5 Reasons Why I Stayed Out of Calvinism

By Drew McLeod.
Drew is a Campus Director with the Navigators, currently working with students alongside his wife, Kirsty, at Massey University in her native New Zealand. You can see the original article, and visit Drew’s blog, here.
edited by Eric Kemp

After meeting at a friend’s wedding in 2009, a fiery red-headed girl and I became interested in one another and began talking on the phone almost every day. As we started to get to know each other better, I quickly discovered her view of God was radically different from mine and this began to dominate our conversations. Apparently, she was a “Calvinist” (a term I had very little if any familiarity with).

Before this time, I had never considered that God didn’t want everyone to be saved. After all, I had shared the Gospel with probably hundreds of fellow students during my days at college and prayed for many fervently (without ever once considering that God didn’t want to save them). She told me that God had already decided who was and wasn’t going to be saved before they were ever born. Subsequent to pleading with people to turn to Christ for a solid four years, this didn’t sit right with me. Surely it was the Holy Spirit in me engendering such love for these people? However, I knew that if these things were true and indeed accurately reflected the word of God that I needed to submit to them whether they “sat right” or not. Thus began my search for the truth. The following five things kept me from embracing this new “Calvinism” and landed me in a more firm position than before; that God indeed loved every man, woman, boy, and girl that I had shared the Gospel with over those previous four years (and beyond!)

1. The Plain Texts Weren’t Plain

“This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.” (1 Tim 2:3-4)

How can anyone read this particular passage without concluding that God wants every single individual to come to faith? Only in an abnormal reading of this passage would you conclude something like God wants “all kinds of men” to be saved and not every individual.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37)

At face value, this passage also seems to communicate that there are countless multitudes in Jerusalem that Jesus, the express image of God’s person (Heb 1:3), wanted to be saved and he was desiring to bring them under his comforting and protective wing but because they were unwilling, he was grieved. While Calvinists have a certain argument against this (covered in #4) in short, it’s best to keep plain texts plain.

2. Calvinism Excludes the Old Testament

“And the Lord said to her: Two nations are in your womb; two peoples will come from you and be separated. One people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” (Gen 25:23)

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. Yet you ask, “How have you loved us?” “Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” This is the Lord’s declaration. “Even so, I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau. I turned his mountains into a wasteland, and gave his inheritance to the desert jackals.” Though Edom says: “We have been devastated, but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of Armies says this: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called a wicked countryand the people the Lord has cursed forever. Your own eyes will see this, and you yourselves will say, ‘The Lord is great, even beyond the borders of Israel.’” (Malachi 1:2-5)

Under what circumstances would you conclude that either of these passages are speaking with specific reference to God’s special salvific favor upon the individual Jacob or his irrevocable hatred towards Esau? In fact, in Genesis 33, Esau runs to and embraces his deceitful and treacherous brother Jacob a lot like the father graciously welcomes the prodigal son in Luke 15. Therefore, why would Paul be quoting these passages out of context in Romans 9 to talk about God’s plans to save Jacob and damn Esau before they were born or “done anything good or bad”? After all, the passage in Malachi was written some 13 centuries after the twins’ deaths! Since Romans 9 is a lynch-pin passage for Calvinists in Scripture, the Old Testament passages quoted there must be kept in view and ultimately do not support their reading of it; unless, of course, we permit Paul to quote these passages out of their OT context.

3. Calvinism Reads Onto Scripture Unwarranted Individualization

Outside of what has already been mentioned about the OT context of Romans 9, I can’t help but think we get ourselves into a lot of trouble by thinking that certain passages are talking about us.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.” 
(John 15:16)

Nope, that’s not about you, that one is about the 11 disciples left over after Judas (see also John 6:70 and Luke 6:13 where Judas is listed explicitly or implicitly as among those chosen)! We could say, in application, all believers are appointed to bear abiding fruit. However, to exegetically extrapolate this passage in a doctrinal way across all of Scripture, as if Jesus chose every single believer ever in the same way He chose the Apostles, is certainly irresponsible and misguided.

Romans 9 is a commonly misunderstood passage in the same vein as well. If Paul is talking about individual destinies decided from before they were born then why does he quote Genesis 25:23 and Malachi 1:2-5, which are clearly about the groups those individuals founded, to make his point?

4. Calvinism Is Unfalsifiable

A common refrain among Calvinists is something like “You just don’t understand Calvinism” or “If you only understood, you’d believe what we believe”. I submit that the reason so few “understand” Calvinism is that Calvinism is often unintelligible and ultimately unfalsifiable. This is because Calvinism makes many clear Scriptures unintelligible and contradictory. After all, if God chose Jacob for salvation and rejected Esau before he was born (as the Calvinist believes he does so with billions more today) then, in what meaningful way, does God love the world or desire that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:3-6)?

Of course, Calvinists have ways out of such conundrums by appealing to “mystery” and the “secret” vs “revealed” wills of God (“God can say one thing but actually, truly mean the opposite of the thing He said”). Ultimately, however, these things are just smoke screens for the prolific errors in logic and reason that are inherent in all forms of determinism. The only answer to my questions about these contradictions was that it was a “mystery” and that I should refer myself to Isaiah 55:8 or believe that Scripture is inspired. The aforementioned conversation on Calvinism ended with the following from a pastor I was put in correspondence with:
“I tried with all my heart to make the sovereignt [sic] verses fit into my Arminian framework. Rest came only after I laid down my arms of resistance and realized that I had to acknowledge “mystery” and that God is 100% sovereign and man !00% [sic] responsible. The temptation will be to lean unto human reason and move in the direction of 50 50 .Be biblical”

Allow me to translate what this communicated to me, “I know this doesn’t make sense to you and is contradictory but the sooner you throw your hands up in reverent surrender, the sooner you will accept this ‘mystery’ and be able to move past reasoning and attempting to falsify this”. But, if I must simply accept this and not question it, then how can I possibly know if this is true? Surely, there is a better, more cogent alternative. Since I knew God cannot plan, from all eternity, to damn some while simultaneously being grieved that they were unwilling to come to him (Matt 24:37-39), I maintained my rejection of Calvinism and “the doctrines of grace”.

5. The Good News Was Only “Good” for Some.

Since God’s kindness leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:10) rather than his holy justice or wrath, I believe it is of utmost importance to preserve the “Good” in the Good News”…for everyone. The Good News of Jesus is being able to look any person in the eye and say “God loves you, want you to be saved, and sent his Son Jesus to die for your sins so that you could be saved from the penalty of sin, which is death.” Calvinism, with its “irresistible grace” and “limited atonement” cannot affirm this previous statement. Because, if God wants to effectually saved you, he will; and if Christ did not die for you, then there can be no forgiveness of your sins (Heb 9:22).

This kind of loving-kindness (Heb. “chesed”) is a theme present from the beginning of the Scriptures. As Yahweh passes before Moses and declares his Name before him he says, “The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love [“chesed” love or “loving-kindness”] and truth” (Exo 34:6) and later in the Psalms “For you, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, abounding in faithful love [chesed] to all who call on you.” (86:5). Later on, “loving-kindness” is described as part of who God is “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love [chesed].“ (145:8) If we remove the loving-kindness of God towards every man, woman, boy and girl that is contained in the Gospel (1 Cor 15:3-5) and talked about from the beginning then we lose the strength of the best news this hopeless, lost, and dying world has ever heard. 

Much more could be said about how exactly I came to understand these passages and what the truth was that I landed on, but suffice it to say that these 5 were the reasons that I think keep many (rightly in my estimation) out of Calvinism today. And in case you were wondering, my romantic life took off years later with a different “fiery redhead” who lived even further from me than Calvin’s girl and now we are happily married, still sharing the Gospel with students together, and both believe that Christ died for all, loves all, and wants all to be saved!

119 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why I Stayed Out of Calvinism

  1. Excellent, logical, and biblical explanation for the millions of “common” men/women…accept this explanation and continue to share Jesus…let the theologians and exegetes argue in circles to the detriment of spreading the Gospel….

    1. A few things to remember when talking to a Calvinist:
      First off, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed they will take passages out of context and make it sound like something it is not. Here is a summary statement by a popular Calvinist this sums up much of what they believe and are teaching in Calvinism – TULIP:

      “When we say God is Sovereign in the exercise of His Love, we mean that He loves who he chooses and God does NOT love everybody.” Arthur Pink Calvinist

      (Notice how Sovereignty trumps God’s moral attribute of Love, Notice how God is NOT loving all of His own creation, people. He can choose to ignore His essential nature of Love when He creates most of His image bearers- This is key in Calvinism- and it distorts the true nature of GOD.)

      #1 First of all “Predestination” will be made to sound like God picks a few to be saved while the vast majority God created for Damnation. They will say God simply passes over them…but in reality Calvinism teaches they are created for that purpose. However Predestination in the Bible is talking about the ALREADY saved are predestined for something. Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
      The already saved have a sure DESTINY that is to be like Christ.

      #2 They will take Romans 9 and try and turn it into a proof text that God loves some people an d hates most of the others. Romans 9 is totally taken out of context to understand Romans 9 one must go back to the OT and read what those stories were actually about. Here is an example;
      Rom 9:11-12 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
      They will say” see God irresistibly loves some and irresistibly hates the vast majority, so God saves the few and makes the vast majority FOR damnation”. In Calvinism it is true that ” lost man hates God because God first hated him , that lost man does not believe because God refused to send Jesus for his sins and refused to give him genuine faith” However Rom. 9 is NOT talking about individual Salvation for us… Israel and God’s Big plan are in focus. Even in these verses 11-12 a careful reading shows that the Elder will SERVE the younger. NOT the elder will be damned and the younger will go to heaven. They read their own bias into these passages. For every situation in Rom. 9 it is a similar reading coming to the text will a worldview already made and reading it through those glasses. – Always go back to the O.T. where the story is taken from to understand what is being said.
      John 6 and Eph. chapter 1-2 are also read with those glasses on. But the context is always ignored.

      # 3 Calvinism can only survive if a person accepts two false premises a.) That being born in sin means you are like a corpse that cannot see, hear, understand or respond to the gospel in faith. The argument always extrapolates way beyond scripture. Like “Since we cannot earn our salvation by good works that then means we cannot see that we are sinners and trust Christ for our salvation” This idea is NOT found in scripture but is basic to Calvinism. They say being born in sin equals Total inability = you cannot even admit you are a sinner and trust in Christ. b.) The next false premise is that “Sovereign” means “meticulous determinism” they redefine the word “Sovereign” to be something that scripture does NOT support. They claim that meticulous determinism or the word that they use is God’s Sovereignty is required in order for God to be God and for God to be glorified. This ultimately creates a world where there really is no free will. There are many many problems with that…Ultimately God becomes the author of evil in this worldview. They will reject the use of those words “author” but the teaching undeniably makes God the author of sin.

      #4 Bondage of the Will — (Since you cannot do works to earn your salvation that means you cannot agree you are a sinner or believe the gospel either- they will say faith is a good work – which scripture clearly denies).
      They will try and take you down a path and try convince you about Luther’s book “the bondage of the will” essentially the end point is you can’t place your faith in Christ until God regenerates you because your will is in 100% bondage, so God must first regenerate you so that you can believe and God then gives you a special faith to believe. This then leads back to Unconditional Election- only some get this special faith and they are already pre-selected. Limited Atonement – Since God only loves a few Jesus died for only a few. Irresistible Grace – if you are loved by God like Jacob, God gives it to you and not your sister or your brother who are Esau… Neither you nor your sister can do anything about your state…either you are elect for salvation or elect for damnation. No other way around it.

      #5 The major question in Calvinism is not do you believe the gospel (because some times God gives a temporary faith to some to increase their guilt) BUT the major question is: are you the elect for salvation or are you the elect for damnation. That is really the bottom line and the only question that matters. They often use terms that sound like they are saying what we believe but they do not. They redefine Foreknowledge to either Fore-love or Predetermine. They redefine World – to be only the elect in the world. All = all the elect. Love = God’s general love giving rain and food not Salvific Love. They will say God has 2 wills His revealed will and His “secret will” which of course supports Calvinism.
      There are a host of terms that are redefined and they also have lots of extra-biblical terms that have definitions that are almost correct 85% accurate so they sound almost biblical. But the error that is smuggled in distorts many things. Also when things don’t make good sense they will appeal to “mystery, paradox” and say you have to humble yourself to accept these things. Which in reality are contradicting the plain teaching of the word of God.

      Remember at the end of the day it is a distortion of God’s moral character,
      The God of Love, The God of Mercy, The God who shows no partiality to anyone, The God of Truth who has already communicated clearly. They will lead you to believe Sovereignty Trumps all of God’s moral character as seen in this statement.
      “When we say God is Sovereign in the exercise of His Love, we mean that He loves who he chooses and God does NOT love everybody.” Arthur Pink Calvinist

      1. Thanks BR.D
        I am learning a lot from you guys…one of the best theological educations I have had in long long long time.
        It is very refreshing to be here and not be always assaulted by distorted teaching.

      2. I agree GraceAdict this is very well written! & I really hope they just don’t see the omission of so many of God’s attributes within their system not to mention the redefining of terms. This is a great summary below & a good reminder to pay attention to who we allow to speak into our life! He doesn’t say keep things in the dark, because only some people will get it… NO we are to bring things into the light.

        Daniel 2:22 NASB — “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.
        1 John 1:5 NASB — This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

        ((Remember at the end of the day it is a distortion of God’s moral character,
        The God of Love, The God of Mercy, The God who shows no partiality to anyone, The God of Truth who has already communicated clearly. They will lead you to believe Sovereignty Trumps all of God’s moral character as seen in this statement.
        “When we say God is Sovereign in the exercise of His Love, we mean that He loves who he chooses and God does NOT love everybody.” Arthur Pink Calvinist))

        Thanks again🙋‍♀️

      3. Good summary, GA! It’s encouraging to see more and more people seeing through the smoke.

      4. Grace addict : If you assert God loves all humanity, then why did God never give any second chance for the following:

        1. The residents of Canaan has been annihilated by Joshua’s army by the command of God, except Rahab.

        2. The false prophets in the OT. Did Christ offered his life for them?. The OT command is to kill them with stones.

        3. The cults whose firm position and adherence is to denounce and reject Jesus Christ

        4. God loves Jacob but hated Esau.

        5. Jesus Christ even deny those who claims to be His’ in Matthew 7: 21-23

        6. Did God loved Judas Iscariot? Did Christ offered His life to Judas Iscariot? If so… then why did he perish?

        So…. What Can I say…

        a. If your claim is true, then why there are a lot of people who are thrown and shall be thrown to hell? You will say.. because they refuse Christ’s offer. But how can they received the offer it it was not legitimately offered to them?. The reprobates go to hell because they have not been picked by God since before the foundation of the world.

        b. If God choose a people for Himself then nobody can question that decision and it cannot be made by anyone to charge this as a distortion God’s moral character.

  2. I haven’t had a chance to read through all of this yet – but this is a new one for Calvinist demographics – a female Calvinist who wasn’t one by virtue of being with a male Calvinist. :-]

  3. Excellent – simple, clear article.
    I agree… My biggest problem with Calvinism is that it. Distorts the nature of our Glorious God.

    1. It turns God into a “non-truth telling” being. This God has His secret will that can totally contradict His revealed will. The Calvin-god undermines the Fact that the God of the Bible is a God of Truth and He communicates Truth always. These statements of “mystery” “paradox” and so called “tension” are nothing more than covering up the fact that they have huge contradictions with what they are saying about God.

