Calvinism and the Problem of Damnation and Hell

by Ronnie W. Rogers
https://ronniewrogers.com/2021/11/08/calvinism-and-the-problem-of-damnation-and-hell/

Calvinism’s exclusive doctrines position it in an untenable place when it comes to people spending eternity in hell. They offer various responses to allay the indefensible entailments of Calvinism that consign people to hell (the reprobate non-elect class). Here are a few: first, some say they deserve to be there. While that is true, it does not tell us why they are there since the people in heaven equally deserve to be in hell. Second, some say it is so God can show his full glory in both love and wrath. But damning people to hell is unnecessary for God to show his wrath or holiness since no one needed to suffer God’s wrath to demonstrate his holiness because Christ suffering his wrath for our sin is the quintessential display of God’s wrath.[1]

Third, some say people in hell chose to reject God. But people are not in hell simply because they chose to reject God, for the very people in heaven rejected God before he overpowered them with efficacious grace. If God had overpowered the ones in hell, they would have accepted him; hence the missing element is God’s overpowering grace. We also know people are not in hell to highlight God’s compassion, love, and grace by pedestaling his contrasting wrath and holiness; the death of Christ sufficiently displayed that. We also know they are not in hell because God was unwilling to do what was necessary for them to not be in hell. Because the death of Christ sufficiently took away the sin of the world (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2).

Once we dismiss the pleasantries of Calvinism, the only reason some are in heaven and some are in hell is because it pleased God for them to be there. Notwithstanding the weak and misleading arguments to the contrary by many Calvinists, I maintain all consistent Calvinists inevitably believe in double predestination. They either believe God actively predestined some to hell, as Calvin does, or he did so by choosing not to offer what would have surely delivered them from hell to heaven, which is unconditional election and selective regeneration. Calvin refers to this cold, inescapable reality as the product of God’s wish, pleasure, and counsel.[2]

Commenting on what Paul says in Romans 9, John Calvin candidly explains, “He [Paul] concludes that God has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth (Rom 9:18). You see how he refers both to the mere pleasure of God. Therefore, if we cannot assign any reason for his bestowing mercy on his people, but just that it so pleases him, neither can we have any reason for his reprobating others but his will[3] (italics added). Calvin further says the reprobate are doomed in God’s “hidden purpose” while simultaneously (and quite contradictorily) maintaining “so wonderful is his love towards mankind that he would have them all to be saved.”[4] Calvin classifies God’s good pleasure to doom this innumerable group of people, whom he created, to such a ghastly and unalterable fate, which he did not have to choose, as “incomprehensible judgment.”[5]

Similarly, the Canons of Dort assert, “Moreover, Holy Scripture . . . further bears witness that not all people have been chosen but that some have not been chosen or have been passed by in God’s eternal election—those, that is, concerning whom God, on the basis of his entirely free, most just, irreproachable, and unchangeable good pleasure, made the following decision: to leave them in the common misery into which, by their own fault, they have plunged themselves; not to grant them saving faith and the grace of conversion, but finally to condemn and eternally punish them”[6] (italics added).

Fast forward to eternity. Imagine all the redeemed, unconditionally elected according to Calvinism, are standing on the precipice of hell in which untold billions of people suffer unimaginable, unquenchable, and unparalleled agony and torment. While the elect gaze into the cauldron of hell, one of the unconditionally elect exclaims God is holy. And that proclamation is immediately and worshipfully met by thunderous amens and hallelujahs since, whether redeemed or judged, God’s perfect and unlimited righteousness and holiness are irrefutably evident to all.

Then another of the unconditionally elect, caught up in the moment, resoundingly declares that God is love. An eerie pause follows this declaration. A hollow cavern of silence. A silence not from or awakening calmness, but a silence invoked by an insurmountable contradiction. A silence wherein an attribute of God is suppressed by the conquest of evidence; a silence like never before. It is not one of awe and glorious wonder but one of confusion and demoralization of the elect.

While God clearly dealt with the elect and the damned in holiness, and the elect in love, it is impossible to truthfully say God dealt with the damned, the reprobate, in perfect love, salvific love. Seeking to explain how God is perfect love and yet withholds his salvific love from those he created and predetermined for eternal torment is like trying to explain God as perfect holiness if he did not deal with all people and sin in perfect holiness.

Moreover, seeking to dismiss this contradiction of God’s perfect love by appealing to such as how God’s withholding his power at times does not equal that he is not omnipotent is fallacious. The reason this argument is fallacious is because love is a moral attribute like holiness and power is not. Consequently, he may display or withhold exercising his omnipotence based on his moral attributes, but his moral nature of perfect holiness, righteousness, and love is always perfectly present. Calvinism calls this type of inescapable dilemma a “mystery.” Anywhere else, it is called what it is, a tragic contradiction in Calvinism, that depicts God unlike the God of Scripture.


[1] Even if people in hell were necessary, a point I do not concede, it seems probable that far fewer reprobates are necessary, and maybe only one would sufficiently display God’s wrath.
[2] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1997), vol. 2, bk. 3, chap. 21, sec. 7, pg. 210.
[3] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Bellingham: WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010).
[4] John Calvin, “Commentaries on the Second Epistle of Peter,” Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, edited by John Owen (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979), 419. Logos electronic edition.
[5] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1997), vol. 2, bk. 3, chap. 21, sec. 7, pg. 211.
[6] Canons of Dort, First Head of Doctrine, article 15.

1,674 thoughts on “Calvinism and the Problem of Damnation and Hell

  1. br.d What is your reply to this article from Carm.org “Why does God create people He knows will go to hell?”
    by Matt Slick | Aug 7, 2009 | , the article says
    “The answer to the question of why God would create someone knowing he will go to hell is found in Romans 9:21-23 which says,

    “…does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.”

    So, according to the Bible, it seems that God patiently endured the “bad” people so that He could express His great riches upon the people who go to heaven. These evil people freely choose to be evil, and if God were to stop them from existing then He would have to, in effect, stop people from being born who would never hear the gospel and who would reject the gospel.

    But still, even the people going to hell can have a purpose in this life. There are many non-Christians who have advanced medicine, technology, and helped other people a great deal. God has ordained that they perform work which is ultimately for His glory since he has blessed even the lost with gifting – in accordance with them being made in God’s image. But, they reject God and are without excuse (Romans 1:20).

    Finally, there is a logical problem with not creating people who go to hell. It would mean that no one would go to heaven. You see, without the crucifixion, no one could be saved. But, in order for Jesus to be crucified, evil people had to lie about Him and murder Him. His crucifixion is the means by which we are saved. So, if God doesn’t create people He knows will go to hell, then there would have been no crucifixion by which people could be saved. In that case, all people would go to hell. Therefore, if God was to not make anyone who would go to hell, then He would not make anyone at all.”

    1. JeffW
      br.d What is your reply to this article from Carm.org “Why does God create people He knows will go to hell?”

      br.d
      Jeff – how long will you allow yourself to be deceived by these deceptive language tricks???

      1)
      Why can’t Calvinist’s tell the TRUTH about divine knowledge in Calvinism – instead of using deceptive language designed to HIDE the TRUTH?

      How does Calvin’s god KNOW someone will go to hell?

      John Calvin
      –quote
      he foresees the things which are to happen simply because he has DECREED they so happen.

      John Calvin
      -quote
      He foresees future events only in CONSEQUENCE of his decree.

      John Calvin
      -quote
      He consequently foreknew because HE SO ORDAINED BY HIS DECREE

      2)
      Why can’t Calvinist’s tell the TRUTH about Calvin’s god who DESIGNS/CREATES people specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire – instead of using deceptive language designed to HIDE the TRUTH

      John Calvin
      -quote
      By the eternal GOOD PLEASURE of god THOUGH THE REASON DOES NOT APPEAR, they are NOT *FOUND* but *MADE* worthy of destruction. – (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of god)

      So the TRUTH in Calvinism – is that the only reason people go to hell – is that Calvin’s god SPECIALLY DESIGNS/CREATES people specifically for eternal torment in the lake of fire
      And he creates them for eternal torment *FOR HIS GOOD PLEASURE*

      JeffW
      does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use?

      br.d
      The divine creator the world has the right do create creatures any way he wants to.
      But in Calvinism – as we clearly see above – Calvin’s god DESIGNS/CREATES people for eternal torment *FOR HIS GOOD PLEASURE*

      So here are 4 questions for you Jeff

      1) Is Calvin’s god FORCED to design/create his creatures for eternal torment?

