The Reformed Have a Conflation Problem

You can find the original post over at Sin and Glory.

In the Reformed camp there is a big problem with conflation. If you’re not familiar, conflation happens when two separate things are brought together to appear as if they are one. Dictionary.com defines it thus: “the merging of two or more sets of information, texts, ideas, etc. into one.” Understanding this problem can clear up a lot of misconceptions.

Conflation was a problem long before the Reformation officially began in 1517. It actually goes back to Constantine and his conversion to Christianity. Constantine was a Roman Emperor who reigned from 306 to 337 A.D. Upon his conversion to Christianity in 312, he implemented several things for which the church should be grateful. The Edict of Milan in 313 eased the intolerance in the Roman Empire against Christians and he convoked the First Council of Nicaea in 325 which produced the Nicene Creed.

For all the good he did for Christianity, it cannot be forgotten that Constantine was a warrior. As Emperor of Rome, he integrated the Sword and the Word. In fact, Thomas Aquinas argued that “Church and State are two swords which God has given to Christendom for protection; both swords, however, are by Him given to the pope and the temporal sword is then by the pope entrusted to the rulers of State.” (Quoted in The Reformers and Their Stepchildren, p44). For support of this position, proponents pointed to Peter’s presentation of two swords to Jesus in Luke 22:23. From his words, “Lord, here is two swords,’ the Church constructed the doctrine that Jesus intended His Church to have two swords, the “sword of the Spirit” which the clergy wields, and “the sword of steel” which the soldier wields.  You can read more about how this came to be and the fallout from it in the excellent book, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren, by Leonard Verduin.

As the years passed, the idea of the Church controlling the state became so ingrained that most people didn’t see a difference. The roles of each had been conflated into one role. As a result, the Church controlled the affairs of the State. This conflation was emphasized when dissenters were questioned about their loyalty. In the interrogations, dissenters, usually in prison, regularly would hear the question, “Should there be a magistrate, and should he sustain the Word of God?”  For the questioner this is a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. There are no other alternatives. But to the one questioned it was clearly two questions. For him it was a ‘yes’ AND ‘no’ question. “Yes” to the question whether there should be a civil ruler, and ‘NO’ to the question whether it is his duty to sustain the Word of God. For the one asking, a negative answer to the question of whether a magistrate has the duty to sustain the Word of God was the same as saying there should be no magistrate. The result of these interrogations often ended in death, with the state carrying out the executions on behalf of the Church, while the Church sustained her perceived purity by relegating the responsibility to the State.

It would remain this way into the Reformation. One only has to look at John Calvin’s Geneva to see the horrific repercussions of such a policy. Unfortunately, the Reformers had no intentions of challenging this status quo. Though they challenged much of the Church’s doctrine, as they were faced with separating the magistrate from the clergy, each one succumbed to the lure of the Papacy.
In addition to Calvin’s Geneva, for example, when the City Council of Zurich let it be known that all contemplated reforms in the religious arena had to be officially approved by them first, Zwingli submitted. Likewise, Martin Luther stopped short of a full reformation, content to walk hand in hand with the State, bogged down halfway between Catholicism and the New Testament Church organization.

With this background in mind, it is no wonder that many in the Reformed camp have no problem with conflating arguments. They have a long history of doing so. Though the Reformed do not conflate the magistrate and the clergy per se, they do conflate a number of things that the Bible assumes are separate.

For example, it is not uncommon to hear someone make the comment in regard to salvation, “Either God is Sovereign, or Man is Sovereign.” By this they mean that salvation is 100% of God and 0% of man. Of course, non-Reformed also believe that Salvation is 100% God and 0% man. But the Reformed have conflated two things (not to mention redefined the term ‘sovereignty’) and combined them into one. They combine man’s choice to repent and God’s choice to save all those who repent into a single action and call it salvation. That is conflation. (That is then followed by building a strawman of man’s so-called sovereignty).

Another area that gets conflated often times is the idea of finding favor with God and meriting salvation. The Reformed act as if someone’s finding favor with God equals being saved. A person can do the things pleasing to God, acting in faith long before they are saved. Lydia is a case in point. Lydia was a God-fearer. She worshiped the God of the Jews. She hosted prayer meetings. In all of these acts, she would find favor with God. But it wasn’t until Paul and his companions arrived, preached Jesus to here that she believed and was saved. We could speak of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, of Cornelius in Acts 10 or all of the God fearers in Acts 13. Does God save those who find favor with Him? Yes. But it is two separate acts, not one.

Finally, it is common to hear the Reformed speak of the Atonement as if it is synonymous with Salvation. The Atonement was an event that took away the sin of the world. While is it a necessary requirement for someone to be saved, it is not what saves. The Atonement affects every human being, removing the sin that separates them from a holy God. But salvation comes only to those who humbly repent and accept the gift of salvation. Without the Atonement no one could be saved, but with the Atonement, anyone can be saved.

The Reformed have followed closely in the footsteps of the Reformers. From the early days of conflating the role of the magistrate and clergy to continued conflation of various ideas to make an incoherent systematic seem coherent, it seems to be a prerequisite. This conflation comes at the expense of scriptural veracity. The Bible assumes man has a genuine choice in salvation, the Reformed reject it. The Bible assumes people can find favor with God prior to being saved, the Reformed reject it. The Bible applies the Atonement to all mankind and salvation to those who believe, the Reformed reject it. All of these are conflations of what the Bible says.

305 thoughts on “The Reformed Have a Conflation Problem

    1. Here is another biblical argument as to why Calvinistic election cannot be true.

      It is easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

      If election is true, then it wouldn’t be any harder for any elected person to enter the kingdom of heaven than any other elected person. In fact, it would be guaranteed that they would without them having to do anything. At some point they will be irresistibly drawn and saved no matter how much they might resist. Rich or not.

      Take away election and input free-will. Then this verse means that a rich man is so attached to their worldly positions and has no desire for anything else that they won’t seek for and don’t think they need Christ. Their own pride, contentment, focus on worldly things and self-idolizing keep them from even realizing they are spiritually sick. Someone who is poor doesn’t have these attachments and comfort and for that reason are more apt to seek for contentment and help from God.

      1. Good thinking!
        Yes – the Calvinist essentially has to rely on DOUBLE-SPEAK tap-dance routines – when it comes to whether or not humans have any affect on anything.

        In a 100% predestined world – everything is infallibly FIXED and humans function as pre-programmed puppets.

        This DOUBLE-SPEAK tap-dance routine becomes obvious in the subject of prayer.

        For example – a Calvinist finds himself overwhelmed with inclinations towards a certain sin.
        Where did those inclinations come from?

        Did they come from his nature?
        *AS-IF* his nature has the power to affect anything?

        Or did they come from an infallible decree – which his nature is powerless to countervail or alter?

        Is he to pray for divine help?
        Divine help from an infallible decree?

        His doctrine stipulates those overwhelming impulses to sin – are in fact the divine immutable will.

        Calvinism’s doctrine of Total Depravity is another DOUBLE-SPEAK tap-dance routine.

        The doctrine of decrees stipulates – the state of man’s nature – at every nano-second in time – is meticulously predestined.

        But the Calvinist doesn’t want to acknowledge what his doctrine stipulates.

        Total Depravity is his strategy to evade his doctrine of decrees – and FALSELY attribute man’s condition to man – *AS-IF* man is granted the power to be the cause of anything.

        So when it comes to man having any affect on anything in Calvinism – the pure unfortunate Calvinist is forced into a continual dishonest DOUBLE-SPEAK tap-dance routine.

        Not an envious position for any professing Christian to be in!

      2. That is what is difficult about refuting Calvinists. Instead of just considering they may have interpreted something wrong, they double down. If you bring up a point that they cannot refute, they will say they don’t believe what you said they do, will give a half-truth to back-up why they don’t believe it, and say you don’t understand Calvinism. But honestly I don’t think THEY understand Calvinism and how to follow where their claims inevitably conclude. Or worse, they will just appeal to mystery. The conversation NEVER goes to “I hadn’t considered that” or “I stand corrected” or even “I should look more into this, you make some good points”. It is always a proud, dogmatic defense with an ad hominem attack on your ability to discern God. Keep in mind, never and always is an exaggeration.

      3. Yes!
        Understood completely!

        There is a very old joke that says “Will the REAL Calvinist please stand up!” ;-D

        Every Calvinist considers his customized self-contradicting sugar-coated version of Calvinism – to be the golden standard.

        I can’t tell you how many Calvinists I bump into – and I quote statements from John Calvin which are foundational to the doctrine.

        And they say:
        “I am a Calvinist and we don’t believe that!”

        And if I had a dollar for every Calvinist who claims to not be a Calvinist – I could enjoy a very nice meal at a fancy restaurant. :-]

        Yes – Calvinism is a system of DOUBLE-SPEAK.

        They have their own private interpretations for various words and terms.

        But they don’t want people to know they have their own meanings for those terms.
        So craft those words into sentences designed to lead their recipient to interpret the word they are using – with it common meaning – when that meaning would in fact entail a total contradiction to their belief system.

        So – in Calvinism – we are dealing with a highly engineered language of DOUBLE-SPEAK.

        One has to know the underlying foundational doctrine – in order to discern when the Calvinist is using DOUBLE-SPEAK statements designed to create semantic FACADES of things which do not exist in their belief system.

        Blessings!

      4. I am not a Calvinist but this is a horrible argument. That verse does NOT says it is harder for some than others. It says it is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle!

        Two verses later, after being asked by the disciples “Who then can be saved?”, Jesus says it is impossible with man. He’s saying every human is in this impossible situation unless God works.

        I don’t believe he works capriciously as the Calvinist teaches but gives grace to the humble. Salvation is by grace through faith. God saves those who humble themselves and believe the truth.

      5. Welcome Graham. Fair point, but though not a necessary inference it is a reasonable inference that Jesus meant it is harder for rich than for poor to enter the kingdom of God. James seems to have concluded this when he said – James 2:5 NKJV — Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

      6. Welcome Graham,

        Stay around and join the conversation.

        I dont think A2A is as wrong as you say. The passage (and others) clearly says that it is harder for the rich.

        That is of course inexplicable for a Calvinist. It should be equally hard for all (for Calvinists either you are irresistibly forced in or not…no difference in financial status). So once again, as with so many teachings from Christ, there is NO point to what He is saying (per Calvinism).

        The Rich Young Ruler makes the case perfectly.

        Mark 10: 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

        23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

        It wasnt cuz Jesus didnt love him (what Calvinist would say) or that Jesus did not call him (what they would say), because both of those are stated clearly in the story.

        He resisted Jesus’ direct call….and the passage (and Jesus) say it was because he was rich.

      7. I can’t understand your point. The word hard or harder in and of itself is already a comparative term. Things are hard or they are easy. Christ is simply making a statement that it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. You must ask yourself, then, WHY is it difficult, in this case specifically for a defined “rich” man, to do so? There would be no point to point out a specific quality of a person if it was just as difficult for anyone else. That would make Christ’s words and teachings frivolous, and God is not frivolous!

        Your point even explains this. It is by grace THROUGH faith. Faith is required. So simple discernment would dictate that it is difficult for a rich man to have faith. I explained why in my other comment. Read Matthew 6 to see where Jesus further clarifies this.

      8. To add, it is impossible unless God works. I agree. This is why Christ did His WORK on the cross! If He didn’t, no one could be saved. It would be impossible. So God did do the work.

      9. it is impossible unless God works

        br.d
        This is not in fact what Jesus says

        Let’s get the text the way it reads

        verse 26 – KJV:
        But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

        Now – was Jesus literally saying that ALL things are possible with God?
        Or was Jesus using a manner of speech common to the Jewish language?

        Can God deny himself?
        Can God tell a lie?
        Can God create a rock that is so heavy that he can’t lift it?
        Can God create a square that is not a square?

        The answer is – God is a divine perfect being.
        And a divine perfect being – is not expected to do that which is contrary to himself – or that which he defines as impossible.

        So what we are left with – is understanding what God himself defines as possible.

      10. grahamecgould:
        That verse does NOT says it is harder for some than others. It says it is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle!

        br.d
        You should be able to see through that!

        In every generation and society of humans – there is always more than one single rich man.
        Therefore – in every generation and society of humans – we have SOME who are rich – and others who are not.

        So when Jesus uses the phrase “A rich man” – he is speaking generally – and not of a specific individual.

        Otherwise – that one rich man would be the only man in the world – in whom it was harder! ;-]

        So yes – it is harder for SOME to enter into the kingdom than for others – makes perfect sense.

      11. I’m not sure what the debate about the rich man is over, but for what it’s worth … I always read that passage as it’s harder for rich men to get into heaven because they tend to trust in their wealth, their self-sufficiency, which makes them less likely to trust in God. But it is indeed possible for them, for all people, to be saved if they will put their faith in Jesus, instead of in themselves or something else. God can reach anyone and opens the door to all, but we need to turn to Him, to realize we need Him. And the richer and more self-made we are, the less likely we are to see our need for God and dependency on God.

      12. I was wondering the same thing, and it boils down to this… for the love of money is the root of all evil.

        That rich man had the right answers to Jesus’s questions. He just wasn’t willing to give up his money. Jesus was testing him.

      13. Ed: “That rich man had the right answers to Jesus’s questions. He just wasn’t willing to give up his money. Jesus was testing him.”

        My thoughts too. Jesus was getting to the heart of what was keeping this man from turning to Him, his idol: his love of his wealth.

      14. Agree on all fronts. Wealth specifically as an idol provides many things in the world, causing one to not have much else to long for was my point. It’s a particularly difficult idol to let go of.

        My bigger point was in Calvinism, it isn’t harder for ANYONE to get into heaven, because they are either elect and DEFINITELY will or are reprobate and DEFINITELY won’t.

        A poor reprobate and a rich reprobate have equal difficulty getting into heaven (neither will) and it has nothing to do with their worldly attachments.

        Similarly, a rich elect person won’t have ANY difficulty getting to heaven. God will irresistibly draw him at some point with no chance for him to resist. It isn’t difficult at all, certainly not more difficult than passing a camel through the eye of a needle.

        Also, just thought of this, in Calvinism, God infallibly decreed that man would be rich. He also infallibly decreed if rich men are elect or not. The logical conclusions of Calvinism are so irrational and absurd it hurts my head!

      15. Yep, I see what you mean, ATA. That passage makes no sense in Calvinist theology.
        I was also thinking today about Hebrews saying that “by now you ought to be teachers (and not spiritual babies)” (Hebrews 5:12) doesn’t make sense in Calvinism either. How can anyone “ought to be” anything different if God has ordained/caused them to be the way they are for His plans and glory? Doesn’t make sense. If Calvinism is true then either God or the author of Hebrews got something wrong.

      16. Good point Heather and there are even more like that.

        Even God Himself says it:

        I would have made you king forever…..but

        If the Israelites go this way “they might” want to turn back.

        God: I expected sweet fruit but got bitter grape.

        There are many like this….even from God’s mouth.

        Of course all reformed explication of these passages (even the ones saying, “The Lord God Almighty says”) start with “does this passage really mean what it says….”

        And on and on….

    1. Hell Larry,
      That is a difficult question – because some people will insist that if the gospel is not officially presented to a person – and that presentation does not meet certain criteria and traditions – then that person has no way of a receiving truth sufficient to believe up on Jesus unto salvation.

      We however have testimonies from people who had near-death experiences – who insist that they were given understanding while unconscious – and believed upon Jesus unto salvation before coming back to consciousnesses.

      Some people – who insist on an official presentation of the Gospel meeting their criteria and tradition – will reject such testimonies – insisting they do not meet criteria – which they insist is required by scripture.

    2. Hi Brdmod, I’m not sure I follow the need for near death. Granted Heb 9:27 advises after death we face judgement. yet this does not seem to preclude one who has not yet received the Gospel presentation but is found in favor with God being enlightened by Jesus when meeting him on the other side of eternity.

      1. Hi Larry,
        I don’t think any of the testimonies indicate a specific need for a near death experience.
        Its simply the case that there are testimonies in which people insist they received understanding in that situation.

        As I said – there are those who would insist such testimonies are invalid – because they do not conform to certain criteria within one’s tradition or church teaching.

        But we are still left with people who currently believe in Jesus as their savior – and have that as their testimony.
        My personal opinion on the subject is – I think God can meet a person where ever God chooses to meet that person.

      2. br.d

        You had said:
        “I think God can meet a person where ever God chooses to meet that person.”

        My question:

        So, man can’t come to God? God has to come to man instead?

        I’m reminded again and again and again and again that those who don’t know Jesus are judged based on their God given conscience after they die.

        God have all of us a conscience. Jesus is the judge.

        Romans 2:14-16 applies. No religious mental gymnastics needed.

        Ed Chapman

      3. Ed
        You had said:
        “I think God can meet a person where ever God chooses to meet that person.”

        My question:

        So, man can’t come to God? God has to come to man instead?

        br.d
        To meet someone does not imply a criteria on who comes to who.

        I can meet you for coffee half way between my house and your house.
        And in such case – we’ve both come to each other.

    3. Hi Larry, I understand why you would ask this, with what the article said about Lydia. I, however, think there is a different possible interpretation of the Lydia story.

      In the Bible, it never says that the message Lydia responded to was about salvation or that God opened her heart to get saved. It just says Paul preached a message. Personally, I think that what he preached might be about the need for a believer to be baptized, because that’s the next thing she does. And this would be similar to what happened in Acts 19 when Paul instructed other disciples/believers about the need to be baptized in Jesus Christ.

      To me, this makes the most sense and would explain how she could be a worshipper of God (a believer), yet have her heart opened to a message. It wasn’t about salvation but about baptism. Just a thought.

      1. Hi Heather,
        Thanks for your reply.

        I suspect Lydia was a believer in God as revealed in OT and was trusting in Him for her salvation when she arrived at her Sabbath meeting with fellow women. However, I am inclined to think from the Acts account that prior to that day she did not have specific Jesus knowledge (life, death and resurrection knowledge) and that Paul’s message included this as well as instruction that if she accepted the truth of Paul’s words of Jesus that baptism should follow.

        But the crux of my question was her salvation state prior to Paul’s message. What she saved? Would her God have rejected her had she died the prior evening?
        Cornelius is another case in point questioning his salvation state prior to Peter’s enlightenment. I’m leaning to the possibility of an Emath like encounter of Jesus as portrayed by CS Lewis. Inclusivism is the theological position and I suspect I’m treading in what every well taught calvinist would brand as heresy.

  1. Thank you, for me, as I read the word of God, I bump into words such as”the world, whosoever, anyone, everyone, all, God’s desire, without excuse etc”from my perspective, it seems that God is fully sovereign, and in control. On the other hand, God initiated to the whole world a relationship with Him. He gives us knowledge, convicts us of living for ourselves, and we have the choice to reject or accept his rescue plan for our lives

    1. Hello Patrick and welcom

      Patrick
      we have the choice to reject or accept his rescue plan for our lives

      br.d
      The issue of humans having CHOICE is a sticking point for Calvinism.

      An example of the STANDARD definition of the term “Choice” can be found from the KJV dictionary

      -quote
      The act of choosing; the voluntary act of selecting or separating from TWO OR MORE things

      You will notice a NECESSARY CONDITION for this definition of “Choice”.
      TWO or MORE options must be available – in order to constitute what people understand as a “Choice”

      Now – you must understand that Calvinism represents a 100% meticulously predestined world.

      Every event and every human act is 100% predestined.

      And a predestined event – by definition – cannot be OTHER than that which was predestined.

      Consequently – for every human event and every human impulse – there is never granted more than ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED – RENDERED-CERTAIN option.

      Since that is the case – the NECESSARY CONDITION of TWO or MORE options is not granted to man.

      Thus the function of “Choice” – per its STANDARD definition – does not exist for humans within Calvinism.

      Calvinists however – do not find this aspect of their doctrine palatable.
      And they will insist they are granted “Choice”
      In order to claim they have “Choice” however – they have to created a DISTORTED definition of the term “Choice”

  2. Lydia worshiped the God of the Jews, because she was a Jew, under the law of Moses. God opened her heart like Jesus did at the end of John 9. Paul had just gotten into town, and as his custom, he always visited the Jews first, on their sabbath. He would not be talking to gentiles until the Jews were first spoken to, on another day. Acts 17 is the example, with which both 1 and 2 Thessalonians are written… to the Jews. There is way too many on both sides that deny this, not acknowledging the “For there really is a difference between Jew and gentile…outside of Christ”. That’s the distinction between Romans 11:8 and 15:21. Jews need their hearts open, gentiles don’t. In addition Romans 5:13. And children. I reject the interpretation that David is a sinner from the womb. Without knowledge of good and evil, the default is Romans 2:14-16. Conscience. No one likes discussing Romans 5:13 on either side. Or 4:15. Or Abraham’s sin of bro/sis relations. Or Romans 7:7-9. But instead both sides think that God must nudge an unbelieving gentile to believe, with some kind of magic potion.

  3. Thank you for another great article & love this fact that you point out;

    “Conflation was a problem long before the Reformation officially began in 1517.”

    Agreed 100% and it hasn’t stopped yet & unfortunately this quote is true to some extent as well (from someone who can remain nameless)… “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”hmm where was the discernment here🤔 maybe checked at the door of let’s not make waves…”

    The lie of “meticulous devine control” cleverly disguised to give God all the glory and change/ meld/conflation/blend a word like sovereign with meticulous control… However it cleverly leaves out, that it also gives Him the other side of that as well… unless you add in secondary causes etc.. as if that is Biblical and makes sense..

    Simple…
    1 Corinthians 14:33 NKJV — For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

    I find no peace in calvinism and plenty of confusion… it is void of hope for most of humanity except the few favored people.. nope i reject calvinism not the good news of the Bible and the power of the gospel to save…🌻

    1. Reggie
      unless you add in secondary causes etc.. as if that is Biblical and makes sense..

      br.d
      But then again – in Calvinism every secondary event is itself just as meticulously determined (i.e. controlled) as every primary event.

      John Calvin explains
      -quote
      The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly
      decreed. (Institutes, 1, Chp 16, Par. 3)

      No specific secondary event can happen – without that specific secondary event being specifically knowingly and willingly decreed.

      That still makes Calvin’s god the AUTHOR of not only every primary event – but every secondary event as well.

      They demand a THEOS who is sovereign over everything without exception.

      So they ought to swallow every bit of their theological camel – without exception

      But finding a Calvinist who is willing to swallow the whole camel without choking – is the interesting part to watch! ;-]

  4. Br.d John Calvin explains
    -quote
    The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly
    decreed. (Institutes, 1, Chp 16, Par. 3)

    Crazy and void of any true meaningful relationship.. thank you for always pointing to the main issue “”complete and utter puppet like control”

    If they quoted this on Sunday I’m sure there would be an exodus at least i would hope so…

    1. Reggie
      If they quoted this on Sunday I’m sure there would be an exodus at least i would hope so…

      br.d
      YES!
      That is why Calvinist language is designed to be a beguiling language.
      And that is why IMHO – the various reformed confessions came about.
      People within reformed churches were being fed a diet of John Calvin – and they were leaving.

      So they created the various confessions – carefully crafted with softer-gentler language – designed to HIDE dark TRUTHS Calvin would declare without blinking – within a Biblical sounding word-salad

      1. br.d
        “People within reformed churches were being fed a diet of John Calvin – and they were leaving.”

        roland
        I’ve never heard about this exodus from Reformed churches. When did this happen?

        br.d
        “So they created the various confessions – carefully crafted with softer-gentler language – designed to HIDE dark TRUTHS Calvin would declare without blinking – within a Biblical sounding word-salad”

        roland
        So the Reformed confessions were created with, “carefully crafted with softer-gentler language?” Can you provide examples from Reformed confessions that use softer-gentler language please? This is new to me.

      2. br.d
        Hello Roland

        FIrstly
        You neglected to include a part of my quote where I said “IMHO”

        Secondly:
        It doesn’t take much of a comparison between the language of John Calvin and the confessions to see the difference.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Some are pre-ordained (i.e. infallibly decreed for) to eternal life
        Others to eternal damnation
        And accordingly as EACH HAS BEEN CREATED for one of these ends, we [Calvinists] say he has been predestined to life or death.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        individuals are BORN….DOOMED FROM THE WOMB to certain death, and are TO GLORIFY HIM by their destruction.(Institutes 3.23.6)

        And concerning the preponderance of the believers – Calvin says this:
        -quote
        The Lord….instills into their minds such A SENSE……as can be felt WITHOUT the Spirit of adoption.
        (Institutes 3.2.11)

        -quote
        He ILLUMINES ONLY FOR A TIME TO PARTAKE OF IT; then he justly FORSAKES THEM … and STRIKES THEM with even greater blindness (Institutes 3.24.8)

        -quote
        a SMALL and contemptible number are hidden in a HUGE MULTITUDE and a FEW GRAINS of wheat
        are covered by a PILE of chaff…..

        -quote
        by the eternal GOOD PLEASURE of god THOUGH THE REASON DOES NOT APPEAR, they are NOT FOUND but MADE worthy of destruction. – (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of god pg 121)

        So there is a few samples for you Roland

        And now its your turn.
        Please provide quotes from any confession – which unflinchingly communicates these aspects of the doctrine.

      3. You are the one who wrote that the Reformed confessions softened the language of Calvin. I did not read any quotes from the Reformed confessions to prove your claim. You did not provide any you only quoted Calvin. You made an unsubstantiated claim.

      4. Roland
        I did not read any quotes from the Reformed confessions to prove your claim.

        br.d
        But the question is – did you read any quotes from the reformed confessions – which unflinchingly communicate the few quotes I provided from Calvin?

        I think you know they don’t :-]

      5. You made the unsubstantiated claim. You’re responsible to provide proof of your claim. I’m not responsible to provide proof of your claim. That’s like charging a person with murder and asking the defense counsel to provide proof that the defendant committed the murder! Come on br.d you are far more intelligent than that. You wouldn’t let me get away with that for a second! 😉

      6. br.d
        There wouldn’t be a reason why wouldn’t want to provide any quotes of those aspects of the doctrine – now would there Roland??? 😀

      7. No. But of course your intellect has perceived a motive in me that I did not know I possessed. Your insights into my being have discovered that I have secret motives to hide these statements from Calvin from non-calvinists.

      8. Easy. There is a Calvinist Church I went to. First off, I didn’t know they were calvinists because it didn’t state they held Calvinists beliefs. They openly say they are non-denominational. Then in their statement of Faith, it doesn’t say plainly that they are Calvinists who believe in TULIP. Instead they said they believe in the Doctrines of Grace. At the time, I knew what Calvinism was, but didn’t know what the Doctrines of Grace were. I didn’t know it tied to Calvinism. I didn’t even know Reformed Theology was Calvinism. Then, instead of saying plainly they believe in TULIP they hid the 5 points in the explanation of their beliefs. IE, we believe man is totally depraved….but doesn’t say we believe in the Doctrine of Total Depravity.

        If they truly weren’t hiding anything, they could just say we believe in the teachings of Calvin and all 5 points of TULIP. Plainly stated. They didn’t, and it tricked me.

      9. Atheist2Apologist
        they said they believe in the Doctrines of Grace

        br.d
        AH! Here is another example of Calvinism’s language

        Calvinism – calls its doctrines – “Doctrines of grace”

        But are they *REALLY* doctrines of good-evil simply being LABELED doctrines of grace.

        Lets see what a few Calvinists have to say:

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Not only the destruction of the wicked is foreknown, but that the wicked themselves HAVE BEEN CREATED FOR THIS VERY END —that they may perish. – (Commentaries Romans 9:18)

        br.d
        Now there is a doctrine of grace!!!

        R.C. Sproul
        -quote
        God ordains evil……..and he only ordains that which is good.

        br.d
        BINGO!!!!

      10. I wonder where John Calvin would get the idea that God created the wicked for the day of doom (evil)?
        Proverbs 16:4
        4 The Lord has made all for Himself,
        Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.

        Why would Calvin believe such a harsh evil thing?

      11. Roland
        Why would Calvin believe such a harsh evil thing?

        br.d
        Why does Calvinism call evil good?

      12. br.d
        Why does Calvinism call evil good?

        roland
        I can you give me an example of Calvinists calling evil good? Do you mean that when Calvinists say that God has decreed all things, including the sin in this world, that we are saying the sin in God’s decree is good?

      13. Roland
        I can you give me an example of Calvinists calling evil good?

        br.d
        Did you not read the second quote I provided – from R.C. Sproul.

        1) Calvin’s god FIRST CONCEIVES – and then knowingly and willingly decrees – whatsoever will come to pass
        2) A large part of whatsoever is FIRST CONCIEVED and then knowingly and willingly decreed to come to pass – is evil

        QUESTION:
        Would you describe what Calvin’s god FIRST CONCEIVES and then knowingly and willingly decrees as good or evil?

      14. Where’s the quote from? I’d like to read it in context before I respond to Calvin’s statement that God conceives is evil.
        Thanks

      15. Roland
        I’d like to read it in context before I respond to Calvin’s statement that God conceives is evil.

        br.d
        It is stated within Calvin’s propositions – as follows:

        1) Calvin’s god has foreknowledge of evil

        2) In Calvinism – divine foreknowledge is simply knowledge of that which has been decreed

        John Calvin
        -quote
        He foresees future events ONLY in consequence of his decree (Institutes Vol ii. p. 169.)

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Since he foresees the things which are to happen, simply because he has decreed that they are so to happen, it is vain to debate about divine prescience…

        John Calvin
        -quote
        He consequently foreknew because HE SO ORDAINED BY HIS DECREE. (Institutes Vol. 2, 955-956)

        3) Evil events cannot happen without the decree

        John Calvin
        -quote
        The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly
        decreed. (Institutes, 1, Chp 16, Par. 3)

        4) The decree is established at the foundation of the world – before any creature exists.

        Now ask yourself this question:
        How does Calvin’s god decree evil without FIRST CONCEIVING the evil he is going to decree?

        It doesn’t take rocket science to connect those dots! :-]

      16. br.d
        Now ask yourself this question:
        How does Calvin’s god decree evil without FIRST CONCEIVING the evil he is going to decree?

        roland
        Thank you for the question. This is not something that any Christian, Calvinists, Arminian, or Molinist likes to affirm or even acknowledge. That there is a world that exists with an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscience, and omnibenevolent God and evil. The existence of God and evil is a problem for every Christian. I don’t believe it matters whether you’re a Christian who believes in LFW or divine determinism.

        First, I submit the following biblical pronouncements in the following verses. Isa 45:7 “I am the LORD and there is no other, besides Me there is no god…I form light and I create darkness, I make well-being and I create calamity, I am the LORD who does all these things.
        Deuteronomy 32:39 “I kill and make alive, I wound and I heal.” 1 Samuel 2:6 “The LORD kills and brings to life; He brings down to Sheol and raises up” Amos 3:6 “Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD had done it?” Lamentations 3:37-38 “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the LORD has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High, that good and bad come?” Job 42:11 “..and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him.”

        “The God of the Bible does not shy away from his providence over evil as much as philosophers tend to do on His behalf. God in the Bible is quite comfortable affirming His full providence over both good and evil, and his apologists tend to make a bigger deal out of the authorship of evil than the biblical God Himself does.” Guillame Bignon, Excusing Sinners and Blaming God, p. 176

        I would agree with Bignon and his assessment of God’s revelation regarding Providence and evil. I prefer God’s revelation over man’s philosophical attempts to defend God’s providence over good and evil. I begin there: what God has revealed, I believe.

