Are Calvinist’s Rebukes Rational?

by Dr. Leighton Flowers

Why do self-proclaimed Calvinists, like John MacArthur, rebuke others, like Beth Moore, and express disapproval and indignation against that which they believe God has unchangeably brought to pass for His own self-glorification?

  • It certainly seems reasonable for us as non-Calvinist to disapprove of the autonomous behavior of errant Christians, false teachers or pagans who misinterpret scripture or openly rebel against the will of God.
  • It does not seem reasonable or logically consistent, however, for a Calvinist to express disapproval and disgust for that which he believes was “planned and brought about by God for His own self-glorification.”

*Sidebar: Yes, mainstream Calvinists (including Calvin himself) have clearly and unequivocally taught that God “sovereignly plans and controls every meticulous detail,” including every evil intention of every creature, in order to glorify Himself. If you consider yourself a “Calvinist” but disagree with these claims of leading Calvinistic scholars, great! May I suggest you join me in my rebuke instead of accusing me of not really understanding Calvinism?[1]

When I express my disapproval of a brother or sister with whom I disagree, or worse, some evil atrocity (such as abortion, rape, murder or torture), I am expressing disapproval of what I believe is mankind’s autonomously bad choices, which stand diametrically opposed to our Holy God and His perfect will.

When my Calvinistic friends, however, express similar disapproval, they are projecting indignation of that which they believe God has unchangeably planned, controlled and brought about for His own self-glorification. In short, Calvinists are expressing indignation against God and His self-glorifying plans.

So, John MacArthur’s doctrine teaches that Beth Moore was sovereignly and unchangeably decreed (or determined) by God to be a preacher of the gospel (and by many standards a pretty good one at that). Certainly Dr. MacArthur would concede that at least some of “the elect of God” were brought to faith through Beth Moore’s ministry, wouldn’t he? And according to the actual claims of Calvinistic doctrine, “God ordains the ends (the salvation of His elect) as well as the means (evangelism of His elect.)” Why would MacArthur celebrate the specific ends brought about by God and not the specific means, if they too were also determined by God?

How can Calvinists bring rebuke with any level of rationality or consistency?

I recently pressed a Calvinistic friend on this question and he repeatedly appealed to the crucifixion, arguing in part, “Wouldn’t you have been horrified and disappointed by the crucifixion of Jesus, yet wasn’t that brought about by the determination of God?”

I said, “I would have expressed indignation until the point I realized it was God’s plan and then I would stop bemoaning it and start telling everyone about it, just like the apostles did.” Then, I simply pointed to the cross hanging around his neck and asked, “If you are still horrified and disappointed by the crucifixion, why are you wearing that cross?”

My Calvinistic friend and I are not disappointed by what God did to redeem the world from sin through Calvary. We both want that event to be known by everyone. Why? Because we now know it was God’s fulfillment of His redemptive promise!

The story of the cross stands out as unique part of God’s good plan to redeem all sin, not as the proof of God being the cause of all sin.

A Calvinist would never wear a symbol of heresy, abortion, child rape, the Holocaust or other such evil events around his neck, yet by his own logic these errors in doctrine and horrible atrocities were sovereignly “brought about by God for His own self-exaltation.”

Proof that God worked in some way to “bring about” the redemption of man’s sinful actions on Calvary certainly does not prove that God works to “bring about” the very sins that His Son died to redeem.

Scriptures reveal that God temporarily blinded the rebellious Israelites from recognizing their own Messiah so as to ensure the crucifixion would take place, and who are we to question God’s sinless means in doing so? (Rom. 3:1-8; Rom. 9 — READ THIS for more)  But proof that God “brought about” the redemption of man’s sinful actions on Calvary certainly does not prove that God “brought about” the very sins that His Son died to redeem.

This is a common error of Calvinists.  They take unique examples of God working to bring about a good purpose through the ALREADY evil intentions of mankind as proof that God (1) “sovereignly brought about” the evil intentions themselves and (2) that He “sovereignly works” in this same way at all times throughout history.

In other words, if Calvinism is true then God worked to “sovereignly bring about” the preaching ministry of Beth Moore in virtually the same way that He worked to “sovereignly bring about” the salvation of the elect through her preaching.

But the implication is far worse, because if Calvinism is true then God worked to “sovereignly bring about” the redemption of a child abuser in virtually the same way that He worked to “sovereignly bring about” the abuse of that child. This flies in the face of so much of what we read in scripture about the character and holiness of our God. (CLICK HERE for more on this)

According to Calvinists, God seems to be “sovereignly working” so as to redeem “His sovereign workings.” (i.e. God is sovereignly working to bring about redemption so as to redeem the sins that He sovereignly worked to bring about.) Is God merely determining to redeem His own determinations?  Of course not!

AN ANALOGY TO CONSIDER

Appealing to God’s sovereign work to ensure the redemption of sin so as to prove that God sovereignly works to bring about all the sin that was redeemed is an absurd, self-defeating argument. It would be tantamount to arguing that because a police department set up a sting operation to catch a notorious drug dealer, that the police department is responsible for every single intention and action of that drug dealer at all times. Proof that the police department worked in secretive ways to hide their identities, use evil intentions, and work out the circumstances in such a way that the drug dealer would do what they wanted him to do (sell drugs) at that particular moment in time does not suggest that the police are in anyway responsible for all that drug dealer has done or ever will do. We celebrate and reward the actions of this police department because they are working to stop the drug activity, not because they are secretly causing all of it so as to stop some of it. Teaching that God brings about all sin based on how He brought about Calvary is like teaching that the police officer brings about every drug deal based on how he brought about one sting operation.

Yes, at times the scriptures do speak of God “hardening” men’s hearts (Ex. 7; Rm. 9), blinding them with a “spirit of stupor” (Rm. 11:8) and delaying their healing by use of parabolic language (Mk. 4:11-12, 34; Matt. 16:20), and He always does so for a redemptive good. But, the reason such passages stand out so distinctly from the rest of scripture is because of their uniqueness. If God worked this way in every instance these texts would make no sense. After all, what is there for God to harden, provoke, or restrain if not the autonomous will of creatures?

If everything is under the meticulous control of God’s sovereign work what is left to permit and/or restrain except that which He is already controlling? Is God merely restraining something that He previously determined? Why blind eyes from seeing something the were “naturally” predetermined not to see? Why put a parabolic blind fold on a corpse-like dead sinner incapable of seeing spiritual truth? These are questions many Calvinists seem unwilling to entertain at any depth.

We must understand that God, like the police department in the analogy above, may be hiding His identity at times and working to use the evil intentions of bad men for a greater good, but that in no way impugns His character by suggesting He is “the cause of all things that are.” And it certainly does not suggest that every evil desire and intention is “brought about to glorify God” as explicitly taught by Calvinism’s actual claims reflected in the quotes provided in the footnotes of this article.

ANTICIPATED OBJECTIONS: “YOU TOO!” & FALSE DILEMMA

Please notice I said “Calvinism’s ACTUAL CLAIMS.” I want to draw everyone’s attention to that because what typically follows this line of argumentation is a Calvinist’s appeal to the “you too fallacy” (i.e. “you too” have the same problem because you affirm omniscience.) But be aware, I am opposing an ACTUAL CLAIM of Calvinism and Calvinists are attempting to argue that I have the same problem based NOT ON OUR ACTUAL CLAIMS, but based on their own philosophical speculation about the infinite nature of divine omniscience (i.e. if God knows something and does not prevent it, that somehow proves that He brought it about for His own self-glorification). Notice, however, that none of our scholars ACTUALLY MAKE THIS CLAIM, therefore the Calvinistic argument is fallacious because it assumes true the very position we oppose (see question begging fallacy). If Calvinists are going to oppose our position they have to deal with the ACTUAL CLAIMS of our scholars, not their own philosophical conclusions about our beliefs. In making this “you too” argument, the Calvinist has unwittingly become guilty of the very straw-man fallacy they often attempt to lay on us.

Also, some may try and create a false dilemma by suggesting that (1) either God purposes (determines) everything or (2) things happen purposelessly and God is just left unaware, wringing his hands like a passive observer. But, of course other options are available for those willing to entertain the idea that God may have a purpose in creating libertarianly free creatures. This commonly used fallacy is rebutted <HERE> for those who are interested.



[1]  Here is where I am often met with the accusation of misrepresentation — or what is known as the fallacy of “strawmanning.” I suspect, however, that those bringing that accusation either (1) do not rightly understand Calvinism and Calvinistic scholar’s ACTUAL CLAIMS or they (2) do not really affirm the ACTUAL CLAIMS of John Calvin and most of the Calvinistic scholars, but have adopted a much milder, more palatable, and arguably inconsistent form of the systematic. (If it is the second, however, I cannot help but wonder why would they not stand with me in opposition to the ACTUAL CLAIMS of Calvinism rather than accusing me of not understanding it rightly?)

For instance, let’s consider this quote from John Piper’s ministry website, Desiring God:

“God . . . brings about all things in accordance with his will. In other words, it isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those who love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects for his glory (see Ex. 9:13-16; John 9:3) and his people’s good (see Heb. 12:3-11; James 1:2-4). This includes—as incredible and as unacceptable as it may currently seem—God’s having even brought about the Nazis’ brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child…” (Link)— Mark R. Talbot, “’All the Good That Is Ours in Christ’: Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us,” in John Piper and Justin Taylor (eds.), Suffering and the Sovereignty of God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2006), 31-77 (quote from p. 42).

On the one hand we know that Piper has at times expressed disappointment and disgust for the Holocaust and the sexual abuse of children, while on the other hand claiming these same events have been brought about by a God seeking His own glory. Therefore, Piper has expressed disapproval and disgust of what God has planned and brought about for His own glorification. As I said, Calvinists are the ones expressing disapproval of God’s plans, not me.

