Does God Love or Hate His Enemies?

How can it be that God tells us to love our enemies while the Bible indicates that He hates His own enemies? Is God a hypocrite who tells us to do things He Himself is not willing to do?

No, God is not hypocritical. God does love all people, even His enemies. Please allow me to give a biblical defense of God’s genuine love for all people:

No Bible believing Christian questions the truth that “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8).  “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” (Ps. 145:9). This biblical truth is simply undeniable.

However, some believers do disagree as to the extent and nature of His love. For instance, some more moderate Calvinists argue that God has a “general” or “common” love for all humanity, but a “particular” or “self-sacrificial” love for those He has chosen in eternity past. Other Calvinists find this distinction unnecessary and would not qualify God’s common provisions for the non-elect reprobates as “love.” While I reject both forms of Calvinism, the latter does appear more consistent with itself than the former. <more on this HERE.>

What does love look like according to the scripture?

The issue comes down to how one defines the characteristic of love. According to Paul, “love does not seek its own,” and thus it is best described as “self-sacrificial” rather than “self-serving” (1 Cor. 13:5). As Jesus taught, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” It seems safe to say that love at its very root is self-sacrificial. Anything less than that should not be called “love.”  One may refer to “kindness” or “care” in reflection of some common provisions for humanity, but unless it reaches the level of self-sacrifice it does not seem to meet the biblical definition of true love.

Given that biblical definition of love as “self-sacrifice,” let us consider Christ’s command to love our enemies. Is this an expectation Christ himself is unwilling to fulfill? As we asked in the beginning, is He being hypocritical in this command? Of course not. The very reason He told His followers to love their enemies is “in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…” (Matt. 5:45).

The meaning is undeniable. We are to love our enemies because God loves His enemies. He loves both “the righteous and the unrighteous” in exactly the same way we are told to love our enemies. The greatest commandment instructs us to “love our neighbor as ourselves” (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:37-38). “And who is our neighbor?” (Lk. 10:29). The pagan Samaritans, who were detested as enemies of God.

In short, Jesus is teaching us to self-sacrificially love everyone, even our worse enemies, because that reflects the very nature of God Himself.

Christ fulfilled the law by loving His enemies

Now, we know that Jesus perfectly fulfilled the law in every way (Matt. 5:17-18), which would have to include the greatest commandment. Christ’s self-sacrificial love for His enemies was certainly as encompassing as what He demanded from His followers in Luke 10. Without a doubt, Jesus loved everyone, even his greatest, most undeserving enemies; otherwise, He would have failed to fulfill the demands of the law.

Paul taught, “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  And again in Romans 13:8: “He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” Thus, to deny Jesus’ self-sacrificial love for everyone is to deny that He fulfilled the demands of the law. This would disqualify Him as the perfect atoning sacrifice.

If we accept that Jesus fulfilled the demands of the law by self-sacrificially loving all people, then how can we conclude that God’s love is any less far-reaching than that which is reflected in the Son? Would God expect our love to be more encompassing and self-sacrificial than His own?

Love invites enemies to be reconciled

When God invites His enemies to be reconciled (Isa. 1:18; 2 Cor. 5:20; Mt. 11:28-30), He is making an appeal from a sincere heart of self-sacrificial love. “‘As surely as I live,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’” (Ezek. 33:11). “The Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods…” (Hosea 3:1). Obviously, God does sincerely love even those who turn from His provision and grace.

With that said, I understand that some have trouble reconciling the idea of God loving His enemies with the following texts:

  • Psalm 5:5: “You hate all workers of iniquity.”
  • Psalm 7:11: “God is angry with the wicked every day.”
  • Psalm 26:5: “I have hated the assembly of evil doers.”
  • Mal. 1 – Rom. 9: “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

One must understand that the term “hatred” is sometimes a reflection of “Divine wrath” expressed against those who continue in rebellion, which would not preclude God’s longing to see those under wrath come to faith and repentance. Scripture does describe all people being under wrath (and thus “hated” by God) prior to their coming to faith in Christ. This is a point even our Calvinistic brethren affirm. Both Calvinists and Traditionalists teach that all people are by nature under wrath and thus “hated enemies of God” (Eph. 2:3), but we also can affirm together that God does not desire everyone to remain in that condition.

Further, it should be noted, that the term “hate” is sometimes an expression of choosing one over another for a more honorable purpose, and does not literally mean “hatred” (despise, reject). For instance, Jesus told Peter, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).

No commentator worth his salt would suggest the term “hate” in Luke 14 is literal, otherwise he would be hard pressed to explain scripture’s other teachings about loving and honor our parents. Instead, this passage is rightly understood to mean that man must choose following God’s will over the will of even the most beloved in one’s life. Could the same hermeneutical principle be applied toward understanding the biblical references to God’s “hatred?”  Of course it could. In Romans 9, for instance, Paul may simply be reflecting on God’s choice of Jacob (and his posterity) for the honorable purpose of carrying His blessing over his elder brother.

Was not Jacob “by nature [a child] of wrath [hated], just as the others?” (Eph. 2:3). We all should affirm that Jacob remained under wrath [hated] until he came to a point of faith and forgiveness. Even if he came to that point by some “effectual” means, as proposed by the Calvinist, it does not change the fact that he was born under Divine wrath and thus God’s “hatred.” Therefore, these passages which reflect on God’s hatred of some are no more or less troublesome for the non-Calvinistic interpretation.

———

Other passages for consideration:

Romans 5:8 : But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Psalms 117:1-2: Praise the Lord, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the Lord is everlasting. Praise the Lord!

Matthew 18:14: So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

Isaiah 63:7-10: I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, According to all that the Lord has granted us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has granted them according to His compassion And according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses… In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.

Romans 10:1: Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.

Romans 10:21: But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

Romans 11:32: For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

Matthew 23:37: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

Luke 19:41-42: As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.

83 thoughts on “Does God Love or Hate His Enemies?

    1. Hi Ian. Do you think it’s possible that God can have everlasting grief for Satan and the fallen angels like He had for mankind expressed in Genesis 6:6 NKJV — And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

      1. Brian, God was not grieved for man, He was grieved AT man. Using anthropomorphic language, He said He was grieved that He had ever made them. As for Satan and his rebels, even more so has God no grief for them, for He made no provision for any of them to be saved, unlike His love for His human creation. God loved man, and had His Son save many of them. Not one demon.

        So the idea that God must love His enemies because He requires that of us is mistaken. We are peers with our enemies; God is not a peer with man or demon, so is under no obligation to love any of us.

      2. Ian,
        Welcome.

        I assume you use the ESV, right? That is the reformed translation of choice. The verse in question says:

        Gen 6:6 And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.

        What does that have to do with what you are saying? In what other way could God say He regrets doing something (and have it mean what He says)? Why do you feel led to explain that idea away?

      3. Thank you for your thoughful reply, Ian. So you don’t think grief is always a sign that love exists/or existed towards the person from whom the loss of some kind in relationship was suffered?

      4. Hi, FROMOVERHERE.

        My Bible of use is the NKJV.

        I said that God was grieved at man. He regretted He had made them. He was not grieved FOR man, but for Himself. How did He feel toward the vile rebels? Angry, and He determined to wipe them out. Only those who were righteous – or rather, had become righteous by faith – were loved.

      5. My mistake Ian. I took you for a Calvinist who was having issue with God regretting.

        But since you have agreed that He can regret, and that He not impassible (He shows anger), and that “He determined to wipe them out” (obviously a decision made then, not before time), and that people become righteous by faith (or move into, as you put it, being loved), then I can see that you are not a Calvinist.

      6. Romans 10:21 NKJV — But to Israel he says:
        “All day long I have stretched out My hands
        To a disobedient and contrary people.”

      7. FROMOVERHERE, you must have missed my comment: ‘Using anthropomorphic language, He said He was grieved that He had ever made them.’

        Humans use ‘regret’ to imply an unforeseen bad consequence of their action. God has no unforeseen consequences, so His regret is only analogous to ours, not identical to it. Maybe you are advocating Open Theism, or are just confused about what is meant by impassbility?

        God certainly loves those who have become righteous through faith in Him. But He also loves those who will do so, even though they still are children of wrath. He knew them before the foundation of the world, elected them for salvation, predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son. In due time He will call them, justify them and eventually glorify them.

      8. Okay Ian,

        So my understanding was correct. You are a Calvinist and therefore take the many hundreds of places where God says He was: pleased, displeased, angry, satisfied, joyous, sad, regretful, etc etc and say they ALL “do not mean what they say.”

        I understand impassibility. I am a seminary trained former Calvinist. My testimony is all over these pages.

        It’s funny how Calvinists play the anthropomorphic card. They say “is His arm too short” (He doesnt have arms does he FOH?) is the same as he regretted something. Why? What gives that right? ((side note: more correctly you would say that He says this in an anthropopathic way, since it is not about his “morph” or body.))

        When a prophet says God “has long arms” or “wings” everyone knows he is speaking figuratively. But when God Himself says, “I regret that I have made Saul king,” why do Calvinists get to impose on the Bible that He is speaking figuratively?

        Besides “is His arm to short” actually means something, right? When God Himself says, “I regret that I have made Saul king,” what does that mean?

        What do the many, many “regret, repented, changed His mind,” type verses actually mean? Calvinists are quick to say that verses “do not mean what they say,” but then what do they mean? Is God just tricking us?

        You do by the way, sound like a Calvinist. A bit condescending that in fact it is I who is “confused about what is meant by impassibility?”

        “His regret is only analogous to ours, not identical to it.” In what way? Why do Greek-Philosophy-influenced Reformed theologians get to decide that God is impassible, and only speaks anthropopathically?

      9. FROMOVERHERE, thanks for your educated correction on ‘anthropomorphic’. My half-education lets me down in grammar and such at times. But I’m glad you understood my meaning.

        Yes, God really does feel anger at sin, really does love His people. But some of the emotions ascribed to Him are not possible for God, unlike for us. Regret is one such, for it requires a lack of knowledge or a mistaken conclusion to be regretted when the fruit of that decision emerges. So unless you are promoting Open Theism, you position is the same as mine, just your concept of impassibility is deficient. Or my understanding of it is. But as I found no Calvinist I have read deny God having the emotions of love and anger, I assume I’m correct.

        Perhaps you will confirm whether you believe God knew beforehand that mankind would end up immensely wicked by Noah’s time, or that you believe it took Him by surprise? Or maybe God made a mistake in His thinking?

      10. Ian,
        Thanks.

        The burden of proof is on you, not me.

