The Transcendent Midas Touch

The standard-bearing Reformed confessions state that “God has decreed whatsoever may come to pass” and yet “God is not the author of evil”. While God ordains all things, including evil desires and actions, He does so without being the author of evil.

I think the danger the Westminster Confession of Faith is trying to avoid is seeing God as morally responsible for evil. Every Christian wants to avoid this danger.

However, the strongest critique rests on the fact that it is axiomatic to observe that a person who decides a moral action is morally responsible for that action. The doctrine “God has decreed whatsoever may come to pass” makes God the ultimate deciding factor for every single human choice. How can God be the ultimate deciding factor for an evil action without being morally responsible for that evil action?

I was recently linked to an article from Westminster Theological Seminary, written by J. Gresham Machen that attempts to answer this question! Let’s see if this legendary Princeton New Testament scholar, founder of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, is able to provide a cogent answer to this Calvinist conundrum.

The Conundrum

Dr. Machen puts the question like this:

This is a fantastic rendering of the question. How does he answer it?

Let’s unpack if this if we can:

  1. There is a difference in how God determines the actions of personal beings and how God determines the events of history.
  2. When God determines what men would do He determines their will rather than goes against their will
  3. Determining their will preserves human freedom.

What this seems to me is a certain kind of special pleading Drew McLeod has named “The Transcendent Midas Touch”. God is so transcendent that not only can He do things we do not understand (which is true), not only can we not fully understand God (which is true), but also that God can turn our rational faculties and moral intuitions upside down and do things utterly contradictory in our eyes. That is, everything God touches turns to gold, even if we think it is evil.

God is so transcendent “freedom” means “your will is determined”.

God is so transcendent that when He determines evil, He does it in a good way.

Do Not Trust Your Lying Eyes

This is the claim Dr. Machen goes on to make:

God is so Other Than that He causes all the evil actions of man (in what way, how frequently, how severely, and in what manner) but that’s still good because God caused it.

God’s Transcendent Midas Touch is able to cause the actions of personal beings while at the same time those personal beings are free and responsible. In other words, God is so transcendent that, when it comes to His actions in the world, direct contradictions are true.

Dr. Machen answers the question at the top of the article by the simple claim that God can cause evil choices while not being morally responsible for evil because He’s God. I would point out that this is a non-sequitur but I suspect those who buy into this special pleading will simply opt God out of non-sequiturs. God is exempt from basic human reason and moral intuition after all.

Whence Our Reason and Moral Intuition?

It is no small observation that, on Reformed theology, our reason and moral intuition that was given to us by God is unable to rightly know what “God is good” means.

If my moral intuition tells me that murder is wrong no matter the time, place, culture, or setting and yet, “God is good” can include the theological claim that “God determined the will of Dennis Rader to murder the Otero family on Jan 15, 1974 by suffocating them with plastic bags” then do I even know what “God is good” means?

If I cannot fathom how God can determine the will of a man to commit such heinous evil in a not-evil way; is that a failure of my imagination or God’s moral intuition He instilled in me? Why would He give me a moral intuition so incapable of understanding Him?

Why would God give me a moral intuition that sees as evil His determinations?

Dr. Machen seems to sense his previous explanations are insufficient because he attempts to change the subject.

Dr. Machen has another special pleading he would like you to believe. He would like you to believe that allowing evil and determining evil are equivalent moral actions and the free will theist has the same problem as the theistic determinist.

Spiritual Solutions for Theological Problems

If you do not see how being the ultimate deciding cause of moral evil and allowing moral evil are morally equivalent…if you still see the theological problems Reformed theology creates by insisting “God decrees whatsoever may come to pass”…Well, Dr. Machen has a solution for you.

Dr. Machen’s solution? Humble yourself and stay quiet. If, after Dr. Machen’s explanation, you’re still wrestling with the problem that is because you pridefully want to know everything.

If this doesn’t make any moral sense, if you’re unable to rest in the contradictions that wills that are determined are also free, that the ultimate deciding factor for an evil act is not morally responsible for that act…well then, according to Dr. Machen, that’s because you’re not trusting God.

I know our readers will see the tactic here. Dr. Machen knows that the only way Reformed theology is inoculated against criticism is if it can overcome the moral intuitions and basic reasoning of Christians. With the goal of getting you to distrust those God-given faculties, Dr. Machen equates them with pride and lack of faithfulness to God.

Let us again read Dr. Machen’s accurate paraphrase of the question and then ourselves paraphrase Dr. Machen’s answers:

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According to Dr. Machen, we meet the difficulty by realizing the difficulty only exists if one is prideful and distrustful of God.

According to Dr. Machen, we are indeed involving ourselves in a hopeless contradiction but this contradiction is true because God is transcendent and we are hopeless in understanding Him.

195 thoughts on “The Transcendent Midas Touch

  1. Great review Eric of Machen’s dancing around the Calvinist dilemma. Determinists always fall back on the terms “allow” or “permission”, but they cannot explain to whom or what is God granting/decreeing such permission before creation for every specific sin after creation. No creature with a will existed before creation besides God, and none were seeking His permission for specific sins they would of necessity commit. And supposedly in agreement with the divine certainty of God’s natural knowledge, they would of necessity commit each sin, and God of necessity would have to hold them accountable.

    Explaining that God was only permitting what His mind (natural knowledge) was locked in and limited to knowing must happen, is like me saying, “I decree to permit the earth to spin another full day.” In determinism, God’s so-called natural knowledge is just another veiled term for “Fate”. God in determinism was powerless to decree other than what His natural knowledge said was necessary.

    1. brianwagner writes, “God in determinism was powerless to decree other than what His natural knowledge said was necessary.”

      Even you know it involves more than that. That which God decrees is according to counsel of His will so that His decree is according to His purpose. God will not decree anything that is contrary to His purpose and this insured by God decreeing according to the counsel of His will. God’s decrees reflect His perfect wisdom and cannot be anything less than perfect wisdom – God is powerless to decree anything that is contrary to His purpose or that reflects less than His perfect wisdom..

      1. Calvinist – “God is powerless to decree anything that is contrary to His purpose or that reflects less than His perfect wisdom.”

        The Calvinist has a hard time seeing his man-made definitions for “divine purpose” and “divine perfect wisdom” are the same as the pagan philosophy definition of “Fate”. If only he’d try harder to make his definitions for God’s omniscience fit with the Scripture, God’s own Word!

      2. brianwagner writes, ” If only he’d try harder to make his definitions for God’s omniscience fit with the Scripture, God’s own Word!”

        God’s omniscience is not the issue here. God’s omniscience does not give rise to His decrees – rather, it is God’s purpose that gives rise to His decrees and His purpose will conform to His perfect wisdom.

      3. rhutchin
        God’s omniscience is not the issue here. God’s omniscience does not give rise to His decrees – rather, it is God’s purpose that gives rise to His decrees and His purpose will conform to His perfect wisdom.

        br.d
        Calvinism’s reputation of knowing divine things

        GNOSTICISM: A system in which persons have gnostikoi
        Knowledge of divine things is reserved for the “elect” ones.

        They even know the intimate thoughts of god when he cuts the cheese! :-]

      4. br.d writes, “Calvinism’s reputation of knowing divine things”

        We know what the Scriptures tell us,
        – “God works all things according to the counsel of His will,”
        – “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,’
        – “having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,”

      5. br.d
        “Calvinism’s reputation of knowing divine things”

        rhutchin
        We know what the Scriptures tell us,

        br.d
        Oh REALLY?

        Lets find out- by what process your brain “knows” things

        Answer the following MATH question:

        Out of all of the PERCEPTIONS which currently exist in your brain right now – what percentage of them are FALSE PERCEPTIONS?

        Does Calvin’s god permit you to “know” that?

      6. Give him a bit of time Br.d, he needs to flip a coin for that one! If it lands on “heads,” BINGO! his perceptions are true; and if it lands on “tails,” BINGO! his perceptions are true! That’s how they come up with a verse for each letter in TULIP, not that anyone has ever seen Rh do that of course.

      7. A very good point, br.d. At any given time, many ‘beliefs’ we have are likely somewhat inaccurate, or even dead wrong. We may believe all of the mythology that was taught to us as children in the name of ‘history’ or ‘science’, only to discover, someday, that much of it was inaccurate or even pure fiction.

        What if Satan is not, as per Calvinism, God’s henchman doing the dirty work of fomenting evil so God can have the ‘glory’ of rescuing us from it? What if he is actually, as per scripture, the Father of Lies? Guess what he would have been doing over the centuries? Even in ‘Religion’ or ‘The Church’? That’s right – perpetrating lies.

        It is a terrifying thing for many people to come to the realization that everything they have been taught as ‘Truth’ just might not be so. So terrifying that many refuse to consider it. If ‘History’ proclaims it, it must have happened. Too bad that so many historical claims have been proven unarguably false. If ‘Science’ declares it, it must be true. Too bad that so many theories have been eventually disproven, or that, by definition, science can never be ‘proven’ or unquestionable.

        Even more frightening for many people is the idea of questioning their treasured religious beliefs. They ignore the fact that countless versions of religious ‘truth’ exist, depending upon what country, family or denomination a person resides within. We might all, were we wise, spit out with Pontius Pilate, ‘What is Truth?’ Even wiser, we would believe the One who said, “For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth.”

        There is only One who was ever wholly faithful to the Truth. Would he testify to the stories we believe about Columbus, George Washington or the cause and purpose of the wars that have been waged in the name of ‘freedom’? Would he affirm Science’s claims about evolution or black holes? Would he testify to Calvins’s claims that God only desired to save a select few, and no others?

        Personally, I have my doubts concerning all of these truth claims. I put my unreserved faith only in that to which Jesus testified – which is the reality, power and goodness of God. In these things I can trust. All other claims of men and institutions, I reserve my right to doubt.

      8. TSOO
        Personally, I have my doubts concerning all of these truth claims. I put my unreserved faith only in that to which Jesus testified – which is the reality, power and goodness of God. In these things I can trust. All other claims of men and institutions, I reserve my right to doubt.

        br.d
        Yes I agree TSOO
        And I think most Calvinist’s perceive themselves as doing the same.

        The fact that their belief system is so internally horrifying to them – and so irrational to everyone else – eventually makes every word that comes out of the mouth – DOUBLE-SPEAK.

        There but for the grace of God go I!!!

      9. And yet, there is no excuse! God demands truth in the inner man- He says:

        Psalms 15:2
        LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
        Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
        He who walks uprightly,
        And works righteousness,
        And speaks the truth in his heart;

        If we are to find and speak the truth, we’ve got to be brutally honest with ourselves and seek for truth in the innermost being; for “.. the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man” (Mat. 15:18). No doubt, it is a terrifying thing for us to come to the realization that everything we’ve been taught, and believe in as “truth,” just might not be so. But it is an even more terrifying thing, if, having chosen all our lives to suppress it, we, “fall into the hands of the living God.”

        I don’t go for denominationalism in so-called Christendom, because it is divisive, and it’s sinful! Paul exposed a major problem that was occurring at Corinth. The Corinthians, with their party spirit, were placing certain preachers above Christ. For a Christian to call himself after anyone other than Christ is sinful. The denominational names of today are no less barriers to the unity of the body of Christ than they were in Paul’s day! But what’s even worse, is that most don’t even teach the truth of how one gets into Christ! Now, if that is the case, then it is a terrifying truth worth facing more than any other we could imagine. And we should be prepared to do it at any cost – while time is still on our side!

      10. AIDAN: If we are to find and speak the truth, we’ve got to be brutally honest with ourselves and seek for truth in the innermost being;”

        Jesus said that one must abide in Him in order to know the truth. It is not in the innermost being that one finds truth but in Christ.

      11. AIDAN: “If we are to find and speak the truth, we’ve got to be brutally honest with ourselves and seek for truth in the innermost being;”

        RHUTCHIN: “Jesus said that one must abide in Him in order to know the truth. It is not in the innermost being that one finds truth but in Christ.”

        AIDAN: You just love to twist things, don’t you! When one says, “we must seek for truth in the innermost being” he usually means that one must seek to HAVE truth in his heart. As long as a man is not honest with himself and speaks lies in his heart, he will never find the truth. But of course, if you had quoted Jesus correctly you would have said:

        John 8:31-32 NKJV – Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

        QUESTION: If these verses are talking about salvation, was it enough JUST to believe in Him? How would they come to know that truth which would set them free? Would that suggest that there’s more to salvation than just believing?

      12. rhutchin
        Jesus said that one must abide in Him in order to know the truth.

        br.d
        So the BIG question is – does rhutchin know whether or not he is elect?

        According to John Calvin – the highest probability is that – rhutchin is TOTALLY DEPRAVED

        Here it how it works:
        1) According to Calvin’s doctrine – if rhutchin is not elect – then rhutchin is not in him
        2) And if rhutchin is not in him then rhutchin has NO capacity to know the truth
        3) According to Calvin’s doctrine rhutchin is NOT PERMITTED to know whether or not he is elect.
        That is according to the secret counsel

        Therefore Calvin’s god does NOT PERMIT rhutchin to know whether or not he knows the truth.

        Which means rhutchin CANNOT know that he knows the truth of what scripture says

        All rhutchin has – are PERCEPTIONS decreed to infallibly appear in rhutchin’s brain

        Good luck with that rhutchin! :-]

      13. Yes, absolutely true Br.d. And we can also see how Rh loves to twist what you say! But why should we be surprised, for he loves to twist the meaning of words so that he can twist the scriptures to make it teach whatever he wants it to teach! When a man doesn’t love the truth, he will be allowed to believe the lie!

      14. So true Aidan!!
        How is it that God has to use a TWISTED and DISTORTED language – in order to present truth which sets one free?

        Somehow I don’t think so!! :-]

      15. The scriptures say that there’s nothing new under the sun. Calvinism certainly proves this by doing what men have always done. The Pharisees, who were the religious elite in Jesus’ day, did the very same thing. They twisted and distorted the word of God to suit and serve themselves, and then sold it to the people as the will of God. They were very adept at playing around with the language in their proof texts, and putting forward their tradition(creeds of men) as equal to the law of God. No doubt they saw it as an improvement on the word of God, if not superior! Hence, the precepts and commandments of God were made subordinate to their traditions! Most likely, if you were not following their traditions you were a transgressor of the law itself!

        Look at how Catholicism did the very same thing; including the redefining and invention of language to make it more palatable to the masses. Yes, we’ve seen it all before; how men love to exalt themselves via their teachings – and think that they are serving God and keeping His commandments! So the lesson is, ALWAYS examine everything carefully! And you better watch out when your leaders suddenly start seeing things that others don’t. That’s the time to move in and take a closer look – because you just might have a GNOSTIC underneath that coat, trying to pull the wool over your eyes!

      16. Thank you Aidan,
        Can you give a few examples of how Catholicism invents a new language – the way Calvinism does?
        Those are very interesting dots to connect.

        Thanks
        br.d

      17. Hey Br.d, thank you for your interest. Hopefully the following examples are of help. They may or may not be exact parallels, but certainly show the same fundamental principle at work!

        1. This is a biggie! In Matthew 16:18 there are two Greek words (Petros) and (Petra) which they try to tie together as one to mean the same thing! This to justify Peter as the “Rock” upon which Christ would build His church! This of course was all done as an effort to justify their doctrine concerning the succession of Popes, beginning with Peter! These two Greek words have clear and distinct meanings – one is speaking of Peter, while the other is clearly speaking about Christ. This lie has continued to encourage over a billion people to give their allegiance to the pope, and to the Catholic church, believing that it is to heaven and to Christ! Just like Calvinism they tweaked the language in scripture to conform with Catholic teaching and practice.

        2. In Catholicism, what’s taught first and foremost are it’s traditions. These form the ethos, or guiding beliefs of both institution and community alike. And they inform the true understanding of God’s word and God’s will! Only the clergy, God’s special ordained ministers, can teach and help you to properly understand what’s in the bible. They have spiritual insight that we, the laity ( the common man) doesn’t have – the clergy are the interpreters of the law so to speak. We were not really encouraged to read the bible on our own. This is how they were able to control us, and keep us following after their man made traditions, rather than Christ. In the minds of most Catholics “Baptism” is the sprinkling of babies, “Saints” are dead people who have been canonized because THEY were holy, and “Priests” are a specially ordained class within the church, who can forgive sins. And if they were able to brainwash us concerning these simple things, what else have Catholics been brainwashed to believe? Where do I begin? It seems to me, that many of the common people in Calvinist churches have also being brainwashed by their leadership in a similar way! Christ’s authority was usurped, creeds were written and bound on the consciences of men – and the Gnostics took over the asylum.

        3. Colossians 2:8 – “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

      18. Yes thank you Aidan
        I do remember the “Peter” thing.
        But I’m guessing your going to say that Calvinists are about 1000 times more into twisting logic and scripture.

