John 6 Debate Review | Dr. Leighton Flowers and Pastor Gabriel Hughes

By Richard Coords

To preface, in the second movie of the Hobbit Trilogy, “The Desolation of Smaug,” the wizard Gandalf instructs his company of dwarves to pass through the Enchanted Forest, but with on key instruction: “You must stay on the path. Do not leave it. If you do, you’ll never find it again. No matter what may come, stay on the path.”

Often when approaching controversial Bible verses, there is a similar peril. If you get off the correct path of the true meaning of a given verse by making erroneous underlying assumptions, you’ll end up with erroneous conclusions that makes the text impossible to understand, and forcing you down the path of additional erroneous conclusions. Therefore, whenever facing a controversial Bible verse, always make sure to first contemplate your own key assumptions and presumptions, as well as that of other competing theologies. Identify any “forks in the road” which both sides may be taking. In this debate, it is clear that Pastor Gabriel [“Gabe”] never really understood the position espoused by Dr. Leighton Flowers, in terms of the two forks in the road.[1]

At John 6:37-65, Jesus mentions the Father’s giving (v.37), drawing (v.44) and granting (v.65) of people to come to Him. Naturally, then, there are some key questions that involves forks in the road that must be identified. For instance:

  1. Who is being drawn?
  2. What exactly is the drawing?
  3. How is it that no one can come to Him?

Calvinists assume a certain answer to all three of those questions, and those assumptions necessarily take them down a path of a Calvinistic interpretation. Calvinists are so absolutely certain of their conclusions that they are often flabbergasted at the differing interpretations by non-Calvinists. The reason for the difference is because non-Calvinists do not make the same presumptions as their Calvinist counterparts, and hence their conclusions differ.

In the debate, Gabe often simply quoted John 6:44, as if the mere recitation of the verse immediately ended the debate. Why? Because it seems that Gabe was unaware of the competing underlying presumptions that both sides were making.

John 6:37: “‘All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.’”

John 6:44: “‘No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.’”

John 6:65: “‘And He was saying, ‘For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.’”

  • Those who come to Christ are given by the Father. (6:37)
  • Those who come to Christ are drawn by the Father. (6:44)
  • Those who come to Christ are those who have “heard and learned from the Father.” (6:45)
  • Those who come to Christ are granted so by the Father. (6:65)

So, again, what are the two competing presumptions of the meaning of the question of who Jesus indicates is being drawn by His Father to come to believe in Him, and what exactly does the Father’s drawing constitute? The other issue that should be pointed out is that any other Bible verse, even if it’s in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark or Luke is perfectly acceptable to cite in this discussion of the Gospel of John if it also specifically relates to the matter of who comes to Jesus. Gabe naturally understood this principle when he left the immediately discussion of John 6:37-65 to briefly discuss John 1:12-13 and John 20:31.

Calvinist fork in the road: Those being drawn are unbelievers, of the elect kind, and the drawing is an internal regeneration, in order to go from being “dead rebel sinners” and “total haters of God” into loving believers of both God and Christ. The “regeneration” precedes faith in Christ, and hence is not by human choice but rather by God’s unilateral choice, changing the heart of the one who is “elect” and administering new “life” as being “Born Again.”

Non-Calvinist fork in the road: The context never mentions “regeneration” and one who is already a believer in Moses needs no regeneration to then believe in the Son. All they need is the revelation of the Son through the proclamation of the gospel. That said, those being drawn are believers, that is, the Father’s sheep, and the drawing is the Father’s messianic message given to Jesus to preach, and intentionally designed to offend the proud and appeal to the humble. (Matthew 11:25)

Gabe’s underlying presumptions:

For Calvinists, what is the underlying meaning of who is being drawn?

  • Gabe: “The one who was not able to come until the Father drew him, is the one who comes to Christ, as Jesus said earlier that all that the Father gives Me will come to Me and I will raise him up on the last day.”
  • Gabe: “Those who are taught by God the truth are also drawn by God to the truth, and that is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

The frustrating part is that Gabe is not coming right out and saying that those being drawn are Calvinism’s “dead rebel sinners” and “total haters of God” who happen to be elect, and therefore on that account of being secretly elect, are the ones targeted for a special drawing.

For Calvinists, what is the underlying meaning of what the drawing is?

  • Leighton asks: “Do you believe the [Greek] word ‘helco’ there refers to being given new life, regeneration”? Gabe: “Yes, regeneration preceding faith, correct.” (28:57-29:06)
  • Gabe: “Being born again.” (29:58)
  • Gabe: “The Father works before we have faith.”
  • Gabe: “It is the Father that brings a person to Jesus.”
  • Gabe: “It is the Father who shows us who Jesus is, and it is He who draws us to Him, so it is only by the work of God that we come to salvation.”
  • Gabe: “The regenerating work that is done by God in a person’s heart.”
  • Gabe: “The regenerating work is the Father revealing who the Son is.”
  • Gabe: “You are given life before you have life.” (32:28)
  • Gabe: “Whoever is drawn by the Father will believe in Jesus Christ.”
  • Gabe: “This is an effectual calling. It is referred to in Calvinistic doctrine as ‘Irresistible Grace.’” (1:17:40)
  • Gabe: “It is God who changes the heart, that when we hear the gospel, we believe what is being proclaimed, and therefore are saved.”
  • Gabe: “I don’t deny that the word ‘draws’ could be rendered ‘enabled’ because what ‘enable’ implies is that you were not able before, and now you are.”
  • Gabe: “The drawing is effectual.”

The Calvinistic assumption of the meaning of the “drawing” is that it is the Father’s “work” whereby He “brings” and “shows” something, metaphorically representing a pre-faith “life” through pre-faith “regeneration” and pre-faith being made “born again.” So, in short, Calvinists infer that the meaning of the drawing is a pre-faith regeneration of Calvinism’s elect-unbelievers, and Calvinists simultaneously insist that they are not carrying anything into John chapter 6 that is “external,” even though the term “regeneration” is nowhere found in John chapter 6.

As seen in this debate, Calvinists often quote John 3:3 in order to suggest that “regeneration” should be inferred: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” But, Calvinists are raising another disputed presumption at John 3:3 as well, which (not to get too far off on a tangent), creates an interlocking network of key assumptions that holds Calvinism together.

When Gabe gets away from his Calvinism, he can engage in some sound biblical teaching. For instance, he states: “We have life in Christ; we don’t have life apart from Christ.” (30:14-17)

For Calvinists, what is the underlying meaning that no one can come to Him?

  • Gabe: “A person by his own will cannot come to God.”
  • Gabe: “A person does not have an ability to believe in Christ unless they are regenerated by the Spirit.”
  • Gabe: “We by our own wills, by our own flesh—even as it says back in John 1:12 and 13—we do not come to God because we effect belief in our own minds and in our own hearts.”

Leighton’s underlying presumptions:

For non-Calvinists, what is the underlying meaning of who is being drawn?

  • Leighton: “His strategic purpose is not to reveal Himself and His identity until He accomplishes the resurrection. It’s when He’s raised up that He sends the gospel to go into all the world, but He’s not drawing everybody to Himself during the time of John chapter 6, especially.”
  • Leighton: “If you hear and learn from Moses, you’ll believe in Me because Moses spoke about Me.”
  • Leighton: “If you come to Me, you will have life.”
  • Leighton: “It’s never, ‘I will give you life—arbitrarily or unilaterally, just gives some people life so that you’ll certainly believe—that’s never the order of Scripture.”
  • Leighton: “You don’t believe in Me [the Son] because you’re not a follower, a sheep of the Father.”
  • Leighton: “A person who followed Moses, who listened and learned from the Father would hear the Son and recognize His voice and come to Him.”
  • Leighton: “If you refuse to follow the Father, then guess what you’re going to do when you hear the Son, you’re going to refuse to follow Him, too, which is the theme throughout the Book of John.”
  • Leighton: “Here we see an audience of rebellious Jewish people who are seeking to have their bellies filled, who have refused to hear and learn from the Father, and thus they’ve grown hardened in their rebellion against His truth. They’re following their leaders, the Pharisees. Jesus begins to teach them, using parables they can’t grasp what He means, they think when He’s saying ‘eat My flesh and drink My blood’ He’s talking like a cannibal, and Jesus doesn’t stop and try to explain it to them.”

Exactly! The ones who rebelled against the Father and refused to believe Moses are not going to be drawn by the Father to His Son. They will be left in darkness, conditionally and consequently, due to their persistent unbelief in having grown calloused and hardened. So, this means that both sides—Calvinists and non-Calvinists—agree that not everyone is being drawn by the Father in the context of John chapter 6. Only after Christ’s resurrection is there a global drawing by the Son, through the global preaching of the gospel.

Alert: If you are a non-Calvinist, and unknowingly take the Calvinist’s initial fork in the road, assuming together with Calvinists that those being drawn by the Father in John chapter 6 are unbelievers, then you will end up lost and confused in Calvinism’s Enchanted Forest, unable to make heads or tails of the text. It’s so easy to do, and it happens often. You must be careful to identify your assumptions.

For non-Calvinists, what is the underlying meaning of what the drawing is?

  • Leighton: “Enable by bringing the gospel,” in other words “by bringing light and truth, He’s enabling them to come.”
  • Leighton: “If you believe Moses, you would believe Me.”
  • Leighton: “If you listened and learned from the Father, you would believe Me, because you would know Me.” 
  • Leighton: “Who does He make His covenant known to? Those who fear Him.”
  • Leighton: “We all agree the Father gives people to the Son. Of course He gives people to the Son, but He has a good reason for it—and it’s not a hidden reason and the secret counsels of His will—He states it all the time: ‘I save the humble.’ ‘I bring low those whose eyes were haughty.’ (Psalm 18:27) He doesn’t hide the reasons why He does what He does when He makes choices. He tells us very plainly why He would give somebody to the Son.”
  • Leighton: “The best way, in the limited time we have, to understand the grammar, is to give a parallel sentence with the same grammar, so as to understand the two perspectives. So, on our view, it might look like this: ‘No man can come to the Son’s Wedding Banquet unless the Father invites or enables him, because the [Greek] word “helco” there “draws”, we would interpret that as inviting or enabling, and “he” [the man who comes] will have a great feast.’ Now grammatically, that is perfectly fine.”

For non-Calvinists, what is the underlying meaning that no one can come to Him?

  • Leighton: “They can’t come unless they hear and know, and listen to the Father.”
  • Leighton: “Notice it says the reason they can’t believe—according to v.39 of John chapter 12, is because He’s hardening them. It doesn’t say they can’t believe because of what Adam did, it doesn’t say that they can’t believe because God decreed for them to be born in a condition that they can’t believe. What’s the reason they’re in that condition? Because of their unbelief, they’ve refused to listen to Moses, they refuse to hear the Scriptures, they’ve grown calloused and hardened, and now Jesus is speaking to them in parables; He’s speaking to them with hard and difficult words.”
  • Leighton: “Why is the audience in John chapter 6 (the Israelite in John chapter 6 that He came to who are not receiving Him), why are they in that condition? Is it because God rejected them before they were ever born? Is it because God decreed for them to be born as God-haters and that they couldn’t have done otherwise (because like the ‘T’ in TULIP says, they’re born in this completely disabled state from birth and they had no control over it), of course not. That’s not what’s happening.”
  • Leighton: “He [Jesus] says, therefore, ‘I take the message to the Gentiles,’ which proves this is not just a universal condition of all men from birth, of being ever-seeing, never-perceiving. This is specifically about Israel being hardened in their rebellion, by a judicial act of God as judgment for them. You have to understand that, in order to understand what Jesus is talking about here in John chapter 6.”
  • Gabe: “According to John 6:65, “why was it that they did not believe in Christ?” Leighton: “Because it was not granted to them to believe in Christ.” Correct, and of course the reason why the Father had not granted it of [the likes of those who rejected God and Moses] is because they were not the His sheep/followers to give, draw and grant to come to His Son. It was a giving, drawing and granting of the faithful Jews to come to Christ, in which the rebels were offended by Christ’s message which was intended to offend them, and hence the nature of the conditional, Judicial Hardening.

In summary, the non-Calvinist’s underlying assumption is that the drawing means to enable, rather than to effectually cause, and the faithful believers of the Father (like Nathanael of John 1:46-51) came to Christ simply through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that is, the same gospel that turns off the proud and haughty: “At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.’” (Matthew 11:25)

The reason why no one can come to the Son unless it has been granted him from the Father is because no one knows the Son except the Father. (Matthew 11:27) The Father gave the Son a message to preach which revealed the Son to Israel’s true believers while offending the unbelieving and rebellious.

Key moments of the debate:

  1. Strange Dichotomy: Leighton Flowers brought up the fact that the Bible states that a person only receives “life” when they come to Jesus—not before—as Calvinism would require (in its frequent reference to deadness, like Lazarus being physically dead in the tomb), and is response, Gabe raised a dichotomy of “life” vs. “eternal life,” so that a person must first have a regenerated “life” to come to Jesus, and then after coming to Jesus, receives a different type of life known as “eternal life.”

Gabe states: “The regenerating work in a person’s heart is not the ‘everlasting life’. The ‘everlasting life’ that we have in Christ is by faith, but that the person’s spirit was dead and could not believe in Jesus until the work of the Father that is done on that person’s heart. So, it is only that regenerative work that we have ‘life’ in Christ.”

But that made no sense for two reasons: (1) Leighton asks: “Well, regenerating life is eternal, isn’t it?” (2) John 5:40 and 20:31 specifically mention “life” for those who actually believe in Jesus. So, if Calvinism was true, then the Bible would be found to be sloppy in its references to “life” and “eternal life.” Gabe then concluded that “the order of events is difficult for us to fathom or to understand,” being “complex” and “complicated.” But, that is only true of Calvinists, since they are caught in an irreconcilable contradiction.