John Calvin himself taught:

“Creatures are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 3)

“thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute judgments which he has resolved to inflict.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 5)

“We hold that God is the disposer and ruler of all things, –that from the remotest eternity, according to his own wisdom, He decreed what he was to do, and now by his power executes what he decreed.  Hence we maintain, that by His providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.” (John Calvin,Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 8)

“The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how muchsoever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as he permits, nay unless in so far as he commands, that they are not only bound by his fetters but are even forced to do him service” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 11)

“…it is very wicked merely to investigate the causes of God’s will. For his will is, and rightly ought to be, the cause of all things that are.”…”For God’s will is so much the highest rule of righteousness that whatever he wills, by the very fact that he wills it, must be considered righteous. When, therefore, one asks why God has so done, we must reply: because he has willed it. But if you proceed further to ask why he so willed, you are seeking something greater and higher than God’s will, which cannot be found.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an individual charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobated. This they do ignorantly and childishly, since there could be no election without its opposite, reprobation.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“…it is utterly inconsistent to transfer the preparation for destruction to anything but God’s secret plan… God’s secret plan is the cause of hardening.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“I admit that in this miserable condition wherein men are now bound, all of Adam’s children have fallen by God’s will.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 4)

“With Augustine I say: the Lord has created those whom he unquestionably foreknew would go to destruction. This has happened because he has willed.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 5)

“…individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction.” (John Calvin,Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

“…it is vain to debate about prescience, which it is clear that all events take place by his sovereign appointment.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

“But since he foresees future events only by reason of the fact that he decreed that they take place, they vainly raise a quarrel over foreknowledge, when it is clear that all things take place rather by his determination and bidding.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

“Again I ask: whence does it happen that Adam’s fall irremediably involved so many peoples, together with their infant offspring, in eternal death unless because it so pleased God? The decree is dreadful indeed, I confess. Yet no one can deny that God foreknew what end man was to have before he created him, and consequently foreknew because he so ordained by his decree. And it ought not to seem absurd for me to say that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his descendants, but also meted it out in accordance with his own decision.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 7)

“The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 8)

“Even though by God’s eternal providence man has been created to undergo that calamity to which he is subject, it still takes its occasion from man himself, not from God, since the only reason for his ruin is that he has degenerated from God’s pure creation into vicious and impure perversity.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 9)

Now, before moving on, I hope all those who proudly wear the label “Calvinist” can rightly understand what I am opposing here. I have not misrepresented or “strawmanned” Calvinism. John Piper is arguably the most influential modern day proponent of Calvinism and he is representing exactly what John Calvin himself taught on this subject in the quotes above (all of which are properly cited for contextual examination). Both of these Calvinistic scholars are abundantly clear about what they believe.

I am not suggesting a “Calvinist” must agree with John Piper or even John Calvin on every theological point in order to be considered a “Calvinist.” But if you are going to proudly promote this label shouldn’t you at least affirm the basic theological claims over the issues that make Calvinism so controversial in the church?  The major reason we even know of John Calvin and “Calvinism” is because of his controversial views over predestination, election, free will, sovereignty, etc.  If you cannot affirm his statements on at least those issues, then may I suggest you stop promoting the label “Calvinist?” Or, if nothing else, at least stop accusing people like myself of not really understanding Calvinism? <READ THIS for more>

NOTE: My personal beliefs regarding the role of women in the church is not the topic of this article or the purpose of this blog site.  I honestly haven’t had the opportunity to listen to Beth Moore and have not formed any opinion about the content of her messages. I do have many friends who speak highly of her and she certainly seems to be a gifted communicator and person of integrity, but this article’s purpose really has nothing to do with her or or my feelings about her work or my views on women in ministry, so you can expect that comments about such things will be deleted and or ignored. Thank you! 

65 thoughts on “Are Calvinist’s Rebukes Rational?

  1. Brother Flowers

    Thank you for this well-framed rebuke against the inconsistencies of a slanted theology that is so popular in this age. Your ministry is a great encouragement.

  2. Thanks Leighton.

    This “God brought about Calvary via ‘evil’ means obviously ‘proves’ that all evil comes from Him” canard is so illogical and unbiblical.

    Numbers 25 tells us that God stopped His judgement after Phinehas stabbed a couple in sexual immorality. Does that mean that God wants all priests everywhere to stab immoral people? Or that all stabbers are doing what God wants? And what about the immoral couple? Are they not also (according to Calvin) doing exactly what God ordained for His good pleasure?

    We could find hundreds of cases of behavior in Scripture that are not meant as proof texts for placing all evil at God’s door…. as the Calvinists do with that example of Calvary.

    Indeed (as your article states), what is the point of railing against ANY sin if in fact it is the very thing that is ordained by God for His good pleasure?

  3. My own grown kids have attended “Dont Waste Your Life” type rallies where Piper has spoken.

    Let’s just imagine a conversation with Piper afterward as he shakes hands.

    “Thank-you Dr Piper for encouraging us not to waste our lives.  Sometimes I lose in the battle against sin in my own life.”

    P “Oh but stay the course and resist the evil!”

    “I know I should but sometimes I dont.  But it is indeed comforting to know that even when I sin I am in God’s will!”

    P “No, you must resist temptation as the Scripture says!”

    “But still …at the end of the day as I lie in bed I can be assured that all of my sin was indeed exactly what God wanted!”  

    P “Well yes, both Calvin and I teach that you are to resist temptation, but if you dont, that too was God’s sovereign will!”

    “My only question now is, how can we actually “waste our lives” if all that we do, good and bad (wasting), is exactly what God ordained for His glory?”

    1. FOH
      “My only question now is, how can we actually “waste our lives” if all that we do, good and bad (wasting), is exactly what God ordained for His glory?”

      br.d
      Wonderful FOH!

      1) If Calvinist [X] doing sin [Y] is brought about by Calvin’s god’s DECREE specifically to bring himself glory – then how is that to be construed as a “waste”?

      2) Since Calvin’s god is the exclusive owner/determiner of EVERYTHING IN EVERY PART concerning Calvinist [X] – then what “life” does Calvinist [X] actually have that he can call is own?

      3) Since EVERYTHING Calvinist [X] does is DECREED – and he is NOT PERMITTED to falsify or negate what is DECREED – then what power does Calvinist [X] have whereby he can “waste” anything?

  4. You ask: “Why do self-proclaimed Calvinists, like John MacArthur, rebuke others, like Beth Moore, and express disapproval and indignation against that which they believe God has unchangeably brought to pass for His own self-glorification?”

    Simple answer (and this long article could have been concluded with it quickly):

    Because they believe their rebukes and expressions of concern are also ordained by God and glorifying to Him. They do not separate the two. As Calvinists, they love to glorify God and do what pleases Him.

    Next …

    1. Hi Derek and welcome

      So it LOGICALLY follows – in the process – that very rebuke is a rebuke of that which was immutability DECREED.
      So then Calvin’s god expects or commands the Calvinist to rebuke his will.

      1. Yes, just as He inspired David to unchangeably predict the words and actions of the Messiah’s betrayer, AND to declare curses against that same betrayer. Was it illogical for Jesus to rebuke Judas for his betrayal, since that betrayal had been ordained by God’s immutable Word? In the sense that it was prophesied beforehand, the betrayal was clearly God’s will. Yet it was also a sin that was rightly and justly condemned.

        Your argument is more against the basic facts of Scripture than it is against Calvinism.

        Other examples:

        —Should we oppose the Antichrist when he appears, since it is clearly God’s will (in Scripture) for him to deceive the world?
        —Should we weep when fellow believers are martyred, since Scripture promises us that this will occur? (Haven’t ever found that one in a promise box, LOL).
        —Should we remove stumbling blocks, as Paul commanded us, even though Jesus said stumbling blocks are bound to come? The logic of your argument would lead us to believe this is a contradiction. However, Calvinists have a well-developed and consistent framework to account for it. Do you?

        If you think of God’s eternal decrees as “prophecies” describing both the good and the evil that will occur, rather than as expressions of approval, Calvinism will begin to make more sense to you (assuming you are willing to consider it thoughtfully and charitably).

      2. Derek,

        With all due respect, you categorize what is prophesied as ORDAINED BY GOD. I wouldn’t do that. I would say that God is telling us what is gonna happen, but I surely would never say that God ordained it.

        Besides, Jesus did say, FATHER FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY KNEW EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE DOING! Didn’t he?

        The devil has a role to play in this, too, but that seems to get missed 99 percent of the time with the reformers doctrines, thinking that God decreed everything. The Battle is between THOSE TWO, God and Satan, for we fight not against flesh and blood, but spiritual forces.

        Bring the devil back into the story where he belongs. Peter tried to defend Jesus in order to PREVENT him from getting to that cross. That was the devil doing the dirty work, THRU Peter, cuz the devil didn’t want Jesus to get to that cross.

        Judas was doing the work of Satan, too, even tho David told us about it before hand. Spiritual forces are behind this, and it’s about Jesus and Satan, not Judas or Peter.

        Ed Chapman

      3. Derek
        Yes, just as He inspired David to unchangeably predict the words and actions of the Messiah’s betrayer, AND to declare curses against that same betrayer.

        br,d
        Firstly – in Calvinism it is questionable for that to be called “inspired”
        “inspire” would only be coherent were the creature has at least some degree of mental autonomy
        And that doesn’t exist in Universal Divine Causal Determinism where people are DESIGNED to function ROBOTICALLY.

        And the same would be true for the betrayer.
        Calvin’s god DESIGNED him to betray – DID NOT PERMIT him to do-otherwise – did not make available any alternative option – so that he could curse him – in order to derive glory from cursing him.

        That is what we have with Universal Divine Causal Determinism.

        Derek
        Was it illogical for Jesus to rebuke Judas for his betrayal, since that betrayal had been ordained by God’s immutable Word? In the sense that it was prophesied beforehand, the betrayal was clearly God’s will. Yet it was also a sin that was rightly and justly condemned.

        br.d
        Well that depends on what world-view one embraces.

        In the world-view of Universal Divine Causal Determinism every neurological impulse is determined by an external mind and thus humans are DESIGNED function ROBOTICALLY.

        Not that they are robots ONTOLOGICALLY – but that they are DESIGNED to function ROBOTICALLY.
        Its doesn’t take much to understand why Calvinists are unwilling to bit the bullet and take the belief system to its logical conclusion.

        Derek
        Your argument is more against the basic facts of Scripture than it is against Calvinism.

        br.d
        That is ASSUMED by virtue of the presupposition that Universal Divine Causal Determinism is *THE* only interpretation of scripture.

        Derek
        Other examples:

        —Antichrist
        —fellow believers are martyred
        —Should we remove stumbling blocks

        br.d
        If one accepts that – then one should not have any trouble biting the bullet and accepting that these examples above are creatures DESIGNED to function as ROBOTS – each one simply carrying out its programming.

        As Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin affirms:
        -quote
        “God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions”
        – The Doctrine of Divine Decree

        Derek
        Calvinists have a well-developed and consistent framework to account for it. Do you?

        br.d
        Calvinism is predicated on Universal Divine Causal Determinism – a belief system which they without acknowledging it manifest as unlivable. Like Solipsism – the belief system forces them into a state of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS.

        John Calvin understood this and that is why he taught:
        -quote
        “Go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part”
        – Eternal Predestination 171

        That is a pure example of DOUBLE-THINK.

        Derek
        If you think of God’s eternal decrees as “prophecies” describing both the good and the evil that will occur, rather than as expressions of approval, Calvinism will begin to make more sense to you (assuming you are willing to consider it thoughtfully and charitably).

        br.d
        Actually I don’t think that is intellectually honest.

        Calvinism is predicated on Universal Divine ****CAUSAL**** Determinism.
        Calvin’s god’s decrees don’t just describe what will occur – they CAUSE what will occur.
        Right down to the slightest vibration of every atomic particle.

        As Calvinist Paul Helm’s states it:
        -quote
        Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by god, but EVERY TWIST AND TURN OF EACH OF THESE IS UNDER THE DIRECT CONTROL of god”

        And John Calvin affirms:
        -quote
        Hence they are merely instruments, into which God constantly infuses what energy he sees meet, and turns and converts to any purpose.