        You are asking me is God the conceiver of sin? I would ask you:
        Does God bring about some evil in some way?
        If God does not bring some evil in some way, then He either brings ALL EVIL or NO EVIL AT ALL?
        If in any way God brings about some or all evil, then Calvinism is wrong (you assert this with Calvin’s quotes).

        I would guess you are making the argument that God, either by His decree or permission or will, etc., does not bring any evil at all into creation. If that is your argument, then not only are you refuting Calvinism, you are refuting God’s revelation. God’s revelation is clear, God brings about evil in at least some ways. He wills, He wounds, He creates darkness, He creates calamity, etc.

        Second, regardless of whether you are Arminian or a Molinist, you believe that God took a risk in giving LFW to humans. God at least knew that His creatures would use their LFW for good as well as evil. So every view, Calvinism, Arminianism, and Molinism, has God involved in evil in at least some way. Either by decree or permission.

        You are probably, maybe thinking, that Calvinism is different, therefore wrong, because in Calvinism God divinely determined evil. Since God has not divinely determined evil, as argued by Arminians and Molinists, then Calvinism is false. Arguing against Calvinism because it proposes that God divinely decreed or determined evil is a redundant argument. It is as if you are saying Calvinism (proponents of divinely decreed or determined evil) is false because it proposes divinely decreed or determined evil (Calvinism). If this is your argument, then it is not particular enough to make a distinction between Arminianism and Molinism.

        I would agree with Calvin, evil events cannot happen without God’s decree. You either agree that God is involved in evil in some way or no way at all. If you believe either, then you are refuting biblical testimony, God’s revelation, and His relationship with evil and creation. It is not Calvinism you are arguing against, it is Scripture.

      17. br.d
        Now ask yourself this question:
        How does Calvin’s god decree evil without FIRST CONCEIVING the evil he is going to decree?

        Roland
        This is not something that any Christian, Calvinists, Arminian, or Molinist likes to affirm or even acknowledge.

        br.d
        NAH!!

        Calvinist James White – has consistently and unflinchingly asserted that if Calvin’s god does not determine evil – then evil is meaningless.

        And concerning evil – John Calvin – who is the Calvinist of Calvinists – unflinchingly asserts the following:
        -quote
        He does this by first working in their hearts the very WILL which precedes the ACTS THEY ARE TO PERFORM
        (Secret providence pg 243)

        The question is very easy for any Calvinist to answer.
        The answer is either YES or NO

        No Calvinist is going to say that Calvin’s god does not have a functioning mind – with which he FIRST CONCEIVES what he decrees come to pass.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        He consequently foreknew because HE SO ORDAINED BY HIS DECREE. (Institutes Vol. 2, 955-956)

        So I’ll provide the answer for you – since you are having an emotional problem with it.
        YES – it logically follows – Calvin’s god must FIRST CONCEIVE what he decrees.

        Therefore the answer is YES every evil – is FIRST CONCEIVED in Calvin’s god’s mind.
        And scripture says – when sin is FIRST CONCIEVED – it brings forth death.

      18. I wrote in my comment “LIKES to affirm or acknowledge.” LIKES as in enjoys. I never wrote that Calvinists do not acknowledge these truths as you quoted from White and Calvin. You completely misunderstood my comment or at least it appears so from your response.

      19. Roland
        I wrote in my comment “LIKES to affirm or acknowledge.

        br.d
        As I stated – that would not be TRUE for the NON-Calvinist – because the NON-Calvinist does not have a deity of evil or a deity of deception.

        Additionally:
        In Calvinism – per the doctrine of decrees – which stipulates that WHATSOEVER comes to pass is infallibly decreed – every event and every human impulse is predestined at the foundation of the world,

        And predestined events – by definition – cannot be OTHER than what was predestined.

        Thus – for every event – and every human impulse – you are never granted more than ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED RENDERED-CERTAIN option – which is established at the foundation of the world – which you were given NO CHOICE in the matter of.

        CONSEQUENTLY:
        If the WHATSOEVER which was decreed – is that your brain will like [X]
        Then (the function, the act, and the event) of your brain liking [X] is what will be granted.

        And since the infallible decree cannot be falsified or countervailed
        Then (the function, the act, and the event) of your brain NOT liking [X] is simply NOT granted.

        So in Calvinism – your brain is not granted the function of choosing one way or the other.
        And that includes having a choice about whether you will like something or not.

        Putting it in your words:
        For it to be left *OPEN* for you to choose one way or the other – would make him DEPENDENT upon and REACTIONARY to you.

      20. br.d
        Now ask yourself this question:
        How does Calvin’s god decree evil without FIRST CONCEIVING the evil he is going to decree?

        Roland
        You are probably, maybe thinking, that Calvinism is different,….

        br.d
        Absolutely!

        John Calvin clearly provides the difference between the Calvinist and the NON-Calvinist position – by distinguishing between the words FOUND and MADE

        -quote
        by the eternal good pleasure of god THOUGH THE REASON DOES NOT APPEAR, they are NOT FOUND but MADE worthy of destruction. – (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of god pg 121)

        In the NON-Calvinist view – the creature is held morally accountable for that which he is FOUND to be and do.

        For the Arminian – that is classified as “Simple Foreknowledge”
        The THEOS looks into the future – and OBSERVES what the creature will be and do.
        Thus the creature is held accountable for what the creature is FOUND to be and do.

        Same thing for the Molinist and the Open Theist.

        Calvinism is different because the foundational core of Calvinism is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM – as enunciated in Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees.

        Therefore Calvin is completely correct – when he states – in Calvinism – the creature is held accountable for what the creature is MADE to be and what the creature is MADE to do.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Not only the destruction of the wicked is foreknown, but that the wicked themselves have been CREATED FOR THIS VERY END —that they may perish. – (Commentaries Romans 9:18)

        Its very simple.
        In Calvinism – Esau was CREATED to be hated.
        The MANY within the human population are specifically CREATED specifically for eternal torment – for his good pleasure.

        The non-Calvinist simply does not have a deity of evil
        Nor does he have deity of deception

      21. br.d
        Therefore Calvin is completely correct – when he states – in Calvinism – the creature is held accountable for what the creature is MADE to be and what the creature is MADE to do.

        roland
        AMEN! Just like when God told Moses to command pharaoh to let His people go. Then God said that He would harden pharaoh’s heart so that pharaoh would not let HIs people go!

        Exodus 4:21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I WILL harden his heart, SO THAT he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.” ’ ”

        God gave pharaoh a command through Moses that God made sure pharaoh would not be ABLE to obey! According to the non-calvinists understanding of this text, God would not have done such a thing. He would not have MADE sure that pharaoh would disobey Him. He would have only FOUND out that pharaoh disobeyed Him.

        And pharaoh is held accountable for his disobedience when he refused to let God’s people go. But God MADE sure that pharaoh would not let His people go. I’m so happy to be a Calvinist as we would rather adhere to God’s revelation than some man made logical and philosophical suppositions regarding God’s character and will. I’m much rather agree with what Scripture CLEARLY reveals about God’s actions in Scripture than to subject God’s actions to men’s standards.

        Moses knows that God will harden pharaoh’s heart yet he goes anyway with God’s message for pharaoh. According to non-calvinists Moses is just wasting his time. Why would he give pharaoh a command that he knows pharaoh cannot obey? It is the same charge leveled against Calvinists. If election is true, predestination is true, then why should Calvinists preach the Gospel and give universal invitations to come to Christ? We do so because God commands us to do so and it is in God’s power and will to save sinners.

      22. br.d
        Therefore Calvin is completely correct – when he states – in Calvinism – the creature is held accountable for what the creature is MADE to be and what the creature is MADE to do.

        roland
        AMEN!

        br.d
        So in Calvinism people are held accountable for what they were infallibly decreed to be and infallibly decreed to do.

        And the choice of what they will infallibly be and infallibly do – was FIXED at the foundation of the world.

        That which is FIXED cannot be OTHER than what it is – and is boiled down to ONE SINGLE infallibly decreed option.

        Calvinism represents a *CLOSED* world.
        All choices have been made at the foundation of the world – and those choices are now *CLOSED*
        There is no choice left *OPEN*

        Therefore there is never any choice left *OPEN* for a creature to make.

      23. Answer this question. Was it fixed that pharaoh would not let God’s people go? Or was it “open”? And if it is “open”then was God mistaken when He told Moses that He would make it so that pharaoh would not let Israel go?

      24. br.d
        Roland – I just got done detailing this to you.

        In Calvinism – per the doctrine of decrees WHATSOEVER COMES TO PASS is established at the foundation of the world. It is therefore FIXED.

        Remember – since every event is FIXED by an infallible decree – then every event is MADE to come to pass infallibly.

        The creature cannot make anything come to pass infallibly – only Calvin’s god can do that.

        So the creature cannot make anything come to pass.

        And the way Calvin’s god knew what pharaoh would infallibly do – was by simply knowing what he would MAKE pharaoh infallible do.

        John Calvin explains:
        -quote
        He consequently foreknew because HE SO ORDAINED BY HIS DECREE. (Institutes Vol. 2, 955-956)
        He foresees future events only in consequence of his decree (Institutes Vol ii. p. 169.)

        He could not grant pharaoh a choice in the matter – leaving it *OPEN* for pharaoh to choose one way or the other – because as you say – that would make him DEPENDENT and REACTIONARY upon a choice that pharaoh would make.

      25. You gave me the Calvinist answer. Are you Calvinist? Do you agree with Calvin?

      26. br.d
        So if I understand your question – you are asking – if there is a way for a perfect being (i.e. god) to know what a creature would do in any circumstance – given that that perfect being did not determine what the creature would do in that circumstance.

        I think you already know the answer.

        We have physicists today with computers – which if they enter in the correct data – can calculate what every atomic particle within a given physical domain will do – given the characteristics of every atomic particle within that domain – and given the characteristics of that domain.

        So we have a computer which can accurately ascertain – what every atomic particle will do – without functioning as the DETERMINER of what that particle will do.

        Thus we understand the capabilities of a computer.

        Now compare that – to a divine being – who created every atomic particle – and thus has perfect intimate knowledge of every atomic particle – and every characteristic of every atomic particle – and also created the domain in which those atomic particles reside – and thus has perfect intimate knowledge of every characteristic of that domain.

        And you think a divine perfect being with that capability – does not have the ability of a computer?

      27. br.d
        And you think a divine perfect being with that capability – does not have the ability of a computer?

        roland
        God is not a computer. That is a poor analogy. Interestingly enough, one of the means God uses in His infallible decree is the law of nature. Those atoms are determined to move according to the laws of nature as created by God. The laws of nature would not be the determiner of the knowledge or the atoms’ movement, but they would be a means or secondary cause used by God. Ultimately, God determined how those particles would move.

      28. That wasn’t what br.d said though. He said do you think that God doesn’t have the ABILITY of a computer, not that He IS a computer. Even with that error, it doesn’t matter, because your analogy doesn’t follow. You say God determined how the atoms move, but by that you mean determined every movement they would ever make. But how do you KNOW that He didn’t design them to randomly move and interact with other things within the confines of that design and the laws of physics He created? Is your God INCAPABLE of creating something which can move randomly within the confines of certain laws/rules? How also does it follow that He could not intervene in that process at any time He chose, in any way He wanted, for any reason He wanted to accomplish His goals and will? Could God change the very Laws of existence at any time? Does He possess that ability? Could He completely change any part of or all of reality in an instant? The God of the Bible can. Do you think a being with those abilities and that much power would be incapable of achieving whatever He wanted to just because there are creatures He created who DO NOT have any of those abilities but simply have freewill to make their own choices? Does that honestly threaten His sovereignty, power, ability or status in any way? The God I believe in in the Bible could do all of this without even remotely being threatened by it because He is the all powerful God. The god of Calvinism apparently can’t accomplish things if His creation can do things outside of Him.

      29. A2A….well said and thanks!

        Those are exactly the kinds of questions a Calvinist should be asking….but isnt. We have said many times on these pages —-like AW Tozer did—- that it appears that the Calvinist God is so weak that He can only win if He makes every player do exactly what He tells them.

        That’s not a strong being but a weak one.

        One idea for you A2A: smaller paragraphs so we can follow your thoughts better.

      30. FOH
        One idea for you A2A: smaller paragraphs so we can follow your thoughts better.

        roland
        Sorry if I’m wrong that I interject here but I agree with you. One of the reasons, besides many others, that I do not answer some questions or comments directed towards me is the person’s length of the question or comment. And it is also difficult to have 5 conversations at the same time. I cannot remember to whom I responded and not responded.

      31. Not trying to be snarky here but your “interjection” makes a point.

        Some people have written in too big of chunks and you have chosen not to respond.

        My take on that would be that God lets us work/ decide/ communicate within the confines of His chosen parameters of His logical, natural world.

        The Calvinist’s take would have to be that before time (not one dust particle is not decreed) God decided which posts you would respond to.

        In previous posts, it “sounds” like you (and Helms) are saying that God sets up the parameters and lets men exercise their will inside those. But that would lead to a non-Calvinist world, since men might “randomly” turn left one day and not right (and get into an accident). ((“Nothing is random” you protest. Thus, all is programmed. You want to, but cannot have it both ways.))

        But for Calvinists, all turns and accidents are divinely decreed (“Declares the end from the beginning”) so the Calvinist only “thinks” he is making a choice. And Helms only “thinks” that man is exercising his will as a secondary cause. It (“Declares the end from the beginning”) has really already been decreed and immutably ordained.

        You can protest that idea in CAPS all you want, but at the end of the day, the reformed philosophy states that clearly.

      32. FOH
        In previous posts, it “sounds” like you (and Helms) are saying that God sets up the parameters and lets men exercise their will inside those. But that would lead to a non-Calvinist world, since men might “randomly” turn left one day and not right (and get into an accident). ((“Nothing is random” you protest. Thus, all is programmed. You want to, but cannot have it both ways.))

        roland
        We are not “programmed.” This is language non-calvinists attribute to Calvinists. We deny such language because it is insufficient to describe the Biblical revelation of God’s interaction with His creation. We are not robots. We are not puppets. We are creatures created in the image of God. We have wills, thoughts, emotions, desires, inclinations, etc. Humans are SELF-AWARE something that robots, programs, and puppets lack.

        FOH
        so the Calvinist only “thinks” he is making a choice.

        roland
        In Acts 4:27-28, when the early church declared this truth about God, Christ’s crucifixion, and the men involved, did the men who crucified Jesus make choices to crucify Christ? They did whatever God’s hand had predestined for them to do. According to your logic, Peter should have prayed that these men were only programmed to do what God predestined them to do. Peter should have prayed that these men were mere puppets or robots.

      33. roland
        We are not “programmed.”

        br.d
        Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin
        -quote
        “God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, decisions and actions”(The Doctrine of Divine Decree pg 4)

        WOOPS!! 😀

        Roland
        This is language non-calvinists attribute to Calvinists.

        br.d
        INTERPRETATION:
        These are words Calvinist’s do not like using because of the obvious implications! :-]

        Roland
        We deny such language because it is insufficient to describe the Biblical revelation of God’s interaction with His creation.

        br.d
        It is critical to understand that Calvinism uses the same vocabulary as everyone else – while having their own private dictionary for words. In this case – the word “Interaction:

        Here “Interaction” is the process of decreeing WHATSOEVER impulses – and WHATSOEVER perceptions – will come to pass within the Calvinist’s brain.

        Roland
        We are not robots.

        br.d
        Do you not have a “CPU” which you call a “mind”?
        Do you have not “INCLINATIONS” which you call a “will”?

        Roland
        We are not puppets.

        br.d
        Who decreed that you would write: “we are not puppets”?

        Roland
        We are creatures created in the image of God.

        br.d
        Here again – we have another private definition.
        In this case – the Calvinist has a private definition of what “image of god” means.

        Roland
        We have wills

        br.d
        In Calvinism – what percentage of your “will” is determined by you – rather than someone external to you?

        Roland
        We have thoughts

        br.d
        In Calvinism – what percentage of your “thoughts” are determined by you?

        Roland
        We have emotions

        br.d
        In Calvinism – what percentage of your “emotions” are determined by you?

        Roland
        We have desires

        br.d
        In Calvinism – what percentage of your desires are determined by you?

        Roland
        We have inclinations

        br.d
        In Calvinism – what percentage of inclinations are determined by you?

        Roland
        Humans are SELF-AWARE something that robots, programs, and puppets lack.

        br.d
        In Calvinism – what percentage of your self-awareness is determined by you?

        So Roland – perhaps you can tell us – why is it that Calvinists rely so heavily upon a smoke&mirror terms like like “we have wills, and thoughts and desires etc”

        But then when the Calvinist is asked probing questions about who determines their “wills and thoughts and desires” the Calvinist evades the question?

        Why should anyone not assume Calvinism’s claims are nothing more than self contradictions hidden behind smoke-screens of illusive language?

      34. br.d
        WOOPS!!

        roland
        Does the author you quoted speak for all Calvinists?

      35. roland
        Does the author you quoted speak for all Calvinists?

        br.d
        So his statement is FALSE according to you?

        Calvin’s god does not *PROGRAM* all thoughts motives and actions within infallible decrees?

        Or are we just playing word games?

      36. A2A
        But how do you KNOW that He didn’t design them to randomly move and interact with other things within the confines of that design and the laws of physics He created?

        roland
        I don’t know that. I am only expressing what is the clear teaching of Scripture regarding God’s decree, His will, His providence over creation.

        A2A
        Is your God INCAPABLE of creating something which can move randomly within the confines of certain laws/rules?

        roland
        Nothing in this universe moves randomly. If it is moving randomly under the confines of certain laws/rules, then it is the laws/rules that are the cause of the object’s random movements. The conclusion is that it is not random. Nothing in the universe is random. Everything has a purpose.

        A2A
        How also does it follow that He could not intervene in that process at any time He chose, in any way He wanted, for any reason He wanted to accomplish His goals and will?

        roland
        Even God has limits. He is limited by His nature as to how He would intervene. I would reject that God would “in any way He wanted” intervene. He would never intervene in a sinful manner.

        A2A
        The god of Calvinism apparently can’t accomplish things if His creation can do things outside of Him.

        roland
        That is not what Calvinism teaches or believes. Man operating outside God’s providence is not a biblical idea. Paul said in Acts that in God we have our being, we live in Him, move in Him. There is not a single human being that operates outside or apart from God. To believe that humans operate apart from God is an unbiblical concept.

      37. I agree that God has limits. But that is a problem for Calvinism, not non-Calvinism. In Calvinism, God determines every thought and action of every person, and everything that comes to pass He determined would happen before He even created it.

        So, in Calvinism, God decreed this statement I am about to make. Remember, He DETERMINED and CAUSED me to say this! Calvinism is false.

        If Calvinism is true, then the statement “Calvinism is false” is a lie. But if Calvinism is true God determined I would lie, making Him the primary cause of and ultimately responsible for and the AUTHOR of that lie, which even you said is a limit for God.

        But if Calvinism is false, I just made a true statement, and God didn’t lie or author any sin.

        And don’t go into me being a secondary cause of that lie. For one, God controls every secondary cause and ordains every action of that secondary cause making it NOT ACTUALLY a secondary cause!

        Even if it WAS a secondary cause (which can’t logically exist in Calvinism) that STILL doesn’t absolve God of sin and moral wrongs.

        Example. A woman is murdered by a hit man. The primary cause of that murder was the husband who HIRED, PAID FOR, and INSTRUCTED the assassin to kill his wife. The assassin was the secondary cause.

        In a court of law, if they proved the man hired the hit man he would be found GUILTY of first degree murder, and JUSTLY so!

        Point being is a secondary cause doesn’t absolve a primary cause of responsibility.

      38. FOH
        Even if it WAS a secondary cause (which can’t logically exist in Calvinism) that STILL doesn’t absolve God of sin and moral wrongs.

        roland
        Does it or can secondary causes exist in the Bible?

        When Job has all his stuff stolen, does he attribute his loss to the men who took it? If you believe he does, then why does he say that naked he came out of his mother’s womb, naked he shall return, the LORD gave and LORD takes away, blessed be the name of the LORD?

        Why does Job, at least implying, that God could be responsible for his losses because the LORD gives and takes? According to non-calvinists’ logic, Job really should be saying, the LORD give but the men took it away.

      39. Roland
        Does it or can secondary causes exist in the Bible?

        br.d
        1) Dominoes don’t push themselves over.
        Every secondary event is determined by a primary event.
        No primary event = no secondary event.

        2) Calvin’s god’s divine sovereignty and control extends to every secondary event just as meticulously as it does to every primary event.

        Calvin’s god meticulously determines every movement of every molecule.

        3) In Calvinism – every part of every event comes to pass infallibly – which requires every part of every event – being touched by an infallible hand.

      40. I asked you about Scripture, you answered disregarding my question. You accuse me of evading questions all the time.

      41. Roland
        I asked you about Scripture,

        br.d
        You’re confusing me with FOH
        You asked FOH a question.

        I provided a TRUTH STATEMENT

      42. A2A
        Point being is a secondary cause doesn’t absolve a primary cause of responsibility.

        roland
        Please explain to me your understanding of Christ’s death on the cross. Did Jesus come to do the will of the Father? If so, did the Father’s will include Christ’s death? If so, does this make the Father ultimately responsible for Christ’s death? It wasn’t the Father who hung Jesus on the cross, slapped Him across the face, put the crown of thorns on Him, it was Pontius Pilate, the Pharisees, the Roman soldiers, etc.

        According to your thinking, God is ultimately responsible for His Son’s death. Why isn’t God guilty of murdering Jesus?

      43. br.d
        And you think a divine perfect being with that capability – does not have the ability of a computer?

        roland
        God is not a computer. That is a poor analogy.

        br.d
        That is an ontological distinction which is a red-herring
        The question has nothing to with ontology – and everything to do with functionality.

        The answer to the question should be obvious.
        Instead you simply evade it.
        And that is understandable.

        If you don’t think a divine perfect being has the capability of a computer – then say so.

        Roland
        one of the means God uses in His infallible decree is the law of nature.

        br.d
        Yes – but nature does not have the attribute of infallibility.
        It does not have the ability to move itself – such that that movement is infallible.
        And every movement in Calvinism – comes to pass infallibly.
        And there is only one being who can make an atomic particle move infallibly.
        So an infallible hand- has to be involved in every movement of every element of nature.

        Roland
        Ultimately, God determined how those particles would move.

        br.d
        He has to cause each one of them to move in the specific movement that he wants to the move.
        He exercises meticulous determination of the precise movement of every falling domino – and the domino after that one – and the domino after that one.

        As John Piper says
        -quote
        He controls the movement of every dust particle in the air.

        And Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin says
        -quote
        “God merely *PROGRAMMED* into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, and actions”(The Doctrine of Divine Decree pg 4)

        And as Calvinist Paul Helms says
        -quote
        Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by god, but EVERY TWIST AND TURN of each of these is under the DIRECT CONTROL of god (The Providence of God pg 22)

        And as Calvinist Louis Berkhof says
        -quote
        “God is IMMEDIATELY OPERATIVE in every act of the creature. Everything that happens from moment to moment is determined by the will of god – and in every instance THE IMPULSE TO ACTION PRECEDES FROM god” (Systematic Theology)

        What you seem to have is a mixture of Arminian concepts mixed with Calvinist concepts.
        For example – the Arminian view of divine foreknowledge is called “SIMPLE” foreknowledge

        The Arminian god looks into the future and OBSERVES what impulses and perceptions will come to pass within man’s brain – through simple foreknowledge.

        He does not DETERMINE every impulse and perception which comes to pass within man’s brain.

        But that view of divine foreknowledge is rejected in Calvinism

        Calvin’s god has foreknowledge of every impulse and perception which will come to pass within man’s brain – because he DETERMINES every impulse and every perception that will come to pass within man’s brain.

        A.W. Pink
        -quote
        God foreknows what will be because he decrees what will be. (The attributes of god)

        John Calvin
        -quote
        He foresees future events only in consequence of his decree (Institutes Vol ii. p. 169.)

        Calvinist Paul Helms
        -quote
        Gods foreknowledge is simply his knowledge of what he has decreed. (Divine Foreknowledge – Four Views pg 12)

        Therefore – Calvin’s god foreknows what impulses and perceptions will come to pass within your brain – because he decreed every specific impulse and perception that will come to pass within your brain.

        And this brings us back to the last question.

        When you were faced answering a TRUE/FALSE question about the Bible – and Calvin’s god decreed your perception of the answer to be TRUE – when the actual answer was FALSE – did Calvin’s god grant your brain discernment concerning the answer?

      44. br.d
        If you don’t think a divine perfect being has the capability of a computer – then say so.

        roland
        No, I don’t think a computer’s functionality or capacity or ability is comparable to that of a divine perfect being; God.

        I agree with you that God knows all things intimately. Our disagreement is HOW God knows everything. The non-calvinist believes God knows everything because He has the functionality of a computer. The Calvinist believes that God knows everything because He has declared the end from the beginning.
        Isaiah 46:10-11
        10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
        11Calling a bird of prey from the east,
        The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
        Indeed I have spoken it;
        I will also bring it to pass.
        I have purposed it;
        I will also do it.

        br.d
        And as Calvinist Paul Helms says
        -quote
        Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by god, but EVERY TWIST AND TURN of each of these is under the DIRECT CONTROL of god (The Providence of God pg 22)

        roland
        Thank you for providing these quotes and the source. I have Helm’s The Providence of God. I like to look at the source and read the quotes in their context.
        I don’t believe you understand what Helm is saying. You capitalize to put emphasis on what you believe Helm is directly pointing out. Something non-calvinists continue to deny and ignore regarding what we believe about God’s providence is secondary causes. Helm does not deny them. Further on page 22 Helm wrote this:

        “The controller is God, who is the supreme purposer of the universe. He exercises control, as far as men and women are concerned, NOT APART FROM WHAT THEY WANT TO DO, or (generally speaking) BY COMPELLING THEM TO DO WHAT THEY DO NOT WANT TO DO, BUT THROUGH THEIR WILLS.”

        He then goes on to quote Augustine: “Our choices fall within the order of the causes which is known for certain to God and is contained in His foreknowledge – for, HUMAN CHOICES ARE THE CAUSES OF HUMAN ACTS. It follows that He who foreknew the causes of all things could not be unaware that our choices were among those causes which were foreknown as the causes of our acts.”

        br.d
        What you seem to have is a mixture of Arminian concepts mixed with Calvinist concepts.

        roland
        No I do not have a mixture of Arminian and Calvinist concepts. You have a misunderstanding of what we are saying. You write and answer as if God’s decree results in us being puppets. Here is what I believe: WCF 3.1God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

        God has ordained whatsoever comes to pass;
        He is not the author of sin;
        He does not violate creaturely freedom;
        He does not take away second causes.

        This is what I believe. But according to non-calvinists, us Calvinists HAVE TO, MUST believe that we are robots and puppets under WCF understanding of God’s decree. According to non-calvinists’ understanding of Calvinism, humans are mere sock puppets over God’s hands.

      45. Poor br.d!

        Always your fault! You never quite understand Calvin, even though you quote him extensively! Always your lack of understanding (“you just don’t get Calvinism!”)

        God controls every movement of man but not as robots, but rather a devine being who lets them do their will……. “He exercises control, as far as men and women are concerned, NOT APART FROM WHAT THEY WANT TO DO, or (generally speaking) BY COMPELLING THEM TO DO WHAT THEY DO NOT WANT TO DO, BUT THROUGH THEIR WILLS.”

        So….He ordained from before time that they would WANT to do the evil that they do.

        So much clearer now!

        I get it!!!! Before time He ordained/ decreed what they would do so that in “real time” He can let them do whatever evil they want (wink wink) and tell them how wrong they are. It is a matter of before time/ real time, or secret will/ revealed will.

        Yes! And all that from “declares the end from the beginning”!

        (((I am sure you will defend yourself br.d, but like I keep saying, “What’s the point?” God has apparently decreed from before time that Calvinists think their man-made ideas describe Him and think ours ideas are heresy.)))

      46. FOH
        God has apparently decreed from before time that Calvinists think their man-made ideas describe Him and think ours ideas are heresy.)))

        roland
        I don’t believe a non-calvinist understanding of God is heretical. I’ve never called anyone who disagrees with Calvinism a heretic. There are some beliefs that are heretical, LFW and Arminianism do not fall under heresy. Some Calvinists would disagree with me.

      47. I appreciate the clarification!

        We have had more than one young buck (YRR) come on here….thinking we “only need to see a few verses we have missed.” ((After all, they did not start out as Calvinists either, and a few verses (and a book or two) from friends worked for them!))

        They share ideas (all of which are covered in the many articles of this web site).

        We begin the discussion. They last a few days…. call us heretics…. and slam the door on their way out.

        So, thanks again for the clarification.

      48. You’re welcome, I’m trying to be gracious in my discussions with you guys. Not saying it is easy. Especially because us Calvinists have a reputation for being mean and ungracious. I’ve read and heard lots of stories about us. I’ve also met some young Calvinists who are really into debating everything theological from eschatology to ecclesiology, politics, etc.

      49. Yes!
        This is called the Calvinist two-step

        Calvin’s god decrees every part of what every impulse within the human brain will be.

        But not in such a way that he meticulously decrees every part of what every impulse within the human brain will be!

        ;-D

      50. roland
        No, I don’t think a computer’s functionality or capacity or ability is comparable to that of a divine perfect being; God.

        br.d
        Once again – you again evaded the question.
        Does a divine perfect being have the capability of a computer or not?

        roland
        The non-calvinist believes God knows everything because He has the functionality of a computer.

        br.d
        That is a wonderful example of a straw-man! ;-D

        The Non-Calvinist believes a divine perfect being DOES have the capability of a computer – and much much more.

        The Calvinist (you in this case) is unwilling to say whether he does not not :-]

        One could easily assume you believe a computer has more capability than a god
        Because after being asked multiple times – you still refuse to say whether or not he does.

        roland
        The Calvinist believes that God knows everything because He has declared the end from the beginning.
        Isaiah 46:10-11

        br.d
        Congratulations – every Arminian believes that also.
        You have something in common with the Arminian conception of divine sovereignty.
        But you have not yet described a conception of divine sovereignty unique to Calvinism.

        I’ve given you multiple quotes from multiple Calvinists.
        Your response is to say they are being take out of context.

        Roland
        “The controller is God, who is the supreme purposer of the universe. He exercises control, as far as men and women are concerned, NOT APART FROM WHAT THEY WANT TO DO, or (generally speaking) BY COMPELLING THEM TO DO WHAT THEY DO NOT WANT TO DO, BUT THROUGH THEIR WILLS.”

        br.d
        Does he or does he not determine every meticulous detail of what they WANT TO DO?

        Does he or does he not determine every meticulous detail of what their THEIR WILLS will be?

        And he knows what THEIR WILLS will be – because he determines – and he determines what THEIR WILLS will specifically be.

        Roland
        HUMAN CHOICES ARE THE CAUSES OF HUMAN ACTS.

        Does he or does he not determine every meticulous detail of HUMAN ACTS?

        roland
        No I do not have a mixture of Arminian and Calvinist concepts.

        br.d
        The KEY DIFFERENTIATOR between the Arminian and the Calvinist position on divine sovereignty is detailed by John Calvin himself.

