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. My dear friend, you state: “Calvinism dies in the face of the horror of our lives.” I would suggest that all too often, it’s not Calvinism that dies, it’s the picture of God AS love, dies. The picture of a loving Father that He gave His life to create is what dies. For many people, that picture dies and they leave the church in astonishingly large numbers. THAT is why the issue you’ve devoted yourself to matters so critically. Calvinists are unwittingly defacing the picture of Who God is. May He forgive them.

    1. Wonderful post Believer!

      Calvinists are unwittingly defacing the picture of Who God is

      br.d
      Austin Farrer (1904) an Anglican theologian and philosopher, in Faith and Speculation warns that every time man attempts to frame God’s providential activity into causal terms, placing God into a chain of sequential causalities, he risks degrading God to the creaturely level, ultimately creating a monstrosity and confusion.

      And all day long my name is constantly blasphemed. – Isaiah 52:5b

      1. Good posts Believer and BR.D. This is the first and primary reason that this issue is so important.

        “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
        ― A.W. Tozer

        I agree. What comes to our mind when we think about God, who He is, and how He relates to His created beings, if the foundation from which everything else flows, and is therefore the most basic and important thing about us.

        Eric wrote the corollary truth to this … “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.”

        And it certainly does affect how a pastor or counselor carries out pastoral care.

      2. andyb2015 writes, ‘What comes to our mind when we think about God, who He is, and how He relates to His created beings, if the foundation from which everything else flows, and is therefore the most basic and important thing about us. ”

        This is the Calvinist position. That is why a person must understand the Calvinist doctrine on God if he is ever to understand TULIP.

      3. rhutchin
        This is the Calvinist position. That is why a person must understand the Calvinist doctrine on God if he is ever to understand TULIP.

        br.d
        And understand that Calvinism’s TULIP is simply a COSMETIC representation of Calvinism – designed to make it appear biblical – strictly for marketing purposes.

        Take the “P” for example – which really should be stated as Possibility of Election:

        Possibility of Election:
        According to the underlying doctrine, an individual’s election is either infallibly/immutably true or infallibly/immutably false. And it is a logical impossibility for something that is infallibly/immutably true to ever be false. Therefore, the notion that something infallibly/immutably true needs to “Persevere” in order to keep itself from becoming false is no more rational than a married bachelor. The idea of apostasy or falling away in this context is an illusion, and the typical resolve concerning an individual in that situation, is that he/she was never really elect in the first place. And that individual’s perception of election and salvation as infallibly/immutably true, would have been a predestined illusion.

        “P” Possibility of Election
        Any human certainty of election in this lifetime is an illusion. Each believer is promised only the possibility of election.

  2. Eric,
    This article is right on the spot!

    I do not have time to search for my previous posts on this site, but I have told a certain story many times. It is a true pastoral story, summarized here:

    The crying couple is in the Reformed pastor’s office. She is weeping that the husband has been cheating with her sister for years. The husband confesses. The pastor say it is not good.

    The husband tells the pastor that he (the pastor) has been teaching for years on the “sovereign will of God.” God decrees/ ordains/ wills all things that happen.

    The reformed pastor tries in the midst of the sobbing to explained that it was not God’s “will of command,” even though, it must have been, hummm, curiously enough, God’s ordained decree (a bumpy few sessions, as you can imagine, with the husband reminding the pastor of previous messages).

    For a Calvinist, all that has happened and will happen is directly ordained and decreed by God. As long as one holds to that position, then ultimately all sin and misery are directly the responsibility of God. Of course for “His glory” and “your own good” (what a thoughtful husband to do all that for his wife’s ultimate good!).

  3. Wonderful article Eric!!

    How about a father who arranges for his 8 year old daughter to disobey his command – to give him the excuse of throwing her into a fire pit – so that he can watch her burn alive – for his good pleasure?

    John Calvin
    -quote
    God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it.
    (Institutes)

  4. WHAT IS ALTRUISTIC DISHONESTY IN CALVINISM:
    Dr. Bella Depaulo Social Scientist, in her book: The Hows and Whys of Lies writes:
    “Altruistic dishonesty occurs when a person is working to protect a ‘target’. A high percentage of people who rationalize the use of dishonest language, experience some sub-level degree of discomfort, but which is effectively outweighed by rationalizations. And they generally do not regard their lies as lies. And this is especially true with people who are working to protect a ‘target’.”

    These are called “other-oriented” or “altruistic” dishonesties. Protecting the ‘target’ allows them to perceive themselves as honest rather than dishonest. For the sake of protecting the ‘target,’ a high percentage report they would have felt worse if they had been honest, because honesty would have revealed things about the “target” they do not want people to see.”

    Dr. Depaulo is helping us connect some critical dots.
    Altruism is in fact an excellent way to understand Calvinism’s euphemistic, equivocal, and cosmetic language.

    A battered wife may choose to restrain herself from communicating anything that may paint her husband in a bad light – even if she knows what she is communicating is false rather than truth-telling. She is simply protecting the ‘target.’

    How much more would a Calvinist refrain from communicating anything that would in any way reflect badly on God or the gospel. He would feel worse if his language were truth-telling – because it would reveal things about the ‘target’ he doesn’t want people to see.

  5. Dr. Flowers

    Thank you for all that i have learned from you over the past 2 years! It has been i opening to learn the true meaning of Calvinist theology, even though we use the same words, we use different dictionaries! As a chaplain, i couldn’t understand what i saw in the field, and what i believed about God. It wasn’t until i learned about you, and what I’ve learned about the TULIP, that led me out of Calvinism! Like the article, I could not blame God, for man’s sinful choices. So my theology had to change to match the ugly of the world and the greatness of God!

    1. Thank you very much for this wonderful testimony Santiago!

      Although Dr.Flowers due to a heavy schedule does not interact very often here at SOT101, I will forward your very kind post to him.
      And I’m sure he will sincerely appreciate it.
      Blessings!

  6. This is so true! My Calvinist pastor once gave a sermon where he said that everything that happened in our lives is God’s Plan A for us, that it’s all been ordained by God (i.e. planned, caused) … “even childhood abuse.” He said whatever God ordained for your life, everything that’s happened to you, was for His glory, for your good, and to keep you humble, because He knew what it would take to humble you.

    How’s that for a loving, trustworthy God! One who knew you needed to be abused as a child to keep you humble. One who gets glory from causing children to be abused by those who are supposed to care for them the most. (And silly me, but I thought God’s “Plan A” was a perfect world in the Garden of Eden.)

    I was horrified. But most other people just seemed to suck it up.

    He also gave a sermon where he said that there is no age of accountability, that all people are wicked sinners who need to repent to be saved, and that there is no “free pass” for babies who die. And he gave this sermon ON MOTHER’S DAY! Once again, I was horrified, my heart hurt, but no one else batted an eye. We left that church last year.

    And like this article points out, I have also read a comment from a Calvinist who said that since God is love then everything He causes is love. Even when He causes wars, abuse, cancer, etc. It’s all an expression of His love.

    Sadly, many people end up throwing out God instead of throwing out the Calvinism. Oh the damage this theology does to people’s hearts and faith and God’s good character!

    1. Thank you Heather for this post!
      I think Steve was especially looking into the variances found within Calvinism on the issue of babies designed for the lake of fire.

      But I did take note of something your previous pastor said that manifests Calvinism’s double-mindedness
      -quote
      Everything that’s happened to you….was for your good, and to keep you humble, because He knew what it would take to humble you.

      The whole idea of “keeping you humble” in Calvinism presupposes a degree of human functional autonomy that doesn’t exist in Calvinism.

      In Calvinism you can’t have one single neurological impulse in your brain that wasn’t infallibly decreed to be there.
      So if it comes to pass that you are not humble – then Calvin’s god decreed you to be not humble.

      This is just one more example of how much double-mindedness there is in Calvinism.

    2. I really enjoy your comments, Heather. They give me far more insight into Calvinism than rhutchin because you’ve been part of it and can tell it like it is rather than furiously defending it with double-speak. Those here with intact faculties for logically processing information understand the difference between “allowing” and “decreeing / ordaining”. We take the Bible at its word that God gave man dominion over the earth, that man ceded the dominion to the influence of Satan, and that God is not an Indian-giver who relents on man’s freedom when He sees that man has horribly misused that freedom to do evil. Calvinists have a serious problem with the origin of evil, but curiously think they can talk their way around it rather than dismantling a theology that logically requires God to be the author of sin. Language that even a 5-year can spot as ridiculous is employed. They say things like, “God is the author of sin, but not in such a way that He is the author of sin” and then expect the sheeple to nod in agreement “because the Bible says so.” It boggles the mind.

      I’m very thankful for articles like this and comments like yours. They highlight the real Calvinism and its practical and logical repercussions.

      The best antidote for Calvinism is to just tell people straight up what it is and for them to begin reading the whole Bible – not the carefully curated proof texts. They will quickly discover Calvin’s God is not the God of scripture.

      1. Steve Sabin writes, “God is not an Indian-giver who relents on man’s freedom when He sees that man has horribly misused that freedom to do evil.”

        That does not negate God’s infinite understanding of His creation nor God’s perfect knowledge of all future events – I don’t think you meant deny those things.

        Then, “Calvinists have a serious problem with the origin of evil,…”

        The problem of evil basically trades on God’s omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence and asks the question, “If God knew all the evil events that would come about when He created the world and was actually present they took place, why didn’t He stop them.” Tell me that this is not a problem that you need to resolve as well as all non-Cals in addition to Calvinists.

      2. rhtuchin
        That does not negate God’s infinite understanding of His creation nor God’s perfect knowledge of all future events – I don’t think you meant deny those things.

        br.d
        Calvin’s god’s infinite understanding how how to conceive and render-certain every future sin and evil
        For his good pleasure of course! :-]

      3. rhutchin writes
        That does not negate God’s infinite understanding of His creation nor God’s perfect knowledge of all future events – I don’t think you meant deny those things.

        You make the same fundamental error that all Calvinists make: equating knowledge with causation. They are not the same and this is easily proven. We can possess with absolute certainty knowledge of things from the past. Like what day the US Civil War ended. Or who the president was at the time. But we did not cause such things. We weren’t even born. God can likewise know the future without causing / decreeing each microscopic detail and choice. He is omniscient and omnipresent. Knows all and sees all and is present throughout all time and space without decreeing every thought and choice, but rather creating entities with limited autonomy to chart their own course, free of absolute coercion. That course can include evil. Created beings are the authors of sin and in that sense possess creative powers. Problem solved.

        As to omnipotence, God did not stop all of the evil because this is an inescapable consequence of letting people choose good or its absence. This concept is present from almost the first chapter of the Bible and Calvinism gets it wrong. The errors start compounding from there. God does not extend freedom but then renege on it the moment we use that freedom to displease Him. In His justice and omnipotence He enforces consequences for those choices – but He does not remove the choices. This theme is absolutely central to the Bible. Coerced love is not love. Coerced obedience is not freely given obedience. Omnipotence means nothing is too hard for Him – not that everything is allowable for Him or that He must do everything of which He is capable. He cannot lie. He cannot be unfaithful. He cannot be the author of sin. And although He could decree every action, He cannot do so while simultaneously decreeing free will for created beings. I thus have no problem whatsoever with the problem of evil. It is a consequence of choice, the absence of good. Because Calvinists butcher the concept of sovereignty so brutally, they believe they can make God the author of everything, but just append verbiage like “except sin” and claim tidy closure. “There, problem solved,” they say. “The snow is white, but not in such a way that it is white.” ”It’s raining outside, but not in such a way that it is raining.” What is incredible is the number of people who actually maintain the cognitive dissonance that such statements entail.

      4. Steve Sabib writes, “You make the same fundamental error that all Calvinists make: equating knowledge with causation.”

        I think all Calvinists pretty much know the difference between certainty and necessity with knowledge providing certainty but not necessity.

        Then, “God can likewise know the future without causing / decreeing each microscopic detail and choice. He is omniscient and omnipresent.”

        God decrees all things by virtue of His action or lack of action. Because God is an absolute sovereign, He necessarily is the final arbiter of all things. Thus, Paul writes, “God works all things according to the counsel of His will.”

        Then, “As to omnipotence, God did not stop all of the evil because this is an inescapable consequence of letting people choose good or its absence.”

        Calvinism also says this in distinguishing between primary and secondary causes.

      5. Steve Sabib
        “You make the same fundamental error that all Calvinists make: equating knowledge with causation.”

        rhutchin
        I think all Calvinists pretty much know the difference between certainty and necessity with knowledge providing certainty but not necessity.

        br.d
        Which totally evades the point
        Because Steve Sabib was not talking about Fatalism – he was talking about Causation.

        Steve
        God can likewise know the future without causing / decreeing each microscopic detail and choice. He is omniscient and omnipresent.”

        rhutchin
        God decrees all things by virtue of His action or lack of action. Because God is an absolute sovereign,

        br.d
        According to Calvinism only – and that is why Calvinism is considered ethically problematic

        rhutchin
        He necessarily is the final arbiter of all things.

        br.d
        Calvinists do love their DOUBLE-SPEAK language!
        Here final arbiter is used to OBFUSCATE the fact that Calvin’s god is ONLY arbiter of whatsoever comes to pass.

        rhutchin
        Calvinism also says this in distinguishing between primary and secondary causes.

        br.d
        Yes – and then they OBFUSCATE the fact that every secondary cause requires an antecedent
        And Calvin’s god is the ORIGINATING antecedent.

      6. Thank you, Steve. It’s nice to be able to share this with others, especially since no one at our previous church cared.

        Rhutchin: “If God knew all the evil events that would come about when He created the world and was actually present they took place, why didn’t He stop them.”

        But Calvinists don’t really mean “evil event that would come about.” They mean “evil events that would come about because God preplanned them and caused them to come about, not giving anyone any choice to do anything differently than the evil He preplanned and caused them to do.” Big difference and a whole different question!

      7. heather writes, ‘Calvinists don’t really mean “evil event that would come about.” They mean “evil events that would come about because God preplanned them and caused them to come about, not giving anyone any choice to do anything differently than the evil He preplanned and caused them to do.”

        Certainly, God knew before He created the world every evil that would come about and this evil was part of His plan especially for believers as Romans 8 tells us. God also understood the intents of the heart and it is those intents that precluded anyone choosing other than God knew they would choose – God did not coerce anyone to sin against their will.

      8. rhutchin
        Certainly, God knew before He created the world every evil that would come about and this evil was part of His plan….
        etc

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #55
        Always obfuscate the fact that every specific sin and evil originates from Calvin’s god’s mind
        And are determined to be actualized into people’s lives – with people having no say in the matter.

        rhutchin
        God also understood the intents of the heart…..etc

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #56
        Always obfuscate the fact that human intents desires etc – originate from Calvin’s god’s mind.
        And are determined to be actualized into people’s lives – with people having no say in the matter.

        rhutchin
        God did not coerce anyone to sin against their will.

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #57
        Claim that Calvin’s god’s decrees are enforced with a force that forces without forcing.
        Then cross your fingers and hope the non-Calvinist isn’t savvy enough to know you have no evidence for that claim.

      9. rhutchin: “God also understood the intents of the heart and it is those intents that precluded anyone choosing other than God knew they would choose – God did not coerce anyone to sin against their will.”

        Well, of course Calvi-god “understood” the evil intents of the heart … because he’s the one who created them with those evil intentions and prevented them from having good intentions. And of course Calvi-god doesn’t “coerce” anyone to sin against their will … because he gave them their sinful wills that gave them their sinful desires, and he prevented them from having “regenerated” wills that desire to do good and obey him. This only confirms that Calvi-god is really responsible for the sinful condition and choices of sinful men.

      10. heather writes, “Well, of course Calvi-god “understood” the evil intents of the heart … because he’s the one who created them with those evil intentions and prevented them from having good intentions.”

        Yes. God imposed Adam’s judgment onto his descendants so that all are born with hard hearts and without faith. The hardness of heart is undone by the new birth and faith is conveyed to the new born through the hearing of the gospel.

        Then, “And of course Calvi-god doesn’t “coerce” anyone to sin against their will … because he gave them their sinful wills that gave them their sinful desires, and he prevented them from having “regenerated” wills that desire to do good and obey him. This only confirms that Calvi-god is really responsible for the sinful condition and choices of sinful men.”

        Yes. However, God holds people responsible for the intents of their hearts as we see with the Assyrians in Isaiah 10. Paul explains why this is in Romans 2, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”

      11. rhutchin
        Yes. God imposed Adam’s judgment onto his descendants …..etc

        br.d
        Interpretation:
        Calvin’s god imposes judgement on Adam for not doing the very thing Calvin’s god doesn’t permit Adam to do.

        rhutchin
        Yes. However, God holds people responsible for the intents of their hearts as we see with the Assyrians in Isaiah 10…etc

        br.d
        Interpretation:
        Calvin’s god holds people responsible for intentions he brought into existence by infallible decree.
        Treating humans *AS-IF* they have the power to falsify his infallible decrees – which made human intentions infallibly occur
        When he knows that is false.

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

    So, what do you propose – telling people that truly horrible circumstance are outside God’s control or that He is unable to bring good from them or that He has no purpose for them?

    1. The above quote was from Pastor Tom Hicks not Eric. The issue I raise is the same, in light of Romans 8, what is the alternative?

    2. rhutchin
      So, what do you propose – telling people that truly horrible circumstance are outside God’s control or that He is unable to bring good from them or that He has no purpose for them?

      br.d
      That depends either on how much one’s doctrine limits divine omnipotence, or how it defines divine holiness.

      For example, limiting divine omnipotence to the point where the only option available is to decree Israelite parents infallibly and irresistibly throw their babies into the fire of Moloch.

      But if there is another holy option – then the doctrine of infallible decrees produces the consequence of defining divine holiness as the act of decreeing people to infallibly and irresistibly perform hideous evils – even though non-evil alternative options are available

    3. Rhutchin: “So, what do you propose – telling people that truly horrible circumstance are outside God’s control or that He is unable to bring good from them or that He has no purpose for them?”

      It’s not a problem to say that God is in control over all (in that He watches over things, decides what to allow or what to not allow, determines how to use what happens, etc.), that He allows bad things and can use the bad things He allows for His purposes, and that He can bring good out of bad. This is biblical. And this is a God who can still be trusted.

      But it is a problem for Calvinist theology to say that God ordains (preplans, causes) abuse, evil, sin. That He causes sin/evil for His purposes. That He commands us not to do evil things but then causes us to do them. This makes God the planner/causer of the evil He says He hates and forbids us to do. And then He turns around and punishes people for what He causes them to do. This is a horrible assault on the character of God. And it turns Him into a God who can’t be trusted at all.

      Your comment is a sneaky misrepresentation of what Calvinism really teaches at the heart of its theology. Calvinist theology is not just “God is in control over all and can work good out of bad and can use bad things for His purposes,” as you lead people to believe with your comment. Calvinist theology is “God PREPLANS and CAUSES the horrible circumstances (sin, abuse, evil, etc.) and that we never had a chance to do otherwise because He controls all we do, and then He punishes us for the things He causes us to do when we never really had a choice.” Big, big difference!

      Non-Calvinists praise God IN SPITE OF sin and evil, and they believe God can be glorified even in horrible situations.

      Calvinists praise God FOR sin and evil, and they believe God causes sin and evil for His glory.

      1. heather
        Your comment is a sneaky misrepresentation of what Calvinism really teaches at the heart of its theology.

        br.d
        BINGO!
        Once more Heather hits the bulls-eye! :-]

      2. Heather writes, “It’s not a problem to say that God is in control over all….that He allows bad things and can use the bad things He allows for His purposes, …But it is a problem for Calvinist theology to say that God ordains (preplans, causes) abuse, evil, sin….”

        There is no difference between God “allows” and God “ordains.” When God allows anything, He does so after the counsel of His will. That which God “allows” is that which God decides (or ordains) is to happen. When evil events occurs, it is because God made a decision after the counsel of His will to “allow” it to happen. This does not mean that God forced the child rapist to rape a child but that God made a decision not to stop the child rapist thereby “allowing” the child rapist to act as he desired.

        God is the ultimate cause of all evil because God created the world with the understanding that evil events would occur and He would do nothing to stop them. God also decreed that Adam’s sin would result in the corruption of Adam’s descendants and that God would not instill faith in a person until they heard the gospel. The person is the immediate cause of his actions, and responsible, because he desires to do evil and the evil he does to others are not the things he wants done to himself.

        Then, “Calvinist theology is “God PREPLANS and CAUSES the horrible circumstances (sin, abuse, evil, etc.) and that we never had a chance to do otherwise because He controls all we do, and then He punishes us for the things He causes us to do when we never really had a choice.””

        This because God has infinite understanding and understood all that would happen when He created the world. It was God’s decision to restrain some sin and not restrain other sin. If God did not preplan and cause (ordain) everything that was to happen in the world then God would not have a perfect understanding of His creation. Is it your belief that God does not have perfect understanding of His creation?

      3. heather
        Your comment is a sneaky misrepresentation of what Calvinism really teaches at the heart of its theology.

        rhutchin
        There is no difference between God “allows” and God “ordains.”

        br.d
        AH! But here is is an example of Calvinism’s DOUBLE-SPEAK language.

        Calvinism has two very radically different meanings for the term’s “allow” and “permit”.

        In the standard English language the terms “allow” and “permit” are NON CAUSAL
        This is the standard meaning for these terms.

        However, Calvinism has created its own unique secondary meaning for these terms.
        When it comes to human-divine relations “allow” and “permit” are used as replacement terms for CAUSE

        Calvin’s god only permits what Calvin’s god renders-certain.
        Nothing more and nothing less is permitted or made available to the creature.

        Thus, Calvinism’s ad-hoc meaning – making “allow” and “permit” CAUSAL is classified as INSIDER LANGUAGE unique to Calvinism.

        Where the dishonesty comes into play:
        99% of the time, Calvinists in public forums are very careful to frame their statements using the terms “allow” or “permit” in such a way as to guarantee non-Calvinists are misled into assuming the standardized meaning for these terms.

        While the Calvinist quietly and secretly holds to a CAUSAL meaning.

        So when the Calvinist says “god ordains every sin and evil ” what he means is “god CAUSES every sin and evil”

      4. br.d writes, “Where the dishonesty comes into play:
        99% of the time, Calvinists in public forums are very careful to frame their statements using the terms “allow” or “permit” in such a way as to guarantee non-Calvinists are misled into assuming the standardized meaning for these terms.”

        There is no difference between Calvinism and most non-Cals on this. The presupposition is that God is omniscient and knows all future events perfectly. God causes those events that require His direct involvement (e.g., the flood of Noah, destruction of Sodom, impregnation of Mary). God permits/allows those events that arise from the hearts of people and God does not restrain the actions when He could. Examples are the adultery of David, the stoning of Stephen, the death of Christ. Because God is omniscient, He determine all His actions prior to His creating the world. By creating the world, God determined all that was to happen in His omniscience. So, a person is only permitted to do that which God understood the person’s desires would lead him to do.

        br.d does not like the idea that God has infinite understanding that leads to His being omniscient and knowing all future events perfectly. He gripes about it but he cannot deny that God has infinite understanding or that God has a perfect knowledge of all future events arising from His understanding. So, we are entertained by br.d’s constant griping knowing that there is not much more that he can do about it.

      5. br.d
        Where the dishonesty comes into play:
        99% of the time, Calvinists in public forums are very careful to frame their statements using the terms “allow” or “permit” in such a way as to guarantee non-Calvinists are misled into assuming the standardized meaning for these terms.

        rhutchin
        There is no difference between Calvinism and most non-Calvinists on this…..etc

        br.d
        Wishful thinking does not make FALSE become TRUE :-]

        If your statement were true – John Calvin would not have forcibly railed – calling “mere” permission frivolous refuge

        And if your statement were true – you wouldn’t craft statements strategically designed to APPEAR as “mere” permission.

