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.

151 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/

      2. Tony writes “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) ”

        This is reading into scripture, way beyond scripture…it is coming to scripture with an already set belief and then seeing something there that is not there. IT does NOT say “You are born in sin therefore you cannot recognize your sinfulness when confronted with the LIVING and POWERFUL WORD of God and as a sinner you can not believe what God almighty says about you and the salvation offered to you”

        When you read into scripture you can end up anywhere, the sky is the limit. You have read your belief system into scripture not derived your belief from scripture. That is a huge difference.

      3. Well said GraceAdict

        Have you noticed how ubiquitous that practice is with Calvinists?

        I will sometimes ask a Calvinist to provide a verse that EXPLICITLY states what they claim.
        And they don’t really have one – and they should have enough brains to know it.

        But alas they will quote some verse or two that some Calvinist author twisted into some contorted service – READING INTO it something that it doesn’t really say.

        Calvinists sometimes remind me of sheeple – whatever their sacred teacher tells them a verse says – they blindly believe.

        Straining at a pelagian gnat while blindly swallowing a Gnostic/NeoPlatonic camel down whole without blinking.

        Thank God its limited to fringe group!

      4. I have a question BR.D – also an observation:
        Since within Calvinism Universal Divine Causal Determinism is their Foundational starting point. That means: “If I did it, then God determined it, rendered it certain and nothing happens except what God has predetermined for me to do.” I see this error as being the foundation for “Eat, Drink and do what ever your heart desires for the desires of your heart and the actions you take have already been determined for you, so go for it!” Is that not the logical outworking of this system of error? Not to say all do that but that is very logically consistent with their system.

        The reason all would not do that is because they would actually step out of their system and live *AS IF* they really should make authentic decisions. But the system lends itself to pushing ahead and doing what you want and then looking back and saying “It happened, therefore it must have been God’s will”. I have personally had multiple situations where Calvinists claimed their evil actions were determined by God for them…simply because they happened is proof that it was God’s will. It did not matter that their actions hurt others or did their family harm. They then reason that those hurts to my family were the desired outcome God had for my family as well.
        I have found it breeds a type of attitude that doesn’t really take personal responsibility because if it happened it was God’s will simply by the fact that it happened.
        Thankfully many do not live consistent with their worldview but others do and the fallout is devastating especially to those who are being hurt by the logically consistent Calvinist. This is an evil that hurts many people on the receiving end of Calvinism.

      5. Hold that good thought GA. It is well illustrated in my Bible reading from 2 Chronicles today if I can get to it!

      6. Today’s read-through-the-Bible takes me to 2 Chronicles 11-13.

        11: 23 Rehoboam also wisely gave responsibilities to his other sons and stationed some of them in the fortified towns throughout the land of Judah and Benjamin. He provided them with generous provisions, and he found many wives for them.

        [This is history in real time. Man does some of it (on his own) and God intervenes as He feels He needs to. Here it clearly says Rehoboam “wisely gave”. He was just acting wisely. Then he gave them multiple wives…. marginal idea. None of that sound robotically, predetermined. And if so…. again…. what’s the point of the Word?]

        12:1 But when Rehoboam was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the Law of the Lord, and all Israel followed him in this sin.

        [Rehoboam –not wise this time— abandoned the Law and took Israel with him. Again, the Word depicts that as NOT what God wanted.]

        2 Because they were unfaithful to the Lord, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign.

        [BECAUSE they were unfaithful —-meaning, if they had stayed “wise” and faithful it would not have happened. Hundreds or thousands of verses in the Word show us that history plays out in real time, not predetermined. God does things BECAUSE man does things. No one here promotes the Calvinist “straw man” that “that makes man stronger than God.” Silly!]

        5 Shemaiah [prophet] told them, “This is what the Lord says: You have abandoned me, so I am abandoning you to Shishak.”

        [The LORD flat out tells them that He is doing this BECAUSE they abandoned Him. Calvinist version: “Wink, wink, of course I made you abandon me!”]

        6 Then the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is right in doing this to us!”

        [Humility and wisdom from the same people who had “abandoned Him”.]

        7 When the Lord saw their change of heart, he gave this message to Shemaiah: “Since the people have humbled themselves, I will not completely destroy them and will soon give them some relief. I will not use Shishak to pour out my anger on Jerusalem. 8 But they will become his subjects, so they will know the difference between serving me and serving earthly rulers.”

        [The Lord “saw” their change of heart!!! It does not say the Lord caused the change of heart.]

        [Change of plans! If God wanted to tell us that He can change His mind, how would He do it? Calvinist teaching: God never changes His mind…. unless He determined beforehand that the first bluster He makes is a hollow threat and that He PLANNED to change His mind. (A) That is called deception (B) That is not really “changing” (C) How can we ever know which “will” He really wants (D) Again…. what is the point of the story in Scripture… or any of Scripture?”]

        12 Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger was turned away, and he did not destroy him completely. There were still some good things in the land of Judah.

        [Again, “Because Rehoboam humbled….” Also…what does that mean: “There were still some good things in the land of Judah”? Calvinists misinterpret Romans 3:11 to say that there is nothing good. Total Depravity says there is nothing “good”. But Scripture does not.]

        13:2 Then war broke out between Abijah [Rehoboam’s son] and Jeroboam. 3 Judah, led by King Abijah, fielded 400,000 select warriors, while Jeroboam mustered 800,000 select troops from Israel. 4 ….Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim and shouted to Jeroboam and all Israel: “Listen to me! 5 Don’t you realize that the Lord, the God of Israel, made a lasting covenant with David, ….8 “Do you really think you can stand against the kingdom of the Lord that is led by the descendants of David? …. 9 …you have chased away the priests of the Lord (the descendants of Aaron) and the Levites, and you have appointed your own priests, just like the pagan nations. 10 “But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned him.”

        [Abijah is claiming faithfulness to God and claiming that will protect him. And he is right!]

        11: We are following the instructions of the Lord our God, but you have abandoned him. 12 So you see, God is with us. He is our leader. His priests blow their trumpets and lead us into battle against you. O people of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed!”

        [Clearly Abijah is claiming to follow the Lord and that is what gives him the upper hand.]

        14 When Judah realized that they were being attacked from the front and the rear, they cried out to the Lord for help. Then the priests blew the trumpets, 15 and the men of Judah began to shout. At the sound of their battle cry, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel and routed them before Abijah and the army of Judah. 16 The Israelite army fled from Judah, and God handed them over to Judah in defeat. 17 Abijah and his army inflicted heavy losses on them; 500,000 of Israel’s select troops were killed that day.

        [This is very important. They cried out to the Lord and “God defeated Jeroboam.” Question: do you think they had any losses? Did some of their people get killed? Of course! Judah did not lose 500,000 men and Judah none. So….to a certain degree…. those who lost their lives “defeated Jeroboam”. This is just a manner of speaking in Scripture “the Lord did it.” It does not mean He did it alone.]

        18 So Judah defeated Israel on that occasion because they trusted in the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

        [Now the Word says that “Judah defeated Israel.” And it goes on to say that it is because they trusted in the Lord (not that He did it unilaterally). He wants us to trust in Him. But as we see in Scripture, that is a choice. Sometimes His “Chosen People” do (wisely) trust Him and other times they follow idols. If Calvinism is true then all of the actions, of all of these people, all of the time is predetermined by God and “real human trust in God” (the way people think of it) is an illusion. Again…. what then is the point or goal of the Scripture?]

      7. Exactly FOH !
        The consequences of believing in Universal Divine Causal Determinism are devastating if one follows it consistently. It makes everything just a charade.
        Dictionary definition of “charade” (noun) an absurd pretense intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance. synonyms: farce, pantomime, travesty, mockery, parody, pretense, act, masquerade, sham, fake, false display, show, front, facade;

      8. GraceAdict
        I have a question BR.D – also an observation:
        Since within Calvinism Universal Divine Causal Determinism is their Foundational starting point. That means: “If I did it, then God determined it, rendered it certain and nothing happens except what God has predetermined for me to do.”

        br.d
        Yes – the doctrine specifically stipulates that *ALL* things without exception which occur within the human-timeline are pre-determined at the foundation of the world. Events may occur as causal-chains in which you have domino#1 moving domino#2 etc. The doctrine distinguishes these as “primary” and “secondary” events.

        However, since *ALL* events (whether primary or secondary) are uniquely and specifically in every part determined by the THEOS- then it follows the THEOS is the AUTHOR of every aspect of every part of every event.

        And this would make the THEOS the AUTHOR of every neurological impulse that will ever appear in your brain. Therefore the process by which a human conclusion or belief is reached is not by rational reasoning. Rather it is a process of being determined by an external mind – and thus determined by factors outside of your control.

        In other words in this scheme you have no control over the things you conclude and believe. And you have no ability to know whether or not what you conclude or believe are TRUE or FALSE – because everything you conclude and believe are determined for you by someone else.

        The process of weighing evidence and discerning something TRUE or FALSE and then coming to a conclusion through rational reasoning is inherently a process of “Libertarian Free” thinking. which is defined as the ability to choose between multiple options which all exist as REAL options. And “libertarian Free” thinking is rejected by the doctrine. Therefore for a Calvinist there is no such thing as having a conclusion or belief that is derived through rational reasoning. Every conclusion and belief is determined for you and your belief that it is TRUE vs FALSE is not yours to determine.

        GraceAdict
        I see this error as being the foundation for “Eat, Drink and do what ever your heart desires for the desires of your heart and the actions you take have already been determined for you, so go for it!” Is that not the logical outworking of this system of error? Not to say all do that but that is very logically consistent with their system.

        br.d
        Yes exactly! You are very keen to discern that! That is a Psychological consequence of the doctrine.
        This was historically noted with the Stoics also – because the doctrine is essentially identical.
        The Stoics Psychological response to that problem was to deploy DOUBLE-THINK.

        And that is also where Calvinism’s DOUBLE-THINK kicks in – in order to evade that the consequences that come with the doctrine. John Calvin – following the Stoics – instructs his disciples to -quote “go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part – while at the same time believing that EVERYTHING is determined in every part. And that is PURE DOUBLE-THINK.

        GraceAdict
        …..they would actually step out of their system and live *AS IF* they really should make authentic decisions.

        br.d
        Yes – exactly! You have it pin-pointed – this is part of Calvinism’s DOUBLE-THINK. The Calvinist cannot possibly live out his belief system.

        Take for example a Calvinist here at SOT101 blaming a Non-Calvinist for not holding to Calvinist doctrine. But who is it that determines what that Non-Calvinist concludes and believes? In the Calvinist scheme the Non-Calvinist cannot possibly conclude or believe anything other than what Calvin’s god RENDERED-CERTAIN.

        And yet the Calvinist proceeds *AS-IF* his own doctrine is FALSE and attributes the conclusions and beliefs of the Non-Calvinist to Libertarian Free – which the Calvinist at the same time asserts does not exist.

        So the Calvinist is like the farmer who while driving his tractor – holds his finger in the air and asserts there is no such thing as a tractor!

        One can’t get anymore DOUBLE-MINDED than that!

        GraceAdict
        But the system lends itself to pushing ahead and doing what you want and then looking back and saying “It happened, therefore it must have been God’s will”.

        br.d
        Yes – this was historically a problem in evangelism for Calvinists – where the more consistent Calvinists would not bother to evangelize because everyone’s election is predestined anyway. So again public facing Calvinists who don’t want that to reflect badly on their system have to find a DOUBLE-THINK way of getting around it. And this is where they have learn to deploy a library SEMANTIC arguments pretty much based on language tricks.