        I am taking the hundreds of passages of Scripture at what they say, not applying a man-made filter. I have no problem (need no filter) when I read God say “I regret that I made Saul king,” or many of the other places He directly speak like that. You are the one that is bringing an idea to Scripture, not me.

        He “tests” Abraham. He says He is testing him. Why? Why so many passages that “make us think” He is a certain way when really we know better that He is not? Hundreds of them.

        God give us these detailed narratives of testing and even says, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” (Calvinist ESV version)

        You must constantly run we-know-better-than-what-it-says filters. Why?

        You make bold sentences, “But some of the emotions ascribed to Him are not possible for God, unlike for us.”

        Says you.

        (and the Greek philosophers)

      11. Ian,

        ​You say that you have found no Calvinist that denies that God gets angry.

        First of all there are no doubt Reformed theologians that do deny that it means that, but secondly and more importantly, I think you’re probably referring to the Grudem position and his definition that God does ​”​get angry​”​ “in time” but only because he decided “before time began” that ​H​e was gonna get angry.

        Meaning you have an entire book written to teach us what God is like but we have to know the secret keys and filters. It doesnt speak plainly to the masses.

        So He says ​H​e​’​s angry at sin and He says He’s answering prayer but it’s something that He’s has planned to do (written the script for) all along. So he planned both the sin and the punishment/payment. He planned both the initial drama/ trauma, and the prayer request, and the “responding to the prayer”.

        He plans to respond to prayer before time began and plans (immutably) that people pray it​ (because He planned the trauma that causes them to reach out).​

        But, He can’t be angry at the sin “in time” unless “before time began” He makes sure that the sin happens ….. or as Calvin puts it “He renders it certain.”

        So the whole message of the Bible is that all that you’re going to do and have done was already planned by God ….including the sin.

        So that’s twice now you ask me if I am proposing Open Theism, and it sounds like, for you, that would be a worse thing then saying that God planned all the sin of mankind before time. Because basically if you’re following Calvin and if you’re following Grudem’s position you would be proposing that God actually planned all the sin and evil and rape and torture “ahead of time” ​(rendered it immutably certain) ​so that he could be “angry at it” in “real time.”

        But if Grudem is correct there is nothing anyone could do about it at all including not-do that very sin that God designed them to do (so He could be angry at it).

        So, for you, that solution is better then proposing Open Theism. Because that would, in your opinion leave “God limited to knowing things.” And that is certainly worse than making Him the author of sin ….as does Reformed-determinist theology.

        Calvinist and Piper and Grudem are very clear…. God is the author or all actions, including sin, that happen.

        ps. Please dont say I am misrepresenting it (straw man) or “ill-informed” as we have dozens of direct quotes to show them saying the above.

      12. FROMOVERHERE said:

        ‘Meaning you have an entire book written to teach us what God is like but we have to know the secret keys and filters. It doesnt speak plainly to the masses.
        So He says ​H​e​’​s angry at sin and He says He’s answering prayer but it’s something that He’s has planned to do (written the script for) all along. So he planned both the sin and the punishment/payment. He planned both the initial drama/ trauma, and the prayer request, and the “responding to the prayer”.
        He plans to respond to prayer before time began and plans (immutably) that people pray it​ (because He planned the trauma that causes them to reach out).​
        But, He can’t be angry at the sin “in time” unless “before time began” He makes sure that the sin happens ….. or as Calvin puts it “He renders it certain.”
        So the whole message of the Bible is that all that you’re going to do and have done was already planned by God ….including the sin.’

        Wrong in so many ways. No secret codes, just comparing Scripture with Scripture. God knows all things before they happen, indeed has determined what will and will not happen. For example, a sinner will be permitted to murder; another sinner will not be permitted to murder. God does not make men sin, but He controls every thing they think and do so that only the sins He permits will happen. Pilate had no power to kill Jesus, despite his authority from Rome. Except God had decide to permit it, the crucifixion of Messiah would not have happened.

        ‘So that’s twice now you ask me if I am proposing Open Theism, and it sounds like, for you, that would be a worse thing then saying that God planned all the sin of mankind before time. Because basically if you’re following Calvin and if you’re following Grudem’s position you would be proposing that God actually planned all the sin and evil and rape and torture “ahead of time” ​(rendered it immutably certain) ​so that he could be “angry at it” in “real time.”’

        Yes, for the god of Open Theism is not the God of the Bible, who knows from before the foundation of the world all that will happen. That He has full control over what will and what won’t happen is Biblical truth. The rapes and tortures that have polluted this world could have been prevented by God, but He chose to permit them to be and indeed ‘wrote them into’ His plan. All things are worked together for the good of His elect. That includes their suffering. That is the comfort we have in disasters and persecutions.

        ‘But if Grudem is correct there is nothing anyone could do about it at all including not-do that very sin that God designed them to do (so He could be angry at it).’

        Their desire to do evil was the basis of God’s choice to permit or prevent the action. They could do nothing to stop it because that is exactly what they wanted to do.

        ‘So, for you, that solution is better then proposing Open Theism. Because that would, in your opinion leave “God limited to knowing things.” And that is certainly worse than making Him the author of sin ….as does Reformed-determinist theology.’

        Open Theism is a heresy. And God did not author sin – He controls it, determines what of it will and will not be permitted.

        ‘Calvinist and Piper and Grudem are very clear…. God is the author or all actions, including sin, that happen.
        ps. Please dont say I am misrepresenting it (straw man) or “ill-informed” as we have dozens of direct quotes to show them saying the above.’

        You need to hear them in the light of the Reformed confessions that speak specifically to the issue. I suggest you are indeed misunderstanding them:

        Westminster Confession of Faith:
        Chapter 3
        Of God’s Eternal Decree
        1. God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes
        to pass:a yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin,b nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.c

        a. Ps. 33:11. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his
        heart to all generations. Eph. 1:11. … in whom also we have obtained an inheritance,
        being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the
        counsel of his own will. Heb. 6:17. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew
        unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.
        b. Ps. 5:4. For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall
        evil dwell with thee. James 1:13–14. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am
        tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
        but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
        1 John 1:5. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto
        you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. See Hab. 1:13.
        c. Acts 2:23. Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and edge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. Matt.
        17:12. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but
        have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer
        of them. Acts 4:27–28. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast
        anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel,
        were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined
        before to be done. John 19:11. Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all
        against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto
        thee hath the greater sin. Prov. 16:33. The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole
        disposing thereof is of the LORD.

      13. Ian… you said God “wrote them [rapes and tortures] into His plan”… sounds like being the author of sins to me. Authors do the writing!

        There is no verse in Scripture however that teaches God predestined every event to work out only one way. There are many verses that contradict that false premise.

      14. Ian,

        You said this:
        “God knows all things before they happen, indeed has determined what will and will not happen. For example, a sinner will be permitted to murder; another sinner will not be permitted to murder.”

        What?

        You cant even hear yourself? You say God “indeed has determined what will and will not happen.”

        Fine, that is good Greek Philosophy-Reformed Theology.

        Then, to illustrate it you said “a sinner will be permitted to murder…”

        What? Ian. Please. You cannot say He determined exactly what will happen and the very next sentence waffle on that by saying “be permitted”!!! That is having your cake and eating it too.

        You must say …..

        “For example, a sinner will be decreed by God to murder; another sinner will not be decreed by God to murder.”

        Be consistent. You make think I am wrong, but at least I am consistent.

        You are being wishy-washy….wanting the Reformed theology (cuz you feel it gives God most glory) but you are unable to state what it clearly states. Reformed: God does NOT permit anything!! He only decrees/ ordains, and renders-certain.

        A little farther down you said:
        “who knows from before the foundation of the world all that will happen.” Were you quoting that? From where?

        Ooops. There you go again…
        “The rapes and tortures that have polluted this world could have been prevented by God, but He chose to permit them …”

        He designed/ imagined/ decreed/ ordained them…. or just “permitted” them? Which is it Ian?

        Be consistent. I believe He can take evil —that He did not plan — and make good come of it. Reformed theology teaches that He decreed it all, rendered-certain every rape and torture. Nothing happened that He did not decree. Period.

        You dont sound very Reformed or Calvinistic using “permitted” all the time. So you are like me….right…. you believe that God permits some things that He does not decree, but then in His sovereignty can bring about His plan anyway? That is what non-Calvinists believe.

        Ooops… there you again….
        “…because that is exactly what they wanted to do….”

        So man can want something that God does not want?

        You are saying…… He doesnt want them to, but they want to….so He “permits” them? That is Arminianism. Pure and simple.

        In Calvinism God ALWAYS gets what He wants. All that happens is what He wants. The thousands of times that He says in the OT “You did not do what I told you to do” He only means —— He really ordained for them to do that sin, but tells them that He does not want them to. Right? Is this what you mean?

        You see Ian, you take this kind of statement (“They could do nothing to stop it because that is exactly what they wanted to do.”) and you apply it to the evil non-elect.

        But what about believers? Are you saying “They could do nothing to stop it because that is exactly what they wanted to do.” about those who are redeemed and given the Holy Spirit? You must be.

        Let’s take you for instance: Obviously born again and you certainly feel like you are one of the elect. Now, let’s say you sin. You obviously do something that God has said not to do.

        How does your theology fit?

        You said: God permits evil men to do evil because that is exactly what they want to do.

        And you? When you do evil. You are a new creation in Christ, given the Holy Spirit. You are told no temptation is too hard…but you sin. Is it because you “could do nothing to stop it because that is exactly what you wanted to do”? That make a mockery of being a new creation.

        True Reformed theology teaches that you (the new creation) sin because God decreed every action that you will make. He doesnt permit, He decrees.

        Ian, simple question: When you (a believer) sin are you doing God’s will or not?

      15. Ian,

        Jenai just provided this list on the “Initiator” String of this blog.

        Are you unaware of what Calvinism says on this topic?

        “First, the eternal predestination of God, by which before the fall of Adam He decreed what should take place concerning the whole human race and every individual, was fixed and determined.” – John Calvin

        “Inasmuch as God elects some and passes by others, the cause is not to be found in anything else but in his own purpose … before men are born their lot is assigned to each of them by the secret will of God … the salvation or the perdition of men depends on His free election.” – John Calvin

        “. . . how foolish and frail is the support of divine justice afforded by the suggestion that evils come to be, not by His will but by His permission…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…Who does not tremble at these judgments with which God works in the hearts of even the wicked whatever He will, rewarding them nonetheless according to desert? Again it is quite clear from the evidence of Scripture that God works in the hearts of men to incline their wills just as he will, whether to good for His mercy’s sake, or to evil according to their merits.” – John Calvin

        —————

        Calvin is clear about this. God does not permit. He decrees. Everything.