        Sorry but no one here is fooled. 😛

      6. Right on, Br.d. Everything you said, particularly “Calvin’s god only permits what Calvin’s god renders-certain. Nothing more and nothing less is permitted or made available to the creature. … Where the dishonesty comes into play: 99% of the time, Calvinists in public forums are very careful to frame their statements using the terms “allow” or “permit” in such a way as to guarantee non-Calvinists are misled into assuming the standardized meaning for these terms. While the Calvinist quietly and secretly holds to a CAUSAL meaning. So when the Calvinist says “god ordains every sin and evil ” what he means is “god CAUSES every sin and evil.”

        Rhutchin himself revealed (unwittingly?) what Calvinists really mean when they say “allows,” even though it appears to the untrained eye to mean what we all think it does, that God permits something to happen but didn’t cause/plan/force it. Notice what he said after saying there is no difference between “allows” and “ordains”:

        “When God allows anything, He does so after the counsel of His will. That which God “allows” is that which God decides (or ordains) is to happen. When evil events occurs, it is because God made a decision after the counsel of His will to “allow” it to happen. This does not mean that God forced the child rapist to rape a child but that God made a decision not to stop the child rapist thereby “allowing” the child rapist to act as he desired.”

        So as Rhutchin apparently confirms, Calvi-god first makes the decisions about what will happen and then he “allows” people to do what he decided they would do. Calvi-god only “allows” what he first decided would happen. People can only do what Calvi-god decided would happen, nothing else. It’s impossible for them to make any other choice or carry out any other action than what Calvi-god first decided would happen. A clear example of “force,” even though Calvinists deny it.

        It’s one thing for God to decide to allow us to make bad choices; it’s another thing for Him to first decide what bad choices we will make and then to “allow” us to do them. So while Calvinists deny that God “forces” someone to rape a child, what they really believe (at the heart of it) is that Calvi-god first decided that the rape would happen, then he worked out the circumstances to cause the person to rape the child just like he planned. Not to mention that Calvi-god first gave that person the “sinner nature” which comes only with evil desires, so that the person could never choose to do good or to change their nature (which means they cannot change their desires, they are “forced” to only want to do evil and to sin all the time.) The person could only choose to follow the evil desires that came with the sinner-nature Calvi-god gave them. Layers upon layers of “force.”

        Ultimately, the person had no choice but to carry out the rape because that’s what Calvi-god first decided would happen before he “allowed” them to do it. (And of course he decided not to stop it. Because he’s the one who first decided it’s what he wanted to have happen and because he worked circumstances out to make sure it his plans got done!) It doesn’t matter if Calvinists call it “force” or not; that’s exactly what it is!

        (The scary thing is that Calvinist revere this kind of a god! They fiercely defend him. They elevate him as holy, good, righteous, and gracious, despite all the evil he plans and causes. And they see nothing wrong with it. Or at the very least, they are shamed into not admitting that they see anything wrong with it, for fear of “talking back to God” and being “unhumble.”)

      7. Yes that is totally correct!
        Well said!

        Additionally, there is the issue of what Calvinists call “mere” permission.
        This is the type of permission granted by one human to another.
        And it is therefore NON CAUSAL in nature.

        Calvin himself calls this form of permission “odious” – in his vernacular “revolting”.

        Calvin had various Christians in positions of authority who disagreed with him on this.
        Those who held do Libertarian freedom for the creature.
        For those Christians God does not CAUSE sins and evils – he “merely” permits them.

        But Calvin calls this frivolous refuge

        John Calvin
        -quote
        It is a quite frivolous refuge to say that God otiosely permits them, when Scripture shows Him not only willing but the author of them. Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God (pg 176)
        Author in the Old French of Calvin’s day: Auctor – meaning Originator, Creator, Instigatorerm

        When it comes to sins and evils – you will find most of RH’s statements are with wording designed to APPEAR as “mere” permission. That is part of Calvinism’s DOUBLE-SPEAK language.

      8. heather writes, ‘It’s one thing for God to decide to allow us to make bad choices; it’s another thing for Him to first decide what bad choices we will make and then to “allow” us to do them.”

        When God created the world, He understood that Adam would eat the fruit when the fruit was resented to him by Eve. God also understood that He could stop Adam in his tracks and keep Adam from eating the fruit. Paul refers to the “…eternal purpose which God accomplished in Christ Jesus…” We have the promises to Abraham, the prophecies, and the promises to believers. All this indicates that God had a plan and that plan included Adam eating the fruit, David committing adultery, Christ being crucified, Paul being confronted on the road to Damascus, etc. We have seen God’s plan working out ever since He created the world. That plan, developed according to the counsel of His will, incorporates all the desires of people from the creation onward. That plan does not require that God make choices for people but it provides for God to limit the choices available to people (e.g., the brothers of Joseph were not allowed to kill Joseph).

        Unless you want to help br.d try to argue against God having infinite understanding, then you can moan and groan like br.d but never accomplish anything constructive in building toward an alternative explanation. You, like br.d, are unable to describe any God but that God described in the Scriptures – unless you mean to deny the God of the Scriptures – and the God of the Scriptures has infinite understanding and it is from that infinite understanding that God created the universe and knows all future events in His creation with absolute certainty as well as the influences necessary to bring that future to pass.

      9. rhutchin
        When God created the world, He understood that Adam would eat the fruit

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #55
        1001 ways to hide the horrible decree – (Part 1 hiding it behind various masks of divine knowledge)

        Don’t miss tomorrows class – where we learn 10 new ways to masquerade determinism – making it appear in-deterministic!
        These classes are a “must have” for all serious Calvinists 😉

      10. Rhutchin: “All this indicates that God had a plan and that plan included Adam eating the fruit,…”

        Yes, but the difference between Calvinists and non-Calvinists would be that non-Calvinists would say that God knew Adam would sin and that He made a way to redeem it, to work it into His plans …. whereas Calvinists would say that God preplanned and caused Adam (and people in general) to sin, that Adam never had the choice to do any differently, and that God then punishes people for the things He preplanned and caused.

        That’s a big difference!

        Rhutchin says “When God created the world, He understood that Adam would eat the fruit when the fruit was resented to him by Eve. God also understood that He could stop Adam in his tracks and keep Adam from eating the fruit.”

        But here it is again, as Calvinism really teaches it: “When God created the world, He understood that Adam would eat the fruit when the fruit was presented to him by Eve … BECAUSE CALVI-GOD HIMSELF PLANNED THAT IT WOULD HAPPEN AND CAUSED IT TO HAPPEN, SO – DUH – OF COURSE HE ‘UNDERSTOOD’ IT WOULD HAPPEN. God also understood that He could stop Adam in his tracks and keep Adam from eating the fruit … BUT EVEN THOUGH GOD KNEW HE COULD STOP IT IF HE WANTED TO, IT WAS NEVER HIS PLAN TO STOP IT BECAUSE HE PREDESTINED/CAUSED IT TO HAPPEN.”

        Big difference!

        Rhutchin says: “We have seen God’s plan working out ever since He created the world. That plan, developed according to the counsel of His will, incorporates all the desires of people from the creation onward. That plan does not require that God make choices for people but it provides for God to limit the choices available to people (e.g., the brothers of Joseph were not allowed to kill Joseph).”

        However, translated into true Calvinism, it’s “We have seen God’s plan working out ever since He created the world … BECAUSE CALVI-GOD PREPLANNED/CAUSED IT ALL TO HAPPEN THIS WAY. CALVI-GOD DOESN’T JUST ‘CAUSE ALL THINGS TO WORK TOGETHER’ FOR HIS PLANS; HE ‘CAUSES ALL THINGS’ FOR HIS PLANS.” (Big difference!) “That plan, developed according to the counsel of His will (PREPLANNED BY HIM), incorporates all the desires of people from the creation onward (DESIRES THAT HE ESSENTIALLY GAVE THEM WHEN HE PREDETERMINED WHETHER THEY GOT THE SINNER-NATURE WHICH COMES ONLY WITH THE DESIRE TO SIN OR THE SAVED/REPENTENT NATURE WHICH COMES WITH THE DESIRE TO OBEY HIM AND DO GOOD). That plan does not require that God make choices for people (BECAUSE HE SIMPLY “ALLOWS” THEM ACT OUT THE DESIRES THAT CAME WITH THE NATURE HE GAVE THEM, DESIRES THEY CAN’T CHANGE AND THAT THEY HAVE TO OBEY BECAUSE HE GAVE THEM NO OTHER CHOICE) … ”

        You are always trying to find “common ground” with non-Calvinists, making it seem like we are speaking the same language. But anyone who thinks about it can see that there are huge differences between what non-Calvinists say and what Calvinists say, and that there are huge differences between what Calvinists appear to say and what they are really saying.

        I’m not saying any of this for Rhutchin’s sake because it would be futile to do that (arguing with a dogmatic Calvinist is like trying to wrestle a greased pig; they’ll wriggle and wriggle in any way they can to keep you from getting a grip on them), but I’m saying all this for others who are reading and who want to know the difference between what Calvinists say and what they really mean.

        And one last thing Rhutchin says: “… then you can moan and groan like br.d but never accomplish anything constructive in building toward an alternative explanation….”

        Moaning and groaning and never accomplishing anything constructive … all because Calvi-god “ordained” it and caused it and gets glory from it! Hallelujah!

      11. Heather writes, “the difference between Calvinists and non-Calvinists would be that non-Calvinists would say that God knew Adam would sin and that He made a way to redeem it, to work it into His plans”

        OK. yet God knew this before He created the world and God worked it into His plan before He created the world. So, when God created the world, He knew Adam would eat the fruit and God had already provided a way for redemption in Christ who was to be born much later.

        Then, “…. whereas Calvinists would say that God preplanned and caused Adam (and people in general) to sin, that Adam never had the choice to do any differently,”

        God is said to have caused Adam to sin because God created the world with full knowledge that Adam would sin. God is the first cause. Then, if God had prevented Satan entering the garden, there would have been no deception of Eve and Adam would not have eaten the fruit. So, by giving Satan free rein to enter the garden, God caused Eve to be deceived and then Adam to eat the fruit. Then, God was present at the side of Eve and then Adam and had the power to prevent Eve being deceived and Adam eating the fruit but God did not ,so again, God is the cause of Eve being deceived and Adam eating the fruit. The deception of Eve and sin of Adam was possible because God made them with limited knowledge and understanding. Had God created Adam and Eve with greater knowledge and understanding, then Eve would not have been deceived and Adam would not have eaten the fruit. So, again God is the cause. However, God did not coerce Eve to be deceived not Adam to eat the fruit. Thus, Adam and Eve, were the immediate causes of their misfortune granting that the limitations with which they were created contributed to their wrong choices. So, in the end we can say that Adam and Eve really had no choice to act differently. (We can say the same thing about the Assyrians of Isaiah 10, Judas, Paul, etc.) Yet, Adam knew what God had commanded and the intent of his heart was to disobey God. For that he was judged.

        Then, “EVEN THOUGH GOD KNEW HE COULD STOP IT IF HE WANTED TO, IT WAS NEVER HIS PLAN TO STOP IT BECAUSE HE PREDESTINED/CAUSED IT TO HAPPEN.”

        So, are you claiming that God didn’t know that Adam would eat the fruit and that was not part of His plan? Earlier, you said, “non-Calvinists would be that non-Calvinists would say that God knew Adam would sin and that He made a way to redeem it, to work it into His plans ” Does this mean that God did not have a plan that included Adam eating the fruit or that God only came to know that Adam would eat the fruit when Adam actually ate the fruit?

        Then, “anyone who thinks about it can see that there are huge differences between what non-Calvinists say and what Calvinists say, and that there are huge differences between what Calvinists appear to say and what they are really saying.”

        In this case, it appears to me that we are saying the same thing using different words. We both seem to agree that God knew, before He created the world, that Adam would eat the fruit and that God, knowing this, planned to provide redemption through Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection. We seem to agree on the basics. I don’t understand your complaint against Calvinism given your seeming agreement on the basic issues.

      12. Heather
        the difference between Calvinists and non-Calvinists would be that non-Calvinists would say that God knew Adam would sin and that He made a way to redeem it, to work it into His plans”

        rhutchin
        OK. yet God knew this before He created the world and God worked it into His plan before He created the world. So, when God created the world, He knew Adam would eat the fruit and God had already provided a way for redemption in Christ who was to be born much later.

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #55 – 1001 ways to obfuscate the horrible decrees
        – Lesson A: Punt to divine knowledge – it makes Calvin’s god APPEAR to have permitted Adam’s obedience
        This facilitates hiding the truth from non-Calvinists.

        Heather
        Then, “…. whereas Calvinists would say that God preplanned and caused Adam (and people in general) to sin, that Adam never had the choice to do any differently,”

        rhutchin
        God is said to have caused Adam to sin because God created the world with full knowledge that Adam would sin.

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #55 – 1001 ways to obfuscate the horrible decrees
        – Lesson B: Punt to divine creation – it makes Calvin’s god APPEAR to have permitted Adam’s obedience
        This facilitates hiding the truth from non-Calvinists.

        rhutchin
        if God had prevented Satan entering the garden, there would have been no deception…..etc

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #55 – 1001 ways to obfuscate the horrible decrees
        Lesson C: Present a FABRICATED form of divine prevention
        Obfuscate the fact that Calvin’s god meticulously decrees every part of every nano-second of every event
        This facilitates hiding the truth from non-Calvinists.

        Heather
        Then, “EVEN THOUGH GOD KNEW HE COULD STOP IT IF HE WANTED TO, IT WAS NEVER HIS PLAN TO STOP IT BECAUSE HE PREDESTINED/CAUSED IT TO HAPPEN.”

        rhutchin
        So, are you claiming that God didn’t know that Adam would eat the fruit and that was not part of His plan?

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #56 – Always present non-Calvinist statements with a straw-man representations

        Heather
        Anyone who thinks about it can see that there are huge differences between what non-Calvinists say and what Calvinists say, and that there are huge differences between what Calvinists appear to say and what they are really saying.”

        rhutchin
        I don’t understand your complaint against Calvinism given your seeming agreement on the basic issues.

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #56 – Try to couch anything that highlights Calvinism in an unappealing light – merely as “complaining”
        This presents the FALSE appearance – the argument is emotional rather than rational
        Also try to use wording that works to hide the underlying fallacies of your argument.

  8. I agree that it does especially if you have a Reformed therapist or counselor. I went in to see a “Biblical” counselor at a Reformed church connected to the college I was going to, I had a whole lot of pain inside me and we got to talking. But it turned into a theology 101 class where i told him I’m not a calvinist and why, then he said “do you believe God is Sovereign?” after all that, I said yes. Then he went into an analogy on how God has “everything right where He wants it” as the cosmic chess master. Of course, logically speaking that means God wanted me to have thoughts of despair. I never went back to that place and Praise God He later healed me in prayer and through a non calvinist church when I moved cities. It has very serious consequences for pastoral care and psychological health. The doctrine attempts to assuage literally every distress under the sun by saying “God’s in control” with no space for the therapist or pastor talking to you like a human being in deep suffering. This doctrine isn’t just illogical, it can keep Christians in serious psychological pain.

    1. Hello Eric and welcome
      And thank you for this post!
      The world seems to have its share of people posturing as counterfeits in certain platforms

      We have people posturing in governmental positions supposedly “servants of the people” who serve no one but themselves.
      We have people posturing in journalist positions supposedly a “free press” but who are there specifically to fabricate lies
      We have Calvinist pastors lying to church pastoral search committees in order to get their foot in the door of a non-Calvinist church
      And now I see we have Calvinists who are posturing as “bible counselors” who are actually there working to propagate Calvinism

      Thank you for your testimony – and I’m thankful the Lord gave you wisdom and guidance even in your distress!

    2. I enjoyed reading your comment, EricP. Heather, FOH, TS00, yourself, and the many other people who have lived with the practical outgrowths of this strange doctrine – either as former adherents to and/or recipients of the counsel it dispenses – all confirm an essential mental stronghold of the system: that God’s sovereignty is so fragile and of such overriding importance that it must be protected at all costs by a scurrying army of apologists who gleefully sacrifice every other attribute and trait of God in order to uphold their warped notion of sovereignty. Theirs is not the God we read about in scripture. Who loves people, grieves over them, pleads with them to change, and died for every last one of them.

      Reading about Calvinism and the God they have constructed in their zeal to ensure He is sovereign is so contrary to the God of the Bible. It got me to thinking the other day about this ridiculous notion of limited atonement and unconditional election and how we almost never see this in the life of Jesus. Consider who was in the upper room the night Christ washed their feet and shared the cup and bread with them: Judas Iscariot. If you want to know the precise moment he became embittered and decided to “get even” with Jesus for publicly rebuking him, read Mk 14:3-11. Right after Jesus rebukes him, he immediately goes to the chief priests and looks for an opportunity to betray Christ – to “get even” because he was humiliated by being reproved.

      Yet, knowing all of this, Jesus STILL extended forgiveness to Judas. He washed his feet, and He served communion to him. Only after this did Judas leave the upper room. After.

      Calvinism would have us believe that Jesus extended a cup and bread, but Judas’ arms were paralyzed and could not received it. That his legs were paralyzed and could only look on at the washing the others received. The difference was not how Christ treated him or what was extended to him. It was whether he used his freedom of will to believe and be healed or to persist.

      Most Calvinists live far below their God-given potential because of their fatalistic belief system. “I’m this way because God decreed it so. You’re that way because God decreed it so.”

      1. Well said, Steve: “… that God’s sovereignty is so fragile and of such overriding importance that it must be protected at all costs by a scurrying army of apologists who gleefully sacrifice every other attribute and trait of God in order to uphold their warped notion of sovereignty. Theirs is not the God we read about in scripture. Who loves people, grieves over them, pleads with them to change, and died for every last one of them.”

        I enjoy and appreciate your comments too!

    3. then he said “do you believe God is Sovereign?”

      In my experience, this is the most common point of entry. Accuse the rest of Christendom of limiting God’s sovereignty, insert your own inflated and unbiblical definition, and then proceed to build upon it with TULIP.

      I was driving in my neighborhood the other day when I spotted a brand new leather sofa on the curb that said “free to good home.” I had seen similar sofas elsewhere at prices upwards of $10,000, but I had to pass it up because I realized it was actually not free. I had to stop, pick it up, and take it home. If somebody asked me in the future if it was free, I’d have to lie and tell them I did something to earn it and could thus boast about it.

      I then asked my neighbor if he would consider carrying it to my house, placing it in the living room, and forcing me to sit in it, but I realized even that was not going to work, because I had to phone my neighbor and thus do something myself as part of the transaction – consequently nullify his graciousness in giving it to me.

      My other neighbor, a Calvinist, phoned and explained to me that the first neighbor might eventually spontaneously deliver the couch without me asking – because then and only then would it truly be free and a gift. I pondered this for awhile, had to agree to his airtight logic, and thus waited. Low and behold, my doorbell did ring one day, but I wasn’t sure if opening the door would constitute a “work” or not, so I just sat paralyzed on my old sofa. Since my neighbor didn’t break the door down, tie me up, rearrange furniture, and forcibly plant me on my new sofa, I’m pretty sure I’m not within the sofa election poo. However, l console myself that at no time did I impugn my neighbor’s character by picking up a sofa that was offered to me or even opening my door – thus nullifying his generosity.

      /sarc

      1. Good one Steve!
        But if you opened your front door to allow them to carry in the sofa – you would be doing something that would merit the sofa.
        And then it wouldn’t be a free gift – but rather something you earned

        BUT!
        If Calvin’s god used his radio-control box – in which he types in immutable decrees – which contain the programming for your neurological impulses – then Calvin’s god would be the one who would be using your brain and body as a secondary means to open the door.

        That way the door opening would be a divine act of grace.

        While Calvin’s god types in the Pelagian program for all other people, you can be thankful he didn’t type in that program for you!

        Unless of course – you find out later – he all along – designed you for the lake of fire! :-]

      2. And Calvinists wonder why we find their theology so absurd and unbiblical. It really is like my little sofa story. Everything I might do to participate in accepting the extravagant and unwarranted generosity is considered a “work” and somehow nullifies grace.

        Answering the doorbell? A work.
        Calling my neighbor? A work.
        Picking up the sofa and taking it home? A work.
        Believing (exhibiting faith) that the sign saying “free” was actually a legitimate offer: A work.

      3. Steve Sabin writes, “Believing (exhibiting faith) that the sign saying “free” was actually a legitimate offer: A work.”

        If the faith from which your belief springs is something inherent to you with which you were born, then the exercise of that faith is a work. If the faith you have is a gift from God, then the exercise of that faith is not a work.

      4. rhutchin
        If the faith from which your belief springs is something inherent to you with which you were born, then the exercise of that faith is a work. If the faith you have is a gift from God, then the exercise of that faith is not a work.

        br.d
        So if your wife to be – believes you when you propose to her – then her faith that you are telling the truth is a work.
        And if she doesn’t believe you are telling the truth – then that negative belief would also constitute a work.

        In the former case – she buys herself a husband.
        In the later case – she buys her freedom.

        I vote for the later!
        No sense in getting messed up in such a spider web! :-]

      5. br.d writes, “So if your wife to be – believes you when you propose to her – then her faith that you are telling the truth is a work. And if she doesn’t believe you are telling the truth – then that negative belief would also constitute a work.”

        What does that have to do with my comment? My comment deals with the source of one’s faith (belief) and that you ignored. In your example, we have a positive belief and a negative belief. In Scripture, we also have a positive belief given to the person by God and a negative belief with which a person is born.

      6. br.d
        So if your wife to be – believes you when you propose to her – then her faith that you are telling the truth is a work. And if she doesn’t believe you are telling the truth – then that negative belief would also constitute a work.”

        rhutchin
        What does that have to do with my comment? My comment deals with the source of one’s faith (belief) and that you ignored.

        br.d
        Its right there in front of you.
        Your wife to be – had faith that you were telling the truth – or she had faith that you were not telling the truth.
        And that faith had its source in herself.
        Which for you is a work – an equates to procurement by merit (i.e. purchase)

        Therefore she either buys a husband or she buys her freedom.

        c-mon RH – you can connect those dots! :-]

      7. br.d writes, “And that faith had its source in herself.”

        Yes, “in herself.: You ignore the case where she receives faith from outside herself..

      8. rhutchin
        Yes, “in herself.: You ignore the case where she receives faith from outside herself..

        br,d
        So when you proposed to her – in order for her to respond – you had to give her one of two gifts
        1) To believe you were telling the truth
        or
        2) To believe you were not telling the truth

        I vote for the latter!
        She shouldn’t get herself mixed up with such an irrational spiderweb! :-]

      9. Of course Calvinism teaches that faith is a gift. TULIP would collapse without it, so it must be strenuously and regularly asserted. That’s why I write satire as I do – to try to illustrate the absurdity, outrageously but accurately.

        The main problem is that we cannot find this “inherent/innate faith is a work” upheld in the Bible – we can only find it in the 5 unbiblical petals of Calvinism. And please do not further test the limits of human patience by pointing us to Eph 2:7-8. We can all read English and parse grammar. It does not say that faith is a gift. It says that grace is a gift.

        Personally, I would be so grateful if you would stop explaining Calvinism to us. Surely you understand after 5+ years of posting here that we do deeply understand what Reformed theology teaches and the full implications thereof. We oppose it not because we mischaracterize or misunderstand it. We oppose it precisely because we understand it so well, have studied it diligently, and found it to be so thoroughly unbiblical.

        I honestly believe most of us could explain it better and more convincingly than you. It does not mean we believe it – it simply means we can easily change places on the debate stage and accurately reflect the very views we oppose. I have no assurance that you could do likewise. Indeed, I have never once seen you demonstrate the slightest understanding of (or willingness to understand) the views you oppose. You strike me as little more than a Ken doll that when the string is pulled, recites another petal, like a Catholic reading a tradition of the church and elevating it to canon, but at slightly louder volume than from the previous string pull. After about 50 pulls, the messages simply repeat themselves. No new information, no convincing information — just the same information that we can get in a Calvinist brochure or website.