        However, perhaps I think that because I’ve never seen Catholicism trying to infiltrate unwary churches with dishonest tactics.
        And because I do see that with Calvinism – I’ve put much much more time looking under the hood of Calvinism.
        Perhaps if I had more interested in Catholicism, I would see a lot more of what I observe with Calvinism.

      19. BR.D: “I do remember the “Peter” thing.
        But I’m guessing your going to say that Calvinists are about 1000 times more into twisting logic and scripture.”

        AIDAN: Yes, I agree that Calvinism has to be more crafty when it comes to twisting logic and scripture. It’s death by a 1000 cuts, like twisting words like *all* and *faith* and creating a library of words with double meanings! In Catholicism people don’t open and use the bible, therefore the common man is very ignorant in that sense. Twisting the word “stone” which is what Peter’s name means, into the mass “rock” foundation upon which the church was to be built – becomes a seismic shift for many to follow Peter and his successors. But I believe this deception came after the hierarchical and organisational structures had already been corrupted. I’m guessing that in Calvinist churches everybody brings a bible, and are taught and encouraged to study their bible. It’s harder to fool the people when it’s supposedly Sola Scriptura!

        What’s the real hierarchical structure in Calvinism? Is it their synods and general assemblies with their confessions and theologians running the show from the top down? Because the common man in Calvinism doesn’t just happen to get what he gets from following Sola Scriptura! Therefore what Catholicism and Calvinism have in common is a man-made system with its own rules and language! The great deception in all man-made systems is in convincing people that they are not serving man – but God. This is how they ALL manage to pull the wool over peoples eyes. And Catholicism has been fooling people a lot longer than Calvinism has. It now has its own system and language of the papacy and priesthood, purgatory, sacraments, penance, confirmation (where one receives the Holy Spirit), holy eucharist, the sacrifice of the mass, extreme unction, etc.. – even as far as allowing the worshiping of images, praying to Mary, the saints and the angels! Once people allow themselves to put their trust in men as to Christ and His word – then you can get them to believe and do anything! And that’s precisely what has happened!

      20. This tends to be the effect of all organized, hierarchical religion. When people are persuaded to grant ‘authority’ to mere men to dictate their beliefs and actions, they are ripe for manipulation and abuse. Who gave these mere men the right to dictate what a verse means, or the doctrines upon which one builds one’s faith in God and his promises? It is a frightful thing that organized religion has done, claiming for themselves that which belongs to God and the individual. It is this concept of Church Authority that leads people into the error of turning off their minds and believing whatever they are told.So, if you wind up in a Calvinist church, you buy the Calvinist package, a Catholic embraces the Catholic version, etc. Few ever challenge the proclamations and interpretations that are handed down from on high. Berean responsibility and individuality is not encouraged in most institutional churches.

      21. I like the terminology you have used, such as, “organized, hierarchical religion” – “mere men to dictate their beliefs” – “Church Authority” – “institutional churches”. It is not intended to describe the Church that Jesus built, but rather, the man-made hierarchical systems and Institutions that have been built by men.

        The term ‘church’ is often misunderstood by many. Some think of a building; some of a hierarchy or bureaucracy; some of people; etc. The word ‘church’ is used in four senses in the New Testament. First, it is used in the general or ‘universal’ sense to designate all the saved (Mt. 16:18; Eph 4:4). Secondly, it is also used of a ‘local’ church to designate the saved who work and worship together in a specific locality (Mt. 18:15-18; 1 Cor 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1). Third, it is used of an ‘assembly’ of saints for worship (1 Cor. 11:18; 14:4, 5, 28, etc). And fourth, it is used in the ‘distributive’ sense (Acts 5:11; 8:1,3; 9:31).

        Some have the misconception that the church universal is composed of all of the local churches. This is not correct – the church universal is composed of all saved individuals! It might surprise people to know that the term church is NOT used of a group larger or smaller than the local church in any ‘organized’ sense. There is no collective term in the New Testament to describe a confederation of churches. Organizational arrangements which link together churches into a functional unit were not part of the early church. Technically, the church does not have a name as such! The word ‘church’ is a descriptive term. Other descriptive terms include body, bride, kingdom, house (family) and temple. The church of the New Testament is never designated by human names.

        So when you see an organizational structure that is larger or smaller than the local church, or any form of organization that links churches together into a single functional unit, with human names attached to the church – know that it is NOT the church of the New Testament. It is certainly a human organization created to have its own hierarchical system and name. But, it is not the church of the New Testament, it is not the church which Jesus built!

      22. br.d
        Yes – very interesting!
        You asked “What’s the real What’s the real hierarchical structure in Calvinism? structure in Calvinism?”

        That is a very interesting question.

        I think the hierarchical structure in Calvinism – is found in its social structure of respected persons.
        Augustine is a respected person.
        Calvin of course is a respected person.
        John MacArthur is a respected person
        John Piper is a respected person
        R.C. Sproul – even though dead – is a respected person.

        I think what makes all of these people respected persons – is the power of sophism.
        They are very skilled at manufacturing a MASK of benevolence over the face of Calvinism.

        I see Calvinists like RH driven by a secret yearning to be a respected person within the Calvinist social structure.
        In order to do that – he has to follow the pattern and hone his skills in the deployment of sophist language tricks.
        Power equates to the ability to invent sophisticated MASKS designed to make Calvinism appear acceptable..

        Deep down inside, he may not even care anything at all about the doctrine.
        The doctrine may actually have no more value to a Calvinist – than that it provides an environment in which a he seeks to attain status within a human social structure.

      23. That’s an interesting analogy Br.d, because I was wondering how they had such a broad unity in doctrine if most of the churches are independent. It did seem to me that their favorite theologians have some part to play in this, but when I was looking this up, it seems like there could be a mix between Presbyterian and Congregational polity in Calvinism. The following piece is quoted from what is called ‘True Covenanter’ on “What is Calvinism”:

        quote:
        “Instead of an hierarchy of priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and pope, the true Christian Church endeavors to preserve the ancient form of Church government taught in the Bible with officers of teaching and ruling elders or “presbyters,” none of which are to exercise dominion over the others (Matt. 20.25-26). Individual congregations are interrelated as local presbyteries, regional synods, and national general assemblies so that the Church is united in the true bonds of faith, practice, and purpose, as opposed to the false unity that is found in the world among unbelievers.”

        This governance here seems to be more of a Presbyterian polity which seems to exercise some form of control over matters of doctrine and the unity of the faith?

      24. It is a benevolent dictatorship. They love to throw around their terms, like ‘presbyter’ and ‘elders’ and all of their jargon that pretends to preserve individuality, when, in reality, none dare challenge the official orthodoxy. I saw through the nonsense when my pastor stood up and said, ‘When I speak from the pulpit, I speak for God.’ Hows that for inviting discussion or Berean individuality?

      25. Wow! Do you think he meant that he was infallible, and don’t challenge what I pronounce as gospel? But in a sense he’s right, in that the preacher, or evangelist, is supposed to teach only the word of God. Peter said if any man speaks let him speak as the oracles of God (1 Pt. 4:11). Paul told Timothy, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2). That way people can examine it – to see if these things are so! The preacher has a heavy responsibility to be very careful that he is preaching the word of God – for which he will be held accountable. If it was me, I’d be glad that someone took me aside to point out where I went wrong.

      26. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Another couple, I found out years later, challenged him and was told that they had no right to disagree with him on anything he taught, even though the husband was an elder. Needless to say, that family left the church. I wish that I had asked the same question, rather than assuming he could surely not mean what it sounded like he meant. He did.

      27. I suppose you were a bit stunned at the time. You probably had other factors to consider which prevented you from pushing it any further. But I’ve seen this attitude before, both from members and teachers; they mostly ended up worshiping on their own! But, sometimes it’s a longstanding preacher who becomes a bit of a Diotrephes – that’s not an easy situation to have to deal with. The church needs someone who is there because he loves the brethren, and does faithfully whatever he does for the brethren and for others too – and not so much for himself! There are some good men out there; I believe we have one where I am. But unfortunately there are still many like Diotrephes today – who are just in it for themselves! It was because men loved to have the preeminence and power that there was a corrupting influence on the organization of the early church. Which is how we ended up with the Catholic Church and its hierarchical system. I wonder how many other churches there are today who have followed suit?

        By the way, I’m sorry you had to go through such a painful experience – but I think it would have destroyed you if you hadn’t left! Thankfully, you did leave, and now can use that knowledge and experience in Calvinism to help others who need it too.

      28. Yes- from my understanding – the presbyterian churches derive their name from the word “presbyterian” which they understand as a form of by a representative assemblies of elders

        But did you notice a little slight problem with the language of that statement you quoted.

        The language calls certain persons “officers” within the church
        And then later it says – those officers are not to “exercise dominion over” the others.
        That word “dominion” comes from the Greek word “Kurious” which means Lord.

        And then the quote references Jesus’ command in Matthew 20:25
        The word Jesus uses here is “katakyrieuousin” which is the compound words “Kata” and “Kurious”
        Kata is a Greek preposition – from which we get our word “Cata-strophe”
        The preposition “Kata” means to push or force downwards.
        And the word “strophe” is the Greek word for earth.
        So “Catastrophe” would be a force that pushes earth downwards.

        In Acts 19:16 we have a very similar word “katakyrieusas”
        This is the word Luke used to describe the man with a demon spirit who attacked the 7 sons of Sceva
        He attached them – forcing them downwards.

        So the Greek reader understood Jesus to say that followers of Christ are not to sub-ordinate one another.

        The question is – did the church obey that command?

        Jesus says – to not to follow the model of the “Gentiles”.
        What “Gentiles” was Jesus referring too?
        The only “Gentiles” in Jesus’ day who exercised authority were Romans

        So Jesus is commanding the Apostles to not follow the Roman model of governance.
        That form of government spoken about by the Roman centurion – in Matthew 8:9
        “I myself am a man under authority, with men who are under my authority”

        So did the church of Rome obey Jesus’ command?
        Obviously not – because the church of Rome is called the church of Rome because it incorporated the Roman form of governance.

        So the whole process of setting people up as “officers” in the church – is in fact following that model.

        Now – you will notice something else in the NT if you become familiar with reading it the original language.
        The Greek word diakonia (Servant) is translated differently when it refers to women – then when it refers to men.

        You will notice English translators will have Paul saying “I magnify my office”
        What he is actually says in the Greek language is “I magnify my servantship”

        The same Greek word when used in reference to women in the church – is translated “Service” rather than “office”.

        When the church of England severed itself from the church of Rome – it separated itself from a few doctrines.
        But it retained the Roman model of government.

        We often see politicians who publicly declare themselves the “servant” of the people.
        But we eventually discover the only one he is serving is himself.

        A man can call himself a “servant” and not really be one.
        So a man can call himself an “Elder” when for all intents and purposes he functions as “Bishop” or a “Cardinal”

        Consequently – there is a whole lot of “exercising dominion” over others – throughout Catholic and Protestant history.

      29. BR.D: “When the church of England severed itself from the church of Rome – it separated itself from a few doctrines.
        But it retained the Roman model of government.

        We often see politicians who publicly declare themselves the “servant” of the people.
        But we eventually discover the only one he is serving is himself.

        A man can call himself a “servant” and not really be one.
        So a man can call himself an “Elder” when for all intents and purposes he functions as “Bishop” or a “Cardinal”

        Consequently – there is a whole lot of “exercising dominion” over others – throughout Catholic and Protestant history.”

        AIDAN: This is a fascinating conversation, and you’ve made a very important point throughout, which ultimately may have to do with people’s souls, which is why I appreciate it.

        The organization of the early church was simple. Each church had ‘overseers’ who were selected from among the local church to provide spiritual oversight of the congregation. Each church had two or more overseers whose supervision was limited to that particular local church. These overseers were older men called ‘elders’. Because their work was like that of a shepherd with a flock, they were also called ‘shepherds’ or ‘pastors’.

        We often speak of this group of men within a local church as the ‘eldership’. The idea is expressed in the Greek word ‘presbuterion’ in 1 Timothy 4:14 (presbytery, NASB). The term refers to the “group of elders”. But when speaking of their work, the term ‘overseer’ is a better term to use.

        Many English translations, especially the older ones, use the term ‘bishop’ instead of ‘overseer’. It seems that in the 16th century, when many English translations were being made, the bishop was seen as an overseer of MANY churches, like a bishop of the Catholic Church, or the Church of England! This was certainly NOT the way it was in the early church, and the term ‘bishop’ still conveys an incorrect concept to the modern mind! This speaks to your point above, about the model of governance in churches today.

        The biblical term ‘pastor’ is also misused today! In the New Testament the term ‘pastor’ is used only of the ‘overseers or elders’ (Eph. 4:11; cf. 1 Pet. 5:2; Acts 20:28). But this term is misused today in denominational churches of an individual who not only looks out for the spiritual welfare of the group, but also serves as administrator of the church. Then came titles like ‘Reverend, Father, and Clergyman’ which created artificial class distinctions that were unknown in the New Testament.

        The terms overseer(bishop), elder and pastor, which all speak of the same person, are not honorary titles, but are descriptions of the dignity and function of the men who are so designated.

        Elder – describes the dignity and maturity of the man
        Overseer – describes the superintendence or guardianship of the worker.
        Shepherd or pastor (feed and tend, in verb form) – describes the care given to those who are their charge.

        So the ‘overseer or bishop’ does have specific duties, namely to – FEED, TEND, SHEPHERD ( Acts 20:28-30; 1 Pet. 5:2). But also to – WATCH (Acts 20:29-31; Heb. 13:17). And to – RULE (Heb. 13:17; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 3:4,5,12; 5:17).

        Yet, to your point, elders are not to “lord it over” that which has been allotted to them (1 Peter 5:3). The RSV has- “not as domineering over those in your charge..” PHILLIPS- “You should aim not at being “little tin gods” AMPLIFIED – “Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge,..”

        There is to be no preeminence, no hierarchy, and no arbitrary imperial rule among the overseers. Overseers, and all other workers in the kingdom of God, may learn about the proper exercise of their role from the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 20:25-28.

        And the highest function which God has given to man in the church today, is that a man should be one among several ‘overseers(bishops)’ in a single autonomous congregation – and that’s as far as it should go! Anything beyond that is a corruption to the original pattern of the New Testament Church, built and established by our Lord – in the first century! And I suppose that building process is still going on – but only with those who are holding fast to His original pattern or plan!

      30. If I remember correctly – it was Ignatius of Antioch who first argued that the church should abandon the system of governance established by the original Apostolic ministry. This decision was driven by fear that God would not be able to sustain the church as a coherent body of believers without a man-made Roman hierarchical government.

        You may remember in Acts where the Apostles say “It seems good to us and to the Holy Spirit that……..”

        The original Apostles apparently had a very high confidence in their ability to understand the mind of the Holy Spirit.
        The same confidence that Adam and Eve would have had prior to their fall.

        Apparently, that relationship became compromised and the confidence in understanding the mind of the Holy Spirit was lost.
        So I suspect that is where the church fell.

        And we understand what would evolve in its place – would be what Paul would call – a “Principality and Power”
        And that is how we see the Catholic church massacring whole villages of Christians – in order to bring them under submission.

        The Catholic Pope is “Pontifex Maximus” which originated from Babylon – and can be seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue of four Metals. Some Bible readers believe this is referenced to in Revelations “Babylon the great has fallen”.

        There have been a number of movements in history where Christians tried to re-establish what they conceived of as the original church system of governance, with people functioning as Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers.

        Most of the them have degraded into distorted abusive systems where in some cases whole families are destroyed, and children are sexually abused etc. The shepherding movement of the 1970s is an example.

        And we know that Calvinists totally justify abject dishonest means in the acquisition of church properties.
        So the church – in its fallen condition – continues.

      31. BR.D: “This decision was driven by fear that God would not be able to sustain the church as a coherent body of believers without a man-made Roman hierarchical government.”

        AIDAN: Excellent point br.d. Man always seems to think that he can improve on the way God has said to do things! The Catholic Church had an embryonic beginning. The early church departed from the simplicity of a congregational form of government, guided by the New Testament as the only Rule of Faith and Practice, and permitted more and more authority to be vested in the bishops of the various churches. By the middle of the second century the church was well on its way to being united under the authority of the bishops, who gradually came to be regarded as successors to the apostles.

        In opposition to the heresies creeping in, the church came to be called the “catholic” or “universal” church. The adoption of a creed as the rule of faith and practice in the third century, put forth the bud of the union of church and state under Constantine; and the writing of the Nicene Creed in 325 brought forth the flower. The setting up of a “papa” or “pope” as the ecclesiastical head of the church, culminating in the doctrine of his infallibility in 1870, produced the fruit as manifested in the Catholic Church of today.

