Does God Grant Repentance to Some and Not Others?

Does God Grant Repentance to Some and Not Others?

2 Timothy 2:24-26

 by Dr. Leighton Flowers

Well respected Calvinistic pastors and theologians often reference 2 Timothy 2:25 as proof of their claim that God effectually gives some people (those unconditionally elected before creation) a new nature which inevitably leads to their repentance. God, according to Calvinism, passes by all other people leaving them in a hopeless natural condition inherited from Adam due to the Fall, whereby they can only hate and despise the appeals of the gospel.[1]

Is this the Apostle’s meaning, however? Let us look at this passage together in its appropriate context:

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Tim. 2:24-26)

Why Be Gentle when Bringing Correction?

 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition…

Paul is giving a young pastor advice on how to lead someone who opposes him to faith. He begins by stressing the importance of gentleness and patience toward those who oppose our beliefs. If Calvinism is true, then a pastor’s gentleness or rudeness will not in any way affect the ultimate response of the audience.  If indeed a work of effectual grace is being employed by God for His elect, then regardless of the temperament and impatience of the pastor the elect will repent and believe. Thus, the Calvinistic interpretation undermines the main point of the Apostle’s instruction to young pastors.

Is Repentance Granted?

 if perhaps God may grant them repentance…

Yes, repentance is granted, but “granted” does not mean “to effectually cause.” Therefore, this passage does not mean repentance is effectual or irresistibly granted to a relatively small number of people mysteriously chosen for unknown reasons before the world began.

We do not have a problem saying that “repentance is a granted” in so far as all good things are ultimately from God. Paul asked his readers, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), which strongly implies that all our abilities, including the ability to make a choice to repent, or to trust in God, is given to us by a gracious Creator.

 Saying that God grants men the choice to repent is fundamentally different from saying God decides whether or not men will repent.

My next breath is granted to me by God, but I am responsible for how I use that gift, right? Likewise, we are “granted” faith or repentance when God brings the means by which we may believe and repent, but we are still responsible for how we use the gifts He grants.

So, when the scripture says things like, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18; 20:21) it does not mean “God has effectually caused a preselected few of the Gentiles to repent” but only that God has sent the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he did for the Jews, so that they too may believe and repent unto new life (John 20:31) and be grafted into the olive tree (Romans 11).

Must God’s Granting be Effectual in order for God to be most Glorified?

John Piper, along with most Calvinists, erroneously assume that for God to receive the maximum glory for granting gifts that He must grant them “irresistibly” (in a way that effectually causes the recipients to take and use the gift appropriately). But, since when must a gift be effectually or irresistibly bestowed in order for the giver to get full credit for granting the gift?

If I were to buy laptops for all four of my children and three of them trashed it, or used it inappropriately (while only one of them used it as I intended); am I a less generous or benevolent father? Of course not. My children are responsible for how they used the gift I provided, and that does not impact my benevolence or my character in any way as their loving father who generously provided for their needs.

What would negatively reflect on my character as their father is if you found out I was somehow the “decisive cause” of my children’s inappropriate preferences and choices, which is precisely what Piper teaches in regard to God’s relation to those who rebel against His provisions. In an article titled, “A Beginner’s Guide to ‘Free Will,’” John Piper argues,

…God is the only being who is ultimately self-determining, and is himself ultimately the disposer of all things, including all choices — however many or diverse other intervening causes are. On this definition, no human being has free will, at any time. Neither before or after the fall, or in heaven, are creatures ultimately self-determining. There are great measures of self-determination, as the Bible often shows, but never is man the ultimate or decisive cause of his preferences and choices. When man’s agency and God’s agency are compared, both are real, but God’s is decisive. Yet — and here’s the mystery that causes so many to stumble — God is always decisive in such a way that man’s agency is real, and his responsibility remains.[2]

I propose that Piper’s view actually downplays God’s glory by presuming effectuality. On the Traditionalist/Provisionist’s view, where God provides the means of salvation for all people, God gets full glory for the gifts granted to every person, not just those who use that gift appropriately.

What diminishes God’s glory is suggesting that He is withholding what is necessary for people to repent and believe in Him all the while judging and punishing them for their lack of repentance and faith. If God is indeed withholding the necessary gift of repentance then what better excuse do those who do not repent have then, “God didn’t give me the ability to repent?”

In Mark 6:6 it says that Jesus “marveled because of their unbelief,” and in Luke 19:41 we read about Jesus literally weeping due to the lack of repentance and unbelief of the Israelites, and in Mark 16:14 Jesus rebukes his followers for their unbelief — as if they actually had some control over it.

Is Jesus being disingenuous in these passages while secretly withholding this so-called “effectual gift” of faith and repentance? Piper’s claim that faith and repentance is some kind of an effectual gift from God granted to a preselected few, while being arbitrarily withheld from the masses, makes much of the scripture completely and utterly irrational. For this reason, it should be respectfully rejected and vigorously rebutted.

What Specifically is God Doing to “Grant” Repentance?

 leading to the knowledge of the truth… 

God sends the gospel, His life-giving truth, so that people will know the way of salvation (Rom. 10:14). If we know the truth, and do not suppress it, then it will set us free (Jn. 8:31-32). So, God is granting repentance by sending the gospel of repentance, which cannot be effectively heard if the pastor who is speaking the truth is rude, impatient and belligerent toward those who oppose him.

In other words, Paul is teaching Timothy that the gospel must be heard by his audience if they are going to repent and believe, but they cannot really hear the truth so as to repent if the messenger is a jerk about it. So, by being patient and kind the audience may actually hear the truth so as to be granted the opportunity to respond and come to repentance.

What does Paul mean by, “come to their senses…”?

 and they may come to their senses…

Notice that Paul does not say, “and they will certainly come to their senses” but only “they may come to their senses.” Why? Because they have a reasonable pastor who is patiently working with them to help them know the truth which may lead them to salvation (see Acts 28:23-28 and 2 Tim. 3:15).

Jesus also told us a parable in Luke 15:11-32 about someone “coming to their senses.”

“But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!  ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”‘and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

Notice that the Prodigal Son was said to be “dead” due to his rebellion and separation from the father, not due to an inherited lack of moral ability. He was able to come to his senses and return home in humiliation, but only the father was able to restore him as a true son. The idiomatic use of “deadness” in the first century is never explained to mean “total moral inability” as the Calvinistic system’s “T” of “TULIP” teaches.

What is Paul’s Point in Referencing the Devil if Calvinism is True?

and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Calvinism’s doctrine of Total Inability suggests that all people are born as “spiritual corpses,” morally unable to see, hear, understand and repent even in response to God’s own inspired truth. But this seems contradictory to what some leading Calvinists teach regarding the impact Satan has in our world.

For example, in an article titled, “Satan’s Ten Strategies Against You,” Calvinistic Pastor, John Piper, mentions this about the great deceiver, Satan:

“1) He blinds the minds of unbelievers.

 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). So he not only speaks what is false. He hides what is true. He keeps us from seeing the treasure of the gospel. He lets us see facts, even proofs, but not preciousness.

 2) Satan plucks the word of God out of people’s hearts and chokes faith.

 Jesus told the parable of the four soils in Mark 4:1–9. In it, the seed of the word of God is sown, and some falls on the path and birds quickly take it away. He explains in verse 15, “Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which was sown in them.” Satan snatches the word because he hates faith which the word produces (Romans 10:17).

 Paul expresses his concern for the faith of the Thessalonians like this: “I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:5). Paul knew that Satan’s design is to choke off the faith of people who have heard the word of God.”

Does this effort of Satan strike anyone as being completely unnecessary if the claims of Calvinism are true regarding man’s Total Inability from birth?

If we are born completely unable to see, hear, understand or respond willingly to the word of God, as the doctrine of Total Inability suggests, wouldn’t Satan’s work to blind people and snatch away the word be completely unnecessary and redundant?

Conclusion

If you believe Paul’s intention in his instruction to Timothy was, “Be kind and patient when you are talking to those who oppose you because they might happen to be one of the elect ones God chose before creation to effectually save regardless of your methods,” then Calvinism may be the best option for you.

If, however, you believe Paul’s intention is to instruct young pastors to be kind and patient because speaking truth must be done in love in order for it to be effectively heard by those who oppose us, then may I suggest you leave behind Calvinism and become a Provisionist.


[1] John Piper, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvzUpQTQH_Q

[2] John Piper, https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/a-beginners-guide-to-free-will

67 thoughts on “Does God Grant Repentance to Some and Not Others?

  1. Great article!
    (((Does this effort of Satan strike anyone as being completely unnecessary if the claims of Calvinism are true regarding man’s Total Inability from birth?))) Absolutley unnecessary & indeed completley redundant!!! So it confuses the Word of God which we know He is not a God of confusion even when man muddles His Word nicely done thank you 🌻

  2. Excellent article Leighton. Each of your six points on their own show the errors and irrationality and inconsistency with scripture when one reads this passage and interprets it with Calvinistic glasses on. But all six points together show the complete bankruptcy of the Calvinistic reading of this passage. Thank you.

  3. In Theological Determinism – does the THEOS *really* give people a new nature?

    Or is it the case that he simply changes their neurological programming?

    Calvinists sometimes like to claim that in Calvinism the fall of Adam brought about some kind of consequential change to mankind.

    But notice what does not change.
    1) Calvin’s god determines every numerological impulse that will appear in the human brain.
    This does not change pre-fall to post-fall.

    2) Calvin’s god DESIGNS the vast majority of his creatures for eternal torment in a lake of fire
    This does not change pre-fall to post-fall.

    3) Theological Determinism LOGICALLY EXCLUDES (makes impossible) any form of Libertarian Freedom
    This does not change pre-fall to post-fall.

    If Calvin’s god can be likened to a puppeteer – then the whole Bible story from start to finish – would really be nothing more than a show.

    He moves people about in a play world, pretending that they are real persons whose every motion is not in fact of his own doing

    He pretends they merit praise or blame *AS-IF* he wasn’t the one who meticulously determined every micron of what they will think, say, and do.