    2. It turns God into an “unholy being” The Calvin-god is the author of evil… He alone in eternity past predetermined every evil thought and action that would ever take place. These thoughts and actions did not originate with the creature but instead originated in the mind of God. Universal Divine Causal Determinism – the way Calvinism defines Sovereignty creates an “Unholy being” that is NOT the God of scripture.

    3. Calvinism creates a god that is NOT a god of love. The Calvin-god alone, with no external influences, predetermines, designs and purposefully creates most men to be hated by God Himself, he created and designed them specifically for that end. The Calvin-god on purpose creates most people for the definite irrevocable purpose of being the objects of His hatred. The Calvin-god deeply wants most people to be the objects of His hatred. He hates His own creation even before they were created or had done anything good or evil. The creature doesn’t choose evil and God responds to their choice. No, the Calvin-god actually wants a large group of people to hate, so He intentionally creates this vast group of people so that He can hate and destroy them for His glory. The Calvinist order of damnation is this: In Eternity past God first irrevocably hated the vast majority of His own creation even before He created them. Based on this hatred and desire to express His wrath God created his image bearers as the definite objects of His wrath. The vast majority of people were created to be hated and damned for no other reason than His Glory and His Pleasure. The damned do hate God but only because He (the Calvin-god) first hated them in eternity past and created them for this purpose.

    This is in stark contrast to the Bible and Leighton expresses it well.
    “God is most glorified not at the expense of His Creation BUT at the expense of Himself for the sake of His Creation as demonstrated on Calvary.”

    1. Why is this point below so important for Calvinism? My biggest problem with Calvinism is that it distorts the nature of our Glorious God:
      #1. It turns God into a “non-truth telling” being. This God has His secret will that can totally contradict His revealed will. The Calvin-god undermines the Fact that the God of the Bible is a God of Truth and He communicates Truth always. These statements of “mystery” “paradox” and so called “tension” are nothing more than covering up the fact that they have huge contradictions with what they are saying about God.

      I have found a Big Reason that Calvinism uses this point #1 a lot and calls upon “Mystery” is to create uncertainty amongst the masses, in knowing what the Bible is actually teaching. If you can create uncertainty as to what is the TRUTH….NOW you have the foundation to direct people away from the Bible and to Man’s writings to interpret FOR you what TRUTH really is because you aren’t sure from reading the scriptures themselves. This then places Extra-Biblical Writings ABOVE the Word for they ARE the ones that tell you what GOD actually MEANS. You create an Elite Class between God’s Word and the average believer.
      Now we have Augustine, Calvin, Piper, Carson, Sproul, JMac as our mediators who tell us what God actually Means…because you can only read His lowly revealed will, you need a deeper Education to understand His secret will and we, the elite, have it and will give it to you if you come to us and read our books. Creating a sense that there is a “secret truth” “secret will” is essential for hero worship.
      That is why within the Reformed belief system there is such a sense of awe and “reverence” for these mere men.

      1. GraceAdict
        create an Elite Class between God’s Word and the average believer.

        br.d
        Yes – agreed – and I see this as a derivative of Catholicism
        When it becomes impractical to burn Eve on the stake for reading scripture – the next step is to develop a priest-class who will stand over Eve’s shoulder – and tell her what God *REALLY* said.

      2. Graceadict, very well written. Both of your comments. Like you said, I think appealing to “mystery” creates an “elite class.” And this elite class gets to claim they know the “real truth” and that we – the less intelligent beings – have to come to them to get it. I wonder how may cult leaders operate the same way!

        I would add that my Calvi-pastor (ex-pastor, that is, because we left over his Calvinism) not only appeals to mystery, but also highlights how “humble” he is to accept it, making other people feel like the way to be a “proper, good Christian” is to accept his Calvinist teachings “in faith” also.

        He and other Calvinists say things like, “How can it be that God is fully sovereign (by this they mean “controlling all things,” of course) and that men are still held accountable for their actions (the actions that God causes them to do)!?! I don’t know. I can’t fully understand it. Because God alone knows how that works. Who are we to try to peer into the things God keeps from us!?! His ways and understanding are higher than ours. Trying to peer into the mysteries that He keeps for Himself is like trying to be like God. But we don’t need to know how it all works together in order to accept it. God said, it, and so we have to accept it. Besides, the Bible teaches both those truths with no tension, proving that there is no contradiction between those truths, even though it might look like a contradiction to us with our limited wisdom and knowledge. But someday, in eternity, it will all be clear. Until then, we simply have ot accept it, even if we don’t like it or understand it.”

        Basically, “Don’t question it. Don’t look too deeply at it or try to understand it. Don’t offend God or deny the Bible. We told you this is the truth, and so just accept it. Like good, little Calvinists.”

        And this makes people feel like if they question Calvinism’s teachings – which are presented as iron-clad biblical “truths” – then they are unhumble Christians who are offending God and denying His Word. Calvinism is a brilliant cult-like theology, full of shaming, manipulation, altered words and verses, double meanings, the cover-up of what they really mean when they say certain things, etc.

        It’s great that Drew, the author of this post, thought critically of the things he was hearing, instead of simply being bullied, shamed, and manipulated into “submission”, as I think so many well-meaning Calvinists are. In fact, I think that most Calvinists don’t even realize they are not Calvinists, simply because they haven’t taken the time to really explore the theology they say they believe in.

      3. Heather wrote:
        “He and other Calvinists say things like, “How can it be that God is fully sovereign (by this they mean “controlling all things,” of course) and that men are still held accountable for their actions (the actions that God causes them to do)!?! I don’t know. I can’t fully understand it. Because God alone knows how that works. Who are we to try to peer into the things God keeps from us!?! His ways and understanding are higher than ours. Trying to peer into the mysteries that He keeps for Himself is like trying to be like God. But we don’t need to know how it all works together in order to accept it. God said, it, and so we have to accept it. Besides, the Bible teaches both those truths with no tension, proving that there is no contradiction between those truths, even though it might look like a contradiction to us with our limited wisdom and knowledge. But someday, in eternity, it will all be clear. Until then, we simply have ot accept it, even if we don’t like it or understand it.” ”

        Wow, does that give me flashbacks. Along with everything else you wrote. This is EXACTLY how my former Calvi-pastor seduced thinking people into embracing Calvinism against their better instincts. It is the same ‘trick’ that keeps much of my family still under its grip, even while privately admitting that they do not believe that God only chooses some to save. As you so rightly suggested, they are NOT (consistent) Calvinists, but have been persuaded that they must be Calvinists, due to the authority of some man’s or institutions interpretation of scripture. Add to this the fear of loss of friends, loved ones and community – and that is a real and painful eventuality – and many simply refuse to confront the logical conclusions of their professed theology.

      4. Our superior theology gives us the GNOSIS that god is a bird!

        We can’t fully understand how this can be because god alone knows how that works.
        Who are we to try to peer into the things god keeps from us!?!

        Ours is to humbly bow to his VOLUCRIS majesty and believe! :-]

      5. Funny, but true. Any one could take a scripture, and twist it into meaning something it never meant – and believe me, many do. Sadly, many times I do, and just don’t know it; which is why I really try to carefully examine what I think, again and again.

        David said he exited the womb speaking lies. Does anyone really believe he was either capable of speaking or of cognitively grasping the concept of truth from the moment he was born? We cannot just take words at face value – we must wrestle with them, and always remain teachable, always be humbly willing to say, ‘Wow, I never thought about it like that!’ Anyone who glibly throws out words like inerrancy or the sufficiency of scripture simply does not understand the nature of language, and the intricacies of ensuring that the words spoken are received as intended.

    2. Grace Addict Posted this one: “3. Calvinism creates a god that is NOT a god of love….”

      My Response :

      1. Then, your claim that God loves all humanity is a “decoy love” after all not all humanity goes to heaven.

      2. In Calvinism, God is love because He did not decide to let all humanity come to perish. Instead, He choose to pick for himself a people of His own… and because of this act of God, you have made yourself become so indifferent with the Calvinists and charge us that it seems to me that the Calvinists are the culprit and my opponent here becomes the protagonist to the readers.

      1. We must remember that Calvinism evolved from Augustine synchronizing Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism into Catholic doctrine.
        A component of both Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism is “Moral Dualism” in which “Good” and “Evil” are Co-equal, Co-Necessary, and Co-complimentary.

        The byproduct of this is that within the doctrine many things appear in “Good-Evil” pairs.

        So we will see in Calvinism – divine love will appear in benevolent form – and it also appears in malevolent form.

        So Calvin’s god expresses his love for the FEW with benevolence. And Calvin’s god expresses his love for the MANY with malevolence. That is simply the nature of the “Moral Dualism” inherent within the system.

        As Jon Edwards would put it:
        Without the glory of Evil – the glory of goodness would scarce shine forth.

      2. Regarding the topic: Is God a God of Love who authentically loves All of His Creation and provides for all of their Salvation while not forcing them to accept or reject it? Does He authentically invite All to believe? The consistent Calvinist would agree with Pink and say NO, “When we say God is Sovereign in the exercise of His Love, we mean that He loves who he chooses and God does NOT love everybody.”- Arthur Pink

        It seems to me Jtleosala is in agreement with Pink…and does not try to soft peddal his position ( I like that about you, I disagree with you but at least you are not pretending God loves All people and you clearly hold that position- You are brave to hold that so clearly)
        Jtleosala writes:
        “You will say.. because they refuse Christ’s offer. But how can they received the offer it it was not legitimately offered to them?. The reprobates go to hell because they have not been picked by God since before the foundation of the world.”

        GA: Now Jtleosala you take issue with the fact that we would say that is not a loving image and is not in harmony with God’s moral nature… you also say “In Calvinism, God is love because He did not decide to let all humanity come to perish”

        GA: In Calvinism before anyone was created God decided to create most people for Hell and Damnation, He never intended to love them at anytime in Eternity past, Present or Future.

        Here is what defending that looks like. It looks like a lawyer tasked with the job of defending Hitler and making him look loving and kind even while you know the truth about Hitler. The lawyer says “Hitler is very loving and kind, how dare you accuse Hitler of being hateful he helped his generals, and some of His close relatives…SEE that is proof that Hitler is a very kind and caring man” The jury hears that and agrees, yes Hitler is the most loving and kind person that ever existed.”
        However you are a Jew and went through the concentration camps you had family members, brutally killed just for being Jews, others raped just for being Jews, tortured, starved to death, others gassed, and still others were objects of experiments simply because they were Jews. You stand to your feet and say NO ! NO! NO! Hitler was not loving and kind and caring.
        The lawyer’s tactic was to ignore the 6 million Jews and just focus on a select few people to prove Hitler was Good and Kind.
        The problem I see with Calvinism is that it embraces a “Hitler Like god” then to prove that their version is good they only look at the select few people (the elect) and hold those up as examples of Love when in reality their “Hitler Like God” actually treats way more people WAY worse than Hitler ever treated the Jews. Now they are left with the unenviable position of trying to spin their “Hitler Like god” into an image that can be said “He is a God of Genuine Love”. They know their version of God is really Hitler like. So they have to focus on the few people that Hitler was nice to and use that to prove “His Essential Nature is Love”.

        Just like I would not call Hitler a Loving, Kind and Good man…I have an equally hard time seeing the Calvinist version of God any different. We principally reject Calvinism because it Distorts the Moral nature of God.

        Even you Jteosala cannot be sure that the CalvinGod loves you…because this version of God also has a secret will that does not let you know if you are really loved by Him…you might actually be one of the reprobates that He gives a temporary faith to but in the end takes it away so that your damnation might be even greater.

      3. Excellent and insightful point!
        Calvinists do function the same way a lawyer would defending a criminal.
        1001 exculpatory arguements

      4. Jtleosala says:
        “Grace Addict Posted this one: “3. Calvinism creates a god that is NOT a god of love….”
        My Response :
        1. Then, your claim that God loves all humanity is a “decoy love” after all not all humanity goes to heaven.
        2. In Calvinism, God is love because He did not decide to let all humanity come to perish. Instead, He choose to pick for himself a people of His own…”

        Heather says: Two problems here:

        1. You assume that God’s love necessarily means He saves you – that He HAS TO save those He loves and therefore He only really loves those He saves. (Whereas the Bible shows that God demonstrates His love by paying for all sins on the cross, making salvation possible for all, so that anyone can choose to come to Him. Calvinism tells God how God has to act in order to be God – instead of allowing God to decide for Himself how to act, as seen in numerous examples in the Bible.)

        2. You say that God is love because He didn’t let all humanity perish, that He chose a group of people for Himself. Yeah, that sounds nice and all … except for the fact that what Calvinism really teaches is that God didn’t just pick some people to save but that He created a whole bunch more people to hate, to cause to sin and be unbelievers, to never give a chance to be saved, to punish for the things He caused them to do, and to damn to hell for all of eternity, just because He wanted to.

        If that’s what love looks like, I’d hate to see what hate looks like!

        If that’s justice, I’d hate to see injustice!

        If that’s how a holy and righteous God acts, I’d hate to see how an unholy and unrighteous Satan acts!

        In fact, I don’t think Calvi-god is much different than Satan. Hates people, deceives people, wants people in hell, causes people to sin … sounds like Satan to me! (But at least you know what you’re getting with Satan. Not so with the two-faced Calvi-god.)

      5. I wonder if Calvinist parents love the MANY of their children – exactly the same way Calvin’s god’s loves the MANY he creates?
        That would be a disturbed household!

  4. BR.D “a priest-class who will stand over Eve’s shoulder – and tell her what God *REALLY* said.”

    The more I see and understand of Calvinism, the more clear it is to me that Calvinism is paving the Road back to ROME.
    So many of their teachings are the same as Roman Catholic…however they are careful to use different WORDS but then after they have redefined the WORDS they agree with RC doctrine. But of course it would agree!!! they both have very deep roots in Augustine. Both churches the RC church and the Calvinist Church both follow very closely to Augustine.

    Calvin wrote that everything he believes and writes you can trace it back to Augustine, the Roman Catholic Bishop. Plus the RC church says Augustine is one of their primary foundations for understanding. A Beautiful union !!! RC plus Reformed Churches…one is not far from the other. Is this where the end times apostasy is going? Not sure…but worth keeping an eye on it.

    The control that this priest class has is very powerful. I think of Joshua Harris’ departure and wonder what influence his distorted understand of God had on his walking away.

    “Universal, Divine, Causal Determinism plus TULIP. I think I would walk away if that was my understanding of God.
    But fortunately that is NOT the God of the Bible. Just maybe Joshua Harris Walked away from a non-biblical Calvin-god.

    1. Yes – and N.T. Wright will say that Calvin is a Catholic with a small ‘c’
      I think historical letters from Calvin will also show that he corresponded with the RC – informing them of the where-abouts of protestants who disagreed with Calvin’s doctrines – asking the RC to kill them. And that speaks of a continued partnership.

    2. I have found in my experience with ‘Dones’ that most are rejecting the christianity represented by Calvinism. They are rejecting a cruel, controlling monster of a God, who became increasingly horrifying to them as they grew up and realized exactly what he looked like.

      I have spoken with a great many Dones; they are done with organized religion that is based on man-made doctrines and built upon a foundation of authoritarianism and anti-biblical hierarchy. Yes, Calvinism, which has been subtly, slowly taking over evangelicalism, is a return to the authoritarian hierarchy of Catholicism, and as people confront this tyrannizing religiosity they are repulsed. They see that doctrine and systems and the organization matter more than the weak and heavy laden. They see that money is a driving motivation for so many well-known celebrity preacher boys, who are quick to relegate women to second class status and ignore the real, complex social issues in our world. They see that abuse is enabled and covered up, in an attempt to protect the shepherds, while ignoring the wounds of the abused sheep.