      10. Steve Sabin writes, “please do not further test the limits of human patience by pointing us to Eph 2:7-8. We can all read English and parse grammar. It does not say that faith is a gift. It says that grace is a gift. ”

        As you note later, commentators identify salvation is the gift even though that was established in v5. The point Paul makes is that either faith is to be included as part of the gift or that faith does not detract from salvation being the gift.

        Then, “We oppose it precisely because we understand it so well, have studied it diligently, and found it to be so thoroughly unbiblical. ”

        So, you disagree on the Calvinist view that God knows the future perfectly. That would make you an Open Theist or Open Futurist – correct?

        Then, “I have never once seen you demonstrate the slightest understanding of (or willingness to understand) the views you oppose.”

        I don’t see those views presented as a rule. Most of the discussion here is anti-Calvinism. Are you ready for a discussion on omniscience and God’s knowledge of future events?

      11. rhutchin
        The point Paul makes is that either faith is to be included as part of the gift
        or
        that faith does not detract from salvation being the gift.

        br.d
        Regarding the former:
        Unfortunate for the Calvinist (or should I say Gnostic Christian) nothing within the text provides any clear evidence.
        Which forces him to MENTALLY superimpose NON-EXPLICIT ad-hoc distinctions into the text.
        A mind that is mentally conditioned.

        Regarding the later:
        Only a Calvinist mind would wonder if the process of accepting a gift would serve to detract one from accepting a gift as a gift!

        rhutchin
        So, you disagree on the Calvinist view that God knows the future perfectly.

        br.d
        To what degree is a STRAW-MAN argument a reflection of intellectual honesty? 😉

      12. Let’s use your definition of sovereignty. Then, the only issue is how God exercises His sovereignty in concert with His infinite sovereignty in order to maintain a person’s freedom of will.

        Could you please write in a manner that can be understood? “His sovereignty in concert with His infinite sovereignty” makes no sense. Two different sovereignties that must be reconciled?

        God gave man free will. End of story. That will is subject to constraints and God can and does punctuate this by intervening in all of our lives, but what He never does — and there is not a single instance in scripture to demonstrate otherwise — is force us to choose Him / love Him. Never. Love has no meaning in such a context. It is an arranged, shotgun marriage – not a union of willing and loving participants. Does not life itself teach you that people can change their minds? How many marriages exist where the woman originally rebuffed the man but he gradually grew on her – not by irresistibly forcing himself on her but by loving her and allowing her to choose? In your world, God is a divine rapist who teaches forces her to enjoy it. For Whom nothing is off-limits as long as it brings Him glory, since He possesses the most fragile ego in the universe.

      13. Steve Sabin writes, “Could you please write in a manner that can be understood? “His sovereignty in concert with His infinite sovereignty” makes no sense. Two different sovereignties that must be reconciled?”

        I guess we need a definition of “sovereignty.” Since you are reluctant to provide a definition, I will offer a Calvinist definition – “God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence to do whatever He desires with His creation.” (That from CARM) God’s infinite understanding of His creation enables Him to exercise absolute control (sovereignty) over His creation.

        Then, “God gave man free will. End of story. That will is subject to constraints and God can and does punctuate this by intervening in all of our lives,…”

        Straight out of the Calvinist theology.

        Then, “what He never does — and there is not a single instance in scripture to demonstrate otherwise — is force us to choose Him / love Him.”

        Of course, once God gives a person faith, the person will believe. Jesus opened the eyes of blind people, raised people from the dead, healed the paralyzed, etc and none complained that Jesus forced Himself on them. Has anyone ever complained that God forced faith on them and forced them to believe? People find Christ to be irresistible when God opens their hearts and eyes and gives them faith. I have yet to find anyone who complained that God, in giving faith, forced Himself on them and forced them to believe in Christ.

      14. rhutchin
        I will offer a Calvinist definition of sovereignty
        – “God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence to do whatever He desires with His creation

        br.d
        Nah!
        That’s just an weasel definition of Calvinistic sovereignty

        A more TRUTH TELLING definition of Calvinist sovereignty follows:

        1) Calvin’s god infallibly decrees every human neurological impulse, desire, choice decision that will have existence and man has no say in the matter.

        2) 100% of what comes to pass concerning man is up to Calvin’s god – leaving ZERO% up to man

        3) No alternative to what is infallibly decreed is permitted or made available to the man

      15. I don’t disagree (except for a few quibbles) with the definition of sovereignty that RH proposed: “God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence to do whatever He desires with His creation” The quibble: He can do whatever He desires, but He cannot contradict Himself or His nature in the process. And if He has decreed free will (which He has), this in no way diminishes His sovereignty. It merely diminishes the Calvinist’s false concept of sovereignty and requires them to scurry and continually rebuild the mound whenever a verse or passage contradicts their definition, at which point it must be patiently explained that it doesn’t mean what it says – because TULIP.

        The problem, of course, is that the definition proposed by RH is NOT the Calvinist definition. In the Calvinist definition, it is not enough for God to be merely willing and able. He must go much, much further and DECREE whatsoever comes to pass, in every microscopic detail, and his creation cannot be granted a single iota of freedom to make real life or death choices – nor any other choice for that matter. Calvinist sovereignty requires micromanaged, anal control of every outcome. RH simply must keep up. He acts as if he’s never read Institutes. You’d think that with the name “Calvinist” he’d study his mentor’s own words more closely.

      16. Steve
        The problem, of course, is that the definition proposed by RH is NOT the Calvinist definition. In the Calvinist definition, it is not enough for God to be merely willing and able. He must go much, much further and DECREE whatsoever comes to pass, in every microscopic detail,

        br.d
        I totally agree!

        However on the topic of free-will – Calvinists adopt what is known as compatibilism.
        The thesis that every human function is totally determined by an external mind
        But that human is still said to do what they do “freely”

        And there is a sense in which this is logically valid.

        Lets say you determine your car will go forward.
        You turn on the engine – and put it in gear – and step on the gas
        All of those things function as secondary means to make your car move forward.
        And it has a certain degree of freedom to move forward.
        But it does not have that same degree of freedom to go in a different direction.

        So technically it does have freedom that is compatible with being determined.
        And since Calvinism is predicated on determinism – that is the only freedom Calvinists have.

        You are free do be/do whatever Calvin’s god infallibly decrees
        And you are not free do be/do otherwise – at pain of falsifying the infallible decree

      17. As an engineer, we would call that a single degree of freedom: a restriction to move in only a single axis only – and possibly in only one direction on that axis (only forward, not backward) which would be a sort of half degree of freedom.

        However, I would again accuse Calvinists of double-speak if using the term “freedom” when what they really mean is “restriction”. They have simply chosen a term that they know will not trigger the average Christian, and they can later – in the special classes that teach the “meat” of Calvinism – explain that freedom actually means restriction. This is the same class, by the way, in which it is explained that faith = works. And that depravity = inability. And that desiring something good is a work. Let’s not forget that one.

        The word “restricted” is far more intellectually honest and carries the appropriate nuances that normal people will understand. Theology should not require a mechanical engineering degree.

      18. Steve Sabin writes, “I would again accuse Calvinists of double-speak if using the term “freedom” when what they really mean is “restriction”.”

        Let’s see you provide a definition of “freedom” that is not also “restrictive” People have limited knowledge, limited understanding, limited wisdom, limited IQs, etc. On every level, people have limitations and those imitations restrict any freedom they might be thought to have. So, you are engaging in double-speak because you obviously know this (else you would not have the smarts to become an engineer). So, Calvinists approach the issue of freedom on the basis of restriction. Thus, people are without faith prior to hearing the gospel have no natural ability to believe in Christ for salvation – this condition is called Total Depravity.

        Then, “Theology should not require a mechanical engineering degree.”

        It shouldn’t but even the guy with the mechanical engineering degree uses double-speak to complain that the great sin of Calvinism involves double-speak. Let’s see you give us a definition of freedom that is not restrictive.

      19. rhutchin
        Let’s see you provide a definition of “freedom” that is not also “restrictive”

        br.d
        The total irony here – is that you are constantly working to make Calvinism APPEAR to have “mere” permission.
        By carefully crafting statements that INFER it.
        When “mere” permission (i.e., Libertarian freedom) is ruled out in Calvinism.

        So while a Calvinist claims there is no difference in freedoms – he is betrayed by his own behavior. :-]

      20. Steve
        This is the same class, by the way, in which it is explained that faith = works. And that depravity = inability. And that desiring something good is a work. Let’s not forget that one.

        br.d
        Yes – I agree – good insight!
        Since Augustine embraced Gnosticism with its cosmology of Moral Dualism – I think this is perhaps what you are seeing.
        So many things in Calvinism appear in Good-Evil pairs
        And many who examine Calvinism observe it re-definitions terms which otherwise have standardized meanings in a Language.
        And non-Calvinists can get confused by its non-standardized use of language

        This is an interesting phenomenon about Calvinist thinking patterns
        And I think there is an underlying reason for it that would make it quite understandable.
        The closest I can come right now – is attributing it to Calvinism’s adaptation of Gnostic Moral dualism
        Its a very radical belief system.

        Also Determinism is a very radical belief system.
        So it makes sense the Calvinist brain has to create conceptual bridges between radical positions.
        For example, the deterministic world of their belief system and the in-deterministic world of scripture and their in-deterministic cognitive perceptions of reality.

        I’m grateful for your engineering mind! :-]

      21. br.d writes, “compatibilism. – The thesis that every human function is totally determined by an external mind”

        Compatibilism is the thesis that God being sovereign is compatible with people being free.

      22. br.d
        compatibilism. – The thesis that every human function is totally determined by an external mind
        And where the human is said to be/do what they be/do “freely”

        rhutchin
        Compatibilism is the thesis that God being sovereign is compatible with people being free.

        br.d
        Nice example!
        And mine is more TRUTH TELLING
        And we can understand why! :-]

      23. Steve Sabin writes, “the definition proposed by RH is NOT the Calvinist definition. In the Calvinist definition, it is not enough for God to be merely willing and able. He must go much, much further and DECREE whatsoever comes to pass,…Calvinist sovereignty requires micromanaged, anal control of every outcome.”

        The issue you raise is not about the definition of sovereignty but the consequence of God being sovereign. The question for you is how to explain that a sovereign God cannot help but micromanage that over which He is sovereign. Your solution – “if He has decreed free will (which He has), this in no way diminishes His sovereignty.” Now, we have the issue of defining “free will” such that it is not a restrictive freedom (i.e., not being restricted by the heart (desire) or the head (knowledge/wisdom).. Can you do that?

      24. br.d writes, ‘A more TRUTH TELLING definition of Calvinist sovereignty follows:
        1) Calvin’s god infallibly decrees…”

        Here br.d confuses the definition of sovereignty with the exercise of sovereignty. Sovereignty says God is able to decree. God then exercises that ability to decree. Just a little double-speak by br.d to confuse the issue.

      25. br.d
        Nah!
        That’s just an weasel definition of Calvinistic sovereignty

        A more TRUTH TELLING definition of Calvinist sovereignty follows:

        1) Calvin’s god infallibly decrees every human neurological impulse, desire, choice decision that will have existence and man has no say in the matter.

        2) 100% of what comes to pass concerning man is up to Calvin’s god – leaving ZERO% up to man

        3) No alternative to what is infallibly decreed is permitted or made available to the man

        rhutchin
        Here br.d confuses the definition of sovereignty with the exercise of sovereignty.

        br.d
        I like the more TRUTH TELLING version.
        But we understand why the Calvinist is not so inclined! :-]

      26. Steve Sabin writes, “Accuse the rest of Christendom of limiting God’s sovereignty,…”

        Let’s use your definition of sovereignty. Then, the only issue is how God exercises His sovereignty in concert with His infinite sovereignty in order to maintain a person’s freedom of will.

        Then, “I was driving in my neighborhood the other day when…”

        It is your desire (faith) in the sofa that is at issue. If your desire for the sofa – intent of your heart – emanates from yourself then it does not matter how the sofa gets delivered to you, it is still the source of your desire for the sofa that determines that it is a work. If you had no desire for the sofa and hated the sofa but a desire for the sofa was given to you by the one delivering the sofa then that is not a work.

      27. rhutchin
        It is your desire (faith) in the sofa that is at issue. If your desire for the sofa – intent of your heart emanates from yourself

        br.d
        Nah!
        In Theological Determinism – there’s no such thing as a desire emanating from yourself.
        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) all movements of natural entities are infallible movements.
        And nothing in nature – in and of itself – is infallible.

        Which means the movement of every human neurological impulse is conceived and actualized by the hand of Calvin’s god.

        So my analogy is much more apt.

        Calvin’s god uses his radio-control box – in which he types in immutable decrees – which contain the programming for your neurological impulses. Thus Calvin’s uses your brain and body to bring to pass desires and body movements – as secondary means.
        That way the whole business is Calvin’s god doing everything – rather than a work from you.

        While Calvin’s god types in the Pelagian program for all other people, you can be thankful he didn’t type in that program for you!

        Unless of course – you find out later – he was just playing with your mind – and all along designed you for the lake of fire! :-]

      28. Rhutchin says: “If the faith from which your belief springs is something inherent to you with which you were born, then the exercise of that faith is a work. If the faith you have is a gift from God, then the exercise of that faith is not a work.”

        I’d love the Bible chapter and verse for this, please. Not a mish-mash of half-verses and biblical examples taken out of context, but the clear teaching of this in the Bible when read as it’s written, in plain-speak.

        Because when I read the Bible with my concordance in hand, I see that all the Scriptural words related to obtaining salvation are active, done BY us, not TO us (my paraphrase of what the concordance says, because it’s copyrighted)…

        “Believing” (Acts 13:39, Romans 10:4) is letting ourselves be persuaded by the Truth. It’s allowing yourself to be persuaded by something (by the Truth) and, consequently, putting your confidence in it. This is not a passive thing, as though God causes you to believe. The responsibility is on you to let yourself be persuaded by the Truth … or to remain resistant to it. It is our choice. God does not make the choice for us.

        “Receiving” (Romans 1:5, 5:11, 5:17, 8:15) involves the idea of deliberately grabbing ahold of something, of consciously accepting what is offered. It is intentionally reaching out and grabbing it, as opposed to passively acquiring something. There is a responsibility on our parts to reach out and grab ahold of the grace and salvation that God offers to all, to not let it pass us by.

        “Rejecting” (Acts 13:46) is deliberately pushing away the Truth, thrusting it from us.

        A “hardened” heart (Romans 9:18) is retribution from God for FIRST HARDENING YOUR OWN HEART, for resisting God even after He has patiently and lovingly tolerated your resistance for a long time.

        The “disobedient” (in Ephesians 2:1-2, 5:6) are those who refused to be persuaded by the Truth, who refused to believe it.

        “Unbelief” (Romans 11:20, 23) is disbelieving something, knowing about it but deliberately refusing to believe it, being unfaithful to it.

        “Ignorance” (Ephesians 4:18-19) is a deliberate, willful decision to be blind to something, refusing to see it.

        And Romans 9:22-23 talks about those “prepared for destruction” … and according to the concordance, “prepared” (“fitted” in the concordance) denotes a strong correlation between someone’s character and their destiny, the idea that they PREPARED THEMSELVES for destruction by how they lived and who they chose to be. (And Phil. 3:18-19 further clarifies those whose “destiny is destruction”: those who live as enemies of the cross, whose god is their stomach, whose glory is in their shame, whose mind is on earthly things. All of this relates to their behavior, their choices. They destine themselves for destruction by the way they choose to live and believe.)

        And all of this lines up with a plain reading of Scripture, which is that Jesus died for all people and offers salvation to all people and that God gave us the choice and responsibility to choose to accept or reject it. God says that in order to be saved, we have to make a choice to put our faith in Jesus … yet Calvinists say we can’t do this. So I wonder who’s wrong!

        [If a theology has to, among other things, disguise what it really believes by leaving things out and presenting only part of what it’s really about, twist verses, take verses out of context, reel people in bit by bit, deny what the Bible plainly says in favor of some “hidden” meaning, create two different kinds of things to make the Bible fit their theology (two types of God’s love, two opposing wills, two sources of sin, two types of calls, two kinds of sinners, etc.), and appeal to “it’s a mystery that we can’t understand” and “don’t talk back to God” and “humble Christians have no problem accepting that God is sovereign (by which they mean He preplans and actively controls everything),” etc. to shame people into keeping quiet and to keep them from questioning it too much … then you know something’s wrong with it!]

      29. Heather writes, “when I read the Bible with my concordance in hand, I see that all the Scriptural words related to obtaining salvation are active, done BY us, not TO us (my paraphrase of what the concordance says, because it’s copyrighted)…”

        You need to add John 6:44 and 45 to your list.
        44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;…”
        45 “everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.”

      30. rhutchin
        Take God out of the picture and the result would be the same,

        br.d
        Calvinists do love to make up claims out of think air! :-]

        rhutchin
        God made man in His image and in doing so gave man he ability to apply his knowledge and understanding to make decisions

        br.d
        FALSE
        Not in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism)
        Whatsoever comes to pass (within the human brain) is determined by an external mind (i.e. Calvin’s god).
        And is actuallized to infalliby occur within the human brain.

        As John Calvin says – god is the “AUTHOR” of every thought, choice, desire.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Men may not even agitate anything in their deliberations but what He inspires (A Defense of the secret providence of god)

        Paul Helm’s
        -quote
        Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by God, but every twist and turn of each
        of these is under the direct control of God
        (The Providence of God pg 22)

        Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin
        -quote
        God merely PROGRAMMED into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions
        (The Doctrine of Divine Decree)

        CONCLUSION:
        Desires and choices are determined *FOR* people by Calvin’s god.

        rhutchin
        If a person understands the gospel thereby having……etc

        br.d
        Another self-contradiction in Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism)
        In Calvinism the only thing a person understands is whatever thought a THEOS – Calvin’s god – decrees come to pass within the brain.

        That rules out coming to conclusions by ones own determiniations

    4. Eric writes, “I went in to see a “Biblical” counselor at a Reformed church connected to the college I was going to, I had a whole lot of pain inside me and we got to talking.”

      Following Jay Adams, the counselor should have focused on sin – either yours or that committed against you – as the source of your pain and helped you work through that. If it were a sin someone committed against you, then the counselor should have moved into Romans 8.

      1. Eric
        “I went in to see a “Biblical” counselor at a Reformed church connected to the college I was going to, I had a whole lot of pain inside me and we got to talking.”

        rhutchin
        Following Jay Adams, the counselor should have focused on sin – either yours or that committed against you – as the source of your pain and helped you work through that. If it were a sin someone committed against you, then the counselor should have moved into Romans 8.

        br.d
        Well – if Eric had been familiar with Calvinism’s well earned reputation for POSTURING he would have spared himself further pain.

        Hindsight is 20/20

  9. I sense that as we dig deeper into the practical implications / horrors of Calvinism — with articles such as Eric’s — we are going to see the likes of rhutchin dig inescapable holes from which there is no climbing out with clever feints and double-speak.

    They will be forced to admit that Calvinism presents us with a God that decrees infants to hell without so much as batting an eye. Because sovereignty.

    Who has children burned alive in the womb with saline. Because sovereignty.

    Who has serial killers dismembering and torturing victims. Because sovereignty.

    Who has men sleeping with their sister-in-laws and destroying their wives and families. Because sovereignty.

    Who has psychopathic mothers drowning their children in bathtubs. Because sovereignty.

    Calvinism makes God the author of sin, notwithstanding the ridiculously contradiction-laden language of the Westminster Confession.

    The more I study this contorted doctrine of demons, the more disgusted I become with it. I just had two men over for dinner tonight and the discussion turned to our local Calvinist congregation. The pastor’s son labors under a cloud of guilt and depression because constant reminders of sovereignty and week after week of doctrinal browbeating results in – wait for it – a complete absence of joy, peace, and serenity. Who knew? The leader of our men’s group is a former Calvinist from that very church. His observation: no joy. Arguing and teaching doctrine is considered meat, not milk, and the highest calling of the Calvinist to spread and defend the “doctrines of grace” as the true gospel delivered once for all — oops, I mean once for all THE ELECT.

    The common denominator all three of us see is an absence of joy in these Calvinist believers. They constantly pit sovereignty against love, and love always loses. God’s character always takes a backseat to his sovereignty. There is no joy in their salvation, they are simply coerced participants in a cosmic play where every line has already been written.

  10. Well said, Heather. Spoken and supported like a Berean and as someone that has tasted what Calvinism offers only to realize it is tainted meat.

  11. It is your desire (faith) in the sofa that is at issue. If your desire for the sofa – intent of your heart – emanates from yourself then it does not matter how the sofa gets delivered to you, it is still the source of your desire for the sofa that determines that it is a work. If you had no desire for the sofa and hated the sofa but a desire for the sofa was given to you by the one delivering the sofa then that is not a work.

    Translation: if you want something, it is a work.

    Well, that certainly is convenient. Not scriptural, but convenient. Not sure it is even consistent with Calvinism, but nothing surprises me with you anymore RH. Nothing.

    We’ll all await solid scriptural support for the above assertion. And by that, I mean a dozen or so verses. Surely something so important as the asserted definition of “works” will have multiple, clear and inescapable passages to buttress it.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “Translation: if you want something, it is a work….We’ll all await solid scriptural support for the above assertion.”

      Romans 8 tells us, “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” We know from Hebrews 11, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” In Galatians 5, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish…Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication,…” We know from Ephesians 1 that the Spirit indwells the believer after they believe (exercise faith)., “In Cgrist 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…” In Proverbs, we read, “The soul of the wicked desires evil;” The wicked (those without faith)are contrasted with the righteous (those with faith). The wicked have no desire for God – they are at enmity with Him – and cannot please God because they have no faith. An unbeliever desires only evil as those prior to the flood of Noah, “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Without faith, no one has any desire for salvation, any effort (including exercising inherent faith) by the unsaved to obtain salvation is by his own works.

      1. Making Calvinism’s T in the TULIP more intellectually honest

        Total Depravity vs Totally Predestined Nature:
        The underlying foundation of the doctrine stipulates that whatsoever comes to pass (i.e., all created things and all movements of nature at any instance in time) are infallibly decreed before creation. Whatever the state of man’s nature is at any instance in time, is therefore totally determined before man is created. Since on this view, 100% of whatsoever comes to pass is exclusively up to a divine mind, it goes without saying that absolutely nothing about the condition of man’s nature at any instant in time, is ever up to man. So, it is more forthcoming or truth-telling, for the “T” in TULIP to stand for “Totally Predestined Nature”.

        “T” Totally Predestined Nature:
        The state of man’s nature at any instance in time is totally predestined prior to creation, and therefore absolutely nothing about any part of man’s nature – or anything else for that matter – is ever up to man.

      2. None of these scriptures say what you want / need them to say: “if you desire something, it is a work.”

        Romans 8 says this:

        For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

        I see nothing here that says the unsaved man cannot desire something good, and that to desire it is a work. I see nothing here that says the saved man will never have a bad thought, and conversely that the unsaved man will never have a good thought. And I see nothing here that says a man desiring salvation is impossible or is a work. Desiring salvation does not save us. Those in hell desire it, I am quite sure. Acting on that desire is what saves us. I realize that contradicts Calvinism’s definition of a work, but again, you have yet to prove from scripture the definition of a work. Those of us that reject Calvinism consider a “work” to be an attempt to save ourselves by keeping the law and “being good”. It is that simple. Circumcision, observance of the 10 commandments, dietary restrictions – none are wrong but unless we can truly live a 100% sinless life (which we cannot), then we are relying on works. Faith is not a work. You cannot show a single scripture supporting that. Not one.

        Heb 11 says nothing about desiring something or exercising faith being a work.

        Ditto for Gal 5.

        Ditto for Eph 1.

        Proverbs 21:10 states “The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.” Nothing about EVERY thought and intent of his heart desiring ONLY evil continually or being incapable of desiring something good.

