any part.

        All SOT101 readers who are NOT ENSNARED in Calvinism – will see this as a psychology of contradiction.

        rhutchin
        Certainly God, by His omnipotence, determines all that happens even if He were not omniscient, but the believer not knowing what God has ordained, relies on the Scriptures to guide his life. He does not live *AS-IF* God has not ordained all things but *AS-IF* the Scriptures guide us to those conclusions that God has ordained.

        br.d
        This is another SEMANTIC argument – Calvinism asserts [X] but does not really mean [X].

        The Atheist Stephen Hawking also stated that as a determinist he must live *AS-IF* determinism is FALSE
        He understands it is a psychological burden imposed upon the believer of determinism

        Calvin understood this.
        (1) It’s a matter of psychology – maintaining a daily semblance of mental normalcy.
        (2) It’s a matter of being aligned with the general narrative of scripture

        rhutchin
        For example, obedience to God leads to His ordained blessing; disobedience leads to His ordained cursing.
        Therefore, the believer obeys God and receives the ordained (rendered-certain) blessing.

        br.d
        Great example!
        The Calvinist is forced to LIVE *AS-IF* disobedience from Calvin’s god is TRUE – while in determinism it is FALSE.

        Thus the Calvinist HOLDS to Calvinist Proposition-A
        But is forced to LIVE *AS-IF* Calvinist Proposition-A is FALSE

        Thank you for providing an example! :-]

      67. rhutchin
        According to Calvinists, people are free to reject salvation and not free to accept salvation (without God’s help)

        br.d
        Almost – but not quite.

        In Calvin’s Theological Determinism:
        Where the creature and [X] are RENDERED-CERTAIN:
        (1) The creature and [NOT X] is NOT permitted
        (2) The creature is NOT free to refrain from what is RENDERED-CERTAIN.

        So in this case
        – Where a person is RENDERED-CERTAIN to reject – that person is NOT permitted and NOT free to accept.
        – Where a person is RENDERED-CERTAIN to accept – that person is NO permitted and NOT free to reject.

        Monergism:
        A compound word containing the Greek “Mono” – meaning “one direction permitted only”.

      68. Again, the tiny little problem in debating who is able to freely choose or reject salvation is that those who are not elect have no salvation to choose or reject. It is like arguing over which of the children can ‘choose’ the trip to Europe that was offered to only one. No child to whom the offer was not made can possibly choose to take it. Can’t. Be. Done. If it is not there, never was there, and never will be there, what exactly does a person have to choose or reject?

      69. TSOO
        If it is not there, never was there, and never will be there, what exactly does a person have to choose or reject?

        br.d
        Excellent point TSOO!

        We can see that the Calvinist is forced to manufacture – what he finds wanting in his theology.
        This becomes a RED FLAG that internally he knows there are things missing within it – which he finds within scripture.
        So he has to find ways to sneak them back into his system.

      70. TS00 writes, “Again, the tiny little problem in debating who is able to freely choose or reject salvation is that those who are not elect have no salvation to choose or reject.”

        This because no one is born with faith, so no one can come to Christ to be saved without God first granting them the necessary faith to do so. Of course, God gives faith to His elect.

      71. Rhutchin writes:
        “This because no one is born with faith, so no one can come to Christ to be saved without God first granting them the necessary faith to do so. Of course, God gives faith to His elect.”

        False dichotomy. No one is saying that men are born with faith. Only the Calvinist views faith as coming in a giftwrapped box to a few, lucky, preselected lottery winners. Scripture depicts faith as man’s positive response to the promise of God, of which even the simplest child is capable.

        You are not born with faith, nor do you find it under your tree with a pretty bow. Every single individual born is eventually confronted by who God is and what he promises, and either believes – has faith – or not. It really isn’t very difficult to understand.

      72. TS00 writes, “No one is saying that men are born with faith…Scripture depicts faith as man’s positive response to the promise of God, of which even the simplest child is capable. ..Every single individual born is eventually confronted by who God is and what he promises, and either believes – has faith – or not. It really isn’t very difficult to understand.”

        So, if not difficult to understand, how about explaining why some people end up with faith and some do not..

      73. rhutchin
        So, if not difficult to understand, how about explaining why some people end up with faith and some do not..

        br.d
        end up with?

        This language assumes Theological Determinism.
        In a world where “mere” permission exists – a person can be “merely” permitted to believe upon the Lord Jesus and be saved.

        A very Interesting thing about “mere” permission for Calvinists.
        Calvin insists it doesn’t exist – but the Calvinist needs it to exist – in order to maintain normalcy and a coherence to scripture.
        So the Calvinist has to live *AS-IF* it does exist – while insisting that it doesn’t.

        That’s why so many Calvinist statements are designed to INFER “mere” permission
        Unfortunate – the Calvinist is forced into a state of double-mindedness – just to cleave to John Calvin! :-]

      74. rhutchin: So, if not difficult to understand, how about explaining why some people end up with faith and some do not..
        br.d: end up with?

        br.d doesn’t have an answer.

      75. rhutchin:
        So if not difficult to understand, how about explaining why some people end up with faith and some do not..

        br.d: end up with?

        rhutchin
        br.d doesn’t have an answer.

        br.d
        Silly!
        I went beyond the short-sightedness of that question.
        Sorry if you didn’t see that.

      76. br.d writes, “Silly! I went beyond the short-sightedness of that question.”

        Apparently in an effort to avoid having to answer the question.

      77. How about this one

        Calvin’s god designs the “MANY”
        1) DISABLED from having faith
        2) Not permitted to have faith
        3) Not free to “end up with faith”.

        In Calvinism – those who “end up with faith” are those who are simply the select “FEW”

      78. br.d writes, “In Calvinism – those who “end up with faith” are those who are simply the select “FEW””

        Even non-Calvinists say this. The disagreement is how people have faith. Calvinists say that faith is a gift from God. Both agree that only a select few will have saving faith regardless how that faith arises in the person..

      79. How about this one

        Calvin’s god designs the “MANY”
        1) DISABLED from having faith
        2) Not permitted to have faith
        3) Not free to “end up with faith”.

        In Calvinism – those who “end up with faith” are those who are simply the select “FEW”

        rhutchin
        Even non-Calvinists say this.

        br.d
        FALSE
        No other theology (accept perhaps Islam) asserts that people are DESIGNED for damnation – NOT permitted to have faith, Not free to “end up with faith” – leaving nothing left but a select “FEW”.

        rhutchin
        The disagreement is how people have faith. Calvinists say that faith is a gift from God. Both agree that only a select few will have saving faith regardless how that faith arises in the person..

        br.d
        I knew this was going to go beyond your short-sighted question in the first place.

        In a world where “mere” permission exists – a person can be “merely” permitted to believe upon the Lord Jesus and be saved.

        A very Interesting thing about “mere” permission for Calvinists.
        Calvin insists it doesn’t exist – but the Calvinist needs it to exist – in order to maintain normalcy and a coherence to scripture.
        So the Calvinist has to live *AS-IF* it does exist – while insisting that it doesn’t.

        That’s why so many Calvinist statements are designed to subtly SNEAK BACK IN “mere” permission hoping the ruse won’t be noticed.

        Unfortunate – the Calvinist is forced into a state of double-mindedness and subterfuge – just to cleave to John Calvin! :-]

      80. Why do only some end up with sleek and fit physiques?
        Why do only some end up with savings in their bank account?
        Why do only some end up with neatly tended lawns?
        Why do only some end up with Ph.D’s?
        Why do only some end up with more than passing familiarity with scripture?

        All things being equal, what people end up with largely reflects their personal choices. Which is why there can justly be such things as rewards and punishment. People who choose to believe in God’s promises, do so. People who refuse to trust in God, choose to put their faith elsewhere. One does not have to adopt the premise to understand it. It’s fairly simple.

      81. Love it great analogy TSOO! it isn’t easy choosing to eat healthy😊

        1 Peter 5:9 NASB — But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

      82. Reggie – 1 Peter 5:9 NASB — But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

        Of course, this is said to believers – those who have faith. Does Reggie know why some people have faith and some do not?

      83. Seems simple to me Rhutchin it comes down to love. In my observation a calvinist wants to always put mind first in loving God I trust mind is last for a VERY good reason! Ask Him how your loving Him in your relationship and trust in faith that He will reveal it to you through His Word.

        Matthew 22:37 NASB — 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.’

      84. Reggie writes, “Seems simple to me Rhutchin it comes down to love.”

        Well, seems that Reggie doesn’t know why some people have faith and some do not (or why some love God and some do not).

      85. I guess your simply wiser & smarter than me Rhutchin, but thankfully that’s not who Jesus says the Lord seeks;

        John 4:23 NASB — “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

        And He has said;

        1 Corinthians 1:27 NASB — but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,

        So again in Him alone we can stand not on a deterministic shifting sand else we all would be saying,
        So you get nothing, you lose! good day sir!

      86. Reggie, “I guess your simply wiser & smarter than me Rhutchin, but thankfully that’s not who Jesus says the Lord seeks;”

        It’s not being wiser & smarter. I just asked a simple question because I do not know what the non-Calvinist answer is. As you are not Calvinist, you might know. What is it that results in one person becoming a true worshiper of God (or one who expresses faith in Christ or love for God) when another does not. What explains the difference between the two? I get the impression that you don’t have a clue (which is a consistent response from a non-Calvinist).

      87. rhutchin
        I just asked a simple question because I do not know what the non-Calvinist answer is

        br.d
        And I’ve got a bridge in Florida for sale at a price you can’t refuse! :-]

      88. rhutchin
        Well, seems that Reggie doesn’t know why some people have faith and some do not (or why some love God and some do not).

        br.d
        Reggie – don’t bother with this – its just an old Calvinist strategy – which will eventually be reliant upon subterfuge.

      89. Right br.d
        I was just getting ready to tell Reggie to no fall for that canard!

      90. br.d

        When I discuss with most Calvinists, they reach a point where they say they disagree or understand my answer and agree-to-disagree.

        RH’s standard barb is to continually jab with the “You never answered” line. Kinda silly really… asking why someone believes and another doesnt. We see that every day in hundreds of things (believes social security will work or not; believes a man landed on the moon; 911 theories; believes politicians; teacher believes the dog ate the homework).

        Despite the hundreds of times we have answered things he continues this same kind of belittling barb.

        The reason is cuz he cannot hear us.

        When my kids were little, and it was raining, they would say “I weely love it when it wains!” Another of my (older) kids would say … “Dont say ‘wains’ say ‘rains.'”

        “I did say ‘wains'”

        “No you didnt you said ‘wains.'”

        “Waaaah! No….look outside….it’s ‘waining!'”

        You see….they can’t hear the difference. They cant hear themselves.

        So we say ANY answer (any kind of answer in the whole world) about why a person believes and another doesnt (we could quote 100 “choose for yourselves this day” verses) and RH can’t hear us. Why? Because he comes to the text with the baked-in answer that all faith is given-faith.

        So….no number of quotes of Christ talking about a person having faith, or not having faith, or increasing his faith…or even Christ marveling at someone’s faith….. will make any difference to him.

        If I could show RH a verse about Jesus (the one he says must give or withhold all faith) MARVELING at someone’s faith, would it matter to him? Nah….

        Even the Calvinist ESV says, When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” (Luke 7:9)

        What in the world!? Why would Jesus marvel at anything (didnt He ordain everything?), especially a faith that He had foisted on someone!?

        But none of this matters to RH….. cuz he brings his answers TO the text.

        Don’t think he can hear it when it ‘wains’.

      91. FOH
        Don’t think he can hear it when it ‘wains’.

        br.d
        A wonderful story and analogy FOH!

        Yes I think I see that in rhutchin’s posts.
        Its like his mind can only think in patterns of thought – which follow Calvinist talking-points.

        His mind can’t connect with any thought that doesn’t fit into one of those pre-conditioned thought-patterns.

      92. Similar to that is the “how God must be” idea.

        Despite the hundreds of verses showing God interacting with man, being sad, angry, pleased, displeased, marveling, changing His mind, etc…. Nope! Cant have any other those…….

        Where is that Calvinist jingle….. here it is …..

        “Control over everything or control over nothing.” What? They just make this stuff up!

        They box themselves in with a Greek understanding of what a deity must be like, impose that on our God, and refuse (or “better interpret”) all the hundreds of verses that speak against their pre-baked ideas.

      93. FOH
        They box themselves in with a Greek understanding of what a deity must be like, impose that on our God, and refuse (or “better interpret”) all the hundreds of verses that speak against their pre-baked ideas.

        br.d
        And then claim they are just following scripture – and accuse others of following philosophy!

        There’s nothing like pointing a finger of accusation at someone while having 4 fingers pointing back at oneself! :-]

      94. FOH writes, ““Control over everything or control over nothing.” What? They just make this stuff up!”

        God is sovereign and by definition, controls all things.