      I pray that Josh Harris, and the many others who have become repulsed by the God of Calvinism and the mess he makes of so many lives, will come to know and walk with the genuine, gracious, loving and merciful God. Some of these Dones claim to now be atheists, but their speech often gives them away. They are simply rejecting the false caricature of God they were taught, yet still embrace kindness, love for others and the other principles that reflect the heart of the true God. May those who know this true God so live that others may believe he is who he says he is, rather than what Calvinism alleges.

    3. Heather and TS00, Your comments on your former Calvi-Pastors hit home with me as well. We just fairly recently (January of 2019) had all we could take of Calvi-preaching and left the church we had been attending for 10 years. We heard much of the same illogic, multiple contradictions many times in the very same sermon, and the attitude that if you question their Calvinism and “mysteries” you don’t have a “high view” of scripture or don’t believe God is sovereign (their definition of sovereignty of course).Even though we left many good friends behind, we are so glad we finally made the move (he was just beginning to preach on Romans 9 and there was no way we were going to listen to that for the next 8 weeks (yes, he spent 8 weeks on Romans 9)).

      1. Glad you made that move Andy…I know how hard it is to make the move. We have to pull a rotten tooth before it continues to infect and cause on going pain and infection. Making room for something healthy instead.
        On another note
        Has anyone watched the lastest video of Dr Leighton’s on the church fathers it is just posted today.
        Awesome video on church history one of the best I have seen. Posted Aug 5th 2019

      2. Thank you very much for this testimony andyb201!

        The Lord will bless you and you’re family for you’re love for the truth – in the face of adversity!

      3. Andy, I am sorry to hear you had to leave a church you were at for so long. I know how that feels. It’s not an easy decision to make or one to take lightly. We left ours in May after being there for 20 years and raising our kids in that church. It took us several years to finally make the break. (Some of my kids still attend their kids’ groups, though, because they want to and because we don’t know what else to do right now.)

        And 8 weeks in one chapter! I would’ve left too. Because the only reason a pastor does 8 weeks in Romans 9 is to talk about predestination for two months. A small amusing note: Our pastor did a 9-month-long series in Romans about 3 years ago. 9 months! I believe he did it simply so he could talk about predestination for 9 months. That’s when we began realizing that the writing was on the wall, that it was just a matter of time till we had to leave. (I think that if someone isn’t sure if their pastor is a Calvinist or not, a long series in Romans would be a clue that he probably is.)

        I will admit that I (naively) had hopes for a long time that we could get people talking about it, exploring this issue together, expressing opposing views in a tolerant, respectful way. But our pastor was clearly not going to allow other views on this issue, nor did he ever bring up the fact that there is another way to view this issue. It was always his way is the only way. His way was biblical. And anyone who didn’t see it his way was denying the Bible and dishonoring God. He didn’t exactly say it this way, but it’s exactly what he meant.

        When we realized that there could be no communication, no disagreement on this issue, that’s when we knew we had to go. We might’ve been able to stay if he wasn’t so dogmatic, and if disagreement and discussion were allowed. But that’s not the way it was. Why are they so afraid of allowing people to disagree or have other opinions, of allowing people to freely discuss and explore this topic? (Rhetorical question) If I am so wrong in my view, wouldn’t that just highlight how right they are, giving them more chance to prove their point by defeating my “wrong” views? But, no, opposing views are not really tolerated or even allowed.

        At our church, they even started these small groups that meet weekly to discuss the pastor’s sermon, and even the questions they have in the notes are leading and biased, leaving little to no room for seeing it any other way that the way the pastor does. My husband and I call them “brainwashing indoctrination groups.” It’s really too bad. It’s not how church is supposed to be. And so for now, we stay home and watch sermons online. It can get a little lonely, but at least I can breathe again. My soul was dying at that church! Sad!

        I hope you have found another home church. And if not, I hope you at least have some good Christians you can fellowship with. Blessings to you!

      4. Church boards looking for a pastor are forced to learn how to SMOKE OUT a Calvinist pastor trying to lie his way into that church. And increasingly church boards are learning this the hard way.

      5. Br.d, I think it’s not just church boards that need to learn to smoke out Calvinists, but we need to learn to do that too. I wrote a post about this after leaving our church and trying to figure out what steps I could take to avoid falling into another Calvinist church: https://anticalvinistrant.blogspot.com/2019/07/how-to-tell-if-church-pastor-or-website_2.html

        Also, here’s a link from that post about how one strong 7-POINT Calvinist knowingly lied his way into the pulpit: https://gospelize.me/are-you-a-calvinist-if-you-are-this-interview-process-is-dead-right-here/

        And here’s one on how they essentially “teach” Calvi-pastors to hide their Calvinism: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/saying-what-you-believe-is-clearer-than-saying-calvinist

        Incredible!

      6. Heather – I read you online web-page ” How to Tell if a Church, Pastor, or Website is Calvinist (extended version)”

        The writing is totally excellent!
        Wonderful page!

        Bravo!! :-]

      7. Andy, I too am sorry for what you have been through. I know how difficult it is, and please give yourself plenty of time and patience to heal. It is so painful to give up so much that you have loved and cherished for years. It is difficult to leave behind dear friends, and sometimes even family members.

        I pray that God will be your healing balm. I pray that he will give you peace, comfort and guidance. If your journey is anything like mine, it is not all roses and easy steps. I wish I could say it was. There is still much confusion and many unanswered questions, as I take one step at a time, one day at a time. Some days are better than others. Please don’t become discouraged when the tough days arise.

        I rejoice in the wonderful gift of rediscovering the beauty and goodness of God, and my ever increasing love for those around me – even when they don’t look just like me. I am allowing him to knock down, one by one, my former idols and show me how to once again love him with all of my heart, mind and soul. It is a very good direction to be going, despite any of the suffering along the way.

  5. From the article:
    I know this doesn’t make sense to you and is contradictory but the sooner you throw your hands up in reverent surrender, the sooner you will accept this ‘mystery’ and be able to move past reasoning and attempting to falsify this”. But, if I must simply accept this and not question it, then how can I possibly know if this is true?

    Roger E. Olson agrees
    -quote:
    Even among Calvinists this is a debate: Does Calvinism require sacrificing logic? Calvinist pastor-theologian Edwin H. Palmer, author of “The Five Points of Calvinism” thought so. About Calvinist doctrines he wrote: “The Calvinist freely admits that his position is illogical, ridiculous, nonsensical, and foolish. … The Calvinist holds two apparently contradictory positions.”
    end-quote

    – Believe that a THEOS determines absolutely everything and in every part.
    – Live and speak *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part.

    Yup – I definitely agree with Calvinist Edwin Palmer.
    The poor Calvinist survives by memorizing and embracing a labyrinth of DOUBLE-SPEAK talking-points.
    His mind learns to treat rationality as a stone in one’s shoe.
    And whatever magical idea works to affirm the system is embraced as real

    1. The 5 reasons article meshes so well with Dr. Leighton’s video…After watching the latest video of Dr. Leighton’s it just hit home how powerful on ALL fronts our doctrinal position is. What do I mean ALL fronts?

      1. First BIBLICALLY the scriptures uses “free-will” terminology all over the place. One has to redefine terms to make it not free-will terminology. Determinism is rejected with explicitly language and implicit language. God’s genuine love for ALL is vigorously upheld in scripture. Jesus death for ALL is clearly stated. The scripture’s invitation and expectation that ALL can believe is blatantly evident. One must engage in twisting of words and meanings to avoid it… (Just think if we gave ourselves the freedom to redefine words we could make the Bible say ANYTHING. That is how cults are started and sustained.

      2. LOGIC demands it… we don’t have to appeal to “mystery and God’s secret will” to get to our conclusions from scripture. We just take what the WORD says and follow IT’S Logic consistently. We don’t have to say well I know it doesn’t makes sense but we must believe it anyway just because it is undoubtedly true…humble yourself and believe this contradiction… and well cause Calvin taught it..or it is right here in JMac’s book or Piper’s book – who are you to argue against these giants of the faith?

      3. EARLY CHURCH FATHERS – Now we have the absolutely clear evidence from the Early church Fathers that they DID NOT embrace the Gnostic, Stoic and Manichean ideas that Augustine brought into the church. He was the first “christian theologian” to bring these ideas into Christianity. Up until the 400’s AD all the church Father’s rejected these ideas as heresy. BUT Augustine changed that. Augustine may have done some really good writings but the best lies are accompanied by 90% truth. That is why they are so easily accepted. Augustine was the master of Syncretism.
      Definition of *Religious syncretism*: “the blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions.” He blended some pagan beliefs with Christianity and came out with the foundational assumptions of Calvinism.

      Towards the end of the video Dr. Wilson posts a chart that is so powerful to understand. It shows the names of the Early Church Fathers who called what Augustine would eventually teach as error or even heresy. Then only in the 400’s does Augustine now embrace what was once considered heresy (gnostic,stoic and manichean ideas) as truth, he then incorporates them into his understanding of God and “biblical truth”. The rest is history and the rest is Calvinism.

      1. Yes GraceAdict – I think you’ve summed it up beautifully.

        Calvinists are forced to become experts in contorting language in order to read scripture the way they do.

        And contortion of language is the preeminent characteristic in their defense and promotion of their doctrines.

        I’ve said for years – Calvinists consistently win first-prize at being the most subtle beast in the field of Protestant Christianity. (see genesis 3) :-]

  6. What is the quote from John Calvin that says – God gives some a temporary faith so that He might increase their guilt – or something to that effect…? Thanks for any help on that.

    1. Its in the Institutes

      Calvin’s god designs within the Calvinist fold a:

      -quote: “large mixture of hypocrites who have nothing of Christ but the outward appearance”,
      to whom

      -quote: “he designs the call [of salvation] as a savor of death and severer condemnation”,
      But this is temporary – because his plan for them is to

      -quote: “smite them with greater blindness”.

      In other words he deceives them into believing they are saved – gives them a taste – in order to magnify their torment in the lake of fire.

      Of course it logically follows there is a large mixture of TOTALLY DEPRAVED Calvinists going around telling people what god REALLY says.

      Does that make the teaching of Calvinism spiritual or earthly?

      1. Thanks BR.D for those quotes…
        Here is another wonderful example of man’s teaching and they even feel something doesn’t make sense but just tell you, you must believe it. Under the title of

        Reprobation and God’s Good Pleasure – by Hanko -Protestant Reformed Church

        …. “One may claim that this is hard to understand. I agree. At that point where God’s will touches the will of man in such a way that God’s will is accomplished and man remains accountable before God, we confront a great and wonderful work of God that is beyond our understanding.
        But our inability to understand this work of God is, after all, not surprising. What works of God do we understand? Not one of them! We do not understand how a baby is conceived and formed in the womb of its mother and becomes a new person with a soul or spirit. We do not understand how a blade of grass grows in the field, for we do not understand the principle of life that makes this possible. We do not understand how God moves every drop of blood in our veins and arteries by his sovereign and omnipresent power and Godhead. We are feeble and small. We know almost nothing of the greatness of God. We stand in awe of the simplest of His works. We bow in humble adoration before His majesty.
        Thus one problem persists in our understanding of the sovereign work of the gospel. Its difficulty may surely not be reason to corrupt the truth. We know with absolute certainty that the God of sovereign election and reprobation does not desire and long for the salvation of all men. We bow before the Scriptures that teach clearly that God has one will in Jesus Christ according to which He accomplishes all His good pleasure.” End quote

      2. Wonderful quote GraceAdict!

        Here is a snippet
        -quote
        We know with absolute certainty that the god of sovereign election and reprobation does not desire and long for the salvation of ALL men.

        br.d
        Do they REALLY know this with “absolute certainty”?

        Also notice how for them he is a god of “sovereign election” and “sovereign reprobation”
        This fits perfectly the Gnostic pattern of moral dualism – where good and evil are co-equal and co-necessary.

        We can also discern how Calvinists strategically couch the word ALL behind a mask of semantic AMBIGUITY,
        That is how Calvinists can make statements that APPEAR to assert the exact opposite – and without even blinking.

        Did God REALLY design the gospel to be communicated with DUPLICITOUS language?

    2. Graceadict, I wrote a tiny bit about that fake, temporary grace that tricks the unelect into thinking they are saved – it’s called “evanescent grace” – in a post called “Can you lose your salvation?” (Link: https://mycrazyfaith.blogspot.com/2019/02/can-you-lose-your-salvation.html)

      Here is part of that section:

      Evanescent Grace:

      Want to hear something delightful about the Calvinist God?

      According to John Calvin (the founder of Calvinism), our righteous, loving Father sometimes causes unelected people to think they are truly saved – He makes them feel secure in their “fake salvation” – just so that He has even more reason to damn them to hell.

      Did you get that? Do you really hear what that’s saying?

      Our God – who is supposed to be just and righteous and loving – tricks unelected people into truly thinking they are elected. He gives them a fake, temporary, non-saving grace that causes them to feel saved all the way till the end, just so He can punish them more “justly” in hell!

      All for His purposes and good pleasure and glory!

      What kind of a God is that!?! And how then can any saved person ever be assured of their salvation!?!

      I don’t know if most Calvinists hold to this view today, or if they even know that John Calvin taught it. But it would totally fit with Calvinism because, according to Calvinism, God causes everything that happens and makes our decisions for us. So if a person is unelected but thinks they are saved – if someone “falls away” – it would have to be all God’s doing, since He controls all. And it would be for His glory and purposes and good pleasure – because Calvinists believe everything that happens is because God caused it for His glory and purposes and good pleasure, even pre-choosing people to damn to hell with no chance of being saved because “Jesus didn’t die for them anyway.” According to Calvinism.

      And that’s a God that Calvinists think is worthy of trust and praise and glory!?!

      And if you think I am making this up, look at John Calvin’s own rambling words on this, from his Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 2, Section 11:

      “I am aware it seems unaccountable to some how faith is attributed to the reprobate, seeing that it is declared by Paul to be one of the fruits of election; and yet the difficulty is easily solved: for though none are enlightened into faith, and truly feel the efficacy of the Gospel, with the exception of those who are fore-ordained to salvation, yet experience shows that the reprobate are sometimes affected in a way so similar to the elect, that even in their own judgment there is no difference between them. Hence it is not strange, that by the Apostle a taste of heavenly gifts, and by Christ himself a temporary faith, is ascribed to them. Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord, the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse, instills into their minds such a sense of his goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption.”

      He is saying that the unelect sometimes feel saved, that they are sometimes affected as much as the elect are and so they end up truly thinking they are saved. And he says that this is because they have been given a sort of temporary faith, from Jesus, not a real faith that saves but just enough of this “temporary faith” to convict them.

      And there is more in Book 3, Chapter 24, Section 8: “The expression of our Savior, “Many are called, but few are chosen,” (Mt. 22:14), is also very improperly interpreted (see Book 3, chap. 2, sec. 11, 12). There will be no ambiguity in it, if we attend to what our former remarks ought to have made clear—viz. that there are two species of calling: for there is an universal call, by which God, through the external preaching of the word, invites all men alike, even those for whom he designs the call to be a savor of death, and the ground of a severer condemnation. Besides this there is a special call which, for the most part, God bestows on believers only, when by the internal illumination of the Spirit he causes the word preached to take deep root in their hearts. Sometimes, however, he communicates it also to those whom he enlightens only for a time, and whom afterwards, in just punishment for their ingratitude, he abandons and smites with greater blindness.”

      Calvinists claim they can be more secure in their salvation because if God has chosen you, He can never lose you.

      But … that’s a big “IF”!

      IF God chose you!?! And they can’t know till the end of their lives, by way of “persevering to the end,” if God truly chose them or not. And they can’t know if the grace God gave them is the real saving kind or the evanescent kind.

