Can Incoherence Be Biblical?

Written by Stephen C. Marcy © April 2019. Edited for blog by Eric Kemp

            I recommend listening to this program to give context to what I write here. The program can be found at: https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-Does-God-predetermine-everything-Chris-Date-and-Leighton-Flowers-debate-scripture

            The core controversy between Calvinists and non-Calvinist, whatever their particular stripes, has gone on for centuries because of a disregard for a key hermeneutical issue that should no longer be taken for granted.  That issue is the hermeneutical significance of logical and moral coherence, consistency and non-contradiction and the role these play in determining the validity of one’s interpretive conclusions.

            One might take it for granted that interpretations that generate incoherence, inconsistency, and contradictions cannot be legitimate interpretations.  But that is not so for Calvinists.  It is beyond question that Calvinism is marked by acute logical and moral difficulties, and yet this fact is not deemed by Calvinists to be hermeneutically significant, that is, as indicative of the invalidity of their exegetical and interpretive conclusions.  For the most part, non-Calvinists, as much as they have been diligent and successful in pointing out these difficulties, have not held Calvinists to account as to the hermeneutical significance of these difficulties.  Non-Calvinist scholars are proficient at revealing Calvinism’s logical and moral incoherencies, inconsistencies and contradictions, but generally speaking, the hermeneutical implications of such problems for determining interpretive validity are overlooked.  Certainly, non-Calvinists, like Leighton Flowers, reject Calvinism because there are exegetically sound alternative interpretations available.  Thus, non-Calvinists believe what they believe for the same reason Calvinists claim they believe what they believe, that is, because Scripture teaches it.  But this brings us to the crux of the matter.  Both read the same Scripture but come to mutually exclusive interpretations.  So how do we know which interpretation is correct?

Coherence Is Necessary

            In this discussion both Chris and Leighton are committed to the authority of Scripture and both sought to base their positions on Scripture – and rightly so.  But when we commit ourselves to the authority of Scripture we also commit ourselves to discern how to properly interpret Scripture, that is, we commit ourselves to discern what constitutes a sound hermeneutic.  One cannot claim that their interpretations are what the text means apart from grappling with how we can know whether or not a text means what someone says it means.  Thus, we need to interpret Scripture according to the accepted principles of hermeneutics.  Therefore, a discussion of hermeneutical principles and coming to a consensus on those principles is essential to move this controversy towards its resolution.  But what is missing in these discussions is the determination as to whether logical reasoning and moral intuition are indispensable to a sound hermeneutic and that the presence of incoherence, inconsistency, and contradiction is determinative of invalid exegesis and interpretation.

           I suggest that exegeses and interpretations that generate incoherence, inconsistency, and contradiction have hermeneutical significance, that is, they indicate that such are not valid exegeses and interpretations of the relevant biblical texts.  Coherence, consistency, and non-contradiction serve to determine exegetical and interpretive validity.  Therefore, non-Calvinists also reject Calvinism for the logical and moral incoherence it generates.  As Justin put it, Calvinism doesn’t “square off” with other biblical teachings, our moral intuitions, how we reason and how we live.  But the subsequent issue of exegetical and interpretive validity is left to lay implicit in non-Calvinist critiques of Calvinism.  It needs to be made explicit

The Hermeneutical Divide

As I see it, the debate usually stays at the level of each side quoting their Scriptures and non-Calvinists pointing out the logical and moral problems of Calvinism, as Leighton ably did in this discussion.  Exegetical points are also brought forth to support each position.  But the whole question as to whether logical and moral reasoning is indispensable to a sound hermeneutic and that incoherence is determinative of invalid exegesis and interpretation needs to be brought to the fore.  It seems to me that non-Calvinists believe logical and moral reasoning are indispensable to a sound hermeneutic whereas Calvinists do not.  This is what I call the hermeneutical divide.  Dialogues that will move us to a resolution of this controversy need to expose the problem at the hermeneutical level and address this divide.            

So, even in the face of their logical and moral incoherencies and contradictions, the Calvinist remains theologically unmoved.  Why?  Because the Calvinist thinks that their logical and moral incoherencies and contradictions are ultimately not significant for determining the validity of their exegesis and interpretations.  The Calvinist claims that their exegesis transcends any philosophical and moral objections non-Calvinists level against the interpretive conclusions of that exegesis.  I contend that both Calvinists and non-Calvinists should take these problems to be hermeneutically significant, that is, as reliable indications that Calvinism is not an accurate reading of the text.  But what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.  This applies to any such interpretive conclusions – Calvinist and non-Calvinist alike.

Therefore, Calvinists and non-Calvinists both need to be confronted with the following questions:

  1. Do you believe that rational and moral coherence (i.e. the use and deliberations of the laws of logic and our moral intuitions) are indispensable and reliable elements for discerning the validity of one’s exegesis of the text?  If not, why not?
  2. If your doctrinal conclusions are found to be incoherent and contradictory, do you think this is a sure indication that your exegesis is flawed in some respect?  If not, why not?

Calvinists need to answer the above questions, so that, depending upon their answers, a resolution to this controversy can be reached, or, at least, what is really at the core of this debate made clear. 

The Evidence for Calvinism’s Incoherence

During the debate, incoherencies created by Chris’ determinism were pointed out.  One was the “two wills in God” argument Chris provided to reconcile the clear statements in the Bible about God desiring good and the salvation of all, i.e., God’s revealed will, and yet decreeing evil and salvation only for some i.e., God’s secret will.  Leighton’s response was that this “makes God out to be duplicitous.” (54:06 – 54:14)  Now, notice the important issues Leighton raises here.  He says,

             “I know Chris doesn’t believe God is duplicitous, but I think it makes him out to be because you’ve got God externally saying I want this thing but secretly he’s actually determining the exact opposite of that.  Now we agree there’s different senses in which God wants things, and brings things to pass, even within our worldview, but not in the way in which he contradicts himself or works against the very thing that he is outwardly saying he wants.  I think that just gives a false view and makes us not being able to trust what God says externally because we have to wonder well is that what he wants internally as well?  And I think that falls apart on itself.”  (54:18 – 54:57)

            If Leighton is right that Chris’ explanation of “two wills” in God has God contradicting himself and it also makes God out to be duplicitous, then if Chris values the deliberations of reason and moral intuitions in the interpretive task, he would have to admit to the truth of Leighton’s conclusions.  Now, that this “two wills” explanation makes God out to be duplicitous and self-contradictory might be fine with Chris, and I suspect the reason he would give is that this is what the Bible teaches.  But we can see how that brings us back to the question of how we can know that this is what the Bible teaches and, more to our point, whether the logical and moral contradictions and absurdity that Leighton finds in Chris’ “two wills” explanation are reliable indicators that Chris is wrong about the Bible teaching his theistic determinism which necessitates this explanation.  And if Chris can ultimately dismiss Leighton’s conclusions, this would seem to confirm that Calvinists do not value logical and moral reasoning in their hermeneutic.

          Leighton raises the issue of the logical entailments of the Calvinist’s views.  Often times what Calvinists deny they believe is nevertheless logically entailed by their other beliefs.  Here we have God being made out to be duplicitous and untrustworthy due to Chris’s “two wills” theology which springs from a certain exegesis of the text that interprets “sovereignty” as theistic determinism.  Chris provides this “two wills” explanation in defense of the logical and moral incoherence Chris’ theistic determinism generates with the texts that indicate that God is good and desires the salvation of all.  Note that in light of those texts Leighton’s assessment incorporates logical reflection and moral intuitions in determining the validity, not only of Chris’ “two wills” explanation, but also his deterministic interpretation of divine sovereignty.  It is the logical and moral incoherence of Chris’ “two wills” defense, as a problem his theistic determinism has produced, that compels Leighton to reject Chris’ views.

Incoherence Begets Incoherence

These are questions regarding the incoherence of Calvinism and its logical and moral entailments.  As Leighton has demonstrated, the Calvinist’s “two wills” theory, and others like it, as defenses against the difficulties raised by their theistic determinism, only increase those difficulties.  What this demonstrates is that Calvinists cannot reason their way out of their incoherencies, inconsistencies, and contradictions.  This is because you can’t reason your way out of incoherence while seeking to maintain the incoherence.  Reason won’t allow us to manipulate it so as to cause reason to betray itself.  Reason cannot be used against itself to reason out of incoherence, inconsistency or contradiction. 

Calvinists do ultimately acknowledge the logical and moral difficulties in their doctrines but nevertheless insist the Bible teaches those doctrines.  Therefore they ultimately have no defense from or recourse in philosophical reflection or moral intuition.  Hence, Calvinist’s must resort to mystery or inscrutability.  That is where all Calvinistic exegesis leads.  That is the ultimate ground upon which all Calvinist exegesis rests.  The final and full result of the way they read, exegete and interpret Scripture regarding the sovereignty of God, soteriology and the gospel is ultimately an incomprehensible mystery.

Can Incoherence Be the Correct Interpretation?

          So let’s press the follow-up hermeneutical question.  If Chris’ “meticulous divine providence” definition of God’s sovereignty is deterministic, and therefore truly renders his views absurd and self-defeating and makes God out to be duplicitous and contradictory, then can we conclusively know that Chris has misinterpreted the text when he tells us it teaches “meticulous divine providence”?  If we take logical reflection and moral intuition on board in our hermeneutic, it certainly seems that we can, and we must.  Intellectual integrity and a responsible hermeneutic require us to conclude that the Calvinist’s definition of divine sovereignty as a universal divine causal determinism cannot be what the Bible teaches.             

In that Chris would obviously disagree, I think, therefore, the dividing issue is made clear.  It is simply the acceptance or rejection of logical reflection and moral intuitions in one’s hermeneutic.  Either philosophical reflections and moral intuitions are incorporated into one’s interpretive process, or, at some point, they are permitted to be divorced from it.  The hermeneutical divide is made clear. 

156 thoughts on “Can Incoherence Be Biblical?

  1. Chris makes a counter argument at minute 44:45 – that the determinist view doesn’t logically entail the THEOS redeeming the very mess he himself made.

    Chris’ argument here can be paraphrased as: “we don’t say it that way”. This is a semantic argument and thus fails.
    Just one refuses to acknowledge [X] is true – doesn’t make [X] false.

    Dr. Flowers points out in determinism the THEOS functions as the SOURCE/ORIGIN of every event [E].
    So if event [E] is being redeemed – then it follows the THEOS is redeeming the [E] which he in fact made.
    In Dr. Flowers words “he’s redeeming the very mess he made”.

    Additionally in the deterministic view “mere” permission is rejected.
    If the THEOS is not redeeming the very [E] he in fact made – the only alternative is that he redeemed an [E] he “merely” permitted
    And this solution fails because “mere” permission is rejected.

    Which makes it the case that Dr. Flower’s argument – “The THEOS is redeeming the very mess he made” stands as a valid argument.

    1. BR.D said:
      ‘On the matter of Calvin’s god putting thought into a person’s mind – the Calvinist statement concerning that is “we do not understand the MECHANISM used”. So the Calvinist is not in a position of being able to assert that Calvin’s god does NOT insert thoughts in to the creatures mind. All the Calvinist knows is that Calvin’s god FIRST CONCEIVES those neurological impulses in his own mind (at the foundation of the world) and RENDERS-CERTAIN those impulses. And those specific neurological impulses and NO OTHER impulses somehow appear in the creatures brain. That is why I was careful to word that statement the way I did.’

      That is not what I mean, nor is it the meaning of the quotations from Calvinists you have given. The sinner conceives – and God responds. God determines all that gets to be – but He is not the origin of evil.

      ‘Now on the issue of quoting verses – I understand how the Calvinist AUTO-MAGICALLY assumes those type of verses affirm Theological Determinism. But that assumption/interpretation is based upon presumption. The scripture is seasoned with verses that can be interpreted that way – while the rest of the whole of scripture affirms a world-view that is coherent with IN-determinism.’

      So you are saying there are texts that seem to uphold the Calvinist interpretation, but they can’t as they would conflict with the many other texts that seem to uphold the non-Calvinist interpretation. You in fact can’t offer any possible explanation of them that would be non-Calvinistic. Calvinists on the other hand can offer explanations for your favourite texts. That shows which understanding is defective.

      1. ianmajor14:
        “The sinner conceives – and God responds. God determines all that gets to be – but He is not the origin of evil.”

        ——–

        So, the question is: what is the origin of evil? If sinless Adam sinned without God’s ordination, then how can you say that God determined it? Did he determine/originate the sin beforehand or not? To say that Adam could sin without God’s control would undermine your deterministic position. It seems to me that God cannot by nature be fully deterministic so long as sin exists (unless God is actually a liar).

        ——–

        br. d:
        “Now on the issue of quoting verses – I understand how the Calvinist AUTO-MAGICALLY assumes those type of verses affirm Theological Determinism. But that assumption/interpretation is based upon presumption. The scripture is seasoned with verses that can be interpreted that way – while the rest of the whole of scripture affirms a world-view that is coherent with IN-determinism.”

        ianmajor14:
        “So you are saying there are texts that seem to uphold the Calvinist interpretation, but they can’t as they would conflict with the many other texts that seem to uphold the non-Calvinist interpretation. You in fact can’t offer any possible explanation of them that would be non-Calvinistic. Calvinists on the other hand can offer explanations for your favourite texts. That shows which understanding is defective.”

        ——–

        I think you have br.d quite wrong. He said very clearly that there there are verses “that *CAN* be interpreted [deterministically].” This does not imply in the slightest that they must be interpreted this way as you seem to insist: “You in fact can’t offer any possible explanation of them that would be non-Calvinistic.” Take Romans 9, a Calvinist favorite for proof texts supporting divine universal causal determinism. I’ve read dozens of interpretations that are non-Calvinistic (a.k.a. IN-deterministic), but I’ve never heard Calvinists seriously rebut these arguments and interpretations. Most of the time, they set up straw-man arguments or insist that it’s eisegesis without proving their point. Most of the “deterministic” passages can be read in an exegetically accurate way that doesn’t support Augustine’s and Calvin’s determinism.

        I’ve heard from one friend that since he’s not entirely sure the Bible gives an absolute answer on the matter of Calvinism v. Arminianism, he’d rather stick with the position that defends God’s character (Calvinist sovereignty) instead of man’s ability (Arminian libertarian free-will). However, as far as I’ve seen, it’s actually Calvinism that attacks God’s character as He has revealed it. So I’ll defend my Bible and the most sound way of interpreting it.

        As I heard one person say, the Bible is its own best commentary.

      2. Wonderful post Michael!

        On the business of Calvin’s god not being the ORIGIN of sin or evil – this is shown to be FALSE in Christian philosophy because Calvinism embraces Theological Determinism. And in Theological Determinism the THEOS is the SOURCE/ORIGIN of every event.

        But we find many Calvinists don’t want to acknowledge that.

        Many of them must PRESUPPOSE the existence of “mere” permission as a refuge from Calvin’s god being the SOURCE/ORIGIN.

        But John Calvin himself rejected this calling it FRIVOLOUS REFUGE and clearly asserting Calvin’s god as the AUTHOR of them.

        Calvinist today simply try to find ways of escaping the DARK elements of their doctrine

      3. ianmajor14
        The sinner conceives – and God responds.

        br.d
        That statement is not a TRUE representation of Calvinism

        Firstly – every event – (which obviously includes your every neurological impulse) is FIRST-CONCEIVED in the mind of Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world millennia before creatures exist. In Calvinist terminology they are RENDERED-CERTAIN at the foundation of the world.

        The Calvinist doctrine of (Foreknowledge = Fore-ordination) establishes this as a fact. Calvin’s god foreknows [X] will come to pass – because he (at the foundation of the world) RENDERED-CERTAIN [X] come to pass.

        Secondly:
        The notion of Calvin’s god responding to the creature is rejected by Calvin within his rejection of “mere” permission.
        Here Calvin clearly states that Calvin’s god is the AUTHOR of every event.

        Therefore in regard to any divine response – it logically follows that Calvin’s god can only be responding to what he himself AUTHORED. As such he’s simply responding to himself.

        ianmajor14
        You in fact can’t offer any possible explanation of them that would be non-Calvinistic. Calvinists on the other hand can offer explanations for your favourite texts. That shows which understanding is defective.

        br.d
        Here you fall into the FALLACY of HASTY GENERALIZATION
        Definition:
        Fallacy of insufficient evidence, hasty induction. You need to think a little more LOGICALLY before you assert things you can’t show to be TRUE.

        Firstly:
        I didn’t claim to have -quote “favorite texts” so you pulled that out of thin air.

        Secondly:
        Just because some Calvinist’s claim to have answers for NON-Deterministic texts in the scriptures – doesn’t prove the Calvinist “so called” explanation is TRUE. I would wager you that most of those “so called” explanations will crumble under scrutiny of self-contradictions.

        So you’re conclusion that my understanding is defective – is based on FALLACIOUS reasoning – which makes your conclusion defective.

        Additionally – here is a quote from William Lane Craig on this subject of the two streams of texts:
        -quote
        “The classical Reformed divines recognized that Universal, divine, causal determinism cannot offer a coherent interpretation of Scripture. They acknowledge that the reconciliation of Scriptural texts affirming human freedom and contingency with Scriptural texts affirming divine sovereignty is inscrutable.”

        So you may know of some Calvinists who claim to have “so called” explanations for IN-deterministic texts – but you also have Classical Reformed Divines who have resolved that doing so is inscrutable.