  • Out-Calvining John Calvin: Gabe stated in his opening that John 6:29 referred to a “work of God” in terms of an effectual work of God to cause people to believe, and at 59:56, Leighton cited John Calvin as a “hostile witness” to contradict Gabe, and confirm what Leighton was saying, which is that Jesus was referring to the “works of God” that they—the people—were to do, using their terminology or language, not that faith is literally a “work” or a meritorious work, per se.

John Calvin: “People who infer from this passage that faith is God’s gift are mistaken, for Christ does not show here what God produces in us, but what God wants and requires from us.” (The Crossway Classic Commentaries: John; Crossway Books; Wheaton, IL; 1994, p.393)

  • Question on Judicial Hardening: In the side-chat, Bob asks: “Can a man who is ‘judicially hardened’ obey the free call of the Gospel? If not, what distinguishes him from one who is not hardened?” The answer involves the meaning of being judicially hardened. It is conditional? Is it permanent? What is it? Leighton explains it as having grown calloused—not necessarily a condition from birth—so that a person would then be offended by Christ’s parables and metaphors and turn and stumble over the “stumbling stone” and “rock of offense,” but even for such who did not believe in Jesus, He still pointed them to consider the evidence of His miracles so that they would know the truth. See John 10:37-38. So, the question assumes and presumes an answer of “no,” even though the answer is “yes,” because the judicial hardening is simply a reflection of Matthew 11:25, in terms of the way in which God instructed Jesus to present His message in a way that would spurn the proud and appeal to the humble, but, being conditional, if a person repents of their calloused position—and perhaps takes Jesus’ words at John 10:37-38 to heart, then they could be more receptive to what Jesus has to say and hence “obey the free call of the Gospel.”
  • Not Tracking: Gabe asks several repetitive questions which shows that he was not tracking the non-Calvinist interpretation:

Gabe: “The one whom He draws is not the one who comes?” (1:09:45)

Gabe: “So, how do you understand that according to v.37 ‘all that the Father gives Me will come to Me and whoever comes to Me, I will never cast out,’ the question simply being, where do you see that the Father is drawing people who don’t come?” (1:11:30)

Gabe: “We do not see Jesus calling anyone who is therefore resisting.” (1:17:20)

Gabe: “We don’t see anywhere in John 6 where the Father is drawing people that can resist the Father’s drawing.” (1:20:25)

Answer: That’s because John 6 was not a giving, drawing and granting of resisters. Jesus referenced the Father’s drawing of His faithful sheep to the resisters to show that they were not right with God, and not part of the move of God in Israel. Again, the reason for the perfect consistency between the ones whom the Father gives, draws and grants to come to the Son at John 6 all do indeed come to the Son is because it was a drawing of believers, that is, the faithful sheep of the Father who had “heard and learned” from Him (John 6:45), and hence believers in Moses seamlessly would come to Christ. (John 5:46) Why would someone who believed in Moses need a special “regeneration” to then believe in Jesus? They wouldn’t. And that’s why it is incorrect for Calvinists to import “regeneration” into this text. A believer in Moses would merely need to be presented with the proclamation of the gospel—the drawing—and upon hearing Christ’s message, they would recognize the Father in that message and love Him. (John 8:42) When someone does come to Christ, then they receive a regeneration, which is the privilege and benefit of the Cross, so that God could now come to live inside of the New Covenant believer. (1st Corinthians 3:16)

Regarding this point, at 1:51:44, Leighton provided a graphic from Gabe’s own teaching materials to show that even he (Gabe) understood this point, but yet wasn’t tracking his own teachings on the seamlessness of going from the Father’s sheep to the Son’s sheep:

Leighton remarked: “I love that he said that because it’s exactly my exposition of this passage. If they learn from Moses, if they learn from the Father, then they would have come to the Son. So, what’s the opposite of that? Then if they don’t listen and learn from the Father, then they won’t come to the Son.

Gabe: “In v.66…we see the conclusion of this discourse that Jesus has with the people, ‘After this, many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him, except for the twelve.’ V.67, so Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well,’ and Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.’ How is it that these twelves come to believe in Jesus Christ, and they did not walk away with the rest of the dozens and possibly even hundreds of disciples that turned away from Him when Jesus said these hard things to them?”

Answer: The twelve disciples were in fact believers, whereas the rest who walked away after hearing how Jesus compared Himself to the “Bread of Life” were exposed as not being believers, after all. Gabe simply wasn’t tracking the non-Calvinist interpretation of John 6.

Leighton: “He was giving those who trust in Him, who believe in Him, to the Son. He’s giving those who humble themselves and truth in Him to the Son.”

After the resurrection, factoring in John 12:32, this graphic shows that Jesus ultimately does draw all men, through the global preaching of the gospel.

At least 10 key problems with the Calvinist interpretation of John 6:

  1. Heard and learned from the Father: The text specifically states that true believers are the ones that come to Jesus: “‘It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught of God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.’” (John 6:45) So, already the non-Calvinist fork in the road is proven accurate. John 6 represented a drawing of faithful Jews, quoted to unbelieving grumblers to show they were not among the faithful.
  • Imported terms: Calvinists import the concepts of regeneration and predestination, even though neither are mentioned in the context. Calvinists observe the consistency in John 6:37’s reference that “all that the Father gives Me will come to Me” and conclude that an effectual grace must be at work, when in reality, Jesus already explained the perfect consistency in that “if you believed Moses, you would believe Me” (John 5:46), “everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me” (John 6:45), “if anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself” (John 7:17), and “if God were your Father, you would love Me.” (John 8:42) In other words, if a person is one of the Father’s sheep (i.e. covenant believers, faithful Jews, ect.), then they will seamlessly come to Christ. Those who believe Moses require no regeneration to then believe in Jesus.
  • Audience: If the audience understood a Calvinist meaning, in terms of a bifurcation of humanity into elect vs. non-elect camps, one would have to expect that there would have been some pushback over that point. It’s impossible to think that Calvinism is controversial today but wouldn’t have been controversial back then, had that been their understanding of Jesus’s words. Hence, the absence of the audience’s reaction over anything Calvinistic is a strong indication that Calvinists have misunderstood John 6:44.
  • The Reason Part 1: John 6:65 reiterates the drawing of John 6:44, and indicates that Jesus stated the “reason” for the drawing—so there is no great mystery here—which according to John 6:64 is because “there are some of you who do not believe,” once again confirming that unbelievers were not being drawn. It is a drawing of believers, such as those who believed Moses (John 5:46), who had heard and learned from the Father (John 6:45) and whose father was God. (John 8:42)
  • The Reason Part 2: Jesus never said that the “reason” why “no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father” (John 6:65) is due to an inborn total inability, especially since that would contradict what Jesus said at John 5:46 and John 8:42. The Father’s giving, drawing and granting may simply be a matter of the Father bringing Jesus’ message to the people, whom they cannot believe unless they hear.
  • The Two Drawings: Calvinism cannot adequately explain the two distinct drawings, that is, the Father’s pre-Calvary drawing of His faithful sheep to follow His Son (John 6:44-45), and the Son’s post-Calvary drawing of all men (John 12:32), through the global presentation of the gospel. If Calvinism was true, then John 12:32 would be superfluous and redundant.
  • Who the drawing is for: In Calvinism, the Father is not merely drawing people to His Son, but is drawing people to Himself. In non-Calvinism, these are already the Father’s believing sheep/followers that He is now drawing to His Son.
  • Genesis too? The Calvinist interpretation would require that this drawing would not only be something happening in Israel at that present time, but also comprise a drawing that goes back to the beginning in Genesis, even though the Old Testament never mentioned a special drawing that preceded these events. One verse that captures the nature of the drawing is something that John the Baptist stated: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) This was the sheep transfer from the custody of the Father from the prophets to the Messiah.
  • The Purpose: If Calvinism was true, what would be the point of Jesus telling people who are allegedly non-elect that God doesn’t want them? The Calvinist meaning seems to imply a sense of mockery. The answer from the non-Calvinist perspective is that His objectors deemed themselves the disciples of Moses (John 9:28), and felt that their strong relationship with the Father was the reason why they were not falling for Jesus’ claims about Himself, unlike the ignorant masses who were beholding His miracles and listening to His messages and being swept away. So, Jesus’ reference to God’s drawing would meet their claim head-on, by making the exact opposite point. In other words, the real reason why the grumblers rejected Him was because they had not “heard” God’s voice (John 5:37), did not have God’s word “abiding” within them (John 5:38), did not have the “love of God” in them (John 5:42), did not “know” God (John 7:28), were not “of God” (John 8:47), but were instead “from below” and were “of this world” (John 8:23), who did not do the “deeds of Abraham” (John 8:39), in which God was not their “Father” (John 8:42), but were instead children of their father “the devil.” (John 8:44) So, the frequent references to the Father who “sent” Him (John 5:23, 5:24, 5:30, 5:36, 5:37, 5:38; 6:29, 6:38, 6:39, 6:44, 6:57, 7:16, 7:18, 7:28, 7:29, 7:33, 8:16, 8:18, 8:26, 8:29, 8:42, 9:4, 10:36), in which He does not speak on His “own initiative” (John 5:30, 8:28, 12:49) was intended to challenge the basis for their objection to Him.
  1. Gnosticism: The Calvinist interpretation raises literally the same exact arguments raised by the Manichæan Gnostics.

[1] The Calvinist fork in the road is that those “drawn” are Calvinism’s elect-unbelievers, whereas the non-Calvinist fork in the road is that those drawn are “believers,” that is, the faithful Jews who had “heard and learned from the Father.” (John 6:45) So, when Gabe numerous times asked/stated that none who were drawn resisted, non-Calvinists agree, and therefore I have to conclude that Calvinists simply weren’t tracking the two proverbial “forks in the road.” A global drawing occurs later. (John 12:32)

101 thoughts on “John 6 Debate Review | Dr. Leighton Flowers and Pastor Gabriel Hughes

  1. Gabe says in there “where do you see that the Father is drawing people who don’t come?” (1:11:30)

    Gabe: “We do not see Jesus calling anyone who is therefore resisting.” (1:17:20)

    Sure we do! All three synoptic Gospels tell of the Rich Young Ruler who was literally called by Jesus (face to face) and still said no. It even says that Jesus loved him and called him —-and he still resisted.

    As for the “too dead” idea:

    How does a “dead” (Jesus calls him dead) prodigal son “come to his senses”

    Why does Paul use “persuade” “convince” and “reason with” if the “not-capable-dead” are “irresistibly called” (and it has nothing to do with what they think)? Can you “reason with” a dead man?

    Why does Satan bother “blinding” those who are dead?

    Jesus Himself said he came to heal the sick (not the dead).

    1. Good points, Fromoverhere.

      “Jesus Himself said he came to heal the sick (not the dead).”

      And He also said in Luke 9:56 (KJV) that He came not to destroy men’s lives but to save them. And furthermore, He says this in reference to the Samaritans who did not receive Him, which would (by Calvinist standards) make them non-elect. And yet Jesus says He came not to destroy them but to save them. But if Calvinism is true, then Jesus came to save only the elect and to make sure the non-elect burned in hell for all eternity for His glory. How does that square with Jesus’s claim of coming to save them, not destroy them? (Now look up Luke 9:56 in the Calvinist ESV – and the other translations that are based on the same faulty manuscripts – and see what it says.)

    2. Nice FOH!

      The irony with Calvinists – is each one AUTO-MAGICALLY ASSUMES himself to be spiritually alive, with no possibility way they could be dead.

      And that in blatant contradiction to their own doctrine which stipulates a Calvinist is granted NO CERTAINTY in whether he is elect – or has been divinely deceived with an infallibly decreed FALSE SENSE of salvation. And they are therefore granted absolutely no way of knowing if they are just as dead as anyone. :-]

  2. It seems that the problem here is that Dr Flowers’ approach is theology-first, Bible-last-if-at-all. This distorts anyone’s interpretation of the Bible, and is very bad hermeneutics indeed.

    1. Spurcalleth, I am wondering if you would give your understanding of these verses, of how they fit with Calvinist theology. I am asking this seriously, because I never heard a Calvinist explain these, at least in a reasonable way:

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

      2. 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.”

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

      4. Psalm 33:10: “The Lord foils the plans of the nations …” (If God first preplanned/caused them to have those plans, isn’t He just foiling His own plans then?)

      5. 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? What is “going their own way”?)

      6. 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.”” (Which one was Calvi-god’s true Will: his command to kill the man or the thing he predestined/caused them to do which was to not kill the man, to set him free?)

      7. 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.

      8. And finally Luke 9:56, when Jesus says about the Samaritans who rejected Him: “For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” How does this mesh with the idea of the non-elect being predestined to hell?

      9. Also, how do you define “evil”?

      Just wondering.

      1. Thanks Heather.

        There are hundreds more verses like these!

        Theology first!! Ha! A Calvinist accusing the rest of us of being theology first…..now that cracks me up!

        I recently saw the beginning of a video of MacArthur about creation. He said over and over in the video, “The answer to everything is theology.” Theology. Systematic theology ….. Get your system…put God in a box (the way He “must” be) …. and begin the long journey of explaining away hundreds and hundreds of verses.

        Example: “We know this verse doesn’t mean this because God would never…..”

        Here is where you enter what your theology says (What you read in a van Til, Boettner, Pink, Piper, or Sproul book). Dont worry that the Bible says this kind of thing over and over…..just insert that sentence with your theology emphasized.

