Why I’m not a Calvinist, Even Though I Should Be: Determinism

The following, the first in a three-article series, was penned by a friend of the ministry, Dale. W. Decker. You can find him at the Theogineer. Thank you, Dale.

At The Dock, But Not On-board The Ship

While Reformed Theology and Calvinism may not be strictly equivalent terms, I think they are essentially equivalent in common usage.  I use the terms interchangeably in this article.

I was raised in a Pentecostal church that focused more on one’s immediate experience of God than on interacting with the historical doctrines of orthodox Christianity.  The preaching and teaching centered around biblical texts dealing with speaking in tongues, miraculous healing, prophesying, the rapture, etc. This left me with a rather truncated view of scripture and of biblical doctrine in general. 

Then one day I picked up a copy of the book The Mystery Of The Holy Spirit by Reformed theologian R.C. Sproul.  My rather parochial view of the Holy Spirit was broadened significantly. This set me off on a voracious reading frenzy of the rest of Sproul’s books as well as other Reformed writers.  Soon I had entire shelves of books by R.C. Sproul, John Piper, John MacArther, Sinclair Ferguson, Timothy Keller and others. I read or listened to their sermons. I perused their websites. I saw them at conferences. I was immersed in biblical and doctrinal study from the Reformed Theology perspective.

Therefore, as a simple matter of consequence, I was exposed to the TULIP doctrines of Reformed Theology and Calvinism. However, while I agreed with the Five Solas of the Reformation, I could never get fully on board with Reformed Theology in the form of Calvinism. Yet, if someone looked at the streams of thought influencing my own, it would be natural to think of me as in the New Reformed movement.

My reservations, in main, came from that the more I studied the scriptures using the hermeneutical skills I learned from Reformed theologians, the less I was able to accept Calvinism as a biblically coherent system. I used the “fish and bones” strategy… when eating a fish, you consume the meat and spit out the bones. I continued to learn from Reformed sources I was unable see how the teaching harmonized with the plain thrust of the Gospel message without requiring mental gymnastics to do so.

I was also not rabidly anti-Calvinistic. After attending and working on staff at a Provisionist church for 20 years, my wife and I moved from Kentucky to Colorado. Being eager to find a new church, we selected one that was clearly Reformed in its statement of faith. It was a good church with many good qualities, but after several months I realized I had misunderstood their doctrinal position completely. For conscience sake, we left and found another church more in keeping with our own convictions. I have become much more thoughtful about distancing myself from Calvinism because of that experience.

This has become necessary because Calvinism has gained a lot of traction in the last 20-30 years and is, I think, perceived as the “theological system of choice” among serious students of the Bible. Moreover, at the level of popular consumption, Calvinism becomes a self-reinforcing system with Reformed authors blurbing the books of other Reformed authors, Reformed pastors hosting conferences with other Reformed pastors, etc.  In many ways, Calvinism is as insular and parochial as was my Pentecostal upbringing and fosters the same two-tier view of believers, those who have it right and those who are lacking.

(For example, consider this video clip of Calvinist pastors answering the question “Why are so many against reformed theology?” at www.youtube.com/watch?v=yorGsechzrI)

My overall rejection of Calvinism as a tenable system can be illustrated with three points – one philosophical, one theological and one biblical.  Philosophically, Calvinism’s decretal understanding of reality inexorably collapses into an unlivable determinism.  Theologically, the idea of total inability, as defined in Calvinism, has crippling implications for the doctrine of the Incarnation. Biblically, unconditional election renders much (if not all) of Jesus’s ministry a misinformation campaign. I’ll elaborate each point in more detail.

Determinism: A Few More Dominoes In The Chain

First, we have to acknowledge the incredible power of determinism to render life meaningless. Determinism, whether theistic or naturalistic in origin, effectively negates rationality, individuality, emotions, everything that makes us human. But before we go any further, lets define theistic determinism for the sake of this discussion.

The Westminster Confession, in its chapter on God’s Eternal Decree (Ch 3.1), says this:

God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass…

Reformed theologians further elaborate this to mean that God determines or causes everything that happens; nothing happens without God being the decisive factor. This includes not only physical events, but also the thoughts, feelings and decisions of human beings. As Reformed theologian Edwin H. Palmer states:

Nothing in this world happens by chance. God is in back of everything. He decides and causes all things to happen that do happen.  He is not sitting on the sidelines wondering and perhaps fearing what is going to happen next. No, he has foreordained everything “after the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11): the moving of a finger, the beating of a heart, the laughter of a girl, the mistake of a typist – even sin.

E.H. Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism, Grand Rapids, Baker, 2009, p. 30

The Westminster Confession goes on to state that, though God ordains everything that comes to pass, he does so without causing one’s sin, violating one’s will, or otherwise infringing upon one’s liberty. Holding to theistic determinism (God causes everything to happen) and human liberty (we are responsible for our actions) inevitably requires one to engage in a vigorous form of cognitive dissonance. Holding to two opposing propositions simultaneously requires compartmentalization of the mind. This exercise in cognitive dissonance is generally dumped in the box of “mystery” by Reformed theologians.

My contention is that no one can act in accordance with theistic determinism because to do so is really and truly impossible for human beings. Let me demonstrate the erosive power of determinism on any rational discourse.  If I state the following – “I believe in determinism” – and determinism is true, then my statement becomes nonsense because I cannot know it is true. I’m not “believing” in any rational sense of that word because I am not weighing options and evidence and making decisions. Whatever I say, think, feel, or do is being said, thought, felt, or done because God has determined me to produce it. In fact, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to maintain that there’s even an individual “me” involved since determinism makes human beings mere transmitters of states of being and not originators of thought, emotion, and behavior. One is merely a sophisticated mechanism and any concept of inner deliberation or selection between perceived available options is illusory.

If you disagree with what I’ve just said, and determinism is true, you haven’t really disagreed with me, you’ve only expressed the state of being that has been determined for you. In fact, my statement and your response are not logically connected at all.  Determinism is so foundationally erosive to rationality that it is difficult to even entertain its truth because it renders any discussion vacuous. It is like having a discussion on the statement “words have no meaning”. Whoever accepts this statement as true immediately contradicts himself as soon as he begins using words to defend the truthfulness of the statement.

Determinism renders life meaningless. Not only meaningless, but incomprehensible and, ultimately, unlivable. No one who believes in determinism actually lives consistently with its implications. Since no one can truly live in accordance with theistic determinism, the result is cognitive dissonance.

Perhaps a more particular example will help illustrate the cognitive dissonance required to accept both theistic determinism and human liberty. Sometimes a critique of Calvinism’s second petal of TULIP, Unconditional Election, comes in the form of “If God has already decided who will be saved, then why witness to anyone?” The Calvinist response generally comes in one of two forms, either “God has commanded us to be witnesses, so we must obey” or “In salvation God has ordained the means as well as the ends.” I want to take a closer look at this second response.

The critique suggests that if someone has been decreed by God to be saved, then it will happen regardless of anyone else’s action or inaction. The questioner is wondering what significance, if any, does one’s behavior, such as prayer, witnessing or other evangelization efforts, have with regards to the lost. If something is fated to happen, then how does any action, one way or the other, have any significance?

With regards to the salvation of any individual the Calvinist seeks to assuage this perceived meaninglessness of action by referencing the antecedent chain that seemingly leads to salvation. God ordains the means as well as the ends. God has predetermined both the event and all the things prior to the event. The Calvinist is saying, “Yes, the fate of the one unconditionally elected by God for salvation has been pre-determined from all eternity.  But take heart, all the actions leading to that salvation, of which you may be a part, have also been predetermined.” 

So, God has arranged a chain of events that precedes an individual’s salvation event and if one is a part of that chain, then… what?  Saying that God ordains the means as well as the ends does not add meaning to the meaninglessness of determinism. One cannot add meaning to the last domino in a chain by inserting more dominoes ahead of it. However, the most important thing about this discussion is missed by the Calvinist; the entire episode – question, response, and everything in between – is only occurring because it has been determined to occur. Determinism is a very sharp knife that cuts the meaning out of everything it touches.