        GraceAdict
        I have personally had multiple situations where Calvinists claimed their evil actions were determined by God for them…simply because they happened is proof that it was God’s will. It did not matter that their actions hurt others or did their family harm. They then reason that those hurts to my family were the desired outcome God had for my family as well.
        I have found it breeds a type of attitude that doesn’t really take personal responsibility because if it happened it was God’s will simply by the fact that it happened.

        br.d
        Yes this was the case also for the Stoics – there were legal cases in which for example a man would murder his wife for a younger woman – and in the court would argue he could not do otherwise because it was predestined by the gods. If the court held to that belief system he might win his case and go free.
        So you can see why the Calvinist will follow the same patterns.

        GraceAdict
        Thankfully many do not live consistent with their worldview but others do and the fallout is devastating especially to those who are being hurt by the logically consistent Calvinist. This is an evil that hurts many people on the receiving end of Calvinism.

        br.d
        Yes exactly – Dr. William Lane Craig states it this way:
        -quote
        “When you come to realize that your decision to believe in determinism was itself determined and that even your present realization of that fact right now is likewise determined, a sort of vertigo sets in, for everything that you think, even this very thought itself, is outside your control. ”

        Therefore the very act of trying to affirm Determinism undermines the rationality of its affirmation.

      9. Very GOOD Answers- Thanks BR.D
        You stated it so clearly… some of those things you stated helped me to know how to better articulate what I have been seeing and experiencing for years. Other insights were fresh and new.
        Thanks Bro…

      10. GA writes, “..within Calvinism Universal Divine Causal Determinism is their Foundational starting point….”

        The starting point for Calvinism is God and His attributes especially His infinite understanding, His omnipotence, and His omniscience. Universal Divine Causal Determinism is derived consequent to those attributes.

      11. GA writes, “..within Calvinism Universal Divine Causal Determinism is their Foundational starting point….”

        rhutchin
        The starting point for Calvinism is God and His attributes especially His infinite understanding, His omnipotence, and His omniscience. Universal Divine Causal Determinism is derived consequent to those attributes.

        br.d
        I always get a kick out of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking pattern :-]

  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)

    2. Wes-Arm writes, “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.”

      You neglect to mention that you define “being born again” as “becoming a child of God.” The Calvinist does not do this. If you want to argue that the Calvinist falsely makes “born again” and “becoming a child of God” different concepts, then do so. You can’t argue Calvinism is wrong because it defines terms differently than you do – unless you are able to show that it errs in this respect.

      Then, ‘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.”

      Actually, I cannot see that. If you could support your claim and promote discussion, that would be nice.

      Then, “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.”

      I agree. Those “as many as received Him…who believe in His name” were those “who were born…of God.” The grammatical order is that they were born of God and then they received Him. If not, then “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man” serves no purpose in John’s explanation. John is telling us that those who receive/believe don’t do so because they were born of blood, etc. but because they were born of God.

      Then, “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? ”

      It’s not and that is why Arminianism has prevenient grace.

      Then, “Here’s a question…Does 6:37 say “they will [resistibly] come” or “they *must* [irresistibly] come”???”

      It says, “…will come to Me,..” “…will come…” is absolute – it allows for no other outcome. It is the certain outcome regardless whether we call it irresistible or not. Given that no one can come to Christ unless God draw him, we should think that God’s drawing is linked to their coming and if not irresistible then certainly effective.

  12. GRACEADIT writes: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5 NIV) [WES-ARM citation]. This is reading into scripture, way beyond scripture…it is coming to scripture with an already set belief and then seeing something there that is not there. IT does NOT say…”

    BR.D writes: “Well said GraceAdict”

    Looks like we got some bosom-buddy thing going on here. Well, it’s fairly infantile in polemics to suggest what is “NOT” the case.

    (S) Please do enlighten us (I don’t mean this condescendingly) and tell us what it *does* say? What kind of stakes does this raise for biblical anthropology? That is to say, what theological propositions can be extracted from the Psalmist’s confession that he was “sinful at birth” and ‘sinful from the time” of conception? *How* is the Psalmist corrupted by sin from “birth”, and what are its attendant deleterious effects with respect to grace and its ordu solutis?

    Disclaimer: I consider myself to be classically Reformed in the Weslyan-Arminian tradition. My conviction is that Calvinism, when taken to its logical extreme, is theologically repugnant. But what is equally repugnant, is the suggestion that man has the ability on his own, apart from sort of gratia praevenit, is able to introspect his own sinfulness. This smacks of Pelagianism, a view that was ecumenically condemned at the synod of Carthage in c. 418, and its later Semi- manifestation at the council of Orange in c. 529. Leighton’s claim that man can be aware of his own sinfulness (initium fidei) apart from grace, cannot be done by corrupt human nature, but only in divine grace. It’s a sort of optimistic anthropology, versus the pessimistic anthropology championed by both Calvinists and Arminians. (We just have different solutions on how said sinfulness is overcome.) The same ecumenical council that condemned Arius at the council of Nicea,(c. 325) is the same safeguard for other later heresies, e.g., Pelagianism.

    Your responses in treating my as though I were a Calvinist reveals that both GRACEADICT & BR.D (G&B) are hardly acquainted with classical Arminianism in the scholarly literature. RHUTCHIN & I, for instance, can agree with a lot, but to affirm man’s deadness in sin does not in any way concede to Calvinist presuppositions. *That* in fact is a biblical presupposition.

    But do not get caught up with all this. If you guys insist on taking the Pelagian route, then tackle (S) above so I can understand where you’re coming from.

    1. Hi WES-ARM
      Firstly let me say the intent here was not to insult. And you must understand here at SOT101 we are faced with a daily barrage of verses being quoted as proof for extra-biblical doctrines which exist as an invisible canon. Bible verses become squares pegs to be pounded into round holes of extra biblical concepts.

      For me the issue with how people handle or use the date of scripture is not specific to Arminians or Calvinists. However we find the phenomenon of square pegs pounded into round holes pretty much the norm with our Calvinist participants.

      I let Dr. Gordon Fee – a scholar (and Arminian) I greatly respect – speak on this.

      Paraphrased:
      We must understand we are dealing with different literary genres. Since exegesis is always the first task, we spend much of our time emphasizing the uniqueness of each of the literary genres within scripture. When we are asking the question “What is a Biblical psalm” we are asking “What is Hebrew poetry” and how do we differentiate that literary genre from an Epistle which teaches doctrine. We tend to treat every verse in the bible as if it were an emphatically asserted proposition. And we end up with 777 propositions to defend 777 doctrines. I use the number 777 here as a quip (instead of 666) so that you will get the point. In other words we treat the text in a way it was never meant to be treated.

      The second concern that we here at SOT101 are faced with – as I stated earlier – is the process of starting with a conception and then data-mining in scripture looking for any verse that can in any way be construed to affirm some doctrine we’ve been taught to believe.

      Take the verse in point. Does it EXPLICITLY state that man is incapable of responding to God? No it doesn’t. But it is one of a number of verses which are constantly used as square pegs to be pounded into that round hole.

      Sorry if you felt like you were being insulted! That was most definitely not the intent! We do sincerely appreciate your participation.

      What you are seeing here is an unfortunate reality of the environment we live with in the process of doctrinal dialog.

    2. Hi Wes-Arm
      Actually I responded to TONY’s post. Not WES-ARM But Sorry anyways for being too abrupt. I will work on that.

  13. RHUTCHIN writes: “You neglect to mention that you define “being born again” [BG] as “becoming a child of God. [CG]” The Calvinist does not do this.”

    That’s exactly right, the Calvinist doesn’t do that – and with good reason; namely, you’ll be impaled by the reductio that was setup. So to avoid the tautology, now you postulate – ad hoc – that BG&CG are mutually exclusive. Allow me to do two things: (1) strengthen the syntactical exegesis, which alone demonstrates that BG and CG is theologically symmetrical; and (2) show that the broader relevant witness of scripture makes it difficult, if not impossible, to juxtapose between BG & CG. Given this weak semi-objection, now you have the burden of proof of showing BG and CG to be mutually exclusive.

    RHUTCHIN writes: “The grammatical order is that they were born of God and then they received Him.”

    “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (John 1:12)”

    (1A) No one is really that dense. Plainly, that is *not* the “grammatical order”. I won’t debate v. 12 anymore because the order is unambiguous – even to a neophyte; namely, human response of “receiving” and “believing” first, followed by divine action – becoming a child of God. The subjective condition is fulfilled that arrives at sonship. Your contention is with the apostle’s word order. So the real ground of contention is verse 13. Or, will you attempt to have us believe v. 13 comes before v. 12!

    (1B) On my previous syntactical argument that v. 13 is epexegetical, you concurred, “I agree.” But that’s a misread. What I meant is, v. 13 explicates *how* one becomes a child of God, not how one is able to receive and believe. Verse 13 is not a new sentence. It is a dependent clause, which in turn – and as the golden grammatical rule dictates – is dependent on the nearest antecedent. The syntax fixes the structures so that that the divine action in 12b, is further expanded in v. 13. In other words, the divine action in v. 12b, is explained by the divine action in verse 13. The divine action is properly correlates and explicates the divine action in v. 12b. The burden of proof falls on you to show why the dependent clause v. 13 is not limited to its nearest grammatical referent.

    (1C) Lastly for (1), the term ἐγεννήθησαν is an aorist middle. In order to get the nuance you need (e.g., “had *already* been born”), you will need a perfect passive. Your theology cannot be sustained by the exegetical evidence.

    (2A) To become a child of God, it cannot be of man’s will (Pelagian) or autonomous power, but only from an efficient and procreant cause who is God alone. But in case the logic of – natural begets natural, and spirit begets spirit – eludes you, let’s cull systematically the NT’s premises on what “born again” entails: (B1) “entering the kingdom of heaven” (Jn 3.5); (B2) being “saved” – having your sins expiated and renewed “of the Holy spirit” (Titus 3:5); (B3) “new creation” 2 Cor. 5:17; (B4) “born again not of perishable seed but of imperishable” (1 Peter 1:23); (B5) believing is to have “eternal life” (Jn. 3:36); (B6) ‘out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (Jn 7.38-39), etc.

    (2B) RHUTCHIN would have us believe that, the above rich-laden spirit-wrought feats of B1-B6 that brings a sinner into union with Christ, does not sufficiently entail sonship?? John 3:36 states that “believing” is what it means to “have eternal life.” Again, RHUTCHIN would have us believe that, according to (2A) we can be saved (i.e., have eternal life) by the “washing of regeneration” (παλινγενεσίας) (Titus 3.5), but that still doesn’t entail the conjunction of BG&CG! Really! This is exactly the absurdities that result when scripture takes a knee to the bowels of humanistic doctrines.

    Apropos (2C) To claim that regeneration precedes faith, is to claim that God can bestow life (Titus 3:5) apart from the blood of His Son. It is to claim that God gives life prior to the removal of sin. If God can bestow life apart from the atoning benefits of Christ’s death, then the atonement becomes less than the necessary means by which a holy God reconciles sinners to Himself (Rom. 5:10). Therefore, the Calvinistic doctrine of irresistible grace is not sufficiently Christocentric; and it seems it does not theologically comprehend the nature and necessity of justification.

    RHUTCHIN writes: “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? ” It’s not and that is why Arminianism has prevenient grace.

    You originally wrote this to rebut HEATHER. If you knew, as you concede, that such emphasis is consistent with Arminianism, then why make the point? Wasn’t your point to highlight an emphasis that buttresses your view? Your point is not only moot but also otiose.

    RHUTCHIN writes: “It says, “…will come to Me,..” “…will come…” is absolute – it allows for no other outcome. It is the certain outcome regardless whether we call it irresistible or not.

