Fear Mongering and Heresy Hunting

“Don’t let the Pelagian goo get on you” – James White

You have to admit, James White knows how to turn a phrase.

Dr. Flowers responds to this latest accusation of being Pelagian with a 15min video showing exactly how the accusation is fallacious and off-base.

The main point from the video I would like to carry over is this: The boogie man fallacy is a form of the Ad Hominem logical fallacy where the opponent of a position, in a “guilt by association” twist, attempts to associate the position with a known negative quantity and, simply by asserting that association, has provided evidence against the argument.

I would also like to propose a layer to White’s argumentation that more deeply affects those who take his rhetoric seriously: Fear Mongering. “Don’t get the goo on you” is a way of spreading fear of a viewpoint so that no one will get near it nor the person presenting it. Nobody wants goo on them. Nobody wants to be seen as dirty. In other words, “Don’t listen to anything this person says or anything about this topic or you will become disgusting along with them” Ooooooo <scary fingers>!

What this does is create Heresy Hunters whose minds are closed to reason. The Fear Monger creates the fear by regaling his audience with tales of terror of the boogie man and says “Be careful, lest their unclean thoughts make you unclean!” and then those who are made afraid must go around protecting themselves from the “wrong think” lest they be tainted by it. The Afeared must prove themselves clean by boisterous rejection of the Heresy.

Criticism and Response

This is what is going on with one commenter who, to their credit, took the time to watch the video and offer a critique. I will spend some time evaluating and responding to this critic because I think it is fascinating how effective this fear tactic is:

Notice the argument: the boogie-man fallacy is an acceptable tactic as long as the idea being attacked is actually scary ie. “damnable heresy”. What the critic misses is that the entire reason “boogie-man” is a fallacy is because even if an idea is scary is must still be rationally evaluated. One does not simply get to claim that an idea is scary and, therefore, just by claiming it, the argument has been rebutted.

The fear of “damnable heresy”, so defined by the Fear Monger, is so potent that, to the Afeared, the usage of any number of logical fallacies are OK as long as the idea is actually scary. Do you see the logical loop the Afeared is fixed in? Fear Monger says a Thing is scary so Thing is scary, and since Thing is scary, then the claim that Thing is scary is reason enough to reject Scary Thing.

The Appeal to Fear cannot be a valid argument because it’s not an argument, it’s an appeal. Appeals can be true or false, rational or irrational, and of course there are rational fears, but an argument must be rationally evaluated so that we can know if the fear is rational. That’s what we’re trying to do here.

The critic continues: (I’m quoting him in full to give him his due but skip down to the green)

The Fear Monger gives the Afeared a false narrative of the past so as to give validity to their grift. “Hey, if everyone has always been afraid of this idea, so should you!”. But, of course, this isn’t true. John Cassian never “coined” the term “semi-Pelagianism” or called himself one as the critic claims repeatedly.

This demonstrably false and I would hope the critic would begin an inventory of who it was that lied to him. An article from monergism.com simply labels Cassian a “Semi-Pelagian” while admitting him and his advocates called themselves “Massilians” (since Cassian was based in Marseilles, France) and were only later called “Semi-Pelagians”.

Indeed, the article seems to claim that the Council of Orange in 529 condemned “Semi-Pelagianism” but they never used that term nor, curiously, the terms “Pelagian” nor “Pelagianism”. Scholars Irena Backus and Aza Goudriaan from the University of Amsterdam, in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History note that Theodore Beza was the first to use the term in 1556. A term that has been retro-actively used to tar non-Augustinian theology ever since.

So, as to the claim who or when the term “Semi-Pelagian” was coined, the critic has been taught falsehoods.

Source Material

The Afeared is so afraid of the object of the fear that even source material (as shown above) that shows the irrationality of their fear may be ignored.

I appreciate the critic’s willingness to see James White’s prideful dismissal for what it is; many are unwilling to say so.

In the above video, Dr. Flowers accurately acknowledges that we have barely any of Pelagius’ writings, and really only know what his critics claimed about his theology, and so our knowledge of his true theology is suspect. This is a defense of Pelagius, apparently. See, if you’re Afeared, you cannot allow even the appearance of a defense of The Scary Idea. Even if you’re attempting to be accurate to what the idea actually is…nope. Not allowed.