      4. Excellent post br.d
        Keep up the good work, taking the spin off, showing the double talk, exposing distorted definitions, appeals to mystery as a cover for contradictions that are used. Calvinism only survives because they have such a diverse tool box to obscure the truth. They have been able to fool lots of people for a long time.
        I think of Abe Lincoln’s little quote: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. “John Calvinism” has done so much damage to the body of Christ…it is time this deception is shown for what it is. It profanes the Holy name of God through it’s doctrine of determinism / compatibilism… We can’t expect the likes of Piper of J Mac or Carson to ever repent they have sold too many books and recorded to many sermons affirming this…it would require a huge case of humility to admit they have not accurately represented the God of the Bible…But the rest of us don’t have to swallow it anymore. This site is a breath of fresh of air to those seeking to understand the truth. Keep up the good work. There are folks on this site that have NO desire to learn…they just want to cause distractions. There is not a truly teachable heart but I am glad you are answering them.

      5. Thank you GraceAdict!

        That means a great deal to me! So glad you are here! :-]

  2. One of the more important logical tangles I find Calvinism to run into is laid out in the Westminster Confession, where it is essentially proclaimed that God is the author of sin but not in such a way as to be the author of sin:

    “The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.”

    The basic problem being that one can ‘say’ “A causes X, but not in such a way that A causes X” or “The true source of X is A, but in such a way that X proceeds only from B,” but one cannot ever make such claims a logical reality. All the Westminster Confession does here is use several different ways of saying source (‘powerful bonding,’ ‘order,’ and ‘author’) while claiming, with no logical or linguistic basis to do so, that they do not actually mean the same thing because the phrasing used was different and it was ‘claimed’ that they are not the same thing.

    Not surprisingly, most discussions I’ve had with Calvinists on their claim that ‘God ordains evil but not in such a way that God authors evil’ are not met with reasoning from scripture or logic, but with their referring me back to the Westminster Confession. And the Westminster Confession in such places depends on holding logically exclusive ideas as equally true – which reason does not allow for.

    1. Wonderful post Jenai!

      [X] = TRUE but not in such a way that [X] = TRUE

      This as you point out is a logical fallacy – which relies on magical thinking.

      Calvinists typically try to find more subtle ways to assert it in order to camouflage the contradiction.

  3. Chris makes an argument in minute 52:40 appealing to the “so called” two wills of the THEOS.
    The “decreed” or “prescripted” will vs. the “secret” will.

    This view of two self-contradicting wills entails the God of scripture communicating what he knows to be false. In other words – he bears false witness.

    And this is a consistent theme in the Calvinist’s version of Adam’s sin.
    Here Calvin’s god does not permit Adam to do the very thing he commands and requires of Adam.

    So here Calvin’s god is deceiving Adam to believe Calvin’s god wants him to obey, and that Calvin’s god is permitting him to obey.
    And thus Calvin’s god bears false witness.

    Dr. Flowers points this out immediately where he says the logical consequence of this scheme is that it makes God duplicitous.

    Obviously the reason for the scheme is because without it there are logical conundrums that otherwise go unexplained.

  4. Chris makes an argument in minute 1:05:32 where he interprets Dr. Flowers point on Jesus speaking in parables.

    Chris’ point assumes his own position rather than Dr. Flowers – where he states Jesus is “judicially hardening Israel” by meticulously determining their hardness and at the same time asking them to repent.

    That was not Dr. Flowers stated position – so this is a straw-man argument – which actually backfires – because Chris’ position does make Jesus duplicitous – requiring Israel to repent while not permitting them to do so.

    1. So how do you read Rom 11:8 “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear down to this very day”. Does that make God duplicitous?

      1. Hi Jeff. Thanks for your question. I don’t think judicial hardening for some is duplicitous if God gives to all sufficient drawing at sometime in their lives to be able to freely seek or reject seeking His mercy.

      2. Hi Jeff – welcome!

        The sentiment of this verse is expressed in other statements in scripture.

        In Isaiah 29:10, and in Deuteronomy 29:4. A similar in Isaiah 6:9-10. And Isaiah 29:10, “For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets and your rulers hath he covered.”

        These are not just blank divine statements made out of the blue – they have a long context behind them with long expressions of divine frustration.

        If we look at the historical context – we find they are references to the divine response to a people who He has lovingly reached his hands out to over and over – pleading with them to repent. But they would not.

        The underlying question is – does the God of scripture command you to [X]
        While applying a supernatural power over you, which does not permit you to [X].
        Deceiving you to believe you can do [X] when he knows that is false.
        And then judge and condemn you for not doing the very thing he didn’t permit you to do.

        For John Calvin – the answer to that question is yes – and he called it “horrible”.

        And yes for the non-Calvinist that would be duplicitous.
        Blessings.

  5. Chris consistently appeals to the analogy of Calvin’s god functioning as an author of a novel as an exculpatory argument.

    The author determines everything the characters think say and do – for the sake of the story and its outcome.
    But just because the author determines everything the characters (who function as secondary means) think, say and do – it does not follow that these sinful actions are committed by the author.

    Firstly – this appeal breaks down as Dr. Flowers points out.
    Where Calvin’s god CAUSES person A to tempt person B – then Calvin’s god is morally culpable for what he CAUSES.
    However appeal to secondary means also breaks down because Calvin’s god is CAUSING both the primary and the secondary events.

    Secondly – it is not necessary for the sake of the story or its outcome for a TRULY omnipotent being to CAUSE sinful evil events unless his options for achieving the desired outcome are limited. And a TRULY omnipotent being would have no such limitations. So the author of a novel analogy collapses at that point.

    Thirdly – Chris initially makes the argument that Dr. Flowers appeals to philosophy instead of scripture – and yet this appeal as well as the “prescripted” vs. “secret” will – are both totally philosophical appeals. Calvinist arguments against philosophy always eventually backfire and become self-contradicting because Calvinism is no less philosophically reliant than any other theology. And when one adds the element of magical thinking – it breaks down even further.

  6. Thank you Eric. Fantastic article that gets down to the real meat of how one is to determine if he is on track with his hermeneutics.
    What divides what we call a cult, who, like Joseph Smith, used bits of scripture mixed with “secret visions” and “mysteries” to support what they say scripture teaches, and a so called orthodox Christian who does the same? If one’s interpretation of scripture is inconsistent, contradictory, illogical, and ends in mystery, then what standard is left to determine the truth of what scripture is teaching? One can make up or say almost anything he wants and then defend it by saying it’s just a mystery or secret that God did not reveal. How can one argue against an illogical argument that ends in “mystery” or “secret” since there is no logical standard or written Word of God left that is a standard on which to stand? The inconsistency, illogic, and contradictory nature in Calvinism when one drills down to the core of it is one of the four core reasons I came to reject Calvinism. I am an engineer, and I see and love God’s consistency and logic in all He has made, including in His Word. Of course we can not fathom the depths of God and there are secrets that God has not revealed to us, but God is not the author of confusion, illogic, incoherence, and contradiction, and when we see those things in a doctrine this should throw up a huge red flag that it’s not of God.

    A couple of my favorite quotes from Calvinist on the incoherence of Calvinism:
    He [the Calvinist] realizes that what he advocates is ridiculous … The Calvinist freely admits that his position is illogical, ridiculous, nonsensical, and foolish.” However, “this secret matter belongs to the Lord our God, and we should leave it there. We ought not to probe into that secret counsel of God.” -Edwin Palmer, leading Calvinist apologist and author of The Five Points of Calvinism, when explaining how God reprobates people “unconditionally” (because He himself foreordained sin and rendered it certain) and yet the reprobate are solely responsible and deserve their eternal punishment (because their reprobation is “conditional”).

    “it is profitless to dispute with God,” … God’s election of some and his damnation of others is “a mystery which our minds do not comprehend, but which we ought to adore with reverence,” and “… it is a very wicked thing merely to investigate the causes of God’s will. … When, therefore, one asks why God has so done, we must reply,: because he has willed it.” -Calvin

    1. Andy writes:
      “If one’s interpretation of scripture is inconsistent, contradictory, illogical, and ends in mystery, then what standard is left to determine the truth of what scripture is teaching?”

      This pretty much sums up the issue. As the post suggests, non-Calvinists dissent from Calvinism based on the implicit belief that scripture – or any statement of ‘Truth’ – must be consistent, non-contradictory and logical in order to have meaning and value.

      Ultimately, our relationship with God is based on our perception of the character and nature of God. I believe a subtle perversion has taken place within Institutional Christianity, making the bible itself the idol which people worship. When set forth as such, the individual is dissuaded from interacting intelligently, thoughtfully and honestly with the meaning of the written words long taken as Holy Scripture.

      Reason is the gift of God that puts mankind above all other creatures. The animal and vegetable world instinctively obey the commands of God, without question or the ability to disobey. Minus the power of reason, the beasts and fauna of the world cannot question if God exists, and if they will trust and obey him. God has granted to man this unique and powerful ability.

      Some has asserted on these pages that properly functioning reason was lost in ‘the fall’, and man can no longer make good choices. Were this so, we would be the most miserable creatures in existence. Being made with the power of reason, humans have the unique ability and responsibility to make choices which affect the direction and outcome of their lives.

      Unlike the birds, which simply follow their instincts, mating, nesting, feeding young, migrating, etc., man has a great deal of freedom and power to chart his own course. He makes choices, admittedly within limits, as to how he will spend his time, what skills he will refine and employ, if and with whom he will form relationships, and, most importantly, how he will respond to God.

      The birds cannot denounce the existence of God or give up flying for swimming. Nor can they craft deadly weapons and fend off unwanted invaders from their territory. Their possibilities are much more limited than men made in the image of God, and they lack the power of reason to make major choices.

      Sadly, there do exist many whose power of reason has been impaired, in my opinion mostly by the chemical intoxication of our bodies and planet. Most agree that the ability to grasp logic and apply it appropriately and consistently is necessary in order for a person to be considered mentally functional. If physiologically or chemically impaired, individuals are unable to make wise choices to preserve health and life and can pose a danger to themselves and others.

      Reason is our protection from deception; the would-be deceivers of men always seek to undermine just this power of reason so as to create susceptible victims.

      Modern advertising works on the basis of convincing people to abandon reason and believe in the false pictures presented of beautiful people with perfect, happy lives. Reason would tell us that not all people have classic good looks, or, as is often the case today, the option to surgically erase their imperfections. Reason would tell us that drinking this, driving that or acquiring any material possession is unlikely to eradicate very real financial, physical, relational, emotional and spiritual issues or turn life into a blissful paradise.

      I would posit that in pretty much the same manner of corporate advertising, Satan has appealed to our emotions and fleshly desires in order to overwhelm our reason. Political, Scientific, Medical and Religious ‘authorities’ compel us to ‘Trust me’, even when their assertions and promises are contradictory and illogical. Were we able to step outside of our lifetime of programming we would quickly see how many official truth claims exceed the bounds of reason.

      I apologize for the length, but seek to set the stage, so that the tools of Calvinists can be seen for what they are. When the theologian compels us to simply trust their self-claimed authority, never question and never dissent, he is manipulating us and circumventing our God-given ability to discern truth via reason. Why did Jesus promise to send the Holy Spirit to each believer? So that he could assist us in our attempts to make sense or reason with the seeming contradictions of life as we know it, so that we could reason through the possibilities with some hope at arriving at understanding.

      When a celebrity pastor owns a multi-million dollar mansion and lives an extravagant lifestyle, the hardworking members of his church who give sacrificially for ‘the kingdom of God’ have a reasonable right to ask hard questions. When churches tolerate and cover up heinous crimes, reason would lead rational people to question the trustworthiness of her leaders and the validity of those churches’ missions.

      And when a theological system casts aspersions on the character of God, contradicting his clear claims to love and desire the salvation and redemption of all men, it is perfectly reasonable to not only question but to reject such a system outright. When even the most revered assembly of Divines quibble and dissemble and try to make God both the author and not the author of evil, reasonable men will and do judge their doubletalk as untrustworthy.

      When the God who so loved the world that he sent his Son to seek and to save the hopelessly lost sinner is said to have only a small, limited love for a select few and a destructive hatred for all others, it is more than reasonable to declare that such assertions are false and blasphemous.

      Such is not based on a simplistic claim to fully understand the eternal, omnipotent God and all of his doings, but a reasonable understanding of the use of logic and reason that was given to man so that he might discern truth from error.

  7. To keep it simple, three Biblical passages that render ALL that is said above human folly:

    The Book of Job.
    Summed up: Job 38:1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:

    2 “Who is this who darkens counsel
    By words without knowledge?

    Job 40:1 Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said:

    2 “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?
    He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”

    3 Then Job answered the Lord and said:

    4 “Behold, I am vile;
    What shall I answer You?
    I lay my hand over my mouth.
    5 Once I have spoken, but I will not answer;
    Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.”

    6 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:

    7 “Now prepare yourself like a man;
    I will question you, and you shall answer Me:

    8 “Would you indeed annul My judgment?
    Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?
    ********************************************************************************

    Romans 9:19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
    22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    ********************************************************************************

    Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

    34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has become His counselor?”
    35 “Or who has first given to Him
    And it shall be repaid to him?”

    36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

    Catch yourselves on, Gentlemen!

    1. Perhaps there should be another article about the importance of context. 😉 We aren’t talking about God’s right to do as He wants, here, but rather the importance of non-contradiction in both logic and God’s revealed character.

      E.G. God reveals Himself as one who cannot Sin, nor tempt man to evil, and the one who sets the “mark” of righteousness. In His law it is revealed that He also finds those who entice others to sin detestable. It would then be contradictory for Him to decree that individuals must sin or that the “real mark” He ordains is evil and not righteousness as He claimed.

      If Jesus reveals Himself as scripture to be a bachelor (‘the church’ is to be His future bride, and he would have had some uncleanness under the law had he had marital relations…) and someone like Dan Brown claims He was really married, then we can’t appeal to “Well Jesus can do as He pleases, and who is man to talk back to Him!” to support Brown’s view. Scripture and logic would be essential to solve that dilemma – you can’t have a married bachelor.

      So it is with the topic of Calvinism. There isn’t disagreement that God could harden the Israelites in part if He pleased, or that God was fully allowed to allow Satan to harm Job’s family, etc. There is disagreement on whether or not God can contradict His own revealed nature, or A can be not A at the same time.

      1. Jenai:
        So it is with the topic of Calvinism. There isn’t disagreement that God could harden the Israelites in part if He pleased, or that God was fully allowed to allow Satan to harm Job’s family, etc. There is disagreement on whether or not God can contradict His own revealed nature, or A can be not A at the same time.

        br.d
        I loved this post!!

        God is not the author of confusion.
        Neither does he bear false witness (i.e. speak with forked tongue)
        Calvinism’s version of the THEOS has been perennially scrutinized for such concerns and more.

    2. ianmajor14
      To keep it simple, three Biblical passages that render ALL that is said above human folly

      br.d
      Hello ianmajor14 and welcome!

      I can really see why one would want it to be that simple.
      I certainly would – if it just be that simple.

      But it doesn’t take much rational reasoning to see that if it were that simple – hundreds of years of debates on Biblical interpretation and ethical/logical coherence would have never started.

      Blessings!

    3. I won’t bother with your extremely out of context Romans 9 reference, but as for the others, you’re exactly right. Nobody can tell God He’s wrong. Nobody can assume something God didn’t explicitly tell us.

      But that is exactly what Calvinism does. Calvinism looks at the coherent, logical Word of God (Jesus being literally “the LOGOS” jn 1) and then proceeds to tell God that He’s not logically consistent, not morally coherent. Non-Calvinists are not saying that the Bible itself is inconsistent, but rather than reformed hermeneutics are inconsistent. To claim that God’s Word is logically incoherent as you are doing is, as I perceive, an attack on the revealed character of God. Who are you to say who God is apart from what He’s told us?

  8. Thank you, br.d.

    I suggest that it is not the difficulty of resolving God’s nature that is the problem – though we will not do that, as the passages I gave reveal – but the hostility of human nature to the idea that God can be righteous and loving if He also chooses not to have mercy on some but have it on others. That’s what it comes down to.

    I point to the undisputed fact (undisputed by all except maybe Open Theists) that God knew mankind would rebel and most of them would refuse His offer of mercy, and so end up in Gehenna for eternity, yet He chose to go ahead with creating Man. For His desire to have some men in glory with Him forever, He chose to have most men in torment forever. Is this substantially any different from the God who knew man would rebel and choose to have mercy on some and leave the rest to their just deserts?

    Is God to be blamed? NO. Why? Because we know that He is infinitely holy and righteous and would do nothing evil. How do we reconcile all this? We don’t – we heed Job and Paul and trust Him to be the righteous God He has revealed Himself to be.

    Is that incoherent? No. It is Biblical.

    1. ianmajor14
      I suggest that it is not the difficulty of resolving God’s nature that is the problem

      br.d
      Actually – I do see that is part of the problem
      Firstly – all of us are going to bring presuppositions concerning the nature of God to the text of scripture.
      The big question is what those presuppositions will be.

      The human mind interprets all data based upon internal memory associations.
      The human mind looks at an ink-blot and sees a butterfly when in fact it is nothing but random ink on paper.