      Oh yeah, Calvinism is wonderful, isn’t it!?!

      But no! Calvinism breeds a lifetime of fear, never knowing for sure if God chose you (or your family members). Having to work all the way to the end to keep your faith to prove that you were chosen. Never knowing if God is tricking you into thinking you are saved, just so He can have more reason to damn you to hell.

      Oh, yeah …. Calvinism’s great!

      1. If someone married a person who simply ‘tricked’ them into thinking they loved them so that they could ridicule or harm them, that person would be deemed a predator and abuser. But Calvinism can calmly make such claims about God and pretend to also believe that he is loving and just. Acutally, most ignore or are utterly unaware of the necessity of this horrific evanescent grace, which is necessary due to the deterministic nature of their theological system. Thank you for bringing it up, so that those who are unaware or are hiding their head in the sand may confront the truth head on.

      2. TS00, I think the phrase “most ignore or are utterly unaware” is exactly how Calvinism has spread as much as it has. But if people took the time to really research the questionable things they are taught, they would see how illogical, contradictory, and horrific Calvinism itself really is. And I am sorry about the hold it has on your family! May God continue to put truth in their path, until they are willing to see it.

      3. heather
        But if people took the time to really research the questionable things they are taught, they would see how illogical, contradictory, and horrific Calvinism itself really is.

        br.d
        I totally agree. Advertising language is an art form.
        Making the product appear as desirable as possible while hiding undesirable truths. It is a language full of slogans and talking-points, relying on poetic license to present a complimentary picture.

        It is carefully crafted language, designed to get inside the consumer’s head like an eloquent story, inspiring and seducing one into a state of personal investment.

        When the unrelenting grip of that investment takes hold, the individual may resemble a dog protecting his bone. At some point he will simply not have the mental capacity to question anything he has embraced.

        Advertising writers, much like your favorite fiction author, are masters at indirect, highly inferential and equivocal language, designed to make the product APPEAR desirable.

        And slogans like: “Doctrines Of Grace”, “Grace To You”, and “Desiring God” are perfect examples.

      4. Br.d. I totally agree with you. (And I know you are good about pointing out Calvinism’s double-speak – a huge factor in their manipulation of people). I was shocked when I started researching some of those popular Christian websites that always pop up first in theological searches online – Grace to You, Desiring God, etc. They sound so godly in name, but so many of them are Calvinist. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. But for so long, I never suspected anything was wrong because they sound so biblical, so God-centered. It is so critical to be a “Berean” these days.

      5. Heather
        It is so critical to be a “Berean” these days.

        br.d
        WOW! Truer words have not been spoken!!

      6. I like the clarity coming from Heather and BR.D Reggie, FOH etc..– Love reading the comments. I love the fact that, here, the spin is taken off of what Calvinists are saying. For too long we (I) have been drowning in the deceptive language and double-speak that comes from Calvinism. Knowing there is something terribly wrong but not having a brother or sister to talk with about the errors I am seeing. Too many people are operating in Fear of the ruling class and opt for “mystery”.
        This post might be a bit different since I am requesting some input on the summary below of the Foundation of Calvinism. This is not meant to describe the whole system or even the tactics they uses to deceive the masses but simply the Foundation of the system, if anyone has time to comment, improve on it or re-write it as you see it, (more clearly taking the spin off of their teaching) this would be helpful for me. This summary is the level below TULIP. The level that the rest of the superstructure of TULIP rests on. BR.D and others you will notice your insights are very much reflected as I have learned from you all : Thank-you

        SUMMARY
        “What are the foundational assumptions of this system, called Calvinism? – (Consistent Calvinism)
        This system starts with a very foundational belief that a divine meticulous determinism must be 100% absolute in every instance all the time. In this system the absoluteness of God’s meticulous determinism is essential for God to be seen as the Sovereign God of the Universe. This meticulous determinism operates equally in the realm of evil just as much as it operates in the realm of that which is Holy. This Sovereign determinism is just as responsible for each and every evil outcome as it is for each and every morally good outcome. At a deep fundamental level Calvinism is committed to a dualism in which evil and good are co-necessary and co-equal, both coming from the same source and equally responsible for generating Glory for this “One Source”, God. Calvinism requires the foundational belief that God must be the meticulous determiner and primary cause of every thought and act of moral evil and moral good in order for God to be truly Sovereign and be properly Glorified.
        God’s Glory is equally and simultaneously derived from the evil and the holy, hence this system teaches implicitly and explicitly that evil and holy are co-necessary.”

        If anyone has time…let me know how you would improve on it.. thanks GA

      7. Good summary GraceAdict.

        The Calvinist is probably going to disagree with this statement:
        -quote
        This meticulous determinism operates equally in the realm of evil just as much as it operates in the realm of that which is Holy.

        But their disagreement on that will probably be based on SEMANTICs – arguing over term definitions – or re-defining term definitions in order to minimize the “author of evil” aspect of the system.

        The weakness of Determinism is of course that it is unlivable and impossible to rationally affirm. A rejection of Libertarian Freedom logically excludes Libertarian Free Thinking. Since Libertarian Free Thinking entails the process of choosing between multiple options (e.g. TRUE vs FALSE) and since libertarian Free thinking is mutually excluded – it logically follows the Determinist does not have the ability (in and of himself) to discern what is TRUE from what is FALSE. All of his TRUE/FALSE perceptions are determined for him (not by him) – being determined by the THEOS. And he has no idea whether the THEOS has determined him to be deceived or not. And that is another reason why his belief system cannot be rationally affirmed.

        This phenomenon forces the Calvinist in a mode of thinking called *AS-IF* thinking. TRUE *AS-IF* FALSe and FALSE *AS-IF* TRUE. John Calvin for example teaches them to go about their office *AS-IF* determinism is FALSE while believing it is TRUE.

        This TRUE *AS-IF* FALSE psychology outwardly expresses itself as DOUBLE-SPEAK.

      8. GraceAdict I really appreciate your posts and insights as well! I’m probably not the one to help in your summary, but I find it to be a good one & I like what Br.d suggested.
        Also you are right it is difficult feeling like your the only one who sees, that aligning to this theology system seems off! But thankfully we’re not alone and for that I’m soooooooo grateful! God first brought a fellow believer into my life in 2015 when I was in a Bible study of Revelation. Not only did she see what we see in Scripture she had a sister and a brother in law who were calvinist in her family just like me! Wow that is sooooo Awesome of God to give her & I a friendship like that, to encourage us both! But then when I stumbled onto this site I’ve found those who can articulate this position, so much better than I ever could hope to… it has helped me so much, because at times I do find it difficult since they sound very biblical. Until you remember/see where this ends and that is “we’re all robots” without real love.. Thank you again for your gracious complement to us all😊 I think we are all able to help each other, & even if my part is a small one I’m absolutely okay with that and let’s remember🌻

        2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV — For we walk by faith, not by sight.

      9. Very good GA… the only thing needed perhaps, which you hinted at but needs more clarification, imo, is that all this expression of meticulous determinism was/is eternally immutably predestined.

        It’s not like God is making any sovereign choices between two good options now in the present, in their view. He also is locked into an eternal immutable story that must work out only one way. He is a puppet of His own fatalism, in their view.

      10. Excellent point, Brian. What would induce a christian to pray, believing that God’s hands are tied by his own previous determinations? The best you can hope for is emotional support, as you endure whatsoever evils God has ordained for your life. No use praying for more wisdom, in order to avoid unnecessary mistakes. No use praying for patience, in order to show more gracious love to those you care about. No use doing anything, but la di daing your way through the script that was handed to you.

      11. Good point TS00!

        Concerning prayer – one Calvinist web-site states it this way:

        “Prayer Changes the Future
        What happens in the future, then, *DOES* depend on what we do and pray in the present.
        Some things have happened only because they were prayed for; they would not have happened if they were not prayed for. ‘We must never presume God will grant us apart from prayer what he has ordained to grant us only by means of prayer.”

        Here we have an excellent example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking
        In Theological Determinism only the THEOS – and not man – determines whether or not man prays or what man prays. Every neurological impulse that appears in his brain is ch meticulously choreographed.

        In the pool game of Calvinism – every movement of every ball is meticulously scripted in advance. There is no such thing as a ball originating its own movement. And there is no such thing as a ball doing otherwise than what it was scripted to do.

        But the poor double-minded Calvinist must go about his office *AS-IF* Theological Determinism is FALSE.

        Understanding Calvinism is pretty straight forward.
        A Calvinist is a Determinism – wearing a mask of IN-determinism – reciting double-speak talking-points.

      12. Thanks everyone with your input very helpful indeed. Also thanks for the kind words from those who commented…
        This is the only place I can actually talk about my true belief openly, so it is a great opportunity to engage. When you live in a Calvinistic environment it is not pleasant… BTW – Does anyone know of some good Conferences where we might meet like minded believers? It is a desert out here…

      13. Hard to believe Dr. Flowers isn’t involved in some kind of upcoming conferences.
        Have you checked him out on facebook?

      14. Oh yes…didn’t mean to leave out TSOO and BrianWagner…I have learned much from you guys. Thanks

      15. Graceadict, your summary sounds good and accurate to me. And I agree with BR.D. that Calvinists will do whatever they can to downplay the idea that God causes evil, even though their theology necessitates it. And trying to hide this idea leads to all those good-sounding “extra layers” they wrap around it – all the double-talk they do. They talk in circles – word gymnastics – in order to cover for the fact that they believe God causes all evil. Because they themselves (most of them) know it doesn’t sound right to say it.

        I think many people are sucked into Calvinism precisely because Calvinist preachers are so wordy that it sounds lofty, academic, and intelligent. And people get so overwhelmed by all the rambling words that they simply shut down and “accept it,” even though they don’t really understand it. And another plus for Calvinism is that all that rambling talk – all the layers and double-talk – prevents people from being able to pin down what’s wrong about it and to figure out where to start in questioning it or researching it. It’s just too overwhelming.

        But your summary sounds like it’s cutting past all the nonsense, boiling down the core beliefs of Calvinism to what they really believe. Good job. The only thing I might add is to make it personal, related to mankind’s free-will. I can see you are essentially doing that, since you point out that God causes everything. But it makes it more personal, relevant, and hard-hitting to include the idea that “divine determinism” essentially and necessarily means that there is no free-will, that everything we do and think and believe has been determined and caused by God, and there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s one thing for people to think that Calvi-god controls the universe and the course of history in general, but it really makes them sit up and take notice when they realize that Calvinism teaches that we ourselves have no control over anything we do or think or believe. When people really grasp that this is what Calvinism teaches, they are more likely to seriously consider if it’s a theology that they can believe in. Just my two cents.

      16. Graceadict, My husband was just telling me the other day that he really likes your comments! So thank you for all your input!

      17. Good point about the prayer, TS00. I grew up with the “Well, prayer helps draw you closer to the heart of God,” as if prayer doesn’t really have an effect on things and as is if we can get any closer than Calvi-god has “ordained” us to get. Seriously, prayer has no function or role whatsoever in moving the hand of God if God alone determines everything that happens apart from mankind’s actions. I mean, that is, if God alone has already PREdetermined everything that happens, and nothing can change or affect what’s “meant to be.” Prayer, in Calvinism, is nothing more than a showy formality, going through the motions for the sake of going through them. Because “God told us to pray.” Which is what Calvinists boil it down to. Just like “God told us to evangelize, even if we don’t know what effect it has on anything because it’s all been preplanned.” It’s nonsense!

        And BR.D, great job pointing out the AS-IF thinking when it comes to Calvinist prayers. And when it comes to this nonsensical hogwash comment that you quoted: ‘We must never presume God will grant us apart from prayer what he has ordained to grant us only by means of prayer,” I would love to ask them “So then what happens if I don’t pray?” and see what they say. That would be interesting!

      18. Actually, what I mean to say is that this comment – ‘We must never presume God will grant us apart from prayer what he has ordained to grant us only by means of prayer,”- is absurd for a CALVINIST to say, because they truly believe that God’s Will and plans cannot be affected or influenced by us. Because if we had any “power” or “influence” over God and His plans then He wouldn’t be sovereign in the way they think He has to be.

        But I agree with that quote. But I CAN agree with that quote because i believe prayer matters and that it affects things and that God has decided to work through and in cooperation with mankind in various ways, including our prayers and obedience and choices. And so whether or not we pray (and obey) will affect the course of our lives and how/when God’s Will is carried out on earth. But a Calvinist cannot say that kind of quote without contradicting their own theology and their own view of God.

      19. Heather wrote:
        “But a Calvinist cannot say that kind of quote without contradicting their own theology and their own view of God.”

        You and I both know that Calvinists do say such things, because they are true . . . and because they do not really believe what Calvinism teaches . . . if they even fully know.

      20. TS00: “You and I both know that Calvinists do say such things, because they are true . . . and because they do not really believe what Calvinism teaches . . . if they even fully know.”

        Amen to that! Exactly! I think most average Calvinists are simply focusing on the “God is sovereign” part, not wanting to deny His power and sovereignty. Which is understandable. They are trying their best to honor God as best they know how. And that’s commendable. They just don’t stop to really think about how wrong Calvinism defines “Sovereignty” and the disastrous effects it has on their theology.

        It’s like almost any other cult or false religion out there where the person is sincere about their faith and desperately want to do things right, to honor God. They just don’t stop to question or really research what they’re taught, what the Bible really says. Partly because they’re told that they are dishonoring God if they question it, if they don’t just accept it “in faith.” They’re led to believe they are denying His sovereignty if they see it any other way but theirs. It’s sad. (But I know you know this, because you mentioned your family is caught up in it. So sorry! I’m praying for them!)

      21. I like dialog you two are having here is informative.

        And I think this same exact conflict that main-line Calvinists have with Non-Calvinists exists also between “Hyper” Calvinists and main-line Calvinists – except the roles are reversed.

        The main-line Calvinistic is simply not consistent enough as a Calvinist for the “Hyper”.
        The main-line Calvinist is perceived as a “Yea-Nay” Calvinist to the “Hyper”

      22. Yes heather I agree with this;
        [It’s like almost any other cult or false religion out there where the person is sincere about their faith and desperately want to do things right, to honor God.]
        We are not told to listen & trust what [[[THEY]]] say, but rather know what He says and there isn’t a magical spell to understanding His revealed Word, but rather as mentioned before what we find in Acts 17:11-12
        I find Him willing to allow us to question when we don’t understand rather than throwing our arms up in defeat of what (they) say!! After all we are in a real relationship which requires authentic communication unless you live in fear of being authentic with someone if not normally you’ll have questions. May we all continue to grow in His love, because that type of love is absolutely transforming!

      23. Heather -That quote by John Calvin
        “Hence it is not strange, that by the Apostle a taste of heavenly gifts, and by Christ himself a temporary faith, is ascribed to them. Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord, the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse”

        BY CHRIST HIMSELF A TEMPORARY FAITH, IS ASCRIBED TO THEM…THE BETTER TO CONVICT THEM, AND LEAVE THEM WITHOUT EXCUSE.

        This is such a disgraceful distortion of who God is…Just think of God’s moral attributes of TRUTHFULNESS, HOLINESS, LOVE, MERCY, JUSTICE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, LONGSUFFERING, SHOWS NO PARTIALITY. It is nothing like God.

        It is even more horrible when we understand that under the Calvi-god system God could just as easily ascribed a “genuine faith” to them instead of a “temporary faith” (that propels them towards destruction) the Calvi-god wants to deceive them and others and deeply wants them in hell more than anything so instead of a genuine faith HE irresistibly gives them a “temporary faith”. In their system no one can have faith apart from God “effectually giving” (forcibly giving) it to them at some point in their lives so the fact that God gives a damning faith to them instead of the genuine faith reflects on the nature of their Calvi-god. A morally distorted being, that does not align with the Biblical definition of Good, Loiving, Merciful and Holy.

