(Re)Thinking through Romans 9

This is a re-blog of an article by AndrewH of “Beyond Calvinism

*All scripture quotations are from NASB, unless otherwise noted.

In his song “Context”, Calvinist recording artist Flame says:

“exegesis is the careful systematic study of scripture for the Christian this should be a habit but to discover the original intended meaning of the author to his audience is exegeting”


“a text can never mean what it never meant before to its original reader or author so if you run into a difficult passage and you know the Bible never contradicts itself then turn the pages to a parallel passage and just let the scriptures interpret itself”

I’ve used these quotes a number of times in Bible studies I’ve led, both as a Calvinist and later, to help new Christians understand what our first objective is as we come to a text.

As I’ve said before, Romans 9 was the passage that really led me into Calvinism, and later, the passage that held me there.

In this post I want to look at the two questions which challenged that understanding, and then at a third question which confirmed my new view:

(1) What was Paul’s point?

(2) What did Paul’s 1st century audience think he meant?

(3) Are there parallel passages which could bolster our conclusion?

(1) What was Paul’s point?

“but to discover the original intended meaning of the author to his audience is exegeting”

The key which allowed me begin considering other interpretations was when I finally “arced” Romans 9 from beginning to end, rather than stopping around verse 23. 

I wasn’t alone in skipping over the last few verses of this chapter; in fact it seems to be a common problem among Calvinists. After considering verse 23 in his commentary on Romans, FF Bruce (who considered himself “an impenitent Augustinian and Calvinist” [1]) wrote:

It is a pity that in some schools of theological thought the doctrine of election has been formulated to an excessive degree on the basis of this preliminary state in Paul’s present argument, without adequate account being taken of his further exposition of God’s purpose in election at the conclusion of the argument (xi. 25-32). [2]

What immediately became clear to me as I arced was the relation of verses 30-33 to the preceding context. Verse 30 began as an inference (“what shall we say, then”) from Paul’s thought throughout the rest of the chapter.

Imagine you are reading an academic article, and you’re really having trouble following the author.  You find yourself thinking, “What’s your point?”  In this situation, you might well turn to the author’s conclusion and find, “Ah ha, so that’s what he’s been getting at! That’s what his argument has been moving towards”.

If the author’s conclusion contradicted what you had read in his preceding argument, you may rightly conclude that you had misunderstood what he had been saying, and you would re-read the preceding arguments to find out how they fit and build towards that conclusion. [3]

In Romans 9, Paul’s conclusion is clear:

What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”


Paul is very clear regarding why some are saved while others are “separated from Christ” (v 3).  Those who are saved, “attained righteousness […] by faith” (v 31); those who are separated from Christ are separated because they pursued righteousness (or we might say, “pursued a right standing with God”) “as though it were by works” (v 32).

If instead Paul’s argument had been, as the Calvinists claim, that “His promise gave expression to an ‘electing purpose’ (9:11) by which God aims to preserve his complete freedom in determining who will be the beneficiaries of his saving promises, who will be the ‘Israel’ within Israel (9:6b). His purpose is thus maintained by means of the predestination of individuals to their respective eternal destinies. […] Within the context of Romans 9, this means that God maintains his sovereign ‘purpose of election’ by determining, before they are born, who will belong to the ‘saved’ among Israel”,[4] Paul would have concluded and summarized his argument very differently. As another blogger noted, a Calvinist conclusion should read something like:

What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith unconditional election of individuals (with faith merely being evidence of an individual’s prior election); but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works had not been unconditionally and individually elected for salvation. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever is irresistibly caused to believes in him will not be put to shame.” Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved have always been vessels of mercy, otherwise there is no hope for them. [5]

In particular, we would be left wondering why Paul brought up faith at all, if, as John Piper suggests, “Neither the bad willing/running of ‘works’ nor the good willing/running of faith had any influence at all on God’s decision to show mercy”[6] and “‘willing and running’ cannot legitimately be limited in such a way that some willing, like that act of trusting Christ, does ultimately determine God’s bestowal of mercy, namely, the mercy of salvation”[7] (I would point out however, that to trust/have faith in/rely on/believe is not always a type or subset of “willing”; compare, for example, John 1 where “believe” (v12) can be contrasted with both “the will of flesh” and “the will of man” (v 13).  Likewise, on the broader phrase “willing and running”, we know from the testimony of the Lord Jesus himself that “to believe in Him whom [God] has sent” is the one “work” that God does require (John 6:28-29).)

The burden of proof, then, is on the Calvinist to explain how Paul’s argument fits with his conclusion (and not to stop the exegesis at verse 23, mid-sentence!).

(2) What did Paul’s 1st century audience think he meant?

“a text can never mean what it never meant before to its original reader or author”

After I saw the conclusion in verses 30-33, I knew I had to re-examine the argument that had led Paul there.  As I considered, it struck me to wonder, “How would the Roman Christians have understood the phrase in verse 11, ‘God’s purpose according to His choice‘ (or “God’s purpose of election” ESVUK)?” Would they have understood Paul to mean some pre-temporal decree of certain individuals to salvation?

In the context, Paul seems to be talking about God’s purpose in choosing Isaac and Abraham, and choosing Jacob to continue that purpose. So what was his purpose in choosing Abraham?

We find a hint back in chapter 4, where Paul also talks about Abraham and God’s purpose; there with regard to circumcision.  He says:

The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.” (v 11-12)

This led me to look into the Old Testament, to find out if there are any explicit statements there about God’s purpose in choosing Abraham.  In fact, we have a very clear statement, and one which fits very nicely with both Romans 4 and Romans 9, in Genesis 18:17-19 (note also, that Paul actually quotes from this very same chapter in Romans 9:9!) bold mine:

The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,  since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.