40 thoughts on “Why I’m not a Calvinist, Even Though I Should Be: Determinism

  1. Nicely argued.

    To add, Determinism’s more stern iteration is Physicalism, which is a/The Redoubt for Humanists who choose to disbelieve the abundance of evidence affirming the existence of God. I’ve argued the chain from Determinism to Physicalism (in a vein similar to yours), with the unavoidable and depressing conclusion that Calvinistic Determinism paradoxically denies the existence of God.

    Calvinists really REALLY don’t like to hear that, and tend to be knee-jerk dismissive.

    It is my observation and belief that, while so many within Christian circles like to invoke the high-falutin’ terms of secular Reasoning and (formal/academic) Philosophy, their concurrent disdain for it (because SECULAR, tut tut…) results in an intermediate version one can only and fairly describe as Sophistic — especially as applied to Theological argumentation.

    My experience is that it is often more difficult to argue with Christians than it is to argue with the unsaved, with many unsaved (philosophy students, most specifically) being willing to be proven wrong for pragmatic reasons.

    Continue the good work.

    1. Hello Raymond and welcome
      If you have the time – could you unpackage what you are seeing on how Theological Determinism denies the existence of the THEOS?
      Or were you speaking about Natural Determinism?

      1. (“…excellent. They’re not going to let me off that easy…”)
        I’ll write it up and post here. Give me a day or two.

    2. Raymond said: “
      My experience is that it is often more difficult to argue with Christians than it is to argue with the unsaved, with many unsaved (philosophy students, most specifically) being willing to be proven wrong for pragmatic reasons.”

      Raymond, this has been my experience as well.

      Interestingly though, ‘ on the street’ (if you will) , different from evangelism 20 years ago, whether crossing paths with the formally educated or not formally educated philosophy thinking of an unbeliever, I often have to return to “ remember, I am not a calvinist “ so they can hear I am NoT saying it has already been forced upon them by God to respond to the good news as true or not true even if they seek for what is true. Calvin’s philosophy of determinism, as if biblical doctrine, now so permeates the air that I first have to re-clarify with the unbeliever that such a ‘Calvinist ‘ teaching does not equal the good news message of the Christian and what God reveals is determined according to scripture. And then , yes, it is quicker and easier to talk to the unbeliever about how we in truth submit to The Faith and understand things “determined”, then it is to reason with the Calvinist about the word “determined.”

      FYI: I correctly fall into the world’s category of ‘not formally educated’. But, so did Calvin claim, as a formally educated man, his held view was
      not his own – him thinking his ( faulty) interpretation aligned with the measurement of scripture. I think the best of Calvin, that he had not recognize and did not distinguish that he abandon theology in search about ‘determined’ and settled on a philosophical “ism” that is not revealed in scripture to be an “ism”. At least that’s my evaluation when I test the spirit he shared on ‘determinism’ , which I see to be in disagreement with the light of scripture. He fell for ‘intellectualism’ as related to things determined, instead of following good intellect through the true baptism, which comes accordingly through the revelation of the Holy Spirit.

      Testing the spirits: the philosophical spirit of determinism, as defined in Calvin’s teaching, does not give glory to God.
      Glory to God!- God reveals he created humanity with the ability to think for a reason, revealing to us the power of His breathe with justice or if He would so choose to remove it!

      In Job 34-

      Elihu Asserts God’s Justice

      1Then Elihu answered and said:

      2“Hear my words, you wise men,
      and give ear to me, you who know;
      3for the ear tests words
      as the palate tastes food.
      4Let us choose what is right;
      let us know among ourselves what is good.
      5For Job has said, ‘I am in the right,
      and God has taken away my right;
      6in spite of my right I am counted a liar;
      my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’
      7What man is like Job,
      who drinks up scoffing like water,
      8who travels in company with evildoers
      and walks with wicked men?
      9For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing
      that he should take delight in God.’

      10“Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding:
      far be it from God that he should do wickedness,
      and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.
      11For according to the work of a man he will repay him,
      and according to his ways he will make it befall him.
      12Of a truth, God will not do wickedly,
      and the Almighty will not pervert justice.
      13Who gave him charge over the earth,
      and who laid on hima the whole world?
      14If he should set his heart to it
      and gather to himself his spirit and his breath,
      15all flesh would perish together,
      and man would return to dust.

      ( … and the rest of 34 for context :-). )

      Revealed, of first importance, Corinthians 15 :*1-4, according to scripture, sharing one reason- Isaiah 52:13-15 and 53.
      Who confesses the truth giving glory to the work of God? Those who come to believe God seeks to save the lost 💞 and the undeserving- We are given over to Jesus, drawn by the Word of God- always living and active in the world is God’s Spirit of Truth.

      The Spirit and the Bride say Come! God proved to mankind , according to the resurrection of Jesus Christ He paid for our sins! Who believes God won the victory over sin and death? Take it! Free living water is offered to save! Made simple for those slow to understand… the depth of the good news- God so loved me and my neighbor, both sinners. Those who receive and believe He gives the right to be called children of God. Come! Right?

  2. Once again very much appreciated. Great Article
    Great job of showing how Determinism does not work Biblically and is also unlivable.
    You state:
    “I realized I had misunderstood their doctrinal position completely. For
    conscience sake, we left and found another church more in keeping with our own
    convictions. I have become much more thoughtful about distancing myself from
    Calvinism because of that experience. ”

    I think this is the case with many people they misunderstand what the Worldview really teaches.
    Why this confusion?
    Calvinists use many of the same terms but mean completely different things. Same vocabulary but different dictionary.

    If they said what they really believed the system would be seen for what it is…but instead misleading terminology is used.
    Keep up the good work

  3. Open Theists Clark Pinnock defines libertarian freedom or the power of contrary choice as follows:

    What I call “real freedom” is also called libertarian or contra-causal freedom. It views a free action as one in which a person is free to perform
    an action or refrain from performing it and is not completely determined
    in the matter by prior forces—nature, nurture or even God. Libertarian
    freedom recognizes the power of contrary choice. One acts freely in a situation if, and only if, one could have done otherwise. Free choices are
    choices that are not causally determined by conditions preceding them.
    It is the freedom of self-determination, in which the various motives and
    influences informing the choice are not the sufficient cause of the choice
    itself. The person makes the choice in a self-determined way. A person
    has options and there are different factors influencing us in deciding
    among them but the decision one takes involves in making one of the reasons is one’s own, which is anything but random

    Theopedia

    “Libertarian free will means that our choices are free from the determination or constraints of human nature and free from any predetermination by God. All “free will theists” hold that libertarian freedom is essential for moral responsibility, for if our choice is determined or caused by anything, including our own desires, they reason, it cannot properly be called a free choice. Libertarian freedom is, therefore, the freedom to act contrary to one’s nature, predisposition and greatest desires. Responsibility, in this view, always means that one could have done otherwise.”

    Kevin My Response
    These are just two definitions I found. If any Open Theists wants to reply to this in acceptance or rejection it would be of great help. Also any comment on the other definition of LFW would be helpful.

    I think I have been told that LibFreedom or LFW can also be defined when one chooses according to one’s strongest inclination, desire even. I think maybe BRD in agreement with Johnathan Edwards. If so BRD could you show me where other evangelicals or Christian Theologians or Theologian Philosophers hold to this definition of LibFreedom or LFW.

    Because here is the deal, if the will makes choices or even chooses otherwise due to “motives, inclinations, desires or reasons of the strongest motives, inclinations, desires or reasons. Then the will is being “caused or determined” How is the will free if it is being determined or caused by the strongest motive or inclination within?

    Is there a definition for this “understanding of LibFreedom or LFW that is somewhat akin to Johnathan Edwards other than the Decree of God. So absent from the Decree of God.

    Also want to make an assertion that is true on here even if one quotes that John Calvin said it. The Scriptures deny this emphatically.

    God does not make one do something because of His “Eternal Decree” by some “supernatural secret irresistible power (when it comes to evil) by working “fresh evil directly upon the heart” moving the will to do evil.