        Under the Calvinist paradigm they forget that God is truly a moral being, and a morally GOOD being. They think their definition of Sovereignty can trump any moral attribute that God has, so the Calvi-god can author evil, can be unloving, unmerciful, unjust, untruthful, as long as you say:
        “WELL GOD IS SOVEREIGN – HE CAN DO ANYTHING, WE MUST SIMPLY ACCEPT IT AND CALL IT HOLY AND GOOD” even though it contradicts the scriptures’ own definitions of what is Holy, Good and Loving. It is not our own standard of Holy, Good and Loving that is being contradicted it is the very SCRIPTURE’S definitions of these terms that is being contradicted.

        They think the term “SOVEREIGN” means He can be as evil and distorted as they want to make HIM out to be and the Word “Sovereign” takes care of all of those distortions. “A Sovereign God can do anything, who are you O man to question God?”
        BTW – We are not questioning God we are questioning your profaning His Holy name and then thinking by tacking on “Sovereign” it makes your blasphemy go away. It does NOT.

        Just like the word “Mystery, Paradox and Tension” covers over all kinds of Contradictions to the Bible that they assert are true SO ALSO when they use the WORD “SOVEREIGN” it is often a tactic to cover over the fact that they have in many cases constructed their Calvi-god who is demonstrably unloving, unmerciful, unjust, untruthful, unholy, evil and yet if you apply the word Sovereign and say “Sovereign God can do whatever HE wants” it is supposed to take care of all the Profaning of God’s Holy name and BLASPHEMY that they have just engaged in.

        “Sovereign” is NOT a word that can be employed to cover over the profaning of God’s Holy name that goes on in Calvinism.

        Take note how they use the word Sovereign to do just that. It does NOT Glorify God…it is truly profaning His Holy name.

      24. You’re on a roll – hitting the nail on the head with your comments. This one made me wince, to think of people actually blaspheming the name of God in such a terrible manner.

      25. Graceadict, WOW! Excellent comment and observation! All of it! It totally gets to the heart of what’s wrong with Calvinism.

        I particularly loved this: “They think their definition of Sovereignty can trump any moral attribute that God has, so the Calvi-god can author evil, can be unloving, unmerciful, unjust, untruthful, as long as you say: “WELL GOD IS SOVEREIGN – HE CAN DO ANYTHING, WE MUST SIMPLY ACCEPT IT AND CALL IT HOLY AND GOOD” even though it contradicts the scriptures’ own definitions of what is Holy, Good and Loving.”

        Amazing! And such brazen blasphemy against God’s good character!

  7. “They” lost me from listening to their B.S. when they repeated their belief in God throwing babies that had not been baptized into Hell. My head came off and I refuse to listen to anything that they have to say, ever….. Also, why have missions or for that matter share the Good News if Salvation has already been determined before hand? They spew B.S….. My thoughts…

    1. Hello David Brooks and welcome.

      Although I have occasionally thought of Calvinism using the 2-letter term you used a couple of times in this post – it is language that borders a little to close to the edge for a Christian web-site. So we ask you to refrain from using it.

    2. Glad to hear you won’t listen to them, David! My head often “comes off” with some of the things they say, most recently with my Calvi-pastor’s sermon against the age of accountability: https://anticalvinistrant.blogspot.com/2019/07/do-babies-go-to-heaven-if-they-die.html.

      And because of how vile and wretched their teachings are, I myself “border a little too close (and maybe a lot too close!) to the edge” when it comes to some of the words I use when talking about their teachings! But I’m okay with it (at least on my own website, but I’ll refrain from doing it here). Because I think Calvinism deserves it.

      And when it comes to missions, my Calvi-pastor’s main goal is to “make God famous,” not really to spread Jesus’s love or the call to salvation. He thinks God’s biggest goal is to be famous among the people, and so this is why he does missions work. Sad to think of the twisted half-picture of God that the people get through his evangelizing.

      1. Heather, it breaks my heart. Jesus did not come to show mankind how powerful or ‘glorious’ God was – all of creation testifies to that! It was this dread of a powerful, tyrannical, controlling deity that led to the many pagan religions. Religions that might demand one sacrifice your firstborn to appease an angry god. So what did God do? He willingly offered up his only Son, for the sake of undeserving, rebellious sinners.

        Jesus came to not only declare but to demonstrate in his own actions the love, mercy and grace of the true God. He came teaching men to call him ‘Father’, to view him as one to be loved and trusted, rather than the typical view of the deities as tyrannical, unpredictable, angry forces which threatened one’s very existence.

        Calvinism is a throwback to the false religions which attributed many false things about God, making him a fearsome, powerful tyrant. It is a denial of God’s genuine character, and his revelation, through Jesus, that he is a good, loving, merciful father who desires only the good of all men.

      2. So true, TS00. All of what you said.

        The ironic thing is that while Jesus came to represent a different god than the gods of false religions who require things like child sacrifice, Calvi-god takes us right back to a god who requires and engages in child sacrifice. If He is the cause of all things, as Calvinism says.

        There’s abortion and violence against children, for starters. According to Calvinism, God Himself would have to be the cause of these things. Or else there’s something He’s not controlling, which would mean to them that He isn’t God. And according to Calvin, God only kills the unelected babies. So God Himself is the cause of these abortions and of child slaughter, of babies that He predestined to hell.

        See his Harmony of the Law, Volume 2, Deuteronomy 13, paragraph 15:

        15 “Thou shalt surely smite. … If any should object that the little children at least were innocent, I reply that, since all are condemned by the judgment of God from the least to the greatest, we contend against Him in vain, even though He should destroy the very infants as yet in their mothers’ womb. When Sodom and the neighboring cities were swallowed up, we doubt not but that in the mighty multitude many infants and pregnant women also perished; and whilst our reason struggles against this, it is better rather to look up reverently to the Divine tribunal, than to subject it to our own laws. The same may be said of the destruction of Babylon; for when the Prophet exclaims: “Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones,” he assuredly eulogizes the just vengeance of God. (Psalm 137:9.) So also in this passage, if it does not appear to us agreeable to reason that the whole race of evil-doers should be exterminated, let us understand that God is defrauded of His rights, whensoever we measure His infinite greatness, which the angels themselves admiringly adore, by our own feelings. Although we must recollect that God would never have suffered any infants to be destroyed, except those which He had already reprobated and condemned to eternal death. But if we admit God’s right to deprive of the hope of salvation whomsoever He sees fit, why should the temporal punishment, which is much lighter, be found fault with? …”

        And again in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Section 7: “I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God?”

        From what I can tell, this “seemed meet to God” seems to mean (according to others who quoted this passage) that it pleased God to have Adam’s sin lead to the eternal destruction of most people, with no chance of being saved, including their “infant children.” Calvin is attributing the destruction of infants in hell to God.

        And may I point out something else Calvin believes? That if a mother can’t provide enough milk for her baby, it’s because God was pleased to make it so. So it’s for God’s pleasure that babies basically starve to death!?! Well, only the unelected babies, of course. See his Institutes, Book 1, Chapter 16, Section 3: “David exclaims (Ps. 8:3), that infants hanging at their mothers breasts are eloquent enough to celebrate the glory of God, because, from the very moment of their births they find an aliment prepared for them by heavenly care. Indeed, if we do not shut our eyes and senses to the fact, we must see that some mothers have full provision for their infants, and others almost none, according as it is the pleasure of God to nourish one child more liberally, and another more sparingly.”

        Anyone else want to throw up!?!

        And then, of course, if God is the cause of all things, then He would have to be the cause of the actual child sacrifice in Ezekiel 16:20-21: “And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to idols…. You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols.” And in Jeremiah 19:4-5: “For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods … and have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as an offering to Baal – something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.”

        Calvinists say God has ordained and planned everything we do – so it would have to include this child sacrifice. Yet He Himself says He never thought of child sacrifice being done! How do Calvinists reason that one out?

        Anyway, I am so glad that Calvi-god is not the God of the Bible! You are right that Jesus came to show us a different kind of God than the false gods – one who is full of love, mercy, grace. Compassion, truth, justice. A Father who can be trusted and who is easy to love, once you grasp how much He loves us and how much He’s done for us! What a shame that Calvinism is spreading such a damaging view of God, declaring most people to be “unsaveable” … when, in reality, God sent Jesus to be the Savior of the WORLD. (This is why I don’t mind tiptoeing close to the harsher words on my blog when talking against Calvinism. Sometimes only the harsher words will do! Fighting fire with fire.)

  8. Hi Eric. I’m curious if there is a specific definition of Calvinism or iteration of Calvinist teachings that you are speaking out against in your article? The reason I ask is because I believe it’s possible to agree with your article—namely the very troubling aspects of double predestination—and still be a part of a tradition influenced by Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, and other Reformed thinkers and to live out this theological system in a thoughtful and constructive way that is affirming for all people. I certainly don’t identify as a Calvinist and am strongly opposed to what popular proponents of Calvinism preach today. But there is an interesting tension between those who identify as being influenced by Calvin— and those who identify as Calvinists full stop.

    1. Hello Katy and welcome.

      Due to other responsibilities Eric may not be able to directly respond to your question. But you may want to look for Dr. Flowers on Facebook.

      From my personal observations over the years – I would say the article represents Calvinists who take their Calvinism seriously. Demographically speaking this will typically be found in the category of the white Anglo-saxon male.

      A female who takes Calvinism seriously will be few and far between. And for the most part are observed as approaching it inadvertently through marriage.

      We also have a few ex-Calvinists here at SOT101 who may be willing to share some of their own insight on your question.

  9. My limited knowledge of early Christian history, so far, has led me to conclude that when the early Christians (following the death of all the original Apostles) concluded that fallen mankind had only one nature, that was only evil, the door was opened for pagan unconditional determinism and unconditional predestination to be easily injected into Christianity (by saying man lost his free will capacity to choose good or evil when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) ultimately resulting in the development of an anemic puppeteering, bipolar (good and evil) nature of God concept of Calvinism and Calvinism’s no free will of man TULIP soteriology. If anybody has a bipolar nature of good and evil, man fits that concept not the God described in the Bible.

    1. Hello David and welcome

      Seeing that you are a history buff – you may be interested in Dr. Flowers interview presented here at SOT101 with Dr. Ken Wilson – who is the author of:

      Augustine’s Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to ‘non-Free Free Will’: A Comprehensive Methodology (Studien Und Texte Zu Antike Und Christentum / Studies and Texts in Antiquity and Christianity)

      https://soteriology101.com/2019/03/11/was-st-augustine-the-first-to-introduce-calvinism-to-the-church/

      I believe Dr. Wison’s research lines up coherently with the wide-body of academic research on Augustine — which shows a deviation from pre-Augustine Christian doctrines by virtue of his syncretism of Gnostic and NeoPlatonic conceptions into Catholic doctrine.

      Also your reference to what you call a “bipolar” conception of good and evil is highly insightful. I believe you will find this as a derivative of moral dualism that was prevalent in Augustine’s life-time. In moral dualism good and evil are co-equal and co-necessary constituents of the “ONE”. The “ONE” is a reference to the deity of NeoPlatonism – who the Christian NeoPlatonists would have seen as the God of scripture.

      Augustine himself called this system of good-evil (or bipolar as you call it) “Antithesis” and said it was wonderful to ponder. Jon Edwards would later enunciate the Gnostic dualism this way:
      -quote
      the shining forth of God’s glory would be very imperfect both because the parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the other do, and also the glory of his goodness, love and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all.

      If you follow it – this is essentially today what is known as the doctrine of Yin-Yang. You may know that Gnosticism itself was a conglomeration from predominantly Greek and Coptic sources in the eastern and western Mediterranean. Its dualism having traces of “Oriental philosophy,” and especially elements of Zoroastrianism.

  10. First two points are not for you Drew, but for some of the commenters on your article.

    First: The assertion that Calvinism is a “paving stone back to catholicism” is among the most ignorant things I’ve seen on the internet today. Please, please, read the dialogues between the reformers and the papists before making this kind of a statement. Calvin didn’t say that everything he believed was in common with Augustine, and there is absolutely no question that the Roman Catholic Church was an entirely different institution in Augustine’s day than it was in Calvin’s.

    Second: It’s truly amazing to me that there is a reply above that equates the near unequaled (excepting the scriptures) depth of the theology of one of the men responsible for us having access to the scriptures apart from the dispensation of the Papacy with Gnosticism. If you cannot see in the quote “What if God, DESIRING TO SHOW HIS WRATH AND TO MAKE KNOWN HIS POWER” that the scriptures teach the fact that God wanted to reveal both wrath and mercy, then perhaps you need a larger print. There is absolutely no teaching within the “Reformed Church” that anything is inherently necessary aside from God. Read Romans 8 again. Who do you think Paul meant when he said, “not willingly, but because of HIM who subjected it, in hope.” Evil is not necessitated by good. The acts that are done in evil by men are simply the tool God chose to use for good in some cases. Much like satan having to ask His permission before afflicting Job and God’s allowing it, God uses the evil actions of others to carry out his own decree. That’s why he could call Nebuchadnezzar “My Servant”, and in the same breath, promise to punish that servant for doing what He(God) “sent” him to do because he did it in his own arrogance.

    In response to this article, I have several questions.

    1)Can you please identify the categorical shift from the specifically soteriological, blatantly individualistic message of Romans 8 and the supposedly nation-state focus of the first part of 9, (except, I’m assuming, verses 6-8) then back to individualistic for Pharoah’s case wherein he is specifically recorded as having been raised up so that God could demonstrate His power(showing that God has the right to do with His creation whatever He wishes explicitly including the temporal influencing of a person’s “free” will to accomplish His purposes), then back to a national view for the analogy of the potter making vessels prepared for destruction, then some mixture of the two categories that cannot possibly make sense in light of the surrounding chapters when he makes the distinction between “us” (the elect/those whom he called – clearly personal) and the national people of Israel/Gentiles, then another strange mix wherein specific individuals are saved while a nation is mightily punished. All of this again following a purely individualistic chapter and leading into a discussion of salvation wherein he specifically identifies the state of “Israel” as not entirely efficacious of the physical Israel by saying in Rom 11:1-10 not only that he, a Jew was saved despite the temporary hardening, but even more poignantly that God “kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal”, “There is a remnant chosen by grace”, explicitly differentiates between the Old Testament State of Israel and the elect, and finally that God purposefully hardened the majority of the Individuals that made up the descendants of Abraham and “gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”

    2) Can you please identify for me a passage of Scripture wherein we are commanded to take a message to the Nations that God loves all of them and they should accept Jesus as a result? It seems to me that the call is “Repent, Believe, and you will be saved.” In fact, your point number 5 makes reference to Romans 2:10 – I assume you meant 2:4 – wherein Paul says that “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance”, as if this is the given means by which we are supposed to proselytize or as if the God’s love is the entirety of the Gospel. I find it hard to believe that Paul’s list of sufferings was brought on by him bringing a “God is Love” message to the world. Indeed, all of God’s attributes are meant to bring us to repentance, and are used by the apostles and disciples to present the Gospel, as is made abundantly clear in the preceding chapter and the whole of the Book of Acts. It’s hard to lead someone to brokenness and a realization of his/her need of a mediator if you don’t include the wrath, justice, holiness, and law of God with which they are in a state of enmity. Your universal application of the use of the term all presents your position with two options: Universalism or open theism. If God truly loved all men equally, but entirely failed to get his message to a majority of the world in any form for thousands of years, he has no power. If His love for all was equal, how can he then harden pharoah’s heart? Did God love the guy driving the front chariot of Pharoah’s army as much as he loves you or Moses or some random guy standing on the dry bank among God’s chosen people? It creates irreconcilable contradiction. If the Bible is God’s word, it doesn’t contradict. Therefore, we have to dig and see that Scripture harmonizes quite well when you assume that it’s not going to present a set of diametrically opposed doctrines.