      Years ago people were convinced the sun revolved around the earth – and/or the universe was flat.
      Since they believed that to be infallible truth – they interpreted scripture to affirm it – using the same mental process the mind uses to see a butterfly on an ink-blot. They believed it was there – and that is what they saw.

      Copernicus understood this and refused to have his writings published until after his death because Bible readers would have him burned alive as a heretic.

      So if you convince the mind that the the nature of God is to RENDER-CERTAIN every event that comes to pass – is infallible truth – that then will function as cannon and equal to scripture within the mind.

      That mind will then see that image of god within the text of scripture.
      The same way Bible scholars saw a flat universe in scripture
      The same way the mind sees a butterfly in an ink-blot

      Part of scholarship is to test whether or not our presuppositions are based upon falsehoods.

      For me – a clear indicator that one’s theology is problematic is when I see it forces one into various forms of dishonesty.
      Not saying that is the case with you – but I do see it consistently with Calvinists.

    2. I don’t think non-Calvinists have a ‘problem’ with God showing mercy on some and not others. That’s a frequent charge Calvinists make, but it has little to do with common objections with Calvinism. (Plus in context those verses are about Israel being hardened in part, not every individual throughout history, but that’s a different topic…)

      The objection to Calvinism there would not be can God show or withhold mercy to whom He pleases, but can He ordain that an individual commit evil and that there be no way for that person to escape evil and then still be ‘just’ when judging that evil. That doesn’t make logical sense. It would be like if a programmer ensured there was a flaw in his robotic creations that would definitely cause them to go on a rampage. He fixes one to show ‘mercy,’ but tosses the rest in the scrap heap because they were ‘flawed’ – even though he himself was the source of the flaw. That doesn’t fit with God’s revealed sense of justice in scripture. The programmer scrapping some of the robots would not be ‘withholding mercy,’ it would be punishing them for his own mistakes. Him fixing one wouldn’t be showing mercy, it would be fixing his own mistake.

      It’s one thing for God to *know* someone will commit evil. But decreeing they commit evil is contrary to God’s character and revealed will that they *not* commit evil. Plus the only reason evil is punishable is because it opposes God’s sovereign decree of righteousness. If God’s sovereign decree was sin, then all men’s sin would ‘hit the mark’ (check out the Greek word for sin, hemartia) and thus not be sin. S and not S at the same time. It makes no logical sense.

      1. Jenai, that’s a helpful summary of your basic objection to Calvinism. But it is not what mainstream Calvinism teaches – we do not say God made Adam sin, nor his descendants. We say God saw that Adam would choose to sin, and God chose to permit it to be. We say it was not mere permission, as if he might change his mind and sin some other time. No, God ordains all that will come to pass, and Adam’s choice to sin became part of that decree and ordination that covers all time. God is not surprised by any event: He has already chosen to permit an event or has directly made it happen.

        If God had looked at unfallen man and chosen to make them sin, then to have mercy on some and not others, you would have a point. But Calvinism denies that idea.

      2. Ian, “God permitted Adam to sin” and “God ordained that Adam would sin” is a direct contradiction. If God is permitting then he’s not ordaining, if He’s ordaining then He’s not permitting. God is either doing one or the other, He can’t be doing both at the same time.

        “If God had looked at unfallen man and chosen to make them sin, then to have mercy on some and not others, you would have a point. But Calvinism denies that idea.”

        This is literally the position you are affirming when you say “God ordains all that will come to pass”. We have never heard a cogent argument for what the actual difference is between “ordain” and “make/cause”.

      3. Eric
        Ian, “God permitted Adam to sin” and “God ordained that Adam would sin” is a direct contradiction

        br.d
        The standard definition of “permit” in Calvin’s day was the Latin: “permettere”
        Defined as: “To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over, to allow, or to grant.”

        Because of its standardized definition – Calvin could have refused to use this term.
        He did refuse to use the word “fate”.

        But instead he created his own personal ad-hoc definition for “permit” making it mean To CAUSE, To AUTHOR, To RENDER-CERTAIN.

        In order to differentiate from his ad-hoc definition and the standardized definition , he qualified the standardized – calling it “mere” permission.

        Consequently, Calvinists have two radically different definitions for this term. And their use of it is totally equivocal.

        When a Calvinist says “God permitted Adam’s disobedience” what he means is “God RENDERED-CERTAIN Adam’s disobedience”.

        And with that definition it logically follows Calvin’s god did not permit Adam to obey.

      4. Eric said:

        ‘Ian, “God permitted Adam to sin” and “God ordained that Adam would sin” is a direct contradiction. If God is permitting then he’s not ordaining, if He’s ordaining then He’s not permitting. God is either doing one or the other, He can’t be doing both at the same time.’

        This is another good opportunity to keep it simple. What were Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles and the people of Israel gathered together to do? Murder the Lord Jesus! I would class that a sin. Who determined/ordained this to be done? GOD.

        So God planned, purpose, ordained, determined that these sinners would murder His Son. Does that mean He made them do it? That He chose men who would not have sinned and made them sin? NO. He so constrained their evil desires that they would express them only in the ways that furthered His holy plan. God is not the author of their sin, but so limits their evil plans that only what He chooses will happen, and determines/ordains that and permits the evil to happen.

        Acts 4:27 For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

      5. “So God planned, purpose, ordained, determined that these sinners would murder His Son. Does that mean He made them do it? That He chose men who would not have sinned and made them sin? NO.”

        Exactly. God did not ordain that the Sandhedrin would have sinful, murderous desires. Their sinful, murderous desires, were outside of God’s ordination. God had nothing to do with their sinful, evil desires. So while God “ordained” the Cross, He did not ordain which individuals would do the murdering. Instead He used/allowed for the sinful desires He knew would exist in that time and place in history, that specific historical and religious milieu, in order to accomplish His purpose in redeeming the sin of mankind. He did not ordain the sin of man in order to redeem the sin of man. Glad we agree!

      6. John Calvin – Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God (pg 175)
        -quote
        “The hand of God rules the INTERIOR AFFECTIONS….nor would god have *EFFECTED* by the hand of man what he decreed, unless he worked in their hearts to *MAKE* them will before they acted.”

      7. Uh oh, looks like our friend Ian has a decision to make. Either affirm Calvin’s words or reject them. Let’s see what he does.

      8. Well the problem with Calvin – is the same problem we see with his protege
        They explicitly assert one thing one minute and make statements presupposing the logical inverse the next.

        Calvin for example teaches that all things are determined by the THEOS and in every part.
        But the disciple is to go about his office AS-IF that is false.

        And that manner of double-speak pretty much permeates their language.

      9. Eric, God did not make good men plan and commit murder. We agree on that. But your suggestion that His plan and purpose did not involve any individual, just environment and circumstances, not the Sanhedrin – that is downright silly. That would allow Christ not to be condemned by the Jewish leaders, or indeed by Pilate. Who was going to crucify Him then? The mob? No, God controls not mere circumstances but the hearts of wicked men. He restricts their evil desires to those sins that will accomplish His plan. They may well have desired to kill Him by stoning or the sword – but they were not permitted to do so. Only when the time was right and the means certain to fulfil the prophecies, only then were their evil desires permitted to succeed.

        This is the way God ordains all things but is not the author of sin.

      10. Ian
        This is the way God ordains all things but is not the author of sin.

        br.d
        That would be inconsistent Calvinism

        Most prominent Calvinist teachers chalk the “author of sin” issue up to mystery.

        For example – Calvinist Fred Malone of “Founders Ministry” explains:
        -quote
        “To harmonize the sovereignty of God and full human responsibility……is like trying to explain the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture……Such mysteries humble us.”

        Calvinist Mark Driskal agrees
        -quote
        The safest way in theodicy is to leave God’s permission of sin and moral evil as a mystery.

        But we understand that Calvinism has its own INSIDER definition for the term “permit” – to mean CAUSE.
        So when the Calvinist says Calvin’s god “permits” sin – what he means is Calvin’s god CAUSES sin.

        And with that definition – Since Calvin’s god did not CAUSE Adam to obey – it follows he did not permit Adam to obey.
        Calvin’s god does not permit any person to refrain from sins they commit.
        And since all sins which come to pass are RENDERED-CERTAIN – then it follows there was no escape from them.

      11. Ian, “But your suggestion that His plan and purpose did not involve any individual, just environment and circumstances, not the Sanhedrin – that is downright silly.”

        When did I say that? You may want to re-read my argument again. Can God know what certain individuals will do given certain circumstances without determining their sinful desires? If not, why not? If so, why should I think He does it another way?

        “God controls not mere circumstances but the hearts of wicked men.”

        And:

        “This is the way God ordains all things but is not the author of sin.”

        If God “controls” sinful hearts how is He not the author of sin?

      12. Eric
        If God “controls” sinful hearts how is He not the author of sin?

        br.d
        Another John Calvin quote for you – concerning evils which men perpetrate:

        “It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the *AUTHOR* of them.” Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God (pg 179)”

      13. BRD. said:

        ‘Most prominent Calvinist teachers chalk the “author of sin” issue up to mystery.
        For example – Calvinist Fred Malone of “Founders Ministry” explains:
        -quote
        “To harmonize the sovereignty of God and full human responsibility……is like trying to explain the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture……Such mysteries humble us.”
        Calvinist Mark Driskal agrees
        -quote
        The safest way in theodicy is to leave God’s permission of sin and moral evil as a mystery.’

        Yes, the ultimate justification of God – why He chose to permit evil to enter when He could have stopped it – that remains a mystery for mere mortals. But it does not mean that we cannot say God did not make man and angel sin, even though He looked on that future event and determine it would happen rather than not happen.

        ‘But we understand that Calvinism has its own INSIDER definition for the term “permit” – to mean CAUSE.
        So when the Calvinist says Calvin’s god “permits” sin – what he means is Calvin’s god CAUSES sin.
        And with that definition – Since Calvin’s god did not CAUSE Adam to obey – it follows he did not permit Adam to obey.
        Calvin’s god does not permit any person to refrain from sins they commit.
        And since all sins which come to pass are RENDERED-CERTAIN – then it follows there was no escape from them.’

        To render certain is not the same as cause. If I had the ability to know someone would steal my car but I chose to let it happen rather than removing the car or arresting him as he tried to steal it, that would not mean I was guilty for his sin, or that he was not guilty.

      14. ianmajor14
        Yes, the ultimate justification of God – why He chose to PERMIT evil to enter when He could have stopped it – that remains a mystery for mere mortals.

        br.d
        John Calvin
        -quote
        It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely PERMITS them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the *AUTHOR* of them. Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God (pg 179)

        John Calvin created a private interpretation for the term “permit” – making it mean CAUSE.
        So when a Calvinist says “he chose to PERMIT evil” – that is code language for “he chose to CAUSE evil”.
        Otherwise you have “mere” permission – which Calvin rejects.

        ianmajor14
        But it does not mean that we cannot say God did not MAKE man and angel sin,

        John Calvin
        -quote
        The hand of God rules the interior affections….they can do nothing unless he worked in their hearts to *MAKE* them will before they acted

        ianmajor14
        even though He looked on that future event and determine it would happen rather than not happen.

        br.d
        There is no such thing as divine foreknowledge via observation in Calvinism.
        According to Calvin the only events foreknown as CERTAIN to come to pass – are those he AUTHORED

        Also
        Calvin’s god does not permit any person to refrain from sins they commit.
        And since all sins which come to pass are RENDERED-CERTAIN – then it follows there was no escape from them.’

        ianmajor14
        To render certain is not the same as cause. If I had the ability to know someone would steal my car but I chose to let it happen rather than removing dthe car or arresting him as he tried to steal it, that would not mean I was guilty for his sin, or that he was not guilty.

        br.d
        Peter Van Inwagen – The Consequence Argument (adaptation):
        -quote
        If Theological Determinism is true, then all of our neurological-impulses, desires, choices, actions are the inevitable unavoidable consequence of immutable decrees, set in motion at the foundation of the world. Our every creaturely function is fated to occur at a specified time. And at the moment they are fated to occur, they do so framed by the state of nature, which exists at that time.

        But it is not up to us what supernatural forces/decrees are set in motion millennia before we were born. Therefore it is not up to us, what thoughts, desires, choices are decreed to infallibly occur. Nor is it up to us what time these are fated to occur. Nor is the state of nature which exists at any time up to us. Therefore the consequences of these things are not up to us.

      15. BRD. said:
        ‘Another John Calvin quote for you – concerning evils which men perpetrate:
        “It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the *AUTHOR* of them.” Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God (pg 179)”’

        The context of the passage quoted shows that it is not God causing innocent men to sin – but Him so controlling their evil minds that their thoughts are constrained to only those that fulfil His plan. So He moved the mind of Herod, the Sanhedrin, Pilate that Jesus would be murdered on a cross. The evil was theirs, the sovereign control His.

        BTW, my edition has it on page 176.

      16. br.d:
        ‘Another John Calvin quote for you – concerning evils which men perpetrate:
        “It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the *AUTHOR* of them.” Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God (pg 179)”’

        ianmajor14
        The context of the passage quoted shows that it is not God causing innocent men to sin – but Him so controlling their evil minds that their thoughts are constrained to only those that fulfil His plan. So He moved the mind of Herod, the Sanhedrin, Pilate that Jesus would be murdered on a cross. The evil was theirs, the sovereign control His.
        BTW, my edition has it on page 176.

        br.d
        Calvin’s god is the AUTHOR of every neurological impulse that will ever appear within the creature’s brain. That is a logical consequence of Theological Determinism. The type of control you are enunciating is consistent in a world where Libertarian Free will exists. It is a world in which “mere” permission exists – and the THEOS will perhaps exert an occasional control on a person’s mind for a special purpose. But for the most part he “merely” permits creaturely activities and attributes.

        However “mere” permission does not exist in Calvinism. Therefore Calvin’s god is the CAUSE of every event which comes to pass.

        However, your statements would be very well accepted in an Arminian Bible study.

        Thanks for the correction on the quote – you are right it is pg 176 :-]

      17. BDR said:
        ‘Calvin’s god is the AUTHOR of every neurological impulse that will ever appear within the creature’s brain. That is a logical consequence of Theological Determinism. The type of control you are enunciating is consistent in a world where Libertarian Free will exists. It is a world in which “mere” permission exists – and the THEOS will perhaps exert an occasional control on a person’s mind for a special purpose. But for the most part he “merely” permits creaturely activities and attributes.
        However “mere” permission does not exist in Calvinism. Therefore Calvin’s god is the CAUSE of every event which comes to pass.’

        Not at all what I’m saying. Not an occasional intervention by God, nor a lazy permission – but an intervention that ensures every thought of man (of man, not a thought God puts in him) is permitted or prohibited from being carried out:
        Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

        How does God control man’s thought without Himself being the cause of moral evil? By turning man’s heart in its evil desires to choose only that which furthers His plan. Man’s thoughts, steered into God’s purpose:
        Ezra 7:27 Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, 28 and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes.

        Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
        Like the rivers of water;
        He turns it wherever He wishes.

        Revelation 17:16 And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

      18. ianmajor14
        Not at all what I’m saying. Not an occasional intervention by God, nor a lazy permission – but an intervention that ensures every thought of man (of man, not a thought God puts in him) is permitted or prohibited from being carried out:
        Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

        br.d
        I apologize – I should have been more clear in my statements.
        I was drawing a distinction between the world of Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) in contrast to IN-determinism (aka NON-Calvinism). The reference I made to “occasional intervention” was a reference to the IN-deterministic world-view.

        On the matter of Calvin’s god putting thought into a person’s mind – the Calvinist statement concerning that is “we do not understand the MECHANISM used”. So the Calvinist is not in a position of being able to assert that Calvin’s god does NOT insert thoughts in to the creatures mind. All the Calvinist knows is that Calvin’s god FIRST CONCEIVES those neurological impulses in his own mind (at the foundation of the world) and RENDERS-CERTAIN those impulses. And those specific neurological impulses and NO OTHER impulses somehow appear in the creatures brain. That is why I was careful to word that statement the way I did.

        Now on the issue of quoting verses – I understand how the Calvinist AUTO-MAGICALLY assumes those type of verses affirm Theological Determinism. But that assumption/interpretation is based upon presumption. The scripture is seasoned with verses that can be interpreted that way – while the rest of the whole of scripture affirms a world-view that is coherent with IN-determinism.

        ianmajor14
        How does God control man’s thought without Himself being the cause of moral evil? By turning man’s heart in its evil desires to choose only that which furthers His plan. Man’s thoughts, steered into God’s purpose:
        Ezra 7:27 Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, 28 and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes.

        Paul Helms’ has a different way to state this:
        -quote
        “Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by God, but EVERY TWIST AND TURN OF EACH OF THESE IS UNDER THE DIRECT CONTROL control of God.”

        ianmajor14
        Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
        Like the rivers of water;
        He turns it wherever He wishes.

        br.d
        Again – these verses (among the number of verses that season scripture) can be interpreted to affirm Theological Determinism.
        Where the preponderance of scripture affirms a world-view that is LOGICALLY coherent with IN-determinism.

        ianmajor14
        Revelation 17:16 And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

        br.d
        We also know that god CAN implant dreams into a person’s mind. And there are other events described in scripture of this nature. But you will notice – out of the preponderance of the scriptural narrative – that those events are not representations of divine action on a continual basis.

