Calvinism and Pastoral Care

What we believe shapes our lives and forms our behaviors. Theology never stays in the abstract, it always filters down to what we do and how we live. Most Calvinist pastors I have listened to are simply practical Christians. They may preach effectual grace one Sunday but the next Sunday extoll the responsibility of their congregants to behave like Christians. For those of us steeped in the soteriological controversies that may seem like an inconsistency but I see a Christian pastor being pastoral.

It is rare, in my experience, for a Calvinist pastor to tie Calvinism directly to its practical implications. Yet, that’s exactly what Pastor Tom Hicks over at The Founders Ministries endeavors to do in his article “Some Practical Implications of Calvinism”. While it would be fun to go through each point and discuss the inconsistencies contained therein, I’m going to focus on a single one.

Pastoral Care

Outside the core Master of Divinity coursework, I graduated with an emphasis in Pastoral Care. Pastoral care is a subject close to my heart. Fair or not, pastors have a great influence over the spiritual and emotional health of their congregation. So when your pastor says this…

“Calvinism helps calm our anxieties

…Scripture teaches that God works all things for the good of His chosen people which means we have no reason to be anxious. We can know that everything which comes to pass is God’s love to us, no matter what we feel or how things seem. We, therefore, can quiet our fears because God governs all things for the good of His people.

…think of it in terms of real people, the truly horrible circumstances they can find themselves in, and the crushing emotional states that result.

At first read, I thought this was simply a case of intellectualism where a pastor steeped in seminary and theology is disconnected from the emotional lives of those God has give him to shepherd. But that’s not the case with Pastor Tom. I looked over his other articles on The Founder’s website and lo!

Practical Calvinism and Abuse Victims

Tom Hicks seems like a pastor steeped in the real lives of his congregates. He tackles one of the most difficult aspects of pastoral ministry: what to do about abusers and victims. Keep his above practical advice regarding anxiety from a Calvinistic worldview in mind as you read his description of victims.

Survivors of domestic abuse have been deeply affected by their abusers. They often don’t leave their relationships, even when the abuse is very severe because of the great fear that their abusers have worked to instill into them. Women who are abused usually want to protect their children above all else, and may be afraid of doing anything that might set off their abuser and cause harm to their children.

This is true. Now, put yourself in the shoes of an abuse victim who just listened to a sermon from Pastor Tom in which he said something like “We can know that everything which comes to pass is God’s love to us, no matter what we feel or how things seem“. Think about the implications. Their feelings of fear and of danger for themselves and their children, and the abuse that brought it on, are God’s love to them.

So we are left to picture an abuse victim already feeling conflicted about leaving the husband they married before God and church, already afraid for what the manipulative abuser might do, but now add the crushing guilt of feeling that it is her fault for not being able to understand and believe that all of his abuse and manipulation are actually God’s love.

Pastor Tom continues:

Survivors of domestic abuse feel terrible shame because the very person they had hoped would love them is the one who has rejected them, made them feel like they are less than nothing…

Yes, especially if that person is God. It sounds good and pious to say that God controls everything and so we ought to fear nothing, but transporting that doctrine to the real world not only proves impossible but harmful to people who are in actual pain. Not “Dang it, my electric bill is higher this month” discomfort, but actual “the person who is supposed to love and protect me is the one hurting me” pain.

Calvinism dies in the face of the horror of our lives.

God the Manipulator

Pastor Tom explains another horrifying aspect of abuse.

Because of their abuse, they are tempted to believe that they shouldn’t trust people at all. They often come to believe that they can’t even trust their own thinking, since they have been told over and over that reality is the opposite of what they think it is. The mind games in abusive relationships are truly stunning and difficult to understand unless you’ve seen it first-hand. And I have. Survivors often learn to be suspicious of everyone’s words and motives, since every “kind” thing their abuser said or did always had an ulterior motive.

Mind Games. You mean like “Scripture teaches that God works all things for the good of His chosen people which means we have no reason to be anxious” while at the same time unchangeably ordaining an abuser to come into my life, move into my home, father my children, hurt me, scar me, and make me anxious and fearful every day of my life? I wonder what Pastor Tom would say to an abuse victim who asked him this question.

Survivors also struggle when they go to church on Sundays. People in the church might ask, “How are you doing today?” with a smile, and the abuse survivor is forced to choose between lying and saying, “I’m fine,” or telling the truth

Abuse survivors also struggle with the expectation in churches that Christians should always be happy and joyful, never deeply struggling in their lives and with their faith.

And who could possibly be giving abuse victims this expectation, Pastor Tom? Could it be pastors telling them from the pulpit that if they just believed good doctrine enough they would never fear anything?

If his article is any indication, I am sure that Pastor Tom blessedly disconnects his Calvinism from his pastoral care towards abuse victims. But are the victims in his congregations and other Reformed congregations able to do the same? I’m not as confident about that.

405 thoughts on “Calvinism and Pastoral Care

  1. I think “excluded” is the wrong choice of words here. It implies “unavailable to them”. Why not a word that places more responsibility on the hearer and none on the offerer (God)?

  2. Roger, I have a question for you. When you came to Christ, and first began reading the Bible, did any of the things you now believe regarding the “doctrines of grace” come to you spontaneously merely by reading, or at some point in your journey did you encounter Reformed theology and they explained everything to you?

    You have been posting here for a long time, but none of us knows anything about your story. It would be interesting to know more about the person who is – next only to Br.D – easily the most prolific commenter here.

    You can read my own story here: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/x-calvinist-corner/#comment-22452

    It is my belief that nobody spontaneously arrives at TULIP by reading the scriptures. Nobody. They are taught it by those who themselves were taught it. Calvin was taught by the writings of Augustine – the father of determinism. And Augustine was informed not by the Bible, but by his pre-conversion, pagan teachers who themselves were not godly or biblical in their traditions or worldviews.

    Every Calvinist I have ever met or conversed with online was either a proselyte in some form or another, taught it when they started attending a Presbyterian or other Reformed congregation, or born into it – but regardless, all were taught it rather than simply reading scripture plainly and naturally arriving at the “doctrines”.

    This should give people pause. You could read and re-read the Bible a thousand times and not arrive at this doctrines unless externally aided.

    1. Any man who thinks he can reach a rational conclusion all by himself – when the truth is – someone external to him (in rhutchin’s case Calvin’s god) exclusively determines his mind’s every perception – is living in a make-believe world.

      A world in which one makes-believe his mind’s every perception is not determined by an external mind. :-]

      1. This might seem a little harsh, but it is of no consequence what his perceptions are, or how he came to them – they ain’t the oracles of God! “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.”

    2. Steve Sabin writes, “Every Calvinist I have ever met or conversed with online was either a proselyte”

      there are two basic arguments that convince people of the Calvinist position.

      1. God has infinite understanding and knew the future perfectly when He created the world. Thus, God knew the identities of the elect and non-elect when He created the world.
      2. John 6:44 is true, Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;…” Thus, the elect, known to God from the foundation of the world, are drawn to Christ by God.

      These two arguments are effective because the non-Calvinist has ever disputed them. It is because of this that non-Calvinists are venturing into Open Theism or Open Future Theism having concluded that they must deny that God has a perfect knowledge of all future events if they are going to oppose Calvinism.

      1. rhutchin
        God has infinite understanding and knew the future perfectly when He created the world. Thus, God knew the identities of the elect and non-elect when He created the world.

        br.d
        Calvinist training: Learning to become proficient in DOUBLE-SPEAK talking points:
        Lesson #56:

        Always obfuscate and hide as much as possible Calvinism’s horrible decrees.
        An external mind – and not you – is in control of your perceptions.
        An external mind – and not you – causes every impulse in your brain to occur irresistibly

        Tip of the week:
        A great obfuscation strategy is to hide these facts behind the mask of “infinite understanding” – and thus hide “infinite decreeing”.

        By these obfuscation strategies – we are able to hide the fact that Calvin’s god DESIGNS the vast majority of his creatures for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure. And that he DESIGNS and PROGRAMS every nano-second of what every creature will be/do.

      2. br.d writes, “Tip of the week: A great obfuscation strategy is to hide these facts behind the mask of “infinite understanding” – and thus hide “infinite decreeing”.”

        When you cannot refute a point, pull out the obfuscation strategy excuse. Thanks br.d for another example.

      3. br.d
        Calvinist tip of the week:
        A great obfuscation strategy is to hide these facts behind the mask of “infinite understanding” – and thus hide “infinite decreeing”.”

        rhutchin
        When you cannot refute a point, pull out the obfuscation strategy excuse. Thanks br.d for another example.

        br.d
        Oh oh! Calvin’s god gave you yet another FALSE perception.
        I had not intention at all to refute anything – just simply highlight an example of how Calvinist obfuscation tactics work.

        We’ll have to add this latest FALSE perception to your count. :-]

      4. RHUTCHEN I love reading and fact checking everything written on this site but have never commented before so please give me grace.

        I would understand there is no time before creation as God lives outside of the realm of time. Therefore he knows as an all knowing being, not knew when. That is two very different things is it not? Am I wrong in accepting that? The bible doesn’t seem to give much definition on metaphysics.

        And in John Chapter 12 does Jesus add to this statement from John 6:44 that when he is lifted up he will draw all people to himself? Is he changing the guard from God needing to draw to Jesus drawing all? I am trying to get my head around that both statements in John must be true but does the latter make the former no longer, otherwise how can both be true?

      5. Hello Dan and welcome.

        N.T. Wright – would answer your question this way:
        There are general references in the scripture which show that in the relationship between man and God – God himself takes some initiatives.
        He tells us that he holds his hands out all the day. He tells us that he would gather us as a mother Hen gathers her chicks. He invites everyone who is thirsty to come to the waters and drink freely.

        The danger is with so much medieval and reformation theology – which focuses on certain bits it wants to see – and in that process doesn’t see other bits that are there. And when you take those bits out what you get is a theory of predestination. I’m not a Universalist. But I do think its possible for people to say “NO” to God – and God honors that.

      6. Dan writes, “Therefore he knows as an all knowing being, not knew when. That is two very different things is it not?”

        There are two positions on this. The Calvinist says that God has infinite understanding of His creation so there is nothing that He does not know about His creation including events in the future. The other position says that God is still adding to His knowledge (therefore His understanding is not infinite nor His knowledge perfect) as future events come to pass. So, either God has infinite understanding or He does not. I say He does.

        Then, “And in John Chapter 12 does Jesus add to this statement from John 6:44 that when he is lifted up he will draw all people to himself?”

        That’s fine. John 6:44 has this promise from Jesus, “I will raise [the one drawn] up at the last day.” So if you use John 12 to define the scope of John 6, everyone is raised up or saved – that is Universalism. The alternative is to understand that Jesus is saying that He will draw all to Him – meaning both Jew and gentile. This was then revealed to Paul as Paul writes in Ephesians 3 and Paul then identifies himself as the apostle to the gentiles.

      7. rhutchin
        There are two positions on this. The Calvinist says that God has infinite understanding of His creation so there is nothing that He does not know about His creation including events in the future.

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #55: Always hide the horrible decrees!

        Always hide the fact that Calvin’s god foreknows every nano-second of the future ONLY because Calvin’s god decrees every nano-second of the future.

        For example:
        The phrase “infinite understanding” can work wonderfully as a mask to strategically hide the underlying doctrine of good-evil

  3. rhutchin: Of course, anyone who does not hear the gospel is excluded from salvation as are those who hear the gospel but do not have faith.
    mrteebs: “I think “excluded” is the wrong choice of words here. It implies “unavailable to them”.

    If a person does not hear the gospel, salvation is not available to them. “Hearing the gospel” is a prerequisite for being saved. If a person does not hear the gospel, he cannot have faith. Without faith, no one can be saved.

    1. rhutchin
      If a person does not hear the gospel, salvation is not available to them.

      br.d
      A good example of a non- sequitur
      If the man does not hear UPS deliver the package – then the package is not available to the man.

      1. br.d writes, “If the man does not hear UPS deliver the package – then the package is not available to the man.”

        LOL!!! Paul tells us, “faith comes by hearing.” No hearing; no faith.

      2. rhutchin
        If a person does not hear the gospel, salvation is not available to them.

        br.d
        If the man does not hear UPS deliver the package – then the package is not available to the man.”

        rhutchin
        LOL!!! Paul tells us, “faith comes by hearing.” No hearing; no faith.

        br.d
        Therefore according to your thinking (per your statement above) if the man does not hear UPS deliver the package – then the package is not available to the man.

        That’s called Calvinist logic! :-]

      3. rhutchin: “If a person does not hear the gospel, salvation is not available to them.”
        br.d: “If the man does not hear UPS deliver the package – then the package is not available to the man.”
        rhutchin: “LOL!!! Paul tells us, “faith comes by hearing.” No hearing; no faith.”
        br.d: “Therefore according to your thinking (per your statement above) if the man does not hear UPS deliver the package – then the package is not available to the man.”

        br.d apparently confused this string with the string that dealt with his quote of Calvin.

        According to my thinking, “if the man does not hear UPS deliver the package – then the package is STILL available to the man.” It’s sitting on the porch to be retrieved at a later time. By contrast, if a person does not hear the gospel, that faith is not sitting on the porch (so to speak) waiting to be retrieved. Faith can only be received by hearing the gospel.

      4. RH writes,
        “According to my thinking, “if the man does not hear UPS deliver the package – then the package is STILL available to the man.”

        Aidan,
        If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it – does it make a sound?

        And, if the man does not hear UPS deliver the package – was the package really delivered?

        But if a man does not hear the gospel – it was probably a different gospel!

      5. Aidan writes, “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it – does it make a sound?”

        Of course, it does.

        Then, “And, if the man does not hear UPS deliver the package – was the package really delivered?”

        So, the person would check to see if there is a package. Maybe UPS did and maybe UPS did not. Whether one heard or not would not tell us what happened.

        Then, “But if a man does not hear the gospel – it was probably a different gospel!”

        Not really. Not everyone who hears the gospel ends up with faith. Have you observed a different outcome when you have witnessed the gospel being preached?

      6. rhutchin
        Maybe UPS did and maybe UPS did not. Whether one heard or not would not tell us what happened.

        br.d
        We already know what happened – it got delivered and the person didn’t hear it.
        And you then argued it was therefore not available

        rhutchin
        Not everyone who hears the gospel ends up with faith.

        br.d
        The Gnostic understanding of faith.
        Normal people are not born with the capacity to believe – thus faith is a gift – but only to select individuals who meet the divine criteria.

