Do You Know Balthasar Hubmaier?

This post was originally published on 3 May 2016. 

Balthasar Hubmaier (1480-1528) was a thoughtful opponent to the doctrine of the bondage of the will and of predestination that was prevalent in thought of Luther, Zwingli and the Magisterial Reformers.

For Hubmaier, the liberation of the will is the work of God through the preaching of the gospel, “Through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, it is liberated from its bondage to sin through the new birth.” (Schriften, p. 322).  Through the gospel God takes the initiative in drawing men to himself.  As the gospel is proclaimed, God’s Spirit convicts human hearts and leads them to confess Christ.  While God takes the initiative, he does not make the decision for man.  By His “attracting, drawing will” . . . God “wills and draws all men unto salvation.  Yet choice is still left to man, since God wants him without pressure, unconstrained, under no compulsion.” (Spiritual and Anabaptist Writers, p. 135)

Hubmaier’s distaste for the doctrine of predestination is unconcealed.  He wrote, “It were a false God who should say words, “Come here,” and yet in secret in his heart should think, “Sit yonder.”  It would be an unfaithful God who should publicly offer grace to man, and should clothe him in new raiment, yet in secret take it away from him and prepare hell for him.” (Vedder, Balthasar Hubmaier, p. 197.)

via Dr. Bruce Prescott, at MainStreamBaptists.org

You Need to Know Balthasar Hubmaier

by Pastor Brandon Cox

Baptists sometimes miss out on great ancient resources found in some great theologians and leaders of the past who probably impacted our theology as much or more than the Reformers, but the Reformers get all the kudos.

Take, for example, Balthasar Hubmaier, an early anabaptist leader. (It’s not capitalized because the word “anabaptist” was never a particular sect or denomination, but rather a term loosely applied to those who “re-baptized” those who had already been baptized as infants. They were also called “radical reformers” and many lived and died martyr’s deaths before Luther and Calvin walked the earth. But I digress…)

Hubmaier was heavily influenced by Erasmus and other Swiss leaders early on, but soon found plenty of platforms upon which to debate, particularly on the issue of believer’s baptism. Hubmaier had the gaul to assert that people should be baptized as responsible adults who were making the decision to follow Christ on their own, and that such baptism should be by immersion, and further that such baptism accomplished no particular saving work but was rather an act of obedience to Christ. In Hubmaier’s own words…

Baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is when a man first confesses his sins, and pleads guilty; then believes in the forgiveness of his sins through Jesus Christ, and turns to live according to the rule of Christ, by the grace and strength given him from God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The he professes this publicly, in the eyes of men, by the outward baptism of water. He is then truly baptized, even if the baptizer did not speak these words over him. – via Hubmaier “The Christian Baptism of Believers.” In The Writings of Balthasar Hubmaier, by Davidson, 128.

What really catches my attention most in Hubmaier’s writings is his assertion that religious heretics probably shouldn’t be burned at the stake, be-headed, thrown in the stocks, or otherwise tortured, maimed or killed by the church, or by the state, or by the church-run state, or state-run church (it all gets so convoluted since Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and many other “reformers” who left Catholicism continued to rely on state powers for the prosecution of heretics).

And on the issue of sola scriptura, Hubmaier again pushed a crazy agenda – that the Bible alone should be the authority in regards to God’s pattern for the church and for the individual believer’s life. He often used nothing but Scripture in his debates with leaders who relied as much on the writings of church leaders and fathers as they did on the inspired testaments.

Hubmaier was a pacifist, but not entirely so. Though he opposed war, he did recognize the allowance that Scripture made for military defense, but clarified that this power rested in government alone and never in the church, and further that military might should never be a means of imperialism, even in the name of “converting the heathen to Christianity.”

Hubmaier wasn’t perfect in his theology by any means, ever-clinging to his belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary and a few other odd details, but on the whole, he looked like a modern-day Baptist.

His death was, like so many others, a sad testament to a portion of Christian history that we may as well be brutally honest about. He was killed by Christian leaders in Austria because of his beliefs about baptism and because he baptized Zwinglian adults who converted to his teachings. Yep. Jesus is perfect, but His bride can have a nasty side. As Patheos bloggers Fred Sanders writes,

Balthasar Hubmaier (born around 1480) was martyred on March 10, 1528. Hubmaier was trained in Roman Catholic theology on the eve of the Reformation, earning a doctorate with the Johann Eck who would later be on the front line of attacking Luther. He became convinced of Protestant doctrines and allied himself with the Zwinglians at Zurich. As he continued his studies, he became convinced that water baptism is for adult believers, not babies.

It’s hard to remember how radical this view, believer’s baptism, was considered to be back in the sixteenth century. If you became “baptist,” you were considered not just doctrinally wrong or unpopular, but a positive danger to the foundations of civic order in Christendom: an enemy of the state. The Roman Catholic church and the Protestant churches agreed that you should repent or die; the best you could hope for was exile from established civilization. Hubmaier himself had the distinction of being imprisoned and tortured in Zwingli’s Zurich as well as in Catholic Vienna.

When placed on trial, Hubmaier prepared a careful statement that emphasized the common beliefs held by all Christians. But he was burned at the stake for the handful of points that deviated from the consensus of the day. – via Fred Sanders’ Patheos blog

So many of my Baptist friends claim that our traditions must be rooted in the Reformation or else we have no roots at all. To this I would say, first of all, that what matters most is our doctrinal, practical, and missional alignment with the church as it is found in the New Testament, even if nineteen hundred hears of total heresy had to be skipped. But I would also say, read up on the radical reformers and the anabaptists of six hundred-ish years ago and I think you’ll find some fathers with whom you identify well.

[Originally posted HERE by Brandon Cox]

91 thoughts on “Do You Know Balthasar Hubmaier?

    1. I remember perusing your thesis as I was writing a paper on Hubmeier and his view of free will in my Baptist Heritage class at SWBTS.

  1. I wrote a paper on Hubmeier and his view of free will during the debates that were ongoing between Luther and Erasmus. An excerpt from that paper:

    For Hubmaier, the debate was more than a mere intellectual, philosophical, or even theological exercise. The debate had practical consequences. The writings of Luther on the subject had reached Nikolsburg, and the results were not good. After hearing that man’s works had no merit in God’s eyes, and that He alone was the sole cause of man’s actions, many had begun neglecting doing good works, such as fasting, being charitable, and praying among others. Many were also blaming God for their sins. They had fallen into the trap Erasmus had warned existed in denying the freedom of the will. Thus Hubmaier’s concern can be seen as pastoral in nature; he thought that believers should accept responsibility for their actions and strive to live a holy life….

    The basis for Hubmaier’s argument is an understanding that man is composed of three parts: flesh, soul, and spirit. Each of these parts has its own will. Before the fall of man, all were good. After the fall of man, the flesh lost its freedom, and “is not able or capable of anything other than sin, striving against God and being the enemy of his commandments.” The soul was wounded in the fall, such that it cannot choose to do anything good, nor can it refuse to do anything evil “since it has lost the knowledge of good and evil.” The spirit of man has “remained upright, whole, and good,” trapped like a prisoner because of the guilt of the flesh and the soul. Nothing can be done with the flesh, except to let death take its course. The soul, however, is not beyond repair.

    After one is saved, the soul knows once again what is good and evil, thanks to the word of God and the instruction of the Holy Spirit, and stands between the flesh, still worthless, and the spirit. The question arises as to how this restoration occurs. Hubmaier asserts that this is affected through the Word of God. While he is not clear as to the point by point process of this, he implies that when a person hears the word, that person is then able to freely choose, first to believe and second to obey.

  2. ERICFUTRELL writes, “… when a person hears the word, that person is then able to freely choose, first to believe and second to obey.”

    It is here that discussion begins. Everyone agrees that it is the hearing of the word that conveys faith and by this faith a person comes to believe and then to obey.

    Why then doesn’t everyone who hears the word come to believe and obey? If all receive faith on hearing the word, why isn’t that faith effective for all (irresistible as the Calvinists say)? The Calvinists explored those questions and developed their theology. Non-Calvinists don’t like the answers to those questions but don’t have other answers, so they just complain about Calvinists.

    1. Who said everyone receives faith on hearing the word?

      Hubmaier was pointing out that when the word is preached, people are able to freely respond, either with faith followed by obedience or with rejection and continuing in disobedience. Who of us knows all the reasons someone might choose to reject the good news of Jesus Christ. Self-loathing, blinded by the enemy, thinking it too easy, works based salvation, poor experiences with Christians in the past.

      The Anabaptists didn’t dwell on understanding how grace worked or was extended; their main focus was on discipleship. Share the good news and then teach and train new believers how to live the Christian life. Delving into such philosophical speculations goes well beyond the pages of Scripture, and since the Anabaptists were committed to Scripture alone, they focused on what Scripture plainly said and acted on that.

      1. ericfutrell writes, “Who said everyone receives faith on hearing the word?”

        Exactly the point raised by the Calvinists. Faith comes by hearing the word, but everyone who hears the word does not receive faith. What’s happening? Calvinists concluded that God is involved by choosing whom to give faith and whom to deny. No one has come up with a more plausible explanation.

        Then, “Hubmaier was pointing out that when the word is preached, people are able to freely respond, either with faith followed by obedience or with rejection and continuing in disobedience.”

        I think he had it correct in concluding “either with faith followed by obedience.” Paul tell us in Romans 8 that the unsaved cannot please God, and from Hebrews 11, we know that one must have faith to please God. The word is the means that God uses to convey faith to people. The unsaved are, in their natural state, always rejecting God. To be able to respond freely to God – to believe and obey – requires that a person be given faith. Without faith, a person continues as he always has – rejecting the gospel. With faith, a person believes and obeys. We see the hand of God in some people being given faith while others are not.

        Then, “Delving into such philosophical speculations goes well beyond the pages of Scripture, and since the Anabaptists were committed to Scripture alone, they focused on what Scripture plainly said and acted on that.”

        The Calvinists looked at the Scriptures to sort out the radically opposite reactions of people to the gospel. Only the Scriptures could explain this, and that explanation was that it had nothing to do with people themselves – salvation of all of grace.

      2. RHutchin writes: “Exactly the point raised by the Calvinists. Faith comes by hearing the word, but everyone who hears the word does not receive faith. What’s happening? Calvinists concluded that God is involved by choosing whom to give faith and whom to deny. No one has come up with a more plausible explanation.”