        Now remember where I stated that the preponderance of the narrative of scripture is LOGICALLY coherent with an IN-deterministic world-view. Take for example God expressing frustration with people. That would be totally IRRATIONAL for God to be frustrated with the very neurological impulses he (at the foundation of the world) RENDERED-CERTAIN to appear in every person’s brain.
        In such case he would simply be frustrated with the works of his own hands.

        Now even though Calvinists disagree on the one hand – they show they actually see these very things within scripture that I’ve sighted.
        That is why Calvinists will say things like “God permits evil” when they know Calvin strictly rejects “mere”permission.
        They subconsciously need “mere” permission because they see it in scripture.
        And even though (in one statement) they reject it – their language in other statements reveals they actually need to present representations of it – in order to retain a comfortable alliance with scripture.

        This is why non-Calvinists who engage with Calvinist eventually observe DOUBLE-SPEAK

  9. I agree you need to view the podcast before reading the article and this is a great question, “Can Incoherence Be Biblical?”

    No!!!!!!! if it can be, then truth would be relative and truth is simply “absolute truth” (true at all times) therefore leaving Scripture to ones opinion would be dangerous as history has shown. Curious what history Chris eluded to, because clearly the early church fought against gnosticism etc. There maybe different applications, but there is only one meaning. I’ve done very little hermeneutics, & before coming to this site I didn’t know the difference between exegesis and hermeneutics.. I found this;
    The distinction between exegesis and hermeneutics is a thin line. … Hermeneutics is therefore the field of study which is concerned with how we interpret the Bible, whereas exegesis is the actual interpretation of the Bible by drawing the meaning out of the Biblical text.

    1st Chris’s reason at the beginning of the podcast where he talks about his wife’s second miscarriage & how it was one of comfort and peace as opposed to their first miscarriage, before they were believers. They were comforted by their church family, but also found comfort in knowing God meticulously foreordained in eternity passed for some good purpose that they’d have 2 miscarriages. Would Chris say the same thing if his child was born, & then grew up to view God as the author of ALL evil and therefore he could not trust His creator… So the child has a hard time handling this information he, then takes his own life. Curious would Chris & his wife find comfort knowing God meticulously controlled every aspect of that child’s life every thought, action, & even authoring the child to take his own life? For His glory! 

    Chris also believes “Annihilationism is the belief that those who are wicked will perish or be no more. It states that after the final judgment some human beings and all fallen angels will be totally destroyed so as to not exist, or that their consciousness will be extinguished, rather than suffer everlasting torment in hell.” 

    Not sure how they get around Jesus mentioning hell quite a bit🤔  I’ve never heard of this until I listened to the host of unbelievable mention it. 

    To me if Chris were speaking to baby Christians or a weaker brother/sister in Christ his staunch stance on his hermeneutics might sound convincing. But I love how  Leighton unravels the thread of much of what Chris says & he challenges him not only in where logically his conclusions lead, but what this actually implies about a Holy God!. I enjoyed how Leighton persuaded him to admit that there is a secret will of God.. Crazy I never heard that verbally I’ve heard it implied and that some calvinist believe this, but to hear it from one for the first time was simply odd!! Also Chris’s attempt to paint a non calvinist’s view of God as “taking His hands off” was just silly. And his author analogy… Yes an author may enjoy or even become fictitiously involved in the characters lives that he or she writes about maybe even sorrow over their death in the fictional novel. However our God came to earth as a baby, servant and a Savior to be in relationship with His creation. He doesn’t glory in scripting out their lives and on the other hand pretend He authentically loves the world. This systematic certainly leads to not only a hopelessness & fear, but a pondering if one is actually “one of the elect” not to mention the implications it gives a non believing world about our Holy God! Another good point when Leighton pointed out how the apostles were distancing God from the sinful choices of man. Chris tries to say secondary agents I’m not a theologian, but this is absurd why not just admit where calvinism ends it is clear..

    1. I appreciated this post Reggie.

      On what Chris was responding to concerning the early church and libertarian free will, this – as Dr. Flowers alluded does refer to the church of the NT times and its fight against Gnosticism, and Syncretism (the mixing of pagan beliefs into Christian doctrine). But this is carried beyond the Apostolic period, into the post-apostolic period from the writings of what are called “church fathers”.

      To get a taste of this go to Youtube and checkout “Did Augustine Corrupt The Church With Gnostic Doctrine?”

      The scholarly debates that occur today on this topic are much more sophisticated than they were in the post-Apostolic period. Terms such as Libertarian Free Will were not developed then. So one has to attempt to decipher when a post-Apostolic writer is alluding to it.

      Chris will of course be looking in those writings for any sentences he can find that will affirm Augustine’s philosophy of Universal Divine Causal Determinism.

      On Chris’ comment about being comforted by his belief system – this sentiment follows exactly that of the Greek Stoics who believed that every event was RENDERED-CERTAIN by the Greek gods. They also would express a comfort in knowing that a Greek deity was watching over them and they didn’t have to worry about what evils the future would bring.

      But there is a dark side to this in Calvinism also – because Calvin taught that a large percentage of the Calvinist fold are people who are deceived by god into believing they are saved. Calvin’s god gives these people a taste of salvation in order to magnify their torments in the lake of fire. And no Calvinist knows whether or not he/she is one of them.

      1. Br.d I did indeed listen to the YouTube site you recommended there was quite a lot of historical names thank you😊 great information. I will research some of these names when I get a chance. I thought I’d share this reading I got earlier today it does make sense.

        May 10, 2019
        Two Imperatives
        “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7)
        The term “born again” has come into such common use in recent years, even in political campaigns, that its tremendous meaning has been all but lost. But Jesus—who ought to know, being none other than God incarnate—said, “Ye must be born again!” Furthermore, He said it to Nicodemus, one of the most religiously knowledgeable people of that day.

        He did not say to Nicodemus that “they must be born again,” meaning the unbelieving multitudes who were not as instructed in the things of God as they should be. Nor did he say that “we must be born again,” meaning all of us mortals including Himself. Rather, Jesus said, “Ye must be born again!”

        Even a man like Nicodemus must be born spiritually—born again (literally, “born from above”)—if he were ever to see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3). In answer to his question as to how this could be, Jesus said he must be born of the Spirit, supernaturally. But Nicodemus—as well as each of us—was born a sinner and was still a sinner, even failing to recognize Christ as Son of man and Son of God. How could he be born again? The answer is in a second imperative: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). If “ye must be born again,” then “even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” Christ must die for our sins before it can ever be possible that a lost sinner can be born again. Since Jesus Christ was lifted up on the cross to die for us, our burden of sin has also been lifted up and placed on Him. If we would enter God’s Kingdom, we must be born again through faith in Him! There is no other way! HMM

  10. The quote above provide by Reggie is by Dr. Henry M. Morris. Dr. Morris’ analysis is spot on.

    In Nicodemus’ encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, he asks “how can these things be?” “How can a man be born (again) when he is old?” Jesus points to the bronze serpent (Numbers 21:4-9) being raised up in the wilderness as a foreshadowing of Himself being raised up on the cross. If one wants to be born again the sin problem must be dealt with first.

    Colossians 2:13 (NKJV)….
    And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses

    Jesus said you must be born again if you want to see the kingdom of heaven. Calvinism teaches you must be born again if you want to see the cross. The scriptures teach “look and live”. Calvinism teaches “live and look”.

    1. Phillip
      The scriptures teach “look and live”. Calvinism teaches “live and look”.

      br.d
      Well said! :-]

    2. Hi Philip,

      I agree the reading is spot on and love your comment below;

      Calvinism teaches you must be born again if you want to see the cross. Thanks

    3. Hi Philip : [I just want to say something about the verse cited and to your statement].

      “Colossians 2:13 (NKJV)….
      And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses”

      “Jesus said you must be born again if you want to see the kingdom of heaven. Calvinism teaches you must be born again if you want to see the cross. The scriptures teach “look and live”. Calvinism teaches “live and look”.
      ——- Here is My Response ————-

      1. Col. 2:13 as cited above speaks of the former state of the fallen man where the verse itself speaks of :
      a. their dead spiritual condition due to their sins
      b. uncircumcision of their flesh. [this is what Jesus said that : the one who is born of the flesh is flesh]
      c. The pronoun “He” represents God who is incharge and the one who initiated and activated the dead spirit of the fallen man to become spiritually alive – This is what I always maintain.

      Ques.: How can the fallen man be able to look and seek for spiritual things if he is spiritually dead? Isn’t it just the truth that God needs to enliven first the dead spirit of the fallen man in order for him to be able see the truth?. Not the opposite idea held by the other camp to “look and live” even if he is still in a disabled status.

      2. The passage in Numbers 21:4-9, the snake bitten Israelites were not able to look at the serpent hanging on the pole apart from the intervention of the grace of God. They cannot do it by themselves. [same with the passover’s applying of the blood on the door post and the coming to the senses of the prodigal son. This is what I believe that is coherent with what you have quoted : “Jesus said you must be born again if you want to see the kingdom of heaven”]

      1. JTLEOSALA no one on this site is boasting about their choice to trust in Christ? Nor disputing that we need to be born again did you read this post below???

        Is Faith Effectually Given? – SOTERIOLOGY 101
        https://soteriology101.com/2019/05/04/is-faith-effectually-given/

        It is clear to those on this site that faith is not effectually given as an extra requirement to all the clear powerful revelations God has given to His creation.. Of course you were created just as I was as well as your neighbor.. in no way do I think the day the Lord graciously removed the scales from my eyes that I had anything to do with saving myself. Being broken on the floor reading His Word and crying out isn’t a boastful position, but one that should be understood by a fellow bond servant as an act of submission. So I was reading the Scriptures that are living and breathing not man’s word like the pelagian captivity of the church by Sproule or the desiring God web site or other former or current men of the faith. When you place any man’s word above God’s or equal to it you will have no harmony in the entirety of His Word rather a plus or minus to it. I’m sure no one here wants to add or subtract anything from God’s Word!! No one will ever have it all figured out that is what faith is!!! I remember trying to witness to a jehovah witness once and how at first he appeared soooooo humble, but after further discussion it was far from the truth. He believed he could prove his position sad & funny how his scholars have changed things within their bible and how they are unable to read other literature🤔hmm What are they afraid of?

        Also God gave external means like the serpent in the desert allowing those who would turn in faith and trust His gracious gift for healing. I don’t see an overpowering of their liberation free will to insure their healing, but rather a turn in posture in faith to be healed. 

  11. COMFORTING THOUGHTS FOR THE SINNING CALVINIST

    The sinning Calvinist can take comfort in knowing that even though he is disobeying the divine “prescriptive” will, he can never be in disobedience to the divine “decretive” will.

    Yes he is taught – that in all his sinning – he is “out of sink” with what Calvin’s god says.
    But he can take comfort in knowing that he is completely obedient to Calvin’s god’s will.

    This gives the Calvinist a distinct advantage over other Christians.
    All of his continual sinning is in full compliance to Calvin’s god’s plan for his life.

    So as he’s going about his office praising all things – he can be thankful for continuous sinning.

    In this way he gets to have his cake and eat it!
    And lastly – while he is enjoying eternal torment in the lake of fire – he can take comfort in knowing it was all by grace.

    1. Br.d and his god, the neurological impulse man writes:

      “The sinning Calvinist can take comfort in knowing that even though he is disobeying the divine “prescriptive” will, he can never be in disobedience to the divine “decretive” will.

      ————

      So… now you already comfortable in use these terms “prescriptive will” and “decretive will” in favor of your attacks on me yet before you don’t like these terms as it appears in my post. hahaha…

      1. jtleosala
        Br.d and his god, the neurological impulse man writes:

        “The sinning Calvinist can take comfort in knowing that even though he is disobeying the divine “prescriptive” will, he can never be in disobedience to the divine “decretive” will.

        So… now you already comfortable in use these terms “prescriptive will” and “decretive will” in favor of your attacks on me yet before you don’t like these terms as it appears in my post. hahaha…

        br.d
        This is called projection – one is simply projecting his own predisposition onto others.

        1) These are nothing more than terms – there is nothing about a term in and of itself – to like or dislike.
        2) There is no “attack” on you – but rather simply to shine the light on falsehoods.

        But I thank you for providing examples of Calvinists induced into believing falsehoods in obedience to the “decretive” will. :-]

  12. 1. God does not wish everyone to be saved. 1 Peter 2.8: “To this doom they were appointed” and “he has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires”
    2. God does not love everyone. He cannot love the sinner because he is holy. Psalm 5.5; 11.5; Proverbs 6.16-19. There must be atonement before he can love the sinner

    EZ

    1. Hi Ted and thank you for your post.

      Of course – you understand that what you’ve represented is a belief-system superimposing itself into the reading of scripture.

      Years ago Bible readers believed as unquestionable and therefore CANNON – that the universe was flat.
      Believing that to be infallible and unquestionable – they naturally saw scripture verses to affirm their belief.

      That’s the way the human mind works. :-]

      Blessings!

      1. Ted
        You’re not exactly refuting me by just saying “This is what you believe.” You’ve got to give me more than that.

        br.d
        I didn’t say that’s what I believe – but I showed how presuppositions enter into the interpretation of any data.

        What do you think the presupposition is – in the case of what you posted so far?
        And you do you find EXPLICIT verses in scripture that un-equivocally asset it to be unquestionably TRUE?
        Otherwise – its a belief system that has superimposed itself into the reading.

        For example – Jesus EXPLICITLY stated “God is a spirit”
        So that would warrant a belief system that that is TRUE.
        And one’s reading of verses regarding the nature of God could easily presuppose that as a TRUTH.

        However, if there is no EXPLICIT verse or verses that un-equivocally assert my underlying presupposition – then I can’t expect others to automatically assume my belief system is authoritative. And I can’t expect the verses I quote to automatically function as proof-texts.

    2. Surely you jest. You wouldn’t just pull parts of verses out of context and put any kind of trust in what such a perverse distortion presents. I’m sure you wouldn’t be that unwise. You’ve probably seen what that might lead to:

      ‘Judas hung himself . . . Go and do likewise.’

      It’s kinda dangerous to play games with scripture, looking for snippets to use as prooftexts. Calvinism is among the worst at picking out single verses, or even partial verses, and giving them a stand alone meaning. I suggest you read letters and books as the whole in which they were presented.

    3. I agree with Calvinists on this: God appointed unrepentant sinners to destruction. As 1 Peter 2:8 says, the disobedient were appointed to stumble at Christ. But what are they disobedient to? The context at a glance to me seems to indicate that they were disobedient to the call to believe. The contrast in v.7 and 8 is with believers, who were also disobedient before presented with and accepting the gospel. In other words, these stumbling people had already rejected Christ, so God is making them stumble/hardening them because they’ve already chosen to reject Him.

  13. These are one of the statements posted in this thread:

    # 1. “I contend that both Calvinists and non-Calvinists should take these problems to be hermeneutically significant, that is, as reliable indications that Calvinism is not an accurate reading of the text. But what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. This applies to any such interpretive conclusions – Calvinist and non-Calvinist alike.” – By Eric

    # 2. “It’s kinda dangerous to play games with scripture, looking for snippets to use as prooftexts. Calvinism is among the worst at picking out single verses, or even partial verses, and giving them a stand alone meaning. I suggest you read letters and books as the whole in which they were presented.” – By TS00
    ——————————————————
    My Response : It gives me a little feeling of fairness to read the phrase : “This applies to any such interpretive conclusions – Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike”.

    It shows that… there is also an appeal to the non-Calvinists, meaning NOT ALL of the interpretations provided here by the Non-Calvinists are coherent and true.. I doubt this appeal will not really work because Calvinists are always being charged negatively like the # 2 statement that I quote above.

    1. jtleosala
      I doubt this appeal will not really work…..etc

      br.d
      He jtleosala
      I think I understand what you are attempting to communicate here – that irrational interpretations of scripture are not unique to Calvinism.

      If that is the case – yes – that would be logical and understandable.
      Also, please be advised – one of your conclusion statements (see snippet above) is a double-negative.
      A double-negative cancels itself out.

      1. I would not so much say that ‘hanging chads’ or irrational interpretations are unique to Calvinism as essential. They cannot build their case upon scripture taken in context, thus are forced to cite snippets and partial verses to assert what scripture nowhere teaches. Most definitely I have seen teachers of all stripes do this, and I disregard their falsely derived assertions as well.

    2. Jtleosala, we don’t just charge you with #1 and #2, we claim that the charges are true. So yes, we make that charge and yes we think we can back it up…which is why we’re not Calvinists.

  14. I don’t believe God as the author of sin. No one can ever charge God for that. It is God’s creation who are the agents, and performers of sin not God. So…. why charge God for that thing.. If a holy God allows sin to happen it does not mean that He is the one who cause / performs it. Originally, God has created Lucifer and Adam as sinless without blemish. Sin originates from the creation using their will. [Others will say it is from the law that sin originates. The law is not evil in itself and so with the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They were all good that was given to man by a Holy God. If there is no law, then there would be no violation and sin committed]. God can restrain His creations from sinning anytime he wills but He choose not to. God cannot be blamed for the existence of sin. Sin was not a part of creation nor created by God, All of God’s original creations were all good according to Himself that no one can afford to dispute. Sin was found in satan as well as in Adam because of the choice that they have made for themselves. Man was not a created robot. God gave man the will for them to exercise in response to God’s command.

    Christ was crucified not for His sins [because He is sinless]. It was because of the sins of the fallen man that made Him punished. If one will say… oh.. that is incoherence and against logic. He was punished even though innocent. Well, that would be the opponent’s problem, not mine.