And in fact, we can see the fulfilment of this––that through Jesus all nations are blessed––stated in Romans 9:4, “and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever.” And in verses 24-26:

even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’”

“And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

I had to conclude, then, that the Roman Christians, fluent in the Old Testament, would have understood the choice/election of Abraham in verse 11 to be a reference to God continuing through Jacob and not Esau, his purpose to bless all nations through the Messiah.  This choice of Jacob was not based on anything Jacob had done, but was purely of God’s sovereign choice.  It had nothing to do with Jacob’s own eternal state, which would still be determined by his faith in God to bring about what He had promised, just as it was for Abraham (Rom 4:21).

As NT Wright put it:

This was never an abstract ‘doctrine of predestination’, attempting to plumb the mysteries of why some people (in general, without reference to Israel) hear and believe the gospel and others do not. Paul never encourages speculation of that sort. Rather, it was a way of saying, very specifically, that the fact of Israel’s election (starting with the choice and call of Abraham) had always been there to deal with the sin of the world; that Israel’s election had always involved Israel being narrowed down, not just to Isaac and then to Jacob, but to a hypoleimma, a ‘remnant’, a ‘seed’; and that this ‘remnant’ itself would be narrowed down to a single point, to the Messiah himself, who would himself be ‘cast away’ so that the world might be redeemed. [8]

(3) Are there parallel passages which could bolster these conclusions?

“so if you run into a difficult passage and you know the Bible never contradicts itself then turn the pages to a parallel passage and just let the scriptures interpret itself”

I’ve mentioned a few parallels already, so here I will dig into verses 19-23:

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory

When I first turned from Calvinism and began to email back and forth with one of my more studied Calvinist friends, I offered my alternative interpretation of these verses, to which he responded, “we need to walk through this. I cannot understand this text in any other way than to understand that God has indeed predestined before the foundations of the world that there would be vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, for His own glory.

First, I had to point out to him the leaps my friend had made:

(1) There is no mention of “before the foundations of the world” anywhere in the passage; and

(2) He had moved from “God… endured with much patience” to “God … predestined … vessels of wrath … for destruction, for His own glory.

Next, I questioned how he understood a few other New Testament texts which seemed to me to carry the same idea: Ephesians 2, Romans 2:4-5, 2 Peter 3:9 and 2 Tim 2:20-21.

In Ephesians 2:3-5 we see that we “were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy […] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” – in other words, we were vessels of wrath but became vessels of mercy.

In Romans 2:4-5, we see that God’s patience is meant to turn vessels of wrath into vessels of mercy; those who refuse to repent are preparing themselves for destruction:

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God

Likewise in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

And 2 Tim 2:20-21, perhaps the clearest of all, says:

Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

As Calvinist Bill MacDonald wrote, against the common Calvinist view, “God does not prepare vessels of wrath for destruction, but he does prepare vessels of mercy for glory“.[9]

FF Bruce takes much the same approach:

While Paul will allow no questioning of God’s right to do what He will with His own, he lets his emphasis fall, not on God’s wrath towards the reprobate, but rather the postponement of His wrath against men who have long since become ripe for destruction.  As has been pointed out earlier (2:4), the mercy and forbearance of God are intended  to afford men time for repentance; if, instead, they harden their hearts yet more, as Pharaoh did after repeated respites, they are simply storing up an increasing weight of retribution for themselves against the day of requital. [10]

Jeremiah 18, where Paul’s illustration seems to have originated, also confirms this.  There, the Prophet Jeremiah watches a potter as “the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make” (v 4).  The Lord tells the Prophet:

“Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it;  if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.”’ But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’ (v 6-12)

If a vessel of wrath, prepared for destruction, “turns from its evil” it becomes a vessel of mercy.  And like in 2 Peter 3, God longs for it to be so: “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.” (v 11, and cf Romans 11:20 & 23)


[1] FF Bruce, “Original Forward and Comments”, in Paul Marston & Roger Forster, God’s Strategy in Human History. (you can see his comments Google Preview here).

[2] FF Bruce, The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, p 190 [Bruce].  In John Piper’s book, The Justification of God, which is generally considered the leading Calvinist exposition of Romans 9, he too stops his examination at verse 23.

[3] Dr Greg Boyd, in his excellent sermon on Romans 9, similarly argues that Paul’s conclusion does not fit the Calvinist interpretation.

[4] John Piper, The Justification of God at 218 [Piper].

[5] Kingswood Hart, “New Calvinist Bible – Romans 8-11” (March 27, 2014), link.

[6] Piper supra note 3 at 153.  

[7Ibid at 157.  However, in the next sentence, Piper correctly points out, “Faith is indeed a sine qua non of Salvation; Rom 9:16, therefore, necessarily implies that the act of faith is ultimately owing to the prevenient grace of God.” But then gets around this by stating, “But this is a theological inference, however true, beyond Paul’s explicit concern here. There is no reference at all to faith in Rom 9 until verse 30.”

[8] NT Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God. As quoted by Michael F Bird, “N.T. Wright on Election in PFG” (October 18, 2013), link.

[9] William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary, p 1719.

[10] Bruce supra note 2.

194 thoughts on “(Re)Thinking through Romans 9

  1. You know, when I was a kid in school, I used to cheat on book reports. You know the inside flaps that would give a synopsis of the story…I would copy that word for word for the book report, and I would get really good grades in English.

    I mean, I didn’t really know what a pronoun was, until recently, when some dude with green hair told me!

    Look, I still have a probem with this former Calvinist explaination.

    The article states:

    “Paul is very clear regarding why some are saved while others are “separated from Christ” (v 3). Those who are saved, “attained righteousness […] by faith” (v 31); those who are separated from Christ are separated because they pursued righteousness (or we might say, “pursued a right standing with God”) “as though it were by works” (v 32).”

    My response:

    That’s not what I read.

    Now, I know that many will still keep their “For there is no difference…” stance, but this is where there is a difference.

    That quote…it’s NOT discussing salvation in the generic sense. This is a conversation about the JEWS salvation, as opposed to the GENTILES salvation.

