The Stories We Tell

This month Justin Dillehay, pastor and contributing editor at The Gospel Coalition, wrote a piece about his conversion from Arminianism to Calvinism being spurred on by Romans 8. Let’s examine the story he is telling his reading audience so that, later, when he gets to discussing the Scriptures, you will believe him despite the fact that Pastor Dillehay misses Paul’s point completely and provides flimsy argumentation for his claims, if any argument is provided at all.

In other words, I was one of you so the following anecdote can be trusted.

I appreciate Pastor Dillehay accurately portraying non-Calvinism’s general view as influence-response. That’s charitable. But what does Romans 8:28-30 have to do with how people become saved? Is the question that Paul is answering, “How do I know I’m saved?” or “How did I become saved?”? Is that the concern of Paul’s audience that our inspired author of Romans is attempting to assuage? Keep that question in mind as I will return to it after we examine Pastor Dillehay’s narrative.

He continues:

How did I become a Calvinist? Pffft, it’s simple, I ran up against the Bible. The implication being, of course, that Arminians have, in contrast to Calvinists, not “run up against” Romans 8:28-30. Or, at least, have not “run up against” it sufficiently. He says as much:

Arminians don’t have a robust answer to Rom 8:28-30 because Pastor Dillehay says they don’t. After all, he didn’t find it while he was an Arminian so his testimony it doesn’t exist must be true.

I know that is a bit sarcastic but do you see the presumptions Dillehay is making that he hopes go by unnoticed? He’s not making an argument, he’s telling a story.

1. I was one of you so I’m not biased; you can trust what I’m saying
2. All I did was read the Bible and now I’m a Calvinist
and then what he goes on to say in the next quote…
3. Since the preaching of a Calvinist caused me to doubt, Arminianism is weak and Calvinism is correct. Watch:

See, all he did was hear a single sermon about Calvinism and, because of his subjective experience from the sermon, we can trust his claim that Calvinism is true.

Narrative, Not Evidence

If all Pastor Dillehay was doing was telling the subjective experience of his conversion to Calvinism; that would be fine. We all have those monumental, epiphany experiences that changed the course of our lives. But instead, he uses his personal anecdote as a substitute for evidence, as a way of making his argument sound compelling.

The problem is; his argument isn’t compelling on it’s own merits. He smuggles in Calvinist presuppositions from the beginning and misses Paul’s point completely.

Will the Chain Be Unbroken? is not the question. The two relevant questions are; Who is Paul talking about? Who are the “Fore-known ones”? and Why is Paul talking about them? Pastor Dillehay simply assumes the “foreknown” are every-single-Christian-ever and seems unaware of any other option for who they are and unaware that the non-Calvinist can happily consider the chain unbroken depending upon who they are. Pastor Dillehay assumes the foreknown ones are the individually-elected-from-eternity-past of Calvinism without argument or evidence. Look:

Foreknown = individually elected for salvation. Pastor Dillehay assumes this definition and either does not realize he is assuming it or is hoping his readers won’t notice. Dr. Flowers has elsewhere provided a compelling case for who the “foreknown-ones” are.

Knowing the Mind of God

So, we all know the drill from here, right? Those who are individually predestined for salvation are also called and justified and glorified. Those who have been around the soteriological controversies for even a short period of time are aware of the Calvinist Golden Chain of Redemption argument.

Let’s return to this question: is this really about how people become saved? Is the audience concerned about their eternal security in God’s family as Pastor Dillehay presumes they are?

Here is an excellent article where Pastor Bob Hadley clearly argues that, according to the context and a solid exegesis of Romans 8, the Roman Christians are concerned with the question of whether or not their present sufferings are worth it and whether or not God’s promises to vindicate their sufferings can be trusted. For the rest of this post, though, let’s assume the question is what this pastor presumes it is. Let’s evaluate Pastor Dillehay’s answer to this question of how Christians can know they are saved:

Pastor Dillehay makes a good point that Paul is making a “knowledge claim” but I don’t see how he answers his own question. How can being “foreknown” in the mind of God be something we can know? How can being “predestined” by the mind of God something we can know? Is being “justified”, which is a divine position before God, something we can know? We can have hope in future glorification, to be sure, but how can we “know” eventual glorification?