        Since this CANNOT BE ASCRIBED TO NATURE, it is perfectly clear that it has come forth from the….plan of god….they are NOT found but MADE worthy of destruction.

      4. BR.D,

        You may be surprised to learn that Calvin affirms our “innate liberty” and uses the term “voluntary” to describe the freedom of will that we exercise, even after the fall. The following is quoted from the Institutes, specifically from Calvin’s discussion of Total Depravity:

        “Bernard, assenting to Augustine, thus writes: “Among animals, man alone is free, and yet sin intervening, he suffers a kind of violence, but a violence proceeding from his will, not from nature, so that it does not even deprive him of innate liberty,” (Bernard, Sermo. super Cantica, 81.) For that which is voluntary is also free. A little after he adds, “Thus, by some means strange and wicked, the will itself, being deteriorated by sin, makes a necessity; but so that the necessity, in as much as it is voluntary, cannot excuse the will, and the will, in as much as it is enticed, cannot exclude the necessity.” For this necessity is in a manner voluntary. He afterwards says that “we are under a yoke, but no other yoke than that of voluntary servitude; therefore, in respect of servitude, we are miserable, and in respect of will, inexcusable; because the will, when it was free, made itself the slave of sin.” At length he concludes, “Thus the soul, in some strange and evil way, is held under this kind of voluntary, yet sadly free necessity, both bond and free; bond in respect of necessity, free in respect of will: and what is still more strange, and still more miserable, it is guilty because free, and enslaved because guilty, and therefore enslaved because free.” My readers hence perceive that the doctrine which I deliver is not new, but the doctrine which of old Augustine delivered with the consent of all the godly, and which was afterwards shut up in the cloisters of monks for almost a thousand years.”

        Thus, according to your own statement, Calvin could not have taught the kind of determinism you are alleging he taught (you have exonerated him from the charge of hyper-determinism and arrived at a closer understanding of his actual theology in the process–well done!).

        Calvin’s conceptions of human freedom cannot be flattened out into mere robotic determinism. His views are far more nuanced and complex than he is given credit for. Yes, Calvin believes that God determines all; yet he also clearly affirms that man’s will is genuinely free and voluntary (back to the two claims I outlined, which are attested over and over by all of the mainstream Calvinistic theologians). Thus, Calvin and his best proponents hold to a compatibilism that is more than mere “culpability despite having been forced,” as non-Calvinists consistently misrepresent.

      5. It is not that we are ignorant of, nor that we ‘misrepresent’ what Calvin taught – we simply view it as inconsistent, illogical doublespeak. And yes, many who were suckered into going along with Calvinism based on that inconsistent, illogical doublespeak called Compatibilism seek to spare others from falling victim to the same trap.

        We are fully aware that Calvin, and many other Calvinists, try to have their cake and eat it too. But just because someone states ‘Both A and non-A are equally true’ does not make it so, no matter how many multi-syllable words they string together in its defense.

        If all things were predetermined before we were even conceived, then we do not have any degree of meaningful freedom or choice. Period. We know all of your arguments, and all of your word-thuggery, but we simply refuse to be intimidated by it anymore. ‘Irresistibly predetermined by God’ and ‘freely chosen’ are directly opposite and contradictory, however you wish to disguise it. I’ll grant you ‘pre-known’ and ‘freely chosen’, but foreknowledge is an entirely different matter from predetermination.

        I will never again be bullied, shamed or conned into rejecting common sense and logic and embracing a man-made, illogical and unbiblical system. And I will do everything I can to protect others from the same.

      6. TS00 and BR.D great points
        Affirming contradictory points is illogical and is unbiblical. The Car is Red and the Car is NOT Red. If spoken about the same car and in the same way… Is bad logic and the Bible never does that kind of illogical teaching.
        Man is Free however God has predetermined his every move before time began so that there is 0 left over for him to “adlib”. These two statements are what Calvinism tries to prove are both true and only those who are drinking the kool aid of JPiper, JMac, and JCalvin are going to believe it. A careful study of the Word shows that one of those statements is FALSE.
        TS00 you stated: “foreknowledge is an entirely different matter from predetermination.
        I will never again be bullied, shamed or conned into rejecting common sense and logic and embracing a man-made, illogical and unbiblical system. And I will do everything I can to protect others from the same.”

        Agreed we have been there and likes of James of White are great examples of what you are talking about… and then they cover it with “mystery” to make people unsuspecting even while they smuggle error into the church. They have done more to bring in error into the church through their systematic than any other systematic. And it starts with this faulty understanding of Sovereign.

      7. I don’t think Derek realizes how dangerously close he is to a form of idolatry – when he raises the word of John Calvin up and makes it infallible.

        The Catholic church teaches Mary was born without sin and the Catholic takes that as the infallible word of god.

        Not much difference between that and holding John Calvin’s word as infallible.

      8. Derek
        BR.D,
        You may be surprised to learn that Calvin affirms our “innate liberty” and uses the term “voluntary” to describe the freedom of will that we exercise, even after the fall.

        br.d
        Derek – Lance Armstrong used the phrase “DID NOT” in regard to his use of enhancement drugs.
        Sorry to say – the evidence showed his claim to be FALSE

        Just because someone claims something doesn’t make it TRUE and doesn’t make it LOGICALLY valid.
        Therefore just because John Calvin calls something “voluntary” doesn’t make it TRUE.

        Everyone who understands compatiblistic freedom knows it is the exact same freedom that robots have.
        A robot engineer can claim his robots do what they do “voluntarily” exactly the same as Calvin claims
        But using that term to describe compatibilistic freedom is dishonest.

        Derek
        Thus, according to your own statement, Calvin could not have taught the kind of determinism you are alleging he taught

        br.d
        FALSE

        Firstly:
        Here is Dr. James N. Anderson, of the Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte NC,
        -quote
        It should be conceded at the outset, and without embarrassment, that Calvinism is indeed committed to divine determinism…And Calvinism is committed to a compatiblist form of free will.

        Here is the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Theological Determinism
        -quote
        Theological determinism is the view that God determines every event that occurs in the history of the world. While there is much debate about which prominent historical figures were theological determinists, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin.

        Secondly:
        It is universally acknowledged in Christian Philosophy that Libertarian Freedom IS EXCLUDED by Determinism.
        And that the only freedom that is LOGICALLY viable in determinism is Compatibilistic freedom

        Calvinist Paul Helm’s understands some Calvinists want to have some degree of Libertarian Freedom within Calvinism.
        He calls these “libertarian Calvinists”.
        He rejects it as ILLOGICAL – and affirms what all Christian Philosophers affirm – that Libertarian Freedom is ruled out by determinism.

        -quote
        WCF’s statements about God’s attributes and God’s eternal decree imply theological determinism and thus rule out libertarian free will.
        WCF 10.1 straightforwardly affirms compatibilism by asserting that God determines that the elect freely come to Christ.

        Derek
        Calvin’s conceptions of human freedom cannot be flattened out into mere robotic determinism.

        br,d
        Sorry – but that is LOGICALLY fallacious – either something is TRUE or it is FALSE

        Christian Philosophers simply understand the LOGICAL consequences of Compatiblisitic freedom.

        It is exactly as I have stated:
        1. The THEOS does NOT PERMIT the creature to falsify or negate the divine decree
        2. The THEOS does NOT PERMIT the creature to be/do otherwise than what the THEOS determines
        3) The creature has no say in the matter of what is determined.

        All of the above = Compatiblistic freedom
        And Compatiblistic freedom is the exact same freedom found with robots.

        Again we are not saying in Calvinism people are robots ONTOLOGICALLY – but it LOGICALLY follows that in Calvinism humans FUNCTION ROBOTICALLY

        Additionally we understand that most Calvinists embrace a form of DOUBLE-THINK in this regard.

      9. Derek, You keep using phrases like “You may be surprised to learn …” and “assuming you have never been told, or have perhaps forgotten” and “If you [do X,Y, or Z] … then Calvinism will begin to make more sense to you (assuming you are willing to consider it thoughtfully and charitably).”

        With all due respect, this isn’t our first rodeo. And you’re not the only educated one here.

        You also say: “You may be surprised to learn that Calvin affirms our “innate liberty” and uses the term “voluntary” to describe the freedom of will that we exercise, even after the fall.”

        Well, you may be surprised to learn that just because someone “says” they affirm something doesn’t mean their theology does. I don’t care what Calvin says he affirms or what Calvinists say they affirm; I care what their theology fundamentally and undeniably teaches. And in Calvinism, we do nothing “freely,” because that would mean that there is something that God isn’t in active control of. And Calvinism’s faulty view of God’s sovereignty can’t allow that.

        Calvin can claim whatever he wants to, but to claim that we are “free” in any way contradicts his theology.

        Also from his Institutes, in Calvin’s own words:
        Man “cannot even give utterance except in so far as God pleases…” (Book 1, Chapter 16, section 6).

        “… everything done in the world is according to His decree…” (Book 1, Chapter 16, section 6).

        “… the devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are, in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how much soever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as [God] permits – nay, unless IN SO FAR AS HE COMMANDS …” (Book 1, Chapter 17, section 11)

        “The counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined” (Book 1, Chapter 16, section 8).

        “… it is certain that not a drop of rains falls without the express command of God” (Book 1, Chapter 16, section 5). And “… no wind ever rises or rages without His special command” (section 7).

        How someone doesn’t call that determinism, I can’t understand! How someone thinks this coincides with some sort of “freedom to act on our own,” is a “mystery”!

        But Calvinists have to keep telling themselves that Calvi-god’s sovereign, deterministic control makes room for mankind’s free-will. Because if they didn’t, they know they would be saying that God is responsible for all evil and all sin. And then they might have to rethink their whole theology. Calvinists can say it all they want, but it doesn’t make it true. Not with their definition of “sovereign control.”

        And yet how does my Calvinist pastor explain it all? Like this: “I don’t know how it works, how it all fits together. But the Bible teaches it, and so I have to believe it. Even if I can’t understand it. It’s a mystery. We don’t have to like it or understand it; we just have to accept it.” (Translation: “Look how humble I am to accept something that doesn’t make sense. You should be so humble too!”)

        One thing I warn people about is to not put any faith in one quote from a Calvinist which sounds like they affirm free-will, because they will contradict it later (or add so many qualifiers that it changes what they originally said). Some of the commenters here say it like this “What Calvinism gives with one hand, it takes back with the other.” Or something like that. And it’s true.

        Here’s a little gem from Calvin, Book, 2, Chapter 2, section 8: In this section, Calvin is condemning the use of the term “free-will.” And he says, “If any one, then, chooses to make use of this term … but I am unwilling to use it myself; and others if they will take my advice, will do well to abstain from it.”

        Hmm!?! So let me see here: God controls and causes everything, even our utterances and counsels and wills, and so therefore there can be no free-will. BUT Calvin has the freedom to will himself to not use the term “free-will”!?!

        Ha-ha-ha! What irony!