        If you are referring to Romans 10:17, there is no verb in that verse; the verb is understood. When that’s the case, “is” might best be inserted there. And this whole verse is a summary, or conclusion based on what’s previously been presented. That’s why it starts off with the Greek word “ara.” Paul essentially is saying that faith can only be exercised by hearing (I’m taking the ek as a preposition of means), and this hearing (sense of hearing) by (dia as means as well) the word of Christ (concerning Christ, about Christ) – the good news – the gospel.
        Let me rephrase: Paul talks about the need to call on God for salvation. Then he talks about how in order to call on God, they need to believe, and to believe they need to hear, and to hear someone has to preach, and the preacher needs to be sent. As he is talking about Israel here (and why they are not coming to salvation), he then states that they didn’t all obey the good news. In verse 17 he reiterates that to exercise faith one needs to hear the gospel. He goes on to say that they have heard and they knew what to do, they just still disobeyed. They did not exercise faith but rejection.
        As to no one coming up with a more plausible explanation…I’m afraid that one is on you. Other have been convinced of the alternative that the non-Calvinist, non-Arminian has presented. The choice, as I see it, is whether you choose to believe or not. In your system, I guess you really don’t have a choice.

        RHutchin says: “The word is the means that God uses to convey faith to people. The unsaved are, in their natural state, always rejecting God. To be able to respond freely to God – to believe and obey – requires that a person be given faith. Without faith, a person continues as he always has – rejecting the gospel. With faith, a person believes and obeys. We see the hand of God in some people being given faith while others are not.”

        Here we are going to disagree. I don’t see faith as being conveyed by the word of God. I see the word of God as presenting the choice: believe (exercise faith – same word in Greek) or reject. If we never heed the word of God, we will continue in rejection. But we have been given the freedom to exercise faith. (Now I know you have a different presupposition and that to continue this discussion would be to argue in circles around each other. I know I won’t convince you, and I know you won’t convince me). When you say with faith a person believes and obeys, I think that you are being redundant. Faith and belief are the same word in Greek. With belief, a person believes. With faith, a person exercises faith. Nowhere does Scripture put it that way, I don’t recall off the top of my head (though I could be misremembering, and if I am, gladly present the reference). What Scripture does say is that with faith a person calls on the name of the Lord. In order to exercise that faith, they first need to hear the good news. It’s not that hearing the gospel brings faith, but an opportunity to exercise faith. Otherwise, there is nothing on which to believe (with salvation as a result).

        RHutchin writes: “The Calvinists looked at the Scriptures to sort out the radically opposite reactions of people to the gospel. Only the Scriptures could explain this, and that explanation was that it had nothing to do with people themselves – salvation of all of grace.”

        And so they Calvinists go beyond Scripture and make a conclusion that Scripture never openly presents – that people are predetermined and chosen for salvation.
        I will agree with you that salvation is not of ourselves. Scripture does make that clear. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:18) This verse points out the fact that salvation is indeed of God. God graciously grants salvation to those who believe. (Contrary to the interpretation that “that not of yourselves” refers to faith; “that” is referring back to “you have been saved.”

        With this last bit in mind, I thank you, my brother in Christ, for the conversation, but I must be about church stuff and sermon preparation. I’ll try to respond if I can, but if not, may God bless you richly and may you find yourself in His will at all times.

      3. ericfutrell writes, “If you are referring to Romans 10:17, there is no verb in that verse; the verb is understood. When that’s the case, “is” might best be inserted there….In verse 17 he reiterates that to exercise faith one needs to hear the gospel.”

        Romans 10:17 has: ‘…pistis ex akoas…” loosely translated as “faith out of hearing.” One issue is whether a person is born with a dead faith that is awakened by the preaching of the gospel or people are born without faith and faith is conveyed to the person by the preaching of the gospel. Your position is that people are born with faith that is then awakened by the gospel and that “we have been given the freedom to exercise faith.” Where does that freedom come from – is it also innate to the unsaved or also enabled by the gospel?

        What do we read of Israel in v18-19: Did Israel not hear? Of course, they did. Did Israel, not understand? Of course they did. What’s the problem? – “Israel is a disobedient and obstinate people.” This leads to Paul’s question opening Chap 11, “Did God reject his people?” Under your system, Paul should have asked, “Why did Israel reject God?” However, we have a Calvinist question, “Why did God reject Israel?” The answer, “God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew…there is a remnant chosen by grace.”

        You write, “It’s not that hearing the gospel brings faith, but an opportunity to exercise faith.” That is a thoroughly Pelagian concept (which is OK if that is what you believe; I just don’t buy into it). When the gospel is preached, we expect to see all who hear the gospel then exercising faith. Your position is that people are enabled to exercise their faith through the preaching of the gospel and then turn around and refuse to exercise their faith to believe and thereby reject salvation.

        You have created a system where the preaching of the gospel enables a person to exercise faith unto belief and that people have freedom to exercise faith. That supposedly explains how people reject salvation. In your system, Israel, having heard and understood the gospel, refuses to exercise faith unto belief – Israel freely chooses to reject God. However, Paul asks, in the face of Israel’s rejection of salvation, “Did God reject his people?” Further Paul says, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.” Paul says nothing about the things you put forward to explain Israel’s rejection.

        So, we have a choice: Believe what you claim or believe what Paul tells us.

      4. RHutchin: writes: Romans 10:17 has: ‘…pistis ex akoas…” loosely translated as “faith out of hearing.” One issue is whether a person is born with a dead faith that is awakened by the preaching of the gospel or people are born without faith and faith is conveyed to the person by the preaching of the gospel. Your position is that people are born with faith that is then awakened by the gospel and that “we have been given the freedom to exercise faith.” Where does that freedom come from – is it also innate to the unsaved or also enabled by the gospel?

        My position is that people are born with the ability to exercise faith. I do not believe that man lost the ability to choose in the Fall. I do believe that this is part of us being made in the image of God. However, that image in us was marred by the Fall (not done away with as some say – point out where Scripture says that). And when it comes to sin, as the BFM says, as soon as we’re able to make a moral decision, we will sin. But that doesn’t mean that we have lost the ability to make a choice. But until presented with the gospel, we don’t have the opportunity to exercise faith for salvation. Man cannot save himself. God took the first step. God initiated it. We just have to respond. And if we truly don’t have the ability to make the decision to receive salvation through Jesus re reject the gospel offer, then it wasn’t a good offer. It makes God out to be a liar.

        RHutchin writes: What do we read of Israel in v18-19: Did Israel not hear? Of course, they did. Did Israel, not understand? Of course they did. What’s the problem? – “Israel is a disobedient and obstinate people.” This leads to Paul’s question opening Chap 11, “Did God reject his people?” Under your system, Paul should have asked, “Why did Israel reject God?” However, we have a Calvinist question, “Why did God reject Israel?” The answer, “God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew…there is a remnant chosen by grace.”

        Actually, God has every right to reject His people for rejecting Him. In Deuteronomy, He consistently tells His people that He sets before them life and death, blessing and cursing. All based on their obedience or disobedience. However, God is patient and merciful, and, yes, gracious. He could have wiped His people out and started over (He even talks about this with Moses, and Moses intercedes on behalf of the people). Paul’s concern in Romans is not why they rejected God; he’s already talked about sin and how we have all sinned. His concern in asking this question is to address why it seems that God is now focusing on the Gentiles instead of continuing to work among the Jews to bring them to salvation. Has God abandoned them because of their disobedience, despite His promises to them? “No!” Paul answers.

        RHutchin writes: You write, “It’s not that hearing the gospel brings faith, but an opportunity to exercise faith.” That is a thoroughly Pelagian concept (which is OK if that is what you believe; I just don’t buy into it). When the gospel is preached, we expect to see all who hear the gospel then exercising faith. Your position is that people are enabled to exercise their faith through the preaching of the gospel and then turn around and refuse to exercise their faith to believe and thereby reject salvation.

        I think you apply the Pelagian bogeyman here. Pelagian essentially taught that man can save himself, that he could keep from sin, and essentially attain perfection. I whole-heartedly reject that theology. Why do you expect to see all who hear the gospel exercising faith? You’re right when we say that my “position is that people are enabled to exercise faith through the preaching of the gospel and then turn around and refuse to exercise their faith to believe and thereby reject salvation.” If this is not the case and God has predetermined who He is going to save and reject, then God is a monster who is not acting according to the character that He reveals in Scripture. If we don’t have the opportunity and ability to respond, then we are nothing but preprogrammed robots, and God a puppeteer who is the author of sin. This is the logical conclusion of a deterministic system.

        RHutchin writes: You have created a system where the preaching of the gospel enables a person to exercise faith unto belief and that people have freedom to exercise faith. That supposedly explains how people reject salvation. In your system, Israel, having heard and understood the gospel, refuses to exercise faith unto belief – Israel freely chooses to reject God. However, Paul asks, in the face of Israel’s rejection of salvation, “Did God reject his people?” Further Paul says, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.” Paul says nothing about the things you put forward to explain Israel’s rejection.

        For this: see above, and look up judicial hardening. I believe Leighton talks about that here on this sight, or listen to his podcasts on the issue. As to Paul saying nothing about this: Romans 10:21 – “But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” Here we see Israel’s consistent rejection of God, and we see God’s mercy and grace.

        RHutching writes: So, we have a choice: Believe what you claim or believe what Paul tells us.

        You set me up as counter to Paul. I don’t believe that I am. I believe your system reads too much into Scripture, pulling in philosophical arguments that go beyond the word of God to explain things that Scripture sometimes doesn’t explain. Me, I’d rather go with the text in its context (paragraph, chapter, book, history, culture, linguistics, etc).

        It comes down to this: If we are told to believe, that means that we can believe. If the offer is genuine, then we can accept it. I don’t fall into the category that says that man is completely and utterly unable to respond (dead in the context of sin points to our separation from God and our inability to save ourselves – our need for a Redeemer, Savior, Life-giver).

      5. ericfutrell writes, “Man cannot save himself. God took the first step. God initiated it. We just have to respond.”