A few of Soteriology 101’s intelligent followers pointed out that it’s perfectly rational to acknowledge that source material for Pelagius is lacking and this critic doubled down:

That’s not what a primary source is.

What someone says you said is the definition of a “second-hand account”, especially if that person is your critic. That’s why I’m quoting this critic at length, because I don’t expect you to trust me to accurately portray his words.

The Afeared’s overall concern here is that being accurate to what Pelagius really taught would possibly make us able to say “Pelagianism isn’t really all that bad if we don’t really know what it was”, and that possibility is unacceptable because Pelagianism must be feared because the Fear Monger told me to fear it. The Afeared’s mind is closed by fear. They are not open to new information. Heresy Hunting is a necessary response to fear and it simply cannot be that perhaps some things aren’t as bad as the Fear Monger told me they are.

The fear even makes this critic re-define what a primary source is in order to maintain the appearance that the fear is rational! What a powerful force Fear Mongering can be!

See, having an accurate charge, an accurate argument, is not nearly as important as being as afraid of Pelagianism as we ought to be. Pelagianism is BaD and so it’s impossible that it is misunderstood. Don’t touch it, even to increase accuracy, or the goo might get on you!

Truly, I have compassion for this critic. All he did was faithfully read theologians he thought would tell him the truth. When an army of theologians are chanting the same thing “Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid!”, it has an effect on you; the subjective experience of irrational fear, being closed to reason, and dismissive of scholarship. This is why I spend time combating bad ideas, they have a real world consequence for those that believe them.

34 thoughts on “Fear Mongering and Heresy Hunting

  1. And as Dr. Flowers would rightfully say:

    If Universal Divine Causal Determinism (aka Calvinism) is true – then:
    God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass.

    And in such case – the reason anyone has Pelagian goo on them – is because that was unchangeably ordained from all eternity.

    And since everything about the creature is “unchangeable” – then it LOGICALLY follows that absolutely *NOTHING* – about that which ever was – or about that which will ever be – is “UP TO” us.

    C’est la vie!

      1. yes! :-]
        On the system – to see if it would deliver an email notification.
        Sometimes for new topics – I have make sure the system will do that.

  2. Thank-you Eric,
    We need folks like you who will refute this kind of thing that is passed off as enlightened. Those who have the “secret knowledge” of what is True. One of the Tactics used frequently by Calvinist is the “name calling tactic” which is what James White is doing.
    Those who follow James blindly are deceived by his tactics but there are many who are not blind to his ways. Thanks for this article it is much more enlightened then the self proclaimed “enlightened ones” – Calvinists.

  3. Thank you I agree with Graceadict we need people refuting this fear tactic. To me the fear makes no sense! What can happen to you by reading something unless your not trusting God to reveal truth from error through His Word and the Holy Spirits guiding. I guess that really is sad that Mr. White needs to sway his listeners to stay clear of soteriology 101 site. Hmm isn’t this what jehovah witnesses do to their followers… I’m not trying to compare, but really one thing that Leighton has always done here is said; learn calvinism from a calvinist… Its hard to listen to James White cut down this site, but be so gracious to John Lennox don’t get me wrong I respect John Lennox. At one point I even felt compelled to email him over something and his assistant and I dialogued a bit through emailing. I happen to love his math mind maybe, because my daughter was a applied mathematics major.. But it is so odd to see the starck contrast in his dealings between the two men in my opinion🤔

  4. James White, like most Calvinists, is not at all consistent. He speaks as if we can decide what we do and say and think while at the same time insisting that God determines (ordains) absolutely everything. A=Not A. This is clearly an either/or. Either God has the say so or we do.

    Dr. White is continually spouting nonsense. Logic is not his friend on this.

    1. Thank you Carl!
      You’ve hit the bulls-eye!

      Dr. William Lutz, – the science of linguistics – WHAT IS DOUBLE-SPEAK:
      -quote
      “Basic to doublespeak is incongruity, the incongruity between what is said or left unsaid, and what really is.