    I see no incoherence on the matter. It is just the truth and is biblical.

    1. jtleosala
      I don’t believe God as the author of sin. …… If a holy God ALLOWS sin to happen it does not mean that He is the one who cause / performs it.

      br.d
      If you are a REAL Calvinist then you know there is no such thing as Calvin’s god ALLOWING anything.

      John Calvin states this clearly
      -quote
      It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely *PERMITS* them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the *AUTHOR* of them. Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God (pg 179)

      Calvin’s god AUTHORS all things – and does not PERMIT people anything other than what he himself AUTHORS to manifest through them. You have no say in the matter of what is RENDERED-CERTAIN concerning you before you are born.

      jtleosala
      Originally, God has created Lucifer and Adam as sinless without blemish. Sin originates from the creation using their will.

      br.d
      If you are a REAL Calvinist then you know that John Calvin teaches – concerning the entrance of sin into the world
      -quote
      At his own *PLEASURE* arranged it (institutes)

      jtleosala
      Sin was found in satan as well as in Adam because of the choice that they have made for themselves.

      br.d
      If you are a REAL Calvinist then you know that Satan/Adam cannot have one single neurological impulse that Calvin’s god did not AUTHOR.

      jtleosala
      Man was not a created robot. God gave man the will for them to exercise in response to God’s command.

      br.d
      Man does not have to actually be a robot – in order to function ROBOTICALLY.
      And since Calvin’s god AUTHORS every neurological impulse – creatures most certainly do fit the MODALITY of Robot in Calvinism

      jtleosala
      I see no incoherence on the matter. It is just the truth and is biblical.

      br.d
      What I see here is a person who claims to represent Calvinism and is doesn’t wish to represent it accurately, or perhaps doesn’t wish to represent it honestly.

      1. jtleosala
        Br.d, You can say everything you want, but my beliefs will always remain.

        br.d
        I understand jtleosala
        But I will examine all things – and bring things out into the light and scrutinize them – and see whether they be wrought of God.
        And test every spirit to see whether it be of God.
        That we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine

        And I will let my communication be “yea” or “nay” (i.e. TRUE or FALSE) for anything else comes of evil.

      2. This is a great response Br.d

        And JTLEOSALA you may not see how if you (actually) cling to the tenants of the TULIP systematic where it logically ends up!! God being the one who created everyone in His image even the reprobate, but then refuses most of the population the ability to respond to His appeal in the Gospel for no reason His good news!!!! this is clearly bad news for them at best if you can’t admit this point of contention, then I see why you argue with the people on this site that we are all wrong.. I hope if I did cling to a systematic that I would at least be honest in my representation of it.

      3. What is first required is to be honest with oneself. So many self-claimed Calvinists I have talked with refuse to even ponder, let alone grapple with the ramifications of their theology. They accept, unthinkingly, the assurances of those they presume ‘in authority’ that all of the inconsistencies are mysteries that simply must be accepted. They assume that if others can allow the ‘horrible decree’, then it must be acceptable.

        Yet, if you ask them what they truly think of a God who would deliberately withhold any chance of grace from people who he first cursed with an inability to not sin, few respond with glee. If irresistible grace is all of God, so is irresistible damnation; yet modern Calvinists rarely discuss this aspect. If unable to redirect the conversation to God’s glory, some might haltingly admit it is ‘not very nice’, or even, with Calvin, horrible. They simply refuse to allow themselves to think through what it is they are asserting, or ask themselves why anyone would revere serve such a God. If grace was not freely offered to all, I would want none of it. Nor would anyone who loves others as they love self.

        Thanks be to God, the true good news is that he loves and desires to save all men from sin and death, and sent his Son to condemn and destroy its power, that no man need perish. True grace, while never irresistible or compelled, is freely offered to all.

      4. As Jenai demonstrates well, the argument that Total Depravity is essential to maintain the glory of God is false. No matter which theory of atonement you embrace, they all assert that salvation originated with and was accomplished by God alone.

        Calvinism then asserts that God’s sovereignty is threatened if man is allowed to respond to a freely offered grace. This is mere assertion, and thoughtful men can and have rejected it as faulty. A fully sovereign God can allow men the freedom to respond to his offer of grace, and reluctantly allow them to suffer the consequences of suffering and death that rejection brings upon them.

        Universally, the words that describe believing, faith and trust have within their very definitions the element of voluntary action. There is no value in a coerced or irresistibly caused ‘belief’ or ‘faith’. Similarly, trust becomes nonsensical, where it is impossible to not trust. The words have no meaning if their antithesis cannot occur, rendering the entire message of the gospel mute.

        The message of the Calvinist gospel is ‘Be saved and believe’, good news only to the lucky few chosen to irresistibly receive this ‘grace’ and inescapable bad news for all not chosen. The gospel of scripture declares ‘Believe and be saved’ which is good news to all who choose to believe it, and bad news only to those who refuse to believe it.

  15. TSOO writes :

    “The message of the Calvinist gospel is ‘Be saved and believe’, good news only to the lucky few chosen to irresistibly receive this ‘grace’ and inescapable bad news for all not chosen. The gospel of scripture declares ‘Believe and be saved’ which is good news to all who choose to believe it, and bad news only to those who refuse to believe it.”

    My Response : You said : “The message of the Calvinist gospel is be saved and believe. I say NO. You need to change “saved” to “regenerate” or enliven spiritually” then believe. That is the correct order.

    Many are called but few are chosen according to Matt. 22:14, Jesus said: “For many are called, but few are chosen” – This statement of Jesus is coherent and is biblical to the “L” of the Reformed Churches. You keep on complaining about the act of God in choosing but nothing can be done about for God is fully in-charge, not man.

    About Matt. 22:1-14 the parable that was cited to support this topic : “Can incoherence be biblical?

    1. The invitation was initiated by the King by: (1) preparing a feast (2) Sent out servants to invite people to come to His feast.
    2. Though the invitation was extended to all people, yet it was limited only to those who wear wedding garments.
    3. Who made those wedding garments? It cannot be done by the invited people by themselves, right?, Only God can…
    4. Did the servants notice those who wear wedding garments from those who don’t? . Answer is : NO , It was only the King himself who can see that thing by the time he entered the wedding feast according to the story.
    5. Did the King love the man who went in the wedding without wearing a wedding garment? – I think NO. He was the one that was left out. He was not picked out before time.
    6. What is the sense of inviting that man to the feast? only to humiliate him?, reject, and judge him? = we cannot question the actions of the King in the story telling his servants to tie up his hands and feet and to cast him out of the darkness.
    7. The Universalist says: God loves all people and yet not all are saved and still go to hell [incoherent and un-biblical] while the Calvinists says: “God loves the elect and He saves them, The non-elect goes to hell.” [Limited Atonement – this is coherent and biblical]

    1. JTLEOSALA you must skip over where the invited guests refused to come 1984 NIV version verse 3 then where they paid no attention to the invitation and went off verse 5.. I assert the man who was tied up and thrown out came in through another door… no one can climb in or save themselves we all know that!
      John 10:9 NASB — “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

      The atonement is in No way limited it is a perfect & precious sacrifice by a Holy God for His creation and you need to reevaluate your stance on limited atonement.

      Revelation 7:14 NASB — I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

      This is how they have the right wedding clothes they trust in the Savior of the world sacrifice and resurrection and that He lives!! it’s simple some will not trust & those are who go to hell not God for some mysterious reason withholding the perfect Lamb’s sacrifice for the sins of the world to most of the population.

      John 1:29 NASB — The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

      1. Reggie, your idea of asserting that the rejected man in the wedding feast came in from a different door is fictitious. It was the servants who brought that man in the wedding feast that caused the feast to become full of people according to the passage

        Rev. 7:14 has something to do with those who will become survival remnants of the great tribulation period. The verse itself is saying that these people came out of the great tribulation not from the streets where the servants took them.

      2. JTLEOSALA curious does this verse mean anything to you?

        Revelation 12:11 NASB — “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

        I do trust in the end that the wheat will be seperated from the tares and any “ism” won’t matter catholicism, mormonism, calvinism etc… However for now I will hope as does this site to reach as many as we can!!!! Not, because we love or care more than the One true God!!!! but rather, because He chooses to graciously use us as Jesus’ hands and feet. Not that He needs us, but rather He loved us first as we are all wretched sinners in need of a Savior which is His Amazing gift of mercy & grace! & the beauty of this gift is…. it doesn’t have to be effectually given to be recieved!!! we are (response able) Praise God for this gift🌞

  16. Reggie writes :

    “…it doesn’t have to be effectually given to be recieved!!! we are (response able) Praise God for this gift”

    My Response :

    But it is effectually given to be received according to Christ Himself.
    John 10:11 “… the good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep” [directly from the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself, He declares here who are the legitimate beneficiaries of His death – the sheep with certain efficacy]

    John 10:15 “… and I lay down My life for the sheep” [Jesus Christ repeated the same declaration the 2nd time in the same passage. His death, He limits according to Him only to the sheep]

    I Peter 1:18-19 Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers. But with the precious blood of Christ as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot. [No one is born righteous when we came out of this world. This includes the elect and non-elect. The salvation of the elect comes to them by the time they hear the gospel call. God will unblind them for them to be able to see the truth.]

    Those who have been redeemed can no longer fall away as they have been redeemed already without any conditions if they are willing or unwilling to be redeemed. Their sins has been paid already. They can no longer be punished the second time for the same sins and future sins committed. [There is No double punishment, otherwise Christ atonement will be of no effect to them] The danger of the one you propose : “response able” – is that Salvation is conditional and dependent to man’s predisposition. Thus, God cannot do it if man does not cooperate.

    1. jtl writes:
      “They can no longer be punished the second time for the same sins and future sins committed.”

      The real reason Calvinists want to believe what they believe. They desperately want to believe they can live however they please and never have to face the music. They are going to be unpleasantly surprised.

      1. yeh – “They can no longer be punished the second time for the same sins”

        UNLESS of course Calvin’s god is

        1) Deceiving them into believing they are saved.

        2) Holding salvation out to them as a -quote “savor of death and occasion of severer condemnation”

        3) And then later -quote “strike them with even greater blindness”

        Who wouldn’t want all that! :-]

      2. Br.d and TSOO thank you for helping and I do agree to believe our choices don’t matter is a Very slippery slope. And God is not the deceiver their is a father of lies…

        JTLEOSALA
        The Gospel is not merely an intellectual exercise; it is an issue of the heart. We don’t believe we can argue a person into the Kingdom the reason for these discrepancy oddly seem to be more with a person’s will & their logic rather than their unbelief. Even the demons believe in God and shudder!!!
        James 2:19 NASB — You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

        & If you admit there is a God who allows free libertarian choices then you would realize the need to humbly submit to Him & yield control not always an easy thing for most of the population let alone myself. But I would find the broad road much easier to follow knowing everything I do He preordained to happen and my choices and prayers mean absolutley nothing in calvinism except they were basically scripted for me… hmm No that sounds like a thief coming to kill steal and destroy my joy and the hope and anticipation waiting for the return of our King

      3. Reggie posted this one:

        “…Even the demons believe in God and shudder!!!”
        “James 2:19 NASB — You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.”

        ———-My Response———
        “demons are not legitimate beneficiaries of Christ death on the cross. Christ did not offer His life for them.— and you might want also the demons to be saved?… lamenting that they are not saved even if they have faith? You must also include the false prophets, the Pope of the RC and the residents of Canaan that God ordained Joshua to annihilate including the suckling babies that were non-combatants and their animals. If God really loves them except Rahab, then why did God not give them even a little chance to be saved?

        Your assertion is false : i.e.: “the gospel is merely an intellectual exercise…” Did I say that? That was never my idea… that is only the product of your baseless imagination.

      4. JTLEOSALA says, “demons are not legitimate beneficiaries of Christ death on the cross. Christ did not offer His life for them.— and you might want also the demons to be saved?… lamenting that they are not saved even if they have faith?

        Hmm interesting response I was about to add before you wrote this… I do believe once you’ve excepted Jesus as your personal Savior the Scriptures are clear you’re sealed with the Holy Spirit Jesus is my anchor!! I’m not trusting another gospel nor the man calvin nor a systematic that clearly can’t stand up agaisnt the authority of the entire Scriptures as to harmonize His Word!!! odd I don’t lament over the demons not being saved, but fellow image bearers of God I do and I’m trusting it’s, because God first loved me Wow! His love matters too!! if I were a calvinst I can’t imagine I’d care, because God clearly only cares about those He unconditionally elects, irresistible gives grace to, the L limited atonement of His precious blood for only the few and the conclusion of perseverance in this systematic is simply because I’m programmed to follow haha sadly this even sounds illogical swipe texting ugh I need to get my computer up and running it’s difficult to articulate via texting. Sorry you feel you need to argue over the recognizable Goodness of God for the world I find peace in knowing not all will be saved only because of His Word
        2 Thessalonians 2:10 NASB — and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

        Not because someone who has written a bunch of books or several degrees etc tells me… Oh yes calvinism is a prickly blanket what!!!! No I want to know what God tells me in His Word not what man says!!

      5. Thank you Reggie – nice post!

        I believe Calvinism was designed by the enemy to destroy the church’s ability to war against principalities and powers.

        As you’ve pointed out – Calvinism is very much a HEAD GAME – where humans are robbed of Libertarian Free Will.
        And every demon in hell knows that in order to exercise power over humans – requires deception and seduction.
        Both are predicated on Libertarian Free will.

        Otherwise Calvin’s god – as you say – is simply scripting every neurological impulse – withing the brains of every human and every demon. And the whole affair is simply a THEATER show with Calvin’s god controlling a population of functional puppets.

        With that as a church’s doctrine – its ability to war against principalities and powers is neutralized.

      6. Reggie posted this one:

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

        My Response: Reggie, you must not stop only in verse 10, let us continue up to verse 14

        v. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. [what lie? i.e. That God loves them and Christ offerfed His life for them?, i.e.: – Judas, False prophets, demons, residents of canaan who were destroyed by Joshua’s army ? – You failed to argue with me. If God loves them, then, why did they perish? Claiming salvation for them is — incoherent, illogical. God did not initiate Salvation for them so they perish -this is coherent and logical]

        v. 12 That they [non-elect] might be damned who believeth not the truth [why they don’t believe the truth? – Bec. they are spiritually blind] but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

        v. 13 But we [believers in Christ, the elect] are bound to give thanks always to God for you [believers in Christ, the elect], brethren beloved of the Lord because God hath from the beginning chosen you [the elect, does not include the whole human race] to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

        v. 14 Where unto He called you [the believers in Christ, the elect] by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

        so… verse 10 is an assurance that the non-elect did not receive the love of God and yet you still insist God loves and died for them? and this you cannot afford to go against with the verse itself.

      7. A true respecter of scripture does not add words into the original text, subtract words from the original text, or alter words in the original text.

        That is classified an adulterating the word of God.

        And is always a RED-FLAG for eisegesis.

      8. Extremely bold reading of one’s own interpretations into the text. He should be ashamed of himself. Most Calvinists secretly change ‘you’ or even ‘all men’ to ‘the elect’, but few would display it so blatantly. In reality, we must wrestle with the actual words of scripture (We are limited to available translations and multiple study helps.) handling them with respect and humility. To suggest that ‘my personal edit of scripture is what God intended, and no other possibility exists’ is arrogant and dangerous. To add one’s own words into God’s Word takes unthinkable hubris.

      9. This was one of the reasons I really appreciated Dr. Gordon Fee – and expert in the different streams of the manuscripts.

        Dr. Micheal Brown is also a great source of information on the elaborate system used by Jewish scribes to preserve the O.T. scriptures. Every Hebrew letter has a numerical value. And after a scribe completed a section – a inspector would add up the numerical values of each letter in a verse and if the total wasn’t correct it would show that verse was not scribed accurately – and they would burn that piece of work. Consequently, the O.T. manuscripts are highly accurate for thousands of years.

        On the other hand – the scribing of the N.T. manuscripts was often subject to theological adulteries by scribes, holy fathers etc (very similar to what jtleosala did in his post) who didn’t like what the original text said. So these represent a body of N.T. manuscripts that are set aside classified as adulterations and not allowed to be a part of the official body of N.T. manuscripts.

      10. Br.d I really love numbers, so this is very interesting to know & I will look up this author you and TSOO make great points and I absolutely appreciate it!

        JTLEOSALA says, You failed to argue with me.

        Reggie, actually I chose not to argue with you!!

        1 Timothy 6:20 NASB — O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”—

        I know there are many reasons for some to perish and one was irreverence… I also see God graciously giving Saul others in his life to see the error of his actions, but his jealousy of David is unrelenting & he’s the first I remember who was cremated not 100% sure, but I think also to commit suicide of course don’t take my word for it look it up, because he did ultimately die of his own sword!!! Even his own son Jonathan pleaded with him about David. Israel’s enemies were destroyed as all enemies of God will be!! I’m sure most of the population after the Exodus had heard of the One true God I wonder why they didn’t have a reverence for Him, but rather despised His people🤔
        Genesis 12:3 NASB — And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

    2. JT:
      “Thus, God cannot do it if man does not cooperate.”

      ———

      It seems to me that you’re limiting God’s power and ability to save those He wishes to. To you, God can only save people if they are completely unwilling and have absolutely no part in the process. Everything must be done by God, including adding faith. To Calvinism, God is unable to make a condition for salvation that is not a work, such as individual faith. Otherwise, if God does make a condition in your presuppositions, then God loses all control and man is the initiator. However, this is somewhat of a straw man since no orthodox Christian believes we are able to save ourselves without God.