    2. I am no Leighton…but I would say God does NOT love Satan or the Fallen Angels…why? Because they already lived in heaven with God around His throne and they made their once for all decision to reject what they already saw and chose the offer of reigning with Satan. Their destiny is sealed…God does not love the angels who already lived in His presence and said they wanted the NOT God existence…Just like after this life once people have rejected the blood of Jesus and God’s love for them…it is doubtful that God’s love continues to pour out towards them…It is more likely that God’s Justice pours out towards them for all of eternity NOT His LOVE. I think this has biblical merit and I don’t find any scripture that says God loves the Devil.

    3. Brian, grief may be over a lost love. But it may be over how an evil person has despised one’s goodness, and an expression of holy wrath against the wicked.

  1. Another great topic Leighton!

    Isn’t it interesting that we “redefine” the word “hate” (showing that it does not always mean what people think).

    Calvinists “redefine” the word “love” (showing that it does not always mean what people think).

    I would prefer to be on the “lessen the word ‘hate'” more than the “lessen the word ‘love'” side!!

    God is Love…… not “God is loving.”

  2. I’m wandering if Leighton or anyone else on here sees a distinction between the way God’s love is manifested?
    It doesn’t seem to appear in the article.

    1. Shawn,
      MacArthur addresses this idea too. He is trying to calm down all the young buck YRR guys who are (being consistent with their theology) saying that God does NOT love everybody.

      John says, “Sure He does He give them sunshine doesnt He?”

      Small compensation, when (in Calvinism) before time He decreed that they would be non-elect and damned.

      Not to mention that some of those who get that sunshine dont even get it. They work in dark mines as children for 18 hours a day until they die at 16 from abuse….. but at least God “gave them sunshine.”

      C’mon MacArthur, better to just be consistent and say with the new wave of determinist YRRs that God does NOT love the non-elect.

      It makes no sense to say God “manifests His love differently” if you are talking about a person that He damned before time.

      Just own it Reformed guys!

  3. Fromoverhere ,aren’t husbands to love there wives as Christ loved His CHURCH and gave himself for her,Ephesians 5:25.
    Are you saying that as a husband that I should love other women the same way?
    Would that not be very inconsistent?

    1. Please dont!

      Shawn please dont love other women the way you love your wife.

      But please love them.

      If you (let’s say you had the power) condemned your neighbor’s wife to hell before time, there would be very little you could say to her during her lifetime to tell her that you loved her.

  4. Fromoverhere wrote :Please dont!

    Shawn please dont love other women the way you love your wife.

    But please love them.

    Ok now we are making a difference . Christ said to His own that He would never leave them or forsake them.

    I once heard a preacher I will never forget tell sinners that God loved them and that love would never change for them even if they rejected Him and He love them them in hell throughout eternity.
    Would you go as far as to say this?

    1. Interesting question. I will have to see if I can find Scripture on that topic.

      I think the conversation is more about about the Reformed idea that God…before time…. not for any reason other than His own good pleasure….not for any right or wrong that someone had done, chose most people to be non-elect.

      He had no intention of saving them whatsoever. The classical Reformed idea is that He did NOT love them. He chose (on His own) to hate them and use them exclusively as the vessels of His wrath.

      But most young Calvinists do not like to adhere to this position. Many Calvinists want to say that He “loves them differently” (comparing it to a wife and neighbor’s wife).

      If He unilaterally chose before time to condemn them to hell forever, in what way can He say that He loves them?

      Remember now, we cannot say “all men deserve Hell” or “all men deserved death” etc, since He made that choice on what they deserve before time began, and it does not figure into this discussion. Neither does it help the argument to say that “He loves His own….” since being “His own” was 100% His decision. Meaning: He loves the ones He saves and He doesnt (in any way) love the rest. If He loved them, they would be “His own”.

      So please drop the wife comparison. If you are a Calvinist, just own it: God does not love the “non-elect.” Or, God hates the non-elect.

      It sure doesnt look that way in Christ……

      Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden…..and I will give you rest.

      And with is open arms He says O Jerusalem, I wanted you to come, but you would not!

      When I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.

      I’m fine if a person wants to be reformed and a Calvinist (I was for years and I’m still a reformed church member and sent missionary)… but they need to be consistent: Christ does not love the non-elect.

      If you are a Calvinist and own that idea then we can agree to disagree. Until then you look like you just want it both ways.

  5. Fromoverhere wrote :If He unilaterally chose before time to condemn them to hell forever, in what way can He say that He loves them?

    His love kindness to His creation is manifested to ungodly men in a temporary way in long -suffering towards them which none deserve physical life.
    Matt 5:45 …..for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

    Now we step another world when spiritual life and salvation is spoken of in scripture.
    Fromoverhere How can it be said that Christ loved those in Matt 7:22-23,that He NEVER knew?

    1. Shawn:

      This isnt gonna work. We arent communicating.

      You are using Calvinist talking points not hearing a word I am saying.

      What lovingkindness? If He condemned them before time? You are just saying what sounds good. They are only “ungodly men” because He chose them to be that before time (you know that is the Calvinist position right?). That’s just feel-good talking points you are using. ((Who in their right mind would be saying a man is ungodly by his own doing when God is the one who designed it that way? Just own it.))

      In what way is He “long-suffering” to them if He planned all along for them to be the vessels of His wrath? You cant even hear yourself. Long-suffering to what? They have no chance of being any different than the way He decreed them to be.

      Do you even read what I write? I already dealt with the “He gives them sunshine” idea as an insufficient way to say He loves them (some people live torturous lives here and dont even “see the sunshine”). It’s like talking to a Calvinist recording machine.

      A sex-trafficked girl in Myanmar was sold at 3-years-old and died at 14 of disease and abuse. “Hey she may not have been loved as one of the elect but at least she was ‘loved in a different way’ with God giving sunshine and rain!” That is how stupid the Calvinist “loves in a certain way” sounds.

      What? He never knew them? That is His figure of speech to say they are not “known” to Him in a way that they are pretending to be. So you actually DO promote the idea that Christ does not love some people. Just say it and then you will be consistent (but stop the “loves in a different way” ruse).

      I need to be done now. You are breaking too many biblical hermeneutical rules….. and you dont really wanna discuss anway, just pick a fight.

      1. Fromoverhere,where are the text that states God loves the wicked in a sonship,personal,salvantic,redemptive eternal love?

        There are many text that would say different.

        John 13:1 1 ¶ Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His OWN who were in the world, He loved them unto the end.
        Heb 12:6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
        AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
        Rev 3:19 ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

      2. Shawn, does God show His love for a person when He reveals His purpose for them to repent… like is inferred in Rev 3:19 that you listed?

        Then consider Rev 2:21- καὶ ἔδωκα αὐτῇ χρόνον ἵνα μετανοήσῃ, καὶ οὐ θέλει μετανοῆσαι ἐκ τῆς πορνείας αὐτῆς.
        Literally – And I gave her time in order that she should repent, and she is not willing to repent out of her fornication.

        Jesus must then have loved Jezebel of Thyatira! He certainly demonstrated love for the chief priests who had Him crucified when He prayed from the cross- Luke 23:34 NKJV — …“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”….

      3. FOH,

        Why do you continue to attribute the “see the sunshine” idea to MacArthur when he clearly is basing that idea on Jesus’ words in Mathew 5? If you want to disagree with MacArthur, would it not be more effective to provide your understanding of what Jesus was saying rather than give the impression JMac is pulling this idea out of thin air?

        If Jesus wanted to clearly state that God loves everyone, including His enemies, in a salvific way, Matthew 5 would have been the perfect place. He could have said, “love your enemies like your Father in heaven because He sent His Son to die for them.” Please explain Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:45 rather than creating a straw man out of JMac’s words.

      4. Woah Mark. No straw man here!

        Many young Calvinists say that God does not love everybody.

        Johnny Mac says “Oh yes He does….see here.”

        To which non-Calvinists say “Indeed! Preach it John! He does say He loves everybody!”

        That’s about the size of it. No hassle here. It’s in your own Calvinist camp that you have the new YRR guys taking Calvinism to its logical end saying God does not love everybody. You wont get any argument from us! He does!!

        My point was simply that it sounds a little hollow to say point number C below.

        A. God loves everyone (non-Calvinists view). (i.e. Jesus words were meaningful in Matt 5)
        B. God does not love everyone (YRR Calvinists taking their theology to its logical end…. they “own it,” embrace it, and say it).
        C. God loves the “non-elect” in “a certain way” since ….uh…..even if they are “non-elect” and also sold into slavery and sex-trafficked, they still see the sunshine, dont they?

        If you look at the verse in context it appears that Christ is trying to say how much the Father loves. Period. (Love your enemy and be like the Father). It certainly does not look like He is saying “The “non-elect” may have been elected for torture before time, but at least they have sunshine.”

        Does it?

      5. Mark,
        I am a seminary trained former Calvinist. I always find it curious how Calvinists insist on certain things and not others….

        You said:
        “If Jesus wanted to clearly state that God loves everyone, including His enemies, in a salvific way, Matthew 5 would have been the perfect place. He could have said, “love your enemies like your Father in heaven because He sent His Son to die for them.””

        What?

        Well now, He cant say every truth every time He speaks now can He? (((I mean someone could add on to what you said and say “Yeah….and also add ‘died on the cross’ too…and while saying that, also say ‘resurrected the third day’ and sure why not add ‘seen by over 500.'”)))

        That is an argument from silence. You are saying that because He did not say exactly that phrase, exactly then…. then it must not be true??

        I mean we do have many, many verses that state the salvation is available for all men …”clearly stated” as you say…. but Calvinists just explain them away.

        “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:3-4)

        “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

        Come unto me ALL who labor and are heavy laden…

        O Jerusalem ….how I longed to bring you in….but you would not.

        He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

        When I am lifted up I will draw all men to myself.

        Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

        etc etc. All of the “whoever” “whosoever” “all” “the world” “everyone” verses are all explained away by Calvinists, so even when it is said clearly—– it is shuffled away.

        …….So Mark, it is hardly fair to say “why didnt Jesus say He died for everyone” in every sentence He said, now is it?

        Especially when the Bible DOES say it clearly in so many place —-and Calvinists spend an enormous amount of time explaining away those passages.

    2. (I started writing a comment, accidentally hit something, and it disappeared. Sorry if this is a duplicate.)