    Job 2:10 – But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

    Job does not mention Satan, he says the same good that came from God, “evil” also came from God also.

    Which follows this verse also. Job lost everything. Every evil thing you can think of was done to Job. Even his family was murdered and Job says this.

    Job 1:21 – And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

    Job says this right after his family was murdered and his property destroyed.

    It was sin and wicked for David to number Israel but it was the Lord who moved David to do it. 2 Samuel 24:1

    Then we read the parrell passage and it was Satan that moved David to number Israel but it was God’s will for it to be done because we find David calling himself foolish, repenting and asking mercy. God used Satan to move David to number Israel which was a sin because God was angry with Israel and wanted to punish them. Go back and read both accounts in 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1

    It was said on here before, (me paraphrasing) yeah but look God gave David three choices of punishment to choose from. I think this was brought up to deter and take the eyes off the fact that God did something that those who espouse LFW say God cannot do.

    And the fact it illustrated how God moved David’s heart to number Israel which was a sin by using Satan as a “second cause/agent” and God was completely Holy in the whole matter.

    But the fact remains this is still true and cannot be denied:

    2 Samuel 24:1 – 24 Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

    1 Chronicles 21:1 – Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to [a]number Israel.

    2 Chronicles 24:10 – 10 And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

    GOD USED SATAN TO MOVE DAVID TO DO SOMETHING THAT WAS EXCEEDINGLY SINFUL BEFORE THE LORD AND IT WAS GOD’S WILL BECAUSE GOD WAS ANGRY WITH ISRAEL 2 SAM. 24:1 AND DESIRED TO PUNISH THEM.

    I was told by one person on here who felt the force of this Scriptural argument that he “chalked it up to a translation error” Then every Major Translation has made this translations error.

    But we are told my one blogger on here that God gave David three choices of punishment. I think this is nothing more than a tactic to move one away from the fact that God moved David to number Israel which was a sin and God used Satan as a second cause/agent to accomplish this.

    Not some supernatural power that God used to work directly upon David heart to produce fresh evil.

    So yes God did give David three choices of punishment (do not forget God moved David to number Israel which was a sin and the LFW God says he cannot do) so why did God do this.

    Because God knew David’s heart. That David had a heart after the heart of God himself. Notice David did not even choose any of the three choices. God knew in advance what David would choose. God used the means of the three choices to determine what David would do freely by his creaturly will. This is what David said:

    2 Samuel 24: 11 Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 “Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.” ’ ” 13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven[c] years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”

    14 And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

    More in next comment:

    1. Hi JUSKLNTIME2442,

      I will explain these passages from my non-Calvinistic understanding.

      2 Samuel 24:1
      And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

      1 Chronicles 24:1
      And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

      The same Hebrew word “sûth” can be translated “moved” and “provoked”. The word sûth has multiple meanings therefore the context defines the translation.
      The Strongs definition describes “sûth” as – “To prick, that is (figuratively) stimulate; by implication to seduce:- entice, persuade, provoke, remove, move, set on, stir up, take away”

      The context defines the translation of “sûth”. This is why I believe the KJV has the correct translation of these passages.

      God moved David to do what Satan provoked him to do. But for what reason?
      Satan’s reason to provoke David to number the people is because he wants him to fall into sin.
      God’s reason for moving David to do what Satan provoked him to do is to teach David a valuable lesson knowing that his sin will lead him to repentance from his pride.

      David had been getting prideful leading up this. He even placed one of the defeated king’s crowns upon his own head. David had the protection of God if he remained faithful but when a man becomes prideful God can remove his protection and let Satan have his way. We are not told how God “moved” David to number the people, but it can be by just removing his protection.

      The Calvinist however use these passages to imply that both Satan and God will the same thing, that they both enticed David in the same way, but that is not correct. God’s intention for moving David to do what Satan provoked him to do was for totally opposite reasons.
      The Calvinist will use this passage as a “proof” passage to imply (indirectly, with their tongue in their cheek) that wickedness originates ultimately from the hand of God. And if that is not what they are implying then I am still waiting to hear from them what they are implying this passage to be saying?
      Keeping in mind – James 1:13-14

      Thanks JUSKLNTIME2442

      Damon.

      1. That was a very good response Damon. I do have a couple of issues with your comment though respectfully.

        Damon
        “We are not told how God “moved” David to number the people, but it can be by just removing his protection.
        The Calvinist however use these passages to imply that both Satan and God will the same thing, that they both enticed David in the same way, but that is not correct.

        Kevin My Response
        We are told how told how God moved David to number Israel which was a Sin. And it was God will because if you read 2 Samuel 24:1 the Lord moved David to number Israel because he was angry with Israel.

        We read in 1 Chronicles that God used God used Satan to number Israel, Of course their reasons for inciting or moving David to number Israel were different. God is Holy and does not delight in the breaking of any of His commandments. But it cannot be denied here that God used Satan as an instrument, a second cause/agent to accomplish his intended purpose which was to punishe David and Israel. Why in this manner we are not told. Satan moved and enticed David becaused he is sin personified and Satan is God’s Devil who does as God commands.

        No where does it say God just removed His protectection. God used Satan to move David to number Israel which was a sin.

        I also mentioned where God used Satan to destroy Job’s family and property all in one day in Job 1.

        Job said the LORD GIVES AND THE LORD TAKES AWAY!

        Job called his wife a foolish woman, and said we accept good from the Lord will we not accept evil from Him also?

        Then to say that God does not bring good out of evil he (GOD) intended is just not Biblical?

        Joseph was sold into slavery by evil wicked hearts of his brothers who at first wanted to kill him. The Lord kept that from happening through another brother because Joseph already had dreams from the Lord that his family would bow down to him.

        When Joseph was reuinited with his brothers in Egypt they were fearful bc of what they had done to him. Joseph brought comfort to them and said:

        What you MEANT for evil, God MEANT for good, to save many lives due to the famine.

        The Word “Meant” in the Hebrew used for the brothers and God is the same word.

        Showing that it was being used to signify the same thing. What the brothers meant for evil, God was working and overruling it, God meant it for Good.

        I am not saying, as you know that bc I am not sure, that every single thought, word desire ect is decreed by God.

        But I am asking that as I have compromised and seen this. There are verses in the Bible that show God doing things like moving the heart of David above to number Israel which was a sin. God did not work directly in his heart he used Satan to accomplish his purpose. And no Satan and God did not want the same thing with David in numbering Israel.

        God bless and thanks and feed back is welcomed

  4. Great post! So much I can relate to, and well said. I hope that it stirs many to carefully evaluate some of the things they have accepted unquestioningly, or perhaps having been persuaded by a particular interpretation of a few prooftexts.

  5. Psalms 22:28 – For the kingdom is the LORD’S And He rules over the nations.

    Is God just Deistic and just watching over evil and good? Or is he actively involved in some sense? I would emphatically assert that LFW is akin to the Doctrine of God being Deistic when it comes to God’s Providence, how he rules and governs the among the inhabitants of mankind.

    Providence- means the physical, mental, and moral realms work out his purpose, and this purpose is nothing short of the original design of God in creation. To be sure evil has entered the universe, but it is not allowed to thwart God’s original benevolent, wise and holy purpose. Much more could be said.

    But God RULES OVER THE NATIONS!! That includes their LFW or their LifFreedom!! If that is what they have. Still my investigation at this time. But can you see GOD RULES OVER THE NATIONS and their AUTONOMOUS LFWILLS!!

    Job 12:32 – He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them.

    Are we really going to say that autonomous libertarian free will that is independent of God is not involved with the verse above according to the Non-Calvinists.

    Billions upon billions of wills of individuals are involved but God makes nations Great and he destroys them. THE GOD WHO FOH SAYS HIS MAIN NUMBER ONE ATTRIBUTE IS LOVE GOD DESTROYS NATIONS!!

    As far as God is Holy and God is love. It is a matter of semantics. God is great But no where does it tell us in the word of God to be great. A little interruption here.