      95. FOH writes What in the world!? Why would Jesus marvel at anything (didnt He ordain everything?), especially a faith that He had foisted on someone!?

        Reggie,
        great questions FOH and I see your point he has his systematic baked in it appears, maybe he’ll see the light one day.

      96. I saw a video a year ago of a hand-full of surviving David Koresh followers.
        Koresh died about 25 years ago – and those people are now approaching their later years in life.
        And they were still adamant that he was a prophet from God.
        I have a suspicion they will carry that belief for the rest of their lives.

      97. FOH writes, “RH’s standard barb is to continually jab with the “You never answered” line. Kinda silly really… asking why someone believes and another doesnt.”

        LOL! FOH could have answered the question in 25 words but used many more words to avoid answering the question. What purpose does that serve?

      98. Or as Closet chronicle put it in one of my all time favorite lines:

        “Look, a flying squirrel!” When all else fails, use distraction, comrades,

      99. TS00
        “Look, a flying squirrel!” When all else fails, use distraction, comrades,

        br.d
        By this time – we’re pretty familiar with all of their tricks! :-]

      100. rhutchin
        Does Reggie know why some people have faith and some do not?

        br.d
        I think Reggie already knows Calvin’s god designs people for eternal torments in the lake of fire for his good pleasure.
        So trying to use deceptive language to camouflage that won’t work here.

      101. It is true I do see this systematic and the disingenuousness it paints of our God! thank you Br.d. Sadly it seems he’s got a lot of head knowledge

      102. Reggie
        It is true I do see this systematic and the disingenuousness it paints of our God! thank you Br.d. Sadly it seems he’s got a lot of head knowledge

        br.d
        Thanks Reggie – and I agree.
        But I think Calvinists pretend to be intellectual as a way to make Calvinism look sophisticated.
        Underneath that pretense of head-knowledge – what I find is magical thinking and pretzel logic.

        Calvinists are firstly taught to canonize John Calvin’s doctrines.
        Although they will deny this – when you scrutinize – you will find it boils down to that.

        Calvinism is an INTERPRETATION of scripture – which evolved from Augustine synchronizing Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism into Catholic doctrine. John Calvin fell in love with Augustine – and canonized his writings.

        The human mind always interprets data in accordance to internal memory associations.
        This is how the Rorschach ink blots work.
        Take for example an ink blot that looks like a bat or a butterfly.
        When the human mind looks at that data – its sees those images because of internal memory associations.
        But the truth is – the ink blot is nothing more than random blots on a piece of paper.
        And yet the mind interprets it as something that is not really there.

        Scholars realize the human mind works the same way when reading the data scripture.
        Teach a person to believe that God at the foundation of the world determines every neurological impulse a person will ever have.
        And when he reads scripture – his mind will make that association – and he will interpret scripture to affirm that – even when its not really there.

        That is why Calvinists read scripture the way they do.
        But the worse part of Calvinism – in my mind – is the degrees of dishonesty it forces them into.

      103. Hmm Br.d this is interesting I do have a BA in psychology I never finished my graduate courses, but the mind set does seem to play into it. It also seems simple from a Scriptural stance to me too. They seem puffed up with God’s Word & come across prideful in combating their systematic, but believe they are defending God. Also I loved the affirmation when Leighton had the podcast from the leading scholar who read all of Augustine’s writings in chronological order. I sensed years ago in studying Colossians this influence within that systematic plus those who beat themselves into submission maybe legalism🤔 this is close to home for me as I’m assuming it is for us all. I’ve had more than one calvinist quote the verse of loving God wrong. Even in the movie the “American gospel” they quoted it wrong putting “mind” in the wrong place when loving God. And each time it was like nails on a chalk board to me, because that is the verse that was quoted to me wrong the day I found out my son died. I was also told calvinism is a secondary issue. Then when I asked my calvinist brother in law why bother to evangelize? his response was, because we don’t know who has an “S” or he said “J” (I can’t remember which now) on their forehead such an odd comment to me at the time. Then the misquote of loving God then the phone rang with the news of my son. Since this time I’ve had another pastor tell me they don’t know who has a yellow strip down their back he didn’t take credit for the quote. So many factors but yet simple too I’m just soooo grateful to know I’m not alone and that there are genuine believers who trust this systematic is off.

      104. Reggie, if you peruse an ever increasing number of blogs, you will find a growing number of former Calvinists, who were once fully seduced into its realm. If you study the historical literature and that which resides within the dusty halls of academia, you will find that many have long thought something was ‘off’ with Calvin and his theology. Not to mention the dissidents who suffered and died for their rejection of Calvinism-by-force. After his deceptive takeover and tyrannizing of the city of Geneva, Calvin’s attempted to spread his control across the wider world. The Calvinist friendly mainstream press may not present this material, but academics have been studying it for centuries; one can search out more recent findings as well as dig up dusty, old historical surveys.

        Since the failed attempt at worldwide totalitarian Theocracy, Calvinism has been forced to rely on trickery, deception and dissimulation to creep into seminaries, churches and homes. Rare is the honest presentation of the system and its logical conclusions, which the cloaked Calvinists like to call ‘Hyper-Calvinism’. Imagine a ‘Hyper-christian’ or a ‘Hyper-vegitarian’ – it simply implies one who applies his beliefs logically and consistently, with passion.

        A ‘Hyper-Calvinist’ is a consistent-with-his-systematic Calvinist. He knows and admits the ugly truth that his God is a narcissistic, controlling tyrant who shamelessly authors evil. He demands that we bow to his ‘glory’, and keep our mouths shut against his cruelty rather than stand up for the poor, helpless reprobate if we want to play ball in heaven. Calvin’s God disingenuously blames the helpless, resistless ‘sinner’, whose every thought, word and deed he controls, but, as he owns the ball, he cannot be challenged.

      105. I agree & to some degree I want to jump on board with the implication of the evil spirit, but I know for me I’m trying not to focus on the battle rather speak truth in love. Trust me old Reggie would be in the ring with a sword and not the sword of the Spirit in the armor of God. I’m not on Facebook or I would join in it’s just not something I’m up to at this point, but I will try to read tth Genevieve article. I appreciate how you present your rebuttals especially it sounds like coming from a former calvinist. It really seems most don’t see the full ramifications in where this road leads in it’s CLEAR implications about (as you said ) the mode of operation of God! & if they have embraced this in all its ICK then Wow but here we stand opposing it!! Thank you

      106. Reggie, first let me offer my sincere condolences for your loss!

        Sometimes I think I’ve learned things through very harsh circumstances at different points in my life.
        And when looking back understood the Lord gently brought be through those experiences.

        My first contact with Calvinism was a poor brother whose behavior appeared cultish.
        He belonged to a tiny group – led by a pastor who would not tell his people he was teaching them Calvinism.
        I remember his tiny group – following him around like little ducklings – looking up to him like he was invincible.

        That raised a red-flag for me – and from then on I began to examine.
        From that I learned to look for tell tale signs within Calvinist Sociology and Psychology.
        I think those signs manifested by Calvinists behavior and language serve as indicators that Calvinists themselves internally and instinctively recognize problems with the doctrine they’ve embraced – because the Calvinist response is to hide them.

        And those indicators serve to differentiate Calvinism from Christ.

        With your background in Psychology – you might be interested in Dr. Erich Fromm’s “Escape from freedom”

        Fromm called Calvinism a “doctrine of dread”.

        Here are a few excerpts:

        “As with Luther, fundamental doubts result in a person’s quest for absolute certainty…..the doubt remained in the background of the believer’s mind, and had to be silenced again and again by an overgrowing, emphasis, that the religious community to which one belonged, represented that part of mankind which had been chosen by God.

        In his conceptions, Calvin’s god, in spite of all attempts to preserve an idea of divine justice and love, has all the features of a tyrant, without any quality of certain or predictable love or justice.

        In blatant contradiction to the language of the New Testament, Calvin denies the supreme role of divine love, and says “For what the Schoolmen advance concerning the priority of charity to faith and hope, is a mere reverie of a distempered imagination…

        One possible way to escape this unbearable state of uncertainty and a paralyzing feeling of one’s own insignificance, is the very trait which became so prominent in Calvinism: the development of a hyper activity and striving for productivity.

        Activity in this sense assumes a compulsory quality: the individual has to be active in order to subdue underlying feelings of doubt and powerlessness. This kind of effort and activity works to promote a sense of confidence and conciliation.

        However, human effort in Calvinist doctrine has yet another psychological meaning. The fact that one did not tire in that unceasing effort, and the one succeeded in one’s moral as well as secular work, functions as a more or less distinct sign of being one of the chosen ones.

        Thus, effort and work, in this sense, assume an entirely irrational character. They are not to change one’s eternal fate, which is predetermined by God regardless of effort on the part of the individual.

        Human efforts, served only as a means of forecasting the predetermined fate; while at the same time, the heightened effort served as an emotional reassurance against an otherwise unbearable underlying feeling of powerlessness.”

      107. Br.d,
        because the Calvinist response is to hide them.

        Reggie, I have to agree they do hid much especially their supposed elitist status!

        Br.d And those indicators serve to differentiate Calvinism from Christ.

        Reggie, Amen I love this!!!
        Also thank you for your sincere condolences I really appreciate that Br.d. & I will have to look into that book it sounds like I would like it.

      108. br.d writes:
        “John Calvin fell in love with Augustine”

        I would say that they had the same demonic spirit. This destructive theology, and the many whose faith and lives it has shipwrecked is not the work of God. Many have told their stories on Dr. Flowers’ FB page. You could go to a post by Rachel Held Evans ten years ago on why Calvinism makes her cry, (who, btw, needs prayer as she struggles for her life) and see countless stories of others who nearly gave up on God due to their encounter with Calvinism. A genuine embrace of Calvinism leads to hopelessness, fear and despair, as many lowly Puritans attest to in their writings, in spite of the select few who are held up as christian icons.

        I know some desire to be nicey-nice and not offend those who bar the gate of salvation from needy, lost souls. I even grant that most who adopt this system do not truly understand it, or its ugly underbelly of partiality, cruelty and murder. How can they, when Calvinists like my former pastor and some on this site attempt to deceptively disguise it? They become livid when they see an honest depiction of their theological worldview, and insist ‘You just don’t understand Calvinism.’ It is actually they who ‘just don’t understand Calvinism’, because they have been sold a cleverly disguised bill of goods. Deception and dissimulation have always been, and continue to be the primary tools of Calvinism for misleading people. For an interesting look at Calvin and his use of deception, see a recent academic paper I came across: https://www.academia.edu/38954781/Geneva_s_Use_of_Lies_Deceit_and_Simulation_in_their_Efforts_to_Reform_France_1536-1563?email_work_card=view-paper

        But deception is not part of God’s M.O. The theology itself is straight from the pit of hell, and seeks to drag as many as it can back down with it.

      109. Wonderful Post TS00!

        I had not seen this historical document before on Calvinist dishonesty and subterfuge!
        I’m going to read through it and perhaps do some follow-up on some of the references it provides.

      110. Good post TS00

        Notice how rhutchin says “in Calvinism salvation is the gift of God”

        But Calvin’s god has that “gift” is only for a FEW
        While Calvin’s god’s “gift” for the MANY – is designing them specifically to eternal torment in a lake of fire “for his good pleasure”

        For the Calvinist – designing people for torment “for his good pleasure” is called “Grace”

        Pretty morally distorted belief system!

      111. br.d writes, “Notice how rhutchin says “in Calvinism salvation is the gift of God”

        Ephesians 2, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

        “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”

        Calvinists merely note the obvious.

      112. rhutchin
        Calvinists merely note the obvious.

        br.d
        You told the truth up to a point.
        But a lie of omission is still a lie.

        (Captain Jon Luke Picard – to young Wesley Crusher)

      113. TS00 writes, “All things being equal, what people end up with largely reflects their personal choices.”

        Yet the Scriptures tell us:
        – Jesus said, “No one can come to me…”
        – “…the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
        – “we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness,..but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are,..a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
        – “if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
        – ““Hear then the parable of the sower. “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.”
        – ““For truly in this city there were gathered together against Thy holy servant Jesus, whom Thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur..”
        – “And after the morsel, Satan then entered into Judas. Jesus therefore *said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
        – “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me,…Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.”

        Seems like more is involved than just personal choices.

      114. rhutchin
        Seems like more is involved than just personal choices.

        br.d
        Like people designed with the modal functionality of puppets and robots. :-]

      115. Unless, of course, you are a Calvinist, in which case you ‘end up with’ whatever God ordained to be your lot; no more and no less. Period.

        I do not deny that God exerts a great deal of influence on various factors in men’s lives. But what he judges them on are the choices they make, and what they do with or in spite of the conditions they find themselves in.

      116. TS00 writes, “I do not deny that God exerts a great deal of influence on various factors in men’s lives. But what he judges them on are the choices they make, and what they do with or in spite of the conditions they find themselves in.”

        At least you have not deserted your previous Calvinist influences.