      2) Does he have no other choice?

      3) Is he limited such that he cannot create them for any other purpose?

      4) What kind of PLEASURE is it that creates/designs creatures specifically for eternal torment?

      JeffW
      22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

      br.d
      Lets put this in the PROPER perspective in Calvinism

      John Calvin
      -quote
      The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that *NOTHING* happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.

      So Jeff – here is a question for you:
      1) Why does Calvin’s god want to demonstrate his wrath against the very things he decrees to infallibly come to pass – since according to the doctrine *NOTHING* can come to pass that he didn’t knowingly and willing decree?

      2) Is it possible for a fallible creature to be or do otherwise than what that creature was infallibly decreed to be and do?

      JeffW
      So, according to the Bible, it seems that God patiently endured the “bad” people so that He could express His great riches upon the people who go to heaven.

      br.d
      That makes perfect sense from a NON-Calvinist perspective.
      But in Calvinism – what Calvin’s god is enduring is his own decrees.

      Jeff – in Calvinism *NOTHING* happens that is not knowingly and willingly decreed

      So Jeff – please tell me why people are “bad” in Calvinism?

      JeffW
      These evil people freely choose to be evil,

      br.d
      Jeff – do you know anything about CREATURELY FREEDOM in Calvinism?

      1) The creature is FREE to be/do what Calvin’s god decreed the creature would infallibly be/do

      2) The creature is NOT FREE to be/do anything other than what Calvin’s god decreed the creature to infallibly be/do

      It is logically impossible for a fallible creature to falsify an infallible decree.
      So in Calvinism – creatures don’t have the type of FREEDOM that NORMAL people consider FREEDOM.

      JeffW
      Finally, there is a logical problem with not creating people who go to hell. It would mean that no one would go to heaven.

      br.d
      I applaud you for trying to apply analytical thinking!!!
      But this argument fails.

      Calvin’s god is OMNIPOTENT.
      Which means he is not limited to any MEANS in which he will have things resolved.

      Remember – Calvin’s AUTHORS every impulse that will come to pass in every person’s brain.

      Calvin’s god is perfectly free and perfectly capable of decreeing humans to always have “good” and “holy” impulses come to pass within their brains.

      He does not have to AUTHOR sinful evil impulses to come to pass in anyone’s brain if he doesn’t want to.

      The fallacy in your thinking is what is called NECESSARY CONDITIONS.

      Because Calvin’s god is not limited
      1) It is not a NECESSARY CONDITION for Jesus to be crucified.
      2) It is not a NECESSARY CONDITION for any person to have a sinful evil impulse in their brain.
      3) it is not a NECESSARY CONDITION that Calvin’s god decrees sinful evil impulses to come to pass in people’s brains.

      Therefore – that line of reasoning fails.

      Jeff – how long will you continue to not see through the deceptive language at Calvinist web-sites???1

    2. <<>>

      In Calvinism, people do not “freely choose” to be evil, because they are not free to choose anything else. They are unchangeably ordained to choose evil, such that they cannot choose otherwise. That is not a choice. Calvinists have to re-define “freely choose”

      <<>>

      In Calvinism, they are not without excuse. They have the best and perfect excuse – total inability. In addition, they are not rejecting God, because God has never intended or genuinely offered Himself to them. He has already rejected them so there is nothing and no-one for them to reject. But yes, it is consistent with the callous narcissism of Calvinism that the non-elect can have some purely utilitarian purpose for the benefit of the elect.

      <<>>

      That is one of the most ridiculous, circular arguments ever invented. If God operated according to meticulous pre-determinism, He could just as easily create everyone to be perfectly sinless, so that they would go to Heaven without the need for any crucifixion. It is akin to the idea of a doctor who has to create a virus in the laboratory and make sure everyone is infected with it, just so he can develop an antidote and administer it to a few, to make himself look good. Or Piper’s equally ridiculous argument that God cannot be fully glorified without evil, because without evil He could not express wrath, and wrath is a necessary part of His glory.

      1. Calvinist statements almost always entail the process of trying to sell bottles of EVIL to the NON-Calvinist consumer – by wrapping them in a pretty package in order to HIDE what is inside.

    3. Jeff: “What is your reply to this article from Carm.org “Why does God create people He knows will go to hell?””

      Heather: Obviously this whole article is built on the presupposition that God predestined the non-elect to hell. And if the whole foundation is wrong, then everything built on top of it is wrong too. Matt Slick is trying to argue for why God would create people that He predestined for hell, but the whole idea of God predestining people for hell is wrong from the very beginning. (And what a convoluted bunch of nonsense his article is!) And it would be foolish to answer a fool (Slick) in his folly, to try to debate the specific points he made when it’s all based on demonic lies anyway (and on verses taken out of context).

      (And it’s totally deceptive for him to state it as God simply “knowing” people will go to hell when he really means God predestines/causes them to go to hell. It’s one thing for God to give all people the chance to be saved but to know that most will choose of their own free-will to reject Him, but it’s quite another for Him to create/cause people to be totally unable to believe in Him because He predestined them for hell).

  2. br.d , I’m interested in getting many different points of view, I visit many
    Non-Calvinist Christian websites also. What Bible verses and their Contexts do you think destroy Calvinism and cannot be explained away by Calvinism ?
    Some argue that humans do have some degree of Free Will & Free Choice in Calvinism.. the old Compatibalism VS Determinism debate. How else do you think we or Science can show Calvinism to be true or partially true, compared to Arminianism, Provisionism , etc.
    Is it possible for someone to be a
    Lutheran Calvinist ? I had a good friend several years ago who was Lutheran. Can someone be both Lutheran and Calvinist ?
    And do you believe Calvinism is Psychologically harmful to people and produces “bad fruit” ? There are many different ways to Interpret Scripture, just as there are different ways people interpret the U.S. Constitution, how can we ever know which Interpretation is Correct?

    1. Ok – lets do this then.
      From now on – when you have a Calvinist web-site to chat about – we’ll walk through their statements together – and instead of you asking me questions – I’ll play the teacher

      I’ll give you FACTS about Calvinism which pertain to the statement in question.

      And then I’ll ask you to exercise LOGICAL thinking – so that you can learn to use LOGICAL thinking as a tool – to see where and when Calvinist statements utilize deceptive language.

      That way you’ll be learning to discern these things for yourself.
      And when you visit Calvinist web-sites you’ll be able to easily see through all of their deceptive language.

      So – from now on – instead of you asking me my opinion – I’ll give you FACTS about Calvinism – that the Calvinist web-sites are hiding from you – and you can ask yourself the questions you would be asking me – and you’ll be able to easily answer those questions yourself.

      I’ll teach you how to fish for yourself – instead of me doing the fishing for you! 😀

      That way – you’ll learn how to see through Calvinist statements that are designed to paint FALSE PICTURES of Calvinism in order to make it look acceptable.

    2. Hi Jeff… Here are the main verses I point to.
      Pulling Petals Off the TULIP

      After looking at the meaning of these following clear verses as they relate to the TULIP, I would see myself as 1/2 T and 1/2 P in agreement with Calvinists. 🙂

      T – 1/2 pulled off
      Rom 11:32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. [The first part of this passage agrees with one part of Calvinism’s view of Total Depravity, but not the second part]

      John 1:9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

      U – Pulled off
      Rom 9:25 As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.”

      2Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning [His] promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing [planning] that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

      L – Pulled off
      1John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

      2Pet 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, [and] bring on themselves swift destruction.

      I – Pulled off
      Mark 7:14 When He had called all the multitude to [Himself,] He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand:”

      Heb 3:7-8 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,”

      P – 1/2 Pulled off
      Eph 1:13-14 In Him you also [trusted,] after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. [This passage agrees with one part of Calvinism’s view of Eternal Security, but not its rejection of carnality]

      Heb 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need [someone] to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes [only] of milk [is] unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, [that is,] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

    3. JeffW
      Some argue that humans do have some degree of Free Will & Free Choice in Calvinism

      br.d
      I’ve explained this very clearly to you before Jeff
      And I’m concerned that you are not using your mind to think clearly.