    2. What is interesting about that conception – is that it is the exact observation the NON-Calvinist has of the Calvinist approach to scripture.

      The Calvinist has one over-ruling exegetical rule.
      He must make scripture say what he needs it to say in order to make it conform to the underlying doctrine.

      Where this becomes most observably problematic is the fact that the Calvinist’s psychological response to the doctrine of decrees – is such that the Calvinist is required to assert the doctrine as TRUE while treating it *AS-IF* it is FALSE.

      This requires the Calvinist hold his doctrine in a state of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS
      And that is why over the centuries – Calvinist language has obtained the well-earned reputation of being a language of DOUBLE-SPEAK.

      1. Br.d.: “… the Calvinist is required to assert the doctrine as TRUE while treating it *AS-IF* it is FALSE. This requires the Calvinist hold his doctrine in a state of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS. And that is why over the centuries – Calvinist language has obtained the well-earned reputation of being a language of DOUBLE-SPEAK.”

        Absolutely. And that’s why it’s so hard to figure out what they really mean and to debate them. They are chameleons, shifting their theology as needed to appear to have solid answers, to try to rationalize their contradictions, and to suck in unwitting Christians who don’t realize what they really mean behind the words they use. And when all else fails, when they get backed into any theological corner, they just resort to “Who are you, O man, to question God?” They shame you for seeking solid biblical answers. It’s very cult-like.

      2. Heather:
        And that’s why it’s so hard to figure out what they really mean and to debate them.

        br.d
        I have had numerous dialogs with Calvinists – who made statements that I recognized as *AS-IF* statements. And I let them know I recognized when they were making a statement in which they were treating their doctrine *AS-IF* it is FALSE.

        Some of them didn’t blink an eye.
        They knew exactly what I was talking about.
        They are aware they do it.
        The ones that are more mature and have more intellectual honesty seem to be the ones like that.

        But there are others who perhaps never allowed themselves to recognize as something they do.
        And felt insulted over it.

        But I was glad that at least some do recognize and acknowledge it.

      3. br,d,: “They are aware they do it..The ones that are more mature and have more intellectual honesty seem to be the ones like that.”

        They are the ones that have been well-trained. They know the contradictions in Calvinism and the ways to try to disguise it, twist it, or weasel out of it. They are the “teachers.” The other ones that don’t realize they are using “as if” language are the ones who have been brainwashed by the teachers, who have learned to simply parrot the answers the teachers give them and to not question it or think too deeply about it.

  3. I’m a non-Calvinist FORK in the road guy.

    The word regeneration is not in John 6, but when you read the totality of scripture, it has to be included…but to whom? I still maintain Jews only.

    OUR fathers did not eat manna in the desert. Jesus didn’t come but for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And this is a missed verse from John 6:

    40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    Key words here “SEETH THE SON”, with “and believeth on him”

    Now, let’s put this one down:

    John 6:36
    But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

    WE ARE DIFFERENT:

    John 20:29
    Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

    This puts a context to WHO Jesus was discussing regarding the father drawing (regeneration), and it ain’t us lowly Gentiles.

    Romans 15:9
    8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

    Romans 8:21
    21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

  4. The article states:

    “Exactly! The ones who rebelled against the Father and refused to believe Moses are not going to be drawn by the Father to His Son. They will be left in darkness, conditionally and consequently, due to their persistent unbelief in having grown calloused and hardened. So, this means that both sides—Calvinists and non-Calvinists—agree that not everyone is being drawn by the Father in the context of John chapter 6. Only after Christ’s resurrection is there a global drawing by the Son, through the global preaching of the gospel.”

    I’m sorry, but I have a major problem with this due to:

    Deuteronomy 29:4
    4 Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

    And

    Romans 11:8
    8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

    And this is NOT due to anything that the Jews did, or did not do.

    God gave them the law of Moses, but not us.

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

    Romans 5:20
    20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

    The law was given to the Jews to trip them up, so that sin would INCREASE, NOT DECREASE. We lowly gentiles were never given the law, therefore, due to IGNORANCE, our sins fall under Romans 2:14-16,

    Acts 17:30
    And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

    In other words, the law was given to the Jews to SET THEM UP FOR FAIL, so that grace would have a meaning.

    Gentiles are in a whole different category. A category that both sides fail to see.

    Ed Chapman

  5. And to add to my last, when Jesus spoke about bread, he was speaking SPIRITUALLY, and he is teaching us to do the same with MOSES, regarding the teachings of Moses.

    Meaning, not all words in Moses is what we think it means.

    Jesus is talking about his body being bread. That’s a hint to go back to Moses and RETHINK what Moses is really talking about when using words.

    But the expository people don’t want to hear that either. And that was the mistake by the Jews, as well.

    Ed Chapman

  6. This will be long. But when do I ever write anything short. 🙂

    Spurcalleth says Leighton’s approach is theology first and the Bible last (if at all), and that this leads to distortion. But I would say the same for Gabe.

    From the article, Gabe says: “Yes, regeneration preceding faith, correct.””

    But the Bible says: “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 2:38) And Ephesians 1:13 says “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, …”

    The Bible says that repentance/belief (faith) come first, then we get the Holy Spirit. But Calvinists say we need the Holy Spirit first in order to believe/repent. So which is right?

    Gabe says: “This is an effectual calling. It is referred to in Calvinistic doctrine as ‘Irresistible Grace.’”

    Can any Calvinist please find me a verse that refers directly and specifically to “effectual calling”? Even Gabe acknowledges that it’s specifically a “Calvinist” doctrine.

    Gabe says: “A person by his own will cannot come to God.” And “A person does not have an ability to believe in Christ unless they are regenerated by the Spirit.”

    Can any Calvinist find a verse that says we have no ability to believe until and unless the Holy Spirit first regenerates us (and that He will only regenerate specific, prechosen people)?

    As I’ve researched the difference between the KJV and the Calvinist ESV, I’ve found many instances where the ESV downplays the idea of man’s ability to decide, to have control over his will, to make his decision and determine his actions. Here are some of them (I will only briefly explain them):

    1. In 2 Peter 3:5, the KJV says “For this they willingly are ignorant of …” But the ESV says “For they deliberately overlook this fact…” Calvinists don’t believe people can “will” anything on their own, so it’s no wonder they take out the fact that people “willingly” decided to be ignorant of God’s truth, replacing it with just the idea that they “deliberately overlooked” it – which, in Calvinism, would be because they were predestined to overlook it, that God caused them to overlook it.

    2. Romans 9:16 KJV): “So then it is not of him that willeth …” But the ESV says “So then it depends not on human will…” In the KJV, “willing” is a verb, something done by the man. But since Calvinists do not believe man can “will” anything on his own, the ESV changes it to a noun, a thing, the “human will,” making it more about the man being controlled by the “human will” than about the man having control over his will.

    3. 1 Corinthians 7:37 (KJV): “Nevertheless, he that standeth steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will …” But here is the ESV: “But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control …”

    The ESV changes the idea of the man standing steadfast and having power over his own will … to the idea that he is established in his heart (which, in Calvinism, wouldn’t be by his own choice or doing) and that his desire is simply under control (as if passively, as if he himself has no control over it but that it’s just done for/to him by God). Calvinists believe we have no real control over our decisions, so it’s no wonder they would change “power over his own will” to mere “desire under control.” Because then they can say that “desire under control by God,” that God causes you to have the desires you do, according to the nature He gave you, which causes you to choose what you do, and you couldn’t desire or choose anything else. The KJV is about the man doing it, having control over himself and the power to make his decisions, but the ESV is about it all just happening to him.

    4. Romans 6:17 (KJV): “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you.” But the ESV says “… have become obedient from the heart …”

    Why does this matter or make a difference? Because in the King James, “obeyed” is a verb, and it’s clear that the people are doing the obeying. They are responsible for obeying. But in the ESV, “obedient” is an adjective that simply describes the people (as in “they have become obedient people”). In the KJV, the people obey, but in the ESV, the people have been turned into obedient people (which, in Calvinism, would be because the Holy Spirit caused them to). It’s like the difference between saying “I curled my hair” and “My hair became curly.” In the first, I curled it. But in the second, it became curly but not necessarily by me or because of me. Big difference!

    5. Personal responsibility is also downplayed in 2 Peter 2:14. The KJV says that the people have a “heart they have exercised with covetous practices.” But the ESV simply says “they have hearts trained in greed.” The KJV is clear that the people trained their hearts, but the ESV simply says they have hearts which are trained. But by whom? Once again, in Calvinism, God gives you the heart He wants you to have, which comes with the desires He wants you to have, which causes you to choose what you choose. And this verse, in Calvinism, could simply mean that they were given hearts (from God) trained to be greedy (preset to be greedy) so that they would choose to be greedy. Whereas in the KJV, it’s clear that the people trained their own hearts to be greedy. Small difference in wording, big difference in implications.

    6. In James 1:12, most versions put the responsibility in man’s hands to “endure temptation,” such as “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial …” (NIV) And “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation …” (KJV)

    In these translations, the person is the one doing the persevering/enduring. According to the concordance, the word “endures” in this verse means to bear a trial bravely and calmly. This is something the person has to do. It takes effort and wise choices to stay faithful and obedient in the face of trials and temptations.

    But here it is in the ESV (and only in the ESV): “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial …”

    I can see how we might read that and automatically think it’s the same thing as “enduring temptation” and “persevering under trials.” But is it really the same thing? Why does this little change make a difference?

    Because to “remain steadfast” doesn’t necessarily mean the person has any choice about it or responsibility over it. It doesn’t necessarily require any effort from them. A person can “remain” in a medically-induced coma with no effort from them at all, no choice on their part, because it happened to them, caused by and determined by the doctors. But to be commanded to “endure temptation” and “persevere under trial” (like the other translations say) requires effort and thought and choice and obedience on our parts. It is our responsibility, our choice. Not God’s.

    7. Similarly, in James 5:11, the ESV is one of the few translations that changes it from something like “You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about [the outcome]” (NIV) … to “You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord.”

    This “purpose of the Lord” changes it from a message about God working Job’s self-chosen faithfulness into something good … to a message about God causing Job to be faithful for His particular reasons and purposes. Big difference! And notice the change from the active “Job’s perseverance” (Job did it!) to the passive “the steadfastness of Job” (as if God caused it, and Job himself had no real control over it).

    8. In the KJV, Hosea 5:4 says “They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God…” But the ESV says “Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God…”

    Notice, in the KJV, that the people have control over their deeds (doings). They WILL NOT do what they need to do to turn to God. But in the ESV, the deeds control the people. Their deeds – which, in Calvinism, God preplans and causes, and nothing different could happen – prevent them from returning to God.

    9. Hosea 4:8 in the KJV: “They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.” But in the ESV: “They feed on the sin of my people: they are greedy for their iniquity.”

    To “set their heart on [sin]” shows much more personal responsibility for their decision to sin than simply being greedy for it. In Calvinism, they could be greedy for sin because God set their heart on it (preplanned it/caused it by creating them to be non-elect and giving them the sin-nature that can only desire/choose to sin), but in the KJV, it’s clear that the people themselves set their heart on sin.

    10. Hosea 7:6 in the KJV: “For they have made ready their heart [for sin] like an oven …” But the ESV says “For with hearts like an oven they approach their intrigue…”

    Notice in the KJV, the people themselves make their hearts ready for sin. But in the ESV, their hearts are simply ready for sin, but not by them. And of course, in Calvinism, their hearts are made ready for sin by God’s choice, decree, and control.

    11. Psalm 10:4 in the KJV: “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God…” But here’s the ESV: “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek after him…”

    Once again, as we have repeatedly seen, in the KJV, the people themselves make decisions about God. In this verse, they WILL NOT seek after God. But in the ESV, they simply do not seek Him. And in Calvinism, the non-elect do not seek Him not because they themselves choose to reject Him but because God causes them to desire/decide to reject Him.

    12. In Romans 15:31, the ESV changes “them that do not believe” to “unbelievers.” In many verses, they change the verb “do not believe” to the noun “unbelievers”. This changes it from people DOING something, having the responsibility/choice over whether they believe or not, to them BEING something, a non-believer, as if God made them to be that way, one of the non-elect.

    And furthermore, when I looked up the Greek for this verse, it says that the phrase “do not believe” is actually “refusing to be persuaded.” And when I looked it up in the concordance, the definition did indeed show not just that someone doesn’t believe or doesn’t obey (as if they have no ability to), but that they REFUSE to believe or obey. This is a much greater indication of “free-will” than “Calvinist predestination,” because we can’t refuse something unless it’s legitimately offered to us, available to us, possible for us. You can only “refuse” a gift if it was offered to you and possible for you to accept it. You can only refuse to do something if it was possible for you to do it, if you had the chance to do it. If it wasn’t truly available to you or possible for you, then it wouldn’t be “refusing” it.

    The funny thing is, this word for “refusing to be persuaded” is also in the following verses (among others I’m not listing), but the ESV (and many other translations) leaves out any indication of “refuse.” And leaving out the “refused to” downplays personal responsibility and the control we have over our choices, allowing Calvinists to read the verses in a more Calvinist way.

    John 3:36 (ESV): “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life …” [But it’s not just that they do not obey, as if they were one of the non-elect, forced/created to “not obey”; it’s that they “refused to obey/believe,” meaning that they rejected a legitimate offer/chance to obey/believe.]

    1 Peter 2:7-8 (ESV): “So this honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.” [It would be so much less Calvinistic to say “but for those who refuse to believe” and “because they refuse to obey the word.” And yet that’s what it should be!]