        This describes the synergism that is basic Pelagianism and found notably in Roman Catholicism. You describe Pelagianism to have, “essentially taught that man can save himself, that he could keep from sin, and essentially attain perfection.” That, however, ignores the focus on free will that provides the foundation for those things. The “semi-Pelagians” kept the free will part while denying the rest as you do. However, Pelagianism is all about free will and a synergistic approach to salvation. So, if you are all about free will and the idea that “We just have to respond,” then there is not that must to distinguish you from Pelagianism. It’s just a label. Calvinism is a label for those who are monergists and deny that the unsaved can freely choose salvation until regenerated. The labels identify the two sides of the issue. I have yet to see anyone distance themselves from one or the other although some make attempts to do so as you did – the test is whether one embraces free will and a synergistic approach to salvation.

        Then, “And if we truly don’t have the ability to make the decision to receive salvation through Jesus re reject the gospel offer, then it wasn’t a good offer. It makes God out to be a liar.”

        You express the essence of Pelagian thought. The Arminians recognized the problem, so they added that God had to extend prevenient grace to an unsaved person to enable the person to make a decision. Of course, they had God extend grace to all and some Arminians say it happens at birth. So Arminianism reduces to Pelagianism. The goal is to preserve free will as you seem to want to do.

        The difficulty is that the combination of a “good offer” and “free will” should be that all accept salvation. If not, then there must be a basis for a person to reject salvation. As those who accept and reject are both said to receive a good offer and both have free will, then the basis for rejection has to be some other factor. I am not aware that anyone has come up with such a factor. Have you?

        Then, “If this is not the case and God has predetermined who He is going to save and reject, then God is a monster who is not acting according to the character that He reveals in Scripture. If we don’t have the opportunity and ability to respond, then we are nothing but preprogrammed robots, and God a puppeteer who is the author of sin. This is the logical conclusion of a deterministic system.”

        Let’s recognize that a person is a “preprogrammed robot” by virtue of a sinful nature not any action of God (other than to decree that all humanity would be corrupted by Adam’s sin – Calvin called this a horrible decree). God is not the puppeteer in any sense of the word as God leaves the reprobate alone to be controlled by their sinful nature.

        The primary issue concerns the sinner who is described by Paul to have no desire for God or spiritual things. In that state, the person has no opportunity or ability to respond – that’s the nature of sin. It is God who must provide the unsaved with the opportunity and ability to respond. God certainly does that for His elect. Does God do it for the non-elect? It’s nice to think that He does, but since they never change, how would we know? Nonetheless, the only distinction between those who accept and those who reject is that which God does – ultimately it must be God who determines who will be saved and who is passed over.

      6. PS: You said:You have created a system where the preaching of the gospel enables a person to exercise faith unto belief and that people have freedom to exercise faith.

        Faith and belief are the same thing. Same word in Greek. So it is that the preaching of the gospel gives the opportunity to exercise faith / believe unto salvation. This ability to choose is misused and misapplied prior to encountering the gospel. People choose themselves, rules, regulations, Allah, Buddha, Joseph Smith, the various Hindu gods, earth, nature, science…people place their faith in these things all the time. This is faith misapplied. The unsaved man has the ability to believe in / place faith in something, but until the gospel is presented, they will believe in falsehood and will never experience belief unto salvation.

        Why do people reject God instead of believing in Jesus for salvation? I’ve already said I don’t know all the reasons why. Why do some people believe in Jesus for salvation rather than reject Him? I don’t the why here either, and Scripture doesn’t tell us. I’m sure the reason is different for each person. But I cannot go beyond Scripture to answer this. All I can say is that we have the ability to choose, to believe. Only when we are presented with the gospel do we have the opportunity to believe unto salvation. Some are saved and some are not. It is not my role to play God and figure out why. My role is the share the good news so that people will have the opportunity to respond in faith or rejection. Jesus said that we will be hated because they hated Him first. That men love darkness more than light. If someone rejects God and His offer of salvation, that is on them; it is not on God.

      7. ericfutrell writes, “So it is that the preaching of the gospel gives the opportunity to exercise faith / believe unto salvation. ”

        That language is eerily similar to that which Norman Geisler uses in his book, “Chosen But Free.” Are you and Geisler joined at the hip (so to speak)?

      8. ericfutrell writes, “Faith and belief are the same thing. Same word in Greek.”

        Yes and no. Faith is usually the translation of pistis – a noun. Believe is the translation of pisteuo – a verb, an action. Perhaps a slight difference but the concept is the same. Maybe like: I have a hammer; I hammer nails. Believing is the application of faith – Maybe that was the point that James was making: You have faith; demonstrate it in action (or works).

        Then, “The unsaved man has the ability to believe in / place faith in something, but until the gospel is presented, they will believe in falsehood and will never experience belief unto salvation.”

        Yes, but would certainly be a corrupted form and in the presentation of the gospel would lead to a corrupted acceptance. I would associate it with those described in the gospels of people who believed and were named as disciples but then turned away.

        Then, “Why do people reject God instead of believing in Jesus for salvation? I’ve already said I don’t know all the reasons why….Scripture doesn’t tell us.”

        Actually, the Scriptures say, “You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.” (John 5) “He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” (John 8) “you do not believe because you are not my sheep.” (John 10) “For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts,” (John 12) So, the Scriptures say a lot about that which keeps people from believing – these verses are often cited by Calvinists but ignored by others as you seem to be doing.

        Then, “All I can say is that we have the ability to choose, to believe.”

        Here is where Scriptural support is lacking. Paul says, “The mind of sinful man is death,…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (Romans 8) It would seem that the control that the sinful nature has over the unsaved must be broken before a person can believe. So Paul says, “because of his great love for us, God…made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.”

      9. RHutchin writes: This describes the synergism that is basic Pelagianism and found notably in Roman Catholicism. You describe Pelagianism to have, “essentially taught that man can save himself, that he could keep from sin, and essentially attain perfection.” That, however, ignores the focus on free will that provides the foundation for those things. The “semi-Pelagians” kept the free will part while denying the rest as you do. However, Pelagianism is all about free will and a synergistic approach to salvation. So, if you are all about free will and the idea that “We just have to respond,” then there is not that must to distinguish you from Pelagianism. It’s just a label. Calvinism is a label for those who are monergists and deny that the unsaved can freely choose salvation until regenerated. The labels identify the two sides of the issue. I have yet to see anyone distance themselves from one or the other although some make attempts to do so as you did – the test is whether one embraces free will and a synergistic approach to salvation.

        I am afraid you misunderstand synergism. According to Dr. Malcolm Yarnell: Synergism teaches that man is co-responsible for the initiative in salvation. Divine grace is conditional upon cooperation by human free will. What I believe is that God initiates salvation, and He did so by promising a way to be saved and by sending His Son Jesus to save us. He took the first steps. He could have wiped everyone off the face of the earth, but He didn’t (mercy). Instead He made a way (grace).

        RHutchin writes: You express the essence of Pelagian thought. The Arminians recognized the problem, so they added that God had to extend prevenient grace to an unsaved person to enable the person to make a decision. Of course, they had God extend grace to all and some Arminians say it happens at birth. So Arminianism reduces to Pelagianism. The goal is to preserve free will as you seem to want to do.

        The problem underlying both Calvinism and Arminianism is that they go beyond Scripture to say that man has no free will. The Pelagians were wrong in that they denied a sin nature and that salvation was by grace. What I am speaking of is opposed to Pelagianism. Stop throwing the word out as a label when you are not using it correctly. Part of me thinks that you are knowing and willingly distorting my beliefs into something that is associated with heresy.

        RHutchin writes: The difficulty is that the combination of a “good offer” and “free will” should be that all accept salvation. If not, then there must be a basis for a person to reject salvation. As those who accept and reject are both said to receive a good offer and both have free will, then the basis for rejection has to be some other factor. I am not aware that anyone has come up with such a factor. Have you?

        I’m not sure I understand your first sentence. Just because man has been given free will and God makes a good offer, doesn’t mean that all will chose to accept it. I am fine not knowing the answer, as Scripture doesn’t give us on, unless it is sin and men loving darkness. I’ve already said I don’t know. Your system tries to determine why when Scripture doesn’t go there. So much for sola scriptura.

        RHutchin writes: Let’s recognize that a person is a “preprogrammed robot” by virtue of a sinful nature not any action of God (other than to decree that all humanity would be corrupted by Adam’s sin – Calvin called this a horrible decree). God is not the puppeteer in any sense of the word as God leaves the reprobate alone to be controlled by their sinful nature.

        If God decreed that man would be corrupted, then He is by necessity the author of sin. If he decreed to save some, then by default He sends people to hell. They are not responsible for this, but He is. That is not the God of Scripture.

        RHutchin writes: The primary issue concerns the sinner who is described by Paul to have no desire for God or spiritual things. In that state, the person has no opportunity or ability to respond – that’s the nature of sin. It is God who must provide the unsaved with the opportunity and ability to respond. God certainly does that for His elect. Does God do it for the non-elect? It’s nice to think that He does, but since they never change, how would we know? Nonetheless, the only distinction between those who accept and those who reject is that which God does – ultimately it must be God who determines who will be saved and who is passed over.

        Where in Scripture does it say that man is unable to respond? Where? And the gospel is the opportunity. And to your last statement: you go beyond Scripture to assert this. Nowhere does it say that God does this. Once again, so much for sola scriptura.

      10. ericfutrell writes, “If God decreed that man would be corrupted, then He is by necessity the author of sin.”

        Not necessarily. Let’s review the facts. God made Adam/Eve and placed them in the garden. God then stood aside so that Satan could enter the garden. God was beside Eve while Satan tempted her but did not intervene to prevent Eve from eating the fruit. When Eve offered the fruit to Adam, God was also present and again did not intervene to prevent Adam eating the fruit. God gave Adam the freedom to decide whether to eat the fruit after telling Adam that he was not to eat the fruit. Adam was tested and failed the test. Adam was the author of his sin and not God. God could only be considered the author of sin because He declared to Adam that eating the fruit was sin.

        Then, “If he decreed to save some, then by default He sends people to hell. They are not responsible for this, but He is. That is not the God of Scripture.”

        Two things condemn a person to hell: (1) their unrighteous nature and (2) their sins. So, Paul says, “Christ was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4) By their sin, people are excluded from heaven. God does not send people to hell; God excludes sinful people from heaven. People are responsible fully for their failure to enter heaven.

        Then, “Where in Scripture does it say that man is unable to respond?”