        That makes the Gnostic believer special – as he assumes he met the divine criteria.

      7. Aidan writes, “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it – does it make a sound?”

        RH
        “Of course, it does.”

        Aidan,
        Not to the one not there to hear it.

        Aidan
        “And, if the man does not hear UPS deliver the package – was the package really delivered?”

        RH,
        “So, the person would check to see if there is a package. Maybe UPS did and maybe UPS did not..”

        Aidan,
        Not to the one who did not personally receive it. Maybe the package was stolen from the front porch!

        Aidan,
        “But if a man does not hear the gospel – it was probably a different gospel!”

        RH,
        “Not really. Not everyone who hears the gospel ends up with faith.”

        Aidan,
        Not everyone who ends up with faith has heard the true gospel. You must obey the true gospel to be saved – Galatians 1:6-8. For that reason I would like to see you converted from Calvinism.

      8. According to my thinking “if the man does not hear UPS deliver the package – then the package is STILL available to the man.”
        It’s sitting on the porch to be retrieved at a later time.

        br.d
        Yes – that would be normal.

        rhutchin
        By contrast, if a person does not hear the gospel, that faith is not sitting on the porch (so to speak) waiting to be retrieved. Faith can only be received by hearing the gospel.

        br.d
        Yes – that is consistent with Augustinian/Calvinian Stoic/Gnostic/NeoPlatonist/Christian determinism.
        But outside of that nexus – salvation is a gift offered and available to all people without exception – and they are “merely” permitted to to accept or reject the gift.

      9. br.d: “Yes – that is consistent with Augustinian/Calvinian Stoic/Gnostic/NeoPlatonist/Christian determinism.”

        Also, consistent with the Scriptures that require faith as a prerequisite for salvation and hearing the gospel as a prerequisite for faith..

        Then, “But outside of that nexus – salvation is a gift offered and available to all people without exception – and they are “merely” permitted to to accept or reject the gift.”

        Available to all but only accepted by those with faith. Those without faith reject salvation.

      10. br.d
        Yes – that is consistent with Augustinian/Calvinian Stoic/Gnostic/NeoPlatonist/Christian determinism.”

        rhutchin
        Also, consistent with the Scriptures that require faith as a prerequisite for salvation and hearing the gospel as a prerequisite for faith..

        br.d
        Nah!
        What is consistent with Stoic/Gnostic/NeoPlatonist/Christian determinism is the belief that people don’t have the normal capacity for faith – and as such it must be given as a divine gift.

        But outside of that nexus – salvation is a gift offered and available to all people without exception – and they are “merely” permitted to to accept or reject the gift.”

        rhutcin
        Available to all but only accepted by those with faith. Those without faith reject salvation.

        br.d
        For the WHOLE truth – see br.d’s answer above.

  4. rhutchin writes…

    there are two basic arguments that convince people of the Calvinist position.

    1. God has infinite understanding and knew the future perfectly when He created the world. Thus, God knew the identities of the elect and non-elect when He created the world.
    2. John 6:44 is true, Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;…” Thus, the elect, known to God from the foundation of the world, are drawn to Christ by God.

    These two arguments are effective because the non-Calvinist has ever disputed them.

    ——————

    First, please clarify the last sentence above. Did you mean to say “never” instead of “ever”? Perhaps restate it differently so the meaning is clear.

    Both of the above can be easily refuted, but I will not do so until you first answer my original question, which I will repeat below. I know that you saw it, and deliberately chose to ignore it, because the answer is awkward and revealing and uncomfortable for you – working contrary to the idea that Calvinism can be easily deduced by a plain reading of scripture alone. If you will not answer, neither will I answer. I interact with people who I can trust are likewise dealing transparently and in good faith. You do not yet qualify as either of those.

    Roger, I have a question for you. When you came to Christ, and first began reading the Bible, did any of the things you now believe regarding the “doctrines of grace” come to you spontaneously merely by reading, or at some point in your journey did you encounter Reformed theology and they explained everything to you?

    You have been posting here for a long time, but none of us knows anything about your story. It would be interesting to know more about the person who is – next only to Br.D – easily the most prolific commenter here.

    I will also respond to your comments on the bronze serpent of Numbers 21 in which you deflected every problem posed to Calvinism by simply ignoring it and changing the subject. However, my answers will not be forthcoming until you address the above question.

    1. Steve your posts are appreciated!!! and I’d like to hear an answer to your earlier question too!

      Also I get this comment below from your blog, because I’ve had this feeling though I didn’t grow up in the church.

      “I remember feeling a sense of panic and dread. “Is this the God that I have spent my life studying about, loving, and serving?”

      Agreed foreknowledge and causation are different indeed!!!

    2. Steve Sabin writes, “First, please clarify the last sentence above. Did you mean to say “never” instead of “ever”?”

      Delete”:ever.” So, these two arguments are effective because the non-Calvinist has not disputed them.

      Then, ‘When you,,,irst began reading the Bible,…’

      I have been attending Southern Baptist churches pretty much all my life. I got into a real good church (with the basic Arminian slant) when I got married. Also started listening to Christian radio where almost anything and everything is espoused. That was the time for Hal Lindsey’s “Late Great Planet Earth,” So, my first serious introduction to the Scriptures came in studying about the second coming of Christ. I was young and it was exciting. I came out of that rejecting the pre-millenial position and was basically an Amillanialist. Tim LaHaye moved into the area and came to work part-time at my church teaching a SS class so I bought a couple of his books and looked at his arguments. I was not swayed. The tongues movement went through the area, but I quickly rejected that. I then started listening to Family Radio, and Harold Camping (famous for predicting the coming of Christ in 2011). I liked Harold and found his bible study methods reasonable.. He was an engineer and got caught up in numerology and that never convinced me. I still liked him. Harold had a Q&A program at night and responded to questions on a variety of Bible issues. That was mu introduction to a fairly in-depth system of Bible study. Every now and then, a person would call and ask if he was a Calvinist. He would deny that he was, but accept that he had come to the same basic conclusions as Calvin. That was my introduction to “Calvinism.” Mostly, I was checking out Harold’s conclusions by going through the Scriptures and verifying the things he was saying. In the early 2000’s, I got into RC Sproul and the rest is history. Sproul was a smart guy and convincing.

      Now, respond to the two points I made.

      1. RH,
        “I came out of that rejecting the pre-millenial position and was basically an Amillanialist.”

        Aidan,
        Glad to hear you were going in the right direction at least in something. Now, you just need to get out of Calvinism!

      2. RH writes…

        1. God has infinite understanding and knew the future perfectly when He created the world. Thus, God knew the identities of the elect and non-elect when He created the world.
        I have not been able to find a single scripture that says God knows everything from eternity past. I find quite the opposite actually. A God that changes His mind based on man’s response is recorded at least a dozen times in scripture. A God who goes to Adam to see what he’ll name the animals. For Whom children sacrificed to Molech “never even entered His mind”. I find a single scripture (Ps 147:5) that says “infinite” but even this does not mean “everything” because as anyone fluent in even high school math can tell you, infinity minus 500 billion is still infinity. And infinity divided by 10 is still infinity. So this scripture does not demand that “everything” be interchangeable with “infinite”. In fact, the Hebrew word appears 117 times yet is translated only once as “infinite” in the NASB and contains a note that says “innumerable”. But regardless, I have shown elsewhere (https://soteriology101.com/2017/08/13/john-644/#comment-50090) that even if God does know the outcome of choices not yet made, it does not mean He caused those choices. You Calvinists want to consistently turn “foreknew” into “predestined” and you make the same mistake here. I find nothing in scripture to support #1. It is an unproven assertion – nothing more. The burden of proof here rests with you – not me.

        2. John 6:44 is true, Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;…” Thus, the elect, known to God from the foundation of the world, are drawn to Christ by God.
        This is not even worth answering again because your auto-immune response is so great as. Brian Wagner has answered you multiple times on this question and there is little I can add. This scripture poses no problem whatsoever for me and non-Calvinists. God draws everyone. That does not necessitate they come any more than the Geico advertisement “drawing” everyone to buy their car insurance necessitate that I comply. The Greek word here is, by the way, distinctly different than the one used for “forcibly drag” so “draw” is indeed correct.

      3. Steve Sabin writes, ‘2. John 6:44 is true, Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;…” Thus, the elect, known to God from the foundation of the world, are drawn to Christ by God.”
        …Brian Wagner has answered you multiple times on this question and there is little I can add.”

        Maybe you can explain how Brian’s explanation works in John 6:44. His explanation would work fine if plural terms were used, but 6:44 uses terms that are singular. I understand why the non-Calvinist has to make 6:44 read as a plural – Dr. Flowers is pretty direct on this reading 6:44 as “. unless the Father who sent Me draws THEM.” This seems to be what Brian seeks to do You seem to agree by saying “God draws everyone.” This may be true, but 6:44 does not say so. You have to cite 6:44 with another Scripture to get to this conclusion. If you cite John 12, as many non-Calvinists do, then you run into the problem note below.

        Then, “That does not necessitate they come any more than the Geico advertisement “drawing” everyone to buy their car insurance necessitate that I comply.”

        No, the drawing does not necessitate that the person come (or believe). That guarantee is necessitated by Christ at the end, “and I will raise him up at the last day.” The one whom God draws is the one whom Christ raises at the last day. If it is true that “God draws everyone,” then it must be true that Christ raises everyone – i.e., that all are saved.

        Then, “The Greek word here is, by the way, distinctly different than the one used for “forcibly drag” so “draw” is indeed correct.”

        I’d like to see the supporting documentation/argument that leads to that conclusion.

      4. Thanks Steve for your agreement. Calvinists also need to admit that drawing in John 6:44 doesn’t fit well with their fantasy moment of irresistible new birth. If regeneration is before drawing, why is the dragging necessary? If regeneration is after drawing, how is man responding positively to God before regeneration?

        They also try to shoehorn being raised up as just being based on the condition of being drawn being fulfilled… but that promise is only for those drawn who actually use their divinely given ability to come and do come.

      5. Nice point Brian!

        Calvinists tend to have numerous logical conundrums in their selections of proof-texts.

        I remember a Calvinist who insisted that the “elect” are literally “in Christ” at the foundation of the world.

        Doesn’t work to well with “at that time you were without Christ being aliens from the common wealth of Israel – but now in Christ you who afar off are now made nigh.

        I think in most cases they are looking for some word or phrase within a verse that can work for them – and they have to find a way to fit it into the paradigm. And that fit turns out to be self contradicting. In this case the word “Draw” has to somehow fit into the system.

      6. brianwagner writes, “Calvinists also need to admit that drawing in John 6:44 doesn’t fit well with their fantasy moment of irresistible new birth. If regeneration is before drawing, why is the dragging necessary?”

        The new birth makes it possible for a person to hear the gospel (the means God uses to draw/drag a person to Christ). Prior to hearing the gospel, “No one can come to Christ.” Apparently, a person that is reborn still needs to be dragged to Christ, since that is what John tells us..

      7. RH,
        “Apparently, a person that is reborn still needs to be dragged to Christ, since that is what John tells us..”

        Aidan,
        Can you scripturally DEFINE what “reborn” means?

      8. Thanks Aidan
        I didn’t get this statement from RH
        That answers my second question to him. does Calvin’s god drag people around before or after the divine spark of regeneration.

      9. Thanks Br.d,
        I don’t think Rh knows the biblical definition of what they call regeneration/new birth.

        I know this is madness, but I’m going to help him out here with your question. I think he might say that the “regeneration” part is where the fish are caught in the net. And THEN the dragging begins. The problem with that is, don’t they say that after a person is regenerated – he now comes willingly in faith through the preaching of the word? Where’s the dragging then? It’s in the ‘coming willingly in faith’. That’s as soft as a non-Calvinist comes. Either way, we shall see!

      10. Aidan asks, “Can you scripturally DEFINE what “reborn” means?”

        Paul defines it for us in Ephesians 2, “you God made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others….God…even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…”

      11. RH, writes, “Apparently, a person that is reborn still needs to be dragged to Christ,

        Aidan asks, “Can you scripturally DEFINE what “reborn” means?”

        RH answers,
        “Paul defines it for us in Ephesians 2, “you God made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world,…..God…even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…”

        Aidan,
        RH defines “reborn” as – made alive together with Christ.

        So, you define reborn as – made alive together with Christ – and yet say he still needs to be dragged to Christ to be saved? I hope you see how unscriptural that is, even from the verses you quoted? But those verses show the very opposite to what you say. They show that a person who has been “reborn” 👉 made alive with Christ 👈 is already saved and in Christ. Notice how verse 5 defines it.

        Ephesians 2: 4-6:
        4. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

        5. even when we were dead in trespasses, 👉made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)👈

        6. and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

        Notice the terminology above, ➡ were dead in trespasses, made us alive with Christ, and raised us up ⬅
        When and where did all this occur? What is Paul alluding to here? When is a person who is, dead in transgressions, made alive and raised up with Christ? Is it not in baptism according to Paul in Colossians 2?

        Colossians 2:11-13:
        “…in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,”

        Notice that Paul used the same language above in Baptism:

        👉 “were dead” in your transgressions, 👈

        👉 “made you alive” having forgiven our transgressions, 👈

        👉 “raised up with Him” 👈

        👉 “newness of life” 👈

        Clearly your “rebirth” – made alive together with Christ – only happens, when, in faith, one is buried in water baptism for the remission of sins! He who has ears to hear, let him hear. 👂

      12. I am not sure if this is true of all Calvinists (probably not), but have you noticed the number of times a conversation such as this has occurred?

        Us: The earth is spherical.

        Him: The earth is a cube.

        Us: Do you agree that the earth has no corners?
        Him: Yes.

        Us: And do you agree that all surfaces reflect curvature?
        Him: Yes.

        Us: And do you agree that the earth’s horizon for a 6-foot tall person on level ground is about 3 miles away because of this curvature?
        Him: Yes.

        Us: And do you agree that any cross-section you cut through the earth would yield only a circle and not some other shape?
        Him: Yes.

        Us: And do you agree that the duration of daylight Each day and how it changes with the seasons and with latitude / longitude is only consistent with a spherical earth?
        Him: Yes.

        Us: And what does all this require regarding the shape of the earth?
        Him: That it is a cube because Paul said so.

      13. Calvinist:
        I have traverses the circumference of the globe – and the scripture clearly teaches – the earth is flat!