      117. rhutchin
        At least you have not deserted your previous Calvinist influences.

        br.d
        Actually – he did.
        He cast of Calvinism’s “good-evil” moral dualism – and its semantic dishonesties.
        He’s no longer forced to be the “most subtle beast in the field” of protestant Christianity. (see Genesis 3:1)

      118. TS00
        I do not deny that God exerts a great deal of influence on various factors in men’s lives. But what he judges them on are the choices they make, and what they do with or in spite of the conditions they find themselves in.

        br.d
        Yes – and what is worse for the Calvinist in my book – is that they are forced into all forms of dishonesty -trying to make Calvinism *APPEAR* NORMAL.

        rhutchin would take your statement and try to make it look like Calvinism holds to the same as what you stated.

        But that would entail “mere” permission – which THEORETICALLY doesn’t exist in their system.
        So they have SNEAK “mere” permission back into their system under camouflage – in order to *APPEAR* to have the same Biblical standard of justice.

        Those appeals to Calvin’s god “intervening to prevent” or “restraining” evil events – are nothing more than FAKE forms of “mere” permission.

      119. br.d writes, ‘But that would entail “mere” permission ”

        What is “mere permission”? I know what it was to Calvin, so what do you mean by that term?

      120. rhutchin
        What is “mere permission”? I know what it was to Calvin, so what do you mean by that term?

        br.d
        PERMIT – derived from the Latin “permettere”
        To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over, to allow, or to grant.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        “But it is quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely PERMITS them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the AUTHOR of them”

        Calvin’s god does not “merely” permit sins and evils – he AUTHORS them.
        Calvin’s god does not “merely” permit any event come to pass – he AUTHORS *ALL* without exception.
        Calvin’s god does not “merely” permit any creaturely determination – AUTHORS *ALL* creaturely determinations.

      121. IOW, and this is what Calvinists strive so to hide, no rape, murder, child abuse or any other evil act arises in the mind of men apart from the determining decree of God, just as no righteous act arises in man’s own being. Calvin was terrified of accepting responsibility for his own behavior, which would logically negate the concept of sinful behavior no longer being taken into account. John Calvin would have to answer for his torture and murder, along with years of tyrannical, oppression.

      122. TS00 writes, “this is what Calvinists strive so to hide, no rape, murder, child abuse or any other evil act arises in the mind of men apart from the determining decree of God,”

        The sinful nature is the source of all evil thoughts. God may restrain those thoughts or give the sinful nature freedom to vent as it wants – Thus, no thought emerges from the sinful nature outside the determining decree of God,

      123. rhutchin
        The sinful nature is the source of all evil thoughts.

        br.d
        You told the truth up to a point.
        But a lie of omission is still a lie.
        (Captain Jon Luke Picard – to young Wesley Crusher)

        rhutchin
        God may restrain those thoughts or give the sinful nature freedom to vent as it wants –

        br.d
        Again with the FAKE presentation of “mere” permission!

        What is the STATUS of the event – at the point in which Calvin’s god restrains it?
        – RENDERED-CERTAIN – woops! That’s immutable and therefore unrestrainable
        – NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN – woops! That event was never going to come to pass anyway

        rhutchin
        Thus, no thought emerges from the sinful nature outside the determining decree of God,

        br.d
        More accurately:
        Calvin’s god AUTHORS and determines *ALL* sin and evil – leaving nothing left over for anyone else to AUTHOR or determine.

        Take 100% and subtract *ALL* from it – and you get zero left-over.

      124. Yes – when looking at John Calvin’s behavior its hard to recognize the spirit of Christ in it.
        More someone who was caught up in his own religious power-base

      125. rhutchin: What is “mere permission”? I know what it was to Calvin, so what do you mean by that term?
        br.d: PERMIT – derived from the Latin “permettere”
        To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over, to allow, or to grant.

        What is “mere permission”? I know what it was to Calvin, so what do you mean by that term?

      126. rhutchin
        What is “mere permission”? I know what it was to Calvin, so what do you mean by that term?

        br.d
        Read my post where I answered that question and then you make-believe I didn’t answer your question :-]

      127. I suspect that is why the Calvinist is content to look silly posing meaningless arguments – as long as it keeps us from grasping the even uglier Calvinist proposition, which ALL reasonable men reject – God deliberately damns many, for no reason other than his pure desire to do so.

      128. TSOO
        Calvin’s god deliberately damns many, for no reason other than his pure desire to do so.

        br.d
        Yep!

        Calvin
        -quote
        “it was his pleasure to doom to them to destruction”

      129. TS00 writes, “…the even uglier Calvinist proposition, which ALL reasonable men reject – God deliberately damns many, for no reason other than his pure desire to do so.”

        If all are not saved, then it must be true that God, who has power to save all, was pleased not to save some. No reasonable person can reject this.

      130. Rhutchin writes:
        “If all are not saved, then it must be true that God, who has power to save all, was pleased not to save some. No reasonable person can reject this.”

        All who know the living God reject this Calvinist picture when it is presented honestly, without manipulation and brainwashing. Some are deceived for a time, but those who have the Spirit within eventually see the truth. Scripture tells us unequivocally that God does not desire than any man perish, but that all turn from wickedness and live; that it was for this reason that he sent his son to declare this good news for all to hear. Any contradictory claim is a lie.

      131. Rhutchin:
        “If all are not saved, then it must be true that God, who has power to save all, was pleased not to save some. No reasonable person can reject this.”

        br.d
        C.S. Lewis
        -quote
        There are two kinds of people in this world.
        Those who bend their knee to God and say “Thy Will be done”.
        And those who refuse to bend their knee to God – and God says “Alright you’re will be done”.

      132. brianwagner writes, ‘I’m glad Roger that you affirmed you understood what I said.”

        Actually, I have no idea what parallelism you are talking about and you don’t seem inclined to explain it. Can’t determine if I reject it or not.

        Then, “He wants all to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

        Of course, if God wants all (meaning each and every person) to be saved, He will save all. If not, then He will not. Such is His power to do as He wants.

      133. Roger, I did explain the parallelism of
        2 Corinthians 2:15-16 NKJV — For we are to God the fragrance of Christ
        *A* among those who are being saved and
        *B* among those who are perishing.
        *A* To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and
        *B* to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?

        You want it to be the less normal chiastic ABBA. Good hermeneutics goes with the more normal. And Paul clearly talks about his example to believers of dying to self in this context… being that savor of death to them that believe.

        2 Corinthians 4:10-11 NKJV — always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

        He wants believers to follow that same example so the life of Christ can be “savored” by the unbeliever.

      134. brianwagner writes, ‘You want it to be the less normal chiastic ABBA. Good hermeneutics goes with the more normal. And Paul clearly talks about his example to believers of dying to self in this context… being that savor of death to them that believe.”

        Those translations (NET Bible, Amplified, Phillips) that tie v16 back to v15, use the chiastic structure as do the commentaries I consulted (Barnes, Clarke, JFB). I found no one who takes your position. Why should they? Paul writes, “Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord,…But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place…And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.” The immediate context is that of preaching the gospel to all people and the effect on those who hear. Yours is a minority opinion from what I can find.

      135. Then He said to [them] all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”- Luk 9:23 NKJV

        That’s the savor of Christ we should be giving off to those who are saved!

      136. Brian,

        The Bible is full of (packed with) verses like this (“Choose for yourselves this day…”), but you must be forgetting the Calvinist’s ability to whisk them all away by saying….

        “yes, but he CANNOT desire to come after Me….”

        “he CANNOT deny himself….”

        “he CANNOT take up his cross daily…”

        “he CANNOT follow Me….”

        Of course according to Calvinism no one can do this. And the only ones who can do it, will do will do irresistibly ….

        Once again rendering Christ’s words to desire, deny, take up and follow ….rather meaningless.

      137. FOH
        The Calvinist’s ability to whisk them all away by saying….

        “yes, but he CANNOT desire to come after Me….”

        “he CANNOT deny himself….”

        “he CANNOT take up his cross daily…”

        “he CANNOT follow Me….”

        br.d
        Isn’t that interesting!
        Because they flip right around and go 180 degrees in the opposite direction when it comes to sins and evils!

      138. Then He said to [them] all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. – Luk 9:23 NKJV

        “No one can come to Me…And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”” John 6:44,65 NKJV

      139. Then He said to [them] all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. – Luke 9:23 NKJV

        “No one can come to Me…And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”” John 6:44,65 NKJV

        One can either assert that the bible is a contradictory mess, unworthy of our trust, or that one must study carefully to discern what is and isn’t being said in these two seemingly contradictory verses and others that might at first seem contradictory.

        Calvinism will not do this; frankly, it cannot, being bound by its restrictive doctrines. The Calvinist must assume, from the outset, its systematic. Thus, in the Luke passage, Jesus was being cruel and disingenuous, calling helpless men to do what they could not; he was speaking (wink, wink) to only the specially selected, you-know-who-you-are, elect while pretending (wink, wink) to make a generous offer to all.

        The unrestricted seeker after truth is free to ponder more gracious and reasonable possibilities, including the fact that context is everything. Note that a few verses later Jesus says to his disciples in explanation:

        “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.” and “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (Jn 6:44-45, 63-65)

        He here explains that the words he speaks are ‘spirit and life’. In other words, in sending Jesus, and the words which he spoke, God the Father was drawing all men to him. The ‘spirit’ which draws all men to God is the Word of God, with the double meaning of Jesus himself and his spoken words.

        A few chapters later Jesus says:

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

        No chained to a set of man-made doctrines, one is able to consider that Jesus is explaining both why he has come – to draw all men to God – and why not all come – because some do not believe the Word(s) that they see and hear. With the publicly proclaimed Word(s) of Jesus, all men have been drawn to the offer of salvation. Yet, since God does not compel men to obey, only those who believe his promise of salvation will respond to this offer and come. God foreknows, and Jesus knew, without determining, exactly who would and would not believe, and suggests that God does indeed provide helps to those who will believe, however weak their faith.

        None of this requires God’s deterministic control of men, contrary to the claims of Calvinism.

      140. TS00 writes, “He here explains that the words he speaks are ‘spirit and life’. In other words, in sending Jesus, and the words which he spoke, God the Father was drawing all men to him.”

        Yet, you quote the Scripture to say, “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.” Thus, God would be drawing only those whom He has taught – and this can include any number up to each and every person.

        Then, “A few chapters later Jesus says: “ and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” (Jn 12:32)”

        Where “all” could be defined as “Jew and gentile,” a theme of John reflected in his use of “world.”
        – “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
        – “God so loved the world,”
        – ‘this One is indeed the Savior of the world.””
        – “the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

      141. rhutchin
        Satan then becomes the instrument whereby God blinds the minds of unbelievers, so that we can conclude that God has blinded unbelievers by His instrument, Satan.

        br.d
        Calvinist Dr. Chalmers – on predestination
        -quote
        “The will of man is an INSTRUMENT in his hand – he turns it at his pleasure.”

        John Calvin – Institutes
        -quote
        “Hence they are merely INSTRUMENTS, into which God constantly INFUSES what energy he sees meet, and turns and converts to any purpose at his pleasure.”

        William Lane Craig – Four Views on Divine Providence
        -quote:
        “Universal Divine Causal Determinism nullifies human AGENCY.
        Since our choices are NOT “UP TO US” but are caused by God – human beings cannot be said to be “real” AGENTS.”

      142. John Calvin – Institutes
        -quote
        “Hence they are merely INSTRUMENTS, into which God constantly INFUSES what energy he sees meet, and turns and converts to any purpose at his pleasure.”

        William Lane Craig – Four Views on Divine Providence
        -quote:
        “Universal Divine Causal Determinism nullifies human AGENCY.
        Since our choices are NOT “UP TO US” but are caused by God – human beings cannot be said to be “real” AGENTS.”

        So, we see that Calvin has God turns and converts the human agency to His purposes (as the Assyrians in Isaiah 10) and Craig seems not to be referring to Calvin or Calvinism.

      143. John Calvin – Institutes
        -quote
        “Hence they are merely INSTRUMENTS, into which God constantly INFUSES what energy he sees meet, and turns and converts to any purpose at his pleasure.”

        William Lane Craig – Four Views on Divine Providence
        -quote:
        “Universal Divine Causal Determinism nullifies human AGENCY.
        Since our choices are NOT “UP TO US” but are caused by God – human beings cannot be said to be “real” AGENTS.”

        rhutchin
        So, WE see that Calvin has God turns and converts the human “agency” to His purposes (as the Assyrians in Isaiah 10) and Craig SEEMS not to be referring to Calvin or Calvinism.

        br.d
        Who is WE?
        And SEEMS by who?