    Do we happen to forget that God told the Jews to WORK for their salvation? That’s what the Law was all about. God told them to follow the law.

    Now, why did he not give the law to Abraham to pass down from generation to generation? Why did God wait until Moses came along?

    You see, if you are going to have a conversation about Romans 9, the least you can do is to first read the whole bible and find out the storyline, instead of using the flaps on the cover of the book.

    There is 2 types of RIGHTEOUSNESS being discussed here. One is by the law, and one isn’t. The other is just by believing God’s promises, just like Abraham…the forgotten man that no one seems to talk about.

    The Jews are BLIND. God set Jesus as a STUMBLING STONE.

    Now, if you know about the law in the bible, it is a sin to set a stumbling stone in front of a blind person, because they may trip and fall. There is a penalty for doing that. But God set Jesus in front of them to trip over.

    And lastly, Romans 9 can’t be dealt with until you finish the conversation in Romans 11.

    In Essence, it’s about the Jews pursuit of righteousness under the law…and before the law, God gave Abraham a promise of a small piece of real estate, so they all have to get cirucumcised to receive it.

    But Romans 9 is stating that the Jews CANNOT seek righteousness by faith, because they are blind. They fail because they are blind.

    And lastly, Romans 4:15 tells us about the WRATH of God.

    Romans 9 has nothing to to with Soteriology at all. It’s not about salvation. It’s about the Jews were chosen for a purpose to show the power of God, just like the Pharaoh was…and in the end, THEY GET MERCY, just like the Pharaoh did (Which many think that he’s burning in hell right now…I don’t).

    Just like Joseph forgave his brethren for throwing him in a pit, to be sold as a slave, so that Joseph’s life can be prophesy of Jesus…from the crucifixion to forgiving his Jewish brothers.

    MERCY. Gentiles, guys, do not fall under this storyline of Romans 9. IF you want to know about Gentiles, Romans 15:21 is a good place to start. But this is not about salvation at all. It’s about the blindness of the Jews, and WHY they seek the righteousness of the law. Because God told them to.

    Deuteronomy 6:25
    And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.

    There is so much spiritual stuff going on, but many miss it.

    Ed Chapman

  2. The Calvinist interpretation is completely divorced from the preface in Romans 9:1-5. Paul’s stated passion was Jewish conversion, and his strategy is to refute Jewish hindrances and roadblocks to conversion.

    Paul says that it’s not as if the word of God has “failed.” Well, who thinks that? No one, but when his Jewish brothers hear him refute birthright assurance, then *they* will suppose God is unfair for breaking His word. So, Paul successfully refutes birthright assurance by pointing out the facts concerning the condemnation of the Edomite descendants who had a common (and superior) ancestry. (One orthodox Rabbi even suggested that the Edomite descendants will ultimately be saved, made necessary by the presumption of birthright assurance in Abraham.) Question: Is v.12 talking about the individuals or descendants? The answer is the descendants, and exclusively so, since Esau never, ever personally served Jacob, though the descendants did. Question: Is v.13 about the individuals or descendants? It must be about the descendants, or else it would leave *unresolved* the earlier point in v.6 about the descendants, in refuting birthright assurance. (Huge point.) Paul’s anticipated pushback in v.14 is about orthodox Jews thinking God is unfair for breaking His promise about a perceived birthright assurance. (See also Matthew 3:9.) Calvinists agree that Malachi 1:2-5 meant “Israel] I loved but [Edom] I hated” but then claim an “apostolic interpretation” whereby Paul changes the original meaning from descendants to individuals, but (again) that would make v.12 odd for quoting the descendants’ servitude, and it would also mean that v.13 never resolves the earlier point about descendants in v.6, and (big point), claiming an “apostolic interpretation” would leave Paul vulnerable to the charge that he was inventing a “new religion.” Paul’s whole rapport with his fellow Jews was based upon being faithful to Scripture, not unfaithful with supposed “apostolic interpretations” that change things. (Another massive point.)

    After refuting birthright assurance, Paul addresses another Jewish obstacle and roadblock to conversion by refuting works-based assurance. Jewish rabbis believe that Scripture points only to one thing in obtaining righteous with God, and that is by *keeping the Law*. However, Paul often argued that no one keeps the Law, and hence no one is made righteous through a Law they do not keep. V.16’s reference to “willing” and “running” was about Jewish efforts under the Law to be made righteous, and Paul’s counter-argument is that righteousness for guilty sinners can *only* come through God’s “mercy,” rather than by keeping a Law that everyone breaks.

    Paul then points out the results of God’s historical warnings to harden Israel.

  3. This sentence in the article – “As NT Wright put it: This was never an abstract ‘doctrine of predestination’” – made me think of something totally insignificant, but I’ll say it anyway.

    The Calvinist pastor at our ex-church gave a sermon once where he said something like “The Bible teaches about [Calvinist] predestination. The Bible calls it the doctrine of election, which is the same as the doctrine of predestination.”

    I wanted to interrupt and shout out “Oh really!?! And in which verse do we find the phrase ‘doctrine of election/predestination’?”

    And yet many people in the congregation probably went home thinking, “Well, I guess since the Bible specifically calls it that, then it must be true and I have to believe it,” never once researching the Word for themselves.

    1. br.d
      Nice post Heather!
      I have an old friend who became a pastor.
      One day he told me – a member of his congregation let him know – it was not their place to be a critical thinker when it comes to “what the Bible teaches”. They let him know they wanted him to tell them what the Bible teaches – and they would simply believe every word.
      That is derivative of Catholicism.
      The obligation of the church is “Sensus-Fidei” (aka believe every word)
      But scripture says: The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
      Another interesting statement by N.T. Write concerning Calvin – is that he was a Catholic with a small “c”
      And this bears out in much of his historically recorded behavior
      I can’t tell you how many Calvinists I bump into who follow the pattern of “Believing every word” they are told.
      They sit in front of a Calvinist pastor who conditions their brains to memorize DOUBLE-SPEAK talking-points.
      A large percentage of Calvinism’s Talking-Points are nothing more than lies of omission designed to paint FALSE pictures.
      Calvinists mechanically memorize them and recite them like little robots whose programming is limited to reciting Talking-Points

      1. Br.d.: “They let him know they wanted him to tell them what the Bible teaches – and they would simply believe every word.”