        During his day – after the publication of his institutes – there were Christian thinkers who disagreed with Calvin.

        They argued that God does not meticulously and specifically determine every minute detail of every event – and he does not meticulously determine every impulse which comes to pass within the human brain.

        Calvin’s detractors took the position of divine sovereignty – which is today held by Arminians and most Non-Calvinists.

        Calvin identified 2 KEY DIFFERENTIATORS of their position on God’s divine sovereignty from his.

        1) Their God functioned as a -quote “Passive Onlooker”
        who

        2) -quote “MERELY” permits nature to determine what will come to pass – without meticulously determining it himself.

        So those are the 2 KEY DIFFERENTIATORS

        1) A God who simply OBSERVES something that comes to pass – without himself meticulously determining it

        2) A God who “MERELY” permits nature to determine some things that will come to pass – without himself meticulously determining it.

        When you first came here to dialog and express your version of divine sovereignty – you consistently followed the position of Calvin’s detractors – which is the position of Arminians today.

        You portray Calvin’s god as an “ONLOOKER” who “MERELY” permits nature to determine things which will come to pass – without himself meticulously determining it himself.

        That is what we typically call a “Calminian”
        A person who is half Arminian – half Calvinist

      51. If I had a nickel for every time a Calvinists said this….

        “I am only expressing what is the clear teaching of Scripture regarding God’s decree, His will, His providence over creation.”

        Then they quote (out of context) a verse saying “end from the beginning” and “turns the kings hearts” and declare that is the “clear teaching.” ((As if God is establishing a huge doctrine from one out-of-context half-verse in Isaiah…. and a half verse of a Proverb. Frankly, you can prove anything using verses that way.))

        They are always out of context and can always have multiple interpretations. But they are the “clear” teaching that determinism is built on.

        Whereas the hundreds and hundreds of in-context statements from “the Lord Almighty” saying He did not want X or did not command Y, or will do Z if man will do Z……they all get swept away (filtered) through the narrow/ preferred interpretation of a few “clear” (“roll the dice in the lap”) verses.

        Why bother?! This is nuts! That’s why I left Calvinism….. but then again, maybe I was ordained to leave it?

      52. God ordained someone who believed the truth to walk away from the truth and then end up arguing against the truth (if Calvinism is the truth). Why? Because:

        Who are you to question God!?

        And

        His ways are higher than your ways!

        Or, and just for a moment, consider the possibility and see how it fits…

        Calvinism is false, which means through prayer and seeking, God helped guide you to the truth!

        So which makes more sense and is in line with God’s character? If Calvinism is true, Making someone go away from the truth and believe a lie? Or, if Calvinism is false, helping someone who is earnestly seeking Him and pursuing wisdom by leading them out of a lie and into the truth?

        I know which one sounds like the Biblical God to me. I also think one of the options sounds an awful lot like something Satan would do…

      53. Me:
        Raised in non-Calvinist home.
        Bible college and got on the wave at the time of MacArthur and Piper.
        Later put down my Pink, van Til, and Boettner (frozen chosen era of reformed guys—that few people read— before Matt Chandler made it so hip) and read the Bible through yearly.

        Day after day after day (literally every day) I encountered verses, passages, and stories where I started my interpretation of them with “this cant mean what it says, since I KNOW that (((fill in 2-3-4 reformed tenets))) tells me other wise.”

        That gets old if one is honest. There are way, way, way more verses requiring verbal gymnastics for a Calvinist than for a non-Calvinist.

        I found myself using the “this passage cant mean what it says” every day. Then I began to wonder if it was really a good thing to MAKE God be the way we want Him to be and filter all that He says to us through a very few verses that reformed theology is built on.

        Nah. Not a good idea.

      54. FOH,

        Hey, I was looking at Proverbs 21:1 recently.

        PROVERBS 21:1
        The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

        Please note the first word. And the apostrophe in the second word.

        We are only talking about one king here. Not all kings.

        The one thing that really bothers me regarding calvinism is that they think that what was meant for Jews is the same for all of mankind.

        King Solomon wrote Proverbs. And he was given not only riches, but wisdom… all from God.

        In my opinion, the Jews are the elect, all because they are telling a story about God… and that verse isn’t discussing mankind at all. Just one Jewish king.

        And the purpose? One word. Prophecy. If God told Moses to write something down regarding prophecy, then prophecy is going to come true. Such as Jesus coming from the line of Judah.

        Judah’s child, Onan, didn’t want kids from his wife. So God killed him, as he was a useless piece of work. Onan’s brother didn’t want a child either, as that child would be considered Onan’s child for inheritance… and prophecy of Jesus coming from the line of Judah. So God killed him, too. Both was Satan’s influence, as he didn’t want Jesus to be born.

        But. Prophecy came true because Judah slept with his daughter-in-law, making sure that Jesus came from the line of Judah.

        Why do I discuss that? Jewish kings have a job to do regarding prophecy. God toyed with king saul… but he didn’t toy with king David or Solomon.

        Both deal with prophecy of Jesus. King David, if you read it, is a shadow of Jesus. King Solomon is, too, as Jesus builds the house of God. In this, you see David as the father, Solomon as the son.

        So, I see proverbs 21:1 as it deals with Solomon, the author, and does not deal with anyone else.

        There is only one king in proverbs 21:1, if you read it spiritually…Jesus.

        Just something to ponder…especially the calvinists.

        To me, that’s the clear teaching of scripture. People aren’t looking deep enough. They only see a surface, and don’t dig very deep.

      55. My position, which I thought have been consistent in, is what WCF 3.1 states.
        God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass [whatsoever has passed in this world has its origin in God’s decree. That is my position]; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

        This is my position regarding God’s determinations in His creation and creatures. God is not the author of sin but it has come to pass by His decree. There are plenty of verses in the Bible that show this. God does no violence to human’s will. He doesn’t force us or coerce us into doing things yet what we do has come to pass by His decree. He also uses secondary causes to establish His decrees.

        br.d
        You portray Calvin’s god as an “ONLOOKER” who “MERELY” permits nature to determine things which will come to pass – without himself meticulously determining it himself.

        roland
        I don’t ever remember posting this. But if you say so. I believe God does use permission as a means to establish His decree. Again, the unfolding of God’s decree in creation is not uniform, it is manifold. It is not God decreed, creation acts. I’ve expressed this many times yet you press me with questions that imply this mode of thinking.

        br.d
        I’ve given you multiple quotes from multiple Calvinists.
        Your response is to say they are being take out of context.

        roland
        You’re biased against Calvinists and Calvinism. I’m always suspicious of your quotes. For that reason, I would like to read them in context. You intentionally provided a quote from Paul Helm but you disregarded the rest of Helm’s beliefs. I understand what Calvinists are trying to understand about God. When I read your quotes from Calvinists, immediately I know that what you believe they are saying, they are not saying. Just like in the case with Helm’s quote.

        br.d
        Does he or does he not determine every meticulous detail of HUMAN ACTS?

        roland
        Yes. He has ordained and decreed whatsoever comes to pass. But humans are not robots nor puppets. The manner in which you posed the question implies that we are robots or puppets.

        thanks for reading, br.d, have a blessed day!

      56. “God is not the author of sin but it has come to pass by His decree.”

        What in the world does this even mean? If God is “sovereign” in the way Calvinists say, and He decrees something….then He is most certainly the author of it. This is clearly an A = not A construction.

        “There are plenty of verses in the Bible that show this.” As a former Calvinist I know all the verses implied here and they do NOT say it. These “plenty” of verses are mostly vague, poetic, prophetic-language, proverb-like things like

        end from the beginning
        turns the heart of a king
        rolls the dice in the lap.

        You dont build a doctrine on this stuff! Unless you come with the doctrine already built as Augustine did. ((and JWs do)).

        God states clearly that He did not ordain/ decree some things in places like Jer 19:3:

        This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 4 For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. 5 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.

        He states who He is, so we can know He is giving us “a doctrine from His mouth”.

        He states that He did not decree this behavior.

        He states that He will now do something ….”because they have forsaken me.”

        He is interacting with His creation (His right), but this is not allowable in deterministic (WCF), Calvinistic theology.

        All reformed efforts to explicate the many passages like this start with, “Is the Lord actually saying….” (direct quote from CARM site)

        Of course they start with “this passage is not saying what it says.” They have to!

        The Lord God Almighty says His name and then speaks….. but, nooooo, we know better!

      57. FOH
        What in the world does this even mean? If God is “sovereign” in the way Calvinists say, and He decrees something….then He is most certainly the author of it.

        roland
        Ephesians 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

        Does God work all things according to the counsel of His will? Does “all things” mean all things or only some things?

        FOH
        You dont build a doctrine on this stuff! Unless you come with the doctrine already built as Augustine did. ((and JWs do)).

        roland
        “This stuff!’ is Scripture, God’s Holy Word. Reformed Christians honor it as such, hold it to be infallible, and true. It sounds to me like you are saying we cannot derive truth about God from poetic, mostly vague, prophetic-language, proverb-like things. Jesus used parables, poetic language, the words came straight from His mouth, are they not the basis of our doctrine?

        Dr. Flowers loves to use the illustration of the prodigal son. Was this a real life situation? Or is the prodigal son more like the parables, poetic language, that precede it? The lost coin and the lost sheep. If so, should I disregard Dr. Flowers truths he derives from the prodigal son because it is “poetic”?

        Why can’t we derive truths about God from some language? Genuine question, I am not ridiculing your statement.

        FOH
        God states clearly that He did not ordain/ decree some things in places like Jer 19:3:

        roland
        But God also states clearly that He did declare the end from the beginning like Isaiah 46:10

        Why is it that Calvinists cannot draw truths from Isiah 46:10 but non-calvinists like yourself can draw truth from Jeremiah 19:3?

        FOH
        Of course they start with “this passage is not saying what it says.” They have to!

        roland
        How do you start Isaiah 46:10? Does God declare the end from the beginning?

      58. Like I said….this is a futile exercise.

        Of course He works all things…. you are making that mean  “decrees” all things.  And then you are turning around saying “He decrees it but does not decree it all (if it’s sin).”  But you cannot hear yourself.  You are like MacArthur….both are true. He decreed every last thing that ever happened, including sin, but did not decree sin.

        You are just being silly with the “this stuff” straw man (which is why I have stopped a couple times dialoguing with you). Read Ecclesiastes and Proverbs.  You could make all kinds of wild doctrines if you yank half verses out of context.  I think everyone reading our conversation gets my point, but you set up a straw man and try to take the “infallible word” moral high ground as if i don’t believe that.  Sad. 

        It does not matter if the Prodigal son is a real person or a story from Jesus.  It is a direct lesson from Christ (like the Sower, and Rich Young Ruler, that Calvinists cannot explain) that teaches things contrary to Calvinism.  Ecclesiastes/Proverbs is a genre that is not intended to help followers establish doctrine (all is vanity, right?)

        Isaiah:  The Lord is talking to His chosen people (Is 44) telling them not to go the way of others who make and adore idols (they do, against His will.)   He then spends chapters saying who is like me; there is no one like me.  In that discourse He says…

        I make known the end from the beginning,
            from ancient times, what is still to come.

        Fantastic!

        Of course He does not say He decrees all things at all there. But from that verse, yanked out of any (“Chosen people of Israel”) context, Calvinists pin all their hope that God has decreed all evil.  Amazing. 

        Truly Calvinists have perfected the idea of ignoring the lion’s share of the Bible and scaffolding a philosophy on a half verse from here and there.

      59. When FOH is saying you can’t use this stuff to build doctrine, he means it is single parts of scripture, without context and not weighed against the whole of scripture. He doesn’t hold a lower view of scripture, just that mush mashing a few verses together to prove your point isn’t rightly dividing the word of truth.

        For example, someone could go throw rocks at homosexuals and adulterous women until they die, and the say the Bible condones that action and give scripture to back up their claim. That wouldn’t be rightly dividing the word, because the whole of the Bible teaches we shouldn’t do that, in context (Let he who is without sin cast the first stone as an example).

        2nd, I don’t see the scriptures you are using as supporting your conclusions. You are missing the word COUNSEL in counsel of His will. To counsel is your teach, guide, impart wisdom and coach, but LITERALLY not be the one who is doing it. It appears to me you are reading it “according to His will” and not “according to the COUNSEL OF His will”.

        Declare the end from the beginning. That says NOTHING and doesn’t suggest IN ANY WAY that God controls every single thing that happens. In the beginning He created everything, in the end He will make it perfect again. This is a great example of reading something INTO the text.

        Even if these things DID seem to suggest what you are claiming, those interpretations would still have to be weighed against other scripture to create something coherent.

      60. Roland
        Does God work all things according to the counsel of His will? Does “all things” mean all things or only some things?

        br.d
        Per the Calvinist interpretation of that verse:
        Since “ALL sin” and “ALL evil” – are a part of “ALL THINGS”
        It logically follows – “ALL sin” and “ALL evil” are WORKS of Calvin’s god.

      61. br.d
        Per the Calvinist interpretation of that verse:
        Since “ALL sin” and “ALL evil” – are a part of “ALL THINGS”
        It logically follows – “ALL sin” and “ALL evil” are WORKS of Calvin’s god.

        roland
        I know that quoting Scripture is pointless to you because you’ve written so before. You seem to believe that Scripture is void of meaning but meaning is brought to the text by the reader. By quoting the Scripture below, as I was told by another post on this site, let the LORD speak, I am letting the LORD speak for Himself. God will punish the men, settled in complacency, saying in their heart, the Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil. In other words, God will punish the men who believe God is passive, a mere observer in creation. As Calvin puts it in his commentary on Zephaniah, God will punish those who believe God ‘rests idly in heaven.’

        Zephaniah 1:12
        “And it shall come to pass at that time
        That I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
        And punish the men
        Who are settled in complacency,
        Who say in their heart,
        ‘The Lord will not do good,
        Nor will He do evil.’

      62. br.d
        Per the Calvinist interpretation of that verse:
        Since “ALL sin” and “ALL evil” – are a part of “ALL THINGS”
        It logically follows – “ALL sin” and “ALL evil” are WORKS of Calvin’s god.

        roland
        I know that quoting Scripture is pointless to you because you’ve written so before.

        br.d
        There is no such thing as an interpretation without logical consequences

        In that verse – the Calvinist interpretation entails the word “WORKS” = “DECREES”

        Hence – “WORKS” all things simply means “DECREES” all things.

        That is why that verse is functions as a key PROOF-TEXT for Determinism within Calvinism.

        Thus we have the following:

        1) “ALL sin” and “ALL evil” is a part of “ALL THINGS”

        2) Calvin’s god “DECREES” “ALL sin” and “ALL evil”

        3) “DECREES” = “WORKS”

        Thus – per the Calvinist’s interpretation – it logically follows:
        All sins and All evils are the WORKS of Calvin’s god

      63. br.d
        Does he [Calvin’s god] or does he not determine every meticulous detail of HUMAN ACTS?

        roland
        Yes. He has ordained and decreed whatsoever comes to pass

        br.d
        Is it your position that Calvin’s god cannot decree you to have a FALSE PERCEPTION?

      64. br.d
        I usually like to follow up with “Does He always get what He wants?”

        or

        “Is everything that happens exactly what He wants?”

        Of course they wont answer …but if they do answer “yes” (the only answer available to them) then everybody (but Calvinists) can see how deceptive, misleading, and cruel that would make God be.

        There are NO verses that say that He always gets what He wants…..and there are many, many where He says Himself, “I did not want…”

        But somehow they seem to know better….

      65. Amen, FOH! But God ultimately gets what he wants in the creation of covenant love through free will faith commitments, which means He must allow some other wants to go unfulfilled.

        But for the Calvinist –
        T – No one can want God unless God wants them.
        U – God does not want everyone.
        L – God sent Christ to pay for only those He wants
        I – If God wants you, He will make you want Him
        P – God makes those He wants to keep wanting Him forever

      66. do you mind if I change the last one?

        P – God wants the destiny of good which he created the few for – and the destiny of evil which he created the many for – to last forever

      67. Yes!
        You are totally correct FOH

        The art of Calvinism – is the art of deceptive and misleading language.

        And we both understand why!

      68. br.d

        1) When you were asked a TRUE/FALSE question about the Bible
        2) And the perception which came to pass in your brain – was that the answer was TRUE
        3) When the actual answer was FALSE

        Obviously – it is your position that Calvin’s god had foreknowledge of that specific false perception which came to pass in your brain.

        Your answer to the next question will tell me if you take the Arminian position of divine sovereignty

        Did Calvin’s god foreknow every part of that perception in your brain by meticulously determining it?

        Or

        Did Calvin’s god “MERELY” permit nature to determine what your perception would be without himself determining it in every part?

      69. Roland,

        If I may, I’d like to ask that if God is not the author of sin, who is?

        I ask that, because God is Holy, and therefore, the only one who can define what sin is, is God himself. And that, to me, makes God the author of sin.

        I’ve never seen the bible phrase, “author of sin”, so how can anyone say that God is not the author of sin?

        Satan himself didn’t write a book, giving it to God, telling God what sin is…did he?

        What is sin?

        1 John 3:4
        sin is the transgression of the law.

        Romans 3:20
        the law is the knowledge of sin.

        ***********

        Nehemiah 8:8
        So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

        The law of Moses is known by many names, one of which is…The Law of God. Other names is, The Law of Moses, The Law, or just Moses.

        Satan violated laws of God, but isn’t the one who wrote the laws:

        Genesis 3:5
        For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

        Genesis 3:22
        And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

        God is indeed the author of sin, as the Law of God is by Him alone.

        *************************************

        Next:

        Regarding “Declaring the end from the beginning”, there is a mystery behind that, unrelated to anything that the Calvinists teach.

        God had the Bible written in such a way in Genesis, that you can take the events and go backwards, where it ends just as it began.

        That’s why it is said “Declaring the end from the beginning”. It’s a fascinating study. For example, the rapture of the church is told in the story of Noah’s Ark. And in the beginning, there was the Tree of Life in the Garden, which the book of Revelation mentions in the end.

        Genesis has a lot of treasure in it. If you want to know how the story ends, look to the beginning. He declared Revelation from Genesis.

        Like verses such as your “Declaring the end from the beginning” are found in Ecclesiastes:

        Ecclesiastes 1:9
        The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

        Ecclesiastes 3:15
        That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

        ***************************************

        Now, the bible does say that God is not the author of confusion, but that has a context of an orderly way of doing things in church…speaking in tongues, prophesying, etc.

        But I still can’t find that allusive “author of sin” phrase.

        There is only 3 verses in the whole Bible that uses the word “author”.

        Hebrews 5:9
        And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

        Hebrews 12:2
        Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

        And finally,

        1 Corinthians 14:33
        For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

        And what is the context? What is the topic of chapter 14? It is discussing orderly conduct of spiritual gifts during church service.

        Ed Chapman

      70. Ed
        If I may, I’d like to ask that if God is not the author of sin, who is?

        You’re going to get different answers from different Calvinists.

        Roland will probably try to evade the question altogether.

        Some Calvinists will try to argue that sin and evil are non-existent entities.
        Calvin’s god doesn’t create them – and therefore they are like a black-hole of nothingness in space.

        But of course – that argument breaks down pretty fast when we find out that sins are actions which do in fact exist.

        But you always have to give a Calvinist credit for being inventive! ;-D

      71. br.d

        Yes, and I’ve found it fascinating how much Satan is downplayed, as just another actor in the play, with cameo appearances every now and again, before exiting stage left.

        But I’d be interested in hearing how many authors of sin that various Calvinists say that there are, other than God himself.

        Isaiah 33:22
        For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.

        If God is the lawgiver, then he’s the author of sin.

        Ed Chapman

      72. br.d

        1) Whatsoever will come to pass must be FIRST CONCIEVED in the mind of Calvin’s god – in order for it to be the content of a decree.

        2) That content which is FIRST CONCIEVED in the mind of Calvin’s god – becomes the content of the decree which Calvin’s god then AUTHORS

        3) Any alternative of that which is decreed would falsify the decree.

        4) Therefore no alternative of that which is decreed is possible – at pain of falsifying the decree.

        5) Consequently – nothing (including any sin or evil) is possible – unless it is FIRST CONCIEVED in the mind of Calvin’s god.

        6) And additionally – nothing (including any sin or evil) is possible – unless it is AUTHORED as the content of a decree.

        It’s not to difficult to connect a few dots – to see who the author of sin and evil is – within Calvinism ;-]

      73. br.d
        When you were faced answering a TRUE/FALSE question about the Bible – and Calvin’s god decreed your perception of the answer to be TRUE – when the actual answer was FALSE – did Calvin’s god grant your brain discernment concerning the answer?

        roland
        You continually bring up this dilemma about TRUE/FALSE perceptions, God granting me the discernment, etc. I fail to see the relevance of this question or argument. I think your dualistic understanding of God’s decree comes from the mistake that you press everything down into this: God decreed, we act like puppets or robot. You completely disregard secondary causes, human nature, human desires, will, etc. According to you, under Calvinism humans are mere puppets. God is NOT ANSWERING for me. I am ANSWERING FOR MYSELF yet not apart from God’s decree. My thoughts are not on strings to which God is pulling this and that way.

      74. br.d
        When you were faced answering a TRUE/FALSE question about the Bible – and Calvin’s god decreed your perception of the answer to be TRUE – when the actual answer was FALSE – did Calvin’s god grant your brain discernment concerning the answer?

        roland
        You continually bring up this dilemma about TRUE/FALSE perceptions, God granting me the discernment, etc. I fail to see the relevance of this question or argument.

        br.d
        Did you notice how you stated “God granting you the discernment” *AS-IF* he did?

        So let me get this straight

        Calvin’s god decreeing a false perception to come to pass within your brain – is what you call granting you discernment.

      75. Roland
        You completely disregard secondary causes, human nature, human desires,

        br.d
        Again the Arminian question:

        Does Calvin’s god foreknow [secondary causes, human nature , human desires] by OBSERVATION and MERELY permitting nature to determine them – or does he decree every part of what they will be?

      76. br.d
        Again the Arminian question:

        Does Calvin’s god foreknow [secondary causes, human nature , human desires] by OBSERVATION and MERELY permitting nature to determine them – or does he decree every part of what they will be?

        roland
        I have answered this questions several times. Again, God does not foreknow things by observing, which implies that God learns about creation, He FOREKNOWS because He has DECREED it. I thought I’ve answered this.

        Also, God has decreed the ENDS as well as the MEANS. God’s decree is not UNIFORM. He has decreed the means to be manifold.

        I would say that God’s decree and His use of means is analogous to Scripture. Were the men who wrote God’s wrote mere instruments in God’s hands? Did God use them as robots, puppets, programs to write His Word? No because that is not what Scripture says. God’s decree is similar as it is manifold. He uses many different means to accomplish His ends.

      77. roland
        I have answered this questions several times. Again, God does not foreknow things by observing, which implies that God learns about creation, He FOREKNOWS because He has DECREED it.

        br.d
        Thank you!!!

        So then – Calvin’s god foreknows every perception that will come to pass within your brain – because as you say – he FOREKNOWS the perceptions he has DECREED will come to pass within your brain.

        So then:
        1) We have a case – in which you were asked a TRUE/FALSE Bible question.

        2) Calvin’s god decreed that the perception that would come to pass within your brain was the perception that the answer was TRUE – when the actual answer was FALSE

        3) Calvin’s god – at the foundation of the world – made a decision about what perception would come to pass within your brain concerning that TRUE/FALSE question

        4) He had the option of decreeing your perception of the answer – would be that is it TRUE

        5) He had the option of decreeing your perception of the answer – would be FALSE

        6) Concerning your perception – he selected – you would have the perception that the answer is TRUE

        7) Concerning your perception – he rejected – you would have the perception that the answer is FALSE

        Therefore:
        Your brain was not granted the option of perceiving the answer to the question as FALSE – because that perception was rejected at the foundation of the world – as what would infallibly come to pass.

        Therefore – your brain was not granted the function of choosing between TRUE and FALSE in that event – because only one perception was granted to your brain.

        This BTW is laid out in Jonathon Edwards classic writing “On The Power of Contrary Choice”
        where he shows – that in Determinism (aka Calvinism) the brain is not granted a choice between two options – because only one option can be predestined.

        A Contrary choice – Edward shows – would be as follows:
        1) if your brain chose TRUE – then it chose “contrary” to FALSE
        2) if your brain chose FALSE – then it chose “contrary” to TRUE

        In such case – nothing determined what your brain would perceive – which would constitute a LIBERTARIAN choice.

        And that would falsify the doctrine of decrees.

      78. Agree. Humans do not have the power to choose contrary, LFW, because God has decreed all things according to the counsel of His will. If I can choose contrary to God’s decree, God’s decree would be false.

        Since your presupposition is that there is no decree, you assume LFW or the power to choose contrary. You must be an open theist. LFW or the power to choose contrary can only function in open theism. If God has perfect foreknowledge of all our choices, then if I choose contrary to one of those choices foreknown by God, God’s foreknowledge is imperfect. It then necessarily follows that God is not God according to His revelation. He’s a human who can err in prophecy, break His promises, His will can be resisted, etc. God could not have inspired John to write Revelations. For throughout history someone can choose contrary to God’s foreknowledge, thwarting God’s will.

        The only consistent proponent of LFW or power to choose contrary is the open theist.

      79. Roland
        Agree. Humans do not have the power to choose contrary

        br.d
        Wonderful!

        So again – contrary choice is as follows:

        1) If your brain were to select TRUE – then it would selecting CONTRARY to FALSE
        2) if your brain were to select FALSE – then it would be selecting CONTRARY to TRUE

        This would constitutes a LIBERTARIAN choice – because Calvin’s god is not the determiner of what perception will come to pass within the brain.

        Therefore – in Calvinism it follows:

        1) The Calvinist brain is not granted choice between TRUE and FALSE on any matter – because that would constitute a CONTRARY choice.

        2) The Calvinist brain is granted one single predestined – rendered-certain perception.

        3) Calvin’s god has the option of decreeing the perception granted to the Calvinist – will be the perception of TRUE

        4) Calvin’s god also has the option of decreeing the perception granted to the Calvinist – will be the perception of FALSE

        5) In ether case – only ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED RENDERED-CERTAIN perception is available to the Calvinist’s brain

        CONCLUSION:
        Since the Calvinist brain is not granted choice between TRUE and FALSE on any matter – it follows he cannot know whether any matter is TRUE or FALSE – because he discern between TRUE and FALSE on any matter.

        Thus you have a conundrum

        Your brain is performing a Contrary choice between TRUE and FALSE on the matter of whether or not Contrary choice is TRUE or FALSE.

        Thus your claim that Contrary choice is FALSE is defeated by your brains process of Contrary choice. :-]

      80. br.d
        it follows he cannot know whether any matter is TRUE or FALSE – because he discern between TRUE and FALSE on any matter.

        roland
        If I cannot discern between true and false, why try to convince me or have me discern whether Calvinism is TRUE or FALSE?

      81. roland
        If I cannot discern between true and false, why try to convince me or have me discern whether Calvinism is TRUE or FALSE?

        br.d
        This is a model of logic classically called: “Modus tollens”

        1) If [P], then [Q]
        2) Not [Q]
        3) Therefore not [P]

        It is used in courts of all law all the time
        For example:

        1) It is asserted that Jane drove a mini-van through a red light. And consequently struck the Parker’s child – who was crossing the road on his way to school.

        2) Jane is a paraplegic who cannot drive and does not own a car.

        3) Therefore the argument concerning Jane cannot possibly be TRUE

        In our case – the argument is as follows:
        1) If [P] then [Q]
        If [Contrary Choice does not exist] then [Contrary choice is not a function available to me]

        2) Not [Q]
        It cannot possibly be true that contrary choice is not available to me – because making a truth-claim requires concerning Contrary choice – required that I choose whether the claim is TRUE or FALSE – which required a choice between TRUE and FALSE

        3) Therefore Not [P]
        Therefore the original claim cannot possibly be TRUE.

      82. BTW:
        This all has to do with how Determinism (which is what Calvinism presupposes) is self-refuting

        Dr. John Searle – UC Berkeley – Epistemology and Ontology
        -quote
        All rational activity logically presupposes Libertarian function.
        This becomes obvious when one realizes that rationality is possible only where one has a choice among various rational as well as irrational options.” (Rationality in Action)

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

        Determinism could be true; but it cannot be rationally affirmed, since its affirmation undermines the rationality of its affirmation.

        Calvinist Gregory Koukl
        -quote
        The problem with determinism, is…. rationality would have no room to operate.
        Arguments would not matter, since no one would be able to base beliefs on adequate reasons.
        One could never judge between a good idea and a bad one.
        One would only hold beliefs because he has been predetermined to do so.
        Although it is theoretically possible that determinism is true…..no one could ever know if it were. Everyone of our thoughts dispositions and opinions would have been decided for us by factors completely out of our control.
        Therefore in practice, arguments for determinism are self defeating.”

      83. Modus tollens can be used to show that Christ is a contradiction or logically impossible.
        If Christ is divine, then he is immaterial.
        If Christ is human, then he is material.
        So, Christ is not material and material.
        It is a logically impossible for Christ to be both material and not material. This can be shown with almost any divine attribute.

        If Christ is divine, he is omnipresent.
        If Christ is human, he is not omnipresent.
        Christ is both omnipresent and not omnipresent.

        Should Christians reject Christ’s divinity because it is logically impossible and/or a contradiction?

      84. Roland
        If Christ is divine, then he is immaterial.

        br.d
        No that doesn’t follow.
        You are simply creating your own definition for “divine”
        That is called begging the question.

        Jesus walked on the road to emmaus and talked with two of his disciples
        He sat down with them and broke and eat bread with them
        Jesus later walked through a wall to get into the room where his disciples were
        He had holes in his hands and a hole his chest.
        He again sat down and eat with them.
        Later Jesus was taken up into heaven.

        What you are arguing is – in order for any of that to be true – he could not have been divine.

      85. Calvinists NEED contradiction to be ok or acceptable because their doctrine LIVES on contradiction. Instead of seeing a contradiction as a sure fire sign that something is flawed in the theology, they try to just say contradictions are simply ok! Here, Roland is creating a contradiction where a contradiction doesn’t exist by changing the definition of a word AND ALSO ascribing to the Gnostic doctrine condemned by the Bible that the flesh is impure so Christ couldn’t have been in the flesh.

        Contradiction is NOT ok. It is a way to distinguish true from false.

      86. A2A
        Here, Roland is creating a contradiction where a contradiction doesn’t exist by changing the definition of a word AND ALSO ascribing to the Gnostic doctrine condemned by the Bible that the flesh is impure so Christ couldn’t have been in the flesh.

        roland
        How am I “creating” a contradiction?

        Which premises of my syllogism are false?

      87. Divine means of, from, like God or a god. So Jesus was from God and was God. When you use the scripture that God is spirit, you forget the Trinity.

        Finally every single one of us has a soul/spirit and are all eternal beings outside of the material which also isn’t a contradiction. God taking the form of a human isn’t a contradiction.

        Water that is in a jar isn’t the water being both a liquid and a solid at the same time. In the same way, Christ being God IN THE flesh is not a contradiction.