        There is also no indication that the condition of man immediately prior to the flood (EVERY intent and thought is evil CONTINUALLY) is present today globally or in every unsaved person, nor present immediately after Adam and Eve fell. Scripture intimates that there was a continual spiral into worse and worse evil – not that things were as bad as they could possibly be from Day 1, or that a death penalty can only be justly meted out when evil is as pervasive and extreme as possible. I am not saying that we are not sinful. I am simply saying that it is not necessary for every thought and intent to be evil continually before God can justly send us to hell. A single infraction was all that was required for Adam and Eve to be condemned – not continual infraction of every thought and intent. Not even Calvinists (I hope) believe that total depravity means that everything the unsaved thinks, desires, does, or wants is sinful. It simply means that anything good we might do or think is insufficient to save us before we come to Christ.

        Lastly, your final sentence is pure conjecture and restating it continually in your comments does not elevate it to fact. There is nothing in scripture that indicates the exercising of faith is a work. You tried to make Eph 2:8-9 say this in comments to an earlier article, but you were not successful. For others reading here, I am providing the passage again from the NASB for ease of reference:

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

        * The translators included a footnote to clarify that the word “that” refers to salvation. Thus, the passage is intended to be understood as follows: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that [salvation] not of yourselves, it is the gift of God

      3. Steve Sabin writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that* not of yourselves, it is the gift of God
        * The translators included a footnote to clarify that the word “that” refers to salvation. Thus, the passage is intended to be understood as follows: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that [salvation] not of yourselves, it is the gift of God”

        Had Paul left our the phrase, “through faith;” there would be no basis to add, “and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” This because it is obvious that “For by grace you have been saved” refers to a gift of God as that is the sense of grace. When Paul adds, “”through faith;” he is compelled to add, “that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” To make his point more clear, as if it were not clear enough, Paul then writes, “we are God’s workmanship.”

        So adding faith to the equation does not change anything, as Paul explains in Philippians, “God who has begun a good work (salvation) in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” So, we are saved by the grace of God and God uses faith as the means to bring us to salvation. Where does faith come from – “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” No person can have faith except through hearing the word of God. Even you know that two people can go to a church service where the gospel is preached and one comes out with faith and the other does not. How does that happen? One had ears to hear and the other did not. How does a person get “ears to here” if not as a gift from God? Do you know another way.

        Your point, however, if not that faith is not a gift but that Ephesians 2 cannot be used to prove that faith is a gift. That’s fine – but you cannot complain when the Calvinists say that faith is a gift from God and incorporate it into their theology as faith can be a gift (you cannot prove that faith is not a gift). Under your theology, faith is not a gift. However, you never really show how this could be true – all you do is complain that Calvinists have not proved to your satisfaction that Faith is a gift (but that does not prove your contention that faith is not a gift).

      4. rhutchin
        Had Paul left our the phrase, “through faith;” there would be no basis to add, “and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

        br.d
        That presupposition of course is unique only to the Calvinist reader
        One more presupposition the Calvinist needs to superimpose into the text – in order to make it say what he wants it to say.

      5. rhutchin
        Your point, however, if not that faith is not a gift but that Ephesians 2 cannot be used to prove that faith is a gift.

        br.d
        Not quite
        Its that there is no EXPLICIT statement within scripture whatsoever available to the Calvinist
        Therefore he is forced to superimpose NON-EXPLICIT distinctions into the text in order to MAKE-BELIEVE its says what he wants it to say.

        How interesting – that just happens to be the GNOSTIC method of reading scripture! :-]

  12. Calvinists have a misconception of what the Bible teaches on both grace and works. They see every human effort, if made essential to salvation, as a work of merit. A very grave mistake made by Calvinists, is a failure to understand that different kinds of works are under consideration in the work passages of the Bible. This is also evident from the fact that if “not of works” excludes every human effort, or act of obedience – as essential to salvation – then faith itself is excluded, because it is a work: “Then they said to Him, “WHAT SHALL WE DO, THAT WE MAY WORK THE WORKS OF GOD? Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, THAT YOU BELIEVE IN HIM WHOM HE SENT” (John 6:28-29). Calvinists say that this is a work performed by God in the heart of the individual. But the context clearly shows that – faith is a work appointed by God for man to do!

    As Heather quite correctly said, “It is our choice. God does not make the choice for us.”

    1. Aidan writes, “if “not of works” excludes every human effort, or act of obedience – as essential to salvation – then faith itself is excluded,…”

      Saving faith given to the person by God is neither a human work or obedience. Faith generates the human response of believing – faith cannot fail to do this else it is not faith.

      Then, “the context clearly shows that – faith is a work appointed by God for man to do! ”

      Yes, consistent with Ephesians 2, ” we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Regardless, faith is something a person possesses; believing is what a person does.

      Then, “As Heather quite correctly said, “It is our choice. God does not make the choice for us.””

      A choice that one can make only if he has faith – and then the choice becomes obvious.

      1. rhutchin
        Saving faith given to the person by God is neither a human work
        or
        obedience.

        br.d
        FIRSTLY: regarding the former (i.e. human work):
        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) this is TRUE
        In Calvinism all human functionality (i.e., all movements of nature) come to pass infallibly
        And the only being that can make an infallible movement is Calvin’s god.
        Thus Calvin’s god is the only one a work – for all human functionality.
        This includes all human sins and evils.

        SECONDLY: regarding the later (i.e., not obedience):
        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) this is FALSE
        It is a logical impossibility for nature to disobey an infallible decree.
        Therefore there all human functionality is in 100% full obedience to Calvin’s god – at pain of falsifying an infallible decree

        rhutchin
        A choice that one can make only if he has faith – and then the choice becomes obvious.

        br.d
        In Calvinism – human choice is compatibilistic choice
        Choice that is exclusively determined *FOR* the creature

        In Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) – since all human functionality is 100% up to Calvin’s god
        It logically follows ZERO% of human choice is up to humans

      2. RH writes,
        “Saving faith given to the person by God is neither a human work or obedience.”

        Aidan,
        You are forgetting that John 6:28-29 clearly indicates – FAITH IS A WORK appointed by God FOR MAN TO DO! “Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Notice that it’s not a “human work” as you suggested, but a work that God has appointed for man to do.

        Note also, that Hebrews 11:6 make “faith” and “believe” synonymous terms: “But WITHOUT 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 diligently seek Him.”

        Notice how “Faith” and “Believe” are used interchangeably in James 2:

        19. “You BELIEVE that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
        20. But do you want to know, O foolish man, that FAITH without works is dead?

        Abraham:
        22. Do you see that FAITH was working together with his works, and by works FAITH was made perfect?
        23. And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham BELIEVED God,.. ”

        Only a blind man would not be able to see that, faith and believe are synonymous terms in scripture! Consequently, you’d want to be willfully blind not to see that, faith is a work God has appointed for man to do (John 6:28-29).

      3. Aidan writes, “Notice how “Faith” and “Believe” are used interchangeably in James 2:”

        The distinction I have made is that Faith is the translation of the noun and believing is the translation of the verb. As such, faith is a tangible thing that a person possesses that gives rise to the action of believing.

      4. rhutchin
        The distinction I have made is that Faith is the translation of the noun and believing is the translation of the verb.

        br.d
        While omitting the fact that “Faith” in the NT is an “Abstract” Noun

        A Workbook of New Testament Greek
        Many abstract nouns in Greek are feminine.
        Among such nouns in the New Testament we find:
        ἡ πίστις, faith
        ἡ ἀγάπη, love
        ἡ δικαιοσύνη, justice
        ἡ εἰρήνη, peace

        Abstract Noun:
        A noun denoting an idea, quality, or state rather than a concrete object

        However the word πίστη – is translated as both “Faith” and “Belief”
        The word “UNbelief” in the NT is -πιστίᾳ
        The prefix meaning “without”

        So “Faith” and “Belief” are both Abstract Nouns.

      5. rhutchin: “The distinction I have made is that Faith is the translation of the noun and believing is the translation of the verb.”
        br.d: “…So “Faith” and “Belief” are both Abstract Nouns.”

        OK. I’ll revise my statement. “The distinction I have made is that Faith is the translation of the abstract noun and believing is the translation of the verb.”

      6. br.d
        So “Faith” and “Belief” are both Abstract Nouns.”

        rhutchin
        OK. I’ll revise my statement. “The distinction I have made is that Faith is the translation of the abstract noun and believing is the translation of the verb.”

        br.d
        And thus reveal Calvinism’s reliance on SEMANTICS rather than TRUTH TELLING
        Which follows the model of Marketing Language

        “Believing” and “Belief” are synonymous.
        Synonymous conceptions can appear in either a verb or noun form.

        Verb | Abstract Noun
        ——————————–
        believe | belief
        act | action
        appear | appearance
        behave | behavior
        die | death
        do | deed
        employ | employment
        free | freedom
        grow | growth
        invite | invitation
        judge | judgement.

        CONCLUSION:
        Calvinist language follows the model of Marketing Language
        Its designed to present an APPEARANCE of [X] rather than to present [X]

      7. br.d writes, ““Believing” and “Belief” are synonymous. Synonymous conceptions can appear in either a verb or noun form.”

        Yes, conceptually, the noun and verb can illustrate the same concept, but this does not detract from the essential difference between a noun (abstract or not) and a verb. Nor does it negate the translators practice of noting this difference by translating the noun form as “faith” and the verb form as “believing” to help the reader understand what is happening.

      8. br.d
        Believing” and “Belief” are synonymous.
        Synonymous conceptions can appear in either a verb or noun form.

        And thus reveals Calvinism’s reliance on SEMANTICS rather than TRUTH TELLING

        rhutchin
        Yes, conceptually, the noun and verb can illustrate the same concept, but this does not detract from the essential difference between a noun (abstract or not) and a verb.

        br.d
        Which again is only a SEMANTIC difference – since they are synonymous.

        rhutchin
        Nor does it negate the translators practice of noting this difference by translating the noun form as “faith” and the verb form as “believing” to help the reader understand what is happening.

        br.d
        More precisely the Calvinist translators practice
        Which as we can see by this example – has a high reliance on SEMANTICS rather than TRUTH TELLING

      9. Aidan writes, “Notice how “Faith” and “Believe” are used interchangeably in James 2:”

        RH,
        “The distinction I have made is that Faith is the translation of the noun and believing is the translation of the verb. As such, faith is a tangible thing that a person possesses that gives rise to the action of believing.”

        Aidan,
        And yet the fact is Hebrews 11:6, and James 2, don’t make any such distinction between the noun, faith, and the verb, believe! They are synonymous and simultaneous, one with the other. One cannot possess faith until one believes. And so – if you have faith, then you have already believed!

        Hebrews 11:6- “But without 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 diligently seek Him.”

      10. Aiden writes, “Hebrews 11:6, and James 2, don’t make any such distinction between the noun, faith, and the verb, believe!”

        Other than the grammatical difference between a noun and a verb.

        then, ‘One cannot possess faith until one believes.”

        It seems reasonable for me to think that one must have assurance and conviction before one is said to be believing. Clearly, a person cannot believe without assurance and conviction (i.e., faith).

      11. RH,
        “It seems reasonable for me to think that one must have assurance and conviction before one is said to be believing.”

        Aidan,
        It seems reasonable to me that the one must believe for one to have faith.

        Notice in Hebrews 11:6: THAT ONE MUST HAVE FAITH TO PLEASE GOD!
        “And without 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.”

        And who is the one who has faith to please God? Notice the word “for” above, which is the greek (gar), is given as an explanation.

        It says, “And without 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 diligently seek Him.” Therefore to please God one must have faith, namely, the one who comes to God must – BELIEVE that God is, and BELIEVE He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

        And so, one must believe for one to have faith. And that you can’t have one without the other!

  13. The thought of being counseled in a dark place by someone who wants to assure me, that my abuse was preordained by God from eternity past Ugh how literally literally crazy that is!!! & maybe calvinist do get paid to continually comment on here… I don’t see a genuine desire to listen, but rather an immediate attack on posts… I’m encouraged often from articles and posts from this site.

    How could anyone argue this statement;
    (Theology never stays in the abstract, it always filters down to what we do and how we live.) Ding ding ding yes absolutley and I’m sure many visually see it, because it’s obvious to those who are paying attention… How can it not??? the other day I chuckled driving by a Unitarian church in my area, because I thought of Calvinism and then said in my head at least these guys are nice… But I quickly stopped & realized No they’re just deceived… Hmm what does it look like to pervert the gospel of Christ which is literally good news!!!

    Galatians 1:7 NKJV — which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

    A forced gift is not a gift.. nor is forced love.. genuine love!!.. no matter how you twist Scripture it’s not in the Bible….

    And pastoral care by someone who believes actually rather trusts that it was immutably decreed by God from eternity past for someone to be abused really isn’t trusting the transforming power of the gospel… which by the way actually has the power to change the abuser and not forcibly…

    Thanks for all you guys do!!!

  14. Rhutchin writes:
    One had ears to hear and the other did not. How does a person get “ears to here” if not as a gift from God? Do you know another way.

    Two men go into Costco and free samples of tuna salad on crackers are being offered. One decides to try it, and the other does not. How does one person decide to try the tuna if the volition to do so is not as a gift from God? Do you know another way?

    I seem to recall you earlier arguing that everything we have (the volition to do anything) is given to us by God. So by your theology, it demands this of our Costco example as much as it does of salvation.

    But to answer your question, yes – I know another way. God instilled in both men the ability to understand the gospel. One dismisses it as foolishness and hardens his heart, the other does not. It is the parable of the sower. The soils are the heart of the man. He is responsible for his own soil condition. The seed is the word of God. The gift is salvation – not faith.

    1. Well said, Steve. Love the Costco example! And it’s such an easy thing to understand biblically that I am surprised there are those who can’t – won’t – see it.

      I bet if Jesus Himself came down and said “Men make their own choices, God does not preplan/cause what you do,” hard-core Calvinists would insist they saw a twinkle in His eye which means “I’m just kidding. Of course God preplans/causes everything. I’m just saying this to make sure the non-elected people won’t see the truth like you smart Calvinists do.”

      Nothing will convince those who don’t want to be convinced and who don’t think they need to be convinced. That’s why Jesus had such a hard time getting through to the Pharisees, Teachers of the Law, and the other “superior religious elites” of His day.

      1. Heather
        I’m just saying this to make sure the non-elected people won’t see the truth like you smart Calvinists do

        br.d
        The ones who have the GNOSIS 😉

    2. Steve Sabin writes, “Two men go into Costco and free samples of tuna salad on crackers are being offered. One decides to try it, and the other does not. How does one person decide to try the tuna if the volition to do so is not as a gift from God? Do you know another way? ”

      Another way – The choice of one to try the sample and the other not to do so can be traced to their differing tastes and desires. Take God out of the picture and the result would be the same, so no gift of God is needed to get the one to try the sample.

      Then, “I seem to recall you earlier arguing that everything we have (the volition to do anything) is given to us by God. So by your theology, it demands this of our Costco example as much as it does of salvation.”

      God made man in His image and in doing so gave man he ability to apply his knowledge and understanding to make decisions. Faced with the same choice, two people of differing knowledge and understanding can make opposite decisions that each perceives to be in his best interest. Giving each person greater knowledge and/or understanding could result in the two making the same choice or making entirely different choices.

      Then, “God instilled in both men the ability to understand the gospel.”

      If a person understands the gospel thereby having assurance and conviction (faith) in the gospel, then he would not dismiss the gospel as foolishness as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians, “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God (e.g., faith) , for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

  15. Rhutchin said:
    Had Paul left our the phrase, “through faith;” there would be no basis to add, “and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

    Wrong. The only part of the sentence that cannot be removed is “you have been saved” – and the part being modified with “by grace through faith” is “saved”. Saved is the object of the sentence. Saved is the part “that” and “it” refers to.

    This sentence works just fine: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

    This sentence does not: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

    1. Steve Sabib writes, “The only part of the sentence that cannot be removed is “you have been saved” – and the part being modified with “by grace through faith” is “saved”. Saved is the object of the sentence. Saved is the part “that” and “it” refers to.”

      I agree. The only part of the sentence that can be removed is “through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” Removing that phrase leaves “For by grace you have been saved,” and that is a restatement of v5. I still think that Paul’s inclusion of “through faith” necessitated the addition of “and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” Had Paul not written “through faith” there would be no reason for Paul to add, “and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” You seem to agree by saying that the only part of the sentence that cannot be removed…”

      1. rhutchin
        still think that Paul’s inclusion of “through faith” necessitated the addition of “and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,”

        br.d
        Well – that goes without saying.
        That is what a mind conditioned to believe Calvinism is going to think

  16. THE TIGHTROPE OF CALVINISM – A THEOLOGY OF GOOD-EVIL

    The process of walking a tightrope involves maintaining a constant balance. At one instance in time, the rope will shift to the left, threatening one’s fall. This requires a counter compensating movement, of shifting one’s body weight.

    However, if one’s compensating movement is excessive, the rope will naturally respond by shifting to the opposite direction. And this will require another counter compensating movement, in order to retain balance. And so, back and forth it goes.

    Calvinist language is readily observed as having this characteristic. The shifting back and forth, in this case, is the shifting between conceptions of good and conceptions of evil. Between divine malevolence, and divine benevolence.

    This is because – in Calvinism good and evil are co-equal, co-necessary, and co-complimentary.
    Just as the back and forth movements of the tightrope in two antithetical directions are co-equal, co-necessary, and co-complimentary.

    This is the reason why Calvinist language is so characterized by equivocations, obfuscations, semantic illusions, semantic masquerades, half-truths presented as the whole truth, eulogizations, amphibolies, and amorphisms.

    This back and forth motion between divine good and divine evil, divine benevolence and divine malevolence, which in Calvinism are co-equal in nature, as well as co-equal in degree.

    So, this the characteristic nature of Calvinist language.
    It makes perfect sense – why observers of Calvinist language – have perennially labeled it Double-Speak.

      1. Sincere thanks Aidan!
        BTW: I loved you emoticons – great representation. :-]

  17. If faith is a work, and only given “particularly” by God (to use Calvinist terminology) rather than an innate capacity of all to be freely expressed or repressed, why do we read the following in scripture?

    “…faith without works is dead” Ja 2:26
    Seems to make a distinction that faith is not a work — that they are two different things.

    “…when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Lk 18:8
    If faith is a gift, why does Christ wonder if it will be found when He returns? Is this a rhetorical question by Christ?

    1. That last one is a real logical curiosity for the Calvinist.
      Why would a being ask if he will find something on the earth that can’t be there unless he gives it!

      Unless Calvin’s god’s brain is a few french fries short of a happy meal! 😮

    2. Mrteebs,
      “…faith without works is dead” Ja 2:26
      Seems to make a distinction that faith is not a work — that they are two different things.”

      Aidan,
      Calvinists say that faith is a work performed by God in the heart of the individual. But John 6:28-29 shows that – faith is a work appointed by God for man to do! “Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” So evidently, faith is called a “work”(singular) by Jesus. But it seems such faith, if it did not have “works” (plural), would be both dead and useless (James 2:20,26)! The only kind of faith the Bible commends is a faith that works: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love” (Gal 5:6). But in John 6, to “believe” in Jesus is a verb in the active voice – meaning that it is something we must do – and not as the Calvinists suggest as a gift of the Spirit!

      1. Aidan writes, “Calvinists say that faith is a work performed by God in the heart of the individual.”

        Calvinists actually say that faith results from a work performed by God in the heart of the individual (ie.e, the new birth or regeneration) and this work combined with the preaching of the gospel results in an assurance and the conviction of the gospel that is called faith.

      2. rhutchin
        and this work combined with the preaching of the gospel results in an assurance and the conviction of the gospel that is called faith.

        br.d
        Unless – as Calvin says – Calvin’s god:
        -quote
        INSTILLS within their minds a SENSE of salvation but without the spirit of adoption
        And then later
        STRIKES them with greater blindness.

        And this then constitutes the current population of TOTALLY DEPRAVED Calvinists who visit SOT101 deceived into perceiving themselves vessels of divine truth.

        Who wouldn’t want to sign up for that! :-]

      3. Aidan writes, “Calvinists say that faith is a work performed by God in the heart of the individual.”

        RH,
        “Calvinists actually say that faith results from a work performed by God in the heart of the individual (ie.e, the new birth or regeneration) and this work combined with the preaching of the gospel results in an assurance and the conviction of the gospel that is called faith.”

        Aidan,
        Consequently, in Calvinism, faith results from a miraculous work performed by God in the heart of the individual – hence, in this manner is faith a work of God!

      4. Aidan asks, “Consequently, in Calvinism, faith results from a miraculous work performed by God in the heart of the individual – hence, in this manner is faith a work of God!”

        Paul wrote, “God who has begun a good work in you,” could include faith as part of that work.” Seems reasonable to me given that “God will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;.” Faith would be God’s means to complete the His work.

      5. RH,
        “Faith would be God’s means to complete the His work.”

        Aidan,
        I agree, we could not have faith without God, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” But faith must be a cooperative effort between man and God for God to complete His work. That work cannot be completed if the believer falls away by becoming unfaithful, or stops believing.

      6. rhutchin
        Faith would be God’s means to complete the His work.

        br.d
        Every good gift is from above
        And some gifts come packaged as a part of the human DNA.
        Such as the ability to believe – (i.e. exercise faith)

        But Gnostic people are not normal
        So they need the human capacity of belief – to be given to them as a special gift. :-]

    3. mrteebs asks, “If faith is a work, and only given “particularly” by God (to use Calvinist terminology) rather than an innate capacity of all to be freely expressed or repressed, why do we read the following in scripture?”

      Faith is an “innate capacity of all to be freely expressed or repressed” but finds that expression in the assurance and conviction (Hebrews 11) conveyed to a person through the hearing of the gospel (Romans 10). Those who have “ears to hear” receive faith (assurance and conviction) when they hear the gospel preached.

      We have two Scriptures cited:
      “…faith without works is dead” Ja 2:26
      “…when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

      James is telling us that people who have assurance and conviction of the gospel will naturally do works consistent with that assurance and conviction (in Ephesians 2, we read that we were “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”) James writes, “if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” A person claims to have faith (i.e., assurance and conviction) but he does not have works. James is saying that faith without works is not a faith derived from assurance and conviction. People can claim to have an assurance and conviction in the gospel when they do not really have an assurance and conviction in the gospel. If an assurance and conviction in the gospel results from the Holy Spirit working in the person, then faith is a gift to those in whom the Holy Spirit works.

      Jesus asked the question, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Consistent with the preceding parable, Jesus is asking, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find the elect who cry out day and night to God?” Well, maybe not. Maybe Christ’s return will be at a point in time when the population of believers is very small. If faith were not a gift, we should expect the preaching of the gospel to be generating faithful believers in like numbers in every age. In that case, the answer to Jesus’ question would be, Yes.

      1. rhutchin
        conveyed to a person through the hearing of the gospel (Romans 10). Those who have “ears to hear” receive faith (assurance and conviction) when they hear the gospel preached.

        br.d
        Calvinist model:
        Start with a premise and then find a scripture which can at least appear to affirm it.
        And then claim the you started with scripture to affirm your premise. :-]

      2. br.d writes, “Calvinist model:
        Start with a premise and then find a scripture which can at least appear to affirm it.
        And then claim the you started with scripture to affirm your premise. ‘

        If another model said something different, br.d could have cited it, but he doesn’t. Perhaps, he is still looking for one.

  18. I did some research today and something very interesting emerged regarding a favorite proof text of Calvinists (Prov 16:33) and their contention that every random event in the universe is decreed by God – including every roll of the dice.

    Extensive details can be found here:

    https://soteriology101.com/2016/04/24/casting-lots-to-find-gods-will-proverbs-1633/#comment-49848

    Another example of using scripture to interpret scripture, instead of listening to James White or allowing TULIP to carry the day.

    1. Nice post Steve

      On Proverbs16:33 – here are snippets from a rational thinker – at Society of Evangelical Arminians.

      Lets just pause for a minute and truly ponder the underlying claim [the Calvinist] is trying to make.

      He believes Proverbs, a book wholly devoted to living wisely and rightly and warning against living wrongly and unwisely, is simultaneously teaching that every decision a person makes, whether wise or unwise, worthy or wicked, was a decision God sovereignly determined they make.