    Just like FOH says the Word of God says God is love but no where does it tell us to be love. I could probably find many many examples of this.

    Job 36:26 – Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.———Just like where it says God is love here it says God is great. I think FOH is wrong in saying that love is the greatest attribute of God. I think we need to adore the Godhead as a whole.

    Back to the subject at hand:

    Daniel 4:34-35 – 34 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation.
    35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”

    Notice verse 24 talks about God’s dominion that is an everlasting dominion and His kingdom that is from generation from generation. Not LFW. No, God through the authority of the Word of God says man compared to Him is as “NOTHING” God does what he wants, when and where he wants among the inhabitants of the earth. It has so been decreed!!

    Lamentations 3:38 – Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

    It will be said, here is a gotcha verse. People, this verse is in the Word of God. It is there. You cannot dismiss it and look to your favorite love mercy verses. This verse actually coincides with Job in:

    Job 2:10 – But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

    God is the author of sin. What you say? I do not mean he is the originator of it but he directs and uses it for good purposes. No matter what anyone says. That is exactly what happened with Joseph being sold by His brothers into slavery then ultimately ending up in Egypt.

    What they MEANT for evil, God MEANT for good!!! To save many people alive from starvation. God used Satan and Joseph’s brother’s as second causes/agents to accomplish God’s purpose. I stand so amazed at how Dr. Flowers and others just will not admit the plain reading of God’s Holy Word. A School boy can understand it!!

    Isaiah 7:20 – 17 The Lord will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father’s house–days that have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah.” 18 And it shall come to pass in that day That the Lord will whistle for the fly That is in the farthest part of the rivers of Egypt, And for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19 They will come, and all of them will rest In the desolate valleys and in the clefts of the rocks, And on all thorns and in all pastures. 20 In the same day the Lord will shave with a hired razor, With those from beyond the River, with the king of Assyria, The head and the hair of the legs, And will also remove the beard.

    The Lord WILL BRING THE KING OF ASSYRIA UPON YOU….that is not just the King but his military make up of many many men with WILLS. Does God violate the King’s and the King’s military LFW?

    Because it says the Lord will bring the King of Assyria upon you……Psalms 21:1 – The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wills.

    There is your answer!! It is the HAND OF THE LORD that is the subject here that the king’s heart is in at all times. The Word of God does not say OTHERWISE! Not to mention the king is just a man, so I do not see any man in exception to this verse. Just in different ways when it comes to evil and good.

    Isaiah 10 – 5 “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. 6 I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets. 7 Yet he does not mean so, Nor does his heart think so; But it is in his heart to destroy, And cut off not a few nations.

    Look at this. First we actually have a “WOE to Assyria” That is always not good when coming from God. But God uses evil or sin or evil persons or even nations to punish other evil people or nations and then punishes the nations that he used for the evil that was in their hearts.

    It was decreed of the Lord

    Isaiah 10:22 For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, A remnant of them will return; The destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness. 23 For the Lord God of hosts Will make a determined end In the midst of all the land.

    But if Assyria had “autonomous LFW independent of God they could have done OTHERWISE than what God decreed them to do. But it seemed what God decreed prevailed!!

    Isaiah 45:7 – I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (Calamity): I the LORD do all these things.

    In another verse it says “does calamity or evil happen to a city, is it not I the Lord who does it.

    Amos 3:6 – Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?

    Someone says on here whenever this verse is mentioned someone brings something up like 9/11. They act like there mentioning it a negative way refutes the fact that God decreed it to happen. Or do they think God is some kind of deist who just sit idly by and watch it happen. Evil on 9/11 for no purpose whatsoever with the Holy Loving Omnipotent God being entertained on His Holy Throne in Heaven. No, God in His Holy Wise Providence is overseeing, ruling, governing and overturning evil for good in all things. God working all things according to HIS PURPOSE by the COUNCIL OF HIS WILL!! Not LFW!!

    More to come

    1. Hi JUSKLNTIME2442,

      You site Amos 3:6, and read it into your understanding that all evil that happens in a city must come from God, which must (If I am understanding you correctly) include, rape, murder, drunkenness, blasphemy, lying, cheating, theft and so on? But that is not the understanding of that verse according to most scholars.

      The TSK (Treasury of Scripture Knowledge) describe the verse as following.

      “a trumpet: Jer_4:5, Jer_6:1; Eze_33:3; Hos_5:8; Zep_1:16
      and the people: Jer_5:22, Jer_10:7; 2Co_5:11
      be afraid: or, run together
      shall there: That is, Shall there be any evil, or calamity (not moral evil), inflicted on a wicked city, which does not proceed from me, as the effect of my wrath? These animated interrogatives were intended to convince the people that they had cause for alarm, as their monstrous iniquities called down the vengeance of God to punish them with these calamities. Gen_50:20; Isa_14:24-27, Isa_45:7; Act_2:23, Act_4:28
      the Lord hath not done it: or, and shall not the Lord do somewhat”

      The context of Amos 3 is the wickedness of Israel, and the Lord’s charge that He will inflict punishment (evil) on them for their wickedness.

      The verse is not saying that every bit of wickedness that happens in the city is done by the Lord. That would be blasphemy to say that.

      The Lord does not cause moral evil to then morally overturn it for good.That is absolute slander to the Lord to say that about the Lord. God is not like that and neither did the apostles ever preach that.
      “And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just” Romans 3:8

      Thanks.

      Damon.

      1. Damon GRibble
        “The Lord does not cause moral evil to then morally overturn it for good.That is absolute slander to the Lord to say that about the Lord.”

        Isaiah 53:10 – Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. ESV

        Isaiah 53:10 – But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. NKJV

        Kevin My Response
        Here in Isaiah 53:10 we read in the NKJV and the ESV that it was the Lord’s will and that it pleased the Lord to crush Christ. For Jesus to be murdered upon the Cross.

        I think that is safe to say that the “murdering of Christ the greatest most wicked sin in history is “moral evil” that (pleased God and God willed) But it was decreed by God and accomplished through second causes/agents not by the direct hand of God.

        Acts 2:23 – 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;

        Kevin my response
        Jesus was delivered over to those who would murder him by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God to be crucified/murdered by lawless hands of wicked sinners.

        Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 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.

        Kevin My response
        Again, In the murder of Jesus, the wicked did (whatever God’s hand and purpose determined beforehand to be done.

        1 kings 22:20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ 22 The Lord said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the Lord said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ 23 Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.”

        Kevin My response
        Look, read the passage carefully. The Lord sent a LYING SPIRT, a demonic lying spirit into the mouth of the prophets to decieve and God said the lying spirit would prevail. That is moral evil. But God did not do it. But he did desire it to happen. If you want to know why read on. There are a lot more passages like this that the Non-Calvinists accsuse the Calvinist using gotcha or proof text as if these verses should just be over looked and one’s tradition should prevail.

        It is not all cut and dry as we think. I am lost somewhere in between Dammon. I cannot just rest on philosophy alone. There is more to this Eternal God than I think we all know.

        But you may be correct and I may be completely wrong. Keep me in your prayers and thanks Damon

    2. Hi Jskln:
      I do not have time to interact with all you have posted but I will briefly give you something to consider.
      You quote:
      Lam 3:38  Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

      First lets look at the word translated evil…here is what Strongs says is the meaning of the word in Hebrew…”adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, + displease (-ure), distress, evil ([-favouredness], man, thing), + exceedingly, X great, grief”

      Second lets look at the context what kind of “affliction, calamity or great grief is in focus”?
      The very next verse tells us that it is “punishment for man’s sins”.

      Lam 3:39  Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? 

      Yes, God is the one who brings punishment/calamity/adversity for sins and yes, it is bad for the sinner, it is a huge calamity, it is great grief and affliction, it is bad for the sinner and it is summed up in the english word “evil”.

      So let’s read the verse you posted with the next verse as well and see if it makes sense, while also preserving the absolute holiness of God.

      Lam 3:38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not EVIL and good?
      Lam 3:39 Why should a living man complain, a man, about the PUNISHMENT of HIS SINS?