    Acts 14:2 (ESV): “But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.” [More accurately: “But the Jews who refused to believe …”]

    1 Peter 3:20 (ESV): “because they formerly did not obey God …” [They “refused to obey God.”]

    1 Peter 4:17 (ESV): “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” [“… for those who refuse to obey the gospel of God?”]

    Hebrews 3:18 (ESV): “And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?” [“… to those who refused to obey?”]

    Romans 10:21 (ESV): “But of Israel he says, ‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.'” [Not just “disobedient,” but “those who refused to obey.”]

    Romans 2:8 (ESV): “but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” [“… for those who refuse to obey the truth!” In Calvinism, the non-elect do not obey the truth because it was never possible for them to obey the truth. But as the Greek says, it’s that they REFUSED to obey the truth, meaning that it was possible for them to obey the truth but that they rejected it. There are no non-elect people who are predestined to hell with no chance of believing or being saved. There are only those who had the chance to believe and be saved but rejected it.]

    What a difference “refused to” makes! And no wonder the ESV leaves it out. All those missing “refused to’s” … all those “who did not believe” (verb) changed to “unbelievers” (noun) … all those “who believed” (verb) changed to “believers” (noun) … make the ESV a lot more Calvinistic than a Bible translation has any right to be!

    Personally, I think Calvinists refer to their theology first, and then they go the Bible and try to twist it to fit.

    1. Wow, that’s a long list Heather! Thanks for all that research.

      Yes doctrine. Calvinists do not let Bible verses get in the way of their doctrine!

      All that ESV bashing aside (and see my many comments on that Calvinist translation) the ESV STILL says this:

      Romans 4:3 “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…”

      This should be the stake to the heart of Calvinist, but they miss it and say “it doesnt really mean that.”

      They insist that God gives faith…. God “makes people” (effectual grace) believe. And they say that our version of “faith” is a work.

      But here the Word says that Abraham believed —-that that was counted to him as righteousness (not justification first).

      Paul also goes to great lengths to say that this kind of believing/ faith is NOT a work.

      1. Fromoverhere: “Paul also goes to great lengths to say that this kind of believing/ faith is NOT a work.”

        Exactly! Paul is saying that belief is not like the kinds of work people do to justify themselves.

        “… to the one who does not work but believes…” Believing is not in the same category as trying to work our way to heaven. Yet Calvinists lump them together so they can say “Belief is a work. And we can’t work our way to heaven. And therefore, we can’t believe on our own in order to get saved.”

        But the Bible says belief is not in the same camp of “working” to get to heaven.

        And besides, even if it was a “work,” Jesus says it’s the ONE work we must do to be saved. “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:28-29)

        Believing is the ONE “work” God gave us to do, the responsibility He gave us, to be saved. Yet Calvinists repeatedly say that we cannot believe, that it is not our responsibility to believe but God’s responsibility to make us believe, that it is impossible for us to do the one thing God said we need to do to be saved.

        Who sounds like the author of this kind of twist? Who else but Satan is behind things like “Did God really say …?”

  7. So the real focus in the debate seemed to be around the word draw from the best I could tell .
    Does the gospel externally come alone to enable people to come to Christ or must it be brought by the power of the Spirit that effectually causes the word to give life?

    It was a good debate,well conducted,It didn’t seem that there was much mentioned about the Spirits work in this unless I missed it but I attend to go back listen again as could have.

    1. Hello Shawn and welcome

      Yes – the underlying foundational core within Calvinism which makes the difference between the Calvinist interpretation vs the NON-Calvinist interpretation is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM.

      Stipulated within Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees – where everything without exception is determined solely and exclusively by Calvin’s god.

      The difference in the Calvinist vs NON-Calvinist conception – boils down to “Functionality”.
      What “Functionality” is granted to the creature?
      And what “Functionality” is reserved solely and exclusively to the THEOS?

      In Calvinism – Calvin’s god “Functions” as the sole and exclusive DETERMINER of everything without exception – including every impulse that will come to pass within the human brain.

      The human person simply “Functions” as a passive observer of impulses which Calvin’s god makes come to pass within the the person’s brain and body.

      Those impulses come to pass infallibly and thus irresistibly – and the human has no say in the matter of what any impulse will be.

      Accordingly – for every human event and every human impulse – humans are granted
      – One single RENDERED-CERTAIN option
      – NO CHOICE in the matter of what that option will be
      – NO CHOICE in the matter of their role in that option
      – No ability to refrain

      So the Calvinist interprets the word “Draw” in such a way as to fit within the framework of the human “Function” being that of a passive observer.

      With the NON-Calvinist conception – humans are granted limited LIBERTARIAN CHOICE.
      They are granted the same choice that a woman is granted when a man proposes marriage.
      She can say NO if she wants to.
      And the man is not the DETERMINER of the impulses in her brain – so he does not determine what her answer will be.

      That degree of “Functionality” granted to humans – is anathema to the Calvinist – because it would represent a compromise in divine control over all things.

      1. Brd,following the example you gave of defining lbfw of a woman who accepts a marriage proposal from a man to be his wife would that also follow once she was married having the same free will to reject and divorce her husband be likened to as someone who has accepted Christ to afterward reject Him and walk away and finally perish?

      2. Hi Shawn,
        I suppose that would follow the function of making a “Choice”

        Or for example – someone who makes a covenant
        And then later betrays that covenant.

        Committing oneself to a covenant entails a “Choice”.
        And betraying that covenant entails an additional “Choice”

      3. Hi Shawn… though marriage is used to illustrate our relationship with Christ, so is birth into God’s family. Some think there is freedom to divorce Christ in this life and forfeit that relationship. But they wouldn’t think that is possible in heaven, right? I don’t think the marriage illustration should be pushed too far.

        I believe it’s not possible now for a believer to divorce Christ, because the new birth makes you an everlasting child, and it solidifies in the heart an unbreakable faith that Jesus is the Christ (1John 5:1, Phil 1:29), so that the believer never contemplates divorcing Christ.

      4. Brian,

        How is that different from “irresitable grace”? You are not allowed to depart if you no longer believe, or…it’s not possible to no longer believe?

        Ed Chapman

      5. Ed, I can’t dogmatically say I remember, but I think you and I already discussed OSAS. 😀 If you don’t believe salvation has irresistible elements in it, at least after resurrection, imo then you don’t believe in much of an everlasting salvation caused by God.

        I believe some irresistible everlasting benefits start at regeneration which happens through faith. Yes, faith is before it and can be temporary before it. But as I clearly said, regeneration turns that faith into an everlasting faith.

        If you believe you will not be able to stop believing after resurrection, why, unless some everlasting irresistible change takes place, right?

      6. Last thing, Brian, Hebrews 11:1 tells us what faith is. When dissected to the lowest common denominator, faith is knowing that we are going to get what we are waiting for. In heaven, there is no need for faith, because we already got what we waited for.

      7. Brian,

        Believe, then don’t believe.

        Luke 8:11-15
        11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

        12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

        13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

        14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

        15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

        EMPHASIS ON VERSE 13 “WHICH FOR A WHILE BELIEVE”…COUPLED WITH “AND IN TIME OF TEMPTATION…FALL AWAY.”

        Ed Chapman

      8. Brd

        Yes I believe that would logically follow consistent in sotierolgy if one believed in lbfw that if you can chose to follow Christ you could also choose to deny Him later and not.

        Now this leads to a question doesn’t many Traditionalist who believe in lbfw believe that once you are saved you are forever saved?

        Thanks

      9. Hi Shawn,
        There are believers who hold the position that Libertarian Choice is granted to humans as a function.
        Which would mean – a believer having that function – is granted the Liberty of choosing to crucify Christ unto himself (Hebrews 6:4-6) having fallen away.
        But they also believe – for whatever reasons – that that will not – or cannot – ever happen.

        There are other believers who hold the position that Libertarian Choice is granted to humans – and who do believe that that Liberty opens the door to the possibility of falling away.

        I personally take the warning passages as TRUE warnings.
        But I don’t speak for Traditionalists.

      10. Brian: “I believe it’s not possible now for a believer to divorce Christ, because the new birth makes you an everlasting child, and it solidifies in the heart an unbreakable faith that Jesus is the Christ (1John 5:1, Phil 1:29), so that the believer never contemplates divorcing Christ.”

        I agree with Brian, that a true believer can never fully leave the faith. However, I do think we can want to walk away from God at times and we might even turn our backs on God for a time. But a true believer has the Holy Spirit in them, and He will continue to draw us back when we drift from the Lord.

        I went through a horribly dark time several summers ago. I was in a situation where I needed God to step in and help, and yet He seemed so absent. And so I was full of terrible anxiety and depression, to the point of daydreaming about leaving this life (I wouldn’t do anything to harm myself because I have kids, but I felt so trapped and saw no way out – this is related to the relative who is in jail right now, as I mentioned in other comments). Not only did the circumstances hurt deeply, but waiting on God who didn’t seem to be listening hurt even more. I felt so abandoned and helpless, with no one to turn to.

        And a day came when I desperately wanted to give up my faith, when I envied atheists – because it would be less painful to have no God than to have a God who didn’t seem to be listening or to care. It would be less painful to rely on myself than on a God who wasn’t doing anything to help. Life was letting me down, and I couldn’t bear to have a God who let me down too.

        Anyway, as I examined my heart and my life’s walk with the Lord up until that point, I ultimately realized that, as hard as life is and as much as God’s silence hurt, I could never truly deny God or walk away from Him. I know Him too well. I know that He is most definitely real, that Jesus is the only answer to this hopeless life, and that I need Him, even if His ways confuse me and His silence hurts me. There is no other way but Jesus. I know the Truth too well to ever be able to deny it, no matter how much I wanted to. And I decided then that even if He never “fixed” my situation, I still had to cling to Him, because He is real. He is Truth. He is the only Way. “Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

        Also, I believe that my relative (whom I just testified against in court 2 days ago, spending over 3 hours on the witness stand answering questions) is a believer too. However, I believe she has drifted from the Lord long ago, running from His conviction and truth, making a huge mess of her life (and ours). But even though this believing relative may appear at many times to have left God, I know from our conversations (and from the fact that I’ve known her my whole life, since she is my mom) that, deep down, the Holy Spirit is still there in her, working to draw her back to truth, back to Him. I know deep down she still believes, but she is in survival mode right now, fighting at all costs and hiding from the truth, from God. But the Spirit is there, working on her, convicting her, waiting for her to draw near to God again and to face the truth.

        All of this is to say that true believers might want to leave God at times and might even appear to leave God at times, to hide from Him, but if we are true believers then the Spirit is in us and will always be working to bring us back into a right relationship with the Lord, no matter how long we hide from Him and what a huge mess we make of our lives.

        I believe that if someone has truly “left the faith,” never feeling the pull of the Holy Spirit to come back again, then it’s because they never truly had real faith or the Holy Spirit. But those who are true Spirit-filled believers will always feel the conviction and pull of the Holy Spirit, no matter how far they temporarily drift from the Lord. It makes me think of King David who fell into sin terribly bad, yet he was always drawn back to God again no matter how many times he fell.

        Anyway, I’m sorry to dump this whole story on you, but I guess I am partly responding to the comment Brian made, trying to encourage people when it comes to the security of our salvation (of true believers), and I am partly venting because it’s such a fresh situation for me. I think people can trick themselves into thinking they are true believers while they are not. And these people may eventually “leave the faith,” a faith they never actually had to begin with. But we cannot trick God who knows us better than ourselves. He knows the difference between those who truly believe and those who just SAY/THINK they believe. And only the true believers get the Holy Spirit. And when we do, the Spirit never leaves us, even if we have times of drifting from Him. This is just my two cents about this issue.

      11. I want to add something, regarding the horrible situation with my mom and what I’ve been forced to be a part of:

        Maybe this is part of why I find it so horrific for Calvinists to present God as a God who predestines, preplans, causes all sin and evil for His glory and pleasure, and for them to be so proud of their belief, as if they are more humble and God-honoring for believing such lies about God. Because sin and evil has hit very close to home for me.

        I think it’s easy for sheltered, naive Calvinists to think they are good and right to “blame” God for all sin and evil when sin and evil is “way out there somewhere,” happening to other people, when it’s still vague and theoretical for them. If it hasn’t come close to them, it’s easy for them to explain it all away with “But God is sovereign and can do whatever He wants for His glory. His ways are higher than ours, and we can’t understand it. Who are you to talk back to God anyway?”

        But wait until it hits close to home, when you have to stare it in the face. And then see if you are able to honestly say that it’s what God wanted, that it’s glorifying to Him, that He’s still good, loving, righteous, and holy for causing such evil. See if you can still believe that without throwing up, without realizing the horrible damage it does to God’s character and truth.

        It’s easy for Calvinists to cling to their wretched distortions of God until they are forced to examine them in light of true evil. It’s no wonder they refuse to carry out their beliefs to the obvious, undeniable conclusions, to see the incredible damage it does to God’s character and truth. Because if they did, if they allowed their eyes to be opened to the horrifying conclusions of their beliefs, then they might have to give up their beloved Calvinist theology. And that’s a very hard thing to do when their whole social circle is Calvinist and when they feel they are part of the “theological elite,” those special, hand-picked people God has supposedly revealed His secret wisdom/truths to.

        Getting good Christians to believe terrible things about God and to think they are more humble and God-glorifying to do so is nothing short of satanic. A satanically brilliant ploy!

      12. I understand you completely Heather.
        For me – its the difference between “Non-Personal” and “Personal”

        Calvinists are quite often emotionless in their enunciation of Calvin’s god creating/designing human souls specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire for his good pleasure.