    1. Another great article Leighton – Thanks keep these articles coming and the short videos are especially easy to pass around.
      Your points make so much sense:

      “Calvinistic Pastor, John Piper, mentions this about the great deceiver, Satan:

      “1) He blinds the minds of unbelievers.
      2) Satan plucks the word of God out of people’s hearts and chokes faith.

      Does this effort of Satan strike anyone as being completely unnecessary if the claims of Calvinism are true regarding man’s Total Inability from birth?
      If we are born completely unable to see, hear, understand or respond willingly to the word of God, as the doctrine of Total Inability suggests, wouldn’t Satan’s work to blind people and snatch away the word be completely unnecessary and redundant?”

      GA:
      Half of the time the Calvinist sounds much like us and the reason is THE BIBLE actually teaches something different than what the Calvinist truly believes…but to sound biblical he has to say these things.

      When ever it seems like the Calvinist is agreeing with us we MUST always ask one simple question which ends up exposing what they were hiding.
      The question is: “And what part does God play in this?”
      When they answer this question we end up realizing they really do NOT believe what the Bible says and what we Provisionalists hold to. That one small question exposes what is hidden – if they will answer it honestly.

      Love your work Leighton….Keep it up. I have put many people in touch with your website and articles they are loving it.

  4. Thanks for that good post.

    Yes Paul’s admonitions here are similar to when he says that he “reasons with men” and “he persuades men.” Why would he tell us that “he is all things to all men that he might win some” if that had no significance?

    1. FOH
      Why would he tell us that “he is all things to all men that he might win some” if that had no significance?

      br.d
      Excellent question FOH!
      Why should he speak in the first person on that subject – if in fact he believes everything he thinks, says, and does, is pre-determined by factors beyond his control – by an external mind – and he has absolutely no say in the matter?

      The vast majority of the language of scripture always follows a conceptional trajectory that is tangential to determinism.
      One has to embrace logical incoherence in order to see it otherwise.

      Perhaps Calvin assumed that all of the writers of scripture practice going about their daily lives MAKING-BELIEVE nothing is determined in any part.

  5. Satan is Calvi God’s sock puppet. One of Calvinism’s biggest Bible problems is what to do with Satan, since everything he does is scripted by Calvi God.

    1. That certainly is true Carl

      Notice how honest Calvin is on this topic – you’ll *NEVER* hear a Calvinist say this today
      -quote
      “The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly…….can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as…..He COMMANDS.
      They are not only bound by His fetters but are even FORCED to do Him service.” (Institutes I, 17, 11)

      However the bigger problem for Calvinists is the problem of Adam’s sin in the garden
      In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) it LOGICALLY follows:
      1) Calvin’s god DID NOT PERMIT Adam to disobey his SECRET will
      2) Calvin’s god DID NOT PERMIT Adam to obey his ENUNCIATED will
      3) Calvin’s god DID NOT make available Adam any alternative

  6. Job 1 as read thru the Calvinist interpretation of Romans 1:

    Satan and CalviGod in the throneroom:

    CalviGod: “Have you seen Job, that worm? He thinks he fears me and is blameless and upright. All his “good works” are filthy rags…FILLTHHYYY RAAAAGGGSSS! Go down there, Satan, and give Job a dose of sovereignty. That’s right…a good, hard dose of SOVEREIGNTY! Grind him down, Satan! Show him who’s boss around here. I am really ANGRY about Job’s attempts at righteousness! In my eyes he’s nothing but filth!”

    Yet another example of Calvinism’s trouble with the Bible.

    The Calvinist doesn’t know what to make of God saying, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

    Well, Calvinist, is God lying? Or should you revisit how you interpret Romans 1?

  7. God is Blessing you,and i am so grateful for your humility. You also encourage me to pray for calvinists instead of becoming cynical

    1. Steven, all three are possible simultaneously One can pray for the Calvinists to see the truth, cynically and with humility.

      If I were convinced Calvinism was the truth, I would believe in God, but would not be a Christian. (Although, if Calvinism was true, I couldn’t choose anything, being totally controlled by God)

  8. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

    If Calvinism were true and if God causes/controls EVERYTHING that happens for His own glory – even making sure people are unbelievers so that they go to hell – then isn’t God giving credit to Satan for what God essentially and ultimately did (blinding people)? And then wouldn’t that be God sharing His glory with Satan, by crediting to Satan what God Himself caused for His own glory?

    Also, I find it interesting that John Calvin (in his Institutes, Book 1, Chapter 14, Section 15) says that Satan’s goal is to extinguish God’s glory. Yet Calvi-god supposedly causes EVERYTHING that happens for his own glory. So if Calvi-god actively and meticulously controls Satan, as Calvin believes, then Calvi-god is causing Satan to try to extinguish Calvi-god’s glory, for Calvi-god’s glory. Interesting. Self-sabotaging. Schizophrenic.

    1. Heather this is a powerful statement by you:
      “If Calvinism were true and if God causes/controls EVERYTHING that happens for His own glory – even making sure people are unbelievers so that they go to hell – then isn’t God giving credit to Satan for what God essentially and ultimately did (blinding people)? And then wouldn’t that be God sharing His glory with Satan, by crediting to Satan what God Himself caused for His own glory?”

      GA — Great stuff keep posting I enjoy your insights.

  9. THEOLOGICAL DETERMINISM AND RATIONAL CHOICE THEORY

    A RANGE OF OPTIONS:
    Rational choice theory focuses on the behavior of individuals during decision making, and determinants of an individual’s choices within that process.

    Rational choice theory assumes that an individual has preferences among available choice alternatives. The individual is allowed to select that option which he/she prefers among an existing range of options.

    SELF-DETERMINED BEST CHOICE OF ACTION:
    When we add the processes of rationality to this – the rational agent is assumed to take account of available information, probabilities of events, and potential costs and benefits in determining preferences, and to act consistently in making what is called: “A self-determined best choice of action”.

    However, since Theological Determinism precludes PAP (Principles of Alternative Possibilities), it follows alternative possibilities do not exist for an individual to choose from. According to Theological Determinism a THEOS at the foundation of the world determines a person’s choice *FOR* that person.

    This model of choice-making appears similar to one we would find with hypnosis. The hypnotist inputs a projection into the mind of the person under hypnosis as to which choice to make. The hypnotized person in this case simply is “caused” to make a specific choice, which the hypnotist determined him/her make. In this case, the mechanism of choice-making involves a transmission of the determined choice from the mind of the hypnotist to the mind of the hypnotized person.

    Adherents of Theological Determinism will typically assert that the mechanisms by which the THEOS transmits a determined choice from his mind, into the mind of an individual in order to “cause” that individual’s choice, are unknown. However, even though the mechanics of choice transmission is unknown, it is still obvious that a CAUSE-&-EFFECT process is the working model in both cases, and the end-result is the same.

    It is also universally acknowledged that according to Theological Determinism our choices are not UP TO US, as they are “caused” by determinative factors beyond our control. In this case, determinative factor(s) and their source are a THEOS.

    Since Rational choice requires PAP – (Alternative Possibilities), which does not exist within Theological Determinism – it follows the human function of Rational choice within the scheme of Theological Determinism is logically impossible.

    Additionally, since there is no range of options from which to choose from, there is no such thing as a “best” choice.
    And since Rational Choice is stated as a: “self-determined best choice of action” it follows there is no such thing as Rational Choice within Theological Determinism.

  10. “. . . and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will . . .”

    Just another of the countless passages of scripture that negates Calvinism.

    First of all, there is no ‘coming to their senses’ under Calvinism. Man is supposedly cursed by God, and nothing but God’s reversal of that curse will enable man to escape . . . no, not the snare of the devil, but the curse of God, which is Total Depravity. Under Calvinism, men do no need to come to their senses (realize how foolish they have been) but need to be brought to life. They are dead, not deceived.

    Nor is man, under Calvinism, ensnared by the devil, who only works as God’s tool, doing God’s will as he is commanded. Man is thus ensnared by the curse of God, which leaves all men helpless and hopeless, unless God zaps them with an unsought regeneration, making them ‘alive’ not come to their senses.

    And what can it possibly mean to have ‘been held captive by him to do his will’? This suggests that the devil has a will that is other than God’s. This also suggests that men are enslaved to, thereby doing this other will of the devil. And yet Calvinism asserts that God’s will, and his will alone, determines whatsoever comes to pass. Yet this passage speaks of men who are in bondage to another power, whose will is opposed to God’s, and that such men are enslaved, doing things other than the will of God.

    Poor Calvinism. It is negated by nearly every verse of scripture. It’s a good thing most people don’t read their bibles.

  11. 2Tim 2, 25-26

    The context of 2Tim 2:24-26 is not clear that it only refers to believers… To recover oneself (sober up) to escape a devilish snare may be something both a believer, and of course non-believer, might need to do in this context.

    The issue is whether “repentance” resulting in the acknowledgment of the truth causes that sobering up irresistibly… or the escape irresistibly… or just provides the opportunity to do either or both.

    The subjunctive mood of the verb “recover themselves” and the reflexive idea in that verb would argue against irresistibility, imo.

    I think also that repentance in this context might mean enlightenment that changes one’s mind, but which is before salvation which requires also a faith decision of the heart.

  12. Reading today in Micah 5. Of course there are hundreds of passages like this all over the Bible….but just reading through.

    11 I will tear down your walls
    and demolish your defenses.
    12 I will put an end to all witchcraft,
    and there will be no more fortune-tellers.
    13 I will destroy all your idols and sacred pillars,
    so you will never again worship the work of your own hands.
    14 I will abolish your idol shrines with their Asherah poles
    and destroy your pagan cities.
    15 I will pour out my vengeance
    on all the nations that refuse to obey me.”
    ————–
    Does God mean that He will put an end to witchcraft that He made people do (by decree)?

    Repeat question for fortune-tellers. Repeat. Repeat.

    Then, what does God mean that He will “pour out my vengeance
    on all the nations that refuse to obey me.”

    How did they refuse if they were decreed from before time to disobey Him?

    It is all so puzzling for a determinist.