        I think you hit the nail on the head when you said, “When the church of England severed itself from the church of Rome – it separated itself from a few doctrines. But it retained the Roman model of government.”

        It seems like it has gone on to infect the whole denominational world!

        Consequently – there is a whole lot of “lording it over others” – in denominational churches today.

        I could say, ‘Let’s get back to the simplicity of the New Testament Christianity that is found in scripture!’ But I know that there are too many “lords” out there who would vehemently oppose it!

      32. I totally agree Aidan,

        But I do wonder if its possible for the church to ever get back to the state of pristine relationship with God as the early church had.
        The original Apostles had the opportunity of spending 3 years of their life walking, talking, and sleeping with Jesus.
        What a life changing experience that would be!!

        Even then – Peter becomes compromised – and must be corrected by Paul.

        You may also note in Acts where it says there were those from the previous Jewish system of authority (scribes pharisees etc) who became believers. These were the ones who rose up and demanded the Gentiles follow the three primary Jewish identity markers of that day – (1) Law keeping (2) Sabbath keeping (3) Food prohibitions.

        It is my assumption that these men were “respected persons” within the Jewish community prior to Jesus.
        And it is natural for the flesh to crave power – and not want to give it up – when that is what one is used to.

        So in my mind – that became the first challenge to threatened the church and make it fall from its pristine condition.

        We then have a continued conflict between Jews and Gentiles permeating secular society.
        The Jews in Rome were eventually accused of various crimes and evicted for a time.

        During that time – believers in Rome are gentiles – carrying on with meetings house to house etc.
        Incredibly enough – these Gentiles build up an animosity towards Jewish believers because of the previous conflicts.
        This then becomes the precursor to antisemitism we find within Catholicism

        Although the Catholic church doesn’t speak about it today – it is still inherently antisemitic.

      33. BR.D: “But I do wonder if its possible for the church to ever get back to the state of pristine relationship with God as the early church had.”

        AIDAN: Perhaps you had something else in mind, but the only way I see the church maintain its relationship with God, is by faithfully continuing in the word like the early church did. What makes this possible is that Jesus has called us to do so (John 8:31-32; Mt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:42). And those who remained faithful were commended and encouraged to continue to do so.

        To the church at Phillipi, Paul wrote;
        12 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12,13).

        This is the church that keeps its relationship with God – just like the early church did. And perhaps that becomes a faithful remnant at some point. In that case, the faithful remnant – whoever they are – are His faithful church!

      34. I certainly see the scripture as top – on the list of the most precious gifts to mankind.
        But the early Apostles only had the O.T.

        Paul – of course was a scholar of the O.T. while the primary Apostles were un-schooled men.
        They did have knowledge of the OT of course – because we see references to it throughout the N.T.

        But they had something more than the scriptures to live by.
        They had a way of obtaining the mind of the Holy Spirit.
        And they made decisions – with a confidence that those decisions were in concert with the Holy Spirit.
        At least that is what appears to be indicated in Acts.

        Perhaps they were simply operating according to their best judgment and then simply called that the “mind of the spirit”
        But something in me is hesitant to assume that.

      35. BR.D: “The early Apostles… they made decisions – with a confidence that those decisions were in concert with the Holy Spirit.
        At least that is what appears to be indicated in Acts.”

        AIDAN: Absolutely! Having received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, they spoke by the Holy Spirit. In fact, every time they taught the people, they spoke by the Holy Spirit. Some people think that a prophet only tells the future, but this is a very limited understanding of what a prophet is.The apostles and prophets were ‘inspired’ men who spoke and wrote the Word of God. Here’s how Peter said inspiration worked:

        2 Pt. 1:21 “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

        Vine says: “to bear, carry,” is rendered “being moved” in 2Pe 1:21, signifying that they were “borne along,” or impelled, by the Holy Spirit’s power, not acting according to their own wills, or simply expressing their own thoughts, but expressing the mind of God in words provided and ministered by Him.”

        Paul also affirms the same:

        1 Cor 2:6,7,13; “However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,.. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

        This whole section is a good section to read. Having considered how the Holy Spirit was the ‘source’ of the ideas (v.10), the apostle relates how the Holy Spirit also participated in the expression of these ideas. Both the thoughts and the words originated from the Holy Spirit. In verse 13, the contrast is not between the manner in which the world was instructed, because ‘didaktos’ is used in both cases; the contrast is between the ‘origin’ – man and the Spirit! In other words, the method used by the apostles and prophets to communicate God’s revelation was not taught to them by men, but by the Holy Spirit; it’s source was divine not human.

        Both the language and the content were inspired. I am reminded of the promise Jesus made to the apostles as He sent them on the limited commission. He said, “You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Mt. 10:18-20). Paul asserted that he had exactly what Jesus promised to give.

        Ephesians 3:1-5
        “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which 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:”

        I hope this helps.

      36. Br.D. – Augustine and Calvin are not respected persons to me! Their lack of spiritual discernment of true Christian brothers for whom they then advocated scourging, fines, imprisonment, exile, and sometimes even death just because their sacramental neo-platonist theology was rejected is just plain evil.

      37. Totally agreed!
        Sorry if I wasn’t precise in my language
        What I meant was – they are respected persons within the Calvinist social structure.

      38. Hi br.d.
        In the context of our conversation, it was quite clear what you were saying.👌

      39. I agree, Brian. I honestly think if most Calvinists, even Protestants as a whole, realized the true history of their forefathers they would think much more carefully about unquestioningly embracing the traditions and ‘Orthodoxy’ established by men who were cruel and murderous. Too many, including at one time myself, are completely ignorant of the Protestant Church’s history. Many, who have read Foxe’s Book of the Martyrs, condemn the Catholic Church, with no idea that the Protestant Reformers were guilty of many of the same crimes against innocent believers who refused to bow to their theological tyranny. Calvin was a tyrant and a murderer. His actions suggest he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, thus it is no surprise that his teachings are so contrary to scripture and bring such dishonor to the name of God.

      40. TSOO
        Many, who have read Foxe’s Book of the Martyrs, condemn the Catholic Church, with no idea that the Protestant Reformers

        br.d
        If I remember – John Fox was considered a writer for the reformed – within the puritan stream.
        So it makes sense that he would omit atrocities committed by reformed groups.

      41. Exactly TS00… How could anyone believe Calvin had the discernment of the Spirit for correct doctrine when they know how he treated those who disagreed with him, even those who were true believers?

        Calvin clearly and harmfully taught:
        1. that heretics “ought to be punished with confiscation, exile, imprisonment, and flames”,
        2. that “whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt”, and
        3. that Christ’s command concerning tares planted by the evil one in Matt 13:30, “Let both grow together until the harvest” – didn’t mean “to take from the Church the power of the sword.”

        Calvin even spoke approvingly that specific “papers and books… made to impugn [his] doctrine touching predestination, have been condemned with a prohibition to publish them on pain of death”.

        This man was therefore not qualified to lead in any pastoral capacity in Christianity because of such harmful unbiblical teaching.

      42. Thank you for these quotes Brian
        I’d like to add these quotes to my record set of quotes.
        What writing of Calvin’s can I find them?

      43. BrD… Calvin wanted heretics dead… even spoke approvingly of death for those who published things against his doctrine of predestination. Hmmmm. Not very Christlike!

        Calvin – statements pro capital punishment for heresy.

        In his Prefatory Address to the Institutes –
        “For I fear not to declare, that what I have here given may be regarded as a summary of the very doctrine which, they [the heretics] vociferate, ought to be punished with confiscation, exile, imprisonment, and flames, as well as exterminated by land and sea.”

        In Schaff’s Church History, vol VIII, para 157 – from Calvin’s Treatise Against Servetus –
        “Whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt. This is not laid down on human authority; it is God who speaks and prescribes a perpetual rule for his Church.”

        In his commentary on Christ’s command in Matt 13:30, “Let both grow together until the harvest” –
        “This passage has been most improperly abused by the Anabaptists, and by others like them, to take from the Church the power of the sword. But it is easy to refute them; …. I shall satisfy myself with replying, that Christ does not now speak of the office of pastors or of magistrates, but removes the offense which is apt to disturb weak minds, when they perceive that the Church is composed not only of the elect, but of the polluted dregs of society.”

        In his Letter 389 –
        “…papers and books of his Castalion [a heretic], in which an attempt was made to impugn our doctrine touching predestination, have been condemned with a prohibition to publish them on pain of death.”

      44. TSOO: “Many, who have read Foxe’s Book of the Martyrs, condemn the Catholic Church, with no idea that the Protestant Reformers were guilty of many of the same crimes against innocent believers who refused to bow to their theological tyranny.”

        AIDAN: This is so true; there were a lot of evil things done by our ancestors on all sides of the religious divide! And what’s crazy is that both sides did it in the name of God! I think we somehow imagine that if we had a lived back then, we would never have done any of the things our ancestors did! We all know how easy it is to criticize others until we walked a minute in their shoes and saw that we were just as flawed as they were. If we had lived back in times of slavery, would we have been so much better than they? This generation seems to think so! I grew up watching the troubles in Northern Ireland; and saw just how quickly ordinary decent human beings could descend into hatred and violence, each side convinced that God and right was on their side! If I had lived on those streets, would I have been any better than they? Those who live on the outside in this generation, always tend to think that they would have acted differently!

        29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers.

        When reading this I used to think, ‘this is the Pharisees He’s talking to, I’m glad that I’m not like them’! Then I’d think, ‘maybe Jesus was being a little harsh here’. Why was He condemning them for something their ancestors did? But then you read the next few verses and realize, that when push came to shove, they did very same thing their fathers did, and worse! But it wasn’t just them; that whole generation did it – with God on their side, or so they convinced themselves!

        34 “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.”

        Our present generation always seems to think that it is better than the generations who came before it! We always tend to think that we are so much more enlightened now; certainly much more educated than they were. But this life isn’t over yet, we still may have a ways to go! Anything can happen on the turn of a penny. We don’t know what’s around the corner – or what tests may be coming our way! For all we know, the whole world could be turned upside down, and we could all be eating out of dustbins in tomorrows world! It was during the siege of Jerusalem, that starving people were known to have eaten their own children. Did they ever imagine that they could do such a thing? The reality is, we are just as flawed as our fathers were, and just as capable of doing some of the horrible things they did, if not worse! Therefore, when all is said and done, and this generation has passed away, what will the history books say? What will future generations say about us? Will they be any better? The next generation always seems to think so!

      45. AIDAN: “QUESTION: If these verses are talking about salvation, was it enough JUST to believe in Him? How would they come to know that truth which would set them free? Would that suggest that there’s more to salvation than just believing?”

        As Jesus was speaking to “those Jews who believed Him,” so Jesus was not talking about salvation – He was instructing those who already believed and therefore would already have faith. In the same vein, Paul wrote, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” The “acceptable and perfect will of God,” is the ;truth of which Jesus spoke.

        Then, Jesus said to those who believed Him, “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.” WOW! So, the bottom line, “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

      46. RHUTCHIN: “As Jesus was speaking to “those Jews who believed Him,” so Jesus was not talking about salvation – He was instructing those who already believed and therefore would already have faith.”

        AIDAN: WOW! What a contradiction your Calvinism is with this passage of scripture!

        First of all, in terms of Calvinism these men were already saved, because, as you have just acknowledged, they, – “already believed and therefore would already have faith.” HENCE, they are free and are no longer slaves of sin – they have been made free from sin ( as per Calvinism).

        But this scripture affirms that they were not free, even though they had already believed in Him! It says, “As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 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’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. “And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:30-36).

        Note: They believed in Him, they have faith, yet are STILL in their sin; they are STILL slaves to sin! This passage is proof positive that faith alone cannot save!

      47. AIDAN: “Note: They believed in Him, they have faith, yet are STILL in their sin; they are STILL slaves to sin! This passage is proof positive that faith alone cannot save!”

        No. This passage is proof positive that people who are saved still sin. What did Jesus say? “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” This is why Paul exhorts believers, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,”

        Paul writes in Romans 3, “there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.” In Romans 8, Paul writes, “Moreover whom God predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” God justifies a person by faith and then glorifies that person.

      48. AIDAN: “Note: They believed in Him, they have faith, yet are STILL in their sin; they are STILL slaves to sin! This passage is proof positive that faith alone cannot save!”

        RHUTCHIN: “No. This passage is proof positive that people who are saved still sin. What did Jesus say? “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

        AIDAN: No, but you forget that this passage says that they were still “slaves of sin”. They are still slaves of sin because they are still under the law. And, they are still slaves of sin, because Jesus has not yet died and risen again, therefore, there has been NO SACRIFICE made for sin yet! Only when one has DIED with Christ, in baptism, are they made free from the slavery of sin! Note the following, where Paul had been talking about what occurred in their baptism:

        Romans 6: 5-8, 14, 20, 22; 7:1,4.
        5 “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,”

        14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

        20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

        22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

        7 “Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead,.”

        That’s how the truth made them free – which of course they would need to continue in, if they were to be true disciples!

      49. In the Gnostic system of belief – people are sometimes said to be born into one of two fields.
        The elect are born into a field of salvation
        The non-elect are born into a field of damnation.

        So in the Gnostic Christian’s interpretation of Jesus’ discourse with these Jews – any of them who showed signs of believing – would be showing indicators of the destiny which they were designed them for.

        For the Calvinist then – when a person APPEARS to believe – that serves as a possible indicator of that one’s eternal destiny.

        However, Calvin insists that Calvin’s god -quote “Illumines some for a time to partake of it – and then forsakes them – and strikes them with greater blindness”.

        As the scripture says – “Man looketh upon the outward appearance”
        And this is what Calvinists do.
        They look for indicators of each others destiny – the same way people read tea leaves.

        However those indicators may actually be signs that Calvin’s god is manipulating people with FALSE PERCEPTIONS of salvation. He gives them a taste of salvation – in order to magnify their torment in the lake of fire.

      50. While all the time completely ignoring what these passages mean. This must be what Isaiah meant when he said, ‘they have closed their eyes’.

      51. Yes!
        Eyes they have – but they see not.
        Ears they have – but they hear not
        And those who worship them – become like unto them.

        In other words – we become what we worship.

        Calvin’s god deceives people with words.
        He leads Adam to believe he does not want Adam to sin
        He leads Adam to believe that Adam is the author of his own choices

        Ditto for the rest of humanity.

        Those who worship such a deity *WILL* become like unto him.
        That is why we see the Calvinist – using words designed to mislead.

      52. BR.D: “In other words – we become what we worship.”

        AIDAN: I see what you mean. The false gods that were set up by the people were always so flawed and corrupt, just exactly like we are! This was because they were exactly what man had concocted in his own imagination. It is probably not so much that we become what we worship, but rather that what we set up to worship, is already an image of ourselves with all our failings and petty, fleshly characteristics! This is how we know that Calvin’s god is a false god – by looking at the tree and its fleshly fruit!

      53. Good points. Indeed, why is it that so many Calvinists are narcissitic and controlling? Do they imitate the God they imagine, or do they imagine a God who is like unto them?

      54. Isn’t this precisely what you see when you look at the Greek and Roman gods? Proof that man could not have invented the God of the bible. How much more calvins god is like the gods of mythology!

      55. It really is both, isn’t it? We become what we worship – and the people tend to get what the people want. But this shows that it is of the flesh, not of God! Look at the choices people have today in regards to so-called worship. There are probably more churches today than there are restaurants – and people treat it like such! God has prescribed the kind of service and worship that pleases Him, along with the acts that are involved in that worship. But many churches today are too eager to please the people, because they are afraid of losing numbers. They want to keep the people as entertained as possible, therefore all sorts of innovations have been made to draw in the crowds and keep them happy. These are little more than social clubs, or community recreational centers, serving up a “social gospel” to satisfy the fleshly needs of men!

        Salvation can only be found when the gospel is preached in its purity and simplicity (Rom. 1:16-17). It is a fact that if you draw men ‘with’ something else, you will draw them ‘to’ something else! One who does this is guilty of teaching another gospel. And a perverted gospel, offering materialistic incentives to gather in the crowds, cannot save the world.

        One has to ask the question then, ‘who or what are they serving and worshiping’? Indeed, the people will get what the people want – yes indeed, we are what we worship!

      56. Interesting topic of worship in the church.

        I am reminded that John Wesley’s group – as part of the Wesleyan revival – took songs that drunks would sin in the taverns – and turned them into worship songs. I guess they called that “redeeming the times” :-]

        Years ago I knew a man who was a Missionary for many years in a few different countries around the world. He told me of an African tribe who he called “leapers” because during their ceremonies they would leap up into the air. When they became believers, they became convinced that the Holy Spirit was involved in their leaping. When someone started leaping – it was a sign that the Holy Spirit was in their midst.

        Another tribe had a completely different physical activity during their meetings – which they also interpreted as a sign of the Holy Spirit in their midst.