        :-]

      14. I have found there are three basic ways to establish authority for something in scripture: By express statement, approved example, or necessary inference. In this case we have the Calvinist making inferences(conclusions) all over the place – which are not necessary inferences. This is a common mistake people make all the time! What’s the difference between an inference and a “necessary” inference? Here is a definition I read years ago which I like to use:

        “There is a world of difference between an inference and a “necessary” inference. One is only possible or even reasonable, but not altogether conclusive. The other is conclusive beyond all doubt, a conclusion from which there is no escape, hence, absolutely necessary. However, inferences – mere inferences – do not establish truth.”

        It seems some will always want to see a “cube,” even when the conclusion from which there is no escape – is a “sphere.”

      15. Aidan writes, “By express statement, approved example, or necessary inference. In this case we have the Calvinist making inferences(conclusions) all over the place – which are not necessary inferences.”

        Here are the basic positions taken by Calvinists.

        1. God is omniscient and knows all future events perfectly.
        — God knows the identities of the elect and non-elect when He creates the world.
        2. God is omnipotent and can turn any future event any direction He wants.
        — God’s decisions on how to exercise His power within His creation were decided before He created the world.
        3. No one can be saved apart from faith.
        — No one is born with faith; faith can only be conveyed to a person through the gospel.

        So, just so we have a level playing field, which of the above do you disagree with and how do you see it? Steve can chime in, also, and give his position.

      16. Calvinist subtle talking-point #1
        1. God is omniscient and knows all future events perfectly.

        br.d
        Here we have obfuscation.
        What is hidden – that foreknowledge is derived simply from predetermining every nano-second of the future

        Calvinist talking-point #2
        God knows the identities of the elect and non-elect when He creates the world.

        br.d
        Here we have obfuscation
        What is hidden – that such knowledge is simply derived from pre-designing each person for a specific purpose.
        The vast majority of all human souls are specifically designed for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure

        Calvinist talking-point #3
        2. God is omnipotent and can turn any future event any direction He wants.

        br.d
        Here we have magical thinking
        At the foundation of the world – before created things – Calvin’s god choreographs every nans-second – making everyfuture event unalterable Not even Calvin’s god cannot create something immutable and mutable at the same time.
        Calvinists however need a FACADE of future events that can APPEAR as prevented or intervened.
        What they end up with are meticulously choreographed events designed to SIMULATE divine intervention.

        Calvinist talking-point #4
        God’s decisions on how to exercise His power within His creation were decided before He created the world.

        br.d
        See answers (1-3) above

        Calvinist talking-point #5
        No one is born with faith; faith can only be conveyed to a person through the gospel.

        br.d
        Here we have a derivative of Gnosticism embraced by Augustine – the Gnostic camel being swallowed by Calvin.

        Gnostic/NeoPlatonists taught that “pistis” (faith) and “gnosis” (knowledge) are only available to a few “special” people.
        Only those who meet the divine criteria for election are granted the “pistis” and “gnosis”.

      17. Aidan writes, “Clearly your “rebirth” – made alive together with Christ – only happens, when, in faith, one is buried in water baptism for the remission of sins!”

        I like your analysis. Now could you incorporate John 3 into that analysis and explain where you think it fits it – maybe you don’t think John 3 refers to the same thin, then do you think it precedes or follows what we have in Ephesians/Colossians/

      18. Aidan writes, “Could you be a bit more specific with John 3?”

        The part where Jesus speaks of the need to be born again. Just to help you, here it is:

        3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

        5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

        7 “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
        8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

      19. RH writes,
        “I like your analysis. Now could you incorporate John 3 into that analysis and explain where you think it fits it ”

        Aidan,
        When you say, “I like your analysis” I take it to mean my conclusion from Ephesians/Colossians, where I say:
        “Clearly your “rebirth” – made alive together with Christ – only happens, when, in faith, one is buried in water baptism for the remission of sins!”

        Since John 3 is talking about being born “anew” from above, we are dealing with the – “new life” – that is brought about in Christ. And I believe that the “water” of John 3, is the water of baptism. And for that reason, I believe that the term – “being made alive” – referred to in the baptism of Colossians 2:11-13, is the very same. Interestingly, Rom. 6: 4 also connects baptism with this – “newness of life.”

        In John 3:5, Jesus explains to Nicodemus that this “newbirth” consists of two things – water and the Spirit. And that is consistent with a number of passages dealing with baptism. Note the following:

        John 3:5, Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is 👉born of water and the Spirit👈 he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

        Acts 2:38, Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of “the Holy Spirit.” – Hence, 👉the water and the Spirit👈

        Titus 3:5, “..but according to His mercy He saved us, through the “washing of regeneration” and renewing of “the Holy Spirit,” – Hence, 👉the water and the Spirit👈

        Rom. 6:4, “Therefore we were buried with Him 👉through baptism👈 into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in 👉newness of life.”👈 – Hence, the (water and newness of life)

        Eph 2:5, “even when we were dead in trespasses, 👉made us alive together with Christ👈 (by grace you have been saved),

        Col. 2:12,13; “having been 👉buried with Him in baptism,👈…When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He 👉made you alive together with Him,👈 having forgiven you all trespasses,” – Hence, the (water and made alive)

        Clearly the “water and the Spirit” of John 3:5 fits with the – water and the Spirit of baptism – in all these other passages. But also, the forgiveness of sins and “newness of life.”

      20. Aidan writes, “Since John 3 is talking about being born “anew” from above, we are dealing with the – “new life” – that is brought about in Christ.”

        John 3:3 tells us that the new birth allows a person to see the kingdom of God. A person must be able to see the kingdom before anything else happens. This same new birth also prepares a person to enter the kingdom of heaven

        Then, “In John 3:5, Jesus explains to Nicodemus that this “newbirth” consists of two things – water and the Spirit. ”

        No, v5 says that being born of water plus the spirit prepares a person to enter the kingdom of God (or be saved). Thus, the new birth is necessary to salvation but not sufficient to obtain salvation. We also know that a person who can see the kingdom of God can also hear the gospel and receive faith and faith is also necessary to salvation.

        I am not sure that Jesus had baptism in mind in 3:5, but clearly 3:3 tells us that the new birth precedes the water and the water plus the spirit enables a person to enter the kingdom of God.

        How does 3:3 fit into your analysis?

      21. So on this Calvinistic process of dragging people around
        Why does Calvin’s god’s dragging process involve dragging out of the water both the good fish and the bad fish?
        And does this Calvinistic process of dragging people around – occur before or after the divine spark of regeneration?

      22. I didn’t see your answer to the 2nd question within your previous statement – people who are “reborn” still need to be dragged around for a while.

      23. I think it is time to rewatch this video and contemplate the parallels to the Calvinist interpretations of their beloved proof texts:

        https://youtu.be/DOW_kPzY_JY

        Is it the GPS that is wrong or your interpretation that is wrong?

      24. Thanks Roger for confirming the difficulty Calvinists have clarifying why a newly regenerated will still needs to be dragged… pretty funny!

        The bigger problem is that you put regeneration “prior to hearing the gospel.” Wow! Paul and Peter both said the new birth happens “through” the gospel. The hearing, understanding, and believing of the gospel must be first. I’m sticking with them.

        1 Corinthians 4:15 NKJV — For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you 👉through the gospel👈.

        1 Peter 1:23 NKJV — having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, 👉through the word of God👈 which lives and abides forever,

        Nothing happens “through” something else unless that something is in place/in existence first for the other thing to go through it.

        I have nothing else to add. But I hope all is well with you and those you love. 😊

      25. brianwagner writes, “the difficulty Calvinists have clarifying why a newly regenerated will still needs to be dragged…”

        The newly regenerated person still lacks faith and still desires sin. The regenerated person still needs help, so God drags him out of the quicksand of sin, gives him assurance and conviction in the gospel, and then seals him with His Holy Spirit when the person believes.

        Then, The bigger problem is that you put regeneration “prior to hearing the gospel.” Wow! Paul and Peter both said the new birth happens “through” the gospel”

        I agree. Hearing the gospel is required for regeneration to occur. If a person never hears the gospel, he cannot be regenerated and cannot receive faith.

        Then, ‘The hearing, understanding, and believing of the gospel must be first. I’m sticking with them.”

        I don’t think they said that. At least, mot in the verses you cited.

      26. rhutchin
        The newly regenerated person still lacks faith and still desires sin.

        br.d
        FALSE – Calvin’s god simply causes the Calvinist to desire different sins.
        Because Calvinists are not without sin
        And whatsoever comes to pass does so by infallible decree – which includes sinful desires

        rhutchin
        The regenerated person still needs help, so God drags him out of the quicksand of sin,

        br.d
        FALSE
        If he was dragged out of the quicksand of sin – then he would be sinless.
        Calvin’s god simply decrees him to have a different set of sinful desires

        rhutchin
        gives him assurance and conviction in the gospel, and then seals him with His Holy Spirit when the person believes.

        br.d
        But as far as the Calvinist knows – Calvin’s god only gives a PERCEPTION of assurance, conviction, sealing and belief.

        As John Calvin says:
        -quote
        Yet sometimes he also CAUSES those whom he illumines only for a time to partake of it; then he….. forsakes them……..and strikes them with even greater blindness (Institutes)

        Then, The bigger problem is that you put regeneration “prior to hearing the gospel.” Wow! Paul and Peter both said the new birth happens “through” the gospel”

      27. brianwagner writes, “that promise is only for those drawn who actually use their divinely given ability to come and do come.”

        John 6:44 uses the singular in each of the three phrases in John 6:44. So,

        – No individual can come to Christ
        – unless God draws the individual
        – Christ promises to raise the individual drawn to Him by God.

        No individual described as being drawn by God to Christ will be left behind or not raised on the last day. Thus, all whom God draws to Christ will come to Christ.

      28. Steve Sabin writes, ‘I have not been able to find a single scripture that says God knows everything from eternity past…. I find a single scripture (Ps 147:5) that says “infinite” but even this does not mean “everything”…”

        Psalm147 – “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” Infinite is not understanding; it describes God’s understanding. It means no one can measure God’s understanding. Isaiah 40 describes God this way, “With whom did Gd take counsel, and who instructed Him, And taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding?…The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.” God has always had an infinite, unmeasurable understanding. By this understanding, God can know the effects of His works and the effects of those effects so that nothing is hidden from Him.

        Then, “…even if God does know the outcome of choices not yet made, it does not mean He caused those choices.”

        If God knows that pain results when a dentist drills into your tooth, it doesn’t mean that God caused the pain. Similarly, a person putting his hand on a hot stove experiences pain and God knew this but did not cause the pain. In both cases the cause of the pain can be traced to the hot stove and the dentist’s actions. In both cases, the end result was determined by preceding factors. So, it is for all things. Because God understands all things and thereby knows the future perfectly, He determined that future when He created the world but just because all things were determined when God created the world does not make God the immediate determiner of all future events. God made man with the ability to feel pain, but that does not mean that God must directly cause the pain that a person experiences even if God knows beforehand the pain that will come about.

      29. rhutchin
        if God knows that pain results when a dentist drills into your tooth, it doesn’t mean that God caused the pain.

        br.d
        Actually – in Universal Divine Causal Determinism – that is FALSE

        The infallible decree CAUSES whatsoever comes to pass.

        But we understand Calvinists are DOUBLE-MINDED on these things.

      30. br.d: “Actually – in Universal Divine Causal Determinism – that is FALSE”

        Then, Calvinism is not Universal Divine Causal Determinism. God made man with the ability to feel pain but God does not have to cause the pain felt. This even though God knew what pain was to happen in the future.

      31. br.d
        Actually – in Universal Divine Causal Determinism – that is FALSE”

        rhutchin
        Then, Calvinism is not Universal Divine Causal Determinism.

        br.d
        The infallible decree CAUSES regeneration
        And that is a minuscule part of whatsoever comes to pass
        And whatsoever comes to pass obviously includes whatsoever pain comes to pass! :-]

      32. Thanks for confirming again my observation that every Calvinist is cultivated in a greenhouse. You will never find one growing wild that arrived there simply by reading his Bible. In your case, it was Harold Camping and R.C. Sproul. Whether they called themselves “Calvinists” or not is immaterial. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck…

        I’m familiar with Camping as I worked in a Christian radio station in my teens and twenties. Even then, as a relative youngster in Christ, I was not impressed with his teachings.

        He is also clearly another example of my “Cultivated Calvinist” rule: all are grown in a greenhouse. There are no exceptions to this rule. Here is his background (he did not arrive at it solely by reading the Bible) along with places where he apparently allowed the Bible to truly guide him (my emphasis in bold) as well as places where he was a quack:

        From Wikipedia…

        After leaving the Christian Reformed Church in 1988, Camping taught doctrines that explicitly conflicted with the doctrines and confessions of the Christian Reformed Church and churches of the Reformed and Presbyterian traditions. Examples of Camping’s teachings which varied from conventional Reformed doctrines include:

        Departing from Calvinist doctrine, Camping taught a relative free will for humanity and that humans are not totally depraved.
        However, he subscribed to the idea that salvation is unmerited, cannot be achieved by good works or prayer, and is a pure act of God’s grace.

        Departing from the doctrine of eternal torment for the unsaved in a place called Hell, Camping taught annihilationism: that life will end and existence will cease for the unsaved soul.

        Departing from scriptural doctrines stating that no one can know the time of Christ’s second coming, Camping taught (until 2011) that the exact time of the Rapture would be revealed sometime near the end of the world (as per the Daniel 12:9–13 prophecy).

        Camping taught that all churches have become apostate and thus must be abandoned. He encouraged personal Bible study and listening to his Family Radio broadcasts.

        In March 2012, Camping admitted that his [rapture and end of world] predictions were in error, stating: “We humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing.” He also announced the “End to Doomsday Predictions”. In May 2012, a year after the failure of Camping’s prophecy, Religion Dispatches published a report on Camping’s disillusioned former followers, some of whom had reportedly come to view him as a cult leader.

        Even as a babe in Christ, I was astute enough to ignore this man as a reliable teacher with teaching I could trust.

  5. R writes:

    “there are two basic arguments that convince people of the Calvinist position.

    1. God has infinite understanding and knew the future perfectly when He created the world. Thus, God knew the identities of the elect and non-elect when He created the world.
    2. John 6:44 is true, Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;…” Thus, the elect, known to God from the foundation of the world, are drawn to Christ by God.