In this article, while I’m sure this is not on purpose, we have a clear example of someone telling an anecdotal story about their subjective experiences so that when they get to their argument you will not notice how weak it is. So that you will not notice that Pastor Dillehay sees Paul telling his audience that their assurance in salvation rests in the impossible task of knowing the mind of God.

So even if Pastor Dillehay is correct, and the Roman Christians are wondering how they can know their salvation is assured, he sees Paul as completely failing to provide that assurance.

Ackshully

As such, Pastor Dillehay completely fails to argue his case. His final paragraph is a series of conclusions he did not even argue for much less provide biblical evidence for.

Actually, that’s not even what Pastor Dillehay claimed Forlines said. He said Forlines argued, “The nature of that loving relationship requires a free—and undetermined—response on our part…. God could influence us, but he respected our personhood by always leaving the final decision up to us.” Response to what? The Gospel appeal. Final Decision for what? Faith

Forlines, and non-Calvinism, is arguing that which individuals would put their faith in Christ is not guaranteed because such a guarantee would destroy the opportunity for a loving relationship. The non-Calvinist argument is not that there can be no other guarantees in the plan of salvation.

So we have this former Arminian who is seemingly unaware of the difference between a guarantee as to which individuals will put their faith in Christ and a guarantee as to what God will do for those individuals who place themselves in Christ by faith. But you can trust his evaluation of Arminianism because he was once an Arminian.

Actually, you didn’t show this from the passage, Pastor Dillehay. You didn’t make an argument for this claim, you just claimed it was true. Yet, Paul tells us exactly what guarantee he has in mind “if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together” (v. 17). It is guaranteed that if we suffer then we will be glorified.

The only other alternative reading to Romans 8 is that “people can fall out of the chain at an point” because that’s what Pastor Dillehay believed when he was one. See how that works?

Actually, yes, that’s exactly what it means. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that God guarantees the outcome no matter what we do and then also say that what we do matters to the outcome. If your goal is to be rational, you’re going to have to pick one.

Yes, that is exactly what it means. If you’re saying that God guarantees an outcome then you are exactly saying that the outcome is assured regardless of our behavior.

I cannot understand how anyone who does not already agree with Pastor Dillehay could find this argument compelling. Returning to Dillehay’s charitable recounting of the non-Calvinist position, his argument is thus:

  1. Non-Calvinist believe that God’s action in salvation is influence-response relationship because that makes a loving relationship possible
  2. But that cannot be true because that means which individuals enters the family of God is up to human beings who are fickle.
  3. Therefore, God must predestine which individuals enter His family so that His purposes of working all things out will be accomplished

This argument is terrible for two reasons. First, the two premises have nothing to do with one another. Human beings can be fickle and influence-response can still be necessary for a loving relationship. Second, it pictures God as so weak, and so unpersuasive, His Word/gospel/messengers as so lacking influence, that He is unable to accomplishes His purposes without predestining everything.

A great basketball player can guarantee a win over an opposing team, while only having control over how he personally plays, and then go out and accomplish that guarantee even if he plays against real opponents. But not God. God can only guarantee victory if He also controls (predestines) the opponents and not just his own actions in the world. This view of God claims to elevated God while it actually weakens Him.

The narrative comes full circle: Since the author was once an Arminian, and when he was an Arminian he had no answer to this conundrum, and since the first time he heard a Calvinist sermon he doubted his previous non-answer…Since the author tells you this is true, therefore you can trust the author when he claims that only on Calvinism is God in charge, only on Calvinism is the outcome secure, and only on Calvinism can there be a guarantee.