        Roland, truly, you seem like a nice man who loves God and is genuinely trying to please Him and desires to honor Him with being studied and know the truth about Him. Might I suggest reevaluating your interpretations but with the filter of contradictions NOT being acceptable. It is amazing how well it all fits together and how everything falls into place.

        I’d go as far as to say that one of the biggest evidences that the Bible is the divinely inspired, authored, infallible Word of God is that it is 66 books written by 40 different people over 1500 years and it doesn’t contradict itself even ONCE! THAT isn’t HUMANLY possible.

      88. br.d, your comments are always much more scholarly than mine. Your use of quotes and references is top notch, and truly I hope God gifts me with that ability when I further the Apologetics ministry He is calling me to!

      89. A2A
        Roland, truly, you seem like a nice man who loves God and is genuinely trying to please Him and desires to honor Him with being studied and know the truth about Him. Might I suggest reevaluating your interpretations but with the filter of contradictions NOT being acceptable.

        roland
        I don’t believe the Bible contains contradictions. However, I don’t believe the Bible is a book of logic or philosophy. I believe it to be true not because there are no contradictions in it but because it is God’s revelation to man. It is an issue of faith not reason. My understanding of Scripture is that if there appears to be a contradiction in it then it is our inability to comprehend Scripture and not God’s failure to clearly communicate His message to us.

      90. Roland
        My understanding of Scripture is that if there ***APPEARS* to be a contradiction

        br.d
        Once upon a time – there was a young man whose family had raised him as a Jehovah’s Witness.
        When he was a senior in high-school he became very interested in the critical thinking.
        In his studies he learned about all of the various types of fallacies one’s thinking can fall prey to.
        He became very adept at immediately spotting fallacies and contradictions.

        This had a profound effect on his family, because the more fallacies and contradictions he learned to recognize – the more problems he started to see within the Jehovah’s Witness belief system.

        The Elders of the Jehovah’s Witness church became alarmed.
        They demanded to speak with him and correct the errors of his ways.
        With open bibles – they surrounded him in an attempt to correct his thinking.
        He easily answered every bold declaration – because he could easily see through the self-contradictions within the system.

        As an answer – the Elders declared – they were only contradictions in appearance.
        What they have is really divine revelation – which is too inscrutable for the human mind to understanding.

        They walked away telling themselves JW doctrines were not real contradictions.
        He walked away free

      91. A few things we need to be careful with here. Appeal to mystery can be greatly abused and become a lazy excuse to not understand things. In fact, appeal to mystery is part of what kept me an atheist for as long as I was. I’d ask a question genuinely seeking an answer and get a “God works in mysterious ways” answer. This didn’t satisfy me, and made me doubt the truth of Christianity. When I found out that THERE WERE logical and coherent answers to my questions, it bolstered my faith greatly, I truly believed, and got saved. It is why I love Apologetics.

        There ARE mysteries of God. Our new bodies as an example. But there is no information and no explanation for things like that. There is no way to reason it out. The things Calvinists claim as mystery ACTUALLY HAVE well reasoned explanations from non-calvinists.

        Finally saying understanding and believing the Bible by purely faith is a misattribution of application of faith. One must believe that the Bible is TRUE (this is having faith in it) and the thing is WHEN SOMETHING IS TRUE, there will be evidence it is true. Logic, reason, history and investigative process will all back up and provide evidence of truth. Something false will be exposed by these things.

        The Bible is in words. Words have meanings. Words communicate concepts. It requires reason and logic to read. It isn’t JUST faith. If you had a Russian Bible in front of you and couldn’t speak or read Russian, would you understand anything in it? Clearly not. One has to read it to understand it and then it takes faith to believe what is understood in it.

      92. This is so true A2A! Happy to have you on these discussions.

        We have so many good answers for what they call “mystery” (which allow for their contradictions).

        Often in appealing to mystery they will mention the Tri-Unity of God (mystery) and the Divineness-Humaness of Christ (mystery). But those are about the nature of God that are not understandable to us.

        What He did with His creation is often so clear in Scripture, yet in order to make Calvinism work they have to claim “mystery” all the time.

        Or they have to take broad/ vague verses (or half verses) that say He “reveals the end from the beginning” “roll the dice in the lap” “turn the hearts of the king” and build their definition of sovereign on those.

        There is nothing mysterious about God being “Sovereign enough” to create His world in a way where people make real choices. But their imposed definition of “sovereignty” requires that He decree all things (but He’s not the author of sin). Mystery!

        Nah.

      93. Exactly! What I find interesting is how much importance they give to Sovereignty of God (which is their definition). I believe God’s sovereignty, in the actual definition of being the highest authority who answers to no other authority, is implied even in Genesis 1:1

        The Calvinist will say freewill isn’t taught in the Bible and that this is important because it contradicts (their definition) of God’s sovereignty (which is a contradiction they ARE NOT ok with).

        But if freewill is not taught in the Bible and God’s sovereignty is of such importance, why is the word freewill in the Bible (KJV) and the word Sovereign or Sovereignty not in the Bible once?

        Sovereignty, then, is implied, but not mentioned specifically. Freewill is implied (as early as Genesis 1:26) AND mentioned, but they reject that it is ok to go off of implication!

        I can never understand why they are so repulsed by the concept of freewill, because the second something happens on earth TO THEM that violates THEIR freedom, or even someone else’s, they cry injustice and an act of evil and oppression! Yet, the very beliefs they hold to about God make Him out to be just like the oppressive tyrant they say is unjust! It is baffling!

      94. A2A
        The Calvinist will say freewill isn’t taught in the Bible

        br.d
        They do have a “FORM” of free will – which is called “Compatibilism”

        Reformed scholar Dr. Oliver Crisp
        -quote
        Compatibilism is just the idea that….determinism is COMPATIBLE with me being free IN SOME SENSE. A theological Compatibilist would say, god determines what comes to pass. And that is CONSISTENT with me being free…..provided our account of freedom is THIN ENOUGH that it can be made CONSISTENT with god determining all that comes to pass.(Trinity podcast 82)

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

        What Oliver Crisp means by “Thin Enough” is as follows:

        1) The creature is “Free” to be/do ONLY that which is infallibly decreed
        2) The creature is NOT “Free” be/do OTHERWISE than that which is infallibly decreed
        3) No Alternative to that which is infallibly decreed is permitted or possible
        4) Therefore – no Alternative of that which is infallibly decreed – is granted to the creature.

        Thus in Calvinism – with Adam in the garden we have:

        1) Adam was “Free” to eat the fruit – because eating the fruit was COMPATIBLE with that which was determined.

        2) The impulse within Adam’s brain to eat the fruit was granted existence – because that impulse was CONSISTENT with that which was determined.

        3) Adam was NOT “Free” to NOT eat the fruit – because NOT eating the fruit was NOT COMPATIBLE with what was determined.

        4) The impulse within Adam’s brain to NOT eat the fruit was NOT granted existence – because it represented and an ALTERNATIVE from that which was infallibly decreed – which is not permitted and not possible – and thus not available to the creature

        You can think about it this way:
        In order for an infallible decree to be successful – all NECESSARY CONDITIONS for that infallible decree must be included within the decree.

        IF – for example:
        [X] were decreed to infallibly come to pass
        And [X] were not permitted to come to pass
        Then Calvin’s god would be a house divided against himself.
        He must therefore permit – what he decrees to infallibly come to pass
        This is what the Calvinist means by the “Divine Permissive Will” or the “Permissive Decree”
        It simply means – Calvin’s god must permit what he decrees – or he would be in conflict with himself.

        The same principle applies to Freedom
        If [X] were decreed to infallibly come to pass
        And [X] were not granted “Freedom” to come to pass
        Then Calvin’s god would again be a house divided against himself.

        He must therefore grant to [X] “Freedom” sufficient for the decree to be successful.
        So when a Calvinist says man has “Freewill” what he means is – Calvin’s god decrees what the person’s will will be – and in order for that decree to be successful – requires granting “Freedom” for it to be what it was decreed to be.

        That is what Dr. Oliver Crisp means when he says “Freedom” must be THIN ENOUGH to qualify as “Freedom” compatible with Determinism.

      95. We have 2 things going on with compatibilism.

        1). It is simply a denial of the law of non-contradiction. Freedom necessitates the ability to choose between 2 or more options. Determinism necessitates there is only one option, that which God decreed. These two concepts are in direct opposition to each other. They are about as A and Not-A as any two things could be. They are by their very definitions, not compatible. Compatibilism is a Calvinist pushing a square peg into a round hole, and then affirming “this is where it belongs!”

        2). To get around this (because deep down, they even recognize the absurdity of confirming a contradiction) they play their language game and redefine a word as they see fit. They use the word “freedom”, but don’t actually mean the definition of freedom, which is the ability to make choices.

        The absurdity is so obvious it makes no sense to not just adopt an interpretation that works without any of the absurdity. Just as they can redefine words on a whim, they can also find absurdity in sound reasoning. Again, it is baffling.

      96. It has to be pride. Not to level an accusation, but I don’t see another reason. They have received a “special revelation” from God and have a “deeper understanding” of scripture. It gives them a sense of superiority in a way. Even the concept of the doctrine of election. I am specially selected and chosen by God, even though I don’t understand why. I am thankful I am not a reprobate!

        It is also hard to admit you were wrong. There are other attachments to. Let’s take MacArthur or Sprohl. Entire books and sermons, the money they get, their life’s work and reputation. Is it easy for them to then turn around and say, “well actually, all that stuff I taught was in error!”? It’s the same attachment in a way that the rich man has!

      97. I’m gonna have to interject and take issue here A2A. I think you being too hard on them.

        Most of them come in the same way I did. I was an evangelical, raised in a non-Calvinist home. I wanted to serve the Lord and give Him the most glory/ awareness/ power/ reverence that I could.

        When I was a young student other older guys who had studied the subject “tricked” me time and time again, using all kinds of statements like:

        You are a universalist then?
        Dead men dont make choices.
        Looks like you have a man-centered Gospel.
        Oh, so you are saying that God doesnt plan the end from the beginning?

        And on and on.

        Then, with the help of the 40 magic verses (out of context) they convinced me that this “previously hidden gem” actually gave God the most glory. So you dont swallow the whole thing at once….. just the “give glory” parts and then you (they) build on that with more and more (deeper) ideas.

        Example: Many years later my daughter was on staff at a church. The young youth leader was reading Piper / Sproul books and was a YRR recruit. He told her he was a Calvinist. She said…..”Okay, so you believe X, and Y, and Z?” She did this with about 6-7-8 things (beliefs).

        He categorically denied ALL of the (Calvinist) things saying that he did not believe that!!!

        Her answer: But you will soon.

        Couple years later—- unless he pushed back and looked for answers outside of the Piper silo — likely he believes (or at least teaches) that all evil in the world is brought about by God for His glory (like Piper teaches).

        How he then teaches high school boys to avoid porn I dont know. Cuz they can always say at the end of the day:

        “God determined/ decreed/ ordained all that happened today, cuz we know that all that happens is exactly what God wants to happen.”

        Nah.

      98. You are right of course. I think too, that there are different levels of Calvinists. Some are deeply engrained, stubborn and completely aware of their beliefs and have heard the good arguments against it (James White comes to mind). Others have just not heard anything else. Others just think they are honoring God and just aren’t seekers much themselves. So there is an array of Calvinists and thus an array of why they would be hesitant to believe something else.

      99. Yes!
        It has to be flesh doesn’t it!
        So it is a system designed to serve the flesh.
        And for a professing Christian to continue in that – he need to figure out a way to justify it.
        And one would expect nothing less than the strategy to justify it – would to call it divine revelation.
        So I would suspect once a person gets to that point – their are so committed to it – there is not much the Lord can do to draw them out of it.

        I know Dr. Flower’s testimony as a Calvinist – is that it eventually started to fall apart for him – when he allowed himself to question it.

        And if FOH is reading this – perhaps you could give us your story of what you feel the critical issue was that finally made you disconnect with Calvinism?

      100. I am reading and I have given my testimony many times in this space.

        Put the books down (they all have an agenda) and just read huge chunks of the Bible every day. Dont filter it….let is speak for itself.

        Dont make God be something (cuz you want Him to be that) that the Bible doesnt say.

        Lots of sects have built their case completely from the Bible (JW).

      101. Interesting. Not in opposition to anything you said there, but I personally find the RIGHT filters to be necessary to come to correct interpretation. Letting Scripture help understand scripture for example. If 2 things in the Bible appear to contradict, then you know that it isn’t the Bible that is contradicting, but there is something you are missing and you need to dive deeper to find out where the misunderstanding is.

        I think a good concordance helps. I think keeping context of the verse helps. I think understanding who and what is being addressed helps. I think understanding figures of speech and historical practices of the time helps. I think understanding the literary style helps.

        These things may not be “filters” per say, but they help have a good understanding. As you said, JW get their theology from the Bible, but I believe it is because they put it through the wrong filters.

      102. br.d
        A behavior pattern I think you’ll find very consistent with a large population of Calvinists – is they have the capacity to recognize there is a difference between what the text of scripture says and how one reads it – when they are examining anything other than Calvinism.

        When it comes to Calvinism however – all of a sudden there no such thing as an interpretation of the text. They do not interpret the text. They simply read what it clearly and plainly says.

        In these dialogs – I remind them that when Jesus was tempted by the lawyer – he asked the lawyer 2 questions
        1) What does the text say?
        2) How do you read it?

        Clearly for Jesus – the second question is just as critical as the first.

        The lawyer had no problem answering Jesus’ first question – he quoted the verse verbatim.
        But he avoided Jesus’ 2nd question.
        He avoided it – because it brought his vulnerability in front of a spotlight.

        Scripture stands on its own authority.
        But a human interpretation can be corrupt and is thus subject to scrutiny.

        I can’t tell you how many Calvinists to whom I have pointed out how critical Jesus’ 2nd question is.
        And it saddens me to tell you that a large percentage of them simply don’t appear to care about what is important to Jesus.

        They will insist they do not “Interpret” the text – they simply read what it clearly says.
        So when faced with Jesus question “How do you read it? They treat Jesus’ 2nd question like it is simply to be ignored.

        The fact that they are dishonoring Jesus in the process doesn’t seem to bother them at all.
        They simply are not going to acknowledge Calvinism has its own unique interpretations of scripture because they would then have to acknowledge vulnerability.

        The Calvinist interpretation of scripture functions as part of his Canon.

      103. They plainly read it UNTIL a clearly read verse opposes one of their beliefs. John 3:16, John 1:29, 1 John 2:2, 2 Peter 3:9, just to name a few! All of a sudden the verse isn’t saying what it plainly says and they have to ADD TO the Word of God to make it say what they want it to say. World doesn’t mean world, whole world doesn’t mean everyone and all means “all of the elect”.

        But it is funny, because it doesn’t say all of the elect, it just says all. Consistently! Across every verse that talks about it. You can’t plainly read THOSE verses, but MUST plainly read others (which honestly plainly read still don’t even say how they read it).

      104. Yes – its interesting to watch.
        We’ve had Calvinists come and go here.
        And of course they quote verses.
        But I’m always keen to see how they alter the verse in their minds in order to make it fit the doctrine.

        Sometimes I point out to them that they’ve removed key words from a text or added things into the text that aren’t there.

        They all of a sudden realize they got caught.
        They probably tell themselves they won’t get caught again.

        And from then on – they’re careful to quote verses verbatim
        That way no one can see how they’ve changed the verse in their minds.

      105. A2A
        Freedom necessitates the ability to choose between 2 or more options

        br.d
        Actually – this has been shown to not be the case.
        You may want to check out the “Frankfurt Experiment”

        What we are talking about here – with 2 or more options – is generally called PAP (Principle of Alternative Possibilities)

        The Frankfurt Experiment was a way to show that an Alternative Possibility is not a necessary condition for a free-will act.

        However – the standard definition for the term “Choice” does contain a necessary condition for more than one option available to select from. And as you can see from our last conversation with Roland – Determinism eradicates multiple options available to his mind. Thus if it is decreed that the perception in his brain concerning a TRUE/FALSE Bible question is TRUE – then that is the only perception that is granted to his brain.

        The perception of the answer to the Bible question be FALSE is not available to his brain – because only one perception can be predestined. Calvin’s god cannot leave it *OPEN* for the Calvinist brain to make a libertarian choice between TRUE and FALSE. Consequently the decree makes it the case that the Calvinist brain is not granted the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE on any matter.

        So as a result of the Frankfurt experiment – PAP today is currently acknowledged as not necessary for a free-will act.

        Check out the Reasonable Faith web-site article where Dr. Craig answers this question
        Titled: #320 Free Will

      106. Not directly related to this post in response but:

        Here is another problem I have with Calvinism, especially election.

        Imagine a couple. They are both fertile and both decide to have children. They want to have 4. They do all they can to get pregnant. Then the first baby is conceived. They decide, before this baby is ever even born, that they won’t love it in the same way as their next child. Not because of anything they did, they just decide that. Because it will bring them glory. They wouldn’t die for this child, but they will for the next one.

        If you take this analogy and say it to ANYONE who has any sort of moral compass they would say this is disgusting and immoral, and that these are terrible parents. It is morally repulsive. Yet, the Calvinist believes this exactly about God.

        The non-Calvinist does not have this problem because they believe God loves all of mankind, died for all, wants all to repent and none to perish (like the Bible clearly says). God’s greatest act of love is available as a free gift to all who will receive it.

        This, among many other reasons, is why I find Calvinism absolutely repulsive. It paints a very dark and immoral picture of God and diminishes His love to give greater importance to His “sovereignty” (as the Calvinist defines sovereignty).

        The non-Calvinist believes God’s love and sovereignty are not mutually exclusive, that He is completely love and completely sovereign (based on the actual definition of the word sovereign)!

        Yet Calvinist will claim they have a higher view of God. Yet again, more baffling “logic” from the Calvinists.

      107. br.d
        Yes I understand what you say saying for sure!
        I’ve seen many Calvinists try to twist that around to make it look like there is some justification in it – for example – by asking the question – does god not have a right to not love those who hate him.

        You can see what they are doing.
        They are switching it around so that their god is the innocent party subject to the abuse of a human.

        Or they might say – who are you to try to judge god – or why can’t you just let god be god.
        My response to that is to switch that around and say – why does the Calvinist have to create a good-evil deity – why can’t the Calvinist just let god be who he want’s to be instead of who they want him to be.

      108. Those are great! I would ask:

        Does God have a right to lie or author confusion? Or does God not act outside of His character and nature? If lying is unrighteous for a human to do, it would also be unrighteous for God to do. If not loving one of your children is unrighteous for a human, it would be unrighteous for God. Why do you think God is a hypocrite?

      109. But…. A2A…..they whisk all that away by saying:

        “But we all deserve hell and torture….and it is gracious of Him to save any at all.”

        Did that work for you?

        Nah. Sounds kind of silly in light of your analogy.

        That is why I say we have to be gracious to them. They have actually convinced themselves that the Bible teaches this immoral, repulsive idea of God….and it is our job to accept it….all the while saying, “However, we know that God ‘is good’ so this must all fit somehow! Mystery!”

      110. A2A
        The non-Calvinist does not have this problem because they believe God loves all of mankind, died for all, wants all to repent and none to perish (like the Bible clearly says). God’s greatest act of love is available as a free gift to all who will receive it.

        roland
        Imagine you a parent watching your children play on a driveway. You are sitting in the garage with the garage door open. Your children are playing in the driveway. They all begin to run towards the street. You begin to shout out to them. “Turn around! There is danger in the street. If you run into the street, you will be stuck by a car and killed!” As the parent, you have the power to stop them. But you don’t because you believe that if you save them their love for you is not genuine. Their turning back from the danger must be done freely, without coercion. Yet you are shouting, “I love you. Turn back from the danger.” You know that if they run into the street your children will be struck by a car and killed. You have the power to stop them. You have the knowledge that they will be struck by a car and killed. Yet your only actions are pleading, begging, and shouting them to turn back. When they don’t. Whey you fail to take action to stop them. They perish.

        This is why I find non-calvinism DISGUSTING and IMMORAL. At least in Calvinism God does take action and save His elect. In non-calvinism God does not take action. He saves none. He CAN only wait for His “free creatures” to make a “freewill” decision to turn to Him and live. Which none of His “free creatures” do unless God intervenes.

        The Calvinist does not have this problem. The PASSIVE and OBSERVANT God who does nothing but invite. The God of the Bible does much more than invite. He actually saves. In non-calvinism God does not save but only offers to save. In Calvinism, God SAVES!. In non-calvinism God watches sinners die, knows they’re going to die, has the power to save them from eternal punishment yet does nothing but invite or offer to save.

        Cap locks for emphasis, not yelling. 🙂

      111. roland
        Imagine you a parent watching your children play on a driveway. You are sitting in the garage with the garage door open.

        br.d
        WHAT??????

        That is NOT Calvinism!!!!!
        That is about as far from Calvinism as one can get!!!

        The Calvnist version of that goes like this:

        Imagine a father who has the power to decree whatsoever will come to pass with his children.
        And his decree is infallible – which means nothing in creation can countervail it.

        He decrees his children to infallibly run in front of an Amtrak high speed rail-train
        The children are instantly torn into pieces.
        The father is manifested his divine sovereignty over his creation and is thus glorified.

      112. Roland
        The God of the Bible does much more than invite. He actually saves.

        br.d
        Of course you when you say “the god of the bible” you mean Calvin’s god.

        Yes Calvin’s god saves.
        Firstly – he creates all creatures with a DEATH decree.
        The DEATH decree makes creatures IRRESISTIBLY sin and IRRESISTIBLY hate all godliness by infallible decree.

        For the *MANY* – the DEATH decree is eternal.
        He specifically created/designed these creatures for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

        But the *FEW* – the DEATH decree is temporary.

        These creatures he designed to be saved from his DEATH decree.

      113. br.d I like your answer more than mine, as it cuts to the heart of issue. I’ll give mine later, but it has to do with conflation and why Roland’s argument is not an apples to apples comparison!

      114. I think it would be applicable for me to lovingly call Roland my friendly Arminian-Calvinist. :-]

        There are so many representations he makes – which he thinks are Calvinism – but which are not in fact Calvinism at all – but rather Arminianism.

        I know he doesn’t find that complimentary.
        But it doesn’t benefit anyone – including him – to pretend otherwise.

        We know historically – there are Calvinist pastors who do not dare reveal they are Calvinist – for fear of losing the majority of their congregation and being left with a handful of hard-core Calvinists.

        The more unflinching Calvinism a pastor teaches – the smaller his congregation is going to be – simply because people will quite naturally find it distasteful.

        So it makes perfect sense for Calvinist pastors to strategically remove certain parts of their Calvinism – and quietly replace those parts with Arminianism – in order to create a more benevolent belief system.

        I can easily see how most church people in that situation – including Roland – wouldn’t want to know the decree to which their pastors are carefully slipping Arminianism into their representations.

        So it is my guess – that is probably Roland’s situation.

      115. Yuk…..

        This analogy is wrong on so many levels. I will only show one.

        You said the parent “pleads” with the kids. This is were you are fooling yourself. What kind of “pleading” is that if God has willed/ wanted/ planned/ ordained/ decreed all along that the child run in the street. That is just nonsensical.

        In Calvinism God NEEDS kids to run into the street for His glory…to fill up His wrath.

        We have no human comprehension of a parent who actually WANTS the kind to run in the street.

        Even if we could wrap our brains around such an idea we would not say that this parent “IS love” (not loves, but IS love).

      116. br.d
        It does sound like it could be! :-]
        But no – its simply a parable.

        My testimony concerning Calvinism – is that I was an evangelical Christian for over 30 years before I bumped into my first Calvinist – who took a job at the company I worked for.

        At first I was pleased because he was a professing Christian – and they were few and far between in the work-place. I would get some fellowship “or so I thought” ;-D

        But it became a pattern – every Monday he would tell me about the fantastic sermon his pastor gave to his church the day before. His pastor would tell them things like – the majority of churches in the world do not read the Bible correctly. They for example interpret John 3:16 incorrectly. And the list goes on.

        I became curious and started to investigate. That’s when I discovered Calvinism.
        I eventually discovered all of these verses which all Christians in the world were supposedly reading incorrectly – were simply Calvinist proof-texts – designed to conform to Exhaustive Divine Determinism.

        This pastor was being dishonest with his congregation.
        He was leading them to believe he was simply teaching them the “Orthodox” interpretation of scripture.
        He never once mentioned John Calvin
        He never once told them he was teaching them out of a Calvinist hand-book.

        I confronted my friend at work and asked him how long his pastor had been teaching Calvinism.
        He gave me a “dear in the head-lights” look – and insisted he had never heard of Calvinism.

        From there I started referring to scholarship on the subject.
        Dr. Gordon Fee and Dr. William Lane Craig were the ones who first shined a spot-light on what Calvinism is all about.

        Once I discovered Calvinism is simply a form of Christianity designed to conform to Determinism – I then started learning more about Determinism in the Atheist world – and discovered they share many attributes together – because Determinism is essentially the same in both systems.

        The difference between Atheist Determinism a Calvinist Determinism – is the “DETERMINER”
        The Atheist does not have a THEOS
        So the Determiner is nature
        As Atheist Determinist Sean Carroll would say – “The arrangement of the constituents of the cosmos”

        The Calvinist has a THEOS
        So his Determiner is a THEOS

        But what we have is Determinism “Simpliciter” – with a different Determiner.
        Since Determinism is the same in both systems – both systems contain the same logical consequences.

        This is why William Lane Craig wrote the article “The Calvinist lies down with the Atheist”

      117. My story is similar. My first deep dive was Dr. John Lennox Determined to Believe? which dives deep into atheist and theological determinism, and does an excellent job of explaining all of the “proof texts” especially Romans 9.

        Craig is great in his debates with Atheists! So is Lennox! Interesting how some of the greatest minds in defending Christianity who happen to be the most thoroughly credentialed and studied also speak out against Calvinism.

        C.S, Lewis also affirmed freewill. Interestingly, Greg Koukl is a Calvinist, even though he refutes Calvinism in his own teachings. His book Tactics, I would still recommend to every Christian as its exhaustive use of rock solid logic and philosophy explained in simple examples is invaluable. It REALLY surprised me to learn he was a calvinist!

      118. br.d
        Wonderful!
        Yes!
        Greg Koukl is a serious anomaly within current day Calvinism.

        But when we look at the logical consequences of Determinism – what we find is that all Determinists must live *AS-IF* Determinism is FALSE.

        Greg Koukl has decided that he must be logically coherent with his belief system.
        So he adopts Libertarian freedom rather than trying to DOUBLE-SPEAK his way around it.

        Stephen Hawking
        -quote
        I believe Determinism is true – but I have come to realize I have to live *AS-IF* Determinism is false (presentation at Oxford – Lady Mitchel hall)

        Sean Carroll
        -quote
        Every person in the world (i.e. Determinists) no matter how Anti-Free-Will they are – speak *AS-IF* people make decisions. (Joe Rogan interview – what is free will)

        William Lane Craig
        -quote
        Nobody can live *AS-IF* all that he thinks and does is determined by causes outside of himself.
        Even determinists recognize they have to act *AS-IF* they have option(S) to weigh, and can decide on what course of action to take….. (Determinism is unlivable)

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

        ————————————
        So what we have in as a psychological consequence of Determinism is:

        1) Hold [X] as TRUE
        2) Treat [X] *AS-IF* it is FALSE

        Now that is a consequence of Determinism which the Atheist Determinist is willing to accept because its a simply matter of psychological survival.

        However that consequence is devastating to the Calvinist for 2 reasons.
        1) His language evolves into a language of DOUBLE-SPEAK which is antithetical to the teaching of scripture

        2) Since he holds Determinism as what the Bible teaches – and since he has to treat Determinism *AS-IF* it is FALSE – it follows he has to treat what the Bible teaches *AS-IF* it is FALSE.

        And that is why Calvinism is such a contorted belief system

      119. Yes, their determinism is the same as atheistic determinism.

        And as I have said….they are also universalists.

        They cannot stand the idea of universalism (cuz, perish the thought that God would take everyone! He “needs” some for His wrath!).

        But the two philosophies work off the very same premise:

        God is gonna take the whole world cuz that’s what He wants to do. They do nothing.
        God is gonna take the elect cuz that’s what He wants to do. They do nothing.

        The principle is the same as universalism, just a smaller (stingier) number.

        I’m not sure how they get upset at universalists (cuz universalists just use verses to claim that their Sovereign God has determined it that way).

      120. A2A
        Calvinists NEED contradiction to be ok or acceptable because their doctrine LIVES on contradiction

        br.d
        Bulls-eye!!!!
        You hit it – right square on the bulls-eye A2A!

        Every word in that post was wonderfully said!

        Thank you!!!

      121. br.d
        No that doesn’t follow.
        You are simply creating your own definition for “divine”

        roland
        I’m simply creating my own definition for “divine”? John 4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

        A spirit is immaterial. Are you telling me that a spirit is “material”?

      122. Roland
        God is Spirit,

        br.d
        And the angel said to Mary: “Behold – the Holy Spirit shall come upon you. And the power of the Most High will overshadow you. And the holy one to be born within you – will be called the Son of God.
        And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

        Did you know – Atomic Physicists when looking at atomic particles – have observed – a given atomic particle can be at a specific physical location. But then suddenly disappear – and instantaneously re-appear in a completely different and un-associated location.

        How does an atomic particle – which is material in nature – do that?

        Obviously the creator of the universe has the power to create such things.

        But does the creator of the universe contradict himself?

      123. Roland this might help:

        William Lane Craig is answer an Atheist’s question – because Atheists are taught that the divinity of Jesus is a contradiction.

        William Lane Craig
        -quote
        People who use the expression “fully God/fully man” do not mean to suggest, I’m sure, that Christ is totally God and totally man, but rather that he is truly God and truly man.

        The Chalcedonian expression (vere Deus/vere homo) “Truly God/Truly man” is not oxymoronic (i.e. a contradiction).

        The framers of the Chalcedon expression affirmed that Christ has two distinct natures, one human and one divine.

        In affirming that the incarnate Christ had two natures, the Church Fathers were stating that Christ exemplified all the properties which go to constitute humanity and all the properties which go to make up deity. In that sense, he had two natures and so belonged to two natural kinds, Man and God. Christ was thus truly human, but he was not merely human.

      124. br.d
        But does the creator of the universe contradict himself?

        roland
        No the Creator of the universe does not contradict Himself. In Scripture there are contradictions in appearance. As an example, consider the texts of Scripture which state that God repents and God does not repent. Genesis 6:6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. Exodus 32:14 So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people. Some versions translate relent as repent or changed His mind. Numbers 23:19“God is not a man, that He should lie,
        Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
        Has He said, and will He not do?
        Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

        Are these contradictions? I say no. You probably agree. The difference I am trying to point out is this: I conclude that God does not contradict Himself based on His essence, His nature, and not anything else. The non-calvinists on this website appear to me to conclude that God does not contradict Himself based on reason and logic. I was called a fideist on this website and that there is no point in reasoning with me. I am a fideist. I hold to an epistemology based on God’s revelation to us. God’s revelation is the foundation of all knowledge. God’s revelation is true. Even if something appears contradictory I accept as true because God has revealed it to us. Reason would be the means to discern this but reason is not the measurement to discern the veracity of God’s revelation.