    These two arguments are effective because the non-Calvinist has ever disputed them. It is because of this that non-Calvinists are venturing into Open Theism or Open Future Theism having concluded that they must deny that God has a perfect knowledge of all future events if they are going to oppose Calvinism.”

    Number one is refuted everywhere in the Bible. Even a cursory reading reveals that God does not have an exhaustive knowledge of the future. I.E. God regrets, God is astonished, God issues conditional statements, God plans something and changes His mind as events unfold, etc.

    Therefore, your number two statement does not follow.

    Additionally, I would also love to hear R’s origin story and how early he ran into his Calvinist mentor.

    1. Carl writes, ‘Number one is refuted everywhere in the Bible. ”

      Except where it tells us that God has infinite understanding. So, we have two positions: (1) God has infinite understanding; and (2) God does not have infinite understanding. That helps explain the difference between Calvinists and some non-Calvinists.

      1. rhutchin
        (1) God has infinite understanding; and (2) God does not have infinite understanding. That helps explain the difference between Calvinists and some non-Calvinists.

        br.d
        Please provide a quote from a non-Calvinist that states assertion (2)
        Otherwise – what we have is called a bluff.

        And everyone knows that bluffing is Holy Spirit inspired! :-]

      2. br.d: “Please provide a quote from a non-Calvinist that states assertion (2)”

        Carl wrote in the comment to which I responded, “Even a cursory reading reveals that God does not have an exhaustive knowledge of the future.” Even you should be able to work out the connection between an exhaustive knowledge of the future and infinite understanding.

      3. rhutchin
        (1) God has infinite understanding; and (2) God does not have infinite understanding. That helps explain the difference between Calvinists and some non-Calvinists.

        br.d
        Please provide a quote from a non-Calvinist that states assertion (2)
        Otherwise – what we have is called a bluff.
        And everyone knows that bluffing is Holy Spirit inspired! :-]

        rhutchin
        Carl wrote……etc

        br.d
        My post concerned what you wrote – not what Carl wrote.

        Perhaps you should come back after having a good cup of coffee?
        Get the brain running on all cylinders

      4. br.d: “Please provide a quote from a non-Calvinist that states assertion (2)”
        rhutchin: “Carl wrote……etc”
        br.d: “My post concerned what you wrote – not what Carl wrote.”

        Let;s see. br.d wants me to quote a non-Calvinist so I quote Carl. Then br.d says, “My post concerned what you wrote – not what Carl wrote.”

        Can anyone explain what br.d is trying to say?

      5. rhutchin
        (2) God does not have infinite understanding. That helps explain the difference between Calvinists and some non-Calvinists

        br..d
        Please provide a quote from a non-Calvinist that states assertion (2)

        rhutchin
        Let;s see. br.d wants me to quote a non-Calvinist so I quote Carl.

        br.d
        Ok then – please provide where Carl quotes of (2)

      6. rhutchin: “(2) God does not have infinite understanding. That helps explain the difference between Calvinists and some non-Calvinists”
        br..d: “Please provide a quote from a non-Calvinist that states assertion (2)”
        rhutchin: “Carl wrote in the comment to which I responded, ‘Even a cursory reading reveals that God does not have an exhaustive knowledge of the future.’”
        br.d: “My post concerned what you wrote – not what Carl wrote.”
        rhutchin: “Let;s see. br.d wants me to quote a non-Calvinist so I quote Carl.”
        br.d: “Ok then – please provide where Carl quotes of (2)”

        Carl wrote in the comment to which I responded, “Even a cursory reading reveals that God does not have an exhaustive knowledge of the future.”

        I also added, “Even you should be able to work out the connection between an exhaustive knowledge of the future and infinite understanding.:

      7. The fallacy here is that ” exhaustive knowledge of the future.’” does not equate to “infinite understanding”.

      8. br.d writes, ‘The fallacy here is that ” exhaustive knowledge of the future.’” does not equate to “infinite understanding”.”

        Infinite understanding begets an exhaustive knowledge of the future. They are not equal even though many people treat them as equals.

      9. br.d
        The fallacy here is that ” exhaustive knowledge of the future.’” does not equate to “infinite understanding”.”

        rhutchin
        Infinite understanding begets an exhaustive knowledge of the future. They are not equal even though many people treat them as equals.

        br.d
        Perhaps this is a cloaked way of saying Calvinists treat them as equals.

        Are you equating “foreknowledge” with “understanding”?
        Let your communication be YEA or NAY

      10. br,d writes, “Perhaps this is a cloaked way of saying Calvinists treat them as equals.’

        Nope.

        Then, “Are you equating “foreknowledge” with “understanding”?”

        No. God’s understanding is the basis for His counsel that determines His works. So, when Paul writes, “God works all things according to the counsel of His will,” we see that God’ understanding is part of His counsel else what would His counsel draw from. Then, God’s foreknowledge is knowledge of His works.

      11. br.d
        Are you equating “foreknowledge” with “understanding”?”

        rhutchin
        No…….

        br.d
        How strange!
        When you assume that equation within Carl’s statement.

  6. rhutchin writes…
    there are two basic arguments that convince people of the Calvinist position.

    br.d
    Taking a Calvinist seriously is always one’s first mistake.

    How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide. (Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay)
    Notes:
    An ideologue mentality is a mentality that is unable to revise its current beliefs. Often because the belief-system provides the individual with a vicarious identity. Trying to have a conversation with someone in such a condition almost never results in an actual conversation. An ideologue mentality doesn’t speak with you – it speaks at you.

    The ideologue typically doesn’t speak extemporaneously. It only knows how to recite talking-points. The ideologues identity and sense of worth have been remapped – to a grandiose guild, society, or product. And this facilitates vicarious boasting.

    He cannot boast in himself without appearing pompous – but he can boast in his grandiose guild, society of product. Thus he acquires a sense of a superior identity – through vicarious boasting.

    1. CALVINISM PARTISAN IDENTITY
      Vicarious Boasting—and the seductiveness of hero worship:

      Kenneth Burke (1897), an American literary theorist, in Attitudes Toward History describes the sociological phenomenon of an individual’s re-mapping of personal identity. From an insignificant persona, to an identity of preeminence by association with a group.

      Burke clues us, that ‘vicarious boasting’ is one of the outward manifestations to look for:
      -quote
      “One may note, however, the subtle ways in which identification serves as braggadocio. By it, the modest man can indulge in the most outrageous ‘corporate boasting’. He identifies himself with some corporate unit (church, guild, company, lodge, party, team, college, city, nation, etc.) –and by profuse praise of this unit, he praises himself – for he ‘owns shares’ in the corporate unit. And by ‘rigging the market’ the value of the stock as a whole, he runs up the value of his personal holdings.

      Such identification will be observable even among mistreated clerks of rival business concerns, as the sales girls of one department are somewhat contemptuous of the goods of the department store across the street (an attitude that the heads of the business are prompt to ‘cash in on’ by putting ‘company loyalty’ against interference from outside agitators and union organizers).

      The function of ‘vicarious boasting’ leads into the matter of ‘epic heroism’ and ‘euphemistic’ vocabularies of motives.
      When heroes have been shaped by legend, with the irrelevant or incongruous details of their lives obliterated, and only the most ‘divine’ attributes expressed, the individual’s ‘covert boasting’ (by identification with the hero) need not lead to megalomania (extreme delusion of grandeur)….the legendary hero, is by definition, a superman. He is the founder of a line.

      -end quote

  7. Roger,

    Thank you, incidentally, for your definitions. They did not go unnoticed by me or the other readers here, I am sure.

    They are quite revealing and thus fulfilled my primary strategy in asking for them: they illustrate perfectly how the Calvinist uses language specially constructed to serve his own ends to tilt the table so every marble “magically” rolls to his end.

    Let’s take an example of just a single word: “predestines”.

    A reasonable approach would be to say something like “to determine in advance” and then to perhaps list all the places the Greek word (προορίζω [proorizō]) appears, and ditto for the Hebrew if any OT occurrences. Instead we get this:

    Predetermines: By His sovereign act to create the universe, God determined all future events that were to occur in that creation. Future events were determined by God’s sovereign act of creation that presupposed His infinite understanding of His creation and of those events He would bring about by virtue of His omnipotence. Because all future events were determined at the point of creation, God is said to have predetermined those events as He decided how He would interact with His creation before He created.

    The careful reader will note the following:

    1) Roger cannot even get through the first sentence without his Calvinism tilting the table. The word “predestines” contains nothing that would demand the extent of its application by God, but notice that God was somehow duty-bound to determine ALL future events that were to occur in creation. One is left to ask why the definition must necessarily include this and what explicit scriptures can be cited to support it.

    2) Sentence two tosses in a bunch of other words being defined elsewhere like “sovereign” “understanding” and “omnipotence”.

    3) A specific point in time is demanded (at creation) and the extent (all* future events) is also included.

    *the reader may here be assured that “all” indeed means “all”. We now rejoin our regularly scheduled program.

    So we see that we get not so much the plain meaning of a word in Roger’s definitions, but an entire theology — and one carefully crafted and curated to demand the very thing he is “objectively” asserting: his Calvinism.

    Lesson one: never allow the Calvinist to go unchallenged in his use of words. Agree on a neutral source, not the Calvinist’s source.

    You will note that Roger makes quite a fuss at those with the audacity to use a dictionary when defining words. It raises the question of exactly where the translators are supposed to go when they employ a word if not to a dictionary? It is fine to point out scriptural context and to incidences where the same word is translated differently, but again, if a dictionary is going to be mocked as a source of the plain meaning of words, then one must ask what speakers and translators of the language are expected to employ in their place.

    I am not going to bother to critique the other definitions. My purpose has been amply served by allowing Roger to expose his numerous biases for all to see.

    1. What is Predestined:
      Is there one verse in the NT which explicitly points to “salvation” as what is predestined?

      Or is it actually the case that the what is is always something Post Salvation and therefore ancillary, accompanying, or subsidiary of salvation?

      The word “Predestinated” shows up 4 times in the NT – but what is predestined
      1) The image of the son = Ancillary to or a Subsidiary of salvation
      2) The adoption of Children (i.e., the redemption of the body) = Ancillary to or a Subsidiary of salvation
      3) The inheritance (i.e., joint heirs with Christ) = Ancillary to or a Subsidiary of salvation
      4) To be justified and glorified = Ancillary to or a Subsidiary of salvation

      EXAMPLE:
      At the graduation ceremony of the Navy Seals advanced division – the general declares that each graduate’s destiny is to be the worlds most advanced warrior.

      But was he predestined to be a Navy Seal?
      Yes – if he believes in FATE
      No – if he does not believe in FATE.

      The Calvinistic interpretation of predestination collapses without the automatic presupposition of Stoic/Gnostic/NeoPlatonist belief that all things are FATED

      1. br.d writes, “The Calvinistic interpretation of predestination…”

        Calvin used his personal definition of “predestination.” Most people recognize that predestination in the Scriptures is applied differently that predestination by Calvin. Apparently, that cannot be undone.

        At least Calvin defined the predestination of which he wrote – “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man.” So, when discussing Calvin (or Calvinism) we know the definition that applies.

      2. rhutchin
        Calvin defined the predestination of which he wrote – “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man.”

        br.d
        Actually it was not Calvin – but Augustine – the Stoic/Gnostic/NeoPlatonist Christian who defined predestination that way.
        Calvin in his ardent reverence for all things Augustine simply swallowed that camel.

        Strain at the gnat of Pelagius.
        Swallow the camel of Augustine.

        See: Dr. Keneth Wilson’s The Foundation of Augustinian-Calvinism

        https://soteriology101.com/2019/08/05/did-the-early-church-fathers-teach-calvinism/

      3. rhutchin: Calvin defined the predestination of which he wrote – “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man.”
        br.d: “Actually it was not Calvin…”

        The quote appears in the Institutes. Ken Wilson did not provide a similar quotation from Augustine. At least not in the cited source.

      4. rhutchin
        The quote appears in the Institutes. Ken Wilson did not provide a similar quotation from Augustine. At least not in the cited source.

        br.d
        Something everyone already knows does not need to be re-stated
        Everyone knows Calvin got his idea of predestination from Augustine’s Stoic/Gnostic/NeoPlatonist/Catholic systematic.

        As B.B. Warfield states it:
        “The system of doctrine taught by Calvin is just the Augustinianism”

        rhutchin – you do need a cup of coffee!

      5. br.d writes, ‘As B.B. Warfield states it: “The system of doctrine taught by Calvin is just the Augustinianism””

        Warfield wrote, “[Calvin’s] expositions of Scripture were accordingly a wholly new phenomenon, and introduced a new exegesis – the modern exegesis. He stands out in the history of biblical study as, what Diestel, for example, proclaims him, “the creator of genuine exegesis.” The authority which his comments immediately acquired was immense – they “opened the Scriptures” as the Scriptures never had been opened before. Richard Hooker – “the judicious Hooker” – remarks that in the controversies of his own time, “the sense of Scripture which Calvin alloweth” was of more weight than if “ten thousand Augustines, Jeromes, Chrysostoms, Cyprians were brought forward.” Nor have they lost their value even to-day. Alone of the commentaries of their age the most scientific of modern expositors still find their profit in consulting them. As Professor A. J. Baumgartner, who has set himself to investigate the quality of Calvin’s Hebrew learning (which he finds quite adequate), puts it, after remarking on Calvin’s “astounding, multiplied, almost superhuman activity” in his work of biblical interpretation: “And – a most remarkable thing – this work has never grown old; these commentaries whose durable merit and high value men of the most diverse tendencies have signalized, – these commentaries remain to us even to-day, an astonishingly rich, almost inexhaustible mine of profound thoughts, of solid and often ingenious interpretation, of wholesome exposition, and at the same time of profound erudition.”

        Then–

        “The system of doctrine taught by Calvin is just the Augustinianism common to the whole body of the Reformers for the Reformation was, as from the spiritual point of view a great revival of religion, so from the theological point of view a great revival of Augustinianism. And this Augustinianism is taught by him not as an independent discovery of his own, but fundamentally as he learned it from Luther, whose fertile conceptions he completely assimilated, and most directly and in much detail from Martin Bucer into whose practical, ethical point of view he perfectly entered. Many of the very forms of statement most characteristic of Calvin – on such topics as Predestination, Faith, the stages of Salvation, the Church, the Sacraments – only reproduce, though of course with that clearness and religious depth peculiar to Calvin, the precise teachings of Bucer, who was above all others, accordingly, Calvin’s master in theology. Of course he does not take these ideas over from Bucer and repeat them by rote. They have become his own and issue afresh from him with a new exactness and delicacy of appreciation, in themselves and in their relations, with a new development of implications, and especially with a new richness of religious content. For the prime characteristic of Calvin as a theologian is precisely the practical interest which governs his entire thought and the religious profundity which suffuses it all. It was not the head but the heart which made him a theologian, and it is not the head but the heart which he primarily addresses in his theology.”