39 thoughts on “The Stories We Tell

  1. The comments on his previous background: ” I was one of you so the following anecdote can be trusted.” and “I was one of you so I’m not biased; you can trust what I’m saying”. Were awfully strange and seemed mildly hypocritical. is’n’t one of the huge things about the founder of this site that he was once a 5 pointer calvinist who switched over? Seems like you comments on Justin could be applied back to you guys.

    1. Hey Will, I get what you’re saying. Telling stories as a part of our conversion narrative is fine, like I say in the article, we all have them and that’s great. The difference, however, is that Dr. Flowers doesn’t say anything like “All I did was read the Bible and hear a single non-Calvinist concept and *whew* that was that!”. Dr. Flowers tells the story of how he was exposed to these new ideas and then goes on to make actually cogent arguments and doesn’t rest you believing his arguments IN his story. I understand this can be up to dispute but I think Pastor Dillehay does the latter.

    2. Hello Will Arthur and welcome.

      You have a point
      Just because someone has a background in position_A from which they’ve switched – it doesn’t automatically follow that that one is declaring they’re shift to position_B can be trusted.

      Augustine for example transitioned from Gnosticism, to NeoPlatonism
      And NeoPlatonism then opened the door for his transition into Catholicism
      And – some scholars say – to eventually mix the three systems together.
      The degree to which that is true is the degree to which one would not be inclined to automatically trust.

  2. Once again Eric…thanks for your article.
    Many weaknesses with Pastor Dillehay’s “argument”.
    As if God cannot guarantee an outcome with out Him having meticulous divine control of all human responses.
    Calvinism makes God out to be very weak indeed.
    The God of Scripture can let man make real choices and He can still win every time. Not a problem if your God is big enough. Now if your God is small and lacking in wisdom and creativity then yes He has to meticulously control every response of man in order for Him to even have a chance at winning. But that is only true if God is weak and lacking in wisdom.

  3. How does he deal with the scripture that says “Many are *CALLED* but few are chosen”?
    That would seem to contradict the presupposition that CALLED guarantees “justified”

    I suspect we will find the answer – in the Calvinist’s ability to:
    – Make verses say what they don’t say
    – Twist verses into irrational pretzels
    – Force verses into humanly contrived boxes
    – Pound square verses into round holes. :-]

      1. Thanks Timothy
        So that would mean that for the Calvinist – the “Calling” that is refereed to in one verse is a calling to salvation
        While the “Calling” that is elsewhere is a “Calling” to damnation?

        Is there a golden chain for that calling as well?

    1. Hi BR.D…that is tactic #134 Which is: Take any pesky word in scripture that does not support Calvinism, create a “By-pass” category that allows you to get around the obvious meaning.
      As you stated doesn’t the use of the word “CALL” create a problem for them? ie…”many are called but few are chosen”.

      Tactic #134 says create a “By-pass Category” Yes, “Call” would be a problem but by Creating a second Call out of the exact same greek word you can circumvent any pesky contradiction you want.
      Call #1 is a non-effectual call, in other words it is a call that never works.
      Call #2 is the “effectual-call” the one that one forcibly regenerates people against their wills. (Exact same greek word)

      So how do you use this tactic as a Calvinist? Here is how:
      Whenever the context obviously shows that some were “called” but did not respond properly simply assert that this “Call” was of the non-effectual variety (Call #1) even though it is the exact same greek word.

      Then in a context where people did respond correctly simply assert that was Call #2 the “effectual-call” that forcibly regenerates people against their wills. Problem solved by creating “By-pass categories” any problem is easily done away with. Very clever but not very honest.
      They do this with all kinds of key biblical terms:
      Faith, Love, World, ALL, Give, etc…. With a host of tactics like that you can make the Word Conform to anything you want even Gnosticism. Very sad but true…

      1. Great post GraceAdict! :-]

        1001 ways to make scripture say what you want it to say today – and if need be – say the opposite tomorrow!