    But that’s exactly the Arminian position! It is correct that from “will come” they will certainly come. But it is muddleheaded to think that because x will *certainly* come, x will *necessarily* (i.e., irresistibly) come. It is logically possible that x can fail to happen, and God will know it. If they will *certainly* come, they will come contingently and not by any necessity. The assumption of “irresistibility” commits a modal fallacy.

    The Reformed Arminian should not in any way, shape, or form, contest, re-interpret, or waterdown John’s words as they appear in John 6. The Arminian needn’t retreat from any saying by the apostle. The burden of proof is on the Calvinist to show any textual particle in John 6 that clearly alludes to *irresistibility*. The Calvinistic term irresistiblity is too freighted for such as weak participle as ἐρχόμενον (‘will” Jn. 6:37). The calvinist would need a greek term that connotes something like ‘inevitibility’, ‘must’ or any verb that connotes necessity. The only option for the Calvinist, as I see it, is for him to continue to beat a dead horse, eisegete it in the text, or just fabricate evidence.

    The text says they “will come”, and so the Calvinist conflates certainty with necessity. It’s a subtle but understandable slip.

    1. Wes-Arm,

      Great post. There have been many great posts on this site but our local Calvinists seem to disconnect the Greek, the simple English verse, and the logic. Be forewarned….. you will encounter that.

    2. Totally wonderful analysis WES-ARM!!

      However, its not clear to me that Calvinists equate certainty with necessity – although from first glance it might appear that way.

      Calvinist language is so totally saturated with ambiguities, amphibolies, and equivocations that many Calvinists do make statements that clearly assert necessity. However I think this is more attributed to immaturity for some Calvinists. But for the rest I think its often a byproduct of their DOUBLE-SPEAK language.

      Augustine himself could see the difference between these two – but he wasn’t philosophically sophisticated enough to resolve them. But I happen to know rhutchin does know the difference.

      That being said – I totally loved this post!

    3. WES-ARM writes, “v. 12…the order is unambiguous…human response of “receiving” and “believing” first, followed by divine action – becoming a child of God. ”

      Agreed.

      Then, “So the real ground of contention is verse 13…v. 13 explicates *how* one becomes a child of God, not how one is able to receive and believe.”

      Since “receive/believe? precedes “becoming a child of God” how one becomes a child of God must incorporate “receive/believe” since it is part of the process – one does not become a child of God without first “receive/believe.”

      Then, “The burden of proof falls on you to show why the dependent clause v. 13 is not limited to its nearest grammatical referent. ”

      I take v13 describes “as many…to them…those who believe.” I take that to be the nearest grammatical referent.

      Then, “Lastly for (1), the term ἐγεννήθησαν is an aorist middle.”

      Is that a minority opinion? I accept the understanding that it is aorist passive.

      Then, “let’s cull systematically the NT’s premises on what “born again” entails: (B1) “entering the kingdom of heaven” (Jn 3.5);”

      It enables – “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” So, by entails, we understand that additional actions occur before one actually enters the kingdom of heaven (e.g., one must believe). Per Titus, “God saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” Titus gives us part of the process of salvation but not all the elements (e.g., one must believe).

      Then, “(2B) RHUTCHIN would have us believe that, the above rich-laden spirit-wrought feats of B1-B6 that brings a sinner into union with Christ, does not sufficiently entail sonship??”

      My issue deals with the order in which those feats occur. You are wrong to say, “RHUTCHIN would have us believe that, according to (2A) we can be saved (i.e., have eternal life) by the “washing of regeneration” (παλινγενεσίας) (Titus 3.5), but that still doesn’t entail the conjunction of BG&CG!” Again, the issue is not conjunction but order – which comes first: BG or CG.

      Then, “Apropos (2C) To claim that regeneration precedes faith,…”

      We know from v12-13 that faith (believe) precedes CG. The issue is still order.

      Then, “To claim that regeneration precedes faith, is to claim that God can bestow life (Titus 3:5) apart from the blood of His Son.”

      Regeneration bestows spiritual life (the person was dead in sin and now is alive in sin), it enables one to receive/believe thereby conveying eternal life.

      So, we have two unresolved issues, “(1) the order of events, and (2) your claim of aorist middle.

    4. WES-ARM writes, “You originally wrote this to rebut HEATHER. If you knew, as you concede, that such emphasis is consistent with Arminianism, then why make the point? ”

      I usually trot out 6:44 to affirm Total Depravity. I’ll guess and say such was the case with Heather. If so, then I accept your criticism, “Your point is not only moot but also otiose.”

      Then, “RHUTCHIN writes: “It says, “…will come to Me,..” “…will come…” is absolute – it allows for no other outcome. It is the certain outcome regardless whether we call it irresistible or not.”
      WES-ARM: “It is correct that from “will come” they will certainly come. But it is muddleheaded to think that because x will *certainly* come, x will *necessarily* (i.e., irresistibly) come. It is logically possible that x can fail to happen, and God will know it. If they will *certainly* come, they will come contingently and not by any necessity. The assumption of “irresistibility” commits a modal fallacy.”

      If X is certain then it is not logically possible for X to fail to happen. What is not specified by certainty is the means by which X comes about – that which makes it necessary. No conclusion of “irresistibility” is required at this point, we can conclude perseverance/preservation.

      Then, ‘The burden of proof is on the Calvinist to show any textual particle in John 6 that clearly alludes to *irresistibility*.

      You misunderstand Calvinism. Calvinism takes “All that the Father gives Me…” to support election, ““No one can come to Me..” to support Total Depravity, “…unless the Father who sent Me draws him;” to support saving grace, and “…the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” to support perseverance/preservation. We can conclude certainty from John 6 and indirectly, irresistibility -there is no argument for resistibility in John 6.

      Then, ‘The Calvinistic term irresistiblity is too freighted for such as weak participle as ἐρχόμενον (‘will” Jn. 6:37). The calvinist would need a greek term that connotes something like ‘inevitibility’, ‘must’ or any verb that connotes necessity.”

      At the least, we can see certainty in 6:37 if we cannot prove irresistiblity from the verse.

      Then, “The text says they “will come”, and so the Calvinist conflates certainty with necessity. It’s a subtle but understandable slip.”

      I’ll take certainty, if you are willing to grant it. Personally, I don’t see Calvinists conflating certainty with necessity, but certainty is fine with me.

  14. BR.D writes: “Does it EXPLICITLY state that man is incapable of responding to God? No it doesn’t.”

    I did not feel insulted at all. But you should have went on to exegete the Psalmist’s anthropological statement and *show* what it *does* say.

    I also don’t recommend you use arguments from silence. Primarily because, neither does scripture *affirm* your Pelagian proposition. See the problem? With arguments from silence, the sword cuts both ways. To further illustrate, using your logic, “Does scripture explicityly state the Trinity?” No it does not. But we all believe that all the concepts can be exegeted both systematically and biblically from the text of scripture.

    Again, thanks for the kindness, but I’m really interested in your response to (S).

    1. Thanks WES-ARM

      I’ll leave the “Pelagian proposition” suggestion for a later time.

      I appreciated this post :-]

    2. To quote Norman Giesler: “Man sinned and fell but the image of God was NOT erased even though it was effaced.”

      Now the big Question is, at the Fall, did man become a corpse that is in a state of “Total Inability” as it relates to God? . Does this fallen man have no ability to see, hear, understand or respond to God’s truth in anyway whatsoever? Or is the effaced image of God still present, yes deeply marred by sin and totally unable to come to God by way of a works righteousness and desperately needing God to extend mercy and grace but still the image bearer of his creator. Though effaced, still bearing some God given abilities?

      Total Depravity- Total Inability as taught by John MacArthur, and others, frequently JMac uses an illustration of going to a cemetery to illustrate what they mean by total inability he says -if you preach to the graves no one will hear, understand or respond to the preaching, see there, that is man before he is born again, that is the meaning of the fall. Man must be regenerated before he can see, hear, understand and respond to the gospel.- Sounds kind of plausible but what do the scriptures show us? Do the scriptures show us that sinful man is like the corpse illustration, needing to be brought to life before he responds to the Gospel?

      Looking at some scriptures that focus on this fallen sinful man, the Man that JMac would say is in a state of “Total Inability” After Adam and Eve had already Sinned, is Total Inability the correct way to understand them?
      God’s Original design: Man made in the image of God with many Abilities.

      Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; …So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
      Gen 5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.

      After the fall what does the Bible still say about Man, God’s Creation. Even fallen man is referred to as being still “in God’s image” and having dignity and worth to God. Because they are HIS creation made in HIS IMAGE. (though effaced)
      Gen 9:6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made MAN in HIS OWN IMAGE.
      Psa 139:13-15 For YOU FORMED MY inward parts; YOU KNITTED ME together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and WONDERFULLY MADE. WONDERFUL ARE YOUR WORKS; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, INTRICATELY WOVEN in the depths of the earth.
      1Co 11:7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is THE IMAGE AND GLORY OF GOD,
      Jas 3:8-9 no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse PEOPLE WHO ARE MADE IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD.

      What Abilities can we see that Fallen Man still had?
      Gen 3:7-8 Then the eyes of both were OPENED, and they KNEW that they were naked. And they SEWED fig leaves together and MADE themselves loincloths. And they HEARD the sound of the LORD God…the man and his wife HID themselves from (God)

      Notice Adam and Eve are already sinners (separated from God by their sin) in the state of spiritual death yet both hear, understand and respond to God and His presence…
      Gen 3:9-11 But the LORD God CALLED to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And HE SAID, “I HEARD the sound of you in the garden, and I WAS AFRAID , because I was naked, and I HID myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The MAN SAID, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The WOMAN SAID, “The serpent deceived me…
      Gen 3:22-23 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man HAS BECOME LIKE ONE OF US in KNOWING good and evil. Now, lest he…
      A dialogue between God and man/woman takes place…not very corpse like. Deep understanding and responding takes place.
      Now maybe this ability to hear God and interact with God was true of Adam and Eve but to the next generation it no longer applied. The next generation man took on the Total Inability state. Once again what do the scriptures say?

      Let’s look at Cain.
      Cain could hear God, he understood God, he responded to God, he was not corpse like. His sin had separated between him and his God but he was not corpse like. Cain understood God’s rejection of his offering and Cain responded to God and dialogued with God.

      Gen 4:5-7 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. SO Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
      Gen 4:8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.

      NOTICE Cain hears God, understands everything and responds to GOD. We are not seeing the corpse “Total Inability” here either.
      Gen 4:9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” HE SAID, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”
      Gen 4:10 And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.
      Gen 4:11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand….You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”
      Gen 4:13-14 CAIN SAID TO THE LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer …

      Psalms indicates that even creation is preaching a message that is heard by All Sinners in every language. Not very “Total Inability” or corpse like either.

      Psa 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. 2 Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. 3 There is NO SPEECH NOR LANGUAGE WHERE THEIR VOICE IS NOT HEARD. 4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world.

      Romans goes on to say these “Total Inability” people actually perceive, it is plain to them, they know things about God, they can clearly see and understand many things about God’s nature. Not very corpse like. It is this non-corpse like ability that makes them without excuse. Effaced image bearers who still have God given abilities to see, understand and respond.

      Rom 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who SUPPRESS the truth in unrighteousness, For what CAN BE KNOWN of God is PLAIN to them, because God HAS SHOWN IT TO THEM . For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world ARE CLEARLY SEEN, being REALIZED by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, So they are without excuse.