        Both Augustine and Calvin had a keen understanding of the Scriptures, so it is not surprising that Calvin, in reading Augustine, would find a kindred spirit in whom he found confirmation of those things that he was discovering in his study of the Scriptures.

        As Solomon noted centuries earlier, “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.” Isaiah, Luke, Paul, Augustine, Calvin – all wrote of the predestination of God.

      6. Yea we know
        Calvin got his Stoic/Gnostic/NeoPlatonist/Catholic ideas from Augustine.
        So what else is new. :-]

      7. br.d writes, “Yea we know Calvin got his Stoic/Gnostic/NeoPlatonist/Catholic ideas from Augustine.”

        Calvin actually got his ideas from his study of the Scriptures, perhaps prompted by Augustine;s writings. Calvin was a Berean (by analogy).

      8. br.d
        Yea we know Calvin got his Stoic/Gnostic/NeoPlatonist/Catholic ideas from Augustine.

        rhutchin
        Calvin actually got his ideas from his study of the Scriptures,….etc

        br.d
        No one is fooled by childish claims.
        Everyone knows Calvin swallowed Augustine’s camel without blinking. :-]

    2. Steve Sabin writes, “Let’s take an example of just a single word: “predestines”. A reasonable approach…”

      I agree. However, we both should know that Calvin gave his own definition that is different than that definition derived from the Scriptures. So, when Calvin uses the term, “predestination,” in his Institutes, we know what he is talking about because of his definition.

      Then, “1) Roger cannot even get through the first sentence without his Calvinism tilting the table…”

      I started by saying, “By His sovereign act …” By my definition of sovereign, this incorporates God’s omniscience and omnipotence, etc.” I don’t see a problem. When God created the world, He knew all that was to happen and His act of creating the world then determined all that was to happen. When we say that God predestinated all future events, we know that it was an act of God’s will and that He was not duty bound to create the world.

      Then, “2) Sentence two tosses in a bunch of other words being defined elsewhere like “sovereign” “understanding” and “omnipotence”.”

      Those I defined earlier because context is important. Did you mean to note a problem?

      Then, “So we see that we get not so much the plain meaning of a word in Roger’s definitions, but an entire theology — and one carefully crafted and curated to demand the very thing he is “objectively” asserting: his Calvinism. ”

      OK. But we understand that the term in question, “predestination, ” has an unique definition given by Calvin and is necessary to understanding Calvin’s theology. If you and I are going to discuss Calvinism, we pretty much have to understand and use the terminology Calvin used. Most people seem to understand that Calvin used the term, “predestination,” in a sense that is not strictly derived from the Scriptures. You seem to be saying that Calvin should used a different word to avoid confusion with the Scriptural use of the term. I agree, but here we are.

      Then,”Lesson one: never allow the Calvinist to go unchallenged in his use of words. Agree on a neutral source, not the Calvinist’s source.”

      That’s fine. I am OK with using your source. However, Calvin defined the term as he applies it and we will probably confuse things by rewriting Calvin.

      Then, ‘It raises the question of exactly where the translators are supposed to go when they employ a word if not to a dictionary?”

      First, the translators determine what a writer is saying by using a particular Greek/Hebrew word and then they go to the dictionary to find a word that accurately captures the meaning of the Greek/Hebrew word. However, the word used in the translation may not, by itself, convey the meaning the author intended. We have this with the word, “all.” Here, we have to search the Scriptures to see what is intended and we get the result that “all” can mean “Jew and gentile.”

      Then, “I am not going to bother to critique the other definitions. My purpose has been amply served by allowing Roger to expose his numerous biases for all to see.”

      OK. Let’s see your definitions of those words and see if we can agree on definitions that excludes any biases. That will give us a common foundation from which to proceed.

      1. rhutchin
        However, the word used in the translation may not, by itself, convey the meaning the author intended.

        br.d
        Interpretation
        The meaning Calvinist needs to force upon the text is not in the text.

        rhutchin
        We have this with the word, “all.” Here, we have to search the Scriptures to see what is intended and we get the result that “all” can mean “Jew and gentile.”

        br.d
        Interpretation:
        Here we have to search for any possible verse in scripture we can find – which we can use to force our THEO-Philosophical presupposition onto the text.

      2. Why would we not simply use a dictionary and then allow scripture to speak for itself if the definition based on the biblical context needed to be constrained or narrowed in some fashion?

        By the way, most of the examples below are not from a dictionary. They are merely to show the difference between

        A) a concise and simple definition.
        B) a theological treatise about the application of a word.

        Examples…

        Predestine: to determine in advance
        Foreknow: to know in advance
        Understand:to fully comprehend
        Primary means: direct control via personal action or intervention
        Secondary means: indirect control, via natural laws of physics, etc.
        Sovereignty: supreme power or authority
        Cause: to make happen / occur
        Etc.

  8. JOHN CALVIN THINKING TO HIMSELF:

    I was instructed by scripture – to write letters to my enemies – and then burn them.
    I followed those instructions – and I’ve completed the work of god!

    But now what do I do with the letters?

  9. Again, for those reading here to actually learn about Calvinism and share their stories about finding the off-ramp rather than arguing about it through endless wrangling of words, I want to point out some essential truths to guide you in your journey.

    1) You will NEVER encounter a native Calvinist growing wild through merely reading the Bible. They are ALWAYS grown in a greenhouse by Reformed gardners. Always. Some are grown from the seed stage and raised from “birth”. Others are brought in as different speciies and that trained, like a fine, into the proper configuration. There are no exceptions to this. Nobody comes to the “doctrines of grace” naturally or instinctively. Augustine got it from his ungodly philosophical and religious influences external to Christianity. Calvin bot it from Augustine, whom Calvin references more than 400 times in Institutes. And today’s Calvinists got their gospel not from the Bible but from pagans > Augustine > Calvin.

    2) For all of the bloviating about “sola scriptura” always keep #1 in mind. This is a philosophy of man that is introduced externally and then forced violently upon the scriptures. The Calvinist always finds what he is looking for. This is why he rests so self-assured in his theology. Because He holds the truths of Calvinism to be “self-evident” he forgets they were carefully taught, and never questions them. His toil is that of making scripture conform to his philosophy, not vice-versa.

    3) Calvinists have an insatiable need to control language. Hence, the types of definitions we see offered by Calvinists are always circular in nature, carefully crafted to assume that which they set out to prove. Not surprisingly, they always manage to prove their assumption to their own satisfaction.

    4) Some (not all) Calvinists are frequently accompanied by an enormous amount of spiritual pride. For reasons nobody (including themselves) can ascertain, God chose THEM. Although it isn’t reason to boast, there is that part of their brain that cannot help but take pride in the fact that they were selected. They bristle when someone suggests that God’s choice was arbitrary, and then bristle if you insist that if His choice was not arbitrary it must have been in some fashion meritorious. So no matter what you suggest, you will be wrong. Meanwhile, the Calvinist will harbor immense relief in knowing he is not only ELECT, but is prevented from disqualification and thus can boast vicariously that he is not on the train marked “Lake of Fire” on the placard.

    More to come. But pay special attention to #1 through #3. This is an externally introduced philosophy and system. It does not originate in scripture – it merely seeks cover and refuge in scripture and must do so through violence to the text.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, ‘ I want to point out some essential truths to guide you in your journey.”

      When non-Calvinists rail against Calvinists, we generally see something akin to what Steve wrote. We never see the non-Calvinist arguing that the Calvinists mangled the Scriptures and then explaining the Scripture and how they mangled it. We normally find that the non-Calvinist and Calvinist disagree on technical issues (e.g., the understanding of “all” in 1 Timothy 1) There is generally no disagreement on big issues addressing the attributes of God (His omnipotence) or God’s sovereignty (here the issue is how God exercises sovereignty and the meaning of “God permits”)

      1. rhutchin
        here the issue is how God exercises sovereignty and the meaning of “God permits”)

        br.d
        Steve may not be aware that Calvinists have two different definitions for “permission” language.

        The definition Steve is probably aware of is Non-CAUSAL permission
        This is the standard definition of permission which everyone learns while growing up – and the only definition Non-Calvinists understand – because they don’t equate permit with CAUSE.

        But Calvinism rejects NON-CAUSAL permission as a form of divine permission.
        So Calvinists qualify NON-CAUSAL permission by calling it “MERE” permission

        The easiest way to understand is – whenever a Calvinist uses the term “permit” just replace it with CAUSE.
        What Calvin’s god “Renders-Certain” (i.e. CAUSES) he permits
        What Calvin’s god does not “Render-Certain” (i.e., CAUSE) he does not permit

        Therefore divine “Permission” in Calvinism is CAUSAL

        So “Mere” permission is what the Non-Calvinist understands as permission
        And “mere” permission is rejected by Calvinism as a form of divine permission.

        However – Calvinists quite frequently try to obfuscate Calvin’s god as the AUTHOR OF EVIL
        They will then craft statements designed to APPEAR as “mere” permission.

        This practice is the recognized as a part of Calvinism’s DOUBLE-SPEAK language.

      2. rhutchin: “here the issue is how God exercises sovereignty and the meaning of “God permits”)”
        br.d: “The definition Steve is probably aware of is Non-CAUSAL permission…”

        br.d’s comment a good illustration that the issue is defining .the meaning of “God permits.”

      3. rhutchin
        br.d’s comment a good illustration that the issue is defining .the meaning of “God permits.”

        br.d
        See the rest of br.d’s post on that matter – to get the WHOLE truth.
        Otherwise – one is bound to be mislead by Calvinism’s use of “permission” language.

  10. Sorry about the typo above.

    Should read as follows:

    “Others are brought in as different speciies species and that then trained, like a fine vine, into the proper configuration.”

  11. What Calvinism says: Faith is a work if it originates in man. It must therefore be a gift.
    Scriptural support: none (a tortured and incorrect reading of Eph 2:8; salvation is the gift – not faith)

    What the Bible says: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; ‘THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.’”

    Are all people able to hear? Yes, the natural state is the ability to hear – not deafness. Deafness (judicial hardening) is the result of people refusing to listen first, and then – as punishment by God – being prevented from listening. We see this only towards Israel – not all people, all nations, or all non-Elect.
    Scriptural support: Zech 7:8-14

    Did other people confuse “work” with something that was not actually work? Yes – the Pharisees.
    Scriptural support: Matt 12:9-14, Mk 3:1-6, Lk 6:6-11, Lk 13:10-17, Lk 14:1-6, Jn 5:2-17, Jn 9:14-17

    ————-

    Something to ponder as our Calvinist friends continue insisting with no scriptural support that “faith originating in man is a work”. They are not the first to make this error. The Pharisees did likewise.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “What Calvinism says: Faith is a work if it originates in man. It must therefore be a gift.
      Scriptural support: none (a tortured and incorrect reading of Eph 2:8; salvation is the gift – not faith)”

      The argument comes from Romans 10, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Before a person hears the gospel, it is impossible for him to have faith and he cannot be saved. After hearing the gospel and receiving faith, the person believes and is saved. Not all people who physically hear the gospel receive faith so spiritual perception is in view with the word, “hear.” If faith has its origin in man and not in the hearing of the gospel, then the exercise of that faith is a work.

      1. rhutchin
        The argument comes from Romans 10

        br.d
        Nah!
        It comes from a Stoic/Gnostic/NeoPlatonist interpretation.

  12. Ever notice how Calvinists protest like a stuck pig when it is suggested that God’s basis for election is arbitrary? “NO!” they stridently assert. “Just because God doesn’t disclose His election criteria as part of His ‘secret counsel’ – that doesn’t mean that it is arbitrary. It only seems arbitrary to us because of our finite understanding.”

    But ponder this: why couldn’t / shouldn’t it be arbitrary? What if God, as part of His good pleasure, decreed there would be only X vacancies for elect people and then cast the proverbial lot of Prov 16:33 as selection criteria (to use one of their favorite sovereignty proof-texts) to fill those X vacancies? What if God generated the most random process imaginable to elect, merely because it pleased Him? The Calvinist’s sword cuts both ways: “who are you, oh man, to question God?” Why does election criteria need to be meaningful or significant in any fashion? Remember, O Calvinist – God is supremely sovereign.

    I suspect they cannot abide such a thought because the secret pride within them wants to believe that although the criteria is not revealed, it must be something in them. It surely couldn’t be random, could it?

    Bottom line: They protest too much on this point with no basis. God is God and can use any election criteria He wants — arbitrary criteria included. They possess no interest in protecting God’s attributes such as love and fairness – only sovereignty – so why should their theology protest in the slightest if God turned out to be, in fact, an arbitrary tyrant?

    Meanwhile, we have no such tempests in teapots because we don’t subscribe to the ridiculous, unbiblical notion of unconditional election.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “Ever notice how Calvinists protest like a stuck pig when it is suggested that God’s basis for election is arbitrary?”

      Calvinists attribute God’s election to “the counsel of His will.” If there is a reason, it is that noted by Paul, “What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,”

      1. This is not a reason for particular election – why one individual is elected and another is not. It tells us nothing about why RH was selected by name from eternity past to be elect and people like Christopher Hitchens and Adolf Hitler were not. The reason you were selected (according to your theology) may well have been completely arbitrary.

        Has it ever occurred to you that the same potter of Romans 9 must be reconciled with the one of Jer 18 to make sense of this passage? How many times have you read the Bible from cover to cover and bothered to make notes of the of the hundreds of times your Calvinist understandings are challenged by scripture itself – starting with Jer 18 and Ez 18?

        I have done that exercise, by the way. My Bible is covered with notes on nearly every page with passages that pose problems for the Calvinist depiction of God.

        While there may be 15-20 Calvinist “proof text” scriptures I have to address/explain such as the one in this article (Jn 6:44), you have thousands that must be explained. Which explains why you focus on the 20 and not the thousands.

        (I spoke with FOH yesterday and we agree that the number is closer to 20 than 50).

  13. There was once a spacious farm enjoyed by many. The neighbor had a dog that carefully watched from a distance, day and night, apparently never sleeping lest the farmer and his guests plant a new shrub – no matter how large or small – without the dog visiting, lifting his leg, and marking the shrub with a terrible scent.