      For me it is clear that God is not the author of MORAL evil but yes HE does punish sin and HIS punishment is a huge calamity, a great grief and really really bad for the sinner…which is what is being said in context with the use of the word “evil”.
      Looking at strongs it is likely a better word could have been chosen to translate the hebrew word into english, however if you look carefully it is still quite obvious what is meant.

      Many of the other verses you post follow the same pattern. Blessings GA

      1. GraceAdict , like and thank you.

        JUSKLNTIME 2442,

        Similar to Grace Adict time is limited to respond in perspective and angel of ‘challenges’ worthy of a response.
        (As to time this is actually the second time I am writing this as I wanted to post last night but it was lost. Phone went dead while writing.) Anyway…..

        JUSKLNTIME2442 said : I think that is safe to say that the “murdering of Christ the greatest most wicked sin in history is “moral evil” that (pleased God and God willed) But it was decreed by God and accomplished through second causes/agents not by the direct hand of God.

        Response, because of how I see you trying to work things out in wording:

        God does not sin.
        God upholds His own good standard to include 2 or 3 witnesses of truth, evidentionally.
        Sin is unseen and is a matter of the heart and mind.God perfectly knows and judges the motive of the heart and mind.
        Sin is determined as defined, judged and punished by God.
        The act of killing does not by necessity equate to a heart and mind for murder but murder is accounted to the one guilty of sin held responsible for sin and death.
        God is triune. Jesus Christ in Truth, being the Son of God, was the only begotten Son of Man of God.
        Jesus Christ was made to be the victim for us. God governs according to the mind governed by the Holy Spirit.
        God paid (in full),the free will offering of the only unblemished/without defect Victim(The Lamb of God) in Truth, according to God who is perfect in His standard, revealed. Mankind made Jesus Christ a victim by abusing the law( of the land) to murder/torture the innocent.
        God’s unfathomable ways, revealed to us as that we may apprehend, but could never full comprehend as EVIDENTALLY we are not God-
        1 Peter 1:18-20 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
        In Revelations 13:8 “the Lamb was slain from the creation of the world”

        Thinking of the book of Job, about things you mentioned I would suggest a word search on “skin” and within the context of the book the Spirit of Christ, being the Spirit of Truth, found in Elihu-chapeter 32-37, before God answers Job our of the whirlwind, to then revealed the end, as prophetically revealed in the repeated pattern of scripture. Who and how are those blessed by a friend at the end?

        —————

        A lesson of David and the census: Do not count God’s fighting/battle men!
        The result of rebuke so that there MAY be repentance for reconciliation:
        2 Samuel 24:14 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.”

        David feared and trusted in the mercy(love) of God: 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
        ————–
        ( My opinion- One of the things I appreciate about Soteriology 101: It is not counting fighting men, but gives evidence it believes God knows the heart and mind of those who believe the good news we confess, yet, is willing to challenge those claiming to contend for the faith in truth to defend the Good News. Against the spirit of Calvinistic determinism, interestingly, it is bringing forward the opposite side of the spectrum it also gives evidence to contend against: the false idea of deterministic philosophy that all people will be universally saved.

        (Scholarly) proclaiming christian statistician should be careful about counting fighting/battle men and our fear and trust should not be in such numbers. Jesus said the flesh counts for nothing. This is the command given to us who believe proclaim about our blessed hope: Ephesians 6:10-20

        …23 Peace be to the brothers,and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

        As we wake up and repent for the sins that so easily entangle us:Death is (still) our timely enemy. 1 Corinthians 15:*1-4…. 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

        Just thinking…..# coronavirus twitter …. it never gets better for ‘the people'( of the politic that abuses the law, populace, polite citizen) before the Lord returns on His Day- Daniel 2. We, His reconciled children ( Ephesians 1-3) are the only citizenship(left in the world) ENTRUSTED to contend for The Faith- ambassadors to proclaim and preach THE GOOD NEWS! (who have been prepared ahead of time- Jesus prayer, the living and active world of God: John 17)

        Practical theology about doctrines revealed.

      2. JUSKLNTIME2442 said:
        Kevin My Response
        Here in Isaiah 53:10 we read in the NKJV and the ESV that it was the Lord’s will and that it pleased the Lord to crush Christ. For Jesus to be murdered upon the Cross.

        My son suffered an incident that may have further saved his life and others.I was not pleased about why he suffered. I was pleased that he was crushed because of how it worked out to ultimately save. ( Analogy, limited within the human realm.)

        What has been determined and decreed does not equal the mind of human deterministic philosophy for God who reveals He is able to work and does work: Romans8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose.

        God is living and active- according to HIs standard( revealed is scripture, according to His Holy Spirit.)

        God accounted for the S(s)pirit and the (F)flesh, perfectly, and has won the victory over our Enemy, still of sin and death.

        The culmination/end of the ages/consummation- the pin point, marked, Jesus death on the cross.

        Who is “so loved” and how?
        Who has the right to be called a child of God?
        God instructs-
        John 12:49-50
        49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

        John 3:12-21
        Numbers 21:4-9

        This is how the practicality of relationship works about things living and active:
        1 Corinthians 15:*1-4

        God holds the power and ability and the keys of things that are crossed over and covered over.
        Relationship involves at least 2, actively. God instructs on what it is to REMAIN His enemy or come to be His friend.
        Romans 5/John3- the workmanship(masterpiece) of God is a man born of the flesh given the Holy Spirit for work prepared in advance Ephesians 2. What’s the work/baptism worth suffering? 1 Corinthians 15

        Only one is good: GOD
        Even evil MEN know how to give good gifts to their children. It is because of God mankind can experience good, even while evil, hopefully to see God, that they may be justified if they seek to find He is Good, Him never the evil one, according to His revelation.(.. his sheep are found.)

        Our Mediator warns us how we think to reason about what we see and hear, beforehand: Matthew 24:23-25
        23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.

        God is not deceived, but man can be self deceived that he/she is one in The Elect, chosen to share The Message, Eternal Life.
        The Spirit of Truth is Good.

        (This is a walk with you, taking the long way around the block after listening to how you think to reason.)

  6. J. Edwards refutation of LFW

    “The libertarians whom Edwards encountered insisted that the will
    must exercise a certain sovereignty over itself whereby it determines or
    causes itself to act and choose. Whereas the will may be influenced by
    antecedent impulses or desires, it always retains an independent power
    to choose contrary to them. The will is free from any necessary causal
    connection to anything antecedent to the moment of choice.
    Edwards finds this argument both incoherent and subject to an infinite regress. He points out that for the will to determine itself is for the
    will to act. Thus the act of will whereby it determines a subsequent act
    must itself be determined by a preceding act of will or the will cannot
    properly be said to be self-determined. If libertarianism is to be maintained, every act of will that determines a consequent act is itself preceded by an act of will, and so on until one comes to a first act of will.
    But if this first act is determined by a preceding one, it is not itself the
    first act. If, on the other hand, this act is not determined by a previous
    act, it cannot be free since it is not self-determined. If the first act of Volition is not itself determined by a preceding act of will, that so-called first
    act is not determined by the will and is thus not free. Edwards’s point is that if the will chooses its choice or determines
    its own acts, it must be supposed to choose to choose this choice, and
    before that it would have to choose to choose to choose that choice,
    and so on ad infinitum. Therefore, the concept of freedom as selfdetermination either contradicts itself by positing an unchosen (i.e.,
    non-self-determined) choice or shuts itself wholly out of the world by
    an infinite regress

    1. Quite apart from the philosophical gobbledy-gook that passes for wisdom, what the average Joe understands is that the distinction of importance is whether or not men are truly free to choose or whether all things have been irresistibly predetermined by God. If the latter, by whatever means, all an individual ever thinks, believes or does has been decided by an outside force, that being God.

      Most of us, as per the excellent post, would reject the meaninglessness of life that predetermination necessarily creates. We view God’s reaching out to us via prophets, words and the incarnation of his Son as demonstrating that we have not only great value, but genuine choices that can lead to either the redemption and life made possible by God or death by our rejection thereof.