        Oh the magical thinking!
        Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world – must have coded it as a repeating subroutine – within your programming algorithms.
        To funny! :-]

      144. TS00 says “Such wicked powers, known in scripture as demonic forces, have created and/or co-opted the organizations and institutions upon which this world is built. They are active, every minute of every day, seeking to deceive, manipulate and wreak destruction upon this earth and the people who inhabit it. And yet, taught from the cradle that these institutions serve the greater good, are for our protection and benefit, few are willing or able to confront the blatant evidence of evil within all such man-made institutions, yes, including even so-called Christianity. … Sadly, well-meaning men can easily be deceived by persuasive evil men, causing them to embrace, support and spread false and destructive beliefs and actions. But for the grace of God, and clinging closely to an intimate relationship and walk with him, we will continue to become victim to the many deceptions of the evil one, again and again… I am perhaps alone in my perception that the faulty doctrines of Calvinist theology have been used to wreak havoc upon individuals and the associations they create in the name of building God’s kingdom on earth. It seems to me to be simply another example of the deceit that scripture warns will overtake, effectively, the whole world, including, if possible, the very (non-Calvinist definition) elect.”

        Well said! And you are not alone in this view.

        The church can be a very good, godly place, but I wonder if we give our churches too much “credit” and too much benefit of the doubt sometimes. There are not enough Bereans out there, searching the Scriptures diligently for themselves to see if what they’re being taught is true. And this lackadaisical attitude (along with our trusting natures) makes the church members easily prey for false doctrines. Particularly if a strong, persuasive, enthusiastic Calvinist (YRR) pastor comes on board. They can get the people so caught up in enthusiasm and in the excitement of new changes that the people don’t look too closely at the theology being taught. It’s like, “Well, look at how vibrant the church has gotten with this new pastor. It MUST be from God!” (And Calvinist preachers and theologians are master manipulators, which has been addressed in the comments before.)

        But if Satan can’t attack a church from the outside, he will attack from the inside. If he can’t outright destroy God’s Word and truth, he will twist it to use it against Him. He will disguise darkness as light, and lies as truth. But it will sound so close to truth that most people won’t notice the errors. (And those that do and that say something about it will be considered overly critical or overly emotional, like there must be something wrong with them that they can’t see that it’s all good and godly and right.)

        I think these from-the-inside attacks are far more effective than the obvious, clearly-unbiblical, from-the-outside attacks … because we never see them coming or even think to be alert for them. Because we trust these “godly leaders” to lead us right. It’s sad how many people get slowly sucked up into Calvinism, when they never would have agreed with it if the pastor had been totally honest from the beginning about what Calvinism really is.

        I used to try to be more gracious when I addressed Calvinism. (I am still gracious towards the people, just not towards the theology.) But now – after really thinking about what it does to God’s character and Jesus’s sacrifice and people’s faith and our relationship with God and to people’s hope/chance for salvation – I can do nothing less than call it evil! Of the worst kind!

      145. heather writes, “I used to try to be more gracious when I addressed Calvinism….I can do nothing less than call it evil! Of the worst kind!”

        You know what Calvinist teach,…

        1. God is omniscient and knew when He created the world those whom He would save and those He would pass over.
        2. God is omnipotent and nothing can happen unless He decrees it to happen.
        3. Adam’s sin corrupted mankind and removed that faith necessary to accept salvation.
        4 All whom God gives to Jesus will come to Him.
        5. No one can come to Jesus unless God draws him.
        6. Jesus will not lose any given to Him by God and subsequently drawn to Him by God.

        …so just argue the obvious against those positions. Be a Berean.

      146. rhutchin
        You know what Calvinist teach,…

        br.d
        What Calvinist’s HIDE is 1000 times more important then what Calvinists teach

        rhutchin
        1. God is omniscient …..

        br.d
        Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES and then RENDERS-CERTAIN everything that comes to pass.
        LOGIC reveals doing so is NOT A NECESSARY CONSEQUENCE of omniscience.

        rhutchin
        2. God is omnipotent and nothing can happen unless He decrees it to happen.

        br.d
        LOGIC reveals decreeing everything that happens is NOT A NECESSARY REQUIREMENT of omnipotence.
        If Calvinism insists it does – then Calvinism has its own PRIVATE INTERPRETATION of omnipotence.

        rhutchin
        3. Adam’s sin corrupted mankind ….etc

        br.d
        Calvin’s god lead Adam to believe he WILLED Adam to obey – while Calvin’s god DID NOT PERMIT Adam to obey.
        Calvin’s god commanded Adam to obey while making obedience not AVAILABLE to Adam.

        rhutchin
        4 All whom God gives to Jesus will come to Him.

        br.d
        Because Calvin’s god DOES NOT PERMIT them to do otherwise.

        rhutchin
        5. No one can come to Jesus unless God draws him.

        br.d
        The vast majority of the human race is DESIGNED for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for Calvin’s god’s pleasure.

        rhutchin
        6. Jesus will not lose any given to Him by God and subsequently drawn to Him by God.

        br.d
        Because Calvin’s god DOES NOT PERMIT them to do otherwise.

      147. FOH says
        “Where is that Calvinist jingle….. here it is …..
        “Control over everything or control over nothing.” What? They just make this stuff up!
        They box themselves in with a Greek understanding of what a deity must be like, impose that on our God, and refuse (or “better interpret”) all the hundreds of verses that speak against their pre-baked ideas.”

        Heather says: EXACTLY! And AMEN! (And I love your post “Conversation with a Calvinist”!)

        Case in point:
        Rhutchin says “God is sovereign, and by definition, controls all things.”

        Heather says: By whose definition? The made-up Calvinist definition that contradicts how God actually chooses to exercise His sovereignty, as seen all throughout the Bible?

        Rhutchin says: “If all are not saved, then it must be that God, who has the power to save all, was pleased to not save some.” (First off, it should be “pleased to not save the majority,” not “some.”)

        Heather says: The fundamental problem here is his assumption that “having the power to save” (and the desire to save) MUST necessarily result in “saving all people.” God can have the power and the desire, but not use His power to force His desire. But Calvinists start with the wrong assumption that being “all-powerful” means He must always use His power. Therefore, they reason, if He has the power to save but doesn’t, it must be because He doesn’t want to save all people. A wrong view of God and how He MUST BE will always lead to a wrong theology about Him.

        And an additional comment or two from Rhutchin that I want to address, which shows the contradiction of Calvinism (there were too many examples to choose from, so I’ll just pick a few): “Man is subordinate to God and God has the final say on all the creature sets out to do and this by virtue of His omnipotence. However, this does not make the creature a puppet, as God most often restrains the evil desires of the creature.”

        Calvinism believes that God alone controls the wills of men, that we do not even conceive any thoughts apart from God causing it. How then can a Calvinist say that God only gets the “final say” on what we do, as if we get to do whatever we want before that? And how can Calvi-god “restrain the evil desires” that He causes, for His plans and glory, according to Calvinism? God doesn’t need to restrain the things He Himself causes. The only reason for restraining something is when someone is operating on their own and you want to stop them from going in a direction you don’t want them to go. But if Calvi-god Himself causes us to always go in the direction He wants us to go, then where does this “restraining” come in? It’s nonsense. A desperate attempt to fuse free-will with Calvi-god’s “sovereign” micro-managing control!

        Rhutchin also says somewhere that “Man is subordinate to God so He can override anything man sets out to do.”

        Heather says: And once again, what is the “overriding” you speak of, if God controls all that men do and if everything happens because God caused it to happen? Overriding what? Overriding who? If God alone controls the course of everything and if man can do nothing God hasn’t caused him to do, then He must be overriding Himself.

        And in response to Br.d’s comment about Rhutchin “acknowledging” the contradiction of God “restraining something that He knows is not going to come to pass,” Rhutchin replies “Recognizing that it does not come to pass because God ordained to restrain it.”

        It’s the old chicken-or-the-egg thing. Circular, nonsensical reasoning. Which came first, the restraining of an event or ordaining that event to not happen? So God did not ordain something to happen, but then He restrains it from happening, and so it doesn’t happen because God restrained it, even though He ordained it not to happen in the first place? Interesting! (Would you like a side of nonsense with your nonsense!!)

        Rhutchin also says: “According to Calvinists, people are free to reject salvation but not free to accept salvation (without God’s help).”

        Heather says: So God is only in “sovereign control” over the elect, but the non-elect are free from His sovereign control?

        Rhutchin also keeps asking “Why does one person have faith, but not another?” And he accuses people of not having an answer. But the answer is so simple that no one should have to answer … “People do what they want! If they want to believe and accept Jesus, they will. If they don’t want to, they won’t.” It’s so simple that I’m embarrassed for him that he would ask that question, like it’s some sort of deep, theological mystery or something.

      148. Heather:
        Welcome to years of frustration (for some people) concerning round-n-round rhutchin.

        You have shown in one post several of his contradictions. I think br.d has scores of them. Because of this, I dont pay him any attention.

        You said this: “Rhutchin also keeps asking ‘Why does one person have faith, but not another?'”

        Calvinists tend to (repeatedly!!) ask leading questions:

        “How will man respond if God does not regenerate him first?”

        “If Christ died for all and all are not save doesnt that mean that some of His blood is wasted?

        “How can a man have faith if God does not give it to him?”

        This just goes on and on….. ALL of it based on “givens” that they just impose on the rest of us.

        Their definition of sovereignty

        Their definition of omniscience.

        Their definition of “all” “the world” “whosoever” “dead” “born again” (which happens before you can then be ‘born again’).

        It just goes on and on. I for one think we should:
        (a) put good verses and logic out there (like you are doing) that help the young folks currently being bullied into this,
        (b) not waste our time endlessly answering his same illogical musings,
        (c) pray that God reveals His gracious self to Calvinists (and to unbelievers —- because I think we CAN pray for unbelievers!).

      149. FOH writes, “It just goes on and on. I for one think we should:
        (a) put good verses and logic out there (like you are doing) that help the young folks currently being bullied into this,
        (b) not waste our time endlessly answering his same illogical musings,
        (c) pray that God reveals His gracious self to Calvinists (and to unbelievers —- because I think we CAN pray for unbelievers!).”

        That shouldn’t be difficult to do. So, why hasn’t anyone done it??

      150. heather writes, “Case in point:
        Rhutchin says “God is sovereign, and by definition, controls all things.”
        Heather says: By whose definition? The made-up Calvinist definition that contradicts how God actually chooses to exercise His sovereignty, as seen all throughout the Bible?”

        No contradiction (at least, none thta you describe). God is sovereign and He chooses when, where, and ho to exercise His sovereignty. If you have a different definition of sovereignty, let’s see it.

        Heather writes, “Rhutchin says: “If all are not saved, then it must be that God, who has the power to save all, was pleased to not save some.” (First off, it should be “pleased to not save the majority,” not “some.”)”

        On what basis do you conclude that God is pleased not to save a majority. Is it because of that which Jesus said, ““Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.”

        Heather writes, “God can have the power and the desire, but not use His power to force His desire. But Calvinists start with the wrong assumption that being “all-powerful” means He must always use His power. ”

        God can exercise His power to save people or choose not to exercise His power and pass a person over leaving them to decide whether they want to be saved. However, Jesus said, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me,…” so it seems obvious that God guarantees the salvation of those He gives to Jesus (and given His omniscience, God knew whom He would give to Jesus when He created the world)..

        Heather writes, “Calvinism believes that God alone controls the wills of men, that we do not even conceive any thoughts apart from God causing it.”

        By omniscience, God knows every thought of every man who will ever live and knew them before He created the world. By His omnipotence, God controls those thoughts and can restrain any that He wants, so God is said to cause those thoughts either through His restraint or lack of restraint. In creating man in His image, God made man to form his own thoughts and God does not compel any thoughts in any person. A person’s thoughts arise from his sin nature, but can be influenced by Satan or the Holy Spirit.

      151. Rhutchin
        “Man is subordinate to God so He can override anything man sets out to do.”

        Heather
        And once again, what is the “overriding” you speak of?
        If God controls all that men do and if everything happens because God caused it to happen? Overriding what? Overriding who?

        br.d
        Excellent LOGIC Heather!

        In Calvinism we have a theology, which robs its adherents of “mere” permission, all creaturely autonomy, and divine knowledge via
        observation.

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

        Thus, his language serves as a red flag that the Calvinist himself internally recognizes certain things are missing in his theology.

        It is missing patterns he finds consistently weaved throughout the entire fabric of scripture.

        So he becomes like a barren woman, who speaks AS-IF she is not, in order to manufacture in mental imagery, what she lacks in real life.

        Creaturely autonomy being destroyed by his theology – he fabricates FACADES of it – by subtle semantic illusions

      152. The reason our local Calvinists can say two opposing ideas as true so often is cuz they get it from the top. One of the most respected Calvinist Systematic theologian, Wayne Grudem says this;

        “[He] has confused God’s decrees before creation with God’s actions in time.

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

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

        Now a Calvinist would add that God has eternally decreed that he would respond to us as he does. In fact, he has decreed that we would act as we do and he would respond to our actions.”
        ———–

        Yes… that is what the ‘doctors of the law’ are telling us!