      It is the incongruity between the word and the referent, between seem and be, between the essential function of language—communication — and what doublespeak does — mislead, distort, inflate, circumvent, obfuscate.

      Doublespeak is language designed to make the unpleasant appear pleasant, the unattractive appear attractive, or at least tolerable.

      It is language designed to mislead, while pretending not to.“
      -end quote

  5. White is a master of the guilt by association with boogeymen assertion.

    “Oh, that sounds just like what Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, insert boogeyman here, say!” “Therefore whatever you say is wrong!”

  6. I have never seen Jesus resort to these tactics, but only those who want to subvert and suppress the truth – Ad Hominem, Ad nauseam!
    I fear the boogie man is often – facing the truth.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Sure – I’ll give you a few responses

      Statement quoted by Dr. Flowers
      -quote
      “A biblical defense of human free will is just the other side of the doctrine of divine holiness”

      Video Author
      So when we say you can’t have one without the other – that is what Dr. Flowers is saying here.

      br.d
      And exactly how did he conclude that from Dr. Flower’s statement – when Dr Flowers never said anything to the effect of a relationship between them in which one cannot exist without the other. So that is an assumed conclusion this author has taken from Dr. Flower’s statement. So calling Dr. Flower’s statement fallacious back-fires because its actually the false conclusion that is actually fallacious.

      As a matter of fact why couldn’t a Calvinist say that everything god determines is a reflection of his holiness?
      And so in the event god decrees “compatibilist” freedom to exit – then that decree is – just as all of his decrees – would be a reflection of his holiness.

      What Dr. Flowers is alluding to in this statement is acknowledged by a large percentage of Christian philosophy in regard to the “author of evil” problem that is internationally considered to be inherent within Theological Determinism. So the way I interpret Dr. Flower’s statement – it is in line with what other authors – such as Dr. Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Alvin Plantinga, and Dr. William Lane Craig are stating as well. Because those authors do not see Theological Determinism as a rationally coherent interpretation of scripture.

      Video Author
      The power of contrary choice – the equal ability to choose between two or more options under the same circumstance, is not a biblically derived definition of human free will.

      br.d
      this is a claim the author is making – which simply reflects his own personal position.
      He is certainly free to have his own position on the subject.
      But since his position is a minority view within Christianity – then his position is certainly a contended one.
      Further – he dares to speak with authority that even academic scholars don’t dare to speak – when enunciating their own position.
      Peter Van Inwagen for example simply states that his embrace of Libertarian Freedom is what he personally considers to be the best possible option. But he doesn’t assume – like this fellow – to speak EX-CATHEDRA when he speaks on the subject.

      Video Author
      What Dr. Flowers is saying here is that you can’t have human free will without divine holiness and you can’t have human free will without divine holiness.

      br.d
      Please tell me where Dr. Flowers actually made that statement.
      Or is it more truthful to say this fellow simply ASSUMES that to be something that Dr. Flowers presumes but does not actually state?

      If this were a course assignment to provide an essay on Dr. Flower’s statements – I don’t think this fellow would get a very good grade. :-]

      1. Thanks BRD,

        I knew it would be interesting coming from you.

        I am going to ask him some of the questions below his videos and assertions that you bring up if you do not mind.

        I will not use your nick-name or anything like that.

        But I do think you answered very well. But now I would like to see if he can push back on this or not. Or if he just parroting the other Calvinists.

      2. Yes he seems very nice just like you. I am not sure he will be answer that one tough question you always bring up, that ultimately if God is decreeing it then it is not “up to us”

        But it will be interesting to see someone who has more knowledge than me confronted with what I feel has been very cogent arguments that I personally have no answers for and have to accept if I am going to be honest. Unless I see the Calvinist produce better arguments themselves.

      3. Well if he’s not familiar with the consequence argument – here it is a rendition of it applicable to Theological Determinism

        Peter Van Inwagen – Consequence Argument

        If Universal Divine Causal Determinism is true:
        1) Our every thought, choice, desire, and action, are the consequences of divine decrees which occurred at the foundation of the world – having been determined at a point in which we do not yet exist.