    3) Given your position on Romans 9, must you then take the word “All” to mean two different things in the preceding chapter in verse 32? If Christ was given for every single person in the world, would that not mean that every single person will also with Christ be given all things?

    4) Can you please clarify your statement about the hatred of God mentioned for Esau? You seem to be attempting to say that it can’t have been an individualistic meaning in Old or New Testaments, which would mean that you therefore believe that God’s opinion of Jacob and Esau as individuals was exactly the same until they acted, which is a direct contradiction of the plain reading of the texts in both Romans and Malachi.

    5) Morey said it better than I can – “When Christ lived, died, was buried, arose, ascended, and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, we are told that the ones for whom He did these things are to be viewed as being in such a life union with Him as their covenant head and representative that it is said that they lived, died, were buried, arose, ascended and sat down at the Father’s side ‘in Christ’ (Rom. 6:1-11; Gal. 2:20; 6:14; Eph. 2:5-6). To say that Christ died for all is to say that all died in Christ. It means that unbelievers are to be told that they have been crucified with Christ, been buried with Christ, have been resurrected with Christ and have ascended and sat down with Christ. This position is so manifestly false that it should grieve the child of God even to consider it.” Do you think that it’s beneficial to present a God who hates no one and loves everyone equally, (which flatly contradicts the prayer in the Garden, the passages about Pharoah, Nebuchadnezzar, Job’s “friends”, Judas, and Essau) who already punished someone else in the place of ALL sinners, that spoke the universe into creation, is called all powerful, and constantly (especially in the Old Testament) claims to do whatever He wills with whomever He wills, but whose love is so ineffectual and power so small that it must needs watch the vast majority of the object of that affection go into damnation because it is so completely subjected to the will of the thing he made? The copious analogies that are typically employed to promote your stated opinion don’t seem to compare with one wherein I would let even my dog do something he wanted to do that I knew would kill him. How much worse would it be for an all powerful being to not intervene through some further means to secure the election, salvation, and sanctification of those whom he wishes to adopt as sons? Surely you can’t believe that you and I had no advantage over the tribal witch doctor in the Amazon who has never seen a written word or heard the Name that is above all names, or the child murdered by his mother before he can talk or understand. If all men are loved equally, and God is trying to save them but can’t, is it that He is powerless to shape events in such a way as to show all men the truth? Do all men have the law written on their hearts? I am a Christian because of a miraculous intervention in my life in a time of the deepest depravity. Why does God not act similarly for my best friend who is an atheist?

    6) Do you not see that the unorthodox reading you have assigned to Romans Chapter 9 is done in such a way as to neatly attempt to avoid being Paul’s rhetorical questioner? What reason would he have to assume that a reader would come to ask such a question if all he is speaking about is a physical Nation of which the reader is not a part? There is no way to read that passage in anything but an individualistic fashion. The question about finding fault is directly adjacent to his example of Pharoah’s heart being hardened. Likewise, the common argument that Romans 9 has nothing to do with individual election is simply false. Yes, he begins by arguing that the Word of God has not failed. He then immediately enlightens his audience as to the meaning of the promises and how they are fulfilled by indicating that the children of God are not the descendants of Abraham in the physical sense. He then quotes “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” What do you think is meant when Paul said “not the children of the flesh…..but the children of the Promise”? What Promise? His elaboration continues with the story of Jacob and Esau. Do you think that he then changed his mind and meant the children of Jacob’s physical lineage were the actual children of the promise? If so, I don’t know about you, but as far as I know, I’m not included. Just like all of the references to the old testament, he uses a type to illustrate the greater truth as revealed in Christ and through the apostles. It is exactly addressing the fact that the Promise is given to whomever God wills. In fact, that’s what it then proceeds to say via a quote from God to Moses – “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy….” If your interpretation of Romans 9 is correct, then Paul’s entire point in the passage is to argue that God’s promise to Abraham didn’t fail because there was eventually a nation that was made up of his decedents. That is nowhere his point in this letter.

    7) Your point number 4 holds no weight. The same can be said of your own beliefs if pushed to their logical conclusion. There is inevitably a depth of understanding in any of the things of God that a fallen man cannot entirely grasp. The existence of poor argumentation does not negate the good.

    8) Your final point puts your own position in conflict with your point #2. You are attempting to say that Calvinists flippantly disregard the Old Testament scriptures because we read what Paul said in their usage and take it to mean what he said instead of a categorically insignificant original meaning. Let’s test the theory. If we take every new testament usage of old testament verses, then the Gospels discussion of the casting of lots for Jesus’ clothes were really just talking about David, the term begotten is no longer a type when used of David, “There is no one righteous….” is only applicable to the time frame in which the psalm was written, and Romans 8:36 is referring to a downcast Israel instead of the perseverance of the elect of God through all trials.

    9) Does Christ intercede for every person? If He paid for every sin of every man, how then can those men pay for them again? Was his sacrifice not sufficient to set apart His bride?

    10) Lastly, a short list of verses
    Acts 16:14. “Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”

    Philippians 2:13. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

    Ezra 1:1, 5. “The LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom…. Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all those whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord”

    Daniel 4:35. “He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand.”

    Tell me, what is the unbeliever to think of an explanation of God that includes only his Love when he comes across this passage?

    Joshua 11:19-20. “There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, except the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon. All the others they took in battle. For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them, and that they might receive no mercy, but that He might destroy them, as the LORD had commanded Moses.”

    Acts 16:14. “Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”

    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us[b] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known[c] to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

    11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

    Nations? Don’t think so. Cheers!

    1. Hello Tyler and welcome.

      Your comments are massively large but scanning down through it I believe all of these arguments have already been addressed here and elsewhere.

    2. Hi Tyler. You asked for “a passage of Scripture wherein we are commanded to take a message to the Nations that God loves all of them and they should accept Jesus as a result”. How about putting together these 3 and see how God loves them and we should tell them all about it?

      John 3:16-17 NKJV — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
      1 John 2:2 NKJV — And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
      Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV — “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

      It would seem pretty silly to say to every individual in every nation – “God commands everyone of you to repent and believe because He eternally immutably loves some of you and eternally immutably hates all the rest of you.”

      When a Calvinist becomes willing to see how his theology has falsely defined God’s display of His nature, especially His love, they will become more willing to see the faulty hermeneutics behind their theology.

    3. ” Do you not see that the unorthodox reading you have assigned to Romans Chapter 9 is done in such a way as to neatly attempt to avoid being Paul’s rhetorical questioner? What reason would he have to assume that a reader would come to ask such a question if all he is speaking about is a physical Nation of which the reader is not a part? There is no way to read that passage in anything but an individualistic fashion.” IMO, Paul is not addressing the reader with the question: “Who are you, o man, to talk back to God?” The mystery objector is a hardened Jew. And what is he objecting to? He is objecting to being blamed for his sin, when God is going to use that sin to bring in gentiles. The objector sounds very calvinist, to me. He claims that no one resists God’s will, and then Paul shoots down that notion immediately, by asking who he is to talk back to God? How does one talk back to God if he has no free will? I find it ironic, that right in the middle of Romans 9, we find clear evidence that Paul is not a calvinist.

      1. Great point. Calvinists so misread Romans. They have to to maintain their system. Nice to see you again, WW!

      2. wildswanderer
        He claims that no one resists God’s will, and then Paul shoots down that notion immediately, by asking who he is to talk back to God? How does one talk back to God if he has no free will?

        br.d
        Excellent point wildswanderer

        The curtains opened and the puppet show began.
        There hanging from tiny control strings stood two puppets facing each other.

        The tiny strings twitched ever so subtly and the hands of puppet#1 moved.
        And he said: “But how can I resist his will?”

        The tiny strings twitched ever so subtly again and the hands of puppet#2 moved.
        And he responded:
        “Who are you oh man to talk back to him!”

        Then the puppeteer looked up at the audience and winked :-]

      3. Wildswanderer says “How does one talk back to God if he has no free will?”

        Great point! I never thought about this before, but it effectively uses Calvinism’s own argument against itself! Thank you for this!

      4. For me this triggers the question of how/when did Calvinists dream up the idea of the THEOS having two wills – a “Prescriptive” or “Enunciated” will – and a “Secret” will.

        This scheme obviously is designed to let them have their cake and eat it.

        Since it is the case that *ALL* creature activities and attributes come into existence as a byproduct of the “Secret” will – then it logically follows *ALL* creature activities and attributes cannot do otherwise than to OBEY the “Secret” will. So on this account, there is no such thing as a creature disobeying Calvin’s god’s will.

        How then do they account for man’s disobedience as stated within scripture?

        They manufacture an invention: The theory of the “Prescriptive” or “Enunciated” will.

        Now this starts to get interesting within the Calvinist fold – because we find there are internal conflicts between public-facing Calvinists and those Calvinists who couldn’t care less what the public thinks.

        I’ve occasionally been amused reading Calvinists blogs discussing this among themselves.

        The public-facing Calvi-s put their emphasis on this so-called “Enunciated” will of Calvin’s god – in order to argue that the creature is disobedient and therefore deserves punishment.

        But the Calvi’s who are not public-facing and couldn’t care less what the public thinks put their emphasis on the “Secret” will because they reason it was what Calvi’s god REALLY willed all along.

        These Calvi’s are then labeled as “Hyper”

        They identify the “Secret” will as his *REAL* will – which means there is a sense in which his “Enunciated” will is a FALSE will – presented to creatures as some kind of divine ILLUSION or divine pretense.

    4. Tyler,

      My name is Ed Chapman.

      In regards to Romans 8, your famous Pharaoh story. He was raised to show God’s POWER, alright. But what POWER was that?

      Moses is a TYPE of JESUS, the REDEEMER. Egypt is a type of SIN that we all once lived in called BONDAGE. The Pharaoh is a type of SATAN who wants us to LIVE IN THE BONDAGE OF SIN.

      That’s what Romans 8 is discussing regarding the potter and the clay. And because God used the Pharaoh, he GETS MERCY, and that conversation of MERCY continues in Romans 9-11 whereas God gives MERCY to the BLIND Jews, just like he have mercy to the Apostle Paul for being IGNORANT IN UNBELIEF.

      That is my take on it, in that Romans 8-11 is a CONTINUOUS conversation about God using people for the purpose of telling a story in a prophesy manner regarding Jesus, and because they were USED AS PAWNS, so to speak, THEY GET MERCY. Mercy being the MAIN TOPIC. So we can’t separate Romans 8 from Romans 9-11 as it’s all ONE STORY.

      Now, regarding the word ALL. Romans 11 states that ALL ARE IN UNBELIEF, and therefore, ALL GET MERCY. So, who is ALL?

      All are the Jews. Gentiles are not blind. Jews had to be blind to put Jesus on the cross, AND to MAINTAIN Judaism until it’s all over and done with in the Book of Revelation, otherwise, NO ONE WOULD rebuild the temple to usher in the anti-Christ.

      Imagine if all the Jews turned to Jesus BEFORE he died? Then Jesus would have died at a very old age (at least according to SOME, CUZ THEY THINK THAT HE COULD NOT HAVE SINNED EVEN IF HE WANTED TO DUE TO A SPECIAL BODY THAT ONLY HE AND MARY HAD), and the Gentiles never would have had a chance for salvation.

      As I’ve said before, when the word ALL is used, it has a context. When God said, For God so loved the world…that’s everyone.

      In John 6, all is the Jews. In Romans 11, all is Jews. Context is key.

      Ed Chapman

      1. Clarification of my last. I make mention of Romans 8, and meant Romans 9. But if you read the whole book of Romans, you will see that the whole book is stating a distinction between Jews and Gentiles, the difference between those under the law, and those who are not, the distinction of those Jews who are no longer under the law, just like Abraham was before. And I stand by that Jews are the only elect. Other than that, my previous remains the same.

    5. Tyler, I cannot answer all you asked because there’s too much going on in your writing for me to address it all, but I am going to respond to a little of it.

      About your point #1: I agree that God can do what He wants with His creation, but I think He “raised up Pharaoh” means that He elevated that man to Pharaoh precisely because He knew what kind of man he was and would choose to be. NOT that God controlled what kind of man he was. Just because God knows how to influence us to do something doesn’t mean He causes us to choose what we do. As an example, I think He knew the best way to get through to Paul was to blind him and speak audibly to him, but I think Paul still had a choice to either resist the message or accept it. God revealed Himself to Paul in a way that was sure to get through to him, but Paul was still responsible for choosing how to respond.

      About point #2: For starters, I don’t see in Drew’s post anywhere that he says the Gospel should be ONLY about God’s love, as you seem to accuse him of doing (“as if the God’s love is the entirety of the Gospel” … “an explanation of God that includes only his Love”). I see that he says it should be an included theme, that it shouldn’t be “removed.” Calvinism, on the other hand, excludes it for the most part, focusing instead and almost solely on “wrath, justice, holiness, and law of God.” It sounds to me like Drew is basically saying to keep the Gospel balanced between God’s love and justice. It’s Calvinism that’s imbalanced. And it’s hard to win converts – true converts who love God back – if we focus solely on His wrath and how wretched we are.

      Also, you say “If God truly loved all men equally, but entirely failed to get his message to a majority of the world in any form for thousands of years, he has no power.” So am I to assume you don’t think nature is a “message” from God? (“The earth is full of the loving-kindness of the Lord” Psalm 33:5 and “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” Romans 1:20). And so I guess if you don’t consider nature a message from God then, sure, God “failed” to get his message across for thousands of years.

      “If His love for all was equal, how can he then harden pharoah’s heart? Did God love the guy driving the front chariot of Pharoah’s army …” You sound like you are assuming that if God loves all people equally then it has to mean He treats everyone the exact same way and that He can never punish anyone, as if loving people means He is a soft, mushy, it’s-all-good kind of God. But God is also holy and just. God loves all people and offers His love to all people, but if we choose to resist/reject His love then He deals with us in His justice. And He didn’t randomly harden Pharaoh’s heart; He further hardened it after Pharaoh chose first to harden his own heart.

      Point #3: Christ was GIVEN for all, but that doesn’t mean all accept Him.

      Point #5: “To say that Christ died for all is to say that all died in Christ.” Yep, just like saying “All monkeys are animals, so therefore all animals are monkeys.” Once again, Christ died for all but that doesn’t mean all people accept His sacrifice for them.

      “Do you think that it’s beneficial to present a God who hates no one and loves everyone equally..?” Oh no, so much better to present a god who hates almost all people except for the tiny few He chose to save! A god who was pleased to create most people specifically for conscious eternal torment, with no chance to be saved! A god who pretends to love all people and to call all people to repentance and to send Jesus for all sins, but who then causes most people to be unbelievers, never loving them enough to send Jesus to die for them, and who then condemns them to hell for the unbelief HE caused! So much better! Because THAT’S a god worth trusting, loving, and worshipping!