      As narrative after narrative reveals, our lives have meaning, and our choices lead to God-inspired healing and blessing, or to increasing sin and sorrow. ‘Choose you this day’ did not end with Joshua, but has been the challenge that God presents to every individual of sound mind.

      Those who would embrace the compulsive nature of Calvinistic election do so at the sacrifice of all that is meaningful in life, including freedom and love. In their desire for security, they sacrifice a truly meaningful life and the blessed joy of freely receiving all that God freely offers.

      1. Nice post TSOO, although I was just giving Johnathan Edwards reasoning for rejecting LFW. Just for us to think upon and hopefully some good feedback on it. It was labeled as pompous and incomprehensible. Not just saying it was pompous and incomprenhensible.

        I was hoping for some interaction from a Non-Calvinist directly. I found it interesting.

        I also listed quite a few verses with comments.

        No I am not saying everything we say, think, desire ect is decreed of God.

        Proverbs 20:24 – Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD, How then can man understand his way?

        Psalm 119:59
        I considered my ways And turned my feet to Your testimonies.

        Jeremiah 10:23: “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.”

        I see both concepts in places within the Bible. God’s decree and it being accomplished directly by God if it is God working within the Christian that which is pleasing in His sight

        and I see God decreeing evil that he does not delight in but he desire to come to pass like the murder of Christ or David numbering Israel. God uses Second causes/agents like Satan or the hands of lawless men to murder Christ.

      2. TS00

        ‘Choose you this day’

        xx TS00- About this, worshipping with you at the feet of Jesus… like the women who publicly kissed the feet of Jesus infront of the Pharisees. Her giving her free will offering.

        Forgiven, she obviously didn’t have need to be concerned with perfect table manners :-), being not about those who did not have true manners towards their guest.

        Blessings

  7. EDWARDS AND LIBERTARIANISM
    The libertarians10 whom Edwards encountered insisted that the will
    must exercise a certain sovereignty over itself whereby it determines or
    causes itself to act and choose. Whereas the will may be influenced by
    antecedent impulses or desires, it always retains an independent power
    to choose contrary to them. The will is free from any necessary causal
    connection to anything antecedent to the moment of choice.
    Edwards finds this argument both incoherent and subject to an infinite regress. He points out that for the will to determine itself is for the
    will to act. Thus the act of will whereby it determines a subsequent act
    must itself be determined by a preceding act of will or the will cannot
    properly be said to be self-determined. If libertarianism is to be maintained, every act of will that determines a consequent act is itself preceded by an act of will, and so on until one comes to a first act of will.
    But if this first act is determined by a preceding one, it is not itself the
    first act. If, on the other hand, this act is not determined by a previous
    act, it cannot be free since it is not self-determined. If the first act of volition is not itself determined by a preceding act of will, that so-called first
    act is not determined by the will and is thus not free.
    Edwards’s point is that if the will chooses its choice or determines
    its own acts, it must be supposed to choose to choose this choice, and
    before that it would have to choose to choose to choose that choice,
    and so on ad infinitum. Therefore, the concept of freedom as selfdetermination either contradicts itself by positing an unchosen (i.e.,
    non-self-determined) choice or shuts itself wholly out of the world by
    an infinite regress.

    1. Hi JUSKLNTIME2442,

      I wasn’t able to reply below the relevant statement so I have had to do it here. I just want to look at this statement where you said –

      JUSKLNTIME2442,
      “But it cannot be denied here that God used Satan as an instrument, a second cause/agent to accomplish his intended purpose which was to punishe David and Israel. Why in this manner we are not told. Satan moved and enticed David becaused he is sin personified and Satan is God’s Devil who does as God commands.”

      My Reply – I am in agreement with you in this case that God used Satan’s wickedness to teach David a valuable lesson. But I disagree with you on how God did it. Nowhere does it say that God commanded Satan to entice David to sin. Satan wasn’t waiting for the command from God. You have read that into it because that is what Calvinism teaches. Calvinism teaches that Satan is basically God’s hand puppet to accomplish His purposes. They call it “second causes” to try and shift the blame away from God. Kind of like if I paid a man to do a murder, I can then say it wasn’t me who murdered, it was the “second cause” that did it, not me.
      Satan actually does things against God’s commands as do all evil doers.
      Satan would have been always trying to entice David to sin because that is who he is. He doesn’t have to wait for the commandment of God to do so.
      God can place David in a situation where he could be enticed by Satan to sin, but that doesn’t mean that God then commanded Satan to carry out what God “secretly” wanted David to do. Again that’s blasphemy.

      Here’s an example – Hypothetically -If I push my wayward disobedient drunkard son out the door of my house knowing that he is going to sin, does that imply that I endorse the sin? and want him to sin? No, not at all. I may know that he is going to go leave with his mates and write himself off on alcohol maybe to the point of death. But I do it it anyway to teach him a lesson. Just because I put him in a situation where I knew that he would sin does in no way say that I endorse the sin or caused him to sin.

      This statement of yours – “Satan is God’s Devil who does as God commands.” is concerning, when it actually is Satan breaking all of God’s commands. Satan is a liar because God says don’t lie. Satan is a thief because God says don’t steal and so on. Satan is not God’s apprentice.

      Thanks JUSKLNTIME2442

      Damon

    2. Hi JUSKLNTIME2442,

      1 John 2:15-17; NASB:
      “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

      If free will doesn’t exist, then these verses are nonsensical. If you have free will, then stop listening to men and start listening to God. Question: – Could they choose to love the world? Could they choose not to love the Father? If so, how so? Connect the command in verse 15 with verse 17 and answer this, “Which ones chose to do the will of God?” According to these verses, “How much of the world and it’s lusts thereof are of the Father?” Exercise your LWF and stop listening to rubbish!

      1. Hi Aidan McManus,

        Thanks for commenting. I think you made a good point. I do think if you believe in autonomous LFW you would believe I am already exercising it. Which you have a point.

        Can wicked sinners who hate God and are hostile to God just “do otherwise” and exercise their LFW and stop loving the world, stop exercising their autonomous LFW that is independent of God and no longer indulge in the flesh , or the lust of the eyes, or stop engaging in boastful pride. This includes within the heart also. As you know Jesus said a man can look upon a woman and he has already committed lust within his heart before he even exercised his autonomous LFW externally. How much power does this autonomous LFW have in the life of the wicked sinner who hates Christ who is the light and loves voluntary the darkness of his sins.

        John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

        Thanks for interacting with me. Because I have found that what I think may seem to be right until another answers back and reveals to me something I did not know. So thank you for your patience with me. You may or may not know I am struggling with all of this. So that is the reason for the questions.

        God bless Kevin

      2. Please do not take any of my comments as being rude or as sarcasm. I am just trying to understand your point of view on this issue.

        So the wicked evil sinner who is hostile and hates God, whose will is free and not impeded. He or she can freely exercise his autonomous LFW in his sinful wicked state and obey the commandment you mentioned above about loving God and not the World, not committing the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes or the pride of life. All of this while being a wicked sinner. He or she just needs to exercise the autonomous LFW as you exhorted me?

        Thanks for patience again and I look forward to you clarifying. God bless Sir.

      3. Perhaps you are sincere in your quest to understand, but cannot you see how framing the question in this way poisons the well of discussion and leaves us without tangible evidence you are sincere? You weigh the question completely in your favor, making it so that any answer contrary to the one you expect seems absurd, and then want us to believe the question is sincere. Perhaps try understanding our position in our terms first?

      4. Eric….What would you like for me to do? Seems like a little drive by to expose me and put me in my place. Not angry or offended. I understand this is the way you feel. Now others will follow you and defend you and attack me saying I am not being sincere but being a liar and deceptive as you have emphatically said so while trying to sound like you are giving me the benefit of the doubt..

        But your real motive and intention is loud and clear!

        So my cordial conversations that have been respectful have now come to and end. BC I know that it can be like a pack of wolves on here when one is singled out. That is a shame.