      Shawn, here are a few things to consider, in a friendly-debate way …

      1. Why does God not “know” unbelievers? 1 Corinthians 8:3: “But the one who loves God is known by God.”. He knows those who choose to love Him, and doesn’t “know” those who choose to not love Him. Our decision to love Him or not determines whether He knows us or not. He loves all people, but we decide whether we are “known” or not.

      2. You said God is long-suffering with the ungodly. If God elected them to be unsaved, ungodly, then what is He long-suffering and patient with? Those He predestined to never believe in Him? That would be completely fruitless. With Himself? Since He Himself decides whom to save and when? That would be silly and pointless.

      3. I think the Matthew 5:45 passage you quoted is about His kindness, goodness and providence, not about His saving love. God Himself told us how He shows His love: “but God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”. God Himself says His love is demonstrated by sending Jesus to die for sinners. And according to Romans, “for all have sinned”. We are all sinners. Therefore Christ died for all. I think it is wrong for Calvinists to change God’s love from one kind to another – saying that He shows His love to the unelected in different ways, by caring for them while they are on earth – when God Himself told us how He shows His love. By sending Jesus to die for sinners. So unless only the elect are sinners, then He died for all people.

      4. I know you didn’t address this issue, but it comes up later in the comments. So to condense my comments, I am adding it here. The idea of “vessels prepared for destruction” comes up later in comments. This relates to the verse in Romans about some being prepared for glory and some being prepared for destruction. And Calvinists use this to say God predestined the unelected people for destruction, that He created them that way. But in the concordance, “prepared” is actually “fitted”. And “fitted” in the concordance implies a connection between a person’s character and their destiny. It is written in such a way as to imply that the person “fitted themselves for destruction” by how they chose to be. (And if I may go on … “Hardens” in the concordance, as in “God hardened his heart,” is a punishment. It’s retribution for first hardening your own heart, even though God has been patient and long-suffering with you. It’s not an arbitrary hardening that God decided to “force” on certain people. It’s punishment for hardening your own heart first. If God hardens someone’s heart permanently, it’s because they chose to be hard-hearted. He is simply giving them what they want.)

      Just some things to mull over. 🙂

  6. Thanks Leighton.
    At least the high Calvinist is consistent and just admits that he believes “God doesn’t love everyone”, (which of course is completely unbiblical), which is why, I assume, the moderate Calvinist has to create another explanation. This is the topic that the “moderate” Calvinist may possibly be the most duplicitous when trying to explain away.

    John MacArthur asks the question:
    “Can God sincerely love those whom He does not intervene to save?”

    Of course the Calvinist must then come up with novel, unbiblical ideas like “God has two types of Love,” which leaves God loving most of the world with a love that is completely foreign to what scripture teaches us of God and HIs Love. As you stated “It seems safe to say that love at its very root is self-sacrificial. Anything less than that should not be called “love. One may refer to “kindness” or “care” in reflection of some common provisions for humanity, but unless it reaches the level of self-sacrifice it does not seem to meet the biblical definition of true love.”

    I would even question the “kindness” or “care” part of this argument. I’ve always found the “common grace” “provisional love” argument that the moderate Calvinist tries to define God’s love to the the reprobate sort of a laughable North American-centric idea. It’s well, yes, God “passed over” them with His grace and salvation and they will spend eternity in Hell, but hey, He showed them common grace and provision while they were here on earth”. Get outside of our bubble in the U.S. and ask someone who is half starved living in a cardboard shack in a third world country or a young girl who is caught in the sex slave industry how the “common grace” merely physical “kindness” and “provision” thing on earth is working for them.

    This idea attributes something to God that we would abhor and cry out against if we saw this behaviour in a person. Imagine I have this conversation with my pastor after my paster discovers that I have not the two children he sees with me and knows, but that I have two other children that he’s never seen before and he says “why have I never seen these other two children of yours?” I say, “because, unlike out other two children, we don’t bring them to church with us and teach them about Christ and God, they don’t want to, so we just let them stay home.” He says “but aren’t you concerned about their spiritual well being? Don’t you love them and want them to come to know the Lord?” I protest “why would you think we don’t love them? Of course we love them, we show our love for them by providing a home for them, we feed them, we educate them. We just don’t provide for their spiritual well-being like our other two.” He says, “but you don’t really love them then, certainly not with a Biblical love or Christ-like love if you don’t concern yourself with their souls and bring them to hear the good news of the gospel You may love them like an unbeliever loves his child, but certainly not like scripture tells a Christian to love his children.” I continue to argue that I really do love all four of my children because I provide for their shelter, food, and education.

    Would we not be appalled at a Christian father that would treat his children like this and try to tell us he “loves” all his children? But this is exactly what the Calvinist tries to sell us that God is like, except God has complete control and could irresistibly change their wills so they would willingly come to Him, but He doesn’t. But of course God loves them, he gives them sun and rain doesn’t he?

    1. Thanks Andyb

      This is the exact conversation I am having with young, Calvinist, Shawn on this string.

      The only difference it that you would say to your pastor…… your other two children are working in a diamond mine and see the “God-given sun” 15 mins a day.

      Only people in the comfy west (with a pool in their yard and season tickets to the Dodgers) bother saying “He may not love them with the love of the elect but at least He makes the sun shine on them.”

      Dont forgot -EVEN IF they have a nice life here on earth (which the vast majority do NOT) they are still consigned to a hellish eternity by the design of His good pleasure —before time.

      Shawn dares to say “His lovingkindness is manifested to ungoldly men,” but only because (a) he thinks people are having a good life (not a tortured one (b) he thinks they are ungodly by their own doing (Calvinism teaches they are decreed to be ungodly to be used for His wrath), and he thinks it is “lovingkindness” to shed a few rays of sunshine while at the same time making-certain —before time — their demise in Hell.

    2. Andyb2015 wrote :Would we not be appalled at a Christian father that would treat his children like this and try to tell us he “loves” all his children?

      The contrast between God’s love for someone and hate for someone else has been said Him showing unmerited favour over the other but it isn’t respect of person as its unconditional not based on the person but God himself.

      Andyb2015 You are saying that this children belong unto you as their own father, but would you treat other someone else’s children as your own children?

  7. I personally think the whole arminian evangelical message comes crumbling down when they say to individual sinners that Christ loves them and died for them now come to the alter let God save you by accepting Christ into your heart.

    Guys this was not the invitations that Christ gave,the Apostles NEVER evangilzed such a gospel if there is one verse that states different would someone point me to it?

    1. Hi Shawn, 1 John 2:2 – For the sins of the whole world

      He IS the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, not WAS. This opens the door for all to receive the benefits of His sacrifice if they will only trust Him for it! See “whole world” used by John in 5:19 to get an idea of whose sins are being talked about in 2:2.

      If you heard me say that I paid for my family to travel to Jerusalem, would you think I was lying if you heard me say later that I paid for everyone in my church to travel to Jerusalem?

      What if you found out that some of my family and church members didn’t go, even though tickets were purchased for them? Would it still be true that I paid for them all?

      Of course this is just an illustration. I wish I had that kind of money! 😉

      Universal in value, offer, and intent, but limited in application to those who freely trust God’s mercy for it.

      1. Brainwagner do you believe this verse proclaims that Christ as the lamb of God had the potential to take away the sin of the world or was He actually going to carry it away?

        29 ¶ The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

      2. Shawn… a typical deflection response to a question about verses is to give another question about another verse as if there is an obvious answer in it to cover those unanswered questions.

        But to have a more profitable conversation between us, how about answering my questions first about 1John 2:2 and Rev 2:21 and then I’ll answer your question about John 1:29. Deal?

      3. Thanks Brian.

        That kind of example is also in the Bible:

        Anyone that went to find the bronze serpent and looked up at it would live (later used as a comparison to the cross).

        But the best one is Passover. Anyone who APPLIED the blood of the lamb on the wooden crossbeam would be saved.

        Get it? Lamb, blood, cross, saved…… and applied.

    2. Shawn,
      The call to “accept” Jesus as your Lord and Savior is indeed in the Bible, particularly if you consider what the concordance says about “receive” and “believe.”

      “Receive” in these verses is not passive. It’s not “God gives it to you with no effort or acceptance on your part.” In the concordance, “receive” (and the word it is based on) is active. It’s about deliberately reaching out and grabbing ahold of what is offered to you. That’s how you acquire it.

      Romans 1:5: “Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship …”

      Romans 5:11: “through whom we have received reconciliation.”

      Romans 5:17: “… how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”

      Romans 8:15: “… but you received the Spirit of sonship.”

      In the concordance, “receive” is active, done by us, grabbing ahold of the grace, reconciliation, gift of righteousness, and opportunity to become a child of God that God has offered to us through Jesus’s death. It’s not done to us by God, as though God forces it on some but withholds it from others. Those who reach out and accept God’s gifts – who “receive” them – will get them. The opposite would be refusing the gifts that are offered.

      And “believe” is not something that God causes us to do as we passively sit there and do nothing. In the concordance, “believe” is also active, something we do. It involves the idea of allowing ourselves to be persuaded by something and, consequently, putting our faith in it and choosing to commit to it.

      Ephesians 1:13: “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”

      Acts 14:39: “Through him everyone who believes is justified…”

      It is up to us whether we will accept Jesus and the offer of salvation or if we will reject Him. Whether we will believe or resist.

      Acts 16:31: “They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved …”

      Calling someone to believe in Jesus is calling them to accept Him as Lord and Savior, to accept the truth of Jesus, that He died for their sins so that they could live. If someone can’t see this, it’s because they don’t want to.

      “… They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thess. 2:10)

      “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself …” (Romans 2:5)

      I’m going to guess that back in Bible times, they didn’t have to clarify “Can you accept Jesus or does God have to force Him on prechosen people” because they knew that calling people to believe in Jesus and receive Jesus (and His gifts) meant that people could choose to believe in and receive Jesus. And this explains why God, in His Word, constantly calls us to receive and believe and obey, etc. Because God knows we have a choice about the matter. Because He gave it to us.

      1. Nicely said Heather,

        Many more verses like that too —-not to mention the overall “feel” and tenor of the Bible (God calling out to people: some accepting, some refusing).

        You said…. “I’m going to guess that back in Bible times…”

        Well, I’m going to guess that when Shawn (and most) believers come to Christ, they come with the understanding that they have made a choice. Perhaps they were “reasoned with” (as Paul says). Or perhaps someone was “all things to all men to win them” (as Paul says).