        They sometimes almost seem to take pleasure in the idea of it themselves.
        The whole business is “Non-Personal” for them.

        But when you remind them – the Calvinist interpretation of the wheat and the chaff stipulates:
        1) Calvin’s god divinely deceives a -quote “Huge Multitude” of Calvinists with a FALSE SENSE of salvation

        2) He -quote “Illumines them for a time to partake of it”

        3) And the he -quote “Strikes them with greater blindness”

        All of a sudden you can see the look of “God Forbid!” on their faces.

        Jesus:
        “What shall the Lord do with these vineyard workers?
        “He shall come and destroy them and shall give the vineyard to others. ”

        And when the Calvinists heard that, they said, “God forbid!!”.

      13. br.d,

        Reminds me of that mobster movie where the head guy kills one of his own guys with a baseball bat at a meeting, then states, “I loved him like a brudda”.

        Ouch.

      14. Good example ED!

        It gives one a view of how the definitions of things like “Love” are altered within the context of a world that is ruled by the principle of “Domination”

        The characteristic of the mob-boss world is the principle of “Domination”
        And so isn’t the Calvinist world.

        In Calvinism’s world – Jesus turns to his disciples and says:
        You see how the gentiles “Kata-Kurios” (i.e. subordinate) one another?
        Calvin’s god is the AUTHOR of every impulse that will come to pass within their brains.

        He makes “Kata-Kurios” impulses come to pass within human brains
        Because he is the god of “Kata-Kurios”

      15. br.d.: “They sometimes almost seem to take pleasure in the idea of it themselves.”

        And it seems to me they take immense pleasure in being the one to affirm the most wretched things about God, as if it makes them the most hard-core Calvinist there is:

        Calvinist #1: “I accept that it’s God’s pleasure to predestine people to hell.”

        Calvinist #2: “Oh yeah, well, I accept that God predestines child abuse for His glory!”

        Calvinist #3: “I accept that babies are wretched, God-hating, totally-depraved vipers-in-diapers.”

        Calvinist #4: “Oh yeah, well, I’ll see your ‘diaper vipers’ and raise you the Holocaust!”

        Calvinism is almost like a contest to see who can accept the most wretched things caused by their “sovereign” Calvi-god and who can prove they are the most totally-depraved sinner there is. As if it will bring them greater honor when they stand before God. It’s sick.

      16. (This is to replace the comment I asked the moderator to remove because I was looking at the wrong word in the concordance.)

        Ed Chapman: “Believe, then don’t believe…. Luke 8:13: “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away…. EMPHASIS ON VERSE 13 “WHICH FOR A WHILE BELIEVE”…COUPLED WITH “AND IN TIME OF TEMPTATION…FALL AWAY.”

        I would say that the word for “fall away” in this verse does not necessarily mean “to lose faith/salvation.” In the concordance, the word means to “stand away, draw away, repel, withdraw from, etc.” In a parallel passage in Mark 4:17, Mark uses a word that means “to cause to stumble, to cause to sin, to cause to become indignant, shock, offend.” Strong’s says it’s about causing a person to begin to distrust and to desert one whom he ought to trust and obey.

        And I think it’s significant that this is the same word used in Matthew 26:31 which talks about the disciples scattering the night Jesus was arrested. Obviously, it doesn’t mean they lost their faith or salvation in that passage, and so I don’t think we can assume it always means losing saving faith in other passages.

        If those who “believed” in Luke 8:13 are true believers, then it might just be about them facing trials/temptations that cause them to stumble or to be drawn away from God for awhile. It might not be about losing salvation. Just an idea.

      17. Heather,

        Hello.

        I disagree. Which also means that I would disagree with Brian on this point. Luke 8:13 KJV, using the Strong’s Concordance for the KJV, Fall Away is defined as: Depart.

        The additional words that you used are English words used for the same exact Greek Word, but the Greek word’s definition is just DEPART.

        So, what you are indicating is the same thing that Brian is indicating, in that it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to STOP believing.

        So, based on that one word DEPART, let’s replace two words, Falling Away, with just one word, DEPART.

        Luke 8:18
        They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation DEPART.

        Now, why would one DEPART? The only answer that I can come up with is that they no longer believe. And if you no longer believe, you LOST your salvation. God isn’t kicking anyone out, but you are FREE TO LEAVE.

        I believe that you can lose your salvation by simply not believing anymore.

        Brian believes that it is impossible for you to not believe, once you first believed, as his irresistable grace likeness tells him that God won’t let him fall away (depart).

        Therefore, Brian and I have a HUGE disagreement…but that’s not new…LOL.

        Respectfully,

        Ed Chapman

      18. Heather,

        This might help in my last, as well.

        In order to be IN THE FAMILY, we must first BELIEVE. If we don’t believe anymore, then we aren’t in the family anymore.

        Is it possible to NOT love God anymore?

        Then, once we do believe, we are under the Law of Christ/Law of Faith/Law of Liberty.

        Our only 2 Commandments, under the New Covenant with Jesus is:

        1. Love God
        2. Love People

        And, oh…did you see the word COVENANT? That means that we can break the covenant.

        So, if we demonstrate that we wont love God, or love people, we have brokent the covenant.

        So we have 3 things.

        1. Believe (Faith)
        2. Covenant
        3. Love (Action Word – Faith without ACTION is dead).

        And to say that we can’t NOT believe anymore, or can’t break that covenant, or not love, that that isn’t free will at all.

        Ed Chapman

      19. Heather,

        I need to correct my first on the Strong’s definition of “Fall Away”

        ἀφίστημι aphístēmi, af-is’-tay-mee; from G575 and G2476; to remove, i.e. (actively) instigate to revolt; usually (reflexively) to desist, desert, etc.:—depart, draw (fall) away, refrain, withdraw self

        It’s definition is: TO REVOLT, TO REMOIVE, TO DESIST, DESERT (not chocolate cream pie, lol).

        English words used: Depart, draw (fall) away, refrain, withdraw self.

        That’s from the KJV.

      20. Ed, It’s totally okay if we disagree. To me, this is not an issue I take as strong a stand on as I do against Calvinism. I know I don’t know all there is to know about this issue and what the Bible says on it. (And I might never understand it fully.) I am still examining it. It’s just that I believe, in spite of some verses that may sound like we can lose our salvation, that the overall message is that true Spirit-filled believers cannot lose salvation. I think this fits best with God’s omniscience and foreknowledge, with Him knowing who His people are and knowing our hearts better than we know ourselves, with God’s promise to carry us to completion, and with the sealing of the Holy Spirit given to those who believe for the day of redemption (Does the Holy Spirit pop in and out of people based on whether they believe that day or not? Can we go back and forth between believing and not believing? How many times?).

        You emphasize the word “depart” as if it seals the deal. But then what do you make of the fact that Mark uses a word that means “to put a snare in the way, to cause to stumble, to give offense,” not “to depart”? And the KJV words it as “they are offended.” Not “they depart” or “fall away.” (Matthew 13:21 says “offended” too, and uses the same word as Mark. Luke is the only one that uses a word that includes “depart” in its definition.)

        The KJV in Luke 8:13 does say “fall away,” but where does it specify that it’s a departure from salvation? Also, it notes that this is during a time of temptation. Does this necessarily mean a permanent falling away at one point of temptation? Or could it possibly mean that they have a weak faith, that they are not strong enough to resist temptations at various points in their lives? That they are wishy-washy, lukewarm Christians? (How lukewarm does one have to be before they lose their salvation? Where is the cut-off?) Is the “believer” in this parable a true believer or one who just thinks they believe?

        I’m just throwing this out there, playing Devil’s Advocate, wondering if there are different/better ways to understand verses that sound like we can lose our salvation. 🙂

      21. Heather,

        To me, it’s only “logical” that if you depart, you are no longer interested, and therefore, you lose your salvation. I’m having a hard time with the notion that EXPLICITE WORDS needs to be said.

        Example:

        Jehovah’s Witnesses state that Jesus never once EXPLICITELY said that he’s God.

        They are right. He never once said, “I am God”. But we know he’s God because…

        Ed Chapman

      22. Something to consider – to add into the mix of your deliberations on this subject.

        The scripture tells us that Jesus was tempted with all of the temptations that are common to man yet without sin.

        In order to perform the task of being the “Second Adam” Jesus was required to take upon himself *ALL* of the condition of man.

        If it were not possible for Jesus to ever sin during the time in which he took on human form – then that testimony within scripture concerning him being “Tempted like as we” is false.

        If Jesus – while taking upon himself the form of man – cannot possibly sin – then he is NOT REALLY tempted to the extent that man is tempted.

        Therefore it follows – Jesus while taking upon himself the form of man – stood in jeopardy every moment of every day.

        It was possible for him to sin – and thus possible for him to “Fall away” from performing the task of being the “2nd Adam” which the Father had set for him to do.

        That task included allowing himself to be brutally beaten with his skin ripped off and to die on a cross – being crucified as a common criminal.

        The fact that Jesus sweat blood and pleaded with the Father: “If it is possible let this cup pass from me” is a clear indicator of the struggle to submit himself totally to the will of the Father.

        So – in order for Jesus to be “Tempted in all things like as we” it must be possible for him to “Fall away”
        Otherwise his temptations would just be a facade

        And if it is possible for Jesus – while in his earthly form – to “Fall away” – then how is it not possible for believers who are still in their earthly form to fall away?

      23. br.d,

        I fully agree. There are some denominations, or should I say sects, that believe that Jesus was NOT able to sin, because he’s God, and that Mary had to be sinless, because she’s the container, for lack of a better word, that the sinless one came thru. Did I say Catholics? LOL.

        Ed Chapman

        PS. I gotta go to work peoples…have a great day without me!

      24. Heather,

        One more thing:

        You had said:
        ” Is the “believer” in this parable a true believer or one who just thinks they believe? ”

        That’s an interesting question. And I think it’s one that needs to be answered.

        What is it that we are specifically supposed to believe?

        I take it back to Abraham, in the INHERITANCE, and HOW TO OBTAIN IT.

        The inheritance is ETERNAL LIFE THRU JESUS. Jesus is the Good news, and our way to obtain it, in that he died for you to receive it.

        Hebrews 11:1, faith is knowing that you are going to get what you are waiting for.

        What are we waiting for? The promise of inheritance of eternal life, and Jesus is the way to get there.

        Now, my question to you is, what’s a “TRUE” believer, as opposed to believer?

      25. Br.d.: “And if it is possible for Jesus – while in his earthly form – to “Fall away” – then how is it not possible for believers who are still in their earthly form to fall away?”

        Interesting things to think about. And here’s one more: Would that then mean that Jesus lost His place in heaven and had to go to hell or could it just mean that He lost the rewards that come with perfectly fulfilling God’s Will? (And if Jesus/God could sin then what would that mean about God’s perfect, holy character? I’m not saying I have answers for these or for what it means that Jesus is both God and man, I’m just asking.) Personally, I think many of the passages that sound like we can lose salvation can be read as being more about losing rewards for not living the way we should.

      26. Yes – these are excellent questions!!
        And for me – they are over my pay-grade!
        They are above my head.

        Won’t it be wonderful – that some day we will be with Jesus and he will explain everything! :-]

      27. Br.d.: “And for me – they are over my pay-grade! They are above my head. Won’t it be wonderful – that some day we will be with Jesus and he will explain everything! :-]”

        Good, humble answer. And I feel the same. Some questions are interesting to think about, but I can’t say for sure that I know the answers. I can do my best to try to understand as much as I can, but then I have to say, “But only God knows for sure.”

      28. Yes!
        You have excellent wisdom Heather!
        And a kind and sincere heart!
        The Lord makes beautiful gem-stones! :-]

  8. From the article:
    Those being drawn are unbelievers, of the elect kind, and the drawing is an internal regeneration, in order to go from being “dead rebel sinners” and “total haters of God” into loving believers of both God and Christ. The “regeneration” precedes faith in Christ, and hence is not by human choice

    br.d
    Isn’t that interesting!!!!
    In what language of the world – does a person call be “changed” from the inside – without CHOICE – by an external power – a process of being “Drawn”??

    In most vernaculars – the concept of being “Drawn” logically entails the process of “Persuasion”.

    And the process of “Persuasion” is specifically stated by Paul as the way he approaches people with the Gospel message.

    But how does “Persuasion” take place without the human brain making a CHOICE?

    The act of being “Persuaded” concerning [X] – logically entails the ability to make a DETERMINATION about whether [X] is TRUE or FALSE.

    And the human act of DETERMINING whether something is TRUE or FALSE logically requires making a LIBERTARIAN CHOICE between TRUE and FALSE.

    When you unpackage the doctrine of decrees – you discover – LIBERTARIAN CHOICE between TRUE and FALSE – is logically impossible for the human brain and never permitted.

    In Calvinism – the human brain is simply NEVER permitted to DETERMINE TRUE from FALSE on any matter – because whatsoever comes to pass within the human brain is solely and exclusively DETERMINED at the foundation of the world by a mind external to the human – granting the human brain NOTHING to DETERMINE.

    So if the process of “Drawing” a human entails that human having a brain granted the LIBERTY of being “Persuaded” then the process of “Drawing” is non-existent in Calvinism.

    Now Calvinists intuitively understand this fact
    And in response – some want to describe “Drawing” as being “Dragged” rather than being “Persuades”.

    But as it is always with Calvinism – the Calvinist has to have it BOTH WAYS.
    He doesn’t want to acknowledge his doctrine eradicates the human function of his brain being granted the function of “Discerning” (i.e. making a choice between) TRUE from FALSE.