        2) Additionally those thoughts, choices, desires and actions, are framed within the boundaries of nature which exist at the time in which they are actualized in our lives.

        3) But then it is not UP TO US what immutable decrees were established at the foundation of the world before we were born.

        4) And neither is it UP TO US what attributes of nature (including our own) were immutably decreed to exist at any time.

        5) Therefore, the consequences of these things are not UP TO US.

      4. Here is one he talks about Dr. Craig and Middle Knowledge.

        He refutes Dr. Craig’s fallacy of omission among other things.

        I knew you would find this one interesting.

      5. BRD, the Video author answered your response pretty quick and this is what he said below.

        “Okay, here’s just a quick response to the response from from Soteriology101 Blogger concerning the contents of the video.
        1) notice how he didn’t even attempt to answer my argumentation, but yet claims I am the one attempting to speak EX CATHEDRA (which is a term generally relegated to the Papists…not Bible-believing Reformed Christians who have always opposed the lies of the Romanists).

        When Dr. Flowers states that human free will is the “flip side” of Divine Holiness, he’s is absolutely saying that ‘you cannot have the one without the other’.
        Apparently the Blogger needs a class in Logic.

        On a currency coin where there are two sides–heads and tails–you cannot have one without the other. And that is EXACTLY what Dr. Flowers is asserting. Not my words, but his.

        The Blogger then goes on to assert something about a bunch of folks who hold to the same fallacious definition of ‘free will’ that he and Dr. Flowers do. Well, that’s not gonna help the discussion; it’s a logical fallacy of argumentum ad populum mixed with the fallacy of ‘argument from authority’. So, two logical fallacies back-to-back.
        See how faulty thinking in theological issues spread to one’s apologetic methodology?

        Not only this, but he mentions Dr. William Lane Craig! Interesting that I’ve made a video with clips from both Dr. Craig (Molinist) and Pastor Mike Winger (also a Molinist) where BOTH men state that God’s knowledge is DEPENDENT UPON HIS CREATION FOR HIS KNOWLEDGE OF IT.

        This is why the Reformed scholastic theologian, Francis Turretin (1623-1687), rebuked this Jesuit invention of “middle knowledge” in his, “Institutes of Elencetic Theology” because it made God’s knowledge dependent. And, now, the Jesuit infection of “middle knowledge” has come in to Evangelical circles, thanks to folks like Dr. Craig.
        Truly an amazing thing to behold…especially if one has a biblical view of Eschatology!

        2) ‘The power of contrary choice’ as the definition of ‘free will’ that all synergistic groups of Christians give. This is one of the main aspects of the debate that seriously divides us. And, yes, I am aware of the plethora of folks throughout Church History and Historical Theology who have held to the same, fallacious view of Human Free will that Dr. Flowers (et. al.) hold. It is another infection of man-made philosophically speculative thinking that has plagued the church for millennia.

        It may be that my definition is a “minority view,” but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Not only this, but the Blogger certainly doesn’t expect us to fall for the logical fallacy of argumentum ad populum does he? An argumentum ad populum is an “argument from popularity”: just because an OPINION is a popular one, doesn’t make it a correct one.

        The BIBLICALLY DERIVED definition of Human Libertarian Free Will (as I have pointed out in other videos on my channel) is NOT, ‘the power of contrary choice’; that’s not opinion; that’s biblical fact.

        Jesus gives us a two-part definition of Human Free Will in Jn. 8:31-38, and it is:
        1). a will that never assents to any errant proposition as if it were true; and,
        2). a will that never wills to do anything other than that which is good and well-pleasing to God.

        Jesus possessed THIS definition of Human Free Will.
        Jesus (in His humanity) did NOT possess ‘the power of contrary choice’ to assent to error, or to sin.
        The glorified saints in the eschaton will also NOT possess ‘the power of contrary choice’ to err, or to sin, but they will be TOTALLY FREE…just like Jesus was when He walked the earth.