      Here is the question for you Jeff

      If the following things are TRUE
      1) God decrees that you will infallibly do [X]
      2) The only option God gives you – is the option to do [X]
      3) God does not grant you the ability to refrain from doing [X]

      Are you granted a choice about whether or not you will do [X]?

    4. Jeff: What Bible verses and their Contexts do you think destroy Calvinism and cannot be explained away by Calvinism?

      Heather: If I may (and I hope I am not offending anyone by jumping in here), I’d also like to throw some verses out there for consideration:

      1. Consider Lydia from Acts 16 and the believers who didn’t yet have the Holy Spirit in Acts 19. Calvinists say the elect get the Holy Spirit first, in order to cause them to have faith, but these passages show believers who do not yet have the Holy Spirit. If Calvinism is true. how can there be believers who don’t first have the Holy Spirit? Answer: Calvinism is wrong. The Holy Spirit comes to us after we believe, as a result of our belief (as seen in other verses), not in order to make us believe. [Calvinists use Lydia from Acts 16:14 as an example of God opening someone’s heart to cause them to believe. They say “See, it says God opened her heart to believe.” But it does not say that. It says he “opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message,” which I believe is the message of the need for baptism. Because that’s the next thing she does. And it’s what happened in Acts 19 too. Lydia does not support Calvinism. It actually contradicts it. According to their own logic, her heart wasn’t opened to believe yet and so she would be a totally depraved, unregenerated person who couldn’t do any good or seek God until God opened her heart. But here she was worshipping God anyway before God supposedly “opened her heart to believe,” which would be impossible in Calvinism.]

      2. “But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but who has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin – this man also does the right thing.” (1 Corinthians 7:37, NIV)

      Calvinism essentially believes that God controls our wills. But in this verse, Paul clearly refers to the fact that we can make up our own minds about issues, without being under compulsion to choose what we do, that we are in “control” over our wills. This clearly goes against Calvinism. It puts the responsibility for our decisions and desires and actions on us, not on God.

      But interestingly, and very tellingly, the ESV (the Calvinist Bible) changes “has control over his own will” to “but having his desire under control.” Of all the typical word-for-word translations, that’s the only one that words it that way: “having his desire under control.” To me, this is a deliberate attempt to sneak Calvinism in, by putting less “control” in man’s hands over his will than what the Bible originally said. “Having control over his will” is active. The control is done by the person. He has control over his will. But “having his desire under control” doesn’t have to mean the man himself is doing the controlling. It’s just saying his desire is under control. But by whom?

      Calvinists would say that people’s desires are controlled by the nature that God gave us. And the nature God gives us comes with certain desires that we have to obey, and we cannot choose anything different. So if He gave you the “unregenerated nature” which comes only with the desire to sin and reject Him, then you will only always want to sin/reject Him and you can only always choose to sin/reject Him. You can’t choose anything different and can’t even want to choose anything different because your predestined nature determines that you will desire to sin and only to sin.

      [So if a Calvinist says you can make “real choices,” they are being deceptive because they only mean you can make the choices that go with the desires of the nature God gave you. And the unregenerated person only has the desire to sin/reject God, and so they can only choose to sin/reject God. But Calvinists will still call this “making the choice you want to make,” even though God predestined the desires you have and the choices you make based on those desires, and you had no ability to choose otherwise. And then since you “wanted” to sin and reject God (because of the desires built into your God-given unregenerated nature), Calvinists will claim that you deserve the punishment and the eternal life in hell that you get. Because you “desired” to do what you did, even though you could only desire/do what God predestined. It’s disgusting how shamelessly deceptive Calvinism is!]

      But if God has “elected” you for salvation (lucky people!), then He will eventually replace your unregenerated nature with a “regenerated” one (through the work of the Holy Spirit who “wakes you up inside” and causes you to be believe and be saved), which brings with it the desires to obey and do good and seek God. And then you will be able to (and then you have to!) choose to obey and do good and seek God, because your desires are now under the control of the Holy Spirit.

      The way the ESV words this verse essentially changes it from “man controls his will/desires” (meaning then that man would have the ability to choose between various options, to decide which desires to follow, to change his mind, etc.) to “man’s desires are under control” (meaning, according to Calvinism, that they are under the control of the Holy Spirit, not of man, and so therefore man cannot really make his own decisions or choose between various options/desires). I would say that instead of faithfully translating the verse as it is, the translators clearly and shamelessly altered it to fit with Calvinism.

      3. A bunch of verses that contradict Calvinism and that Calvinists never have a good, reasonable answer for:

      Hosea 8:4 (God’s words): “They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval.”

      Jeremiah 19:5 (God’s own words): “They have built the high places to Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal – something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.”

      Isaiah 30:1: “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine…”

      Psalm 33:10: “The Lord foils the plans of the nations …” (Does God first cause us to have plans but then He foils the plans He caused us to have? Silly and contradictory. What kind of a God is that?)

      Acts 14:16: “In the past, he [God] let nations go their own way.” (How is this possible if God’s plans are the only things that happen? If all ways are God’s ways, then how can He let someone go their own way?)

      1 Kings 20:42: “He said to the king, ‘This is what the Lord says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die.”” (So then Calvi-god predetermined that they didn’t carry out his predetermined plan!?! Does that make any sense? How “sovereign” can Calvi-god be if the thing he predetermined to happen didn’t happen? And then which one was his true Will: kill the man or don’t kill the man? If it’s “kill the man,” then Calvi-god caused the people to not do his Will (he willed that his Will didn’t get done). But if it’s “don’t kill the man,” then he gave a command at first to put the man to death that he didn’t really mean. Either way, it makes him untrustworthy and nonsensical.)

      And if God alone controls every single movement that everyone and everything makes, then why would He need to put “boundaries/limits” around things, such as when He put a boundary around the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden, and a limit on how far the sea can go in Job 38:11, and a protective hedge around Job and limits to what Satan could do to him in Job 1? Boundaries/limits are only needed when there is freedom to move within those boundaries.

      Just some verses to consider, verses which confound Calvinists.

      Jeff: “And do you believe Calvinism is Psychologically harmful to people and produces “bad fruit” ? There are many different ways to Interpret Scripture, just as there are different ways people interpret the U.S. Constitution, how can we ever know which Interpretation is Correct?”

      Heather: I think it is definitely harmful because it destroys God’s character, His love and His justice and His trustworthiness. If Calvinism is true, then God always says one thing but means another … and He gives fake offers of salvation to most people … and He loves a few but hates most … and He causes evil because it pleases and glorifies Him … and He commands people to do things He prevents them from doing (repenting, believing, obeying) … and He deliberately causes us to do things He commanded us not to do (sin, rebellion, unbelief) … and He punishes us for what He caused us to do, for things we had no control over. This makes Him unjust, unloving, and untrustworthy. A monster. How could this NOT damage someone’s heart and faith?

      And which interpretation is correct? I would say the one that comes closest to upholding what God clearly, plainly said in His Word when read in a commonsense way (commonsense would say that if God commands people to seek Him and to believe in Him then it means it is possible for us to seek Him and believe in Him, commonsense would say that if God says He loves all people and that He shows His love by sending Jesus to die for sinners then it means that He, out of His love, sent Jesus to die for all sinners, all people, commonsense would say that if God said He doesn’t want anyone to perish then He wouldn’t predestine/cause people to perish, etc.), instead of the one that adds secret layers and double meanings and that takes verses out of context and that splits biblical concepts into “two different types of…” when there is no Bible verse to support it and when it actually contradicts what God did plainly say.

      The gospel is not as complicated, hidden, convoluted, and mysterious as Calvinists make it out to be. It is simple and clear, easy enough for a child to understand, because God wants us to understand the truth and to believe it. Don’t let them make it tougher than it is. Read what God Himself said in His Word, and don’t let Calvinists trick you into their ideas of what God meant to say. Any theology that’s basically built on “Did God really say …?” is not from God!