    1. I will tear . . . and demolish . . . I will put an end to . . . I will destroy . . . so you will never again . . . I will abolish . . . and destroy . . . I will pour out my vengeance on all the nations that refuse to obey me.

      These words – and as you said, there are SO many similar verses throughout scripture – are not merely puzzling, they outright negate any possibility of determinism. Unless one posits a schizophrenic deity who first creates, then, in anger, destroys what he created, punishing those who, necessarily, irresistibly, did nothing but what he decreed and ensured by unseen means.

      I seriously doubt that many would affirm a schizophrenic God, so they are left with the only logical alternative, which is that people did and do perform evil that God does not approve, desire and most certainly does not ‘bring to pass’ by his own determinite will and secretive, secondary causes.

      Nice to hear from you, FOH. I’ve missed you, friend.

      1. Thanks TS00,

        I’m only back for a bit.

        Let’s go farther. Let’s juxtapose this version of God that decrees them to do child sacrifice….and then tears them apart for doing it—- with Christ, the servant of servants.

        I have literally had Calvinists say, “Right, now you wanna bring Christ in as if He is the perfect answer to how to see things.”

        I am often puzzled as to the humble nature of Christ in the NT and the “warrior God” in the OT. We can delicately navigate through those emotional waters if we know that “at least God gave them a choice before He destroyed them.”

        Calvinists have no such navigational tools. Their version of God has Him decreeing immutably (for His glory) that they sacrifice children in the flames…. and then He (for His glory) delights in tearing them apart.

        Been there. It’s a horrible place to live. And the Bible does not require us to believe that.

    2. FOH
      How did they refuse if they were decreed from before time to disobey Him?

      br.d
      Wonderful to see you back FOH!!!

      I suppose the typical Calvinist answer will be:
      When the ENUNCIATED will is in opposition to the SECRET will – then the ENUNCIATED will functions as a FALSE and deceptive representation of the SECRET will.

  13. Today in Nahum… chapter 1.

    2 The Lord is a jealous God,
    filled with vengeance and rage.
    He takes revenge on all who oppose him
    and continues to rage against his enemies!
    3 The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great,
    and he never lets the guilty go unpunished.
    ————

    Slow to anger at what? The sin that people commit that He decreed they commit?

    People oppose Him…. but for Piper, God designed that they oppose Him so …..what…. He can then rage against them?

    In no setting would that seem logical, biblical, rational….just …or loving.

    Calvinism-Determinism is an empty, vicious philosophy.

    1. FOH
      Slow to anger at what? The sin that people commit that He decreed they commit?

      People oppose Him…. but for Piper, God designed that they oppose Him so …..what…. He can then rage against them?

      br.d
      Calvin’s god getting angry at what he decrees

      Kind of reminds you of the snake that eats itself doesn’t it! :-]

  14. You men, are very arrogant and full with cinism. Reading your comments, i come to realise that if calvinist’s are arrogant, than you are full with hate. What is the difference? Shame on you. This site is doing just one thing: denigrate the church of Christ, the word of God, the glory of God and God’s blessed men.

    1. Rob, It’s so nice and refreshing to hear your well-thought-out, intelligently-articulated thoughts against the specific things we’ve said that you have problems with. Definitely helps to create mature conversation instead of just adding to the “arrogant, cynical, denigrating” mud-slinging. Blessings to you!

  15. I think Bill Mounce disagrees with Dr, Flowers superficial understanding of the Word here. And Paul is definitely when speaking talking about sinners.

    Mounce
    Paul tells Timothy that he must stay away from senseless controversies, not be quarrelsome but rather kind, patiently enduring evil. Paul is thinking specifically of how Timothy should deal with the false teachers at Ephesus, men that I have argued in my commentary are the Ephesian church leadership.

    To these people — and the Ephesians elders in particular — Paul tells Timothy that he must patiently and kindly endure their evil, because their sovereign Lord may (or may not) choose to break through their patterns and hardheartedness and give them what they can never come to on their own — repentance for their obvious sins.

    My words
    Repentance is due to a “Godly Sorrow” A Godly sorrow that leads unto repentance unto salvation. There is no misunderstanding here as to whether Christians or Sinners are being talked about.

    Acts 11:8 – When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

    Hey let’s quit hiding behind Calvin and his god and I will not accuse you of hiding behind Flowers and his god. Deal?

    Now see what is said about Calvin and his god is said all the time. It is assumed the Calvinist is not to be offended. So I assume that what I mentioned here will not even be mentioned. Also I am not speaking philosophy, I am talking about the Word of God. That is the Sphere I would like to remain in. Thanks and God bless.

    1. Hi Kevin,
      Hope you are well.

      From your post here I’m going to assume you are referring to the Greek word δώῃ (rendered in English as “grant”)
      Mounce provides the rendering provided by the Greek scholars: Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker within the BDAG:
      The meaning as they see it is the English word “allow”

      So it may be the case the Mounce will disagree with them and see the meaning of this word as CAUSE
      But he is scholarly enough to also provide other opinions on the matter
      In this case the opinion of the Greek scholars of the BDAG.

      I think this boils down to the mental process at work within the Calvinist’s mind while interpreting scripture.

      The Calvinist approaches scripture with his mind already convinced that Universal Divine Causal Determinism is canon.
      That notion of canon functions in his mind as infallible truth – and becomes a lens through which he interprets all scripture.

      The same thing happens with people who believe the earth is flat.
      They hold that belief as sacred canon
      And scripture *MUST* affirm what the mind believes is true.
      So when they read verses in scripture their minds clearly sees those verses declaring the earth is flat.

      Remember the two questions Jesus asks the lawyer who tempts him.
      1) What does the scripture say
      2) How do you read it.

      As you can see by Jesus 2nd question – he understands the way the human mind works.
      The human mind interprets all data to affirm what the human mind already believes is true.

      1. Did not know the word was rendered as “allow” by some scholars BRD. Give me some time to research this and then I will respond.

        Thanks for pointing this out.

      2. Your right he does and I am sure I sent that to you in another comment. But it is obvious he says here that this verse is talking about conversion and the Greek Word we are talking about he sees as given as a gift of God, something “granted”

      3. Correct – and that is why I think it boils down to the conceptions that people read into scripture.
        A person who embraces Theological Determinism is going to see Theological Determinism in verses – that another person is not going to see.

        You’re probably familiar with the Rorschach ink blot?
        An ink blot is simply random data – it doesn’t contain any real intelligent information.
        And yet a sexually abused child will look at that ink blot and see an image that affirms what his mind remembers.
        That is a manifestation of how the human mind interprets data.
        It does so by association with things stored in memory.

        So if my mind has become conditioned to embrace Theological Determinism as unquestionable truth.
        Then I’m going to see Theological Determinism in the data of scripture – where another human mind will not see it.

        People who are bible believers hold that scripture only affirms truth – right?
        So there are people who believe the earth is flat – and they hold that is unquestionable truth.
        And when they read scripture – they see verses that affirm it.

        As a matter of fact I happened to bump into a web-site last week of a Calvinist who dedicated his web-page detailing scriptures that declare the earth is flat.

        I don’t believe the earth is flat – and I suspect you will agree.
        So you and I will disagree with his interpretation of those verses.
        But you and I will have a hard time convincing him he is wrong – because his mind is totally made up.

      4. This is what Mounce says and I will give you the source.

        “δώῃ is a subjunctive form of διδωμι, but it does not necessarily give us a clue as to whether nor not Paul believes they will repent. They might, but Paul has no assurance this will in fact happen. And as usual, Paul exhorts Timothy to do what he can and not worry about what he has no control over.

        The only related phrases I could find were in Acts 5:31 and 11:18, but here the topic is conversion. The overall meaning, of course, is clear. God is sovereign over all, even our evil hearts. But what specifically does Paul mean?

        διδωμι has a wide range of meaning, but it is always related to “giving.” Perhaps the closest to our passage in BDAG is “grant, allow.” So repentance is a gift, but how so? (Notice he calls it a gift, not something the sinner has naturally and can kick in when it is needed)

        My conclusion is that there is a road that leads from a gentle heart open to the convicting working of God’s Spirit, to patterns of sin, to the hard heart in which God gives people over to their sin (Rom 1:24,26, 28).

        The best example of this I know is anger. When we first respond with anger, we feel its power, and it should frighten us. But as we continue to let the sun go down on the anger, we become more comfortable with is. And eventually we are so used to responding in anger that we don’t even notice it and feel totally justified in how we treat others.

        Patterns are strong. It is why the alcoholic keeps drinking, the gambler keeps gambling, the abusive husband keeps hitting, and the abused wife keeps going back. We are comfortable in our patterns, even when those patterns are patterns of pain. And so angry men continue to get angrier, falling prey to Satan’s traps, and heart’s are hardened to the point that they no longer feel the convicting promptings of the Spirit.

        To these people — and the Ephesians elders in particular — Paul tells Timothy that he must patiently and kindly endure their evil, because their sovereign Lord may (or may not) choose to break through their patterns and hardheartedness and give them what they can never come to on their own — repentance for their obvious sins.

        My response
        It seems in one sense Mounce is saying the Sinner persist in patterns of sin that he no longer is sensitive to the Spirit’s convictions and promptings. Which I think agrees with Romans 1 where God gives some people over to their sin because they try to push God out of their thoughts so they can practice their unrighteousness by denying that God even exist.

        But notice what Mounce also says. He says that the Apostle Paul tells Timothy to be patient and kindly endure their evil because the Sovereign Lord may (or may not) choose to break through their patterns of sin and hardheartedness and give them what they can never come to on their own—repentance for their obvious sins.

        I think Bill Mounce may well be correct and once again it is “God who grants, gives bestows the gift of repentance if he even does so.

        You know what BRD. There is a number that cannot even be counted in the Book of Revelation that will be seen in Glory with Christ.

        https://www.billmounce.com/monday-with-mounce/grant-repentance-2-tim-2-25

      5. I think this parallels the business of the hardening of Pharaohs heart.
        The question is – did Pharaoh have the ability to make a Libertarian choice between his heart being hardened or not.
        The place in scripture where it indicates Pharaoh hardened his own heart would indicate that.
        The place in scripture where it indicates God hardened Pharaoh’s heart would indicate divine causal determinism.