        Personally I have struggled with churches playing music that could easily be Jimmy Hendrex or Led Zeppelin.
        But I suppose there are people in those congregations – who like the Africans – conceive that music as the Holy Spirit in their midst.

        Interesting stuff don’t you think!

      57. BR.D: “Personally I have struggled with churches playing music that could easily be Jimmy Hendrex or Led Zeppelin.
        But I suppose there are people in those congregations – who like the Africans – conceive that music as the Holy Spirit in their midst.

        Interesting stuff don’t you think!

        AIDAN: Absolutely! Just as a matter of interest, we go “Acapella,” namely, without instrumental accompaniment. We believe that’s all we can say with certainty, was authorized in New Testament worship! That’s how conservative we are. We would see the ‘silence’ of scripture as prohibitive. No where in the N.T. do we see mechanical instruments being authorized in the worship.

      58. That policy appears to be based on sincerity and honesty.
        Both of which I think the Lord is pleased with :-]

      59. How one approaches the silence of the scriptures can have a huge effect on what he practices in religion. One notable example is Luther and Zwingli. Joe Neil Clayton, in his book ‘The Thunderous Silence of God’ provides us with two notable quotations from the period of the Protestant Reformation. These comments from historians of the period show us the differing approach toward the silence of God taken by Martin Luther of Germany and Huldrych Zwingli of Switzerland in the early sixteenth century. Unfortunately, the view of Luther became and seemingly remains the predominant attitude in Protestantism.

        Quote- “While Luther was disposed to leave untouched what the Bible did not prohibit, Zwingli was more inclined to reject what the Bible did not enjoin.” – George P. Fisher, The Reformation, p.145.

        Quote- “Luther said we may do what the Bible does not forbid. Zwingli said what the Bible does not command we may not do, and on that account he gave up all images and crosses in the churches. In this respect he was like the Iconoclasts. Organs in the church also were given up. The Lutherans loved to sing around the organ. The Zwinglians, if they sang at all, did so without any instrument.” – Roland H. Bainton, The Church of our Fathers, pp. 143-144.

        On the other hand, the Restoration Movement was noted for it’s slogan, “Where the Bible speaks, we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent.” This famous motto was announced by Thomas Campbell in 1808.

        Silence does not authorize action; only God’s spoken revelation does!

      60. I’ve read that Luther loved to drink German bear – which kept him from getting up the next morning in time for the church service he would lead.
        This coincides with his allowing for what scripture doesn’t prohibit. :-]

      61. Yes, Aidan… The Regulative Principle (Zwingli) vs the Normative Principle (Luther) is an interesting controversy in Christian history. Both sides are never consistent in their practice of each, nor does either side give clear Scriptural justification for the practice of their chosen “Principle”.

        I see the Scriptures pointing to both as necessary, for there are some all encompassing commands that must be taken into account in decision making (Regulative), but they are stated in a general way that their application through prayerful guidance by the Spirit will lead to examples not found itemized in Scripture (Normative).

      62. Hi, Brian,…Yes, it does seem like they were not always consistent. The way you describe those terms sound familiar to me, but under different names. They sound like ‘Generic’ and ‘Specific’ authority. All authority is either general or specific. Here’s what I’ve learned:

        General authority-includes any thing, method, or means of execution that comes within the class or order of the precept, example or thing commanded:
        Specific authority-excludes every thing, method, or means of execution in the same class or order which is not particularly specified in the precept, example or thing commanded: In other words, General authority includes. Specific authority excludes.

        1. Instances of General authority including:
        a. “Go.” Matthew 28:19

        How? – [Walk, Ride, Fly, Sail, etc.] – Which? God did not specify. He gave us a choice. No man has the right to bind a specific method.

        b. “Teach.” Matthew 28:19-20.

        How? – [Private, Public, Class, etc.] – Which? God did not specify. He gave us a choice. No man has the right to bind a specific method.

        c. “Assemble.” Hebrews 10:25.

        Where? – [Home, Rented hall, Own building, etc.] – Which? God did not specify. Left to man’s judgment to select most expedient.

        d. “Sing.” Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16.

        How? – [ With book, By memory, etc.] – What Part? – [Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass] – Which? God did not specify but left the choice to man’s judgment. No man has the right to legislate or specify.

        2. Instances of Specific authority excluding:

        a. Noah’s ark. Build it of gopher wood. Genesis 6:14.
        Gopher wood excluded – [Walnut, Pine, Ash, and all other kinds of wood] God specified Gopher. No man had a right to add another kind.

        b. The water of cleansing. Numbers 19:2. The ashes of a red heifer.
        A red heifer excluded – [Sheep, Goat, Pig, Horse, Camel, and every other color of heifer] God specified not only the kind of animal, but even the color. No man had the right to add another color or kind.

        c. The Lord’s Supper. Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23.
        The unleavened bread and fruit of the vine excludes every other element. The first day of the week excludes every other day. God has made the choice with reference to these matters, and man has none but to do the will of God or rebel.

        d. Sing. Ephesians 5:19.
        Excludes every other kind of music. Instrumental music is excluded by the fact that God specified “sing” and that does not include “playing” upon an instrument. No man has the right to grant a liberty which God’s authority excludes.

        Conclusion: If the means of authority is “general” then anything included within the scope of the thing authorized is permissible. But if God “specified” the kind or method of execution, then no substitute or addition is allowed, but everything of the same class or order is excluded. In such cases God has left man no choice but to respect God’s stipulations by obeying His word, or rebelling against divine authority by substituting or adding something of his own will.

        There are two extremes in consideration of divine authority. One extreme position is taken by those who contend that in order for a thing to be scriptural, it must always be “specifically” authorized. Upon this basis for example, they reject the class system for teaching. The other extreme is taken by those who contend that in order for a thing to be wrong it “must” be specifically condemned. Both groups are wrong. One “binds” where God has not bound, and the other “looses” where God has bound.

        And I didn’t even get into the “Silence” of scripture, which is related, but is another subject in and of itself.

      63. Thank you, Aidan, for your thoughtful reply. General and Specific authority might work. You may have to explain the difference between OT and NT commands and examples and the differing levels of obligation.

        For example, I didn’t see any “gopher wood” commands and specification in your c. and d. examples of special authority. The Lord’s Table is connected to the word “often” not Sunday. And unleavened bread is OT, whereas Paul used the word “loaf” to emphasize oneness. The command however is to do it in remembrance of Christ, first examining yourself, without many other specifics of “how”.

        The word “psalm” means a song sung with a stringed instrument. The command is to be filled with the Spirit, and the how focuses on speaking, giving thanks, and submitting. Using instruments in singing and making melody from the heart is like Noah using tools on the gopher wood, imo. 😉

        But discussing whether the commands of the OT wisdom literature go beyond the Mosaic law is a deep topic and I’m not sure I’d like to get into that on this forum. You can email me if you’d like to discuss these things further. brianwagner@vbc.edu Blessings.

      64. Thanks Brian for your interest. Although I didn’t expect that you might have an issue with c. and d. under “Specific” authority. I suppose the main issue is, is that we can see how the Bible employs General and Specific authority as principles for establishing authority for whatever we practice. And of course, assuming that we know we are under the N.T. and not the O.T.

        What about the command to preach the “Gospel”? Jesus commanded not only to “Go” and “Preach” but specified that we are to preach the “Gospel” for people to believe in. This specific command excludes any substitution, such as human traditions and human philosophies etc. No man has the right to mix or substitute the gospel with anything else. Baptism is also a specific command to dip, plunge, immerse. Even the Greek word indicates it’s by immersion in water – Acts 8:36; 10:47. This specific command excludes any substitution, such as sprinkling, pouring, or the use of oil, etc. So, just as the command to use “Gopher wood” excluded everything else, immersion in water excludes everything else, as does the word “gospel” exclude mixing or substituting it with anything else in Mark 16:15-16.

        To answer your question on c. Acts 20:7 answers the question of how “often” the early church came together to break bread. It was on the first day of every week, for it says, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread,..” So it was their custom to come together to break bread on the first day of the week, and we see that it was also given apostolic approval. Therefore, there can be no doubt that this was approved by God; and the New Testament nowhere indicates that this was done on any other day. And it answers the question of ‘when’ and ‘how often’ the early church came together to break bread.

        With reference to the bread they used in 1 Corinthians 11:23? Here’s an important statement: ‘Jesus took the bread from the Passover feast for the – institution of this memorial feast’ –

        Because of the Jewish ordinance regarding removing all leavening from one’s house during the week of the Passover (Ex. 12:15), we know that the bread which Jesus used was unleavened bread. Therefore, there can be no doubt that the usage of unleavened bread in the observance of the Lord’s Supper is approved by God; the New Testament nowhere authorizes the usage of any other kind of bread. The term ‘Unleavened’ also carries with it a ‘spiritual’ significance, which would take too long to go into here, but which I’m sure you are already aware of.

        To answer your question on d. There is no issue with the fact the word “psalm” means a song sung with a stringed instrument. But again, worship in the New Testament places emphasis on the spiritual aspect of worship. In Ephesians 5:19 the command is “.. singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;” Here the Greek word (psallo) translated “making melody” has a history of including the idea of an instrument. Down through the centuries it once signified the ‘twanging’ of a bowstring, then the ‘twitching’ of a carpenter’s line, later the ‘touching’ of the strings of an instrument; and finally, in the New Testament, to “sing”.

        But the question under consideration, is: ‘What, under the New Testament, is the instrument that accompanies the singing?’ The apostle Paul, I believe, has settled that once and for all. He says we are to sing unto the Lord and ‘psallo’ with the heart – not with the fingers, not with the plectron, but with the heart; and therefore, the heart is the instrument that accompanies the singing.

        But I really didn’t want to get sidetracked with the issue at hand, which has to do with how scriptural authority is established, so that we speak where the scriptures speak, and are silent where the scriptures are silent.

      65. br.d writes:
        “Calvin’s god deceives people with words . . .

        Those who worship such a deity *WILL* become like unto him.
        That is why we see the Calvinist – using words designed to mislead.”

        Those are very insightful words, br.d. I absolutely think that those who embrace the idea of God using misleading, equivocal language will tend to emulate that same practice, and this is exactly what we see with many Calvinists.

      66. br.d: :For the Calvinist then – when a person APPEARS to believe – that serves as a possible indicator of that one’s eternal destiny.”

        This according to Matthew 7, “Even so, 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.” Therefore your conclusion, “As the scripture says – “Man looks upon the outward appearance” And this is what Calvinists do.” Of course, Calvinists are not alone in doing this – Paul deals in this fashion with problems in the letter to the Corinthians.

        Here we get your conclusion, “However those indicators may actually be signs that Calvin’s god is manipulating people with FALSE PERCEPTIONS of salvation. He gives them a taste of salvation – in order to magnify their torment in the lake of fire.” It does appear that God is doing this.

        Then, “However, Calvin insists that Calvin’s god -quote “Illumines some for a time to partake of it – and then forsakes them – and strikes them with greater blindness”.”

        This according to:

        – 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!’

        – Matthew 13, “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

      67. br.d
        For the Calvinist then – when a person APPEARS to believe – that serves as a possible indicator of that one’s eternal destiny.”

        rhutchin
        This according to Matthew 7, “Even so, every good tree……

        br.d
        FALSE

        There is nothing in that verse which stipulates a “good tree” only APPEARS to be a “good tree”
        So that verse doesn’t work for you.

        In Calvinism however:
        Those indicators may actually be signs that Calvin’s god is manipulating people with FALSE PERCEPTIONS of salvation. He gives them a taste of salvation – in order to magnify their torment in the lake of fire.” It does appear that God is doing this.

        Calvin insists that Calvin’s god -quote “Illumines some for a time to partake of it – and then forsakes them – and strikes them with greater blindness”.”

        rhutchin
        This according to: * Matthew 7, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ ….

        br.d
        That verse doesn’t quite fit the Calvinist model

        To *REALLY* fit the Calvinist model Jesus would have to say:

        Mat 7
        Calvin’s god has designed certain people as instruments to say to me ‘Lord Lord’.
        And god programmed me to answer those people ‘Depart from me you instruments whom Calvin’s god used to commit works of evil.’

      68. AIDAN: No, but you forget that this passage says that they were still “slaves of sin”. They are still slaves of sin because they are still under the law. And, they are still slaves of sin, because Jesus has not yet died and risen again, therefore, there has been NO SACRIFICE made for sin yet! Only when one has DIED with Christ, in baptism, are they made free from the slavery of sin! ”

        I’m not sure about that. Certainly, it is by faith in Christ that a person is justified and made righteous in God’s eyes. In Romans 4, Abraham was described as righteous and this by faith – this occurred before Christ died. The purpose of the law was to identify sin and point a person to Christ for forgiveness – the law was not designed to save a person nor could it.

        Those without faith are slaves to sin therefore totally depraved. Those with faith are no longer slaves to sin therefore not totally depraved. – yet even those with faith still sin. You are correct to say, “That’s how the truth made them free – which of course they would need to continue in, if they were to be true disciples!” That is the process of sanctification – the more a person learns truth and incorporates that truth into his life the less he will succumb to temptation and sin.

      69. Aidan
        Only when one has DIED with Christ, in baptism, are they made free from the slavery of sin! ”

        rhutchin
        I’m not sure about that……

        br.d
        That would make sense – as the Gnostic conception – is that each individual who is ELECT – is elect at the foundation of the world.
        And faith simlpy becomes an OBSERVABLE INDICATOR of that person’s election.

        But of course – Calvin’s god designs it to be a FALSE FAITH and thus as FALSE INDICATOR – for the “MANY” within the Calvinist fold.

      70. RHUTCHIN: “Those without faith are slaves to sin therefore totally depraved. Those with faith are no longer slaves to sin therefore not totally depraved. – yet even those with faith still sin.”

        “In Romans 4, Abraham was described as righteous and this by faith – this occurred before Christ died.”

        AIDAN:
        Romans 3:24-26 NASB
        24 “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

        1. “through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;”
        Redemption = deliverance, liberation or release effected by the payment of a ransom. The Greek for redemption puts emphasis on the COST of man’s liberation. This phrase explains HOW God can justify sinners. He can do so because a full ransom has been paid to obtain our freedom from sin.

        2. “as a propitiation in His blood through faith.”
        Through faith = the means by which propitiation is received and becomes effective in the case of any individual.
        In His blood – hence the propitiation is effected by means of a sacrificial offering, a sacrifice that removes sin and enables God to treat man with favor.

        3. The divine purpose – “to demonstrate His righteousness, etc.”
        The ” passing over sins that were previously committed” refer to men like Abraham (Rom. 4:1-5) and David (v. 6-8) who were forgiven even though the ransom price had not been paid, and no adequate basis for forgiveness had been laid. God forgave sins in view of what was to happen at the cross (Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal. 3:13). At the cross it became clear that God was not just winking at sin, but that He was forgiving sin only because there would be an adequate basis for forgiveness in the death of Christ.

        God is merciful, but He is also holy; a righteous God who cannot simply ignore sin, but who can justify sinners ONLY because sin was adequately dealt with in Christ, who died for sinners.

        Only Christians have been made free from the slavery of sin, and that through the redemption that is in Christ. These fellas in John 8:30-36 were still slaves of sin!

      71. rhutchin” “We know what the Scriptures tell us,”
        br.d: “Oh REALLY?”

        Yes, really. Only br.d refuses to acknowledge that we know what the Scriptures tell us,

      72. rhutchin
        We know what the Scriptures tell us

        br.d
        Oh REALLY?

        Lets find out- by what process your brain “knows” things

        Answer the following MATH question:

        Out of all of the PERCEPTIONS which currently exist in your brain right now – what percentage of them are FALSE PERCEPTIONS?

        rhutchin
        Yes, really. Only br.d refuses to acknowledge that we know what the Scriptures tell us,

        br.,d
        Oh REALLY?
        Why didn’t you answer the MATH question – so we could find out by what process your brain “knows” things?

        Lets try again – to find out.

        Answer the MATH question rhutchin:

        Out of all of the PERCEPTIONS which currently exist in your brain right now – what percentage of them are FALSE PERCEPTIONS?

      73. Maybe Rh might be able to give you a better answer if you ask him about the statistics on a flipped coin? He’s bound to be an expert at this stage!

      74. Funny stuff!!
        I’m sure there is a brain working over time right now – trying to come up with a response – designed to evade the question and at the same time MASQUERADE giving an answer. :-]

      75. Br.d:
        “I’m sure there is a brain working over time right now – trying to come up with a response – designed to evade the question and at the same time MASQUERADE giving an answer. :-]”

        Aidan:
        You mean he’s going to answer like a politician?😜

      76. br.d writes, “Out of all of the PERCEPTIONS which currently exist in your brain right now – what percentage of them are FALSE PERCEPTIONS?”