        What does that make you think? Sounds like we are puppets, right? Well he feels that too….so he immediately “deals with it.”

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

        And there you have it:

        1. God decides what everyone will do.
        2. He tells us not to do certain things.
        3. He makes us do those things. (see #1)
        4. He says he will judge us for that.
        5. Sometimes we repent because He makes us (see #1)
        6. He then changes His mind about judging us since we have repented.
        7. He willed —immutably— all of these precautions, sins, threats, repentance, and changing of the mind before time.

        We cannot say that we influenced Him in any way since He planned it all before time (see #1).
        We cannot say that He changed His mind since He planned before time to “change” it.

        Even though everything we do, think, or say was immutably determined by God before time, we are not puppets. Why? Cuz Grudem says we aren’t!

        I feel better already!

      153. Wayne Grudem
        ” But we are not puppets or robots; we are real persons. Puppets and robots do not have the power of personal choice or even individual thought . We by contrast, think, decide, and choose…”

        br.d
        The LOGIC that Grudem is missing – is that in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN every neurological impulse that will ever appear in the creature’s brain. By this definition creatures DO NOT have “individual thought” in a genuine sense.

        Perhaps Grudem is making this statement representing his own personal (deviation from Calvinism).
        But this statement of his – is NOT representative of Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism).

      154. FOH writes, “And there you have it:
        1. God decides what everyone will do….”

        Actually, it should be

        1. God decides what everyone will do by His reaction to events: His involvement or non-involvement in those events..
        2. He tells us not to do certain things through His law.
        3. He makes us do those things. (see #1) by not preventing us doing them when He has the power to do so
        4. He says he will judge us for that because of our desire to disobey Him.
        5. Sometimes we repent because He makes us (see #1) by opening our hearts to be attentive to our sin
        6. He then changes His mind about judging us since we have repented and because of Christ’s death.
        7. He willed —immutably— all of these precautions, sins, threats, repentance, and changing of the mind before time because of His omniscience.

      155. rh writes:
        “7. He willed – immutably – all of these precautions, sins, threats, repentance, and changing of the mind before time because of His omniscience.”

        Here we have a superlative example of talking out of both sides of one’s mouth. God immutably ordained – meaning unchangeably decreed – to change his mind. Read Esther – even human kings understand the concept of never undoing a royal decree. The most the king could do was allow the Jews to defend themselves against their decreed slaughter.

        Calvi-god, on the other hand, was much more clever. He worked his changes of mind right into his divine decrees, so that it might look like he is changing his mind, but he can say ‘Aha, I ordained that change of mind a long time ago, so it’s not really a change of mind! Don’t forget my omniscience!’

        How does one reason with this? Here we have moved from Calvinism’s authentic assertion that God is immutable and never changes his mind, to, well, actually, any time God changes his mind it is because he immutably decreed he would do so, so it doesn’t count. Just like he only ‘allows’ people to ‘choose’ what he has in eternity past decreed must be, but not by ‘mere permission’. Just like bringing whatsoever comes to be to pass, but not so as to be the author of sin. Word games, all word games.

        You might as well just say, Calvi-god owns the ball, so whatever he says, goes, no matter how ridiculous, unreasonable, cruel, unjust, etc. And you WILL praise him for whatever he says or does, even if it means rejoicing at your own grandmother’s decreed destruction. Cause he’s da boss, and if you want to play, you will bow to his every unreasonable whim. Welcome to Calvinism. You can keep it.

      156. John Calvin’s institutes of square-circles and married-bachelors!

        And RH adds a handful of additional NON-SEQUITURS which Calvin himself would blow a gasket if he saw.

        Good thing an INVENTIVE Calvinist lives today and not in Geneva during Calvin’s iron-fist rule.
        Calvin would have him thrown in a jail cell or whipped – for some of the DOUBLE-THINK INVENTIONS he comes up with here. :-]

      157. rhutchin
        1. God decides what everyone will do by His reaction to events: His involvement or non-involvement in those events..

        br.d
        If only “mere” permission REALLY did exist in Calvinism – they wouldn’t have to MAKE-BELIEVE it does! :-]

        rhutchin
        2. He tells us not to do certain things through His law.

        br.d
        In Calvinist jargon this is called the “PRESCRIBED” will which is most often the direct opposite of the “SECRET” will

        rhutchin
        3. He makes us do those things. (see #1) by not preventing us doing them when He has the power to do so

        br.d
        If only “mere” permission REALLY did exist in Calvinism – they wouldn’t MAKE-BELIEVE the IRRATIONAL concept of Calvin’s god preventing RENDERED-CERTAIN/UNPREVENTABLE events – or prevent events that are NOT RENDERED-CERTAIN – which are not going to come to pass anyway – and thus nothing to prevent.

        rhutchin
        4. He says he will judge us for that because of our desire to disobey Him.

        br.d
        If only the Calvinist could be honest enough to acknowledge that Calvin’s god DESIGNS/PROGRAMS all creature desires – and does not permit creatures to desire otherwise.

        rhutchin
        6. He then changes His mind about judging us since we have repented and because of Christ’s death.

        br.d
        If only Calvinists were LOGICALLY consistent – and acknowledged that IMMUTABLE means Calvin’s god never changes his mind.

        rhutchin
        7. He willed —immutably— all of these precautions, sins, threats, repentance, and changing of the mind before time because of His omniscience.

        brd.
        If only Calvinists were honest enough to acknowledge – omniscience does not LOGICALLY entail/require Universal Divine Causal Determinism

      158. Rhutchin says:

        “God is sovereign and He chooses when, where, and how to exercise His sovereignty …” (Therefore, God doesn’t always use His sovereignty, but only when He chooses to.)

        “God CAN exercise His power to save people or CHOOSE NOT TO EXERCISE HIS POWER …” (So God is not micromanaging everything or sovereignly controlling everything?)

        “3. God makes us do those things. (see #1) by not preventing us from doing them when He has the power to do so.” (So He is not always exercising His controlling power over us?)

        “This because man is subordinate to God and God has the FINAL SAY on all the creature sets out to do.” [meaning that we make our own choices up until that “final say”]

        “Man is subordinate to God so God can OVERRULE anything MAN SETS OUT TO DO.” [i.e. that man chooses to do]

        “Man can plan his way (to go here or there)” [meaning God doesn’t plan our ways for us]

        “people are free to reject salvation…” [meaning that there are people and choices that God doesn’t control]

        “Man is free to make choices…”

        Heather says: And all this time I thought you were a Calvinist. My mistake.

      159. Wow…. I knew you guys would have a field day with that “revised list” that RH posted.

        And no….. RH is not a Calvinist. And neither is Piper, really.

        Every article from Piper that I have read that tries to explain Theo Determinism eventually (and often) uses the word “allow” “permit”.

        Of course the rest of us believe that a Sovereign God allows us to do things He has not planned and and that are against His will.

        But that is quintessentially NOT the definition of Theological Determinism (espoused by Reformed and Calvinistic Theology).

        And once again….. we can all notice the dramatic inconsistencies. No one (except maybe Helm and Vincent Cheung) really lives like a Calvinists.

        I mean they say it, but they dont believe and practice it. We all live like our decisions matter. They make a difference. That is why Piper “allows himself” to write a book called “Dont Waste Your Life!”

      160. FOH
        And once again….. we can all notice the dramatic inconsistencies. No one (except maybe Helm and Vincent Cheung) really lives like a Calvinists.

        br.d
        So TRUE FOH!

        Every determinist is tempted with the seduction of MAKING-BELIEVE the thoughts that appear in his brain are his own.
        Some determinists who are HONEST with their belief system refuse to be seduced into MAKE-BELIEVE thinking.

        Its not unusual for a child to have an imaginary friend.
        And I think it totally understandable that a vast population of Calvinists have IN-DETERMINISM as their imaginary friend.

        To bad their theology forces them into DOUBLE-THINK.

      161. rhutchin
        “God is sovereign and He chooses when, where, and how to exercise His sovereignty …” (Therefore, God doesn’t always use His sovereignty, but only when He chooses to.)

        br.d
        Has anyone else here noticed how rhutchin’s posts are increasingly STRETCHING AWAY from classic Calvinism – in order to paint Calvinism’s face with a cosmetic APPEARANCE of being as NON-Calvinistic as possible?

        I suspect rhutchin INTERNALLY is desiring to live increasingly – in a NON-Calvinistic world – where “mere” permission exists, and creaturely autonomy exists, and divine omniscience via observation exists.

        The Calvinist should see the patterns of those things weaved within the fabric of the whole of scripture.
        In such case – it would only make sense that one would desire the very things Calvin stipulates don’t exist – and he can’t have.
        He would quite naturally want to MANUFACTURE the things he finds missing – in the form of SEMANTIC ILLUSIONS

      162. heather writes, ““RH: God CAN exercise His power to save people or CHOOSE NOT TO EXERCISE HIS POWER …” (So God is not micromanaging everything or sovereignly controlling everything?)

        Of course, he is. Nothing happen sunless God decrees it and God’s decree involves His direct action or lack of action. For example, God took action to bring about Noah’s flood, to confuse the languages, to destroy Sodom, to choose Abraham, to impregnate Mary, etc. God took no action to prevent Adam eating the fruit, Cain murdering Abel, the Jews killing the Jews killing Stephen. God decided each of these events and is thereby the cause of each of these events. God micromanages all things working alll things according to the counsel of His will.

        Then, ‘“RH: 3. God makes us do those things. (see #1) by not preventing us from doing them when He has the power to do so.” (So He is not always exercising His controlling power over us?)”

        God is sovereign, thereby always in control of everything but not always exercising his power to bring events about. God is the final arbiter of all that happens and must decide every event no matter how small of insignificant.

        Then, “RH: “This because man is subordinate to God and God has the FINAL SAY on all the creature sets out to do.” [meaning that we make our own choices up until that “final say”]”

        We makes choices and those choices stand unless overruled by God. Whatever we do is according to God’s plan.

        Then, “RH: “Man can plan his way (to go here or there)” [meaning God doesn’t plan our ways for us]” Not through His direct involvement. For example, we read, “Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve.” Satan could not enter Judas unless God said he could. Then, “Herod…was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under,…” Herod could not act unless God said He could. In the end, God works all things according to the counsel of His will.

        Then, ““RH: people are free to reject salvation…” [meaning that there are people and choices that God doesn’t control]”

        As God controls who gets faith, God controls the final outcome.

        Then, “And all this time I thought you were a Calvinist. My mistake.”

        I guess you have some false notions about Calvinism.

      163. rhutchin
        God took no action to prevent Adam eating the fruit,

        br.d
        After having RENDERED-CERTAIN Adam’s disobedience – and NOT PERMITTING obedience being available to Adam – Calvin’s god COULD NOT prevent those events for two reasons:

        1) Where Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world) FOREKNOWS Adam’s disobedience and FOREKNOWS NOT PERMITTING obedience be available to Adam. Then consequent to that – if Calvin’s god *COULD* prevent the very event he (at the foundation of the world) FOREKNEW – then doing so would NEGATE divine omniscience.

        2) Where Calvin’s god (at the foundation of the world) RENDERS-CERTAIN Adam’s disobedience – NOT PERMITTING obedience be available to Adam – then that future event by definition is established as UNPREVENTABLE – which means Calvin’s god CANNOT prevent

  5. Yeah another great article! it is mind boggling how they can’t grasp the totality of their system. Awhile back I sent my sister the redundancy of satan on calvinism that Leighton put out. Sadly her response was “I don’t agree” 🤔 super hard to understand! I have a question I recently recieved a book from someone the Lord has placed in my life. The book was written by a calvinist, so I’m curious even about the dedication. At one point in it he states that his friend who passed away is; ” … an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit”

    So my question is if in any circumstance Biblically that one human being can say this about another? I know Jesus said it about Nathaniel.. But I can’t line it up with Scripture so I’ve returned the book with an explanation.

    Psalm 94:11 NASB — The LORD knows the thoughts of man, That they are a mere breath.

    Acts 15:8 NASB — “And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us;

    1. Reggie
      So my question is if in any circumstance Biblically that one human being can say this about another?

      br.d
      Hi Reggie
      You will find over time that Calvinists are forced into a state of being quite irrational.

      They put on a pretense of being rational thinkers – but under scrutiny it collapses into magical thinking.

      In Calvinism – no man knows what is RENDERED-CERTAIN for himself or any other person – because that is hidden behind the -quote “Secret counsel of his will”

      So for a Calvinist to make that statement – he is not being true to Calvinism – or he is smoking something.

      Either option is to be expected! :-]

  6. Thank you Br.d I thought your response was rather funny and sadly it seems to be proving true in many circumstances.

    1. Thanks Reggie,
      Yes – I agree the Calvinists mental condition is quite irrational – and its sad to have such a distorted perception of scripture and of the God of scripture.

      However their mental condition can be found with people in other belief systems.
      You may be familiar with the belief system of “Solipsism”
      A person who believe they are the only person who really exists and all others are figments of the imagination.