        Wow! That’s sad. And scary. And that right there is a big part of why the Church is in such a mess and why it’s compromised on so many points. No one wants to think for themselves, to do the dirty work of digging deeply for truth. And it’s why when someone does ask questions and dig deeper, we are accused of divisiveness and causing trouble. We didn’t fall in line like everyone else.

        When we were leaving our Calvinist church, a Calvinist friend (an elder) had us over for dinner (much to their credit) to reach out to us before we left. And after we retold them our concerns and doubts, he was like “Well, if you would just research it [obviously meaning with their Calvinist resources – the Calvinist pastor led small groups through Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology], then you’d understand it better [obviously meaning we’d come to accept it].”

        And my husband was like “Dude, I’ve never been more researched before about anything in my life!” And the elder was speechless. I think it shocked him because I don’t think it ever dawned on him that researching/questioning Calvinism, that digging deeper into the Word, might actually lead people away from Calvinism, that it might make it less acceptable.

        We had hoped they would follow our example and begin questioning it too, but almost no one else has. Oh well. We did our part to sound the alarm.

        Keep us the good work here! Thanks, Br.d.

      2. Wonderful story Heather!
        I love what your husband said!!!
        You know – I’ve been told “you don’t understand” by so many Calvinists – who follow that statement with some kind of evasion strategy – in order to hide certain dark truths about Calvinism.
        The other day a Calvinist did that to me.
        He started with “you don’t understand” and then from there – proceeded to completely fabricate something out of thin air – which was all to easy for me to prove as FALSE.
        I gave him direct quotes from prominent Calvinist teachers and from John Calvin himself – showing what he had just invented was a complete falsehood.
        When he was faced with the obvious fact that I caught him – he didn’t appear to even blink.
        He reminded me of the scripture that speaks of a person whose conscience has been seared with a hot iron.
        How a person who professes to be a Christian could lower himself to that.
        It was easily apparent – that he is a Calvinist
        But it was not apparent that he is a Christian.

      3. Br.d.: “It was easily apparent – that he is a Calvinist
        But it was not apparent that he is a Christian.”

        I’m sure Calvinists would be offended by this but being a Calvinist does not automatically make one a Christian. I think there are a lot of Calvinists who are Christian because they were Christian first, before being brainwashed into Calvinism. But you really have to wonder if those who came to Christ through Calvinism are really saved or not. Because Calvinist theology tells sinners that they can’t choose to believe in Jesus, that it’s not up to them if they put their faith in Jesus, that God has to do it to them (if they were chosen), and that if you’re elect then all you really have to do is come to the realization one day that you’re elect, that you’re already saved.

        HOW IN THE WORLD can someone truly be saved that way, being told they can’t choose to believe in Jesus, that it will just happen to them one day if they are already saved from before time began?

        Choosing to believe in Jesus, to put our faith in Him, is the ONE JOB God gave mankind to do in order to be saved, the one “work” that God said is our responsibility to choose to do. And yet Calvinism denies it, saying that we cannot do the one thing God told us to do to be saved. How in the world can anyone be saved under Calvinism then? What an attack on the gospel and God’s truth!

        Calvinism doesn’t rescue any sinner from hell. Because the elect were never on their way to hell, never at risk of going to hell. And the non-elect can never be rescued from hell because Calvi-Jesus never died for them and God made it impossible for them to believe.

        All Calvinism does is convince some people that they’ve always been saved without ever having to do anything about it, not even believing, while convincing others that they can never be saved, that God doesn’t love them, that Jesus didn’t die for them, and that there’s no hope for them.

        A lie from the pit of hell. Destroying the evangelical church from the inside out. And it will cost people their souls.

      4. br.d
        Years ago I was offered a promotion – which I would later realize involved working in a kind of snakes-den.
        The supervisor I was assigned to – was a very manipulative person.
        I went into this situation thinking my job was to help people.
        But I eventually discovered, the operation involved funneling unsuspecting clients into a coral in order to use them.
        I developed friendships with the clients based on honesty – so how was I going to navigate in these waters?
        Any dishonesty I operated in – would affect my testimony.
        I figured out ways of letting clients recognize indicators they could identify – in order to understand.
        And it didn’t take long for this supervisor to see me as an enemy.
        When you see people being manipulated – you understand what you are seeing – is what scripture calls a “Principality and Power”
        So when I see Calvinists operating in various strategies to mislead and coral people – I understand what I am seeing is a “Principality And Power” at work.
        Jesus told Pontius Pilate – those who have brought me to you – have committed the “Greater” sin.
        So we know there are “Greater” sins – which means there are “Lesser” sins.
        When a professing believer is trying to coral you into their belief system – they understand what they are promoting is a human belief system. And they recognize – to manipulate people into a human belief system is a sin.
        But if they can become conditioned to conflate their belief system with divine truth – telling themselves they are no promoting a human belief system – but rather promoting divine truths – then manipulating people with subtle and misleading language tricks – can be justified – because they are doing it for God – rather than for a human incentive.
        The way to see if that is going on with a professing believer – is to watch to see if they are not willing to acknowledge the human component of the belief system. They raise the belief system up onto a divine pedestal and canonize it.
        This allows them to justify using manipulative and dishonest means to promote their belief system.
        They tell themselves they are doing for God – and that makes it a “Lesser” sin – which they can then justify.