      How about the Gentiles? Maybe they don’t have any ability, maybe they are the ones that are corpse like? Total Depravity, Total Inability?
      Rom 2:14-15 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is WRITTEN on their hearts, while their CONSCIENCE also BEARS WITNESS, and their CONFLICTING THOUGHTS ACCUSE or even EXCUSE them
      Scripture doesn’t seem to assume anyone is “corpse like” – Total Inability.
      Act 17:25-29 …He himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, THAT THEY SHOULD SEEK GOD , and perhaps FEEL THEIR WAY TOWARD HIM AND FIND HIM . Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For WE ARE indeed HIS OFFSPRING.’ Being then God’s offspring,
      Act 24:25 And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix WAS ALARMED and said, “Go away for the present.

      Joh 8:9 And hearing, and being CONVICTED by CONSCIENCE, they went out one by one, beginning at the oldest, until the last.
      All of the Above examples are of people who, as far as we know, never got saved yet they heard, understood, had the law written on their hearts, had an active conscience and could respond to God.
      Isa 1:18-20 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. IF YOU ARE WILLING AND OBEDIENT you shall eat the good of the land; but IF YOU REFUSE AND REBEL, you shall be…

      All of these are UNBELIEVERS that had the ability to see, hear, understand and interact with God. That is why I do not subscribe to the doctrine of Total Inability – I believe scripture clearly shows that Total Inability is not true.

      1. Graceadict writes, “All of these are UNBELIEVERS that had the ability to see, hear, understand and interact with God. That is why I do not subscribe to the doctrine of Total Inability – I believe scripture clearly shows that Total Inability is not true.”

        The passages cited are not necessarily antagonistic to the doctrine of Total Depravity (TD); in fact, they have no explanatory scope nor relevancy to TD. It seems that the *why* that gets you to “not subscribe” to TD is a misfire. How so?

        It is standard orthodox teaching that the Imago Dei (ID), though marred by the deleterious effects of sin, is not annihilated. The passages you raised only speak towards ID, but it doesn’t speak to the deleterious effects of TD. The former speaks to the ontological status of human nature (i.e., what it *is*), and the latter touches on accidental-parasitic properties that inheres in the human nature. A crucial distinction.

        The Protestant Reformers from Lutheran scholastics, major Wesleyan theologians (e.g., Watson, Oden), and Arminius himself affirmed the doctrine of TD. And there is good reason why. For instance, here are some well-grounded biblical examples:

        This is true today: “You are NOT ABLE to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God (Josh. 24.19)

        We are “dead in… trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2.1)

        Becoming “futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1.21)

        Incapable of repentance because of a hardened heart “But because of your hard and impenitent heart…” (Rom. 2.5)

        “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; NO ONE SEEKS FOR GOD” (Rom. 3.10-11)

        And, clearly, sin ensnares and enslaves us, “everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8.34)

        And unbelievers are UNABLE to come to Jesus “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (Jn. 6.44).

        No one has the ability to repent and call upon the name of the Lord “except in the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12.3)

        And the one everyone neglected to comment on: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51.5)

        So there are good biblical grounds to affirm TD. Are the biblical propositions of both ID & TD necessarily contradictory? No, both emphasize two different categories: ID – the ontology of human nature, and TD – the noetic effects of sin. Therefore, unless we lay down some definitions, we will continue to talk past each other. To get clarity, I think it will be helpful for you to define what you mean by *total depravity*. (Though you’ve provided a good case for the intrinsic worthy and dignity of human nature!) Your post mostly wrestles what it DOESN’T MEAN, but perhaps you can give us a definition of what it DOES in fact mean. So it’s a non-sequitur to reject TD simply in virtue of ID.

        I have one criticism.

        When both Calvinists and Arminians affirm total depravity or inability, we affirm it within the context that the initium fidei can never be grounded in human nature **apart from grace** – before, through, and after! It’s not surprising then that all the citations you provided—showing unbelievers responding—are readily affirmed TD proponents because the communicative presence of God through direct divine speech-acts are *themselves* a display of gratia praeveniens. Ironically, they support TD. So unless your definition will exclude any gratia operans *before* man’s response, we will see that you, BR.D, Leighton, and co., need not reject TD. (Yes, TD can be *affirmed* without adopting Calvin’s views on freedom and grace.) Defining our terms will go a long way.

        When you reject “total depravity” what concept do you have in mind, or how do you explain the aforementioned passages? What effects does this have on human nature with respect to soteria?

  15. Rhutchin,

    I appreciate the dialogue and your time! Please don’t feel the need to respond immediately or (preferably) not in parts or segments. And most certainly, do not think if no immediate reply is forthcoming, somehow I’ll think you forfeited – as if this is a game of who wins the argument. All here care most deeply about getting scripture right and defending a position that is most defensible. The comment section is already too large and it’s easier if I can refer to one post when replying to anyone. If that’s unlikely, understandable. Hoping to get to replies tomorrow.

  16. Rhutchin writes: “So, we have two unresolved issues, “(1) the order of events, and (2) your claim of aorist middle.”

    Not so fast!

    RHUTCHIN writes: WES-ARM writes, “v. 12…the order is unambiguous…human response of “receiving” and “believing” first, followed by divine action – becoming a child of God. ”Agreed.

    But in a previous post you said, “The grammatical order is that they were born of God and then they received Him.” This is a back-door admission that you’ve flip-flopped. Second, you have yet to show “grammatically” such order. If anything, it is a *theological* order that you’re eisegeting on the text. So, you’re conflating theological priority over and against grammatical priority.

    Rhutchin writes: “Since “receive/believe? precedes “becoming a child of God” how one becomes a child of God must incorporate “receive/believe” since it is part of the process…”

    Why “must” being born again be “incorporate[d] receive/believe”? That’s the point you must prove, right? That’s exactly what’s being debated and so you shouldn’t beg the question! A dogmatic declaration is not the same as an exegetical argument. This also raises another objection; namely, you’re conflating gratia operans with gratia cooperans. It also collapses the subject of faith with the object of faith – replacing sola fide with nola fide (i.e., faith as a mere consequence.) Your responses raise more problems than it resolves.

    Rutchin: “I take v13 describes “as many…to them…those who believe.” I take that to be the nearest grammatical referent.”

    Of course you “take it” that way, but it’s another naked assertion. On what linguistic principle do “I take” that to be the case? If you’re approach to dialogue is reduced to “I take” assertions, rather than arguing for an objective linguistic principle that guides exegesis, it’s becoming apparent you idolize more humanistic tradition that sound grammatical exegesis. Don’t conflate what you believe, with grammatical evidence of that belief.

    Rhutchin: “Again, the issue is not conjunction but order – which comes first: BG or CG.”

    Did you not deny this conjunction earlier when you said, “You neglect to mention that you define “being born again” as “becoming a child of God. The Calvinist does not do this.” You still haven’t shown they are mutually exclusive. Thus, you continue to beg the question. You don’t even begin to touch 2A-2C which shows BG&CG are synonymous.

    Rhutchin: “Regeneration bestows spiritual life (the person was dead in sin and now is alive in sin), it enables one to receive/believe thereby conveying eternal life.”

    How many times is the question going to be begged here?! That is exactly what we are debating, and you shouldn’t beg the question. Moreover, you’ve cherry picked what I said. I also said, “It is to claim that God gives life prior to the removal of sin. If God can bestow life apart from the atoning benefits of Christ’s death, then the atonement becomes less than the necessary means by which a holy God reconciles sinners to Himself (Rom. 5:10).”

    Aren’t we ultimately separated from a holy God because of sin? And what is the remedy to sin? Regeneration? Or the atoning benefits of the blood of Christ which is applied by faith? If regeneration, then you make the atonement superfluous.

    Rutchin: “If X is certain then it is not logically possible for X to fail to happen.”

    Another outright denial. I’m losing track of these bare assertions! Make an argument! You’re equating *certainty* with *necessity* (i.e., irresistibility), and you’re also conflating the distinction between the necessity of the consequence with the necessity of the consequent.

    Rhutchin: “I’ll take certainty, if you are willing to grant it. Personally, I don’t see Calvinists conflating certainty with necessity, but certainty is fine with me.”

    Your opponent should only grant things “for the sake of argument.” Why would anyone give away a free concession! What a weird thing to ask! I’ve made an argument of your equivocating technical terms that impacts the discussion, and you should offer a rebuttal. You’re really standing on one leg here.

    Rhutchin: “No conclusion of “irresistibility” is required at this point, we can conclude perseverance/preservation.”

    This concession is devastating! It snaps the hooks right out of the Calvinist’s jaws – essentially, disarming a viable prooftext for irresistibility. You haven’t even shown that John 6 is distinctive to Calvinists. But I’ll follow you wherever you go and takes those hooks from the “perseverance/preservation” jaws as well. So let’s go there, only because you swung that door wide open. I’ll introduce two arguments: AW1 AND AW2.

    Apostolic Warnings (AW1): In Romans 11, Paul teaches that regenerate believers, whom God himself grafts into the Olive tree, will be cut off if they revert to unbelief: “For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, PROVIDED YOU CONTINUE IN HIS KINDNESS. Otherwise YOU TOO WILL BE CUT OFF. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in AGAIN” (Romans 11:22-24).

    A couple of things to note: (1) The audience are regenerate believers because it is God who omnisciently and omnipotently grafts them on the Olive Tree, “God has the power to graft them in again” (11:23); (2) If God knows all true propositions via his omniscience, it is impossible God grafts an individual with spurious faith; (3) Therefore, God warns the elect that they too can be cut off (“God will not spare you either, v. 24); (4); Being part of the people of God (i.e., Olive Tree), or to remain elect, is contingent on “provided you continue in his kindness” (v. 24); (5) Regenerate believers can go from being in the Olive Tree sustained by faith, to being cut off by reverting to unbelief, but God can graft them back in “AGAIN” (v. 24).

    That should give any Calvinists heart palpitations because in their humanistic tradition, God’s creatorial omnipotence and sovereignty gets things right the FIRST time and fulfills all his decrees. Yet—and this is a hugely important yet!—the text says God can graft them in “AGAIN” (v. 42). In the Calvinist’s eyes, seems that, God as described in Romans, is an impotent deity that “tries to save”!

    (AW2): Hebrews 10 warns believers who’s sins have been expiated by the blood of Christ that they can experience a fearful expectation of judgment if they commit the sin of apostasy: “26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries… 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?”

    A few issues: (1) The inspired author includes himself if this warning by using first person pronoun “we” (v. 29); he says clearly the believer who can experience fearful judgment has been sanctified by the blood of the new covenant: “has profaned the blood of the covenant, by which he was sanctified” (v. 29); the medium used for sanctification is “the blood of the new covenant” (v. 29). Therefore, regenerated believers are warned that if they commit apostasy they can expect “a fearful expectation of judgement” (v. 27).

    Can you explain why a believer whose sins have been expiated by the blood of the new covenant is being warned of fearful judgment if Calvinism is true? Why does the inspired author include himself from being ousted if the gospel of Calvinism is true?

    1. Wes-Arm,

      It is obvious that you have brought heavy artillery to a knife fight. Your Calvinist debater will bring his pocket knife and repeat, repeat, repeat the same 3-4 verses, expecting you to believe with him that these verses (dogmatically interpreted his way) somehow trump all your other verses and logic. Good luck with that.

      Now…the Hebrews passage is a problem for Calvinists and 1-point Calvinist-Baptists and traditionalists on this blog.

      I encourage everyone to listen to MacArthur’s explanation of this. It is beyond belief. In the 4-5 sermons he takes to explicate this passage he will have you so twisted in knots you cant see straight. In a nutshell: One minute (on verse, or even HALF a verse) the Hebrews author is talking to believers and the other minute he is talking to “almost-believers” (those who have come so close and have “tasted” of Christ’s glory).