      “If all men are loved equally, and God is trying to save them but can’t …” You assume and add the “can’t” part. It’s a straw-man argument. Calvinism assumes that God’s love necessarily ends in saved people. Therefore, all whom God loves will be saved, and all who are saved are the only ones God really loves. And if God’s love always ends in saved people and most people are not saved then it has to mean, according to Calvinism, that God couldn’t save all people or that He didn’t really love all people. And Calvinism goes with “didn’t love all people.” But their assumptions about God’s love and power are wrong to begin with. Just because God is all-powerful doesn’t mean He always uses His power all the time to cause everything that happens. God Himself chose to voluntarily limit Himself, His use of power and His control over all that happens, because He wanted to allow mankind a certain level of free-will activity. (It started in the Garden of Eden when God said “Let them rule …” and when He gave them boundaries about which trees to eat from and not eat from. Boundaries means there is a freedom to move and make decisions within those boundaries.) And God’s love made salvation possible for all, but He won’t (not can’t) force salvation on all. He has chosen to allow people to accept or reject His offer of love and salvation.

      Calvinism starts with a wrong foundation (assumptions of how God MUST act in order to be God), and then it builds it theology on that wrong foundation. It builds a house of cards on a foundation of Jell-O. But instead of reconsidering the Jell-O foundation (the wrong assumptions it starts with), it spends all its energy trying to make the house of cards more secure.

      “Why does God not act similarly for my best friend who is an atheist?” Because your atheist friend doesn’t want Him! Your atheist friend rejects Him!

      Point #7: “There is inevitably a depth of understanding in any of the things of God that a fallen man cannot entirely grasp.” Yes, I agree. And this is a very valuable tool for Calvinists. They use it to explain away any contradictions or illogicalness in their theology. They use it to manipulate people into putting aside any doubts they have about Calvinism, to shame them into “humble submission.”

      About Lydia: FIRST she was a worshipper of God, THEN God opened her eyes. So if she already believed in Him then He didn’t open her eyes to believe. My guess is, through Paul’s preaching, He opened her eyes to see the need for baptism, because that’s what happens in the next verses.

      Phil 2:13: I don’t see that it pertains to salvation or to God controlling all we do, just that He works in believers to guide us in doing His Will. If God controls all we do then there’s no need for Paul to challenge people to obey (Phil 2:12). Our actions wouldn’t be affected by our desires or efforts to obey anyway, if God has already predestined and controls everything we do.

      Daniel 4:35. “He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand.” Right! If God has something He wants to do, He works it out. He wanted to get the Israelites from Egypt into the Promised Land. But the first group rebelled and so they lost the right to enter the Promised Land. And so God brought the second generation into the Land, the ones who were willing to follow Him and obey Him. God’s Will was still done, but only by those willing to follow Him in it.

      “God plans things” doesn’t mean “Everything that happens is because God planned it.” And “God works out His will” doesn’t mean “Everything that happens is because God caused it or willed it to happen.” Just because all monkeys are animals doesn’t mean all animals are monkeys.

      You are clearly a deep thinker, very intelligent and well-read in the Scriptures. I pray God opens your eyes to the truth of what Calvinism does to the Gospel, to Jesus’s sacrifice, to God’s character, and to people’s hope, faith, and chance for salvation. God bless!

      1. I appreciate your attempt to at least honestly interact with some of what I said. This was certainly not a good example of my writing, as my intention was not a well written article, but a list of counterpoints, and the first objection in particular was meant to be overwhelmingly complicated so as to convey the illogical nature of the method of exigesis one must utilize to interpret Romans Chapter 9 as having been addressed only to the Nation of Israel. I am going to read through your response again later and decide on a more specific point to address and try and respond more clearly so that we might discuss these things in a more useful manner. I am thinking of either pursuing a specific discussion of Paul’s salvation story in comparison to Pharoah’s or a somewhat broader discussion of Theodicy wherein we could discuss your own thoughts on the foreknowledge of God, what that means for how and why He created, and what parts of His plan of Redemption could or could not have been resisted by man. Sorry I cannot do it now, but if you have any preferences on a more specific conversation, please let me know this afternoon, and I will attempt to address them. I just don’t have time to write enough to reply fully to all of these comments, and think it would be of more use to drill deeply on one issue, rather than exchanging theological shotgun blasts. I would like to say, however, that your response to point 7 is applicable to your own position in exactly the same way. If God knows everything, but creates in such a way as to lead to Adam’s fall, how then is it not His doing that sin entered the world? When God says he does whatever he pleases with is creation, it really means whatever. As we continue this conversation, I would ask that you not judge my comments based on your own experience with other Calvinists, but on what they say. I will endeavor to show you the same respect as a sister. God Bless, I’m of to deliver a bunch of trash cans….(I’m a garbage man lol)

      2. Tyler,

        You had said:
        I am thinking of either pursuing a specific discussion of Paul’s salvation story in comparison to Pharoah’s or a somewhat broader discussion of Theodicy wherein we could discuss your own thoughts on the foreknowledge of God…

        Among other things. But I think that you might be interested in the word MERCY as mentioned in Romans 9, AND 11. As I have said numerous times on this blog, but no one seems to be HEARING me, is that Romans 9 thru 11 is a continuous conversation of the SAME TOPIC. MERCY. And…who gets it, and why.

        Romans 9 cannot be singled out from chapters 10-11.

        So, let’s wok BACKWARDS from 11 for a moment looking at the word MERCY:

        Romans 11:31
        Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

        Romans 11:32
        For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

        Question:
        In verse 31, who is “YOUR”, and who is “THEY”?

        Question:
        In verse 32, who is “THEM ALL”, and who is “UPON ALL”?

        Romans 11:30
        For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

        Question:
        In verse 30, who is “YE”, and who is “THEIR”?

        So, in verse 32, UNBELIEF gets SOMEONE MERCY. Right? What say you?

        What is MERCY?

        The following is what Paul said of himself:

        1 Timothy 1:13
        Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

        Do you notice certain words here? I see two, actually three:

        1. Mercy
        2. IGNORANTLY
        3. UNBELIEF

        Paul is a JEW, not a Gentile. HOW is Paul any different from any other Jew? He isn’t.

        Does not the scriptures say that God is NOT A RESPECTER OF PERSONS? Meaning, he does not show favoritism.

        The ELECT of God are the Jews. It states so in the Hebrew scriptures. WHY DO PEOPLE TRANSFER THAT TITLE TO GENTILE CHRISTIANS?

        The Jews are the blind ones. Romans 9-11 explains this. So does the story of Joseph and his brothers. Jesus is portrayed as Joseph, and the Jews are portrayed as his brothers.

        Joseph did NOT REVEAL himself to his brothers until the LATTER part of the story, and Joseph COULD HAVE had them punished, considering the POSITION that he held in the Kingdom. But he had MERCY. His brothers did NOT know who he was, but Joseph knew them.

        Is any of this sinking in? I have a hard time convincing ANYONE on either side of the debate on this, and it is frustrating to say the least.

        The Pharaoh was USED to be seen as Satan, in a STORY about Jesus, played by Moses, settings us free from the BONDAGE of sin.

        Romans 9, the Pharaoh gets MERCY.

        I can’t for the life of me figure out why no one on either side gets this. I’m just a simple UNEDUCATED, non-philosophical, non-denomination Christian who STUDIES, and could care less what Calvin or Luther thought. I don’t care what the church fathers thought either. They are all KINDA DEAD RIGHT NOW.

        Does anyone study WITHOUT reading commentary these days? No big name preachers dictating what to believe? I wonder.

        Their exegesis differs from mine, that’s for sure. BUT…other big name DENOMINATIONS (plural) in Christendom agree with me.

        This blog is Baptist from what I gather. So, they don’t go deep enough for me. Too much SURFACE stuff they call EXPOSITORY.

        Ed Chapman

      3. Heather thank you this is a well written post and I really like what you say here;
        God Himself chose to voluntarily limit Himself, His use of power and His control over all that happens, because He wanted to allow mankind a certain level of free-will activity.

        Yes He does & this is seen in the very life, death and resurrection of our Savior He chose to suffer for the sins of the world and His life emulates sacrificial love! Not forced love and His death for humanity tore the veil for all who except not just for a calvinist. I also appreciate your prayer for Tyler, because you recognize that prayer actually matters.

      4. Tyler and Reggie, Thank you for your replies.

        Tyler, you can focus on whatever you prefer. I am not sure how much I will be able to respond, since I have been so busy that I’ve barely visited this site in a while. But I will try. I have only recently checked in a little bit and decided to comment some. I don’t really care for the point/counter-point way of communicating either, because I think it’s generally fruitless because there will always be another point to address and disagree about. But I do it sometimes to show that just because someone throws out a lot of points doesn’t make them right or accurate. (Nor does someone having a counter-point for every point, like even if I had counter-points for all your points, necessarily make them right or accurate.) All this usually does is lead to an endless back and forth, but it never gets to the fundamental differences between Calvinists and non-Calvinists. Anyway, even if i can’t respond, there are many people here who can respond in very thoughtful ways, even if we don’t all agree. 🙂 And thank you for doing the work of a trash man. I appreciate guys like you who are willing to do the “unglorious” tasks! And you’re not just serving us; you are serving the Lord in a humble position. Thank you. We need men like you!

        Reggie, Thank you. And I do think prayer matters, like I’m sure most of us do. I think it’s important to pray, especially when it comes to those who won’t see the truth, that God doesn’t hand them over to the hardness of their hearts, that He keeps putting His truth in their path so clearly and so abundantly, until they are finally willing to see it. I also like to pray that God protects people from evil, that He surrounds them with His heavenly angels to keep evil from interfering with them and blinding them and leading them astray. I think we can pray for the best circumstances for a person to see truth, but they still have to decide to see it or ignore it, to accept it or reject it. But this is just my thoughts on it.

        Prayer is truly a fascinating thing, the ability to communicate with the God of the universe and to have a hand in getting His Will done on earth. I truly think He did an amazing – and risky – thing by choosing to work with and through mankind’s cooperation and prayers. It humbles me before Him even more to know that a God who could control everything has chosen to give us real responsibilities and choices, to have a real effect on what happens in life. To know that God allows us to disobey and to reject Him, even when He has the power to squash us in a moment or to create a world where He controls everything. Humbling and mind-boggling. And it makes me admire Him, love Him, and worship Him even more.

        Blessings to you both!

  11. I appreciate hearing Drew’s journey and I’m sure it wasn’t without inner turmoil! However that hopeless throw up your hands and except it would bring turmoil!!! He knew throwing up his hands and excepting it didn’t come from God obviously it came from what others were telling him who God is! & I agree the Holy Spirit gave him discernment Praise God Drew stayed out of calvinism! I’m also glad Drew wanted to know if this was truth within the Bible. For me I think at first I was angry wanting nothing to do with the original love I’d experienced, because if His love wasn’t authentically offered to all how could I trust what He’d taught me this far?? But I kept trusting Him and then I found others through God’s grace who were much more learned than I & who speak up against this theology!

    I like what Drew says here it made me lol when he says “nope that’s not about you” and the supporting Scriptures are great;

    You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.” 
    (John 15:16)

    Nope, that’s not about you, that one is about the 11 disciples left over after Judas (see also John 6:70 and Luke 6:13 where Judas is listed explicitly or implicitly as among those chosen)! We could say, in application, all believers are appointed to bear abiding fruit. However, to exegetically extrapolate this passage in a doctrinal way across all of Scripture, as if Jesus chose every single believer ever in the same way He chose the Apostles, is certainly irresponsible and misguided.

    Romans 9 is a commonly misunderstood passage in the same vein as well. If Paul is talking about individual destinies decided from before they were born then why does he quote Genesis 25:23 and Malachi 1:2-5, which are clearly about the groups those individuals founded, to make his point?

    I’ve shared this site with several pastors & funny two are within the SBC though I don’t attend a Baptist church one pastor is my pastor’s brother. I’ve encountered many different pastors, because currently I’m not living near my church home. And I’m hopeful those I’ve shared this site with will at least consider researching. If someone isn’t willing to read anything other than their view it always reminds me of encounters I’ve had with jehovah witnesses if what you believe is true why fear🤔

    I appreciate this site🐸

  12. Thank you Br.d!
    I learn so much from your posts often I revisit, because sometimes they are deep 😊 but I appreciate the wisdom behind them🌻

  13. Are there any studied persons within this list of comments who would care to do a private email or facebook message exchange over a week or two that is limited in scope wherein we could discuss these things together and possibly make it public once finished? It could perhaps be structured in such a way as to ensure both sides have an equal showing similar to a spoken debate. I just don’t think it possible to engage with both sides with stand alone articles or massive comment sections with dozens of people. I think this would be a very useful exercise for those involved (myself included) and possibly the audience should we choose to make it public. If the person who accepts this would prefer to partner with another, I also have a second who would be well able to address these things, (probably better than me) and I would only continue on with this so long as the conversation is done in a loving, kind, and edifying manner.

  14. What a wonderful piece. It’s been incredibly hard to meet men with a true love for the lost. It seems like every man I meet online is either a Calvinist or a New Apostolic Reformation subcriber.

    I’m glad you stood on the Word of God and made no compromise in finding a spouse whose character reflects the heart of God. May your marriage bring glory to God, our Father.

  15. My Bible reading today takes me to Isaiah 3-5 and 2 Cor 11.

    Very often Calvinists tell us that 1 Cor 1 tells us …”For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, ” and that means they have to be brought back from the dead “made alive” “born again” “regnerated” to be given faith to understand.

    Today I read Paul saying in 2 Cor 11:1 …I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me!

    So, Paul is writing to believers about his “foolishness” (even says it that way in the Calvinist ESV).

    But somehow that 1 Cor 1 “foolishness verse” means man is too dead to understand….. but this one doesnt?

    Man is not “too dead” when Paul brings the power of the Word! That is why Paul “reasons with him”…. “persuades” him…”convinces him.” Of course it is foolishness at first…. but Paul reasons with people (dead people can’t reason).

    1. Inherent to the meaning of ‘fool’ is one who can understand, but denies or pretends to not understand the truth. An idiot (in its original meaning) is one who cannot understand. A fool is one who knowingly reject the truth and follows a lie. Think of a court jester (fool) or a clown. They get their laughs by pretending to not know the truth, when everyone else sees it clearly. Things such as the folly of playing with fire, stepping on a banana peel, or whatever ‘joke’ the clown performs for a laugh. They let themselves look ‘fooled’, even though they are not mentally incapacitated, but merely pretending to not understand what is commonly known.

      Calvinists reinterpret scripture to declare that all men are born idiots – mentally incapable of grasping essential truth. Nor can one neglect to mention that it was God who cursed them with this mental deficiency, as penalty for someone else’s sin.

      Despite their endless attempts to play with words and paint less than honest portraits, their belief boils down to what one Calvinist just admitted on another thread:

      “The non-elect goes to hell not because of unbelief to Christ but because God did not pick them.”

      This is the horrible, unthinkable, tragic lie that the Calvinist – that is, the fool – willfully embraces despite all evidence to the contrary. He is not an idiot, that he cannot understand what scripture declares, but a fool, who has rejected the truth and embraced the lie set forth by a demonic deception called Calvinism.

      1. Slow down TSOO with your words. Words used here, i.e : “fool”, “lie”, and “demonic deception called Calvinism” can re-activate the “fallen man” that has not yet fully exited in you. You need to overcome and wrestle with it.

      2. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who came to offer forgiveness and life to all, each and every, man, woman and child. I am also not ashamed of publicly renouncing any other gospel, such as the dreadful ‘lie’ that God only ever desired and intended to save a limited number of people, and chose a select few out of the many, for absolutely no reason other than his own good pleasure.

        I do not throw around such words casually. I know that most fear to say such things, as it seems so unkind to their ‘brethren’. And of course, I would never make such a charge against the average Calvinist who simply does not know what he has gotten himself into.