        3) Apparently the Blogger hasn’t really listened to what I stated in the video, since I was pointing out that Dr. Flowers’ NONSENSE comes when he:
        1. claims that Human Free Will and Human Responsibility are synonymous terms (which Leighton doesn’t even realize he’s doing…this is due to his ignorance of what he’s talking about; he claims that ‘free will is ‘the power of contrary choice,’ and that ‘responsibility’ mean: able to respond [either positively or negatively to the Gospel]; which makes his definitions of ‘free will’ and ‘responsibility’ synonyms.); but yet, at the same time, Dr. Flowers,
        2. claims that [while free will and responsibility are synonyms] free will actually ESTABLISHES responsibility.

        Well, if ‘free will’ and ‘responsibility’ are synonymous terms, then how can the one ESTABLISH the other?
        See how this is illogical? See how Dr. Flowers is holding to utter nonsense here?

        My whole point, which was seemingly completely lost on our Blogger friend, was just that:
        Because Leighton doesn’t define his terms properly—that is, biblically—he ends up spewing nonsense like this.

        Thinking Christians can see it; but Leighton Flowers and, apparently, our Blogger friend, cannot.

        I would encourage anyone else to watch my videos on Free Will, Responsibility, and “Molinism Rejected,” I think they’ll be helpful.

        Thanks for trying to get the conversation going as well, I appreciate it.

        Soli Deo Gloria

      6. “Okay, here’s just a quick response to the response from from Soteriology101 Blogger concerning the contents of the video.
        1) notice how he didn’t even attempt to answer my argumentation, but yet claims I am the one attempting to speak EX CATHEDRA (which is a term generally relegated to the Papists…not Bible-believing Reformed Christians who have always opposed the lies of the Romanists).

        br.d
        That’s because I didn’t see any LOGICAL argument – all I saw were claims.
        There is a difference between making claims and laying out analytical arguments.

        THEN:
        When Dr. Flowers states that human free will is the “flip side” of Divine Holiness, he’s is absolutely saying that ‘you cannot have the one without the other’.
        Apparently the Blogger needs a class in Logic.

        br.d
        This is exactly as I thought
        He is ASSUMING Dr. Flowers is presupposing something that Dr. Flowers actually didn’t state.
        We don’t know if Dr. Flowers is using the phrase “flip side” as a turn of phrase.
        So to make a whole argument out of something that is ASSUMED – lets me know I don’t need to take seriously the comment about needing a class in logic.

        THEN
        On a currency coin where there are two sides–heads and tails–you cannot have one without the other. And that is EXACTLY what Dr. Flowers is asserting. Not my words, but his.

        br.d
        That is true for a coin – but is that what Dr. Flowers actually said?

        THEN
        The Blogger then goes on to assert something about a bunch of folks who hold to the same fallacious definition of ‘free will’ that he and Dr. Flowers do. Well, that’s not gonna help the discussion; it’s a logical fallacy of argumentum ad populum mixed with the fallacy of ‘argument from authority’. So, two logical fallacies back-to-back.
        See how faulty thinking in theological issues spread to one’s apologetic methodology?

        br.d
        The problem with this argument is that it works both ways.
        And asserting these names represent -quote “a bunch of folks who hold the the same fallacious definition” is just another example of speaking EX-CATHEDRA. I could imagine all of my arguments successfully rebutting that level of scholarship. But that would simply be my imagination.

        And somehow I don’t think I’ll see this fellows published works interacting with the Christian scholars I mentioned any time soon.

        THEN
        Not only this, but he mentions Dr. William Lane Craig! Interesting that I’ve made a video with clips from both Dr. Craig (Molinist) and Pastor Mike Winger (also a Molinist) where BOTH men state that God’s knowledge is DEPENDENT UPON HIS CREATION FOR HIS KNOWLEDGE OF IT.

        br.d
        I would like to see a quote from Dr. Craig where he states “God’s knowledge is dependent upon his creation for his knowledge of it”.
        I don’t see why its necessary to put words in other people’s mouths.
        Its a standard practice of honesty to provide quotes with references.