  4. Not unrelated thoughts, about re-peating,

    Romans 8 as related to Romans 9:

    8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
    5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

    What does the Spirit desire? (1 Corinthians 15:3)

    Hebrews 6
    17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

    28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

    31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
    “For your sake we face death all day long;
        we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
    37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

    Who is looking back in history, to the Example’s, of those who went before us?

    Hebrews 11
    6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
    7 By faith Noah, …..Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. ……
    13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. …
    17 By faith Abraham, …..
    39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

    Hebrews 12
    12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 13
    6 So we say with confidence,
    “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
        What can mere mortals do to me?”[b]
    7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
    9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.

    the faith of the spirit of Calvinism, set on the flesh:
‘ I’ believe that God has saved those who believe they “do” not have to believe the truth of The Good News as you “do” not have to believe THE Good News because God regenerated you, who believe THIS good news know they are saved. This ‘I’ “do” believe.

    For those who “do” not refuse to love the truth: (2Thess)
    Hebrews 11:10
    10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

    Acts 16:29-31
    29 And the jailer[a] called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

    Believing something is an action of doing, claiming to know something is an action in doing. It is not the doing and knowing of any human who accomplished Salvation and Eternal Life. ( John 12)
    God knows every heart and mind and its believing, for the word of God is living and active [Hebrews 4;12] and it ‘does not ‘ come back void.
    The heart and mind are active, whether living and active walking in death, or living and active walking in life. God knows the moment we truly, truly believe Him, having been given the ability to think for a reason, actively as we do.

    From The Foundation of the world for those who do not refuse to love the truth, God created us to think for a reason. God commanded/commands/is commanding that relationship always includes at least 2, revealed in the beginning. Who will remain an enemy of God and who will not refuse HIs free will offering? God has revealed why Jesus Christ is the End.

    John 4:24/ Genesis 2:7- what God did for us humans, unlike the animals-Genesis 1:30

    ‘Do you’ really believe God? John 5:24 Since you ‘have heard’ the message of truth? John 8:31-38 Might you consider how this is applicable now, to those who are following the spirit of teaching with the flesh over the spirit of truth as the breath of God functions/moves in human flesh, now?

    From Romans 8 to 9:
    33 as it is written,
    “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
        and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

    Repeating Hebrews 12
    12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, 

Love a sis singing in The Name of Jesus Christ- just a follower of Christ Jesus,
    May be a PS:
    Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

    Rev22:17, until the last generation as we Amen and Amen, Rev 22:20-21: 2 Peter 3
    Who must worship God in spirit and truth? ( Worship proceeds from the actions/activity of the thinking heart and mind, for a reason, before you take a step. Come, let us together, be sober minded! For a friend and a neighbor, even someone presently who is an enemy of the cross. Come , where there is equal weights and measures pointing someone to how love covers over a multitude of sins, for you and me, that another may come to believe The Truth, too. Romans5 All has been paid in full, though it is revealed to us only many in history will belief. Enter through the narrow gate, for broad is the way of philosophy and many find it. Col 2:8/ 1 Cor 1:21-23. See The Logic of God ( is not a philosophy, though some may come to see in the midst of a brotherly love for knowledge/wisdom, that The Logic of God and His logic itself is not philosophy: 2+2 is 4 before and after our parents sinned.
    Hebrews 3:13
    But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

    ( As the present reading NT claiming body of believers repeats the behaviors of the reading OT claiming body of believers, in similar fashion, God is still singing over us toDay: Rev 2-3 as He walks among the lampstands. Romans 8 and 9, see who is called to lay down their life, looking back and looking forward, in the present (.!?)

  5. 🙂 much to like in this article, seeing how the lost become found:
    “This is a re-blog of an article by AndrewH of “Beyond Calvinism“ ”
    a faithful lover warns, repeating His words of truth. God is faithful.