      After listening to that set of messages I knew that MacArthur would go to ANY length to defend an idea. Absolute eisegesis. The quintessential definition of eisegesis.

      He calls the parable of the Prodigal son, the Parable of the Seeking Father (since—in his message on this he denies that the son is seeking, but it is really the father).

      Since they have no room for a certain ideas to be true, they have to massacre any passages that might hint at saying that. Too bad they cannot just let the Scripture speak.

      1. Fromoverhere,

        You mean invest to listen to MacArthur’s 4-parter for a primer on eisegesis!

    2. WES-ARM writes”But in a previous post you said, “The grammatical order is that they were born of God and then they received Him.” This is a back-door admission that you’ve flip-flopped.”
      Then, “Did you not deny this conjunction earlier when you said, “You neglect to mention that you define “being born again” as “becoming a child of God. The Calvinist does not do this.”

      So, I guess you actually understand this.

      Then, “Second, you have yet to show “grammatically” such order. If anything, it is a *theological* order that you’re eisegeting on the text. So, you’re conflating theological priority over and against grammatical priority. ”

      Your position requires the aorist middle in v13; mine takes the aorist passive. You said, “Lastly for (1), the term ἐγεννήθησαν is an aorist middle. In order to get the nuance you need (e.g., “had *already* been born”), you will need a perfect passive. Your theology cannot be sustained by the exegetical evidence.” I think a simple aorist passive is sufficient establishing a past event preceding “as many as received Him”. However, you neglected to explain your conclusion of an aorist middle – is it a minority opinion?

      If we resolve the aorist passive vs aorist middle issue, we should nail down order. Where is Brian when you need him?

      1. Rhutchin: “I think a simple aorist passive is sufficient establishing a past event preceding “as many as received Him”.

        You’re massively confused. A couple of points:

        (1) Of course John 1:13 describes a past event! From the perspective of the writer, the audience is orally hearing a past event.

        (2) What you “think” is not evidence. Do you want to be persuasive, or are you just pontificating? It’s obvious that you’re fixated on a theological conclusion in search of evidence.

        (3) Why do you keep cherry-picking without justification which options to engage? On what evidential basis do you rule out the perfect past tense?

        (4) It’s likely you’re not aware of recent and important work in verbal aspect theory. You’re also confused about the movement from exegesis to theology.

        (5) In order to *show* from John 1:12-13 that they “received” and “believed” because they were already born again, you will need a cause and effect relationship just like v. 12. Moreover, even if you hone in on either aorist, it would still never get you to the theological conclusion you’re desperate to make. You’re failing to take into account semantic vs grammatical priority.

        IN YOUR UNDERSTANDING, WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF ‘NEAREST ANTECEDENT’?? This is where your confusion lies.

      2. WES-ARM writes, “IN YOUR UNDERSTANDING, WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF ‘NEAREST ANTECEDENT’??”

        By definition, an antecedent is “a substantive word, phrase, or clause whose denotation is referred to by a pronoun”

        In this case, we have, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born…of God.” What is the antecedent of “who” in “who were born”? The nearest phrase is “to those who believe in His name,” so the antecedent of “who” traces back to “those.” Now, we have, “to those (who were born of God) who believe in His name.”

        Then, what is the antecedent of “those”?

        We have two possibilities:
        1. as many as received Him (those who believe in Him)
        2. to them (those who believe in Him) He gave the right to become children of God, The order is first, one believes, and then God gives that person the right.

        No 2 is reasonable, so we look to the antecedent of “them.” This traces back to the “many” of No 1 who received Christ.. So, we trace back “who were born of God back to “as many as received Him.” As God’s giving the right to be children of God follows after, and is conditioned on a person receiving/believing, we see that the action of being born of God precedes God giving the right to be children of God.

        Then, “(5) In order to *show* from John 1:12-13 that they “received” and “believed” because they were already born again, you will need a cause and effect relationship just like v. 12”

        The conclusion we can draw from the identification of antecedents is that being born again precedes God giving people the right to be children of God. So, being born again is not the same as being a child of God. Being born again enables a person to become a child of God.

        Does “being born again” precede one receiving/believing. For cause and effect, we go yo John 3 where Christ explains, “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” and “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” The new birth is an action irresistibly imposed on a person by the Holy Spirit. It enables a person to both see and enter the kingdom of God. Being born again provides for the person to receive/believe in Christ. In order to receive/believe in Christ a person must have faith.

        We have the cause and effect specified. The Holy Spirit irresistibly imposes a new birth on a person. The effect of the new birth is to enable a person to see and enter the kingdom of God. Being able to see/enter the kingdom now allows a person to receive faith. On receiving faith the person receives/believes in Christ. Lastly, God gives the person the right to become children of God.

        Then, ‘(4) It’s likely you’re not aware of recent and important work in verbal aspect theory. You’re also confused about the movement from exegesis to theology. ”

        You are correct on this point. So, how about giving us a summary of work in verbal aspect theory with regard to the understanding of John 1:12-13. Maybe you could also address my confusion about the movement from exegesis to theology as this relates to John 1:12-13.

        Then, “Moreover, even if you hone in on either aorist, it would still never get you to the theological conclusion you’re desperate to make. You’re failing to take into account semantic vs grammatical priority. ”

        OK. Then, maybe you can explain how semantic vs grammatical priority helps us to understand John 1:12-13.

    3. Rutchin: “I take v13 describes “as many…to them…those who believe.” I take that to be the nearest grammatical referent.”
      WES-ARM : Of course you “take it” that way, but it’s another naked assertion.”

      Maybe you could advance discussion by telling us what you see as the nearest grammatical referent.” There don’t seem to be many options available. When we read, “who were born” coming immediately after “those who believe in His name:” it is pretty easy to put the two together as this is the normal thing to do when looking for antecedents – Thus not really a ‘naked assertion.”

    4. Wes-Arm writes, “(AW2): Hebrews 10 warns believers who’s sins have been expiated by the blood of Christ that they can experience a fearful expectation of judgment if they commit the sin of apostasy:…Can you explain why a believer whose sins have been expiated by the blood of the new covenant is being warned of fearful judgment if Calvinism is true? ”

      You answer your own question when you limit the sin to “the sin of apostasy.” I see nothing in this verse that requires this limitation. The writer has in mind all sin committed willingly. I see the key being the term, “willingly.” Willingly denotes desire and intent – that which the person commits naturally as a product of his nature. However, this would be impossible for the believer who now has a new nature.

      We know that believers still sin because John assures the believer, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins,…” John also tells us, “…even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”

      Who might be in mind here? The author may be thinking of those identified in Matthew 7, where Christ said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” The author of Hebrews writes to those that he considers brothers, or believers, but in v26 he recognizes that such may not be the case. He is calling on the reader to inspect his life to see if he really knows Christ and has committed to Him. In the end, the writer says, “we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” He may have in mind the assurance Paul had given in Philippians, “God who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” or the promise of Christ, ““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.”

      The assurance of the believer is not based on his personal efforts but entirely on God working in his life.

  17. Graceadict writes, “All of these are UNBELIEVERS that had the ability to see, hear, understand and interact with God. That is why I do not subscribe to the doctrine of Total Inability – I believe scripture clearly shows that Total Inability is not true.”

    The passages cited are not necessarily antagonistic to the doctrine of Total Depravity (TD); in fact, they have no explanatory scope nor relevancy to TD. It seems that the *why* that gets you to “not subscribe” to TD is a misfire. How so?

    It is standard orthodox teaching that the Imago Dei (ID), though marred by the deleterious effects of sin, is not annihilated. The passages you raised only speak towards ID, but it doesn’t speak to the deleterious effects of TD. The former speaks to the ontological status of human nature (i.e., what it *is*), and the latter touches on accidental-parasitic properties that inheres in the human nature. A crucial distinction.

    The Protestant Reformers from Lutheran scholastics, major Wesleyan theologians (e.g., Watson, Oden), and Arminius himself affirmed the doctrine of TD. And there is good reason why. For instance, here are some well-grounded biblical examples:

    This is true today: “You are NOT ABLE to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God (Josh. 24.19)

    We are “dead in… trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2.1)

    Becoming “futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1.21)

    Incapable of repentance because of a hardened heart “But because of your hard and impenitent heart…” (Rom. 2.5)

    “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; NO ONE SEEKS FOR GOD” (Rom. 3.10-11)

    And, clearly, sin ensnares and enslaves us, “everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8.34)

    And unbelievers are UNABLE to come to Jesus “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (Jn. 6.44).

    No one has the ability to repent and call upon the name of the Lord “except in the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12.3)

    And the one everyone neglected to comment on: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51.5)

    So there are good biblical grounds to affirm TD. Are the biblical propositions of both ID & TD necessarily contradictory? No, both emphasize two different categories: ID – the ontology of human nature, and TD – the noetic effects of sin. Therefore, unless we lay down some definitions, we will continue to talk past each other. To get clarity, I think it will be helpful for you to define what you mean by *total depravity*. (Though you’ve provided a good case for the intrinsic worthy and dignity of human nature!) Your post mostly wrestles what it DOESN’T MEAN, but perhaps you can give us a definition of what it DOES in fact mean. So it’s a non-sequitur to reject TD simply in virtue of ID.

    I have one criticism.

    When both Calvinists and Arminians affirm total depravity or inability, we affirm it within the context that the initium fidei can never be grounded in human nature **apart from grace** – before, through, and after! It’s not surprising then that all the citations you provided—showing unbelievers responding—are readily affirmed TD proponents because the communicative presence of God through direct divine speech-acts are *themselves* a display of gratia praeveniens. Ironically, they support TD. So unless your definition will exclude any gratia operans *before* man’s response, we will see that you, BR.D, Leighton, and co., need not reject TD. (Yes, TD can be *affirmed* without adopting Calvin’s views on freedom and grace.) Defining our terms will go a long way.

    When you reject “total depravity” what concept do you have in mind, or how do you explain the aforementioned passages? What effects does this have on human nature with respect to soteria?

  18. DR. WILLIAM LANE CRAIG – SURVEYS THE DOCTRINE OF TOTAL DEPRAVITY

    “As one of the parts of our ‘Defender’ Series of Christian Apologetics – we perform a historical survey of all of the major parts of Christian doctrine, from beginning to end. In that survey what we find is that historically Christians differ in their view on original sin. So if you have reservations to this [i.e. Total Depravity] you will be in very good company. Its not as though this is a cardinal doctrine of Christianity.

    The Catholic Church holds to the doctrine of original sin, but Eastern Orthodoxy for example does not. In Protestant theology, although Reformed theology holds to the doctrine, many Arminians do not. So there is a diversity of opinion within Christendom on this, and that is one of the strengths of the Christian faith – that it permits this kind of diversity.”
    -end quote

    If one were to perform his own survey on the exact definition of Total Depravity within the variance of Calvinists – one will also find a diversity of opinion. Some Calvinists self-identify as holding to a “softer” version of Total Depravity. A more “rigid” version might be the belief that fallen man perceives good as evil and evil as good – and thereby rejects God.

    C.S. Lewis was familiar with that definition and noted a logical consequence of it:
    -quote
    “If God’s moral judgment differs from ours so that our ‘black’ may be His ‘white,’ we can mean nothing by calling Him good; for to say ‘God is good,’ while asserting that His goodness is wholly other than ours, is really only to say ‘God is we know not what.’ And an utterly unknown quality in God cannot give us moral grounds for loving or obeying Him. If He is not (IN OUR SENSE) ‘good’ we shall obey, if at all, only through fear – and should be equally ready to obey an omnipotent Fiend. The doctrine of Total Depravity – where the consequence is drawn that, since we are totally depraved, our idea of good is worth simply nothing – may thus turn Christianity into a form of devil-worship.” End-quote

    If we take note of those streams of the church that teach it, we will find they represent the stream of Augustinian thinking. Catholicism, having Augustine as its doctrinal father holds to it. And Luther and Calvin in their semi-departure out of Catholicism retain it. And Jacobus Arminius in his semi-departure from Calvin retains it. The binding-tie, which links all of these streams together, is an Augustinian influence.