        And he says that others could “CHOOSE to make use of this term,” but that they would do well to take his advice and not use it. AS IF they had any control over themselves, or any ability to use their free-will to make decisions about their free-will! Something Calvin totally denies is possible.

        You can’t have it both ways, Calvin. Make up your mind!

        How about this one: In his Institutes, Book 1, Chapter 4, Section 1, he also says that men who define God as they want to because of their vanity and pride are “deservedly blinded, because, not contented with sober inquiry, because, arrogating to themselves more than they have any title to do, they of their own accord court darkness, nay, bewitch themselves with perverse, empty show. Hence it is that their folly, the result of not only vain curiosity, but of licentious desire and overweaning confidence in the pursuit of forbidden knowledge, cannot be excused.”

        So … let me get this straight … “The counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined” … but now … men “of their own accord court darkness”!?! And because of their vain curiosity and licentious desire and overweaning confidence in pursuing forbidden knowledge, they deserve the blindness they get!?!

        So which is it? Is it or is it not that God chooses whom to blind all on His own, with no influence from people? Is it or is it not that men are ultimately responsible for their own blindness and hardness of heart? Does God or does God not fully control the will, counsel, and utterances of men, so as to move them in exactly the course He determined?

        Also in Chapter 4, Section 3, he says that men “choosing rather to indulge their carnal propensities than to curb them …”
        Once again, “choose”!?! Hey Calvin, I thought you said that God was the cause of all things, even wickedness, even sin? Let me see, where was it again? Oh, yes, here it is:

        “… the devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are, in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how much soever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as [God] permits – nay, unless in so far as he commands …”

        And … “… everything done in the world is according to His decree…”

        And man “cannot even give utterance except in so far as God pleases…”

        And yet now, here in Book 1 Chapter 4, men “choose” to indulge their carnal desires? As opposed to his later idea that God causes all we do?

        I love this one: In Book 1, Chapter 17 and Chapter 18 are about Calvin trying to make sense out of how God can be the “cause” of evil yet not be held accountable for evil, how we are “controlled” by God yet can be held accountable for what we do.

        And about the actions of wicked people, Calvin says (Chapter 17, Section 5) “I deny that they serve the will of God.” He says that we cannot say that “he who has been carried away by a wicked mind are performing service on the order of God” because the evil person is “only following his own malignant desires,” not acting in obedience.

        Wait just a second, Calvin! You say that everything – even our utterances, every bad natural disaster, all evil, everything we do – is controlled by and ordained by God, according to His Will and purposes and pleasure. You even say in section 4 that “prudence and folly are instruments of divine dispensation,” that God either causes us to be prudent and safe or to be foolish and to bring disaster on ourselves.

        But now you are going to say that wicked men doing wicked things are not controlled by God!?!

        Basically, Calvin’s theology is “Everything that happens is done by the Will of God, by the hand of God. We can’t do anything, even evil things, unless God wills it to happen. But if we do evil, it’s not God’s Will because only obedience to the Word is God’s Will, even though God controls all we do and we can’t do any evil unless God wills it. And if you don’t agree with me then you are a bad, unhumble Christian who dishonors God, and I will burn you at the stake with green wood that takes longer to burn.”

        “Hi, my name’s John Calvin. And I’m a schizophrenic megalomaniac with irrational thinking, delusions of grandeur, and a messianic complex. Would you be my disciples?”

        Calvin says that “Obedience is when we are instructed in his will and hasten in the direction he calls” (Chapter 17, Section 5). But that if we act wickedly, God didn’t command it.

        First of all, doesn’t needing to be “instructed in his will” imply that there are things that happen outside of His Will? Hmm, let’s see what Calvin says about this elsewhere …

        — God completely controls and causes every little thing that happens, “down to the minutest detail, down even to a sparrow.” (Book 1, Chapter 16, Section 5)

        — “it is certain that not a drop of rains falls without the express command of God” (Book 1, Chapter 16, Section 5)

        — “Therefore, since God claims for himself the right of governing the world, a right unknown to us, let it be our law of modesty and soberness to acquiesce in his supreme authority regarding his will as our only rule of justice, and the most perfect CAUSE OF ALL THINGS…” (Book 1, Chapter 17, Section 2)

        — And according to Calvin, Solomon “derides the stupidity of those who presume to undertake anything without God, as if they were not ruled by his hand…” (Book 1, Chapter 17, Section 4)

        — And we commit blasphemy if we “refuse to admit that every event which happens in the world is governed by the incomprehensible counsel of God.” (Book 1, Chapter 17, Section 2)

        — And it is “insipid” to say God is just the originator of all things, but not the controller of all things. (Book 1, Chapter 16, Section 3)

        — “The counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined” (Book 1, Chapter 16, Section 8)

        — “everything done in the world is according to His decree” (Book 1, Chapter 16, Section 6)

        — and “the devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are, in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how much soever they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetuate, unless in so far as he permits – nay, unless in so far as he commands” (Book 1, Chapter 17, Section 11)

        So … everything that happens in this world is “by His Will,” yet there is still some need to be “instructed in his will,” as if anything can happen outside His Will!

        Ha-ha-ha! Oh, that’s rich! Calvin (Calvinists) constantly contradicts himself and expects us not to notice.

        And how exactly can we “hasten in the direction” of anything if God controls the direction we take? How can we choose obedience if, as Calvin says, God controls everything we do? How can Calvin say that everything happens by God’s command except wickedness, after already stating that God controls all evil?

        In Chapter 18, section 2, Calvin says, “The sum of the whole is this, – since the will of God is said to be the cause of all things, all the counsels and actions of men must be held to be governed by his providence; so that he not only exerts his power in the elect, who are guided by the Holy Spirit, but also forces the reprobate to do him service.”

        Hold your horses there, mister …

        “I deny that [wicked men] serve the will of God. For we cannot say that he who is carried away by a wicked mind performs service on the order of God …”

        But now you say “the reprobate do him service”!?!

        Hmm? Which one is it?

        Calvin (Calvinists) says God controls all evil when he’s trying to uphold God’s “sovereignty” (by that, he means “micromanaging control”), but he denies that God controls all evil when he’s trying to figure out who to “blame” for it.

        “Confused, inconsistent theologian, table of one!”

        I could go on. But you get the idea!

        Just because someone claims they affirm something doesn’t mean their theology does. It just means they are being inconsistent, contradictory, and deceptive.

      10. Heather
        Calvin can claim whatever he wants to, but to claim that we are “free” in any way contradicts his theology.

        br.d
        I heartily agree Heather!

        However Compatiblistic freedom is a universally recognized view of freedom – no matter how controversial it is.

        Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
        -quote
        Compatibilism is the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism.
        Because free will is typically taken to be a necessary condition of moral responsibility, compatibilism is sometimes expressed as a thesis about the compatibility between moral responsibility and determinism.

        However – it should be easy to see it as a severely limited form of freedom.

        Take for example the fact that Universal Divine Causal Determinism LOGICALLY entails Calvin’s god determining every neurological impulse that will ever appear in Derek’s brain throughout his lifetime. Those being determined before Derek was created.

        Obviously Determinism does NOT PERMIT Derek to have any say in the matter of anything Calvin’s god determines Derek to think say or do. And since Calvin’s god EXCLUSIVELY determines *ALL* – this obviously leave ZERO left over for Derek to determine.

        For Derek (or Calvin) to classify that form of freedom as “voluntary” is simply an act of intellectual dishonesty.

        And I know of no Christian Philosopher who would even dare to do so.

    2. Derek says: “You ask: ‘Why do self-proclaimed Calvinists, like John MacArthur, rebuke others, like Beth Moore, and express disapproval and indignation against that which they believe God has unchangeably brought to pass for His own self-glorification?’
      Simple answer (and this long article could have been concluded with it quickly): Because they believe their rebukes and expressions of concern are also ordained by God and glorifying to Him. They do not separate the two. As Calvinists, they love to glorify God and do what pleases Him. Next …”

      Heather says: Yes, just like Calvi-god “ordains” murder and abuse for his glory, and then he “ordains” that others are horrified by and fight against murder and abuse for his glory. So therefore, both the evil and the actions against evil are equally glorifying to Calvi-god. So then, what really is the difference between evil and good in Calvinism?

      Answer: Nothing!

      Isaiah 5:20: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

      John 8:44: You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

      2 Corinthians 11:13-15: For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.

      Also, you say “As Calvinists, they love to glorify God and do what pleases Him.”

      I wouldn’t be too proud of that if I was a Calvinist because a Calvinist, according their own theology, has no control over glorifying or pleasing Calvi-god. They are only doing what Puppet-Master Calvi-god made his Calvinist-puppets do. So they can’t really be said to “love it,” since they are only doing it and only loving it because they were “forced” to.

      Besides, wouldn’t the actions of evil people who reject Calvi-god and fight against him also be equally glorifying to him and pleasing to him, since Calvi-god himself “ordained” their choices and actions for his glory?

      You yourself said that Calvinists “do not separate the two,” that they see no difference between the evil and the rebuke of evil. Therefore, in Calvi-god’s eyes, there would also no difference between the Calvinist who “loves” to glorify and please him and the wicked person who does not. Because either way, Calvi-god is glorified, because he ordained it all to happen – for his pleasure and glory – just the way he wanted it to.

      Next …

      1. Heather you hit the bulls eye when you posted this verse:
        Isaiah 5:20: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

        Calvinism does this day and night but then they think if they just declare “God is glorified by All this” it covers over the evil declarations they have made against Holy, Loving God. They profane the Holy name of God day and night but think their declaration that it “Glorifies God” absolves them of blasphemy. It does not.

        Isaiah 5:20: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

      2. GraceAdict and Heather,

        Does God get angry? Yes. In the Calvin world, why? How can God get angry if both evil and good are for his own pleasure? You’d think that God is ALWAYS HAPPY, and pleased, and satisfied, never angry, let alone being SLOW TO ANGER.

        Nothing should get a Calvinist god angry. The evil that happens was ordained by God to happen, right? You’d think that the Calvin God would pat that evil person on the back, and say, “GOOD JOB MY FAITHFUL SERVANT, you murdered those people JUST LIKE I WROTE that you would! I’m gonna nominate you for an academy award for your performance! Thank you for not adlibbing!”

        Ed Chapman

      3. So True Ed, Your statement about what God would say to any evil man, even the likes of Hitler “Thank you for not adlibbing!”
        Is very insightful…Not a single thing ever done, by anyone including Hitler could be considered adlibbing. I don’t know why these Calvinists get so worked up against God and His Sovereign design. Like you said it is ALL for His Pleasure, that would make a Calvinist angry at God for Him pursuing His own pleasure.

      4. The counter-arguments that are being presented here seem to be missing the point. As a kind reminder (just assuming you have never been told, or have perhaps forgotten), mainstream Calvinism presents *both* of the following claims:

        1. All events are determined by God.
        2. Human decisions are made with a voluntary freedom that is both genuine and compatible with God’s determinations.

        That is pretty simple and balanced, and represents an attempt to take all of Scripture seriously.