        THEN
        This is why the Reformed scholastic theologian, Francis Turretin (1623-1687), rebuked this Jesuit invention of “middle knowledge” in his, “Institutes of Elencetic Theology” because it made God’s knowledge dependent. And, now, the Jesuit infection of “middle knowledge” has come in to Evangelical circles, thanks to folks like Dr. Craig.
        Truly an amazing thing to behold…especially if one has a biblical view of Eschatology!

        br.d
        So now we have an appeal to a “Reformed scholastic theologian”
        But I won’t call this the “argument from authority” :-]

        THEN
        2) ‘The power of contrary choice’ as the definition of ‘free will’ that all synergistic groups of Christians give. This is one of the main aspects of the debate that seriously divides us. And, yes, I am aware of the plethora of folks throughout Church History and Historical Theology who have held to the same, fallacious view of Human Free will that Dr. Flowers (et. al.) hold. It is another infection of man-made philosophically speculative thinking that has plagued the church for millennia.

        br.d
        This is of again this fellow’s position.
        If he really had successful arguments on this subject – then he probably would be interacting with people above Dr. Flower’s pay grade.
        But I think the accusations and finger pointing let us know that is not going to happen.

        THEN
        It may be that my definition is a “minority view,” but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Not only this, but the Blogger certainly doesn’t expect us to fall for the logical fallacy of argumentum ad populum does he? An argumentum ad populum is an “argument from popularity”: just because an OPINION is a popular one, doesn’t make it a correct one.

        br.d
        No need to fall for appeal to authority by population – or Argumentum ad populum – if one likes to use Latin phrases.
        But there is a balance to that – as the scripture states it – “In in the multitude of counselors there is safety”.
        That is not to automatically assume that the higher population is right.
        But its not a path of wisdom to err in the opposite direction either.

        Bottom line – in scholarship – scholars interact with one another through published works that are highly vetted for a reason.
        If one believes the works of those scholars are fallacious – there is nothing preventing one from interacting with them on a scholarly basis. But I don’t think that is about to happen in this case.

        THEN
        The BIBLICALLY DERIVED definition of Human Libertarian Free Will (as I have pointed out in other videos on my channel) is NOT, ‘the power of contrary choice’ that’s not opinion; that’s biblical fact.

        br.d
        I wonder if this Calvinist knows that a preponderance of academic Calvinists reject Libertarian Freedom in any form?
        Paul Helm’s and ; Dr. James N. Anderson, of the Reformed Theological Seminary, for example both have written articles insisting that the Westminster confession presupposes “compatibilist” freedom – and they both reject Libertarian Freedom in any form as logically impossible.

        THEN
        Jesus gives us a two-part definition of Human Free Will in Jn. 8:31-38, and it is:
        1). a will that never assents to any errant proposition as if it were true; and,
        2). a will that never wills to do anything other than that which is good and well-pleasing to God.

        Jesus possessed THIS definition of Human Free Will.
        Jesus (in His humanity) did NOT possess ‘the power of contrary choice’ to assent to error, or to sin.
        The glorified saints in the eschaton will also NOT possess ‘the power of contrary choice’ to err, or to sin, but they will be TOTALLY FREE…just like Jesus was when He walked the earth.

        br.d
        This is of course an INTERPRETATION of the text.
        And as we already know – it represents a minority view.
        And the majority view which has stood now for many years – doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy of being LOGICALLY refuted any time soon.
        Although one can never tell what the future will bring.
        But we do understand that a trend that is sustained over many years represents a statistical probability.

        THEN
        3) Apparently the Blogger hasn’t really listened to what I stated in the video, since I was pointing out that Dr. Flowers’ NONSENSE comes when he:
        1. claims that Human Free Will and Human Responsibility are synonymous terms (which Leighton doesn’t even realize he’s doing…this is due to his ignorance of what he’s talking about; he claims that ‘free will is ‘the power of contrary choice,’ and that ‘responsibility’ mean: able to respond [either positively or negatively to the Gospel]; which makes his definitions of ‘free will’ and ‘responsibility’ synonyms.); but yet, at the same time, Dr. Flowers,
        2. claims that [while free will and responsibility are synonyms] free will actually ESTABLISHES responsibility.

        br.d
        When I read William Lane Craig articles – I do observe sequential logical arguments that are laid out with disciplined precision.
        And I don’t see any EX-CATHEDRA speaking there.
        I think this fellow could use that as a good example.