    If the Calvinist acknowledges – his doctrine eradicates his brain’s ability to “Discern” TRUE from FALSE he knows no-one would ever find his doctrine palatable.

    And Calvinism will go the way of the dinosaur.

    1. br.d,

      From my understanding, the persuasion comes as when a person that is blind is healed of his blindness. He can finally see that which was hidden from him.

      And then he understands.

      The act of Jesus healing the spiritually blind is what the regeneration actually is, hence the end of John chapter 9, when the pharisees asked Jesus if they were blind.

      Jews are blind. Roman’s 11 so states.

      But Jesus did spiritually heal some of the blind. That drew them from the law of Moses, to Jesus.

      The Law of Moses is a central part of this, because God have it to them, and now Jesus comes to take that away… the blind wants the law, because God gave that to them.

      I say all this to indicate that regeneration is a means to get to persuading. Regeneration is not a light bulb switch that has UNBELIEVER TO BELIEVER. It’s just a means to being ABLE to see the truth. To SEE the truth. To understand the truth.

      Persuasion.

      Then persuaded by what you can see, and understand.

      Then the Jew is free from the bondage of sin (The Law of Moses).

      Free will by Persuasion… but the Jew had to be healed of blindness first (regeneration).

      That’s my take.

      Ed Chapman

      1. Yes Ed I agree.

        But think about it this way
        Lets say Calvinist_X must sit down to take a TRUE/FALSE exam

        At a certain moment in time – the Calvinist reads the first question – and marks TRUE as the answer.
        He is certain in his mind that TRUE is the correct answer.
        But the correct answer is actually FALSE

        Now – according to Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees:
        1) It was infallibly decreed at the foundation of the world – that at that moment in time – Calvinist_X would read the first question – and mark TRUE as the answer – and have the perception in his mind – that TRUE was the correct answer.

        2) But Calvin’s god knows that FALSE is actually the correct answer

        3) Therefore – Calvin’s god decreed that Calvinist_X would have a FALSE PERCEPTION

        4) So now we have an infallibly decreed FALSE PERCEPTION to exist within Calvinist_X’s mind.

        What this shows us – is that in Calvinism – per the doctrine of decrees – the human mind is not permitted the function of making a decision between TRUE and FALSE.

        Per the doctrine – whatsoever comes to pass within Calvinist_X’s mind – is DETERMINED by Calvin’s god.

        Now Calvinist_X has a FALSE PERCEPTION by infallible decree which cannot be broken.
        That infallible decree does not permit Calvinist_X’s brain the ability to discern the PERCEPTION as FALSE.

        If Calvinist_X were to discern the PERCEPTION as FALSE – he would no longer have that FALSE PERCEPTION.

        But that is impossible – because that FALSE PERCEPTION is there by infallible decree.

        So Calvinist_X’s brain is left with no ability to discern a TRUE PERCEPTION from a FALSE PERCEPTION.

        And without the ability to discern a TRUE PERCEPTION from a FALSE PERCEPTION – the Calvinist brain is left with no ability to discern TRUE from FALSE.

        CONCLUSION:
        When you take away the function of LIBERTARIAN CHOICE – you take away the human brain’s ability to CHOOSE between TRUE and FALSE. And thus take away the ability to discern TRUE from FALSE.

      2. br.d.: “When you take away the function of LIBERTARIAN CHOICE – you take away the human brain’s ability to CHOOSE between TRUE and FALSE. And thus take away the ability to discern TRUE from FALSE.”

        And I wonder what the point of discernment is anyway if our decisions and choices and thoughts are all predetermined by and caused by God?

        Most of a Calvinist pastor’s sermon is pointless (about our need to pray, to humble ourselves before God, to read our Bible, to be wise and make godly decisions) if we have no ability to choose between any options anyway, to choose between doing or not doing these things. What a waste of huge waste of breath and time when Calvinist preachers preach – because it influences nothing, if Calvinism is true!

      3. Absolutely TRUE!
        That is why the Calvinist is forced to treat the doctrine *AS-IF* it is FALSE
        Otherwise – it removes all sense of NORMALCY.

        And of course – that is why Calvinist language is a language of DOUBLE-SPEAK

        Take Roland for example – who insists that LIBERTARIAN CHOICE doesn’t exist.
        And yet – how is his brain able to discern that to be the case – when the function of discerning – requires making a CHOICE between TRUE and FALSE.

        And no such CHOICE exists for his brain – because every impulse that comes to pass in his brain – is caused by transcendent factors outside of his brains control (in the form of infallible decrees).

        So Roland becomes like the man who while driving his car – claims cars don’t exist. 😀

  9. Thanks for your response Brian which you answered : I believe it’s not possible now for a believer to divorce Christ, because the new birth makes you an everlasting child, and it solidifies in the heart an unbreakable faith that Jesus is the Christ (1John 5:1, Phil 1:29), so that the believer never contemplates divorcing Christ.

    I fully agree with you here but this statement does not logically follow the definition and nature of lbfw and when you make this statement to someone who believes they can make the choice to leave Christ they will say you are not embracing free will which they would be right.

    Notice you said here that BECAUSE the new birth makes you a everlasting child of God which is a statement that must follow that God determined to keep those He has saved which takes away lbfw.

    We say the same thing but I say it in the beginning of salvation and the ending our difference is this BECAUSE of the new birth I believe that is the reason I chose Christ and only BECAUSE He changed my mind and will to choose Him which logically follows in consistency that I will always choose to follow Him and this is where free will cannot exist in salvation.

    -If I believe that I can choose to be into Christ and then choose to leave Christ that is lbfw consistent.

    -If I believe that it was Christ will to save me and keep me eternally saved then that is being consistent with salvation by God’s sovereign decree.

    -If I believe that it is up to my lbfw choice that determines to choose into Christ but then after I am eternally saved BECAUSE God in the new birth changed my will that I will never reject Him that is not being consistent with libertarian free will nor God’s sovereignty in salvation.

    Thanks for the reply.

    1. Thank you Shawn for your thoughtful reply. Let me ask you. Do you have free will not to sin when tempted in the future, or are all those sins already eternally, immutably decreed for you to commit for God’s glory, and you will do them?

      It is not a dichotomy, LFW for everything or LFW for nothing. I’m hoping you believe there are boundaries within which you can use your will to freely choose to sin or not sin, to choose to follow the Spirit’s specific guidance or not follow the Spirit’s specific guidance. And yet there can be irresistible changes in some things also, where your LFW has been limited.

      It also seems we disagree on all grace for salvation goes through faith. Regeneration grace is clearly taught in Scripture as going through faith. Faith has to be in place before grace goes through it and makes it permanent.

  10. Hey Brian thanks for the reply.

    You asked me : Let me ask you. Do you have free will not to sin when tempted in the future, or are all those sins already eternally, immutably decreed for you to commit for God’s glory, and you will do them?

    I would agree with you there are boundaries both ways and God allows us to make choices but I’m also bound by scripture and warned not to think my desires and choices will ever surpass God’s secret will even on simple temporal things in this life and think that I can do whatever I want when I want while not considering God’s decreed will must allow me.If I do that then I already made the choice to sin because James calls it pride and evil.

    James 4: 13 ¶ Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow WE WILL go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;
    14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
    15 Instead you ought to say, “If the LORD WILLs, we shall live and do this or that.”
    16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

    Looking back in repentance at my past faliures wherein I was lead by the flesh to make the wrong decisions I wished I hadn’t done this or that but also looking at the big picture God was working all things for the good as allowing me to fall as I think He can use as a teacher to bring us where He wants us to be.

    When we love our kids and we to raise them we try to raise them right but There comes a time when all that we have done and exhausted they still don’t believe us and we allow them to fail can be a way of discipline. Experience in failure can point people the right way sometimes.

    As I was saying earlier when it comes to salvation there are three schools that differ on the will of men and God’s sovereignty.

    1)If I believe that I can choose to be into Christ and then choose to leave Christ that is lbfw consistent.

    2)If I believe that it was Christ will to save me and keep me eternally saved then that is being consistent with salvation by God’s sovereign decree.

    3)If I believe that it is up to my lbfw choice that determines to choose into Christ but then after I am eternally saved BECAUSE God in the new birth changed my will that I will never reject Him that is not being consistent with libertarian free will nor God’s sovereignty in salvation.

    Those that believe that because of the new birth that God sealed them with the Holy Spirit which keeps them eternally saved only logically follows that God determined to keep his own from falling back into unbelief and finally perishing in which those that hold to this would at least have to say that later half of salvation has been determined by God.

    And yes we do not agree on grace and faith I do believe that grace must be given before faith otherwise we would never have faith. I believe that it was grace alone that taught me to believe and grace alone that keeps me believing.

    Thanks Shawn

    1. Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

    2. Shawn,

      Regarding grace/faith:

      Romans 4:16
      Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

      Romans 5:2
      By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

      Hebrews 11:1, broken down, states that faith is: Knowing that you are going to get what you are waiting for.

      What are we waiting for? Eternal life. The Promise of eternal life thru Jesus.

      Now, you must first believe in the PROMISE before grace is given.

      Ephesians 2:8
      For by grace are ye saved through faith;

      THROUGH is a key word. Faith first.

      Faith is not GIVEN. It’s YOUR belief, not God given belief. God gave a promise of eternal life, and it is up to you to believe that promise. And that is where Hebrews 11:1 comes into play of what faith is. It seems to me that both Calvinists and Baptists have redefined what faith is, when it is defined by Hebrews 11:1.

      Ed Chapman

    3. Sorry Shawn….  your statement below looks to me like a typical vague, Calvinist, non-answer:

      “I would agree with you there are boundaries both ways and God allows us to make choices…”

      And then you add:

      “but I’m also bound by scripture and warned not to think my desires and choices will ever surpass God’s secret will even on simple temporal things in this life and think that I can do whatever I want when I want while not considering God’s decreed will …”

      Where are you “bound” but such things?  In Reformed teaching books only!

      Where do you find teaching on such things as the difference between God’s “secret will” and His “decreed will”.  Again….only in the books that you have “chosen” to read.  Get it?  You have “chosen” to get your information from a decidedly opinionated source —-as I did (when I was a Calvinist).  Then I decided (“chose”) to look and see if there are other good, biblical interpretations to the 30-40 verses that had me pinned in the incomprehensible reformed corner.

      Even you quoting …..this … “Instead you ought to say, If the LORD WILLs, we shall live and do this or that.”….. misses the mark!

      The Bible says we “ought” to do things (The Lord’s will) but we dont do them.  The Lord did not get His will in that case.  It is decidedly NOT His will that men look at pornography.  It is NOT Him “working all things for the good as allowing me to fall” when Christian men do that!  That is just the Calvinist’s justification for sinful actions. 

      Your statement, “to bring us where He wants us to be…”  makes no sense either since according to Calvinist / Reformed philosophy, we are ALWAYS where He wants us to be.  So why is He (according to your position) trying to “get us somewhere.”  You sound a LOT like an Arminian here!

      You MUST be an Arminian with the next statement about kids:

      “and we allow them to fail can be a way of discipline.”  Allow?  God allows sin?  God does not “allow” anything according to determinist / Reform philosophy…He DECREES. 

      I am afraid you dont quite understand the position that you are defending?

    4. Shorter version:

      Shawn….you said…

      “God allows us to make choices”

      Can we chose to do something that God does not want? Restated: Is everything that we choose, exactly what God wants?

      If God has immutably decreed all things before time, in what way is He “allowing” us to do something

      They are simple (non-trick) questions. Please answer when you can.

      1. God is Omnisciencent knowing all things including the wrong choices we make and permitting us do so to work for our good and His glory .
        He’s determined and caused it.
        Romans 8: 28 ¶ And we know that fnGod causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

      2. Shawn
        God is Omnisciencent knowing all things including the wrong choices we make and permitting us do so to work for our good and His glory .

        br.d
        Choice between that which was infallibly decreed and that which was NOT infallibly decreed??
        Not likely!!!

        Again:
        Per the doctrine of decrees – for every human event and every human impulse – there is ever only ONE SINGLE RENDERED-CERTAIN option.

        And the Calvinist is given
        – NO CHOICE about what that option will be
        – NO CHOICE about his role in that option
        – NO ability to refrain

        No Option(s) + No ability to refrain = NO CHOICE

        Every impulse that comes to pass within a Calvinists brain is PRE-DESTINED comes to pass infallibly.
        And humans have NO SAY and NO CONTROL about that which comes to pass infallibly.

        In Calvinism – any PERCEPTION of having a “Choice” in the matter of anything – constitutes a divinely decreed FALSE PERCEPTION.

      3. Talk about apparent contradictions!!!

        “…the wrong choices we make and permitting us do so to work for our good and His glory .
        He’s determined and caused it.”

        Calvinist: God immutably determines/ causes/ ordains/ wills/ decrees all the “wrong choices” (how can it be wrong if from God? How can it be a “choice” if decreed?) and yet God is not the author of any evil.

        That is what sinks determinism as a theological position. Really. Just have a look. There are no scriptures that really force you to believe that massive, God-blaming contradiction.

      4. Shawn: “God is Omnisciencent knowing all things including the wrong choices we make and permitting us do so to work for our good and His glory .He’s determined and caused it.”

        I’m not sure your theological stance, but “permitting” is deceptive language for Calvinists to use. It’s a contradiction to “determining and causing.” In Calvinism, God only “permits” what He first preplanned to happen and then causes to happen. And that’s not really “permitting” anything, despite Calvinists calling it that.