        All of your counter-arguments are ignoring claim #2 and acting as if it is not a core component of Calvinism, and this results in repetitive “straw-man” argumentation, which, while certainly “fun” for you all to banter about (and hilarious for me to observe), FAILS to interact seriously with the *FULL* claims of Calvinism. Debunking claim #1 is obviously something Traditionalists can (and should) be expected to engage in. However, doing this by ignoring claim #2 amounts to a self-defeating waste of your time and energy. Further, the counter-arguments imply an unspoken presupposition that “Libertarian Free Will” (which involves the assumption that claims #1 and #2 are not in any way compatible) is true. Thus, rather than arguing effectively or substantively against Calvinism, this forum merely assumes LFW, reinforcing the fact that you have no real arguments to present against the actual claims of Calvinism.

        As a very important side note: you may notice that I used the capital “G” when referring to God (and not to “Calvin’s god,” as has been oddly stated throughout the comments here). He is the ONE AND ONLY GOD, in whom all true Christians believe, and who made everything that exists, period. Calvinism claims HE, and not another, did something that only HE can do; if your “god” cannot do such things, I will happily return the favor and assign “him” (your god) a small “g,” since “he” does not actually exist. My two cents: it would be better to interact charitably than to go further down that road. Please give it some thought.

        Along this line: Does Dr. Flowers believe, as the moderator here apparently does, that Calvinists worship a different God than Traditionalists? If that is the case, he will essentially be saying Calvinists are not true believers. It would be nice to have this point clarified because I will not want to waste any more time interacting with people who assume I am an unbeliever merely because I affirm the two points outlined above. On the other hand, I will readily admit that your “straw-man” Calvinist “god” truly does not exist (not in mainstream Calvinist theology, not in the Bible, and certainly not in reality).

        Again, though, is Soteriology 101 about open conversations between brothers and sisters (as Leighton led me to believe in our private email conversation long ago), or is it a launch pad for ungrounded assumptions and divisive attacks against fellow believers? I would like to know.

      5. Derek
        1. All events are determined by God.
        2. Human decisions are made with a voluntary freedom that is both genuine and compatible with God’s determinations.

        br.d
        Derek
        Everything in these statements is truthful except the term “genuine”

        Compatibilistic freedom is defined as freedom of the creature to be/do *ONLY* what the THEOS determines.
        The THEOS does NOT PERMIT the creature to be/do otherwise.
        The THEOS does not make available any alternative to the creature

        Thus Calvin’s god:
        1) DID NOT PERMIT Adam to disobey his SECRET will
        2) DID NOT PERMIT Adam to obey his ENUNCIATED will
        3) DID NOT make available any alternative to Adam.

        To call this form of freedom “genuine” is highly subjective and thoroughly presumptuous.

      6. I should have stated everything is truthful except the terms “voluntary” and “genuine”
        Compatibilist freedom cannot be legitimately described as “voluntary”

        Calvin’s god determines what the creature will be/do and the creature has no say in the matter of what is determined.
        To call that “voluntary” is stretching the definition beyond honesty.

      7. Derek,

        You had said:
        “2. Human decisions are made with a voluntary freedom that is both genuine and compatible with God’s determinations.”

        My response to that:

        It all depends on WHO the Calvinist is that you discuss Calvinism with, as there are varying degrees of differences of opinion even in this.

        That so-called freedom of will is for UNIMPORTANT stuff, such as, WHAT BRAND OF SOAP to use to bathe with. Or, COFFEE OR TEA with your meal.

        Next:

        You had said:
        “Along this line: Does Dr. Flowers believe, as the moderator here apparently does, that Calvinists worship a different God than Traditionalists? If that is the case, he will essentially be saying Calvinists are not true believers. It would be nice to have this point clarified because I will not want to waste any more time interacting with people who assume I am an unbeliever merely because I affirm the two points outlined above. On the other hand, I will readily admit that your “straw-man” Calvinist “god” truly does not exist (not in mainstream Calvinist theology, not in the Bible, and certainly not in reality).

        My response:

        In my studies of ALL types of cults, Calvinists are about the ONLY ONES who uses the terms, “straw-man”, and “Ad hominem”.

        Having said that, this is what THOMAS JEFFERSON, a founder father of America had to say about Calvinism, and, I agree with Thomas Jefferson regarding Calvinism, TO WIT:

        Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was very blunt in his opinion of Calvinism. Here are excerpts from four letters he wrote near the end of his life.

        1. Letter to Ezra Styles (June 25, 1819):

        I am not [a Calvinist]. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know. I am not a Jew, and therefore do not adopt their theology, which supposes the God of infinite justice to punish the sins of the fathers upon their children, unto the third and fourth generation; and the benevolent and sublime reformer of that religion has told us only that God is good and perfect, but has not defined him. I am, therefore, of his theology, believing that we have neither words nor ideas adequate to that definition. And if we could all, after this example, leave the subject as undefinable, we should all be of one sect, doers of good, and eschewers of evil. No doctrines of his lead to schism. It is the speculations of crazy theologists which have made a Babel of a religion the most moral and sublime ever preached to man, and calculated to heal, and not to create differences. These religious animosities I impute to those who call themselves his ministers, and who engraft their casuistries on the stock of his simple precepts. I am sometimes more angry with them than is authorized by the blessed charities which he preaches.

        2. Letter to Benjamin Waterhouse (June 26, 1822):

        The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.

        1. That there is one only God, and he all perfect.
        2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.
        3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.

        These are the great points on which he endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews. But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin.

        1. That there are three Gods.
        2. That good works, or the love of our neighbor, are nothing.
        3 That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible the proposition, the more merit in its faith.
        4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use.
        5. That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals to be saved, and certain others to be damned; and that no crimes of the former can damn them; no virtues of the latter save.

        Now, which of these is the true and charitable Christian? He who believes and acts on the simple doctrines of Jesus? Or the impious dogmatists, as Athanasius and Calvin? Verily I say these are the false shepherds foretold as to enter not by the door into the sheepfold, but to climb up some other way. They are mere usurpers of the Christian name, teaching a counter-religion made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from Christianity as is that of Mahomet. Their blasphemies have driven thinking men into infidelity, who have too hastily rejected the supposed author himself, with the horrors so falsely imputed to him. Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christian. I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its creed and conscience to neither kings nor priests, the genuine doctrine of one only God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die an Unitarian.

        3. Letter to William Short (April 13, 1820):

        The Presbyterian clergy are loudest; the most intolerant of all sects, the most tyrannical and ambitious; ready at the word of the lawgiver, if such a word could be now obtained, to put the torch to the pile, and to rekindle in this virgin hemisphere, the flames in which their oracle Calvin consumed the poor Servetus, because he could not find in his Euclid the proposition which has demonstrated that three are one and one is three, nor subscribe to that of Calvin, that magistrates have a right to exterminate all heretics to Calvinistic Creed. They pant to re-establish, by law that holy inquisition, which they can now only infuse into public opinion.

        4. Letter to John Adams (April 11, 1823):

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

        Letter to John Adams

        Jefferson’s letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823.

        Dear Sir, — The wishes expressed, in your last favor, that I may continue in life and health until I become a Calvinist, at least in his exclamation of `mon Dieu! jusque à quand’! would make me immortal. I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Dæmonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did. The being described in his 5. points is not the God whom you and I acknolege and adore, the Creator and benevolent governor of the world; but a dæmon of malignant spirit. It would be more pardonable to believe in no god at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious attributes of Calvin. Indeed I think that every Christian sect gives a great handle to Atheism by their general dogma that, without a revelation, there would not be sufficient proof of the being of a god. Now one sixth of mankind only are supposed to be Christians: the other five sixths then, who do not believe in the Jewish and Christian revelation, are without a knolege of the existance of a god! This gives compleatly a gain de cause to the disciples of Ocellus, Timaeus, Spinosa, Diderot and D’Holbach. The argument which they rest on as triumphant and unanswerable is that, in every hypothesis of Cosmogony you must admit an eternal pre-existance of something; and according to the rule of sound philosophy, you are never to employ two principles to solve a difficulty when one will suffice. They say then that it is more simple to believe at once in the eternal pre-existance of the world, as it is now going on, and may for ever go on by the principle of reproduction which we see and witness, than to believe in the eternal pre-existence of an ulterior cause, or Creator of the world, a being whom we see not, and know not, of whose form substance and mode or place of existence, or of action no sense informs us, no power of the mind enables us to delineate or comprehend. On the contrary I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in it’s parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to percieve and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of it’s composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces, the structure of our earth itself, with it’s distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere, animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles, insects mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organised as man or mammoth, the mineral substances, their generation and uses, it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regenerator into new and other forms. We see, too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power to maintain the Universe in it’s course and order. Stars, well known, have disappeared, new ones have come into view, comets, in their incalculable courses, may run foul of suns and planets and require renovation under other laws; certain races of animals are become extinct; and, were there no restoring power, all existences might extinguish successively, one by one, until all should be reduced to a shapeless chaos. So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed thro’ all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to Unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a creator, rather than in that of a self-existent Universe. Surely this unanimous sentiment renders this more probable than that of the few in the other hypothesis. Some early Christians indeed have believed in the coeternal pre-existence of both the Creator and the world, without changing their relation of cause and effect. That this was the opinion of St. Thomas, we are informed by Cardinal Toleto, in these words `Deus ab æterno fuit jam omnipotens, sicut cum produxit mundum. Ab aeterno potuit producere mundum. — Si sol ab aeterno esset, lumen ab aeterno esset; et si pes, similiter vestigium. At lumen et vestigium effectus sunt efficientis solis et pedis; potuit ergo cum causa aeterna effectus coaeterna esse. Cujus sententiae est S. Thomas Theologorum primus’ Cardinal Toleta.

        Of the nature of this being we know nothing. Jesus tells us that `God is a spirit.’ 4. John 24. but without defining what a spirit is pneyma o Theos. Down to the 3d. century we know that it was still deemed material; but of a lighter subtler matter than our gross bodies. So says Origen. `Deus igitur, cui anima similis est, juxta Originem, reapte corporalis est; sed graviorum tantum ratione corporum incorporeus.’ These are the words of Huet in his commentary on Origen. Origen himself says `appelatio asomaton apud nostros scriptores est inusitata et incognita.’ So also Tertullian `quis autem negabit Deum esse corpus, etsi deus spiritus? Spiritus etiam corporis sui generis, in sua effigie.’ Tertullian. These two fathers were of the 3d. century. Calvin’s character of this supreme being seems chiefly copied from that of the Jews. But the reformation of these blasphemous attributes, and substitution of those more worthy, pure and sublime, seems to have been the chief object of Jesus in his discources to the Jews: and his doctrine of the Cosmogony of the world is very clearly laid down in the 3 first verses of the 1st. chapter of John, in these words:

        en arche en o logos, kai o logos en pros ton Theon kai Theos en o logos. `otos en en arche pros ton Theon. Panta de ayto egeneto, kai choris ayto egeneto ode en, o gegonen

        Which truly translated means `in the beginning God existed, and reason (or mind) was with God, and that mind was God. This was in the beginning with God. All things were created by it, and without it was made not one thing which was made’. Yet this text, so plainly declaring the doctrine of Jesus that the world was created by the supreme, intelligent being, has been perverted by modern Christians to build up a second person of their tritheism by a mistranslation of the word logos. One of it’s legitimate meanings indeed is `a word.’ But, in that sense, it makes an unmeaning jargon: while the other meaning `reason’, equally legitimate, explains rationally the eternal preexistence of God, and his creation of the world. Knowing how incomprehensible it was that `a word,’ the mere action or articulation of the voice and organs of speech could create a world, they undertake to make of this articulation a second preexisting being, and ascribe to him, and not to God, the creation of the universe. The Atheist here plumes himself on the uselessness of such a God, and the simpler hypothesis of a self-existent universe. The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors.