        “No-one can come to me…” (John 6)
        “This is why I told you that no-one can come to me…” (John 6)
        “…you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice…” (John 10)
        “Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him….For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn–and I would heal them.” (John 12)
        “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (Romans 8)
        “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1)

    2. Jesus attributed the difference between those who come to Him in faith and those who don’t, to _men_. Although we’ve all read John 3, these verses put the statement of Jesus in its context, and they are always good to hear:

      John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

      15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

      16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

      17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

      18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

      Jesus just said that those who believe in Him are not condemned, but that those who do not believe in Him are condemned already, _because_ they have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. He seems to think that we ought to recognize our visitation, which suggests that the Holy Spirit must be involved in revealing who He is, which agrees with what He said about the Father revealing truth. Again, it doesn’t seem like God would condemn people for what He has forcefully done to them, but let’s move on.

      Then He explains the condemnation Hespoke of in the previous verse, in terms of why some come to Him and others don’t: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and MEN loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil”.

      19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

      You could object that all have done evil deeds, and that all have that tendency to hide from the truth and light, just like Adam hid from God when he sinned. Jesus elaborates on it in the next two verses: He says that everyone who does evil hates the light and avoids it because our deeds are evil.

      20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

      Then He contrasts the one who does evil with “he that doeth truth.” If you are one of those who is inclined to accuse Jesus of teaching a different gospel than Paul, you might think He is saying that some do evil and avoid the light, but some do good, and want to show off how good they are, that they have done nothing wrong.

      That can’t be what He is saying, can it? How would that interpretation square with the parable of the publican and the Pharisee? Jesus couldn’t possibly be saying that they are justified in self-righteousness, can He? I think it is significant that He says that all avoid the light because they do evil, but that there are some who do come to the light, those who _do truth_. Though it is good to come to the light and evil to avoid it, He isn’t contrasting “those who do evil” with “those who do _good_”, but with the ones who “doeth _truth_”. If they do truth, that can’t mean they are doing self-righteousness, but they are wanting it to be clearly seen that their deeds are “wrought in God”. So all that leaves for the deeds to be that they are wanting to be clearly seen to be wrought in God, are their responses to the convicting Holy Spirit. The one who comes to the light “doeth truth”, some deeds that are “wrought in God”, which really cannot be works of flesh or works of the law, can they?

      I conclude that He is saying that the deeds that He says they want to be clearly seen that they are wrought in God, are simply the act of responding to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, coming to the light and responding by believing. Believing in Him is what He is talking about in John 3, after all. That is wrought in God, although the person receiving Jesus decides for believing or against. There is grace and power in conviction, and the person believing simply receives it in faith, allowing God to lead him into Christ in faith. The “receive…the love of the truth” from the Spirit of truth, that they might be saved.

      21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

      And beyond that, the Bible really doesn’t explain why some do truth when others refuse to. But the fact that the word of God does not explain ought to make us respect the fact that we can’t really explain it authoritatively without God’s light, either. And He simply hasn’t told us. At least we ought to be careful not to place so much emphasis on someone’s theological speculations on this subject that we create doctrines that we say must be adhered to. And we ought to check all speculations with the Bible to see if they are true.

    3. Rhutchin: If all receive faith on hearing the word, why isn’t that faith effective for all (irresistible as the Calvinists say)? The Calvinists explored those questions and developed their theology. Non-Calvinists don’t like the answers to those questions but don’t have other answers, so they just complain about Calvinists.

      The challenge can be easily dismissed on two grounds: (1) it begs the question against incompatiblists, that is, it assume exhaustive divine determinism; and (2) caves into the fallacy that questions are not arguments. Assuming the flawed premise, disliking a question is not a concession of any sort.

      I’ll simply recast responses that have been on offer. My apologies if anyone in this thread 🧵has already rehearsed similar responses.

      Faith is not a causal mechanism that necessitates the agent to assent to the truth claims of the gospel one way or another. (Who in church history has ever argued the nature of faith is “causal”? Calvinists are motivated to allege God “causes” faith to avoid synergistic outcomes. If so, the non-Calvinist can reject this since he holds that a convicted-sinner’s resistible exercise of faith cannot be causally determined, to say nothing of the unintended result turning sola fidei into nola fidei.) Rather, while grace is the effectual cause, faith is the instrumental cause. The instrumentality of faith shows by definition it is the means by which the sinner trusts (assensus) Christ for the remission of sins. Rhutchin here, as he is hopelessly wont to do, has conflated the efficient cause with instrumental causes.

      The reason faith is not effective for all, even though it is given to everyone without exception, is because it is ultimately up to the sinner (not God) to either repent or resist the effectual call: “Sirs what must *I do* to be saved?” (Acts 16:31). Paul’s answer is inconsistent on Calvinist’s premises (e.g., WCF) – “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” (v. 32). The Calvinist will immediately retort that *is* consistent with decreedal theology because that is exactly what it means to obey the great commission and the apostolic foundation – that is, command sinners to believe. Though true, a more fundamental premise is that the sinner cannot believe unless he is first made alive (i.g., regenerated) resulting in being casually determined (i.e., efficaciously inclined) to believe. At best, it seems such premise puts the apostle, and the entire evangelistic endeavor, at odds by communicating a half-truth.

      A Calvinistic proclamation of the gospel amounts to, for instance, commanding a homeless community gifts by means of meals without revealing that his director only intends a preselect roster of people will get fed, even though the director can provide seven times more food than needed. On deterministic premises, granted those who were not preselected will not come on their own. While already mentioned that this retort is question-begging, my point is that, on compatiblism, God can directly and immediately make a state of affairs where all without exception come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Calvinist have no answers but only to recite theological talking points that further collapses the nature of God (more on this below).

      (Since irresistibility is associated with causal determinism, Rhutchin has yet to make an argument how one can be held morally responsible when any action becomes unavoidable. The following is a well known precondition for moral responsibility: “An agent is morally responsible for his faith-driven choice to perform an act A (i.e., trusting in Christ) only if he could have avoided making it.” I only raise this point to show the many controversial assumptions Rhutchin presuppose without argument[s].)

      To continue, an argument from the universal extent of the atonement can be made that all of humanity—onward from the cross event—can have their sins explicated by faith. By universal extent, I mean to say that it was the divine intention to make atonement provision for humanity, without distinction and exception, conditioned on belief in Christ. The universality of God’s effectual call is clearly Pauline: “For God has consigned all [without exception] to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all [without exception]” (Rom. 11:32). In chapter 5 Paul draws several anthropological symmetries between man’s universal indictment and his attendant justification: “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men [without exception], so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men [without exception]” (v. 18). Paul similarly argues elsewhere: “For as in Adam all [without exception] die, so also in Christ shall all [without exception] be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).

      Notice in almost every instance the apostle’s argumentation grammatically fixes the adverbial connecting phrase (οὕτως καὶ, “so also”) from one clause to the next in such a way that one supervenes on the other. Whatever the Calvinist qualifies cannot be done without affecting the truth claim of its paired clause.

      The exegesis also displays the supreme scope and omni-benevolence of God’s redemptive love toward all sinners. Calvin’s god is less than maximally and redemptively loving because he has other desires that override his attribute of love and goodness. But a god who even possess intentions that internally and knowingly conflict with his own nature is self-contradictory. How does a perfect being who has meticulous providential control of all state of affairs finds himself in a situation where he claims “has no pleasure in the death of the wicked…rather that he should turn from. His way and live?” – unless exhaustive determinism is false?! John Peckham puts it this way: “Thus, given determinism, if God has unfulfilled desires, God either wills against his own will in a self-contradictory way or possesses desires that conflict with his own nature, amounting to another kind of self-contradiction” (Peckham 2019: 36-37).

      While Calvinism does make “a distinction” among sinners, that is to say, prefers one sinner over the other, it is contradicted by Paul: “For there is no distinction for all have sinned” (3:23). Notice the explanatory particle (“for”) explicates that the scope of “no distinction” is syntactically relative to “all have sinned”. Moreover, Paul argues that “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (v. 22). The participial phrase πάντας⸃ τοὺς πιστεύοντας (“for all who believe”) shows the condition by which sinners can have Christ’s righteousness imputed to them. Without fail, Paul ties the phrase “for all who believe” (v 22a) immediately repeated by οὐ γάρ ἐστιν διαστολή (“for there is no distinction”) to mean all sinners without distinction and exception are appropriate candidates for such” righteousness”—Paul is emphatic yet again, “For there is no distinction for all [without exception] have sinned (3:23).

      I’ll wrap up by anticipating three objections.

      Among Calvinists interpretive arsenal is to argue that the adjective “all” is best taken to mean “all without distinction”. The literature is increasingly showing, however, that such a move no longer provides interpretive advantages. Non-Calvinists can rely on “all” to mean “without distinction” as well as “without exception” consistent with core assumptions. The two phrases are virtually synonymous since the referent relative to “no distinction” is the Pauline phrase “all have sinned.” Since all have sinned encompasses all of humanity from the cross onward, “without exception” is more clear. Asserting “no distinction” relative to Paul’s phrase “all have sinned” is conceptually at odds with the Reformed notion of a preselected group *among* humanity. Thus, Calvin’s “no distinction” refrain is not relative to Paul’s “all have sinned”. Rather, by “no distinction” specifically has a mind a sub-group among sinners. But we have already seen that Paul’s “no distinction” usage is not among a sub-group but among universal scope of sinful humanity (“for all have sinned). The phrase “for all have sin” does not even suggest a grammatical referent anything less than all of sinful humanity. The burden of proof is on the Calvinist to produce grammatical and syntactical evidence that demonstrates that Paul’s usage of “no distinction” refers to a sub-group within the universal umbrella of sinners.

      If Paul wanted to demarcate a sub group already preselected via a divine decree, the Greek term ἐκλογή (“elect”) seems the best linguistic candidate. Romans 3:22-27 would be the most relevant pericope relative to the scope “all have sinned” to clinch the medieval predestinarían approach so distinct to Calvinism. Paul, for instance, deploys a nominal usage (ἐκλογὴν Rom 9:11), and verbal middle aorist form (ἐξελέξατο Eph 1:4) as a designation (“elect” and “chosen”) for sinners who are *already* Christians. But Paul does not use “elect” in any form in a narrative (Rom 3:22-27) where humanity is indicted precisely because no sinner is “elect” prior to their union with Christ, which comports with non-Calvinist views of election. Election is Christologically conditioned. Had Paul labeled sinners “elect” even though not yet united to Christ, it would powerfully exonerate a Calvinist reading. The Calvinist fails to grasp that merely citing Romans 9, Ephesians 1:4, etc., produces no advantages to passages that can be very well accommodated on non-Calvinist construals.