      The glaring silliness of such a theological proposition should be sufficient reason in and of itself to dismiss [the Calvinist’s] hermeneutical approach to Proverbs outright.

      But let’s explore it because Calvinist literature is rife with the same inane claims.

      Common sense tells us Proverbs16:33 is extolling God’s ability to intervene (at will) into random lots cast, but that such intervention is contextually appropriate to situations where God has a specific course in mind and controls the lots in accordance with his guidance in a certain matter.

      if we cannot universalize a host of passages in Proverbs without undermining the very nature of the book, we ought not to assume that the passages [the Calvinist] cites are intended to unveil a universal theme of exhaustive, divine determinism.

  19. Sometimes Calvinism reminds me of an episode of “The Office” I saw many years ago. Michael and Dwight are driving and Michael is using the GPS instead of augmenting it with common sense and his God-given five senses. They are driving on a road beside a pond, bordered by a white horse fence. The GPS tells Michael to turn and he assumes this means turn that instant and go directly through the pond. Dwight loudly protests that it means to turn beyond the pond – not through the pond – but Michael powers through anyway and plows straight into the pond – certain that his interpretation of the GPS must be trusted more than his eyes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOW_kPzY_JY

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOW_kPzY_JY&w=560&h=315%5D

    Calvinists cling to scripture, which is noble, but in many ways what they cling to is not so much scripture as their interpretation of scripture, just like Michael thinks he’s following the GPS but it is really his interpretation of the GPS and not its actual directions.

    When common sense tells the clear-thinking one in the car that the interpretation can’t possibly be right and contradicts many other indicators, the misguided “sola GPS” guy doggedly persists even when it sends him crashing into the pond.

    Calvinists are a lot like this. They still insist their understanding of the Bible is correct and the nay-sayers are not “sola scriptura.”

    I picture Jesus welcoming them into heaven, but after the embraces and joy a sad smile crosses His face with not a small amount of grief and the words, “I gave you a brain and the ability to think logically. Why didn’t you see fit to use it?”

    1. Great post Steve!
      Excellent analogy

      I think their brains are conditioned into that thinking mode because R.C. Sproul, John Piper etc
      And when it comes to Calvinist voices of influence – the Calvinist mind is conditioned to “believe every word”
      It doesn’t matter if its irrational – it must be true

      Trust in Calvin with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.
      In all you ways acknowledge Calvin – and he shall direct your path.

    2. Steve Sabin writes, “Calvinists cling to scripture, which is noble, but in many ways what they cling to is not so much scripture as their interpretation of scripture,”

      A good example is the meaning of “all.” Calvinists interpret “all” to mean Jew and gentile is many instances and this based on Paul’s gnosis he revealed in Ephesians 3. Other people use a modern dictionary to define the term.

      1. rhutchin
        A good example is the meaning of “all.” Calvinists interpret “all” to mean Jew and gentile

        br.d
        In other words – “ALL” is to be interpreted to infer the elect are comprised of both Jew and Gentile.

        So 1 Timothy 2:4 can be interpreted in two ways.
        The divine will is for “ALL” universally to be saved.
        The divine will is for “ALL” of the elect to be made up of Jews and Gentiles

        Which way to interpret it?
        Well – one would ask the question – is there any statement in scripture that EXPLICITLY states the divine will is NOT for “ALL” universally to be saved?

        If such a statement existed anywhere in the NT then the Calvinist presumption would be quite viable.
        The problem is – no such statement exists.

        And if that was such a critical distinction – one would wonder why the Holy Spirit would miss it!

        Dr. Gordon Fee, Professor Emeritus in New Testament Studies – considered one of the world’s leading experts in pneumatology and textual criticism of the New Testament.

        -quote
        The one clear concern that runs through the whole paragraph has to do with the gospel as for everyone (“all people,” vv.1,4-6, and 7). In this view, the phrase ‘this is good’ in verse 3 refers to prayer for everyone in verse 1, thus seeing verse 2 as something of a digression—albeit as before (1:12-17), a meaningful one.

        The best explanation for this emphasis lies with the false teachers, who either through the esoteric, highly speculative nature of their teaching (1:4-6) or through its ‘Jewishness’ (1:7) or ascetic character (4:3), are promoting an elitist or exclusivist mentality among their followers. The whole paragraph attacks that narrowness.

        Paul now returns to his main concern, prayers for all kinds ‘for all people’. The reason. Because God wants all people to be saved. That is good, and pleases God–might, of course, refer to the content of verse 2. But the relative clause in verse 4 indicates otherwise.

        This is good, Paul says; that is, prayers ‘for everyone’ is good, and pleases God our Savior, precisely because the God who has saved us (our Savior) wants his salvation to reach all people.- end quote

      2. br.d writes, “Well – one would ask the question – is there any statement in scripture that EXPLICITLY states the divine will is NOT for “ALL” universally to be saved?”

        That seems to be the sense of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7, ““Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

        Also, Revelation 20, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books…And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

      3. br.d
        Well – one would ask the question – is there any statement in scripture that EXPLICITLY states the divine will is NOT for “ALL” universally to be saved?”

        rhutchin
        That seems to be the sense of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7, ““….etc

        br.d
        And thus we don’t have an EXPLICIT statement.
        Just one that a Calvinist can seem to make it what he wants

        rhutchin
        Revelation 20, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books…And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

        br.d
        This one is even more of a stretch when we understand the rest of the story
        Notice how it states judged according to their works

        – I will not blot out his name out of the book of life” (Rev 3:5);
        – God shall take away his part out of the book of life” (Rev 22:19);
        – If thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written…..
        – Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book” (Ex 32:32,33).

        Apparently there are names in the book of life that are blotted out.

        CONCLUSION:
        Not one EXPLICIT statement in the NT of the divine will to NOT save all mankind.
        And such a critical part of the Gospel!!!

        The Holy Spirit apparently didn’t get the memo! 😀

  20. rhutchin said:

    I still think that Paul’s inclusion of “through faith” necessitated the addition of “and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” Had Paul not written “through faith” there would be no reason for Paul to add, “and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” You seem to agree by saying that the only part of the sentence that cannot be removed…”

    The words in bold are the root of the problem. Grammar excludes the interpretation you want to force on it. Nor does scripture require it. But your theology demands it. You really need to seek a grammar professional to satisfy yourself that what I am saying is correct. Or to shop around until you find a translation that says what you want, but the ESV is pretty much like the NASB on this verse, and in my experience the ESV is the most Calvinist-friendly version out there.

    Here is the ESV, just for reference:
    “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

    You are now left with the same problem. What does “this” refer to? Because “grace” and “faith” are prepositional phrases, the object of the sentence remains “saved”. It can thus be written as “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this [salvation] is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” To say that grace is a gift is redundant. The definition of grace is that it is unmerited, and thus a gift. But to continually force an understanding that faith is a gift, is something your theology requires of the text – not something that grammar or the rest of scripture demands. So just own it, call it what it is (your own opinion) and we’ll move on.

    I am curious, however, why you are so desperate to make this verse bend its knee to John Calvin. Is it perhaps because there are no others to latch onto, “proving” that faith is a gift?

    At this junction, I am going to bow out of further discussion with you. I have watched the number of posts you make from afar, and the insatiable need to always have the last word. Your name and timestamp appears as the last one on an inordinate number of comment strings on this site. Reading back through the last 5-6 years, other Calvinist commenters have come and gone, and most are respectful, but you are primarily the only one that feels the need to act as a sort of resident stalker here. Perhaps you could pour your efforts into a site where Calvinists will gladly welcome and applaud your contributions. I don’t think this site would fall into that category.

  21. Those who either never become saved or forfeit it share a common denominator: they practice lawlessness. There is nothing anywhere in scripture that says this occurs because God wills it to be so. The scripture says just the opposite, in fact. Today’s daily reading included 1 Tim 2:3-6 which says:

    This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

    Now when your theology demands that “all” mean “the elect” even passages such as the above can be explained away. But I guess Paul is schizophrenic and cannot even keep himself constrained to use “all” properly in the same paragraph because in verses 1 and 2 he has this to say:

    First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

    Would anyone reasonably assert that the “alls” in verses 1 and 2 also mean “the elect”?

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “Now when your theology demands that “all” mean “the elect” even passages such as the above can be explained away. ”

      If you mean this as a reference to Calvinism, then you should say “all” means “Jew and gentile.” This is consistent with Paul’s explanation in Ephesians 3, Thus, God desires both Jew and gentile to be saved and Christ died to ransom both Jew and gentile.

      Then, “Would anyone reasonably assert that the “alls” in verses 1 and 2 also mean “the elect”?”

      No. Neither does the Calvinist. “all men” means “Jew and gentile,” and “all in authority” means “all in authority,” regardless whether they are Jew or gentile.

      This helps explain why Paul then writes, “I was appointed a preacher and an apostle–I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying–a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” with his emphasis, “I’m not lying.”

    2. Steve Sabin
      Would anyone reasonably assert that the “alls” in verses 1 and 2 also mean “the elect”?

      br.d
      Exactly Gordon Fee’s point.
      The whole context shows Paul’s frame of mind is focused on INCLUSION rather than EXCLUSION.

  22. The fully transparent Calvinist reading of these passages would be as follows:

    First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all [Jew and Gentile, both Elect and Non-Elect] men, for kings and all [Jew and Gentile, both Elect and Non-Elect] who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all [Jew and Gentile, Elect only] men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all [Jew and Gentile, Elect only], the testimony given at the proper time.

    The insertion of only Jew and Gentile was what is referred to in mathematics as “necessary but not sufficient”. It is again an example of Calvinist selective disclosure. The “Elect and Non-Elect” is also required to convey the full understanding of their theology as they read such passages.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “The fully transparent Calvinist reading of these passages would be as follows: “First of all, then,…”

      I would make it–

      …”This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all [Jew and Gentile, but especially the Elect] men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all [Jew and Gentile, but especially the Elect], the testimony given at the proper time.”

      Then, “The insertion of only Jew and Gentile was what is referred to in mathematics as “necessary but not sufficient”. It is again an example of Calvinist selective disclosure.”

      That is why we have these discussions – to flesh out the details. Obviously, 1 Timothy has a limited purpose and Paul does not explain everything or mean to do so.

      Then, “The “Elect and Non-Elect” is also required to convey the full understanding of their theology as they read such passages.”

      Indicating the presupposition of Ephesians 3 in Paul’s mind.

      1. rhutchin
        I would make it–…”This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all [Jew and Gentile, but especially the Elect] men to be saved.

        br.d
        Calvinists do love their DOUBLE-SPEAK!

        rhutchin
        Indicating the presupposition of Ephesians 3 in Paul’s mind.

        br.d
        Indicating the presupposition of [insert whatever verse serves our purpose] in Paul’s mind :-]

  23. Notice the sneaky way a Calvinist will not fully divulge the full details? That some instances of “all” within the same paragraph would include “Non-Elect” and other instances would not? This is the “L” in TULIP and it must be rigorously imposed upon passages such as these, regardless of how much Reformed heat and hammer blows must be applied to the iron of scripture to bend it into subjection.

    I am convinced that Calvin was not just lawyer and theologian, but also blacksmith. The fire tending skills surely came in handy for the disposition of Michael Servetus. He also ran Geneva like a modern-day KGB thug so perhaps there was also a fourth vocation in there: law enforecement.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “Notice the sneaky way a Calvinist will not fully divulge the full details? That some instances of “all” within the same paragraph would include “Non-Elect” and other instances would not?”

      I don’t see anything sneaky here if one accepts the premise that Ephesians 3 is presupposed to explain “all.” Taking “all” to mean “Jew and gentile” does not disrupt the context does it?

      Then, “This is the “L” in TULIP and it must be rigorously imposed upon passages …”

      No. The only think imposed on the passage is Ephesians 3. Is it wrong to use one Scripture to help understand another?

  24. Except that 1 Tim was written before Eph, so how would the reader of 1 Tim be able (or expected) to consult Eph if the “secret code” for “all” would not be revealed by Paul until 2-3 years later?

    Isn’t it more reasonable to remain within the immediate context of Paul’s letter to Timothy for the meaning of “all” rather than appealing to a letter (to the Ephesians) that did not yet exist when Paul wrote to Timothy the first time?

    Hi Timothy,

    Paul here. Listen – I’m going to write some things in this letter that you won’t be able to understand properly for a few more years – until I write from prison to the whole church there in Ephesus. It’s going to seem in the interim as though God is offering salvation to all, and Has offered Himself as a ransom for all, but what I am really saying is that this is limited to the elect Jews and Gentiles. I know it’s customary for letters to be self-contained, but I like to mix things up. You know – keep you on your toes. Besides, in 1500 years what I have really been trying to say will become clear when a man named a John Calvin sorts it all out for the world. God probably should have moved him into the first century instead of the sixteenth, because he has a knack for extracting things that are completely opaque to the rest of us, but I’m all He’s got to work with right now so the incomplete information I divulge in fits and starts will have to suffice.

    Yours faithfully,

    Paul

    P.S. In time, you’ll come to understand that God also offers things that He decrees impossible to obtain for some – like a salvation cookie behind a thick glass wall. It brings Him glory to watch the silly non-elect bash up against the glass, attempting to obtain a cookie of salvation that can be seen but is impossible to obtain. There is even a ‘come and get it’ sign to ensure they know it is a legitimate offer. This too brings Him glory. If this seems a little complicated, it’s ok. All part of the unsearchable mysteries of God. Too bad I couldn’t get caught up into the third heaven so God could spell it all out more clearly for me.

    1. Steve Sabin writes. “Except that 1 Tim was written before Eph, so how would the reader of 1 Tim be able (or expected) to consult Eph if the “secret code” for “all” would not be revealed by Paul until 2-3 years later?”

      Paul is the author of both letters. So, when did Paul have this revelation? Paul writes, to Timothy, “…I was appointed a preacher and an apostle…a teacher of the Gentiles…” What would prompt Paul to think and write this but what he was to write to the Ephesians, “in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister…” Then, “To me…this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ…” similar to that he wrote to Timothy The issue is not when Paul wrote to Timothy or to the Ephesians but when he had the revelation, and this seems to have occurred before he came to think of himself as an apostle to the gentiles. Paul was teaching Timothy about his revelation from the time he received it from God, so there is no reason to think that Timothy was ignorant of these things.

  25. Also from today’s reading…

    For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

    1 Tim 4:10

    Would this not suggest again that the “L” of Calvinism is false? That He died to save all, but only some choose to believe and thus accept the saving work He accomplished? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. Steve Sabin asks, “Would this not suggest again that the “L” of Calvinism is false?”

      We have Paul writing, “we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of [Jews and gentiles], especially of believers.” When Paul writes, “especially of believers,” he indicates that all will not be saved.

      However, given that God knew who would be saved before He created the world (regardless how they would come to be saved), the issue becomes God’s purpose for sending Christ to die for those that He knew were not to be saved.

      1. rhutchin
        However, given that God knew who would be saved before He created the world

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #55
        Always obfuscate the fact that 100% of human neurological functionality is determined by an external mind (i.e. Calvin’s god) – and determined before humans are created. Never tell anyone that humans have no say in the matter.

  26. But wait – there’s more…

    Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

    1 Tim 4:16

    I thought it was all up to God. That you could not do otherwise but persevere to the end. That’s what “P” demands. How dare Paul suggest that you need to do something (persevere) to ensure salvation. Didn’t the Holy Spirit already seal you? Why command that which is already assured?

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “How dare Paul suggest that you need to do something (persevere) to ensure salvation. Didn’t the Holy Spirit already seal you? Why command that which is already assured?”

      Of course, the salvation of the elect (however they came to be the elect) was assured in God’s omniscience before He created the world. So why the warnings here or Hebrews 6, Philippians 2, etc? The explanation I hear is that the writers of the NT were writing to churches comprised of both believers and unbelievers. Those warnings were to let those within the church identify their [possible] standing before God. The Holy Spirit would then use the doubts that some would have to excite them to rely entirely on God and His promises and not on something they did.

      1. rhutchin
        Of course, the salvation of the elect (however they came to be the elect) was assured in God’s omniscience before He created the world…..etc

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #55:
        Always obfuscate the fact that every neurological impulse and every nanosecond is exclusively determined by an external mind (i.e., Calvin’s god) and that humans have no say in the matter.

  27. One small problem: the warning was extended to Timothy – not just to the church at large. So this interpretation (that it is only targeting unbelievers) would infer that Paul wasn’t sure if Timothy was one of the elect or not. This is what we would be required to believe:

    That Paul has just finished in chapter 3 giving Timothy detailed instructions on choosing leaders in the church, but Paul is uncertain that Timothy himself is “elect” and thus saved – and an appropriately selected leader – so precisely one chapter later he needs to instruct Timothy to pay attention to his own teaching and his own perseverance.

    Is this really what you expect someone to believe?

    I notice also that you continue to doggedly conflate omniscience (knowledge) with causation. If God knows, He also causes. This is a serious error.

    1. Steve
      I notice also that you continue to doggedly conflate omniscience (knowledge) with causation. If God knows, He also causes. This is a serious error.

      br.d
      Dr. William Lane Craig agrees
      See his video addressing this on Youtube
      Title: Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom – William Lane Craig

    2. Steve Sabin writes, “I notice also that you continue to doggedly conflate omniscience (knowledge) with causation. If God knows, He also causes. This is a serious error.”

      Don’t know how I am doing that. I associate omniscience with certainty, not causation.

      1. You’ll have to forgive our confusion. Because there are thousands of comments by you, and because comments are not globally searchable site-wide, I restricted myself to just a single article…

        March 12, 2020 @ 5:40AM
        Nonetheless, we have Ephesians 1, “God works all things according to the counsel of His will,” indicating that God is in control of all things and because of that control, God is the cause of all things whether through direct intervention or through secondary means.

        March 4, 2020 @ 8:38PM
        God’s perfect understanding establishes that a sovereign God necessarily decrees all that happens.

        March 6, 2020 @ 4:05PM
        How do you handle Ephesians 1, “God works (ordains/causes) all things according to the counsel of His will…”

        March 7, 2020 @ 12:29PM
        God is the author of evil because He, as sovereign, is the final arbiter of all things – “God works all things according to the counsel of His will.” Adam cannot eat the fruit without God knowing that he will do it and decreeing that he do as he desires.

        March 5, 2020 @ 3:13PM
        A person will choose that which is predetermined (foreknown by God at the foundation of the world) and concurrent with his will and God’s will.
        [My remark: here we have another conflation that predetermined and foreknown are the same things]

        Perhaps you can give us definitions for the following so we can keep them straight – and hold you accountable for how you use the words moving forward. They seem to be very fluid in your comments, and it is little wonder that those reading you remain thoroughly confused.

        Understands:
        Causes:
        Predetermines:
        Foreknows:
        Decrees:
        Predestines:
        Authors:
        Secondary Means:
        Primary Means:
        Controls:
        Sovereignty:
        Omnipotence:
        Omniscience:

      2. Steve Sabin writes, “Perhaps you can give us definitions for the following so we can keep them straight

        Understands: The Psalm says that God’s understanding cannot be measured. There is nothing lacking in God’s understanding of His creation. This understanding extends to the effects of His decisions and all human decisions and the effects of those effects. So, God has a perfect understanding of all future events and God had this understanding when He created the universe. Prior to creation, God’s understanding included all possible events that could come about in His creation. In creating the universe, God made certain all that was to happen.

        Omnipotence: God has infinite power and can bring about anything He wants. As the pagan king testified, “God’s dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”

        Sovereignty: God’s infinite understanding and omnipotence combine to make God an absolute sovereign over His creation. God understands all that is possible in the future and by His omnipotence, He determines the certainty of all that happens. So, God can exercise His power to bring about a supernatural outcome (e.g., the flood of Noah, the storm that engulfed Jonah, the impregnation of Mary, the conversion of Saul). God may chose not to exercise His power to bring about a supernatural event thereby ensuring the certainty of the natural event (e.g., Adam eats the fruit, Joseph’s brothers sell Joseph, David commits adultery, the Jews stone Stephen, Christ is crucified). Thus, all natural and supernatural events arise from God so that Paul says, “God works all things according to the counsel of His will,”

        More coming.

      3. rhutchin
        This understanding extends to the effects of His decisions and all human decisions and the effects of those effects

        br.d
        With the strategically hidden caveat that all human decisions are made *FOR* them by an external mind.

        rhutchin
        God made certain all that was to happen…..

        br.d
        With the strategically hidden caveat that a predestined event can only resolve to one physically possible future.

        For example, Calvin’s god foreknows a human will choose to walk to the left vs walking to the right, by predestining which choice that human will be permitted to make. And God cannot himself leave man’s choice undetermined, leaving whatsoever comes to pass up to humans. And since it is logically impossible for a human to be predestined to walk to the left and walk to the right at the same time, this limits God to predestining one option or the other. Thus, limiting every event to one single physically possible predestined future. Whatever human choice is not predestined, exists only as an illusion of what could have been otherwise predestined.

        So, in Calvinism, during human choice making, any instance in which a human perceives multiple options or alternative possibilities as open or available to himself from which to choose, are simply human illusions.

        rhutchin
        Omnipotence: God has infinite power and can bring about anything He wants.

        br.d
        With the strategically hidden caveat that that does not include bringing about things logically impossible.
        For example, Calvin’s god cannot prevent what he renders-certain.
        And nothing comes to pass that is not rendered-certain.
        Thus divine prevention in Calvinism is a choreographed illusion.

        Here is wisdom:
        Magical thinking (i.e. square-circles) is a component of Calvinist thinking that one learns to look for.
        And there is a reason for it. 😉

        rhutchin
        God may chose not to exercise His power to bring about a supernatural event thereby ensuring the certainty of the natural event (e.g., Adam eats the fruit, Joseph’s brothers sell Joseph, David commits adultery….etc

        br.d
        With the strategically hidden caveat that in Calvinism every movement of nature is infallible.
        And nature does not have the power to bring about anything infallible
        Only an infallible being can bring about something infallible.
        Therefore in Calvinism all movements of nature are SPECIFICALLY CAUSED by the hand of an infallible being (i.e., Calvin’s god).

        Thus:
        – Adam is not given the option to obey the command – at pain of falsifying the infallible decree.
        – Joseph’s brothers are not given the option of doing otherwise – at pain of falsifying the infallible decree..
        – David is not given the option of not committing adultery – – at pain of falsifying the infallible decree.

        Here is wisdom:
        There is a reason why the Calvinist can’t tell the WHOLE truth.
        Understanding that reason – is part of understanding Calvinism.

      4. Steve Sabin writes, “Perhaps you can give us definitions for the following…”

        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.

        Predestines: Predestines is synonymous with predetermines.

        Foreknows: As God determined all future events that were to come about following the creation, God is said to perfectly foreknow all future events occurring in His creation.

        Controls: Presupposing God’s infinite understanding of His creation and His omnipotent power, God is the absolute rule of His creation down to the smallest part. He has absolute control over His creation and controls by natural and supernatural means all that happens.

        Primary Means: Where God acts with supernatural actions to bring about certain events in His creation consistent with the counsel of His will, He is said to be the primary means for bringing those events to pass. Examples include: the creation of man/woman. the destruction of Sodom, the impregnation of Mary, the conversion of Saul/Paul, etc.

        Secondary Means: Where God acts through natural processes to bring about certain events in His creation consistent with the counsel of His will, those natural processes are called the secondary means for bringing those events to pass. Examples include: the selling of Joseph to slave traders, the adultery of David, the stoning of Stephen, etc.

        Decrees: God, in creating the universe, and knowing all future events perfectly, is said to have decreed all things in one decree. God is said to have decreed each individual event because He knew of the event beforehand and predetermined that those events were to happen either through primary means or secondary means.

        Causes: God causes, or brings about, all things according to the counsel of His will consistent with His absolute sovereignty and control of His creation. He may use primary or secondary means to cause, or bring about, any individual event.

        Authors: God is the author of His creation by virtue of His act of creation and knowledge of all that was to take place in His creation. All events in God’s creation take place exactly as He foreknows them to occur.