        Jesus said, “you shall know the truth” on the condition, “you abide in My word.” Jesus emphasizes that that we know what the Scriptures tell us, Those perceptions not gained from the Scripture have a likelihood of being false, but not necessarily so. That is why Paul said, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” James wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

      77. br.d
        Let see what your brain “knows”
        Answer the following MATH question

        Out of all of the PERCEPTIONS which currently exist in your brain right now – what percentage of them are FALSE PERCEPTIONS?”

        rhutchin
        Jesus said………you shall know the truth and……etc etc etc etc

        br.d
        Well rhutchin – do you “know” the truth?
        Then give a TRUTHFUL answer to the question.

        So far – you’ve just evaded the question.
        But I’m willing to be kind and give you another chance

        So let’s see what your brain “knows”
        Answer the following MATH question

        Out of all of the PERCEPTIONS which currently exist in your brain right now – what percentage of them are FALSE PERCEPTIONS?”

      78. br.d writes, “Out of all of the PERCEPTIONS which currently exist in your brain right now – what percentage of them are FALSE PERCEPTIONS?””

        I’ll guess and say about the same as in yours.

      79. br.d
        Out of all of the PERCEPTIONS which currently exist in your brain right now – what percentage of them are FALSE PERCEPTIONS?

        rhutchin
        I’ll guess and say about the same as in yours.

        br.d
        I’ll give you one more chance.

        If you can’t provide the numerical answer of what percentage of your PERCEPTIONS are FALSE PERCEPTIONS – then that is something that Calvin’s god has “rendered-certain” your brain to not “know”

        Last chance rhutchin – whats the number?

      80. br.d
        October 20, 2020

        rhutchin – If you can’t provide the numerical answer of what percentage of your PERCEPTIONS are FALSE PERCEPTIONS – then that is something that Calvin’s god has “rendered-certain” your brain to not “know”

        Last chance rhutchin – whats the number?

        br.d
        October 21, 2020
        Well – it becomes obvious – rhutchin – doesn’t have any way to “know” what percentage of infallibly decreed PERCEPTIONS within his current thinking are infallibly decreed FALSE PERCEPTIONS.

        Thus it LOGICALLY follows:

        Since rhutchin has no way of “knowing” whether his infallibly decreed PERCEPTIONS on any matter are TRUE or FALSE – he has no way of “knowing” whether or not his discernment based on those PERCEPTIONS is TRUE or FALSE

        Good luck with what you PERCEIVE yourself to “know” :-]

      81. It’s very sad when a Calvinist doesn’t see that he can’t separate God’s “purpose” and “perfect wisdom” from His omniscience so that he can try to say “God’s omniscience does not give rise to His decrees.” More cognitive dissonance. Very sad.

  2. -quote
    The doctrine “God decrees whatsoever comes to pass” makes God the ultimate deciding factor for every single human choice.

    br.d
    The term Ultimate is strategically used to EQUIVOCATE on the truth of absolute-total-subjection entailed by the doctrine.
    It is much more TRUTH-TELLING to use the term Determinative

    The doctrine “God decrees whatsoever comes to pass” makes God the Determinative deciding factor for every single human choice.

    Not only for every single human choice – but also for every perception of TRUE vs FALSE that will appear in the human brain.

    Dr. Machen
    -quote
    “When God determines what men would do He determines their will rather than goes against their will”

    This language is designed to present a FALSE REPRESENTATION.
    It seeks to paint the human will as having some degree of autonomy, which does not exist in Calvinism.

    Is there any such thing as the “Human Will” in Calvinism?
    Or is everything simply the manifestation of a divine will manifesting itself through a creaturely instrument?

    As John Calvin asserts:
    -quote
    Hence they are merely instruments, into which God CONSTANTLY INFUSES what energy he sees meet, and turns and converts to any purpose at his pleasure. (Institutes)

    -quote
    Men may not even agitate anything in their deliberations but what He inspires. (A Defense of the secret providence of god – PDF version pg 190)

    Since the human will is 100% determined by Calvin’s god’s will – there really is no such thing as a human will being against Calvin’s god’s will. The idea of that degree of functional autonomy is nothing more than deceptive DOUBLE-SPEAK.

    Dr. Machen
    -quote
    Determining their will preserves human freedom.

    br.d
    On that model – determining 100% of a robots inclinations preserves that robots inclinations

    When a child is commanded to choose vanilla rather than chocolate – and that child cannot “Do otherwise” than choose what is commanded – is that a manifestation of that child’s will, or is it a manifestation of the will of the commander?

    In Calvinism 100% of whatsoever comes to pass is UP TO a THEOS.
    Leaving ZERO% of whatsoever comes to pass UP TO the creature.

    Do you call anything about [X] yours – when nothing about [X] is UP TO you?

    How do you volunteer [X] when nothing about [X] is UP TO you?

    In Calvinism nothing about your will is UP TO you.
    So you have no authority to volunteer it – or do anything else with it.

    Determinism with compatibilist freedom is nothing more than the freedom to be/do what an external mind determines.
    Nothing else is permitted or made available.

    All robots have compatibilisitic freedom – which is preserved by determinism.
    So the freedom a Calvinist enjoys – is the same exact freedom a robot enjoys.

    Dr. Machen
    -quote
    God is so Other Than that He causes all the evil actions of man (in what way, how frequently, how severely, and in what manner) but that’s still good because God caused it.

    br.d
    So here we see once again – Calvinism’s synchronization process.
    Synchronization of TRUE and FALSE
    Synchronization of Determinism and IN-Determinism
    Synchronization of Compatibilism and Libertarian-ism
    Synchronization of Good and Evil

    The Calvinist system is ultimately radical to the extreme.
    Therefore the Calvinist strategy is to MASQUERADE it as something it isn’t.

    The Calvinist lives in a DOUBLE-MINDED world
    So it makes perfect sense that Calvinist language is the language of DOUBLE-SPEAK.

    In order to not be deceived by Calvinist language – one needs to:
    1) Understand what Calvinist language seeks to hide
    2) Understand when Calvinist language seeks to MASQUERADE itself as something other than what it is.

    1. Dr. Machen
      -quote
      Determining their will preserves human freedom.

      br.d
      On that model – determining 100% of a robots inclinations preserves that robots inclinations

      When a child is commanded to choose vanilla rather than chocolate – and that child cannot “Do otherwise” than choose what is commanded – is that a manifestation of that child’s will, or is it a manifestation of the will of the commander?

      AIDAN
      Excellent br.d; that pretty much hits the nail on the head!

      “Determining their will preserves human freedom”? What a joke! Yeah! Like determining that they would have a reprobate will without the freedom to choose between good and the evil; to seek God, or not to seek God! That’s the kind of freedom he’s talking about!

      Or like when Dr. Machen received the gift of faith; his freedom was preserved in such a way he still could not choose between the good and the evil, to seek God or to abandon Him. Oh! Yes! We know that his freedom has been well preserved on that score.

      Determining their will preserves human freedom! Yeah! Right! ‘Pull the other one, it’s got bells on’.

  3. Eric
    Enjoyed reading the conundrum presented by the doctrine of predeterminism. As I read through the confusing rhetoric and tried to reason through the fog only to be told that it is not understandable so just take my word for it. We can all agree with sola scriptura when God’s word is used. I was hard pressed to find scripture used proclaiming his position in any way. If God is the causal point of all evil is He not the initiator of the perversion in man which makes Him a pervertor. God will not act contrary to His character and I find nowhere in scripture that God has a perverse character. Is God not bound by the laws He has proclaimed to man? Scripture says it anyone who causes one of “these little ones to stumble it would be better that a millstone be tied to His neck and he be cast into the sea. Would God then be in danger of His experiencing His own wrath?I
    Also why does God through Paul by inspiration tell us to PUT OFF deeds of the old man and PUT ON the new new man.
    I live in peace with God knowing He loved me and Have Himself for me. I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and am therefore saved , as in SHALL BE SAVED
    GOD BLESS
    Ray

  4. They know.

    Machen knew, Calvin knew, Sproul knew . . . and all of the other so-called Calvinist theologians know that they are positing a hopelessly impossible contradiction. Their solution? Bid the individual to not think, to not dare wrangle with the lack of logic, on threat of being an unfaithful, untrusting follower. This is the pattern we see again and again amongst Calvinists – threats and name-calling. Because they simply cannot escape the contradictions of their claims, they must browbeat their followers into accepting them mindlessly.

    1. BINGO!! You may be chosen to be saved – but you can’t ever choose to leave hotel California!🤦‍♂️

      1. AIDAN: “You may be chosen to be saved – but you can’t ever choose to leave hotel California!”

        Not without faith! A person can neither be saved or leave hotel California without faith. So, the Calvinist says.

      2. AIDAN
        You may be chosen to be saved – but you can’t ever choose to leave hotel California!”

        rhutchin
        Not without faith!

        br.d
        So now leaving salvation – is done with faith! :-]

      3. br.d writes, “So now leaving salvation – is done with faith! ”

        Who would ever want to leave salvation? People want to leave their depraved life (Hotel California(.

      4. br.d
        So now leaving salvation – is done with faith! ”

        One more example of IRRATIONAL :-]

        rhutchin
        Who would ever want to leave salvation?

        br.d
        Would have to have faith to do that – right rhutchin!! :-]

        rhutchin
        People want to leave their depraved life (Hotel Calvi-ifornia)

        br.d
        Right! AKA Calvinism
        Where you can check out any time you like
        But Calvin’s god solely and exclusively determines what you like

        As John Calvin says the Calvinist church – a -quote “few grains of wheat – hidden under a pile of chaff”

        Calvi-fornia
        Where the “FEW ” are elect and the “MANY” are TOTALLY DEPRAVED 😀

    2. BrD… How about the idea that I freely raised my hand because I believed in God’s unconditional promise to change my nature so that I would never put my hand down? 😁

      John 4,13-14 – a very clear OSAS verse

      John 4:13-14 NKJV — Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

      The word “drinks” in verse 14 is in the Aorist tense which points normally to a simple action or simple set of actions. But this simple action, Jesus said, will establish a fountain, which as a result from drinking would point normally to this drinking as being once and done.

      Even the woman thought this was what Jesus meant when she said – [Jhn 4:15 NKJV] … “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

      The unconditional promise is that this fountain would produce an everlasting spring of water into “everlasting life”, which points naturally to seeing this salvation as unable to stop, once this fountain is started.

      There is also the unconditional promise of never thirsting again, which would naturally be seen as unconditional to the original hearer, since no condition is added by Jesus.

      Thirst is what unbelievers do, and also hints to God’s universal prodding for people to seek salvation. So the phrase “will never thirst”, points normally to meaning this person who drinks will never again be an unbeliever. This phrase is a very emphatic negative statement in Greek – οὐ μὴ διψήσῃ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.

      1. I think that would be incomprehensible for the average Calvinist.

        Because his programming is limited to going about his office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part

        A brain that is 100% programmed can only SIMULATE in-deterministic forms of freedom. 😀

      2. BrD… How about the idea that I freely choose to keep believing in Him as a condition of abiding in Christ for eternal life?🙃

        John 7:37-39 NASB – “..Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive;…”

        It is interesting that the NASB has a footnote on verse 37 that says literally, “let him keep coming to Me and let him keep drinking.” If that’s the case, that would make it conditional on man’s part to keep coming to Jesus and keep drinking. The main point is that Jesus is the source and we must come to Him to satisfy our thirst! In the next verse, v.38, Jesus tells us HOW – namely, through belief; by continuing to believe in Him! In it’s literal form it says, “He who is believing in me,”…‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” And this He said of the Spirit, which those believing in Him were about to receive;..”v.39. The promises are to the ones who continue to believe in Jesus.

        We already have seen this CONDITIONAL element to salvation in John 6. Jesus is the bread of God who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world v.33. As one reads through this chapter he quickly learns that it is through belief that one imbibes Him – that as long as one continues to believe, one continues to imbibe Him! And that this is the one to whom the promise of everlasting life is given! Below are a couple of verses from that chapter in a more literal form: Notice the emphasis on continued belief in just these few verses; in other words, the promises are based on a continued practice, NOT on a once off action!

        John 6:35 YLT – And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of the life; he who is coming unto me may not hunger, and he who is believing in me may not thirst — at any time;” Again, not a once off – but a continual practice!

        John 6:47,48 YLT – “‘Verily, verily, I say to you, He who is believing in me, hath life age-during; I am the bread of the life..
        John 6:51 YLT – ‘I am the living bread that came down out of the heaven; if any one may eat of this bread he shall live — to the age;”(he will live forever).
        John 6:54 YLT – “He who is eating my flesh, and is drinking my blood, hath life age-during, and I will raise him up in the last day;”
        John 6:56 YLT – “He who is eating my flesh, and is drinking my blood, doth remain in me, and I in him.”

        Some found it too much, not realizing that it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; but the words He spoke were spirit and were life v.63. Therefore the eating and drinking was not literal, but spiritual in nature and life.
        John 6:64 YLT – “..but there are certain of you who do not believe;’ for Jesus had known from the beginning who they are who are not believing,..”

        Since the bible teaches that the believer has everlasting life in PROMISE – the child of God does not actually possess it yet, but only in promise – and that CONDITIONALLY – it follows that he can so sin as to be finally lost. Just as Peter warned – “…..even denying the Lord who BOUGHT THEM, and bring on themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1).

        And so, I am glad that you br.d are not like the Calvinists in this matter!
        When any meaning is given to any passage that contradicts other verses that are too plain to be misunderstood, then that meaning is wrong – necessarily so. Truth is harmonious!

      3. Thank you Aidan – very nice post!

        Actually – I’m not sure the quote you had there was made my me.
        But on agreeing with Calvinists – I think there is very little I would agree with them on.

        I would definitely agree with any Calvinist who believes that Jesus is the king of kings, lord of lords, and the prince of piece. :-]

      4. You’re doing a good job br.d.

        And the quote I had there was not a quote, but rather a suggestion on my part; sorry for the confusion.
        And, yes! There is very little I would see you agree with on Calvinism. Maybe you could be a little more compatible 😎 with Calvinism if Rh became a Semi-Calvinist? But then that would make him even less “compatible” – hmmm!🤔 not sure if that would work!

        BR.D: “I would definitely agree with any Calvinist who believes that Jesus is the king of kings, lord of lords, and the prince of piece. :-]”

        AIDAN: Steady on there br.d, next you’ll be telling me you’re going down to Georgia to play the fiddle, and shake hands with the devil himself!!🙃

      5. I don’t think RH was expecting to get caught fibbing!

        So now he’s trying to deflect by attributing to Dr. Flowers the very thing he was trying to get away with.
        But we’re too smart for that old “Reverse Attribution” trick.

      6. I appreciate those insights, Brian. I have tended toward “OSAS, but . . .” which I will leave as hazy as it seems. 😉 In real experience, and many promises of scripture, this new life seems to be something real and everlasting, and it would seem unlikely that anyone would ever want to turn from such hope. I definitely reject the concept of living in fear that you are one sin away from ‘losing’ your salvation, which was the sort of understanding I was raised with.

        There are, however, implications and warnings that suggest a seriousness and ongoing relationship is what is intended by our God and Maker. Whether or not that implies that one can turn away from this great gift I would, with Arminius, suggest is somewhat confusing. I do not believe one can accidentally ‘lose’ what he has received, but, if such a thing is even possible, must knowingly and deliberately reject and turn away the salvation he once treasured. Is there a ‘name’ for my position, or am I just a lone oddity?

      7. TSOO: “I do not believe one can accidentally ‘lose’ what he has received, but, if such a thing is even possible, must knowingly and deliberately reject and turn away the salvation he once treasured. Is there a ‘name’ for my position, or am I just a lone oddity?”

        AIDAN: It’s called “apostasy,” and no your not an oddity!

      8. Greetings, Aidan. Yes, I have heard that term used, and it probably best explains what I refer to. The warnings in scripture appear to point to such a possibility, but I would suggest that it must be extremely rare. How could one ever live without the life-transforming hope that a relationship with the living God brings? How could one face another day, or moment, without the belief that the evil in this world is not God’s doing, and that he will, in the long run, triumph over it utterly? Not, I might add, by brute force, or because he is the source of the evil, thus can end it whenever he chooses, but because goodness, truth and love must and will triumph over evil.

      9. Greetings to you Tsoo. It’s always good to hear from you and be refreshed by the kindness of your comments.🙂
        And you are right, the warnings in scripture do appear to point to such a possibility of falling away. But you suggest that it must be extremely rare in view of the life-transforming hope that a relationship with the living God brings. I have often wondered that myself over the years as I watched others go back into the world, or defect into some other form of religion! Either way, it doesn’t seem to be all that rare to me that there are those who – fall away from the faith – a term used in many passages such as 1 Tim. 4:1.