        This is one of the reasons ancient Reformed thinkers would give room for both.
        And because determinism and IN-determinism are mutually exclusive – they would chalk it up to mystery.

  16. 2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,

    Let this guide you as you engage. There is so much more to God than Non-Calvinism, It has an addictive quality about it that one’s daily readings all he sees is how to debunk Calvinism. The Whole Counsel of God is rejected.

    IF you are truly a servant of the Lord you will not quarrel with me, it means to be like the one who saved you. To be gentle and meek in disposition.

    To deal tenderly with those who are in opposition even if they have been unkind to you. Bless them, pray for them.

    I am happy to agree with Non-Calvinist that self-conscious, free will is necessary for moral responsibility. But disagree with incapatibilists that color illustrations of dogs, puppets and robots who do not have self-conscious, free-will or moral responsibility do little to arbitrate the debate. We all agree the word does not specifically say what type of freedom Scriptures teaches. But the Bible as admitted by both sides does not specifically teach what type of freedom is taught, LFW or Compatibilism.

    Jesus murder Acts 4 everyone always evades it

    God moving David heart to number Israel which was a sin and the parallel passage where it is Satan that moves David’s heart which is a sin I have yet to see anyone explain. I was told by one Non-Calvinist on here it was a ERROR TRANSLATION. Because he seen the predicament it put him in. Then it was said just because God did it once does not mean God always does it. If God even does it once he has done what the Non-Calvinists said he cannot do without being the author of sin.

    This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men (Acts 2:23).

    For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place (Acts 4:27-28).

    “The Son gives life to whom he will” (John 5:21), a statement of his absolute sovereignty in an individual’s salvation. Yet, people are guilty if they refuse to come to Jesus: “you refuse to come to me that you may have life. . . . I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him” (5:40, 43). They could have, and should have, come to Jesus; yet they refused to do so. Only those Jesus willed to come to him came.

    Persons are held responsible for coming to Christ: “whoever believes has eternal life” (John 6:47). “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever” (6:51). However, only those God sovereignly chooses will come to Jesus: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (6:44); “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me” (6:45). John assumes the reality of compatibilism in a person’s salvation.

    And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed (Acts 13:48).

    My Response
    Why do are best translations other than the New World Translation, translate it just like it is above instead of trying to say they “disposed themselves”

    Are those on here Soteriology101 better translators than the best translations of the Bibles we have. I think not. But I would say it is disingenuous to try and do a work around a spin job to make it say just what it says. If your not guilty of this do not be offended. And yes God is the subject of this verse as can easily be proved.

    One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul (Acts 16:14).

    My words
    I do not care if she had converted to Judaism or not she still was a sinner in need of saving Grace. Anyone following Judaism will die in their sins. There is only one name under heaven by which one can be saved and that name is Jesus. Not Judiasm That is why the LORD had to open her heart to heed what Paul was Preaching. Paul perceived she had faith to be saved. God did it not the autonomous LFW.

    When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed (Acts 18:27).

    Luke doesn’t feel the need to explain the tension. He assumes it. God sovereignly acted to save persons. In the same moment, the people acted freely and responsibly. God determined and acted. People acted.

    “They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do” (1 Pet. 2:8). What this cannot be right. God destined some to stumble and disobey his word.

    Let’s look at the didactic Scriptures intended to teach God’s Sovereignty as it is to be at all times throughout the world down through history. As all Scripture is history and verses in the poetic Books that the Non-Calvinist so bad want to be off limits are Doctrinal and didactic as to how God rules over all His creation.

    Psalm 135:6
    Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.

    Psalm 115:3
    Verse Concepts
    But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.

    Isaiah 46:10
    Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;

    Daniel 4:35
    “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’

    Job 42:2
    “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Unless autonomous LFW thwarts God’s purpose

    2 Chronicles 20:6
    and he said, “O LORD, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You. LFW?

    Job 9:12
    “Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’ Autonomous LFW?

    Ephesians 1:11
    also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will

    These are didactic doctrinal teachings of how God rules and has authority over all His creation, including the created human.

    I do not care about the philosophy of man or the silly nonsense of theos. The teaching is found within the Word of God.

    14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    1. Hi Kevin,
      You will hardly find anyone here – (especially me) claiming that Calvinism LOGICALLY
      resolves to humans being robots “ONTOLOGICALLY”.

      That would be silly!

      However, it does LOGICALLY resolve to humans designed with robotic FUNCTIONALITY.
      Since every attribute – including every neurological impulse – is programmed at the foundation of the world.

      That is a LOGICAL entailment of a fully deterministic universe.

      1. Well BRD much respect on the philosophical side with you. I thought I would try a little. I am better at this when when I come at it from a theological point of view. Although I have not stopped studying philosophy. It is just going to take me some time to get a grasp on it. Thank you for giving me that desire and interest.

        However I may need you to clarify this statement: “it does LOGICALLY resolve to humans designed with robotic FUNCTIONALITY”

        Because the way I still see it ONTOLOGICALLY or FUNCTIONALITY man is not robotic, a pet or a puppet. None of these I have mention have self-consciousness, a will, or moral responsibility. So comparing the Calvinistic model to these is just philosophical nonsense that I think the Word of God warns about not being deceived of the philosophy of men and their deceit.

        Now I am still staying in the middle and I will say that maybe I am the one deceived. But I will look more into this comparison here. The Calvinism cannot use Lazarus as an metaphor of being raised spiritually from the dead but the Non-Calvinist can use Robots, bunnies and puppets that in no way resemble man in the way God made him/her. If they do not have a conscious, a will or moral responsibility I think it adds nothing to the debate and needs to be rejected!!

        You can say the Calvinist does not lead to moral responsibility either. Read the Scriptures I gave you above. They show a Compatiblilists understanding in my opinion.

        For example, Christ death, did it not please the Lord that he die on the Cross, actually be murdered. Because we know in Acts 2 and 4 he Christ by predestined and determined by the purpose and hand of God to be murdered by he hands of lawless men. It actually says, ” to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place (Acts 4:27-28).

      2. Kevin
        However I may need you to clarify this statement: “it does LOGICALLY resolve to humans designed with robotic FUNCTIONALITY”

        Because the way I still see it ONTOLOGICALLY or FUNCTIONALITY man is not robotic, a pet or a puppet.

        br.d
        The term “robotic” is street language for “deterministic”.
        We can take either computers and/or robots – and have the same thing.
        The functionality of both is 100% determined.

        For example, it is impossible for a computer to generate a TRUE random number.
        You can understand why
        Everything the computer generates is 100% determined – which rules out anything happening at random.

        The closest thing a computer can do is create a SIMULATED random number.

        Robotic functionality is identical in that it is fully determined in advance by its program.

        So in Calvinism we have a divine designer who determines/programs absolutely everything which will come to pass.
        And that includes every neurological impulse that will flow in your brain.

        Kevin
        None of these I have mention have self-consciousness, a will, or moral responsibility. So comparing the Calvinistic model to these is just philosophical nonsense that I think the Word of God warns about not being deceived of the philosophy of men and their deceit.

        br.d
        Consider what you’ve done here is to fallen into a false dichotomy.
        It is not a requirement for a Calvinist to embrace Theological Determinism which rules out Libertarian Freedom.
        As a mater of fact, prior to Jonathon Edwards there were many Reformed thinkers who did embrace Libertarian Freedom.
        And they did not embrace the philosophy of determinism

        Jonathon Edwards was influenced by the philosophy of Thomas Hobbs – who was a strict determinist.
        Later, through Edward’s philosophical influence – Calvinism took a shift towards a strict embrace of Theological Determinism.

        This makes for a conundrum for Calvinists today because determinism rules out three forms of freedom.
        (A) All Alternate Possibilities are ruled out
        (B) The ability to do otherwise is ruled out
        (C) Anything being UP TO YOU is ruled out.

        The problem for the Calvinist today – is that he sees all of these freedoms (A)+(B)+(C) within scripture.
        Yet he is unwilling to let go of Calvinism’s current belief in a 100% deterministic world.
        So the Calvinist is stuck in a state of DOUBLE-THINK.

        John Calvin understood this conundrum.
        He gave instructions:
        “Go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part”

        Calvin’s instructions are for you to accept DOUBLE-THINK.
        So DOUBLE-THINK is an aspect of Calvinist psychology.

        Kevin
        You can say the Calvinist does not lead to moral responsibility either. Read the Scriptures I gave you above. They show a Compatiblilists understanding in my opinion.

        br.d
        Consider the possibility that you have been taught to *SEE* compatiblism in scriptures
        The non-Calvinist has not been taught to do that – so he is not faced with the problem you are faced with.

        Kevin
        For example, Christ death, did it not please the Lord that he die on the Cross, actually be murdered. Because we know in Acts 2 and 4 he Christ by predestined and determined by the purpose and hand of God to be murdered by he hands of lawless men. It actually says, ” to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place (Acts 4:27-28).

        br.d
        Here is a good example
        The scripture uses the term “lawless men”
        Now in Theological Determinism – men are NOT PERMITTED to disobey the SECRET will.
        And the “law” in this case refers to the ENUNCIATED will.

        So in this case the ENUNCIATED will is the exact contradiction to the SECRET will
        Therefore the ENUNCIATED will functions as a FALSE representation of the SECRET will.

        Creaturely disobedience in this case would simply be a FACADE – since the creature is NOT PERMITTED to do otherwise.
        And the creature is NOT PERMITTED to determine to be lawless
        The THEOS determined that *FOR* the creature.
        So now you have to deal with the problem of a THEOS who judges people for the things he makes them do.

  17. Did God give us a new nature? I at this time cannot really answer this question. But we are definitely different not due to autonomous LFW but due to the working of God.

    Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

    9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

    10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

    We are God’s workmanship, CREATED IN CHRIST for good works. If we have been created for good works.