        But deep down —until a person is taught Calvinism—- we all feel that the person who told us of Christ and our our choice had something to do with it.

        “….Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

        A person chooses who he will serve.

    3. Hi Shawn, on what do you base the claim that the concept of accepting Christ is foreign to the gospel and the Apostles?

      To ‘accept Christ’ is a short-hand summary of coming to have faith, of ‘believing in our heart’ that Jesus is Lord, and turning from sin to follow Him as Savior.

      To accept is to ‘consent to receive a thing offered’, or to ‘believe and come to recognize a position as valid or correct’. Faith is ‘to be persuaded or come to trust that something is true’ – that is, to come to believe a position is valid and correct. Faith also allows us to receive a thing offered, such as Salvation and the promises of God. In both these ways, our coming to faith fits in well with the simple phrase ‘accept Christ’.

      The principle can be found in many passages of scripture:

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

      The word ‘received’ here is the Greek lambánō, to “lay hold by aggressively (actively) accepting what is available (offered.)” https://biblehub.com/greek/2983.htm

      The English ‘accept’ captures that concept pretty well, I would think!”

      “For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Thess 5:9

      The word ‘obtain’ here is peripoiésis, to acquire by one’s efforts or to earn. Yet we know we do not ‘earn’ salvation by work or any effort of man, so it must be referring to our obtaining salvation by faith in Christ. (Rom 1:17, Eph 2:8-9. Tit 3:4-5, II Tim 1:9, Gal 3:22-24, etc.) Faith is the persuasion or ‘acceptance’ that something is true.

      “But the Scripture pronounces all things confined by sin, so that by faith in Jesus Christ, the promise might be granted to those who believe.” Gal 3:22

      Here again, we see that the promise is only given to those who believe in Christ. We must ‘accept Christ’; have faith; before the Promises are granted to us.

      “Now, however, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed;…moreover the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ toward all those believing..” Rom 3:21-23

      Here again, only a person with abiding faith receives the righteousness of God.

      “…Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. ” I John 5:9-10

      When we place faith in Christ we ‘accept’ the testimony God has revealed in Christ is true.

      “…So then, those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham the believer.” Gal 3:8-9

      We must be ‘of faith’ to be blessed. But how do we become ‘of faith?’ Rom 10 goes into detail:

      “…The word is near you;…”that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

      As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

      How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

      But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message? Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

      Becoming one ‘of faith’, then, means one must hear and then heed the Good News that Christ died for our sins that we might be reconciled to God.
      [https://ebible.com/questions/4496-what-does-it-mean-to-have-faith-in-jesus]

      The simplicity and beauty of the gospel is that fallen, sinful man cannot save himself, but by accepting the good news of the Gospel, by faith in Christ, then God will declare us righteous and grant Salvation!

      Now, I would agree that the statement could be a little vague if someone had never heard of Christ at all. But usually (at least every time I have heard the term ‘accept Christ’ or ‘accept Christ into your heart’ used it is following an explanation of the good news and how we can be reconciled to God by responding in faith to the gospel.

      And as the believer ‘dies to sin’ by identifying with the death of Christ, and God gives the believer a new birth by the Spirit, raising them to new life in Christ, and our nature is transformed from being ‘dead in sin’ to ‘dead to sin’ and we put on the mind of Christ, God giving us a ‘new heart’ sums that up pretty well. (Ezek 36:26, Ezek 11:19, II Cor 4:16)

  8. The “Two Loves”
    Stemming from the Calvinists “two wills” and “Two Truths” comes the “two loves”.
    Moderate Calvinists will say that God loves everybody. This is a point where they say they differ from the hyper Calvinist. But under the microscope we will see that it is exactly the same as the hyper, but cleverly disguised.
    John MacArthur on oneplace.com says “The fact that some sinners are not elected to salvation is no proof that God’s attitude toward them is utterly devoid of sincere love” At a first glance you would think he was being sincere with his statement. But let’s see what he means by “sincere love” to the non-elect.
    He goes on to say, “God loves believers with a particular love” which sounds good, but then “God’s love for the elect is an infinite, eternal, saving love. We know from Scripture that this great love was the very cause of our election (Ephesians 2:4). Such love clearly is not directed toward all of mankind indiscriminately, but is bestowed uniquely and individually on those whom God chose in eternity past” John MacArthur
    Here we see that MacArthur says God’s saving love is not directed to all sinners indiscriminately. That’s because he believes in a selection process whereby God decided to save a select few for unrevealed reasons by a “secret decree’ before the foundation of the world “in eternity past” leaving everybody else born into the world to receive the other “love” of God that wasn’t given to save.
    If we understand the love of God that saves, it is the love of Christ on the cross for all sinners, but MacArthur says, “Such love clearly is not directed toward all of mankind indiscriminately”
    What does the bible say? “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man”.
    I don’t see God being indiscriminate with his saving love in the bible “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” Colossians 1:28.
    Notice MacArthur reads the “secret decree” election process to only save some into scripture. He referred to Ephesians 2:4 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us”. Most would understand this as the love of Christ on the cross that tasted death for every man. But in MacArthur’s theology this is the discriminate love only for the elect few that were chosen for salvation by the “secret decree’ before the foundation of the world, being the discriminate love that ensured anyone else born into world the impossibility to receive.
    John MacArthur has changed the indiscriminate love of Christ for all sinners for an unexplained “secret decree” discriminate love only for the elect.
    In fact, if the love that doesn’t save, reserved only for the non-elect can be called love at all, then it would go like this – God loved you enough to give you enough life, to one day realize you were not one of the elect. He loved you enough to give you 70 -80 years of life so you can spend an eternity in death and agony. As the late Dave Hunt says in his book “What love is this?”

    1. Hi Damon — You are so correct I have noticed this exact strategy they simply redefine key words and now they don’t mean what they used to mean from scripture…instead they have a specific Calvinist meaning and that is the only way their system can hold together in the face of scripture. They have– Two Worlds, Two wills, Two Loves, Two ALLs, Two Calls, Two Graces, Two types of Works, Two Faiths, with that kind of gymnastics it’s no wonder they can take the God of Love and Turn Him into a God who principally hates and once in awhile he can love but He is not LOVE at His essential Nature. Keep thinking freely… By the way did you know John Calvin was trained as a Lawyer and he used his Lawyer ability with making his arguments…Not meaning to bash Lawyers but we do know that a good Lawyer can make that which is evil seem good and that which is good seem evil… Keep pressing on brother…

      1. Hi GRACEADICT,

        I think it would stem back to their Gnostic dualism roots. Here is an interesting quote from respected historian James E Keifer after studying Irenaeus’ “Refutation of Heresies” (a defense of orthodox Christianity against its Gnostic rivals) –

        “Gnostics claimed to be Christians, but Christians with a difference. They said that Jesus had had two doctrines: one a doctrine fit for the common man, and preached to everyone, and the other an advanced teaching, kept secret from the multitudes, fit only for the chosen few, the spiritually elite. They, the Gnostics, were the spiritually elite, and although the doctrines taught in the churches were not exactly wrong, and were in fact as close to the truth as the common man could hope to come, it was to the Gnostics that one must turn for the real truth. They remind me very much of the Rosicrucians. When I mention this, I often get blank stares, but not many years ago many popular science magazines carried their advertisements, with assertions that Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci, Plato, Archimedes, and so on had all been members of a secret society called the Rosicrucians, and owed their achievements largely to this fact. Was there any evidence of this aside from the traditions of the group itself? Of course not! They were a secret society. Why were they secret? “Because our wisdom would be misunderstood by the common man, and so must be reserved for the tiny handful of mankind in every generation who are spiritually advanced enough to appreciate it.” James E Keifer

        Although Keifer is explaining Gnosticism the similarity to Calvinism is striking in my opinion.

  9. Brianwagner, the reason I brought 1 John 1:29 is to if you would apply the same definition to world as you do 1 John 2:2 as meaning every person head for head,when you apply that definition to all these atonement verses you will not be able to escape Universalism that is if you believe what the text acutally is saying about atonement.

    Good Bible interpretation must view historically the mind set of the Jew,even Jesus said that salvation was of the Jew, but they thought they was the only ones that God favored and the whole world (Gentile nations were dogs without hope of ever being saved,even the sign gifts was a testimony to them that God was pouring His Spirit on Gentiles as well.
    1 John 2:2 John being uses the expression whole meaning Gentile nation’s.
    Note how Paul even uses WORLD and Gentile exchangeable as they are the very same word
    Rom11:12 Now if their transgression is riches for the WORLD and their failure is riches for the GENTILES , how much more will their fulfillment be!But I am speaking to you who are GENTILES . Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,
    14 if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.
    15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the WORLD , what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
    1 John 2:2 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.World here meaning all Gentile nation’s without distinction of race, gender,class.
    This text literal interpretation doesn’t say He is the potential propitiation but He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world,propitiation is the wrath of God that has actually ceased to be.

    Brianwagner would like to go over all the text on here with me where world is used and apply the interpretation that it means every single person head for head?

    1. Thanks to all for the good conversation,we always seem to bring out the interesting points of conflicts between these two world views.

  10. Appreciate what you are doing on this site. I just found it, but I will be back to read more. I have recently begun writing against Calvinism after we got a new pastor who is very dogmatic about it. No other opinions on it seem to be allowed at my church. (I write at https://mycrazyfaith.blogspot.com and https://anticalvinistrant.blogspot.com). Anyway, I don’t know if you have done a post on this or not, but I wanted to suggest an idea for one: I would love to see a post on what Calvinists say vs. what they really mean. Such as “God loves everyone” really means “God loves everyone, but He shows His love in different ways to the elect and the unelect. He shows His love to the elect by saving them, and to the unelect by caring for them while they are on earth.” And “Jesus died for us” means “those of us who are elect.” And “God is sovereign” means “He controls and causes all things.” I am talking about a simple reference chart, like a Calvinist-to-English translation guide. I am starting to put one together myself, but I would love to see what you guys can come up with. Calvinism is just so full of hidden meanings to common, biblical words and ideas, saying things we all agree on but having totally different meanings. Which is why they can slip in so unnoticed for so long. Anyway, you don’t have to do this (or maybe you already have), but it would be helpful for those of us trying to decipher what Calvinists really mean when they say the things they do. Thank you for your efforts here. God bless!

    1. Hi Heather,

      Very good observation. I love the term – “Calvinists’ have the same vocabulary but a different dictionary”

      One example is the “Doctrines of Grace”. Calvinists’ like to refer to their theology as the doctrines of grace. This sounds good but what do they really mean? They mean the “grace” that picked out only some particular individuals and not the rest to be believers for unrevealed reasons by the “secret decree” before anyone was even born. That is what they mean by the “Doctrines of Grace”.