    The vast majority of Evangelical Christians correlate with Arminian leanings by coincidence. But most see Total Depravity as an extreme or fringe doctrine. It is unique to those streams of the church that remain under an Augustinian influence. And millions of Evangelical Christians if they’ve ever even heard the name “Augustine” have little to no knowledge of or concern of his doctrines.

    1. Once again, I seemed to have missed this post. But this is one of the best comments I have seen concerning TD. It has pervaded Protestantism since the Reformation, as have many other blatant Augustinian/Calvinist concepts. This is why it is very important to reexamine our most dearly held beliefs, for many may contain errant preconceptions which we have long deemed unquestionable.

  19. BR.D

    I noticed a pattern: All my comments on TD have been ducked by all non-calvinists, which is unfortunate. Why is that the case?

    Let’s unpack your logic: In virtue of the fact that TD is grounded principally on “Augustinian influence”, the doctrine should be held suspect, if not all-together rejected. Augustine is pejoratively dismissed in your post, and you even go so far as to attribute TD as “his doctrines”. This is really a bizarre way to undermine TD. But is this move (supposedly) effective?

    Consider: Aside from the immediate move to discredit TD on guilt by association, it is evident that such critique reduces to a textbook example of the genetic fallacy. For instance, if the devil of hell taught that 1 + 1 = 2, we should reject it because it is “his” mathematical proposition.

    Why not say that TD is Pauline? Or even Johannine? After all, there are explicit texts that demonstrate *why* Augustine deduced TD in his mature writings. Are we to believe that you, GRACEADICT, Leighton, and co., reject TD merely because it is “his doctrines”?! If so, this seems intellectually inept. On the other, if you have rejected TD based on meticulous exegesis of the passages I cited, that would be very beneficial.

    If you provide hermeneutical analysis, you would also have to demonstrate your conclusions to be incompatible with both Pelagianism and its Semi- form in order to avoid aligning your view of human autonomy as heresy.

    So then, can we engage in some exegesis of core texts? Can you take a sampling of the texts I’ve cited and my analysis and demonstrate your thesis after you properly define it?

    You’ve been perceptive in criticizing Calvinists for regurgitating claims that have been refuted. Seems best to avoid hanging on your own petard.

    1. Wes-Arm,

      I for one am happy to see you commenting on these pages! I am not sure of the ducking you mentioned but I assume that is because many here do not want to have even 1 petal of TULIP so they reject TD/TI (except for the the Baptists who love the P! They are 1-point Calvinists since they are OSAS).

      Now, I think many on here would welcome your version of TD/TI if you follow that up with the concept that in ALL cases the Lord does enable people (prevenient grace).

      Oh….on a friendly basis (concerning the slightly mixed metaphor) “hoisted” or “hurt” by your own petard. Can’t really “hang” on it as it is a sort of a small bomb (some languages use that word for firecracker).

    2. Hi Wes-Arm
      We seem to have lost the overall message in that post. What you are attributing to MY position – is what the post clearly shows is the position of the vast majority of Evangelical Christianity. And there must be a reason for that. Being focused on hermeneutical analysis you must be aware that not all Christians process scripture using the same analysis. You’re certainly welcome to provide your views on the interpretations of verses which you are persuaded prove TD. But it is wisdom to let people know those hermenuetics represent a minority view and that that view evolved under an Augustinian stream of influence.

      We can let SOT101 readers make decisions about how they factor that into the equation. But they should be given all of the facts possible in order to make informed decisions.

      Church history is replete with Holy Fathers etc (a Catholic term for bible interpreter) who have ascribed heresy to anyone who deviated from their hermeneutical analysis. We want to leave SOT101 readers totally free from those types of influences.

      Please feel free to lay out a case for TD as you wish. And in the mean time we also want to provide SOT101 readers with information from which they can make informed decisions.

  20. BR.D,

    // … that view evolved under an Augustinian stream of influence.//

    Wes-Arm: Consider: Aside from the immediate move to discredit TD on guilt by association, it is evident that such critique reduces to a textbook example of the genetic fallacy. For instance, if the devil of hell taught that 1 + 1 = 2, we should reject it because it is “his” mathematical proposition.

    How do you understand my response to your repeated statement?

    1. BR.D,

      // … that view evolved under an Augustinian stream of influence.//

      Wes-Arm: Consider: Aside from the immediate move to discredit TD on guilt by association, it is evident that such critique reduces to a textbook example of the genetic fallacy. For instance, if the devil of hell taught that 1 + 1 = 2, we should reject it because it is “his” mathematical proposition.

      How do you understand my response to your repeated statement?

      br.d
      Hi WES-ARM
      You pointed to a different phrase in the original post – “his doctrines”.
      I think we can see that that phase is all inclusive – in other words it would include “Jesus is Lord” as one of “his doctrines”
      I would certainly hope that Evangelical Christians wouldn’t reject that just because for Augustine it was one of “his doctrines”
      And I believe SOT101 readers can avoid making that mistake as well.

      To recognize a stream of influence (as I put it in that post) in my mind is simply informative.
      I believe SOT101 readers can use that information to their good discretion.

      Also in the irony of our humanity – did I not recall “Pelagian” being used specifically that very way? :-]

      Again – you’re participation here is appreciated – and if you would like to forward your interpretations of scripture to prove TD, then you are free to do so – under the normal participant guidelines.

      My interest is in helping SOT101 readers to have enough “big-picture” information to avoid being herded into a funnel canyon.

  21. BR.D,

    GRACEADICT writes: “All of these are UNBELIEVERS that had the ability to see, hear, understand and interact with God. That is why I do not subscribe to the doctrine of Total Inability – I believe scripture clearly shows that Total Inability is not true.”

    He who makes the claim shoulders the burden of proof.

    //… and if you would like to forward your interpretations of scripture to prove TD, then you are free to do so…//

    I already did in a previous post, remember? The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate how your denial is compatible with the swath of passages quoted above, and how you avoid Pelagianism?

    How are those passages compatible with your denial of TD?

    1. Thank you for the invitation Wes-Arm but that’s not my cup of tea.
      I’m sure you can find someone else to arm wrestle with.
      In the mean time I’ll enjoy watching you and rhutchin go back and forth.
      But I already know the out-come to that as well. :-]

      1. BTW: in regard to “Pelagianism” did you not just hoist with your own pertard again? :-]

  22. RHUTCHIN writes, “So, being born again is not the same as being a child of God.”

    I already raised an objection to this assertion. Rather than reiterate, instead I will make the objection stronger in a 13-step deductive argument. Let’s grant that both being “born again” and becoming a “child of God” are mutually exclusive. Let’s also grant the broader witness of the NT to inform everything entailed by “being born again”:

    B1: “entering the kingdom of heaven” (Jn 3.5);
    B2: to be regenerated is to be “saved” (Titus 3.5)
    B3: but to be saved is to have “eternal life” (John 3:16)
    B4: having your sins expiated and renewed “of the Holy spirit” (Titus 3:5; Eph. 5.26);
    B5: you’re a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17);
    B6: “born again not of perishable seed but of imperishable” (1 Peter 1:23)

    Take B1-B6 for the sinner to posses all “born-again” benefits. But according to Rhutchin, B1-B6 is still insufficient to entail *sonship*! (He doesn’t point to any biblical evidence for this ad-hoc dichotomy, it comes straight out of the bowels of human tradition.) According to B2, regeneration *is* what it means to be “saved” (Titus 3.5). If regeneration entails being “saved” (Titus 3.5), one cannot be saved unless one “believes” (John 3.16). And if one believes, you *have* “eternal life”. But if having eternal life *follows* “believing”, then it’s impossible for regeneration to precede having eternal life. Consider the 13-step argument:

    1. According to the gospel of Calvinism, regeneration *precedes* sonship.
    2. According to John’s gospel, to have sonship is to be “saved” and have “eternal life” (John 1:12; John 3.16)
    3. Believing precedes “eternal life” (John 3.16,36)
    4. According to Titus 3.5, to be regenerated is to be “saved”.
    5. If to be regenerated is to be saved, then having “eternal life” *precedes* believing (from 1,2 & 4).
    6. But eternal life cannot precede believing (from 3 & 4.).
    7. If eternal life cannot precede “believing”, believing precedes sonship (from 2,3 & 6)
    8. If sonship is coterminous with “eternal life”, then sonship cannot precede believing (from 2, 3, & 6).
    9. If eternal life cannot precede believing, then regeneration cannot *precede* sonship (from 2,3,4,5,6).
    10. It is theologically absurd for a sinner to have eternal life but not have sonship (from 2,3,4 &8).
    11. Calvinism holds that eternal life precedes believing (from 1, 6,&7).
    12. John’s gospel holds that “believing” precedes” having “eternal life” (from 3,4,&6). Therefore
    13. Conclusion: Calvinism if false.

    In a sound, deductive argument, the premises, necessarily imply the conclusion, and the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises. That is to say, it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion to be false.

    In order to invalidate the argument, you will have to either cast doubt or show one of the premises to be false. Which premise will you choose?

    I will follow up later on the grammatical aspect of John 1:12-13.

    1. Wes-Arm writes:
      B1: “entering the kingdom of heaven” (Jn 3.5);
      B2: to be regenerated is to be “saved” (Titus 3.5)
      B3: but to be saved is to have “eternal life” (John 3:16)
      B4: having your sins expiated and renewed “of the Holy spirit” (Titus 3:5; Eph. 5.26);
      B5: you’re a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17);
      B6: “born again not of perishable seed but of imperishable” (1 Peter 1:23)

      Let’s add to this from other Scriptures and correct the bias you introduced (not intentional, I’m sure).

      B1 No one can come to Christ on his own initiative. (John 6:44)
      B2 All that God gives to Christ will come to Christ (John 6:37)
      B3 God saves people through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, (Titus 3.5)
      B4 Being born again (renewing of the Holy Spirit) enables one to see the kingdom of God (Jn 3.3);
      B5 Being born again (renewing of the Holy Spirit) enables one to enter the kingdom of God” (Jn 3.5);
      B6 Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Christ. (John 6:45)
      B7 A person is born again through the word of God (1 Peter 1:23)
      B8 Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
      B9 Whoever [has faith] receives Christ, to them Christ gave the right to become children of God, (John 1:12)
      B10 Whoever [has faith] believes in Christ, to them Christ gave the right to become children of God, (John 1:12)
      B11 Whoever believes in Christ has everlasting life. (John 3:16)
      B12 Not everyone who says to Christ, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
      B13: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; (2 Cor. 5:17);
      B14 Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her by the word, (Eph. 5.26);

      I deleted this, even though I tend to agree, unless you can tie washing to expiation.
      B4: having your sins expiated and renewed “of the Holy spirit” (Titus 3:5)

      In your argument against Calvinism, the following points are false:
      4. According to Titus 3.5, to be regenerated is to be “saved”.
      5. If to be regenerated is to be saved, then having “eternal life” *precedes* believing (from 1,2 & 4).

      Then, “In a sound, deductive argument, the premises, necessarily imply the conclusion,…”

      The problem here is that you do not present a sound, deductive argument.

