Born Again by God’s Will, not Free Will?

I had an exchange with a Calvinistic friend recently where he said, “Leighton, when will you accept the fact that we are born again by God’s will, not free will?!” Then he emphatically read John 1:13 to support his assertion:

“…he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

I took some time to explain to him that we, as Traditionalists/Provisionists, also believe that men a born again by the will of God. We just do not believe that decision of God is made for no apparent reason before the creation of the world (i.e. unconditionally). Instead, we argue that new life comes to those who believe upon Christ (John 20:31; John 5:40), and that anyone can come to Him in faith due to His gracious provisions (John 1:9).

John 1:11-13:

This passage often comes up in the debate over Calvinistic doctrine. It typically begin with the non-Calvinist referencing John 1:12 to emphasize man’s responsibility to “receive Him” so as to be given the right to become a child of God.

John 1:12: “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,”

For instance, one non-Calvinist wrote this argument to a Reformed Baptist minister, John Samson, of reformationtheology.com:

“It is clear that belief comes first, THEN they receive the right to become children of God. He gave the right to become children of God to those who believe. He did not make those who are already children of God believe. You have reversed the passage. But not only that! He only gave the right to become children of God to those that believe…”

Samson cordially defended his Reformed perspective, saying in part:

“…The very next verse (V.13) of John chapter one actually qualifies the statement about how be become adopted children of God in verse 12. It does this by asserting that this gift does not come about by the will of man but through the new birth or regeneration.

Let’s read the whole thing in context:

 “He [Jesus] came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1: 11-13).

In other words, we all believe the gospel unto the adoption of God’s children because of the grace of God in regeneration, not because man exercised his unregenerate will. We were born of God, not by the will, but by the Spirit.” – John Samson (emphasis added by Samson) <link>

This response aptly represents most Calvinist’s interpretation of this passage including the Calvinistic brother in my recent exchange, but is this what the apostle John actually had in mind when it was written in the 1st century?

Let’s explore a little deeper

First, the text says that “He came to His own,” and most commentators agree that “His own” is a general reference to the nation of Israel, the lineage through whom Christ came. We must recognize the contrast between those who rejected Christ (the elect nation of Israel, generally speaking) and those who did receive or believe in Him (the non-election nations, or Gentiles, generally speaking).[1] This narrative reflects on a similar dichotomy painted by the apostle Paul in Acts 28:23-28:

They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

 “‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” For this people’s [Israel’s] heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

Just as the apostle John sets up a dichotomy between those who rejected the Messiah (Israel) and those who received Him (Gentiles), so too Paul draws on this same generalized contrast between these two groups of people (Israel who has “become calloused” and the Gentiles who “will listen.”)

John’s point is that God has granted the immoral barbarian Gentiles the RIGHT to be children of God through faith in Christ, though it was believed by many in the first century that this RIGHT was reserved for those of the circumcision alone (Israel).[2]

The Calvinist misinterprets the apostle’s reference to the “will of the flesh,” by applying it to our hyper-individualized modern soteriological conflict over the nature of man’s free will, while ignoring the obvious Jew/Gentile context of the first century.[3]

Samson takes the apostle to mean something like, “Man’s libertarian free will has nothing to do with whether or not they will be born of God,” when clearly that is not the issue the apostle is attempting to address.

Instead, it is quite obvious from this context that the three points the apostle John lists here are in reference to the misconceptions of what Israelites perceived as their given covenantal “RIGHTS”[4] as direct descendants of Abraham:

  • not of blood = being a descendant or blood relative of Abraham (Rom. 9:7)
  • nor of the will of the flesh = being one who “pursued” or “ran after” the law so as to merit righteousness (Rom. 9:31)
  • nor of the will of man [husband’s will] = by the will of another, such as the will of one’s husband or the patriarchal head, a significant relationship in Jewish custom (1 Peter 3:1 & 5-6)

The apostle is knocking the legs out from under those Jews who think they have the RIGHT to be God’s child because of who their granddaddy is (blood), their law keeping efforts (fleshly running), or by patriarchal headship (husband’s will). John is not attempting to make a soteriological stance on the nature of man’s free will or responsibility in light of the gospel appeal.  However, in another passage Paul does teach us a little more about these matters,

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. (Rom. 9:30-32)

Notice that Paul is not denouncing the pursuit itself. He is denouncing the manner or motive of that pursuit. Is righteousness being pursued by works or by faith? Are you running after the law or are you running after Christ? People are responsible to will and to run (1 Cor. 9:24; 2 Tim. 4:7), but if they do so according to the law and the flesh they will never finish the race. They will not attain their goal. If, however, they pursue righteousness by faith in the only righteous One, they will attain it by grace.

Calvinists have mistakenly applied the scripture’s teaching on man’s inability to attain righteousness by means of the law as proof for their erroneous claims that mankind is born morally incapable of attaining righteousness by faith (i.e. “Total Inability” – Calvinist’s belief that man’s morally incapacity of fulfilling the law’s demands equals man’s moral incapacity to trust in the One who fulfilled that law in our stead).

Calvinists seem to think that a man’s inability to “climb a rope to heaven” (works salvation) equals man’s moral incapacity to confess those inabilities and place their trust in the only One who can successfully climb that rope in our stead (to let go of the rope and trust Christ to carry you). This moral incapacity to trust in Christ due to the Fall of Adam is simply never taught in the pages of scripture. Nothing in the Bible remotely suggests that the Fall has made mankind morally incapable of responding to God’s own life-giving, inspired, gospel appeal to be reconciled from that Fall!

All agree that we must be born of God to be saved, but no scripture ever teaches we must be born again in order to gain the moral capacity to believe the gospel. We are not given a new heart so as to confess we use to have a bad heart. That is simply getting the proverbial cart before the horse. <more here>  In fact, the apostle John clearly states that God gives new life “to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name,” and not to a group of very fortunate individuals chosen for no apparent reason before time began (i.e. “Unconditional Election”).


[1]as many as received Him” – This phrase is equivalent to the pronouns whoever (Webster = “Any one without exception; any person whatever”) or whosoever (Any one; any person whatever) which fling open the door of salvation to both Jews and Gentiles. Sadly this was a truth the Jews had a difficult time accepting in the early church (cf Acts 11:11-3, 15:1, 21:20-23, Gal 2:12-14) for they felt that they had special benefits based on their physical (ethnic) lineage (Abraham, Moses, circumcision, etc). This open invitation (so to speak) is similar to Paul’s declaration (quoting the OT prophet Joel 2:32) that “Whoever will call upon the Name of the LORD (Jehovah) will be saved (cf will be “born of…God” = Jn 1:13).” (Ro 10:13). It follows that calling upon His Name is one aspect of receiving (and believing in) Yeshua the Messiah. It should be noted that throughout Scripture until the very end of His revelation, this “as many as” attitude reflects the Father’s heart toward His rebellious creatures, John recording And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)

Dr. Bob Utley on “as many as received Him” – This shows humanity’s part in salvation (cf. v. 16). Humans must respond to God’s offer of grace in Christ (cf. Jn 3:16; Ro 10:9–13; Eph. 2:8–9).

Received is aorist tense (at a moment in time, the moment we believed in Jesus) and active voice which implies that this receiving is a volitional choice, a choice of one’s will to believe.

“Received” (2983) (lambano) speaks of a literal taking hold of, obtaining or grasping. John often uses the terms accept/receive (lambano) in a theological sense – (1) Of receiving Jesus, negatively (Jn 3:11, 3:32); positively (Jn 1:12; 3:33; 5:43; 13:20). (2) Of receiving the Spirit, negatively (Jn 14:17), positively (Jn 7:39). (3) Of receiving Jesus’ words, negatively (Jn 12:48), positively (Jn 17:8)

Easton’s Bible Dictionary – Vine on John’s selection of lambano instead of paralambano (as used in John 1:11) – lambano, a simple but spontaneous acceptance from individuals, whether Jews or Gentiles, and so a simpler verb than that used before of the Jewish nation. Web Site: http://www.preceptaustin.org/john_112_commentary

[2] This Jew/Gentile dichotomy is also seen in the parable of the Wedding Banquet recorded for us in Matthew 22:1-14 and again in Romans 11:30-36: “For just as you (Gentile believers) once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their (Israel’s) disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you (Gentiles) they (the believing Jewish Remnant) also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all. (Jews and Gentiles) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

[3] Dr. James Leo Garrett wrote, “From Augustine of Hippo to the twentieth century, Western Christianity has tended to interpret the doctrine of election from the perspective of and with regard to individual human beings. During those same centuries the doctrine has been far less emphasized and seldom ever controversial in Eastern Orthodoxy. Is it possible that Augustine and later Calvin, with the help of many others, contributed to a hyper individualization of this doctrine that was hardly warranted by Romans 9–11, Eph. 1, and I Peter 2? Is it not true that the major emphasis in both testaments falls upon an elect people—Israel (OT) and disciples or church (NT)?” James Leo Garrett Jr., Systematic Theology: Biblical Historical, and Evangelical, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 500

[4] “The right” – When we believed in the Word, the true Light, we in turn received the privilege of access to God’s family. Paul goes a step further in Romans 5:1-2 explaining what happens when we were justified by faith (received and believed in Jesus) – “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom also we have obtained our introduction (prosagoge) by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:1-2)

Dr. Bob Utley on the right (exousia) – This Greek term can mean (1) legal authority or (2) right or privilege (cf. Jn 5:27; 17:2; 19:10, 11). Through Jesus fallen mankind can now know God and acknowledge Him as God and Father.