      There is true but hilarious story about a professor in the U.S. who was a Solipsist and authored a book on it.
      A certain woman in the UK purchased the book and wrote a letter to the professor.
      She told him that reading about Solipsism made her realize that that is what she is.
      And she said she was so relieved to know she was not alone.

      If you think about it a little bit you’ll see how hilarious that is!
      That story always reminds me of Calvinist thinking :-]

      1. Hi Br.d I have indeed heard of Solipsism, but I was unaware of the story about the woman & you are right it is an odd affirmation for her to proclaim🤔 so odd what people can cling to in light of His clear revelation even in the beauty of His creation! I think that is why I’m soooooo grateful for this site, because I did feel alone of course I knew God never left me, but I’m talking about others who knew this system didn’t line up with the One true God in the pages of Scripture.

      2. Thanks and yes Reggie
        I can see that the Lord is wonderful in you and for you – its written in your every sentence!
        Your life is a testimony of God’s love – and I’m glad you’re here!

  7. CALVINISM – AND THE BEAR IN THE WOODS

    Anyone who has taken courses in critical, logical, or rational thinking, will eventually hear the story about the bear in the woods who loved to debate.

    One day he was challenged by the birds – on the question of what creature in the woods could travel the fasted. The birds argued they did because they could fly.

    Now the bear happened to be the most subtle beast in the field. So he couldn’t allow himself to be seen losing a debate. And faced with the bird’s argument, knowing logic was not on his side, he needed to concoct a way to win. So, putting paw on chin, he began to think about an invention that might work.

    A-HAH! He said to himself.

    He climbed up onto a tall rock and announced he would prove he could fly. He jumped off the rock. And as while falling waved his paws in the air mimicking the birds.

    There! He said with satisfaction – I can fly also!
    And unfortunately the birds were not savvy enough to see through the ruse.

    You see the bear did not present a logical argument – what he presented was a semantic argument.
    He altered the meaning of the term “fly” so that it applied to waving the arms while falling.
    The birds went away believing they had lost the debate – but the bear had simply tricked them.

    The moral of the story:
    When you’re engaged with a Calvinist – don’t be like the un-savvy birds. Scrutinize every term the Calvinist uses. More often than not – you will find he doesn’t have logic on his side – and a vast amount of the time he’s simply deploying a semantic trick – in which he equivocates on the meaning of a term or two.

    In vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird! :-]

  8. I used to resist the sovereignty of God. You may say, He is partially sovereign, and I would say, the prophet Isaiah predicted the crucifixion of our Savior on Good Friday as well as His resurrection three days later. I’m glad God pre-determined these events. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

    1. Hi Mark
      And thank you for your post!
      You are welcome here!

      Its nice to have peace of mind.
      But for me – Jesus said “All who love the truth listen to me”
      Truth is the measuring rod against which I am measured.
      And if I am found wanting there – then my peace is a false peace.
      Blessings!

    2. Mark,
      Thanks for joining. No one hear here is resisting “the Sovereignty of God.” No doubt we have different definitions of it.

      The Bible is full (and I mean multiple hundreds) of verses where God says people are not doing what He wanted them to do. He is still Sovereign.

      But one definition allows for men to disobey (and obey) Him in His sovereignty. Another version (Reformed/ Piper) says that He even decreed/ ordained/ willed that men do the things that he wills them not to do. All those hundreds of verses where He called, implored, pleaded with, cajoled men to do what He wanted …… He really underneath “sovereignly decreed” that they NOT do what He wanted.

      And then man introduces the man-made idea of God’s 1-2-3-4 wills.

      Let’s just allow Him to be what He says He is, not what we “must have Him to be.”

  9. Yes you are welcome here Mark 🙋‍♀️ I don’t see the three days later prediction either & I do agree no one here would say God is not sovereign and Praise Him for His finished Word which is complete. Psalm 119:105 NASB —Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
    Not a finished work given to prove that He meticulously determines all things. Sunday is coming🌞

      1. More people follow his writings and teachings and look to him as an authority on the subject. I like Piper but I never go to his stuff for theological inquiry. MacArthur and Sproul are the Calvinists of choice.

      2. Thanks David for explaining that!
        I understand Sproul is getting on in years – but I don’t know much about that.
        And I’ve read a few quotes here and there from Sproul’s son – and to me he seems to be more forthright in his language.

      3. Not really Rhutchin, because Br.d wouldn’t be following a man… I might add a man who thinks that it doesn’t matter if Jesus was the one who quoted John 3:16 or Nicodemus or that it even mattered as Sproul believed;
        Watch “The Most Distorted Verse? – RC Sproul” on YouTube
        https://youtu.be/85OsiQL6xd0

        So the fact that he doesn’t know he has died doesn’t explain anything other than he doesn’t follow a man….

      4. Thanks Reggie.

        Ironically even in the Calvinist ESV it has it in quotes from Jesus.

      5. I once thought of John 3:16 as the simplest, purest statement of the gospel, but somewhat unnecessary in a world in which most have heard the story of Jesus. I now see it as something of a reclaiming of the true gospel. Those who quote it are standing against the destructive theology of Calvinism which falsely claims God is only about a select few, and the rest be damned. Those who state it boldly are saying ‘God loves you, whoever you are, and wants to reclaim you as his own. No exceptions.’ Beautiful truth.

      6. TS00 writes “Those who quote it are standing against the destructive theology of Calvinism which falsely claims God is only about a select few, and the rest be damned. ”

        Calvinists take John 3:16 to say exactly what it says; nothing more, nothing less.

      7. Reggie
        So the fact that he doesn’t know he has died doesn’t explain anything other than he doesn’t follow a man….

        br.d
        Good one Reggie – well said!

        I didn’t realize he had passed away.
        I’ll bet when a highly popular Calvinist passes away – the rest of them wonder what that one ends up finding out about his eternal fate

      8. Reggie writes, “So the fact that he doesn’t know he has died doesn’t explain anything other than he doesn’t follow a man….”

        It also tells us that he didn’t know Sproul died.

      9. Rhutchin writes, It also tells us that he didn’t know Sproul died.

        This is true he didn’t know about Sprouls death, but now we know Arminius was 4 years old when Calvin died thanks to Br.d’s research.

        rhutchin
        Mere permission was coined by Calvin to express an Arminian concept.
        🤔

      10. Reggie writes, “but now we know Arminius was 4 years old when Calvin died thanks to Br.d’s research.”

        At least, I referred to the “Arminian” concept and not to Arminius himself. Arminius came after Calvin and ever since the Arminian/Calcinism debate has ruled discussion. That debate goes back to Augustine and Pelagius when the issues were framed and carried forward to Arminius who espoused them. One of those issues dealt deal with God’s permission in decreeing events and it was this that Calvin objected distinguishing between “mere” permission and permission. That argument then carried over into Armianism. But it is always good to be reminded that Arminius was not contemporary with Calvin.

      11. Reggie
        but now we know Arminius was 4 years old when Calvin died thanks to Br.d’s research.”

        rhutchin
        At least, I referred to the “Arminian” concept and not to Arminius himself.

        br.d
        Nice try but its obvious you’re still in greased pig mode.

        The standardized definition of “Permit” within the Latin language is what Calvin objected to.
        Neither Arminius or Pelagius were the ones who brought about that definition.
        It was simply the standard definition for the word.

        Calvinists have a love hate relationship with “mere” permission.
        They claim to reject it – calling it Pelagiun/Arminiun – or any other boogeyman they can think of.

        But just wait and watch – and you’re guaranteed to see them SNEAK camouflaged forms of it back into their statements.

        The TRUE shepherd comes in through the front door – he doesn’t have to SNEAK in through the back.

      12. Exactly. As if ‘mere’ permission was some unique form of permission. Rather, the proper use of the word indicates that something else, contrary to or stronger than permission was at work. IOW, God does not merely permit, he ordains, whatsoever comes to pass. But the Calvinist system is then forced to acknowledge God as the author of evil; something that is innate to their system, but which they desperately seek to hide.

      13. TS00 writes, “IOW, God does not merely permit, he ordains, whatsoever comes to pass.”

        Correct. As both the Pelagian/Arminian and Calvinist systems use the term, “permit/permission,” Calvin used “mere” permission to distinguish between the two where “mere permission” denotes the sense that God does not ordain and “permission” denotes that God ordains.

      14. rhutchin
        Correct. As both the Pelagian/Arminian and Calvinist systems use the term, “permit/permission,” Calvin used “mere” permission to distinguish between the two where “mere permission” denotes the sense that God does not ordain and “permission” denotes that God ordains.

        br.d
        “mere” permission for Calvin – is simply the STANDARDIZED definition which existed in the Latin before Calvin was born
        And that definition was carried into the English language.

        In the Greek – prior to the Latin – “Permit” is άδεια – which means “to give license”.

        However Calvin’s god is the CAUSE and AUTHOR of every event.
        And the STANDARDIZED definition for “permit” was never intended to infer CAUSATION.

        Calvin didn’t like the word FATE either
        And he determined not to use it
        He could have done the same with the term “permit”

        But apparently he didn’t like not having this term in his statements.
        So he created an altered definition for it – making it mean CAUSE/AUTHOR

        Consequently the term “permit” in Calvinist language carries two radically different definitions.
        The original definition is qualified as “mere” permission – defined as NON-CAUSAL
        And the Calvinist meaning – which is defined as CAUSE/AUTHOR

        Calvin’s altered definition is used by the Calvinist as a replacement term
        Whenever the Calvinist is uncomfortable using CAUSE or AUTHOR – he will use “permit”

        Therefore between the STANDARDIZED definition and the Calvinist altered definition “permit” carries multiple meanings.

        Thus whenever a Calvinist uses “permission” language without qualifying it – the term becomes equivocal.

        And Calvinists use it to SNEAK (in camouflaged form) “mere” permission back into their statements.
        The reason for this should be obvious.

      15. TS00
        But the Calvinist system is then forced to acknowledge God as the author of evil; something that is innate to their system, but which they desperately seek to hide.

        br.d
        I agree totally TS00!
        And that’s why they have to SNEAK camouflaged forms of “mere” permission, creaturely autonomy, and divine foreknowledge via observation – into their statements. They see these as major patterns within the fabric of scripture – and having these missing from their system produces a contrast between it and scripture. And they are understandably uncomfortable with it.

      16. br.d
        “I understand Sproul is getting on in years ”

        rhutchin
        LOL!! That explains a lot.

        br.d
        Whatever that means :-]

  10. Hello David,

    For me even if John MacArthur is more influential 2 of his statements should give any Christian pause. #1 dedicating his book to a man he claims has no deceit in him hmm. #2 he sat on a platform and said he would stand against error, but he would not stand against his friends….
    So I guess my question to John MacArthur would be two fold #1 how do you know your friend had no deceit in him? & #2 who are you anchored in your friends or Christ? I trust his answers should matter.
    Philippians 1:9 NASB — And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,

  11. rhutchin
    Nothing is done by “mere” permission but all is done with the CONSENT of God.

    br.d
    Notice the equivocation here.
    To CONSENT and to “merely” permit are synonymous.

    But Calvin’s god is the AUTHOR of all events.
    How noble of him to CONSENT to what he AUTHORS! :-]

    But of course the Calvinist is not going to tell you that – because the language here is designed to SNEAK IN a camouflaged form of “mere” permission – in order to *APPEAR* consistent with scripture.

    1. br.d writes, “Notice the equivocation here.
      To CONSENT and to “merely” permit are synonymous.”

      Not in Calvinism. God does nothing by mere permission but works all things by His will and consent. This is the necessary consequence of God’s omnipotence and sovereign control over His creation.

      1. br.d
        Notice the equivocation here.
        To CONSENT and to “merely” permit are synonymous.”

        rhutchin
        Not in Calvinism.

        br.d
        FALSE
        The mathematical formula [2 x 6 = 12] is TRUE in Calvinism as much as it is in Non-Calvinism
        And in the English language – CONSENT and “mere” permission are synonymous.

        rhutchin
        This is the necessary consequence of God’s omnipotence sovereign control over His creation.

        br.d
        A lie by omission is still a lie.
        What is omitted here is what I already posted – and what this statement is pointing to.

        -quote
        But Calvin’s god is the AUTHOR of all events.
        How noble of him to CONSENT to what he AUTHORS! :-]

        Thank you rhutchin for providing another example of Calvinism’s deceptive use of language. :-]

      2. Indeed. So rhutchin believes that whereas Calvin strongly denied that God merely permitted any evil act, he would affirm that God merely ‘consented to’ an evil act, and that there is some supposed difference in these two RESPONSES? Let’s see rhutchin split those hairs and explain how God consenting to differs from God permitting.

        In normal, non-deceptive use they are synonyms; there is no significant difference in the meaning of the two phrases. Both admit to God’s sovereign control, yet both allow man to choose an action that God could presumably forbid or prevent, should he so desire. Difficult to see how this is anything but dissimulation, trying to have it both ways by employing euphemisms, as Calvinists are wont to do.