  3. br.d & everyone else can Answer, My Question is , do we believe “Eternal Security” to be the same as “Once Saved Always Saved” or do you think it’s possible for a Christian who is Truly Saved to Possibly Sin so Severely that they will be Condemned to Hell when they die, ?
    Plus I have found these videos on YouTube that disagree with Dr. Flowers and say his Theology & Interpretation of Scripture is Wrong

    1.–1:02:14
    “A Critique of Leighton Flowers on Total Inability”

    7.3K views
    1 year ago

    Dr. Jordan B Cooper
    “This is a critique of Leighton Flowers’ recent comments on the subject of total inability.

    2.–“Leighton Flowers you are wrong”

    2.1K views
    1 year ago

    smart christian channel
    The flaw in Leighton Flower’s Theology.”

    3. “Reacting to Leighton Flowers’ Poll”

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    Dividing Line Highlights
    The second evening of the mini Conference on the solas is just 90 minutes away so we snuck a quick program from the AO Mobile …”

    4.”Leighton flower’s 1 Corinthians 2:14 “De-Calvinized” critique”

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    My friend Edwin and I analyze a video that about 1 Corinthians 2:14, on whether or not it teaches the doctrine of Total inability.”

    5.”Leighton Flowers you are wrong (still)”

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    “Why Leighton Flowers blocked me.
    Some claim Calvinism & some degree of “Free Will” can co-exist, Compatibalism , is there a Scientific way to Prove Determinism, this is far more complex than a Rubik’s cube

    1. JeffW…. What does it matter that there are individuals who made videos to express their disagreement with Leighton? The issue is what does Scripture say, and does Leighton or these others represent correct Scriptural teaching on a certain issue.

      As for OSAS, Leighton believes this is a biblical teaching and so do I. There are many Provisionists however who don’t. Here’s a passage I like pointing to in support.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      1. Brian: “What does it matter that there are individuals who made videos to express their disagreement with Leighton? The issue is what does Scripture say, and does Leighton or these others represent correct Scriptural teaching on a certain issue. As for OSAS, Leighton believes this is a biblical teaching and so do I.”

        Heather: Good answer, Brian. And I agree. I have studied this myself and came to the conclusion that the Bible teaches eternal security for true believers (not necessarily for those who just “pray a prayer” or who call themselves believers).

        When I was researching Calvinism to see what others say, it was hard to find people who were against Calvinism but who also believed in OSAS. It seems that in their desire/efforts to destroy Calvinism, they also get rid of eternal security, almost as if trying to make sure they have nothing in common with Calvinists. I however believe the Bible does not support Calvinism in general but that it does support eternal security, just not in the way Calvinists say.

        Calvinists believe that if God chose you to be one of the elect and gives you the Holy Spirit to cause you to be saved then He will keep you in the faith all the way to the end. I believe that God promises that He will give the Spirit to anyone who willingly chooses to believe in Jesus, and that the Spirit seals us for the day of redemption. Believers can still fall into sin and can lose eternal rewards, but they cannot lose their salvation.

        Here are some verses I think support OSAS:

        “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14) And “Now it is God who makes both of us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

        After belief, we are sealed by God. I do not believe we can be unsealed. I do not believe God can be tricked by false claims of belief. And I do not believe the Holy Spirit pops in and out of people based on if they truly believe one day but lose their faith the next. How all-knowing could God be if He didn’t know who has real faith and who doesn’t?

        “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

        If we could lose the Holy Spirit, why would it just say to not grieve the Spirit who sealed you? Why wouldn’t it say something like “Don’t grieve the Spirit who sealed you, or else you might grieve Him so much that He unseals you”? This verse is saying that He sealed us, so let’s not disgrace Him or take God’s grace for granted. It’s saying “You’re a Christian, so live like it.” It’s not saying that He sealed us only as long as we behave ourselves well enough. It’s not saying that we can sin our way into not being a Christian anymore.

        (Besides, if it was saying that we could lose our salvation by sinning, at what point would the Spirit go from just being grieved to leaving us? I can’t find any verse that tells us where that line is, and it would be quite distressing if God intentionally left out a big guideline like that. I think that if we COULD lose our salvation – which I don’t think true believers can – I would say that the only way it could happen would be by directly, deliberately recanting our faith. I do not believe we can stumble or sin our way into losing our salvation because our eternal salvation is based on God’s promise and God’s work of sealing us, not on our efforts to maintain it. Besides, God knows that our efforts would never be good enough anyway. That’s why Jesus came and did the work for us, because we couldn’t do it ourselves.)

        “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (1 Corinthians 5:17)

        Notice that the old has gone; it’s not lurking in the background, waiting to reclaim you.

        “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)

        I have yet to find a verse that says “and crossed back over to death.”

        A true believer can never fall away because God has sealed us. He has given us the Holy Spirit in us as His seal of ownership over us and as a guarantee of what is to come, a promise to come back and get us. We have become new creations and crossed from death to life. And even if we fall away for awhile or struggle with our faith, the Spirit will always be working on our hearts to call us back into a right relationship with God.

        “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son… And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30)

        If God foreknows you as one of those who will truly believe in Him, you are sealed and headed for glory. Whether we become a believer or not is not what is predestined. But what is predestined is that those who truly believe will reach glory in the end. That is a promise for all those who choose to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

        This is my opinion on the question of eternal security.

      2. Clarification: “… I have studied this myself and came to the conclusion that the Bible teaches eternal security for true believers (not necessarily for those who just “pray a prayer” or who JUST call themselves believers BUT WHO REALLY AREN’T).”

        I’m sure you all know what I meant, but I wanted to clarify it anyway.

      3. …continuing….

        This also has monumental implications with texts like 1 Cor 10:13. Suffice it to say here, since Heather and Brian would affirm that their falling into sin ultimately is not “up to” them, but “God who makes both of us and you stand firm in Christ” (2 Cor 1:21-22, cited by Heather, taking a compatibilist reading) so as to shield them from final apostasy, they are now backed into a corner of defending compatibilism against incompatibilist objections. So on good days when Heather is not busy defending DCD when arguing for ES, theological schizophrenia seems to set in. See how she turns on a dime:

        Heather: Calvinism essentially believes that God controls our wills. But in this verse, Paul clearly refers to the fact that we can make up our own minds about issues, without being under compulsion to choose what we do, that we are in “control” over our wills. This clearly goes against Calvinism. It puts the responsibility for our decisions and desires and actions on us, not on God.

        But in order to guarantee her ES, and to ensure that her sinful will doesn’t push her to the brink of apostasy, she would inescapably have to read 2 Cor 1:21-22 in a compatibilistic sense! Let’s put this further in perspective.

        Set aside Heather strawmaning Calvinism. God offering “a way of escape” requires a plurality of voluntary control such that (i) they are able to bring either option voluntarily, (ii) intentionally, and (iii) rationally, without being coerced or compelled or otherwise causally determined by other agents. But on a day when Heather is a quasi-Calvinist, it is not “up to her”, she argues, to control her sinful actions, since her eternal security is ultimately “up to God” “who makes [her] stand firm in Christ.”

        As stated, in all things unrelated to ES, Heather champions LFW. However, when defending ES, LFW is dropped, and we get sermonizing that’s in distinguishable from “calvi-god.” Swap out some of the terms in her statement in favor of ES, and Heather arbitrarily switches the metaphysics of divine providence from creatures having LFW to compatiblism. So any arguments she deploys are meaningless because of ES.

        Can it be any clearer that provisionists have succumbed to a jumbled morass of biblical contradictions, and philosophical quackery. One piece of dogma, namely ES, determines when divine providence and true justice does not involve “controlling” our wills on the one hand; but on the other, after conversion, Heather and co., are happy to affirm a divine justice whereby God “controls” our wills.”

        What a mess!

        Heather, you cannot have your cake and it too. It’s obviously you haven’t carefully and systematically thought through so many issues.

        Heather: “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14) And “Now it is God who makes both of us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

        Heather: After belief, we are sealed by God. I do not believe we can be unsealed. I do not believe God can be tricked by false claims of belief. And I do not believe the Holy Spirit pops in and out of people based on if they truly believe one day but lose their faith the next. How all-knowing could God be if He didn’t know who has real faith and who doesn’t.