        (The following is something I wrote on my blog…)

        As a non-Calvinist, I believe that God foreknows what we will choose to do, and so He knows how to work it into His plans. Yet Calvinists assume that “foreknowing” is the same thing as “preplanning/causing it to happen,” and so, according to them, God “foreknowing” something means it’s determined/predestined to happen. It’s what He wanted to have happen. It’s “locked in.” It’s “His Will.”

        But just because God foreknows everything that happens doesn’t mean that He preplanned it to happen, caused it to happen, wanted it to happen, that it was His Will, or that the person couldn’t have made any other choice.

        He knows when we will obey and when we will disobey. And He knows the outcome of each choice we make. But that doesn’t mean He causes us to do what we do, that we couldn’t have chosen otherwise. It’s just that He knows it all ahead of time, and He knows how to work it into His plans, whatever we choose.

        Consider for a moment 1 Samuel 23:12-13. In this passage, David asks the Lord if the people of the town, Keilah, will hand him over to Saul, who is pursuing him to kill him. And God says that they will. Armed with this foreknowledge of what will happen if he stays in that town, David leaves. So this thing that God foreknew would happen – that the townspeople would hand David over to Saul – never happened.

        But if “foreknowledge” means “predetermined by God to surely happen” (as Calvinists believe) then David would have stayed in that town and been handed over to Saul. David would not have had a choice about leaving the town. Because, as the Calvinist says, “foreknowledge” means “determined to happen,” right?

        But David did have a choice. He had the choice to heed God’s warning or to ignore it. God didn’t determine David’s choice. He presented David with both options, and God knew what the outcome of both choices would be, and David chose. He knew that if David stayed, he would be handed over to Saul, and He knew that if David left, he wouldn’t be. But God let David choose!

        God’s foreknowledge clearly does not mean “determined to happen,” because in this case God foreknew the results of two opposite choices, but only one of them could, would, happen. Calvinism has no way to understand or excuse this example of God foreknowing something that didn’t happen, other than some lame excuse like “Well, God can determine to do the opposite of what He determined to do” or “God preplans that He will change His mind.” What a joke they make of God!

        And then there’s 1 Samuel 13:13-14. In this passage, Saul has disobeyed the Lord’s command by improperly performing a burnt offering. And Samuel tells him that if he had kept God’s command and done it properly, God would have established Saul’s kingdom over Israel for all time. But since he disobeyed, God was now taking the kingship from him.

        God had a plan, but it hinged on Saul’s obedience. God was willing to secure Saul’s kingship, but Saul changed the plan when he disobeyed.

        But Calvinists say that whatever God foreknows is determined to happen and that everything that happens was predetermined by Him.

        So then which one did God predetermine/foreknow: That Saul’s kingdom would have been established or that Saul lost the kingdom?

        God foreknew that Saul’s obedience would have secured the kingdom, but Saul disobeyed and lost the kingdom. Therefore, it cannot be true that foreknowledge means “predetermined/certain to happen,” because God foreknew Saul’s obedience would lead to him keeping the kingdom … but this didn’t happen. And it cannot be true that whatever happens is because God predetermined it, because God Himself said He had predetermined to secure Saul’s kingdom if he obeyed but Saul ended up disobeying and losing the kingdom. What happened was not what God predetermined and what God predetermined did not happen.

        (One more notable verse about this idea: 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 God determined something would happen, but then it didn’t happen. How is this possible if God determines everything that happens and nothing different could have happened? Calvinists would say, “Well, God sometimes ordains that people disobey what He has ordained.” Nonsensical garbage.)

        If you think that God always does what He has pre-planned, that He does not allow us to make our own choice about obeying or disobeying, and that our choices don’t affect His plans … then you would have to call Samuel a liar for claiming that God had a different plan in mind that hinged on Saul’s obedience. There would have been and could have been no different plan in God’s mind if it was His pre-planned Will that Saul disobeyed and lost the kingship. After all, if God always did what He pre-planned/foreknew, how could He have a plan in mind that He never carried out?

        God lets us decide, to choose between heeding His warnings or ignoring Him, between obeying or disobeying. He lets us affect His plans and the path we take in life, for good or bad. I believe God knows where each of our choices will lead and so He knows how to incorporate them into His plans, but He has not predetermined our choices ahead of time and does not cause us to choose what we do (which would make Him responsible for our sins). He lets us decide, which makes us responsible for our sins. And whatever we choose to do, He is wise enough to work it into His plans, to get something good out of it, to glorify Himself and to build His Kingdom.

        And this just makes so much more sense than a Calvinist god who says he wants people to pursue righteousness but then he preplans/causes us to do evil for his glory, who gives commands he causes us to disobey, who offers all people salvation but prevents most from being able to accept it, who tells us to choose between life and death but doesn’t give us the ability to make decisions about it, who says he wants all people to be saved when he really wants most to perish in hell for his glory, etc. How can a god like that be trusted and worthy of worship?

      5. Heather
        In Calvinism, God only “permits” what He first preplanned to happen and then causes to happen

        br.d
        Yes!

        John Calvin explains the NON-STANDARD use of the term “Permit” in Calvinism
        -quote
        When [Augustine] uses the term PERMISSION, the meaning which he attaches to it will best appear from a single passage (De Trinity. lib. 3 cap. 4), where he proves that the will of god is the supreme and PRIMARY ***CAUSE*** of all things….(Institutes)

        -quote
        But in speaking of PERMISSION, I understand that he [god] had appointed whatever he [god] **WISHED** to be done.

        CONCLUSION:
        – What Calvin’s god CAUSES he permits
        – What Calvin’s god does NOT CAUSE – he does NOT permit.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        **NOTHING** happens that is not knowingly and willingly decreed

      6. Fromoverhere: “(how can it be wrong if from God? How can it be a “choice” if decreed?)”

        Great points! I was trying to expose the same kind of contradiction for one of those when I asked spurcalleth (in a comment near the top) how Calvinists define evil. I can’t think of any answer a Calvinist could give that wouldn’t contradict Scripture, God’s character, or even their own theology.

      7. So true Heather!

        I have never gotten and answer from a Calvinist when I ask him two simple questions.

        Does God always get what He wants?

        Is everything that happens exactly what God wants?

        Simple questions, and yet a Calvinist cannot answer yes….. but he cannot answer no either.

      8. Fromoverhere: “Simple questions, and yet a Calvinist cannot answer yes….. but he cannot answer no either.”

        Yeah, when it comes to the question of how can God say He wants all people to be saved but predestine most to be unsaved, I heard a Calvinist explain it this way: “There’s two different levels of what God wants. On one level, He wants all people to be saved. It makes Him sad that most people aren’t saved. But on a deeper level, He wants to show off His justice/wrath against sin, and so He predestined that there would be sinners in hell. Sure, He wants all people to be saved, but He wants praise and worship for His justice even more.”

        (As if it’s really justice anyway to punish people for what He made them do, for what they had no control over!)

      9. Good stuff!!!

        If it is TRUE that Calvin’s god wants “ALL” people to be saved.

        Then it logically follows – it is also TRUE that Calvin’s god wants “ALL” people to be damned.

        John Piper gives us the reason:

        -quote
        God’s willing “ALL men to be saved” does not refer to every individual person in the world, but rather to ALL SORTS OF PERSONS, since the “all men” in verse 1 may well mean groups like “kings and all who are in authority”

        Thus in Calvinism it logically follows:
        – ALL SORTS OF PERSONS are saved
        – ALL SORTS OF PERSONS are damned

        Now it also happens to be the case – that FEW persons are saved – and MANY persons are damned.

        Thus in Calvinism it logically follows:
        – Calvin’s god before people created -wants THE FEW of ALL SORTS OF PERSONS to be saved

        – Calvin’s god before people are created – wants THE MANY of ALL SORTS OF PERSONS to be damned.

    5. Thank you Shawn for freely replying to my questions. Or was that God permitting you to waste time, until you learn your lesson that you can’t persuade those hard hearts who believe the Scripture clearly teaches man was given free will to use responsibly! I was eternally immutably predetermined to believe that which you think is false. lol

      Let me just ask, in the same vein as FOH’s question, How can God grant permission before creation for specific outcomes after creation as part of His decree for everything to turn out only one way? Doesn’t permission have to be granted to someone making the request for it, or doesn’t permission require that the one given permission not be forced to use it, but be free to ignore using it?

      I have nothing more to add to our thread, since God decreed that I believe you will not change your mind in light of biblical evidence that regeneration is through faith, not before faith. 😉 Take the last word, if you wish to. I wish for you the best!

  11. I never mentioned Calvinism or Arminianism guys but to be technical that is what you are holding to the doctrine eternal salvation comes from reformed theology in the 5 point of calvinsm perseverance of the saints.
    I quess that makes your sotierolgy 1/5 calvinistic determinism and 4/5 free will Arminianism 😀.
    We will have to agree to disagree but I do hope you see the inconsistency here as others can it you have a logical contradiction in lbfw.

    1. Shawn
      what you are holding to the doctrine eternal salvation comes from reformed theology in the 5 point of calvinsm perseverance of the saints.

      br.d
      Actually that is a non-sequitur.
      The Non-Calvinist also believes that Jesus is Lord
      Does that mean that the NON-Calvinist got that belief from Reformed theology??
      You should be able to see how that reasoning fails.

      Also in Calvinism EVERYTHING that is in a state of continuation is “Persevering”.

      So in Calvinism – just as you have “perseverance” of saints by virtue of an infallible decree which makes that saint “persevere”. – you also have “perseverance” of NON-saints – who “persevere” by virtue of an infallible decree which makes those NON-saints “persevere”.

      Also in Calvinism – no Calvinist has any CERTAINTY about whether or not he has been given a TRUE faith vs a FALSE faith.

      John Calvin
      -quote
      -quote
      We must thus consider both god’s *SECRET* election and his inner call. For he alone “knows who are his” .

      And
      -quote
      The Lord gives some a SENSE such as can be felt *WITHOUT* the spirit of adoption.

      -quote
      He illumines them *FOR A TIME* to partake of it – and then he strikes them with greater blindness.

      Therefore – in Calvinism – no Calvinist has any CERTAINTY of what he has been designed/created for.
      Since Calvin’s god creates/designs the MANY for eternal torment in a lake of fire – the Calvinist has a statistical probability of having been given a FALSE SENSE of salvation/election.

      If the Calvinist at some point wakes up in the lake of fire – he will know what he was designed/created for at that point.

      1. br.d
        Actually that is a non-sequitur.
        The Non-Calvinist also believes that Jesus is Lord
        Does that mean that the NON-Calvinist got that belief from Reformed theology??
        You should be able to see how that reasoning fails.

        How is that a non-sequitur?A statement that is labeled a non sequitur is one that is illogical. For example, if someone asks what it’s like outside and you reply, “It’s 2:00,” you’ve just used a non sequitur or made a statement that does not follow what was being discussed.

        We are discussing what part of free will has in salvation and what has God determined not that Jesus is Lord.

        I think you should study the roots of church history and you will find that Southern Baptist become more Armenian through the years. So actually traditional southern Baptist where far more Calvinist.

        At the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention in May 1845, it would have been difficult to find leaders who were not Calvinistic in their theology, Dockery said.

        Dockery: Calvinism has roots in SBC history
        By Andrew Walker, posted August 6, 2012

      2. Shawn
        How is that a non-sequitur?A statement that is labeled a non sequitur is one that is illogical. For example, if someone asks what it’s like outside and you reply, “It’s 2:00,” you’ve just used a non sequitur or made a statement that does not follow what was being discussed.

        br.d
        You don’t have it quite correct.
        A non-sequitur occurs in the process of reasoning where the conclusion does not logically follow from the premise.

        Shawn
        We are discussing what part of free will has in salvation and what has God determined not that Jesus is Lord.

        br.d
        A logical fallacy is a fallacy in FORM
        It has to do with the FORM of a statement – not the subject matter.

        My example – followed the FORM of your argument.
        The FORM of my example – is identical to the FORM of your argument.
        Therefore my example shows how your statement is a FORMAL fallacy.

        Shawn
        I think you should study the roots of church history and you will find that Southern Baptist become more Armenian through the years.

        br.d
        That is really besides the point – in regard to your fallacy in thinking.

        Just because a person’s will is granted “Freedom” in one area of life – it doesn’t logically follow that person’s will is granted “Freedom” in EVERY area of life.

        Thus your reasoning fails.

        However – you do raise a valid concern.
        If God grants persons “Freedom” in the area of accepting Christ – then how is it he doesn’t grant the same “Freedom” in the area of rejecting Christ?

        I think it behooves a person to be able to explain how they come to such a conclusion.
        And as I’ve mentioned – it isn’t a conclusion I personally come to.

      3. Shawn – lets look at the other side of the coin – in regard to the absence of Libertarian Freedom concerning accepting Christ – based on Determinism.

        The absence of Libertarian choice would logically entail “Freedom” to ONLY do what is Determined.
        This is typically classified as COMPATIBILISM.

        Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
        -quote
        Compatibilism is the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism.

        In other words – the will is ONLY free to be/do that which was determined.

        For example:
        It is Determined that Person_X WILL NOT accept Christ.

        Lets unpackage what logically follows:
        1) Person_X is “Free” to NOT accept Christ – because that “Freedom” is COMPATIBLE with what was determined.

        2) Person_X is NOT “Free” to accept Christ – because that “Freedom” is NOT COMPATIBLE with what was determined.

        3) Person_X’s NON-Freedom to accept Christ – was Determined by factors outside of Person_X’s control.

        4) Person_X was granted ONE SINGLE RENDERED-CERTAIN option

        5) Person_X was given NO CHOICE in the matter of what that option would be

        6) Person_X is granted NO ability to refrain from that ONE SINGLE RENDERED-CERTAIN option.