  4. Thanks Eric. Love the format of evaluating what one says (in this case writes) as they say it and pointing out the weaknesses and hidden issues. .

    This is typical of a Calvinist to paint a dichotomy that doesn’t exist and then say because one (Arminian interpretation) doesn’t work the other (Calvinist interpretation) must be true. My (former) Calvinist pastor did the same thing when covering Romans 8:28-30. There are two views to choose from, This one doesn’t work so the other one must be correct. I know of at least 4 different views/perspectives/interpretations of this passage. Through my own study I’ve come to an understanding and agree with Leighton’s view of what this passage teaches. But not because Leighton believes it, but because after studying it for myself I’ve found that makes the most sense.
    it relies on the most commonly used meaning for “proginosko,” it flows with what the words actually say (one who is a believer is predestined to be conformed to image of Christ, not one who is not a believer is predestined to be saved), it allows a simple understanding of the tense of the words Paul used (glorified in past tense) without having to get into Paul’s head and saying “I know Paul wrote glorified, but I know what what he really meant was that it’s such a sure thing that he speaks about it as if it’s already happened,” it fits the context of what Paul was teaching in chapter 8, and it perfectly fits with what Paul was trying to get across to the Roman Christians at the time (as Eric noted above).

    1. Thanks for the feedback re: the format. That really helps. I’m trying something out and hopefully it makes things clear and helps readers see the structure of the arguments being made

  5. So basically you’re beside yourself that he came to Calvinism from Arminianism when there is a plethora of fake former Calvinists who supposedly left and went the other way for similar “the bible told me so” reasons. It’s a bit hypocritical of your position and general attitude and culture, don’t ya think?

    Scripture is really clear that God chooses or predestines people to salvation. Depending on who critiques articles like this depends on the kind of gymnastics used to circumvent the clear application of God’s sovereign choice in salvation. The reason more and more are flocking to Calvinism is because it’s scriptural, rich, organized, and deeply defended all throughout scripture. So many others seem to be led by society, which is why new religions and pseudo religions like traditionalism pop up every few generations. Gotta follow the money though, right? Just look at how liberal the SBC has become, go figure.

    1. Hello Chris and welcome.

      Of course it goes without saying – the fully invested Jehovah’s Witness is going to see in scripture whatever affirms his personal investment.
      A phenomenon one should totally expect for any human
      And Calvinists are no less human
      So we no surprise to expect the same.

      However, if scripture is as clear as the Jehovah’s Witness and the Calvinists claim – then why are both of these theologies a minority view?

      And then we have the consistent phenomenon of Calvinist DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS.

      If Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) is true – then what you see posted here is the consequence of infallible decrees which no one here has the power to disobey. It LOGICALLY follows – absolutely nothing about anything that comes to pass is UP DO US

      So if one is angry about what comes to pass here – then one is infallibly decreed to be angry about what is infallibly decreed.
      Which simply serves as another example of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS inherent with Calvinism.

      Blessings!

      1. BRD, why is it the minority? Who says it is? You mean in America today, okay. And? The early Christians had a minority view. The Reformers at the time had a minority view as the Catholics had a majority view. If this is how you decipher what is good or bad, then I guess this tells us why you are part of this ministry. Yet if you are a traditionalist, that is merely a partial view of the SBC, and a rather new belief. The tradition is supposedly based on traditions of man in the SBC when we all know it was started by Calvinists, so why the “double-mindedness”?

        It’s so surprising that you deny divine determinism. Imagine if Paul was here today. Are you an open theist? I know lots of folks are heading or already there from Sot101.

      2. Chris
        BRD, why is it the minority? Who says it is?

        br.d
        Its a minority view in terms of the world’s population of Christianity.
        The last time I looked at the statistics – I think it was around 13%

        Chris
        The early Christians had a minority view.

        br.d
        The early church had a minority religion – not a minority view in Christianity.