        We know that this is not a sprint, but a marathon, in which many don’t make it all the way to the end! Concerning this road, Jesus didn’t want His disciples to be under any illusions that the road would be narrow and difficult which leads to life – and only a few will find it! The warnings in Hebrews abound, which tell us that one can drift away from God! That we can be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin! That, where there was once an obedient faith, there is now unfaithfulness, disobedience, or unbelief! One doesn’t have to stop believing that God is, in order to be regarded as an unbeliever – he just has to stop being faithful – even though he still regards himself as a believer!

        The parable of the sower in Luke 8:11-15 is also a stark reminder of what we so often see ourselves! All hear the gospel! All believe and are saved except the first group, whom Jesus says, “the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” Notice what He said, the devil takes away the “word out of their hearts,” lest they should BELIEVE and BE SAVED! Not so with the rest. The next group, BELIEVE FOR A WHILE and in time of temptation FALL AWAY, verse 13. How many times this happens with newly excited converts who are not yet rooted in their faith and soon fall away! But they did believe, and they did fall away!

        The thorny ground hearers are probably the most common group among Christians today! They are the hangers on – who are either dying, or possibly are already dead in their faith! Notice what Jesus says about them, He says – “when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.” It looks like they may have started out well – it seems like they began to bear fruit – but were choked, and so they never brought any fruit to maturity! One has to be spiritually ALIVE in order for their spiritual life to be choked with the cares, worries, riches and pleasures of this life. This unfortunately happens to many Christians, who, although they remain church-goers, they BECOME thorny ground hearers – and so, end up bringing no fruit to maturity!

        And we know what happens to them who bear no fruit (John 15:1-8).

      10. TS00 – I always appreciate your humble honesty towards such issues and your desire to make all of Scripture fit together. I think the phrase that caught my attention was – “the salvation he once treasured.” I know the Scripture clearly talks about those who express faith, even preach and do miracles in Jesus name, whom Jesus “never knew”, meaning they were never saved. I think people like that might even believe strongly that they “did” all that was necessary to assure them of heaven, and they could have been seen by others as treasuring their salvation by how they talked and acted in the habits of Christianity that they had formed. There are many good emotional and social kickbacks for professing Christianity and fellowshipping with Christians, and one could feel for a while like they are “in”.

        But I do not think we will ever meet someone who leaves Christianity and takes a stand against it and stating Jesus is not the Son of God or Savior of the world, who will also say, “But I was once truly saved and on my way to heaven.” They will deny and probably say that whatever they had experienced was just a psychological delusion. So what right do we have to say their previous profession was a true one, and their apostate profession is a false one?

        I am satisfied to tell all whom I meet who profess to trust in Jesus for salvation, “Test yourselves to see if you are truly in the faith.” That includes you my friend! And I don’t mind you encouraging me the same way. I think there may be many that Jesus has not yet come to know as His because they are wrongly trusting in their baptism, or in their sinner’s prayer experience, and they think they are saved because of all the good feelings they have felt being with Christians and good habits they developed. I think the warning passages in Scriptures are for them. But I also tell them that once you are in Christ when you trust only in Him and in His immutable promises, you will always be saved, because that is what unconditional promises are. And a love for Him and other believers and a hatred for sin will be the main evidences of that salvation’s existence.

      11. On the whole, I tend to steer clear of official, orthodox theological explanations of salvation. I believe it is as simple as believing that God is, and that He is good. Once on that path, which will be unique for each individual, one is able to navigate his particular storms of life, secure in the knowledge of a good and powerful God who loves him and promises to care for him. That does not preclude trials, doubts and a lengthy journey of growing in knowledge, wisdom and faith – it simply initiates such a process, and provides the necessary faith, hope and strength to carry on.

      12. Brian, thanks for your kind words, and perhaps you are right. I, for one, cannot imagine ‘unknowing’ or ‘unbelieving’ in the truth and love of God, which I have so long tasted of. I have found that even in the direst situations, I find that one glimmer of hope to cling to, which is God and his promises.

        I am not sure this would remain true were I a Calvinist, which is why I choose to comment and encourage people to reevaluate their thinking. Were I to face some of the tragic situations people have endured in this world, and believed them to be from God’s mind and hand, rather than that of evil, God-hating individuals, I do not see how I could retain my hope.

      13. Amen. That’s why the promise that nothing can separate us in Christ from His love is so important when facing life’s trials.

      14. brianwagner writes, “How about the idea that I freely raised my hand because I believed in God’s unconditional promise to change my nature so that I would never put my hand down?…Thirst is what unbelievers do, and also hints to God’s universal prodding for people to seek salvation.”

        But not without faith. You freely raised your hand only after receiving faith. An unbeliever thirsts only after being drawn to Christ by God.

        The water that Jesus gives is probably a reference to faith.

      15. Roger… Look closely how you just clearly contradicted yourself. “An unbeliever thirsts after being drawn by God” you said, which drawing, I assume is your idea of regeneration and is receiving faith, which you think is “water that Jesus gives”.

        So how is he now a thirsting unbeliever “after” receiving the water which is faith?

      16. brianwagner writes, “Look closely how you just clearly contradicted yourself. “An unbeliever thirsts after being drawn by God” you said, which drawing, I assume is your idea of regeneration and is receiving faith, which you think is “water that Jesus gives”.
        So how is he now a thirsting unbeliever “after” receiving the water which is faith?”

        John 6 has, ““No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;…” When Jesus says, “No one can come to Me…” He means that no one in their natural state of unbelieving has a thirst for Christ. No one will thirst for Christ until God draws the person to Christ. We seemed to have agreed that God’s drawing encompasses many things and flow in an orderly progression and include such things as regeneration, hearing the Scripture, receiving faith, etc. An unbeliever thirsts only consequent to being drawn by God to Christ and that thirst is only satisfied by faith in Christ.

        In John 4, we read, “Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

        So, we have the unbeliever being drawn by God to Christ so that he thirsts for Christ. Jesus satisfies that thirst by giving the person water that becomes “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

        I don’t see a contradiction in my position.

      17. rhutchin
        When Jesus says, “a b c d e f g” He means [insert here – whatever affirmation of Calvinism I currently want him to say]

        Calvin’s god authorizes each Calvinists to re-write scripture anyway he wants!! :-]

      18. I think that’s true for the most part.
        But I have seen Calvinists quote verses – removing the original text – and replacing it with words the brain have been indoctrinated to see.

        And we also have evidences of Calvinist web-sites posturing as providing definitions for theological or philosophical words – with their own twisted definitions – trying too MASQUERADE their definitions as standard.

        Calvinism’s lack of honesty is very a very sad thing to watch!

      19. rhuthcin
        I don’t see a contradiction in my position.

        br.d
        Old John Calvin would role over in his grave – if one of his spiritual grand children broke his rule of refusing to acknowledge a contradiction! Its is forbidden!!! o_O

      20. Wow Roger, your cognitive dissonance is alarming! I hope you will look more closely at what you said.

      21. brianwagner writes, “I hope you will look more closely at what you said.”

        I’ll assume it is the order of the events I noted given that you seem unable to express yourself fully. I knew it the minute I sent it. It is through the preaching of the gospel that God draws unbelievers to Christ; that is why Jesus commanded, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” and that is why we send missionaries to all the world. It is the preaching of the gospel through which God regenerates the unbeliever and it is through the preaching of the gospel that faith comes, as Jesus said, ““If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

      22. Still missing it Roger. The unbeliever heard the gospel as an unbeliever, He understood the truth before deciding to believe it. He thirsts because of understanding the warning given for rejecting the gospel (though most would believe thirsting happens even before hearing the gospel.) He freely chooses to trust the promise which trust is the act of drinking the water offered.

        The water offered is the receiving of indwelling HS which gives at that moment regeneration, everlasting life, and taking away the thirst. You want the HS/regeneration to be received before that understanding, thirst, and faith are received. But saving grace is through faith not before it.

        I hope one day you will reject your loyalty to such unbiblical contradiction. I’m praying you will. I’ve nothing more to add.

      23. A person doesn’t drink water in order to quench his thirst – when he already has the water – and thus doesn’t have the thirst.

        But we know Calvinists are born TOTALLY DEPRAVED and not with the ability to think RATIONALLY.
        And Calvin’s god gives them the special gift of self-contradictions. :-]

      24. brianwagner writes, “The unbeliever heard the gospel as an unbeliever, He understood the truth before deciding to believe it.”

        An unbeliever must receive faith in Christ in order to believe the gospel (even if you equate faith to believe – even you say, “saving grace is through faith “). I don’t see any way around that. The necessity to have faith in Christ for salvation seems to be a point on which you want to disagree with the Calvinists but cannot.

        Then, “(though most would believe thirsting happens even before hearing the gospel.) ”

        Yes, consequent to the drawing by God accomplished through the preaching of the gospel.

        Then, “He freely chooses to trust the promise which trust is the act of drinking the water offered. ”

        Yes, because of faith ‘ saving grace is through faith.

        Then, “The water offered is the receiving of indwelling HS which gives at that moment regeneration, everlasting life, and taking away the thirst.”

        Paul affirms your point writing, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,…” This is affirmed in John 7. ““He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

        Jesus said in John 4, “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” Somewhat less clear, but I think your point is correct.

      25. rh writes:
        “An unbeliever must receive faith in Christ in order to believe the gospel (even if you equate faith to believe – even you say, “saving grace is through faith “). I don’t see any way around that. The necessity to have faith in Christ for salvation seems to be a point on which you want to disagree with the Calvinists but cannot.”

        It is actually easy to disagree with Calvinism on most things, including the point of receiving faith. The little sleight of hand rh attempts is to deflect from his obvious absurdity by appealing to scripture, which he knows any believer will affirm. Certainly no biblically informed believer would deny that one must have faith in Christ for salvation. Rh knows perfectly well that this is not the point of contention between he and Brian. The point is, what is this ‘faith’ that is affirmed by scriipture as the only thing necessary for salvation? From whence cometh it, and how and why? Rh attempts to duck these issues by pretending that he and Brian are affirming the same truths, which they most definitely are not.

        Non-Calvinists generally affirm that faith is something you do, not something you receive like Halloween candy. Calvinism attempts to turn faith into a noun, an object that can be doled out or received from on high. It is similar to the common misconception that learning means having knowledge poured into your head by some sovereign teacher. Rejecting this fallacy, we chose to school our kids at home so that they could actually learn how to learn, availing themselves of the ability to acquire whatever knowledge and skills they might need for the rest of their lives.

        Having faith or faithing, if you will, is believing, it is not something that someone waits to be given. Like learning, faithing is something we either do or don’t do; it is NOT something that is done or not done to us. Memorizing a script of information is not learning, it is simply rote memorization. The act of learning requires interaction, ownership of the responsibility of grappling with ideas and information and deciding what one believes is true.

        The same is true of faith. We must exercise our freedom to choose what we believe. Which is why – and it is the only reason why – God can justly punish those who refused to believe in his promises and provision. God makes his ‘godness’ visible throughout creation, but man can choose to believe this evidence or concoct a lie in place of the obvious truth. Going even further, God sent his Son to this world in the form of a human being, and gave evidence of his divine sending through great miracles, including his resurrection from the dead. And yet, each individual must decide whether or not to believe the evidence of his own eyes, in the case of those then living, or the stories that have long been told and corroborated since then. We can choose to believe that such a thing really happened, or we can choose to not believe it. Such belief or faith does not come from outside of an individual, it is a deeply personal, internal choice.

        Ah, but the Calvinist seeks to redefine the concept of faith, just as he must redefine the concepts of love, goodness, freedom and justice. ‘If God were just’, they will brashly claim, ‘He would destroy us all’. Which actually would not be just at all, under their doctrinal system, because, under their scenario, no being has never thought, desired or done anything other than what God ordained he should. No matter, the Calvinist weaves a vast web of nonsensical, self-contradicting words until it is impossible to figure out what he means, in hopes that no one will be able to pin him down to anything.

        How desperately the Calvinist must wist and bend himself into pretzel-like knots, trying to hide the contradictions and just plain lack of logic to his statements.Then the ol’ ploy of appealing to scripture – yes, the very scripture which affirms the opposite of Calvinism’s man-made doctrines – and pretending like that settles the matter. Just another day in the life of a defender of Calvinism, plotting and scheming to concoct word puzzles and semantic mazes to avoid acknowledging the absurdities and heinousness of his nasty little theology of a narcissitic, deceitful, abusive, maniacal god who cares about nothing but himself. Any decent person, with a whit of love for mankind or desire for justice and equity, would become an atheist if he actually believed Calvinism to be true. Many do.

      26. Does a robot’s brain have the ability to know anything?

        Or isn’t it true that the only brain that REALLY knows – is that brain which engineered and programmed the robot’s brain?

        How is the Calvinist brain any different – since it is 100% determined by an external mind?

        In order for a Calvinist’s brain to know something – would require Calvin’s god to MERELY PERMIT the Calvinist brain to know it.

        And MERE PERMISSION do not exist in the Calvinist’s world.

        So IXNAY on the Calvinist brain knowing anything. :-]

      27. YS00 writes, “It is actually easy to disagree with Calvinism on most things, including the point of receiving faith.”

        The issue is not how one receives faith – all agree that one receives faith from hearing the gospel – but the necessity of faith for salvation and therefore the necessity to hear the gospel for salvation. If people do not hear the gospel, they cannot receive faith and cannot be saved. Even you concede this point saying, “Certainly no biblically informed believer would deny that one must have faith in Christ for salvation.”

        Then, ‘the point of contention between he and Brian. The point is, what is this ‘faith’ that is affirmed by scripture as the only thing necessary for salvation?”

        All agree that “faith” is “faith in Christ and that faith in Christ comes from hearing the gospel. Even Brian, I think.

        Then, “Non-Calvinists generally affirm that faith is something you do, not something you receive like Halloween candy.”

        The biblically informed believer knows from Hebrews 11 that faith is assurance and conviction in Christ and this “faith” prompts the person to believe in Christ (i.e., to submit to Christ as Lord – something a person cannot do apart from the Holy Spirit)

        Then, “Calvinism attempts to turn faith into a noun,”

        The Greek text actually uses a noun that is translated as “faith.”

        Then, “The same is true of faith. We must exercise our freedom to choose what we believe. ”

        Without faith in Christ, a person, a person cannot choose salvation.

      28. rhutchin
        The issue is not how one receives faith

        br.d
        Here we have a wonderful example of Calvinist EQUIVOCATION!

        The CORE ISSUE is in fact how faith exists within one

        The Calvinist answer is:
        The existence of the faculty of faith is MONERGISTICALLY determined by Calvin’s god
        It is solely and exclusively UP TO Calvin’s god
        It is determined and infallibly set in stone – at a point in which people don’t exist.
        And people who don’t exist – don’t exist to have any say in the matter.

        The Non-Calvinist answer is
        People are born with the God given faculty of belief.
        And they are MERELY PERMITTED to exercise faith the way they determine to exercise it.

      29. br.d writes, “The Non-Calvinist answer is People are born with the God given faculty of belief.”

        Paul disagrees, writing, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” br.d knows that by faith, we mean faith in Christ. People are not born with faith in Christ and there is no other way to receive faith other than hearing the gospel.

      30. br.d
        The Non-Calvinist answer is People are born with the God given faculty of belief.

        rhutchin
        Paul disagrees, writing, “faith comes by hearing, …..etc

        br.d
        Nah!
        Paul doesn’t use deceptive word games to twist scripture.
        Its you who disagree :-]

        What we have here are SEMANTIC tricks – designed to make determinism APPEAR to line up with scripture.

        SOT101 readers are too smart to fall for that! :-]

      31. BR.D, “The Non-Calvinist answer is People are born with the God given faculty of belief.”

        RHUTCHIN: “Paul disagrees, writing, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” br.d knows that by faith, we mean faith in Christ. People are not born with faith in Christ and there is no other way to receive faith other than hearing the gospel.”

        AIDAN: Definition of the word “faculty” = “an inherent mental or physical power.” Similiar: (Capability, Capacity, Potential).

        So, based on the definition- The Non-Calvinist answer is People are given the inherent capability of belief, from birth. And you exercise this mental capacity in all walks of life. And when you hear the gospel, and truly listen, and weigh up the evidence, you can decide to exercise this God given mental capacity of belief. As the scripture says: “Faith comes by HEARING and hearing by the word of God.” Context shows that it’s faith in the gospel – NOT faith itself! And, no supernatural regeneration is needed for this to happen!

      32. You make a very good point, Aidan. What would this ‘faith in Christ’ gift look like, as per Calvinism? Does God implant something within their brains, or rewire some synapses, or what exactly happens when a man is given ‘faith in Christ’? I doubt very much the Calvinist can explain this well, as it is mere wild assertion, and wildly illogical at that. As has oft been pointed out, John Calvin himself acknowledged that the ‘gift’ of Eph 2:8 is salvation, not faith, and this is the single verse upon which their entire precarious notion hinges upon. It is an obvious attempt to shoehorn in a made up doctrine to prop up the rest of their system.