        So much for your quotation of Calvin’s `mon dieu! jusqu’a quand’ in which, when addressed to the God of Jesus, and our God, I join you cordially, and await his time and will with more readiness than reluctance. May we meet there again, in Congress, with our antient Colleagues, and recieve with them the seal of approbation `Well done, good and faithful servants.’

        ————————-

        My conclusions is indeed that Calvins god (little g) is NOT THE GOD OF THE BIBLE, but a demon. But, that’s just my opinion. I’ve been KICKED OFF many a blog regarding this issue, because of THAT opinion. It’s always boggled my mind how people can conceive of an idea that Baptists and Calvinist are SUPPOSED TO co-exist in the same church BUILDING, let alone denomination.

        It’s CHAOS. Just because you both believe that you must get dunked in water for baptism purposes? And yet, Cornelius was saved BEFORE any mention of water?

        Yes, Calvin is NOT A NICE PERSON.

        Ed Chapman

      8. Derek,

        On your blog, it is interesting to see this:

        About THEOparadox
        I know enough about myself to be completely amazed that God loves me.

        Let’s break that down to this:

        “I KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT GOD TO BE COMPLETELY AMUSED THAT GOD HATES EVERYONE ELSE.

      9. Derek says: “2. Human decisions are made with a voluntary freedom that is both genuine and compatible with God’s determinations. … All of your counter-arguments are ignoring claim #2 and acting as if it is not a core component of Calvinism …”

        Heather: Ahh, yes, we know well this disingenuous claim by Calvinists. I won’t ignore it; I’ll address it. We know that Calvinists call it “voluntary freedom” when, in reality (in Calvinism), a person can only “freely” make the choices that go with the nature that CALVI-gOD gave them.

        (I will NOT call Calvi-god “God,” because that would be a terrible character assault on the true God of the Bible! The two should NEVER be mixed, thus the reason I call him “Calvi-god,” to make sure that is abundantly clear. You can disagree with me if you want, but you cannot force me to call him otherwise. Besides, Calvi-god himself “ordained” that I do this for his glory, so take up your grievance with him! In fact, praise him for it, because it brings him glory!)

        In Calvinism, you are “free” to make the choices that Calvi-god predetermined you would make!

        In Calvinism, Calvi-god predetermines who gets the “sinner/unrepentant nature” (the non-elect) and who gets the “saved/repentant nature” (the elect). And these natures come with built-in desires. Those who get the sinner-nature will/can only always want to sin and only always choose to sin, because the desire to sin is the only thing that comes with the sinner-nature, NEVER the desire to do good or to obey or to seek God. (And you know it’s true!) And so if you are one of the unlucky ones who got assigned the sinner-nature, you can only always want to and choose to sin.

        But Calvinists say that you “freely make your own decisions, according to your nature.” That you “chose what you want, according to your nature.”

        According to your Calvi-god-given nature, a nature that you didn’t choose and can’t change.

        Some freedom! Some choice! Being locked into only one kind of desire, and only being able to “choose” that which your Calvi-god-given nature predestined you to choose.

        Also you say: “Again, though, is Soteriology 101 about open conversations between brothers and sisters (as Leighton led me to believe in our private email conversation long ago), or is it a launch pad for ungrounded assumptions and divisive attacks against fellow believers? I would like to know.”

        Leighton is not forcing me to respond they way I do, so don’t hold him responsible for it. (If anyone, blame Calvi-god for it, who – as you should know – gets glory by forcing me to respond the way I do.) This is still an open conversation, is it not? You are able to respond to us, and we can respond to you. But this issue gets messy because it’s about deep, irreconcilable disagreements about truth, about what is biblical and who God is, etc. And unfortunately, there is little common ground between Calvinism and anti-Calvinism. So don’t be surprised or shocked by the division. The division is a natural consequence of the deeply different beliefs we hold.

        Also, I would like to point out that it sounds to me like you are okay with launching thinly-veiled, condescending attacks at other people [… while certainly “fun” for you all to banter about (and hilarious for me to observe) … reinforcing the fact that you have no real arguments to present against the actual claims of Calvinism … I will happily return the favor and assign “him” (your god) a small “g,” since “he” does not actually exist…. ), but that you yourself get offended when someone does so back to you. People can tell when someone is feigning politeness. And I have to wonder if you are not really here to genuinely “converse” anyway, but instead are here to “teach.”

        However, I will say this, while I believe that Calvi-god is not the God of the Bible, I do believe that there are many good, God-fearing Christians who are truly saved but who have merely gotten suckered into Calvinism. The sad thing is that they don’t really know enough about what Calvinism really teaches to know that they don’t really agree with it or think it’s biblical.

        And you’ll have to forgive any overly-angry tone I have against Calvinism right now. (It’s not directed to you, but to Calvinism itself.) For starters, I am sick of Calvinism’s nonsense and how it deceptively hides its lies behind layers of biblical-truth. A big hook in a nice, fat worm! Poison in a juicy, shiny apple! And I will not “play nice” when it comes to an unbiblical theology that sneaks into churches through deception and manipulation. (We recently left our church because of it.)

        But also, I am dealing right now with a huge mess that, if Calvinism were true, has been deliberately preplanned and caused by Calvi-god. Someone I knew is dead (a violent death), a relative has been arrested, my testimony against them is a big part of why that relative got arrested, people have sent death threats to anyone who is connected to the person who caused the death, there will be ongoing legal things to deal with, and my extended family is shattered because of it. (Add to this the fact that, as I said, we left our church recently. The church we attended for almost 20 years.)

        And Calvinists would dare to say that all of this was preplanned and caused by God. That He had nothing else in store for the person who died than a tragic, too-young death. That He controlled the person who caused the death, and so nothing different could have happened. That all of this trauma caused to my extended family was His “Plan A” for our lives, for His glory, for our good, and to keep us humble (as my Calvinist pastor once said about all the bad things that happen in our lives, even childhood abuse).

        So forgive me if I get worked up about this. Calvinism is not just a theological talking-point to me, some fanciful idea way out there to simply debate or wonder about. It hits close to home, to be involved in a horrible situation that Calvinists would say was preplanned and caused by God. To have also lost my home church over it.

        And I will NOT politely tolerate the God-dishonoring nonsense that God Himself caused all this to happen. (He allowed it and knew it would happen, but didn’t cause it). That He causes evil for His glory. That He does not love all people enough to die for them and offer salvation to them. That He never had anything in mind for the people I know but a tragic death, prison, turmoil, years of pain, brokenness, dysfunction, etc. And that He predestines most people for hell because He wanted it, because it brings Him glory.

        What a horrible assault on the good, holy character of God! My God doesn’t cause evil, cause sin, or send people to hell for His glory! My God seeks to save the lost, He offers salvation to all, and He is glorified when people obey Him and choose to love Him and follow Him to heaven.

        You may have the last word here. I am done for awhile. With all the stress that’s going on, I have very little room for more excitement.

      10. Heather, I am sorry for the terrible situation you face. Praying for God’s strength and wisdom.

  5. Wonderful article!!!

    Calvinism is simply a DOUBLE-MINDED belief system – which the Calvinist attempts to hide behind a labyrinth of subtle language tricks.

    At one minute – he asserts expressly; [X] = TRUE.
    The next minute he crafts statements that are only LOGICALLY coherent where [X] = FALSE.

    His mind is forced to live in a continuous state of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS.
    It eventually becomes the only world his mind can embrace or accept.

    The most sacred and divine proposition:
    – Calvin’s god UNIVERSALLY determines (everything without exception) and in every part leaving nothing left un-determined
    But go about your office *AS-IF* the most sacred and divine proposition is FALSE

    The Calvinist’s problem:
    Self-contradictions are embarrassing and self-defeating
    But such is the world his mind has embraced

    The Calvinist’s answer:
    Manufacture ingenious ways to hide them.
    Become an expert at perfecting a language of misdirection, evasion, and DOUBLE-SPEAK.
    Anything to able to live in DOUBLE-MINDED world.

    How could a *HOLY* Spirit be the author of such an IRRATIONAL theology?

  6. Awesome article…The deeper I went into Calvinist thinking the more horrified I became at the level of distortions and how much they actually profane God’s Holy and Loving name. While they think they are glorifying God.

    On the one hand they say “God is Holy” on the other hand they say “God decreed every evil deed that ever happened including the rape of child.” As James White teaches…how do we know what is God’s decree? Answer: JW – If it happened then we know it was decreed by God.- BUT Then to cover the error and contradiction they appeal to “mystery” and say “God’s ways are higher than our ways and we must not judge God according to our standards or Evil is evil but it is good that there is evil. Evil could not exist unless God decreed it. And then God is Glorified in all of it in some mysterious way we are mere men and cannot understand the infinite mind of God.–

    In Calvinism Everything that has happened or ever will happen – happened by God’s decree and it happened to bring God glory. Conclusion: 1. “there is NOT a single thing anyone can possibly think of doing or actually do that would not be decreed by God or bring God Glory”. 2. Logical Outworking: Live as you will. Eat drink and be merry for everything you will do in the future will of necessity be decreed by God and will of necessity Glorify God. Your life cannot help but Glorify God, even if you wanted to not glorify God you could NOT actually succeed.
    My friends, this is the hideous nature of this evil doctrine. It is worse than any type of heresy I have ever come into contact with. Why is it worse? because it is as evil as it gets and on top of that it claims that ALL evil is decreed by God and brings Glory to God you cannot descend into a deeper pit of distortion than that.
    Beware of how vile it actually is. (Thank goodness that most people who claim to be Calvinists don’t live their doctrine out consistently BUT their doctrine leads directly to those conclusions.) Also I have seen enough that actually live somewhat consistently with this thinking…doing evil to others and claiming it was God’s will because it happened.

    1. GraceAdict
      I have seen enough that actually live somewhat consistently with this thinking…doing evil to others and claiming it was God’s will because it happened.

      br.d
      I suspect it a blessing that they would manifest that way – because it would be easier for Christians to recognize what is behind it.
      What we have for the most part is a Calvinism hiding itself behind a mask.

      1. True enough BR.D…even those who do live it out in harmony with their doctrine do so in spurts, because to do it on a daily basis even their conscious would feel convicted. And it would be too obvious… but when they do practice some evil towards another person they do use the Sovereign line of reason and it makes sense to them. Not to me but inside their bubble it makes sense.