        THEN
        Well, if ‘free will’ and ‘responsibility’ are synonymous terms, then how can the one ESTABLISH the other?
        See how this is illogical? See how Dr. Flowers is holding to utter nonsense here?

        br.d
        I wonder if this is another case of taking something Dr. Flowers said and ASSUMING something he doesn’t explicitly state?

        THEN
        My whole point, which was seemingly completely lost on our Blogger friend, was just that:
        Because Leighton doesn’t define his terms properly—that is, biblically—he ends up spewing nonsense like this.

        br.d
        I think we can say that this fellow doesn’t seem to have the luxury of interacting with any degree of normal charity.
        And normally that is considered a sign that someone is trying to make up logical weakness.

        I’m glad this fellow was a gentleman at least to you Kevin. :-]
        But over the years – I’ve seen all to many Calvinists huffing and puffing – to not recognize it as an unfortunate behavior pattern.

      7. Ok – I had to go into youtube and find Dr. Flowers original video in order to find out what he actually said.

        Yes it is true – he did make the following statement:

        At Minute 17:00
        -quote
        The biblical Defense of human free will is just the other side of the doctrine of divine holiness.
        The two sides of the same exact coin.
        Free will – free autonomous will – is the flip side of the same coin of divine holiness
        Or separateness from sin.

        That’s what holiness is – being separate from sin.
        Its the doctrine that establishes that creatures alone are responsible for moral evil.
        And that everyone has the moral responsibility – the ability to respond to God’s appeal to be reconciled from the fall, despite their condition. And thus stand without any excuse.”
        -end quote

        So then he goes on to show a quote from John Piper in which Piper states that “Holiness” is defined as “separateness” from that which is not God – which would include sin.

        Now here is where we get an explicit picture of Dr. Flower’s use of the word “Autonomy”.

        Dr. Flowers
        -quote
        “I believe though well intending, Calvinists have failed to see that the traditionalist defense of “separateness” is “autonomy” is actually a defense of God’s holiness. Or his separateness from all that is not God.”
        -end quote

        So Dr. Flowers is stating that in his mind Piper’s user of the term “separate” is synonymous to his use of the term “autonomy”.
        If this is the case then Dr. Flowers is not using the term “autonomy” to mean “self-governing” or “a law unto one’s self”.

        Its possible that he derives this usage from the Greeks who would have used the term “autonomy” to distinguish their local government as “separate” from the governments of other localities.

        From there Dr. Flowers goes on to present the substance of his argument
        -quote
        It is senseless to speak of God’s Holiness (as separateness) unless there is something outside of God from which to separate.
        And if you insist that God is unchangeably determining all creature’s sinful inclinations so as to specifically bring glory to his self, then how can it be said that God at the same time, has wholly separated his self from that sin?
        You might as well be claiming [A] = [NOT A] (i.e. God is both separate and not separate).
        God cannot be separated from his own choices – and he cannot be separated from his own decrees.
        -end quote

        br.d
        So I suspect Dr. Flower’s use of the term “Autonomy” is having the effect of pocking a Calvinist bear with a stick. :-]

        He appears to be using it in this case – as a referent to infer “separateness”
        But it comes with many other connotations – especially to a Calvinist audience
        So the disturbance that comes with using the term probably outweighs the usefulness of using it.

      8. Well answered, Br.d. I agree that it probably wasn’t the best term to use here. But your comment on how the Greeks used the term “autonomy” to distinguish their local government as “separate” from the governments of other localities piqued my interest. We would speak of the autonomy of the local church in the same way. If autonomy means self-government, God gave to the local church the right of self-government. In the New Testament each local church was subject to Christ and His authority alone. This right of self-government (autonomy) depends in its application upon two other scriptural principles characteristic of each church of Christ: – The principle of the independence of each church and the equality of all the churches of Christ.

        It is interesting how the right to autonomy – the freedom and ability to govern their own affairs – can still exist while under the headship of Christ. God knows how to strike a balance!