      As a non-Calvinist, I still believe that God is in complete control of every man’s salvation. God set the standard, He did the work, He paid the price. Everything is worked out by God. However, God does not need to irresistibly confer saving faith to people to maintain His omnipotence and sovereignty. God is still in control because He set the standard that He wanted, even though He could have used more deterministic means. God can be independent of human affairs while still allowing for human choice.

      To suggest that God MUST control my decision to choose Him in order for Him to have control is to attack God’s omnipotence and therefore His true sovereignty. If God is in control then He can give people a choice without choosing for them while still remaining in control.

      1. Michael B posted this one:

        JT:
        “Thus, God cannot do it if man does not cooperate.”

        ———

        It seems to me that you’re limiting God’s power and ability to save those He wishes to. To you, God can only save people if they are completely unwilling and have absolutely no part in the process. Everything must be done by God, including adding faith. To Calvinism, God is unable to make a condition for salvation that is not a work, such as individual faith. Otherwise, if God does make a condition in your presuppositions, then God loses all control and man is the initiator. However, this is somewhat of a straw man since no orthodox Christian believes we are able to save ourselves without God.

        As a non-Calvinist, I still believe that God is in complete control of every man’s salvation. God set the standard, He did the work, He paid the price. Everything is worked out by God. However, God does not need to irresistibly confer saving faith to people to maintain His omnipotence and sovereignty. God is still in control because He set the standard that He wanted, even though He could have used more deterministic means. God can be independent of human affairs while still allowing for human choice.

        To suggest that God MUST control my decision to choose Him in order for Him to have control is to attack God’s omnipotence and therefore His true sovereignty. If God is in control then He can give people a choice without choosing for them while still remaining in control.

        Here’s My Response :

        Michael, here is the whole paragraph where you had extracted the quote above, i.e.: “Thus, God cannot do it if man does not cooperate”. – I made this statement in response to the idea of your ally – Reggie ‘s “response able”.- He posted this item in this thread aboved dated May 28, 2019 @ 9:26 pm.

        Those who have been redeemed can no longer fall away as they have been redeemed already without any conditions if they are willing or unwilling to be redeemed. Their sins has been paid already. They can no longer be punished the second time for the same sins and future sins committed. [There is No double punishment, otherwise Christ atonement will be of no effect to them] The danger of the one you propose : “response able” – is that Salvation is conditional and dependent to man’s predisposition. Thus, God cannot do it if man does not cooperate.

        Michael B, I am not limiting God’s power and ability to save. You must have directed this to Reggie not on me.

      2. JT: “Michael B, I am not limiting God’s power and ability to save. You must have directed this to Reggie not on me.”

        ——-

        I actually did direct this at you, knowing fully that you were discussing Reggie’s view. I just didn’t quote the sentence before.

        ——-

        JT: “The danger of the one you propose : “response able” – is that Salvation is conditional and dependent to man’s predisposition. Thus, God cannot do it if man does not cooperate.”

        ——-

        This is a critique that YOU made of Reggie, not Reggie’s initial views, nor is it the required logical conclusion for non-Calvinist soteriology such as what Leighton Flowers believes on this site. You set up a straw-man argument, claiming that if God made a condition for salvation, He thus CANNOT save people outside of that condition. I’m telling you that this critique is invalid and actually puts limits on God’s omnipotence if that were the case. However, I do not believe that God CANNOT save people, nor do I think Reggie and the other non-Calvinists here believe such. But your logic moves backwards to the Calvinist perspective as well.

        As has been mentioned in other articles on this site, Calvinism limits God’s omnipotence, His eternal attribute, in favor of supporting deterministic divine sovereignty, which is an over-enlargement of His temporal attribute. By declaring that God MUST exercise ALL of His right to rule (a.k.a. Sovereignty), Calvinism actually limits God’s omnipotence since He is unable to do anything less.

        If God righteously declares that you must believe/have faith in order to be saved, this in no way puts restrictions on God. God is still free in His ability to do what He wishes and save whomever He wishes. However, God has also revealed His character of Truth and assured us that He will keep His promises. If God’s law says that we shouldn’t bare false witness, and the law is a reflection of His character, then I can understand from the law that God will do what He says He will do out of His own free will. God is not bound by some outside force to save everyone that believes. Salvation is still initiated by God, paid for by God, and worked by God. It is fully God’s grace and love given to us by His sovereign choice, not by any of my works, lest I should boast.

        TL;DR
        God can still save those who don’t cooperate, but He decided a way that things should be done as outlined numerous times in the Bible as the Gospel. “Look and live,” “Believe and be saved.” That’s just what God decided and He had the right and ability to do so.

      3. JTLEOSALA says, Those who have been redeemed can no longer fall away as they have been redeemed already without any conditions if they are willing or unwilling to be redeemed.

        JTLEOSALA, says, Reggie ‘s “response able”.- He posted this item in this thread aboved dated May 28, 2019 @ 9:26 pm.

        Reggie,
        If you read anything carefully on this site you will not find a non calvinist on here claiming they save themselves it’s preposterous!!! And you seem to imply I’ve said we lose our salvation. So I don’t think your reading things clearly Never have I claimed this & actually the contrary & by the way I’m not a “he” I’m a she… I guess your assuming something by my mere name without knowing the whole picture. I get Reggie is often a male name, but assumptions based on one criteria don’t prove to be wise… the whole picture matters as does each peace of a puzzle, because it makes the picture of the puzzle complete. That is what I see on this site the “harmonizing” of God’s Word not a couple pieces of the puzzle missing nor the scissor dissecting of an area of the picture which is Very alarming!!!. Ugh how fuzzy it must feel for Chris to believe in annihilation instead of a conscious torment in hell, but hell is real!! and so is heaven!!!

        “Annihilationism is the belief that those who are wicked will perish or be no more. It states that after the final judgment some human beings and all fallen angels will be totally destroyed so as to not exist, or that their consciousness will be extinguished, rather than suffer everlasting torment in hell.”

      4. Reggie, off topic, but you may want to investigate to see if there is any sound reasoning behind those who no longer accept the theory of everlasting conscious torment. Although it is what most of us were indoctrinated with early on, I have serious doubts about it, personally. I only point this out as such views can make a huge difference in your perception of the nature of God. I find the existence of ECT as troubling as predestination to ECT, and was relieved to discover that most of christianity’s theories on ‘hell’ are based on similar flimsy grounds as the alleged doctrines of Calvinism. Men have been extracting and cobbling together pieces of verses to create what is not really said in scripture for hundreds of years, on many subjects. I’ve learned to suspend my judgment and hold many of these theories loosely. I continue to study and seek the guidance of the Spirit, who desires to reveal to us the fullness of God’s goodness and love.

      5. TSOO I appreciate this reminder to continue studying the Scriptures, because His Word does matter not my thoughts or feelings. It is true I went off topic I’m sorry about that and I again agree trusting His Word & the Holy Spirit is very important. Though I do see it as a separation, but I know that love matters in this equation not only loving our Amazing God but also others!!! So what you say is true as we are growing in our walk with Him we will see His love and goodness. I don’t see in Scripture a promise for us to live a perfect life here, but I do see His joy within even troubling circumstances. And again love indeed does matter!

        Mark 12:28 NASB — One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”

        John 15:12 NASB — “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

        1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV — And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

        I will keep my eyes on Jesus and His Word thank you for the reminder.

      6. Reggie, I appreciate your humble response. I did not intend my comment as a rebuke, but simply to encourage you to further study for your own encouragement. Sounds like you recognize the value of that, for which I am glad. I don’t claim to have all the answers, nor do I ever expect to.

  17. But you cannot really afford to argue with the verses … Br.D just say an adulteration which he failed to prove. And, Reggie you assert that God loves all people. My question to you:

    1. Did Christ offer His life to the false prophets as a proof of His love to them? What is your answer Reggie?
    2. Ed Chapman asserts that Pharaoh, the one whose heart have been hardened by God — is in heaven, not in hell? do you believe him?

    1. JTLEOSALA read my post above I don’t even know who Ed Chapman is & I thought I had said before that what man says is not elevated for me above what God says.. It seems you are angry with this Ed Chapman and I too want to stand up for truth, but your staunch stance and the way you keep implying that I think everyone is being saved seems rather like an aggressive argument.. I know not everyone will be saved it certainly doesn’t make me want to throw a party!! But trusting that God gave them a choice through His clear revelations in creation, in His Word, in the cross, the cloud of witness that came before us etc… I find comfort knowing they did have a choice and I trust this is validated in Scripture as this site stands up for it’s called libertarian free will not robotic choice.

      1. Reggie
        validated in Scripture as this site stands up for it’s called libertarian free will not robotic choice.

        br.d
        Thanks Reggie – and I agree
        The pattern of Libertarian Free Will is found weaved throughout whole narrative of scripture.
        Calvinists can only point to their 40+ proof text verses
        They use those verses to prove their presuppositions.

        Their conundrum of course – is what to do with the rest of the whole of scripture.
        They do instinctively realize that their system is supposed to reject Libertarian Free Will
        But they see its pattern weaved throughout scripture – and their system robs them of that pattern.
        This forces them to search for deceptive ways to have the pattern of Libertarian Free will in their lives.

        So the unfortunate byproduct of Calvinism is a necessary degree of dishonesty.

        Martin Luther – as an Augustinian monk would beat himself bloody in an attempt appease an Augustinian god.
        The worshipers of Baal in Elijah’s day – would cut themselves with knives in order to appease a Baal god.
        Calvinists have their own form of self abuse to appease the Augustinian/Calvin god.
        And in order to call it “Christian” they are forced to use deceptive strategies.
        The deceptive strategies are a manifestation of self-abuse.

        And that is how it is so easy for jtleosala to tell himself he didn’t.

        You will consistently discover those deceptive strategies and you read Calvinist posts.
        And the Calvinist will consistently refuse to acknowledge them as deceptive.

      2. Thanks Br.d I have heard of asceticism, “severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons.”
        When I was studying Colossians from what I remember it was a sect of gnosticism & the other side didn’t believe the spirit sinned only that their flesh was corrupt so basically they didn’t care what they did or something like that.. I appreciate the insight that one can glean from this site🙆‍♀️ and all who desire to harmonizing God’s Word not force a preconceived notion to make it fit God’s Word, that seems like a red flag as you say! A Very red flag!!

      3. I’m no expert, but in response to jtl’s question, I believe that yes, Jesus Christ was offered as atonement for every man, false prophets and all. Those who lived before Jesus could believe in the promise of God’s atonement and redemption, as did Enoch, Abraham, Moses, etc. Which is why all who perished under punishment were not unjustly condemned, but received the consequences of their rejection of God’s promises.

        Any unbiased reading of scripture leads to strong evidence that all who perish in sin against God, do so by their own choice to remain in rebellion against him. God’s promise has always been that he would provide A Way to salvation, but men must choose which way they will go. No man can be held accountable for sin, apart from knowingly choosing it of his own free will. This is the foundation of justice. Likewise, no man can rightly be approved or rewarded who does not knowingly choose well of his own accord.

        Calvinism rejects reason and scripture, beginning with Genesis, for the very essence of being made in the image of God is being given the power of reason and choice. This is what distinguishes man from all other created things. The assertion that God would curse his own creation with an inability to seek him and do well is unthinkable, when all of his acts toward man have sought to redeem him from his enslavement to sin (inability to do well).

    2. jtleosala
      Br.D just say an adulteration which he failed

      br.d
      Thank you jtleosala
      Without realizing it – you have shown SOT101 readers how the Calvinists mind is indoctrinated to read scripture!
      And not even blink while adding to the text!

  18. A.W.Tozer “When adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is; that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind.” The inconsistency of Calvinism seems to start with a Distortion of GOD is TRUTH… What God says in scripture is NOT necessarily True because He has a secret will (which they know) that can be in total opposition to His revealed will. When you start with that foundation Now you can say almost anything else about God that you want and appeal to mystery or His secret will. Like Sovereignty means “Meticulous control of every single detail, orchestrating, determining and decisively causing every evil thought and action ever done by man or demons.” Then to try and add some sort of moral force they say “All of this is for His Glory and we admit we are too small to understand His mysterious ways.” At the end of the day you are left with – If I did it or Hitler did it, or Even satan did it, God decisively caused it for His Glory- However scripture is VERY clear that not everything that happens comes from God or brings HIM Glory. Rev. 16:9 …They did not repent and give Him glory. Act 12:23… he did not give God the Glory Joh 7:18  The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory… 1Jn 2:16  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is NOT from the Father but is from the world.  Under the Calvinist system you actually cannot profane the Holy name of God because God is the Author of it ALL. He is”Meticulously controling every single detail, orchestrating, determining and decisively causing every evil thought and action ever done” It is All by HIM for His Glory… and Satan laughs because he has now shifted the blame of evil to God…he has deceived even God’s people into believing that his own actions actually came from God for God’s Glory (what a clever lie to hide behind). Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast…

    1. Totally wonderful post GraceAdict!

      So many excellent points!

      All off those points Calvinists intuitively know they have to find ways to escape or to somehow get around.

      They can’t accomplish that using LOGIC.

      So they rely on SEMANTIC arguments – (re-defining terms – which is essentially goal-post moving).

      Like arguing about the definition of PERSON-HOOD and whether a newborn has it.
      If not – that newborn can be killed – and doing so will be lawful.

      Wonderful post!
      Thanks

  19. The “Doctrines of Grace”

    Just a deceptive way of saying Calvinism.

    Doctrines of Grace. DOG.

    That’s GOD backwards.

    Leave it to Calvinism (or man) to come up with a backwards (or upside down) view of GOD.

    1. Excellent phillip!

      Yeh – where Calvin’s god designs you for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure – and to glorify himself.
      And someone wants to call that grace.

      For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God.
      Jeremiah 23:36 (B)

    2. I have often thought regarding Calvinism -What good is it to say? “I believe in Sola Scriptura and then proceed to redefine the very WORDS of Scripture”
      Robert L. Thomas in Chaefer Journal made this observation “The practice of assigning new meanings to old words has resulted in an unusually high degree of uncertainty in communication among evangelicals. To what does one attribute such confusion?”

      HERE IS A LOOK INSIDE THE CALVINIST’s TOOL BOX
      #1 it starts with their absolute commitment first and foremost to TULIP, a man-made system. Also to a commitment to John Calvin, Augustine, John Piper, JMac.. there is an unquestioning following of TULIP and these men… in Practice they put TULIP above the Word of God and then force Scripture to agree with TULIP. They might believe they are putting God’s word first BUT their practice is actually TULIP first the MAKE the Word agree with TULIP.

      #2 How do they do this?
      They Redefine the very words of scripture, — same vocabulary different dictionary…to MAKE scripture fit TULIP. Scripture disagrees with TULIP but if you redefine words they can make it agree with TULIP.

      #3 How do they do this?
      Create New Categories — for instance the bible uses a particular word for call – but if the passage disproves their assumption they say well there are two types of Call the “non-effectual call” and “the effectual call” even though it is the same Greek word or there are two types of agape love “general love” and “salvific love” they have to pull these tricks because the Word says that God genuinely agape(loves) the world. Or if they can’t get out of that sticky point then they will say “well there are two types of whole world “world of the elect only” and “actual whole world”. The list of words that they do this with is ever growing and I have dozens of key biblical terms that they do this with. You can’t actually have a serious conversation with them because they keep contorting the words.
      REMEMBER A heresy can be created and built upon the redefinition of just ONE KEY word. Imagine when your tool box is FULL of these redefined terms. Why you can even make God the Author of Evil and say that Glorifies HIM the most. It is dishonesty and twisting of words, it makes me think of someone whose conscience is seared. I blame the seminaries and high profile pastors who put this on display day in and day out for the average person and they train the average person to do the same.