      2. You know GraceAdict – I still find it intriguing how the human mind can be conditioned to accept a belief system so full of DOUBLE-THINK.

        They actually attribute their own DOUBLE-THINK to the authors of scripture.

        I think the radical nature of Calvinism has a lot in common with the radical nature of Solipsism.
        They are both radical enough to require the believer to live *AS-IF* the belief system is FALSE.

        I suppose if Solipsists argued their belief system was derived from scripture the way Calvinist do – we would have a SOT101 page dedicated to the IRRATIONAL nature of that belief system also! :-]

      3. A friend of mine responded to me regarding a SOT 101 video saying:
        “Two Theological Worlds – Theory Versus Reality.”
        Bottom line: If reality disagrees with theory, reality wins. Always.

        GA: (That is why they MUST do the AS IF dance.)

        He went on to say: “The Calvinist ALWAYS reverts back to the world of reality no matter what his theoretical world of TULIP says. Reality trumps theory and as you pointed out the only way for the Calvinist to wiggle out of his tangled web of inconsistencies is to “punt the ball” and retreat to his fallback position of “mystery”! end Quote

        GA: The Calvinist tries to live in two worlds
        a) The TULIP deterministic world
        b.) BUT this real world that is In-deterministic pulls him back and forth.

        When the Calvinist is talking theology he puts his head inside the TULIP bubble. But then when he has to live and work he cannot keep his head in his theology bubble so he pulls his head out into the Real world. He is a house divide against itself. So he must live AS -IF.

        How much better to have a theology that corresponds to what is REAL. Not just corresponding to what is REAL in the Bible but also corresponding to what is REAL in God’s REAL world.

        Good theology is true in both realms…Bad theology cannot be true in both realms.

      4. GraceAdict
        How much better to have a theology that corresponds to what is REAL. Not just corresponding to what is REAL in the Bible but also corresponding to what is REAL in God’s REAL world.

        br.d
        SO TRUE!!!

        And affirmed by William Lane Craig
        -quote
        God could have created a world containing sentient, self-conscious beings who have the ILLUSION of IN-Deterministic freedom.

        He could have also created vats in a laboratory containing brains which have the ILLUSION of bodies acting in some external world.

        But why should we think that he has done so?
        Why should we think the experience we have of IN-Deterministic freedom isn’t real?

        Therefore Calvinism is an unlivable belief system.

  7. This demonstrates why Calvinists cannot live consistently according to their theology. No one but a total monster is able to embrace the horrific evils such as rape or child abuse as being not only acceptable but ordained by God. No one but a monster is able to shrug off murder and genocide, saying ‘If that’s what God wants, who am I to be bothered?’ Why do Calvinists protest abortion, war crimes or unjust laws? They were obviously ordained by God, so should they not be accepted as much as his other ‘blessings’?

    But, of course, no one lives like this, and Calvinists do not recognize their inconsistency.

    1. TS00
      But, of course, no one lives like this, and Calvinists do not recognize their inconsistency.

      br.d
      Well said TS00!

      I think the Calvinist mind is just conditioned to embrace DOUBLE-THINK in order to maintain some semblance of credibility.
      The mind is forced to switch back and forth between Determinism and IN-Determinism.
      No wonder we see Calvinists trying to mix characteristics from two opposing worlds

      1. I have found it helpful when a Calvinist is talking about man doing (X,Y and Z) and it sounds like free will. I then ask them “And what part does God play in that decision to do (X,Y and Z) you find the Determinist coming out.
        It truly is a world of double minded think and talk.
        Switching between Determinism and the Real World and also trying to not profane God’s Holy name.
        Funny thing is they do get very comfortable with drastic contradictions.

        When they focus on “The play actors on the stage” they sound one way but ask them what is behind the curtain ie God now we get Determinism.

      2. Yes I totally agree with you – but I also notice how hard RH works to hide so much of it behind deceptive language tricks
        I get the sense of a person totally obsessed with trying to paint a pretty mask on something he knows is ugly.
        It may also be true that he simply gets a sense of self-efficacy from doing it.

        There are times when he hasn’t thought something threw very well and one of his contradictions becomes blatantly obvious.
        But instead of using that as a red-flag moment to ask himself why he’s doing that – he simply goes back to the drawing board to think-up a different language trick designed to hide the contradiction.

        We can see that he’s extremely dedicated to that process.
        So it must be fully justified in his mind.

      3. BR.D. “There are times when he hasn’t thought something threw very well and one of his contradictions becomes blatantly obvious.
        But instead of using that as a red-flag moment to ask himself why he’s doing that – he simply goes back to the drawing board to think-up a different language trick designed to hide the contradiction.”

        GA: Unfortunately that is likely the case his thinking is “how can I better hide this with a new language trick” — they are constantly putting lipstick on a pig. The pig is TULIPS … S= Sovereignty as in, Determinism.

      4. So very true – so very true!
        And they tell themselves that misleading language tricks are necessary for the enunciation of god’s word?
        They must also see the authors of scripture using misleading language tricks to enunciate god’s word?

      5. Research has demonstrated the great lengths the human mind will go to to remain sound under extremely traumatic and abusive situations. Calvinism is the ultimate spiritually abusive state, presenting the child with a tyrannical, narcissistic abusive Father who, nonetheless, one seeks to love and obey.

        In abusive settings, the victim will invent endless excuses and mental blocks – even to the point of creating multiple personalities – in an attempt to wall off the repulsiveness of unavoidable abuses. I believe Calvinists subconsciously perform similar actions, walling off the logical inconsistencies from one another because they have become convinced that there is no other option. They have been persuaded by manipulative words that these things are biblical and true, so their only alternative to rejecting ‘Truth’ is to somehow continuously make excuses for that which is unpalatable.

        It is tragic that this has to occur, but it is also a wonder of God’s amazing provision that the mind has resources to enable it to survive extreme trauma.

  8. Derek wrote: “Yes, just as He inspired David to unchangeably predict the words and actions of the Messiah’s betrayer, AND to declare curses against that same betrayer. Was it illogical for Jesus to rebuke Judas for his betrayal, since that betrayal had been ordained by God’s immutable Word? In the sense that it was prophesied beforehand, the betrayal was clearly God’s will. Yet it was also a sin that was rightly and justly condemned. Your argument is more against the basic facts of Scripture than it is against Calvinism.”

    Just a couple of things. Derek seems to be equating the prophecy of an event with the determination of that event, as if the one prophesying is approving of and desiring and even causing that event to come to pass. If Calvinism is true then God isn’t merely inspiring David to predict what Judas will do, God is causally determining what Judas will do. This removes the power of the prediction. There isn’t anything miraculous about predicting what you are going to determine someone to do. What makes this so divine is that God knows what another free creature will freely choose to do. He doesn’t need to determine it. Using examples of omniscience to prove omnideterminism won’t fly…

    1. Well said!!!

      Dr. Ravi Zacharias agrees:

      -quote
      Here me carefully!
      If you are totally determined, then you are pre-wired, to think the way you do.
      Your nature is that you are hard-wired to come out to a single conclusion.
      What is input into the computer is what ultimately comes out.
      This is the bondage of total subjectivity.

      At Cambridge in 1999 I listened to a talk by Steven Hawking – an internationally recognized determinist.
      His whole talk was on determinism and freedom – and do you know what he concluded?

      He said “the only *ESCAPE* I have, is since I don’t know what has been determined, I MAY AS WELL NOT BE”.
      The whole auditorium groaned with the *ESCAPE HATCH* that he gave to himself.

      But the question is – are you free to ask about this question?
      -end quote

      And:
      Are you free to have perceptions that are NOT FALSE perceptions which an external mind has determined you to perceive as TRUE?
      Are you free to choose between a RATIONAL interpretation of scripture vs an IRRATIONAL interpretation of scripture?
      Are you free to choose (and thus discern) a TRUE proposition from a FALSE proposition?

      In Universal Divine Causal Determinism – the answer to all of these questions is “NO”.

    2. Dr. Flowers – have you ever presented on scripture’s narrative of King Solomon’s Holy Spirit inspired wisdom – concerning the two mothers who both claimed ownership of the same baby?

      One mother manifested the model of Calvinistic sovereignty – go ahead and cut the baby in half – at least I will get what is coming to me.
      The other mother manifested a model of self-sacrificing love – I will sacrifice my right to the baby – in order that the baby might live.

    3. I find it troubling when people conflate God’s foreknowledge and glorious use of the greatest evil ever practiced – the murder of the innocent Son of God – to God himself determining Jesus to be murdered. Unless God is a murderer, which I assert he is not, he could not determine that Jesus be crucified. He could foreknow, and allow, and use it all for a greater good, which I affirm he did. But he could not have caused the death of Jesus.

      I perceive PSA as being the root of this misunderstanding. When we view the role of Jesus as something more than being the sacrifice required to assuage God’s unrelenting wrath, we are able to better comprehend how he willingly allowed himself to be abused and murdered in order to demonstrate to us how evil evil truly is, and what it always leads to. I think most agree that atonement was made, but differ on what that means.

      When the high priest atoned for Israel’s sin, he was not laying the sin of men on an animal, but using the blood of the innocent one slain to cleanse the guilty. I suspect there is much to be had from a better understanding of the atonement than PSA.

    4. Thanks Leighton for all the hard work you are doing. You have no idea how much encouragement you give to soooo many people. People who are afraid to come out and say what the Bible really teaches because they feel so out numbered by this wave of distortion that has hit the seminaries and the churches.

      The non-Calvinist are truly being bullied in this day and age, being called names, saying they are not deep spiritually because they disagree with a teaching that makes God the author of evil…including rapes and Hitler. Being told that in immaturity a person might believe in free will but as one matures they will embrace Calvinism.

      Keep up the good work and those short videos are really good. They are bite size so that people who don’t have as much time can begin to hear a clear teaching and then get hooked on what Real Grace looks like.

  9. THE CALVINIST’S DAILY PRAYER

    Our heavenly father who predetermined what all things would be and what all things would do before creating those things.

    I rebuke everything you created – for being and doing what you predetermined them to be and do – and did not permit otherwise.

    And I rebuke everything that you predetermined to not take advantage of what you did not make available.

    Forgive me for not rebuking what you predetermined me to not rebuke.

    In your name I pray – not being permitted to refrain from praying it.

  10. This article proves that those who believe in election worship a different God from those who don’t. They worship a God who doesn’t get man’s permission prior to salvation.

    Their God isn’t shocked when a storm wipes out a town.

    Their God has power over the devil.

    Their God planned salvation before the earth was made.

    Their God doesn’t hate the sin and love the sinner.

    Their God doesn’t cast people into hell with their sins forgiven.

    The God who elects also doesn’t love everybody.

  11. From the article:

    According to Calvinists, God seems to be “sovereignly working” so as to redeem “His sovereign workings.”