        Correct! There is no evidence, like Brian’s “no one can be unborn, in the NT of anything resembling someone being “unsealed.” I’m afraid this is yet another strawman. Heather and Brian continue reaching for straws that no credible proponent of OA defends! So this is a misfire. As I’ve argued above, the position is that regenerated believers, while having still the ability to sin (posee pecare), can deliberately sin in such a was as to incur the wrath of God by committing specifically the sin of apostasy (see exegesis above Heb 10:26-29; cf. 6:4-6). Other sins that warrant exclusion from the community of God is the potential to revert to unbelief (Rom 11:17-24), and apathy (John 15:1-6).

        She also misunderstands the concept of “sealing” in antiquity. In sigillography, scrolls for instance were sealed or engraved with a substance for purposes of authentication. They were used as identity markers to represent either an individual, religious or political party. Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb had engraved the Roman seal yet it was broken. The soldier responsible for guarding the tomb were executed by capital punishment because they failed to preserve the seal which was representative of the Roman Empire. Likewise, the “sealing of the Holy Spirit”, understood in its proper cultural milieu, serves as an identity marker for Christians.

        Heather’s anachronistic reading of “sealing” as a sort of impenetrable locking can be rejected. There is no lexical evidence that “sealing” is synonymous with divine bolting or locking in the ancient world.

        Heather: If we could lose the Holy Spirit, why would it just say to not grieve the Spirit who sealed you? Why wouldn’t it say something like “Don’t grieve the Spirit who sealed you, or else you might grieve Him so much that He unseals you”?

        Heather seems to be counseling the almighty by offering her sinful framework were OA to be the case. For instance, if such were the case, arguendo, then it shouldn’t have been written this way, i.e., “Don’t grieve the spirit who sealed you, or else you might grieve Him so much that He unseals you”?

        Hebrews 10:29 answers your worry directly: “has outraged the spirit of grace”.

        Heather: It’s not saying that we can sin our way into not being a Christian anymore.

        Again, trying reading your bible more widely, more comprehensibly: “For if we go sinning deliberately…how much more punishment, do you think, will be deserved…” (10:26-29).

        Heather: (Besides, if it was saying that we could lose our salvation by sinning, at what point would the Spirit go from just being grieved to leaving us? I can’t find any verse that tells us where that line is, and it would be quite distressing if God intentionally left out a big guideline like that.

        Yes indeed it would be “distressing”. But strawmans continue to pile up. For, the scriptural solution for sinful behavior is not condemnation, but confession (1 John 1:9), repentance (Ps 51:17), and divine discipline (Heb 12:6; cf., Prov 3:11-12). These are wonderful divine provisions. So no one can “loose their salvation” (whatever that means?) by sinning. Hence, the “guidelines” for sinful behavior, and so that also sidesteps Heather’s worry.

        Here’s another “big guideline”, and missed given the prejudices of ES. As ontological apostasy makes clear, the spectacular sins of apostasy and unbelief is where the line is drawn. The apostolic exhortations against apostasy and unbelief are issued precisely because regeneration does not rid the ability to sin. And if regeneration does not rid the ability to sin, we can potentially sin in such a way as to actually commit apostasy or revert to unbelief. (BTW, the former has the point of no return, while the latter “God is able to graft you in again” Rom 11:23, 24). So then, the apostolic warnings are buffers that target the specific intolerable sins of apostasy and unbelief.

        Heather: I think that if we COULD lose our salvation – which I don’t think true believers can – I would say that the only way it could happen would be by directly, deliberately recanting our faith.

        Correct! And that’s exactly what apostasy in essence is. Hence, the apostolic warnings in the NT.

        Calvinist Heather: I do not believe we can stumble or sin our way into losing our salvation because our eternal salvation is based on God’s promise and God’s work of sealing us, not on our efforts to maintain it.

        Really?! But…

        Provisionist Heather: But in this verse, Paul clearly refers to the fact that we can make up our own minds about issues, without being under compulsion to choose what we do, that we are in “control” over our wills. This clearly goes against Calvinism. It puts the responsibility for our decisions and desires and actions on us, not on God.

        As everyone can see, Heather’s metaphysic of agency vacillates on the whim of dogma. Unless she can come up with a cogent rapprochement, or offer a view of concurrence that characterizes God’s nature and character consistent across all possible worlds, this is the sort of clumsy theology we have on display here.

        Heather: I have yet to find a verse that says “and crossed back over to death.”

        If you autonomously tailor the terms of both apostasy and unbelief in such a way to arrive to a predetermined conclusion, you’re only coddling your tradition. This is the surest way to convince yourself.

        Suffice it to say, if you revert to unbelief, God himself will lop you off from the invisible ontological community, but if you repent, “God has the power to graft [you] in again” (Rom 11:23).

      4. A.B.

        Setting aside all of your gobbly gook…forgive me, but I like to KISS, if you know what I mean…I kinda agree with you, and I mostly don’t.

        This is so simple that a 2 year old can explain it.

        When one becomes a Christian, yes, they are sealed. But you can STOP BELIEVING at any time, and thus lose the salvation that you once had. That’s voluntary.

        Jesus (God) had disciples that walked away. And we are warned, several times, about losing [Hebrews 11:1]. I say [Hebrews 1] because of Calvinist definition of faith, rather than the biblical definition of faith.

        Yes, you can lose that seal. But those who CONTINUE to voluntarily [Hebrews 1], then their salvation is secure.

        Now, one thing that amuses me is that BOTH SIDES misses THIS very important aspect:

        1 Corinthians 15:56
        …the strength of sin is the law.

        Take the law away, SIN HAS NO POWER.

        Romans 4:15
        Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

        The LAW WORKS WRATH.

        We are FREE FROM the law…of Moses, therefore, even when we sin, it has NO POWER over us, regarding salvation. We are secure in that sense. And it is further explained in Romans 7, that when Paul sins…it’s NOT HIM, but his body that is sinning.

        So yes, if we MAINTAIN our own [Hebrews 1], we are secure. But if we stop [Hebrews 1], then we lose our salvation (UNSEALED).

        It’s our own FREE WILL on whether we are saved, or not saved.

        Ed Chapman

      5. It’s simply the irony of ironies to read concessions, wittingly so, from provisionists who all day long decry divine causal determinism (DCD) to promote libertarian free will (LFW), but immediately hop on the DCD train and evacuate LFW to bolster “once saved always saved” (OSAS), or eternal security (ES). The arguments they launch against compatibilistic freedom, are immediately abandoned, passionately take a defense for the sake of eternal security (ES). Why aren’t they cognizant that “inconsistency” is not a virtue, but a demonstration of the weakness of their overall theology!

        Granted, we are not given any in depth theo-analytic explanation(s) beyond the platitudes of “cannot”, “will never”, “can never…loose your salvation.” However, if pressed on how God can guarantee such outcomes, bets are, that all the emphasis will fall on God’s creatorial omnipotence to causally determine human action such that, provisionists never sin to the point of apostasy. Inescapably, provisionists are necessitarians only where it suits them.

        I’ll simply show that provisionists, especially as Heather has opined, commit classic exegetical fallacies, cherry pick and engage in acontextual readings of the NT without the benefit of the broader theological landscape, and strawman in an attempt to look as if she and others have the argumentative edge.

        I’ll start with a sampling of the most powerful counterarguments for the negation of ES, namely ontological apostasy (OA).

        Hebrew 10:26-29 is the locus classicus. Here the inspired-regenerated author does not exempt himself “we” (ἡμῶν, v. 26), from a “fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (v. 27), if he too were to commit the sin of apostasy. The individual that does in fact commit apostasy (v. 29), is saved because he has experienced the remission of sins, having been sanctified “by the blood of the covenant” (v. 29c).

        The dative neuter pronominal phrase “by which” (ἐν ᾧ) indicates a subordinate clause, pointing back to the nearest antecedent in the main clause, namely “the blood of the covenant”. Therefore, the apostate’s sins have been forgiven (i.e., “sanctified”) by the medium of Christ’s blood.

        The punishment is “much worse”, a fortiori (πόσῳ v. 29a), precisely because: (1) the “blood of Christ” was previously rhetorically framed in a similar way with an a fortiori emphasis: “how much more will the blood of Christ…” (πόσῳ μᾶλλον 9:14); (2) the pastor has already made the argument that Christ’s blood “secures an eternal redemption” (9:12); and (3) unlike the animal rites, Christ blood actually does “redeem from transgressions” (v. 15), and his blood offering “has perfected for all time those are being sanctified” (10:14). Note that apostasy can, not merely grieve the spirit, but also “outrage the Spirit of grace” (v. 29c), thus triggering the a fortiori (“how much worse”, v. 29a) punishment. But before Provisio-quasi-Calvinists seize on the terms “eternal” and “perfect”, I’ll quickly cut any hopes to its knees.