        Eric said and I quote: “Perhaps you are sincere in your quest to understand, but cannot you see how framing the question in this way poisons the well of discussion and leaves us without tangible evidence you are sincere?”

        Kevin
        You cannot say “perhaps I am sincere” then go on in a condescending way saying the rest of what you did in the way that you did. You mean I am lying and dishonest. Just say it. I am not angry. I feel God has helped me not to be so offended on here. Although I do feel GOD brought you my way to test me and it was not by chance.

        There are places in the Bible where God does this very thing Eric. You know I can show you this.

        But does he decree every single word, desire, thought and action.? At this time I am going to have to hear a better argument from a Calvinist perspective. BC right now I just do not see it.

        Eric said:
        “Framing the questions in a way that poisons the well”

        “So that it leaves us with out tangible evidence that I am sincere.”

        Kevin My response
        The very way you framed that sentence by starting saying “perhaps I am sincere” then finishing it by saying I am “poisoning the well” (leaves us without) “tangible evidence” that I am being sincere that your first comment that “perhaps I am sincere” was just (empty words) and you mean I am just full of evil malice and here playing games with a lying dishonest heart.

        Look at those who have come out of Calvinism. Flowers, FOH. Maybe it happened in a day for them Eric. I am sorry that it is not happening in that manner for me and I have questions. Is it BC I question the articles and form my questions to what I feel might be a weakness within the Non-Calvinist understanding of LFW? That does not mean I am right in what I think, That is the reason for the question.

        Eric you now have on this website, (if I am able to stay now since you have “called me out”) Non-Calvinist, those who are not sure, but may lean to some Calvinist aspects, and the real Calvinist.

        Eric said and I quote: “You weigh the question completely in your favor, making it so that any answer contrary to the one you expect seems absurd, and then want us to believe the question is sincere.”

        In what way do I do this Eric. I feel the answers I have received have been good answers. I am not as dogmatic but more open now than I was. But Eric, Rome was not built in a day.

        Eric when I was on here before, (Before you mentioned I cannot last 5 mns) I was hardcore Calvinist and you know that I fought tooth and nail. You and I had a personal discussion on John 6. When we got down to John 6:37 -44 and you tried to tell me and convince me that there were at least 3 or 4 verbs (believe, draw, give) that meant almost the same and were interchangeable. I never said you were being deceitful. I mean these were verbs that had different definitions in the Greek and English. I had never seen that approach to getting around the hard difficult verses for Non-Calvinists before. I spoke to you with respect but in disagreement. Never believed you were being deceptive or dishonest. With that approach I could have.

        Eric, I do not think I believe now that God has decreed every thought, desire, word, or action.

        I once used the example of the going to the mail box. You must have missed it.

        I said I do not think that God decreed from all eternity for me to to the mail box.

        Eric did you not read that???? Did you Eric??

        I actually lean exactly where BRD took me. To the fact that we have free will in this manner. I am sorry that you cannot believe this of me but instead want to accuse me of poisoning the well and being dishonest.

        I know in the past on here Eric I was down right rude which I know most think that this is typical of Calvinist. I was very sinful toward you also. I have asked you to forgive me. You probably did not think I am sincere in this either. More than anything Eric I feel God has used this forum in the sanctification process of my life.

        You know the way I really feel about it all Eric. I wish I had never heard about Calvinism and Non-Calvinism and just focused on Christ and walking worthy of the Gospel. It is like YOU, yes you Eric and others are so consumed with this one subject that is the object that commands all your attention.

        You know what though. It has been true of ME also. I am trying to undo this and get and get back to my first love who is Christ.

        But who can deny the subject is interesting. We should study to know the truth of God so that it strengthens our faith in Christ. Not questioning one’s heart when we ultimately cannot see it. Only God can.

        I really feel BRD is my friend, who has not questioned my motives. But who is straight-forward and blunt and will call me out if necessary. He has and I have explained to him the way I am going about this. Asking questions from a Calvinists perspective.

        I have also talked to BRD about Non-Calvinist Scholars and theologians that I have been reading Eric. Those he has recommended and even sent me links to read and I have read every one of them.

        I use to disagree with Dr. Flowers on John 20:31 BC I thought it was talking only of signs and miracles. But further study has made me think that I could be wrong.

        To be honest, in my opinion, I feel you felt the need to come out and say something this time while I was still here and not after I left BC maybe things were not going as you wanted them to with me. I am not here to make trouble Eric. Can you not see that BRD has shaken my faith in Calvinism Eric? No you think I am lying and being dishonest.

        I guess using this this “so-called quest in being sincere to understand” is really a (cloak to really disprove Non-Calvinism.) I am sure that is what you are getting at after saying “perhaps I am sincere”

        If it is my strategy, I am doing a terrible job at it.

        Can I not look at the answers I am given and then respond with another question Eric?

        Just yesterday after I gave my last two comments. I was thinking that it seems like so much vanity and wasting time. I was even considering no longer commenting. But I like discussing theology. But it should be in moderation.

        I told you why I frame my questions the way I do Eric.

        That is by saying I am poisoning the well by the way I am framing my questions you think I am not being sincere but being deceitful and lying.

        I cannot win with you.

        I guess you have not been paying attention how many times I have engaged with BRD. How many times I have had to concede and admit that his argumentation was stronger than mine. Is that poisoning the well Eric?

        I guess you did not read or paying close attention to what I wrote when I told BRD that I would be asking questions from a Calvinist perspective to see the Non-Calvinist answers to weight them against the Word of God.

        I do in fact see teaching on here that I find wrong and disagree with. Not exactly with Non-Calvinism or Calvinism. In General. I feel I question an assertion or teaching on here, it will not go down good with you.

        I also just enjoy discussing theology Eric. And I have really enjoyed it up until your comment. Not offended just disappointed.

        Like the questions I asked last night which must have brought you out of the wood-work.

        Eric can you give some examples where I am lying and being deceitful, framing my questions in ways that it poisons the well, and weigh the question completely in my favor, making it so that any answer to the contrary is absurd (I personally think I have had good answers on here to my question, you are poisoning the well here) and then I am so desperate wanting all of you to believe that I am sincere.

        Really, I would like you to respond to the above question. Since you are questioning my integrity.

        I can almost guarantee you now that you have opened the door questioning my integrity and calling me a dishonest liar others will follow. That is just not right in the eyes of God.

        I have had respectful cordial conversation with every one for a long time now.

        I think you are trying to poison the well here myself. BC you know as well as I do there will be others who will follow your lead and start questioning my sincerity and saying I am being deceptive.

        Eric, everyone but you. Why? What is your real motive? I question your intentions here. Prove to me your accusations that I am a lying deceptive real Calvinist just using the words “I am sincere and not sure of the truth of all this” as a cloak to lie and deceive to get my points of Calvinism across. And that I frame my questions so that the answers seem absurd. Actually your whole comment I would like for you to respond and clarify with some tangible evidence.

        Can you show me tangible evidence of this?

        Before you do, remember I said I would be framing my questions in a Calvinists perspective to get Non-Calvinist answers. I am sorry you are having a hard time with that.

        There may be times I still sound like a real Calvinist. I still lean toward Calvinist Soteriology but not so much Calvinist Determinism.

        You know what it seems like Eric. I cannot read your heart but out of the abundance of your mouth the heart speaks.

        You had all you could take of my deception of trying to look sincere. So someone had to put me in my place and you decided it was going to be you. My opinion only.

        Eric says and I quote: “Perhaps try understanding our position in our terms first?”

        Kevin My Response
        I am not the brightest but I surely understand your position Eric as I did when you and I discussed John 6. Now there are times I do struggle understanding BRD I admit he is very intelligent. Yes I am being sincere in saying that ERIC.

        I really wish you and I could get along. I know I like Trump 2020. 🙂 Joking.

        Tell me how you want me to interact on here Eric so I am not being deceptive and dishonest. I will try and follow your example of integrity. Give me some guidance as to where I am lying and being deceptive. Who knows maybe I am self-deceived or deceived by Satan. Pray for me. Feel like I cannot ask anything that will not be perceived as being dishonest.