      Non-Calvinists perhaps can be sympathetic to a Calvinist reading of Romans 9, but only after they can offer a compelling and cogent reading of Romans as a whole without muting one passage over another. Therefore, it is up to the Calvinist to produce a delimiting clause of some sort (e.g., “the elect have sin”) relative to “no distinction” that clearly demonstrates contextually the apostle has in mind a *sub* (elect) group among sinners (i.e., humanity).

      The second object is the obvious charge of universalism, namely, the view that all humanity will be saved without explicit belief in Christ. While the Calvinist will have a difficult time dealing with the grammar of the universal scope of God’s redemptive intentions toward all sinners, Paul also includes the prerequisite for sinners in order to *appropriate* the righteousness of Christ, that is, sola fidei – “For we hold that one is justified by faith” (v. 28). Also, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (10:9).

      It can be said thus far that the atonement is not particular but universal in scope, consistent with Paul’s universal inclusion of all humanity from the cross onward. Non-Calvinists can easily diffuse John Owen’s double-jeopardy objections on the grounds that Calvinists conflate the satisfaction of sins (“there is no distinction”) with the remission of sins (“by faith”). As Fred Sanders notes: “My recommendation is that the question about the…extent of the atonement is best handled under the heading of the accomplished-applied distinction (Johnson & Gundry 2019: 158).

      Thomas Oden is even more clear: “As to sufficiency, the cross is for all, for the world. As to efficacy, the cross becomes effective for some, for the faithful. From this derives the distinction of universal sufficiency and conditional efficacy: as to sufficiency it is universal; as to efficacy it is limited to those who accept God’s offer of salvation through Christ” (Oden 1989: 388).

      Lastly, since the exercise of faith—properly understood as the instrumental means of salvation—is a resistible action that is ultimately up to the spirit-convicted sinner (not God) to cause by his agency, Calvinists typically construe the sinner’s faith (faducia, assensus, and notitia) as works-based salvation in virtue of, not that man ultimately freely believes, but that man can resist a call that is supposed to be irresistible and efficacious according to a divine decree. And if faith is something that the sinner does per se, salvation must be viewed as a human accomplishment; hence, he has something to boast.

      But the apostle himself neutralizes this fallacy in the same letter (Romans) twice. He juxtaposes faith to works, thus they’re not identical: (1) “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law fo works? No, but by the law of faith” (3:27). The exercise of faith Paul argues, precludes “boasting”! Paul will go on to strengthen this juxtaposition by Abraham’s example: “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (4:4-5).

      (2) “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace” (11:6). Faith is an element of grace. As mentioned, grace is the effectual cause, and faith is the instrumental cause. The sinner (not God) resistibly exercises faith. To argue otherwise is to collapse the object of faith with its subject. And since the apostle clearly juxtaposes between faith and works, the Calvinist’s objection falls flat. “Since by its very nature faith confesses the complete lack of human merit and human power, it subtracts nothing from the Savior’s grace or glory” (Walls & Dongell 2004: 78).

      To close, Rhutchin has begged the question against non-Calvinist incompatiblists when he asks why one believes and the other does not without assuming exhaustive divine determinism. Allowing the wider context of Paul’s letter to the Romans to speak 🗣, we understand that the difference some believe and others do not is because God has given man creative (a se) agency such that placing faith is freely and resistibly exercised and so my election in Christ is not up to God, but rather up to me. Election is Christologically conditioned: “What must “I do” to be saved” (Acts 16:32). Yet, Paul can also say that assenting (faith) to the truth claims of the gospel is not a work. Non-Calvinists can coherently maintain both truths without diminishing divine glory. Calvinists on the other cannot maintain certain premises without making contradictions within the divine nature.

      Rather than “complain against Calvinists” as Rhutchin asserts, it is the Calvinist who doesn’t have answers as to: (1) on what objective and logical basis does God elect between sinner A or sinner B when they’re spiritual status is identical? Scripture uses the father-son analogy to describe divine love. Suppose two sons drown in a lake. Let’s also grant they both deserve such fate. Assume further their father has all the resources to rescue them and make them alive again. What reason can the Calvinist provide that will justify a father publicly making alive one but leaving the other dead while having creatorial-omnipotence and possessing maximal and supreme love to save both? What rational justification can Rhutchin provide that can coherently maintain God’s sovereignty without making God’s love less than maximal and supreme (defectio), and without self-contradiction within the divine nature?

      “[Calvinists] don’t like the answers to those questions but don’t have other answers, so they just complain about [non-]Calvinists.”

      1. Rhutchin
        The Calvinists “explored” those questions and developed their theology.

        br.d
        For example:
        Holding that ALL THINGS WITHOUT EXCEPTION are determined IN EVERY PART – as the most sacred proposition in the universe

        And simultaneously going about one’s office *AS-IF* the most sacred proposition in the universe is FALSE!

        There is no end to the amount of “Exploring” and “Developing” that takes! :-]

        rhutchin
        Non-Calvinists don’t like the answers to those questions but don’t have other answers, so they just complain about Calvinists.

        br.d
        Children say the funniest things! :-]

  3. Quoting Brandon Cox, “So many of my Baptist friends claim that our traditions must be rooted in the Reformation or else we have no roots at all.”

    That being the case, we should encourage our baptist friends to join with the Calvinists and adhere to sola scriptura.

    1. You’re invited Roger to read my assessment, linked above, of whom I felt was the most faithful the principle of sola scriptura between Luther, Zwingli, and Hubmaier. In short… their views on baptism indicate clearly which one!

      1. As I wander through your paper, I noticed that you wrote, “In spite of this excommunication, finalized by the Pope Leo X in January, 1921,…” (pg 10) I think you meant “1521.” Do you know that Leo died in December of that same year? Is it worthwhile for me to point out such trivia – in both instances. Probably not. Actually, little mistakes like that often heighten one’s attention to detail. Too bad I didn’t know you back then; I would have proofread the paper for you.

      2. Thanks Roger for pointing those things out. I really should go through and edit it, for I have seen other grammar and spelling errors. And I am always interested in historical tidbits from Christian history, even if I may have heard about them before. Did you know Augustine’s “conversion” from Manichaeism happened soon after Priscillian (whom I think was an early baptistic evangelical reformer) had been beheaded for a number of, what I believe were, false accusations, including Manichaeism.

      3. Did not know that. History is not my strength. Now, I have to go look up Priscillian just to figure out what you are talking about.

      4. What I meant is, yes, I think it is worthwhile for you to point out interesting trivia from Christian History? Thanks.

  4. He might be more my guy! 🙂 (Although I am a Pentecostal and I believe in conditional security, I don’t know his viewpoints on that.) Did he have to do with the Zwiklian – probably false – prophets? (or something like that)

  5. Pingback: taylorspen
  6. Nice article!

    From the article
    -quote
    So many of my Baptist friends claim that our traditions must be rooted in the Reformation or else we have no roots at all.

    br.d
    I’ll bet those same people assert their theology is derived from scripture – rather than their interpretation of scripture being derived from a tradition.

    Its an assertion which just happens to equate to a denial of their human nature! ;-]

  7. R Hutchinson writes that without faith, the unsaved continue to reject the gospel. However if we follow the logic of calvinism, that salvation is only applied to the elect, then there is actually no gospel – no good news, no Savior, no salvation, no hope for the non-elect for them to reject. God has already rejected them by His arbitrary eternal decree.

    1. Pastor Luz writes, “R Hutchinson writes that without faith, the unsaved continue to reject the gospel…no salvation, no hope for the non-elect for them to reject. God has already rejected them by His arbitrary eternal decree.”

      By that decree, the non-elect are not given faith and without faith, it is impossible for them to be saved. So, Yes, for the non-elect, there is no salvation and no hope. To avoid this result, you would have to deny God an infinite understanding of His creation so that He cannot have perfect knowledge of all future events – including a knowledge of those who will be saved and those who will not be saved – and make Him less than God.

      1. R Hutchin I don’t believe that you actually addressed the point I was making. Which is that the non-elect cannot reject the gospel, since for them there IS no gospel to reject. It was never actually on offer to them You cannot reject thin air.

      2. Pastor Loz writes, “the non-elect cannot reject the gospel, since for them there IS no gospel to reject. It was never actually on offer to them You cannot reject thin air.”

        We seem to agree that all people are born without faith as faith only comes through hearing the gospel. Without faith, everyone rejects the gospel – as Paul wrote, “The gospel is foolishness to them.” However, the non-elect can still physically hear the gospel preached and we should both know that atheists can understand the gospel but, lacking faith, they reject that gospel.

        So because the non-elect have no faith you are correct to say, “the non-elect cannot reject the gospel, since for them there IS no gospel to reject.” Without faith, there can be no true offer of the gospel no matter how many sermons the non-elect hear or how many Bible studies they attend. This is why the Calvinists place so much emphasis on faith. Faith is the key to salvation and where faith is absent, there can be no real offer of the gospel and of the salvation it brings no matter how hard the preacher preaches. That is what Paul meant when he said, “neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”

      3. Rhutchin, no, just because they can physically hear the gospel, does not mean that they can reject it, because as previously stated, there is no good news that actually applies to them. The gospel is not intended for them in calvinism. The Savior is neither intended for them or available to them in calvinism. Salvation is neither intended for them or available to them. It is not on offer for them to accept, and it is not on offer for them to reject. So it is incorrect for you to make the statement, “they reject that gospel”. Under the logic of calvinism, it is not even a matter of faith, because there is no good news for them, so they have no personally applicablke good news to place faith in. The only news for them in calvinism is unutterably bad, that God hates them, God rejected them from before the foundation of the world, God predestined them for hell with no opportunity to repent.

      4. Pastor Loz writes, ‘just because they can physically hear the gospel, does not mean that they can reject it, because as previously stated, there is no good news that actually applies to them. The gospel is not intended for them in calvinism.”

        Yes. Without faith, the preaching of the gospel accomplishes nothing. Without faith the preaching of the gospel is not good news – it is only so much babbling or foolishness. Without faith, there is no gospel to accept or reject.

        Then, “So it is incorrect for you to make the statement, “they reject that gospel”. ”

        OK. However, if we define “rejection of the gospel” as not believing the gospel, then I think people without faith do reject the gospel. However, I think you make a good point – without faith there really is no true offer of salvation.