  23. Rhutchin writes, “In your argument against Calvinism, the following points are false:
    4. According to Titus 3.5, to be regenerated is to be “saved”.
    5. If to be regenerated is to be saved, then having “eternal life” *precedes* believing (from 1,2 & 4).”

    Great, waiting with bated breath to hear your counterarguments!

    1. Rhutchin: “In your argument against Calvinism, the following points are false:
      4. According to Titus 3.5, to be regenerated is to be “saved”.
      5. If to be regenerated is to be saved, then having “eternal life” *precedes* believing (from 1,2 & 4).”
      Wes-Arm: “Great, waiting with bated breath to hear your counterarguments”

      Titus 3:5: “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,”

      It says, God saves us through (1) “the washing of regeneration” and (2) renewing of the Holy Spirit,” We also know that (3) God’s drawing, (4) faith, and (5) belief ,among other things, are necessary to salvation, By itself, regeneration and renewal are necessary to salvation but not sufficient for salvation. “Regeneration” by itself is not salvation.

      Your Point 5 repeats this false point and is also false.

      So, how about you explaining how you arrived at the conclusion that “regeneration” is “salvation.”

      1. Rhutchin issued a counterargument. Let’s see what it reads:

        //It says, God saves us through (1) “the washing of regeneration” and (2) renewing of the Holy Spirit,”…//

        Wait, that’s it?! That’s a direct quote from the text. Where’s the counterargument?! Do you know what’s a counterargument – seriously?!

        //So, how about you explaining how you arrived at the conclusion that “regeneration” is “salvation.”//

        No counterarguments were offered but let’s look at both propositional truths side-by-side:

        Apostle Paul: “He saved us… by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit…” (Titus 3.5 ESV).

        Rhutchin: “By itself, regeneration and renewal are necessary to salvation but not sufficient for salvation.”

        Paul says ἔσωσεν (saved) in an aorist tense which denotes a completed (sufficed) past event, and lists two divine feats that accomplishes ἔσωσεν. The sufficiency of Paul’s proposition stands on its own, canonically and orally, especially given that Titus congregation might not have had a systematized theology.

        Rhutchin, on the other hand, distorts the term “saved”, “God saves us…” and changes the tense to present indicative. So you would council the apostle that his statement is misleading to Titus’ congregation? Paul *should* have not put it as a completed past event! Unbelievable!

        //So, how about you explaining how you arrived at the conclusion that “regeneration” is “salvation.”//

        Anyone with a basic command of the English language: “He saved us… by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

        If this is the lengths to which you’re able to go to promote doctrine that’s from the pit of the bowels of your autonomy, Br.d issued this warning. Your non-response amounts to an outright rejection and twisting of scripture.

        I’ve seen Jehovah’s Witnesses do better than this!

      2. Wes-Arm writes, “Paul says ἔσωσεν (saved) in an aorist tense which denotes a completed (sufficed) past event, …”

        Yes. Paul is writing to believers and says that God saved them. Naturally, Paul uses the aorist when writing this.

        Then, “and lists two divine feats that accomplishes ἔσωσεν. The sufficiency of Paul’s proposition stands on its own, … ”

        Yes, God saved them – through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. On that we agree. The response of those regenerated and being renewed is the reception, then expression, of faith in receiving and believing in Christ.

        Yhen, “Rhutchin, on the other hand, distorts the term “saved”, “God saves us…” and changes the tense to present indicative.”

        Well, either you misread what I said or misunderstood. I only noted that those acts by God were necessary but not sufficient to their salvation. Paul writes, in Ephesians 1, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance…” Because Paul says that they were sealed by the Holy Spirit, we know that the regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit precede the sealing by the Holy Spirit.

        So, I asked Wes-Arm, “how about you explaining how you arrived at the conclusion that “regeneration” is ‘salvation.’”

        He was unable to explain how he came to this conclusion.

  24. Salvation is a gift from God freely given unconditionally to undeserving sinners that have been chosen before the foundation of the world. Since that Salvation is the total work of God, to be “born again” then means that it is by the will of God, not by the free will of man, not of flesh and blood nor of the will of man but of God.

    Regeneration (born again) is the act of God upon a sinner whose status is “spiritually dead to sin” and is morally incapable to access God on his own.

    When his dead spirit has been restored to life, He is then given the faith for him to come to his senses to repent then to trust in Christ. This is now where he becomes engrafted to the true vine (union with Christ).

    This union is being sealed by the Holy Spirit and is tied up with the love of Christ. He is now justified before God and is being adopted into God’s family with inheritance. God, then continues to cleanse the branches so that they will bear more fruit.- This is Sanctification.

    The last phase in Salvation is “glorification” (the actual absolute perfection status of the believers in Christ) whereby God will provide the believer a glorified body that is fitted to reside in heaven. This will happen at the second coming of Christ.

    Therefore, “Regeneration” is not yet Salvation. It is just the second phase that follows after election the beginning in accomplishing God’s blueprint plan in saving the fallen man. The actual contact of the sinner with Christ in Salvation happens somewhere in Repentance and trusting Christ using the faith that was provided by God.

    1. jtleosala
      [In Calvinism] Salvation is a gift from God freely given unconditionally to undeserving sinners that have been chosen before the foundation of the world.

      br.d
      In Calvinism SIN AND ETERNAL TORMENT IN A LAKE OF FIRE is a gift from Calvin’s god freely given unconditionally to the vast majority of humans on earth who have been chosen before the foundation of the world.

      jtleosala
      [In Calvinism] Since that Salvation is the total work of God,…..by the will of God, not by the free will of man….etc

      br.d
      In Calvinism SIN AND ETERNAL TORMENT IN A LAKE OF FIRE is the total work of Calvin’s God…..by the will of Calvin’s God, – and man is NOT FREE to to escape or evade it.

      jtleosala
      [In Calvinism] Regeneration (born again) is the act of God upon a sinner whose status is “spiritually dead to sin” and is morally incapable to access God on his own.

      br.d
      In Calvinism ALL SIN AND EVIL is the act of Calvin’s god who predestines them upon people who’s status is DESIGNED by Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world.

      jtleosala
      [In Calvinism] When his dead spirit has been restored to life, He is then given the faith for him to come to his senses to repent then to trust in Christ. This is now where he becomes engrafted to the true vine (union with Christ).

      br.d
      In Calvinism the spirit is dead by DESIGN of Calvin’s god. The FEW who are DESIGNED for election are DESIGNED to repent. The MANY who are DESIGNED for eternal torment are DESIGNED to NOT repent.

      jtleosala
      [In Calvinism] This union is being sealed by the Holy Spirit and is tied up with the love of Christ. He is now justified before God and is being adopted into God’s family with inheritance. God, then continues to cleanse the branches so that they will bear more fruit.- This is Sanctification.

      br.d
      In Calvinism – people are NOT PERMITTED to do otherwise than what Calvin’s god DESIGNED them to be/do

      jtleosala
      [In Calvinism] The last phase in Salvation is “glorification” (the actual absolute perfection status of the believers in Christ) whereby God will provide the believer a glorified body that is fitted to reside in heaven. This will happen at the second coming of Christ.

      br.d
      In Calvinism – there is a -quote “LARGE MIXTURE” of Calvinists whom Calvin’s god deceives into believing they are saved so that he can magnify their torment in the lake of fire. He holds out salvation to these Calvinists as a -quote “Savor of condemnation”.

      jtleosala
      [In Calvinism] Therefore, “Regeneration” is not yet Salvation. It is just the second phase that follows after election the beginning in accomplishing God’s blueprint plan in saving the fallen man. The actual contact of the sinner with Christ in Salvation happens somewhere in Repentance and trusting Christ using the faith that was provided by God.

      br.d
      In Calvinism every creature is DESIGNED at the foundation of the world – and that creature has NO SAY in the matter of anything – because ALL THINGS are determined by Calvin’s god for each creature.

      1. br.d writes to JTL, “In Calvinism SIN AND ETERNAL TORMENT IN A LAKE OF FIRE is a gift from Calvin’s god freely given unconditionally to the vast majority of humans on earth who have been chosen before the foundation of the world. ”

        Contrary to what br.d writes, we read in Revelation, “I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works….And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

        br.d writes, “In Calvinism ALL SIN AND EVIL is the act of Calvin’s god who predestines them upon people who’s status is DESIGNED by Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world.”

        Paul put it this way in Romans, “…O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,…”

        br.d writes, “In Calvinism the spirit is dead by DESIGN of Calvin’s god. The FEW who are DESIGNED for election are DESIGNED to repent. The MANY who are DESIGNED for eternal torment are DESIGNED to NOT repent.”

        As we read in Genesis, God said to Adam, “the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Then Paul, in Romans, “just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned… Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

        Then, “In Calvinism – people NOT PERMITTED to do otherwise than what Calvin’s god DEIGNED them to be/do”

        As Paul puts it in Ephesians, “God chose us [His elect] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,…In Christ also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,…”

        Then, “In Calvinism – there is a -quote “LARGE MIXTURE” of Calvinists whom Calvin’s god deceives into believing they are saved so that he can magnify their torment in the lake of fire. He holds out salvation to these Calvinists as a -quote “Savor of condemnation”.

        This explained in Matthew 7, ““Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

        Then, “In Calvinism every creature is DESIGNED at the foundation of the world – and that creature has NO SAY in the matter of anything – because ALL THINGS are determined by Calvin’s god for each creature.”

        As explained by Paul, “God works all things according to the counsel of His will…” and “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

      2. br.d
        “In Calvinism SIN AND ETERNAL TORMENT IN A LAKE OF FIRE is a gift from Calvin’s god freely given unconditionally to the vast majority of humans on earth who have been chosen before the foundation of the world. ”

        rhutchin
        Contrary to what br.d writes, we read in Revelation, ….etc

        br.d
        That’s why I never make the silly mistake of conflating Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) with scripture.
        It turns scripture into a contorted pretzel
        Thank you for helping to show that :-]

        rhutchin
        br.d writes, “In Calvinism ALL SIN AND EVIL is the act of Calvin’s god who predestines them upon people who’s status is DESIGNED by Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world.”

        Paul put it this way in Romans, “…O man,……etc

        br.d
        That’s why I never make the silly mistake of conflating Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) with scripture.
        It turns scripture into a contorted pretzel
        Thanks for confirming that :-]

        rhutchin
        br.d writes, “In Calvinism the spirit is dead by DESIGN of Calvin’s god. The FEW who are DESIGNED for election are DESIGNED to repent. The MANY who are DESIGNED for eternal torment are DESIGNED to NOT repent.”

        rhutchin
        As we read in Genesis, …..etc

        br.d
        Again – I never make the silly mistake of conflating Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) with Scripture
        It turns scripture into a contorted pretzel – and makes the THEOS a god of “Good-Evil” – hence Augustine’s Gnosticism.

        rhutchin
        br.d writes “In Calvinism – people are NOT PERMITTED to be/do otherwise than what Calvin’s god DEIGNED them to be/do”

        As Paul puts it in Ephesians,…etc

        br.d
        Same answer as above – to avoid contorting scripture into a pretzel of DOUBLE-SPEAK – don’t conflate scripture with Calvinism.

        rhutchin
        br.d writes “In Calvinism – there is a -quote “LARGE MIXTURE” of Calvinists whom Calvin’s god deceives into believing they are saved so that he can magnify their torment in the lake of fire. He holds out salvation to these Calvinists as a -quote “Savor of condemnation”.