      9. Yes I totally agree Aidan!
        God knows how to create a best possible world for his creatures.
        And show us what true agape love looks like!

        We are very blessed!
        Thanks! :-]

      10. Spot on, Br.d! This does “show us what true agape love looks like!” God’s Love paves the way yet again. Amen!

      11. Hey BRD,

        I told you he was just like you. He is very philosophical. I also think it is very good that both of you are very cordial and respectful.

        I due think he has responded better to you at this point than I have seen yet.

        Although I know you were making quick comments and did not due and in-depth study or listening to his video.

        Thanks BRD

    1. Example, of the spirit of Calvinism in action-Situation, related to someones confession of faith:

      History on a tweet: A ‘new christian’ takes opportunity to express once publicly ‘ex-christian’ to ‘atheist ‘ but ‘now christian’ and is an ‘ex-atheist.’ ( This artist argued against THE FAITH as an atheist.)

      Then evident, someone shares who holds calvinistic theology-

      (The Christian, now ex-Atheist)
      After reexamining the evidence for theism and the Christian faith, I’ve decided to follow Jesus. I know my atheist and agnostic friends will have questions. I understand. I’ll try to discuss my reasons for abandoning atheism to take up my cross and follow Him.

      (calvinist spirit shared:)
      Just know, that evidence doesn’t convert anyone, nor does it save anyone. While Christianity is the only rational position, the conversion to accepting Jesus is caused by the Gospel and the granting, from God, of such faith. This leaves room for no boasting.

      (I then share;)
      Soteriology101-a response resource- ironSharpenSiron
      https://m.youtube.com/user/MrLeightonFlowers/videos…
      For those who really!come!Rev22:17to believe-1Cor15*1-4Isaiah53-the scriptures according to theSpiritofTruth determined against philosophical determinism:practically we believe TheInstructor-John3:12-21

      Soteriology101
      Former Calvinistic professor explains why Calvinism is not Biblical
      youtube.com

      (Calvinistic response to me:)
      Supposedly, this was a response to a tweet, which simply says, “evidence doesn’t convert anyone”. I’m not sure this responds to what I’ve said, except to replace every word in this reply with, “check out Leighton Flowers”… which any reformer has done.
      Quote Tweet
      Soteriology101-a response resource- ironSharpenSiron
      https://m.youtube.com/user/MrLeightonFlowers/videos…
      For those who really!come!Rev22:17to believe-1Cor15*1-4Isaiah53-the scriptures according to theSpiritofTruth determined against philosophical determinism:practically we believe TheInstructor-John3:12-21

      ( I respond back)
      Thanks for reposting.
      I considered all who may read the thread,interested in the particular&subtle interpretive differences.Tweets limit.I shared a resource having discerned ur position u wanted to share.
      Note:reformer does not=reformed Calvinist
      Sot101-new 2 me as a resource 1year ago

      (Calvinistic réponse to me)
      The reformed position is monergistic. You can call it Calvinism, or reformed Calvinism. When you insert the autonomy of man, it becomes any other term synergism can attach to.

      (My response to Calvinist)
      1/2I read theBible.I came to know JesusChrist,evidential in history,really resurrected from the dead.Then I confessed God’s work for our sins,now in faith giving all glory to God alone,my Savior .While seeking thetruth I came2believe thisbible was actually Scripture,living&active

      2/2God crossed me over fromdeath2life.He assures who willbegiven theSpiritofGuarantee,sealed the moment we really believe God in Truth.I have theright to be called a child of God,I standfirm on TheTestimony He sought to save the lost 4eternity.
      FYI-not a Ref,CalorArm1Cor1:10-25

    2. Thanks for posting this and link. I like it when a Calvinist is unashamed to embrace the idea that God does NOT love all people. There are so many issues with his video but it is a great source for seeing what Calvinism actually teaches…
      Many false conclusions about those who oppose his idea…and is so classic in the way he says only he as a calvinist is humble. All other ways of view this is not as humble as he is.
      Calvinists characteristically talk about their own humility the most. I wonder where that comes from?
      BR.D could have a hay day with this one. So much to unpack. Even I as a novice can see through this.

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