      5. rhutchin
        Predetermines: By His sovereign act to create the universe, God determined all future events that were to occur in that creation….etc

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #55:
        Always try to hide the horrible decrees
        Never reveal the fact that every human neurological impulse is determined by an external mind – to be actualized to irresistibly occur in the human brain.

        rhutchin
        He decided how He would interact with His creation before He created.

        br.d
        Interpretation
        Calvin’s god meticulously choreographs every human neurological impulse – to give humans the ILLUSION that he does not meticulously choreograph every human neurological impulse. And to keep humans from finding out he determines their every desire – and that they are not the originators of their choices.

      6. rhutchin
        Don’t know how I am doing that. I associate omniscience with certainty, not causation.

        br.d
        DUH!
        They equate to the same thing in the context of determinism

        That’s why Calvinism is called UNIVERSAL DIVINE CAUSAL DETERMINISM

        Calvin’s god’s certainty of [X] is based on the fact that Calvin’s god CAUSES [X] to come to pass INFALLIBLY

      7. rhutchin: “Don’t know how I am doing that. I associate omniscience with certainty, not causation.”

        And then, I would say, he associates certainty with causation. So it’s all the same thing.

        (I’m beginning to wonder if Calvinists don’t really understand the concept of cause-and-effect.)

      8. Heather
        (I’m beginning to wonder if Calvinists don’t really understand the concept of cause-and-effect.)

        br.d
        I used to think this also Heather
        But at some point I realized – I was assuming – that as professing Christians Calvinists conform to intellectual honesty.
        I eventually came to realize that that was a false assumption on my part.

        WHAT IS ALTRUISTIC DISHONESTY:

        Dr. Bella Depaulo Social Scientist, in her book: The Hows and Whys of Lies writes:
        “Altruistic dishonesty occurs when a person is working to protect a ‘target’. A high percentage of people who rationalize the use of dishonest language, experience some sub-level degree of discomfort, but which is effectively outweighed by rationalizations. And they generally do not regard their lies as lies. And this is especially true with people who are working to protect a ‘target’.”

        These are called “other-oriented” or “altruistic” dishonesties. Protecting the ‘target’ allows them to perceive themselves as honest rather than dishonest. For the sake of protecting the ‘target,’ a high percentage report they would have felt worse if they had been honest, because honesty would have revealed things about the “target” they do not want people to see.”

        I think Dr. Depaulo is helping us connect some critical dots. Altruism is in fact an excellent way to understand Calvinism’s euphemistic, equivocal, and cosmetic language. A battered wife may choose to restrain herself from communicating anything that may paint her husband in a bad light – even if she knows what she is communicating is false rather than truth-telling. She is simply protecting the ‘target.’ How much more would a Calvinist refrain from communicating anything that would in any way reflect badly on God or the Gospel. He would feel worse if his language were truth-telling – because it would reveal things about the ‘target’ he doesn’t want people to see.

      9. heather writes, “And then, I would say, he associates certainty with causation. So it’s all the same thing.”

        Following William Craig, we distinguish between the certainty of future events and the necessity of future events. Necessity is associated with causation.

      10. rhutchin
        Following William Craig, we distinguish between the certainty of future events and the necessity of future events. Necessity is associated with causation.

        br.d
        rhutchin – what is the difference between an bald-faced-lie and BS?
        We both know William Lane Craig does NOT equate causation to necessity – but rather shows how doing so is fallacious.

        William Lane Craig – Necessity equals Fatalism:
        -quote
        The argument for Theological Fatalism is a mistaken argument – it is a fallacious argument.
        Here’s basically how the argument goes:

        1. Necessarily, if God foreknows X, then X will happen (where X can be any sort of event that you want to imagine in the future).

        2. God foreknows X (God foreknows everything that is going to happen, so he foreknows X will happen).

        3. Therefore, necessarily, X will happen.

        This argument for Theological Fatalism is fallacious based on a MODAL fallacy in logic.

        William Lane Craig – Calvinism equals Universal Divine CAUSAL Determinism
        -quote
        The Calvinist thinks that God causally determines everything that happens.
        The first and foremost consideration is that Scripture requires it. But is that really the case? It needs to be kept in mind that Universal, Divine CAUSALDeterminism is an interpretation of Scripture, an interpretation that some Reformed divines themselves regard as irreconcilable with other clear teachings of Scripture.

      11. EXAMINING CALVINIST LANGUAGE

        Misleading language:
        The process of a person acting as if he is sincerely asserting propositional content [P] – while [P] is in fact false.
        Or while [P] is presented as a masquerade for the purpose of hiding [Q].

        A certain genius and subtlety is required of misleading language. The communicator of misleading language needs to monitor his statements and judge and refine his terminology in order to maximize plausibility.

        This will often require rehearsing statements in advance, and making adjustments in word selection to ensure terms facilitate a necessary degree of ambiguity or equivocation in order to facilitate obfuscation.

        Ambiguous or misleading statements can also have a character of style and wit to them, which for example, can be found in eulogistic or condescending language.

        As an anti-detection policy, liars must remember their earlier statements so that they appear consistent with how they re-frame future statements. And we can see that lying typically capitalizes upon declarative sentences.

      12. Steve, I love your “You’ll have to forgive our confusion” comment. Well done! Rhutchin has time and time again stressed how God controls/causes all things, yet he claims time and time again that God doesn’t control/cause men to do evil/sin. Two ideas that can’t be reconciled with a simple “We can’t understand how it all works because God is so far above us.” Well, if their theology makes God the cause of evil (while He punishes men for it), then they had better understand it! For they will have to give an account for it when they stand before God in the end.

  28. My Acolyte Dialogues continue to essentially write themselves. That antidote to Calvinism is really quite simple:

    1) Remove the glasses
    2) Read the scriptures – in their entirety – without the lenses that John Calvin demands.
    3) You will be confronted regularly with scriptures that do not comport with Calvinism. Just today, reading 1 Timothy, both “L” and “P” (and by extension, “U”) were seriously challenged. Before that it was Philippians – where 2:12 and 2:16 challenge “P” and thus “U”. And before that it was Colossians – where 1:23 challenges “P” (and thus “U”). If not every page, and if not daily, it is multiple times per week.

  29. Notice the erroneous substitution / interpretation of words (bold) into scripture by rhutchin to achieve his desired ends…

    May 13, 2020 @ 8:15am
    Thus, all natural and supernatural events arise from God so that Paul says, ‘God works all things according to the counsel of His will,’”

    Error: all events arise from God. (and I suspect “arise” = “are caused by”)

    March 6, 2020 @ 4:05pm
    “How do you handle Ephesians 1, ‘God works (ordains/causes) all things according to the counsel of His will…’”

    Error: works = causes/ordains.

    Let’s compare Eph 1:11 with Romans 8:28

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

    Rom 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

    Ephesians doesn’t say God causes all things. It says He works all things after the counsel of His will. So no matter what happens and what choices man makes, God can work through them in such a way that His will is accomplished.

    Romans doesn’t say God causes all things. It says He causes them to work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. God takes the free choices of others that are meant for bad (e.g. Joseph’s brothers, Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Haman, Darius, Goliath, etc.) and turns them around to work for our benefit rather than our harm. I.e., He redeems things meant for bad and brings good out of them. It is exactly consistent with what we read in Eph 1.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “Error: all events arise from God. (and I suspect “arise” = “are caused by”)”

      I divided “all events” into two subsets, “natural events” or naturally occurring events and “supernatural events.” This was for ease of explanation on later terms – “cause” being one of them where “arise will be fleshed out. I don’t see why you would think this an error.

      Then, “Ephesians doesn’t say God causes all things. It says He works all things after the counsel of His will. So no matter what happens and what choices man makes, God can work through them in such a way that His will is accomplished.”

      By His infinite understanding of all the variables that go into making decisions, God can take into account a person’s possible choices through the counsel of His will. He does this before He creates the world. So, by His understanding God can know that Joseph’s brothers would desire to kill Joseph, so God negates that option and arranges for slave traders to come by, so that the brothers can sell Joseph to them. The effect of this is that God’s creating the world makes all future events certain so that only one future is ever really possible.

      Then, “Romans doesn’t say God causes all things.”

      I agree, but it really depends on the definition of “cause.” That is why I divided “all events” into “natural events” and “supernatural events” as the means to explain how God “causes” or works all things according to the counsel of His will.

      Then, ‘God takes the free choices of others that are meant for bad …”

      I agree. It is by His infinite understanding that God knows the free choices people will make before they even think to make them. Thus, by a combination of naturally occurring events and supernatural events, God can impregnate Mary and brings events together for the crucifixion of Jesus many years later.

      1. rhutchin
        I agree. It is by His infinite understanding that God knows the free choices people will make before they even think to make them.

        br.d
        Here we have an excellent example of Calvinism’s deceptive DOUBLE-SPEAK language
        The language here is strategically designed to masquerade as “mere” permission – which John Calvin rejects.

        And strategically hides the fact that in Calvinism all human choices are made *FOR* humans – and are actualized irresistibly within the human brain.

  30. From today’s reading…

    Titus 2:11
    For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
    Note the word “bringing” – not “causing” or “resulting in” (I.e., this is not teaching Universalism)
    Note the words “all men”

    Titus 3:1-2
    Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
    Dang! There’s the words “all men” again – just 5 verses later in the same letter by the same writer. Oh well, I’m pretty sure it means “the elect” in v11 but “everyone” in v2. Because “L”.

    As I have said before, the antidote to Calvinism is to read your Bible. On almost every page of scripture, Calvinism is challenged/refuted for the reader willing to take off their Calvinist lenses.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “I’m pretty sure it means “the elect” in v11 but “everyone” in v2. ”

      Following Paul’s revelation in Ephesians 3, the Calvinist would read Titus as, “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to both Jew and gentile.” and “…showing every consideration for Jew and gentile.”

      v14 refers to the elect, “who gave Himself for [God’s elect]..”

      1. For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people

        rhutchin
        The Calvinist would read as, “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to both Jew and gentile

        br.d
        Right – the Calvinist mind is conditioned to mentally change words in the text while reading

        Titus 2:14
        Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

        br.d
        The Calvinist mind is conditioned to read “elect” into any reference to the believer

        rhutchin
        v14 refers to the elect, “who gave Himself for [God’s elect]..”

        br.d
        Thus the Calvinist mind is conditioned to mentally change words in the text while reading

  31. An online searcher thanks Dr. Flowers

    -quote
    You helped me through your video clips sir.
    I almost fell into an emotional break down
    I tried to know if I was one of the elect or designed for damnation.
    I’m now done with Calvinism!

    Glory God!!

    1. This is absolutley Praise worthy thank you for sharing Br.d!!!

      Often (not saying always) the language used by calvinists does come across as sarcastic/condescending… as you say in a different post.. & it does seem to require as you state; ((A certain genius and subtlety is required of misleading language. ))

      I’m not a fan of hidden agendas!!!
      Ecclesiastes 12:14 NASB — For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

      Oh wait if calvinism is true what’s the point… it all would be meaningless.. But that’s not what we believe here on soteriology 101 😁

  32. Following Paul’s revelation in Ephesians 3, the Calvinist would read Titus as, “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to both Jew and gentile.” and “…showing every consideration for Jew and gentile.”

    This is dishonest and lacks transparency. We both know that the Calvinist must read it as follows:

    “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to both Jew and Gentile elect.” and “…showing every consideration for Jew and Gentile.”

    or

    “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to both Jew and gentile, but only the elect of whom will be able to receive it.” and “…showing every consideration for Jew and Gentile.”

    As an aside, I’m curious why you choose not to capitalize Gentile yet you always capitalize Jew? At first I thought it was just a typo, but it seems to be consistent.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, ” We both know that the Calvinist must read it as follows:
      “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to both Jew and Gentile elect.” and “…showing every consideration for Jew and Gentile.” etc…”

      I don’t know what factors would make this true. So, we both don’t know it. Perhaps, you can explain how you arrived at your conclusion. It is usually only when Paul refers to “we” or “us” that we understand him to speak of God’s elect.

      When you say, “but only the elect of whom will be able to receive it..” that phrase is an editorial insertion by you not contained in the text. ne might argue the point in a commentary on the verse.

      Then, “I’m curious why you choose not to capitalize Gentile yet you always capitalize Jew?”

      Personal preference. I think “Jew” refers to an unique group of people while gentile is a generic term not having any particular people in mind other than non-Jews.

      1. 1) Calvinism teaches Limited Atonement as a central tenet. You embrace this wholeheartedly.

        2) Calvinism teaches that salvation cannot be achieved by any except the Elect. Therefore, it is not legitimately offered to the non-Elect. A legitimate offer is not one that is impossible to accept. It is not merely “will not” be accepted under Calvinism. It is “cannot” be accepted – impossible because of divine decree. We both know this. It is decreed under Calvinism so please cease from further word games.

        3) Paul says that salvation has been brought to all men. If it has been brought to all men, this means it is being made available to all men. If it is being made available to all men, this implies they can accept or reject it.

        4) You must either concede that:

        A – it is being made legitimately available to all men (the non-Calvinist position) and it was not decreed beforehand that one person could accept while another could not.

        B – all men does not actually mean all men (it means all ELECT men) and this was the basis of my comment / insertion in the text.

        C – all men means all men, but brought no longer means brought – it is a sort-of carrot dangled in front of all men, but reachable only by the Elect. This, somehow, brings God glory. Because Soli Deo Gloria.

        And this is precisely what we mean by Calvinist double-speak. All doesn’t mean all. Bringing doesn’t mean bringing. Whole world doesn’t mean whole world. Whosoever doesn’t mean whosoever. Any doesn’t mean any. None doesn’t mean none.

      2. Steve Sabin writes, “1) Calvinism teaches Limited Atonement as a central tenet. You embrace this wholeheartedly.”

        That because no one, not even you, can explain what purpose would be served by having Christ die for people that God knew were never to be saved. This, even considering that God could have decided to save any person He wanted, even each and every individual.

        Then, “2) Calvinism teaches that salvation cannot be achieved by any except the Elect. Therefore, it is not legitimately offered to the non-Elect. ”

        This without respect to how the person comes to salvation – whether as the Calvinists explain itor the non-Calvinists. By His infinite understanding, God knew the identities of the non-elect before He created the world, so the offer of salvation could never have been realized by the non-elect. No word games here. Maybe you can explain how God’s perfect knowledge of the non-elect makes any offer of salvation viable.

        Then, “‘3) Paul says that salvation has been brought to all men. If it has been brought to all men, this means it is being made available to all men. If it is being made available to all men, this implies they can accept or reject it.”

        All men can be subdivided into Jews and gentiles. However, this identifies a necessary condition for salvation – hearing the gospel – but not a sufficient condition. Another necessary condition is faith without which no one can be saved.

        Then, “4) You must either concede that:
        A – it is being made legitimately available to all men (the non-Calvinist position) and it was not decreed beforehand that one person could accept while another could not.”

        That I do not concede. By His infinite understanding, God understood the future perfectly and knew the identities of the elect and the non-elect. before He created the universe. By creating the universe,God decreed the certain future that He understood was to follow. If you claim that nothing was decreed beforehand, then you are necessarily denying that God has infinite understanding.

        Then, “B – all men does not actually mean all men (it means all ELECT men) and this was the basis of my comment / insertion in the text.”

        That I do not have to concede. “all men” can mean “Jew and gentile” as as been discussed.

        Then, “C – all men means all men, but brought no longer means brought – it is a sort-of carrot dangled in front of all men, but reachable only by the Elect. ”

        I don’t concede this. The gospel has been brought o all men but only those to whom faith is conveyed by that gospel can be saved. Even you must recognize that all who hear the gospel are not saved and this because of a lack of faith.

        Then, “And this is precisely what we mean by Calvinist double-speak. All doesn’t mean all…”

        If double-speak means interpreting one Scripture consistently with all other Scripture then guilty as charged.

      3. rhutchin
        By His infinite understanding, God understood the future perfectly and knew the identities of the elect and the non-elect.

        br.d
        Calvinist lesson #56 – Always obfuscate the fact that Calvin’s god as the divine potter SPECIFICALLY DESIGNS the vast majority of his creation – for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

        For example – punt to “infinite understanding” is a good way to obfuscate.

  33. v14 refers to the elect, “who gave Himself for [God’s elect]..”

    Again, a lack of transparency. Titus 2:14 says “us” – not “God’s elect” in the NASB and ESV. In fact, verses 11 through 14 are all part of a single sentence in both translations as well (I did not check other translations).

    If Paul says “all men” (NASB) or “all people” (ESV) in the first part of the sentence, and “us” in the latter part of the sentence, then he did so deliberately and was not using these as interchangeable phrases. Please stick to the words actually used by the writer rather than your own substitutions. Might be best to start cutting and pasting the entire verse and listing the version used. Your credibility decreases with almost every post and it is a very sad testament to your integrity that we have to ask for this.

    It reminds me of something my boss used to say: “You should not have to ask the perfect question to get the right answer.”

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “Titus 2:14 says “us” – not “God’s elect” in the NASB and ESV. In fact, verses 11 through 14 are all part of a single sentence in both translations as well (I did not check other translations).”

      By enclosing the term, [God’s elect], I meant it as an editorial insertion and a commentary on the word, “us.” In context, “us” refers to Paul (obviously) and Titus, to whom he is writing the letter, as identified in 1:4 “To Titus,…” and reiterated in 2:1 “But as for you,…” and by extension to all of God’s elect as both Paul and Titus are God’s elect.

      Then, “If Paul says “all men” (NASB) or “all people” (ESV) in the first part of the sentence, and “us” in the latter part of the sentence, then he did so deliberately and was not using these as interchangeable phrases.”

      I agree that Paul wrote deliberately. I don’t see why we are required to limit Paul as you suggest. Given the personal nature of the letter, I think the antecedent of “us” should reflect that personal touch. Clearly, the reader is looking for the antecedent for “us.” Whether that antecedent si “all men” or Paul and Titus,” probably depends on personal bias. I don’t think “all men” fits the phrase, “…who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us…” I wonder f we have hINA plus a subunctive.

  34. 1 John makes it crystal clear.

    2:2 – and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

    5:19 – We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

    So let me guess – you’re going to insist that John meant “the elect” in 2:2 but something else in 5:19 but chose to use identical words. Maybe a footnote that says “see Eph 3”? Or maybe you’re going to accuse those who take 2:2 at face value of being Universalists?

    Hint: Try throwing out “L” and allowing scripture to just say what it says, without using Calvin’s hammer and blowtorch and thinking that John’s readers needed to consult Paul’s letters to understand it.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “1 John makes it crystal clear.”

      1 John 2
      1 …if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
      2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

      Christ is able to be our advocate because He is the propitiation for our sins. This means that “propitiation” must be taken in the strongest sense – propitiation must mean propitiation – else Christ could not be our advocate.

      That means that we should read the last half of the verse as, “and not for ours only but [Christ is also the propitiation] for the [sins of the] whole world.” This means that Christ is the advocate for the whole world also. If Christ is the advocate for the whole world, then the whole world must be saved and that is Universalism.

      But Christ is the advocate for believers only. Because of that, Calvinists read this as, “and not for ours only but also for [all elect in] the whole world. If nothing else, it avoids the conflict with advocate/propitiation. The alternative seems to be to fracture the meaning of propitiation.

      In 5:19, we have, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” Here “we” includes John and those to whom he is writing – the “little children” of 2:1. Thus, the “whole world” currently under the sway of Satan includes some whom God will draw to Christ in the future and for whom Christ is the propitiation for their sins.

      It is a difficult verse either way you take it.

      Then, “Hint: Try throwing out “L” ”

      One can only throw out “L” is God does not have infinite understanding and does not know the identities of the elect and non-elect before He creates the world. Since God does have infinite understanding, throwing out “L” raises the question – What purpose is served by Christ dying for the non-elect (and being their advocate as 1 John 2 would have?

      1. rhutchin
        If Christ is the advocate for the whole world, then the whole world must be saved and that is Universalism.

        br.d
        One more human philosophical argument.
        But why do we need a human philosophical argument – if there is one verse in scripture that provides EXPLICIT evidence?
        Cuz not one verse exists!

        He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

        rhutchin
        Calvinists read this as, “and not for ours only but also for [all elect in] the whole world.

        br.d
        A great example of how the Calvinist mind is conditioned alter the text while reading the text.

        rhutchin
        One can only throw out “L” in the TULIP – if God does not have infinite understanding and does not know the identities of the elect and non-elect before He creates the world.

        br.d
        This is the fallacy of question begging.
        One more fallacious human philosophical argument
        But why do we need a fallacious human philosophical argument – if there is one verse in scripture that provides EXPLICIT evidence?
        Cuz not one verse exists!

        CONCLUSION:
        Calvinist evidence based on presupposition – because it contains insufficient EXPLICIT evidence from scriptural.

        So do we have a scriptural theology – or a human philosophy posturing as a scriptural theology

  35. I was not suggesting that the antecedent of “us” is “all men”. I was suggesting just the opposite, in fact. “us” refers to Paul, Titus, and by extension to believers at-large. But “all men” is not limited to the elect or any subset thereof. Paul could have easily used “us” if he wanted to limit the offer of salvation to believers. But he didn’t – he said “all men”.

  36. rhutchin writes…
    What purpose is served by Christ dying for the non-elect (and being their advocate as 1 John 2 would have)?

    Can you not see how your TULIP glasses distort and refract everything you read? I am stunned at the shameless way you glibly insert “the elect” wherever it suits your fancy and ask questions such as the above — not because scripture requires such a question but because Calvin does. My only consolation is that others read these comments and your performance defending your beliefs is so woefully bankrupt and grasping that it serves to aid the very side you oppose. There is no robust opposition or enlightenment forthcoming from you, just an endless recitation of absurd Reformed talking point and arguments that are so lame and devoid of scriptural support as to be little more than “we know that this verse can be better understood as “X” because this is necessary to ensure (insert TULIP petal here) remains true.” As Br.d. says, these are textbook examples of “begging the question.” It doesn’t surprise me that Dr. Flowers, Eric, and many others here ignore you. It isn’t the strength of your arguments that generate their disinterest — it is the weakness of your arguments.

    The purpose of Christ dying for all, my friend, is precisely because all have access to salvation and can exercise or suppress their innate capacity of faith to accept or reject what Christ has done. Christ can never be accused of dying for some and not all. Scripture is far too replete with anti-L statements and L and P are by far the weakest rungs of the entire rickety and embarrassing Calvinist ladder of reeds and twine.

    Christ’s deposit in the bank was sufficient to cover the debts of all – not just the elect – and the sinner alone is to blame if he refuses to withdraw the deposit made on their behalf. But your dogged insistence on “L” blinds you from this simple conclusion to the false dilemma / crisis of your own theology’s making.

    Indeed, God speaks very forcefully of this in Heb 10:29…
    How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

    This is speaking directly to the issue of “L”. Christ’s blood was spilled for ALL – including those who reject it. And for those who reject it, how much more severe do you think God’s judgement will be on them for rejecting so great a gift? Reread the parable of the ungrateful debtor in Matt 18:23-34. It refutes “L” “T” “and “P” in one fell swoop. It is the parable version of Heb 10:29.

  37. Does not nature itself teach you that God is extravagant? There are an estimated 8.7 million plant and animal species on earth, and 1 billion trillion stars in the observable universe. Why not ask why He places things under the sea where nobody will see them. Or flings stars into the far reaches of space that cannot be observed. To ask why He would die for those who would reject Him is to accuse Him of miserly behavior that is observed nowhere in His creation. It rains on just and unjust and the sun shines on just and unjust.

    The question instead falls squarely in your lap: why would God not die for all and is there even a single verse that explicitly conveys this? Appealing to Calvinist doctrine is not allowed. Sola Scriptura.

    There are literally at least a dozen scriptures that state Christ died for all, yet you will not be able to produce a single one that is equally and compellingly clear that He died only for the elect. Not one. The Calvinist submission of “evidence” always consists of a tortured, circuitous path of conjecture and double-talk that makes a 747 cockpit look straightforward by comparison.