    No shrubs ever died, and the dog actually served to fertilize them in a perverse way. But he was not really welcomed by the farmer or his guests, as his bark was most annoying and his markings most odorous.

    Nevertheless, the farmer might want to consider a fence.

    1. Canine liquid fertilizer – an Interesting product!

      What type of marketing language would be needed to sell it? :-]

  14. CALVINISM IS 90% SEMANTICS

    A primary goal of Hermeneutics is to identify and eliminate presuppositions the mind brings to the text.
    To identify nothing more than what each text explicitly states
    To identify what each text does not state.

    The proof-texter’s goal is exactly the opposite

    This goal is to identify any plausible sign or indicator within any plausible verse – which can be used to affirm a preexisting THEO-Philosophical presupposition.

    The proof-texter’s interest in scripture is to use it for his end goal.

    Catholics use Matthew 16:18 as a proof-text for Apostolic succession
    The Church of Christ uses Acts 2:38 as a proof-text to argue one is not saved without water baptism
    Mormons use 1st Corinthians 15:29 as a proof-text to argue for the baptism of the dead
    Jehovah’s Witnesses use John 1:18 as a proof-text to argue Jesus is a lesser God
    Calvinist’s use Ephesians 1:4 as a proof-text to argue for a Gnostic form of election to salvation – where only select individuals meet divine criteria

    The predominant key to recognizing the co-opting of scripture is to look for the gaming of words.
    Scripture is made up of words.
    So co-opting scripture for one’s own ends is going to require an ongoing dexterity and skill in word games.
    One indicator to look for is the development of phrases which are forever recited like a mantra.
    Often such phrases contain highly refined and often equivocal or strategically ambiguous meanings.
    The same exact model we find in marketing slogans.

    Any cursory review of any dialog with a Calvinist will reveal word games as part and parcel of the Calvinist methodology.

    The preponderance of logical fallacies one learns to recognize within Calvinist arguments – reveals an underlying urgency is to evade logical or ethical consequences – and hide logical contradictions. And the primary tool to accomplish that is the ability to shift the meanings of words.

    Calvinism is 90% SEMANTICS.

    1. br.d writes, “A primary goal of Hermeneutics is to identify and eliminate presuppositions …”

      No. A hermeneutic will identify the presumptions that exist. Presuppositions always exist whether a person realizes it or not.

      1. br.d
        A primary goal of Hermeneutics is to identify and eliminate presuppositions …”

        rhutchjin
        No. A hermeneutic will identify the presumptions that exist.

        br.d
        A Calvinist strategy:
        APPEAR to disagree – while actually agreeing.

        All part of Calvinism’s YEA/NAY language :-]

        rhutchin
        Presuppositions always exist whether a person realizes it or not.

        br.d
        And thus – A primary goal of Hermeneutics is to identify and eliminate presuppositions the mind brings to the text :-]

  15. I doubt there is a more scholarly, complete, or detailed support of John 6:44 than that already given by Brian Wagner here: https://soteriology101.com/2017/08/13/john-644/#comment-14245

    He cites many sources and it is very thorough. I have little more I can add, particularly since the Calvinist wants to insist that all who are “drawn” will automatically “come”. There is certainly nothing in the Greek to demand such a reading. Indeed, if we want to stay with one of the favorite arguments used by Calvinists:

    “The same word translated ‘draw’ in John 6:44 is translated ‘drag’ when referring to Peter dragging the net with 153 fish”

    The sword cuts both ways gentlemen; please consider also this verse:

    Matt 13:47-48 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.”

    So if people are irresistibly drawn by God, as you would have John 6:44, why are there non-elect people (bad fish) in the net? Isn’t this what Jesus is directly comparing the “Kingdom of Heaven” to?

    And this is what I mean when I say that Calvinists will cling to their 20 or so “proof texts” like gold nuggets, and ignore the scriptures on almost every page of the Bible that say otherwise. As will be seen in my Acolyte Dialogues as they unfold, the Calvinist wants to harmonize the entire Word of God (thousands of verses) to about 20 verses – 20 verses that incidentally have perfectly biblical non-Calvinist interpretations and most of which are dealt with already here on SOT101.

    In contrast, the Calvinist must confront hundreds or thousands of scriptures that contradict his “proof texts” – passages like Num 21, Jer 18, Ezk 18, Jn 3:14-16, Col 1:23, and hundreds of others.

    So, the question is quite simple: are you going to subscribe to a theology in which the many (hundreds or thousands) of verses must forcibly serve the erroneous interpretation of a few (perhaps 20), or a theology in which the relatively few verses (perhaps 20) are going to properly align and serve the thousands that explicitly or implicitly convey a very different God and gospel mechanism than that espoused by Calvinists?

    Calvinists spend the majority of their time rallying around the 20, beating all other verses into submission through the most torturous means possible.

    The rest of us prefer to just read our Bible and let it speak for itself, without having the voices of Augustine and Calvin trying to drown out the truth.

  16. rhutchin
    “Apparently, a person that is reborn still needs to be dragged to Christ, since that is what John tells us..”

    A video example of Calvin’s god’s dragging:

    Reborn person: “Enough of this nonsense – I am a god!”

    Calvin’s god after a little well deserved dragging: “Puny god!”

  17. The center of the Calvinist’s galaxy is John 6:44 around which “U” and “I” and “L” revolve. They will endlessly parse the words under their electron microscopes, never turning elsewhere to understand and reconcile what Jesus is saying here.

    Please learn to read the entire Bible, both NT and OT, observe the many, many lessons of God calling, drawing, pleading, persuading, scolding, dishing out consequences, and yes – even changing his mind from calamity when people repent – to see the unchanging character of God that draws all, yet not all come. Read Jer 18 and Ezk 18 instead of just glossing over such passages and acting as though John 6:44 stands alone and is the cornerstone around which the rest of the building must be assembled.

    LEARN and MEDITATE on the truth of this verse: The SUM of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting. (Ps 119:160)

    And, a parting question for our contestants: Hos 11:4 says that God (the Father) is leading [drawing?] wayward Israel “…with “cords of a man, with bonds of love” yet in v5 it says: “…but Assyria—he will be their king because they refused to return to Me.”

    Irresistible grace? Not so much. Unconditional election? Not so much. Selective drawing / leading / salvation? Not so much.

  18. Brian Wagner writes…
    The bigger problem is that you put regeneration “prior to hearing the gospel.” Wow! Paul and Peter both said the new birth happens “through” the gospel. The hearing, understanding, and believing of the gospel must be first. I’m sticking with them.

    Calvinism asks us to believe the following Ordo Salutis (wow, isn’t it cool how Latin denotes such a scholarly tone!)…

    1. Christ dies and provides atonement for the elect (and only the elect). He is not required to do this – it is a gift – lest any man should boast that he did it without Christ.
    2. God regenerates you sovereignly, raising you from the “dead” and allowing you to hear.
    3. You then hear the gospel through ears that are no longer deaf / dead.
    4. You are then given the faith to believe what you have heard.
    5. You then believe the gospel.

    If any of the above steps 2-5 originate in you, it is a “work” and not a gift. It is not enough for #1 to be a gift and steps 2-5 to be pointless and impotent without the gift of #1. All 5 steps must be initiated by God in order for this to be a gift. If I so much as open the wrapping paper, or even have the desire to open the wrapping paper, its ‘gift-ness” is nullified and it becomes meritorious. Never mind that if we were to substitute real gifts, real wrapping paper, real givers, and real recipients and ask 10,000 people whether opening the gift and wanting to open the gift transforms it into something merited rather than gifted that all 10,000 would vote “no”. No, nevermind that. We must turn off both our brains and scripture at this juncture. Because orthodoxy demands it.

    Questions:
    – At what point are you “drawn” in the above process and at what point do you “come”?
    – Wouldn’t it be simpler to dispense with the notion of any type of “will” at all and with it, steps 2-5?
    – At what point are you actually “saved” in this process?

    1. Steve
      (1) At what point are you “drawn” in the above process and at what point do you “come”?
      (2) Wouldn’t it be simpler to dispense with the notion of any type of “will” at all and with it, steps 2-5?
      (3) At what point are you actually “saved” in this process?

      br.d
      I can pretty much anticipate the answers to these.
      For 1 & 3 I would anticipate 10 different answers from 10 different Calvinists
      With each Calvinist presenting his unique answer totally assuming to speak for all Calvinists.

      For 2 – The Calvinist can’t dispense with the notion of “free will” because without it – the HUMAN PUPPET problem can’t be denied.
      Although compatibilist freedom only provides a FACADE of removing the HUMAN PUPPET problem.
      It at least allows the Calvinist to make-believe it does.

    2. Steve Sabin: “Questions:
      – At what point are you “drawn” in the above process and at what point do you “come”?”

      Since God draws through the preaching of (or other means of disseminating) the gospel, God draws only after a person comes under the physical hearing of the gospel. If a person never hears the gospel, God will not draw him to Christ The first step in the process of salvation is for the Holy Spirit to give the person new birth.

      Then, “– Wouldn’t it be simpler to dispense with the notion of any type of “will” at all and with it, steps 2-5?”

      Seems like it. Apparently, God exercised His free will to do it His way.

      Then, “– At what point are you actually “saved” in this process?”

      Per Ephesians 1, “In Christ you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,…”

      Upon being sealed by the Holy Spirit, a person is “saved.”

      1. rhutchin
        God draws only after a person comes under the physical hearing of the gospel.

        br.d
        You mean Calvin’s god drags the person after he makes them come under some kind of causal power which causes them to hear….etc

        Comes under is interesting language – because it is the language of Necromancy.
        The person comes under the influence of the spirit world.

        rhutchin
        If a person never hears the gospel, God will not draw him to Christ

        br.d
        You mean if Calvin’s god has designed a person a vessel of wrath – for eternal torment in a lake if fire – then he will cause them to never hear – and also he will not drag them to Christ

        So after making them hear he drags them to Christ.

        rhutchin
        Apparently, God exercised His free will to do it His way.

        br.d
        You mean his Libertarian free will – which allows him to do it his way.

        rhutchin
        Upon being sealed by the Holy Spirit, a person is “saved.”

        br.d
        With the caveat – that the Calvinist has no certainty of whether Calvin’s god has given him a gift of FALSE faith and FALSE salvation.

        As John Calvin says:
        -quote
        But the Lord…….. INSTILLS INTO THEIR MIND such A SENSE of his goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption. He only gives them a MANIFESTATION of his present mercy. (Institutes)

  19. Faulty assumptions lead to faulty conclusions.

    My personal story is that one of my two friends approached me not via the “T” of TULIP (like Jordan in The Acolyte Dialogues but rather by an appeal to sovereignty which assumed sovereignty = cosmic micromanager. I didn’t buy it then and I don’t buy it now. It is one way to get the “victim” to “U” and then the rest of TULIP is easy. It logically follows from the faulty premise of “U”.

    The other friend approached me in a manner similar to rhuthcin’s reasoning: an appeal to omniscience that went something like this:

    Him: Do you think God knows where you will spend eternity?
    Me: Yes.
    Him: Then what makes you think you are free to change the outcome?

    He conflated foreknowledge with predestination and used it like a trap. If you walk into the trap, then you must accept “U” and the rest of TULIP falls into place as logical consequences.

    I beg anyone to look at the 5 steps I outlined above and explain to me with a minimum of a dozen scriptures why desiring to take off the gift wrapping paper and actually taking off the paper constitutes a “work” and erases its status as a gift. As I said, you could present this analogy to ten thousand people and not a single one would cease to say it was no longer a gift and had become something you worked for and earned. It’s ludicrous. But an erroneous understanding of “T” demands you cannot want the gift nor unwrap it.

    I also beg anyone to show me a clear example of step #1 in the scriptures. And before you scream “Lydia” please read Acts 16:14 and tell me whether she was a worshipper of God before of after she heard Paul speak. Ditto for Cornelius in Acts 10:1 and his behavior before he heard Peter speak.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “explain to me with a minimum of a dozen scriptures why desiring to take off the gift wrapping paper and actually taking off the paper constitutes a “work” and erases its status as a gift.”

      Romans 10 says, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” and then Ephesians 2, “by grace you have been saved through faith.” Without faith no one opens the gift-wrapping; with faith, all open the gift-wrapping. So, why does one person have faith and another does not? Because God gives faith to one and not the other.

    2. Steve Sabin writes, ‘I also beg anyone to show me a clear example of step #1 in the scriptures.”
      “1. Christ dies and provides atonement for the elect (and only the elect). He is not required to do this – it is a gift – lest any man should boast that he did it without Christ.”

      Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”

      Paul, to the Romans, “[Jesus] was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification….It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us…I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

      Paul, to the Corinthians, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ,…”

      Paul, to the Romans, “if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

  20. Our gracious host, Eric Kemp, does a masterful job with Romans 9 in this 2017 post:
    https://beardedseminarian.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/romans-9-a-brief-non-calvinist-reading/

    If you have not read it, I encourage you to do so. I found it very enlightening and it helped connect some dots even more solidly for me.

    1) Notice who Paul is writing the epistle to in Rom 1:5-7 (bold emphasis mine)
    through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Paul is writing to Gentile believers in Rome (“all the Gentiles … among whom you also…”. As we will soon see, they are being (as usual) browbeaten by Jews to become circumcised and to achieve righteousness through the Law. It is crucial to understand this context as the epistle proceeds.

    2) As Eric points out, the Jews were expelled from Rome sometime between 41 AD and 53 AD. Only Gentile believers remained in the city during that time. Then, after the death of Claudius in 53AD, Nero assumed the throne and rescinded the expulsion. As a mix of Jewish believers and unbelievers came back in to Rome, they brought their “usual and customary” objections to the gospel (or “augmentation” of the gospel with the Law) back with them. This is the situation Paul is addressing with Roman believers.