        A Brakel fought against the belief that reason was the expositor of Holy Scripture. He argued against this. He wrote this regarding reason and atheism.

        “Their objective (atheists) is to distort Scripture by establishing reason as the expositor of Holy Writ, and in doing so remove its divine authority as well as its infallibility.”

        “Such a conclusion (addressing atheist’s claims) is the consequence of establishing reason as the expositor of Holy Writ, as well as the arbiter in determining what to believe and what not to believe.”

        This seems to be the practice of non-calvinists. If something is true from God’s Word then it must conform to logical and rational standards, if a doctrine does not, then it is not biblical. Reason has become the arbiter of truth and not Holy Writ.

      125. There are many things that are missed here. God gave us a sound mind and called us to reason with Him. Reason and logic are part of God’s essence. They are order and help establish truth. In FACT, in John 1:1 the Greek word used for Word is actually Logos. Guess where the word logic comes from!? God literally IS logic. Just like He IS Good and IS love.

        I would like to point out that you said you can’t use reason to explain things of God and then went and listed reasons to explain something about God….let that one sink in.

        Finally, you used Atheists misuse and improper application of logic and reason to discredit logic and reason in application to scripture. This is fallacious as someone improperly using a tool doesn’t mean the tool doesn’t work for a task.

        To illustrate this is essentially what you are doing here. You are watching a man about to eat a steak. He has a knife and fork. He tries to cut the steak with the DULL SIDE of the knife. It doesn’t work. You then conclude that knives cannot be used to cut steak.

        It is funny too, because Atheism can me disproven logically.

      126. A2A
        I would like to point out that you said you can’t use reason to explain things of God and then went and listed reasons to explain something about God….let that one sink in.

        br.d
        YES!
        The argument that one cannot use HUMAN REASONING to examine something – is itself HUMAN REASONING.

        Total self-contradiction.

        What many Calvinists are doing with arguments like that – is they have put the Calvinist handling of scripture on a divine pedestal and they make it equal to scripture itself.

        The Calvinist has 2 Canons
        1) He has the Canon of scripture – which everyone else has
        2) His interpretation of scripture is also Canon

        Therefore to subject the Calvinist interpretation of scripture to logical scrutiny is to subject scripture to logical scrutiny.

      127. br.d
        Now that we’ve established that God does not contradict himself we need to take it to the next level.
        God’s word does not contradict itself.

        But then we have the Jehovah’s Witness interpretation of scripture
        And we discover many places where his interpretation is self-contradicting.
        And we point out to him where his interpretations are self-contradicting.

        And he tells us he will not allow us to examine his interpretation – because to do so would be to subject scripture to logic – which he refuses to do.

        His interpretation of scripture is from divine revelation – and you are not to question it.

      128. It is funny what is happening here. Roland (and most Calvinists) recognize that there are things in scripture that APPEAR to be contradictions. They even then ADMIT that they ARE NOT contradictions. But here comes the difference between non-calvinists and calvinists:

        The Calvinist just takes it on faith that it isn’t a contradiction, and stops there. They don’t know WHY it isn’t a contradiction they just know it isn’t and from there will generally make an appeal to mystery.

        The non-Calvinist takes it on faith that it isn’t a contradiction, but then seeks out, partially using logic and reason, WHY it isn’t a contradiction. Turns out, there are valid explanations and interpretations that show why it isn’t a contradiction.

        Why does the Calvinist stop where they do? Because using this method would expose the contradiction in their own theology, thus invalidating it. It is a strange form of self-preservation.

      129. Roland,

        I was not going to interact with you more here, but you provide a PERFECT example and I pray you can hear it.

        You are right to contrast and compare the differing  “does not relent/ relents” passages.

        My search on Calvinist sites showed me that 100% of the time Calvinists will take the many, many place where it says he relented, repented, changed, “would have,” etc and they start with “It doesnt really mean what it says here…..”  They then proceed to explain that the verse you quote (and there is one more, 1 Samuel 15:29) somehow “override” this “change” idea that we see in so, many, many places.

        The two verses override the hundreds.

        Why?  Because they want them to.

        Let’s look at the one you quoted:

        “Arise, Balak, and listen;
            hear me, son of Zippor.
        19 God is not human, that he should lie,
            not a human being, that he should change his mind.
        Does he speak and then not act?
            Does he promise and not fulfill?
        20 I have received a command to bless;
            he has blessed, and I cannot change it.

        ——————-
        This is a prophetic, poetic, Semitic format.

        Notice “Arise”  (what? Was he sitting?)

        Notice “hear me” (what? not listening?)

        Notice “son of Zippor” (classic non-western, repetition from the era)

        Then the introduction that he is speaking for God, who is X Y Z.

        Does God change His mind?  There are many verses that say so.

        Does He speak and not act?  Many times, like Nineveh.

        Does He  promise and not fulfill?  yes…see Jeremiah 17-19.

        But this time….I have  “received a command to bless… he has blessed, and I cannot change it.”

        But this time…. He will not change.

        We are not butchering the text to interpret it:  If you think that God is a whimsical human, who randomly changes his mind, be assured that He will not change on this matter.

        So there is no contradiction for me.

        On the other hand…. Calvinist will slaughter many texts where God Himself is speaking and says “I repent” “I relent” “I would have…but now will not”  “If you had done what I wanted, I would have done this…”  “You did not do what I wanted, so now I will….”

        Many, many times.

        All of these many passages are dismissed and minimized by Calvinists.

        Why?  Based on the verse you quoted and the other one (1 Samuel 15:29).

        Those two verses (both spoken by prophets in a prophetic, poetic manner) seem to establish a DOCTRINE that then overrides the hundreds of verses where the Lord speaks for Himself.

        Why?  Because we want the Bible to say what we want it to say.

        God changes His plans all throughout Scripture.  Calvinists just dont let Him.   

        [[[Maybe a second post on 1 Samuel 15, if I have time]]]

      130. Reading in my Bible-in-one-year program today….

        1 Kings 11: 9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.

        This is NOT cherry-picking like Calvinists with a verse here and verse there (interpreted their way). This kind os scenario happens all over Scripture!!

        Question to Calvinists: Does this mean anything to you?

        1. Became angry (did He “change”?)
        2. Shows anger (He is not impassible?)
        3. Solomon’s heart turned from the Lord, or God willed that Solomon do that?
        4. God “forbade” Solomon to do something but he did it. Which was God’s will? Both cannot be God’s will if God is forbidding him to do it.
        5. So…. “So” the Lord said …. “Since” this is your attitude…..
        6. Since….. you did this…. I (the Lord) will now tear the kingdom from you.

        What in the world do a Calvinist do EVERY day when he read these passages?

      131. Exactly FOH! – Calvinists, and those who still believe in the false doctrine of divine impassibility, need to do a word study on the word “provoke”. It is used around 50 times in the OT concerning provoking God to a certain reaction. Many times it is God Himself declaring directly that is what happened. Was He lying! This is one of the greatest harms of Calvinism. It denies that God speaks with clarity and integrity from His own perspective in His own Word.

        Here are just 9 of those examples of “provoke” from Deuteronomy alone! Was Moses lying?
        Deu 4:25
        Deu 9:7
        Deu 9:8
        Deu 9:18
        Deu 9:22
        Deu 31:20 (God speaking)
        Deu 31:29
        Deu 32:16
        Deu 32:21 (God speaking)

      132. Brian
        This is one of the greatest harms of Calvinism. It denies that God speaks with clarity and integrity from His own perspective in His own Word

        br.d
        Yes!

        John Calvin created a THINKING pattern which all Calvinists follow.

        The Calvinist holds [X] to be TRUE – while treating [X] *AS-IF* it is FALSE.

        This thinking pattern is super-imposed upon the Calvinist conception of god and also super-imposed upon the Calvinist’s conception of the writers of scripture.

        In Calvinism for example:
        1) Calvin’s god knows that for every event and every human impulse – his infallible decree establishes only ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED RENDERED-CERTAIN option.

        And yet he treats humans *AS-IF* they are granted CONTRARY options.

        He knows he decrees every event- and the decree is infallible and immutable.
        And yet he treats his events *AS-IF* he did not decree them – and *AS-IF* the decree was not infallible and not immutable.

        He knows an infallible decreed event cannot be OTHERWISE than what was infallibly decreed
        And yet he treats events *AS-IF* they could be OTHERWISE

        He knows he does not grant humans a choice in the matter of that which is infallibly decreed
        And yet he treats humans *AS-IF* they have a choice in the matter.

        The Calvinist has a certain conception of what the Bible teaches.
        For the Calvinist – that conception of what the Bible teaches is TRUE
        But following Calvin’s thinking pattern – the Calvinist treats what he holds the Bible teaches *AS-IF* it is FALSE.

        Where in scripture – is the believer instructed to treat what the Bible teaches *AS-IF* it is FALSE?

      133. br.d
        What in the world do a Calvinist do EVERY day when he read these passages?

        roland
        First, as a Calvinist, I do hold the immutability of God. God does not change. Scripture is clear on this teaching. There are an abundance of verses that teach the truth that God does not change.
        Psalm 102:25-27; see verse 27 the Lord does not change
        25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,
        And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
        26 They will perish, but You will endure;
        Yes, they will all grow old like a garment;
        Like a cloak You will change them,
        And they will be changed.
        27 But You are the same,
        And Your years will have no end.
        28 The children of Your servants will continue,
        And their descendants will be established before You.”

        Malachi 3:6“For I am the Lord, I do not change;
        Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

        Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie,
        Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
        Has He said, and will He not do?
        Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

        God’s immutability is connected to His Name. He is the Lord, He does not change. This is not cherry picking, this is the plain reading of Scripture. God does not change. As a Calvinist, I firmly hold this biblical revelation. There are many verses that teach God’s immutability.

        What do non-calvinists do when they read Scripture that teaches us that God does not change?

        Second, when I read verses that do teach us that God changes, as the verses cited by you, I believe that human’s relationship to God changes but God does not.
        John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDES ON HIM.”
        In relation to God, sinners are either under the wrath of God or under the grace of God. God relates to us as to whether He is angry with us or pleased with us which only happens when we are in Christ.

        There’s much more to this, especially within Reformed circles there is a dividing line that has been drawn as to God’s immutability and impassibility.

      134. roland
        First, as a Calvinist, I do hold the immutability of God.

        br.d
        Is the infallible decree immutable (i.e. unchangeable) ?

      135. BTW Roland – do you know how the word “Immutable” came to be attributed to Calvin’s god?

        Did you know the divine immutability was a doctrine of Plato.
        Its of pagan origins.

        Some of Plato’s doctrines were adopted in religious form – especially by a pagan philosopher whose name was Plotinus.

        The Platonic teachings of Plotinus – were classified as NeoPlatonism (i.e. the new platonism)

        Augustine was an ardent follower of Plotinus.

        That is where Calvinism gets the term “immutable” from.

      136. Yes I know that. I understand, read, and have studied how Christian theologians have appropriated Plato’s and Aristotle’s philosophy. I’ve read some of Aquinas’s Summa Theologica regarding the law and God’s immutability. I know that Reformed theologians have been influenced by Greek philosophy.

        brd
        Augustine was an ardent follower of Plotinus.

        roland
        Really? Augustine was an “ardent follower of Plotinus?” What would make you come to such a conclusion? I’ve never read of Augustine being an “ardent follower of Plotinus.” Is there a reference to this that I could read? If so, I would appreciate if you could provide something for me to investigate. Thanks for reading!

      137. brd
        Augustine was an ardent follower of Plotinus.

        roland
        Really? Augustine was an “ardent follower of Plotinus?” What would make you come to such a conclusion?

        br.d
        All Augustinian scholarship acknowledges that as a historical fact.

        Letters written by Augustine to a close friend “Nebredius” detail his admiration for the teachings of Plotinus. He meditates on the sayings of Plotinus. It is recorded that he recited certain sayings of Plotinus on his death bead.

        A part of the teachings of Plotinus included a form of meditation – that was supposed to bring the NeoPlatonist believer closer to “THE ONE”.

        The term “THE ONE” was a part of the teachings of Plato addopted by Plotinus.

        Plotinus emphasized the transcendent character of the “Primordial One”

        Author, Stephen MacKenna in his work “The Influence Of Plotinus Traced In Augustine” observes within Augustine’s confessions, evidences of at least two mystical meditation experiences, which clearly follow the Neoplatonic model.

        Author Anthony Buzzard in his work “Augustine and Neo-Platonism” writes
        -quote
        The phenomenon of an explicit Platonist influence in Augustine is widely recognized.

        Augustine is considered the leading influence in mixing NeoPlatonism into Christian doctrine.

      138. Yes, God’s decree is infallible. When God says He declares the beginning from the end. His declaration is infallible.
        Isaiah 46:10
        Declaring the end from the beginning,
        And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
        Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
        And I will do all My pleasure,’

      139. Roland
        Yes, God’s decree is infallible.

        br.d
        Does Calvin’s god decree just some things?

        Or is Calvinist Robert R. McLaughlin correct when he says:
        -quote
        “God merely programmed into the divine decrees all our thoughts, motives, and actions”
        (The Doctrine of Divine Decree pg 4)

      140. Roland, if God does not change in any way, the incarnation is not true. The Word was God and the Word became flesh. The word “became” indicates some kind of change.

        Each of the verses you pointed to for immutability only have to do with aspects of God’s nature that do not change. His love, truth, righteousness, and life are immutable. But changes take place all the time in His thoughts, emotions, and actions.

        Num 23:19 – God does not change in telling the truth.

        Mal 3:6 – God does not change in keeping His promises.

        Ps 102:27 – God does not change in growing old, or wearing out.

        None of those verses mean God cannot change in anyway. One member of the Godhead took on flesh and the other members did not. That was a definite change in their experience and description of their nature with one person now being united forever to flesh and the others not.

      141. Thank you for your response Brian. I agree with you that God’s essence or nature does not change. I also believe that the Bible teaches that God went through changes in Christ’s Incarnation. It was a real Incarnation. I further agree that God’s love, truth, righteousness, and life are immutable.
        However, I have not come to a conclusion as to whether or not God changes His thoughts, emotions, and actions. Scriptures teaches us that He does. But why and how He does so I am still trying to understand. So, I have not come to conclusion regarding this issue. This is the beauty of the LORD. He is inexhaustible when it comes to knowing Him. I will say that I tend to lean towards God being passible yet without sinful passions. I believe this is what WCF means when it says God is “without … passions.” That is sinful passions.
        I also tend to lean towards an explanation of God’s condescension towards us with anthropological language to help us understand Him better.
        I’m working on a response to your reading of Ephesians 1:11. I have not forgotten nor put it aside but it’s taking me a little homework to seek a better understanding of Ephesians 1. It is a wonderful passage! Thanks for reading.

      142. Thanks Roland for your response. The WCF didn’t mean without just sinful passions. And God speaks truth about Himself in His Word. An anthropomorphic term never means to be without the characteristic the term points to. Did you see my comment to FOH about the 50 plus verses that speak of provoking God to react emotionally?

      143. Brian
        Did you see my comment to FOH about the 50 plus verses that speak of provoking God to react emotionally?

        roland
        No i have not read your comment to FOH. I’ll read it. Check it out. Consider it.

        Brian
        The WCF didn’t mean without just sinful passions.

        Roland
        I’m not sure about this. I’ve read that there are arguments that present both sides of the argument. No passions versus sinful passions. I’m still working through this.

        Brian
        And God speaks truth about Himself in His Word.

        roland
        Amen to that Brian! God’s truth about Himself is in His Word. It is why I am currently leaning towards God changes in HIs emotions, thoughts, and actions with creation but I buffer it with God communicating to us in anthropological language so as we can understand Him better or more intimately. Still working through and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me regarding this truth about God.

        Brian
        An anthropomorphic term never means to be without the characteristic the term points to.

        Roland
        Agree. I think if the anthropomorphic term does not mean what it intends to mean, then there would be deception in God. I reject that God is deceptive. However, statements in Scripture about God never changing leash me or pull me back when I read about God becoming angry or repenting of creation or choosing Saul to be king etc. I have a tension within myself regarding God’s immutable nature and His thoughts, emotions, and actions towards creation changing.

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience with me regarding this issue. Your insights have helped me as I struggle with God’s immutable essence or nature and His changing emotions, thoughts and actions in relation to us sinners. God bless.

      144. The question was asked:

        What do non-calvinists do when they read Scripture that teaches us that God does not change? ((giving HALF of one verse, Malachi 3:6))

        Answer: We read the verse in the context. Chapter 3 of Malachi is addressing God’s position on their sin….not a huge doctrine of His “immutability.” But if a person wants to do what the JW’s do, and isolate it from the context, they can prove anything.

      145. Another comment was made in that response:

        “Second, when I read verses that do teach us that God changes, as the verses cited by you, I believe that human’s relationship to God changes but God does not.”

        What? That is very libertine of anyone to say that God’s simple statements about being provoked, angered, saddened, disappointed….or the ones about relenting, repenting, and regretting…. are all just ipso facto (cuz we know better!) “really about man’s relationship.”

        Wow….what a man-centered theology!!

        Let’s let the Lord speak for Himself!

      146. I told ya!

        Why waste the time? God-does-all-evil affirming Calvinists are working with a different paradigm. Even though scripture says “in Him there is no darkness at all” they insist that there is!

        The state of Tennessee can execute people guilty of murder. But we dont say the Tennessee govt “kills people” or “murders people”.

        Many parents in Tennessee use careful corporal discipline. But we dont say “they beat their kids.” “Did you know he hits his kids?”

        Quoting verses where God brings about calamity in a context (I know context is hard for Calvinists) of judgment is not the same as James White’s “God decrees all the rapes of all 3-year-old girls for His glory.”

        The story of Jonah alone can disprove the wobbly, verses-out-of-context God-does-all-evil idea being presented here.

        Sure, God is declaring calamity (judgment) through Jonah. If He wipes out a city it would be “killing” …. but again in the form of judgment.

        Ironically ….even though He would be justified to judge Nineveh (with Godly calamity), He changes His mind. Let me quote from the Calvinist ESV:

        3:10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

        Do verses of the Bible tell how God brings about calamity in judgment? Yes.

        Is that the same as the rape of a small child, or the evil of abortion? No.

        For many years my wife and I have gone 2 times a week to the front of an abortion clinic to offer women one last chance for help before they go in there.

        Is this what a Calvinist would say?

        “Please dont go in there and harm your child. But if you do, be assured that you did God’s secret will for His glory and He decreed it.”

        Perhaps the woman’s boyfriend going in with her might quote back to us as they go in, “Hey, dude, my Calvinist pastor (and Guillaume Bignon) said last Sunday ‘I make well-being and I create calamity, I am the LORD who does all these things.’ So God decreed what we are doing.”

        And certainly the boyfriend can say as they come out with the deed done….. “We aborted our child, but it surely was God’s will….cuz that is what my Calvinist pastor teaches.”

      147. Roland
        For many years my wife and I have gone 2 times a week to the front of an abortion clinic to offer women one last chance for help before they go in there.

        FOH
        Is this what a Calvinist would say?

        br.d
        Let’s see what R.C. Sproul would say:

        R.C. Sproul
        -quote
        God WILLS all things that come to pass. … god DESIRED for man to fall into sin. (Almighty Over All Page 54).

        Therefore if the girl goes into an abortion clinic and gets an abortion – Calvin’s god WILLED that girl to go into an abortion clinic and get an abortion – and DESIRED her to perform that act.

        If Calvin’s god WILLS the girl go into an abortion clinic and get an abortion – that the impulse in her brain to do that was PREDESTINED
        And no ALTERNATIVE to that which is PREDESTINED is granted existence
        Therefore – no ALTERNATIVE impulse was granted existence within her brain.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Men can deliberately do NOTHING unless he INSPIRE it. (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God pg 171–172)

      148. Roland – what is the Calvinist interpretation of Genesis 6:6 where it says:
        “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart” ?

      149. br.d. The Calvinist interpretation of Gen 6:6 is that God’s Word does not mean what it says there! 😉
        Genesis 6:6 NKJV — And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

        God grieves, God’s prophet Moses said… but Calvin and Gill say – no. They show that they are both more loyal to their systematic theology than to Scripture.

        Calvin – “The repentance which is here ascribed to God does not properly belong to him…. The same reasoning, and remark, applies to what follows, that God was affected with grief. Certainly God is not sorrowful or sad; but remains forever like himself in his celestial and happy repose….”

        Gill – “…and it grieved him at his heart; this is to be understood by the same figure as before, for there can, no more be any uneasiness in his mind than a change in it; for God is a simple Being, uncompounded, and not subject to any passions and affections.”

        There is some debate in reformed circles with some rejecting divine impassibility – “God without passions”… others just reject seeing the clear biblical evidence of change in divine emotions with circumstances.

        But as far as changeable passions, there is clearly the repeated OT phrase that God Himself often says about being “provoked to wrath”, by various things, showing clearly that change in His emotions takes place caused by what others do.

        And then there is this next verse after Gen 6:6 that clearly has God responding with a decision because of an event and His emotional response to it. It would be illogical and unscriptural to say that God was eternally “sorry” that He made man. Right?

        Genesis 6:7 NKJV — So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, 👉for I am sorry👈 that I have made them.”

      150. Brian
        The Calvinist interpretation of Gen 6:6 is that God’s Word does not mean what it says there!

        br.d
        Exactly!

        Because – to read that verse literally – would be a contradiction of the doctrine of decrees.

        My point to Roland – was in reference to the Calvinist interpretation of Proverbs 16:4 where it says “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil”

        The NON-Calvinist does not presuppose the Calvinist doctrine of decrees.
        Therefore he does not interpret that verse as saying that specific people are specifically created as wicked and specifically created for the day of evil.

      151. Brian – I have a question for you.

        It is my very frequent experience – when in dialog with a Calvinist over scripture – the Calvinist will not acknowledge what he has is an INTERPRETATION of the text.

        I am consistently getting a response from Calvinists that goes somewhat like the following:

        “I don’t INTERPRET the text., I just read what the text says. And the text clearly says [Insert Calvinist doctrine here]

        I suspect you get that response a great deal as well?

      152. Yes, BrD, I get that response sometimes … but mostly from those who, like Calvin, think they are always right about everything the Scripture says, but really don’t know how to prove their interpretations from using normal rules of grammar and context. They just quote party line interpretation without question or personal research. And they reject even considering the arguments posed from grammar and context, because the already assume our scholarship is deficient.

      153. Brian,

        With all due respect to you Brian, my personal opinion only, I think the grammar lessons sometimes miss the mark. It misses the spiritual interpretation, while only focusing on the carnal moment. There are a lot of Greek grammar experts out there that can’t even agree on certain things. It just all depends on the denomination that one is educated from.

        Case in point…Original Sin. What’s the grammar there?

      154. Grammar is only one tool in a SET of tools to come to the best conclusions and meaning of scripture. One cannot build a house with only a nail gun. You need screws, wiring, adhesives, scaffolding, ducts, insulation, a foundation etc….at the same time you can’t build the house WITHOUT the nail gun (or some sort of equivalent to it). To properly understand scripture, it has to run through a number of OBJECTIVE filters. To name a few, words have meanings, so we have to know the intended meanings of the words. Context, literary style, and use of logic (for example if 2 verses contradict each other the scripture isn’t contradicting, it is the interpretation that needs correcting) are some of the filters that Scripture should be analyzed with.

      155. So, the house that Jesus builds. Does it require nails? I know it requires paint, cuz Jesus said, “re-paint, and thin no more”.

        King Solomon was the son of David who built the house of God.

        In this case, throw out the grammar, because this isn’t about Solomon at all. In the carnal moment, yes, but not in the bigger picture. It’s about David, playing the role of God, the father, and Solomon, the son of David, playing the role of the Jesus, the son of God, building the house of God without hands.

        You can see the spiritual in the carnal moment.

        Where’s the grammar needed here?

      156. I’d just say that the account was written in words, in a structured sentence, and each word has meaning and the structure of the sentence is meant to organize the words into an idea. That is what grammar is. So the very conclusion you came to unavoidably had to include the use of grammar.

      157. I’m not discussing “basic” grammar. Take for example the famous Eph 1:4, where the calvinists put a period after the word “us”. The sentence structure reveals that God doesn’t choose anyone, but he chose that we…, the words to the right of that we is what was chosen. I get it, sentence structure and grammar. However, that isn’t what I’m discussing.

      158. I’d just say that just because you don’t need the nail gun during electrical wiring doesn’t mean it isn’t a needed tool in the big picture of building the house. For some tasks it is appropriate, for others it isn’t needed. Just because there are times it isn’t needed doesn’t make it invalid as a useful tool.

      159. I would agree more with Brian’s response to your question than I would with Calvin or Gill. I’m very familiar with the controversy within Reformed circles regarding Divine impassibility or passibility, whichever one prefers. Rob Lister’s book has been the most helpful for me regarding this issue. I reject the Thomistic understanding of God’s nature or essence and would seek to follow a more biblical understanding of God’s essence than a philosophical, or would I believe Scripture would call a natural understanding of God.

        I believe when WCF 2:1 God “without body, parts, or passions,” I believe the word passions should be understood as sinful passions or emotions. God does not have sinful emotions but I believe He does have emotions because the Bible reveals to us that He has emotions. I’m cautious to use this language because I believe emotions imply change, change implies imperfection, and God is perfect in being. My personal interpretation is that God did feel sorry but not in a sinful way.

      160. The mistake in your thinking is ASSERTING that change implies imperfection. This would be true in determinism but is NOT true with freewill. Change can be in response to something outside of one’s direction. For example a parent can do everything right with their child, and their child STILL does wrong, and the parent, STILL ACTING as a good parent and doing only right, changes in response to what the child is doing. They weren’t imperfect in their original strategy, and they aren’t wrong to change to a different one to illicit change in the child in response. Indeed, God does this very thing with Israel!

        Isaiah 5:4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
        Isaiah 5:5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
        Isaiah 5:6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
        Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

        Notice, He Himself says He did everything He could do, BUT THEY didn’t bring forth what He wanted from them. So He changed what He was doing. This doesn’t make Him imperfect. Notice He did EVERYTHING He COULD do. Surely it is in His power to just FORCE and CONTROL them to bring forth what He wanted, but He didn’t? Why? Because it is WRONG to force free creatures and override their will, and God CANNOT be unrighteous and go against His own character. This makes perfect sense with freewill, but makes NO SENSE with determinism.

      161. “Because it is WRONG to force free creatures and override their will, and God CANNOT be unrighteous and go against His own character.”

        Roland
        Proverbs 21:1The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
        Like the rivers of water;
        He turns it wherever He wishes.

      162. Roland
        Because it is WRONG to force free creatures and override their will.

        br.d
        John Calvin has something to say to you

        John Calvin
        -quote
        The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly……can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as he….COMMANDS. They are not only bound by His fetters but are even FORCED to do him service.” (Institutes I, 17, 11)

        Secondly – it is logically impossible for Calvin’s god to “override” something he meticulously determines.

        And in Calvinism – humans have no control over their will – because their will is determined by antecedent factors which are totally outside of their control. In Calvinism’s case – the antecedent factor is an infallible decree.

        Thirdly – in order to MAKE people be and do what he wants them to be and do – does not require force.

        All Calvin’s god has to do – is for every human event – and every human impulse – grant ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED RENDERED-CERTAIN option – in which man is granted NO CHOICE in the matter of.

        I don’t have to force you to murder someone.
        All I have to do is decree the impulse to infallibly come to pass within your brain.
        And that decree does not permit any ALTERNATIVE impulse to come to pass within your brain.

        You have NO CHOICE in the matter – because you have NO CHOICE in the matter of the impulses I decree to come to pass in your brain.

      163. “So He changed what He was doing. This doesn’t make Him imperfect.”

        roland
        No but it implies imperfection. Any thing that is becoming implies it is imperfect. In the text you cited, IS God the perfect vineyard keeper? Or is He BECOMING the perfect vineyard keeper?
        Herman Bavinck discussing God’s immutability wrote this:
        “Absolute being is because it is. The idea of God itself implies immutability. Neither increase nor diminution is conceivable with respect to God. He cannot change for better or worse, for he is the absolute, the complete, the true being. Becoming is an attribute of creatures, a form of change in space and time. But God is who he is, eternally transcendent over space and time and far exalted above every creature. He rests within himself and is for that very reason the ultimate goal and resting place of all creatures, the Rock of their salvation, whose work is complete. This who predicate any change whatsoever of God, whether with respect to his essence, knowledge, or will, diminish all his attributes: independence, simplicity, eternity, omniscience, and omnipotence. This robs of God of his divine nature, and religion of its firm foundation and assured comfort.”
        Bavinck Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation Vol. 2, 158.

      164. I might add, atheists do a similar thing with materialism to explain their world view. They a priori rule out any supernatural or non-material causes before analyzing data and coming to conclusions about claims, and thus run into a ton of problems with their conclusions. Similarly, Calvinists a priori rule out freewill as a possibility and come to various flawed conclusions in their theology. If atheists plugged God into their equations their problems disappear, and if Calvinists just plugged in freewill to their equation all the problems in their theology would disappear.

      165. A2A
        “if Calvinists just plugged in freewill to their equation all the problems in their theology would disappear.”

        roland
        Then you distort God’s character by making DEPENDENT on freewill creatures to act. Under libertarian freewill theology God is DEPENDENT and REACTIONARY to the choices of creaturely freewill. He’s no longer the Biblical God.

      166. roland
        Then you distort God’s character by making DEPENDENT on freewill creatures to act

        br.d
        So YOUR brain is not granted the function of discerning whether any matter is TRUE or FALSE
        Because in such case your brain would be performing a freewill act.

        In other words – your brain would be performing an act which Calvin’s god did not decree.

      167. br.d
        So YOUR brain is not granted the function of discerning whether any matter is TRUE or FALSE
        Because in such case your brain would be performing a freewill act.

        roland
        God commands us to discern true matters from false matters. We don’t do so freely, without any constraint of our human nature. Since you believe human nature is good, you conclude that men have libertarian freewill without any constraint from our human nature. I believe what the Bible says about human nature, we are not good, therefore, our “freewill” is constrained by our fallen human nature.

        God has granted us this notion but we can truly never please God in our fallen state. That is why Christ came to free us from the slavery and bondage of sin. We are beginning this discussion from two different presuppositions. You presuppose human nature as good, free. I presuppose human nature as it is revealed in Scripture, sinful, in bondage, in need of redemption, in darkness, in need of illumination, etc.

      168. roland
        God commands us to discern true matters from false matters

        br,d
        AH! But in Calvinism that command is Calvin’s god ENUNCIATED will only.
        Calvin’s god also commands you not to sin after he has SECRETLY decreed that you will infallibly sin.

        It is not his command that determines what will come to pass within YOUR brain
        It is his infallible decree which determines what will come to pass within YOUR brain

        His SECRET will doesn’t permit YOUR brain do discern TRUE from FALSE – because that would be granting YOUR brain a LIBERTARIAN function.

        Remember – in Calvinism – NOTHING HAPPENS that is not knowingly and willingly decreed.

        So lets say someone asks you a question about the Bible
        And Calvin’s god decrees the your brain will PERCEIVE the answer to the question as TRUE – when it is actually FALSE

        Did Calvin’s god grant your brain the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE in that circumstance?