“To become” (1096) (ginomai) means to come into existence, to cause to become or come into being and signifies a change of condition, state or place. Ginomai is the root of the verb gennao (used in Jn 1:13) which means to beget, to give birth, to produce offspring (cp our English word – “gen”-erate). Ibid.

78 thoughts on “Born Again by God’s Will, not Free Will?

  1. Great post Leighton.

    Yes… every time the Scripture tries to make it clear to OT-based/ Jewish/ Law-based people that God can let anyone in that He wants….Calvinists take that to mean that God restricts who comes it.

    What He is actually saying in these passages is “Who are we to try to tell Him it is just for certain (in this case Jewish) people?” He is the Potter….He can let in whatever race (through faith in Christ not works) that He wants.

    But the Calvinist will always see this through his 40-verse filter and turn it to mean that God has made His grace available to 0.5% of humanity and delights in / takes glory in the destruction of the rest.

    1. Do Calvanists say God delights in the destruction of the wicked? I’ve never seen that…but if they do there is a Scripture to refute that….Eze 33:11  Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked;

      1. Richard,
        You are new I think…so welcome.

        Yes, Calvinists say a LOT of verses do not mean what we they seem to say. True Calvinism and Reformed Theology believe that all things (sin, before-foundations-of-the-world condemning of 95% of humanity) are what God planned/ desired/ ordained/ willed…. for “His good pleasure.” Therefore, according to Calvinism, He would “necessarily” delight in the destruction of the wicked.

        Piper and others will give some hazy, circular, illogical yada-yada that says “He doesn’t want it…but He wants it.” “He doesnt will it but it is His will.” Whatever.

        What got me out of Calvinism was reading large passages of the Bible and seeing the overall message—- Good News! Not wooden, static, unmoved, robotic God and man.

        Will some perish? No doubt. But God does not take delight or pleasure in it.

        ps. Since you are new… we may not have told you that RH will just go round and round in circles with you if you interact with him.

      2. FOH writes, “True Calvinism and Reformed Theology believe that all things (sin, before-foundations-of-the-world condemning of 95% of humanity) are what God planned/ desired/ ordained/ willed…. for “His good pleasure.””

        Calvinists say that God is omniscient and FOH says that He is not.

        Then, “Therefore, according to Calvinism, He would “necessarily” delight in the destruction of the wicked.”

        No. Calvinists say that all things, even evil, are for the glory of God but they do not say that God delights in evil.

        Then, ‘What got me out of Calvinism was reading large passages of the Bible and seeing the overall message—- Good News! Not wooden, static, unmoved, robotic God and man. ‘

        Yet, all that good news is wasted on those who lack faith and such faith is a gift of God to His elect. So, “Will some perish? No doubt.” And that because they lack faith as Hebrews tells us, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”

      3. rhutchin
        Calvinists *SAY* that God is omniscient and FOH *SAYS* that He is not.

        br.d
        Just as pro-abortion advocates *SAY* pro-life people are attacking the health and well-being of mothers.

        rhutchin
        Calvinists *SAY* that all things, even evil, are for the glory of God but they do not *SAY* that God delights in evil.

        br.d
        DOUBLE-SPEAK is the art of presenting INCONGRUITY between what one *SAYS* and what REALLY IS.

        rhutcin
        all that good news is wasted on those who lack faith and such faith is a gift of God to His elect. So, “Will some perish? No doubt.” And that because they lack faith as Hebrews tells us, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”

        br.d
        Here is wisdom:
        Calvinist language is not a truth-telling language.
        It is a COSMETIC language.
        Where word-craft functions as a form of Mascara.

      4. Well said BR.D and FOH — and Welcome Richard
        On the surface Calvinist make you think they are saying something truly Biblical and that you might agree with…something that actually glorifies God but they change the meaning by redefining the very terms. They give themselves great liberty in redefining terms. I say what good is it to say: “We believe in Sola Scriptura and then proceed to redefine the very WORDS of Scripture.”
        Richard…as BR.D and others have stated Calvinism is NOT a Truth-Telling system… it uses common biblical terms and phrases BUT it redefines them to make scripture fit their TULIP systematic.
        “God loves the World” does not mean what you think it means.
        “Jesus died for the sins of the World” does not mean what you think it means.
        “God is Omniscient and has Foreknowledge” Does not mean what you think it means.
        “God is not willing that any should perish” does Not mean what you think it means.
        “God permits evil” does not mean what you think it means.
        There are many more such slight of hand that Calvinists employ to sound Biblical and not raise the alarm bells but once you understand what they are doing it just makes you sick because they profane the Holy name of God and Undermine His Authentic Love and Truthfulness.
        Another tactic they use is create “Extra-Biblical terms” these of course sound very pious and enlightened but those very terms and their definitions are used to smuggle in error into the church. One such example “Sovereign Grace” — I love the term BUT they mean “God never Loved ALL people and Jesus did NOT die for the sins of the Whole World, God does NOT genuinely invite ALL to be Saved but instead His Desire, Plan and Pleasure from Eternity past is to ONLY save a few on purpose and make MOST people for the Express purpose of Eternal torments in Hell. This to them BRINGS God the MOST Glory.” We see a very different image of God in scripture, that is if you refuse to redefine the very WORDS of scripture.
        Calvinism is probably the most dangerous ERROR because they continue to use the same Vocabulary but they Redefine the meanings. AS others have stated “They use the same vocabulary but they use a different dictionary”.

      5. Richard
        Do Calvanists say God delights in the destruction of the wicked?

        br.d
        Hi Richard.

        To answer your question – no the Calvinist will not DIRECTLY state that.
        Since the Calvinist is going to be familiar with the verse you cited, he’s not going to clearly state something that reveals an obvious conflict with it.

        However, Calvinist theology evolved from Augustine having elements of Gnostic and NeoPlatonist dualism – which thrived in Augustine’s day. Which gives Calvinism a unique doctrine of good-evil similar to the principle of Yin Yang in which good and evil exist as co-equal, and co-necessary opposites

        Having this, the Calvinist might say – divine evil is necessary in order that divine goodness may be made manifest the same way that black is necessary in order to show the whiteness of white.

        Which makes the doctrine LOGICALLY entail person’s being selected for destruction as well as for salvation not based on any attribute of the selected persons – but base on arbitrary selection – and that -quote “For his good pleasure”.

        So if one follows Calvinist doctrine to its LOGICAL conclusions – one ends up with the destruction of arbitrarily selected persons for his good pleasure.

        But you can then understand why the Calvinist will do almost anything to evade applying LOGICAL DEDUCTION to the theology.

  2. God has a necessary condition “faith” however even “faith” can’t produce a single thing…our faith can’t produce Justification, can’t produce the new creation, can’t place us into the family of God and can’t make us a Child of God. No, faith is simply the necessary condition it has NO creative power, NO Justifying Power… God is the ONLY one by” HIS will” who then Justifies, causes the new birth, seals with the Holy Spirit…we are 100% passive in that regards. Those things happen to us by the WILL of GOD…not by our will. We simply believe and He does it ALL by His will. Faith alone would never get me to heaven unless God did His Justifying, causing me to be Born of God etc…

    1. Vernona
      Molinist Approach – please comment on this approach

      br.d
      I’m not sure exactly what you are referring to with the question – but Molina constructed a logical argument contra Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism). Molina identified a type of divine knowledge that is logically coherent with divine foreknowledge and also logically coherent with Libertarian Free Will. Molina called this “middle” knowledge. Christians such as William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga embrace this system. You may also be interested in checking out the web-site Free Thinking Ministries . com

  3. Good post! I don’t see how Calvinists think the “but of God” part is about HOW we get salvation, for that is explained in the “receive and believe” part in verse 12. I think the “but of God” (NIV – “born of God) part is simply saying that the family is a spiritual one that God decided to have (willed to have). It’s not a physical, earthly family that comes through human efforts or plans or genes. It’s a spiritual family that comes about because God wanted it and planned for it and made it possible. But this doesn’t mean He chooses who becomes part of that family. He leaves that up to us, whether we will “believe and receive” or not.