        The phrase “eternal redemption”, and “perfected for all time” refers, not to the nature of possession, but to the nature and efficacy of Christ’s blood against Israel’s cultic rites (cf., 10:1, 4). In Hebrews, “eternal” is an idiom for the nature of the inheritance, not its possession. Otherwise, we would have the author incoherently generating a contradiction in a span of a few verses by issuing a needless threat, lumping a redeemed believer with a “fire that twill consume the adversaries.”

        It seems to me therefore, that believers who have experienced the redemptive action of Christ, can still “sin deliberately” (v. 26a)—libertarianly so—in such a way to: (a) “trample underfoot the son of God” (v. 29b); (b) “profane the blood of the covenant” (v. 29b); and (c) “outrage the spirit of grace” (v. 29c). “The pastor joins three culminative aorist participial phrases with one article to create a comprehensive description of this person.” And part of that description depicts his “sanctification” wrought by the means of “the blood of the covenant”. The pastor’s overall argument cogently plays right into a “sanctification” of redemption.

        If the thesis of ES holds, it’s difficult to square that born-again Christians do in fact have the potential to commit such heinous acts (i.e., “[a]-[c]”), unless the arrow of causal control and responsibility shifts to God via DCD.

        The second classic text is John 15:1-6. Here, as with Hebrews 10, the paraenesis has the identical thrust. Once again, the imagery of “fire” and “burned” is used as a warning against true believers: “If anyone does no abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (v. 6). The ground of contention is the actual soteriological status of the branches. There are good textual reasons to think they are solely saved individuals, and no good reason to think otherwise.

        First, the agent, omnisciently pruning the vine metaphor, is God himself. Second, I take the prepositional phrase “in me” (ἐν ἐμοὶ v. 2) as locatival or spherical. That is, all branches “in me” carries the nuance of incorporative union. We’re not given any other explanations, except that such union is presupposed in the strongest terms. It rings similar to the Pauline usage of incorporative union using the identical proposition governing the dative of location ἐν Χριστῷ (“in Christ”, Eph 1:3,4; 4:21; Rom 8:1). If John wanted to use a more vague term to obscure the redemptive status of the branches, the verbal form of “they follow” (ἀκολουθέω), or other verbal cognates, were at John’s disposal for immediate use (e.g., Jn 18:5). John, however, uses the strongest greek particle to describe these branches as already incorporated in Christ.

        Essentially, regenerated individuals are not exempt from the stern fiery warning of apathy from Jesus himself.

        Provisionists have a couple of strategies. They can simply reuse the Calvinist talking point, “Those branches are burned because they were never really “in me”. By way of reply, how is it possible—especially when the vinedresser is an omnipotent infalible knower—that any individual can autonomously, incorporate themselves “in Christ”? Is there any indication in the text individuals helping themselves into union with Christ? No! Is it possible that God can mistakenly incorporate an individual with spurious faith “in Christ”? Is it possible that the spirit can mistakenly bring a fraudulent believer into union with Christ? While it’s true that “weeds” are found in the “field” (ἀγρός Matt 13:24), or in the visible church, in this metaphor however, God is omnisciently pruning the vineyard in John 15 such that, what is depicted is the ontological (i.e., invisible) picture of the true people of God.

        So then, unless provisionists are willing to concede that the spirit also brings into union false believers “in Christ”, all those “in me”, it seems compelling that believers can forfeit final salvation due to unbelief and apathy, “that does not bear fruit” (v. 2).

        The other strategy would be to appeal to 1 John 2:19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

        A couple of issues: (1) I fail to see how this is relevant, apart from the fact that it’s the same author, and dealing with an entire different community and situation; (2) proponents of OA do not make the claim that false believers can apostatize. Rather, born-again believers can apostatize; (3) In John 15:1-2, those believers are “in Christ” by virtue of the “Father is the vinedresser” (v. 1); in 1 John 2:18-19, the referent of “they” (v. 19) are described as “many antichrists” (v. 18); (3) These antichrists Trojan-horsed their way into John’s community, and plainly says “they were never of us”; John 15:1 however, uses the strongest particle to denote they were in fact part of Christ, “in me” by God’s divine and infallible action.

        Overall, this commits the fallacy of irrelevant contexts, or illegitimate totality transfer; and begs the question against OA.

        A third rejoinder, and the one most often employed here, is to sidestep counterarguments, reassert alleged favorable prooftexts, and not care at all to resolve the contradiction generated by this move. The coherence of revelation takes a swipe at the cost of defending sheer dogma. As such, provisionism implies atheism.

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

        This is obviously false, and is contradicted by John 15:6, “If anyone does not abide in me…” The “if-then” (protasis-apodosis) construction cannot be denied. This is a third-class conditional. In the Greek it is ἐὰν + any mood and tense with the negative μή. That is exactly what we find in 15:6: ἐὰν μή…

        There are way too many Pauline pericopes where the “if-then” (protasis-apodosis) conditional clauses are stated, especially in soteriological contexts where we should never expect hem, if and only if, ES or something like it, is true. Here are a few:

        “he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if [εἴ] indeed you continue in the faith…” (Col. 1:22-23)

        “For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed [ἐάνπερ] we hold our original confidence firm to then end” (Heb 3:14).

        “And by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain [εἰ μὴ]” (1 Cor 15:2).

        Contrary to Brian, both Jesus and Paul add conditions to salvation, namely, it is “up to you” to continue in a perpetual assent of faith. Indeed, divine speech acts can be “unconditional” given divine perfection and the impossibly for God to fail in all possible worlds. Perseverance and preservation needn’t be incompatible; neither does one mute the other and conversely. Moreover, divine action does not causally determine human assent of faith. That is exactly what is being debated, and so you shouldn’t continue to beg the question.

        Brian: So the phrase “will never thirst”, points normally to meaning this person who drinks will never again be an unbeliever. This phrase is a very emphatic negative statement in Greek – οὐ μὴ διψήσῃ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα

        Indeed is the negation is emphatic. I’ll start with steelmaning Brian’s argument. John 10:28-29 is another alleged strong prooftext for ES. We get another emphatic negation – οὐ μὴ ἀπόλωνται – “will never perish”. The οὐ μὴ (“will never”) is a double negation, the strongest negation construction in the Greek. It suggests the impossibility of perishing from the moment of belief. Grammatically, it seems that ES has the textual edge here. It does not!

        For starters, the referent, as it is throughout John’s gospel, is God himself. No one should challenge divine omnipotence, except for atheists. It should to be the case, therefore, that both proponents and opponents of ES ought not in any way skirt around the double negation, if John is telescoping divine agency. Notice that human responsibility is nowhere discussed. So far, then, the double negation is not in any way threatened by OA if divine action is the sole concept in view. Provisionists, southern baptists, and Calvinists, however, explode the οὐ μὴ beyond what it is able to bear. How so?

        Again, the double negation affirms the uncontroversial premise:

        P1: It is impossible that God will fail to preserve believers.

        But Brian and co., are smuggling another premise through the back door, namely, something like:

        P2: God omnipotently preserves believers by casually determining human agency.

        That is to say, sorta’ like, in an episode of The Book of Boba Fett, an X-wing officer orders the Mandalorian to relinquish pilot control for remote control and access to guarantee arriving at their desired destination. Is it indeed the fact though, that John is evacuating libertarian human agency and responsibility? Not at all.

        Though P1 is a necessary condition, it is insufficient for ES to obtain. However, P1&P2 jointly does logically instantiate ES. P2, as it stands, does not—cannot!—be sustained by the Greek negation. It makes a claim of modality, namely, such divine promises will obtain in all possible worlds. It’s a gargantuan assumption that needs to be argued for. It’s philosophically overloaded, and it collapses the Greek negation under its weight. It’s indispensable, however, to get the kind of ES provisionists defend.

        So ES cannot hold under the Johannine emphatic Greek negation, without presupposing compatibilism.