      169. br.d
        “Remember – in Calvinism – NOTHING HAPPENS that is not knowingly and willingly decreed.”

        roland
        The problem all non-calvinists have is this: they press God’s decree, God’s use of means to accomplish His ends, and His interaction with creation into one thing. When the non-calvinists hears that God decreed a particular event, in this case a person discerning truth from false, it is one step. Decree to action. That is not how the Bible has revealed to us how God’s has decreed or declared the beginning to the end, or as Paul put in Ephesians 1, God works all things after the counsel of His own will. Yes, I believe God works “all things.”

        The manner in which God’s decree is manifested in creation is analogical to God speaking to us. Hebrews 1:1 God, who at VARIOUS TIMES and in VARIOUS WAYS spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

        Under your belief of how God spoke to humanity, you seems to be saying that God cannot speak to us in this manner, various times and various ways. God must speak directly to us. God could have done this and at times He has. But He also used events, dreams, angels, prophets, apostles, disciples, and most importantly according to Hebrews 1:1, His Son.

        Analogically, God’s decree is accomplished by various means. At times it is direct, other times He uses secondary causes, our nature, etc. This is why non-calvinists say things like, in Calvinism we are just robots. We have no freewill, etc. The prophets were not just microphones for God to speak to us. God used their situations in life, their characters, their education, their historical context, etc. all times and all ways to communicate His Word to us.

      170. Roland… Please consider this interpretation as legitimate for Eph 1:11 based on grammar and context.

        Ephesians 1:11 NKJV — In Him also we have obtained [when we were placed in Him through faith] an inheritance, being predestined [for that inheritance at that same moment we were placed in Him through faith] according to the purpose [with its conditional and unconditional parts] of Him who works [right now in the present] all things [that is, works with all things, not causing all things personally, because He doesn’t cause sin] according to the counsel [His plan with its conditional and unconditional parts] of His will [His desire… which includes wanting all to be saved and coming to a knowledge of the truth but not irresistibly caused].

        Think of it as being “in” the will. The inheritance is yours once you’re “in” the will. Even before you receive it personally, you are predestined for it once you are made a legitimate heir.

        A will/purpose can be written before any specific children are even born or adopted into the family, prescribing that all children born or adopted will be predestined for the inheritance in their future “after” they are born or adopted into the family but before the benefits are distributed. Once born or adopted, then they are “in” the will. That’s what corporate election means and being predestined to receive the inheritance.

        So the child can say once they are “in” the family – “I have obtained an inheritance that was predestined for me (generally speaking but now individually applied) in a will/purpose decided long ago for all those added to this family after they are added.

        The words “counsel of His will” mean God is not locked in and limited to a predestined plan with no conditions or possibilities, but that He can now still freely choose between possibilities, and permit man to choose between possibilities, as He “works” it all to demonstrate His love, truth, and righteousness.

      171. Brian
        and permit man to choose between possibilities,

        br.d
        There is is Roland!
        The function of choosing between possibilities (such as TRUE vs FALSE concerning a Bible question) – is what Jon Edwards called “THE LIBERTY OF INDIFFERENCE”

        Jon Edwards
        -quote
        Such a property of the human will really amounts to the LIBERTY OF INDIFFERENCE.
        For if the will be in a condition, by which it is fitted or liable to turn EITHER WAY then ***it cannot be already inclined by a preponderating bias in one direction***

        Jon Edwards
        -quote
        According to this scheme [i.e. the human mind’s ability to choose between TRUE and FALSE] it must be in a state of EQUIPOISE OR INDIFFERENCE. Then ***most clearly the will is NOT DETERMINED either way by anything without or within.

        In other words – the process of YOUR brain discerning between TRUE and FALSE – INDEPENDENT of Calvin’s god decreeing what your perception would be – would constitute a situation in which YOUR will is NOT DETERMINED either way

        Calvinist A.A. Hodge agrees and says
        -quote
        If LIBERTY OF INDIFFERENCE be the true theory of the will, god could not execute his decree without violating the liberty of the agent……(Outlines of Theology – pg 210)

        Calvinist Robert L. Reymond – also agrees and calls the process “Free Contingency” .
        -quote
        such ‘free contingencies’ do not and cannot even exist – because they do not exist in god’s mind as an aspect of the universe – WHOSE EVERY EVENT HE CERTAINLY DECREED – creatively caused and completely and providentially governs.” (A New Systematic Theology Of The Christian Faith p. 189

        The Oxford Handbook on Free-Will says it this way
        -quote
        In a deterministic universe, one can never truthfully utter the sentence: I COULD HAVE DONE OTHERWISE
        In such a universes, one can never really take credit
        Since in fact ***ALL*** events have been predetermined.

        Therefore it follows – the Calvinist brain is not granted the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE on any matter – because that would constitute a LIBERTARIAN function – which does not exist in Calvinism.

      172. Brian, thank you for your response. I did consider your interpretation based on grammar and context. I have noticed this often with non-Calvinists and interpretation. I used to do this myself as an adult Sunday School teacher when I used to believe that God gave us LFW. Your interpretation, to me, seems to explain away the simple reading of Ephesians 1:11. All the words you put in brackets, as I understand, change the original meaning of Paul’s text. When non-calvinists do this, when I used to do this, I would often ask myself whether God has spoken clearly enough in Scripture or does God need our interpretations to communicate clearly to humans?

        Do interpretations of Scripture stand as intermediaries and its hearers?
        If so, does this mean that God has failed to clearly communicate His message to His creatures?

        Thank you for reading.

      173. Roland, Unfortunately your response did not point out any specific thing in my comments which I put in parentheses which went against the grammar and context of that verse. I contend that what I added supported the “simple reading” of the text.

        I’m guessing you can’t give any “simple reading” of your own without adding parenthetical comments also. Take away what I put in parentheses, and both of us still say we believe exactly what the verse says! Right?

        Yes, some verses of Paul “are hard too understand”, as Peter clearly said in 2Pet 3:16. So all things are not clear in Scripture, but normal rules of grammar and context, and other clear verses help with interpreting difficult verses. Right?

      174. Brian, still considering your comments about Ephesians 1:11. Musing through them. One disadvantage I have, and an advantage you have, is that I don’t read Greek. I would have to consult commentaries or some other source to get a better understanding of the grammar and context. Which means it is really not my reading of the original language that I would be bringing to the discussion but someone who reads the original language and I agree with their commentary.

        Brian
        “I’m guessing you can’t give any “simple reading” of your own without adding parenthetical comments also.”

        Roland
        Agree.

        Brian
        Take away what I put in parentheses, and both of us still say we believe exactly what the verse says! Right?

        Roland
        Agree as well. I don’t believe anything I say regarding a text will change what you believe Ephesians 1:11 says.

        Brian
        So all things are not clear in Scripture, but normal rules of grammar and context, and other clear verses help with interpreting difficult verses. Right?

        roland
        Agree with you as well. Clearer verses help to interpret more difficult verses. The difference we have is that we cannot agree on what verses are “clear” and “difficult.”

        Thanks for reading, good day!

      175. So, Roland, because of the terms in Eph 1:11, like predestined, inheritance, purpose, counsel, and will are stated without much definition, would you agree that this verse is not really one of the clear ones, except to say those in Christ are predestined for an inheritance by God who is presently working in/with, not causing, all things according to His purpose, counsel, and will? You would agree that working all things would not include causing sin, right, but would include working with the sins caused by others to only cause or permit the opportunity for good?

        So if you know how to use a concordance or even how to find all verses that use the same Greek word for each of those other terms, do you think you could figure out, without commentaries, if God’s purpose, counsel, or will are ever with conditional elements that sometimes go unfulfilled or get changed?

        And thank you for reading what I have written and for responding directly! 🤓

      176. I disagree. I believe Ephesians 1:1-14 is one of the clearest declarations of God working in us to bring about His will for the salvation of the elect. The word predestine is clearly defined. Believers are the object of God’s predestination and election. To predestine means to predetermine preordain, to mark out before hand. Non-calvinsts believe the means or the goals, as you wrote in your commentary on Ephesians 1:11, the inheritance, are predestined. But in Ephesians 1 the predestinating work of God is believers. ‘He chose us’ verse 4. ‘Having predestined us’ verse 5. ‘He made us’ verses 6,8,9. I believe it is clear.

        I agree God is not the cause of sin.

        Brian:
        if God’s purpose, counsel, or will are ever with conditional elements that sometimes go unfulfilled or get changed?

        roland:
        I don’t know. I’m reluctant to attribute change or it going unfulfilled to God’s will. This makes God out to be a failure. I don’t think either of us would attribute failure to God. If God can fail at any point in His desires, wishes, will, plan, etc. than what certainty would we have of God? Could we have certainty of God? If God can fail, is He faithful? If God can fail, can we trust Him? Thanks for reading, hopefully I provided some substance to which you were expecting. If not, please mark out where you believe I have not provided answers to your questions. I’ll try to answer them as best as I can.

      177. Roland
        To predestine means to predetermine preordain, to mark out before hand

        br.d
        Roland – I have a question for you.

        In your version of Calvinism – what percentage of whatsoever comes to pass is predestined?

      178. Thank you Roland for your thoughtful response. I think Calvinists read too much into Eph 1 as pointing to individual election and predestination of blessings to individuals without thinking it through logically or looking more closely at the grammar and context. But first let me say that defining “failure” is important. God will never fail in fulfilling unconditional promises, but He will and has allowed His expectations to “fail” so that He could succeed in creating a covenant love relationship that requires free will decisions.

        Here’s my take on – Eph 1, 4&5 – Individual Election was not before creation!

        Determinists have always tried to read too much into these verses that Paul wrote in a context about blessings we now have, now that we are in Christ. Some of those blessings were given to Him (the only Elect one) before creation, to be shared with all who would later be joined to Him and become one of the elect in Him. The ones in verses 4 and 5 are such blessings… Verse four is not about being chosen in Christ, but chosen in Christ “to be” holy and blameless.

        The pronoun “us” is being used in both verses, 4&5, in a general reference, anachronistic sense, like me saying – “The Native Americans were chased by us before the Revolution so that they would live west of the Appalachian Mtn range.”

        Another similar example would be the Levites in David’s day who were chosen to carry the ark. David said, as recorded in 1Chr 15:2 – “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.”

        Any Levite that day could have said to another Levite – “God chose us in Aaron, before Israel entered the promised land, that we should carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.” Of course, he would not have had the thought that God had his name written down in a book during Aaron’s time, along with the names of all future Levites. He would not think that he individually or physically would be ministering before the Lord forever in this special task as a priest. He would just be using the “us” as a pronoun of reference with a corporate connection because of the promise made to Aaron, and because of his being added into Aaron’s lineage by physical birth.

        We say, with Paul, we have the same privileges/blessings granted to the Son of God before creation that would go to any in His lineage. This is just like a written will grants privileges to children not yet conceived or even thought about, the privileges granted to Jesus before creation were made available then to all who would be born again through personal faith. Those inheritance privileges are now ours individually, since we are now individually joined to Him by spiritual birth through our personal faith. We now have the blessing to stand holy and blameless before God as one of God’s chosen in the Chosen One – Christ, and we are now predestined for the inheritance that all sons receive.

        ********
        Questions to ask a determinist:
        When God supposedly “chose” you before creation, were you unchosen at some point and then chosen, according to the normal meaning of that word? What did God see when He supposedly chose you… just your name, your life up to some point where He decided He wanted to get involved noticeably to you, or your whole life forever and all His involvement in it already? In other words, what does “you” mean when He chose “you” back then before you even existed? Trying to answer these questions will hopefully help a determinist see they are being dogmatic about a premise – determinism – that Paul wasn’t even trying to teach about in this passage, and which is illogical when using the words “chose… before the foundation of the world”, if no actual choice of any individuals, who didn’t even exist back then, was made.

        Here’s a good 10min video discussion in support of this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FxHfnqLBmg

      179. Brian
        Determinists have always tried to read too much into these verses

        br.d
        Correct me if I’m wrong – but I believe in Biblical scholarship this is called:
        Having a Canon within a Canon

        The Calvinist mind is conditioned to embrace Determinism as Canon.
        With his mind conditioned this way – the Canon of scripture must conform to Calvinism’s Canon of Determinism.

        So when the Calvinist says he is comparing scripture with scripture – what he is doing is using Determinism as a kind of plum-line – which scripture is required to line up to – in order to be rightly understood.

        The Non-Calvinist mind has not been conditioned to embrace Determinism as Canon.
        So he doe not read Determinism INTO the text of Ephesians the way the Calvinist mind is conditioned to do.

      180. Br.D My understanding of Canon within the Canon (as Luther coined the phrase, I think) is usually seen as making some books of the Bible or sections of the Bible the rule/canon by which to judge other books or sections. I don’t think it means reading theology into the canon of Scripture. Actually the determinist, imo, whether he knows it or not, has adopted the canons of neo-platonism, Augustinian theology, and the WCF by which to judge the canon/authority and teaching of Scripture.

      181. Yes
        Thanks for the correct on where the “Canon within Canon” came from.

        And yes I agree – Determinism (as found within NeoPlatonism) functions as a form of Canon for the Calvinist.

        Neoplatonism and Christianity (Wikipedia – free encyclopedia)
        -quote
        Neoplatonism was a major influence on Christian theology throughout Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages in the West. This was due to St. Augustine of Hippo…

      182. Brian, here’s my best interpretation of Ephesians 1:11. My comments are in brackets.

        11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance [I would agree with you that being placed in Christ does require faith on the believer’s part, however, I would also add that faith is a gift given to the elect. While this portion doesn’t specifically refer to God’s work in bringing us to Christ. Colossians 1:12 does so by God qualifying us to be partakers. The word to qualify means to make sufficient, render fit, qualify. It is God who makes us fit and sufficient to be partakers of God’s inheritance. I believe Colossians 1:12 is a parallel passage of God’s inheritance for the believer and sheds more light on Ephesians 1:11.]

        being predestined [I would agree that part of God’s purpose is the inheritance but the subject of predestination is the elect, believers. I would add that the “we” is the same as the group “being predestined.”

        according to the purpose [the plan, the setting forth, proposal of God. You wrote that God is not “locked in and limited.” I would reject your word choice. If God promises a blessing to someone, is He “locked in and limited” by His promise? I would say no because He freely chose to promise. Your choice of words carries with it a pejorative sentiment. “Locked in and limited” sounds to me like someone who is forced or coerced into doing something. As if God made decisions He was not pleased to make and is now “locked in and limited” to those unpleasant decisions.]

        of Him who works all things [Agree with you regarding God not being the cause of sin as WCF 3.1 states. He is active in all things. Even good or evil Zeph. 1:12].

        according to the counsel [the deliberate wisdom of God] of His will [disagree with God wishing or desiring all to be saved. I believe this raises too many issues as the purpose of God’s saving plan, His omnipotence and omniscience. If God has perfect knowledge of all those who will be saved, why would He will, desire, or wish for something He knows cannot happen? If God is omnipotent, and He wants all to be saved, then why doesn’t He exercise His power to save all? I know how I answered these questions when I used to teach youth group as a proponent of LFW. This creates analogies for God that make Him out to seem unloving.]

        Thanks for reading, have a blessed day!

      183. Calvinists cannot even hear themselves. No one thinks this way but them.

        “[I would agree with you that being placed in Christ does require faith on the believer’s part, however, I would also add that faith is a gift given to the elect.”

        So, “faith” is given to someone….but we dont have that as a reality anywhere in life. Children have faith the parent will put food in front of them or pick them up from school. Animals have faith that an owner will…… I have faith in my wife. Nobody ever “gives faith” to someone. that is the fundamental definition of the word! So silly!

        But what’s even crazier is that, per Calvinism, once a person is allegedly given this faith—– he cannot NOT use it. His decision is forced on him in every way.

        Cant have faith unless God gives it, and MUST use faith once he has it. We see that exactly nowhere.

        That concept makes a mockery of Hebrews 11 where it appears that God’s intention is to call out the personal faith of many in order to encourage faith in us.

      184. Exactly FOH – And Calvinists don’t know what to do with the shallow and thorny soils, who evidence positive faith reactions to God’s Word in their hearts, when as unregenerate they are supposed to be unable to believe and are to be totally opposed to God’s Word until they get a regenerated will. But even the devil knows the hard soil is able to believe and be saved (Luke 8:12)! It seems to me those hearts in that parable only need to break up the hardness, let a deep root of faith commitment be formed, and repent of the cares that keep them from fully trusting what the Word is calling them to trust, for them to become good soil!

      185. FOH
        So, “faith” is given to someone….but we dont have that as a reality anywhere in life. Children have faith the parent will put food in front of them or pick them up from school. Animals have faith that an owner will…… I have faith in my wife. Nobody ever “gives faith” to someone. that is the fundamental definition of the word! So silly!

        roland
        In the context of the conversation I mean faith in Christ. Faith in Christ, when we believe in Christ for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8-9

        Does God give faith to everyone ever born? If so, then why do some exercise or put it in Christ and others don’t? What is the distinction between the one who believes and the one who doesn’t?

        FOH
        Cant have faith unless God gives it, and MUST use faith once he has it. We see that exactly nowhere.

        roland
        It is not we MUST use faith. It is we WANT to use faith. You said you were a former Calvinist. As a former Calvinist you should know that in Calvinism regeneration precedes faith. This is why I doubt a lot of former “Calvinists” especially Dr. Flowers. It seems from the way they speak and write that they misunderstood it. This is an example I believe of former calvinists not understanding it. This is basic in Reformed soteriology regeneration precedes faith.

        FOH
        That concept makes a mockery of Hebrews 11 where it appears that God’s intention is to call out the personal faith of many in order to encourage faith in us.

        roland
        Hebrews 11 is about believers. It is a letter, more likely a sermon preserved, written to Jewish believers.

        Do you believe Hebrews 11 is about everyone or believers?

      186. I dont have time to properly respond (sermons to write). I need to be done now. Sorry if I have been ungracious in any way.

        The word faith …..in any context…. is defined by all people the same way. But somehow Calvinists impose the authority to tease out “faith in Christ” from the definition of the word faith. Of course Eph 2:8-9 does not say faith is a gift (Greek grammar) and searching —-even Calvinist scholar sites—- will show that. But it just keeps being said.

        Another repeated phrase “you just did not understand Calvinism” If I had a nickel!! Of course I understood “regeneration precedes faith” I just could not find biblical support for what I had been instructed to believe! No more cheap shots at us please saying we were not Calvinists or did not understand it.

        Hebrews is not all “believers” as you want to make it be. Included in that group is Rahab who was NOT part of God’s CHOSEN people, but became part of God’s CHOSEN through faith.

        I wish you could at least one time say, “I see your point.” The Scripture is saying that harlot, pagan Rahab had faith — (exercised faith!!) and became part of God’s CHOSEN people (and the line of Christ!). There is no mention there or anywhere in Scripture that her faith (or any like it) was some special gift of God.

        You can see that if you will allow yourself.

        I pray that you will make the choice to see that.

      187. FOH
        Of course I understood “regeneration precedes faith” I just could not find biblical support for what I had been instructed to believe! No more cheap shots at us please saying we were not Calvinists or did not understand it.

        roland
        I believe I wrote that I am SUSPICIOUS of former Calvinists ever being Calvinists. I do not believe that I can tell someone, “you were never a Calvinist.” I didn’t know you then. I can only discern from the statements made on this website. When I read former Calvinists say certain things about Calvinism, and they sound completely off, then I get suspicious of how they understood Calvinism or if they really ever believed it. Not trying to take cheap shots at anybody.

      188. Thanks Roland for your thoughtful interaction. Yes the issue is whether the future was a locked in and limited set of events in God’s mind which He had to decree (even that decreeing was something He had to do) according to the Reformed worldview, because it would be impossible for Him to decree something less “perfect” in their thinking, and they think one set future of events that work out only one way is what is “perfect”. So there really are no possibilities in God’s omniscience that God could have done, not even the possibility of not creating anything, for God could not avoid what is the so-called “perfect”.

        But I see His Word clearly teaching a future in His mind that is partly open still with possibilities, including that no one is born without the possibility of exercising faith to be able to seek God and His mercy when He gives them light to do so, which He gives to everyone. That is according to His desires, and according to His purpose which has open elements in it! Thanks for the conversation. I have nothing more to add, unless you wish for Scriptural evidence that shows God’s mind in univocally tied to His Word which clearly portrays a future that is still partly undetermined, and that God is still making freewill decisions in it.

      189. Brian
        I have nothing more to add, unless you wish for Scriptural evidence that shows God’s mind in univocally tied to His Word which clearly portrays a future that is still partly undetermined, and that God is still making freewill decisions in it.

        roland
        I think you’ve shared with me some Scriptural evidence regarding God’s mind such as learning what Adam would name the animals and a few others. I do have one more question. I may have asked you this before but I can’t remember.

        Would your position regarding the future being partly undetermined be Molinism or open theism?

        If neither of these terms is proper to your position, then be free (sorry, as a determinist I do use this word occasionally) to express your position. I would appreciate it. Thanks for your kind responses, I often feel ridiculed here (here’s when the comments about being a victim come in) but I enjoy the dialogue. You’ve been gracious, hopefully I have been, and I wish all Christians would be gracious with believer and non-believer alike. Thanks again!

      190. I’ve only felt you as being gracious, Roland, in our discussions. As for identifying as an Open Theist and not a Molinist –

        Well, imo, there are many errant definitions of open theism out there, and many open theists that do not believe in inerrancy, like I believe in it. Inerrancy is not foundational to the definition of open theism, but the rejection of it by many of them has given it a bad rep.

        The ETS (Evangelical Theological Society) accepts open theist members who hold to inerrancy, and many good theologians (like Erickson and Smith) see it as welcome to the biblical/theological discussion of God’s nature.

        The encyclopedia of philosophy gives it this definition – “Open Theism is the thesis that, because God loves us and desires that we freely choose to reciprocate His love, He has made His knowledge of, and plans for, the future conditional upon our actions. Though omniscient, God does not know what we will freely do in the future.”

        If that is what you were thinking when you thought I was an “open theist”, then you are correct, if limited to that definition. I like the term “dynamic omniscience” better. I would even add some words to that last sentence – “Though omniscient, God does not know *the outcome of* what we will freely do in the future, *but He knows all the possible outcomes that He and we will have to choose between in the future*.”

        Here’s a good short video that might help. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3qgsT1ud3g&list=PLbwaafqKD0KtakaDyg-b4BFzfbfvQPRMz&index=1

      191. Last question, thanks for the video, I did watch it. Here’s your quote

        “Though omniscient, God does not know *the outcome of* what we will freely do in the future, *but He knows all the possible outcomes that He and we will have to choose between in the future*.”

        This seems similar to the Calvinist’s dilemma of God decreeing all things yet not being the author of sin. The accusation is that this statement is not logical nor biblical etc. I find it difficult to escape the accusation.

        Your statement above that God is omniscient (knows all things) yet does not know “the outcome of” the future seems like the Calvinist’s dilemma.

        How do you answer the charge the it is illogical or unbiblical for God to be omniscient (know all things) yet not know some things?

        If there is a resource that you can point me to, that would help. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

      192. Thank you Roland for your “last question”, though feel free to contact me directly – brianwagner@vbc.edu – if you wish to discuss further this topic. The issue indeed is how to define “all things” and “future”. If the future is defined as partly open with possibilities and partly closed with some predeterminations, then the “all things” about that future can not also include knowing only one set of outcomes working out only one way, for that would be knowing contradictory things simultaneously.

        Yes, it would be similar to the real contradiction of the WCF, if knowing all things meant knowing both all things predetermined or set to work out only one way and knowing some things not predetermined or set to work out only one way. In the WCF God decrees all things including sin but the WCF wants the word decree not to include “authoring” sin. But if God’s decree “writes” the future to turn out only one way, then how is God not the author of every part of that future, including sins, unless something else forced Him to decree something about the future that someone else before creation wrote/authored, which we know cannot be true.

        But God the all things that God knows is not contradictory, for it is illogical to know both a future defined as one set of outcomes and a future with partly unset outcomes, known only as possibilities. And that knowledge of the future is dynamic, and keeps changing in God’s mind, as God determines among the still open possibilities what to cause and what to allow.

      193. The article all these comments are in response to is about conflation. It is simple. Calvinists conflate foreknowledge with causation. Knowing something doesn’t cause it. Me knowing if I drop an egg on the floor it will break doesn’t cause it to break, me dropping the egg on the floor causes it. My knowledge of what would happen did not have any affect on the outcome.

        Someone can tell me the outcome of a sports game I haven’t yet watched. Does me knowing the result of the game mean I was on the field, playing it?

        Knowing does not equal causing. They are 2 different words, with 2 different meanings.

      194. A2A
        Calvinists conflate foreknowledge with causation. Knowing something doesn’t cause it.

        roland
        I would be surprised if you could find a quote from a prominent Reformed theologian who conflates foreknowledge with causation. The article doesn’t supply one quote from a prominent Reformed theologian, pastor, professor, who says what the author of the article says we do.
        quote from the article: “With this background in mind, it is no wonder that many in the Reformed camp have no problem with conflating arguments.”

        The author of the article just committed the logical fallacy of the undistributed middle. Just because the Reformers committed this mistake of conflating state and church, it doesn’t follow that they conflate everything else.

        quote from the article: “They have a long history of doing so. Though the Reformed do not conflate the magistrate and the clergy per se, they do conflate a number of things that the Bible assumes are separate.”

        If we have such a long history, then the author should have provided us with a long list of examples! Where are they I ask? These are general statements about Reformed Christians without any basis the author is claiming he has. No basis. However, when non-Reformed Christians read statements such as these, they will whole-heartedly agree without any proof.

        quote from the article: They combine man’s choice to repent and God’s choice to save all those who repent into a single action and call it salvation. That is conflation. (That is then followed by building a strawman of man’s so-called sovereignty).

        How do we do so? Again, an example of this from a prominent Reformed pastor, theologian, professor would have been helpful.

        quote from the article: This conflation comes at the expense of scriptural veracity. The Bible assumes man has a genuine choice in salvation, the Reformed reject it. The Bible assumes people can find favor with God prior to being saved, the Reformed reject it.

        Scriptural veracity is threatened when we bring ASSUMPTIONS to the text of Scripture. “The Bible assumes…” how does the author know this assumption? He can’t know it from the Bible. He must have learned from outside the Bible. Because he says it is assumed. Yes, as a Reformed confessional Christian I would reject assumptions brought to Scripture in order to interpret Scripture.

      195. Roland
        The problem all non-calvinists have is this: they press God’s decree, God’s use of means to accomplish His ends, and His interaction with creation into one thing. When the non-calvinists hears that God decreed a particular event, in this case a person discerning truth from false, it is one step. Decree to action.

        br.d
        This tactic is simply an attempt to evade the issue.

        As an evasion strategy – your strategy here is called QUESTION BEGGING
        Your statement here PRESUPPOSES Calvin’s god grants YOUR brain the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE

        I’ve already shown that such a function would constitute a LIBERTARIAN function

        And you’ve acknowledged that in your belief system a LIBERTARIAN function is not Biblical and does not exist.
        You stated that a LIBERTARIAN act or impulse or perception would be one which is -quote INDEPENDENT of god.

        Which means INDEPENDENT of god’s determination.

        So the current example we are not discussing is just exactly that:

        Someone asks you a question about the Bible

        Is your brain permitted to PERCEIVE an answer to that question – that is INDEPENDENT of Calvin’s god’s determination?
        You’ve already correctly stated that cannot be the case in Calvinism – so the answer is NO
        So in this example – the PERCEPTION in your brain – is NOT INDEPENDENT of Calvin’s god’s determination.

        Accordingly – Calvin’s god determined your brain would PERCEIVE the answer to the question as TRUE – when the answer is actually FALSE

        So here is the last question – which you need to answer
        Did Calvin’s god grant your brain the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE in that circumstance?

      196. br.d
        Did Calvin’s god grant your brain the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE in that circumstance?

        roland
        No. By using the word “grant,” you are assuming that my brain is WILLING or SEEKING to discern true from false and that God either GRANTS me my desire or DENIES me my desire to discern. I would reject your use of the word “grant, ” as it implies too much in sinful fallen creatures. God created us with the ability to discern true from false. He decreed by various means that I would determine true from false but He did not grant me permission to do so because that implies that I am attempting to do so.

        God decreed the laws of nature. I known by nature that 1 + 1 = 2. God decreed the law, God created me with the ability to discern true from false mathematical problems. He decreed in eternity past that the moment that the problem 1 + 1 = 2 presented itself before that I would discern that the answer is 2.

      197. br.d
        Did Calvin’s god grant your brain the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE in that circumstance?

        roland
        No.

        br.d
        Correct!
        Because Calvin’s god does not grant a function which – as you stated – would make Calvin’s god DEPENDENT upon your freewill – and REACTIONARY to a choice your brain would make.

        And you making a choice between TRUE and FALSE – would be what every serious Calvinist calls “CONTRARY CHOICE” – and what Jon Edwards called “THE LIBERTY OF INDIFFERENCE”

        Jon Edwards
        -quote
        Such a property of the human will really amounts to the LIBERTY OF INDIFERENCE.
        For if the will be in a condition, by which it is fitted or liable to turn EITHER WAY then it cannot be already inclined by a preponderating bias in one direction.

        -quote
        According to this scheme [i.e. Roland’s brain being granted the function of choosing TRUE and FALSE] it [i.e. Roland’s brain] must be in a state of equipoise or indifference. Then most clearly the will is NOT DETERMINED either way by anything without or within. (The freedom of the will – Chapter 11 – On the Power of Contrary Choice – pg 255)

        br.d
        Therefore – in order for your brain to discern TRUE from FALSE on a Bible question – requires your brain make a CHOICE between whether the answer to that question is TRUE or FALSE.

        And that function is not granted to your brain – because that function would be an AUTONOMOUS LIBERTARIAN function – which as you claim – does not exist.

        Roland
        By using the word “grant,” you are assuming that my brain is WILLING or SEEKING to discern true from false and that God either GRANTS me my desire or DENIES me my desire to discern.

        br.d
        No – in Calvinism – your brain cannot have an impulse that is not determined by an infallible decree.
        So whatever your brain is WILLING or SEEKING – is what Calvin’s god decreed it to WILL and SEEK.

        And Calvin’s god only GRANTS what he decrees come to pass.

        Roland
        He decreed by various means that I would determine true from false

        br.d
        How easy it is for a Calvinist to deny his own doctrine.

        When you were looking at the Bible – question – the PERCEPTION of the answer which came to pass within your brain was NOT DECREED by Calvin’s god?
        I don’t think so! 😀

        The Arminian view of divine foreknowledge – is called “SIMPLE” foreknowledge – where the theos foreknows by OBSERVATION

        Calvin’s god foreknows – what PERCEPTION will to come to pass within your brain – concerning the Bible question – because he DECREED what PERCEPTION would come to pass within your brain – concerning the Bible question.

        And in this case – he decreed your PERCEPTION to be a FALSE PERCEPTION.

        Therefore – he did not grant you the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE in this circumstance.

        Roland
        God decreed the laws of nature. I know by nature that 1 + 1 = 2. God decreed the law,

        br.d
        Once again – you are back-pedaling the doctrine of decrees – appealing to an Arminian view of divine sovereignty.

        Calvin’s god decrees WHATSOEVER COMES TO PASS

        That WHATSOEVER includes every PERCEPTION which comes to pass within your brain.