  4. Always good to come back to this passage and interpret it in context. Thanks Leighton. The “right to become children of God” in verse 12 is clearly paralleled to the new birth by God in verse 13… and precedes it. Why reformed theologians with good exegetical creditials are not embarassed trying to “shoehorn” the concept of adoption to sonship into verse 12 and try to make “born” in 13 a prior event to the past events of “receive” and “gave” in verse 12 is beyond me.

    The adoption as sons is from one Greek word – υἱοθεσία – literally “placed as a son”, whereas John is saying – ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι – “the right, children of God to become”. I have yet to see one Calvinist prove from Greek literature where “adoption as a son” is made synonymous to “becoming a child”. They are confusing the modern concept of adoption into a family as a child with Greek adoption into sonship of one who is already a child by birth, but treated like a slave until the moment he becomes an heir (Gal 4:1-7).

    1. We have,
      12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
      13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

      We can understand this to say, “But as many as received Him – who were born of God – to those who believe in His name – to them He gave the right to become children of God..

      Those who receive Christ are those who were born of God. So which comes first, receiving Christ or being born of God? In John 3, Jesus said, “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Calvinists take “kingdom of God” to refer to salvation, so one cannot be saved unless he is able to see the kingdom of God necessitating that he be born again. One would have no reason to receive Christ unless he first sees salvation and Christ as the means to enter into salvation.

      1. rhutchin
        We can understand this to say, “But as many as received Him – who were born of God – to those who believe in His name – to them He gave the right to become children of God..

        br.d
        A great example of an interpretation that results in an IRRATIONAL outcome.
        Here we have those who were (past tense) born of god so that they may become (future tense) born of god. :-]

      2. Jesus also said – Matthew 5:20 NKJV — “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

        So God’s righteousness also has to be received before entering the kingdom of God. And that justification is through faith. So the kingdom of God cannot equal salvation in John 3 as the Calvinist wants it to mean.

        The new birth is salvation, grace through faith, and then the child of God will get to see and enter the kingdom of God which is still future for all believers.

      3. brianwagner writes, “So God’s righteousness also has to be received before entering the kingdom of God. And that justification is through faith. So the kingdom of God cannot equal salvation in John 3 as the Calvinist wants it to mean.”

        One must be born again in order to see/enter salvation. In your philosophy, “the child of God will get to see and enter the kingdom of God which is still future for all believers.”

        In Romans 4, “Christ was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” Then, “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God.” It’s a done deal. God first delivered Christ to death and then raised him and then he gave His elect faith. Entering the kingdom of God is a present reality.

      4. Rhutchin says: We can understand this to say, “But as many as received Him – who were born of God – to those who believe in His name – to them He gave the right to become children of God.”

        Heather says: We can understand it that way if we switch Scripture around until it says what we want it to say.

      5. Heather:
        So true.

        We can make Scripture say what we want. And Calvinists have God locked in to a definition given to us by Augustine and Plato.

        So then all the hundreds of passages where God says “If you do this…I will do this..” or “I did not want you to do that….” or “I did not command you to do that; it did not even enter my mind”—— become nonsense (or metaphorical, or anthropomorphic) to Calvinists.

        They cannot let Him speak for Himself or change His mind in any way —– because that is not the God they want Him to be.

      6. heather
        We can understand it that way if we switch Scripture around until it says what we want it to say.

        br.d
        Another astute observation! :-]

      7. heather writes, “Heather says: We can understand it that way if we switch Scripture around until it says what we want it to say.”

        So, do we take your position to be that those who received Christ were not born of God and/or did not believe in His name and that it was not to such people that God gave the right to become children of God. What is your point?

      8. Rhutchin,

        I do believe that those who receive Christ and believe in His name become children of God and are born of God (it’s a birth into a spiritual family, not a physical one). Where I disagree with Calvinism is that God pre-decides who will believe in Him and who won’t, that God makes the decision for us about whether we will believe or not. I believe anyone and everyone has the ability to become a child of God, to be born into God’s family, because Jesus paid the price for all and salvation is available to all. Whereas Calvinism believes that God has predetermined who will be in His family, that Jesus only died for the pre-chosen ones, and that everyone else is essentially barred from God’s family and never had the chance to be saved because Jesus didn’t die for them.

      9. heather writes, “Where I disagree with Calvinism is that God pre-decides who will believe in Him …. I believe anyone and everyone has the ability to become a child of God,”

        John 6 is clear with Jesus saying, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me,…” Then, Paul in Ephesians 1, “He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world,” Then, we have Paul in Romans 9, “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” and “God says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” If nothing else, God is very active in bringing people to salvation.

      10. rhutchin
        John 6 is clear with Jesus saying, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me,…

        br.d
        John 6 is clear
        But what the Calvinist READS INTO the text is unique to the Calvinist tradition.

      11. Rhutchin says: “John 6 is clear with Jesus saying, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me,…” Then, Paul in Ephesians 1, “He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world,” Then, we have Paul in Romans 9, “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” and “God says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” If nothing else, God is very active in bringing people to salvation.”

        If I am not mistaken (and that is possible), I believe that John 6 verse is not about God choosing or predestining who will believe, but it’s about His promise that all believers will be gathered to Jesus in the last day. That no true believer will be left behind. And verse 40 tells us how to obtain that promise: “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

        And Ephesians 1:4-5: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ …” This will sound flimsy to you (and maybe it is), but I have no problem looking at it as God has predestined mankind in general to be adopted as His sons through Jesus’s death, that this was His plan for mankind all along. Not just for certain select individuals. But for everyone. But we have to choose to believe in Him and to accept His plan for us.

        Also Ephesians 1:11-12 adds another dimension to our understanding of “predestination.” “In him, we were also chosen, having been predestined according to him who works out everything [my note: He ‘works it out,’ not ’causes it’] in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” I believe NOT that God predestined who would be saved and who wouldn’t, but that God predestined salvation for mankind through Jesus (since He knew man would fall), that He predestined Paul’s generation to be the generation that would be the first to have Jesus (the “first to hope in Christ”), and that He predestined that believers would live for the praise of God’s glory. God predestined the plan of salvation, the path to salvation, and what happens to believers after they get saved. But He does not predestine specifically who gets saved and who doesn’t.

        And Ephesians 1:13 tells us how we get saved: “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…” (If Calvinism is true, how could they be included after they heard the truth and believed, if all the elect are supposedly chosen at the same time since before time began?)

        Romans 9 – Ah, one of the most misunderstand and misused passages! First and foremost, this is about God plan’s for Israel and for opening up salvation to the Gentiles since Israel rejected Jesus. God is telling the Jews (who thought their salvation was secure because they were Jews) that He can have mercy on whomever He wants to have mercy on, even the Gentiles. God has the right to adopt anyone into His family He wants to (the Gentiles, since they will accept Him), and He has the right to cut off the Israelites for their unbelief. That’s what this passage is about. And it’s about God’s right to use whomever He wants for great purposes (like using the Israelites to bring Jesus into the world), and to use other people groups for lesser purposes. It’s not about predestining who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.

        FYI, according to the concordance, the word “prepared” (actually “fitted” in the concordance) from the phrase “prepared for destruction” (Romans 9:22) shows a strong correlation between someone’s character and their destiny. It’s written in a such a way to imply that they people fitted themselves for destruction by how they chose to be. And “hardens” in the concordance (Romans 9:18) is a punishment. It’s retribution for people who first harden their own hearts, even after God was patient and long-suffering with them. And eventually, He makes their decision permanent, for His purposes. But make no mistake, they chose it first. He just gave them what they wanted – unbelief and a hard heart.

        I have no problem believing that God is very active in bringing people to salvation. He created mankind so that He could have people in heaven with Him. He knew we would fall, so He created a way to redeem us. He created the path to and the means of salvation – Jesus Christ. He reveals Himself in nature and to our hearts through the Holy Spirit so that we will desire Him and seek Him. He responds to anyone who calls on Him or reaches for Him. He guides us into truth if we are willing to know the truth. He is patient with us over years and years, wanting as many people as possible to find Him. But He does not make our decision for us. He has done 99.9% of the work for our salvation (not a real statistic, so don’t jump all over it). And our part is simply to decide if we will accept His free gift of salvation or to reject it. But it’s an offer that’s available to everyone, and anyone can accept it. And God will hold us accountable for our choice.