      5. It was good to hear from you though Eric.

        I want you to keep one thing in mind as you form your judgments of me.

        Since age 32 when I read John 6 that started me down the road to Calvinism. Never heard of it before. I then found a book at a used book store by R.C. Sproul entitled “Chosen by God”

        No one taught me about it as is the claim from Non-Calvinist (right on Soteriology101 this assertion is made) that no one comes to know about Calvinism unless they are taught by another. This is the testimony of thousands of others also. I know this looks like where I am cloaking myself in sincerity to push the Calvinist agenda. I am just making a truth statement of fact. Most are taught though, that is correct as even more are taught to be Non-Calvinist.

        So for some 20 years this is what I have believed. It has not what has dominated my Christian Life. I have been more consumed with the Doctrine of Sanctification and Justification in Christ which than Calvinism. Being “predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ” is the Holy desire of my heart, to be pleasing to the God of my Salvation.

        But can you imagine someone who has believed something for some 20 years now beginning to question his beliefs? He is going to be a little messed up in his head as he is now questioning everything and it does not help to be called a liar and dishonest.

        Maybe it was all orchestrated by the Satan and I was deceived.

      6. Something else you did not take into consideration Kemp. I am not the one who made his whole comment about “exercising LFW to keep the commandments of God.”

        I was just taking it to its logical conclusion, if it is all about “exercising LFW which wicked sinners who hate God have” as you do.

        Then why can they not just do the same? It was not me who made this the issue about autonomous LFW independent from God. The individual in his comment did.

        We all have this autonomous LFW so why is question out of bounds. I am seeking out what else he believes in connection with LFW.

        That is all.

        I was just taking it to its logical conclusion.

      7. Hi Kevin,
        Sorry, I was away since last week and am only coming to your responses now. And yes, I did see that you are struggling as I struggled coming out of Catholicism many years ago. I am sure there are also a few here who have had their own struggles coming out of Calvinism, who know exactly what you are having to deal with. My best advice to you is not to get overly dependent on any man, as we are all fallible human beings. But examine everything carefully against the word of God to see if what they are telling you is true (Acts 17:11). “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ ” (Matt 4:4). Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Prov. 3:5-6). These scriptures apply to all of us.

        In your question you quoted John 3:19 , “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

        Take these verses at face value: Why were these evil men condemned (vs 19)? Was it because they were ‘unable’ to see the light and come to the light? Or was it because of the reasons Jesus gave? And if so, what were the reasons Jesus gave? Inability or unwillingness?

        Acts 17: 30; “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,”
        Mark 16: 15 “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

        Does God want the gospel to be preached to every creature? If the gospel is to be preached to every creature (all men), who does it exclude? Does that same gospel call “every creature” to repent to whom it is being preached? If so, who does God not want to repent and live? When God says ‘Yes,’ does He mean ‘Yes’? And when God says, ‘No,’ does He mean ‘No’? If so, what does He desire “every creature” do when calling on them to repent through the gospel? Are these questions helpful?

        Is a wicked man able to turn from his wickedness to serve God? Absolutely:
        “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” (Ezek. 18:21,23).

        (Ezek. 18:27-28):
        “Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. “Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.”
        Notice, he turns, he considers, he preserves himself alive. I’m only repeating what the verse says! This is not earning salvation, but repentance from sin and obedience to God. This man still needed mercy and forgiveness for those sins which he committed by trusting in a merciful God. God was only too happy that he turned from his ways to live (v.23).

        Rule of thumb:
        Take words to mean what they normally mean until something in the context FORCES you to take it otherwise. For example, when Jesus said, “I am meek and lowly” we take that at face value and understand what He is saying. But when He says, “I am the door” or, when He called Herod a “fox” we know that it would be absurd to take that literally. And because we know that Jesus is not a literal door, or Herod a literal fox, we are then forced to take the meaning of those words as metaphors to symbolize something.

      8. Excellent and thought-provoking comment, Aiden. The verses you noted are among countless verses that suggest the same idea – God desires men to turn from wickedness and promises to forgive them when they do. To twist this most precious truth into a limited, predetermined chosen few is the most heinous deception that has ever infected Christianity.

      9. God needs Reprobation for HIS glory…As some of our favorite Calvinists say:
        Pink “ “When we say that God is Sovereign in the exercise of His love, we mean that He loves whom He chooses and God does not love everybody.”
        “Reprobation…should it be asked why God does this, the answer must be, To promote His own glory, that is, the glory of His justice, power and wrath. ‘The sum of the apostle’s answer here is, that the grand object of God, both in the election and the reprobation of men, is that which is paramount to all things else in the creation of men, namely, His own glory.’” AW Pink

        JMac “if God showed Love and mercy to all people then He would be denying His holiness and if God showed His holiness and justice to all people then he would be denying His love and Grace”

        JCalvin “How it was ordained by the foreknowledge and decree of God what man’s future was without God being implicated as associate in the fault as the author or approver of transgression, is clearly a secret so much excelling the insight of the human mind, that I am not ashamed to confess ignorance”

        JCalvin “Many professing a desire to defend the Diety from an individual charge admit the Doctrine of Election, but deny that anyone is reprobated. This they do ignorantly and childishly, since there could be no election without it’s opposite, reprobation. Institutes Chap 3 par 1
        “Individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify Him by their destruction”. Chap 23 par 6

        I do agree it is a twisted view of Holy, Loving God.
        Not the God I see in scriptures

      10. Thanks TSOO. I do believe that Kevin is sincerely struggling with all of this right now. He will have to work out for himself the truth God has revealed in the scriptures, that God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34). Nor that we should regard any man as common or unclean (Acts 10:28). But in every nation WHOEVER fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him (Acts 10:35). If Peter and the others could work it out, so can we, if we just really listen to God and not men.

  8. Hi Kevin (JUSKLNTIME2442)

    Sorry I have to reply here again as i was unable to reply directly under a statement that you made.

    “Kevin my response
    Jesus was delivered over to those who would murder him by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God to be crucified/murdered by lawless hands of wicked sinners.”

    Your statement here is correct in my understanding. Jesus was delivered over to wicked sinners who God in his foreknowledge knew would crucify Him. God determined to deliver Jesus over to this wickedness. But that doesn’t mean that God also determined the wickedness that He determined to hand Jesus over to. Again that’s blasphemy.

    Kind of like placing Jesus in front of angry wicked man in a steam roller who God knows is going to crush him. But that doesn’t also mean that God determined the evil actions of the man in the steam roller.
    “And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.” Romans 3:8

    Thanks Kevin.

    Damon.

  9. This is off topic, but in reference to the author of this article’s comment that he served in a Provisionist church in Kentucky before moving to Colorado….
    Would love to get a recommendation of a provisionist church that teaches Scripture faithfully and with depth in the Louisville area (a hotbed for Calvinism, where the alternative stripes seem to be either a bit shallow, or very works/standards based in comparison)… Basically looking for many of the great teachings that Calvinist churches challenge mature Christians with, but without the Calvinist undercurrent… Any referrals?

  10. “Biblically, unconditional election renders much (if not all) of Jesus’s ministry a misinformation campaign.”

    So true.

    I could substitute; “Biblically, TULIP renders much (if not all) of Jesus’s ministry a misinformation campaign.”

  11. I found this article thought provoking and  I appreciate the information. I see determinism would make life completley lack of any real meaning!!.. And it would make any authentic connections within our lives void. Especially a true relationship with the Creator of the heavens and earth!!! I went to your blog Dale and I appreciate this statement;

    “”The Bible should always stand above and over the doctrines that were derived from it. Otherwise, the tendency is to warp the understanding of specific texts to fit within the doctrinal boundaries. Let scripture interpret scripture, but let not doctrine interpret scripture.””

    And this statement in your article on soteriology 101 above was one I really enjoyed!!!
    “Determinism is a very sharp knife that cuts the meaning out of everything it touches.”

    It sadly does and the fact that some don’t see it is just sad.

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