      Whereas the ‘doctrines of grace’ to me and anyone else in my circle means the grace of God in Jesus Christ on the cross to every undeserved sinner. The death, burial, and resurrection of our wonderful Savior.

    2. Heather you are right about your observations…and as Damon has also pointed out on this blog…there is a close link to Gnosticism Damon cited the historian James E Keifer who was studying Gnosticism
      “Gnostics claimed to be Christians, but Christians with a difference. They said that Jesus had had two doctrines: one a doctrine fit for the common man, and preached to everyone, and the other an advanced teaching, kept secret from the multitudes, fit only for the chosen few, the spiritually elite. They, the Gnostics, were the spiritually elite, and although the doctrines taught in the churches were not exactly wrong, and were in fact as close to the truth as the common man could hope to come, it was to the Gnostics that one must turn for the real truth.”
      I have been told by Calvinists that no I can’t understand it UNLESS it has been given to me by God to understand it…The idea was very much like the Gnostics…who had a spiritual pride about them…always looking down on the “common man”.
      Here is a partial dictionary:
      ALL – means only the elect (if it is talking about God’s Love and Genuine offer of Salvation
      World – means just the elect if it is talking about God’s Genuine Love and offer of Salvation.
      Call to the non-elect.= is just there to say God called them — but Jesus didn’t really die for them so it is a fake call didn’t REALLY call
      Call to the elect = Effectual Call = God genuinely loves them and provided for these few so He REALLY Calls them – not the fake call.
      God’s Will – Revealed will “He is not willing that any should perish” yes that is true on one level but NOT REALLY no LOVE for MOST.
      God’s Secret will – One that it seems only the Calvinist know what it is (Secret will is that God REALLY DOES NOT LOVE ALL.
      God’s Common Grace -if talking about ALL people — He gives sunshine and rain but HE really created them for HELL Never for LOVE
      Gods Distinguishing GRACE – He only REALLY LOVES a few, Jesus did not die for MOST only for a FEW =Distinguishing Grace
      Sovereign = Determinism – God is the Author of ALL that happens even evil… God created it all. Who are you to argue with God it is His secret will and it brings Him more Glory. (Even though it profanes the Holy name of God)
      Works – two types, Non-meritorious works and Meritorious works… Faith + Non-meritorious works = Salvation That is why many Calvinist when they are preaching it sounds like we are saved by Faith + Works…they argue these works must accompany Faith but they are Non-meritorious…

      You will notice within the Calvinist TULIP Worldview they have tons of Extra Biblical Terms and their own definitions that come BEFORE the Word of God.. They use lots of compound terms (extra-biblical- with extra-biblical definitions) They set the parameters into which all of Scripture must be made to fit, that is why they need this huge tool box to twist scripture so that it conforms to TULIP
      Total-Depravity
      Unconditional-Election
      Limited-Atonement
      Irresistible Grace
      Perseverance of the Saints (Instead of the Savior)
      Sovereign Grace
      Common Grace
      Secret Will etc….
      When they are called out on this, out comes — we are superior in our understanding – then to cover up ALL that does not align with Scripture they use MYSTERY — Paradox – Tension (ANY TIME you hear these things let your ears perk up — you were probably fed something that is not accurate… MYSTERY is used to cover up ERROR. There are few times it makes sense to use MYSTERY but mostly it is being used to HIDE a false statement or false conclusion.
      Then to help their case they will simply Affirm “Well this Glorifies God More” Just to appeal to mystery and then simply affirm that what you just said Glorifies God More simply does not cut it Biblically.
      So Heather Good for you that you are aware of the distortions coming your way…God is Good ALL the Time.
      Keep looking to Him Blessings

      1. Graceadict, wow, lot’s of good things here. Thank you for replying. I will write these down for when I make the list. Thank you 🙂

        And I would have been confused about the “tension” one, if my pastor hadn’t used that exact word in one of his pro-Calvinism sermons. He said “The Bible presents the truth of God’s sovereignty (he means “micromanaging”) and man’s responsibility. It doesn’t hold these two things in tension, even if it seems contradictory to us. It’s only we who have problems with it. But God presents them both, with no tension, so we have to accept them both as true, even if we don’t understand.”

        Yeah, but it’s not the Bible I have trouble with or refuse to accept. It’s the pastor’s misunderstanding of “sovereignty” that I’m fighting against. And if someone misunderstands a biblical concept then there will be tension. Not with the Bible, but with their teaching of the Bible. Thank you again for this list.

      1. Fromoverhere, Wow, thank you! That’s nice to hear. I have fun making the memes. Hope you enjoy them. Some are a bit childish, I know. But it makes me giggle. Which is something I could use when it comes to this issue, especially since we’ve been upset about our Calvinist pastor’s teaching for years. In fact, we just now (this weekend) quit our membership at our church after being there almost 20 years. So, it’s nice to giggle about this issue every now and then, when it’s usually so infuriating! My way to blow off steam. Thank you again!

      2. Wow!

        Great to have you commenting!

        Lots of topics to be covered:

        How a “dead” prodigal son “came to his senses”

        How the rich young ruler “resists” the “irresistible” loving call from Christ who says “follow me.”

        Why Paul uses “persuade” “convince” and “reason with” if they “not-capable-dead” or are “irresistibly called” (and it has nothing to do with what they think)?

        What does it mean that “God loves everyone”? More and more Calvinists say it is not true, but other Calvinists push back that God loves the non-elect….even though “the sunshine” that He gives them (that “shows His love”) may be a diseased, slave, tortured life. Meaning: they are not elected, but at least “they are love” (see above for that “sunshine love” description).

        Why does God give so many peoples signs to help their weak faith (Moses, Gideon, etc, etc) when He could just “give them faith.”

        Why does Christ say over and over that “your faith has healed you”?

        Why does Christ say “I have not FOUND such faith in all Israel”?

        Why does the Potter of Jeremiah 18 (the one the famous Potter of Romans 9 is about) say that the clay did not turn out how He planned so He decided to do something else?

        Why does God say in many, many places of the Bible things like: “Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever.” Does this express unmet desire (“Oh that they would”) and alternate possibilities (“If they did….they would”)?

        Why does Satan blinds the minds of people? If they are “too-dead” they need no blinding.

        When God warned Cain and told him to dominated over sin….could have have? Of course! Or the words of God are meaningless! But in determinism-Calvinism Cain had no choice but to do what he was destined to do.

        This list could go on and on and on…. and you have many more and Leighton has many more.

  11. “God is love” nothing less, He loves the world, he loves his enemies, loves sinners, loves babies born and unborn, loves children, He loves simply because He is love!! He loves us all through the “Gospel call” and those who willingly respond , He will enter into a relational love with that person. The scripture speaks of both. Why make it hard? He loves us all the same, not willing that any perish but that all come to repentance and faith in Christ and thereby enter into that special relational love with God as a child of the most high crying Abba Father! And all can have it , if they only will!! NO FAULT of GOD’S.

    God bless you Bro Flowers

  12. Thank you another great article Leighton and the example that God’s Word doesn’t contradict itself His love is self sacrificing!!! I agree Brent why complicate, but as you see apologetics is a tool that can be very useful…

    This statement in the article is great;
    Thus, to deny Jesus’ self-sacrificial love for everyone is to deny that He fulfilled the demands of the law. This would disqualify Him as the perfect atoning sacrifice.

    So Wow I wouldn’t want to try to rationalize that with human wisdom! I’m sure we all realize to deny Jesus isn’t something that is welcome by the Father… I’m sure many of you have heard the phrase Jesus + anything= (I’ll simply say) Not good & Jesus – anything= the Same

    Matthew 10:33 NASB — “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
    Yes I know Peter did before Jesus was crucified, but he wept bitterly seems that’s godly sorrow not worldly sorrow 2 Corinthians 7:10

    Jude 1:4 NASB — For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

    Revelation 2:14 NASB — ‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.
    Matthew 21:42 NIV — Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
    1 Peter 2:7 NASB — This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,”

    Jesus is the image of the invisible God His self sacrificial love is clear and No systematic should try to deny it was limited and if you start off with even T ultimately the conclusion is also L along with I …. the doctrines of grace are what is limited not God’s love for every man, woman, boy and girl. His provision isn’t irresistible nor limited, but to hold fast to that is a stumbling block rather than liberating….

    Colossians 1:15 NASB — He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

  13. I should add I absolutley believe we were born with a sin nature, but our ability thi respond to His clear revelation isn’t forcefully repressed by God rather we have a choice to deny or except not because we merit Anything

  14. I believe one could interpret wrath of God as God being goodness itself would not like evil and will have indignation towards acts of evil just like good people don’t like to see evil actions and experience righteous indignation towards it. That doesn’t mean God hate them as God loves all of creation, but may have more love towards those who obey His commandments. That is how I see it.

  15. Hi Leighton, Have you read the two books by Robert Shank: Elect in the Son, and Life in the Son?
    These are excellent works from a Baptist Pastor that saw real problems with Calvinism.

    1. Welcome Barry. You may have better opportunity for on answer from Leighton on his FB page… or Soteriology101 FB page when you see him posting there.

  16. FOH,

    First, I need to apologize for doing exactly what I accused you of doing on a previous occasion – jumping into the middle of a conversation between you and another commenter (Shawn). That being said, I feel that I must respond to your comments to me. You accused me of arguing from silence but my intention was to do exactly the opposite and argue from what Jesus actually said in Matthew 5:45 without reading anything into the text. What primarily prompted my initial post is the following statement you made to Shawn: “I already dealt with the “He gives them sunshine” idea as an insufficient way to say He loves them (some people live torturous lives here and don’t even “see the sunshine”). It’s like talking to a Calvinist recording machine.A sex-trafficked girl in Myanmar was sold at 3-years-old and died at 14 of disease and abuse. “Hey she may not have been loved as one of the elect but at least she was ‘loved in a different way’ with God giving sunshine and rain!” That is how stupid the Calvinist “loves in a certain way” sounds.” Was Jesus “insufficient” or “stupid” in the way He described how the Father demonstrates His love to His enemies when He said the “Father who is in heaven…makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” What about the Roman soldier or Phoenician trader who might have heard these words? Could they have not argued against Jesus by saying, “Yeah, your Father gave us sunshine and rain but He didn’t give us His law, or His prophets, or His presence in the tabernacle and Temple like He did the Jews. What kind of love is that?”