        I.H. Marshall lays it out pretty clearly, “The Lord himself must so work in my life that I am preserved from the possibility of falling away by his overruling of my sinful will. Thus we find that perseverance depends on a divine determinism that overrules what I myself apparently do in freedom. And so, although the Lord may let me fall into sin, he never lets me sin to such a degree that I become totally deaf to this voice. He overrules my will so that I remain faithful.”

        The upshot to the emphatic double negation οὐ μὴ in the Greek, as used by Brian, succumbs to the word-concept fallacy. Greg Lanier describes it this way, “equating a theological idea with a specific lexeme and assuming the use of the lexeme always engages the concept.” Among such linguistic fallacies, he goes on to say, “Despite the best efforts of scholars to stamp out the abuse of biblical language in ministry, common fallacies still creep into our preaching and teaching, often unnoticed. Many of these pitfalls are no doubt familiar to those in ministry, but it is worth being reminded of them. Three seem to have particular staying power.”

      6. I wonder A.B. how many will read your long confident and scholarly sounding response. I hope they will see you’ve dressed things up rhetorically, but your evidence is faulty.

        If you’re going to claim the high ground in exegesis. Don’t say ημών means “we”. The original reader of Heb 10:26 reads “of us”… and the whole book is about warning those “of us” professing Christ who have not yet entered into the rest of Christ, not having yet mixed with faith what they heard and professed.

        Hebrews 4:1-2 NKJV — Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest 👉any of you👈 seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, 👉not being mixed with faith👈 in those who heard it.

        It was funny to hear you make the accusation of “illegitimate totality transfer” when you then clearly try to smuggle conditional elements into verses with first class conditions (1Cor 15:2 & Col 1:23) where the truth of the protasis is assumed by the author, at least for argument sake. Even the clause with – ἐάνπερ – in Heb 3:14 sounds like a first class condition because of the assumed permanently completed action – γεγόναμεν – “having become” partners with Christ.

        But then you rape the clear unconditional ου μη promises of their clear meaning that the original hearers would have understood! Is it just so that you can think you hear the faint sounds of your theological conditions for OA also being totally transferred by you into those contexts?

        There is no “word concept fallacy”…. “never” means “never”, and God keeps His unconditional promises to those He makes His everlasting children by a birth from above. Praise His Name!

        I’ve nothing more to add, and will not continue this thread, since you and I have been through this before. But I felt I needed to respond for other readers. If they have questions for me I’ll be happy to answer them. Always wishing you the best, my online friend.

      7. Brian: …but your evidence is faulty.

        Ok, let’s have a look.

        Brian: If you’re going to claim the high ground in exegesis. Don’t say ημών means “we”. The original reader of Heb 10:26 reads “of us”… and the whole book is about warning those “of us” professing Christ who have not yet entered into the rest of Christ, not having yet mixed with faith what they heard and professed.

        A few remarks. First, the 1st person plural just is what it means to say either “we” or “us”. They’re interchangeable. No violence is done to the grammar. This is a difference without a distinction. Swap them out in either Heb 4 or 10, the same conclusion is left unscathed, namely, regenerated believers are being addressed.

        Second, by “professing” I take you to mean fraud believers. Let’s grant for the sake of argument Heb 4 is referring to a mixed audience. And, those who “have come short of it” demonstrate they were never really saved. Even if true, OA is not threatened by an evidence-inference reading of Heb 4. But ES is threatened in any instance where the pastor explicitly says the apostate who’s warned of hell fire, if he “deliberately sins”, has experienced the remission of sins (10:29).

        The question is continually begged on this: If ES is true, why does God threatened a regenerated believer, who’s sins have been forgiven, with “fury of fire that will consume the adversaries?

        Heb 10:26-29 compliments 4:1-2. Hebrews, or any other letter, should be read synthetically and coherently, not disparately and compartmentalized like you seem to be. The reason is clear why you won’t come anywhere near Heb 10:26-29. It’s way too damning for ES.

        Brian: It was funny to hear you make the accusation of “illegitimate totality transfer” when you then clearly try to smuggle conditional elements into verses with first class conditions (1Cor 15:2& Col 1:23) where the truth of the protasis is assumed by the author, at least for argument sake.

        Brian: Even the clause with – ἐάνπερ – in Heb 3:14 sounds like a first class condition because of the assumed permanently completed action – γεγόναμεν – “having become” partners with Christ. But then you rape the clear unconditional ου μη promises of their clear meaning that the original hearers would have understood! Is it just so that you can think you hear the faint sounds of your theological conditions for OA also being totally transferred by you into that context?

        First, granting such divine action is “permanent,” it still begs the question: Why would the author incoherently generate a contradiction, in a span of a few verses, by issuing a needless threat, lumping a redeemed believer with a “fire that twill consume the adversaries” if such permanence was unconditional?

        Second, it seems to me you’re relying on the perfect tense of γεγόναμεν to mean perfect in the sense of, not just past irreversibility irrevocable and unalterable, but future irreversibility as well. This too is fallacious. Daniel Wallace puts you on notice, “….this goes beyond grammar and is therefore misleading. Even more misleading is the notion, frequently found in commentaries, that the perfect tense denotes *permanent* or *eternal* results. Such a statement is akin to saying the aorist tense means “once-for-all.” Implications of this sort are to be drawn from considerations that are other than grammatical in nature. One must be careful not to read his or her theology into the syntax whenever it is convenient” (GGBB, 574).

        So the perfect tense is not identical to it being theologically “unconditional”. As Wallace explains, you will have to generate arguments on other grounds. You haven’t done so, and so you continue to beg the question against OA.

        Brian: There is no “word concept fallacy”…. “never” means “never”, and God keeps His unconditional promises to those He makes His everlasting children by a birth from above. Praise His Name!

        I agree, and this is not in any way inconsistent with OA. As I explained, no believer will question God’s omnipotent ability to fulfill his promises. But you’re going beyond divine omnipotence, to presupposing that God causally determines your sinful behavior in such a way as to avoid final apostasy. You’re presupposing that divine omnipotence over-determines human action and perseverance. I do not grant you the very assumption you need to argue for. You’re assuming what you must prove.

        The lexeme, therefore, does not engage the philosophical concept of compatiblism.

      8. Brian: “I wonder A.B. how many will read your long confident and scholarly sounding response….”

        I chose not to read it (I could tell right away how haughty-taughty and self-indulgent it was, and I don’t have time for that). But I’m glad you responded to it a little.

        Regardless of A.B.s arguments, I still think God can tell who really believes and who doesn’t. We might trick ourselves into thinking we are truly believers, but I don’t think we can trick God who knows us better than we know ourselves. I don’t think He can be fooled into giving the Spirit to someone who gives some phony declaration of faith. I think only those who truly believe will get the Spirit, and if you get the Spirit because of your true belief then you will be sealed with the Spirit and are on the path to glorification. And now, like Brian, I won’t comment on this thread anymore either.

    2. Jeff
      On the videos – of course if they are Calvinists – they are obviously going to assert Dr. Flowers is
      “Wrong”

      But what does “Wrong” mean???

      Take one of their statements in which they claim Dr. Flowers is “Wrong” and post that statement here

      Then we can unpackage it together.

      Again – Jeff – what is important here is that we don’t want you to be vulnerable such that you can’t see these things yourself.

      We don’t want you to be “ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the TRUTH” in the subject of Calvinism and its claims

      We want to help you come to a place where you don’t need our help for you figure these things out yourself.

      So I’m here to help you in that process.

      So take one of their statements which they claim Dr. Flowers is “Wrong” and post it here – and you can I can discuss it and we can see what is supposedly *Wrong* with it.

      br.d

  4. br.d ScientificAmerican.com has an article by John Horgan headlined
    “Does Quantum Mechanics Rule Out Free Will?” and it aks,
    Superdeterminism, a radical quantum hypothesis, says our “choices” are illusory

    on March 10, 2022 Does Physics Support Calvinism ?

    1. Hello Jeffw
      Here are 2 questions for you on that subject:

      1) If Determinism is TRUE – is your brain granted the function of EVER KNOWING whether or not Determinism is TRUE?

      2) If Determinism is TRUE – is your brain granted the epistemic function of discerning TRUE from FALSE on any matter?