  6. Hello,
    I am so thankful I found this website. A few days ago, I thought I was alone in this. That is the non-Calvinistic belief. I wanted to share my story here. A 2 or so months ago I found out about Calvinism. Before I just believed we all had free will and we all had free choice. I had a heart and fire for God, and I was in His word daily seeking wisdom, truth, knowledge, and understanding. When I learnt about Calvinism, I was confused at first. I learnt it from a few pastors I followed online that I had a lot of respect for and I have been following for some time. It’s like suddenly everyone I listened to or followed for teaching was talking about Calvinism. I started looking into it and when I found that it is the belief that we don’t have free will or free choice and that God instead selects who will be saved even before creation I was wrecked. Now, in the past I struggled with the hardening of pharaohs heart and God hating Esau, but I just never really dug into it or gave it too much of my energy. Probably out of fear of what I would find out. Idk. Anyways, when I learnt about the Calvinism belief it took me back to those passages and I started to think the Calvinists were correct. I suffer with severe anxiety, so I immediately went into panic attacks, completed depression, and full despair and hopelessness. I was having thoughts of not wanting to exist anymore. Questions were racing through my mind, Am I truly saved? Did God choose me? Will God choose me? What about my family and friends? What about others? What’s the point of evangelizing? What’s the point of living? Why did you create God? I was wrecked. It’s hard for me to even type those questions now. My wife was very concerned for me. We have 3 little kids, so this was not good. I just did my best to try and keep pushing forward not for me but for my wife and kids. I was literally trying to separate myself from God and even thinking about Him. I didn’t want to go to church anymore. I was scared to even read the Bible because I was worried it would justify Calvinism more. I remembered a promise I made God a few years ago that no matter what I would never stop seeking even in my unbelief so again I kept pushing forward. Now a little back story on my relationship with God. This is incredible and it’s ultimately what helped me get through this and to the truth. In 7th grade (I am 35 years old now) I was having horrible lower abdominal pain and my family doctor could not figure out why. It really acted up when I would get active. I was prescribed medicine, but it was not working. I was missing a lot of school because of it. One day my grandpa (God fearing, prayer warrior, gifted with tongues, and the most caring loving person you will ever meet, my hero) wanted to pray with me for healing. We held hands and started praying. I started feeling this amazing sensation around my whole body. That sensation went from around my body and slowly made its way to my pain. Immediately, when it touched the area of pain the amazing sensation and pain were gone. It was like a wave coming to the shore then going away immediately. Also, every time I am struggling with scripture, understanding, or knowledge God would always guide me through either by taking me straight to verses to help or using someone to help me. Like I wouldn’t go seeking this or the someone. The someone would just pop up and immediately talk about what I was struggling in. This would always make me cry and rejoice because I knew God was with me always. Guiding me and correcting me. It’s crazy (in a good way) really because as I look back on my life God has always guided me and He has given me almost all my desires. Even through all my sin (alcoholism, sexual idolatry, drugs, and much more). I was baptized at a young age and was faithfully going to church with my grandpa 3 days a week. One Monday night (prayer night) the pastor came up to me and said “Derek, God has a great plan for you.” Shortly after this I spiraled out of control and got around the wrong crowd and went straight into alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. God never wavered from me though. His plan for me was still prevailing even through all my sin. THANK YOU, GOD! God brought me to wife at the end of my final semester of college. This is crazy as well because most of my friends in college hung out with most of my wife’s friends in college but yet all 4 years, I never met my wife until the end. God knew I was not ready because I wasn’t. Drinking and hooking up was all I did. It was the perfect meeting as well. It’s another story in itself. You can reach out to me if you want to hear it. Anyways, my wife’s family is what drew me back to God. It was a struggle, but I kept getting up and pushing forward. God slowly helped me get free from alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and sexual idolatry/lust. I still struggle with sin today, but God is helping me. Ok, so back to pushing forward after learning about Calvinism and being completely wrecked. I started looking to God in this and was waiting for him to guide me through this or bring someone to me to help. As you saw from story, He had me spoiled before lol. He was silent now. This was rough. I believe He was silent for a reason, and we will get to that. I had no hope in anyone to teach me. All I had was my bible, so I started reading and studying like never before. I started in well you know the famous one Romans 9. I read that I don’t even know how many times. Trembling and scared every time but kept reading. I went to Malachi 1:2-3 then to Genesis 25. I looked up the Greek and Hebrew words for hate. I went to many more verses trying to piece everything together. I even used Google. I know right but it was a huge help. Finally, after all my research I knew Calvinism was wrong. I knew it not from man but from my own study of the God’s word and the revelation God gave me. See that’s why I believe God was silent. He wanted me firm in this, and this was the only way to make that happen. I had to do it on my own. Now I can type up all my explanations and researched information, but this post would go on for days. You can reach out to me if you want to know though and I will see if I can give you the brief version. After I was firm in this the Lord wanted to confirm it in me and that next day. I went to go listen to one of the pastors that I respected the most just to listen to him and not seeking anything. This pastor takes calls and questions from Christians on his radio show to help them get answers they are seeking. He has helped me a few times. Anyways, I was listening to one of his broadcasts and someone called in and asked the question on predestination. I just started laughing and I looked to God. I was scared and concerned because I want this pastor to not be a Calvinist. Well, he answered the question, and he holds the Calvinist belief. Before this would have wrecked me even more but now, I was unwavered and stood firm. My heart broke for him and the poor guy who asked the question. I hope that poor guy isn’t struggling like I did. I typed a very long email explaining my studies and research and what happened to me to send to that pastor, but I ended up not sending it. I felt like I was supposed to, but it was nice to have typed the message though. I did save it so I can use that to explain my stand on this. Anyways, I truly believe the Calvinistic belief leads to death and God leads no one to death. God leads everyone to life who choose to follow him. Man leads themselves to death when they choose not to follow Him. Anyways, I just wanted to share my story with you all. For a day or so I thought I was alone in this until God started leading me to places like here and many other non-Calvinist pastors. My local pastor is non-Calvinist as well. Praise God! I wish all Calvinists can be brought out from under this belief and brought back into the true understanding of the love of God. I truly don’t understand how they can believe what they believe if they are constantly studying God’s word. I mean that’s all I did was study God’s word and found the answers. I’m no theologian. I’m just a layperson. Anyways, I am rambling. God bless!

    1. Welcome Kenneth! Thank you for sharing your story. I have read similar testimonies of men released from the bondage of the false teaching of Calvinism by going back and reading for themselves through Scripture to begin to clearly see that Calvinist theology was being read into a some favorite verses taken out of context.

    2. Hello Kenneth and welcome
      And thank you very much for your wonderful testimony!!!
      It is such an honor that the Lord would lead you here to share it!
      And I love how the Lord brought you through that!
      Please feel free to come here any time and ask any questions you need or want to ask.
      We have been dealing with the issues and consequences of Calvinism’s doctrine for a very long time.
      We are happy to be of support and to provide critical information which can help people navigate through the fog of Calvinism’s doctrine and successfully navigate through the fog of Calvinism’s misleading language.
      Very sincere thanks!
      And blessings!
      br.d :-]

      1. I actually do have 2 questions:

        What is a good study bible preferably NASB that lines up with our belief?

        I am looking at attending a college to learn more history and context on the Bible. What is a good college that lines up with our belief? I have been looking at DTS but not sure where they stand on Calvinism.

        I wish there was more online resources that lined up with this belief. So many I am finding are Calvinistic.

      2. Kenneth, Almost all Study Bibles have some reformed slant. The Nelson Study Bible tries to have some balance. I teach at Veritas Baptist College, which is fully online and accredited. http://www.vbc.edu

      3. Thanks Brian! Maybe it’s time for a new study Bible. I will check out your college. I am looking for online and possibly just auditing. I don’t need the added pressure of trying to pass classes lol. I’m just there to learn so I can adequately and truthfully teach others.