      #4 How do they do this?
      Create New terms, usually compound or having two words for the new term. They do this to smuggle in more error and false assumptions. The very system called TULIP starts with “New extra-biblical terms” as it’s foundation plus they are accompanied by unbiblical definitions and false assumptions. Just as an example:
      T ….. “Total-Depravity” = this term is not found in scripture. Man’s fallen condition defined as total inability, like a corpse, is not taught in Scripture. (unbiblical definition)
      U ….. “Unconditional Election” = term not in scripture (definition NOT in scripture as it relates to eternal salvation)
      L …. “Limited Atonement” = term not found in scripture – Jesus only died for a few people, the elect, NOT ALL. (definition unbiblical)
      etc…etc… you get the idea their system starts outside of the Bible with (extra-biblical terms) and their definitions of those TULIP terms are also outside the Bible. Then Calvinists come to the Bible and try and Force the Bible into their Man-made box. There is a whole list of these “Extra-Biblical terms” with their erroneous definitions that they constantly employ. Dozens of them…

      #5 EVEN WITH THEIR TOOL BOX FULL of these deceptive tools PLUS others I have not even mentioned, they STILL CAN’T make it work. So there is a constant appeal to “Mystery”, “ Paradox” and “Tension”. 95% of the time this appeal to “mystery” happens it is nothing more than covering over a clear teaching of scripture that still contradicts their system even after they have used all their tools to try and make it fit. Since they still can’t make it fit into TULIP… out comes the dark cloud of “Mystery”. Additionally there is a false humility statement that makes it more palatable such as: “I am humble enough to admit I don’t know how it all works out BUT it IS like this and it is a mystery.” (However in their false humility statement there is ALWAYS an emphasis on the error being what is right) Example: ” From Scripture we KNOW that in eternity past before anyone did good or bad God in His wisdom choose to make two groups of people, one group who would be saved and the others who would be damned for His Glory. God is Sovereign and He made some people for Damnation and others for Heaven it is His universe He do that if He wants to. We don’t question Him we simply bow before Him and worship Him. However, it is hard to understand how human responsibility fits into all that. But I am humble enough to just accept it as true…both are true God’s Sovereign right to choose and man’s responsibility. They are like train tracks one appears in opposition to the other yet somehow they come together in God’s infinite wisdom. It makes sense to God it doesn’t have to make sense to me, it is one of those MYSTERIES in scripture that we just have to humbly accept by Faith.” The person ends up walking away believing the lie in that statement more than he believes the bit of truth that is found in the statement. He swallows the lie because of the “mystery” word and the false appeal to humility. They are slick…

      #6 Reformer Reverence- They quote Calvin, Augustine and the likes with a sense of reverence… Piper even makes that part of his reasoning for believing what he believes he says, this belief goes all the way back to the reformation era, it gives me great comfort to know I am amongst this long line of scholars who believe this…
      If you have ever been to a Calvinist conference it is amazing how many books they are selling that focuses on these men from the 16th and 17th century plus a good dose of Augustine from the 5th Century. What is remarkably missing is the early church fathers. However, I am not one to put a huge emphasis on men’s writings that are NOT scripture anyways… BUT they do and their theology goes all the way back to the 16th Century so therefore I must be true… In fact for them Calvin’s Institutes and the Westminster Confession are to be read at least on a par with the Scriptures. For they ARE the ONLY way to interpret the scriptures. Remember Calvin was an unrepentant murderer… Calvinist defend him by saying well look at King David…yeah look at King David he REPENTED… But NOT CALVIN. I find it fascinating that Calvinist are very eager to follow an UNREPENTANT Murderer and even defend him…

      #7 Bully Tactic, Scare tactic, Name calling: How do they do this?
      When you disagree with how they are handling scripture or how they are profaning the Holy name of God by making God the Author of evil out comes the -Bully, Scare tactic- “Oh man who are you to answer back to God? ” or “The Fleshly mind hates this teaching only the Humble mind will accept TULIP” Or You are just a “Semi-pelagian” You are… etc etc ….. the list of names you get called are legion…
      There are still more tactics that they use but for now I will quit because this has gotten soooo long.

      Remember: “What good is it to say you believe in SOLA SCRIPTURA and then proceed to redefine the very Words of Scripture.”

      For those who are NON-Calvinists it should be a great comfort to you because even after they employ ALL of these deceptive tactics plus more the emperor STILL has no clothes. We can still clearly see that their system does not align with scripture. At best it is simply a man-made system at worst it is Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast…

      1. Wow great post and redefining terms seems to come naturally to them and confusing to me at times🤨 as if this final appeal to mystery makes the rest of what God’s Word says go away! Nope they simply disregard it or like you said below redefine the terms.

        GraceAdict,
        #2 How do they do this?
        They Redefine the very words of scripture, — same vocabulary different dictionary…to MAKE scripture fit TULIP. Scripture disagrees with TULIP but if you redefine words they can make it agree with TULIP.

        Exactly but unfortunate!!!

      2. I totally LOVED this post GraceAdict!

        So well said!!

        I would only add:

        IMHO it is their commitment to TULIP – but rather their commitment to the philosophical system of Universal Divine Causal Determinism. If we use the analogy of a house – the TULIP would the cosmetic front of the house, such as shingles, windows, siding etc. The foundation which is under-ground – and is that part that Calvinists would rather people didn’t recognize – is Universal Divine Causal Determinism.

        Also I believe that the Calvinist brain is conditioned not read scripture – but rather to READ INTO scripture.

        JT gave us a good example of this when he added text into verses that he posted. Without realizing it – he was showing us the Calvinist is taught to READ THINGS INTO verses when he reads them.

        He does not read the scripture as it is – he reads scripture through a Calvinist lens and with Calvinist concepts added to the text.
        The brain is conditioned to automatically perform this process – and it eventually becomes normalized.
        And the Calvinist is unaware there is anything abnormal about the process.

        You can see the exact same effect with Jehovah’s witnesses.
        When they read verses – they are taught to see certain things in those verses.
        Their minds are conditioned to see them – and they are unaware that there is anything abnormal about their reading process.

      3. Thanks BR.D — I agree totally with your point “their commitment to the philosophical system of Universal Divine Causal Determinism” as being the Foundation under TULIP in fact I was considering using the acronym TULIPS but I thought I might confuse folks if I did that. But you are 100% correct I am glad you pointed that out. Keep up the good work… exposing this terrible slander against the Character of God.
        TULIPS – Slanders and profanes the Holy character of God over and over again and then to try and make up for it they simply say “This is how God is Glorified”

      4. GraceAdict
        TULIPS the S would stand for “Sovereign Determinism”

        br.d
        With their TU-LIPS they praise me – but their heart is………..:-]

      5. This first part is from”Dr D” as he explains some of these tactics used by Calvinist

        Maximizing the good, minimizing the bad, and hiding the ugly is a very real characteristic of human behavior, and a critical aspect of Calvinism, which one needs to understand. If one does not appreciate its importance, one is doomed to misunderstand Calvinism from the onset.
        EUPHAMISTIC EQUIVICAL COSMETIC: Some women wear all kinds of lipstick and facial colorings. And lipsticks come in all different shades, including many shades of red. A woman can be readily seen wearing a lipstick that in no way represents her true color. And the same holds true for eye and facial cosmetics. Most of these products are not designed to represent the wearer’s true attributes – but rather to produce an artificial representation while hiding intrinsic attributes deemed unappealing. One cosmetic advertisement states this: “What does red lipstick say to you? It’s vampish, powerful and aspirational! Just putting it on is empowering!”
        What I wish the reader to understand is that in many ways, Calvinist language facilitates the same ends. This is a bold statement – but I will tell you that Calvinist language is not designed to be a truth-telling language. It is not a language designed to represent its true underlying attributes – but rather to produce an embellished appearance. Calvinist language is very much euphemistic in nature. But when you examine it closely, I’m certain you will eventually agree, it clearly goes beyond simply being euphemistic.
        GraceAdic writes:
        Why do they have to do this? The reason is when using the Calvinist glasses he sees a picture of a God who is authoring evil, creating the vast majority of children for the express purpose of destruction and his God has always desired this from eternity past, his God does this for His own Pleasure and Glory. The Calvinist God is the primary cause of evil and by His very decree the reason that most people cannot be saved and will never be genuinely loved by God. Their God’s desire from eternity past, before creation, has always been to exclude the vast majority of His own creation from His love and salvation. He actively works to maintain that exclusion, what’s more this is said, to bring Him the MOST glory. This picture of God to them is TRUE but in their inner man this picture makes them uncomfortable, deep down inside they are embarrassed of this kind of a God, so they use WORDS that are meant to mask their true belief about God. Now they do this to hide what their inner soul knows is ugly and bad but their system of theology has taught them it is true. To deviate from the accepted party line will receive harsh rebuke, intimidation and name calling so they hide the ugly because their inner soul is embarrassed of what they believe to be True about God. They want God to look better than what He really is, according to their system. So WORDS are used in such a way as to mask what they really believe about God, not to clearly state what they really believe.

        Chuck Swindol tells a story that I think illustrates this idea of minimizing the bad, hiding and masking the ugly:

        An Amateur Genealogical researcher discovered that his great, great uncle, Remus Star, a fellow lacking in character was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana back in 1889. The only known photograph of Remus Star shows him standing on the gallows, rope around his neck , on the back of the picture is this inscription:
        -Remus Star horse thief, sent to Montanan territorial prison 1885
        -Escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer 6 times
        -Caught by Pinkerton detectives,
        -Convicted shortly thereafter and hanged 1889.
        A Family friend uncomfortable with this picture of Remus rewrote the story and this is the way he presented the Biography:

        Remus Star was a famous cowboy in the Montana territory, his business empire grew to include the acquisition of valuable equestrian assets, he had intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1885 he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility.
        Finally in 1887 taking leave of his office at the government facility he resumed his dealings with the railroad, in 1888 he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton detective agency. In 1889 Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.”

        The Calvinist storyline is much like the rewritten story of Remus Star, the Truth about Remus is ugly and frankly embarrasing but words were used to mask how bad and ugly he really was. Out of respect for the family the biographer presented a masked picture of an embarrassing character. This is the Calvinist dilemma they do want God to be seen in a GOOD light but their theology doesn’t support it so they must use Words to mask their true picture of God and make the Calvinist God look better than He really is. They do this out of a deep desire to put the best spin on God, this they hope glorifies God because they are hiding the bad and ugly that their system affirms is TRUE about God. BUT wait what if God is REALLY, REALLY Authentically good and loving and kind to ALL and authentically desires ALL to be saved? What if He has GENUINELY provided for the sins of the whole world? What if the TRUE God of Scripture does not have to have make-up placed on Him to look good, what if HE is Already Good to the Core and Authentically loves ALL people? What if He is Authentically Holy and has no part in Evil, God is Light and in Him is NO darkness at ALL, what if that is actually TRUE? Wouldn’t that be great news? If one takes off the Calvinist glasses one will begin to see a completely awesome God, a God that is so magnificent that it would be unthinkable to try and hide any attribute of His by deceptive words.

      6. Great thoughts, GA. I have witnessed how rare to non-existent consistent Calvinists really are; not one self-claimed Calvinist that I have personally known actually lives as if he believes what Calvinism asserts. So I would add to your excellent comments that the Calvinist not only wishes to hide the ugly of Calvi-god from others, but also from himself. (Which you might have hinted at.)

        In days past, when I would seek responses from Calvinists to the unpalatable but unavoidable aspects of their theological system, they would deny, distract, and do anything possible to avoid the uncomfortable realities. Which is why I seek to discount the worst of the Calvinist deceptions, which is a compatibilism which asserts that one can believe in both Divine Determinism and human Free Will.

        Many people have been deceived upon this plank, as they are told they can continue to hold the beliefs they long have and simply tack the Calvinism on. When they appear to contradict, just chalk it up to ‘mystery’ and move on without concern. This is the ploy that kept me in the game for so long, until my spirit could no longer ignore the glaring contradictions.

  20. TSOO writes: Calvinist not only wishes to hide the ugly of Calvi-god from others, but also from himself.

    GA – That is a great observation… it is well worth making it explicit.
    You are so correct when you say they use Mystery to cover over all kinds of error. I am convinced that almost every time a Calvinist uses the word ‘mystery” you can guarantee he is smuggling in an error. Usually it is side by side with the a Truth then next to that Truth he adds an error that contradicts the Truth but he confidently affirms the Error is also True and mystery is supposed to take care of the obvious contradiction. The unsuspecting embrace the error because it is supposed to be a Mystery.

  21. Reading through the Bible I come to Isaiah.

    1: 24 Therefore, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    the Mighty One of Israel, says,

    [this is God’s strongest “Sovereign” term about Himself]

    [Then He goes on with “I will…I will… Yes… He can do what He says He will do!] Then…

    27 “those who repent will be revived by righteousness.
    28 But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed,
    and those who desert the Lord will be consumed.”

    Again, in the midst of His making sure we know He is sovereign, He tells us that some will choose to repent, others will rebel, and others will “desert the Lord.” None of this matches determinism and the definition of “sovereign” that is taught by Calvinists.

    They teach that God “always gets what He wants”…. and that “everything that happens is what God wants.”….. otherwise they say “He is not sovereign.

    That is not a biblical approach. God declares He is sovereign many times in Isaiah all the while stating that man will do things that God does not want.

    Calvinists cannot let God tell us who He is. They insist on making Him be what “He must be like” according to a preconceived idea.

    1. Excellent points FOH.
      I think it was BR.D that posted “God made man in His own image and Calvinist’s return the favor” The Calvinist makes God in his own image and then proclaims that the hideous creature they have constructed must be declared GOOD because they say so. Who are you oh man to argue against a Calvinist definition. Since they have redefined so many key terms it is nothing to redefine who God is or what Sovereign is. That is just one in a long list of terms twisted to make the scriptures fit with the Calvi-god.

      1. Amen to both FOH and GA! Something ironic about Calvies defending God’s sovereignty while declaring that he must do ‘this’ and he ‘can’t do ‘that’ – even when scriptural narratives reveal God doing the ‘that’ of changing his mind, or not doing the ‘this’ of controlling individual decisions. It has been a great encouragement to read the posts on the Sot101 FB discussion group. How marvelous to see so many people seeing through Calvinism!

    2. FOH posted this one:

      “They teach that God “always gets what He wants”…. and that “everything that happens is what God wants.”….. otherwise they say “He is not sovereign.”

      My Response : Man is not a created robot. That is my personal belief. You can say whatever you want but it will always stand. God’s deals with man in a natural way but in the final dead end result – God gets always what He wants. This one thing that FOH choose not to see for himself. It seems to me that he is just delighting to focusing on the past and present.

      1. Jtl writes:
        “God deals with man in a natural way but in the final dead end result – God gets always what He wants.”

        I mostly do not interact with jtl, as he does not appear able to interact honestly with anything that is not on the Calvinist script, but I must call this out for the huge error that it is.

        Jesus prayed, and encouraged his followers to likewise pray, that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He most certainly did not assert that it was always accomplished. In fact, God tells us that he desires that all men turn from wickedness and that none perish (Ez 33:11, 2 Pet 3:9).

        Do you know what that means? If jtl is correct, and God gets always what he wants, then every single individual ever born will turn from wickedness and not perish! I hope and pray that this be so. If there is such a thing as divine determinism, then I most certainly would assert that all men will be saved.

        However, if God does get always what he wants, there is absolutely no explanation for sin and evil. If God gets what he wants, there would be no fallen angels. All angelic beings, as well as all men, would love God and one another perfectly and selflessly, just as God loves. Furthermore, there would have been no first murder, no casting out of the garden, no enslavement of Israel, and none of the death, suffering and misery which has befallen mankind for centuries.

        If God always got what he wants, there would be no murder, no abuse, no war, no sexual assault, no unloved child and not even a single kicked dog. I can think of no greater blasphemy – and there is no other word for it – than to claim that all such evil is by God’s design, that it is what he wanted and wants.

        One can pull the philosophical card, and assert that if God made all things and evil exists, God must have wanted it; but scripture allows no such game playing. God clearly states that he desires no sin or evil, ever, that he wishes none to perish, that he did not desire Adam to disobey, Cain to slay Abel, or wickedness to so foul the earth that he was compelled to destroy all but a handful of its inhabitants.

        God does not desire divorce. Yet the hard hearts of men (lack of love) required him to make provision for it, as he is too merciful to enchain individuals to a lifetime of loveless misery (however much the church gets this wrong). God does not desire war, yet wars without number have filled the earth. God does not desire murder, yet instructed Israel to provide a safe haven for murderers. God asserts that he does not desire sacrifice, and yet somehow there came to be an entire ceremonial system of blood sacrifice that, to this day, some believe to be what God sincerely desires.

        One could go on endlessly describing the evils and horrors that mar God’s good creation, but one would be 100% wrong to assert that these are either the desire or the behind-the-scenes doings of God, using secretive, stealthy, secondary means to ‘get his way’ without being held accountable for the existence of evil.

        This wicked, blasphemous claim is really the root of all that is wrong with Calvinism.

        No, my friend, God did not get what he wanted in the past, he does not get what he wants today, and – unless Universalism somehow proves to be true – God never will get all that he wants. For what God truly, sincerely and with no falsity desires is that each individual love him with all of his heart, mind and soul and spend eternity in peaceful, joyous bliss with him and all men.

        How I do wish that God would get all that he wants. I have to trust in his goodness, wisdom, justice and mercy to believe that his decision was right to allow men to have the freedom to rebel against all that is good and perpetrate centuries of evil and misery. But I will never, ever believe that it was what he wanted.

      2. jtleosala
        My Response : Man is not a created robot. That is my personal belief.

        br.d
        No one here ever asserts Calvinism logically entails man is a robot *ONTOLOGICALLY*.
        But Calvinism does logically entail man is a robot *FUNCTIONALLY*.

        jtleosala
        You can say whatever you want but it will always stand. God’s deals with man in a natural way but in the final dead end result – God gets always what He wants.

        br.d
        “deals with man” or TOTALLY CONTROLS MAN?

        Here we have another good example of Calvinist DOUBLE-SPEAK.

        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) the creature is ONLY PERMITTED to want – what Calvin’s god wills the creature to want.
        The Calvinist is taught this is TRUE
        while he is also taught to speak *AS-IF* it is FALSE.

        So the DOUBLE-SPEAK we end up with is:
        Calvin’s god always gets what he wants – *AS-IF* he doesn’t

        jtleosala
        This one thing that FOH choose not to see for himself. It seems to me that he is just delighting to focusing on the past and present.

        br.d
        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god isn’t manifesting “what he wants” – in this case what he wants FOH to do.