    It’s interesting that the author of the article did not include the last part of the verse when he quoted Matthew 5:45. He takes the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 and pulls it into what Jesus says there. Why not just deal with what Jesus actually says in that text? If he (or you) want to argue for God’s self-sacrificial, salvific love for everyone from 1 Corinthians 13 or Luke 10 or Matthew 22, make that argument from those texts rather than reading those texts into Matthew 5 while dismissing (or discounting) JMac’s understanding of God’s love for His enemies based on what Jesus actually says. I honestly don’t care what the YRR Calvinists say and it’s not really about what JMac says except I believe what he is saying is consistent with what Jesus said.

    1. Hey Mark thanks for getting back on this. You said this:

      “Yeah, your Father gave us sunshine and rain but He didn’t give us His law, or His prophets, or His presence in the tabernacle and Temple like He did the Jews. What kind of love is that?”

      THAT IS the point!

      Of course God had a special people (His friends) that He worked through in history, but the point is that the others (His enemies) were not decreed (by Him) to be automatically and permanently outside. ((Many came, by faith, into the chosen people: Rahab, Ruth.))

      I’m not saying Jesus was insufficient or stupid.

      A. God loves everyone (non-Calvinists view). (i.e. Jesus words were meaningful in Matt 5–love everyone like the Father does!!)

      B. God does not love everyone (YRR Calvinists taking their theology to its logical end…. they “own it,” embrace it, and say it. Vessels of wrath are not loved.)

      C. (MacArthur) God loves the “non-elect” in “a certain way” since ….uh…..even if they are “non-elect” and also sold into slavery and sex-trafficked, they still see the sunshine, dont they?

      My point again: The Calvinist position is the premise that 90-95% of humanity was created by God, with no intention of Him offering Christ to them. Before the beginning of time, He planned to create them for the sole purpose of demonstrating His wrath on them. No offer of salvation is ever intended. He renders-certain their demise. ((That is not a straw man. That is Reformed theology made simple and clear)).

      Now in order for the “elect” to be able to say “But God loves them too” they will have to come up with a bit more than a life that was 15 years long, sex trafficked, ending in a gruesome diseased way. The “elect” look pretty silly saying, “We know that God didnt elect most people, and that they were created as vessels of wrath, and we know that many live horrid lives of squalor, disease, and forced-prostitution —- but they were still loved cuz they had sunshine and rain.”

      That is not what Jesus meant when he said God gives them sunshine. Try it this way…. they may have lives of squalor, disease, and forced-prostitution …… but…. but…… God loves them and has offered them life in Christ.

      It is only because JMac assumes TULIP to be true that he has to come up with statements that are so obviously hollow.

      THEY (the young YRR guys) at least are being consistent!!

      They (like the average person being told the situation) at least admit that it is kind of silly to say that Jesus’ words meant that the-rendered-certain-non-elect (created ONLY for eternal wrath) are “loved” with their short tortured life here on earth.

      It is hard to convince them (and rightly so as consistent Calvinists) that these vessels of wrath (created only for that purpose) are loved by God “in a certain way.” (certainly that miserable way!)

      Mark, I am not expecting you to understand me or agree with me. You start all discussions/ Bible readings with the idea that Calvinism is true. (I know I did). Then you want, like MacArthur, to be able to say “God loves everyone.”

      Of course God loves everyone!! His loves offers a solution for everyone (that is the love Christ was talking about). In His sovereign design for creation, He wants them to love Him too….. but many dont.

      He loves them and calls them, and pleads with them, and sends prophets to them….. just like He did for His chosen people in the OT (500 times!) but He allows (not causes) them to reject Him.

      Cuz that would not be love if He forced in on them.

    2. Mark:
      I just realized something. You keep slipping in the word “salvific” in the discussion.

      That is a very Calvinist thing to do. Often Calvinists like to make black and white…. all or nothing.

      He controls everything or He controls nothing.

      Your Gospel is God-centered or it is man-centered.

      You agree with us or you are a universalist, or a semi-Polynesian.

      Christ is talking about loving everyone in Matthew 5 …..and Calvinists love to insert “salvific” in the discussion.

      Matt 5: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

      Kind of interesting that He says “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” Isn’t that what Calvinists say God does? He “renders-certain” that “the elect” will choose Him and love Him. But here He does not have much nice to say about that kind of partiality!

  17. According to the Babylonian Talmud, God farts at His enemies!
    Berakhot 1:1 III.46
    A. And R. Yohanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai, “It is permitted to contend with the wicked in this world,
    B. For it is said, ‘Those who forsake the Torah praise the wicked, but those who keep the Torah contend with them’ (Prov.
    28:4).”
    C. It has been taught on Tannaite authority along these same lines:
    D. R. Dosetai bar Matun says, “It is permitted to contend with the wicked in this world, for it is said, ‘Those who forsake the
    Torah praise the wicked, but those who keep the Torah contend with them’ (Prov. 28:4).”
    E. And if someone should whisper to you, “But is it not written, ‘Do not contend with evil-doers, nor be envious against those
    who work unrighteousness’ (Ps. 37:1),” say to him, “Someone whose conscience bothers him thinks so.
    F. “In fact, ‘Do not contend with evil-doers’ means, do not be like them, ‘nor be envious against those who work
    unrighteousness,’ means, do not be like them.
    G. “And so it is said, ‘Let your heart not envy sinners, but fear the Lord all day’ (Prov. 23:17).”
    H. Is this the case? And lo, R. Isaac has said, “If you see a wicked person for whom the hour seems to shine, do not
    contend with him, for it is said, ‘His ways prosper at all times’ (Ps. 10:5).
    I. “Not only so, but he wins in court, as it is said, ‘Your judgments are far above, out of his sight’ (Ps. 10:5).
    J. “Not only so, but he overcomes his enemies, for it is said, ‘As for all his enemies, he farts at them’ (Ps. 10:5).”

    1. Jesus’ teaching to ‘love your enemies’ was very counter-cultural to Judaism, at least as it was being practiced. In *theory* Jews saw merciful justice as the highest form of justice, but by the time of Christ society had become more violent and more exacting in the courts. People were great about asking mercy for themselves (like in the parable of the man forgiven his immense debt) but stingy about offering it to others.

      Also, the word is more like ‘blow; snort’ than ‘fart.’ Some translations take it as a ‘sneer’ but it’s more likely in context about blowing the fury of judgement. Take Ezek 21:30-31:

      “Return the sword to its sheath! In the place where you were created, in the land of your origin, I will judge you. I will pour out My anger upon you; I will breath the fire of My fury against you; I will hand you over to brutal men, skilled in destruction.”

      There will come a day of Wrath, the Day of the Lord, when God directs his fury at unbelievers. For the Christian, our calling is primarily to witness to unbelievers and forgive them and love them – not contend with them as enemies but treat them as neighbors. We understand that God will pour His wrath in the end on them, and we are not to take it in His place. [That doesn’t mean one might not confront the wicked in defense of others or the truth, but it does set up a red flag for those putting ‘personal revenge’ or fighting over the work of the Kingdom.

      1. Jenai,

        Rabbinic literature can sometimes takes a humorous turn, occasionally into potty humor. However, on second thought, the one farting at his enemies may refer to the evil-doer and not God. It was probably something of a faux pas on my behalf.

  18. From the article:

    “For instance, some more moderate Calvinists argue that God has a “general” or “common” love for all humanity, but a “particular” or “self-sacrificial” love for those He has chosen in eternity past.”

    br.d
    This was in fact the very argument strategy used by the lawyer who tempted Jesus – (Luke 10).

    He wanted to distinguish different kinds of love for people – by electing only select person’s as his NEIGHBOR.
    This was his way of getting around the commandment.

    In response to this strategy – Jesus presented the parable of the Good Samaritan.
    In this parable Jesus specifically points to certain persons PASSING BY the one in need.
    Jesus points to these as the UNGODLY example.

    Is it not ironic that Calvin’s god is said to PASS BY people bleeding and dying on the Jericho road of life
    The lawyer who tempted Jesus was looking for a way to get around the commandment.
    The Calvinist strategy follows the same model.

    1. Very Good Point BR.D – I have often thought the same thing…Thanks for posting this…very well written. Blessings

  19. Under Calvinism’s definition of how “God Loves the Non-elect” it is easy to make the case that “Hitler loved the Jews” as well… at least as much as God loves the non-elect.

    First of all Hitler did not create the Jews for the Concentration camps, he didn’t start off creating people he could later destroy for his own pleasure…however he did come across people he could destroy for his own pleasure. When Hitler sent the Jews off to Auschwitz Birkenau and Triblinka death camps he did not make them walk naked all the way there…instead he gave them a train ride the train passed through fields and cities where there was sunshine, rain, oxygen, and the beauty of creation. Yes, they were headed for the concentration camps but on their way there it was at least better than already being in the camps. No, Hitler did not permit them to get off his train or in anyway could they change their destination, Hitler irresistibly Rendered-Certain their destination and their end. Hitler controlled their destiny, orchestrating, determining and decisively causing them to end up in the concentration camps…yet he gave them a train ride through some wonderful picturesque fields where there was sunshine and lots of beautiful things growing…you see Hitler really did love the Jews.

    We could make the case that the concentration camps were much better than hell itself so Hitler’s love for the Jews must have exceeded even God’s love for the non-elect, since Hell is a 1000 times worse than Auschwitz. This is how God loves the World under Calvinism…. Very startling? Yes! But it is what Calvinism gives us… Thanks alot John Calvin and his followers.

    1. Interesting Grace:

      I am sure he fed them and clothed them too. And if he had done that for years and years “for” them (all the while with their torturous extinction planned for the end), he could then also say that he provided shelter and sunshine and water for all that time.

      Can we really think that is what Christ meant with those words?

  20. One of things that I found interesting about John Calvin was that his training was as a lawyer… A word smith one that could make Good sound Evil and Evil sound like it was Good. Most of the word gymnastics that take place is actually trying to make something evil sound as if it were really Good or make the plain meaning of the text go away. Always be on the alert when you hear these words “mystery” “paradox” “tension” these are words used to smuggle in a lie under the cover of “mystery”. I have noticed that most, not all of the time but most of the time when those words are used a false teaching has just ensued or is about to take place. This is a Calvinistic tactic… along with redefining so many biblical words to mean something different than what the context dictates….These are two tactics that they use to get around the plain meaning of any “troublesome” text that they encounter. I have been amazed at how often they can make the plain meaning of text turn inside out and go away. As Leighton says they use the same vocabulary but a different dictionary….