        And don’t tell me that this is exactly what Calvinists believe too. Because we all know Calvinists say that “anyone can choose Jesus because we have the freedom to make choices according to our natures” with one side of their mouth, but with the other side they say “But God determines which nature we get – the repentant ‘saved’ one or the unrepentant ‘unsaved’ one.” So according to Calvinism, when we “freely make choices according to our nature,” we are simply making choices according to the nature God predetermined us to have. And if we get the “unrepentant, unsaved nature” then we can’t do anything but sin and rebel against Him. That’s not freedom at all, and it’s nothing like what I am saying here. It’s a sneaky, shameful attempt to make it sound like Calvinists believe in free-will so that they don’t sound like they are accusing God of being the author of evil and unbelief, while at the same time saying that God causes all things to happen exactly as they do. It’s deceptive, manipulative, nonsensical, illogical HOGWASH!!!

        (To people reading this who are wondering about Calvinism, do not trust a Calvinist to tell you what they really believe. They will disguise the ugly, unbiblical parts as well as they can, covering it up with rambling nonsense, taking many verses out of context to look like they have a lot of support, say one thing but mean another, and then, if you still question it, they will simply throw “Who are you to question God? Are you denying His right to be God!?!” at you to shame you into shutting up and to keep you from disagreeing with them. Don’t listen to them and don’t be shamed into submission. Be a Berean and search the Scriptures for yourself. When a theological view destroys God’s character and Jesus’s sacrifice as badly as Calvinism does, it’s worth it to take the time to really study it and to figure out what God really says in His Word.)

      12. heather writes, “If I am not mistaken…, I believe that John 6 verse is not about God choosing or predestining who will believe, but it’s about His promise that all believers will be gathered to Jesus in the last day.”

        John 6:44, ““No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

        Three emphatic statements:
        – “No one can come to Me …”
        – “…unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and …”
        – “….I will raise him up at the last day.”

        1. “No one can come to Me …” This describes the inability of an person to come to Christ on his own. This is true because a person does not have faith and cannot receive faith absent hearing the gospel.

        2. “…unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and …” This tells us that God initiates action leading to salvation, Thus, Paul, “God who has begun a good work in you…”

        3. “…I will raise him up at the last day.” This is the promise that Christ will raise those drawn by God.

        Then, “Ephesians 1:4-5: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ …” …I have no problem looking at it as God has predestined mankind in general to be adopted as His sons through Jesus’s death,…”

        Generality is lost when Paul says, “…He chose us…” By “us,” Paul means himself and those to whom he is writing (believers). It would not apply to those God is not going to save – so no “mankind, in general” is possible.

        Then, “And Ephesians 1:13 tells us how we get saved: “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…” (If Calvinism is true, how could they be included after they heard the truth and believed, if all the elect are supposedly chosen at the same time since before time began?)”

        God’s elect are chosen for salvation before the foundation of the world and then drawn by God in the course of time to salvation. Paul uses his situation to illustrate this, “…when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me,…”

        Then, “Romans 9 – …First and foremost, this is about God plan’s for Israel…”

        No, this is Paul explaining that God’s plan has not failed, “…it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,..That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.” Paul then provides two examples of “children of promise” in Isaac and Jacob. On his point that it is the “children of promise” who are saved, we encounter the first objection, “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God [in choosing only to save the children of promise]? Certainly not!” Paul ends his defense, saying, “Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.” This leads to the second objection, “You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” You are partially correct in saying, “this is about God plan’s for Israel and for opening up salvation to the Gentiles since Israel rejected Jesus.” You should have said, “this is about God plan’s for Israel, specifically, the children of promise. and for opening up salvation to the Gentiles since Israel rejected Jesus.”

        Then, “the phrase “prepared for destruction” (Romans 9:22) shows a strong correlation between someone’s character and their destiny. It’s written in a such a way to imply that they people fitted themselves for destruction by how they chose to be.”

        That’s fine. How else would we expect a person without faith to behave. Paul illustrated this in Romans 1, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them….although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” They fitted themselves for destruction.

        Then, “And “hardens” in the concordance (Romans 9:18) is a punishment. It’s retribution for people who first harden their own hearts,”

        Again, why are we surprised. What should we expect from people without faith? These people, “exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator,…”

        Then, ‘He does not make our decision for us. He has done 99.9% of the work for our salvation (not a real statistic, so don’t jump all over it). And our part is simply to decide if we will accept His free gift of salvation or to reject it. But it’s an offer that’s available to everyone, and anyone can accept it.”

        The offer is not available to all people but only to those who receive faith. Faith quite naturally manifest itself as belief. So, Paul, “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” and “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.”

        Then, “Because we all know Calvinists say that “anyone can choose Jesus because we have the freedom to make choices according to our natures” ”

        Calvinists don’t say this. They say, “people are confronted with Christ through the preaching of the gospel and have the freedom to make choices according to our natures. Those to whom faith is given choose Christ; those to whom faith is withheld, reject Christ.” People who never hear the gospel always reject Christ.

  5. “Nothing in the Bible remotely suggests that the Fall has made mankind morally incapable of responding to God’s own life-giving, inspired, gospel appeal to be reconciled from that Fall!”

    This is the key statement, and the error that is perpetuated by Calvinism ad nauseam. It does not appear that Calvinists find this doctrine in the scriptures, but cobble it together from out of context verses in order to uphold the system of John Calvin.

    If you are struggling with these issues, study scripture without any presuppositions, and you will soon discover that nowhere does scripture assert that men are not capable of hearing and believing the gospel message. Certainly we are told that man is incapable of saving himself, but that is not the same as being incapable of understanding and responding to the glorious message of the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus. Indeed, Jesus was thus lifted up that all might know and be drawn to a God who so loved them. Of course, not all will respond in trusting faith, and some will prefer to remain in darkness and separation from God. This is tragic, but it is their own willful choice, not the terrible, hopeless, death sentence delivered upon them without recourse from a cruel, angry god.

    1. Reply on john 6:44; Joh 6:44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 
      It is clear the Father must draw him. But we know from other Scriptures one can resist and not respond. Act 7:51  Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Mat 23:37  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! The bottom line is you must make the right response. Josh 24:15.

      1. Richard writes, “It is clear the Father must draw him. But we know from other Scriptures one can resist and not respond.”

        Given Jesus’ promise, “I will raise him up at the last day,” we know that no one resists the drawing of God to salvation. People can and do resist God’s law, ignore His prophets and preachers, and stumble over Christ. However, when God draws a person to salvation, Christ assures us that He will raise that person up on the last day – ““This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.”

    2. “This moral incapacity to trust in Christ due to the Fall of Adam is simply never taught in the pages of scripture.”

      Of course it is taught in Scripture:

      “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5 NIV)

      Leighton’s Flower’s statement is a textbook definition of what it means to be a full-on Pelagian. Pelagius’s colleague and defender Coelestius taught that Adam’s sin only impacted Adam only, and not the human race – infants at birth are in the same state that Adam was before his transgression.

      1. “This moral incapacity to trust in Christ due to the Fall of Adam is simply never taught in the pages of scripture.”

        Tony
        Of course it is taught in Scripture:

        “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5 NIV)

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

        Tony
        Leighton’s Flower’s statement is a textbook definition of what it means to be a full-on Pelagian.

        br.d
        Somebody go get the wood and the matches – weze gonna burn us a heretic – right next to where we burned Michael Servetus!

        see THE PELAGIAN BOOGEE-MAN
        here: https://soteriology101.com/2018/02/11/pelagianism-the-boogie-man/

  6. Wonderful Article!

    -quote
    The apostle is knocking the legs out from under those Jews who think they have the RIGHT to be God’s child because of who their granddaddy is (blood), their law keeping efforts (fleshly running), or by patriarchal headship (husband’s will). John is not attempting to make a soteriological stance on the nature of man’s free will or responsibility in light of the gospel appeal.

    I think N.T. Wright would agree with this. That the Reformers miss-interpretation of passages like these stems from their emphatic rush to superimpose their particular doctrinal emphases onto the N.T. authors – without taking the time to dig deeper into the historical context out of which the N.T. authors wrote.

  7. Dr. Flowers writes, “This moral incapacity to trust in Christ due to the Fall of Adam is simply never taught in the pages of scripture. Nothing in the Bible remotely suggests that the Fall has made mankind morally incapable of responding to God’s own life-giving, inspired, gospel appeal to be reconciled from that Fall!”

    Paul wrote, “For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?…So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

    If faith comes by hearing then faith cannot exist absent that hearing. Paul is telling us that man is without faith – because of that, he cannot call on the name of the LORD to be saved. Faith is key to salvation as it is the means that God uses to saves people – by grace you have been saved through faith. Adam’s fall meant that his descendants would be born without faith. Until a person receives faith, he is “morally incapable of responding to God’s own life-giving, inspired, gospel appeal to be reconciled from that Fall.”