        This explained in Matthew 7…..etc

        br,d
        Another example of forcing scripture to affirm a Gnostic THEOS who is “Good-Evil”
        Augustine’s synchronization of the Gnostic system of Moral Dualism
        As Jon Edwards would say – “The glory of divine evil is necessary for the glory of divine good to shine forth”

        rhutchin
        br.d writes “In Calvinism every creature is DESIGNED at the foundation of the world – and that creature has NO SAY in the matter of anything – because ALL THINGS are determined by Calvin’s god for each creature.”

        rhutchin
        As explained by Paul, ……etc

        br.d
        So here we see again – to conflate Theological Determinism with scripture – again makes scripture affirm a “Good-Evil” THEOS.
        And again manifests Augustine’s embrace of the Gnostic element of “Moral Dualism”.

        Thank you rhutchin for providing those examples! :-]

      3. br.d writes:
        “In Calvinism every creature is DESIGNED at the foundation of the world – and that creature has NO SAY in the matter of anything – because ALL THINGS are determined by Calvin’s god for each creature.”

        Thank you for saying it again and again, for it is the vital point that, however obvious, seems to elude so many Calvinists.

      4. Thanks TS00!
        I’m not sure it really alludes them in the sense that they don’t get it.
        I think they are taught the practice of denialism by Calvinist teachers.
        They of course would never label or acknowledge it as “denial”.
        But rather label it as “explaining” Calvinism.
        But the explanations always eventually boil down to DOUBLE-THINK talking-points.

      5. Br.D posted this one:

        “In Calvinism SIN AND ETERNAL TORMENT IN A LAKE OF FIRE is a gift from Calvin’s god freely given unconditionally to the vast majority of humans on earth who have been chosen before the foundation of the world.”

        ——–My Response is typed below this line———

        Calvinists believe that those names that were not written by God Himself in the Book of Life of the Lamb has no right to reside in heaven. They are thrown to hell. This is based on

        1. Rev. 17:8 “… and those who dwell on the earth will marvel, WHOSE NAMES ARE NOT WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

        2. Rev. 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him [satan] whose NAMES HAVE NOT BEEN WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE OF THE LAMB slain from the foundation of the world.

        3. And anyone not found written in the book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:15)
        [if Br.D opposes this act of God, then he must address it directly to God not to the Calvinists because, we just believe on this and freely accept this as the only truth about the matter.]

        Br. D interpreted the decision made by God not to write their names in the book of life as a “Gift of eternal torment” I guess Br.D has argued this way due to the outflow of his resentment to God, because he was not able to get what he wants for all humanity to be saved. He uses the phase “Galvin’s God” as a cover up against negative critique, but everybody knows that no one can hide against God’s furious anger and judgment in speaking against God according to:

        I Tim. 1:19-20 Having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

      6. jtleosala,

        You had quoted a lot of stuff regarding WRITTEN IN THE BOOK, regarding names written in that BOOK OF LIFE.

        WHAT ABOUT THE WORD “BLOT”. When that word is used, the names were there, BUT ERASED at a LATER DATE.

        Example:

        Exodus 32:32
        Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.

        Exodus 32:33
        And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

        Revelation 3:5
        He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

        So, my conclusion is…EVERYONE’S NAME STARTED OUT BEING WRITTEN IN THAT BOOK, BUT…AS TIME GOES ON, NAMES ARE BLOTTED OUT, or, ERASED.

        Ed Chapman

      7. Ed C. posted these ones:

        Exodus 32:32
        Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.

        Exodus 32:33
        And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

        Revelation 3:5
        He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

        So, my conclusion is…EVERYONE’S NAME STARTED OUT BEING WRITTEN IN THAT BOOK, BUT…AS TIME GOES ON, NAMES ARE BLOTTED OUT, or, ERASED.Here you are… Ed C. to the rescue. Well, this is what I can say:

        ——Here’s My Response typed below this line——

        1. Edod. 32:32 is a prayer of Moses to God. Edc, you cannot build a doctrine using the will of man [Moses] as used in praying to go against the supreme will of God concerning whom to save and not to save. It is not of your own business.This is what Calvinists maintain.

        2. Exod. 32:33 is not the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain where the names of those who will reside in heaven is found. Ed C. has identified the wrong book. Calvinists believe about God’s attribute of Omniscience that He knows all things that nothing escapes from God’s knowledge. God’s decision whom to write and not to write in that book was not done in “trial and error” method. God had already known before the foundation of the world who are those saved and not saved.

        3. Rev. 3:5 back up the Calvinists belief on Permanent Salvation. Why? Because it is God who maintains the salvation of the elect up to the end. Anyone human being [believers in Christ] is still imperfect at this time cannot be depended to maintain in a 100% perfect performance of taking care all of those gifts entrusted to them because they still commit sin. The faithfulness in themselves that they confess to God bears so many holes]

        If God will still erase the names that He wrote, it means that He got a mistake not knowing that later on those persons will depart from Him. If this is your idea then, the God whom you worship is not Omniscient and you cannot even rely to the promise of Salvation in you.

        Ed C. I guess your option may be is to get a free pass in heaven like Judas Iscariot and Pharaoh of Egypt as it is now loaded in your backpack.

      8. jtleosala,

        I don’t buy any of your explanation at all. It goes against all logic. Exodus 32:33 was God’s response to Moses. It’s absolutely THE book of life as mentioned in Revelation, which includes the word, BLOT, meaning, ERASE. WHY would Jesus use the word, BLOT, if he didn’t mean it? It is your conclusion that if he did blot anyone out, then it’s an admission of a mistake. No it isn’t.

        Hitler was written in that book, and he was blotted out.

        But that’s a concept that you can’t understand, but Exodus 32:33 is the justification. That is the reply of GOD HIMSELF to Moses.

        Ed Chapman

      9. Ed C., this time Hitler’s name has been erased according to you. Can’t you not just plead again for God to give him a free pass in heaven so that he can also do some sports in heaven and to drink with Jesus a fine glass of: __________ I don’t know, but I’m sure you know it.

      10. jtleosala,

        If I did that, then I’d be classified as a Mormon. Did you know that the Mormons knocked on the casket of our very own Thomas Jefferson to baptize the dead Thomas Jefferson?

        But, there are prophecies that COULD BE interpreted regarding Hitler killing the Jews. Could be. I’m not admitting that there is, but there are also indications that the amount of Jews that go back to Israel are few in number. So, you may have a point regarding my conclusion about the Pharaoh equating to Hitler, too.

        But you will never know, cuz your god is not a god at all.

        This reminds me of a joke…
        A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales and how she had heard in Sunday School about how a whale had swallowed Jonah.

        The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small.

        The little girl remained steadfast in her position and reiterated that indeed, a whale had swallowed Jonah.

        Irritated, the teacher again stated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible.

        The little girl said, “I’m not sure how it happened, but when I get to heaven I will ask Jonah.”

        The teacher replied smugly, “What if Jonah isn’t in heaven?”

        The little girl replied, “Then you ask him.”

        Ed Chapman

      11. I really like you Ed C. you are not easily angered as a debater here. I am released of stress and pressures from my work when you engaged with me. By the way, who is the author of the story you wrote about the teacher and the little girl conversing about Jonah and the whale?, just curious to hear that one…

      12. Br.D posted this one:

        “Since Calvin’s god – the divine potter – who at the foundation of the world – DESIGNS the vast majority of humans specifically as vessels of wrath – what part of my statement was FALSE?”

        ——-Here’s My Response below this line——–

        The error made in your post above is the small letter “g” when you type the word God after the word “Calvin”. You should use capital letter “G”. I think you cannot do it because it seems for for me that is the way of degrading the God whom the Calvinists worship and serve.

      13. Thomas Jefferson, a founding father of America, the author of our declaration of independence, and former president of the United States said about the little g God of Calvinism:

        ” I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did. The being described in his 5 points is not the god whom you and I acknowledge and adore, the Creator and benevolent and governor of the world, but a daemon of malignant spirit. It would be more pardonable to believe in no god at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious attributes of Calvin.”

        —Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823.

        The Presbyterian clergy are loudest, the most intolerant of all sects, the most tyrannical, and ambitious; ready at the word of the lawgiver, if such a word could be now obtained, to put the torch to the pile, and to rekindle in this virgin hemisphere, the flames in which their oracle Calvin consumed the poor Servetus, because he could not find in his Euclid the proposition which has demonstrated that three are one, and one is three, nor subscribe to that of Calvin that magistrates have a right to exterminate all heretics to Calvinistic creed.

        —Jefferson, letter to William Short, April 13, 1820.

        Ed Chapman

      14. br.d
        Since Calvin’s god – the divine potter – who at the foundation of the world – DESIGNS the vast majority of humans specifically as vessels of wrath – what part of my statement was FALSE?”

        jtleosala
        The error made in your post above is the small letter “g”

        br.d
        Thank you for your affirmation my statement was TRUE per your perception – (all except the letter “g” of course).

        On the spelling of Calvin’s god with a small “g” – I can see that Calvin’s god has determined you to perceive that as an error.
        But of course since your every perception is determined by Calvin’s god – your perception of it is not yours to determine.
        In Theological Determinism ONLY Calvin’s god knows whether the perception he gave you is TRUE or FALSE.
        So its not yours to say its an error – but you can say “error” is the perception Calvin’s god decreed you to have concerning it.

        And I do like the joke:
        God decided to create man in his image – and John Calvin decided to return the favor :-]

      15. br.d
        “In Calvinism SIN AND ETERNAL TORMENT IN A LAKE OF FIRE is a gift from Calvin’s god freely given unconditionally to the vast majority of humans on earth who have been chosen before the foundation of the world.”

        jtleosala
        Calvinists believe that those names that were not written by God Himself in the Book of Life of the Lamb has no right to reside in heaven. They are thrown to hell. This is based on ……scriptures quoted

        br.d
        Since Calvin’s god – the divine potter – who at the foundation of the world – DESIGNS the vast majority of humans specifically as vessels of wrath – what part of my statement was FALSE?

  25. Ya, I cam get on people’s nerves a lot, but I have a sense of humor, too. Be sure to tip your waitresses, I’ll be here all week. That’s a saying of a comedian in comic clubs at the end of his or her show.

    Ed Chapman

    1. That’s what I like your sense of humor and you have lots of quotes even from the Mormon people knocking at the coffins of the dead for them to practice their doctrine “baptism of the dead”. By the way have you encountered a research showing that Thomas Jefferson still a relative of the Mormon people?. What I know is that Mormon people eagerly researches their lineage who passed away already. They keep on knocking at their coffins according to you.

      1. No, I have no idea how they came to the conclusion to Thomas Jefferson. I just remember the short story. So, the Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on your door, three Mormons knock on your casket. You might be a Mormon someday, whether you want to be our not.

        Ed Chapman

      2. Thank you Ed C. YES that’s true. Even here in the Philippines there are lots of Jehovah’s Witnesses in groups knocking at the door from house to house trying to give their pamphlets then later on will ask for money as payment of those tracts, while the Mormons in two pairs with neck tie don’t ask for money

      3. Ya, I studied the JW’s for about 6 years. Not to be one, but to be able to debate them when they come knocking.

        As far as the Mormons, I studied them slightly less, but I did study out what the KJV really means by BAPTIZED for the dead.

        The apostle Paul was discussing people who were becoming Christians (BAPTIZED), but they didn’t believe in an afterlife. They didn’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead. So, they believed that when you die, you are dead forever. Hence, baptised for the dead.

        If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are men most miserable. 1 Cor 15 states.

        When those Mormons knock on the door, one of them is a young twenty something KID, but he’s called an ELDER. Hmmmmm. That don’t sound right to me!!

        Ed Chapman

      4. Agree, Ed. According to those Mormon people when they go by two’s the other one is an “elder”. A younger one seems awkward to be called an elder to teach the older ones.

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