    1 Corinthians 1:18 – who will also confirm (sustain) you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Once again this is God’s working within the Christian enabling him to do works that are holy and pleasing to God, so that he may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    2 Corinthians 1:21 – Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us

    It is God again sustaining and making the Christian stand firm in Christ I am sure through the indwelling power and presence of the Spirit with him or her.

    We are to work out our Salvation with fear and trembling, bring it to its ultimate conclusion, Christlikeness, not disproving a certain Doctrine and making it the ministry of our life.

    But the very reason we are able to work out our salvation with fear and trembling is because God is working within us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

    Giving us both the desire and the enabling ability to do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

    Philippians 2:12 – Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
    13. for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

    That is why we pray for God to work within us that which is pleasing in His sight. I was told this was determinism because it was God doing it. I was quoting the word of God.

    God works through us to accomplish His Holy will and purpose,

    Hebrews 13:21 – make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

    This is exactly why the Calvinist says to God the Father and Christ be the glory forever and ever amen. So let it be to the Glory of God

    1. Kevin
      Did God give us a new nature?

      br.d
      In Theological Determinism the THEOS decrees and actualizes the creature’s nature – at the foundation of the world before the creature exists. Whether that nature gets changed or not – or how it is changed – is totally the handy-work of the THEOS.

      Kevin
      But we are definitely different not due to autonomous LFW but due to the working of God.

      br.d
      Now hear the parable of the farmer who drove around on his tractor trying to convince people that tractors don’t exist

      How does that apply to Libertarian Freedom:
      The process of discerning whether something is TRUE or FALSE requires making a choice between TRUE and FALSE.
      If that choice is determined *FOR* you by an external mind – then that choice is not UP TO YOU.
      In such case it LOGICALLY follows – you are not permitted to discern whether something is TRUE or FALSE.
      Your every mental perception is determined in every part by an external mind.

      For example:
      A Calvinist whom the THEOS designed as a vessel of wrath is given a FALSE perception of salvation
      He will go through his whole life – having thousands of FALSE perceptions of himself as a saved believer.
      Every one of those FALSE perceptions was decreed specifically to be perceptions in that Calvinist’s mind.
      Every perception decreed at the foundation of the world.

      Now a FALSE perception – by definition – is a perception one does not know is FALSE.
      So in Theological Determinism – which excludes Libertarian Freedom – humans are not permitted to choose TRUTH from FALSE.

      CONCLUSION:
      Without a Libertarian choice – you cannot discern TRUTH from FALSE

      So when yo reject Libertarian choice you become like the farmer on the tractor trying to convince people that tractors don’t exist.

      1. Not to disrespect you in anyway BRD. I think you know what I think about your analytical skills and understanding of philosophy. But right now I am not ready to engage with this. But I will try Sir out of respect for you.

        br.d
        In Theological Determinism the THEOS decrees and actualizes the creature’s nature – at the foundation of the world before the creature exists. Whether that nature gets changed or not – or how it is changed – is totally the handy-work of the THEOS.

        My Response Kevin
        First of all I never said anything about us getting a “new nature” but we do become new creations in Christ, old things pass away and all things become new.

        As in Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

        Well the Christian God does from the foundation of the world determine whether the nature gets changed or not

        Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

        So for the Christian it is not a matter if it gets changed or not. God does change something that is at least save him and make him or her a new creation in Christ.

        BRD
        “or how it is changed”

        My response
        Not necessarily speaking of a new nature but I did give you God’s that he does change those He saves, that are his “Workmanship, created in Christ Jesus” Ephesians 2:10

        I do not think autonomous LIBFREEDOM creates anything. It is created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, these new creations in Christ walk in these good works. I talked more of this above no reason for me to be redundant. I refer you to my earlier comment.

        BRD
        is totally the handy-work of the THEOS.

        My response
        Yes of course the Christian God is said to be so in Ephesians 2:10. We are his Workmanship, his handy-work. He created us in Christ Jesus for the purpose I mentioned above.

        BRD
        How does that apply to Libertarian Freedom:
        The process of discerning whether something is TRUE or FALSE requires making a choice between TRUE and FALSE.
        If that choice is determined *FOR* you by an external mind – then that choice is not UP TO YOU.
        In such case it LOGICALLY follows – you are not permitted to discern whether something is TRUE or FALSE.
        Your every mental perception is determined in every part by an external mind.

        My response
        So basically you think the Christian God is coercing human choices. The God who decrees everything would be forcing us to choose and act as we do. God would be exercising coercion on us, the very force that removes moral responsibility. It is no longer “up to us”

        I maintain that “the divine determinism of God” does not entail any sort of coercion. What does coercion mean BRD? And what sort of condition would be necessary and sufficient to have theos coercion. Coercion could be the act of persuading an unwilling person to do something by the use of threats or force.

        So the question at hand is if theist determinism entails a sort of coercion that excludes moral responsibility for human choices? So is a determinist necessarily coerced. It’s hard to see why it would be. On the Compatibilist account, all human choices are determined by God’s providential decree, but on the pain of begging the question, incompatibilists cannot assume that the only way to operate an efficacious decree is through force or threats.

        On theistic compatibilism, God does not determine the actions of humans against their wills, but through their wills.

        (this includes a form of coercing them through deception, if that can even be said or proven by the non-Calvinist other than him making a theory)

        God providentially influences the human heart to accomplish His purposes in all things. (here I know you will object) But how did all these prophesies come to pass just as God said they would. Mere chance, or by the autonomous LFW. Left to that I do not think so.

        You will probably disagree with all of this which is fine but no one is being forced or coerced against their will to do anything in the compatiblistic sense. You cannot have coercion without threats or force.

        There is also the “brain control” argument that overlaps with the robots, puppets, and coercion arguments. Many of these objections feature identical errors that are to be rejected.

        BRD
        For example:
        A Calvinist whom the THEOS designed as a vessel of wrath is given a FALSE perception of salvation
        He will go through his whole life – having thousands of FALSE perceptions of himself as a saved believer.
        Every one of those FALSE perceptions was decreed specifically to be perceptions in that Calvinist’s mind.
        Every perception decreed at the foundation of the world.

        My response
        This is your understanding I know. But how do you know you are right BRD? How do you know right now that you do not have a false perception of yourself of being a saved believer? There are those who believe this way you know. You have one right here on your site. (I know you think it is me, maybe so) I am talking about the one who says he is sinless, that he is light and in himself there is no darkness at all. I have discussed this with him.

        The Word of God says, 1 John 1:8 – 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

        He says there is no sin within him, so that means the truth, (Christ is the way, the truth and the life) is not in him and he is deceived.

        With your Non-Calvinism have you ever tried to witness the Gospel to him or is it ok as long as he is on the team of Anti-Calvinism?

        No disrespect, just wondering and curious. Wanting to know. I tried as a Calvinist to talk to him.

        I do not think I am at this point being deceived BRD. As you have laid it out above. But I will keep on listening to you.

      2. br.d
        In Theological Determinism the THEOS decrees and actualizes the creature’s nature – at the foundation of the world before the creature exists. Whether that nature gets changed or not – or how it is changed – is totally the handy-work of the THEOS.

        Kevin
        First of all I never said anything about us getting a “new nature” but we do become new creations in Christ, old things pass away and all things become new. scripture quoted….

        So for the Christian it is not a matter IF it gets changed or not.
        God does change something that is at least save him and make him or her a new creation in Christ.

        br.d
        The difference for me has to do with the fact that in Calvinism – we have a fully deterministic world.
        So whatever the nature of the creature is – whether it is totally depraved or saved – is not UP TO the creature.

        Kevin
        I do not think autonomous LIBFREEDOM creates anything.

        br.d
        I would agree with this – I don’t think it does either.

        On not having Libertarian Freedom:
        The process of discerning whether something is TRUE or FALSE requires making a choice between TRUE and FALSE.
        If that choice is determined *FOR* you by an external mind – then that choice is not UP TO YOU.
        In such case it LOGICALLY follows – you are not permitted to discern whether something is TRUE or FALSE.
        Your every mental perception is determined in every part by an external mind.

        Kevin
        So basically you think the Christian God is coercing human choices.

        br.d
        No
        A hypnotist for example functions as an external mind who determines everything *FOR* the person under hypnosis.
        But the hypnotist does not force or coerce the person under hypnosis.
        He simply functions as the “Determining mind” *FOR* that person’s thoughts and choices.
        But that does not necessitate force or coercion.
        Its simply an external mind functioning as the determiner rather you.

        Kevin
        On theistic compatibilism, God does not determine the actions of humans against their wills, but through their wills.

        br.d
        This moves dangerously close to an appeal to Libertarian Freedom because it infers autonomy and it infers that some aspect of their will is UP TO THEM – which is ruled out be Theological Determinism

        Whatever they will – is determined *FOR* them at the foundation of the world by the THEOS.
        They have no say in the matter of anything.

        Kevin
        (this includes a form of coercing them through deception, if that can even be said or proven by the non-Calvinist other than him making a theory)

        br.d
        Deception does not require coercion either.
        So in the example of the Calvinist who is given a FALSE perception of salvation.
        This does not require coercion.

        Kevin
        God providentially influences the human heart to accomplish His purposes in all things. (here I know you will object) But how did all these prophesies come to pass just as God said they would. Mere chance, or by the autonomous LFW. Left to that I do not think so.

        br.d
        For a Theological Determinist – I think using the term “influence” is a form of back-pedaling
        Because “influence” infers a degree of autonomy – which is rejected.

        I think it is more honest to say – he fully determines the human heart in every part to accomplish his purposes.
        And again I don’t see how that LOGICALLY entails force or coercion.

        But I should also add to that – that you now have another problem with the business of force/coercion.
        A NATURAL determinist can readily use the “no-force” argument – because there is no THEOS and no decree.

        But a Calvinist would have to argue that the immutable decree is force-less.

        It would not be uncommon to hear a Calvinist state that the decree ENFORCES the will of the THEOS.
        Well that LOGICALLY entails force – then doesn’t it?

        Because of this I really don’t think the “no force” argument is viable for a Calvinist.
        He has no real way of providing concrete evidence to prove there is no divine force at work.