    1. rhutchin
      Paul is telling us that man is without faith – because of that, he cannot call on the name of the LORD to be saved

      br.d
      Not really.
      Calvinists superimpose their own philosophical positions onto the text – quite frequently resulting in irrational outcomes.
      William Lane Craig agrees:

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

      When one’s interpretation of Scripture leads one into this sort of cul de sac, it is a good idea to re-assess whether one has, indeed, rightly interpreted Scripture (Four Views on Divine Providence)

      1. Hi br.d
        I thought you had mentioned in another post that you had a blog where you discuss many of your views. Maybe I am mistaken but if you do have such a blog could you post the link? Thanks brother.

      2. Hi GraceAdict
        I think that must have been someone else. I don’t have another blog where I regularly visit.
        But thanks for asking!

      3. It is Heather who has that blog.

        They both started commenting here around the same time.

      4. FOH
        It is Heather who has that blog.
        They both started commenting here around the same time.

        br.d
        AH!
        And its wonderful to have both of them here!!! :-]

      5. Thanks — I always appreciate your posts…very insightful indeed. Keep posting

    2. I think scripture shows that the assumption that the unsaved have “no faith whatsoever in anything” is simply incorrect. But before I get to that..
      Are we born again by the will of man or by the will of God?
      All of us believe we are born again by the will of God not by the will of man.
      By God’s decree He has placed a necessary condition “faith” what is the nature of this faith as it relates to the gospel? It is dependence on another (JC) it is “looking at another in dependence” for it’s salvation. Isa 45:22 Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

      Faith is NOT a power that produces anything, faith doesn’t produce the new birth, GOD’s will produces that. So we are NOT born of the will of man, why? because “faith” doesn’t produce a single thing…our faith can’t produce Justification, can’t produce the new creation, can’t place us into the family of God and can’t make us a Child of God. No, faith is simply the necessary condition it has NO creative power, NO Justifying Power… God is the ONLY one by “HIS will” who then Justifies, causes the new birth, seals with the Holy Spirit…we are 100% passive in that regards. Those things happen to us by the WILL of GOD…not by our will. We simply believe Him and He does it ALL by His will. Faith alone would never get me to heaven unless God did His Justifying, causing me to be Born of God.
      To answer RH regarding who has faith? ALL people have faith… it is the OBJECT of their faith that is the crucial point. Faith in the Gospel comes by hearing the Gospel before that they are believing a lie or have faith in a lie. An idolater has faith in His idol…the object of his faith is the problem. I like how Dr. Adrian Rogers used to explain it. He would ask “is it better to have GREAT Faith in thin ice or to have a weak faith in THICK ice?” Some folks would answer GREAT faith in thin ice. Dr. Rogers rightly pointed out that if you had weak faith in Thick ice as you crossed a frozen lake you would get to the other side, however GREAT faith in thin ice would land you at the bottom of the lake. The object of your faith is the MOST important thing. We see Paul using the same Greek word for “ believing the truth” and for “believing a lie” 2Th 2:10-12 …because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,  in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 
      All people have faith/belief/trust it is simply the object of their faith that is different. Some believe the Gospel when it is presented to them others believe a lie…when you place your confidence in a lie you end up at the bottom of the lake (lake of fire). When you place your faith/trust/belief in the Gospel God by His will Alone Justifies, Regenerates, Causes you to be Born from Above.

      1. GA,
        Nice. You said:

        “All people have faith/belief/trust it is simply the object of their faith that is different.”

        (Calvinist) James White debates Mormons, Muslims etc all the time. He is challenging their FAITH in that thing. It is amazing that Calvinists preach that man has no faith until God gives it to him. Of course they do!

        On the “foolishness” note (they get a lot of bad-hermeneutic miles out of that verse!!)….. of course the Gospel is foolishness when you first hear it. Until it’s not! (Even the “elect” would say it was foolishness when they first heard it —so that proves nothing.)

      2. GraceAdict writes, “…our faith can’t produce Justification,”

        Yet Romans 5:1, says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we…” Can you harmonize what you say with Romans 5:1.

        Then, “To answer RH regarding who has faith? ALL people have faith… it is the OBJECT of their faith that is the crucial point. Faith in the Gospel comes by hearing the Gospel before that they are believing a lie or have faith in a lie…All people have faith/belief/trust it is simply the object of their faith that is different.”

        You make the same distinction as the Calvinist does saying that there is a natural faith that all people have and then there is a faith in the gospel that only some people have, The only difference is that the Calvinist says that no one has faith (in the gospel) and that faith can only come from hearing the gospel. You distinguish two types of faith (arguing that there are two objects of that faith) and this is the same position the Calvinist takes. Until a person has Christ as the object of his faith, he has no ability to submit to Christ – he is Totally Depraved. So, what is your complaint against Calvinism on this point?.

      3. RH — My distinction is not in types of Faith but in the Object of the Faith. Faith in thin ice lands you in the lake…Faith (same word) in thick ice holds your weight. Not the type of Faith because Faith is Faith BUT the OBJECT of your Faith.
        That is my distinction as seen in 2Th 2:10-12 …because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may BELIEVE what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not BELIEVE the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
        The faith is the same, the OBJECT is different. When a person hears the Gospel and believes the Gospel it is a shift from Faith in a Lie to Faith in the TRUTH of the gospel. Same Faith Different object.

      4. GraceAdict writes, “RH — My distinction is not in types of Faith but in the Object of the Faith. ”

        So, you find that you have to make a distinction between one who believes and one who does not. The Calvinist concluded that such a distinction had to be made, also. I don’t see your approach being any different than the Calvinist – you and the Calvinist recognize that a problem exists and you both seek to resolve it. So, what is your complaint against the Calvinist?

      5. GraceAdict
        “RH — My distinction is not in types of Faith but in the Object of the Faith. ”

        rhutchin
        So, you find that you have to make a distinction between one who believes and one who does not.

        br.d
        Do we see how the Calvinist ignores and turns everyone else’s statement into the way he thinks – even when that statement conveys something distinctly different.

      6. rhutchin
        GraceAdict writes, “…our faith can’t produce Justification,”

        Yet Romans 5:1, says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we…” Can you harmonize what you say with Romans 5:1.

        br.d
        Simple – GraceAdict is correct
        “Justified by faith” does not mean that faith is a “producer” of justification.
        Faith is a divine requirement which precedes justification.

        N.T. Wright
        -quote
        I understand justification as basically a law-court term, where it means the judge’s creative declaration that a person is ‘in the right’ in terms of the lawcourt.

      7. br.d,

        I have shared this many times in regard to faith and “producing” salvation.

        The most spectacular event in the OT and the most cited/ recounted event in the Bible is Passover.

        God “did it all”. He provides the idea, the instructions, and the way of escape. Still they had to apply the blood in faith and stay in the house.

        Now…..when this story is repeated over and over in the Bible it always say something like “God rescued His people.” I mean never “they rescued themselves.” It would be silly to accuse them of rescuing themselves. They were slaves (like we were slaves to sin), and what’s more they had no Bibles, teachers, and for hundreds of years, no prophets.

        Faith does not produce God’s salvation….. but it is a condition.

        Just ask Noah.

      8. Hard for me to believe that the fact of justification being produced solely by God could be held in question by anyone.

      9. FOH writes, “Faith does not produce God’s salvation….. but it is a condition. ”

        The remaining issue is whether that faith which is a condition of salvation is inherent to the individual or given to the individual by God.

      10. rhutchin
        The remaining issue is whether that faith which is a condition of salvation is inherent to the individual or given to the individual by God.

        br.d
        FALSE

        There is no issue over the SOURCE of faith – it’s origin is divine.

        For example, Adam’s ability to have faith in the fact that birds are birds and not monkeys is inherent within Adam.
        But *ALL* of Adam’s inherent abilities are of divine origin.

        There is however a question over whether or not Adam’s (post fall) inherent abilities include the ability to exercise faith sufficient to meet the divine condition.

        Calvinism’s answer to this question is no – and the person must be zapped with a “divine spark”
        Similar to how it is conceived within Gnosticism.
        Or the person must be hexed with magic spell
        Similar to how it is conceived in the occult.

        The Non-Calvinist answer is that the fall of Adam did not compromise Adam’s inherent (divinely given) ability to exercise faith sufficient to meet the divine condition for salvation.

      11. rhutchin
        there is a faith in the gospel that only some people have,

        br.d
        For the Calvinist – this conception of faith is only theoretical.
        Since he doesn’t know whether or not any person is “elect” or not – it LOGICALLY follows he doesn’t know whether anyone has this “Theoretical” faith.

        It would be an interesting project to examine and ascertain the percentage of what the Calvinist believes as fact – are in actuality nothing more than theories he has no way of proving. Whether all of his theories are true for him or all false for him – he won’t know until he finds himself in the lake of fire or not. What a way to live!