  21. Ian says … “God does not make men sin, but He controls every thing they think and do …”

    Ha ha ha, too funny! Me thinks someone doesn’t understand cause and effect.

    Let’s hear that again … “God does not make men sin, but He controls every thing they think and do.”

    God DOES NOT make men sin, but He CONTROLS EVERY THING they think and do!

    Thank you, Ian, for this gift! Too funny!

    1. Heather, there is a difference between originating/causing a sinful thought and controlling it. The sinner desires and plans, God determines if that sinful action will come to pass or not. If it is not to be allowed, then the sinner will come up with alternative sins – for that is who he is. And all of the alternatives will likewise be under God’s control as to whether they will come to pass or not.

      The plans of wicked men could have come up with many ways of killing Jesus, but only one way was permitted to be their final desire and plan – “Crucify him!” Only the accursed death, being hanged on a tree, would fulfil God’s good purposes. Did God make innocent men want to crucify Him? No. God just so limited their evil thinking that crucifixion was the thought they came up with. Their thought, one that God would permit them to keep and make happen. The sinners would do exactly as God had determined would happen. Their evil thoughts; His good determination.

      This is so in every happening in God’s universe. The rapist came up with the desire and thought to rape, and in this case God chose to permit it. Not mere permission, where it might or might not happen according to the developing mood of the sinner, but determined permission. It would come to pass. God determined in eternity past all things that will happen in time. But He did not originate/cause the evil.

      1. Ian, I wouldn’t have a problem at all with the idea that man decides what he wants to do and that God decides to allow it or to stop it. I believe that is biblical. But that isn’t Calvinism. Calvinism says that nothing is outside of God’s sovereign control, which to them means that God controls/preplans/causes it all, not just that He is above all things and manages all things. Calvinism is about God CONTROLLING all things and CAUSING all things, for if He didn’t actively control and micromanage and cause everything then He wouldn’t be God, according to them.

        Let me ask this:

        Which came first: God’s predetermined plan for a rape to happen (so then He actively brought about His plan) or His knowledge of what a person would choose to do (and He simply decided whether to allow it or not, and how to work it into His plans)? If He predetermined it first, then the idea (the rape) originated with Him. He planned for it to happen and then worked out His plan. This is different than knowing it would happen and working it into His plan.

        I believe that God can allow or cause bad things to happen (storms, illnesses, etc.), but that He does not cause us to choose sin. He might give us opportunities to make a choice to sin or not (giving us the chance to act out what’s in our hearts, so that He can use it for His purposes), but He doesn’t determine what we choose to do. He doesn’t plant the sinful desire in our hearts or cause us to sin. But He can and does put us in a position to make our choice. He gave Pharaoh the chance to make a choice about letting the Israelites go or not. And Pharaoh hardened his heart over and over again. And so God made Pharaoh’s choice permanent and He worked it into His plans. But it was Pharaoh’s choice. God didn’t cause him to decide what he did, but God did give him the chance to make his choice. And then, knowing what Pharaoh would choose to do all along, God worked it into His plans. Giving people the opportunity to make their choice about sinning isn’t the same thing as predetermining that they will sin and causing it to happen.

        Maybe you are saying that you don’t think God plants the desire to sin in the person, that He doesn’t cause or predetermine them to choose sin. Maybe you are just saying that He has predetermined how to use the sin He knows they are going to choose. I can agree with this, as long as it’s not that God authored their sin and caused them to sin. Because that would be a contradiction of His character.

        But Calvinists would not allow for the idea that God simply foreknew what a person would choose and that He decides whether to permit a choice or block a choice. Calvinists would say that God causes it all, according to His predetermined plan. Because if people could make a choice to sin all on their own, then that means there is something God doesn’t actively control. And that would contradict their misunderstanding of His “sovereignty.”

        Sadly, instead of just rethinking their view of His sovereignty (instead of just accepting that He can be in control without controlling/causing everything, that He can allow people to make their own choices and work it into His plans instead of predetermining the choices they make), they would rather say that He is the cause/originator of all things, even rape and murder and abuse. I believe it was Calvinist James White who said that there is no purpose in things like child rape if God doesn’t cause it. That for child rape to have any purpose, God has to cause it. Or else it would just be meaningless. He would rather say that God causes children to be raped than to simply say that God gave man the right to make choices and that man chose to rape and that God allowed it because He allows people to make choices. White would rather have a God who is so “in control” that He causes rape than to have a God who allows people to make choices. What damage this does to God’s character and the Gospel!!!

        In Calvin’s own words:
        “… the devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are, in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how much soever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as [God] permits – nay, unless in so far as he commands …” (Book 1, chapter 17, section 11)

        Calvin says God doesn’t just “permit” the evil thoughts of the ungodly; He commands them. I could agree that Satan and the ungodly are reigned in by God, that God gives them boundaries and decides what to allow them to do and what to not allow. And yes, sometimes God does use them to carry out His plans, by letting them be evil and working their evilness into His plans. But Calvin (and Calvinism) pushes it further by saying that God “commands” everything they do. It’s one thing to say He allows it or that He uses their wickedness for His plans; it’s quite another to say He commands/causes them to be wicked and to act wickedly. This would mean that God commands demons and wicked people to kill, steal, and destroy, etc., that He commands people to cheat on their spouses, abuse their children, worship other gods, spread lies, etc. This would mean God commands us to do the very things He told us not to do. How contradictory!

        Also according to Calvin, “The counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined” (Book 1, chapter 16, section 8). Everything we do has been destined by God, planned by God. So says the Calvinist.

        So I am going to have to assume then that Calvin never read Hosea 8:4: “They [Israel] set up kings without my [God’s] consent; they choose princes without my approval.” And that he never heard of Isaiah 30:1: “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine.”

        And how about Jeremiah 19:4-5 which says “They have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods … They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offering to Baal – something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.”

        If God directs all men’s actions and wills, then God must have directed these people to sacrifice their children. Interesting how He can cause something He never commanded, nor mentioned, nor even thought about.

        Sometimes you sound like a Calvinist and sometimes you don’t. I think there are a lot of things that get lost in translation because we all use the same kinds of words and phrases, but we have different meanings for them. It makes it hard to know what people really mean, and it makes us have to be very careful about how we word things. Even as I was writing this, I realized that my anti-Calvinist thoughts could almost come across Calvinistic simply because of a tiny wording difference or because a Calvinist would read into what I was saying according to their own ideas of what words and phrases mean. So not only is the issue a very complex one, but trying to discuss it is complicated even more because of our bias in what words mean to us. I give you credit for trying to more clearly communicate what you believe. And I apologize if I’m misunderstanding you. But I still can’t really tell if you are a Calvinist or not. Because some of what you say doesn’t fall in line with Calvinism: “The sinner desires and plans, God determines if that sinful action will come to pass or not” and “Did God make innocent men want to crucify Him? No.”

        Calvinism doesn’t allow for man to have his own desires and to act out his own desires, and for God to simply decide what to allow or block. ALL things – even man’s desires – have to originate and be caused by God … or else He isn’t God. So says Calvinism. My simplified view of Calvinism is this: It’s mankind telling God how God has to be in order to be considered God!

        Just some things to think about. Maybe you aren’t as Calvinistic as I think you are, or even as you think you are.

      2. Heather,
        Wow…great to have you commenting (love your blog too).

        Young bucks like Ian quickly call themselves Calvinists (it’s all the rage!) without really seeing that Calvin believed that all sin originated with God. James White makes Calvin’s position appallingly clear by saying if God is not behind the rape of a little girl then it is meaningless.

        It is the control thing (on their terms, their definition) that they need. The old “He controls everything, or He controls nothing.”

        Says them.

        That’s just a rule they make up. That’s not found anywhere in the Bible, and in fact you brought 3-4 great passages where God goes out of His way—stating CLEARLY that He had nothing to do with those sins/ plans.

        How much more clearly can He say it?

      3. You are Right Heather: Some folks think they want to be Calvinist but the WORD doesn’t agree with Calvinism so their comments are inconsistent because they also want to be Biblical. They then try and cover over a glaring problem by sounding Non-Calvinist or appealing to Mystery-Paradox or Tension.
        The Calvnist play book is: Redefine Biblical terms to mean something other than they mean. Introduce extra-biblical terms that sound high and lofty. Make bold assertions, such as -God is glorified by this- even while profaning the Holy name of God OR -Who are you to answer against me (oops God)- Most Calvinist do want to be Biblical but they desire to be Calvinist More than Biblical. But sometimes both things end up emerging.

  22. Heather writes:
    -God DOES NOT make men sin, but He CONTROLS EVERY THING they think and do! –Thank you, Ian, for this gift! Too funny!-
    You caught Ian at a moment of honesty yet still in denial as to what his system really means in Biblical moral terms. Also when Calvinists use the term permit – it does not mean permit, it means causes. Under Calvinism there is an absolute commitment to “absolute determinism” they call it Sovereignty, under Calvinism it means: “Every thought including evil ones, every wicked desire and vile, despicable action was First birthed in the heart and mind of God, it was initiated by God and put into motion by God who then transferred it into His secondary causes (men and demons) for His pleasure and His Glory. God did it this way so that the secondary causes (men) would irresistibly do the evil, God’s will, just as God wanted it done. God’s meticulous control is so complete that not even one of Hitler’s ideas or actions came into being outside of God himself initiating it, (if that were to happen God would loose His Sovereignty). If something other than God gave birth to any idea or action then God would no longer be the Sovereign of the universe and we could not depend on any of God’s promises to come to pass. Somehow, mysteriously, God is still Holy and man is the evil one because of this “separation of secondary causes” (Much like a man controlling a radio controlled airplane that bombs an orphanage, the man is not responsible the plane is of course). However it is the man that built the plane, the bomb and controlled the plane but because the man is one step removed he is not responsible the plane is. This is the idea of secondary causes- which Calvinism hides behind. They use clever words and different definitions to mask it but once you understand what they are really saying and take their spin off this is what you are left with.

    At the end of the day – 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. Jas 1:13-16 ” Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do NOT be Deceived, MY Beloved Brothers.”
    I find Calvinism to be one of the most deceptive systems I have encountered. Refusing to speak honestly, twisting words, and taking things out of context. When they are found out and their double talk is exposed then out comes: “it is a mystery that our finite minds just cannot comprehend a truly humble person will just accept it” That line is usually used to force people to believe a lie.
    This system of Calvinism has caused many people to fall into error.

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