    3) The Jews have a very long and extensive history with Paul, Peter, Stephen, Apollos, and other believers of being the primary impediment to the gospel and of trying to turn believing Gentiles into Law-keeping Jewish proselytes rather than followers of Christ. This is why the Jews are always being provoked to jealously – they see their position eroding. In the book of Acts, there are approximately 20 separate instances of the Jews opposing the gospel because they rejected the message of grace and wanted to perpetuate circumcision and keeping the Law. The imaginary “Mr. Objection” that Paul introduces in Romans 3:5 and then perpetuates through 3:9, 6:1, 6:15, 7:7, 9:14, 9:19, and 11:1 is thus the hardened, self-assured Jew – not a garden-variety unbeliever (Gentile or non-practicing Jew). Mr. Objection is a very specific type of unbeliever: the obstinate Jew who is trusting in the Law and thus causing great harm to the Gentile believers by forcing the Law upon them. Here are the verses in Acts comprising the 20 incidents in which the Jews opposed the gospel because it did not preach circumcision and keeping the Law as the basis of salvation: Acts 4:1-2, 5:17, 6:9-14, 9:1-3, 9:22-30, 11:2, 13:44-51, 14:2, 14:19, 15:1-5, 16:3, 17:5, 17:13, 18:4-6, 18:12-13, 18:28, 19:8-9, 20:3, 21:10 – 26:32, 28:17-28. In contrast, there are only 3 recorded incidents in which the Gentiles opposed the gospel: Acts 12:1-5, 16:19-24, 19:23-41. Two of these (16:19-24 and 19:23-41) are rooted purely in economic concerns (idol worship income being impacted). The other (Acts 12:1-5) is at least 50% rooted in Jewish opposition because Herod’s persecution, when he saw it pleased the Jews, perpetuated it. So we’ll award half as Gentile persecution and half as Jewish-appeasement-based persecution. In other words, 20.5 of the incidents were Jewish and 2.5 were Gentile. Thus, 89% of the recorded incidents in Acts where the gospel was opposed were due to hardened Jewish unbelievers – not Gentiles. Thus, it should not surprise us that Paul anticipates this specific type of opposition for the believers in Rome as Jews flood back into the city and addresses it head-on in Romans.

    4) Mr. Objector can thus be seen as a hardened Jew, protesting that his nation (and thus himself) is “special” and that the old covenant consisting of circumcision and keeping of the Law have not changed. This is a Jew viewing the world entirely through the lens of Num 15:14-16. It is this “objector” that Paul is anticipating and addressing.

    5) For a Calvinist to insist that Mr. Objector suddenly switches identities in Rom 9:19 and shifts from an interest in a chosen (elected) nation to instead an interest in particular individuals is beyond unreasonable.

    6) The Potter Paul refers to in Rom 9:19-24 is referring directly to Jer 18:1-12. Please see my emphasis in bold to remove all doubt about whether the Potter in Jeremiah (and by extension Romans) is dealing with individuals or with nations:
    The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD saying, “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. So now then, speak to the men [plural] of Judah and against the inhabitants [plural] of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.”’ But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’

    More later…

    1. “Eric Kemp, does a masterful job with Romans 9 in this 2017 post:”

      Kemp writes on v1-3, “Paul is willing to be damned to hell for the Jews and yet God is not willing for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to be applied to them.” The Calvinist says that Paul’s concern is for the salvation of the Jews. Kemp seems to agree as he says regarding v4-5. “If anyone should be enjoying the fruits the Messiah, it should be the Jews. After all, it came through them. For that reason, and because Paul is one of them, his heart grieves for them.” The fruits of the Messiah is salvation and because they do not appear to have obtained salvation, Paul’s heart grieves for them.

      The, we read on the next verses, “Notice the contrast Paul is making here. The contrast is between who God chooses to give the promise to, not who God chooses to be saved. Not unbeliever and believer. Not elect and reprobate. But how God has always chosen who will carry the promise. What was the promise? Effectual salvation? No, the promise was that through Abraham’s family the entire world would be blessed…”

      So, God chooses the nation of Israel as the vehicle through whom the Messiah with come. What happens? The Messiah actually does come through the nation of Israel. So, what is the problem Paul is addressing? Kemp writes, “Paul is saying is that God has always chosen before they’ve ever done anything good or bad, through whom the Messiah would come.” Then, ‘Instead, we see Paul as referencing the mercy and compassion of having the honor, the blessing, and the glory of the Messiah being brought through your nation.'”

      The underlying question is why anyone would object to that. Why would Paul be upset and willing to spend eternity in hell for his brothers when God has fulfilled His promise to them – The Messiah came out of Israel. Kemp’s analysis is tortured at best and cannot explain Paul’s concerns nor the basis for the objections that Paul addresses.

      The Calvinist rightly understands Paul’s concern when he says, “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,” as being a concern for the salvation of his brothers. Even Dr. Flowers got this right.

      What is the basis for the objections? It is when Paul writes, “those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.” It is through salvation that one becomes a child of God. That God should choose one to save and one to reject is the basis for the objections.

      1. Calvinist talking-point #1:
        The Calvinist says that Paul’s concern is for the salvation of the Jews.

        br.d
        With the hidden caveat that Calvin’s god infallibly decreed Paul to enunciate a HALF-TRUTH representation of Calvin’s god’s actual (i.e., evil) intentions for Jews – as well as for Gentiles.

        Calvinist talking-point #2:
        That God should choose one to save and one to reject is the basis for the objections.

        br.d
        Only if one forces a presupposition of Augustine’s Stoic/Gnostic/NeoPlatonic/Catholic version of predestination onto the text.

        See: Did the Early Church Fathers Teach Calvinism?
        https://soteriology101.com/2019/08/05/did-the-early-church-fathers-teach-calvinism/

      2. RH writes,
        “The Calvinist rightly understands Paul’s concern when he says, “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,” as being a concern for the salvation of his brothers.”

        Aidan,
        I agree. Here is something I have learned recently in coming to this section of Romans: As we come to this unit, Romans 9-11, we find that the great body of the Jewish nation have – rejected the gospel. They are on the outside, and do not experience the fulfillment of these promises that the OT prophets had predicted. That’s the problem Paul has to deal with in these three chapters. And one of the major objections that seems to come up in chapter 9, is that perhaps God had failed to fulfill His promises to the Jews.

        In 9:1-5, Paul expresses his great sorrow for Israel. The reason, v.3, is that Israel is lost! And what a tragedy it is, considering the fact that they had enjoyed such a privileged position vv.4-5. In spite of this, they are lost and find themselves outside the kingdom of God – and that’s the problem – Israel is lost. But what is the explanation? Whose at fault? Is God somehow at fault? Romans 9:6-29, is a vindication of God. God is not to blame! His word has not failed! He has not failed to fulfill His promises, nor is there any injustice or unrighteousness in His dealings with Israel, or with any other nation, in the things He has done in sending out the gospel.

        And so, Romans 9 is basically a vindication of God.

      3. The issue in Romans is not who is saved. It is how one is saved – by the Law and circumcision, or by Christ? And the Objector is the smug Jew coming up with all the “yes, but whaddabout?” retorts. The same one that feels justified in persecuting Christians and trying to stop the gospel because “they’re doing it all wrong.”‘

        Romans 9 is Paul’s response to the smug Objector who protests that Israel is special and meritorious. Paul says, essentially, “God can choose anyone for SERVICE that he wants. It isn’t based on the man who will or runs – but on God.” And then to make his point, Paul shows that God chose Jacob to father the nation of Israel rather than Esau before either was born or had done anything bad or good, and that the older (Esau) would thus be subservient to the younger (Jacob) in terms of which nation had a more noble status and was a “vessel of honor.” Love / hate in this passage is method of comparing the relative preference. It is not a statement of unconditional election to salvation. it is election to service involving the fathering of nations and that becomes very clear when you read the passages Paul quotes from in Gen 25:23 and Mal 1:1-5.

        More later. I am putting an extensive write-up on Romans together. No passage is more misused and misinterpreted by Calvinists than Rom 9. The only passage topping this one in terms of violent distortion by Calvinists is perhaps John 3:16.

        P.S. I am convinced that Peter wrote 2 Pet 3:16 with Romans 9 in mind.

      4. Hey Steve,
        Perhaps it might be better to interact with me privately on this issue, because I don’t want to come across as being in agreement with the Calvinist position on Romans 9. I have no problem with you getting my email address from Brdmod, where we can tease out some of the issues less publicly.

        Regards,
        Aidan

      5. Seeing that you don’t mind, we don’t have to move across, we can continue on here with the flow of thought in this thread. Perhaps I might have a slightly different take on this section that may be helpful.

      6. I’m thinking primarily of other readers. My comments are intended primarily for those who lurk without commenting and are either undecided about Calvinism, are exiting Calvinism and looking for scriptural support, or are Calvinists but not fully aware of its inevitable implications and contradictions. Unfortunately, the hard-core Calvinists will not generally be swayed by what is written here and come to this site with a single objective: to argue tirelessly and proselytize.

        Since comments aren’t searchable on this site, readers wanting to learn about Romans 9 won’t find them under this thread as it will be completely non-intuitive to look under the topic of pastoral care.

      7. Thanks Aidan. These threads often branch off into so many tributaries and rabbit trails that are rich, but in the wrong place. I have been guilty of this many times and I am trying to be more mindful of posting comments where they align better with the subject matter of the parent article. It has resulted in resurrecting comment streams to articles that are sometimes 3 years old (or older).

      8. Steve Sabin writes, “Paul says, essentially, “God can choose anyone for SERVICE that he wants.”

        Why would a Jew get upset over this.The Jews had a system that included priests, Sadducees, and Pharisees – different arears of service. What would the issue be about service that a Jew would see as unfair?

      9. Calvinist question:
        Why would a Jew get upset over this.

        br.d
        N.T. Wright answers

        Paul’s problem with Judaism was not works-righteousness in the sense understood by the Protestant Reformers, but the insistence on a covenant status for Jews and Jews alone.

      10. Question: Why would a Jew get upset over this.The Jews had a system that included priests, Sadducees, and Pharisees – different arears of service. What would the issue be about service that a Jew would see as unfair?

        Answer: Read your Bible. The answer consists of one word; jealousy. See Acts 5:17, 13:44-45, 17:5, and Heb 11:11. Kemp is right again. The Jews feel slighted because his superior and exclusive position has been done away with and the playing field has been leveled (Heb 10). He feels slighted because his position of moral and spiritual authority has been decimated and he can no longer parade about as a smug, holier-than-thou, I’m-chosen-and-you-are-not. He is jealous for precisely the same reason people get jealous today in the workplace, relationships, church, etc. Namely, when they see their power, entitlement, exclusivity, or preferential treatment being changed and removed, they fight back and try to reserve it. Read the 20 instances in Acts where the Jews oppose the gospel. It isn’t about blasphemy. It is about jealousy. See Acts 4:1-2, 5:17, 6:9-14, 9:1-3, 9:22-30, 11:2, 13:44-51, 14:2, 14:19, 15:1-5, 16:3, 17:5, 17:13, 18:4-6, 18:12-13, 18:28, 19:8-9, 20:3, 21:10 – 26:32, 28:17-28.

      11. Steve Sabin writes, “The answer consists of one word; jealousy. See Acts 5:17, 13:44-45, 17:5, and Heb 11:11”

        So, that jealousy started when the apostles were speaking only to the Jews. Certainly, when Paul was preaching to the gentiles, the Jews got jealous but where does jealousy enter when only Jews are involved. In Romans 9, Paul is dealing only with the Jews and saying that some of the Jews were children of promise and some were not. Are you saying that those Jews who perceived that they were not children of Promise were jealous of those who were children of promise – and that the issue was over “service.”? Again, why would they get upset at that since they were accustomed to distinctions in service – some were priests, some Sadducees, some Pharisees, some were not. Why be jealous just if Paul were making a distinction among the Jews on the basis of service?

      12. Hutch, because now Gentiles were being given the honor of that service, specifically being made sons of God and all the priviledges that came with it: communion with Him, His gracious promises on their behalf, doing acts in His name, preaching His Messiah.

        Honestly, this is really basic church history stuff

      13. Calvinist question:: “Why would a Jew get upset over this.”
        br.d: “N.T. Wright answers
        “Paul’s problem with Judaism was not works-righteousness in the sense understood by the Protestant Reformers, but the insistence on a covenant status for Jews and Jews alone.”

        In Romans 9, Calvinists clearly emphasize the problem with the Jews insistence on a covenant status for Jews and Jews alone. That is why Calvinists give emphasis to Paul’s statement, “That is, those [Jews] who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but [those Jews who are] the children of the promise are counted as the seed.” Here, Paul is saying that God’s covenant was not with the Jewish nation as a whole but with the children of promise within the Jewish nation. Then Paul, says that it is God who chose those who would be children of promise. It is this that gives rise to the objections.

      14. Calvinist
        -quote
        In Romans 9, Calvinists clearly emphasize….etc

        br.d
        N.T. Wright
        -quote
        Romans 9 has become the Calvinist’s happy hunting ground for theories on predestination. :-]

      15. The Jews were not objecting to roles of service within their own ranks. They were objecting to the unwashed masses (Gentiles) now being treated as equals. The pride still lingers today – sadly even among some Messianic Jews.

        Also, while “priest” was a service role reserved only for certain families, “Pharisee” and “Sadducee” were not roles of service. They were sects (Acts 5:17, 26:5) and more akin to political divisions around theological lines where Sadducees denied angels and spirits and resurrection while Pharisees did not. See Acts 23:8. The Pharisees were more of an “anybody can be one by going to school” while the Sadducees were smaller in number and more of the ruling class in the temple. Pharisees tended to control the local synagogues.

        “Lawyers” and “scribes” were service roles also, and not as restrictive as priestly roles.

      16. Steve Sabin writes, “The Jews were not objecting to roles of service within their own ranks. They were objecting to the unwashed masses (Gentiles) now being treated as equals. ”

        If that is the case, then Acts 5:17 does not apply.

        In Acts 13, we read says, “Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.: the issue here is salvation (everlasting life) and not service.

        In Acts 17, we read, “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” The issue for the Jews here is the claim that Jesus was the Messiah. Paul reasoned with the Jews in their synagogue. This had nothing to do with the gentiles.

        So, what was your purpose in citing these Scriptures when they have noting to do with the gentiles. I could not figure out ow you saw these Scriptures supporting your point. I did not bother going through your other citations, but I suspect they don’t all support your position either.

      17. The jealousy in Acts 5:17 was because their exalted position among other Jews was being threatened. The apostles were doing signs and wonders (see verses 12-16) and the people held them in high esteem (v 13). I never said this was strictly about the gentiles. I said it was jealousy because their positions were being threatened. This was happening at all levels – both within the Jewish population and later the Gentile population where synagogues were located and churches were being established.

        In other words, Jews were becoming jealous both within their own ranks were they sought to be “somebodies” and with the Gentiles where they wanted to be the “haves” and the Gentiles the “have nots”.