        Chris
        The Reformers at the time had a minority view as the Catholics had a majority view.

        br.d
        Correct – and unfortunately the reformers got their view from Augustine – which is Catholicism mixed with a heavy dose of NeoPlatonism, and seasoned with Stoicism and a pinch of Gnostisism.

        Chris
        If this is how you decipher what is good or bad, then I guess this tells us why you are part of this ministry. Yet if you are a traditionalist, that is merely a partial view of the SBC, and a rather new belief.

        br.d
        Did I say anything about “good or bad”?
        And who is “us” in this case?

        However, if something is a minority view – its normally because people have enough common sense to avoid it.
        Now the Jehovah’s Witness can argue that people avoid their doctrine because it is Holy Spirit inspired.
        So anyone could expect the Calvinist to make the same claim.
        For whatever that is worth.

        Chris
        The tradition is supposedly based on traditions of man in the SBC when we all know it was started by Calvinists, so why the “double-mindedness.

        br.d
        I’m not affiliated with any particular group – so that really mean’s nothing to me.
        But I do get the opportunity to observe a great deal of Calvinist DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS

        Chris
        It’s so surprising that you deny divine determinism. Imagine if Paul was here today. Are you an open theist? I know lots of folks are heading or already there from Sot101.

        br.d
        Chris – you’ve just provided yet another example of Calvinist DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS.
        You say its not surprising that I deny divine determinism – while according to the doctrine of divine determinism – everything I do was infallibly decreed at the foundation of the world.

        Is it not DOUBLE-MINDED for you to think I can disobey an infallible decree?

        So Calvin’s god infallibly decreed you come you here to be upset with something that he has infallibly decreed come to pass here.

        Why would he do that to you?
        Is he having fun at your expense? :-]

    2. Chris says: “Scripture is really clear that God chooses or predestines people to salvation.”

      Really!?! Then do you know what’s not “really clear”? Whether YOU are really one of the elect or not! Good luck with that. May the lottery be in your favor.

      1. Heather – thought you might get a kick out of:

        CALVINISM’S DOUBLE-THINK VERSION OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD

        There once was a good shepherd who had 100 totally depraved sheep.

        For one of the totally depraved sheep, the good shepherd dedicated a room in his house, ensuring it all the lush comforts his good house could provide.

        The other 99 totally depraved sheep, he sent to a torture chamber to be viciously tortured to death.

        Once the shepherd’s good pleasure was accomplished, he turned to the one totally depraved sheep he had saved and said:

        “I saved the one totally depraved sheep and passed over the 99 – because the 99 were totally depraved.” :-]

      2. Hallo Heather,

        Not so sure what you mean. Why do you not know who is chosen? It is believers. Are you a true believer? NT authors have gone to great lengths to address this from those who were afraid. Are you one of the chosen/elect in Christ?

      3. Chris
        NT authors have gone to great lengths to address this …. the chosen/elect in Christ

        br.d
        Yes – but in Calvinism scripture represents nothing more than the ENUNCIATED will of god.
        To be differentiated from the SECRET will of god.

        And John Calvin is very clear that the TRUE elect is a divine SECRET.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        quote
        We are *NOT* bidden to distinguish between reprobate and elect – that is for God alone, not for us, to do (Institutes)

        -quote
        But because a *SMALL* and contemptible number are hidden in a *HUGE* multitude and a *FEW* grains of wheat are covered by a *PILE* of chaff, we must leave to God alone the knowledge of his church, whose foundation is his SECRET election. (Institutes)

        So you don’t know if you personally are within the *FEW* grains of wheat – or within the *PILE* of chaff.