    1. Steve Sabin asks, “To ask why He would die for those who would reject Him is to accuse Him of miserly behavior that is observed nowhere in His creation. It rains on just and unjust and the sun shines on just and unjust. ”

      When the rain falls on the just and the unjust, both benefit from that rain. However, if Christ dies for those whom God knows will not be saved, what benefit does the non-elect receive or what purpose is served? It’s an empty gesture. As John 3 tells us, “God gave His son so that the believing ones might have eternal life.” What about the unbelieving ones? What benefit do they receive?

      Then, ‘The question instead falls squarely in your lap: why would God not die for all and is there even a single verse that explicitly conveys this?”

      By His infinite understanding, God knows before He creates the world, the identities of His elect and the non-elect. We find many places where Christ is said to die for God’s elect. Examples–

      – “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (His elect)”
      – “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 (His elect).”
      – “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us)His elect),…”
      – “I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our )His elect) sins according to the Scriptures,…”

      Then, “There are literally at least a dozen scriptures that state Christ died for all,…”

      Here, “all” can be generic referring to both Jew and gentile.

      1. rhutchin
        When the rain falls on the just and the unjust, both benefit from that rain. However, if Christ dies for those whom God knows will not be saved, what benefit does the non-elect receive or what purpose is served? It’s an empty gesture.

        br.d
        Another great example of fallacious human philosophy.
        Here we have the fallacy of question begging.

        According to my human value system – in which I define valid purpose, presenting a gift to someone as a “genuine offer” knowing that person will not accept that gift – serves no no valid purpose.

        On this view – giving someone more than one option – and letting that one be the determinative determiner of that choice – serves no purpose.

        Thus we have the underlying premise of Theological Determinism.
        A THEOS determines all human internal impulses that will be actualized irresistibly within the human brain
        A THEOS determines what each person will be/do.

        Otherwise, “Merely” permitting a person to be “Self-Determining” serves no purpose.

        Thus, permitting Adam to obey the command to not eat – serves no purpose.

      2. Rhutchin: “However, if Christ dies for those whom God knows will not be saved, what benefit does the non-elect receive or what purpose is served? It’s an empty gesture. As John 3 tells us, “God gave His son so that the believing ones might have eternal life.” What about the unbelieving ones? What benefit do they receive? ”

        Oh, so many problems with this, which is exactly what Br.d. called it: “fallacious human philosophy”!

        1. Calvinists wrongly start with the idea that elect means “individually, specifically chosen for salvation.”
        2. Therefore, they reason, if there are elect people then there must be non-elect people.
        3. And they believe that Jesus wouldn’t waste His sacrificial death on non-elect people who can’t believe anyway, because that would make His death as “empty gesture” to them. Therefore, they reason, He never really died for them to begin with.
        4. And so … they can’t believe because He never died for them. And He never died for them because they can’t believe. And they can’t believe because He never died for them…. (See how this circular reasoning supports their own false ideas. It’s not grounded in the Bible, but in their own fallacious human philosophy!)
        5. Also, if rhutchin is quoting John 3:16, which version says “God gave His son so that the believing ones might have eternal life”? (See how Calvinism alters verses to fit what it wants to say, presenting it as what they Bible says. And if Calvinism is true, that there are elect people predestined for eternal life, we could have a field day addressing the “MIGHT HAVE eternal life”!)
        6. And from what I remember about studying the “whosoever believes” of John 3:16, according to the concordance, “believes” is a verb. It’s something done by the “whosoever.” It’s not an adjective (as rhutchin’s version would necessitate – “a believing person”) or a noun (as Calvinists say when they alter the verse to “that all the believers might have eternal life”). It’s a verb. Therefore, neither “believing ones” nor “believers” fits. This verse is not saying that there are certain, specific, prechosen believers who might have eternal life; it’s saying that anyone who does the action (verb) of believing will have eternal life. And as I said before, “believes” (in the concordance) means to be persuaded by something and to put your confidence in it as a result. To commit to it. It’s an action done by the “whosoever,” not something done to the whosoever.

        Calvinism falls apart left and right, from so many angles and in so many ways. And yet they still insist on dogmatically clinging to the idea that God truly loved only them and that Jesus died only for them, that everyone else was created to be hated by God and sent to hell, with no real choice in the matter, for Calvi-god’s glory. That’s sick and twisted! If someone wants to believe this in the face of so much against it (from the plain reading of Scripture to the concordance to what’s logical to what fits with God’s good, loving, holy character, etc.) then it’s because they want to believe it. For some sick reason or other.

      3. heather writes, “6. And from what I remember about studying the “whosoever believes” of John 3:16, according to the concordance, “believes” is a verb….”

        The Greek text is, “πας ὁ πιστευων,” where “πιστευων,” a present participle (but still a verb) and has the meaning “believing.” The phrase, “πας ὁ” is translated “whoever” and means “everyone” which makes sense because everyone believing has eternal life – that is the basic gospel message. There is nothing wrong in saying that “πας ὁ πιστευων,” can be read as “the one believing.” or “all the believers,” as the meaning is the same – only those who believe have eternal life. What the verse does not tell us is how a person comes to believe, only that the person who believes has eternal life.

        My question is still valid. If God so loved the world that He gievs eternal life to those who believe, what happens to those who do not believe – Doesn’t God love them also?

        Then, “[Calvinists] still insist on dogmatically clinging to the idea that God truly loved only them and that Jesus died only for them, that everyone else was created to be hated by God and sent to hell,…”

        Well, what does God do with unbelievers if He so loved them also?

    1. Steven Sabin writes, “Not according to Greenlee. See list on page 7.”

      Yet, v14 has, “…ινα λυτρωσηται…” with λυτρωσηται identified as a subjunctive in my Greek resource.

  38. From today’s reading…

    1 Pet 3:18
    “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;“

    Darn! There it is again. I wish these New Testament writers would just write “the elect” instead of “all”. Everyone knows that what they really meant to say was “the elect” and it would save so much work not having to mentally insert the words in almost every instance.

    1. Steve
      Darn! There it is again. I wish these New Testament writers would just write “the elect” instead of “all”.

      br.d
      Yeh!
      If they had a little more brain-power they would use used the word “SOME” instead of all – to make their statements less ambiguous. :-]

    2. Steve Sabin writes, “I wish these New Testament writers would just write “the elect” instead of “all””

      We see that Christ died for sins – specifically the sins of God’s elect for Peter writes, “that He might bring us (His elect) to God,,,,” Peter’s (and the Holy Spirit’s) intent is clear when He writes, “us.”

      “Christ also died for sins once for all” This means that Christ died once and that was sufficient . Since the non-elect receive no benefit from Christ/s death, we could read “all” as ‘”God’s elect.”

      1. rhutchin
        We see that Christ died…..secifically the sins of God’s elect….etc

        br.d
        We in this case is limited to Calvinists

        Glenn Elert – What scripture teaches about the solar system
        -quote
        Those who believe in the literal truth of the Bible are in for a shock.
        The Bible describes a cosmos that few of us would recognize today.
        The earth is fixed and immovable and lies at the center of all things.
        The sun moves about the earth, not the other way around.

      2. br.d
        We in this case is limited to Calvinists

        rhutchin
        Or anyone reading this particular Scripture.

        br.d
        Well – since in Calvinism, whatsoever comes to pass (the mind’s perception of scripture) was determined *FOR* each individual mind – at the foundation of the world – by an external mind (i.e., Calvin’s god)

        Then it logically follows that We is limited to those whom that external mind (i.e., Calvin’s god) has so determined – making their perception of scripture to coincide with mental perceptions he happened to determine for Calvinists.

        And what group is internationally recognized as reading Universal Divine Causal Determinism into scripture?
        Calvinism.

        Thus we in this case is limited to Calvinists

      3. br.d
        Thus we in this case is limited to Calvinists

        rhutchin
        And anyone else reading this particular Scripture.

        br.d
        See LOGICAL answer above :-]

      4. “once for all” is a single word in Greek (ἅπαξ [hapax]) and is usually translated “once”, but sometimes “once for all”, and a few times “once again”. It appears most often in Hebrews where the intent is to emphatically state that future sacrifices are not require. Christ’s was “once and done.”

        I agree that it is generally used to denote “a single instance that is sufficient for all time”. I.e., to clarify “how often?” as opposed to “to whom does it apply?”

        I would not necessarily agree that “us” mean “elect” in all instances. There are nuances and implications and extensions that can be drawn by using “elect” that are unwarranted, so it is better to simply stick with the words of scripture: “us”.

      5. Steve Sabin writes, “so it is better to simply stick with the words of scripture: “us”.”

        And then identify the antecedent of “us.” Peter would be an obvious mart of “us.” Then, it traces back to:

        v16 – “…when they defame you as evildoers,…”
        v14 – “,,,even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake…”
        v13 – “…who is he who will harm you…”
        v8 – “…all of you be of one mind,…”
        1:1 – “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,…”

        Making Peter’s reference to “us” a reference to the believers to whom Peter writes the letter plus himself – in other words, “…elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…” (1:2)

      6. Rhutchin: “Since the non-elect receive no benefit from Christ/s death, we could read “all” as ‘”God’s elect.””

        A theological idea pulled out of thin air by Calvinists!

        I wonder … Why are Calvinists so determined to believe that most people are predestined to hell? To believe that Jesus died for no one else but them and that God only really loves them? Sounds sinister to me, just like their Calvi-god! And self-centered. “Me, me, me … Jesus died for ME. Not for YOU, just for ME! I’m so special; I get to go to heaven and you don’t, because God picked ME and not you!” I’m just saying’.

  39. I will leave it to the astute (and even not so astute reader) to comment on the effectiveness of rhutchin’s persuasive skills, or if he resorts merely to ad infinitum employment of these four basic rules:

    1) Make liberal and continued use of substitution as follows:

    all = elect (except when “all = Jew + Gentile” makes it seem more inclusive, but really means “ELECT Jew + ELECT Gentile”)
    whosoever = elect
    any = elect
    whole world = elect

    2) If any of the above fail, resort to tedious dissertations on Greek grammatical construction and insist that in order to understand any of the New Testament letters exchanged between two parties, a third letter must always be referenced (Ephesians) in order to understand the proper meaning of “all” “any” “whosoever” and “whole world”.

    3) In all instances, stridently insist that you are “sola scriptura” and deny that the demands of your theology nullify what you read plainly in scripture.

    4) Lather. Rinse. Repeat daily. Let no comment go un-remonstrated. Let no bush go without extensive Calvinist territory marking.

    1. Steve
      Let no bush go without extensive Calvinist territory marking.

      br.d
      The priests of Dagon is responsible to keep picking up the image, cleaning the mud off the image, and polishing the image.
      If he doesn’t – people will eventually consider the image corruptible.

      But the very fact that that responsibility entails continual human maintenance – becomes the red-flag that that image is in fact corruptible.

    2. Steve Sabin writes, “1) Make liberal and continued use of substitution as follows:”

      Any competent exegesis would identify the antecedent meaning of pronouns.

      Then, ‘resort to tedious dissertations on Greek grammatical construction and insist that in order to understand any of the New Testament letters exchanged between two parties, a third letter must always be referenced”

      Any competent exegesis would preserve consistency across letters and between OT and NT.. No one wants to create an inconsistency, between different Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit.

      Then, “stridently insist that you are “sola scriptura””

      Any competent exegesis would avoid using non-Scriptural resources to explain Scripture as Scripture is fully capable of explaining itself..

      1. rhutchin
        Any competent exegesis would avoid using non-Scriptural resources to explain Scripture as Scripture is fully capable of explaining itself..

        br.d
        He says
        As we watch 90% of his position appearing in the form of appeals to human philosophy (i.e., many of which entail logical fallacies)
        Because no verse exists which EXPLICITLY says what one needs it to say.

        So do we have a scriptural theology – or a human philosophy posturing as a scriptural theology

  40. Dang! I just set it back upright this morning. It isn’t even lunchtime and here it is facedown again. Sigh.

    And what’s this? The palms and head are missing? Those were there this morning as well. Double sigh.

    Maybe I could rig up some kind of auto-upright mechanism. Counterweights, pulleys, rounded bottom, and such.

    Remember: Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.

  41. rhutchin wrote…
    Any competent exegesis would identify the antecedent meaning of pronouns.
    I don’t think anyone here has a problem with that. The problem is that there can be intermediate antecedents and the nearest should be chosen. First within the clause or sentence at-hand, then within the paragraph at-hand, then within the chapter at-hand, then within the epistle, gospel, or book at-hand, and lastly by referring to another part of canon. This is not because anyone thinks the whole of scripture is not harmonized, but because context should be established in concentric circles as noted above.

    then…
    Any competent exegesis would preserve consistency across letters and between OT and NT.. No one wants to create an inconsistency, between different Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit.
    Again, nobody has a problem with this, but my particular concern is that you insist on antecedents only until such time as the antecedent doesn’t give the answer you want. So in the case of a passage like 1 John 2, when “our” (whose antecedent is clearly the recipients of John’s letter and thus believers) is contrasted with “the whole world” you jump to Eph 3 to define “the whole world” not because there is a particular reason to choose that passage, but because it serves the purpose of Calvinism by properly dovetailing with your theology and allowing you to claim “sola scriptura”. But that passage is carefully vetted by Calvinists to yield the proper equation for “L” which is:

    “believers John is writing to”
    +
    “believers that John is not writing to”
    =
    “whole world”.

    We see through it. It is disingenuous. Because Ephesians was written to the saints (Eph 1:1) consisting of both Gentiles and Jews, your insistence on Eph 3 is really more transparently conveyed as “the whole world of the elect” or “the whole world of the saints” or “the whole world of believers”. It is not just “Gentiles and Jews”. You know this. You know that “L” demands it, and you know that Eph 3 is chosen for precisely that purpose.

    The selection of Eph 3 for the definition of “whole world” (even though that term is strangely absent from the entire letter to the Ephesians) is precisely because it serves the needs of your theology and allows you to preserve “L”. One is included to ask why you did not choose Matt 24:14, Matt 26:13, Mk 14:9, Rom 1:8, Rev 3:10, 12:9, or 16:14? The obvious candidate though, is clearly within John’s same letter: verse 5:19. But of course that doesn’t suit your purposes and so you force us to leave the premises and use a restroom in not just a different building, but an entirely different town for no compelling reason other than to force us to leave the building. I provided you with 8 alternative places above where “whole world” is used. Why Eph 3? And perhaps more importantly, why not 1 John 5:19 and its obvious implication of “all mankind, both elect and non-elect”? Lastly, Eph 3 is not correctly understood as “the whole world” anyway. It should instead be understood in terms of Romans 11 where

    Saved Jews
    +
    Saved Gentiles
    =
    “All Israel” (not “the whole world”)

    You did the same thing in 1 Tim 4:16 when the context was inescapable: Paul was telling Timothy to pay close attention to his own teaching (beliefs) and to persevere both for his own salvation and that of his hearers. This strongly challenges “P” and so instead of answering the dilemma and staying within the passage at-hand, you strangely ignored Timothy and offered the following explanation: words to the effect of “this is directed at churches consisting of both saved and unsaved – so Paul is clearly talking to the unsaved”. In so doing, you deflected the uncomfortable truth: Why then did Paul include Timothy in the admonition instead of excluding him?

    then…
    Any competent exegesis would avoid using non-Scriptural resources to explain Scripture as Scripture is fully capable of explaining itself.
    Then why, we are left to ponder, do you so frequently appeal to Calvin with statements such as this: “Since the non-elect receive no benefit from Christ/s death, we could read “all” as ‘”God’s elect.”. This is faulty reasoning and again disingenuous. It takes for granted the very thing it is trying to prove (that Christ did not die for the elect). It assumes that Christ only died for those who WOULD benefit from it – not those who COULD benefit from it.

    And then you make another appeal to Calvin (in bold) with statements such as this:
    What purpose is served by Christ dying for the non-elect (and being their advocate as 1 John 2 would have)? 1 John 2:1 does not say that Christ is the Advocate of all – it says “…WE have an Advocate”. And given all of the insistence you have placed upon antecedents over the last 24 hours, you surely understand that the antecedent of ‘we” in this passage is “John” + “my little children”. However, he then switches to “our” (which clearly refers to the same people as “we”) and contrasts “our” with “the whole world” by saying “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” It is not the ambiguity of the passage or the lack of a clear antecedent that causes you to appeal to Eph 3 – it is the devastating consequences of this passage on “L”.

    And then you make still another appeal to Calvin(in bold) with statements such as this:
    Of course, the salvation of the elect (however they came to be the elect) was assured in God’s omniscience before He created the world. This is not an appeal to scripture. It is an appeal to Calvin.

    And then you make yet another appeal to Calvin (in bold) with statements such as this:
    So why the warnings here or Hebrews 6, Philippians 2, etc? The explanation I hear is that the writers of the NT were writing to churches comprised of both believers and unbelievers. Those warnings were to let those within the church identify their [possible] standing before God. The Holy Spirit would then use the doubts that some would have to excite them to rely entirely on God and His promises and not on something they did.Then why does Hebrews 3 identify the recipients as “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling” and then in verse 12 reiterate the recipients yet say: Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. I thought Hebrews was directed to mixed audiences consisting of both unbelievers and believers. Are the antecedents in this passage clear enough for you, or should we appeal to some other passage? Might I guess that this “explanation I hear” was from your ecosphere of Calvinist teachers and theologians rather than from scripture itself? Hebrews 6 is very tough to dismiss. These are people that were saved and described as “those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away”. Yet, they have fallen away. How? P asserts this is not possible and the “explanations you hear” are not coming from scripture. This is not sola scriptura, friend. This is consulting your Calvinist echo chamber.

    ————————————–

    The astute reader will notice a very selective, schizophrenic, and deceptive way in which Calvinists treat the New Testament. On the one hand, they will claim that because the epistles were written to “the elect” “the saints” “the believers” etc. that everything in the epistle is aimed at the church and the elect. Thus, any statement that says “all” or “any” will be explained as “well, clearly the writer was talking to all THE ELECT” or “any of THE ELECT”.

    But then, when a passage written to the SAINTS in Corinth and throughout Achaia says something like “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” or when a passage written to the SAINTS and faithful BRETHREN IN CHRIST who are at Colossae says something like “if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard” there is a sudden pivot away from the antecedent (SAINTS, ELECT, etc.) so stridently asserted just moments before. Now the appeal goes something like this: “Well, we know this letter was going to be read to the church at (insert location here) and we know that there were both saved and unsaved, elect and non-elect in those churches. So, the content in here that would refute Calvinism if it applied to THE ELECT must therefore be deflected by saying it applies to the non-elect. Not because the context or logic demands it, but because Calvinism demands it.

    It is a game in which the Calvinist declares “heads I win, tails you lose”.

    Don’t fall for it.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “The problem is that there can be intermediate antecedents and the nearest should be chosen…This is not because anyone thinks the whole of scripture is not harmonized, but because context should be established in concentric circles as noted above. ”

      I agree. That is what I try to do and depend on others, like you, to show me when I get off track.

      Then, “Then why, we are left to ponder, do you so frequently appeal to Calvin with statements such as this: “Since the non-elect receive no benefit from Christ/s death, we could read “all” as ‘”God’s elect.”.

      This is not an appeal to Calvin. We should both agree that God knew the elect and non-elect when He created the universe and that this future was not going to change. This raises the question, If Christ died for the non-elect, what purpose was served in doing so? Obviously, Calvinists are the ones who normally raise this question and non-Calvinists, like you, don’t have an answer – Yet you will insist that God sent Christ to die for those He knew were not to be saved. Why don’t you explain the logic of that.

      Then, ” It is not the ambiguity of the passage [1 John 2:2] or the lack of a clear antecedent that causes you to appeal to Eph 3 – it is the devastating consequences of this passage on “L”.”

      I didn’t think I appealed to Ephesians 3 on this verse. My appeal should have been to the meaning of “propitiation” as designating the consequence of Christ’s death on the cross. Christ offered Himself to God as a propitiation for sin and in doing so became the advocate for believers. The interpretation of the verse seems to rest on whether Christ is “the” propitiation for the sins of believers or “a” propitiation for the sins of believers and the world. Because we read, “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins” it seems that we should carry this sense to the next phrase, “and not for [our sin] only but also [Christ is the propitiation for the sins of] the whole world. To read it that way is to produce Universalism.

      Then, ‘then you make still another appeal to Calvin(in bold) with statements such as this: Of course, the salvation of the elect (however they came to be the elect) was assured in God’s omniscience before He created the world. This is not an appeal to scripture.”

      It is an appeal to God’s infinite understanding of His creation from which His foreknowledge of all future events is derived. Because God knows the future perfectly, He knows His elect and their salvation is assured. Anyone, including Calvin, could figure this out.

      he rest later.

    2. Steve Sabin writes, “Then why does Hebrews 3 identify the recipients as “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling” and then in verse 12 reiterate the recipients…I thought (you said) Hebrews was directed to mixed audiences consisting of both unbelievers and believers. Are the antecedents in this passage clear enough for you, or should we appeal to some other passage?”

      Hebrews addresses “Brethern” and then we read v14, “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,” Then, it speaks of those during the wilderness years and tells us, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (or a lack of faith).” So, the writer says, “Brethern…if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,” Then Chap 4 begins, “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” We again see the emphasis on faith and the importance of faith in salvation. Hebrews is making the argument that the sacrificial system with the temple at the center has all been done away with by Christ’s death on the cross. We read how contentious the issue of circumcision was in Acts and Galatians and not resolved until the council in Jerusalem around 50AD – 20 years after the cross. Even then, some Jews who had come into the church still tied themselves to it. Even more contentious is the issue of the temple sacrifices. The writer of Hebrews is making a point that seems obvious to us – you can’t come to Christ and bring things from your former life into the church. This seems obvious to us, but it was a big deal for the Jews of the 1st century (and even today) who want salvation to be dependent on circumcision and the continued offering of animal sacrifices for sin (and keeping of feasts, etc.). The writer of Hebrews addresses the readers as Brethern, because, as he writes in Hebrews 6, “beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.” I agree with you that the antecedents are clear but we should also take into account the qualifications described within the same passage.

      Then, ‘Might I guess that this “explanation I hear” was from your ecosphere of Calvinist teachers and theologians rather than from scripture itself?”

      No. It comes from v14 and the beginning of Chap 4 and the need to tie all this together to understand Hebrews. The alternative is to understand that believers can fall away and lose their salvation, but this seems unlikely considering the language, “if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end…” and “they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

      Then, “Hebrews 6 is very tough to dismiss. These are people that were saved and described as…”

      That’s the big issue – Were they saved? The argument seems to be that presented by James as we read, “For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.” This is reinforced by that which Jesus said, “every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Jesus then says, ““Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven,…” The writer of Hebrews, especially in Chap 6, seems to be writing to the same issue.

      Then, “they have fallen away. How? [rhutchin] asserts this is not possible and the “explanations you hear” are not coming from scripture. This is not sola scriptura, friend. This is consulting your Calvinist echo chamber.”

      No, it comes from Scripture. Paul writes in Philippians, “God who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Jesus said, in John 6, “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” The salvation of believers is assured by Christ “who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” and by God’s promise.

      1. RH writes,
        “No. It comes from v14 and the beginning of Chap 4 and the need to tie all this together to understand Hebrews. The alternative is to understand that believers can fall away and lose their salvation, but this seems unlikely considering the language, “if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end…” and “they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

        Aidan,
        But that’s precisely what the language is suggesting, namely, that believers can fall away and lose their salvation. Notice what was said in v.14: “For we have become partakers of Christ, IF we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end” That word “IF” makes their salvation – conditional. But conditional on what? On holding fast the beginning of their assurance firm until the end! It’s very simple language to understand. And notice how verse 14 began with the word “For” which is an explanation of what was said in vv 12-13. “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

        The example he tells them not to follow, was that of the Jews in the wilderness.

        v.15 while it is said,
        “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
        DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.”

        “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief”(18-19).

        The warning here is of a clear and present danger of losing their salvation!

      2. Aidan writes, “The warning here is of a clear and present danger of losing their salvation!”

        And this happens when faith is absent.