        Acts 5:17 deals with jealousy that they were no longer the exalted ones within the ranks of the Jews, and it underscores that the leaders of the Jews held so much power that the people were afraid of them. See 5:13.

        Acts 13:44-46 clearly deals with jealousy regarding Gentile access…
        The next Sabbath nearly the whole city [Pisidion Antioch] assembled to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.

        Ditto for Acts 17:1-5…
        Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people.

      18. Hutch, “Kemp’s analysis is tortured at best and cannot explain Paul’s concerns nor the basis for the objections that Paul addresses.”

        Paul changes subjects in v. 6 from addressing why he is sad to whether or not God’s word has failed. He’s saying “I’m sad they don’t believe even though everything has been given to them, but just because they don’t believe does not mean God’s word has failed” and then goes on to say why and never says anything close to “God’s word hasn’t failed because God promises to save certain individuals and condemn others”. Instead, Paul says “God’s word hasn’t failed because He fulfilled His promise to them and now chooses to change the people group through which His promise to the world will be made.” Your system renders you unable to see which choice of God Paul is talking about. Following Paul’s flow of thought renders the Reformed reading of this passage utterly untenable.

        “The underlying question is why anyone would object to that. Why would Paul be upset and willing to spend eternity in hell for his brothers when God has fulfilled His promise to them – The Messiah came out of Israel.”

        You misunderstand because you presume everything is about individual salvation all the time. You are unable to follow Paul’s flow of thought because your system a priori disqualifies his meaning.

      19. Agreed. If this is about unconditional, particular, election to salvation, why can’t Paul just come out and say it? Why does everything he quote have to be about nations (the potter of Jer 18 raising up and casting down nations, Malachi 1 prophecy to the nation of Israel against the nation of Edom, Gen 25:23 prophecy to Rebekah concerning which nation will serve the other).

        And only a Calvinist would assume that the only reason Paul could possibly make the statement he made was because he somehow knew the entire nation of Israel was non-elect and the futility of giving his life for them was rooted solely in their non-elect status. Surely it couldn’t be because one sinner cannot give atonement for another. And Surely it cannot be because they are afforded the same opportunity for salvation as any other person and their hardening was the “wages” of repeated self-hardening.

        When you are a (Calvinist) hammer, the entire world is a(n unconditionally elected) nail.

      20. Eric Kemp writes, “He’s saying “I’m sad they don’t believe even though everything has been given to them, but just because they don’t believe does not mean God’s word has failed”’

        To say that Paul was “sad” is an understatement. Paul says, “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren…” So, you should phrase it, “He’s saying “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren.because they don’t believe even though everything has been given to them, but just because they don’t believe does not mean God’s word has failed”’ Paul’s concern is for the salvation of the Jews.

        Then, ‘Instead, Paul says “God’s word hasn’t failed because He fulfilled His promise to them and now chooses to change the people group through which His promise to the world will be made.””

        Paul actually explains, “[his Jewish brethren] are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham;…That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.” The subject is still Paul’s concern for the salvation of his brethren. It is the children of promise who are the true Israel of God. Paul then explains what the “promise” was in v9-13.

        The objection raised in v14 is, “That’s not fair!” or more strongly, “God is not being righteous.” What’s unfair – that God fulfills His promise is certain of the Jews and not others. Just as God chose Isaac over Ishmael, and Jacob over Esau, so God chooses one Jew and not another. Paul began talking about his concern for the salvation of the Jews and there is no reason to think he has changed the subject..

        That Paul has not changed the subject is evident in Chap 10, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”

  21. From today’s reading (Calvinist mental insertions / annotations in bold)…

    Heb 11:4-12 … 39

    By divinely implanted faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through divinely implanted faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. By divinely implanted faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without divinely implanted faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. By divinely implanted faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By divinely implanted faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By divinely implanted faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By divinely implanted faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE.

    … (with similar insertions /annotations …

    And all these, having gained approval through their divinely implanted faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

    I, for one, am so grateful that the saints of old gained approval by doing merely what they had been unalterably decreed to do. It gives so much rich meaning to the passages and clearly conveys God’s intentIons and dealings with man.

    1. Be sure not to overlook the word “rewarder” in the passage from Hebrews, either. It has particularly rich meaning when individuals are carrying out unalterable decrees from which they cannot deviate and when they seek God because He has unalterably decreed that they do so.

    2. Steve Sabin writes, “I, for one, am so grateful that the saints of old gained approval by doing merely what they had been unalterably decreed to do.”

      Where could faith come from if not from God?
      Did not God know before He created the world those to whom He would give faith and didn’t He decree that outcome by creating the world?
      Could any other outcome override God’s omniscience?

      1. Steve Sabin writes, “I, for one, am so grateful that the saints of old gained approval by doing merely what they had been unalterably decreed to do.”

        Calvinist ignores the logic of the statement because its not refutable – and deflects to:
        -quote
        Where could faith come from if not from God?

        br.d
        Thus it follows in Calvinism – where does evil come from if not from Calvin’s god

        Calvinist fallacy of false dichotomy:
        -quote
        Did not God know before He created the world those to whom He would give faith

        br.d
        Yes – he gave every NORMAL human being the ability to believe in both truths and falsehoods

        Calvinist obfuscation statement:
        -quote
        and didn’t He decree that outcome by creating the world?

        br.d
        Here the Calvinist obfuscates the fact that Calvin’s god specifically designs the vast majority of his creatures for eternal torment in a lake of fire – fore his good pleasure. Doesn’t take a genius to know what that outcome will be. :-]

        Calvinist fallacy of false dichotomy:
        -quote
        Could any other outcome override God’s omniscience?

        br.d
        Here the fallacy lies in thinking that divine omniscience can only be achieved by Universal Divine Causal Determinism.
        Outside of Calvinism divine omniscience is not limited to that.

  22. 15 Guidelines for Proper Calvinist Biblical Interpretation

    I wish these were written entirely tongue-in-cheek, but they are not. Only in a few instances are they augmented sarcastically. They are essentially distilled from observing the Calvinists that comment here, who undoubtedly acquired those skills through careful mentoring by still others.

    1. Begin with appeals to sovereignty and omniscience, carefully and meticulously defined according to Calvinist presuppositions. It is vital to obtain agreement on these definitions, allowing you to use words like “we” later on – signifying mutual agreement and inescapable conclusions that will derive from these definitions.

    2. Careful adherence to #1 will allow the appropriate definition of meticulous, molecular-level, “whatsoever comes to pass” determinism to be established. This is likewise crucial. Mere allowance or permission is strictly excluded under the “doctrines of grace” but you are free to ignore such requirements if it will allow softer language to be used until such time as the special classes can be taught for the willing participant that wants full-strength coffee. This coffee has been know to kill subjects that are not suitably prepared, just as a marathon requires extensive preparation and training to avoid cardiac arrest or other medical incident.

    3. Remember always that TULIP has been established as unassailable doctrine, distilled into five petals, tested, and refined over the last 450 years. It is not necessary to revisit any of the petals because they have been established irrefutably. Any passage that appears to contradict the “doctrines of grace” only appears to be contradictory. Taken in its proper context, it will always be perfectly consistent with the “doctrines of grace.”

    4. Acts is a descriptive book – not prescriptive. Deflect most anything offered from Acts as merely describing what occurred – not prescribing future practices. However, Peter’s sermons are perfectly fine as examples of what all salvation messages must consist of: wrath and coming judgement.

    5. All epistles were written to believers. Therefore, the ultimate antecedent (to the church at ___________________, to the saints at ____________________, to the believers at ___________________) should be universally applied whenever the words “we” or “us” are encountered. This will allow concepts like “love” “mercy” “faith” and the like discussed in said epistles to be restricted to believers. The reader may also, at his option (and this is strongly encouraged) substitute “the Elect” anytime “we” “us” “saints” “believers” and similar terms are encountered. This will allow an additional set of inferences to be forced on the text that might not be otherwise available. However, when any admonitions regarding apostacy or falling away are encountered – or which appear to contradict any of the “doctrines of grace” – you are free to immediately pivot and appeal that the audience is no longer strictly “the Elect” but is not rather the hearers of the epistle, which reflects a mix of elect and non-elect. Such statements could not have been directed to the elect for obvious reasons. Thus, rest assured that the epistles were directed to the elect until such time as this becomes inconvenient or illogical. The audience can then seamlessly switch to a mix of elect and non-elect, with the understanding that it is targeting the non-elect.

    6. Words like “whosoever” “all” “any” “world” “the whole world” and the like must be properly exegeted to explain that they mean “only the elect”. Refer to the “L” in TULIP for emotional support as required. This is extremely important lest the novice become trapped or confused. It also allows the difficulties inherent in the gospels to be circumvented with relative ease.

    7. Parables are not intended to teach doctrine. They are neither literal nor can the secondary and tertiary implications be used to establish meaning, application, and truth. However, when it is convenient and in the occasional instance that a parable aligns nicely with TULIP it may be employed extensively and with all of its nuances and implications – such as the parable of the lost sheep.

    8. Because love in the New Testament is mostly spoken of in the epistles as being among the brethren, it is entirely proper and scholarly to restrict this love to only the Elect.

    9. Remain in the immediate context of the verse for understanding until such time as it does not say what you need it to say. At that time, you are free to appeal elsewhere, even if the epistle you are referring to had not yet been written and available to enlighten the first century reader.

    10. Spend as much time in the New Testament as possible. The parallels and symbolism in the Old Testament are inexact and should be treated primarily like parables (see #7).

    11. Whenever broader appeals to the love of God for all men are made by the non-Calvinist, demonstrate that this conflicts with sovereignty and emphasize the importance of sovereignty as carefully laid out in #1. Emphasize that God’s declarations of love are not universal and are mostly directed to Israel in the Old Testament and the Elect in the New Testament. Occasional contradictions can be explained through appeals to Ecclesiastes, sunshine, rain, eating, drinking, merriment, and the satisfaction of a good day’s work. In short, the pleasures of life extended to all people.

    12. Emphasize the ways in which a highly restrictive sense of “free will” is compatible with Calvinism and determinism; de-emphasize (or do not mention at all) the ways in which it is incompatible. Emphasize the Calvinist reading of Romans 9. De-emphasize passages such as Jer 18 and Ezk 18. The New Testament is the reliable and preferred method of discovering Old Testament meanings.

    13. As a prerequisite for given a fully transparent and comprehensive answer, along with all of its implications, the person asking must formulate the question perfectly. Do not volunteer anything other than what is asked. Do not tell outright lies but cleverly conceal the answers in ways that will be readily apparent code to fellow Calvinists – but unobservable to outsiders. For example, if asked whether any one can be saved, respond with “all who believe in Christ are saved.” For bonus points, cite one or more of the Five Solas. The word “grace” should be employed frequently, as it has special meaning for the Calvinist allowing the uninitiated to sense nothing unusual in the response while providing a virtual “wink and nod” to fellow Calvinists.

    14. Diminish the ways in which Jesus Christ exemplified the heart of God the Father for all men. Instead, remind yourself frequently that God loves the Elect differently and thus Christ is primarily showing the Father’s love for the Elect.

    15. First Corinthians 13 was written to the church at Corinth. The love described therein can be properly thought of as the love God has for the Elect. Because we do not know who is Elect and who is Non-Elect, it is appropriate that we show this love to everyone – primarily for the benefit of the Elect who is not yet saved. God, however, is not held to the same standard because He is “sovereign” and omniscient in the carefully described manner outlined in #1 above.

    1. To further clarify #15, God’s omniscience allows Him to know who the Non-Elect are. Unlike us, He can safely treat them with a different, more contemptuous love – approaching barely concealed hate or even outright hate. To love them in the same way as the Elect would be wasteful and serve no purpose – they’re bound for the Lake of Fire anyway. The same principle is employed with grace and faith, and is thus entirely consistent with how God may apply His love. If we were omniscient, 1 Cor 13 could come right out and plainly say “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love for the Elect

      However, for the reasons noted above, only God can demonstrate different kinds of love for people. We must behave “as if”* all are Elect in our demonstrations of love.

      * This, incidentally, will not be the only time that “as if” behavior will be required. See also “raising of children” at any Calvinist website and frequent admonitions to “raise them as if they are Elect” along with frequent encouragement that the children of the Elect are often themselves Elect – because Election is not meritorious or outcomes based on anything we can do (like raise children in the fear of the Lord) but the Elect have special favor as people of covenant and God frequently clusters them in families for reasons we can observe but not understand.

  23. Romans 9-11: And Israel’s lostness:
    In the first five chapters of Romans Paul firmly establishes the doctrine of justification by faith. Then, in chapter 6 he begins to deal with a serious question raised against this doctrine, namely – does grace encourage sin – which is thoroughly dealt with by Paul. But then in chapters 9-11, he deals with the issue where the great body of the Jewish nation have rejected the gospel, and are on the outside, lost. They are on the outside, and do not experience the fulfillment of the promises that the O.T prophets had predicted. Again, Paul deals with the issues! Here is a list of some of the verses that bring out the fact of Israel’s lostness in these chapters:

    Romans 9:2-3, Sets the tone, as it were.
    “I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,”

    Romans 9:6, Had God’s word failed? Was that the problem?
    “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;”

    Romans 9:27; The O.T. prophets had predicted that only a remnant would be saved. “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED;”

    Romans 9:32,33, Paul shows where Israel stumbled.
    “They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written,
    “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE,
    AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

    Romans 10:1; Paul’s heart’s desire was to see Israel saved:
    “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.”

    Romans 10:3, But Israel was its own worst enemy:
    “For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”

    Romans 10:21, This verse says it all:
    “But as for Israel He says, “ALL THE DAY LONG I HAVE STRETCHED OUT MY HANDS TO A DISOBEDIENT AND OBSTINATE PEOPLE.”

    Romans 11:5; “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” The great body of the Jewish nation was lost – only a “remnant” had responded to the gospel.

    Romans 11:20; “Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off..”

    Again and again in this section, Paul shows that his kinsmen according to the flesh were lost: Justification was by faith – the problem was Jewish obstinacy and unbelief! As a Jew, Paul was heart broken over this, (9:3; 10:1) as you might expect, yet, whatever you might think their motives were – it seems reasonable to think that some among his ‘Hebrew Christian brothers’ may have been heart broken too? After all, it was no small thing that in spite of their many privileges, the great body of the Jewish people were outside the kingdom of God.

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