    That is to say – God is sovereignly working to bring about redemption – so as to redeem the very sins that He himself sovereignly worked to to bring about.

    God…determining to redeem his own determinations.

    Appealing to God’s sovereign work – to ensure the redemption of sin – so as to prove that God sovereignly works to bring about all the sin that was redeemed – is an absurd, self-defeating argument.

    1. Hey BR.D…I sent you a picture that was sent to me. It is a Calvinist depiction of Adam and Eve being tempted by the serpent.
      Even though the picture is great it still does not go far enough. I hope you enjoy it.

      1. AH! I see it – yes – its hilarious!!
        And I see what you mean – it has the serpent as a sock-puppet talking to Adam and Eve but what it is missing is that Adam and Eve should also be sock-puppets – so Calvin’s god’s other hand should be reaching around controlling them.

        Very funny!!
        Always enjoy a good joke on Calvinism!
        Thanks GraceAdict! :-]

  12. HOW LANGUAGE REVEALS THE CALVINIST CONDITION

    Dr. Edward Sapire – Anthropologist and Human Linguistics
    -quote
    Human beings are very much at the mercy of the particular language, which has become the medium of expression for the society a given individual embraces. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to REALITY essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection. The fact of the mater is that the REAL WORLD is to a large extent unconsciously built upon the specific language habits of the group in which the individual belongs. Culture may be defined as what a society thinks. While language represents a particular “how” of thought. – end quote

    Anyone who has a cursory knowledge of Calvinism knows it is essentially a belief system focused on (i) the nature and character of God, (ii) the governing forces of the world which God created, and (iii) God’s intentions concerning himself and his creatures – and specifically mankind.

    However, many people are unaware, that due to its radical conceptions, Calvinism is also a religion which dictates how the disciple is to think. Calvin demands conformity – thinking must always affirm and never deny or question any doctrinal precept. The disciple must learn to navigate around logical landmines, because logic enables one to identify weaknesses in the fabric of the system’s conceptions.

    This conflict is minimal for disciples who are by nature easily persuaded, and who essentially believe every word. All the teacher need do in this case, is communicate the system’s precepts, and these disciples will accept them without question or hesitation.

    The conflict however arises for disciples who are prone to logical thinking, and especially those who are above average in critical-thinking skills. In the face of this difficulty, the teacher must develop an increasingly subtle array of talking-points, designed to mask inconsistencies, contradictions, and square-circles. The more consequential the subject matter, the more subtle the talking-points must be in order to face the challenge of plausibility.

    As Dr. William Lane Craig puts it:
    “The Calvinist consistently falls short of expressing the RADICAL DISTINCTIVES of the belief system he defends.”

    As Dr. Jerry Walls puts it:
    “If Calvinists didn’t rely so heavily on misleading rhetoric, their theology would lose all credibility within two years.”

    As Micah Coate in his book The Cultish side of Calvinism puts it:
    “Calvinists arguments are buried in theological and grammatical doublespeak.”

    As Francis Hodgson puts it:
    “The apology for this gross misapplication of language, on the part of men whose learning is sometimes magnified almost into infallibility, is found in their distressing emergency. In no other way can they, with any plausibility, meet their detractors.”

  13. Cult Education Institute apparently has a subgroup:

    Ex members of John MacArthur churches

    https://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?14,76955,page=25

    One person posting seems to be indicating that during a take-over of his church – where Reformed ministries were doing it superstitiously – when he discovered the plan and left they went after him with retribution so intense he was forced to relocate.

    Of course that is one side of the story – but even so – a group of Ex members of a ministry now see that ministry as a cult?

    You don’t see that everyday!

  14. CALVINISM’S SOCIALIZATION PROCESSES—MILIEU CONTROL—A CLOSED SYSTEM OF LOGIC

    Socialization dynamics observed within Calvinism dramatically differ from mainstream protestant Christianity, in the emphasis it puts on adherence to doctrine. The doctrine becomes a cherished identity marker, and a trophy, which separates the Calvinist from all other Christian groups. The doctrine sets them apart as superior. The doctrine is therefore sacred.

    Calvinist pastors can be observed brooding over their congregation’s assimilation of the doctrine. And it is quite common for Calvinist leaders to counsel congregations against exposing themselves to alternative forms of biblical scholarship, no matter how highly that scholarship is recognized internationally.

    The Calvinist authority structure seeks to exert a much higher degree of control over information. Thus, Calvinism sociologically, can be seen as a unique culture, having its own unique values, and its own unique language, applying what social psychologists call, milieu control.

    Processes at work within the Calvinist authoritarian structure controls feedback from group members and refuses to be modified, which results in a closed system of logic. It is consistently observed that Calvinists manifest a pronounced degree of partisanship—an almost obsessive allegiance to the doctrine and to idolized persons, prompting the concern that the respecting of persons within the system is so pervasive, that it may represent a form of seductive entrenchment to which Christian youth are significantly vulnerable.

    Over time, the mental conditioning that results, goes far beyond simple belief in or love for Christ, as Christ is not the central focus of the doctrine. As the individual interacts with others whose minds have become similarly “RE-FORMED”, the mental conditioning reinforces itself, and becomes a unique reality which frames all comprehension of things pertaining to God and church.

    When the non-Calvinist speaks about God or biblical things, the Calvinist may quite literally hear confusion, or heresies, because his mind is so locked into the milieu, and it frames his cognitive perceptions so pervasively; he eventually cannot comprehend any thinking that doesn’t affirm it.

    Oxymoronic conceptions of divine-ungodliness are so subliminally assimilated into his concepts of God, that when he speaks, he speaks English, and one thinks they know what he is saying, without recognizing when they don’t, or understanding how pervasively his frame of reference stems from a “Good-Evil” DUALISTIC worldview which he feels obligated to obfuscate, but which eventually becomes his normalcy through the process of internalized acceptance.

    These socialization processes are the first step in our ability to understand Calvinistic thinking, behavior, and language.

    1. Br.d., Thank you for this. It is so true. This is the kind of thing that first alerted me to what was wrong with our new pastor (a dogmatic Calvinist who was coming into a not-Calvinist church). It was the manipulation I first noticed, the “mind-control” techniques he’d use to try to subtly trap people into his way of thinking. (I guess I noticed it because I have a Master’s is Psychology. So I’ve always been keenly aware of what happens in interpersonal interactions.)

      He would teach his views as “what the Bible says” and tell people that “you don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept it, or else you are disagreeing with God.” He’d say that there are only 3 ways to react to the “truth” of predestination (Calvinist predestination): to ignore it, get angry about it, or accept it. (Notice that disagreement is not an option!) He’d say that “humble people have no problem accepting this stuff; it’s only those who want to be in-control and who want to live independently of God who can’t accept it.” He once snorted with derision when he mentioned people who “believe in free-will.” Etc.

      He put Calvinism (but didn’t call it Calvinism) up in a “higher thinking” and “intellectually superior” category. He never had to say it, but it was the way he subtly elevated his own theology and made people feel smarter/more humble/more godly for agreeing with him. Plus, he blocked opposing views, never even mentioned that there were opposing views, and invited people into small-group studies (Grudem’s Systematic Theology). And it helps that he’s a very educated, confident, bold speaker. A very strong leader-type person.

      Who wouldn’t be easily swayed – enchanted – by being invited by a dynamic, strong, confident leader into the “inner club of the spiritually-elite, theologically-superior, and exceptionally-humble”?

      This kind of stuff is why Calvinism is so attractive to so many people. It’s almost like a brilliant playground bully who knows how to talk people into siding with him by making them feel good about siding with him, making them feel like they are doing the right/wise thing. This is why it spreads so easily. Because people are convinced they are doing the right thing, the humble thing, and because they are honored to be invited into that “spiritually elite club.” They are thrilled to learn the “deeper secrets” of the faith. They feel ultra-humble for “accepting” these uncomfortable, confusing, contradictory teachings without qualms or questions.

      Persuasive dogmatic Calvinists don’t even really have to try too hard to drag people into Calvinism. They just have to present it as a “higher, better, more humble, more God-glorifying” level of Christianity, and the people will come to them, begging for their “wisdom.” It’s scary!

      And once they are locked into that (once they become part of that “upper, elite level”), it’s really hard to get them out of it. When they get to that point, who’s gonna be willing to give that up? Who’s gonna risk offending/challenging the other “spiritually-elite” people, or risk alienating themselves from those who have been patting them on the back for their spiritually-superior Calvinist views? Who’s gonna be willing to admit they might have been wrong that whole time?

      I doubt it’s the actual Calvinist theology that ensnares people, so much as it’s these kinds of manipulative tactics and the “socialization process.” I doubt we’d find many Calvinists who came to Calvinism all on their own, just from reading the Bible.

      1. Heather
        I doubt it’s the actual Calvinist theology that ensnares people, so much as it’s these kinds of manipulative tactics and the “socialization process.” I doubt we’d find many Calvinists who came to Calvinism all on their own, just from reading the Bible.

        br.d
        YES!!!
        I’m excited that you have a Master’s in Psychology Heather!!

        You must be aware of the “Asch Conformity Experiments”
        IMHO they provide a wonderful insight into what is going on here.

        The term “Milieu Control” was coined by Robert Jay Lifton – and used extensively by Margaret Thaler Singer – a clinical psychologist.

        Another wonderful source I consider is Stephen Hassan – in his series “Freedom of Mind”.
        He is not a Christian – but the principles are all about understanding how other people can manipulate our thinking.

        Your post was totally right-on!
        I remember a testimony of a person who came to the Lord out of the new age movement.
        He started in it – being persuaded by a new age guru.
        He described the teaching methods his guru would follow.
        Teach – Teach – Teach – and more Teach.
        Eventually he gets you to embrace his teachings as unquestionable truth

        He can then hand you a bible.
        He knows at that point – your mind will see his teachings within scripture – because your mind has embraced them as unquestionable truth

      2. Heather you and BR.D are hitting it out the park.
        We have been there and know what you are talking about. This is exactly what it is.
        There is no group of people who proclaims their own humility more than a Calvinist. For instance I believe in Total Inability therefore I am humble to accept that.
        The reason they need to proclaim their “superior humility” is because deep down inside, even they know they are embracing such hideous ideas about God. This is the only way their conscious is somewhat appeased is by Telling themselves and others that it takes great humility to believe what they believe about God being the author of even rapes, murders and the holocaust for His glory.
        And the reason others don’t embrace these hideous ideas is because they just aren’t humble like me. Spiritual pride is the hallmark of Calvinism. Spiritual pride is nothing more than “God I thank you that I am not like this publican.”
        We see it everywhere and it is sickening.

        Heather you said: “Who wouldn’t be easily swayed – enchanted – by being invited by a dynamic, strong, confident leader into the “inner club of the spiritually-elite, theologically-superior, and exceptionally-humble”?
        This kind of stuff is why Calvinism is so attractive to so many people.”

        I couldn’t agree more.

      3. I agree that it is more about manipulation and mind control than good biblical support. Which is why it is so difficult to disentangle those who get ensnared. It is like any other cult.

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