        Then, “Under the logic of calvinism, it is not even a matter of faith, because there is no good news for them, so they have no personally applicable good news to place faith in. The only news for them in calvinism is unutterably bad, that God hates them, God rejected them from before the foundation of the world, God predestined them for hell with no opportunity to repent.”

        True except for the part where you say, “it is not even a matter of faith.” In Calvinism, it is all about faith. If God does not give a person faith then “The only news for them in calvinism is unutterably bad, that God hates them, God rejected them from before the foundation of the world, God predestined them for hell with no opportunity to repent.” That is why Paul writes, “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath made for destruction, and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory,”

      5. To reject the gospel in would be to not believe the good news that Jesus died for you, personally. If Jesus did not die for you personally, (as calvinism teaches), then there would be no good news for you as an individual. Nothing for you to believe. Therefore nothing for you not to believe. So faith would not enter into the equation, because faith requires something to believe in.

      6. Pastor Loz writes, “So faith would not enter into the equation, because faith requires something to believe in.”

        Yes – faith requires something to believe in. That something is the gospel. However, without faith, there is no gospel to believe in. Faith is the key ingredient to believing the gospel.

        Without faith, a person cannot comprehend the gospel – it is foolishness to him. If God does not give a person faith then, “Jesus did not die for you personally, (as calvinism teaches), [and] there would be no good news for you as an individual. Nothing for you to believe. Therefore nothing for you not to believe.” Without faith, the gospel might as well be invisible.

        In Calvinism, people are born without faith and without faith, the gospel is nothing to them. It is not good news; there is nothing for them in the gospel. It is not until God gives a person faith that the gospel becomes meaningful.

        Faith is the key that unlocks the gospel.

      7. Yes, you are right, the gospel is nothing to the non-elect, there is nothing for them in it. And that is exactly why they cannot reject it. Because there is nothing to reject. So it is not accurate to say that the non-elect reject the gospel.

      8. I totally understand – you are thinking RATIONALLY Pastor Loz

        But Calvinists can’t make their doctrine APPEAR to be scriptural RATIONALLY

        The good news is – your RATIONAL thinking serves to show this as a good example.

      9. Pastor Loz writes, “it is not accurate to say that the non-elect reject the gospel.”

        The non-elect understand the gospel enough to call it foolishness. It is that which they perceive as foolishness that they reject. They cannot do otherwise without faith.

      10. rhutchin
        The non-elect “understand” the gospel enough to call it foolishness.

        br.d
        Along with AUTHORING their perception of it as a FALSE perception – which the brain is NOT PERMITTED to know is FALSE

        And Calvin’s god does the same thing to the “HUGE PILE” of Calvinists – whom he gives FALSE faith impulses.

        It LOGICALLY follows – Calvin’s god cannot PERMIT the Calvinist brain the EPISTEMIC function of discerning a FALSE perception – because doing so would falsify the infallible decree which RENDERS-CERTAIN that FALSE perception.

        And since all FALSE perceptions are infallibly decreed – this means the Calvinist brain is NOT PERMITTED the EPISTEMIC function of discerning any FALSE perception.

        And discernment of any matter – predicated on perception (which the Calvinist is NOT PERMITTED to discern as FALSE)

        It LOGICALLY follows the Calvinist brain is not PERMITTED the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE on any matter.

      11. Actually, if we follow the logic of calvinism, the non-elect are believing the truth. They are believing that the gospel is not for them, that Christ did not die for them. Yet again, objectively speaking, there is no gospel for them. So it is irrelevant if they perceive it as foolishness or not, because foolish or otherwise, it is not genuinely on offer to them. You can’t get away from this objective truth, that is the inevitable logical conclusion of the TULIP system.

      12. Pastor Loz writes, “Yet again, objectively speaking, there is no gospel for them. So it is irrelevant if they perceive it as foolishness or not, because foolish or otherwise, it is not genuinely on offer to them. You can’t get away from this objective truth, that is the inevitable logical conclusion of the TULIP system.”

        Yes, without faith, there is no true offer of the gospel. Calvinism is open about this. God gives certain people to Christ, gives them faith and they come to believe in Christ. God does not give others to Christ and does not give them faith so they are never really presented with the gospel as the gospel cannot be separated from faith.

        Faith is the key to salvation and faith leads us to the inevitable logical conclusion of the TULIP system.

      13. rhutchin
        Yes, without faith, there is no true offer of the gospel.

        br.d
        So then – Calvin’s god’s gift of FALSE faith – equates to a FALSE offer of a TRUE gospel – or a TRUE offer of a FALSE gospel?

        Calvinist lesson #876
        In this lesson we will teach you how to point 10 fingers in 20 directions

        Don’t miss the class!
        Its basic Calvinist training!! :-]

      14. br.d: “So then – Calvin’s god’s gift of FALSE faith – equates to a FALSE offer of a TRUE gospel – or a TRUE offer of a FALSE gospel? ”

        God gives faith. If God does not give faith, then the person must rely on his own understanding. What does Proverbs advise? – “Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, And don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, And he will direct your paths.” A person can do this only if God gives him faith. Without faith, the person would mock this advice and call it foolishness. So, it is with the preaching of the gospel. If God does not give a person faith, the person will mock the gospel and call it foolishness.

      15. rhutchin
        God gives faith. If God does not give faith, then the person must rely on his own understanding

        br.d
        Thank you rhutchin – another excellent example of Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking pattern

        *AS-IF* Calvin’s god does not meticulously AUTHOR every impulse

        In this case – an impulse called “understanding” which the Calvinist can treat *AS-IF* it is the person’s “own” understanding

        Good one! :-]

        HERE IS WISDOM:
        Calvin instructs his disciples to
        -quote
        “Go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part”

        Keep your eye on rhutchin’s posts – and you’re guaranteed to observe how he does just that.

      16. Pastor Loz
        You can’t get away from this objective truth, that is the inevitable logical conclusion of the TULIP system.

        br.d
        Just watch them constantly try!!!!

        Attempting to escape the inevitable logical conclusions of their belief system – is their psychological response to their belief system

      17. BR.D, yes, I find this attempt to escape the inevitable logical conclusions of calvinism on a regular basis. I find it with the three common myths of “single” predestination, “compatibilism”, the “well-meant gospel offer”, as well as in relation to God “not being the author of sin”. Usually this is where “who are you oh man” and “mystery” kick in.

      18. Wonderful analysis Pastor Loz!

        And interestingly enough – we find this pattern in Luke 20: 5-7

        Jesus asks the pharisees a question
        The pharisees reasoned among themselves

        If we say [A] then he will say [B] which LOGICALLY follows [A] – and we don’t want to acknowledge [B]

        However:
        If we say [F] then he will say [G] which LOGICALLY follows [F] – and we don’t want to acknowledge [G]

        So what do we do????
        We can’t say what we know!!!

        Oh! We’ll tell a little fib and say “we don’t know”

        Which is the equivalent of appealing to mystery

        But Jesus understands the pharisee actually does know.
        He just can’t allow himself to acknowledge what he knows!

        Same deal with the Calvinist. :-]

    1. So if you admit that there is no true offer of the gospel to the non-elect, then logically you have to admit there is nothing for them to accept or reject.

      1. That would be RATIONAL thinking of course.
        And unfortunately – due to the nature of the Calvinist belief system – we’re not going to hold our breath waiting for that.

        There is a reason behind this:
        The Calvinist needs to make his system APPEAR normal – in order to get the Non-Calvinist Christian to accept it.

        In this case – he has to make it APPEAR AS-IF in Calvinism – there is a TRUE offer of salvation when there isn’t.

        This business of trying to make Calvinism APPEAR normal is one of his primary urgencies.

        The way the Calvinist chooses to accomplish that – is by playing games with words.

        Words become like the proverbial SHELL GAME
        He applies HIDDEN meanings to words – which serve the function of making them APPEAR as the normal sense in which the Non-Calvinist Christian will understand.

        He hides the fact that he uses terms to be equivocal or amorphous.
        He has to!
        Its the only strategy that consistently works for him!

        Paul called this pattern of language: “An uncertain sound”

        Calvinism’s language if saturated with statements designed to be “uncertain sounds”.

        They are “certain” for the Calvinist of course – because words have INSIDER meanings.

        But he uses that language knowing it is “uncertain’ for his recipient.

        That is why Calvinist language – is perennially called a language of DOUBLE-SPEAK

      2. SOT101 is fortunate – to have rhutchin as one of its honored Calvinist DOUBLE-SPEAK Gladiators!

        The more you engage with him – the more you’ll get the picture

        He’ll say YES when the answer is NO
        And NO with the answer is YES

        Or he’ll give the answer as NO-YES

        He’ll declare you are wrong – and then proceed to produce an argument which reveals you are right.

        He’ll say he disagrees – and then proceed to produce an argument which reveals he agrees.

        Concept [X] will be TRUE when he needs it to be TRUE
        And FALSE when he needs it to be FALSE

        It all boils down to making things APPEAR as something they are not.

        Its just the way the game is played :-]

      3. Pastor Loz writes, “So if you admit that there is no true offer of the gospel to the non-elect, then logically you have to admit there is nothing for them to accept or reject.”

        There is nothing for them to accept because they are without faith. However, given that they consider the gospel that is preached to them to be foolishness, they can reject whatever it is that they deem foolish – e.g., the resurrection of Christ. Nonetheless, in the absence of faith, a true understanding of the gospel is beyond them, so there is no real offer of the gospel to them to accept or reject. They remain in their depraved state with no hope of escape.

      4. RHUTCHIN writes, “There is nothing for them to accept because they are without faith”. No, that is not the logical conclusion of Calvinism. The logical conclusion of Calvinism is that there is nothing to accept because nothing (no Savior, no salvation) is provided for them, intended for them, made available to them. You are contradicting yourself. Earlier you said they reject the gospel. Now you are admitting there is no real offer of the gospel for them to accept or reject.

      5. Pastor Loz writes, “Earlier you said they reject the gospel. Now you are admitting there is no real offer of the gospel for them to accept or reject.”

        We have to distinguish between an offer of the gospel that appeals to human understanding that is without faith and an offer of the gospel that appeals to faith. A person without faith understands the gospel from a human perspective, as when Paul preached in Athens, “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, “We want to hear you again concerning this.” When we read, “…some mocked…” we see a rejection of the gospel where it speaks of Christ rising from the dead. In a similar fashion, people without faith can understand the gospel when it says that Christ was crucified but they will mock the idea that Christ was crucified for sin. So, there is a rejection of the gospel to the extent that people understand the gospel without faith. In reality, without faith, there is no true presentation of the gospel as the gospel can only be received by faith. Without faith, there is no real offer of the gospel since; without faith, the offer of the gospel cannot be understood.