  5. br d , Thanks, so you looked up and read the entire article from ScientificAmerican.com ,
    Plus the book :
    Christian Soldier’s Battle Notes , Volume 1 (4th edition) by John Davis, has a good section on the Errors of Calvinism

    1. Hi Jeff
      You didn’t see my 2 questions to you on that subject?

      What are your answers for those questions?
      br.d

    1. You made an excellent guess!

      Lets un-package it:

      Let us say that Calvinist_X is sitting down to take a TRUE/FALSE exam.

      At TIME-T Calvinist_X reads the first question and his perception is that the answer is TRUE
      He then marks TRUE as the answer.

      However the correct answer is FALSE

      Now let us add Calvinism’s form of Determinism into the mix – which is enunciated by the doctrine of decrees

      The doctrine stipulates that at the foundation of the world – Calvin’s god chooses WHATSOEVER will come to pass within creation.

      So there is Calvin’s god – at the foundation of the world – making a decision about WHATSOEVER will come to pass with Calvinist_X at TIME-T.

      Calvin’s god had two options to choose from concerning what will come to pass with Calvinist_X at TIME-T

      1) Calvinist_X will perceive the answer to the question as TRUE and mark it as TRUE – with Calvin’s god knowing that the correct answer if FALSE.

      2) Calvinist_X will perceive the answer to the question as FALSE and mark it as FALSE – with Calvin’s god knowing that is the correct answer.

      In our case – what came to pass with Calvinist_X was option (1) and not option (2)
      So Calvin’s god must have had a reason to select option (1)
      Which means Calvin’s god must have had a reason to reject option (2)

      So now we know – option (1) was infallibly selected as that event which will be granted existence at TIME-T.

      Which means that option (2) was infallibly rejected as that event which will be granted existence at TIME-T

      So when TIME-T roles around – Calvinist_X is granted only ONE SINGLE RENDERED-CERTAIN OPTION. He will perceive the answer as TRUE and mark TRUE.

      The option of Calvinist_X’s brain perceiving FALSE as the answer – was not available to Calvinist_X because that option was EXCLUDED at the foundation of the world.

      Therefore at TIME-T when Calvinist_X reads the question – his brain is only granted ONE SINGLE RENDERED-CERTAIN option.

      His brain cannot choose between TRUE and FALSE – because the option of selecting FALSE is not available to him – because it was EXCLUDED by Calvin’s god at the foundation of the world.

      Therefore – Calvinist_X’s brain is not granted the function of choosing between TRUE and FALSE.
      His brain is only permitted to select TRUE as the answer.

      He does not select TRUE as the answer because he made a choice between TRUE and FALSE
      He does not have a choice between TRUE and FALSE – because the option of selecting FALSE does not exist for him.

      Another way to put this is this:
      A choice between TRUE and FALSE would have to be a LIBERTARIAN choice.
      Such a choice would require the ability for the creature to REFRAIN
      In choosing TRUE – he would be REFRAINING from choosing FALSE
      In choosing FALSE – he would be REFRAINING from choosing TRUE

      The ability to REFRAIN is a LIBERTARIAN function.
      And in Determinism (aka Calvinism) Libertarian Functionality does not exist for the creature.
      So there is no ability for the brain to choose between TRUE and FALSE

      Both ways of putting it – explain that on Determinism – the human brain is not granted the epistemic function of determining between TRUE and FALSE

      Greg Koukle provides a summary:
      -quote
      The problem with determinism is…..rationality would have no room to operate.
      Everyone of our thoughts dispositions and opinions would have been decided for us by factors completely out of our control.
      One could never judge between a good idea and a bad one.
      One would only hold beliefs [or have a given perception] because that was predetermined.

      Dr. John Searle (rationality in action)
      -quote
      Rationality is possible only where one has a CHOICE AMONG VARIOUS options.

      William Lane Craig:
      -quote
      When you come to realize that your decision to believe in determinism was itself determined and that even your present realization of that fact right now is likewise determined, a sort of vertigo sets in, for everything that you think, even this very thought itself, is outside your control.

      1. br.d , How would Calvinists explain Bible verses with words such as “Choose” and “If” such as
        Choose life, and if you do this or that which implies human beings have some degree of Freedom of Choice and free will, how can we ever know how to properly interpret the Bible.

      2. Hi Jeff,
        That is an excellent question!!

        Both the Atheist Determinist and the Theist Determinist (aka Calvinist) are in the same situation in that regard.

        Stephen Hawkings gave a presentation at Oxford – Lady Mitchel Hall in the 1980s.
        A number of Atheists who followed him came to that conference because he was a Determinist and also a genius. They all understood a certain reality about themselves.
        They adopted Determinism as their belief system
        But in order to retain a sense of NORMALCY and PERSONHOOD they discovered they had to live *AS-IF* Determinism is FALSE.

        Determinism – has a devastating affect on human “Choice” and human “Agency” because Determinism is the thesis that whatsoever comes to pass – does so by antecedent factors outside of human control.

        So those Atheist Determinsts came to that conference to ask Hawkings how he deals with that.
        They were anticipating that with his genius mind – he had figured out a LOGICAL answer.
        But he ended up telling them he was just like them.
        He said – he believed in Determinism – but discovered he had to live *AS-IF* Determinism is FALSE in order to retain a sense of NORMALCY and PERSON-HOOD.

        Dr. Sean Carroll – a highly recognized theoretical physicist – also an Atheist Determinist has acknowledged the same thing. As a Determinist he has to live *AS-IF* his belief system is FALSE.

        John Calvin – as a Theist Determinist – came to the same conclusion
        -quote
        “All future things being uncertain to us, we hold them in suspense, *AS-IF* they might happen either one way or another.”

        Here Calvin is treating his doctrine *AS-IF* it is FALSE – because he knows a predestined event cannot possibly happen any other way than what it was predestined.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        “Hence as to future time, because the issue of all things is hidden from us, each ought to so to apply himself to his office, *AS-IF* nothing were determined about any part.” (Concerning the eternal predestination of God)

        Here Calvin is treating the doctrine *AS-IF* it is FALSE – because the doctrine specifically stipulates that EVERYTHING is determined in EVERY part.

        So every Calvinist follows this same behavior model.
        He claims his doctrine is TRUE – but he treats it *AS-IF* it is FALSE
        He claims his doctrine is what is taught by scripture
        But he treats what is taught by scripture *AS-IF* it is FALSE

        That is the way the Calvinist deals with verses like you mentioned.
        The doctrine stipulates that CHOICE is made at the foundation of the world – solely and exclusively by Calvin’s god.

        But the Calvinist lives *AS-IF* he is granted a CHOICE.
        Thus the Calvinist lives *AS-IF* his doctrine is FALSE

        Its a psychological response to the doctrine.

        Now many Calvinists do not want to acknowledge that they are in that conundrum.
        So he will find all sorts of ways of trying to tap-dance around it.
        But all of that tap-dancing is just a way of avoiding the reality of their situation.

  6. br.d , Plus a person typed online
    “The Bible sends mixed messages with some verses promoting Calvinism and others promoting Arminianism.

    Both systems produce logical problems and contradictions.” I wish God made the Bible Easier to Interpret

    1. Hi Jeff and I hope you are well!

      From my point of view – the greater percentage of scripture is logically incoherent with or in contradiction with Calvinism.

      Take for example the verses which council believers to make choices between good and evil.

      Let’s say you are asked to make a choice is between [A] and [NOT A] at TIME-T

      In Calvinism – per the doctrine of decrees – Calvin’s god is the one who decides whether you will select [A] or NOT A] at TIME-T.

      If he decrees that you will select [A] at TIME-T – then that event is granted existence.
      And the event of you selecting [NOT A] at TIME-T is NOT granted existence.

      Selecting [NOT A] is NOT available to you – because it would countervail the infallible decree
      And it is not possible for a fallible creature to countervail an infallible decree.

      So on Calvinism – you are never granted a choice between any 2 options.
      You are only granted ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED RENDERED-CERTAIN option.

      The god of Calvinism infallibly decrees what people will be – and they are powerless to be otherwise.
      And then condemns them for being what he decreed them to infallibly be *AS-IF* they had the power to be something other than what he decreed.

      Can you give me an example of something in scripture that you think is problematic for the Non-Calvinist?

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