        Roland
        God created me with the ability to discern true from false mathematical problems.

        br.d
        It is impossible for your brain to have a FALSE PERCEPTION of a math problem?
        I don’t think so! :-]

        And in such case – Calvin’s god decreed that FALSE PERCEPTION to come to pass.
        And in the process – did not grant your brain the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE

        It becomes obvious – your trying to have it both ways.
        Your trying to claim there is no such thing as a function – in which Calvin’s god is DEPENDENT upon your freewill – and REACTIONARY to a choice you make.

        But when it comes to you making a choice between TRUE and FALSE – you totally contradict yourself – and claim the opposite.

        And we thank you for providing another example of how Calvinism is self-refuting! ;-D

      198. Calvinist Jonathan Edwards is over-rated!

        He was a slave holding, slavery-defending, infant-baptizing, John Locke loving, Calvinist who wrote:

        “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.”

        Yum.

        Why he is revered by Calvinists is beyond me.

      199. br.d
        Yes!
        But what he is describing – is logically consistent with EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (aka Calvinism)

        Roland – and all Calvinists – are happy to agree with that statement UNLESS that statement is staring them in the face.

        When that happens – they jump off the Calvinist podium and over to the NON-Calvinist podium.
        Once the coast is clear – and the specter of the doctrine is no longer staring them in the face – they jump back over to the Calvinist posistion and continue making their bold declarations.

        Its CALVINISM’S TAP-DANCE routine.

        Just as long as the doctrine is not staring him the face – he comfortable making big bold declarations.
        But the micro-second the doctrine is staring him in the face – he’s singing the opposite tune. ;-D

      200. Roland
        I’m cautious to use this language because I believe emotions imply change, change implies imperfection, and God is perfect in being.

        br.d
        Plato’s doctrine of divine immutability was very influential within the Catholic church of Augustine’s day.
        Catholic priests called Plato the “Great Master”
        Catholic priests would ring the church bells – on Plato’s birthday.

        Plotinus was a teacher of Neo-Platonism (i.e The new Platonism)
        He essentially turned some of Plato’s doctrines into religious form.

        Augustine fell in love with the doctrines of Plotinus.
        Since those doctrines were predicated on Platonic concepts – Augustine by synchronizing Neo-Platonism into Catholic doctrine – produces what we know today as Augustinian/Calvinism.

        Academically known as EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM

      201. Roland – Proverbs 16:4 NKJV — The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.

        Calvinistic leaning translations don’t clarify what “for Himself” really means.

        It literally means – God makes everything to literally – לַֽמַּעֲנֵ֑הו – “to answer to Him”. This is especially true for the wicked who will answer to God in a day of doom with which He will judge them. See Job 21:30, Jer 17:18. But the verse doesn’t teach they were made/born wicked to be destroyed later. The word “has made” is – פָּעַל – “works”. It has to do with working with something already made. It is not about creating something, and especially not inferring ordaining something before creation.

        The LXX has this as verse 9 and translates it this way – “All of the works of the Lord [are done] with righteousness; and the ungodly [man] is kept for the evil day.”

        The NIV has the right idea – [Pro 16:4 NIV] The LORD works out everything to its proper end–even the wicked for a day of disaster.

      202. Hello Atheist2Apologist,
        You said “If they truly weren’t hiding anything, they could just say we believe in the teachings of Calvin and all 5 points of TULIP. Plainly stated. They didn’t, and it tricked me.”

        In order for Calvinism to spread, Calvinists have to rely on trickery and on softening/disguising what’s at the heart of Calvinism. (We watched the trickery and manipulation first-hand when our church got taken over by a stealthy Calvinist pastor.) Because if they came right out and said what Calvinism really believes at the heart of it (if they even thought that far, and most don’t, most are content with terrible contradictions and cognitive dissonance), many people would be so alarmed they would rebel or leave. And if they identified themselves clearly as Calvinists, people could research it online for themselves to see what’s it’s all about, which would blow their cover. They disguise/soften things to have time to suck people in and brainwash them.

        And hello again Roland. You said “I wonder where John Calvin would get the idea that God created the wicked for the day of doom (evil)? Proverbs 16:4 4 The Lord has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.”

        In the Hebrews here, wicked is not a noun and does not mean anything like “non-elect” or “those predestined to hell.” It’s an adjective which basically describes one who is guilty of a crime or sin. That would be all of us. So if we take this verse as theologically literal as possible, it would mean all of us are held for a day of doom.

        But I do not believe Proverbs is always meant to be so literal, such hard-core, “bottom-line” theology. If it was, then we could say that every plan we make and commit to the Lord would succeed, verse 3. And that every king detests wrongdoing, verse 12. Has there ever been a king who delighted in doing things that were wrong? And since verse 2 says that all of our ways seem innocent to us, it must mean that we all think abuse, murder, rape, stealing, cheating, etc. is innocent if we do it. Be careful about using poetic Proverbs as hard-core theology.

        And here’s a question: Does Proverbs 16:4 say God caused/created them to be wicked? Or could it just be that He decided that the wicked will face a day of doom?

        It’s one thing to believe that God will punish the wicked (biblical), but it’s another to believe that God created/caused them to be wicked (un-biblical).

      203. Roland, you used Proverbs 21:1The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

        What is your interpretation of “He turns it wherever He wishes”? Do you think this means God controls/causes our thoughts and decisions and actions? (And if you are using Proverbs as hard-core theological truth, then notice that it says the KING’S heart is in God’s hands, not people in general.)

        If so, what about Psalm 33:10 which says “The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples.” If, as Calvinists believe, God controls all men’s wills, even down to the things we think and say and plan, then how can we have any “counsel” or “plans” that contradict God, to the point that He needs to nullify or frustrate them? Aren’t all “counsels” and “plans” from Him (according to Calvinism), if He causes all things and controls all men? Is He not then nullifying His own counsel and frustrating His own plans?

        And Job 38:10-11 says that God “fixed the limits for [the sea] and set its doors and bars in place, then I said ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.'” Why “fix limits” for the sea if He controls every wave of the sea anyway? Limits are only needed when there is freedom to move within those limits.

      204. Roland: “Then you distort God’s character by making DEPENDENT on freewill creatures to act. ”

        To me, this sounds like strategic wording, to say that free-will makes God DEPENDENT. Why can’t it just be that God Himself voluntarily chose to give people free-will because He wanted to, that He chose to allow us to make choices and He’d respond to us according to those choices?

        It’s Calvinists, not Calvinists, who have decided that free-will equals a dependent God. It’s a strawman argument.

      205. Correction: “It’s Calvinists, not NON-Calvinists, who have decided that free-will equals a dependent God.”

      206. Roland: “Your interpretation, to me, seems to explain away the simple reading of Ephesians 1:11.”

        I would say that Brian is right. A simple reading of Ephesians 1:11 in the KJV shows that the inheritance that believers get is what was predestined, not that the salvation of certain people was predestined.

        And so the question is: what is the believer’s inheritance?

        Whatever it is, I do not believe it can be predestined salvation – that certain elect people are prechosen to be saved, that they are saved before they believe and given the Holy Spirit in order to make them believe, as Calvinism teaches – because Ephesians 1:13 tells us that first we believe and then we get the Holy Spirit, the deposit who guarantees our inheritance, until our redemption. Inheritance is predestined, not who gets saved and who doesn’t.

        Roland: “If so, does this mean that God has failed to clearly communicate His message to His creatures?”

        I would turn that question back on Calvinists. If God says “Seek Me” but really means (according to Calvinists) “You can’t seek Me” … if He said He loves the world but only means a few people … if He said Jesus died for all men, to take away the sins of the world, when He really means the sins of just a few people … if He says He shows His love by sending Jesus to die for sinners but really means that He has two different kinds of love based on whether you are elect or not … if He commands obedience and belief but makes it impossible for most to obey and believe … if He told Adam and Eve to not eat the fruit when He really wanted/willed them to eat the fruit … if He requires justice, righteousness, obedience for His glory when He is really equally glorified by sin, injustice, unrighteousness, disobedience … etc. (I could go on and on) … doesn’t this mean that He failed to clearly communicate His message to His creatures?

      207. Heather,
        You are spot on as usual. But it means more than He miscommunicated. It means He intended to deceive.

        Jesus proclaimed to a large crowd on a hillside, “Seek first the kingdom of God” (wink, wink, if you get empowered to do so…as for the rest of you….. well my words are only to taunt you).

        The Bible says man can and should seek many times. But the Calvinist annuls all that by his interpretation of the poetry in Romans 3. They do not take the rest of that passage to mean what it says….only the once yank-out phrase that fits their position.

      208. Fromoverhere: “But it means more than He miscommunicated. It means He intended to deceive.”

        Good point! And what kind of a God would that make Him then? Certainly not one who is trustworthy or just or righteous.

        In fact, the Bible tells us who “the deceiver” is, the father of lies and confusion: Satan.

      209. I’m gonna jump in here and reply to some things Roland says (and you know I like you, Roland):

        (This is gonna be long …)

        Roland: “I would guess you are making the argument that God, either by His decree or permission or will, etc., does not bring any evil at all into creation…. God’s revelation is clear, God brings about evil in at least some ways. He wills, He wounds, He creates darkness, He creates calamity, etc.”

        Heather: I think what we need to do here first is define evil. The thing is, those verses you quoted about God causing darkness, wounds, calamity, disaster, etc., are far different than the Calvinist idea that God preplans/causes humans to sin. But Calvinists have lumped moral sin/evil in with disasters, calamities, illness, etc. And then they claim that since God says He causes things like disasters, illness, etc., it must also mean He causes people to sin. But causing disasters, illness, etc. is nowhere near the same thing as God causing people to commit sins He told them not to commit. God can cause disasters/illness without being guilty of sin, but He cannot preplan/force/cause people to sin without being responsible for it.

        And God can allow people to choose to be wicked/sinful and can work their sinful choices into His plans and still not be responsible for their sins – because He let them make their own choices first and then just incorporated their choices into His plans. And there is nothing wrong with Him making the most of their bad choices. But He cannot preplan/cause/control them to be wicked and to sin, giving them no choice to do anything differently, and yet not be responsible for it.

        God does not preplan/cause/force someone to be sinful or to sin, but He can and does put us in situations that might force us to make our decision, to expose what’s already in our hearts, and He can and does work our self-chosen sins/wickedness into His plans.

        Examples: God allowed Assyria to be the wicked people they wanted to be and He worked their wickedness into His plans to discipline Israel, but nowhere does it say that God caused them to be wicked. God allowed Pharoah to harden his heart (notice that for the first several plagues, Pharaoh hardened his own heart, and then God made Pharaoh’s choice permanent) and then God worked Pharaoh’s choice (God already knew what he would choose) into His plans to free the people in a dramatic way, but nowhere does it say that God preplanned/caused/forced Pharaoh to choose to resist Him. (God did harden Pharaoh’s heart after Pharaoh made his decision, solidifying Pharaoh’s decision, but Pharaoh chose first.) God knew the Jews would reject Jesus and so He planned a way to incorporate their wicked choices into His plans for the crucifixion, but the Bible does not say that God forced/caused them to be wicked or to reject Jesus.

        Roland: “I would agree with Calvin, evil events cannot happen without God’s decree…. It is not Calvinism you are arguing against, it is Scripture.”

        Heather: This is confusing/misleading because of the Calvinist definitions of “evil” and “decree.” Once again, Calvinists lump moral evils/sins in with calamities, disasters, illness, etc., and then say that since God causes disasters and illness, it must mean He causes sin too (and that if we disagree then we are questioning God’s sovereignty and denying Scripture). But disasters and illness and calamities and moral sins and moral evil, etc. do not all belong under the same one heading of “evil,” especially when it comes to causation. And Calvinists use the word “decrees,” which could sound to some people like “God knew it would happen and allowed it to happen anyway,” when what Calvinists really mean is that God preplanned, controlled, caused, forced it to happen and that nothing different could have happened (but they will deny that they mean “caused/forced”, even though there is no way around it in Calvinism). And so, no, it is not Scripture we are arguing against, but the Calvinist misinterpretation/twisting of Scripture, such as when they lump sin in with illness and call it all “evil,” saying God causes it all.

        Roland: “God gave pharaoh a command through Moses that God made sure pharaoh would not be ABLE to obey! According to the non-calvinists understanding of this text, God would not have done such a thing. He would not have MADE sure that pharaoh would disobey Him. He would have only FOUND out that pharaoh disobeyed Him.”

        Heather: Where in the Bible does it say that Pharaoh was unable, at first, to obey the command? God only hardened Pharaoh’s heart after Pharaoh hardened his own heart the first several plagues, making Pharaoh’s choice permanent. Calvinists have decided, though, that since God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in the later plagues, it must mean Pharaoh never had the ability to obey or to decide otherwise in the earlier plagues.

        Also, it’s not quite fair (a strawman argument) to claim that non-Calvinists believe God just “found out” Pharaoh disobeyed Him, as if we must think God didn’t know what would happen or was taken by surprise and then had to scramble to figure out what to do about it. (This is like Calvinist tactic of presenting an absurd option alongside a Calvinist option, as if those are the only two options there are, thereby forcing people to accept the Calvinist option.) God knew what Pharaoh would choose all along (which is why He knew that He would eventually harden Pharaoh’s heart) and so He already had a plan for how He would work Pharaoh’s choice into His plans.

        Roland: “And pharaoh is held accountable for his disobedience when he refused to let God’s people go. But God MADE sure that pharaoh would not let His people go.”

        Heather: Yes, AFTER Pharaoh made his own decision to resist God! God did not force/cause Pharaoh to resist Him, He just made Pharaoh’s self-chosen resistance permanent at some point. And because it was self-chosen by Pharaoh, God could justly hold Pharaoh accountable for it.

        Roland: “I’m so happy to be a Calvinist as we would rather adhere to God’s revelation than some man made logical and philosophical suppositions regarding God’s character and will. I’m much rather agree with what Scripture CLEARLY reveals about God’s actions in Scripture than to subject God’s actions to men’s standards.”

        Heather: Calvinists do not adhere to the clear teaching of Scripture, but they start with their own definitions of things like “sovereign” and “election” and “predestination,” etc., and then they have to add “yes, but” to Scripture to make it fit their views:

        “Yes, the Bible says God loves the world … but He meant all kinds of people, not all individual people. And He has two different kinds of love, a save-your-soul one for the elect and a give-you-food-and-sunshine one for the non-elect.”

        “Yes, the Bible says God calls to all people … but He has two different kinds of calls, one for the elect that they have to respond to and one for the non-elect that they can never respond to.”

        “Yes, God tells us to seek Him, to repent … but He didn’t mean we can seek Him or repent. He has to make the elect seek Him and repent, but the non-elect can never seek Him nor repent.”

        “Yes, the Bible says God wants all men to be saved, that He wants no one to perish … but God has two different wills, you see. A revealed one where He says He wants everyone to be saved and no one to perish, and a secret one which contradicts His revealed one where He really does want most people to go to hell. God can want one thing while causing the opposite, for His glory and mysterious plans.”

        “Yes, the Bible says Jesus died for all sins and all people … but it means the sins of all kinds of people, from all races. Because Jesus wouldn’t die for those who are predestined to reject Him. That would be a waste of His blood and make His death ineffectual.”

        Did God really intend “Yes … but” to be added to and to contradict/complicate/confuse everything He clearly, plainly said? Is He a God who doesn’t mean what He says or say what He means? (If He is a God who says one thing but means another, how can you ever trust Him then about anything?)

        If you have to add “Yes … but …” to everything God says then you can be sure that your theology is WRONG!

        The gospel is clear, easily-understood, makes sense, and is for all people. God doesn’t hide His Truth under layers of contradictions and double word-meanings and word games. When read plainly and simply, the Bible clearly says that Jesus died for all, that we are all sinners, that salvation is available to all, that we can believe in Him, and that we are responsible for whether we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior or not.

        But it’s the Calvinists who do all sorts of Scripture-twisting, smoke-and-mirrors, double-layering, song-and-dances, running-in-theological-circles in order to make the Bible fit their theology, to make it say the exact opposite of what the Bible clearly says.

        Calvinists cannot find verses that clearly say what they believe, such as “God does not love all sinners equally” … “Jesus died only for the elect” … “God has two Wills that contradict each other, one that wants all to be saved and one that predestines most people for hell” … “God has two different kinds of love for people, one that saves some people and one that just gives food and sunshine to the rest” … “God has two different kinds of calls He gives people, one that is irresistible and one that is resistible” … or … “God causes people to sin but punishes them for it,” etc.

        They can’t find verses that clearly teach their theology. And this is why they have to take verses out of context, apply multiple layers to verses, mash other verses together, change the meanings of words, shame and manipulate people into not questioning them, and make up truths based on what a verse doesn’t say (such as if a verse says Jesus died for His sheep, they say it must mean that He didn’t die for anyone else but His sheep), etc.

        Calvinism does not take Scripture at face value. And this should be evident in the fact that it takes months of study with Calvinist pastors and Calvinist indoctrination books to figure out what God supposedly meant to say underneath what He actually said. And even then, Calvinists have to resort to things like “who are you to question God?” and “We can’t understand it, so we just have to accept it” to try to explain away the contradictions they cannot resolve.

        I like you Roland. But you are trapped. Ask God to soften your heart to His truth, to remove the blinders, to protect you from demonic interference, and to help you see clearly. This is a huge spiritual battle, and it will not be easy. If we’re ensnared by demonic deception, they won’t let us go easily. I’ll say a prayer for you.

      210. Correction: “This is a huge spiritual battle, and it WON’T be easy.”

        Maybe the moderator can fix that for me, please?

      211. Fromoverhere: “I told ya! Why waste the time? God-does-all-evil affirming Calvinists are working with a different paradigm….”

        Your whole comment was well-written and well-said!

        And it makes me wonder, Calvinists talk about evil and sin, but how do they define it without contradicting Calvinism?

        If they say “Sin is doing what God doesn’t want,” it contradicts their belief that God predestines whatever He wants to have happen.

        If they say “Sin is doing what doesn’t please God,” it contradicts their belief that God causes everything that happens for His pleasure, even sin.

        If they say “Sin is doing something that’s unglorifying to God”, it contradicts their belief that God causes everything that happens for His glory, good and evil alike.

        If they say “Sin is going against what God commands,” it contradicts their belief that God has a spoken command (what He SAYS He wants us to do) and an unspoken “command” that we HAVE TO obey because He causes us to, in violation of what He SAID we need to do. And so disobedience is really just obedience on a different level.

        How can a Calvinist define evil/sin without contradicting Calvinism or making a mockery of God and Scripture?

      212. Heather
        And it makes me wonder, Calvinists talk about evil and sin, but how do they define it without contradicting Calvinism?

        br.d
        Solipsism – is a belief system – which has a similar problem as Calvinism does.

        Take for example – the man who insists on being coherent with his belief in Solipsism – and treats his wife as a figment of his imagination.

        Is she going to see that as a compliment in their intimate moments?
        He’s having intimacy with a figment of his imagination – rather than having intimacy with her.

        Or – while insisting on being coherent with his belief system – he treats his supervisor or boss at work as a figment of his imagination.

        Is his supervisor/boss going to consider that a compliment?
        There will be consequences!

        All believers in Solipsism understand the reality of those consequences.
        And in order to avoid them – the Solipsist simply treats people *AS-IF* they are real.

        So on the one hand – the Solipsist will defiantly assert his belief system is TRUE
        At the same time he automatically treats his belief system *AS-IF* it is false in order to avoid consequences.

        The reason for this – is because of the radical nature of the belief system

        The Calvinist is in the same exact situation
        The foundational core of Calvinism is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM.

        So here is where you and I observe the Calvinist – just like the Solipsist defiantly asserting his belief system. While automatically treating his belief system *AS-IF* it is FALSE

        Here is an example:

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

        Here Calvin knows this as a direct contradiction to the doctrine – which stipulates that EVERYTHING is determined in EVERY part.

        Yet he is instructing believers to treat the doctrine *AS-IF* it is FALSE

        Roland does the same thing – asserting LIBERTARIAN choice does not exist – because it would require Calvin’s god to be DEPENDENT and REACTIVE to a choice which a person made.

        Then we apply Roland’s assertion to Calvin’s god permitting Roland’s brain to make a choice about whether a Bible question is TRUE or FALSE – the consequence of Roland’s assertion is more than Roland can endure.

        When it comes to a real-live situation which personally affects himself – he treats his defiant assertion *AS-IF* it is FALSE – and simply says Calvin’s god can decree his brain to have a perception which Calvin’s god did not determine – thus making Calvin’s god DEPENDENT and REACTIVE to a choice Roland’s brain would make.

        Determinism – like Solipsism – is simply too radical for the believer to live coherently with.

      213. Br.d: “So here is where you and I observe the Calvinist – just like the Solipsist defiantly asserting his belief system. While automatically treating his belief system *AS-IF* it is FALSE”

        You’d think that having to play the “as if” game would set off some alarm bells for the Calvinist, make them question Calvinism a little more.

        But I guess not.

        It’s amazing the level of self-deception and cognitive dissonance people can live with to keep from having to question something they hold dear.

      214. Yes!
        Well said!

        That alerts us to the reason why Calvinist language is a COSMETIC language – designed to create FACADES of things which don’t really exist within the belief system.

        Take for example the word “Permission”.
        Calvin’s god certainly does not “Permit” anything to come to pass which he does not *MAKE* come to pass by infallible decree.

        Many Calvinists do not want to say Calvin’s god *MAKES* everything come to pass by infallible decree.

        So 99% of the time – the Calvinist uses “Permission” language – his statements are carefully designed to draw a picture of events coming to pass which Calvin’s god did not intend.
        And of course – that picture is COSMETIC.

        Calvinist language – is all about creating word-pictures of things which do not exist in his belief system.

      215. Roland, Maybe you already answered this somewhere, but I am wondering (as I read the debate about the Ephesians verses) …

        When were you – one of the Calvinist elect, preselected before the foundation of the world – first “in Christ”?

      216. Roland: “Imagine you a parent watching your children play on a driveway…. They all begin to run towards the street… You know that if they run into the street your children will be struck by a car and killed. You have the power to stop them. You have the knowledge that they will be struck by a car and killed. Yet your only actions are pleading, begging, and shouting them to turn back. When they don’t. Whey you fail to take action to stop them. They perish. This is why I find non-calvinism DISGUSTING and IMMORAL. At least in Calvinism God does take action and save His elect.”

        Heather: So you’d rather have a God who caused most of his children to irresistibly desire to run into traffic and be killed, giving them no ability/chance to do otherwise … a God who created them specifically for that end because He takes pleasure in it and is glorified by it and because it shows the “elect” ones how much more loved they are by comparison … a God who only pretends to care about the non-elect children, who “warns” them about the dangers of running into traffic and commands them to not run into traffic but who ultimately programmed them to run into traffic, and then He blames them for not listening to His warnings, punishing them for it eternally, even though they couldn’t choose anything else?

        But hey, never mind about the damned ones. At least a few of us were chosen to be saved. A few of us were given by Calvi-god the ability/desire to obey Him when He said to not run into traffic. Isn’t Calvi-god good, gracious, loving, and just! (Just don’t think about those predestined to hell!) Who are we to understand Him anyway or to talk back to Him?

        (The sarcasm is to emphasize my disgust with Calvinism, not to be hard on you, Roland.)

        Roland: “In non-calvinism God does not take action. He saves none. He CAN only wait for His “free creatures” to make a “freewill” decision to turn to Him and live…. In non-calvinism God does not save but only offers to save.”

        Heather: Actually, in non-calvinism, God did indeed take action and do something to save people, something much more than just begging and pleading: He died on the cross in our place to save us all from hell. And then He spent years getting the gospel written down to spread the message of salvation. And He put evidence of Himself in nature and in our hearts to call us all to Him. He reaches out to all people to tell them that He loves them and that they can be saved. He did everything, except make our decision for us.

        To go back to your illustration, Roland (and remember all illustrations fall short at some point): Biblically, God doesn’t just sit and watch His kids run into the street, merely pleading that they stop. No! He has consistently and repeatedly told us all about the dangers of running into the road (through prophets and Scripture), commands us to not run into the road, has made a way to safety and shown us the way to safety, has put up warning signs and roadblocks, etc. And then even when we keep running to the road, by our own choice, He tries to pull us back over and over again. (But He has given us the right to make the decide to listen to Him or not.) And on top of all that, God also threw Himself in front of the cars to get hit Himself, to take the “punishment” so that no one else had to get hit (eternally). No one has to run into the road and get killed. And yet in spite of all that, many of us choose to ignore Him and His warnings, to reject His sacrifice, and we willingly plunge headlong into traffic ourselves. Because we don’t want God telling us what to do.

        And yet you, Roland, would blame God for that, for us not listening, accusing Him of not doing enough to save us?

        Roland: “In Calvinism, God SAVES!.”

        Heather: Yes, a few people. While destroying so many more.

        Roland: “In non-calvinism God watches sinners die, knows they’re going to die, has the power to save them from eternal punishment yet does nothing but invite or offer to save.”

        Heather: And yet you have no problem with the fact that, in Calvinism, God doesn’t just watch sinners die but He causes/creates most sinners to die, predestining them to hell – even though He has the power to predestine no one to hell – giving them no chance/ability to be saved because Calvi-Jesus never died for them anyway,

        At least the non-Calvinist Jesus died to make salvation available to all and the non-Calvinist God truly offers real salvation to all. (And like I said, the non-Calvinist God does much more than just invite or offer.)

        Roland, try thinking a little less about how “good” the Calvinist god is to save just a few people, and think a little more about how wretched he is to create most people to burn for eternity in hell (when he has the ability to predestine no one to hell), how disgusting it is that he is glorified by that and ultimately takes pleasure in it, how wrong he is to tell people to repent and believe while preventing them from repenting and believing, how unjust he is to command people to not sin but then he causes them to sin and punishes them for it, etc.

        If you are this backwards/warped/deluded in your ideas of what the non-Calvinist God is like and what the Calvinist God is like then I’m worried for you, Roland. I really am. I suggest that you pray and ask God to take off any blinders Satan may have put on you. Tell God you want to know the truth, even if it means realizing/admitting you were wrong all along. (Are you willing to do this? If not – if you’re so worried about finding out you might be wrong that you can’t pray this – then that is telling.)

      217. What is the probability that Roland knows fully well that both of these statements are outright lies.

        Roland:
        In non-calvinism God watches sinners die, knows they’re going to die, has the power to save them from eternal punishment yet does nothing but invite or offer to save.”

        Roland
        In non-calvinism God does not save but only offers to save.

        I love how the Lord has provided SOT101

        It is a place where curious readers can come to see real-life examples – of how Calvinism trains Calvinists to be dishonest.

        The Lord works all things for the good! :-]

      218. FOH, I like your comment starting with:

        “‘God is not the author of sin but it has come to pass by His decree’ (Roland’s quote). What in the world does this even mean? If God is “sovereign” in the way Calvinists say …”

        You said some of the things I was thinking too. 🙂

      219. br.d
        Welcome to Calvinist logic 101:

        Where Calvin’s god is the author of all closed 2-dimensional shapes with 3 sides.
        But not in such a way as he is the author of triangles! ;-D

      220. Roland, you said “This is why I find non-calvinism DISGUSTING and IMMORAL.”

        Is it not the least bit weird to you that Calvi-god “ordained” you to find non-Calvinism disgusting and immoral … for his glory, but that he “ordained” us to find Calvinism disgusting and immoral … for his glory? That he gets as much glory from both? Is that not strange and meaningless?

        And how about the fact that Calvi-god gets as much glory and pleasure from predestining a few people to heaven as he does from predestining many more to hell? That he gets as much glory and pleasure from ordaining child rape as he does from ordaining that people fight against child rape? That he commands belief and repentance but predestined/causes the non-elect to NOT do those things, and then punishes them for it? That he commands that we don’t sin but then he causes sin? (How can you trust that a god like that is good and righteous and just and holy and loving and faithful? What are your definitions of those things? What is the definition of sin/evil/disobedience, especially if sin and evil and disobedience is Calvi-god’s Will and plan and ultimately caused by him for his glory and pleasure?)

        Does it not bother you that our souls are basically interchangeable to him, that he randomly picks a few people to save while damning the rest, before we ever even took our first breath or made any decisions? That he could have easily chosen just one person to punish in hell (if, as Calvinists say, he needed sinners so that he could show off his justice/wrath by punishing sin, in order to exercise his full attributes and be fully glorified – as if he was somehow lacking in glory or God-ness before sinners came along) but that instead he chose to predestine multitudes upon multitudes to hell? (So punishing Jesus on the cross wasn’t enough? He needed to punish millions, billions of people too? Jesus’s death was not enough?)

        How God-honoring is a Calvinist really, when the wicked bring Calvi-god as much glory as the Calvinist does? How meaningful are your life, choices, thoughts, prayers, spiritual disciplines, etc. anyway, when it’s all planned/caused by Calvi-god? How special and loved can a Calvinist feel when you were chosen basically by lottery, random chance, but he could have just as easily swapped you out for another person? Is Calvinism comforting to you, when you really think about it? Or is it only comforting if you ignore the unpleasant, unavoidable, undeniable conclusions of Calvinism?

        Think about it. REALLY think about it. God’s name and character and the gospel and people’s souls and the condition of your eternity are at stake here.

      221. br.d
        Well said!
        And to top it off per Calvinist doctrine – Roland is granted NO CERTAINTY that he is elect.

        Within Calvinism the preponderance of the Calvinist population are created and designed to be CHAFF.
        And the process of making them CHAFF entails making them live minute by minute having infallibly decreed FALSE PERCEPTIONS of salvation.

        Calvin’s god is not obligated to decree an impulse of disgust to come to pass within the Calvinist brain concerning being specifically created for eternal torment in a lake of fire for the divine good pleasure.

        Calvin’s god – in his divine sovereignty – can be very selective about what things he wants his CHAFF Calvinists to feel disgust about! ;-D

      222. Br.d.: “Welcome to Calvinist logic 101: Where Calvin’s god is the author of all closed 2-dimensional shapes with 3 sides.
        But not in such a way as he is the author of triangles! ;-D”

        Yep! I was thinking earlier about how reasoning with a Calvinist would be kinda like this:

        Me: Oh, I see you’re losing your hair and going bald.

        Calvinist: No, I’m not. I’m not losing my hair and going bald. I’m simply gaining more forehead space.

        Me: But that’s the same thing. You’re trying to make it sound better than it is, but I am just calling it like it is: You’re going bald.

        Calvinist: No, I’m not. I don’t call it bald. The men’s health magazine that I read calls it ‘gaining more forehead.’

        Me: But it’s the same thing.

        Calvinist: No, it’s not.

        And round and round we go!

      223. yes it is hilarious!

        Like we are not really in a recession right now because the definition of recession is always magically changing! 😀

  5. Here is something I haven’t seen brought up in any Biblical argument against Calvinism.

    Before I was more versed in the Bible and study of this topic, a Calvinist told me “freewill is not taught anywhere in the Bible.” At the time, I argued it was implied in words like if, whosoever etc…. But it turns out the actual WORD “freewill” is used 17 times in the Bible (KJV). I never see non-Calvinist use these as proof. I wonder why?