        Kevin
        There is also the “brain control” argument that overlaps with the robots, puppets, and coercion arguments. Many of these objections feature identical errors that are to be rejected.

        br.d
        Its easy to claim something can be rejected
        But how to go about that without denying some aspect of Theological Determinism is the problem.
        And this is what most Calvinists end up doing without realizing they are doing it.

        BRD
        For example:
        A Calvinist whom the THEOS designed as a vessel of wrath is given a FALSE perception of salvation
        He will go through his whole life – having thousands of FALSE perceptions of himself as a saved believer.
        Every one of those FALSE perceptions was decreed specifically to be perceptions in that Calvinist’s mind.
        Every perception decreed at the foundation of the world.

        My response
        This is your understanding I know. But how do you know you are right BRD?

        br.d
        How is it not LOGICALLY consistent with Theological Determinism?

        Remember the THEOS determines all things
        And this LOGICALLY entails every human perception.
        So the Calvinist who is not saved but thinks he is saved has a FALSE perception of salvation.
        And the THEOS at the foundation of the world would have had to determine that specific FALSE perception or it could not come to pass.

        That is a clear understanding of Universal Divine Causal Determinism.
        And I don’t see how you can get around it.

  18. BRD, you know I argue from a Calvinist point of view to see how you will answer. You know what. I do not attend a Calvinist church and I sometimes I think I am ready to just give all this up and live my life for the Lord. A lot of what you say makes sense.

    Philosophy you are strong on this issue. It makes me think. I said above I reject philosophy but I personally believe God gave us the laws of Logic. They are as abstract as He is. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. I am twisted inside and I know you know that. I think sometimes just leaving this behind and just following the Lord out of love and sincerity of my heart the way FOH left it behind and he said he found (I don’t remember for sure) some sort of release and simplicity in serving the Lord.

    I have been reading some of the exchanges I had with Mr. Brian Wagner who is strong when it comes to the Word of God. My mind was not open then. Open, lol He will like that. But now I see some of what he is saying. Brian and I think his name is Stanrock or something. When I try to read and learn from them two it is useless to me. They are speaking a different language in a different universe. In what way does Stanrock (Sorry Sir I know I am not getting your name right) a determinist that is different from a Calvinist.

    Its like I see Calvinism from the Word but then I talk to you and then I go away after reading your comments thinking. He is right that word can also be rendered “allowed” I am not yet ready to say I am wrong or right.

    I am sorry though BRD. I think Dr. Flowers is a very kind man and he does strive to be civil when discussing this issue. But (I know who am I to think I know God’s Word so well) his ability to exegete God’s word is weakened because he is trying to hard to show the deceptiveness of Calvinism. Not on all things. There are somethings he I have read that have really blessed me. But his earthly allegories in exegeting the Word of God, that reveals to us the eternal God fall way short sometimes. I think you guys defend him to much. I think he has a heart of gold. He is funny. Like the time Dr. White in debate made the mistake and spoke of PROVISIONAL ATONEMENT although if you listened to the whole debate he spoke many times of Definite Atonement. Well if angered Dr. White. Dr. Flowers said he was just picking and kidding. But he did so with this silly grin on his face knowing that he had got Dr. White. I could not help but to laugh with him.

    Then, I promise this is not a gotcha verse BRD. Sincerely would like to know what you think.

    Isaiah 63:17 O Lord, why have You made us stray from Your ways,
    And hardened our heart from Your fear?
    Return for Your servants’ sake,
    The tribes of Your inheritance.

    Thank you for helping me work through this BRD. For being patient. I know I am saying things that do not even pertain to what you have said. That is my lack of knowledge. I am sure I did the same thing with Brian and I had a really bad attitude with him. So he sent me on my way. We are still friends. He is a very compassionate forgiving man. I guess I am saying thanks to the both of you. I do not know where I will end up. But please pray for me that God will open my eyes so that I will come to the knowledge of the truth.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Kevin!
      And I can see that you are really searching for the Lord’s mind on this matter – and I applaud you for that very much!

      And the fact that you are not attending a Calvinist church right now is a God sent in my humble opinion.
      It is a wonderful gift from the Lord just for you!

      You will not have the burden of someone trying to persuade you, brow beat you, or putting pressure on you.

      I pray that as you allow yourself to examine all things and hold fast to that which is good – that he will bless your mind and give you great wisdom!

      br.d :-]

  19. BRD, if it is ok with you. I would like to invite RHutchin or Roger in this Conversation. I do not know if he will get this message or not. But I do not want you two to bicker or quarrel. I just need to see both perspectives side by side by someone I think can state it better than I can. I have been looking back through the articles of Dr. Flowers trying to find you and Roger discussing the issuses but it seems I find mostly Roger and Mr. Wagner.

    So Roger/Rutchin if you get this message and feel like you want to jump in. That is if BRD will consent. Please come and help. Just no bickering or quarreling.

    Roger, Does God determined every thought, word, action ect. I do not know for sure. How do you know? Also BRD put this to me and it sounds very logical although I can find passages of Scripture where events seem to refute the logic. But I cannot get past it because BRD’s argument does seem cogent.

    BRD I want to present this to you again. I really do not see why it should be a problem for you to give a concrete answer on if you believe that for a Christian to have a genuine and real relationship of God in adoration and love he must by necessity have Libfreedom or autonomous LFW even when he is a glorified saint in heaven. Which means as he is loving God genuinely and is relationship is real. It is free, not being determined. But by his own autonomous LFW or Libfreedom he is loving and adoring God. He still has the option to reject Christ and turn away in rebellion or the relationship is not genuine, real and free. If as one person who advocates for LFW has told me that once a sinner is saved God TAKES AWAY THAT LIBERTY OF REJECTING CHRIST. Now you know that is double talk and is not Libfreedom or autonomous freedom. Remember the Omnipotent All Powerful God is not afraid to limit His sovereignty to have a real, genuine and free relationship with those who are saved.

    So in heaven can glorified Saints with their Libfreedom or autonomous LFW reject Christ or has God violated their autonomous LFW and taken that choice and freedom away from them. And once again will we see another rebellion from the angels in heaven as we seen from Lucifer and a 3rd of the angels. It seems they can choose to rebel right?

    If this cannot happen why? It should be an easy question to answer if you are consistent on Libfreedom or autonomous LFW

    After all Adam and Eve did not have a sin nature and they were mutable and rebelled against God right?

    To Rutchin or Roger if you decide to join. BRD said this. It is my words. I tried to find his because he expressed it so much better but I cannot seem to get past this and it does seem logical. What are your thoughts.

    Kevin
    “But I just cannot get past the place of thinking is everything we do or say really and actually determined by God. Evil actions and good actions. I just cannot get it straight in my mind. And your logic is bearing strongly on me.”

    Maybe you can re-state it again BRD. I looked for it forever over on Mr. Kemp’s site where it talks about the Early Church Fathers. You laid it out really well and now I cannot find it.

    1. I’ve been dialoging with rhutchin on this issue for a couple of years now.
      Unlike yourself – he simply relies on talking points – which he sticks to like glue.
      Falling into one LOGICAL fallacy after another doesn’t deter him the least.
      He reminds me of the quintessential bull in the china cabinet.

      You have a significant advantage
      You have an open mind – and a respect for rational thinking.

      1. I am going to look for some of the dialogues. Not that I think you are wrong BRD. To keep this open mind I would just like to take a quick glimpse at how the interaction went. Some Scriptures still trouble me as they seem to go opposite of what you are saying. But logically what you are saying has to be correct.

      2. Sure – but remember if you are looking to scripture – then you have to ask yourself if that scripture can be interpreted both ways.

        rhutchin for example brings up a lot of scriptures that he thinks are logically coherent with Theological Determinism.
        But what he actually has is a tap dance back and forth between Determinism and IN-determinism.

        He wants to claim to fully embrace Theological Determinism.
        But then he then has to smuggle various things back in – which Theological Determinism rules out.
        Some times he ends up trying to argue that Theological Determinism is somehow not determinism.

        Are you familiar with the “shape-shifter” in Star Trek?
        rhutchin reminds me of that.

        He wants to be able to appeal to determinism one minute and IN-determinism the next.
        Its called having your cake and eating it! :-]

        Go ahead and give a read through.

  20. BRD I am reading very carefully and slowly every comment you are writing to me. So please do not think I am ignoring or playing games with you at all.

    I am seriously asking you some questions of some verses. I know this is where FOH could help you out. But I do not want to quarrel with him. Answer these questions as you have time. How would your understanding of this verse be? All these individual verses I am reading the whole chapters. They are not meant to be gotcha verses. So I hope you and FOH do not think I am playing that game.

    Psalms 139:16 – Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

    You know BRD, I was reading an old comment on here from one of my other secret identities 🙂 (Kidding) and I did exactly what Brian Wagner said Calvinist do. In Revelation 13:8 I said Christ was slain BEFORE the foundation of the world.

    1. As I’ve mentioned before – prior to Jonathon Edwards – Reformed thinkers did not interpret all scripture to affirm Theological Determinism.
      They recognized two streams of texts within scripture.

      There are those texts which can be seen as affirming instances in which god unilaterally determines something – and does not permit anything about it to be UP TO MAN

      And they also saw texts which affirm God setting before man alternate possibles and requiring the choice to be UP TO MAN.

      Since one entails Theological Determinism and the other entails the opposite – and that is contradiction – they chalked it up to mystery.

      However, since Edwards, Calvinism has put all of its cards on Theological Determinism.
      The problem then is how to embrace the idea that nothing is UP TO YOU
      And a THEOS who judges others for the things he himself decrees

      The only way Calvinists can get around those problems is various attempts to smuggle in the very things they claim to reject.

      As Ravi Zacharias puts it:
      -quote
      Any time you deny an absolute, sooner or later you will SMUGGLE one back in.

      1. I get your point BRD and understand and it makes since.

        But let me ask you this.

        Are you saying there is a difference between Edward’s Calvinism and today’s Calvinism? Trying to understand for sure what you were saying in the last post and do you believe Edwards was right?

      2. if you listen to that Youtube video – the interview of Dr. Oliver Crisp you will hear him refer to this.
        He considers Edwards to have brought a “water-shed” moment in Reformed thinking.