        Unless you have a way of knowing divine SECRETS :-]

      4. Another quote from Calvin:
        “[T]hough none are enlightened into faith, and truly feel the efficacy of the Gospel, with the exception of those who are fore-ordained to salvation, yet experience shows that the reprobate are sometimes affected in a way so similar to the elect, that even in their own judgment there is no difference between them… Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord, the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse, instills into their minds such a sense of his goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption.” (Institutes 3.2.11)
        So Chris, as a Calvinist, you can never really be sure if you’re one of the elect or not. According to Calvin, You may or may not be one who has been “affected in a way so similar to the elect, that even in their own judgment there is now difference between them.” How do you know you’re not one of these?
        In addition, if a Calvinist is consistent with what he says he believes, his assurance isn’t simply based on faith. Since he is unable to exercise his faith (total inability), faith is just third in line. Calvinist version of election/predestination is first, Calvinist regeneration is second, and faith is third. So the cause of salvation for a Calvinist is not faith, but election. A Calvinist can have what he thinks was faith (which Calvin says can be an illusion), but what makes the faith a real one is if he was one of the elect and was regenerated first. Which leads right back to Heather’s initial question, how do you know whether you are really one of the elect or not?

      5. Excellent analysis andyb2015!

        Yes – per Calvin’s quote: “even in their own judgment there is no difference between them”

        This makes perfect sense when you think about the full ramifications of Theological Determinism

        1) Every human thought, impulse and perception is determined at the foundation of the world before humans exist.
        2) Every human perception of everything a human perceives – is thus determined by an external mind.
        3) We know that there is no human mind that does not have FALSE perceptions.
        4) Which means that Calvin’s god must determine Calvinists to have the FALSE perceptions they have.
        5) Any ability to discern a predestined FALSE perception – would negate Calvin’s god’s decree for them to have that FALSE perception.
        6) Thus the immutable decree leaves them without any ability to distinguish a FALSE perception from a TRUE one

        CONCLUSION:
        The Calvinist brain is not his own
        Nothing about any perception that comes to pass within it – is UP TO HIM.

        Every perception is predetermined *FOR* for him by an external mind.
        He is totally vulnerable to whatever perceptions Calvin’s god determines come to pass within his brain.

        Where can I sign up for that! :-]

  6. All humans are totally depraved. God decides according to His own pleasure. He picks one and drop the other. Many of you are complaining about this and keep on insisting a universal salvation when it is not possible. Christ said that : “He offered His life to the sheep” not to the goats. (John 10:11)
    God created vessels unto honor and also vessels for destruction according to the the book of Romans chap. 9

    1. JT – according to your own doctrine – what you are seeing here is only what Calvin’s god decreed to infallibly come to pass.
      Do we humans have the power to disobey infallible decrees?

      If you don’t like a puppet show – there’s no sense in complaining to the puppets!
      They can’t be or do otherwise than what they’ve been decreed to be and do

      Oh wait – I get it!
      Calvin’s god infallibly decreed that you would visit SOT101
      And he also infallibly decreed that you would not like – what he infallibly decreed come to pass here!

      Now that makes perfect sense doesn’t it! :-]

  7. Br.D., asks : “Do we humans have the power to disobey infallible decrees?”

    ——–My Response ——–
    If God will allow you to do that, then you can’t afford to say to Him your famous dictum – “double speak” . There is nothing impossible with God. No one can dictate on what He needs to do, for He is not accountable to anybody else.

    1. Br.D., asks : “Do we humans have the power to disobey infallible decrees?”

      jtlesosala
      If God will allow you to do that, then you can’t afford to say to Him your famous dictum – “double speak” . There is nothing impossible with God. No one can dictate on what He needs to do, for He is not accountable to anybody else.

      br.d
      So you are asserting that Calvin’s god “allows” humans to falsify and negate his infallible decrees?

      Let your communication be YEA or NAY – for anything else comes of evil.

      1. br.d
        “So you are asserting that Calvin’s god “allows” humans to falsify and negate his infallible decrees?”