      12. Rhutchin says: “FOH writes, “Faith does not produce God’s salvation….. but it is a condition. ” The remaining issue is whether that faith which is a condition of salvation is inherent to the individual or given to the individual by God.”

        I believe this is the heart of the debate between Calvinism and anti-Calvinism (for lack of a better word). And everything else stems from that.

        Does God cause us to have faith (which is what Calvinists say, meaning that God only gives saving faith to those He predetermined to give faith to, that Jesus only died for the elect, and that everyone else has no chance to be saved, that God created them to be destined for hell)? Or is salvation equally available to everyone and God gives the call for salvation to everyone, but that people ultimately make the choice to have faith in Jesus or to reject Him (as anti-Calvinists would say)?

        And this is where Calvinists and anti-Calvinists will never be able to come to an agreement. Because they are polar opposites.

      13. heather writes, “I believe this is the heart of the debate between Calvinism and anti-Calvinism (for lack of a better word). And everything else stems from that.
        Does God cause us to have faith…Or is salvation equally available to everyone and God gives the call for salvation to everyone, but that people ultimately make the choice to have faith in Jesus or to reject Him (as anti-Calvinists would say)?
        And this is where Calvinists and anti-Calvinists will never be able to come to an agreement. ”

        Heather seems a little confused. First, she asks, “Does God cause us to have faith…” and then “people ultimately make the choice to have faith in Jesus…” She doesn’t argue against the Calvinist position (God causes faith) but argues that faith is exercised by a person to choose to accept or reject Jesus (also a Calvinist position). Of course, to the person who has faith – assurance and conviction – the decision is a no-brainer: he accepts Jesus.

        Where is the disagreement here? Do non-Calvinist really believe that a person with assurance and conviction of eternal life could really reject Christ?

      14. Rhutchin, Your comment starting with “heather writes, “I believe this is the heart of the debate between Calvinism and anti-Calvinism…” is so full of errors that it’s not even worth responding to. Because if you can’t see the errors, it’s pointless for me to point them out.

      15. heather writes, “is so full of errors that it’s not even worth responding to. Because if you can’t see the errors, it’s pointless for me to point them out.”

        It is not surprising that a non-Calvinist will say something like this to shut down discussion. It happens a lot.

      16. Sorry Heather,

        Perhaps we forgot to warn you that there is nothing you can say to RH. He just repeats stuff back to you as if you never said anything. Either he is trying to waste our time (by making us repeat out posts), or he is belligerent, or he is just so entrenched in the Augustinian presuppositions that he cannot hear us.

        But either way…. no veterans spend time replying to him anymore. I assumed we had warned you of that. The same needs to be told to JR, GA, and Aidan McM (all new here).

        But….keep posting good Bible verses showing that our Father is gracious, but asks us to have faith in Him!

      17. Rhutchin says “It is not surprising that a non-Calvinist will say something like this to shut down discussion. It happens a lot.”

        To be accurate, I am not a non-Calvinist. I am an anti-Calvinist. Big difference. I would say that non-Calvinists, in general, are uneducated about what’s wrong with Calvinism, whereas anti-Calvinists ARE educated about what’s wrong with Calvinism and they seek to counter it.

      18. Fromoverhere, Thank you for the warning about RH. I can tell that he doesn’t want to listen to anything anyone says. So if and when I respond to him, I am not doing it for his sake, but for the sake of those who might be reading who want serious answers to some of the things he brings up. For those who really do want to know. I guess I look at it like one more chance to spread truth. (Maybe that’s why God hardens people who choose to go against the truth, to give us more opportunity to speak truth and confront errors.) And, wow, there seems to be a lot of new people here recently. I don’t know who’s older and who’s newer, but it seems like more and more people are new, making me wonder if people are finally catching on to the errors of Calvinism.

      19. Hi RH. I am going to quote Spurgeon in this post in hopes that you will listen to him since you probably won’t value much what a non-Calvinist like myself would say…. I think Spurgeon had it right on some important points. Also sorry this is very long. 🙁

        I think one of the Big differences between Calvinism and what we see in Scripture is that Calvinism makes the QUALITY of Faith the most important thing. And Non-Calvinists like myself make the OBJECT of our Faith the most important thing. Because Calvinist make the QUALITY of faith the main thing they have to resort to “A SPECIAL GIFT FAITH” as the only answer. We non-Calvinists would agree with Spurgeon’s statement below, where as modern day Calvinist could not full heartedly agree with it, if they are honest about what they are actually teaching.

        Spurgeon writes -Paul saith, “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Now, faith excludes all boasting. The hand which receives charity does not say, “I am to be thanked for accepting the gift”; that would be absurd. …So God has selected faith to receive the unspeakable gift of His grace, because it cannot take to itself any credit, but must adore the gracious God who is the giver of all good. Faith sets the crown upon the right head, See then, dear friend, the weakness of your faith will not destroy you. A trembling hand may receive a golden gift. The Lord’s salvation can come to us though we have only faith as a grain of mustard seed. The power lies in the grace of God, and not in our faith or the strength of our commitment.”
        He continues:
        “Great messages can be sent along slender wires, and the peace-giving witness of the Holy Spirit can reach the heart by means of a thread-like faith which seems almost unable to sustain its own weight.
        Think more of HIM to whom you look than of the look itself. You must look away from yourself even from your own looking, and see nothing but Jesus, and the grace of God revealed in Him.”

        Almost ALL of Our modern day Calvinist are very confused on this topic…they make the Quality of Faith the most important thing and they give it a special name “Saving Faith” even though in scripture this term is not found this allows them to define it beyond what scripture actually says.

        Here are two examples from top leaders of the Calvinist’s movement: NOTICE how Spurgeon’s view is very different from JMac and JPiper’s. Spurgeon’s view keeps the focus on the OBJECT – Jesus Chirst and Him crucified- where as JMac and JPiper’s Focus is on the QUALITY of your looking, it is the Quality of the BELIEVER’s Faith and NOT the OBJECT Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
        JPiper “To define saving Faith apart from feelings/ emotions / and affections of Glad dependence, thankful trust, ferverent Admiration, pleased submission, contended resting, thrilled treasuring, eager reverence, heartfelt adoration is Biblically futile.”
        ….a full and free amnesty is offered to all the rebel subjects who will turn from their rebellion, call on him for mercy, bow before his throne, and swear allegiance and faithfulness to him forever. “

        JMac “The Character of Saving Faith: True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue Christ and obedience to Him It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God but they don’t love and obey Him. True saving faith always responds in obedience.
        When reading those last two defintions of “Saving Faith” your focus did not go to the Once for ALL Finished Work of Christ but to YOU and your duties.

        Both JMac and JPiper have redefined faith to include your ongoing works and the Christian walk as a condition for being Justified and saved. Once you make Faith the gift now you can redefine Faith to be mostly works because your defense is: well it was a gift. What is totally lost is: Resting in what Jesus Christ has already done for us 2000 years ago, their definitions of “Saving Faith” moves the focus off of the Cross and onto the Quality of your Faith. This is a disaster and is NOT in harmony with Rom 4

        Spurgeon again “Oh, the many times I have wished that the preacher would tell me something to do to be saved! Gladly would I have done it, if it had been possible. If he had said, ‘Take off your shoes and stockings and run to John o’ Groats,’ I would not even have gone home first, but would have started off that very night if I might win salvation. How often have I thought that if he had said, ‘Bare your back to the scourge and take fifty lashes,’ I would have said, ‘Here I am. Come along with your whip and beat as hard as you please, so long as I can obtain peace and rest, and get rid of my sin.’ Yet the simplest of all matters—believing in Christ crucified, accepting His finished salvation, being nothing and letting Him be everything, doing nothing, but trusting to what He has done—I could not get hold of it.”

        So what says the scriptures?
        Rom 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham BELIEVED God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
        Rom 4:4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
        Rom 4:5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his FAITH is counted as righteousness,
        Rom 4:6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

        Rom 4:21 and being fully persuaded that what God had promised, He was also able to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

        Notice Rom. 4:21 is saying the same thing as Rom.4:3 By comparing both verses, we can see what the definition of “saving faith” is, look at v 21. Faith = being fully persuaded that what GOD had promised HE was also able to perform.”
        Focus remains on God – Being persuaded about what GOD has said and done. Not my obedience, my love for God, my faithfulness to Him BUT fully what HE has done on my behalf because He was faithful, He is love and He was obedient.
        Another great example:
        Heb 11:11 By FAITH Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered HIM faithful WHO had promised.
        Heb. 11:11 gives us the definition of Faith = she “considered HIM faithful who had promised”. Notice the focus of faith is on HIM and HIS promise. The OBJECT of Faith is ALWAYS the most important thing NOT the QUALITY of someones faith… faith the size of a mustard seed placed in the right OBJECT is enough.
        Are you persuaded that what Jesus did on the cross for you is enough…that when He cried it is finished was enough for God the Father to fully accept you? Are you willing to trust in Him alone and NOT in your own works?