        Prior to Edwards – Reformed thinkers did not totally embrace Theological Determinism.
        And many Reformed thinkers did accept Libertarian Freedom because they felt they saw it in scripture
        Edwards brought about a significant change in Reformed thinking
        He influenced Reformed thinking to eventually fully embrace Theological Determinism and reject Libertarian freedom.

  21. Kevin
    On theistic compatibilism, God does not determine the actions of humans against their wills, but through their wills.

    br.d
    This moves dangerously close to an appeal to Libertarian Freedom because it infers autonomy and it infers that some aspect of their will is UP TO THEM – which is ruled out be Theological Determinism

    In what way BRD, can you clarify? When you have time. I know you probably have a family, have to get ready for bed. You talked about business engagements. I do not have that problem with two hip implants and heading for two knee replacements. Nasty disease called Avasculer Necrosis. So I know I need to slow down tonight. But the fact I am asking you about what you have written at least lets you know I am reading, learning. Sorry for my sloppy typos.

    1. Kevin
      On theistic compatibilism, God does not determine the actions of humans against their wills, but through their wills.

      br.d
      This moves dangerously close to an appeal to Libertarian Freedom because it infers autonomy and it infers that some aspect of their will is UP TO THEM – which is ruled out be Theological Determinism

      Kevin
      In what way BRD, can you clarify?

      br.d
      A robot designer determines the actions of the robot and actualizes them through the functional parts of the robot.
      If that is the model of what you are referring to – then that would not entail Libertarian Freedom

      However, the language of this statement leaves open the inference of a THEOS who will “merely” permit the human will.
      When in Theological Determinism the THEOS does not “merely” permit anything.

      John Calvin called the notion of “mere” permission revolting and considered it a compromise of divine control.
      So in Theological Determinism everything that happens does so through a specific decrees.

      As Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin says:
      God merely programmed into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions”

      And Paul Helm’s
      -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

  22. br.d
    For a Theological Determinist – I think using the term “influence” is a form of back-pedaling
    Because “influence” infers a degree of autonomy – which is rejected.

    I think it is more honest to say – he fully determines the human heart in every part to accomplish his purposes.
    And again I don’t see how that LOGICALLY entails force or coercion.

    Now this I find somewhat doubtful BRD. You reject it because it infers “a degree of autonomy” Do you mean “autonomy” as being “personal independence”

    Kevin
    On theistic compatibilism, God does not determine the actions of humans against their wills, but through their wills.

    Is this not what the Calvinist believes when he speaks of soft determinism. Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are mutually compatible and that it is possible to believe in both without being logically inconsistent.

    It seems you want the Calvinist to have a determinism that is a hard determinism that excludes a will that does according to its desires and motivations or does things for reasons. These are the things that God providentially influences through the will of man not against the will of man. It is “up to them” as they do it willingly. How many times do we read of God moving the hearts of Israel’s enemies to hate them or go out to war against them. How did God accomplish that?

    Psalms 105:25 – whose hearts he (God) turned to hate his people, to conspire against his servants.

    It is said God is the one who turned their hearts to hate His people.

    Then we have this which I just seen.

    Psalms 105:7 He is the Lord our God;
    His judgments are in all the earth.
    8 He remembers His covenant forever,
    The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations,
    9 The covenant which He made with Abraham,
    And His oath to Isaac,
    10 And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
    To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
    11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
    As the allotment of your inheritance,”
    12 When they were few in number,
    Indeed very few, and strangers in it.

    13 When they went from one nation to another,
    From one kingdom to another people,
    14 He permitted no one to do them wrong

    Look at verse 14. It says “God permitted no one to do them wrong” That is a lot of wills God restrained or providentially influenced in some way. God did not permit the King to touch Abraham’s wife also. God seems to be doing things here you are arguing against or I admit BRD I am understanding them in a wrong manner,

    But lest you think I have forgot the main point and logic:

    BRD
    Whatever they will – is determined *FOR* them at the foundation of the world by the THEOS.
    They have no say in the matter of anything.

    But this will have to reconciled with the verses above and God’s actions. Like I said BRD. I may be understanding them wrong.

    BRD
    But I should also add to that – that you now have another problem with the business of force/coercion.
    A NATURAL determinist can readily use the “no-force” argument – because there is no THEOS and no decree.

    Kevin
    Are you saying a Calvinist has to believe there is force and coercion? If so why after how I explained to you. This is from my studies and research from John Feinberg.

    BRD
    It would not be uncommon to hear a Calvinist state that the decree ENFORCES the will of the THEOS.
    Well that LOGICALLY entails force – then doesn’t it?

    Because of this I really don’t think the “no force” argument is viable for a Calvinist.
    He has no real way of providing concrete evidence to prove there is no divine force at work.

    Kevin
    I think you truly missed the point on forcing or coercing someone to do something. What you explained above in no way reflects my thoughts or the comments I made. I was talking about coercing in the sense of putting a knife or a gun to someone head. This is not true of what the Calvinist believes. God makes the Calvinist Christian do nothing against his or her will, Or buy threatening their family if they do not do something.

    1. Kevin
      Now this I find somewhat doubtful BRD. You reject it because it infers “a degree of autonomy” Do you mean “autonomy” as being “personal independence”

      br.d
      As a form of functional autonomy.

      Kevin
      On theistic compatibilism, God does not determine the actions of humans against their wills, but through their wills.

      Is this not what the Calvinist believes when he speaks of soft determinism. Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are mutually compatible and that it is possible to believe in both without being logically inconsistent.

      br.d
      Compatibilism is the position that something is said to be free even though everything about that thing is determined.
      Imagine a circle with 360 degrees
      Imagine you are a THEOS
      Imagine a person is inside the circle.
      Imagine you decree the person move to the zero degrees position.

      Now in order for it to be physically possible for that person to move to that position you must permit the freedom to do so.
      That is an example of compatibilistic freedom.

      But what is excluded is the person’s freedom to do otherwise, or to have any other alternative possibilities.
      And what that person does is not UP TO THEM.

      Kevin
      It seems you want the Calvinist to have a determinism that is a hard determinism that excludes a will that does according to its desires and motivations or does things for reasons.

      br.d
      Hard determinism is held by very few Calvinists.
      But it is the view that free will is an illusion.

      Kevin
      These are the things that God providentially influences through the will of man not against the will of man. It is “up to them” as they do it willingly. How many times do we read of God moving the hearts of Israel’s enemies to hate them or go out to war against them. How did God accomplish that?

      br.d
      When you say “not against the will of man” this would be an impossibility in Theological Determinism
      Because in Theological Determinism man does not have a will of his own – in the sense that he has any control over it.
      Remember in Theological Determinism nothing is UP TO YOU.

      Kevin
      Psalms 105:25 – whose hearts he (God) turned to hate his people, to conspire against his servants.

      br.d
      This verse could be interpreted in both ways.

      It could be interpreted to affirm Theological Determinism
      Where the THEOS controls every part of every second of man’s heart and turns it which way he wants it to go.

      Or it could be interpreted to to affirm IN-determinism
      Where the THEOS for the most part “merely” permits man’s heart to be what it is – but in this instance he “turns” it.

      Kevin
      Psalms 105:7 He is the Lord our God;
      His judgments are in all the earth.

      br.d
      And in Theological Determinism the THEOS is judging others for what he himself decrees and for which they had no say in.

      All of the other verses have the same issue.
      If you interpret them to affirm Theological Determinism – you have all of the same logical and moral issues.

      Kevin
      Look at verse 14. It says “God permitted no one to do them wrong” That is a lot of wills God restrained or providentially influenced in some way.

      br.d
      But you don’t seem to recognize that this verse infers “mere” permission – which Theological Determinism rejects.
      And don’t you see how “restraint” infers “mere” permission?

      Divine restraint is a big problem in Theological Determinism.
      Remember how I mentioned that because computers are 100% determined a computer cannot generate random numbers?
      In fully determined world can only SIMULATE random numbers.

      In Theological Determinism we have a fully determined world
      So the only way we can have divine restraint is to SIMULATE it

      1) No [X] can come to pass without the THEOS decreeing it come to pass.
      2) If the THEOS decrees [X] come to pass then [X] cannot be restrained from coming to pass.
      3) So the only [X] that can be restrained from coming to pass are [X] that are not decreed to come to pass
      4) Any [X] that is not decreed – is not going to come to pass in the first place – so there is nothing to restrain.

      So in Calvinism divine restraint and divine prevention are just deterministic SIMULATIONS

      Whatever they will – is determined *FOR* them at the foundation of the world by the THEOS.
      They have no say in the matter of anything.

      Kevin
      But this will have to reconciled with the verses above and God’s actions. Like I said BRD. I may be understanding them wrong.

      br.d
      You’re proving my point for me!
      There are verses that do not affirm Theological Determinism – but rather affirm the Alternate Possibilities, Do otherwise, and UP TO YOU.

      Kevin
      Are you saying a Calvinist has to believe there is force and coercion? If so why after how I explained to you. This is from my studies and research from John Feinberg.

      br.d
      Are you willing to assert that the divine decrees have no force?

      Kevin
      I think you truly missed the point on forcing or coercing someone to do something. What you explained above in no way reflects my thoughts or the comments I made. I was talking about coercing in the sense of putting a knife or a gun to someone head. This is not true of what the Calvinist believes. God makes the Calvinist Christian do nothing against his or her will, Or buy threatening their family if they do not do something.

      br.d
      There are other kinds of force – for example what we find in Newtonian Mechanics.
      Domino #1 forces Domino #2 etc.
      But what forces Domino #1 to fall over?

      We can use John Calvin’s explanation concerning how Adam was made to sin.
      Calvin says god “arranged” it.

      So we can apply this model to dominoes.
      We put the domino on a board that we can tilt – and we use the force of gravity to move Domino #1 and the rest happens.

      So the THEOS can use the forces of nature to make things move in the way he wants them to move.
      And one can argue that he didn’t use force in a direct manner.

      But again – are you willing to assert that the divine decrees are force-less?