      33. TSOO
        Does [Calvin’s god] implant something within their brains, or rewire some synapses, or what exactly happens when a man is given ‘faith in Christ’? I doubt very much the Calvinist can explain this well”

        br.d
        I agree TSOO
        And from my observation – what they do is try to hide the core of the doctrine (Theological Determinism) behind a mask of some scripture verse.

        The strategy works twofold.
        First it hides the core underlying Gnostic/Neo-Platonic doctrine to keep it from being exposes.

        Secondly – it presents a MASK using some aspect of scripture as a COSMETIC.

        The good news is – it always ends up twisting the logic and language of scripture into a distorted pretzel.

        And that is why the Lord gave us the gift of SOT101! :-]

      34. TSOO: “As has oft been pointed out, John Calvin himself acknowledged that the ‘gift’ of Eph 2:8 is salvation, not faith,..”

        AIDAN: That is worth oft repeating! Although, I also think I’ve heard it said by some that the ‘gift’ was “the whole plan of salvation” which included ‘faith’ as part of that plan. These are Christians Paul is writing to; and the emphasis is on what God (by His grace) has done for them ‘in’ and ‘with’ Christ. And twice between v4-10, he says to them, “For by grace you have been saved”

        Ephesians 2:4-8 ESV
        “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,.”

        Verses 4 and 5 seem to be describing what happened in baptism (cf. Col. 2: 12,13).

      35. TS00 writes, “What would this ‘faith in Christ’ gift look like, as per Calvinism? Does God implant something within their brains, or rewire some synapses, or what exactly happens when a man is given ‘faith in Christ’?”

        From Hebrews 11, we know that faith involves assurance and conviction. How does it happen that a person considers the gospel to be foolishness one moment and then is convicted by it the next moment. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin, so, perhaps, the Holy Spirit is instrumental in determining whether an unbeliever is convicted by the gospel thereby producing faith while another unbeliever is not affected by the gospel.

      36. rhutchin
        Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin…….

        br.d
        Let’s see how compatiblist freedom works in this case.

        1) Creatures are granted FREEDOM to be/do/desire what is compatible with what Calvin’s god determined people to be/do/desire

        2) Creatures are NOT granted FREEDOM to be/do/desire what is NOT compatible with what Calvin’s god determined people to be/do/desire.

        CONCLUSION:
        Where Calvin’s god decrees people to sin – people are NOT FREE to NOT sin – because that freedom is not compatible with what Calvin’s god determined people to do.

      37. br.d writes, “Where Calvin’s god decrees people to sin – people are NOT FREE to NOT sin – because that freedom is not compatible with what Calvin’s god determined people to do.”

        God decreed that people be born without faith (in Christ) consequent to Adam’s sin. That faith could only be received by hearing the gospel. Without such faith, a person could only sin – he was a slave to sin and was not free to not sin. God understood all this when He created the universe.

      38. Speak for yourself! I was born free from sin, and free to not sin – just like Adam and Eve I was – until I sinned and became a slave of sin! Now put that in your pipe and smoke it!

      39. br.d
        Where Calvin’s god decrees people to sin – people are NOT FREE to NOT sin – because that freedom is not compatible with what Calvin’s god determined people to be/do/desire.

        rhutchin
        God decreed that people be born without faith (in Christ) consequent to Adam’s sin……

        br.d
        Thanking you for affirming!

        Thus Calvin’s god making Adam (and all people) NOT FREE to NOT sin – because that freedom is not compatible with what Calvin’s god determined Adam (and all people) to be/do/desire.

        rhutchin
        God understood all this when He created the universe.

        br.d
        INTERPRETATION
        Calvin’s god understood that he would create Adam (and all people) under Determinism/Compatibilism – where they would be NOT FREE to NOT commit the sins he designs them to commit.

        And since the existence of Determinism/Compatibilism mutually excludes Libertarian Freedom – it LOGICALLY follows – Libertarian Freedom in any form – at any time – is NEVER permitted by Calvin’s god to ever exist.

      40. God created beings who are born as infants, therefore they are born without faith in anything. Their first trust is usually in their mother, who feeds, cares for and meets their needs, but this is more of a ‘folk’ faith, based on experience rather than intellectual knowledge. Only as they grow and mature in stature and knowledge do people acquire the intellectual ability to put their faith in propositions that they begin to understand.

        Thus, whereas the initial sorts of faith, as in Mother, Father and the chair one sits on exist without intellectual consent, as the child matures he is able to ponder things more rationally. He begins to understand the difference between reality, such as a story about a day at the beach versus fairy tales, such as stories about monsters, fairies or Santa Claus. It is not that God inputs faith into the child’s brain with each new intellectual activity, but that he places his faith, by choice, in things as he grows in understanding.

        Some children may believe in Santa for a number of years. Most, as they mature, begin to reason that the stories demand things which are illogical and impossible, such as Santa flying through the sky with flying reindeer, and being able to deliver presents all over the world in a matter of hours. His faulty faith is not snatched away, but fades as his ability to reason grows.

        The same is true for man’s understanding of who God is and what he has said and done. Unless they have heard the message of the gospel, and understood it, they have little likelihood of putting their faith in God and his promises. However, upon hearing the Truth, such as when apostles like Paul presented and reasoned with men, people gained the information, knowledge and ability to make a reasonable decision to put their faith in God.

        It is entirely a man made theory that turns this natural, universal process into some magical ‘poof’ from God that turns a man into something he once was not. It is pure nonsense, and utterly antithetical to the entire message of scripture, and the entire human experience. But grab on to a few out of context verses, and twist them with all your might, and you can create any kind of story you wish.

      41. TSOO
        It is entirely a man made theory that turns this natural, universal process into some magical ‘poof’ from God that turns a man into something he once was not

        br.d
        Well said TSOO!
        The underlying core of the system the doctrine of the decrees – where whatsoever comes to pas is decreed to come to pass infallibly.
        All 100% determined prior to creation.

        And yet – the scripture – rather than putting portraying people as PREDESTINED for one end or the other – puts a supreme emphasis on faith.

        So how is the Calvinist doing to make a link between those two very different worlds?

        He has to manufacture some invention to incorporate faith into his system – in a way that is coherent with 100% of whatsoever comes to pass – infallibly decreed before people are born.

        So the invention the Calvinist came up with is declaring that people lack the human capacity of belief – which salvation in scripture is conditioned upon.

        So Calvin’s god has to specifically decree it come to pass – that a person have the normal human function of belief – necessary for salvation.

        And then they have to dig up verses in scripture – which they can wrestle into submission – in order to get people to swallow that camel.

      42. br.d writes, ‘So the invention the Calvinist came up with is declaring that people lack the human capacity of belief – which salvation in scripture is conditioned upon.”

        No. The Calvinist system says that no one is born with faith (in Christ) and such faith can only be received through hearing the gospel.

      43. That statement is so true but means something completely different to the Non-Calvinist.😌

      44. br.d
        The need is to somehow find something in scripture that can APPEAR as lining up with Determinism.

        So the invention the Calvinist came up with is declaring that people lack the human capacity of belief – which salvation in scripture is conditioned upon.”

        rhutchin
        No. The Calvinist system says that no one is born with faith (in Christ) and such faith can only be received through hearing the gospel.

        br.d
        I always get a kick out of you saying “NO” to my posts – while either agreeing with it – or side-stepping it altogether.

        What the Calvinist “says” – simply affirms the fact that Calvinism is a system of SEMANTIC masks. :-]

      45. Euphemism. What br.d stated is more clear and dastardly. Calvi-god deliberately creates men with an inability to do the only thing which can save them from death – believe in Christ.

        You can’t deny that. You’ve said it yourself, countless times. The Calvinist does not describe the lack of faith as a temporal state of immaturity, common to the undeveloped state of the human infant, but as a curse from Calvi-god. He has rendered all men unable to believe, because there are many he wishes to remain in their sin and die. That’s the unvarnished truth that Calvinists strive to gloss over with carefully parsed words.

        The hideous anti-gospel of Calvi no isms is that God so little loved the world that he deliberately withheld salvation from many. You want to say that brings Calvi-god glory, that’s your opinion.

        My opinion is that it makes him a monster, a demon, rather than the gracious, loving, self-sacrificing God of scripture, who genuinely desires that not a single man, woman or child should perish without making the personal, deliberate, knowing choice to reject his proffered love and grace.

      46. TS00
        Calvi no ism
        Calvin’s god so little loved the world that he deliberately withheld salvation from the many.

        br.d
        EXCELLENT!!!
        I’ve known for quite a while – that in Calvinism that concepts come in “Good-Evil” pairs.
        And every concept of “good” has its “evil” compliment.
        But I didn’t connect that fact with this verse.

        Very insightful TS00!

      47. TS00 writes, “Calvi-god deliberately creates men with an inability to do the only thing which can save them from death – believe in Christ. ”

        Jesus said, ““No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;” Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Then, “In Christ, you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,” Then, “we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren …because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

        It is only through the preaching of the gospel that people can receive the faith that can save them from death. Even today, there are many places in the world where the gospel is unknown and where people cannot be saved because of that. This is why both Calvinists and non-Calvinists send missionaries into the world to proclaim the gospel for without the proclaiming of the gospel, none can be saved.

      48. TS00
        Calvi-god deliberately creates men with an inability to do the only thing which can save them from death – believe in Christ.

        rhutchin
        Jesus said, ““No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;” ….

        br.d
        ITERPRETATION:
        Calvi-god deliberately creates men with an inability to [come to me] and deliberately does not draw them.

        rhutchin
        It is only through the preaching of the gospel that people can receive the faith …..

        br.d
        INTERPRETATION:
        Calvi-god deliberately creates men with an inability to [hear the gospel] and deliberately prevents the capacity to believe in Christ

        It all makes perfect sense
        When you realize Calvin’s god would be a house divided against itself
        If he in any way permitted those whom he deliberately created for eternal torment in a lake of fire
        To be/do otherwise.

        Declaring a worm responsible for putting himself on your fish-hook takes a lot of brains! :-]

      49. RHUTCHIN: “This is why both Calvinists and non-Calvinists send missionaries into the world to proclaim the gospel for without the proclaiming of the gospel, none can be saved.”

        AIDAN: From my perspective, I honestly don’t see us preaching the same gospel. Also, I would imagine that there’s a lot a Calvinist missionary doesn’t tell them when preaching to them. I would guess that the gospel they think they are believing in, and the God they think they are serving is most likely not what they thought. Again, I would imagine that they most likely have obeyed a non-Calvinist gospel, only later to be re-shaped to a Calvinist gospel. Well, at least the ones that stay are truly converted, right?!!

      50. Calvinist missionaries – what a joke!
        A Calvinist missionary field is all too often a non-Calvinist church they can creep into unawares – and deceptively take over the property.

        Dr. Nelson R. Price, Pastor Emeritus in Baptist Church of New Orleans Louisiana
        -quote
        My appeal to any Calvinist among Southern Baptist is to be open, honest, and above board.
        Don’t be subversive.
        Have the courage of your convictions – and in being considered by a church, acknowledge from the beginning exactly what you believe.

        Dr. Frank Page, pastor of First Baptist Church of Talors, South Carolina
        -quote
        We must have honesty about this issue. There are churches splitting across the convention because Calvinists ministers are coming in quietly trying to teach Calvinism or Reformed theology without telling church pastoral search committees where they stand.

      51. Good one!
        Or how about – the divine gift of deceitfulness.
        Jesus called it – robing widow’s houses.

      52. Exactly br.d – rotten apples don’t fall far from the rotten tree! Like father, like son!

      53. When we had the head of missions come to give a report at our former Calvinist Church, the entire report ended up being about how many seminaries and churches accepted Calvinist literature and books. Not about how many were saved, not about how many heard the gospel. We were embarrassed and dismayed at what this missions director had to say. Missions for this particular Calvinist denomination did not appear to have anything to do with anyone coming to Christ – only about institutions being open to Calvinist influence.

      54. Preaching Calvinism is not preaching Christ. And that’s precisely what they are doing where ever they go! This is their gospel, the good news they bring back home to the congregants – look how many we have converted to Calvinism. This Calvinism is not the gospel at all, it is full of lies – it is a lie! It’s not based on the truth about Christ, nor about the Holy Spirit, nor about who the Father is – it’s a complete lie. To the extent that something is not of the truth, it is not the gospel but a curse (Galatians 1:6-9). No lie has ever revealed the gospel, only the truth can do that. This reminds me of something Jesus said to the Pharisees, He said:

        “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (Mat. 23:15).

        Harsh as that may sound, it is the truth!

      55. John Calvin himself acknowledged that the ‘gift’ of Eph 2:8 is salvation, not faith, TS00 writes, ”

        You misunderstand Calvin

        Calvin writes, “But it is still more absurd to overlook the apostle’s inference, lest any man should boast. Some room must always remain for man’s boasting, so long as, independently of grace, merits are of any avail. Paul’s doctrine is overthrown, unless the whole praise is rendered to God alone and to his mercy. And here we must advert to a very common error in the interpretation of this passage. Many persons restrict the word gift to faith alone. But Paul is only repeating in other words the former sentiment. His meaning is, not that faith is the gift of God, but that salvation is given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift of God.”

        Note the last sentence, “His meaning s, not that faith is the gift of God, but that salvation is given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift of God.” What is the gift of God? Salvation is the gift of God in its entirety, and the gift of salvation is obtained by the gift of grace in concert with the gift of faith.

      56. rhutchin
        Calvin writes, “But it is still more absurd to overlook the apostle’s inference, lest any man should boast.”

        br.d
        Here Calvin is obeying his instructions – he gives to his disciples:
        -quote
        “Go about your office *AS-IF* nothing (in this case that Calvin would boast) is determined in any part.”

        Thus Calvin:
        1) Holds the proposition that all things are determined in every part as the most SACRED TRUTH
        2) Goes about his office *AS-IF* the most SACRED TRUTH is FALSE

        DOUBLE-THINK:
        Doublethink is a process of indoctrination whereby the subject is expected to accept a clearly false statement as the truth, or to simultaneously accept two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in contravention to one’s own memories or sense of reality.

      57. rhutchin
        Salvation is the gift of God in its entirety, and the gift of salvation is obtained by the gift of grace in concert with the gift of faith.

        br.d
        Along with the gift of a beating heart! :-]

      58. Aidan writes, “The Non-Calvinist answer is People are given the inherent capability of belief, from birth.”

        Yet, two people can hear the gospel preached and one will believe in Christ and the other will not. If both had a “God given faculty of belief,” why didn’t both believe? There is something more to faith than having a God given faculty of belief and hearing th gospel. What else do you think must happen before a person can have faith in Christ?

      59. I think the reason why you are having difficulty grasping this is, because your brain is conditioned to the idea that regeneration must occur for there to be faith. Or that both men were born totally depraved and therefore dead in respect of being able to respond to the gospel. And that their response has to be determined by an external influence. Instead, you need to get rid of these ideas and think in terms of people being ‘persuaded’ by the evidence the Holy Spirit presents – who have an appetite for the truth! People who are truly free, either to choose to believe or simply close their ears to it. Here’s a good passage to help you!

        Acts 28:
        23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. 24 Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. 25 And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26 saying,

        ‘Go to this people and say,
        “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
        And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
        27 For the heart of this people has become dull,
        And with their ears they scarcely hear,
        And they have closed their eyes;
        Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
        And hear with their ears,
        And understand with their heart and return,
        And I would heal them.”’

        28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”

        You can see that the choice to believe or not was totally theirs!

      60. Aiden writes:
        “You can see that the choice to believe or not was totally theirs!”

        As it always is. By definition, to believe something is a choice. You can believe in God, Santa Claus, aliens or the latest diet – or not. In every single case, putting your faith in something is an individual choice. Some, depending on their intelligence, character, habits, life experiences, etc., will evaluate the evidence carefully, do their own research, and strive with much anguish to reach the best decisions possible. Others will be easily persuaded by any prettily made case.

        But even many of these variables that effect our decisions stem from prior choices. Whereas you cannot choose many of the external factors of your life, you can choose how to deal with them. Each individual is responsible for his choices, according to his ability. Just as a loving parent will not hold a two year old accountable for something that would bring grave repercussions on a fifteen year old, God knows our frame and is patient with our ignorance,weaknesses and even immaturity. He deals with, and judges, each according to his all-knowing and merciful wisdom, which should give us great comfort.

        But in the long run, each individual chooses where he puts his faith; it does not arise from some external source.

      61. TSOO: “But in the long run, each individual chooses where he puts his faith; it does not arise from some external source.”