        Spurgeon again:
        “…It is essential that our faith must rest alone on Jesus. Mix anything with Christ, and you are undone. If your faith shall stand with one foot upon the rock of his merits, and the other foot upon the sand of your own duties, it will fall, and great will be the fall thereof. Rest wholly on the rock, for if so much as a corner of the edifice shall rest on anything beside, it will ensure the ruin of the whole:— “None but Jesus, none but Jesus Can do helpless sinners good.”

        “God, in the person of Christ, stepped into history and acted on our behalf. He lived, died as our substitute, and rose again. A person exercises faith when he looks away from all self-effort to the saving history of Christ and depends only on Him and His work of salvation on the sinner’s behalf.” T.M.

        We would say: The nature of faith in the gospel is that faith is looking at and trusting in someone else’s perfect life, someone else’s obedience, their faithfulness, their love, in someone else’s sacrifice as being enough for my Justification and my Salvation. We like Spurgeon direct people to look only at Jesus and HIM crucified. We Direct people to Abandon ALL Self- effort and to Trust in Christ Alone, having done that you have exercised faith or as Calvinist’s like to call it “saving faith”.

      20. Thanks GA for taking the time to put all that about Spurgeon out there for honest readers who come across this. I am afraid it will be ignored by RH but others may benefit.

      21. GraceAdict writes, “I think one of the Big differences between Calvinism and what we see in Scripture is that Calvinism makes the QUALITY of Faith the most important thing. And Non-Calvinists like myself make the OBJECT of our Faith the most important thing.”

        In his Institutes, Calvin said, “Let each of us, therefore, in contemplating his own nature, remember that there is one God who governs all natures, and, in governing, wishes us to have respect to himself, to make him the object of our faith, worship, and adoration.” and “hence it is plain, as we lately observed, there is no saving knowledge of God without Christ, and that, consequently, from the beginning of the world Christ was held forth to all the elect as the object of their faith and confidence.” So, Calvinism makes God and Christ the objects of faith.

        When you say, “QUALITY,” you seem to be referring to the consequences of faith as your example of JMac, “True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin.” Both Calvinist and non-Calvinist agree to that. You then quote Piper “….a full and free amnesty is offered to all the rebel subjects who will turn from their rebellion, call on him for mercy, bow before his throne, and swear allegiance and faithfulness to him forever. “ Again, both Calvinist and non-Calvinist agree to that. For some reason, you state, “NOTICE how Spurgeon’s view is very different from JMac and JPiper’s. ” It is not different. Spurgeon describes a different aspect of faith when he says, “The power lies in the grace of God, and not in our faith or the strength of our commitment.” Everyone knows that -By grace we are saved. Grace gives power to faith; faith comes from the gospel; and faith, however,weak, is still assurance and conviction.

        You falsely conclude, “Both JMac and JPiper have redefined faith to include your ongoing works and the Christian walk as a condition for being Justified and saved.” That our ongoing works are the consequence of faith is from Ephesians 2, “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,”

        Your complaint seems to be “Once you make Faith the gift now you can redefine Faith to be mostly works because your defense is: well it was a gift.” For some reason, you don’t want faith to be a gift – so support that position. Don’t invent some object versus quality distinction that does not exist.

        Then, “Both JMac and JPiper have redefined faith to include your ongoing works and the Christian walk as a condition for being Justified and saved.”

        The citations from Pipr and Macarther do not show this. They are not saying that one’s works are a condition for being saved but that one;s works are evidence of having been saved. This is common to both Calvinists and non-Calvinists. The term, “Saving Faith,” distinguishes that faith which comes from hearing the gospel and gives salvation from any other faith that people may be said to have.

      22. rhutchin
        In his Institutes, Calvin said, “Let each of us, therefore, in contemplating his own nature, remember that there is one God who governs all natures, and, in governing, wishes us to have respect to himself,

        br.d
        Calvinist DOUBLE-SPEAK is just to funny!

        As Calvinist Paul Helm’s shows:
        -quote
        Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by God, but every twist and turn of each
        of these is under the direct control of God

        So he “wishes to have respect” from the very brains he is DIRECTLY CONTROLS.
        What a hoot!!! :-]

      23. And to clarify my own comment about non-Calvinists and anti-Calvinists: I don’t mean that all non-Calvinists are uneducated about Calvinism. I can see a lot of intelligent, well-educated people here who call themselves non-Calvinists. And that is perfectly fine and acceptable. We know what they mean. (I know calling ourselves “anti-“anything can be so negative-sounding.)

        I just mean that “non-Calvinist” would encompass all those who don’t call themselves Calvinists, including those who don’t care about the issue, never thought about it, and want nothing to do with it. This is why I prefer to call myself an “anti-Calvinist” (especially when I explain to those at my church why we left it), so that they know that I am not just someone who hasn’t thought about this issue or someone who doesn’t accept it simply because I don’t like the way it sounds, but that I have deeply studied it and have strong reasons to take a stand against it.

        I am clarifying this so that I don’t offend those here who call themselves non-Calvinists. We are all on the same side and know what we mean by it, regardless of whether we call ourselves “non-Calvinist” or “anti-Calvinist.”

  8. Leighton,

    The way I see (v.13), is that John is not trying to exclude man’s free will in the matter, but rather, that ‘man’ was not the source of the new birth. The fact that ‘God the Father’ is the source of the new birth automatically excludes every other source as the source. The Greek word (ek) basically means (out of), and it’s this word that tells us that John is emphasizing ‘source’ in John 1:13. In light of this, lets read the verse as it was meant to be understood.

    “..who were born, not (ek) ‘out of’ blood nor (ek) ‘out of’ the will of the flesh nor (ek) ‘out of’ the will of man, but (ek) ‘out of’ God.”(John 1:13).
    In other words,( who were born, not ‘from’ blood nor ‘from’ the will of the flesh nor ‘from’ the will of man’, but from God).

    Therefore, in an effort not to go beyond what this verse says: to say that they were born of God, means that God was the source of that new birth, nothing more, nothing less. To say that the will of man was not the source, does not necessarily negate the involvement man’s will in choosing, only his will as the source of that salvation. His own, who ought to have received him, on the main chose to reject Him, while others chose to accept Him.

    “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
    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,
    who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”(John 1:11-13).

    1. Aidan
      To say that the will of man was not the source, does not necessarily negate the involvement man’s will in choosing, only his will as the source of that salvation.

      br.d
      Well said!

  9. Thank you Leighton. Another excellent article. Thanks for putting these verses in the proper context.

    As I see, hear, and experience “calvinist speak” I have learned to look for false dichotomy’s in almost every argument they make and I am very rarely disappointed. It comes naturally to a Calvinist I believe partly and for some as a mechanism to try to paint non-Calvinists into a corner and partly for others from pure ignorance of what non-Calvinists believe (not sure if it’s good or bad but most Calvinists I know fall into this second category). As Leighton wrote, … “Leighton, when will you accept the fact that we are born again by God’s will, not free will?!” So you must either believe we are born again of God’s will within the philosophy of Calvinism or you must believe “we are born again of free will”. Those are the two choices. Of course that’s ridiculous and Leighton goes on to describe what we as Traditionalist // Provisionalists reallly believe.

    Sampson does the same thing:
    “…The very next verse (V.13) of John chapter one actually qualifies the statement about how be become adopted children of God in verse 12. It does this by asserting that this gift does not come about by the will of man but through the new birth or regeneration.” In other words, you believe that we become adopted children by regeneration (in the unbiblical Calvinist regeneration before faith way) or you believe we are adopted by the will of man. Another false dichotomy.

    Unfortunately, I’ve found that these false dichotomies permeate almost every argument and statement Calvinist’s make.

    1. andyb2015
      Unfortunately, I’ve found that these false dichotomies permeate almost every argument and statement Calvinist’s make.

      br,d
      Very insightful point!

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

      For the unfortunate Calvinist – the bottom line here becomes evident.
      He cannot possibly live out this belief system with rational coherence.

      Every determinist who believes he has no degree of autonomy has to live AS-IF he does.

      Every determinist has to at some level make-believe he can think for himself.

      Every determinist has to at some level make-believe when he approaches a fork in the garden path; the ability to go in either direction is truly available to him.

      Every determinist Christian has to at some level make-believe that when God commanded Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit, God in fact made choosing obedience an available option to Adam – and not simply present it as an illusion that didn’t really exist, because
      whatever is not rendered-certain does not exist.