      3. TS00
        dissimulation, trying to have it both ways by employing euphemisms, as Calvinists are wont to do.

        br.d
        Bulls-eye TS00!

        And confirmed by

        Dr. Jerry Walls – “Whats wrong with Calvinism”
        “If Calvinists didn’t rely so heavily on misleading rhetoric, their theology would lose all credibility within two years.”

        Micah Coate – “The Cultish side of Calvinism”:
        “Calvinists arguments are buried in theological and grammatical doublespeak.”

        Francis Hodgson – “The Calvinistic Doctrine of Predestination Examined and Refuted, 1855”:
        “The apology for this gross misapplication of language…..is found in their distressing emergency.
        In no other way can they, with any plausibility, meet their opponents.”

        Theological Determinism robs its adherents of “mere” permission – the pattern of which is weaved throughout scripture.
        Therefore they must SNEAK it back in – using a backdoor.

        John 10:1
        Verily I tell you – anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the front gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.

      4. br.d writes:
        “Theological Determinism robs its adherents of “mere” permission – the pattern of which is weaved throughout scripture.
        Therefore they must SNEAK it back in – using a backdoor.”

        And that back door is the use of euphemism, synonyms or simply changing the meaning of words willy nilly. Rather than honestly stating exactly what Reformed, deterministic theology stands for, they play games with words, never allowing the naive to know exactly what ‘the system’ truly demands. Like a dishonest politician, they want to allow themselves, wriggle room, or plausible deniability, so that they can always say ‘But that is not what I meant!’

      5. TS00 writes, “Let’s see rhutchin split those hairs and explain how God consenting to differs from God permitting. ”

        Calvin objective to the Arminian notion that events can happen without the consent of God and against His will – Calvin termed this “mere” permitting. Calvin argued that, necessarily, no event can occur without God’s consent and any event that happens can only do so by His consent and must be according to His will.

      6. This is frankly a complete falsehood. Arminius never questioned God’s sovereignty, nor his ability to do whatsoever he chose.

        Calvin’s writings on the subject, which have been extensively quoted here many times, prove that he was not addressing this strawman you have concocted, but asserting that God never simply permitted anything, but actively ordained and authored all things. You, sir, are merely not telling the truth.

      7. rhutchin
        Calvin objective to the Arminian notion that events can happen without the consent of God and against His will – Calvin termed this “mere” permitting. Calvin argued that, necessarily, no event can occur without God’s consent and any event that happens can only do so by His consent and must be according to His will.

        br.d
        All that to say Calvin’s god CONSENTS to himself (i.e., AUTHORS and RENDERS-CERTAIN.)

        But that doesn’t eliminate the fact that in the English language CONSENT and “mere” permission are synonymous.

        Equivocation is a logical fallacy which occurs when a term is used which can have different meanings within the statement – and the statement is worded in such a way that its interpretation is thereby misleading – and thus sighted as a fallacious use of language.

      8. br.d writes, “But that doesn’t eliminate the fact that in the English language CONSENT and “mere” permission are synonymous.”

        Consent is used to define permit. Calvin added “mere” to make a point.

      9. br.d
        But that doesn’t eliminate the fact that in the English language CONSENT and “mere” permission are synonymous.”

        rhutchin
        Consent is used to define permit. Calvin added “mere” to make a point.

        br.d
        FALSE
        Calvinism has an altered definition for the term permit making it synonymous with CAUSE/AUTHOR.

        Calvin:
        -quote:
        But it is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God PERMITS them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the AUTHOR of them.”
        (The Eternal Predestination of God, 176).

        The correct definition for permit is derived from the Latin “permettere”
        To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over, to allow, or to grant

        Calvin rejected this definition as it pertains to Calvin’s god and qualified the standard English definition as “mere” permission.

        So “mere” permission is universally understood by Calvinists – as that qualified definition given by Calvin.

        Therefore – as I originally stated – that doesn’t eliminate the fact that in the English language CONSENT and “mere” permission are synonymous.”

        The Calvinist outwardly rejects “mere” permission.
        But they then consistently use language designed to SNEAK it back in – in various camouflaged forms.

        This is one of the reason’s Calvinism has a perennial reputation for double-speak

      10. br.d writes, “Calvin rejected this definition as it pertains to Calvin’s god and qualified the standard English definition as “mere” permission.”

        Yes, and used it to identify the Arminian use of “permission” thereby distinguishing between the Arminian and himself.

        Then, “So “mere” permission is universally understood by Calvinists – as that qualified definition given by Calvin.”

        Yep. Was there a point you wanted to make?

        Then, “Therefore – as I originally stated – that doesn’t eliminate the fact that in the English language CONSENT and “mere” permission are synonymous.””

        In Calvinism, permit and consent are synonymous. Mere permission was coined by Calvin to express an Arminian concept.

      11. rhutchin
        In Calvinism, permit and consent are synonymous.

        br.d
        And within the English language – CONSENT and “mere” permission are synonymous.

        rhutchin
        Mere permission was coined by Calvin to express an Arminian concept.

        br.d
        Now your simply in greased pig mode.

        On the year that John Calvin died – Jacobus Arminius was a 4 year old baby.
        And you say I make stuff up! – what a hoot!

        Calvin used “mere” to qualify and thus differentiate permission as defined in Latin as “permettere”.
        Which means: To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over, to allow, or to grant.

        This was the standard definition for “Permit” and became the standard definition within the English Language.

        Therefore the standard definition for “Permit” in the English language – is qualified in Calvinism as “mere” permission.

        CONSENT is from the Old French “consentir ”
        To agree, to yield, to comply, to give permission.

        Within the English language CONSENT and what Calvinists call “mere” permission are synonymous.

        In Calvinist vernacular the terms PERMIT and CONSENT are replacement terms for CAUSE/AUTHOR which the Calvinist avoids using.
        Thus Calvinist Double-Speak

        rhutchin
        April 27, 2019 at 7:11 am
        Nothing is done by “mere” permission, but all is done by the CONSENT of God

        In Calvin-speak this is translated as:
        “All that is done by Calvin’s god – is done by his CONSENT”

      12. rhutchin
        “Mere permission was coined by Calvin to express an Arminian concept.”

        br.d
        “Now your simply in greased pig mode.

        On the year that John Calvin died – Jacobus Arminius was a 4 year old baby.
        And you say I make stuff up! – what a hoot!”

        Ah, you take the air out of all of the ‘stories’ made up to redefine and mislead. Any honest reading of Calvin indicates that he was scoffing at the idea of God merely giving man permission to do as he wished, when, in his opinion, it was God himself who had determined man’s actions before he came into existence. Permission, mere permission, simple permission . . . it all means the same. As undisguised Calvinism demands that God authors all things before man even comes to be, permission is not permissible – and rightly scoffed at by its founder.

        But when you are trying to align your theology with scripture, and it doesn’t line up – okay, it’s the exact opposite – you have to do a little creative ‘twisting’.

      13. TS00
        Indeed. So rhutchin believes that whereas Calvin strongly denied that God merely permitted any evil act, he would affirm that God merely ‘consented to’ an evil act, and that there is some supposed difference in these two RESPONSES? Let’s see rhutchin split those hairs and explain how God consenting to differs from God permitting.

        br.d
        Right on!
        This is what we observe – one of the unfortunate byproducts of Calvinism – it forces the adherent into various forms of dishonesty.

  12. rhutchin
    May 2, 2019 at 6:53 am

    God is sovereign and by definition, controls ALL things.

    br.d
    And *ALL* in this context means ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION

    1. Never forget that Calvinist theology avers to Humpty Dumpty.

      “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

      – Lewis Carroll (Charles L. Dodgson), Through the Looking-Glass

    2. br.d
      Not only does “all” mean “all” only when they want it to….. (other times it means “all kinds of things”)….but

      We do not have one verse in the Bible that clearly says the He controls every detail, say, even which socks I will wear in the morning.

      We do not have one example in the whole Bible or our world where “the sovereign” controls everything. We have always had kings and queens in this world (still do) and never….. not once…. have they controlled everything: actions, choices, deeds, and thoughts of their subjects.

      Is God Sovereign? Yes.

      Do we have to let Calvinists define that word. No.

      Their definition of it makes Him the author of sin…. the maker of all evil, rape, torture, and hatred. Just ask Piper, who will agree with that. All somehow for His glory.

      Sin boldly.

      1. Totally right FOH!

        And I think when we examine the “cosmetic” nature of Calvinist language – we can start to see that they use terms and phrases as mascara, eye-shadow, and lipstick, in order to make Calvinism *APPEAR* to have biblical elements their theology robs from them.

        The very nature of their language provides indicators that they internally recognize biblical patterns are missing from their theology.
        Which they must SNEAK back in – camouflaged – so that they won’t be recognized for what they are.

        The fact that one is forced into the use of subtle language tricks – differentiates Calvin from Christ.

      2. This all becomes understandable when you study the history of Calvinism. John Calvin was a double-talking, dissimulating, pretentious schemer whose words could not be trusted. He used aliases, middle men and wrote flowery, pretentious words expressing false and misleading sentiments as he schemed to increase his influence behind the backs of peasants, principalities and kings. He seduced the city of Geneva into granting him a position and only later did they see just how tyrannical and dastardly his plans were. He had secretly schemed for years to put people in place who would grant him an iron grip like control of the city. This is the father of Calvinism.

      3. FOH writes, “We do not have one example in the whole Bible or our world where “the sovereign” controls everything. ”

        As the pagan king even figured out, ““But at the end of that period I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my reason 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 endures from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What hast Thou done?’”

        In the Pslams, “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.”

      4. As I said….not one verse that say He controls every dust particle like the Determinists say. Even the verses they offer in response clearly do NOT say that.

        Surely God does what He wants…. but only the presupposed determinist brings TO the text the idea that everything that happens is what He wants.

    3. Of course, in the real world, if words do not have shared meaning, communication becomes impossible. It does not good for God to reveal himself to man in words, if those words can vary willy-nilly in meaning and one can only guess what he means.

      Calvinism’s Humpty Dumpty God can say ‘I love all men’, and one never knows if he means all-all or some-all. Calvinism’s Humpty Dumpty God can say ‘I desire none to perish’ , and one never knows if he means none-none or many-none. Calvinism’s Humpty Dumpty God can say ‘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’ and one never knows if he means loved-loved or hated-loved, world-world or some-of-the world-world, whosoever-whosoever or the-elect-whosoever.

      No wonder Calvinists seem so confused; they live in an Alice in Wonderland world in which words have no real meaning, logic is absent and anything can happen.

      1. TS00
        Of course, in the real world, if words do not have shared meaning, communication becomes impossible

        br.d
        Totally excellent point!

        God says:
        Remove not the ancient land-mark Proverbs 22:28
        And
        A false balance is an abomination to the Lord Proverbs 11:1

        The first command God gave to his people because by moving ancient land-marks one person could cheat another in the process of selling land. And in the second command – a person could cheat another person by putting a false weight on a balancing scale. I am convinced the money changers in Jesus’ day used this practice.

        These two cheating practices can just as easily be done using language – by shifting the meanings of words.

        TS00 I loved you’re quote from Alice and wonderland – where Humpty Dumpty says: “which is to be master – that’s all.”

      2. Br.d, TSOO & FOH,

        All of your points are excellent!! the only conclusion in calvinism is one could not trust God, because He would be a liar throughout much of Scripture or His Word contradicts itself which it doesn’t!!! Or you finagle different meanings as you all pointed out!!! and that is where I agree with TSOO when he said we can’t be nicey nice to such an accusation against our Holy God. Thank you for being watchmen on the wall as Br.d stated🙋‍♀️

      3. TS00 writes, “Calvinism’s Humpty Dumpty God can say ‘I love all men’, and one never knows if he means all-all or some-all.”

        People know that words can take on different meanings depending on context. As to the student of the scriptures, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”

      4. rhutchin
        People know that words can take on different meanings depending on context.

        br.d
        And we also know that people sit themselves in the seat of Moses (As Jesus puts it) dictating what context is in every verse – because that is just another way to control the meanings – and thus control the text.

        Language is easily manipulated.
        Logic is not! :-]

  13. CALVINISM’S WELL ESTABLISHED REPUTATION FOR DOUBLE-SPEAK

    I have asked numerous ex-Calvinists whether during the time they were Calvinists they ever had a conscious awareness of using deceptive language. All have insisted never having done so. And it is not their perception that current Calvinists today use language with the intent to deceive. But this does not diminish the fact that the language is in fact misleading. And nothing prevents this aspect of Calvinist language from being perenially noted.

    FOR EXAMPLE:
    The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Theological Determinism:
    -quote:
    “Paul Helm, another staunch theological determinist of the Calvinist variety, simply says that God’s providence is ‘extended to all that He has created’ (The Providence of God, p. 39). The problem with such characterizations is that they are subject to multiple interpretations, some of whom would be affirmed by theological indeterminists.”