        AIDAN: Therefore, let everyone examine where his treasure is; “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

      62. Note how every utterance of Jesus concerning faith would be complete nonsense under the Calvinist redefinition of the word. ‘Oh ye of little faith’, which appears to be a reprimand of the doubter, would be turned into ‘Oh ye whom God gave so little faith’, which would, in effect, be reprimanding God as the withholder of faith, rather than the individual from whom faith was withheld.

        Or what about the several times Jesus stated to an individual whom he had healed that ‘Your faith has made you whole’? What could that possibly mean, under the Calvinist nonsensical idea that faith is something God must unilaterally give to men? It would make Jesus the sort of word juggler that Calvinists are, turning the meaning of his words into something like ‘God chose to heal you, thus he gave you faith so you could be made whole.’

        No one, not even any of the Calvinists I know, think that this was what Jesus meant. Rather, nearly every reader of scripture understands Jesus to be saying that the individual’s healing was dependent upon whether or not they believed in God’s love and in Jesus as God’s instrument of power to perform miracles. If an individual refused to believe this, they would not be healed. Notice that God’s grace and desire to heal was never lacking, nor was Jesus’ power to perform the miracle. All that was necessary for healing to take place was a man or woman’s belief (faith). Nowhere does Jesus suggest that God would withhold such faith from anyone, and give it to only a select few. Such a teaching would utterly denigrate the love, compassion and message of Jesus, as indeed, Calvinism does.

        Or take the instance in which Jesus marveled at the faith of the Centurian. Was Jesus marveling that God chose to grant such great faith to this man, or was he marveling that such a man, who had not the benefit of the Jewish history of knowing and experiencing the power of God, nonetheless perfectly trusted in his power? Few would suggest that Jesus was amazed that God gave this man so much faith; rather, most acknowledge that Jesus was commending this man, an outsider, for having more faith than many an Israelite.

        For that matter, the Calvinist definition of faith would turn the whole concept of Jesus’ miracles into nothing more than a meaningless sideshow. God caused men and women to be unhealthy, then he gifted them with faith so that he could then grant them health. There would be no message of the meaning and value of faith, simply an absurd, meaningless spectacle of God doing evil, then undoing it, while the poor, helpless victim was totally unable to either avoid or escape the suffering God stuck them with. Once again, we are faced with a God who cares nothing for people, but simply uses them to bring himself ‘glory’.

        Everything in life becomes meaningless spectacle under determinism, so it should be no surprise that faith must succumb to the same fate. How silly would be not only Jesus’ but also Paul’s many calls to faith if it was something the individual had no control over. For those whom God stingily refused to grant faith, all such calls become cruel mockery. This would turn the promise of salvation in response to faith into a false hope, or worse, as no man could possibly effect, in the slightest, whether or not he was gifted with faith or not.

        What a horrific, blasphemous perversion of God’s character, promises and works Calvinism perpetrates, which is why people who escape it’s entrapment become so active in condemning it.

      63. Very well spoken TSOO!
        I totally agree.
        The Calvinist has to twist scripture into a distorted pretzel in order to get it to make it conform to his world of square-circles.

        But alas – the Calvinist brain has been “Re-Formed” – to fit into a tiny little box – and it can’t think outside of that box.

        Years ago – I knew a brother who would say “Bless their tiny little pointed heads! :-]

      64. TS00 writes, “Nowhere does Jesus suggest that God would withhold such faith from anyone, and give it to only a select few.”

        John 12, “although Jesus had done so many signs before them, the Jewish people did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.”

      65. TS00
        Nowhere does Jesus suggest that God would withhold such faith from anyone, and give it to only a select few.”

        rhutchin
        He has blinded their eyes…….etc

        br.d
        FALLACY OF COMPOSITION:
        IRRATIONALLY thinking – that which is true of a member of a category – is true for the whole category.

        Example:
        Calvin’s god created rhutchin specifically for eternal torment in the lake of fire and deceived him to believe he is elect
        Therefore Calvin’s god creates all Calvinists specifically for eternal torment in the lake of fire, and deceives them to believe they are elect

      66. br.d: “FALLACY OF COMPOSITION:
        IRRATIONALLY thinking – that which is true of a member of a category – is true for the whole category.”

        In this case, Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes…” We will not get sidetracked if we understand that to which the term, “their,” refers as it defines the category noted by Isaiah and then we can cross walk this to those to whom Jesus was speaking when He quoted Isaiah..

      67. br.d:
        FALLACY OF COMPOSITION:
        IRRATIONALLY thinking – that which is true of a member of a category – is true for the whole category.”

        rhutchin
        In this case, Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes…” We will not get sidetracked if we understand that to which the term, “their,” refers as it defines the category noted by Isaiah and then we can cross walk this to those to whom Jesus was speaking when He quoted Isaiah..

        br.d
        Calvinist’s do love their SEMANTIC games!

        So the category in this case is those specific people who didn’t believe Jesus’ current miracles.
        And nothing in the text tells us that Jesus is speaking to every human being in existence.

        Thus the FALLACY OF COMPOSITION :-]

      68. br.d writes, ‘nothing in the text tells us that Jesus is speaking to every human being in existence.”

        No one claims it does. Context matters.

      69. br.d
        nothing in the text tells us that Jesus is speaking to every human being in existence.”

        rhutchin
        No one claims it does. Context matters.

        br.d
        Thus the Calvinist assertion that the “blinding” spoken about – pertains to every human being in existence – commits the FALLACY :-]

      70. br.d
        Thus the Calvinist assertion that the “blinding” spoken about – pertains to every human being in existence – commits the FALLACY :-]

        Aidan: Amen!

      71. I completely reject the notions many have that this suggests that God deliberately kept men from believing in Him. This I absolutely, permanently reject as contrary to who God is and the love he has demonstrated through Jesus. This is the same sort of nonsensical mistranslation/misinterpretation that leads to many odd deterministic claims. Sayings like ‘God hardened’, which is most likely an idiom that means ‘God allowed them to be hardened’, or ‘Jacob I have loved, and Esau I have hated’. Anyone who takes that simplistically is just plain ignorant, in my opinion, and does not grasp the fact that much is often lost in the translation of language if the translators are not extremely careful.

        Through this sort of misinterpretation and misunderstanding many so-called teachers defame the character and name of God. Read Barnes’ Notes on the Bible for a far better understanding that this was suggesting that the same sort of unbelief with which Isaiah’s pronouncements were met, happened again when the very Word came in the flesh and revealed the good news to men. This is one of the many misreadings that lead men to believe horrid things about God. No doubt others, along with Barnes, offer other alternative understandings of these verses.

        It is simply shameful to accept someone else’s translation – someone else telling you what different words might just maybe mean – when it denigrates God and conflicts with all that he has revealed of himself. I recall, even as a child, frequently thinking something along the lines of, ‘There is no way this means what these particular phrasings suggest’, and this understanding I firmly believe came from the Spirit of God who was instructing me. I cling to the opinion today, that if our ‘understanding’ of a particular scripture contradicts the clear revelation God has given to us of who he is, then we must hold that understanding loosely, and be ever on the look out for a better, fuller understanding. This is not, as the dogmatist asserts, ‘rejecting the clear teaching of scripture’, but rejecting a really bad translation by often biased translators whose personal beliefs could not help but show themselves in their work.

      72. It is interesting that Rh quotes from John 12. Had he quoted from Acts 28 it would have revealed that THEY were the cause of their unbelief, not God! They closed their eyes; refusing to be persuaded some would not believe!

        23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. 24 Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. 25 And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26 saying,

        ‘Go to this people and say,
        “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
        And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
        27 For the heart of this people has become dull,
        And with their ears they scarcely hear,
        And they have closed their eyes;
        Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
        And hear with their ears,
        And understand with their heart and return,
        And I would heal them.”’

        28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”

        Sometimes the best answer to persistent stubbornness is to give people what they want!

      73. RS00 writes, “I completely reject the notions many have that this suggests that God deliberately kept men from believing in Him.”

        Yet, we have Paul writing in Romans 9, “What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” after having already explained, “those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.”

        Jude writes, “I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ….These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”

      74. RS00 writes, “I completely reject the notions many have that this suggests that God deliberately kept men from believing in Him.”

        RHUTCHIN: “Yet, we have Paul writing in Romans 9, “What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” after having already explained, “those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.”

        AIDAN: The problem with Israel was willful ‘Unbelief’.

        Romans 10:1-4
        “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. 2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

        21 “But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

        Romans 11:19-23
        19 “You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.”

        Acts 28:23-29
        23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. 24 Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. 25 And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26 saying,

        ‘Go to this people and say,
        “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
        And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
        27 For the heart of this people has become dull,
        And with their ears they scarcely hear,
        And they have closed their eyes;
        Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
        And hear with their ears,
        And understand with their heart and return,
        And I would heal them.”’

        28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” 29 [When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.]

        God was not trying to keep them from believing, He was trying to save them!

  5. Good article! The odd thing is … Calvinists actually think their rambling, round-about nonsense solves the conundrum, that it actually absolves Calvi-god of being the cause of evil when it does nothing of the sort. All it does is kick the can down the road.

  6. Remember what Henry Ford said (must have been a Calvinist!)…

    “You can have this Model T car in aaaaany color you want…. as long as it’s black.”

  7. Eric:
    Thanks for the good reminder that Reformed Calvinist Determinists feel compelled to come to God’s rescue.

    They plaster Him with rhetorical praise, allegedly elevating Him higher than us other mere mortals do….. only to find themselves painted into a corner.

    MacArthur tries to wiggle himself out:

    “Why would anyone prefer a God trying to get control of evil rather than a God completely in control of it? It’s heresy to say the world is full of evil apart from a predetermined plan and purpose of God.”

    Yum!

    ps. Sin boldly!

  8. Please read this 2020 article by MacArthur in his own words….

    https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170117

    He makes several jumps in logic (biblically and philosophically). Just insists that verses mean what they dont even say!

    He insists that God decides it all and weaves incessantly in and out of “permit-land”.

    “…God permits evil to exist—not merely with an unwilling acceptance. Evil was part of His plan and eternal decree. He has a purpose in it, and it’s a good purpose.”

    Man, I could read that “Good News” all day!

    1. Calvinist language is a coded language.
      To understand what the Calvinist is actually saying – simply requires de-coding his language

      MacArthur
      -quote
      God permits evil to exist

      br.d
      DECODED:
      Calvin’s god permits ONLY what he CAUSES.
      Nothing more and nothing less is permitted.

      MacArthur
      -quote
      —not merely with an unwilling acceptance.

      br.d
      DECODED:
      Calvin’s god accepts (i.e, permits) NOTHING but what he willingly AUTHORS and CAUSES

      MacArthur
      -quote
      Evil was part of His plan and eternal decree.

      br.d
      DECODED:
      Decreeing Evil represents the preponderance of Calvin’s god’s plan

      MacArthur
      -quote
      He has a purpose in it, and it’s a good purpose.”

      br.d
      DECODED:
      Calvin’s god is the AUTHOR of all Evil for a good purpose

      1. It’s not like Calvinists want to be double talkers, it’s just that it cannot be avoided. On the one hand, they want to defend scripture, which they claim as their sole source and guide, and, on the other hand, they are determined (no pun intended) to defend their theological system. Since the one contradicts the other, they are left perpetually see-sawing back and forth, hoping that others do not notice the contradictions in their various comments.

        You and I both have often referenced Dan Gracely’s comparing of this to riding a rocking horse, bouncing back and forth and thinking you are actually getting somewhere, when, in reality, you are just in perpetual motion while remaining firmly in the middle of confusion. This is the Calvinist’s inevitable lot, if they even realize the difference between what scripture describes and what their favorite teachers proclaim. Many of them are deceived by the rocking horse proclamations of their teachers, like MacArthur, and do not allow themselves to notice the disturbing lack of logic.

      2. TSOO
        Deceived by the rocking horse proclamations of their teachers, like MacArthur, and do not allow themselves to notice the disturbing lack of logic.

        br.d
        Yes – absolutely right TSOO!

        Which Dr. Ravi Zacharias and Dr. William Lane Craig – and many others – enunciate as simply a consequence of determinism.

        The Natural Determinist (for example Stephen Hawkings) who states that in order to have a sense of normalcy in his life he must go about *AS-IF* determinism is false.

        The Theological Determinist (for example John Calvin) who instructs his disciples to -quote “Go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part”

        They are both faced with the same exact dilemma – and they both resolve it the same exact way – by DOUBLE-THINK.

        However, the Natural Determinist is more intellectually honest about it – as he acknowledges his dilemma and his answer to it.
        The Calvinist can’t allow himself to acknowledge the dilemma – because if he did – he becomes a salesman with a product no one wants to buy.

        So what we find – with RH for example – is DOUBLE-SPEAK statement – followed by another.
        Currently he wants to say Libertarian Freedom exists and yet doesn’t exist at the same time
        All part of the DOUBLE-THINK

        He tries to convince himself that he doesn’t follow Calvin’s instructions to go about *AS-IF* determinism is FALSE.
        While 99% of his posts represent 1001 ways to make determinism appear IN-deterministic!

        I think its either a powerful case of denial with some subconscious awareness
        Or its a powerful case of self-deception.

      3. “I think its either a powerful case of denial with some subconscious awareness
        Or its a powerful case of self-deception.”

        Are they not one and the same? We become deceived, eventually beyond hope of return, every time we exchange the truth for a lie. One little lie at a time, we end up with an enormous false kingdom built upon the fabrications we now view as reality. Take a look at our world, and you will see this displayed repeatedly. We now live in a world in which believing or proclaiming the truth is a crime, while positing the most absurd lies is completely acceptable. It has become nearly intolerable.

  9. TELLTALE SIGNS OF AN IRRATIONAL SELF-CONTRADICTING BELIEF SYSTEM

    Telltale signs most predominantly appear within that belief system’s language patterns

    Example 1:
    1) All stars are spheres of plasma floating in space.

    2) Jim Carry is a star

    CONCLUSION:
    Jim Carry is a sphere of plasma floating in space

    The underlying fallacy in this thinking pattern – can be seen as a form of *AS-IF* thinking.
    The word star in the 2nd premise is being treated *AS-IF* it has the same meaning as the word star in the 1st premise.

    Example 2:
    1) In Calvinism – before creatures exist – Calvin’s god solely and exclusively determines 100% of whatsoever comes to pass – leaving ZERO% left over undetermined. Which therefore mathematically leaves ZERO% left over for anyone else to determine.

    2) In Calvinism humans are self-determining.

    Here again, the underlying fallacy is *AS-IF* thinking.

    The term “self-determining” in the 2nd premise is being treated *AS-IF* it has the same meaning as the term “determines” in the 1st premise.

    In logic, the law of non-contradiction states that contradictory propositions cannot both be true in the same *sense* at the same time, e. g. the two propositions “A is B” and “A is not B” are mutually exclusive.

    So a way of hiding a contradiction is to present a word that APPEARS to have the same *sense* but really doesn’t

    BELIEF SYSTEMS DO NOT ENTAIL RATIONAL THINKING:
    A belief system is something that is personal for each individual. The degree to which an individual’s belief system is rational and non-contradicting, will be proportionate to the degree to which that individual’s thinking is rational and non-contradicting.

    An individual may adopt a belief system that is inherently irrational and self-contradicting. And that individual may have an urgency to present his belief system an as positive light as possible, in order to defend and promote it.

    Recipients who observe contradictions in his belief system will be naturally inclined to find his system unpalatable.
    So, this individual, in order to continue to defend and promote his system, may develop strategies to hide its irrational and contradicting premises.

    STRATEGIES FOR PROMOTING AN IRRATIONAL CONTRADICTING BELIEF SYSTEM
    Strategies for promoting an irrational and self-contradicting belief system include a reliance upon statements which masquerade as rational, by selecting words that are common within rational language, in order to produce a pretense of sophisticated plausibility.

    Such statements require a highly inventive mind, because they entail the practice of crafting arguments designed to appear plausible while hiding underlying contradictions.

    So, one telltale sign to look for, is a person who consistently has the ability to manufacture an unending stream of ad hoc inventions.

    However, this person under scrutiny, is eventually going to get caught in contradictions. So another telltale sign to look for is a person who can’t allow himself to acknowledge contradictions – because by doing he disqualifies himself. He must continue to present a FACADE of coherent dialog, and a FACADE of credibility.

    As we have shown above, a sure telltale sign of an irrational belief system is the use of equivocal statements. Equivocal statements are designed to make something APPEAR to be something it really isn’t. Words are used with deceptive meanings designed to trick you by APPEARING as having a meaning they don’t actually have.

    A telltale sign of equivocal language – are statements that are crafted where the wording of the statement is abnormal. This is an indicator that word meanings are being twisted – and the normal framing of these words cannot be used to produce the equivocation.
    This is why we see some beliefs systems incorporate their own form of jargon. Jargon statements are used to present words in such a way as to cloak deceptive meanings. At all costs the belief system must APPEAR credible and plausible.

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