      Every Calvinist is forced to make-believe that he had a way of escape after he sinned – even though his doctrine tells him his sin came to pass because it was RENDERED-CERTAIN at the foundation of the world.
      And there is no escape from what Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN.

      Every Calvinist wants to make believe that Calvin’s god prevents events from coming to pass – even though LOGIC tells him that an event cannot be LOGICALLY said to be prevented – unless that event was actually going to come to pass. But his doctrine tells him that an event CANNOT come to pass unless it is RENDERED-CERTAIN – and a RENDERED-CERTAIN event is UN-preventable.

      He is forced to embrace determinism – and yet he observes the pattern of IN-determinism weaved throughout the general narrative of scripture.

      This explains why the Calvinist mind lives in a world of Double-think
      And it explains why the language of Calvinism is double-speak

      1. BR.D Great way of describing Determinism.

        One of the most disturbing things about Calvinism/Determinism is that it assaults the Moral nature of God Especially these three attributes: 1. the God of Truth, 2. the God of Holiness and 3. the God of Love. If the JWs did this what would we call it?
        1. God is Truth – through saying well there is “God’s revealed will” but His “secret will” and it can be in total opposition to His revealed will they assault the idea that God is truly communicating truth to us through His word…then the “mystery” concept is used to confuse people that Truth is not really Truth it could be just the opposite because there is a “secret truth” or His secret will” that mysteriously contradicts His revealed will …AND this Glorifies God…so don’t question me ( oops I mean Him). They undermine the understanding that God is Authentically Truth..it is not something He does once in awhile but it is His very essence HE is TRUTH.
        2. God is HOLY – With the element of Certain Truth out of the way and the concept of Mystery introduced as a cover for all other contradictions, now we have set the table for making God the Author of evil while saying He is glorified even while they profane His Holy name…to profane God’s Holy name and then say all this glorifies God doesn’t fix the blasphemy. To employ the word mystery resolves nothing. Through Determinism God is made the author of Evil, (profaning God’s Holy name) Words other than Author may be used to conceal the fact BUT Determinism affirms that for God to be God He has to conceive and bring ALL things into being even Evil other wise He is NOT God at all.
        3. Another casualty is God of LOVE – Under Calvinism – He actually Deterministically created most people for the purpose of Eternal Damnation, He never genuinely loved them in eternity past nor in this world. He did NOT send Jesus to die on the Cross for Most people but instead He purposefully excluded them from salvation and actively maintains their exclusion, Jesus was not sent to Die for them only for a select few. Eternal damnation of the majority is his pleasure for His glory…This is a twisted being but it most certainly is NOT the God of the Bible.

        In the Garden of Eden Satan 1st Convinced Eve subtly that God was different than what He really is. Maligned His Character.
        Gen 3:4-5  But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 
        NOTICE the tactic — God’s Revealed will is different from what is REALLY True. — Truth is Not truth — there is secret truth.
        Then God is NOT really GOOD… He knows that this fruit is really Good But He is with holding the best from you. His Moral Goodness cannot be Trusted… God is really not a God of Love….you cannot trust Him.
        The Calvinist systematic does the exact same thing it maligns the Moral Character of God. If the JWs did this what would we call it?

      2. Totally wonderful post GraceAdict!!

        Very insightful!

        I am reminded of the human ability to trust. The human mind is designed to develop trust by observing repeatability over time. A child may reach her hand out to an angry dog and get her hand bit because she does not have experience enough to recognize the body language of an angry dog. But she will be very careful not to do that a second time. And it may take her a long time to learn to trust dogs altogether. A wife with an unfaithful husband learns that she can’t trust what he says.

        The same effect would be the case with Calvin’s god who says one thing – while RENDERING-CERTAIN the opposite.

        He leads Adam to believe he WILLS Adam to obey – when he SECRETLY WILLS the opposite. He deceives Cain into believing he can do well – when he SECRETLY wills the opposite for Cain. He deceives Israel into believing he WILLS them to “choose life” – while SECRETLY RENDERING-CERTAIN the opposite.

        Just think about it – if the people of Israel in the O.T. believed God was like Calvin’s god – they would learn that he misrepresents himself – and deceives his people – by communicating one thing and SECRETLY willing the opposite.

        And this inability to trust god applies directly to the Calvinists today.

        For example – they quote Jesus saying “My sheep hear my voice” and “all the father draws will come unto me”.

        And the Calvinist interprets those verses as reference to the “elect”. But the doctrine also tells them that the status of every man’s election is a SECRET that no man knows.

        So the Calvinist has no assurance that those verses apply to himself. He has absolutely know way of trusting the God of scripture is for him or against him. He could be eternally ordained for the lake of fire and he wouldn’t know it.

        Jesus says “Let your communication be ye ye or nay nay – for anything else comes of evil”.
        And Paul instructs the church not to communicate things that are “uncertain sounds”.

        But for the Calvinist every promise of god is “maybe yes” – “maybe no”.
        And for the Calvinist every promise in scripture is an “uncertain sound”.

        I can’t imagine the contorted pretzel the Calvinist mind must twisted itself into – in order to have a sense of being loved by God.

  10. Indeed this is another great article I love this statement and I say YES YES & YES!!!

     [Calvinists have mistakenly applied the scripture’s teaching on man’s inability to attain righteousness by means of the law as proof for their erroneous claims that mankind is born morally incapable of attaining righteousness by faith (i.e. “Total Inability” – Calvinist’s belief that man’s morally incapacity of fulfilling the law’s demands equals man’s moral incapacity to trust in the One who fulfilled that law in our stead).] It almost seems like I can understand why they fight so hard for their view, because they don’t want to imply in anyway that they are responsible for being born again.. But it appears they miss aspects that don’t require one to believe work based salvation if they’re not in the total inability camp. It seems clear that it’s not what is communicated in Scripture..

    And this Greek word below is great along with the passages if you read them all… this word below reminds me of an Italian word or it’s a Spanish word🤔anyway the word [bambino] which means child.. Maybe it’s as simple as an over complication with followers of this systematic? or a desire to understand God in away that makes Him quantifiable, but it appears to place the Creator of all things in a box along with other logical conclusions especially in regard to His trustworthiness!!🤨☹ No if we are all under sin and God only grants His merciful gift of new life to me and let’s say 143,999 more He would be showing partiality, but the amazing way He set it up no one is above another we are all helpless without a Savior plus it sure would give those 144,000 a self centered disposition and over time would reflect in their interaction with other image bearers of God.
    Received” (2983) (lambano) speaks of a literal taking hold of, obtaining or grasping. John often uses the terms accept/receive (lambano) in a theological sense – (1) Of receiving Jesus, negatively (Jn 3:11, 3:32); positively (Jn 1:12; 3:33; 5:43; 13:20). (2) Of receiving the Spirit, negatively (Jn 14:17), positively (Jn 7:39). (3) Of receiving Jesus’ words, negatively (Jn 12:48), positively (Jn 17:8)

    Your work is greatly appreciated I knew when I the saw the first YouTube and you were speaking up against calvinism God had given you a gift not only to be fair and equitable, but to be gracious to your calvinist brothers. Honestly I had much more anger over a calvinists depiction of God, but the literal sword is not the answer. Thank you🌻

  11. RHUTCHIN writes: “She doesn’t argue against the Calvinist position (God causes faith) but argues that faith is exercised by a person to choose to accept or reject Jesus (also a Calvinist position).”

    John 1:12 states clearly and plainly that both the human response of “receiving” and “believing” is what *causes* (instrumentally) the divine act of granting (efficiently) believers to become born again (i.e., children of God). Therefore, you are absolutely right – your position is exactly that; namely, “the Calvinist position”, contradicted by the apostle John’s position.

    Moreover, if we were to interpolate the Calvinist assumption into verse 12 thus: “But to all who received and believed [because they were already born of God], he game them the right to become children of God.” Hence, “To all who were born again, he gave them the power to be born again.”

    As you can see, the Calvinist’s eisegetical construal of regeneration preceding faith, is a bust. Not only do you end up with a fallacious tautology, it nullifies the order that the apostle is communicating.

    Verse 13 is simply epexegetical – that is to say, the statement that regeneration is an act solely performed by God elaborates grammatically the nearest antecedent clause which is v 12b, not 12b.

    RHUTCHIN further writes that “No one can come to Me …” is an “emphatic statement…” Indeed it is. But so what? Why would this statement, on it’s face, be inconsistent with Reformed Arminianism? Here’s a question…

    Does 6:37 say “they will [resistibly] come” or “they *must* [irresistibly] come”???

    1. Well done Wes-Arm!

      Stick around and comment some more.

      Join me and others in reminding our Calvinist friends they preach we must be made alive so we can be made alive in Christ. You must be born again so you can be given faith and be …. well…. born again! (again)

Leave a Reply