      4. I am not sure really. I really want to learn about the history of the bible times. Idk if you know of Tim Mahoney from Patterns of Evidence but his documentaries are powerful and rich in bible history. I learnt about how Old Hebrew is not the first language as many think and that there was an older language before then and he showed how it went from images to actual letters based of the image. It was in his Moses Controversy documentary. He even corrected the time line because everyone thought it was Ramses but it was a few hundred years before Ramses and they have digs now that prove it. I find all this fascinating and it only proves the inerrancy of the bible. I want to be able to understand the Bible as a whole and as individual writings from each book. Something fascinating that I just started and I am really enjoying is the Major and Minor Prophets. I just started Isaiah this morning but now I have fresh eyes on it since I did my studies debunking Calvinism which lead me into studying God’s love. Now when I read the prophets I will see God’s loving heart and desire for His people to repent and see His great compassion. I already noticed this when I read the first 3 chapters of Isaiah. Before I always saw it as God showing His wrath and anger and using that to try and correct His people but that was a horrible view and makes the NT more confusing because it looks like 2 different gods when God is the same. Now I am seeing His great love all throughout scripture. Its incredible! Sorry I am rambling again. But, I am really not sure what to study or what courses to take but you can see here where I am at. I just want to know as much as I can so I can be the best teacher I can be. I love teaching and I want to be the best I can be for the ones I am teaching. I desire for all to come to God and know His love He has for them. I’m currently reading Moody The Biography by John Pollock and man if we could all have a passion and desire like Moody did.

      5. Derek or Kenneth, which do you prefer?! As you pray God will bring to your mind what to study next. Sounds to me like you are on the right path in your relationship with Him.

        There is no substitute book or course that is better than your own reading and meditation of God’s Word… and the best courses and books are the ones that help you do just that, even the history courses. 😉

        I recommend using Jensen’s OT and NT Surveys. This pdf of Jensen’s OT Survey and NT Survey has not only both volumes, but also all the links to important charts and maps on the beginning pages, which charts give excellent overviews for each book and also other things. https://www.wednesdayintheword.com/resources/jensen.pdf Jensen also gave detailed instructions in the introductory chapters, on how a person can discover for themselves, by Inductive Bible Study, all necessary sound doctrine.

      6. Thanks Brian! I go by my middle name Derek. Kenneth is my first name as well as my dad and grandpa :). I get what your saying. I need to line my studies up with where God currently has me. You are 100% correct God has brought a Prophet study to me right at the same time I started the prophets in my Bible readings. I didn’t ask or search for it. It just landed in my email so I signed up lol. Isn’t God amazing! I will go check out Jensen’s OT and NT surveys. I created an Academia account and followed you there. I ended up paying for the subscription, the darn app said I had a mention so I was enticed into buying the subscription to see why I was mentioned. It wasn’t me though thank goodness lol. I’m glad I got the subscription though. I posted a message I just completed writing a few days ago there titled Remaining In God’s Love. It was sparked when I was researching God’s hate. I also posted my thought paper on Ecclesiastes as I just finished reading that book a few days ago. I downloaded your paper on Ecclesiastes and can’t wait to read it.

      7. Sorry Derek, that I didn’t warn you about Academia. I pay the subscription, but that’s because it’s developed into a ministry for me over the last 10 plus years, and I enjoy seeing more specifically who is reading and downloading my papers. I saw you looked at my Ecclesiastes paper. 😀 It has really allowed me to reach out to the world in a small way, and to feel blessed that God is using me that way.

        Keep posting your papers, I’ll be sure to start following you. You’ll be surprised at who might read your stuff. Picking good titles will help as well as linking to groups and pointing others to your papers on FB. You also might want to add something about yourself to your CV link there.

        Feel free to get ideas from my site. 😀

      8. Brian would be the best person here to answer that question.
        Brian teaches the N.T. Greek

      9. Kenneth, Tony Evans does have a study Bible, and he is not a Calvinist. So his notes are good. But it’s a CSB, while I think the KJV is the most reliable. But still, at least his notes are not Calvinist.

      10. Also, one more note about Tony Evans to answer your question about colleges: He does have an online “Tony Evans Training Center” with various theology courses people can take. I never did it myself, and I don’t know if it counts towards any kind of degree or anything, but it might be worth looking into.