        What I find hilarious is how much time the Calvinist spends complaining against what Calvin’s god wants.

        The Calvinist BELIEVES everything that comes to pass is what Calvin’s god wants.
        It came to pass – FOH made a post – manifesting “what Calvin’s god wants”.

        This Calvinist should be praising Calvin’s god for making FOH post what he does.
        But instead the Calvinist complains about what Calvin’s god wants.

        Perhaps Calvinists are the GRUMBLERS scripture talks about in Jude 16 :-]

  22. TSOO posted this one:

    “Jesus prayed, and encouraged his followers to likewise pray, that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He most certainly did not assert that it was always accomplished. In fact, God tells us that he desires that all men turn from wickedness and that none perish (Ez 33:11, 2 Pet 3:9).”

    “Do you know what that means? If jtl is correct, and God gets always what he wants, then every single individual ever born will turn from wickedness and not perish! I hope and pray that this be so. If there is such a thing as divine determinism, then I most certainly would assert that all men will be saved.”

    My Response :

    1. The word “ALL should come to repentance” in 2 Pet. 3:9 is referring to the elect Israel and Gentiles. This distinguishes the Calvinists from the non-Calvinists. God is directing that repentance to the elect Israel and elect Gentiles not to the non-elect. The Non-Calvinists believes that the “ALL should come to repentance” – is referring to the entire humanity on earth. This will surely create a trouble in their belief because God will appear to be inconsistent and cannot get all what He wants. So… they are quick to charge their problem to the Calvinists camp.

    2. “.. then every single born individual according to TSOO will turn from wickedness and not perish” – this statement is congruent to the Universalists – believing that everybody shall be saved. This distinguishes from the belief of the Calvinists. Calvinists don’t believe in a universal Salvation. We believe that this is only particular to both elect Israel and gentile believers. – In this case, God always gets what He wants because from the beginning, He had already determined whom to picked-up from those whom He won’t. So… why do you think God is frustrated if the non-elect does not repent when that was not His plan before the foundation of the world.There is no double speak here as what BRD is always charging me.

    1. Jtleosala
      1. The word “ALL should come to repentance” in 2 Pet. 3:9 is referring to the elect Israel and Gentiles. This distinguishes the Calvinists from the non-Calvinists……etc

      br.d
      Yes we already know Calvin’s god does not desire “ALL MEN” saved – but only desires “ALL TYPES OF MEN” saved.

      Jtleosala
      . then every single born individual according to TSOO will turn from wickedness and not perish” –

      br.d
      That is not what TS00 was asserting – he was postulating an IF-THEN statement.
      IF – the THEOS gets everything he WANTS – and he WANTS all men saved then all men will be saved.
      A postulation does not promote the idea it postulates – it simply enunciates a formulation concerning it.

      Jtleosala
      this statement is congruent to the Universalists

      br.d
      Universalism is NOT logically entailed by rejecting Theological Determinism.
      I don’t know of any serious IN-determinist Christian would be ILLOGICAL enough to think it does.

      But that doesn’t stop anyone who LACKS LOGIC from using universalism as a straw-man

  23. TSOO posted this one:

    “How I do wish that God would get all that he wants. I have to trust in his goodness, wisdom, justice and mercy to believe that his decision was right to allow men to have the freedom to rebel against all that is good and perpetrate centuries of evil and misery. But I will never, ever believe that it was what he wanted.”

    My Response :

    TSOO’s wants is very much different from what God really wants. TSOO wants for the entire humanity to repent and be saved, but that was not God’s desire before the foundation of the world. It will never change and can never be tampered by the will of man who will attempt to protest.

    The non-elect goes to hell not because of unbelief to Christ but because God did not pick them up. God chose not to remove the veil that hinders from their spiritual sight and did not restore their being deaf to hear. Their faith is nothing – (if you will assert that faith is not a gift from God), then their faith does not save but Christ does. It is not faith that saves, but only Christ does save.

      1. Here is an interesting question for the Calvinist – and perhaps JTL will attempt to answer it.

        Are there any aspects of or attributes of Calvin’s god – the Calvinist absolutely knows he can trust?

      2. Thanks TSOO for your concern, but you need not to do that for me because I am certain of what God reveals in Scripture about the matter. I am not saying you don’t understand the scripture. Let us not become so emotional. This is just a matter of exchange of ideas regarding each one’s belief. I am aware that I cannot change your belief as well as you can’t mine.

        Most of the time God deals with man in a natural way. Some other times, He may choose to override Man’s will… but the bottom line, God always gets all what He wants in the finality of the dead-end result.

        We cannot fathom the dead end result of all things happening on this earth simply because we are not omniscient. If I ask you when are you going to die?, of course you cannot figure that out, right? We can just able to see those things that can be reached by our sight, but God sees all even those views that are in between the slopes of valleys and those that are behind huge mountain, nothing escapes from God’s knowledge.

      3. And that’s your rationale for believing ‘The non-elect goes to hell not because of unbelief to Christ but because God did not pick them’? In all my years in camp, I never met a Calvinist who openly admitting to believing this horrible lie. Most do not even know it is essential to consistent Calvinism, because their pastors and teachers have hidden it from them. Those who do know dissemble, prevaricate and change the subject. I do indeed pity any man who knows this is what Calvinism demands, and embraces it knowingly. Tragic.

      4. TSOO:

        Why should I hid the truth from the elect people of God? They have the right to know these things which other fellow Calvinists failed to expose. You assert that it is a lie, but I deny that accusation. When I wrote the word “LIE” in my previous post, I was warned by the administrator of this blog site. I also understand that this is your blog site and you can do all what you want of the accusations hurled at the Calvinists side.

      5. There is a distinction made between calling a man a deliberate ‘liar’ and saying that a man believes a ‘lie’. I do not accuse you of saying something you know to be not true. I am sadly afraid that you fully believe this ‘lie’, or that which all but Calvinists know to be untrue.

      6. jtleosala
        Why should I hid the truth from the elect people of God?

        br.d
        But JT – you don’t know who the elect people are – cuz only Calvin’s god knows that – right?

        BTW:
        SOT101 management is consistent with all posters.
        If a poster uses foul language – that poster it informed and allowed to self-correct.
        It just happens to be the case that most of the time the nastiness comes from Calvinist participants.
        And that is understandable – since SOT101 is not a Calvinist leaning sight.

      7. Br.D’s language here is just the same menu repeatedly served on the table. He might just be choked by his fav words i.e.: “; “double speak”; “wearing a mask of in-determinism”; “as-if”; “double think”; “Neurological impulse man” – he is better known by this label.

        And so… when BRD sins every time, he knows that sin was DECREED and there was NO ESCAPE from it.

      8. jtleosala
        And so… when BRD sins every time, he knows that sin was DECREED and there was NO ESCAPE from it.

        br.d
        For br.d that is FALSE.

        That conception is LOGICALLY consistent for a Calvinist to know – but not for an IN-determinist.
        Since the IN-determinist does not hold to a THEOS determining everything in every part.

        But the Calvinist is taught to believe in a THEOS who determines everything in every part – at the foundation of the world.
        And the Calvinist is taught the DECREES are IMMUTABLE.
        And the Calvinist is taught there is no escape from the IMMUTABLE DECREES

        Thus it LOGICALLY follows – when the Calvinist sins – he knows there was no escape from that sin.

        But does the Calvinist acknowledge what is LOGICAL?

        Jesus says: “But let your communication be YEA YEA or NAY NAY for anything else comes of evil”
        So if the Calvinist says NAY to what he knows is YEA – that communication comes of evil

      9. That is why BrD every time he sins, he cannot escape from it, except when Christ will rescue him from that hopeless condition; for God has determined that BrD cannot wash away his own sins apart from the blood of Christ; and that is if Christ did atone for the sins of the entire humanity.

      10. jtleosala
        That is why BrD every time he sins, he cannot escape from it, except when Christ will rescue him from that hopeless condition; for God has determined that BrD cannot wash away his own sins apart from the blood of Christ; and that is if Christ did atone for the sins of the entire humanity.

        br.d
        Are you REALLY communicating honest language here?
        I don’t think so.

        Jesus says “Let your communications be YEA YEA or NAY NAY for anything comes of evil”

        So here is the question for you:
        After it comes to pass that you sinned – do you know that sin must have been DECREED before you were created?
        And since that sin was DECREED – do you know you had NO ESCAPE from that sin?

        Let your communication be YEA or NAY for anything else comes of evil.
        Is your answer YEA or is it NAY?

      11. Can you even conceive of the hopelessness and despair of genuinely thinking that all of your sin, bad habits, bad choices, etc. are irresistible and unavoidable? I don’t know, maybe the Calvinist takes comfort in not feeling responsible for his own sin. For me, when I realized that this was the unavoidabl logical conclusion to Calvinism, I simply could no longer stay under Calvinist teaching.

        I thought of myself, of my children, of other friends and loved ones. I have a much-loved relative, with a Ph.D. in Religion and Ethics (not sure of exact specialty) who just lost a much coveted job due to a struggle with alcoholism. So this brilliant, talented and God-loving young man has now lost a great job (and maybe career), his marriage, possession of his children – can you imagine believing that this was all irresistibly ordained/caused/pre-determined by God?

        Would he have the incentive to check into rehab and fight his addiction? Would he be able to not give up hope for a God-honoring career he spent years working so hard for? Would he be able to resist giving up hope period? Were I in his shoes, and truly believed in Calvinistic determinism I am fairly sure I would take my own life. If God is so against me, who could be for me?

      12. Communicating the WHOLE TRUTH about Calvin’s doctrine is different for Calvinists today than it was for John Calvin.

        In his day – there were not significant consequences for communicating the WHOLE TRUTH about his doctrine.

        Calvinist leaders today don’t have the luxury.
        They communicate DOUBLE-SPEAK as a way of evading the WHOLE TRUTH about Calvin’s doctrine.

        They justify DOUBLE-SPEAK as a lesser sin.
        Even though Jesus commands them not to – they do it anyway
        Because the consequence is people rejecting the doctrine.

        And they consider that a greater consequence than disobeying Jesus.

      13. jtleosala
        Most of the time God deals with man in a natural way.

        br.d
        This is an excellent example of Calvinist DOUBLE-SPEAK
        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) Calvin’s god maintains ABSOLUTE CONTROL over the creature.
        Every neurological impulse that will ever appear in the creature’s brain – is programmed at the foundation of the world.
        But the Calvinist wants to HIDE behind a mask of IN-determinism by calling it the “natural way”.

        jtleosala
        Some other times, He may choose to override Man’s will…

        br.d
        More DOUBLE-SPEAK.
        In Theological Determinism man CANNOT WILL ANYTHING that Calvin’s god does not FIRST-CONCEIVE and then RENDER-CERTAIN at the foundation of the world. If Calvin’s god then decides to “override” that will – he is simply “overriding” what he DECREED.

        jtleosala
        but the bottom line, God always gets all what He wants in the finality of the dead-end result.

        br.d
        So here is Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking pattern
        Calvin’s god determines everything in every part *AS-IF* he doesn’t
        DOUBLE-THINK is the way Calvinist are taught to deal with the dark aspects of their doctrine.

        jtleosala
        nothing escapes from God’s knowledge.

        br.d
        In Calvinism nothing escapes the IMMUTABLE DECREE
        And in Calvinism “Divine Foreknowledge” is the CONSEQUENCE of the DECREE.
        Therefore every time the Calvinist sins – he knows that sin was DECREED and there was NO ESCAPE from it.

        Understanding Calvinism is straightforward.
        A Calvinist is a Determinist – wearing a mask of IN-determinism – reciting DOUBLE-SPEAK talking-points.

  24. As a staunch non-Calvinist, I do not believe this article does much to support the cause. It is overly polemical and completely dismissive of all Calvinistic thought and theology. This is evident by its 22 uses of the word “incoherent,” 5 of which appear in the main and sub-headings.

    We may strongly disagree with most Calvinistic thought, but it has endured and at times prospered since the days of the Protestant Reformation. To this day, most seminaries, denominations, and churches subscribe to at least some aspects of Calvinistic biblical interpretation, as have many respected Protestant theologians throughout the centuries. All of this does not prove that Calvinism is true, but it does caution against dismissing it out-of-hand as the article seems to do.

    The article unnecessarily seems to appeal to an academic audience, based on the 22 occurrences of variations of the word “hermeneutics” and 18 of “exegesis.” Dictionary.com provides a good definition of “hermeneutics” as “the science of interpretation, especially of the Scriptures; the branch of theology that deals with the principles of Biblical exegesis”.

    While the article repeatedly uses “hermeneutics,” what it is mostly referring to are normal principles of logic, morality, and consistency that we use in everyday life. There doesn’t seem to be any true biblical hermeneutics in the arguments used, such as those involving issues related to original languages, biblical literary genres, cultural considerations, etc.

    While the article may satisfy some partisans on one side, it doesn’t seem to offer much to enlighten those on the other side.

    1. Hello Rick and Welcome

      It is true that simply making claims of logical incoherence or logical fallacies without detailing them – resolves to nothing more than making claims.

      And you probably know that simply making claims is unsustainable over time. Personally I think you’ll find that details concerning the various forms of incoherence and logical fallacies are provided.

      So I welcome you to continue a little further in your perusal here – to see if you are eventually satisfied concerning that.

      And I would be very interested to know your observations on what elements of Calvinism make you a staunch non-Calvinist.

      Thanks for your post! :-]

      1. Thank you for the welcome and for your comments.

        While I do believe that ultimately there is significant incoherence and logical fallacies within Calvinism, these elements are not so obvious to most churchgoers to override what seems to be some compelling biblical support for some form of Calvinistic predestination. Many well-respected teachers ultimately point to paradox and just can’t get beyond that.

        For me personally, as a living, breathing, thinking human being (made in the image of God), I find the whole idea of theological determinism to be completely untenable, as it negates our personhood and is opposed by 99% of biblical revelation. Calvinism makes God out to be insincere, duplicitous, double-minded, not at all what we find in his clearest revelation of himself, the Lord Jesus.

      2. Thank you Rick,

        Yes I agree with you that Theological Determinism negates our person-hood.
        And yes I totally agree with you that Calvinism logically resolves a THEOS who is insincere, duplicitous and double-minded.
        I think these consequences are the result of Calvinists attempts to force scripture to affirm Theological Determinism – when they intuitively know the general trajectory of scripture is tangential to its logical conclusions.

        Calvinist leaders also find themselves in a different cultural environment than Calvin did – where in his day he experienced little kick-back from enunciating the radical distinctions of his doctrine. For example – he had no reservations about strongly asserting every sinful or evil thought of man is “inspired” by the THEOS.

        Calvinist leaders today don’t see themselves as having the luxury of speaking THE WHOLE TRUTH about their doctrine the way Calvin did. Hence we find Calvinist language full of double-speak. For example trying to hide the decrees behind statements like “He knows what people are going to do” *AS-IF* Calvin’s god “merely” permits the creature be/do otherwise than what he decrees.

        Yes I agree these issues are not apparent to most church goers. But I think most church goers don’t find such things are worth their time. Most church goers today for example – don’t feel its worth their time to learn how Jehovah’s Witness etc doctrines differ from theirs. I fall into that camp myself. But I came in contact with Calvinism personally by observing its intellectual dishonesties presented as Christian.

        And yes – I agree with you – appealing to mystery or paradox is legitimate when it comes to things we really have no way of ascertaining. But not simply for the sake of finding a way around self-contradictions I simply refuse to let go of.

        For example – the doctrine stipulates that every future event is (1) First Conceived in the mind of the THEOS, and then (2) Decreed to come to pass by an immutable decree – and thus (3) Rendered-Certain to come to pass. And that these are established at the foundation of the world before creatures exist.

        What this means for the Calvinist – is that after he commits a sin – (assuming he can think logically) he must conclude that that sin was “Rendered-Certain” before he was created – and that there was no escape from that sin – unless he somehow has the power to falsify the divine decree and divine omniscience. And scripture tells him there is a way of escape.

        So what is the poor Calvinist to do but fall into magical thinking – develop ad-hoc inventions that turn logic into a pretzel – and eventually develop a library of a double-speak talking-points he is forced to rely on in order to maintain an appearance of plausibility.

        And all of that to retain an allegiance to a second master.
        There but for the grace of God go I!

      3. br.d writes:
        “So what is the poor Calvinist to do but fall into magical thinking – develop ad-hoc inventions that turn logic into a pretzel – and eventually develop a library of a double-speak talking-points he is forced to rely on in order to maintain an appearance of plausibility.”

        I agree with your comment, but just wanted to add that not only are most Calvinists trying to maintain an appearance of plausibility to outsiders, but most are trying to deal with the cognitive dissonance of being persuaded (falsely) that one thing is true, but unable to convince themselves that it is logically or morally defensible. They are desperately trying to cling to untenable beliefs which would, if consistently put in practice, make life miserable, hopeless and essentially meaningless.

      4. Rick writes:
        “For me personally, as a living, breathing, thinking human being (made in the image of God), I find the whole idea of theological determinism to be completely untenable, as it negates our personhood and is opposed by 99% of biblical revelation. Calvinism makes God out to be insincere, duplicitous, double-minded, not at all what we find in his clearest revelation of himself, the Lord Jesus.”

        Welcome Rick! I think this statement pretty much sums up what you will find most of us affirming throughout the lengthy threads on this site. You are in good company.

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