        ——My Response——

        Its not an assertion. It is what the scriptures say

      2. br.d
        So you are asserting that Calvin’s god “allows” humans to falsify and negate his infallible decrees?”

        jtleosala
        Its not an assertion. It is what the scriptures say

        br.d
        So what the Calvinist sees when he reads scripture – is a FALLIBLE creature having sovereignty over an INFALLIBLE god’s decree
        Such that that creature can make that INFALLIBLE decree FALLIBLE.

        That is about as RATIONAL as what a Jehovah’s Witness will see when he reads scripture.

        Its no wonder Calvinists don’t recognize their own DOUBLE-THINK :-]

      3. Br.d. says: “So what the Calvinist sees when he reads scripture – is a FALLIBLE creature having sovereignty over an INFALLIBLE god’s decree…”

        Excellent! And I wonder what good an “infallible” decree is if it’s actually fallible. You’d think Calvi-god would be “sovereign” enough to make his infallible decrees “infallible” – unable to be thwarted by mere humans. And of course, he’s really just thwarting his own infallible decrees (because he controls man’s every thought and action), but what a crazy, untrustworthy god that is!

      4. Good one Heather!
        Calvinists accuse non-Calvinists of having an inferior view of divine sovereignty.
        When the truth is (as you can see with JT’s current example) they make themselves the definers of what sovereignty is however it suits them.

        So guess who is the REAL sovereign one in that case! :-]

    2. Jtleaosala: “There is nothing impossible with God.”

      There is nothing impossible with God. But there is something impossible for Calvi-god: to let people make their own choices and to figure out how to work our self-chosen choices into his plans!

      (And drop the whole “universal salvation” accusation. You know that’s not what we’re saying. “God offers salvation to all” is not the same thing as “God saves all.” At least it’s not the same thing to us, but maybe it is to you.)

      1. jtleosala
        Why would God will offer Salvation for those whom Christ did not offer His life? It would be just offering false promises

        br.d
        The question is simply based on a false premise.

        One could just as easily ask the question: “why won’t JT stop molesting little children?”

      2. Heather writes : “But there is something impossible for Calvi-god: to let people make their own choices and to figure out how to work our self-chosen choices into his plans!”

        My Response: That is why I guess the salvation you hold on is not purely the work of God it is adulterated with human efforts. The fallen man is coming to God trying to prove something from himself when he has nothing to boast before God.

      3. jtleosala
        The fallen man is coming to God trying to prove something from himself when he has nothing to boast before God.

        br.d
        And since Calvin’s god *MAKES* that come to pass infallibly – how is anything about what man does UP TO man?
        Why are Calvinists constantly DOUBLE-MINDED about what their god makes infallibly come to pass?

  8. “The reason more and more are flocking to Calvinism is because it’s scriptural, rich, organized, and deeply defended all throughout scripture.”

    Smirk.

    OK Calvinist.

  9. jtleosala said…
    Why would God will offer Salvation for those whom Christ did not offer His life? It would be just offering false promises

    As I posted elsewhere, the Calvinist must defend TULIP at all costs, and scripture must be tortured to conform to TULIP rather than vice-versa. This is precisely what you have just done with your statement. You have proclaimed the infallibility of “L”, even though the absurdity of “L” is everywhere in scripture, starting with John 3:16. Last time I checked, it did NOT say, “For God so loved the elect…”

  10. It’s ironic that Dillehay starts this whole journey of Calvinistic epiphany with the desire for a guarantee, and ends up with a theology in which the guarantee exists but cannot be known in this life. The knowledge of who are elect, according to Calvin, is part of the secret counsel of God, so there is no real assurance this side of heaven unless “secret” no longer means “secret” and the elect are privy to God’s secret counsel.

    I’m popping some popcorn while we await the no-doubt “simple” answer that our Calvinist regulars here will provide. It is endlessly entertaining to see how language, logic, and reality can be creatively contorted to serve the demands of TULIP.

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