    Conversely, in the KJV, the word Sovereign and Sovereignty is not used even once. God’s sovereignty is implied, but not specifically mentioned (and I mean the actual definition of sovereignty). Even IF the Calvinist definition IS implied, it is still IMPLIED and by what that Calvinist told me, you can’t go off of things that are implied. So if freewill is implied (even though it is EXPLICITLY mentioned repeatedly) we can’t rely on implication, but if sovereignty is implied, it is GOSPEL TRUTH!

    Now, I’m sure they will just say freewill doesn’t mean freewill, because Calvinists apparently have the authority to define any word to mean anything they want it to be, but still, the Bible LITERALLY teaches freewill.

    1. ATHEIST2APOLOGIST
      a Calvinist told me “freewill is not taught anywhere in the Bible

      br.d
      This is very common.

      What we need to understand about Calvinist language – is that it is language of OMISSION.
      In other words – it is a language designed ALLOW you to interpret words and phrases – as they are commonly understood.
      When the Calvinist has INSIDER meanings for those terms and phrases.

      The phrase “Free-Will” is one very prevalent example.

      The Calvinist Westminster confession – which is one of the premier confessions for Calvinism describes what Calvinist call
      “IRRESISTIBLE” grace.

      However – what they are OMITTING is the fact that in Calvinism – every impulse that comes to pass within the human brain – comes to pass “IRRESISTIBLY” – by virtue of the fact that every impulse is decreed to infallibly come to pass.

      Here is a part of a segment from that confession:
      -quote
      His almighty power, determining them….yet so, as they come most freely…..

      So you can see – there is a KIND of “Free-Will” in Calvinism – which every Calvinist is familiar with.

      So when a Calvinist tells you “there is no such thing as “Free-Will” in scripture – what he is referring too is a DIFFERENT definition of “Free-Will”.

      The “Free-Will” he will claim is not in scripture – is classified as “LIBERTARIAN” freedom.

      For the Calvinist – “LIBERTARIAN” freedom – is freedom from the infallible decree
      And freedom from the infallible decree is a contradiction of the Calvinist doctrine of decrees.
      So its quite natural – the Calvinist is going to insist LIBERTARIAN freedom is not in scripture.

      HOWEVER
      The question to ask a Calvinist as this point – is “Is your brain FREE to discern TRUE from FALSE on any matter?”

      And of course – the Calvinist is going to say YES.

      So the next question is – “But if your brain is NOT FREE from the infallible decree – then is YOUR brain having the freedom to discern TRUE from FALSE – not LIBERTARIAN freedom?

      They cannot answer that question with any rational answer at all.
      Because their doctrine of decrees stipulates that WHATSOEVER COMES TO PASS within the human brain – is determined by infallible decree.

      So if a Calvinist brain is required to answer a TRUE/FALSE question – then the PERCEPTION which comes to pass within their brain is determined by Calvin’s god – and not by their brain.

      In other words – the doctrine of decrees – LOGICALLY EXCLUDES their brain from having the Freedom to discern TRUE from FALSE.

      So when a Calvinist claims LIBERTARIAN Freedom is not in scripture – he is telling you – his brain is not granted the freedom of discerning TRUE from FALSE

      This is further explained by the following Christian philosopher Dr. John Searle:

      Dr. John Searle
      -quote
      All rational activity logically presupposes Libertarian choice. This becomes obvious when one realizes that rationality is possible only where one has a CHOICE among various rational as well as irrational options.” (Rationality in Action)

      Where Determinism is TRUE – the human brain does not CHOOSE between TRUE and FALSE – because all perceptions and activites within the human brain are solely and exclusively determined by a divine external mind – and not by the human brain.

      1. Well said. They play language games. I was caught very off-guard by this Calvinist. All our previous conversations were very solid, biblical and Christ-Centered. While I didn’t know much about Calvinism, I knew the doctrine of Divine Causal Determinism and thought it was so obviously stupid, illogical and counter-intuitive to our personal experiences that very few believed in it. So I both hadn’t heard the “proof texts” or had done much research to know more about it and refute it (I now understand it much better!).

        I made the mistake of using basic logical examples to disprove it. The Calvinist QUICKLY belittled my reasoning by saying it wasn’t from scripture. Then when I tried to find scripture to support my claim, I was belittled for not knowing scripture well enough and not being “spiritually mature”. It was hostile, belittling, demeaning, and unloving…all things I didn’t find to be very Christian behavior.

        Of course he threw “how can a dead man respond to anything”, a Calvinist eisegesis of Romans 9, and then (of course) The Who are you to question God!? All things I didn’t get from reading it on my own before, and my first time hearing these absurd interpretations. I was woefully unprepared and equipped to deal with such a dishonest argument, and admittedly lost the debate (because they were playing by different debate rules, and I was shocked at being treated that way!). It was sad to see a Christian behave this way, but also pointed to a red flag in the theology. Not good fruit!

      2. Atheist2Apologist,

        Agree with you completely. However, now comes the investigations. We must ask the WHY questions as to what do they base their claims on. You say Romans 9. That is only part of it.

        There are a couple more, where they think that David was a sinner from the womb, and another that “they are ‘estranged’ from the womb”, and that since Adam’s sin was “imputed” to humanity, then everyone is a dead man/woman, when conceived in the womb.

        So, now, one must debunk all of those.

        It’s easy to say that the prodigal son was indeed alive before leaving home. But that’s not the doctrine that is central to the discussion.

        My suggestion would be to study out David’s mother, not mentioned in the bible at all.

        But more so, the doctrine central to all of this is the doctrine of “original sin”. That tells us that everyone is INFECTED with Adam’s sin, therefore, born dead.

        My question would be…”Are you really born spiritually dead”? If the answer is yes, then Calvin might have a point. If the answer is no, why?

        Does the doctrine of original sin have merit? Does it hold water? Or does it fail? Are we born spiritually alive, or born spiritually dead?

        If we are born spiritually dead, then when do we die spiritually, and what is the exact reason for that death? Is it because we sinned, or is it because we got knowledge that we sinned?

        Lot’s of What, When, Why, Where, and How questions to ask and research.

        Personally, I don’t believe in Original Sin, and since I don’t, I don’t consider Calvinism or Armenianism, to be right. Now, I don’t know everything that Palagian believed, as I’ve only skimmed his stuff, but just in what I skimmed, he was closer to being right than Catholics, and all the reforms put together, and the reason? He rejected Original Sin, as do I.

        But why do I reject it? Ahhhhh….that’s the question to research!

        Ed Chapman

      3. Atheist2Apologist,

        By the way, both Calvin’s “Irresistible Grace”, and Armenian’s “Prevenient Grace” is tied into the doctrine of Original Sin.

        In other words, Original Sin is a prerequisite of both doctrines of Grace. Each of those doctrines of Grace tells you that you are INCAPABLE of approaching God…all because you are a dead man from Original Sin. But…are you really spiritually dead from the womb/birth?

        Ed Chapman

      4. While there is a lot of evidence and study that can be done to disprove original sin, I honestly don’t think one needs to go farther than Ezekiel 18. Will that convince a Calvinist? No. But neither will the whole body of evidence, because they can change the meaning of any word they want to at any time. I take the “dead” they are talking about to mean “doomed, or condemned” based on contextual use of it.

      5. Atheist2Apologist,

        Always keep in mind that Calvinists have backups to your Ezekiel 18. Such as:

        Exodus 20:5
        Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

        Exodus 34:7
        Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

        Numbers 14:18
        The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

        Deuteronomy 5:9
        Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

        So, actually, it would behoove you to discredit the ORIGIN of Original Sin Doctrine, the Nucleus, or, the Genesis, if you will of their WHOLE doctrine.

        Without Original Sin, the WHOLE THING falls apart. Every bit of it.

        The reason that they are “doomed”, etc., is because of SPIRITUAL DEATH. But when does one spiritually die. If you can prove that no one is spiritually dead at birth/conception in the womb…then CHECKMATE! You don’t need Ezekiel 18 anymore.

      6. The Calvinists strong suit – is always going to be language manipulation.
        And that is why he defers to scripture
        Scripture is language.

        The rules of language are very loose – and language is easy to manipulate – and that is the *REAL* reason the Calvinist always goes to scripture.

        Most Calvinists have 2 Canons
        They have the Canon of scripture – which every theology has.
        But the Calvinistic interpretation of scripture – also functions as a Canon for most Calvinists.

        You will notice – when most Calvinists appeal to scripture – they will evade the fact that what they have is an INTERPRETATION of scripture. They will treat scripture *AS-IF* they are not applying a Calvinistic interpretation of it.

        When Jesus is tempted by the lawyer – Jesus asks the lawyer 2 questions:

        1) What does the text say?

        2) How do YOU read it?.

        Clearly Jesus places a critical distinction between these two questions.
        The 2nd question is just as critical as the 1st question.

        The lawyer had no problem answering Jesus’ 1st question – he quoted the text verbatim.

        But he evaded Jesus’ 2nd question
        He evaded it because it shined a spot-light on something that made him vulnerable.
        The HUMAN element of Interpretation.

        Scripture cannot be wrong.
        But a HUMAN Interpretation of the scripture can be.wrong.

        Most Calvinists will evade Jesus’ 2nd question – just like the lawyer did
        They don’t want you to put the Calvinist interpretation under examination because you’ll recognize how self-contradicting it is.

        The scripture is not self-contradicting.
        But an interpretation of scripture can be self-contradicting.
        And the Calvinist does not want you to scrutinize the Calvinist interpretation – because you’ll discover how self-contradicting it is.

        The rules which govern the use of language are very loose – which means language easy to manipulate.
        But the rules which govern Logic have STANDARDIZED.
        And when a Calvinist tries to get away with something that is irrational – he gets caught.

        If you understand the underlying DETERMINISM – and you scrutinize his statements you find Calvinists are full of INFERENTIAL denials of their belief system

        So what the Calvinist can get away with – by manipulating language – he cannot get away with – trying to evade logic

      7. Br.d.: “In other words – it is a language designed ALLOW you to interpret words and phrases – as they are commonly understood.
        When the Calvinist has INSIDER meanings for those terms and phrases.”

        And BINGO was his name-o!

        They will let you believe (and want you to believe), for as long as possible, that you are both saying the same things, using words the same way – while all along they have hidden definitions and double layers to words/concepts. But by letting you think they are on the same page as you are, they buy time to reel you in bit by bit.

        Such as they start by getting you to agree with them that God is sovereign and man is depraved and “you believe in grace, don’t you?”

        And so since you think they are saying the same thing you are, you let your guard down, listen to them more, and let them pull you deeper and deeper into their Calvinist theology.

        But if, at the very beginning, they clearly said “Well, we believe that sovereign means God controls/preplans/causes all things, even your thoughts, decisions, and sins … and we believe that man is so totally depraved that he is such a wicked, rebellious, God-hating being that he can’t even want God or think about God or seek God unless God makes him do it (and He will only cause the elect to do it but He prevents the non-elect from doing it, even though He still commands them to do it and will punish them for not doing it) … and we believe in grace, but only grace for the elect while everyone else gets kindness from God in the form of food and sunshine while they are alive on earth before being sent to hell for all of eternity for being the God-haters that God predestined them to be and gave them no choice about” then there’d be a lot less people who would bend their ears to them.

        Calvinism needs the deceptive wording because without it Calvinism would not thrive or spread.

      8. Heather
        Calvinism needs the deceptive wording because without it Calvinism would not thrive or spread.

        br.d
        Dr. Jerry Walls
        -quote
        If Calvinist’s didn’t rely on misleading rhetoric – Calvinism would loose all credibility within two years.

        Ex-Calvinist Daniel Gracely
        -quote
        “Calvinist and Non-Calvinist do not share the same meaning of words….. Remember, Calvinism is merely the invoking of associative meaning, not real meaning. By ‘not real’ I mean that the meaning is destroyed in the overall thought of the clause or sentence. For, of course, at one level the Calvinist understands the general meaning of words. But he strings them together in such a way that it forms an idea that is false according to his belief system.

        This is what I used to do as a Calvinist. I liken these non-sense statements, or propositions, to the riding of a rocking horse….. Thus, I would go back and forth in seesaw motion, lest on the one hand I find myself accusing God of insufficient sovereignty, or on the other hand find myself accusing God of authoring sin. All the while, there remained an illusion of movement towards truth, when in fact there was no real movement at all. At length I would allow the springs of dialectical tension to rest the rocking horse in the center, and then I would declare as harmonious propositions, which in fact, were totally contradictory to each other.

    2. A2A: “Here is something I haven’t seen brought up in any Biblical argument against Calvinism…”

      Great observation. And very true. I have found that Calvinism is all about denying what the Bible clearly, plainly says and replacing it with things it doesn’t clearly, plainly say, ultimately contradicting what it does clearly, plainly say.

      Basically, they have replaced God’s truth with what they THINK God must have meant to say, based on their own ideas of how a “sovereign” God must be and act. The first rule of Calvinist Club: Conform Scripture to the Calvinist definition of “sovereign.”

  6. You are correct. This is why they always appeal to “mystery”, to evade logic. But “mystery” only exists when there truly is a lack of information, and no other information can be plugged in to create a solution. x+5=y is a mystery. But if you find a value for either x or y the problem is solvable. There ARE mysteries of God. Like what our new bodies will be like and what material they will be composed of. The Bible simply doesn’t provide enough information to rationally solve the equation. But for Calvinist doctrine, the information DOES exist and actually provides a rational equation. But they refer to it as mystery while ignoring the solution that is provided by non-Calvinists.

  7. br.d
    “The Calvinists strong suit – is always going to be language manipulation.
    And that is why he defers to scripture
    Scripture is language.”

    roland
    Calvinists defer to Scripture because it is the presuppositions from which we operate. We begin with Scripture unlike the non-calvinists who begins his interpretation of Scripture with assumptions such as libertarian freewill.

    1. I will explain the misunderstanding you are having. It is not that non-Calvinists do not defer to scripture. They do, as is evidenced by the many scriptures used by non-Calvinists in this very thread. What we are questioning is not the Scripture itself, but rather the Calvinists INTERPRETATION, of the Scriptures they use. Both are using Scripture, but both are applying an interpretation to the scripture.

      The non-Calvinist isn’t applying a non-Biblical Elena of freewill, but a Biblical one. The Bible uses the word freewill 17 times. You argue over what that word means, but that is simply where Calvinists and non-Calvinists disagree.

      1. “You argue over what that word means, but that is simply where Calvinists and non-Calvinists disagree.”

        roland
        Agree, There is a simple disagreement over the definition of the word freewill. However, the disagreement is further demonstrated when Calvinists and non-Calvinists consider the nature of man. Calvinists believe in total depravity. Non-Calvinists reject it. As a necessary consequence, non-Calvinists believe man has libertarian freewill.

        One of the reasons i rejected my former freewill convictions was due to Scriptures clear revelation that man is totally depraved. Many times in the Scriptures is man described as being slaves to sin, in bondage, etc. Jesus said He came to set man free. Free from what? Our own free freewill?If we are free to obey, free to choose, free to believe, then from what is Christ setting us free?

      2. Roland
        However, the disagreement is further demonstrated when Calvinists and non-Calvinists consider the nature of man. Calvinists believe in total depravity.

        br.d
        Do you remember – ATHEIST2APOLOGIST – how I told you that Calvinist statements are lies of OMISSION?
        There is an excellent example

        The current “T” in Calvinism’s TULIP functions as a lie of OMISSION.

        A lie of OMISSION is a statement designed to mislead – by virtue of omitting critical facts – which if NOT OMITTED do NOT mislead.

        In this case – the critical fact which is OMITTED – is the fact that what we *REALLY* have in Calvinism – is
        TOTALLY PREDESTINED NATURE

        In Calvinism – Nature – including man’s nature – at every instance in time – is 100% meticulously predestined.
        And man has NO SAY and NO CHOICE in the matter of anything that is predestined.

        So in Calvinism – what man’s will is NOT FREE from – is the infallible decree.

        As John Calvin explains:
        -quote
        The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly
        decreed. (Institutes, 1, Chp 16, Par. 3)

        Thus in Calvinism – NOT ONE IMPULSE HAPPENS within man’s brain – that has not been knowingly and willingly decreed.

        Total Depravity – functions as a way for Calvinists to place FALSE ATTRIBUTION of man’s destiny and man’s ability – onto man’s nature.

        When the TRUTH is – man’s nature – at every nano-second in time – is not ATTRIBUTED to man – but rather to an infallible decree which man is powerless to resist or alter.

        Thank you again Roland – for providing an example of how lies of omission work for Calvinism! :-]

      3. br.d
        Do you remember – ATHEIST2APOLOGIST – how I told you that Calvinist statements are lies of OMISSION?

        roland
        So the standard that br.d has set me is that I am not permitted nor can I be allowed to omit anything. I must in each post that I write everything, include everything. I’m sorry br.d but that is a standard too high for me because I am a fallible sinful creature. There’s no possible way for me to include everything when I write a response. Things will be omitted, therefore it necessarily follows that I AM A LIAR!

      4. Roland
        So the standard that br.d has set me is that I am not permitted nor can I be allowed to omit anything.

        br.d
        I was mentioning to ATHEIST2APOLOGIST that many Calvinist statements are designed to mislead by strategic OMISSIONS

        You can along at the perfect time – to provide an example!

        The Lord worked it out for the good! :-]

      5. By saying that I am using STRATEGIC OMISSIONS, you are calling me a liar. I am STRATEGICALLY OMITTING information is basically saying that I am planning omissions, I am lying.
        It will be easy for you to point out my omissions, sorry strategic omissions, as I wrote earlier because I am fallible, sinful, and finite.

      6. Roland
        By saying that I am using STRATEGIC OMISSIONS, you are calling me a liar.

        br.d
        The fact that Calvinists statements are often characterized as STRATEGIC OMISSIONS – tells the story all by itself.

    2. Roland
      We begin with Scripture
      Unlike the non-calvinists who begins his interpretation of Scripture with assumptions such as libertarian freewill.

      br.d

      There it is!
      You don’t being with an INTERPRETATION – you begin with scripture.

      Thus – there is no HUMAN element involved for the Calvinist – like there is for the Non-Calvinist

      Exactly what I meant – when I said the Calvinist INTERPRETATION functions a his 2nd Canon

      Thank you for manifesting my point! . :-]

  8. First off, nowhere in the Bible does it say we are TOTALLY depraved. We have a sin nature. It means we are drawn to sin, and everyone at some point will sin. It does not mean that every single thing everyone does is sinful. Unregenerate people, for example, get tempted to do things that are sinful and choose to resist that temptation. A man might be tempted to cheat on his wife, but being convicted in his conscience, decides not to do it. Is it NOT pleasing to God when someone flees from temptation?

    On the same note, an unregenerate man might show great acts of kindness and of loving their neighbor, simply because they felt it was the right thing to do. Is that not pleasing to God? If total depravity were true, then these things wouldn’t happen.

    Cornelius feared God before he was regenerate. Was that not pleasing to God?

    Total Depravity also stems from Divine Causal Determinism. Calvinists believe that EVERY single thought, action, event was predetermined and came to pass because God willed it. If that is true, explain this.

    If true, God preordained that I would be writing this right now. So….I will state this. Calvinism is not true. If Calvinism IS true, then God just made me write a lie. Since He did it, and He authored that I would write that, that means He lied. But in His word, God cannot lie. So if Calvinism is true, then God is a liar.

    If Calvinism is false, then I simply wrote something that was true (Saying Calvinism is not true) of my own freewill, because I have properly divided and understood the Word of God.

    Which is more likely? That God is the Father of lies which is unavoidable if He caused me to lie, or that Calvinism is simply false?

    1. As a Calvinists I agree with you that an unregenerate person can resist temptation and not sin. However, just because they resisted the temptation and did not sin, it does not follow that their actions pleased God.

      An example is I ask two of my children to wash the dishes after dinner, One, impatiently responds with an attitude, I will do it. My child obeyed me. Should I be pleased just by her obedience? Should I not take into consideration her attitude in regards to her obedience? Does God not do the same with us? Can unregenerate sinners please God by merely resisting temptation without taking into consideration the end of their resistance?

      For your second point regarding God willing lies. I would point you to Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 3 paragraphs 1 and 2. Along with the Scripture references under those paragraphs. Read Isaiah 45 where God says He creates light and darkness, He brings prosperity and disaster. He is the Lord who does all these things.

      If Scripture attributes acts to God that appear sinful to humans, such as bringing disaster and darkness, I will take what Scripture reveals about God any day over man’s interpretation that God is sinful or the author of sin?

      1. Roland
        As a Calvinists I agree with you that an unregenerate person can resist temptation and not sin.

        br.d
        One the caveat that Calvin’s god puts that impulse into his brain!

        But notice how I have to tell the WHOLE TRUTH – where the Calvinist will not. :-]

      2. It’s simple really. You interpret that verse to mean God creates ALL evil, darkness and events. I don’t interpret that verse that way. Sometimes God brings about calamity in righteous judgement in reaction to the evil MAN caused. He didn’t make them do what He then judged them for. It is an important distinction. God CAN and DOES intervene as He sees fit and needs to to bring about His goal and will, but doesn’t cause everything.

      3. Acts 4:27-28
        27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
        28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

        God determined before what Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel would to do Jesus. He did this by His hand and His counsel determined before to be done. Is God going to judge the people who killed Jesus? Does the text say that God’s hand and counsel determined this before to be done.

        You should read Isaiah 10 and how God sends the king of Assyria to destroy and then punishment the king of Assyria for the very act God caused him to commit.

      4. Roland,

        This is what I’ve been saying all along, that this is about the Jews. Jesus was prophesied to die on a cross. What do you think Passover was all about? It certainly was not about food and drink. All those things associated with Passover was about Jesus.

        The main mission of Jesus was that cross. Satan INTERFERED several times to stop the birth of Jesus. One pertained to the daughter-in-law of Judah, whose husbands (plural) didn’t want kids, so God killed them. She ends up pretending to be a prostitute and Judah slept with her, hence prophesy coming true that Jesus would be from the line of Judah.

        Satan interfered.

        And again, when it was ordered that babies be killed 2 years old and under. Just like Moses, the “redeemer”.

        The whole Bible is about Jesus, and the Jews (blind). For they were supposed to charge Jesus with false charges in order to get him to that cross.

        And the judgment of Assyria, that is not the afterlife judgment. It is the “here and now” judgment. Those people are Gentiles, not Jews. They are not under the law of Moses as the Jews are. And Gentiles are handled differently than that of the Jews.

        Romans 2:14-16.

        Besides, Romans 9 shows that God [in the afterlife] gives mercy to those who are fitted for destruction [the here and now] (Pharaoh).

        The Jews have a story to tell, because the physical land of Israel is for the Jews, not the Gentiles, as that is what the covenant of circumcision is all about, and that must be spiritually interpreted as Christians promised eternal life in heaven.

        So, the Jews get judged in the here and now for disobeying God’s Law of Moses, and he uses another nation to judge them, and then he judges the nation that he used.

        Spiritualize that. Remember, God promised Abraham that his descendants would INHERIT that land, and it is not based on the good or bad behavior of his descendants, either. It was all based on Abraham. And Gentiles have nothing to do with that. But the Gentiles who wish to destroy Israel…yes, they will get punished, in the here and now.

        Everything in the Torah, Prophets, and Writings is about Jesus, not you or I, nor Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, or Noah, or Jonah, etc. It’s a story about God told thru the lives of those people.

        Gentiles is a whole different conversation to have.

        Ed Chapman

      5. Atheist2Apologist
        God CAN and DOES intervene as He sees fit

        br.d
        AH! Divine intervention

        Now there is another thing that does not exist in Calvinism – but which Calvinists insist does.

        Since the doctrine of decrees stipulates -quote NOTHING HAPPENS that is not knowingly and willingly decreed – it is LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for Calvin’s god to intervene.

        To intervene in an event – means to alter or prevent something which WOULD OTHERWISE HAPPEN.

        And since NOTHING can happen – that is not knowingly and willingly decreed – then there is no such thing as events which WOULD OTHERWISE HAPPEN without intervention.

        The Calvinist claim of divine intervention functions as a FACADE

        This FACADE is designed to produce a FALSE APPEARANCE of divine intervention – in order to hide that fact that NO evil event can happen – without that event being FIRST CONCIEVED in the mind of Calvin’s god – and then knowingly and willingly decreed.

      6. Roland: “If Scripture attributes acts to God that appear sinful to humans, such as bringing disaster and darkness,…”

        Heather: Causing disaster and darkness is not in the same boat as causing sin. Sin is going against what God commanded. But for God to cause, say, a natural disaster is not breaking any command He gave us. Calvinists wrongly mesh together disaster and sin, saying that since He causes one then it must mean He causes the other.

        Roland: “God determined before what Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel would to do Jesus.”

        Heather: God determined how He would use their wickedness, the choices He knew they would make, working it into His plans to have Jesus crucified. But where does it say that God caused them to be wicked?

        If undercover cops pose as drug buyers and make “friends” with one druggie to lead them to the drug sellers, does that mean the cops caused the druggie to be a druggie, that the cops are responsible for the criminals being criminals – because they made a plan that incorporated the criminal’s behavior/choices to lead them to the drug seller? No. Of course not. God can incorporate our self-chosen decisions into His plans without preplanning/causing our decisions. Just because He works our decisions into His plans does not mean He preplans/causes what we decide. It’s only Calvinists who make this error.

  9. None of this backs up causing EVERYTHING coming to pass, but are examples of specific things He intervened in to accomplish His will. I believe God CAN and DOES do as He pleases. Also of note is how these people mentioned are similar to Pharaoh. He was already a hardened man who was doing wicked things and he HARDENED HIS OWN HEART several times (Not God hardening it, but Pharaoh, according to what the Bible says, which suggests Pharaoh had his own will) before God gave him over to his own desires and hardened his heart.

    I also noticed you dodged the question about lying. If God made me lie, that puts the responsibility and authorship of the lie on Him. Just like if a man hired a hit man to kill his wife, he would be charged with and convicted of murder. This is self evident, but you HAVE TO deny or twist it to make your theology work. I hold that God is separate from sin, there is no unrighteousness in Him, and He CANNOT lie.

  10. I am not sure why you guy bother!!

    We see this kind of statement from Roland and Reformed-Theology-first people:

    “Then you distort God’s character by making DEPENDENT on freewill creatures to act. Under libertarian freewill theology God is DEPENDENT and REACTIONARY to the choices of creaturely freewill. He’s no longer the Biblical God.”

    Somehow they just snap their fingers and make hundreds of verses in the Bible says something different than what they clearly say.

    Literally hundreds of verses say
    “If you do…I will do”
    “If you had… I would have”
    “If you do not…I will not….”
    “If I pronounce judgement on a people and they repent, I will not carry through the the judgement”
    “If I pronounce good to my people and they do not obey me, I will not do that good I said.”
    “I expect fruit and got bitter grapes…”
    “If you call…I will answer..”
    “They did not do what I had commanded them to do…”
    “Then the people did what was evil so the Lord sent judgement…”
    “Then they repented and the Lord sent deliverance…” (repeat, repeat, repeat).

    “What they did was not what I commanded nor did it even enter my mind” (How much more clear could He be!!)

    But noooooo. Quoting these verses about what God says about Himself….means “we no longer have a Biblical God.”

    Read the Bible simply. He says clearly that He did not want Israel to have a king but gave in to their plea….but be warned…. this was not My plan and you will now have a king that does this and that.

    What in the world can all that possibly mean to a reformed guy? Nothing. We know one thing for sure. Because of a Proverb about turn the heart of a king, they begin the interpretation of every one of these hundreds of passages with “It doesnt really mean what it says, cuz we know better…..”

    1. Roland
      Then you distort God’s character by making DEPENDENT on freewill creatures to act. Under libertarian freewill theology God is DEPENDENT and REACTIONARY to the choices of creaturely freewill.

      br.d
      But then we put Roland’s claim to the test – and watch him to complete about turn – and totally contradict himself!

      What happens – when Roland is asked a TRUE/FALSE question about the Bible – and Calvin’s god decrees Roland’s brain to perceive the answer as TRUE – when in fact the correct answer was FALSE

      We asked Roland – in that circumstance – did Calvin’s god grant his brain the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE?

      Of course the answer is NO!

      But Roland – can’t acknowledge that – because it shows the LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE to his bold claim.

      For Calvin’s god to let Roland’s brain discern TRUE from FALSE – would be the very circumstance which Roland claims – would make Calvin’s god DEPENDENT upon Roland’s freewill. Making it the case that Calvin’s god is DEPENDENT and REACTIONARY to the choice that Roland’s brain made.

      Thus – we PROVED LOGICALLY – that if Roland’s claim is true – then his brain is not granted the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE – because that would be a LIBERTARIAN function.

      When faced with that fact – what does Roland do?
      He does a complete about face – and claims Calvin’s god can decree him to perform a LIBERTARIAN function.

      Thus once again – we’ve shown – that Calvinism is a SELF-REFUTING belief system. ;-D

    2. Fromoverhere: “What in the world can all that possibly mean to a reformed guy? Nothing. We know one thing for sure. Because of a Proverb about turn the heart of a king, they begin the interpretation of every one of these hundreds of passages with “It doesnt really mean what it says, cuz we know better…..”

      Love this part! So true!

  11. off topic question, these comments were at the top of a list of “In Christ” verses compiled by Matt Slick, given to me by a brother in Christ.

    So my question is, what does Matt Slick mean when he says,

    “Theologically, the phrase (in Christ) is a sign of federal headship. This means that Christ is our representative”. Then he quotes 1Cor. 15:22, (ESV) to say, “as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will remain alive”. He goes on to say, “Adam was our federal head in the sense that he represented all of man kind. On the other hand, Jesus is our federal head in the sense that he represented his people on the cross”.

    I get when MS says “all will remain alive”, and “his people on the cross”, plus the double “all” meaning. This is clear esv-calvy speak. I get that, no need to re-hash these errors.

    But “federal headship” and “representative”, really? Am I missing something here? This sounds wrong. Almost as if he saying that Christ is a step down from the God-Head.

    I would like the provisionalist input on this.

    1. Welcome Shawn, Sorry for the delay in approving your post. Yes, the federal headship idea was a necessary theological construct to try to make Reformed Theology work. But it is a denial of the meaning “in Christ” in certain verses to mean the real spiritual body formed by the HS by adding members to it through faith. It is an attempt to suggest there is already a closed group of individuals eternally existing in God’s mind of which the Son was its head. And they are there not through personal faith, since they don’t even exist yet before creation as individuals who can exercise faith, but they are guaranteed to exist, be saved, and glorified because Christ was eternally their head through the election of God.

      1. br.d
        I think Dr. Jerry Walls hits the bulls-eye when he likens Calvinists to Pharaoh’s Magicians

        Calvinism’s most critical weakness is the degree to which it is self-refuting.

        Calvinism is essentially – a system of smoke & mirrors designed to produce illusions of Biblical associations.

        Sociologically – Calvinism is a “Totem-Pole” system of respected persons.

        Youth are significantly vulnerable to a system of respected persons – because they will quite naturally lust after the dream of being one recognized within the ranks of respected persons.

        The art of SEMANTIC MAGICIANRY is the skill of the master.

        The more real one can make Calvinist smoke & mirrors appear Biblical – the more one is respected.

        The more smooth-talking DOUBLE-SPEAK one can produce – the more one is respected.

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