        7) Person_X – with only one option – and No Ability to refrain from that option – lacks “Choice” in the matter – because a NECESSARY CONDITION of “Choice” – is more than one option available from which to select – in order to constitute a “Choice”.

        8) Scripture tells us that to NOT accept Christ is to disobey the Gospel

        9) To disobey the Gospel is to commit a sin

        10) Thus it logically follows – Person_X is granted NO CHOICE in the matter of committing the sin of NOT accepting Christ

        Now here is the question:
        Since Person_X is granted NO CHOICE in the matter of committing this sin – then how is it that Person_X is granted ANY CHOICE AT ALL – in the matter of committing any sin whatsoever?

        In other words – what makes it the case that committing JUST this one sin – is caused by factors outside of Person_X’s control?

        Why isn’t it the case that committing ALL SINS is just as much Determined and therefore caused by factors outside of Person_X’s control?

        The person who argues for the absence of Libertarian Choice in he matter of choosing Christ because that sin is determined solely by god – is just as much obligated to explain – how it isn’t the case that ALL human impulses to sin are not just as much Determined by god – and thus outside of a person’s control – just as much as the person who argues one is “NOT FREE” to reject Christ after accepting him.

    2. I missed the “apparent inconsistency”.

      Of course you are no dealing with the inconsistencies of reformed philosophy.

      What you believe is that God is incapable of creating a world where man has freedom (which is necessary for love and a true relationship).

      1. I missed the “apparent inconsistency”.

        It’s truly a big one because it deals with salvation.

        If you believe that God gives you free will to choose to believe Christ but then cannot forfeit your salvation is in denial of free choice and teaches that God has determined the salvation for all of those that believe.
        I think alot of people have some determinism in their theology and either don’t know it or refuse to see it because maybe the tradition that they come from.
        Here is a statement of faith from consistent free will Baptist denomination.

        Perseverance – We believe that there are strong grounds to hope that the saved will persevere unto the end and be saved because of the power of divine grace pledged for their support. We believe that any saved person who has sinned (whether we call him a backslider or sinner), but has a desire to repent, may do so and be restored to God’s favor and fellowship. Since man, however, continues to have free choice, it is possible because of temptations and the weakness of human flesh for him to fall into the practice of sin and to make shipwreck of his faith and be lost.

      2. Hi Shawn,
        Apart from the subject of salvation – IMHO – it is illogical to believe there is no Determinism whatsoever.

        In the realm of physics, Newtonian mechanics is predicated on the principle of cause & effect – which has to do with determinism.

        And within general Christian topics – I don’t know any Christian who believes that God doesn’t determine some things.

        But that is not what we have in Calvinism.
        Calvinism’s foundational core is EXHAUSTIVE divine determinism – in which a THEOS at the foundation of the world determines 100% of whatsoever comes to pass prior to creation.
        Leaving ZERO% left UN-determined. And therefore ZERO% left over concerning anything – for any other creature to determine.

        All ALTERNATIVES from that which was infallibly decreed are EXCLUDED by the decree and they have no possibility of existence.

        So on Calvinism with Adam in the garden we have the following:
        – The event of Adam eating the fruit was infallibly decreed
        – The act of Adam eating the fruit was infallibly decreed
        – The event of Adam eating the fruit was therefore granted existence
        – The act of Adam eating the fruit was therefore granted existence

        However – no ALTERNATIVE of that which is infallibly decreed is possible

        Therefore:
        – The event of Adam NOT eating the fruit is NOT granted existence
        – The act of Adam NOT eating the fruit is NOT granted existence
        – And that which does not exist – is not available to Adam

        CONCLUSION
        In Calvinism – NOT eating the fruit was NOT available to Adam

      3. Shawn,

        They are just quoting Paul in 1 Timothy 1.

        “…holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.” Paul writes about leaving the faith in almost every one of his epistles.

        Read how this young reformed guy (in the church that famous Calvinist Josh Harris —now a non-Christian– was pastor of) describes “falling away” on his site Reformation21. https://www.reformation21.org/blogs/how-not-to-fall-away.php

        Talk about contradictions!!! The following quote is from this proclaimed Reformed site!

        —-start quote—-

        “How can we learn from others’ failures in order to be diligent to resist falling away?

        Take Heed Lest You Fall

        The surest way to fall away from the faith is to assume you are immune to falling away (1 Cor. 10:12). “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:12-13). Jesus charged his closest friends: “Abide in Me… If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned (John 15:6).”We have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Heb. 3:14).

        Understand the End of Apostasy

        Apostasy is not simply a different way to practice faith. Apostates turn off the path that leads to eternal life. Those who renounce faith will be cut off from the tree of life (Rom. 11:22). “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them” (2 Peter 2:20-21).”

        —-end quote—-

        That is about as Arminian as you can get!!

        Love the title: “How Not To Fall Away”. You gotta love that from a Calvinist!

      4. Wonderful FOH!

        Calvinist testimony:
        I know that EVERYTHING WITHOUT EXCEPTION is predestined in every part.
        But not in such a way that EVERYTHING WITHOUT EXCEPTION is predestined in every part.

        QUESTION:
        If a Calvinist didn’t think DOUBLE-THINK – could he think at all?? ;-D

      5. Shawn: “Since man, however, continues to have free choice, it is possible because of temptations and the weakness of human flesh for him to fall into the practice of sin and to make shipwreck of his faith and be lost.”

        Shawn, at what point would you say the Holy Spirit leaves a believer? A certain number of sins? A certain type of sin? Are there verses to back you up? I’m asking for real, not rhetorically. Because if it’s true that we can lose the Spirit, that we can be unborn after being reborn, then I would think it would be good to know when that point is. And if there is a specific point, how close can we get to it without crossing it? And is it possible to cross and recross it again and again?

  12. Sorry,I shouldn’t have responded back with sarcasm that wasn’t the fruit of the Spirit even though I disagree that wasn’t meekness.

    Thanks for replying

    1. We forgive you for not displaying the fruit of the Spirit! We are choosing to forgive you.

      We believe that you were choosing to act that way. Reformed philosophy naturally blames your action on God’s decree.

  13. Heather asked : Shawn: “Since man, however, continues to have free choice, it is possible because of temptations and the weakness of human flesh for him to fall into the practice of sin and to make shipwreck of his faith and be lost.”

    I’m sorry Heather you must misunderstood me I don’t believe in free will salvation I believe God has determined that by His free choice from the beginning unto the ending.

    Romans 8: 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
    30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

    I’m just trying to point the inconsistency if you believe and hold to one and yet not the other.

    1. Shawn, You’re right. I misunderstood. Thanks for clearing that up. 🙂

      So then, looking at that Romans verse, you believe “foreknew” really means “fore-planned and then caused to happen,” right? Not that God let us decide and foreknows what we will choose? If so, then if God really only foreknows all things because He preplanned/caused them (therefore nothing different could have happened because it was all preplanned/caused by God), then what do you make of …

      1. 1 Samuel 23:12-13, which I wrote about in a previous comment. David asks the Lord if the people of Keilah will hand him over to Saul, who is pursuing him to kill him. And God says that they will. Armed with this warning of what will happen if he stays in that town, David leaves. So this thing that God foreknew would happen – the townspeople would hand David over to Saul – never happened. If God foreknows what happens because He foreplans it and causes it, then how can He foreknow something that doesn’t happen? How can He foreknow two opposing outcomes at the same time, when only one of them can happen (the one God “preplanned/causes”, according to Calvinism)?

      2. 1 Samuel 13:13-14. In this passage, Saul disobeyed God’s command by improperly performing a burnt offering, and so he loses the kingship God gave him. But Samuel tells him that if he had kept God’s command and done it properly, God would have established Saul’s kingdom for all time. Was Samuel/God lying that Saul would have had his kingdom established if Saul had chosen differently? Which one did God really predetermine/foreknow (in the Calvinist use of those words): That Saul’s kingdom would have been established (what God said) or that Saul lost the kingdom (what happened)?

      3. Was God lying that Nineveh would be destroyed in 40 days? Did God really intend to destroy Nineveh if they didn’t repent?

      4. 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.”” God determined something would happen, but it didn’t happen. How is this possible if God predetermines/causes everything that happens and nothing different could have happened? Which one was God’s real plan: that they killed the man (as God told them to do) or that the man was set free (as happened)? (A Calvinist god who predetermines that people disobey what he predetermines is too “Alice in Wonderland.” Too nonsensical and untrustworthy and chaotic. How can a god like that be trusted?)

      5. Did God deceive Adam and Eve when He told them not to eat the fruit from the tree in the garden? If God “foreknew” (preplanned/caused, in Calvinism) that they would eat the fruit, then why does He make it sound like His will is that they don’t eat the fruit?
      If Calvi-god gives commands that are the opposite of his true will for people, then can we ever trust any command he gives us?

      6. In the Old Testament, God tells the Israelites to choose between obedience and disobedience. He says He will bless them if they obey but punish them if they disobey. They eventually disobey, which, in Calvinism, must then be because God preplanned/caused it, that nothing different could have happened. If “foreknowledge” is the same as “preplanned/caused,” then how could God foreknow/preplan rewards for obedience that were never going happen? And if God preplanned their disobedience, then why dangle rewards for obedience in front of them, if He was just going to prevent them from ever getting those rewards anyway? What kind of a God does that?

      In those Romans verses, Calvinists have to read “preplanned/caused” into “foreknew” to make it fit Calvinism. And they have to change “to be conformed to the image of his Son” into “to believe and be saved.” Romans is not nearly as Calvinist as Calvinists think it is. It’s only when they cherry pick verses, redefine words, break concepts up into “two different types of, etc., that they can make it seem to fit Calvinism. But they do this in contradiction to many other verses and God’s revealed character.

      And I am sure to defend their views, Calvinists will refer to the Romans verses on God “hardening” those He wants to harden and on people being “prepared for destruction.” But in the concordance, “hardens” is a punishment for first hardening your own heart, for resisting God’s patient lovingkindness for so long. And in the concordance, “prepared” is about the people preparing themselves for destruction by their character, not that God made them that way. The more I studied each verse, each word, each phrase that Calvinists use to support Calvinism, the less Calvinist the Bible got.

      Calvinism is not in the Bible as much as Calvinists think it is. Calvinism needs Calvinists to show other believers how to read the Bible in Calvinist ways in order for it to appear Calvinist. I hope, Shawn, that you can see this someday and get free from it before it ruins your faith.

  14. Doesn’t this passage clarify john 3. Helping us to see that faith comes before being born again.

    John 1:12-13 NIV
    Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— [13] children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

    1. Hello William and welcome

      It is critical to understand – the foundational core of Calvinism is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM – enunciated in Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees which stipulates that WHATSOEVER COMES TO PASS is 100% determined at the foundation of the world.

      The Calvinist embraces Theological Determinism as unquestionable truth

      Many years ago – men embraced the concept that the earth is the center of the universe as unquestionable truth – and therefore verses in the Bible must affirm it.

      The Calvinist embraces Theological Determinism as unquestionable truth – an in his mind verses in the Bible must affirm it.

      So when it comes to Bible interpretation the Calvinist will have 10000 justifications.
      But the bottom line is – he is FORCED to interpret verses in order to conform to Theological Determinism.

      We have a Greek teacher here – Brian
      let’s see what Brian has to bring to your question.

      Blessings
      br.d

    2. Hi William. Consider this – The new birth is not caused by being of the right “blood” line or caused by any good work willed by the “flesh” or caused by any rite performed by some other priestly “man” (1:13). It is caused by God upon those who have received His light (1:9) and humbly repented and trusted His mercy.

      It is not caused “by” their faith. It is done after and “through” their faith according to God’s sovereign will. As many as received (past tense) Him, He gave (past tense) the right to become (👉only after👈 they received Him) children of God (by the new birth), even to those believing on His name (1:12).

      Those who try to say “become children of God” does not mean “born of God” but something else, are ignoring context and grammar, just to eisegete their theology into the text.

      1. Brian,

        I’m not being sarcastic in this question, but…

        You had said:
        “Those who try to say “become children of God” does not mean “born of God” but something else, are ignoring context and grammar, just to eisegete their theology into the text.”

        My comment:

        I’m not sure that those two phrases are really that different.

        Born of God:

        1 John 5:1
        Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God

        Children of God:

        Galatians 3:26
        For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

        Note the “by faith”, as well?

        I’m not so sure that “by” and “through” is that much different either. I’ve seen those words alternating from time to time, as they are both prepositions.

        I remember celebrities like Oprah, declaring “We are all children of God”, but that isn’t exactly true. We may have all been CREATED by God, but that doesn’t mean that we are all children of God.

        We don’t become children of God UNTIL…born of God. Right? By being born of God, we become Children of God. So, I’m confused on your “grammar” lesson here.

        Ed Chapman

      2. Ed, the two phrases aren’t different, but the Calvinists try to say they are, saying “become children of God” means sonship adoption.

        And “by faith” is different than “through faith”. Faith is not the cause, but a state of being through which God, the cause of the new birth, pours through the new birth.

        I hope that clarified things. 🤓

      3. Brian,

        OK, that clarifies your reasoning, but I do have to say, I disagree on the word “faith” is a “cause” of God.

        Therefore, I would have to disagree with your reasoning. In your sense of God being the “cause” of someone’s faith, that’s no different from a Calvinist stance.

        Ed Chapman

      4. Ed, you still are misunderstanding what I’m saying for some reason. I was saying that God is the cause of the new birth through our faith, not the cause of our faith. He is the cause of our ability to believe, which He gives to all at birth in their nature, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

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