    Dr. William Lane Craig, – “Four Views on Divine Providence”
    -quote:
    “A A. Hodge’s six-point summary of the classical Reformed view of divine providence, quoted by Paul Kjoss Helseth under ‘The True View of Providence Summarized’ falls short of expressing the radical distinctives of the Reformed position that Helseth defends.”

    Dr. Jerry Walls – “What’s wrong with Calvinism”:
    -quote:
    “If Calvinists didn’t rely so heavily on misleading rhetoric, their theology would lose all credibility within two years.”

    Norman Geisler – “Chosen but Free”:
    -quotes:
    “Some Calvinists use smoke-and-mirror tactics to avoid the harsh implications of their view” (pg 104)
    “This is done by REDEFINING TERMS and Theological Doublespeak” (pg 261)

    Laurence M. Vance – “The Other Side of Calvinism”:
    -quote:
    “The confusing labyrinth of Calvinist terminology” (pg 556)

    Micah Coate – “The Cultish side of Calvinism”:
    -quote:
    “Calvinists arguments are buried in theological and grammatical doublespeak.”

    Ex-Calvinist Ronnie W. Rogers – “Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist”:
    -quote:
    “As mentioned in several places throughout this book, within Calvinism there is a problem of what I call DOUBLETALK. But I am not implying immoral or clandestine trickery. Nor am I suggesting conspiratorial deceit. I must admit that upon reflection on my time being a Calvinist, I did the same thing. I did not do this out ill motive or intent to deceive, or because of a lack of desire to be faithful to the scripture. Nor do I ascribe this to my Calvinist brothers. As a matter of fact, I did it because I believed Calvinism and the Scripture; and this brought about CONFLICTS, or at least unconscious responses to the conflicts, which I now see as DOUBLETALK. This doubletalk obscured the harsh realities of Calvinism and the inconsistencies between Scripture and Calvinism.”

    David L. Allen, Eric Hankins, Adam Harwood – “Anyone Can Be Saved: A Defense of Traditional Southern Baptist Soteriology”:
    -quote:
    “This is a clear example of what I call Calvinism’s double-talk. By double-talk, I specifically and only mean thinking….speaking in such a way that obscures the disquieting realities of Calvinism. If a person accepts these realities, then he can be a knowledgeable and consistent Calvinist. But if one is unwilling to face them and accept them, he cannot be a consistent Calvinist. Additionally, I am not calling anyone a double-talker nor is my use of this term intended in any sense to be a pejorative.”

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

    Ex-Calvinist Daniel Gracely – “Calvinism a closer look”:
    -quote:
    “Calvinist and Non-Calvinist do not share the same meaning of words….. Remember, Calvinism is merely the invoking of associative meaning, not real meaning. By ‘not real’ I mean that the meaning is destroyed in the overall thought of the clause or sentence. For, of course, at one level the Calvinist understands the general meaning of words. But when he strings them together in such a way that it forms an idea that is false…

    This is what I used to do as a Calvinist. I liken these non-sense statements, or propositions, to the riding of a rocking horse….. Thus I would go back and forth in seesaw motion, lest on the one hand I find myself accusing God of insufficient sovereignty, or on the other hand find myself accusing God of authoring sin. All the while, there remained an illusion of movement towards truth, when in fact there was no real movement at all. At length I would allow the springs of dialectical tension to rest the rocking horse in the center, and then I would declare as harmonious propositions, which in fact, were totally contradictory to each other. Calvinist riders still ride out this scenario.”

    Francis Hodgson – “The Calvinistic Doctrine of Predestination Examined and Refuted 1855”
    -quote::
    “The apology for this gross misapplication of language…..is found in their distressing emergency. In no other way can they, with any plausibility, meet their opponents.”

    1. I would agree that many, perhaps most, engage in this doubletalk with no intent to deceive anyone but themselves. They buy the explanations and borrow the terminology of their teachers. As we have discussed, it is mostly the personal cognitive dissonance of trying to hold to antagonistic, contradictory beliefs they seek to escape.

      I have shared before the many times I attempted to get a close friend to admit, out loud, that they had no problem defining as loving a God who deliberately damned many with no hope of escape. After countless evasions, the most he would say, quite reluctantly, was ‘It isn’t very nice’. I didn’t push it any further, but I hope that the echo of his own words still resounds within his mind.

      Imagine having to admit that the God who lovingly made mankind, gave him all that he needed, and intervened with great sacrifice to rescue him from his own rebellion is ‘not very nice’. I deeply pity such people, who have been robbed of the ability to genuinely worship and adore the magnificent love and goodness of God, because they have been told a lie.

      1. Yes I totally agree
        I also imagine what emotional and psychological condition would be produced when a person starts to conceive that their every neurological impulse was RENDERED-CERTAIN before they were born.

        Firstly, as Ravi Zacharias and William Lane Craig point out – there is no such thing as examining and weighing evidence and making up one’s mind whether something is TRUE or FALSE because every thought and belief are determined by an external mind.

        Secondly, since every thought is not their own – they have no certainty their perceptions of themselves or anything else is real or illusion.

        Thirdly: The principle that someone cannot be held responsible for that which is outside his control is weaved throughout scripture. The Calvinist is robbed of “mere” permission, all creaturely autonomy, and divine knowledge via observation. He is then forced to SNEAK these things back into his theology in order to make it APPEAR to have a Biblical pattern.

        All of these conundrums force the unfortunate Calvinist into various forms of dishonesty.

        There but for the grace of God go I!

  14. Very well written and well thought-out! I believe Calvinism is built on a foundation of assumptions that Calvinists make about God and certain Bible verses. And then they cobble together other Bible verses (out of context) to support their assumptions. This is how they can sucker so many people into “agreeing” with them. Because it APPEARS to be built solidly on the Bible. But most people don’t think to question the assumptions the Calvinist is starting with, and they don’t go to the Bible themselves to see what the verse really says in context. Even though Calvinism does great harm to God’s character. They simply trust these “godly” men to lead them right, and they brush away any red flags with “We can’t really understand it anyway, but they said the Bible teaches it and so we just have to accept it if we want to be good, humble Christians.” Sad! Very cult-like!

  15. Piper says: And so it is NOT inappropriate to take God to be the creator, the sender, the permitter, and sometimes even the instigator of evil…Richard responds: Jas 1:13  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 
    Jas 1:14  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Jas 1:16  Do not err, my beloved brethren. 
    Jas 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Jer 32:35  And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. Heb 7:26  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who is John Piper’s God? The God of Scripture or the god of the Synod of Dort? Jas 1:8  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

    1. Richard,

      Thanks for that. Two points.

      Piper does put a LOT of weight on Jonathan Edwards (that is his main “old guy”) and thus he is not too far from some of the Synods, Confessions, and Catechisms, etc. He likes an even older guy (Mary-worshiping) Augustine also, but in a different way.

      When you comment, if you spaced out the sentences a bit, and use “quotation marks” etc it would be clearer for those who would benefit from your comments. At the moment, what you send is a bit compressed and hard to read (and makes it angry looking). I would hate for your good comments to go unnoticed due to formatting!

  16. I just wanted to expand on what has been so well put by the admin.
    Quoting from Piper’s book, Suffering and the Sovereighnty of God….
    “Nothing that exists or occurs falls outside God’s ordaining will. Nothing, including no evil person or thing or event or deed. God’s foreordination is the ultimate reason why everything comes about, including the existence of all evil persons and things and the occurrence of any evil acts or events.” pp 43,44
    Now contrast this with what God says in his word.
    Jer 32:35  And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”
    Notice God says…”I commanded them not,” and it’s as though God anticipated people like Piper to make sure they don’t misunderstand him, God further states…”neither came it into my mind”….do you see this Mr. Piper….it NEVER came into God’s mind. This is devastating to his ungodly position…and yet he merrily persists in his error. As Isaiah states,
    Isa 8:20  To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
    Mr. Piper has reversed rolls , he has become the Potter and God the clay, which he molds according to the Synod of Dort and Confessions, completely ignoring God’s word….”neither came it to my mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”….Jer 32:35.
    So he has God instigating, moving every atom so Judah places babies on red hot iron and claims this is all to God’s glory. Chapter 3 of the Westminster confession adds to Piper’s delusion…”1. 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.”
    God says it NEVER came to his mind, but the Westminster Confession says burning children on red hot metal is by God’s “most wise and holy counsel of his own will.” Not to out do this blasphemy, Piper brags about a student who senses the evilness of God by saying people want to get God off the hook. ” as one of my students said rather wonderfully in responding to open theism, “Open theists are trying to let God off the hook for evil. But God doesn’t want to be let off the hook.” P. 47 So God is on the hook?? Piper is actually bossing God around. Great example of respecting God’s Sovereignty Mr. Piper.
    Incidently, Open Theism is the stock straw man pejorative of Calvinist rebuttals. Sorry, but believing Isaiah isn’t open theism, it’s believing God’s word….Isa 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning,…Notice that Piper speaks for God, calling him evil. But God has news for Piper…Jer 29:9  For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD….This whole esoteric Calvinist imbroglio is the result of pride trying to preserve a post Apostolic form of gnosticism, namely only we TULIP believers are privy to “the most wise and holy councel of his own will.” Sorry, but engineering burning babies on red hot metal doesn’t fit the character of God as described in the Bible….1 John 1:5 “that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” It never came into God’s mind…Jer 32:35….thus saith the Lord.
    One thing Piper is good at is he adds fuel to the fire of people who reject Piper’s God.

    1. Nice post Richard!

      Did you also notice the SLIPPERY nature of Piper’s wording?
      We call this Calvinism’s *AS-IF* language pattern.

      -quote
      “Nothing that exists or occurs FALLS OUTSIDE OF God’s ordaining will.

      br.d
      DUH!
      In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES every future event in his mind.
      He then RENDERS-CERTAIN those events he wills come to pass with or without the creature.
      And the creature is POWERLESS to be or do otherwise.

      Piper’s wording is designed to present the inference *AS-IF* things occur without Calvin’s god CAUSING then.
      This language is designed to hide more than it reveals.

      Piper continues:
      ” no evil person or thing or event or deed”

      br.d
      Notice in this wording Piper now infers *AS-IF* people are the CAUSE of the evil
      Rather than Calvin’s god who FIRST-CONCEIVES every evil in his mind.

      Piper continues:
      “God’s foreordination is the ultimate reason”…..

      br.d
      Notice the choice of the term “foreordination” here
      Piper uses it as a replacement term for DECREE
      Calvin’s god’s DECREE is the ultimate reason.
      But Piper doesn’t want to be clearly stated.

      We should be able to see why Piper uses this language
      His language is designed to HIDE more than it reveals.

    2. Thanks Richard for that.

      Piper uses the same Bible and knows those verses exist. It is easy to find his (and other writer’s) explanation. God has multiple wills!

      He “wants” all men to be saved….. but He “wills” most people to be vessels of wrath.

      He wants us to heed all of Paul’s instructions in 1 Cor (I’m reading through that now)…. but when we dont, that (our sin) was His sovereign will.

      They just explain it all away with this man made notion.

      But then….. that does really leave us wondering what His will is, right?

    3. Another thought on Piper’s man-made idea.

      At the end of the day when he is lying in bed reflecting on the day, what does a Calvinist think?

      Does he confess his bad thoughts, bad words, bad actions to God while praying with his wife?

      Maybe. But then couldn’t his wife turn to him and say, “Isn’t it nice to know that when you did that terrible thing today you were still doing God’s sovereign will?”

      1. FOH
        Maybe. But then couldn’t his wife turn to him and say, “Isn’t it nice to know that when you did that terrible thing today you were still doing God’s sovereign will?”

        br.d
        Good one! Yes – the Calvinist can sin as much as he wants – and have the assurance he’s 100% obedient to the SECRET will.

        Who wouldn’t want to run and sign up for that! :-]

  17. FOH posted this one:

    “Surely God does what He wants…. but only the presupposed determinist brings TO the text the idea that everything that happens is what He wants.”

    My Response : What will happen in the future events are surely what God wants., however, FOH might dislike some of those end results, that is if… FOH is still alive on earth when those pre-determined decrees will come to pass. God had already seen it before it will happen. There are no more surprises from God.

    1. jtleosala
      What will happen in the future events are surely what God wants., however, FOH might dislike some of those end results….

      br.d
      More precisely all sins and evils is what Calvin’s god AUTHORS – so obviously its what he wants.

      Now if Calvinists weren’t DOUBLE-MINDED they would praise Calvin’s god for what FOH dislikes – as a manifestation of what Calvin’s god AUTHORS and wants.

      If I were Calvin’s god I would say the Calvinists are very disrespectful of me – when they attribute things which come to pass to creatures. Things that I in fact AUTHORED. I wonder what I should do to punish those disrespectful Calvinists! :-]

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