        You, however, made it clear that you know exactly what consistent Calvinism declares, and you are correct. I know of no other false gospel that so defames the character of God, and disclaims the genuine good news that Jesus was incarnated to deliver. Does it make me ’emotional’ when men defame God’s character and deny the lost the only hope they have in the world to be rescued from sin and death? You betcha. And I don’t think God minds a bit.

      3. jtleosala
        the “fallen man” that has not yet fully exited in you. You need to overcome and wrestle with it.

        br.d
        How is this not DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS for a Calvinist?
        Does the Calvinist hold that Calvin’s god DECREED every part of everything at the foundation of the world before humans exist?
        How is it not DOUBLE-MINDED for a Calvinist to assert that a human can “overcome” what Calvin’s god DECREED?

        Perhaps what we have here is LACK OF HONESTY in language?

        Does the Calvinist tell the truth – the whole truth – and nothing but the truth?
        Or does the Calvinist communicate LITERAL TRUTHS which are designed to mislead?

        Dr. Bella Depaulo – The Many Faces of Lies
        -quote
        “Falsehoods communicated by people who are mistaken or self-deceived are not lies, but for the deceived person they are LITERAL TRUTHS.

        However, LITERAL TRUTHS that are designed to mislead others are in fact lies.”
        -end quote

    2. FOH posted this one:

      “So, Paul is writing to believers about his “foolishness” (even says it that way in the Calvinist ESV).”

      “But somehow that 1 Cor 1 “foolishness verse” means man is too dead to understand….. but this one doesnt?”

      “Man is not “too dead” when Paul brings the power of the Word! That is why Paul “reasons with him”…. “persuades” him…”convinces him.” Of course it is foolishness at first…. but Paul reasons with people (dead people can’t reason).”

      My Response to FOH:

      1. The apostle Paul is not omniscient in determining who are the elect. This is the reason why He preaches and reasons to all of his audience anticipating that the gospel will fall on to the hands of the elect. Paul is consistent of Christ command to preach the gospel in Matt. 28:19-20

      2. FOH’s idea of “too dead” is literal or physically dead. This distinguishes FOH’s doctrine from the Calvinists. Calvinists doctrine on the matter is “Spiritually dead” not Physically dead. Since that they are not physically dead, then it follows that they have reasoning ability and cognition as normal beings.

      3. It is only God who has the capability to restore their becoming “Spiritually alive” – to be born again not of the flesh and blood nor of the will of man, but of God.

      4. “Spiritually dead” – to the Calvinists side means, separation, disconnection from a Holy God due to sin that causes the fallen man to be morally incapable to access God in his own accord. Man is therefore hopeless except when God will do the act to rescue them – (the elect)

      1. You miss my point completely JTL. No one reasons with a dead man!

        Is God telling Paul….. go try to “persuade” even the ones that I created to torture? What foolishness that would be!!

        Paul would simply say…. “Oh, I see…I dont really ‘persuade them’ (even though that is what I said) they are already chose.”

        Paul would simply say …. “Oh I see …. I dont really ‘convince’ them….they had no choice —it was irresistible.

        JTL …..the point is ….why does Paul say it that way!!! We does Paul say that “he is all things to all men that he might win some” when the whole thing is already decided!

        You keep missing the point!

      2. FOH, my Friend:

        1. But the apostle did it my friend FOH. He reasoned with his “spiritually dead” audience.

        2. He reasoned to “all mean that he might win some” – meaning my friend FOH, Paul here anticipates that not all of those people whom he reasoned with will be saved. Why? because he knew that it is God who has the capability to removed the veil that hinders for them to be able to see the truth. If God will not do the act of removing the veil that hinders them, the rest of them will not be won to believe in Christ.

        3. It would be impossible for Paul to point out who are the elect ones from among of his audience since that God did not reveal to Paul those names that God have written in the book of Life of the Lamb from the foundations of the world. – See. Rev. 17:8 and Rev. 13:8

        4. We can read it from Rev. 13:8 and 17:8 about God’s actions before creation, but specifically the names who were not written in the book of Life of the Lamb was not disclosed. I believe that those names shall be revealed at the time of the Great White Throne judgment by the time that the goats are separated from the sheep.

        5. It would be inappropriate to classify it as “foolishness” if one does not know exactly who are God’s elect from among the audience. If I were to ask you my friend FOH, do you know exactly from among your audience who are God’s elect when you do the task of evangelism?

        6. If you are a “Universalist” – Now, then surely this would come to you a foolishness thing, because it would appear that God is not sincere of His offer. Calvinists on the other hand believes in Particular Redemption and this is what you believe before right?

      3. FOH
        Paul would simply say …. “Oh I see …. don’t *REALLY* ‘convince’ them….because they *REALLY* had no choice —it was irresistible.

        JTL …..the point is ….why does Paul say it that way!!! We does Paul say that “he is all things to all men that he might win some” when the whole thing is already decided!

        FOH
        You keep missing the point!

        br.d
        Isn’t this an excellent example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking pattern?

        In this case: I don’t *REALLY* convince them *AS-IF* I do.

        Why treat something you know to be FALSE *AS-IF* it is TRUE?
        In Calvinism – this *AS-IF* thinking pattern is EVERYWHERE!

        And that functions as a RED-FLAG that something is wrong with their system.

      4. I’m waiting for someone more capable than I to really spell out in an easy to understand manner your concept of Calvinists’ *AS-IF* thinking. I know what you mean, but sometimes I think the awkwardness of the wording is difficult to get past.

        It is so important, because there is a very big red flag waving in the concept. Why would so much of scripture appear to have one meaning, repeated again and again, if that meaning is actually not true? Are we really to believe that God is not fluent enough in human languages to get his meaning across clearly? Or is he secretly ashamed of his (if one were to grant Calvinism, which I do not) cruel, narcissistic, controlling behavior, so masks it behind the screen of man’s free choice, which does not (wink, wink) actually exist?

        There is simply no logical explanation for God calling men to do what they cannot but do. It is even more reprehensible to call men to do, nay, command them to do, what they truly cannot do. This is no small issue. People who have grown up with a controlling, narcissistic parent know how confusing and damaging it is when that parent seeks to cast all blame for negative things on someone else, yet demands all of the attention and glory. The child feels worthless, unloved and like a mere pawn in the parent’s pursuit of self aggrandizement.

        It is beyond my comprehension that anyone would genuinely cast these sort of aspersions upon the character of the all holy, all loving, gracious, just and merciful God who has done so much to show his love and care for mankind.

        I have interacted with many people who have suffered from the emotional abuse of a narcissistic parent. If God was one of their parents I would be urging them to cut off contact with him until he was willing to be transparent, honest and take the blame for his own actions. I am beginning to wonder if the impression I have received many times over the years that Calvinism particularly appeals to wounded and needy people might have some real merit. I have also noticed a large number of overly black-and-white, Aspergers’ type of men drawn to the systematic, doctrinaire approach.

      5. TS00,
        I am not sure what you are asking for someone to spell out. Yes…some of the posts get clunky, but I think you said it well here….

        “There is simply no logical explanation for God calling men to do what they cannot but do. It is even more reprehensible to call men to do, nay, command them to do, what they truly cannot do.”

        Almost all the Bible is in past tense. We have to ask ourselves could it have been different? There are thousands of verses offering warnings, cautions, admonitions, ….and out right choices.

        If a person says in any way….. in ANY way…. that the decisions made (by sinners and saints alike), could have been otherwise, then he/ she is not a Calvinist.

        If they say that the choice, for example that God gave to David for the 3 types of punishment, were real choices and David could have just as easily have chosen one of the other two….then he is not a Calvinist. Clearly if past decisions could have been different then they were, then the past (which was the future to some people) was not decided ahead by God.

        If the past could have been different (i.e. people who did not repent, could have repented; pre-warned sin [think Cain] that happened could have been avoided) in ANY way, then Calvinism is not true.

        Calvinism is only true is all that HAS happened had to happen exactly as it did.

        That is why I have posted many times that a Calvinist can lie down on his bed at night and say “Thank you Lord for helping me do exactly what You wanted today…. including lie at work, look at pornography…. cheat on my wife… bcause I know that you ordained all that happened today.”

        We all help our kids with homework, not because we are commanded “thou shalt help your kids with homework,” but because we feel “as if” it will make a difference. Can it? For Calvinists, no…..what is ordained will happen.

        We all read our Bible and pray because we feel “as if” it will help us make better decisions. Do we really have choices? Determinists would say no. God has made all those choices for us. Including the choice to pray…. or not to pray…. and look at pornography instead.

        Calvinists friends: Is everything that happens exactly what God wants to happen?

        ps. I never get an answer to that question.

      6. FOH writes:
        “We all read our Bible and pray because we feel “as if” it will help us make better decisions. Do we really have choices? Determinists would say no. God has made all those choices for us. Including the choice to pray…. or not to pray…. and look at pornography instead.”

        This was one of the conclusions that led me to wake up. I had struggled with the concept and usefulness of prayer long before I attended a Calvinist church, but as I internalized so much of their mindset I realized the logical absurdity of prayer under Calvinism.

        To go through the motions of prayer, when all is and always has been predetermined, settled in the heavens, cast in stone, is to deceive oneself and others. My characteristic frankness (which so often has disturbed your gentle soul 😉 ) could not allow me to play those kind of games.

        If all is foreordained, irresistible, permanently settled, then NOTHING I thought, said or did mattered one bit. I could not more choose to do the right thing than I could avoid the most heinous wickedness. I simply did not believe that life was that meaningless. I refused to accept that my, and my loved ones’ struggles with this and that temptation was beyond any help, that if we succumb to pornography, adultery or alcoholism it is because that was what God desired and/or decreed.

        Maybe others can live under that sort of hopelessness and despair. I would walk away from that sort of God. Which is exactly what he confronted me with. Never have I felt so much in the actual presence of God as that dark night, when I felt like Job before him. All of the blessings and mercies and rescues God had provided for me in my over 50 years flashed before my eyes. I could almost hear him asking, when did I let you down? When did I mislead, deceive or withhold my boundless love? Any my heart welled up in sad joy, knowing that my choice was clear: I would cling to this living, loving, merciful God until my last breath, no matter what it cost me.

        Yet I knew I was making a choice. I knew, in a profound and frightening way, that God had made a mark in the sand, and it was now or never. He had patiently prodded me along, providing insight, experiences, and all I needed to arrive at the truth. It was now my choice to act upon what I knew. And I knew that I could walk away. This is why, though it disturbs many, I firmly believe that a person can walk away from God. I know how real my relationship has been with him, and I know that he did not, and would not, force me to stay if I chose to turn away.

      7. TSOO posted this one:

        “There is simply no logical explanation for God calling men to do what they cannot but do. It is even more reprehensible to call men to do, nay, command them to do, what they truly cannot do.”

        My Response :

        God’s thoughts are higher than man’s. God works in so many ways that we might not fully grasp because we are finite beings and cannot match God’s knowledge. Why trouble yourself with that *as-if* of Br.D.

        My statement : “Most of the time God deals with man in a natural way. Some other times, He may decide to override man’s will, but the final dead-end result, God always get what He wants” – is Biblical.

        Scripture supports this idea that God determines all and God’s allowing for man to use his will to deviate becomes part of His decree and does not hinder His final dead end decrees. Br.D gets mad at this and charge the Calvinists as “double speak”, “as-if”, etc., but I tell you all of these charges are nothing to me.

      8. FOH
        There is simply no logical explanation for God calling men to do what they cannot but do. It is even more reprehensible to call men to do, nay, command them to do, what they truly cannot do.”

        jtleosala:
        God’s thoughts are higher than man’s. God works in so many ways that we might not fully grasp because we are finite beings and cannot match God’s knowledge.

        br.d
        FOH’s statement is based on an interpretation of Biblical Ethics.
        An interpretation that contradicts Biblical Ethics is an UNETHICAL interpretation.

        Jesus says: “Does the master attribute what the slave does to the slave – when the truth is that slave can only do what the master commands? I think not”

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Men can deliberately do nothing unless He *INSPIRE* it. (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God pg 171–172)

        Whatever CONCEPTIONS we form in our minds, they were directed by the secret *INSPIRATION* of GOD .” (Instintutes Vol ii. p. 213.)

      9. FOH
        If a person says in any way….. in ANY way…. that the decisions made (by sinners and saints alike), could have been otherwise, then he/ she is not a Calvinist.

        br.d
        I think Calvinists intuitively realize this – and that it is why their language is so full of DOUBLE-SPEAK.
        If a Calvinist speaks the Truth – the Whole Truth – and Nothing But the Truth – Calvinism gets rejected.
        And for the Calvinist – that is the absolute worse consequence.

        And they use DOUBLE-THINK to retain a sense of normalcy and align themselves with scripture anyway.
        So speaking DOUBLE-SPEAK is simply a natural outcome for thm.

      10. TS00
        I’m waiting for someone more capable than I to really spell out in an easy to understand manner your concept of Calvinists’ *AS-IF* thinking. I know what you mean, but sometimes I think the awkwardness of the wording is difficult to get past.

        br.d
        I can explain this:

        Dr. William Lane Craig describes it in his article “The Unlivability of Determinism” which I will loosely quote for you.

        Nobody can live NORMALLY if he believes that everything he thinks and does is determined by causes outside himself.
        Determinists recognize that they have to act *AS-IF* they had the ability to weigh multiple options and decide [for themselves] on what course of action to take, even though at the end of the day as determinists – they believe every thought and choice that occurs in their mind was not determined by them – but determined by an external mind. Thus Determinism is an unliveable belief system.

        This presents a real problem not just for the Calvinist who is a Theological Determinist – but also for the Natural Determinist. For insofar as natural determinism implies that all our thoughts and actions are determined by natural causes outside ourselves, free will is an illusion. But they cannot escape this illusion and so must go on making choices *AS-IF* they had Libertarian free will, even though their belief system dictates they don’t. Naturalism is thus an unliveable worldview also.
        -end quote

        Now John Calvin understood this dilemma.
        And he understood how determinism conflicts with many texts in scripture.
        And he wants to assert that he is aligned with all scripture.

        So he taught his disciples -quote “Go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part”.

        That is why I call it *AS-IF* thinking.

        I hope that helps explain it.
        Its a form of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS

      11. jtleosala
        Calvinists doctrine on the matter is “Spiritually dead” not Physically dead. Since that they are not physically dead, then it follows that they have reasoning ability and cognition as normal beings.

        br.d
        The problem here is that Calvinist language is full of EQUIVOCATIONS.

        TOTAL DEPRAVITY – is whatever the Calvinist needs it to be at any moment – and there is NO CONSISTENCY.
        At one moment it means “UNABLE” – and at another moment it doesn’t
        Whatever the Calvinist needs for any given argument.

        Additionally John Calvin teaches there is a -quote LARGE MIXTURE of Calvinists who are TOTALLY DEPRAVED and don’t know it.

        So TOTAL DEPRAVITY in Calvinism functions like a magicians rabbit
        It appears and disappears at the Calvinist’s will.

      12. br.d. writes:
        “TOTAL DEPRAVITY – is whatever the Calvinist needs it to be at any moment – and there is NO CONSISTENCY.”

        You hit the nail on the head here, only I would expand it to all of Calvinism’s word usage. In Calvinism, words do not have a clear, consistent, context-derived meaning. Rather, they are empty symbols into which the Calvinist pours whatever meaning serves his current need.

        In this, the Calvinist seeks to avoid being pinned down and forced to admit the more unpalatable aspects of his theology. This also serves to provide the disconnect/categorization that protects the Calvinist from the discomfort of his own ascriptural, logically inconsistent and morally unacceptable beliefs. Most truly do not see how inconsistent they are, how heinous their assertions are to even the agnostic and why everyone so mocks or rejects their ever morphing positioning.

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