        Then, “No, that is not the logical conclusion of Calvinism. The logical conclusion of Calvinism is that there is nothing to accept because nothing (no Savior, no salvation) is provided for them, intended for them, made available to them.”

        I don’t think you understand the role of faith in the Calvinist system. The logical conclusion of Calvinism is that, without faith, there is no gospel – without faith, there is nothing to accept because nothing (no Savior, no salvation) is provided without faith, intended without faith, made available without faith. Without faith, a person can only mock the gospel and call it foolishness.

        Then, “You are contradicting yourself. ”

        Not if you understand the role of faith to salvation in the Calvinist system. The hearing of the gospel without faith leads only to rejection of what is heard without faith. The hearing of the gospel with faith leads to acceptance through faith.

        Many people reject Calvinism because Calvinism says that God alone gives faith and God gives faith only to those He chooses to save. If God does not give a person faith, all the preaching of the gospel will accomplish nothing. Thus, Paul said, “neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”

      6. A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS – A CALVINISTIC OFFER OF SALVATION

      7. rhutchin
        Many people reject Calvinism because Calvinism says that God alone gives faith and God gives faith only to those He chooses to save.

        br.d
        See how rhutchin is focused on keeping people from rejecting Calvinism!

        That’s what all of the SEMANTIC GAMES are for!

        May people reject Calvinism because its use of COSMETIC language serves as a red-flag that something is wrong.

        Once one scrutinizes Calvinism’s underlying foundation of Exhaustive Divine Determinism and how RADICAL it is

        All of its COSMETIC language makes perfect sense.

      8. rhutchin
        There is nothing for them to accept because they are without faith.

        br.d
        You see Pastor Loz?

        None of it is meant to be RATIONAL

        Calvinist language is not a TRUTH-TELLING language
        It is a COSMETIC language.

        Its all about manufacturing an appearance – which the Calvinist calculates the NORMAL Christian will find acceptable.

      9. br.d writes, ‘None of it is meant to be RATIONAL
        Calvinist language is not a TRUTH-TELLING language
        It is a COSMETIC language.”

        Not if a person understands faith and the role of faith in the Calvinist system.

      10. br.d
        ‘None of it is meant to be RATIONAL
        Calvinist language is not a TRUTH-TELLING language
        It is a COSMETIC language.”

        rhutchin
        Not if a person understands faith and the role of faith in the Calvinist system.

        br.d
        While understanding how that is used as a COSMETIC MASK to hide what’s underneath!!

        All too typical!! ;-D

  8. RHUTCHIN wrote “We have to distinguish between an offer of the gospel that appeals to human understanding that is without faith and an offer of the gospel that appeals to faith.”

    No, that is not the distinction that we need to make, when examining Calvinism. We have to distinguish between a genuine gospel that is OBJECTIVELY, PERSONALLY APPLICABLE to the person hearing it (the true Biblical Gospel offer), and a “gospel” that is not (the false gospel offer to the non-elect in Calvinism). If that “gospel” is not objectively, personally applicable to the person, then objectively it is no gospel at all for that particular individual. It is a statement of something that does not apply to them, that is not available to them to receive. Therefore, they cannot accept it, and they cannot reject it either, since it is not genuinely on offer to them.

    You actually acknowledge that there is no real offer of the gospel to the non-elect. Therefore, you cannot escape the fact that there is nothing for them to reject.

    1. Pastor Loz writes, “We have to distinguish between a genuine gospel that is OBJECTIVELY, PERSONALLY APPLICABLE to the person hearing it (the true Biblical Gospel offer), and a “gospel” that is not (the false gospel offer to the non-elect in Calvinism).”

      A genuine gospel that is OBJECTIVELY, PERSONALLY APPLICABLE to the person hearing it (the true Biblical Gospel offer), is offered together with faith.

      A “gospel” that is not (the false gospel offer to the non-elect in Calvinism) is offered without faith.

      A faith/no faith distinction is made by Calvinism. There can be no salvation without faith and a true offer of a genuine gospel is always accompanied by faith. The non-elect do not receive faith and do not receive a true offer of a genuine gospel.

      Then, “If that “gospel” is not objectively, personally applicable to the person, then objectively it is no gospel at all for that particular individual.”

      Correct. If the gospel is not accompanied by faith, then objectively it is no gospel at all for that particular individual.

      Then, “You actually acknowledge that there is no real offer of the gospel to the non-elect. Therefore, you cannot escape the fact that there is nothing for them to reject.”

      Fine. But we still have Paul saying, “…the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,…” We also have the reaction of those in Athens, “Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with Paul. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” …Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.””

      I take the use of words like “folly” and “mocked” to denote a rejection of the gospel (or “this new teaching”) that was preached by Paul. You say that there is nothing for them to reject. So, I’ll go with you on this point. What descriptor would you use for these situations if not “reject”?

      Do we agree that the preaching of a genuine gospel must be accompanied by faith so that it is objectively and personally applicable to the person hearing it?

      1. rhutchin
        A faith/no faith distinction is made by Calvinism.

        br.d
        Not quite!
        In Calvinism you have 3 things that are offered by Calvin’s god

        1) TRUE faith: Offered to the FEW elect believers

        2) FALSE faith: Offered the MANY non-elect believers

        3) NO faith: Offered to everyone else

    2. There is another way to think about this

      1) Calvin’s god “offers” salvation to those whom he creates/designs as “elect”

      2) Calvin’s god “offers” NON-salvation to those whom he creates/designs as “NON-elect”

      It is not LOGICALLY possible to offer [X] and [NON-X]
      Because one mutually excludes the other – which would resolves to nothing being offered.

      Calvin’s god must offer one or the other.
      TRUE or FALSE

      But he cannot create something that is TRUE-FALSE because that is LOGICALLY impossible
      He cannot offer something that is LOGICALLY impossible

      1. br.d writes, “There is another way to think about this
        1) Calvin’s god “offers” salvation to those whom he creates/designs as “elect”
        2) Calvin’s god “offers” NON-salvation to those whom he creates/designs as “NON-elect”

        As Paul puts it in Romans 9, “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath [those whom he creates/designs as “NON-elect”] prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy [those whom he creates/designs as “elect”], which he has prepared beforehand for glory…”

      2. br.d

        1) Calvin’s god “offers” salvation to those whom he creates/designs as “elect”
        2) Calvin’s god “offers” NON-salvation to those whom he creates/designs as “NON-elect”

        rhutchin
        As Paul puts it in Romans 9…….

        br.d
        Thus in Calvinism – we have the divine potter of Romans 9 – who creates/designs the vast majority of human souls – specifically for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

        And that is why John Calvin asserts – we have a -quote “LARGE MIXTURE” of NON-elect Calvinists

        What Calvin’s god had to “offer” for them is:
        – A FALSE faith
        – A FALSE election
        – A FALSE salvation
        – A TRUE Total Depravity
        – A FALSE perception of what he offered them

        And since they lives their lives with these FALSE perceptions which he offers them – this resolves to literally thousands of FALSE perceptions of faith, election, salvation, and Total Depravity throughout their lives.

        And Calvin’s god does NOT PERMIT any Calvinist to know whether or not his perceptions are TRUE or FALSE.

        Thus the Calvinist’s discernment of TRUE from FALSE – LOGICALLY follows

  9. RHUTCHN wrote: I take the use of words like “folly” and “mocked” to denote a rejection of the gospel (or “this new teaching”) that was preached by Paul. You say that there is nothing for them to reject. So, I’ll go with you on this point. What descriptor would you use for these situations if not “reject”? Do we agree that the preaching of a genuine gospel must be accompanied by faith so that it is objectively and personally applicable to the person hearing it?

    I would go with “reject”. That’s because in my theology, the gospel offer is actually genuine, since it is personally applicable to every individual. Because I believe that Jesus intentionally died for every person. Thus there really is something for them to accept or reject.

    There are at least two positions in non-calvinist theology regarding your question. My understanding is that “provisionalists” believe that the preaching of the Gospel, in and of itself, is an effectual call, in that it enables (not compels) the person hearing it to believe. In this sense it is not like any other news. The argument for this would likely be that the gospel is God’s Word and so it is alive and active, not just mere words.

    “Arminians” and others believe that God uses a whole range of methods to draw men and enable them to believe in Him, alongside the preaching of the Gospel. I am inclined to align with this position because in the Bible I see healings, deliverances, miracles, testimonies, dreams, visions, the conduct of Christians, the witness of creation, conviction of the Holy Spirit etc. as means by which God draws people. So I don’t believe that God “zaps” people with faith as part of the package. He enables them to believe the Gospel by these other means.

    1. Pastor Loz writes, ‘in my theology, the gospel offer is actually genuine, since it is personally applicable to every individual.”

      How does faith interact with a gospel offer that is actually genuine? If a person is not given faith, how does he receive a genuine gospel offer? I guess you answer this when you say, “[God] enables [people] to believe the Gospel by these other means.”

      Then, “Because I believe that Jesus intentionally died for every person. Thus there really is something for them to accept or reject.”

      So, faith has nothing to do with the gospel offer being genuine in your theology? This despite faith being necessary to salvation. I guess faith is more important in Calvinism than in your theology.

      Then, “My understanding is that “provisionalists” believe that the preaching of the Gospel, in and of itself, is an effectual call, in that it enables (not compels) the person hearing it to believe. ”

      My understanding of Dr. Flowers is that people are already enabled from birth and do not have to be enabled by the preaching of the gospel. Enablement is a Calvinist/Arminian concept (necessitated by TD) that Dr. Flowers rejects under a Provisionalist theology. Of course, Dr. Flowers generally ignores the role of faith in salvation – what is an “effectual” call without faith? Who knows under provisionalism?

      Then, “So I don’t believe that God “zaps” people with faith as part of the package. He enables them to believe the Gospel by these other means.”

      So, God enables people to believe the Gospel by these other means and faith has no role?

      Your complaint against Calvinism seems to be that Calvinism gives too much emphasis to faith in salvation.