  23. I think this parallels the business of the hardening of Pharaohs heart.
    The question is – did Pharaoh have the ability to make a Libertarian choice between his heart being hardened or not.
    The place in scripture where it indicates Pharaoh hardened his own heart would indicate that.
    The place in scripture where it indicates God hardened Pharaoh’s heart would indicate divine causal determinism.

    This is one of the reasons ancient Reformed thinkers would give room for both.
    And because determinism and IN-determinism are mutually exclusive – they would chalk it up to mystery.

    So it sounds like you do leave room for a bit of determinism found within Scripture here and there.

    This is my last post.

    I want to say that maybe you could be misunderstanding the murder of Christ. Yes it was done by lawless hands Acts 2

    Acts 4:27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

    But here you cannot deny BRD that what those lawless hands did to Christ was WHATEVER GOD’S HAND AND HIS PURPOSE (DETERMINED BEFORE) TO BE DONE

    I understand this goes against all the logic that you have given me. But you explain to me another understanding here that LOGICALLY fits with what you are saying.

    Also when it said that God would Pharaoh’s heart. How did God do this? Then it says Pharaoh hardened his own heart. How did this happen. It was through the agency of God. We get this from Romans 9. God said it was for this very purpose that God raised Pharaoh up, to display his power and make His name great in the earth. Does not seem Salvation was anywhere on the map of Pharaoh’s life. He was a vessel of dishonor. God will have mercy upon whom he will have mercy and he will harden whom he will harden. When it said Pharaoh hardened his own heart, Maybe we were seeing Compatibilism. But there was no way under heaven that Pharaoh was ever going to fall down in true godly sorrow and in repentance. God had already said how it was going to happen BRD. That God was going to Bring Israel out with a mighty hand and make his name great through the destruction of Pharaoh. I know you want Pharaoh to have an autonomous LFW here but it seems he does not. If he did then he could just choose to not be hardened when at times it seems he had humbled himself. But then God would harden him again. When it said God hardened Pharaoh and Pharaoh hardened himself I think we are seeing one and the same.

    Night and thanks again BRD I will disappear again for a long time this time. I know I have wore out my welcome.

    1. Kevin
      So it sounds like you do leave room for a bit of determinism found within Scripture here and there.

      br.d
      Yes – as I’ve said – there are narratives in scripture where god unilaterally determines something and does not make any part of it UP TO YOU. And there are narratives when god sets before his people alternative possibilities, do otherwise, and requires those things be UP TO THEM.

      Kevin
      I want to say that maybe you could be misunderstanding the murder of Christ. Yes it was done by lawless hands Acts 2

      br.d
      But as I said – how is does that work in Theological Determinism?
      Can you go back are read what I said about the SECRET vs the ENUNCIATED will in this regard.

      Kevin
      But here you cannot deny BRD that what those lawless hands did to Christ was WHATEVER GOD’S HAND AND HIS PURPOSE (DETERMINED BEFORE) TO BE DONE

      br.d
      Sure – as I’ve said – there are narratives in scripture where god unilaterally determines something and does not permit anything about it to be UP TO YOU. But then there are narratives in scripture where god sets before man alternative possibilities, do otherwise, and he requires things to be UP TO THEM.

      Kevin
      Also when it said that God would Pharaoh’s heart. How did God do this?

      br.d
      I don’t know.
      why couldn’t it be some kind of force applied to Pharaohs neurological impulses?
      Isn’t god free to do that?

      Kevin
      He was a vessel of dishonor. God will have mercy upon whom he will have mercy and he will harden whom he will harden.

      br.d
      Yes

      Kevin
      When it said Pharaoh hardened his own heart, Maybe we were seeing Compatibilism.

      br.d
      How can this be compatiblism – in which nothing is UP TO Pharaoh?
      If nothing is UP TO Pharaoh – then it follows Pharaoh’s heart is not UP TO Pharaoh
      So then how can Pharaoh harden what is not UP TO HIM to harden?

      Kevin
      Night and thanks again BRD I will disappear again for a long time this time. I know I have wore out my welcome.

      br.d
      Be well Kevin! :-]

      1. Maybe this it BRD, this could be what I am seeing in Scripture. Why did you wait so long to bring this up. 🙂

        Can you go back are read what I said about the SECRET vs the ENUNCIATED will in this regard.

        Yes I will

  24. Just one more BRD

    BRD
    Kevin
    Look at verse 14. It says “God permitted no one to do them wrong” That is a lot of wills God restrained or providentially influenced in some way.

    br.d
    But you don’t seem to recognize that this verse infers “mere” permission – which Theological Determinism rejects.
    And don’t you see how “restraint” infers “mere” permission?

    I do not understand what you mean here. If God does not permit anyone to do them wrong. Do you thing God is passive, Here God is stopping the actual actions of others BRD. I think you are confusing mere permission with God’s restraining power in not permitting anyone to do them any wrong. God is actively engaged.

    You can allow or permit an activity by someone by not opposing it, and you can stop or deny it by actively opposing it. With all the autonomous LFW actions how does God permit no one to do them wrong.

    Psalms 105:14 – he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account,

    Men cannot wrong us unless he suffers them to do so; the greatest of them must wait his permission before they can place a finger upon us. The wicked would devour us if they could, but they cannot. (John Calvin) ,,,,,,,This is the understanding of this verse. It is the active action of God preventing that no wrong or oppression be done to them. It is DETERMINED they cannot unless he removes His restraining hand and gives them the right to do so. They are under God’s determination. Is God not controlling the outcome of what will happen here? It is God’s determination or His decision whether to permit or to restrain.

    Danial 4:35 – all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

    And a strong verse for the Calvinist that I know can be understood differently than the Calvinist but I think the way the Non-Calvinist understands it makes all the clauses redundant.

    Ephesians 2:11 – 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

    Not just the predestined salvation, but God works all things in a universal and absolute way according to the counsel of his will.

    I know there are alternate understandings. Show me one that is better than I just stated. You know I am open.

    1. Kevin
      Look at verse 14. It says “God permitted no one to do them wrong” That is a lot of wills God restrained or providentially influenced in some way.

      br.d
      But you don’t seem to recognize that this verse infers “mere” permission – which Theological Determinism rejects.
      And don’t you see how “restraint” infers “mere” permission?

      Kevin
      I do not understand what you mean here. If God does not permit anyone to do them wrong. Do you thing God is passive, Here God is stopping the actual actions of others BRD. I think you are confusing mere permission with God’s restraining power in not permitting anyone to do them any wrong. God is actively engaged.

      br.d
      What I mean is that if one thing infers the other.
      If I say – yesterday I did not drink coffee – is to infer that at other times I do drink coffee – but I did not drink coffee yesterday

      In other words to say that [X] is not permitted today is to infer that [X] is permitted at another time.
      And that is totally rejected in Theological Determinism.

      For this verse to be logically coherent with Theological Determinism we would need to re-write it.
      “god did not decree the person do [X] therefore he person did not do [X].

      Kevin
      You can allow or permit an activity by someone by not opposing it,

      br.d
      No – that would be “mere” permission which is rejected because it compromises the CAUSAL nature of divine determinism.
      In Theological Determinism the only thing that is permitted is what is specifically decreed.
      Nothing more and nothing less is permitted.

      Kevin
      With all the autonomous LFW actions how does God permit no one to do them wrong.

      br.d
      If I understand this question – I think Dr. Alvin Plantinga has a good response to it
      In this SOT101 article: https://soteriology101.com/2019/06/03/a-more-meaningful-world/

      Kevin
      Psalms 105:14 – he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account,

      br.d
      Here we have a similar verse that is not logically coherent with Theological Determinism.
      To make it fit we should re-write it.
      ” He did not decree them to oppress. He rebuked kings on the account of what he decreed them to do”

      Kevin
      Men cannot wrong us unless he suffers them to do so;

      br.d
      This again is “mere” permission and Calvin considers considers it a slap in the face of divine sovereignty.
      For Theological Determinism we need to re-write this
      “He suffers men to do only what he decrees men to do – right or wrong”

      Kevin
      God’s determination or His decision whether to permit or to restrain.

      br,d
      Don’t you see how this requires a denial of Theological determinism?

      if [X] cannot possibly come to pass without the THEOS’ decreeing it – then what is he actually restraining?

      Think about it this way.
      Try to raise your left hand and then use your right hand to restrain it from going up.
      What you are restraining is yourself.

      In Theological Determinism a person’s left hand cannot possibly go up without the THEOS decreeing it
      So if he then restrains that person’s left hand – then he is restraining what he decreed.

      Kevin
      Danial 4:35 – all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

      br.d
      Again – as I’ve said – there are narratives where god moves unilaterally and does not permit a matter to be UP TO YOU.
      And there are narratives where god sets before you alternative possibilities, do otherwise, and does require things to be UP TO YOU.

      Kevin
      Ephesians 2:11 – 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

      br.d
      Look at it this way – if there are narratives in scripture where god sets before you alternative possibilities, do otherwise, and requires things to be UP TO YOU – then why would we force any other verse to cancel all of those narratives out.

      I think the ancient Reformed thinkers had the best wisdom – when they allowed for both.

  25. Rev 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely.

  26. Either God made robots or he didn’t. Calvinists can’t have it both ways. Gen 2:16  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 
    Gen 2:17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Jos 24:15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

  27. Absolutely nothing needs to be said for the Calvinist after a short explanation of their doctrine. Nothing.

    It’s all utterly pointless after that. These guys sound like their just pretending when they expound on anything else found in the entire Bible.

    When the disciples say things like Grant Repentance, or open her heart to the scriptures it is as it’s said… All good things come from God.
    God is working continuously on us. If we are sick and get better it is God who heals. If we get a job that’s great for us it is God who opened the door for us. Certainly, concerning anything related to understanding, moral behavior, it is God’s grace that works with us.
    There are specific instances of course, especially during 1st century Jesus before & after the resurrection that it was the correct Time for God to enable certain people to act but to apply the ideas the Calvinists have from that to the all encompassing way He deals with all of humanity is just one of the mind blowing ways in which they completely fail to understand God’s dealings with man.

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