      3. Aidan
        The warning here is of a clear and present danger of losing their salvation!”

        rhutchin
        And this happens when faith is absent.

        br.d
        Actually its negative faith
        One more gift from Calvin’s god :-]

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Men may not even agitate anything in their deliberations but what he INSPIRES.(A Defense of the secret providence of god)

      4. br.d
        Actually its negative faith

        As John Calvin states it:
        -quote
        Men may not even agitate anything in their deliberations but what he INSPIRES.(A Defense of the secret providence of god)

        rhutchin
        Good example of double-speak.

        br.d
        Well – if you want to call Calvin’s statement DOUBLE-SPEAK – I won’t stand in your way! :-]

      5. br.d: “Well – if you want to call Calvin’s statement DOUBLE-SPEAK – I won’t stand in your way!”

        LOL!!! Compare what I had written with br.d’s reply

        My original comment:

        br.d writes, “Actually its negative faith”

        rhutchin: Good example of double-speak.

        ********************
        Now compare to br.d’s rendition in his response.

        br.d; Actually its negative faith

        As John Calvin states it:
        -quote
        Men may not even agitate anything in their deliberations but what he INSPIRES.(A Defense of the secret providence of god)

        rhutchin: Good example of double-speak.

        br.d: Well – if you want to call Calvin’s statement DOUBLE-SPEAK – I won’t stand in your way! :-]

        *******************

        Oh, what br.d has been reduced to! br.d keeps things interesting.

      6. rhutchin
        My original comment……:

        br.d
        FALSE
        Here is your original statement – which focused on a claim of not available

        rhutchin
        May 17, 2020 at 11:31 am
        If a person does not hear the gospel, salvation is not available to them.

        I used your claim of not available to show the FALLACY of non-sequitur.

        And you knew that – and thought you could hide your FALLACY by omitting the claim of not available in your later response.

        So here we have it again:

        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.

        Sorry rhutchin – your brain is not conditioned for logical thinking. 😉

      7. br.d writes, ‘And you knew that – and thought you could hide your FALLACY by omitting the claim of not available in your later response.”

        LOL!!!!! So, what happened to your insertion of the Calvin comment that led to my original laughter? You seem to have forgotten that you added it to the discussion and now remove it. Not very clever.

      8. br.d
        And you knew that – and thought you could hide your FALLACY by omitting the claim of not available in your later response.

        rhutchin
        LOL!!!!! So, what happened to your insertion of the Calvin comment that led to my original laughter?

        br.d
        It was an additional affirmation to punctuate – but not necessary for showing your FALLACY.
        What was necessary is showing the IRRATIONAL nature of the not available claim.

        rhutchin
        You seem to have forgotten that you added it to the discussion and now remove it. Not very clever.

        br.d
        Nah!
        A RATIONAL thinker will get the picture :-]

      9. Aidan writes, “The warning here is of a clear and present danger of losing their salvation!”

        RH,
        “And this happens when faith is absent.”

        Aidan,
        No, but rather, this is what happens from not taking heed – faith turns into “Unbelief.”

        “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

      10. RH,: “And this happens when faith is absent.”
        Aidan: “No, but rather, this is what happens from not taking heed – faith turns into “Unbelief.”
        “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

        The term, “an evil heart of unbelief” refers to the absence of faith.

      11. RH writes,
        “The term, “an evil heart of unbelief” refers to the absence of faith.”

        I’m glad you said that, because these were Christians.

      12. rhutchon: “The term, “an evil heart of unbelief” refers to the absence of faith.”
        Aidan: “I’m glad you said that, because these were Christians.”

        Yes, that is the presumption of the writer. Yet, even he is aware that there can be tares with the wheat and he now warns those to whom he is writing. Thus, he says, ‘Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;” Here an “evil heart of unbelief” is a heart with no faith – the warning seems obvious to me.

      13. rhutchin
        evil heart of unbelief” is a heart with no faith – the warning seems obvious to me.

        br.d
        Gnostic interpretation:
        Normal people do not have the capacity of belief – because it is reserved only for select individuals who meet divine criteria.
        Thus any reference to “unbelief” in scripture serves as a proof-text.

      14. br.d
        “Gnostic interpretation:
        Normal people do not have the capacity of belief – because it is reserved only for select individuals who meet divine criteria.
        Thus any reference to “unbelief” in scripture serves as a proof-text.”

        Aidan,
        Thanks Br.d, already understood. Also, his whole response is a good example of bringing those presuppositions to the text. Lets call it “hear-my-new-texts”

      15. Aidan
        Lets call it “hear-my-new-texts”

        br.d
        Isn’t it funny!
        Have you noticed – the Calvinist argument hinges on making one single word “faith” APPEAR to be an object.

        And that is why they will declare it a noun – while obfuscating the fact that it is actually an “Abstract” noun – which rules it out as being an object.

        Like Bill Clinton’s famous statement:
        That depends on what your definition of “is” is.

      16. Would it be more correct to say that faith has an object, rather than treating it as the object? Calvinism turns faith into such a mechanical gift upon which one is saved. I suppose that’s the beauty of Calvinism’s “hear-my-new-text.”

        Hebrews 2:2 – “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

      17. Very insightful that you would refer to it as a “mechanical” gift.
        Because determinism in all spheres of philosophy is classified as mechanical.

        RH for example, a while back, used to conceptualize people as dominoes whom Calvin’s god arranges to perform various outcomes.

        Well – dominoes are classified within engineering literature – under the heading of “Newtonian Mechanics”.

        And its not unusual to find Calvinists using the term “mechanics” to describe divine causation.

        For example they will say that Calvin’s god causes everything humans do
        But they do not understand the “mechanics” of how that is accomplished.

        But mechanics involves the transmission of energy.

        They they will argue it doesn’t involve force.
        But they don’t have any scripture to actually prove that.
        And they don’t want to claim that divine decrees have no force.

        Yes – I think calling it a “mechanical” gift is quite appropriate.

        Like taking out the old floppy drive called “Totally Depraved” and putting in a new floppy drive called “Elect” :-]

      18. Very knowledgeable Br.d. It’s absolutely fascinating that even they use the term “mechanics” to describe divine causation. For example, in salvation they know that their speculations must involve “an action of force” initiated by the Holy Spirit, otherwise the person ain’t moving. And there’s nothing organic or volitional or free willing in the love of this god’s creatures – everything is so mechanical, artificial, and contrived. It’s nothing more than an entertainment show, just like Jim Carrey in the Truman show.

        “He doesn’t know it, but everything in Truman Burbank’s (Jim Carrey) life is part of a massive TV set. Executive producer Christof (Ed Harris) orchestrates “The Truman Show,” a live broadcast of Truman’s every move captured by hidden cameras. Cristof tries to control Truman’s mind, even removing his true love, Sylvia (Natascha McElhone), from the show and replacing her with Meryl (Laura Linney). As Truman gradually discovers the truth, however, he must decide whether to act on it.”

        And when a Calvinist discovers the truth, he realizes that he IS truly free – to decide for himself, whether to act on it.

      19. Aidan
        And when a Calvinist discovers the truth, he realizes that he IS truly free – to decide for himself, whether to act on it.

        br.d
        Yes – but in the case of Calvinism – because it raises its own unique doctrinal distinctives to such a sacred level – the doctrine becomes a cherished identity marker, and a trophy, which separates the Calvinist from all other Christian groups. The doctrine sets them apart as superior. The doctrine is therefore sacred.

        They do not have the doctrine.
        The doctrine has them.

        The Calvinist’s personal identity is re-mapped into an ideology which contains exalted persons.
        Calvinism also requires a certain set of unique conditioned thinking patterns – which eventually become the Calvinist’s normalcy.

        So for the Calvinist – when you disagree with him on a point of doctrine – you may in fact be attacking his personal identity and the ground upon which his personal identity stands. That is a common characteristic of overt ideologies.

        Its like smoking – which becomes an integral part of one’s physiological normalcy.
        The sacredness of the doctrine and its exalted persons becomes an integral part of one’s psychological normalcy.

      20. Br.d,
        “The Calvinist’s personal identity is re-mapped into an ideology which contains exalted persons.”

        Aidan,
        Remember the Jews went down that path.

        It seems they had every advantage having had the truth in their possession!
        “who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen”(Rom. 9:4-5)

        But, with their exalted position came pride!
        “Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law” (Rom. 2:17-20).

        Which, for many, accounted for their hardness of heart, unbelief, and unwillingness to hear the truth!
        “and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” (Matt. 3:9; John 8:33).

        It not only caused them to exalt themselves, but to despise others!
        “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
        “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

        “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.

        ‘I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’

        “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

        “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

      21. Yes exactly – great points!

        Scholars call the process “Identity Markers”
        Jesus called them out in the form of phylacteries etc

        As you know – there was a conflict between the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers.
        Paul calls out Peter for getting caught up in it.

        Scholars point to 3 primary identity markers for Jewish believers.
        1) Food laws
        2) Sabbath keeping
        3) Circumcision

        The struggle is addressed in Acts where they discuss Gentiles being subject to Jewish laws – Paul’s letter to the Galatians – and Peter separating himself from Gentiles at the food tables.

        These people were obviously human – so creating identity markers is a human thing to do.
        So for the Calvinist – doctrine serves as an identity marker – and therefore facilitates his spiritual pride.

      22. Just like the Jews, an “elect” pride – how wrong men are to not see themselves are they really are.

      23. Aidan writes, ‘how wrong men are to not see themselves are they really are.”

        Or, as the Calvinist would put it, “how blind men are to not see themselves are they really are.”

      24. rhutchin
        Or, as the Calvinist would put it, “how blind men are to not see themselves are they really are.”

        br.d
        The Calvinist would put it that way if his remaining residual Pelagianism were still causing him to compromise divine sovereignty.

        A truly sovereignty honoring – Pelagian free – Calvinist would say:
        “Calvin’s god infallibly decrees whatsoever (false perceptions) come to pass – about everything – which obviously includes perceptions men have about themselves”

      25. RH writes,
        “Or, as the Calvinist would put it, “how blind men are to not see themselves are they really are.”

        Aidan,
        Or as Jesus said,
        “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
        For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
        Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
        For they shall be filled.
        Blessed are the pure in heart,
        For they shall see God.”

      26. rhutchon: “The term, “an evil heart of unbelief” refers to the absence of faith.”
        Aidan: “I’m glad you said that, because these were Christians.”

        RH,
        “..he is aware that there can be tares with the wheat…Thus, he says, ‘Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;” Here an “evil heart of unbelief” is a heart with no faith – the warning seems obvious to me.”

        Aidan,
        Matthew 13:38 “… the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.” So we have two groups in the parable, the sons of the kingdom and the sons of the wicked one. So which group is the writer addressing when he says, “‘Beware, brethren,”?

      27. rhutchin
        The term, “an evil heart of unbelief” refers to the absence of faith.

        br.d
        Nah!
        Its just an absence of putting one’s faith in Christ – typically by putting it in something else

  42. rhutchin writes…
    Making Peter’s reference to “us” a reference to the believers to whom Peter writes the letter plus himself – in other words, “…elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…” (1:2)

    Thank you, but you are assuming that my insistence on not doing a blanket substitution of “His elect” for “us” referred only to 1 Peter.

    I was referring to the general way in which you cavalierly decided that most (if not all) instances of “us” in the NT can be properly understood as “His Elect”. Each instance has to be carefully reviewed and the terms “us” and “His Elect” are not interchangeable. As a Calvinist, you ascribe things to “His Elect” that I don’t agree with and such substitution is a clever but inappropriate way to stack the deck as you wish. I’m not going to agree to that in our discussions. Ditto for “all” and “any” and “whosoever” and all the other clever games you play with bait and switch, appealing to immediate context and antecedents when it suits your theology, but then abandoning it when it doesn’t and appealing to a different epistle where an entirely different topic is being discussed. I have been observing you and the patterns that emerge in your comments and what you choose to respond to versus ignore for quite awhile. You have become quite predictable in many ways, but you remain thoroughly unconvincing in your arguments.

    You serve mostly as “Exhibit A” for those reading here to observe all the stereotypical behavior ascribed to Calvinists. Double-talk. Lack of transparency. Abandonment of logic. Schizophrenic exegesis. Blindness to a man-made philosophy you have embraced while simultaneously insisting on only scripture. Begging the question. Etc.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, ‘I was referring to the general way in which you cavalierly decided that most (if not all) instances of “us” in the NT can be properly understood as “His Elect”. ”

      I think I have been clear in saying that I read most instances of “all men” or similar in Paul’s letters to mean Jew and gentile from which God draws His elect. They are not necessarily God’s elect but can be is some cases where context points to that conclusion..

      Then, “you ascribe things to “His Elect” that I don’t agree with and such substitution is a clever but inappropriate way to stack the deck as you wish.”

      That’s fine. A healthy discussion about such things doesn’t hurt either one of us.

      Then, ‘appealing to immediate context and antecedents when it suits your theology, but then abandoning it when it doesn’t”

      For me to ignore immediate context or antecedents would be a gross error on my part. It helps me if you point out those instances where I do this.

      Then, “what you choose to respond to versus ignore for quite awhile.”

      What I respond to depends on the time available to me. Since I get comments from many people, it is not hard for comments to fall through the cracks (so to speak) and not be picked up until much later. There is not much I can do about that. When comments start backing up, I will start from the most recent and work back.

      Then, “you remain thoroughly unconvincing in your arguments.”

      I guess different people can understand Scripture in different ways.

      1. rhutchin
        I think I have been clear in saying that I read most instances of “all men” or similar in Paul’s letters to mean Jew and gentile from which God draws His elect.

        br,d
        The following Post Apostolic Fathers who held to unlimited Atonement
        – Clement of Alexandria (150-220)
        – Eusebius (c. 260-340)
        – Athanasius (c. 293-373)
        – Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-386)
        – Gregory Nazianzen (324-389)
        – Basil (c. 330-379)
        – Ambrose (c. 340-403)
        – Cyril of Alexandria (376-444)

        Greek Scholars of note who held to unlimited Atonement
        – F.F. Bruce
        – B.F. Westcott
        – J.B. Lightfoot
        – Augustus H. Strong
        – A.T. Robertson

        “This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe

        F.F. Bruce – one of the top 10 scholars of the 20th century writes
        -quote
        “To say that He died for his people is certainly Scriptural…but it is equally Scriptural to say that He died for “ALL” ….and when Scripture says “ALL” in a context like this, it really means “ALL”.

        One Ex-Calvinist puts it this way:
        -quote
        As always, the truth seems to be something we must have eyes in order to see.
        If we are looking for exclusiveness within the text of scripture – we will find it – just as the Jews did.

      2. Br.d, writes,
        “F.F. Bruce – one of the top 10 scholars of the 20th century writes
        -quote
        “To say that He died for his people is certainly Scriptural…but it is equally Scriptural to say that He died for “ALL” ….and when Scripture says “ALL” in a context like this, it really means “ALL”.”

        Aidan,
        I’ve heard it expressed in this way: In a context like this, “ALL means ALL and that’s ALL, ALL means!”

        We ALL know that this is what “ALL” means, unless something in the context forces us to take it otherwise. It’s like door means door unless something in the context forces you to take it otherwise!

        But if you have an agenda – ALL bets are off😏🙄!!!!

  43. Let me try to restate again the Calvinist duplicity in the epistles…

    On the one hand, they will state everything in the epistle is written to the saints, and to prove this they will direct the reader back to Paul’s salutation or another section where it clarifies that the epistle was explicitly written for the saints. The Calvinist will then say, “see – all of this stuff is for THE ELECT.”

    On the other hand, they will say “well, we know this letter was going to be read to and heard by those who were not saints – not the ELECT – and so this passage was clearly directed to the non-ELECT.”

    In such fashion, that can move backwards and forwards at will, choosing whether the invoke the explicit recipients of the letter, or the implied hearers of the letter, in whatever fashion suits their needs of the moment.

    They will then do something else. They will assure us that anything offered to or written for the recipients of the letter, is ONLY for the recipients of the letter.

    Thus, if I read in an epistle that Joe gave Steve an orange, they will say “see – that orange is ONLY for Steve.” What they really need is a verse that says “Joe is only able to offer Steve an orange – no one else can be offered one, and no one else can receive one.” But they can never find such a verse.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, “They will assure us that anything offered to or written for the recipients of the letter, is ONLY for the recipients of the letter.”

      I think pretty much everyone recognizes that the NT letters were written to a specific church *To the church of God which is at Corinth,” “To the saints who are in Ephesus,” or to individuals, “To Timothy, a true son in the faith:, ” “To Titus, a true son in our common faith.” Sometimes the audience is general as the gospels and Hebrews. However, the general rule is that nothing in the letters will be taken seriously by any but believers and this because “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Most letters were expected to be circulated and read by all the churches as instruction to one church was instruction to another even if a church was not having the issues of the original church recipient of the letter. The NT writers were aware that not everyone within the physical church was a believer (wheat and tares) so there are warnings given that believers would take to heart as a guard against future apostasy. I don’t see this as duplicity ion the part of Calvinists to recognize that the Scriptures can address a broad audience including believers and unbelievers. Steve’s problem seems to be the way Calvinists see the audience addressed by specific Scriptures. He need only point that out and offer a dissenting opinion. Nothing wrong with that.

    2. Steve
      What they really need is a verse that says “Joe is only able to offer Steve an orange – no one else can be offered one, and no one else can receive one.” But they can never find such a verse.

      br.d
      Dr. Flowers makes the same observation with Calvinist presuppositions imposed on the text.

      For example – Paul in one of his letters makes a declarative statement to the fact that God saved him.
      If one’s doctrine stipulates that salvation is limited to Paul alone, then that is the way one’s mind is going to read that text.

      So we see that the Calvinist model of exegesis works to limit salvation referents within texts – in order to make those texts conform to the dictates of the doctrine.

      Calvinists can claim their doctrine is derived from scripture all they want to.
      But that is nothing more than a claim.

      The reason Calvinism is a minority view – is because non-Calvinists observe Calvinists manufacturing a spider-web of exegetical maneuvers – designed to co-opt scripture – simply for the sake of making it conform to the doctrine.

      1. These remarks are all very insightful BR.D.

        Calvinism works like sort of a scientific hypothesis. It is brought to the text externally, and then “tested” but the problem is that anything that results in falsifying the hypothesis is explained away. “We know that can’t be true because _________.*

        * Insert T, U, L, I, or P as required – or invoke Calvinism’s self-serving definitions of predestination, election, foreknowledge, etc.

  44. On Calvary we have “The Three Crosses”: The cross of “Redemption” in the middle, the cross of “Rejection” on one side, and the cross of “Acceptance” on the other. That picture on Calvary represents the response of world to the Gospel – namely those who reject the Gospel and those accept Christ.
    Let’s say those two men on either side of Christ were actually all that existed in the world. Can you imagine them hearing John 3:16-17: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

    And then Jesus turns to one of them and says, “God so loved the world” doesn’t really mean you, nor does “whoever believes” include you! The “world” is him on the other side of Me, not you! And then He turns to the other thief on the cross and says, ‘You are the world to Me, God loves only you’. Look how I’m sacrificing Myself just for you alone, and not for him. What a glorious thing that you are loved, but he is not! Now you know that you, and you alone, are My “world,” My “whoever,” My “elect.”

    There are many other passages one could insert here, to show just how ridiculously false Calvinism really is against Scripture!

  45. I played golf with my friends Ron and Bill today. We exchanged texts afterwards about our game. A reasonable interpretation of our texts is that all of us played golf but the three of us and ONLY the three of us are entitled to play golf?

  46. Actually the proper nuances of Calvinism would be…

    All of us were entitled to play golf and all necessarily means ONLY the 3 of us.

  47. So we see that the Calvinist model of exegesis works to limit salvation referents within texts – in order to make those texts conform to the dictates of the doctrine.

    Yes – I had a bit of an epiphany this week as I began to understand how this all fits together and why Calvinists gravitate towards certain books of the Bible more than others.

    1) Start with the Calvinist assumption that salvation is limited to the elect and the elect are unconditionally, particularly elected by God from eternity past. Be sure to establish this definition early and don’t allow it to be questioned. Re-emphasize “sovereignty” and “omniscience” and “omnipotence” as often as necessary to get the acolyte to cower into subjection with the doctrines.

    2) Rely heavily on epistles – particularly Ephesians – because they are expressly written to the church. The gospels don’t single out the recipients in the way that the Epistles do. Ephesians is a favorite because it contains nothing in the way of admonitions – just “positive, encouraging K-LOVE”. Nothing to make the elect squirm or feel uncomfortable.

    3) Because the epistles are talking to “the Elect” the Calvinist sees exactly what he wants to see. Insider discussions and benefits that are not available to outsiders. Although it never says “for insiders only” they infer this because, after all, all of these wonderful offers and instructions were addressed to insiders. It says so right at the beginning of the epistle!

    4) At any point in an epistle if an instruction to the reader that is contrary to Calvinism occurs, quickly pivot and explain that this is for the broader audience of “hearers” that the epistle was shared with. So, if an instruction is given to the ELECT that doesn’t comport with Calvinism, appeal to the secondary “hearer” audience, not the primary “recipient” audience.

    5) Steer the acolyte towards epistles – especially Romans and Ephesians – and generally avoid the gospels and Acts where possible when trying to close the sale. They don’t fit the usual narrative of “clearly targeting only the elect”. Ephesians has a special place in the Calvinist’s heart as does Romans – especially Romans 9. The more words like “predestined, elect, chosen, and foreknown” are used, the better. This comports nicely with the frequent use of “us” in the epistles and helps reassure the acolyte that this is strictly for insiders and available only to the elect.

    6) React with shock and surprise when challenged and dismiss any appeals to God’s character with a derisive wave of the hand, unless those appeals are to sovereignty, wrath, and Soli Deo gloria.

    One thing you will never find within Calvinism is a God that is too loving, too merciful, or too kind. Indeed, there is no danger of that happening. He is too heavily invested in protecting His sovereignty and ensuring His glory.

    1. Steve Sabib writes, “1) ….Re-emphasize “sovereignty” and “omniscience” and “omnipotence” as often as necessary to get the acolyte to cower into subjection with the doctrines.”

      Or until non-Calvinists provide explanations of those terms that differ from the Calvinists.

      Then, “2) Rely heavily on epistles – particularly Ephesians…”

      Truth is truth, no matter where it is found in the Scriptures. Isn’t it?

      Then, ‘3) Because the epistles are talking to “the Elect” the Calvinist sees exactly what he wants to see…after all, all of these wonderful offers and instructions were addressed to insiders. It says so right at the beginning of the epistle!”

      It’s hard to extend an offer of salvation to anyone who lacks faith. At least, we know that the recipients of the letters were described as having faith.

      Then, “4) …if an instruction is given to the ELECT that doesn’t comport with Calvinism, appeal to the secondary “hearer” audience, not the primary “recipient” audience.”

      Generally, there is not difference between the primary and secondary audiences. However, there are times when wheat is the target audience and other times when tares seem to be the target audience.

      Then, “5) Steer the acolyte towards epistles – especially Romans and Ephesians – and generally avoid the gospels and Acts where possible when trying to close the sale. ”

      Nothing wrong with Romans and Ephesians. Acts is good, also.

      Then, “6) React with shock and surprise when challenged …”

      No, just be a Berean.

      1. rhutchin
        It’s hard to extend an offer of salvation to anyone who lacks faith.

        br.d
        A father who will not permit his child to have a gift – while POSTURING *AS-IF* he will – is functioning as a DECEIVER.

  48. I liked Mr. Teebs golf analogy. Sums it up pretty succinctly by illustrating the absurdity of extrapolating in the manner of our Calvinist friends. If you start under the assumption that the three of them are the only ones allowed to play, then you can certainly read that into the texts they exchanged. But a reasonable person starting with only the exchange of texts and without external “coaching” will not automatically conclude that everyone except those 3 were excluded from playing golf.

    1. Steve Sabin writes, ” But a reasonable person starting with only the exchange of texts and without external “coaching” will not automatically conclude that everyone except those 3 were excluded from playing golf.”

      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.

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