      1. rhutchin
        How does faith interact with a gospel offer that is actually genuine?

        br.d
        The same way that Non-genuine faith (which is offered) – interacts with Non-genuine salvation (which is offered)

        And that in Calvinism – is what gives us the “MANY” Non-genuine Calvinists – to whom a Non-genuine election is offered.

      2. How many ways can a Calvinist equivocate on the words “offer” and “genuine” ?

        The same number of ways Hillary Clinton can equivocate on the word “wiped” when she claims she did not have her server “wiped” with bleach bit.

        Equivocation s the power of making a word APPEAR to mean something it doesn’t

        Calvinism’s power – is the power of equivocation! ;-D

      3. <<>>

        I think you pretty much said it. God provides a genuine gospel offer to all. It is genuine because:
        1. It is backed by something – the atonement, since I believe that Jesus intentionally died for all.
        2. God genuinely desires that each person will accept the offer.
        3. God enables each person to accept the offer by enabling them to believe.

        <<>>

        I have explained this above. God enabling every person to believe and therefore receive the salvation that is offered is one of the three factors that makes the offer genuine, therefore faith has a lot to do with the offer being genuine and is thus no less important in my theology than in Calvinism.

        <<>>

        That is a very strange question, especially if reworded like this: “So God enables people to believe the Gospel by these other means and believing has no role?”. Faith – believing, is the means by which the offer of the gift of salvation is received, so it has a vital role. It’s very strange that you seem to separate “faith” from “believing”. Although one is a noun and one is a verb, they are intimately related.

        <<>>

        No, I have many objections to Calvinism, but that is not one of them. I won’t list all my objections to it here as that would open up multiple lines of debate.

      4. Pastor Loz writes, “I think you pretty much said it. God provides a genuine gospel offer to all. It is genuine because:…3. God enables each person to accept the offer by enabling them to believe.”

        If the Calvinist were to say this, he would mean that God provides faith to each person enabling them to believe. Faith always causes a person to believe, so if God provides faith to all people, then all people would believe. However, Jesus said in John 6, “All those who the Father gives me will come to me. ” If God gives all people to Christ, then all people will come to (i.e., believe in ) Jesus. Interestingly, the Calvinist includes “faith” as a key part of the genuine gospel and you managed to leave it out.

        Then, “…faith has a lot to do with the offer being genuine and is thus no less important in my theology than in Calvinism.”

        LOL!!! You say, “Faith has ‘a lot to do with the offer being genuine.'” To the Calvinist, faith is what makes the offer genuine. No faith; no genuine offer. If faith is no less important in your theology than in Calvinism, why don’t you say that faith makes the offer genuine as the Calvinist does?

        Then, ‘Faith – believing, is the means by which the offer of the gift of salvation is received, so it has a vital role.”

        “…a vital role…”? In Hebrews we learn that faith is assurance and conviction. It is because of this assurance and conviction that a person calls on the name of the Lord. It is faith – this assurance and conviction – that causes a person to confess with his mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in his heart that God hath raised him from the dead. You are correct to say that “Although one is a noun and one is a verb, they are intimately related.” It is the present of faith (noun) that gives rise to the action of believing (verb). Faith must be present before the person can take any action, even believing. In Ephesians 1, Paul writes, “In Christ you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation:” It is through hearing the world of truth that a person receives faith and after hearing the word of truth, a person believes – it is faith that gives this result.

        Then, “No, I have many objections to Calvinism, but that is not one of them.”

        You seem to downplay the role of faith in salvation compared to the Calvinist. You say that faith “has a lot to do with the offer being genuine” and that faith “has a vital role” as if something else must be added to faith. That would indicate that you disagree with the Calvinist on the importance of faith to salvation.

      5. Pastor Loz writes, “I think you pretty much said it. God provides a genuine gospel offer to ALL.
        It is genuine because:…3. God enables each person to accept the offer by enabling them to believe.”

        br.d
        NO you are not getting it!!!!!

        Don’t be fooled by Calvinism’s MISLEADING language

        Calvin’s god provides TWO different offers.

        1) Calvin’s god provides an offer of NON-SALVATION to the “MANY” whom he has created/designed as NON-ELECT

        2) Calvin’s god provides an offer of SALVATION to the “FEW” whom he has created/designed as ELECT

        So there is no such thing as ONE OFFER provided to ALL in Calvinism.

        And both offers are genuine

      6. br.d writes, ‘So there is no such thing as ONE OFFER provided to ALL in Calvinism.”

        That is the point Pastor Loz is making. Pastor Loz has been contrasting his theology with Calvinism.

      7. br.d
        ‘So there is no such thing as ONE OFFER provided to ALL in Calvinism.”

        rhutchin
        That is the point Pastor Loz is making. Pastor Loz has been contrasting his theology with Calvinism.

        br.d
        You obviously didn’t read his statement
        -quote
        God provides A genuine gospel offer to ALL

        That is FALSE in Calvinism – because A offer equals ONE offer
        Which is not the case in Calvinism.

      8. br.d: “So there is no such thing as ONE OFFER provided to ALL in Calvinism.”
        rhutchin: “That is the point Pastor Loz is making. Pastor Loz has been contrasting his theology with Calvinism.”
        br.d: “You obviously didn’t read his statement -quote- “God provides A genuine gospel offer to ALL”
        That is FALSE in Calvinism – because A offer equals ONE offer. Which is not the case in Calvinism.”

        That is the point Pastor Loz is making. Pastor Loz has been contrasting his theology with Calvinism.

  10. RHUTCH wrote /// Faith always causes a person to believe ///

    That is one of your mistakes, right there, by saying faith always causes a person to believe. No Scripture says that faith has that automatic causal effect, faith always enables a person to believe. So the rest of your logic falls apart. As for John 6, Jesus is referring to those who believe. The Father gives all those who believe to the Son. All those who believe will come to the son. That is why Jesus said no man CAN come to Him unless the Father draws him. Therefore, when the Father draws a person, that person CAN come to Christ. It does not mean he will inevitably come to Christ.

    RHUTCH wrote /// LOL!!! You say, “Faith has ‘a lot to do with the offer being genuine.’” To the Calvinist, faith is what makes the offer genuine. No faith; no genuine offer. If faith is no less important in your theology than in Calvinism, why don’t you say that faith makes the offer genuine as the Calvinist does? ///

    I just said that faith is one of the 3 critical elements of making an offer genuine. So I think you need to read what I wrote more carefully rather than LOLing.

    1. Pastor Loz writes, “That is one of your mistakes, right there, by saying faith always causes a person to believe. ”

      Hebrews 11 tells us that faith consists of assurance and conviction (or similar words). As an example, a person who is assured and convicted that a chair will hold his weight, will sit in the chair. If he lacks assurance and conviction, he will not sit in the chair. So, if a person has assurance of the gospel and is convicted of the truth of the gospel, it seems to me that he believes. Earlier, you said that faith and believing were pretty much the same thing. Even though I separate faith (a noun) and believing (a verb), I still recognize that they always come in pairs – the person who has faith expresses that faith in believing. If a person is not believing, he has no faith.

      Your position seems to be that a person with assurance and conviction will behave as if he has no assurance and conviction. I don’t see how that works.

      Then, “As for John 6, Jesus is referring to those who believe. ”

      John 6:37 has Jesus saying, “All those who the Father gives me will come to me.” The word, “gives” is present tense while “will come” is future tense. So, Jesus is referring to those who believe but says that they believe because God gives them the Him (Jesus). If, as you say, “All those who believe will come to the son,” then what do you say it means for a believer to come to Jesus? The Calvinist says that “to come” to Jesus is “to believe” in Jesus which you seem to deny.

      Then, “That is why Jesus said no man CAN come to Him unless the Father draws him.”

      So, a person first believes in Jesus and then God draws the person to Jesus so that the believer can come to Jesus. Then, you say, “It does not mean he will inevitably come to Christ.” Earlier, you said, “All those who believe will come to the son.” I am confused by what appear to be contradictory statements.

      Regardless, under what circumstances would a believer who is being drawn to Christ not actually come to Christ. If a believer refused to come to Christ, would that not betray that he is not really a believer?

      Then, “I just said that faith is one of the 3 critical elements of making an offer genuine.”

      You wrote, ‘It is genuine because:
      1. It is backed by something – the atonement, since I believe that Jesus intentionally died for all.
      2. God genuinely desires that each person will accept the offer.
      3. God enables each person to accept the offer by enabling them to believe.”

      Which of those three points do you mean to represent “faith”? Did you mean, “3. God enables each person to accept the offer by giving them faith (i.e., giving them the assurance and conviction that enables them to believe).”

      If so, that is what the Calvinist says. But, is that what you meant?

  11. /// br.d wrote: NO you are not getting it!!!!! Don’t be fooled by Calvinism’s MISLEADING language Calvin’s god provides TWO different offers. 1) Calvin’s god provides an offer of NON-SALVATION to the “MANY” whom he has created/designed as NON-ELECT 2) Calvin’s god provides an offer of SALVATION to the “FEW” whom he has created/designed as ELECT So there is no such thing as ONE OFFER provided to ALL in Calvinism. And both offers are genuine ///

    I think you are confusing what I was writing in relation to my theology, where God provides a genuine offer to all, and what I am writing in relation to Calvinism, where their version of God does not. I am not fooled by Calvinism’s misleading language for one second. I have debated hundreds if not thousands of calvinists over 18 years. I know they have their own Rosetta stone.

    1. Thanks for pointing this out.

      Please understand – rhutchin is here to make it APPEAR as if Calvinism is going to line up with your view.

      And when I read the post – it gave that appearance.

      So thank you for correcting that!!

      1. br.d writes, “Please understand – rhutchin is here to make it APPEAR as if Calvinism is going to line up with your view.”

        Actually, I’m trying to figure out how faith fits into Pastor Loz’s theology. If Pastor Loz wants his theology to line up with Calvinism, that’s fine. I am trying to point out the difference between his theology and Calvinism. That can be hard to do because he seems confused about John 6.

      2. The good pastor knows – forewarned is forearmed!

        He understands fully well – Calvinists are word jugglers :-]

  12. Hello, Dr. Flowers. Thank you for offering resources brought from this blog. I would like to ask questions privately on my personal theological concerns in a non-Calvinist and biblical standpoint. Is there an email address available to contact with? Best regards from the Philippines. God bless you.

    1. Hello Stephen and welcome
      Personally – I don’t know of an email for the purpose you ask about.
      But let’s see if anyone else here does.

      Blessings
      br.d

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