      11. Hey Heather! Thanks for reading! I love Tony Evans and I actually stopped listening to him because I got sucked into all the pastors at AGTV and their documentary American Gospel. They started bashing all these pastors who I loved and followed for years but they said they were not sound teachers and were actually false teachers. This was a few years back. Now, I found out the AGTV pastors are Calvinists. I had a funny feeling when they were bashing other pastors that something wasn’t right. I should of went with my gut feeling then. Now I am open to all pastors again. I understand the word more than I ever have and I firm in my belief now so I can easily know when a pastor/teacher is being false or deceptive. I am actually canceling my subscription to AGTV now. It’s crazy how we can get sucked into these man made belief traps. I think we as humans want confirmation more from man than God’s word. It’s like we are always trying to be better than God’s word. Like that is even possible. Now I keep it simple. I focus on God’s word and less on the outside noise of man. I spoke with Brain Wagner here and he has helped guide me to just keep sticking to my individual studies and keep letting God guide me as He has been. That is just what I needed to hear and felt full peace in that so I know that’s the way. Thank you for sharing your blog. I checked it out and I will make sure to read your posts as I am able. I did read through a couple. Keep that up! My grandpa read the KJV and it was to hard for me to comprehend. I love the NASB and NLT. I believe God has called me to teach through the NASB and NLT because it fits my level of understanding and reading. My NASB is the Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible. I highly recommend that bible to all. My NLT Study Bible holds the Calvinist views in the areas of comments/opinions. It’s kind of funny though because it was the NLT translation that really helped me see the fallacy in the Calvinist belief. For example in Romans 9:20-23 NLT:
        ‘No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. ‘
        Paul says “When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?” You would think that the garbage can is doomed but I don’t think so. I love my garbage can and it’s very useful for me. It has its purpose. So if God creates me to throw garbage into that’s ok. I will be the best garbage can I can be for Him. Also, In verse 22 where it says “who are destined for destruction.”, the word their is destined and not pre-destined. Anyone who is destined for something still has the choice to change his destination. So, ‘Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God. ‘ 1 Corinthians 10:31.
        The Comment in the NLT Study Bible for 9:5-24 reads:
        God Is in Charge (9:5-24)
        We human beings always want to think that we are in charge. We think that we are the “captains of our souls” and that by our decisions and actions we can determine what will happen. However, Scripture confronts us with quite a different scenario. Although human decisions and actions are significant, the will of God is vastly more important.
        In Rom 9, Paul shows that God determines the course of salvation. Paul constantly explains the unexpected development of salvation history by appealing to what God has said and done. Human decisions alone cannot explain the situation, and God has said that he will show mercy to anyone he chooses (9:15). While theologians will continue to debate the role of God’s action and the role of human decisions in salvation, God’s sovereignty stand out clearly.
        The contemporary world has set God to the side and ignores the divine influence on the course of human affairs. But God’s decisions really do direct the world as well as the personal histories of those who trust him. We can confidently affirm that ” God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (8:28).
        “Invictus” by W.E. Henley (1849-1903)
        You read this comment/opinion here from Henley right below Romans 9 in the NLT Study Bible. If you continue reading on through Romans 9 through verses 25-33 it contradicts this comment/opinion. Especially at 9:30 ‘What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. ‘
        This kind of has me concerned with the inerrancy of this translation.
        One concerning verse of concern on inerrancy is 9:24 NLT which reads: ‘And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles. ‘
        The NASB reads: ‘namely us, whom He also called, not only from among Jews, but also from among Gentiles, ‘
        So you can see a big difference there. This is my big concern with the NLT translation but man it reads so well for my understanding.
        Anyways, I just took us down a long path away from the original intent of your comment and I apologize. Thanks again and God bless! 🙂

      12. Kenneth, Thank you for your reply. Good to hear from you. I’ll reply to a few things.

        You said: “It’s like we are always trying to be better than God’s word.”

        Yeah, I think Calvinism (and many cults and false religions out there) thinks it has some sort of hidden, secret knowledge that we have to go to Calvinists to get. If we could read and understand the Bible for ourselves, Calvinism would be out of business. And so they need to make it seem like it’s some sort of elite, upper-level, deeper knowledge of the Bible, and we can only understand it if we go to them. (That should be a warning sign for us, that they make us feel like we need to spend months studying their Calvinist books in order to know what God supposedly really meant to say.)

        Not only does this make the Calvinist teachers feel superior and needed, but it makes the followers feel special to be included in such a high-level, “theologically-superior” society… and feel smarter than the average Christian to have found out “the secret wisdom”… and more humble than the average Christian for being willing to accept such terrible-sounding things (such as God ordains child abuse and predestines people to hell and causes evil for His glory) and for submitting themselves to such extreme (and horrifying) views of God’s sovereignty. They are the smartest, most-God-honoring, most humble, most hard-core Christians! In their minds. (Of course, I think all of this is unconscious for them, but I think it’s there. And it’s part of what makes Calvinism so appealing. But I think Calvinism uses our desire to be humble and God-honoring against us, and it uses God’s Word and glory against God.)

        But I, however, say that the gospel in God’s Word can be clearly, plainly understood in a commonsense way by any person. And so we don’t need Calvinists to tell us what God “meant to say”, especially when it contradicts the plain, commonsense meaning that we all can see. It’s good advice from Brain Wagner that you should just keep sticking to your individual studies and keep letting God guide you as He has been. You’re on the right track.

        You said: “So if God creates me to throw garbage into that’s ok. I will be the best garbage can I can be for Him.”

        That’s sweet and humble. But of course, you’re no garbage can. But I admire and appreciate the heart attitude behind it. 🙂

        And one thing about Romans 9:22: From what I can tell, the concordance (with Vine’s expository dictionary) says that “prepared for destruction” (NIV) means “fitted for destruction,” and it’s tied to a person’s character. So it’s not that God fitted/created them for destruction; it’s that they fitted themselves for destruction by how they chose to be and live.

        I agree that figuring out the whole “which translation should I use” thing is hard sometimes. I like to read various translations to compare and contrast, to see things in a fresh way, etc. (I grew up on the NIV, and I am currently reading the NLT to get some fresh insight.) But I’m always aware that each translation has its own problems. And so if there’s anything I’m concerned about or confused about, I go back to the KJV. I think as long as we’re aware that man does not always translate everything accurately, it’s good to compare translations, instead of putting too much into any one of them. (But I stay away from the ESV, because I think it’s the most Calvinist of all. And I don’t want to support them anyway.)

        God bless you! And keep commenting. Good to have you here. 🙂

    3. Hello Kenneth, So good to hear from you. You have an amazing testimony. Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry to hear what Calvinism did to you, but I am so glad to hear you came through it ok. I also had the experience of realizing that almost everyone out there was Calvinist (after our church got taken over by a Calvinist pastor), but I couldn’t see how Calvinism could be true. And it was starting to really discourage me that every pastor I looked up seemed to be Calvinist. (We listen to Dr. and Pastor Tony Evans now. So much more biblically-accurate!) So I had to do a lot of my own research to figure it out. It was difficult, but so worth it. (You can read all about it at my blog, just search for “Anti Calvinist Rant” – it’s a blogspot.com website.) Looking forward to hearing from you more. God bless!

  7. Derek, thank you for sharing. I went thru the same thing, meaning that when I learned about calvinism, it tore my heart in two. It seemed all of a sudden calvinist were popping out of the wood work. A few in my fellowship and many (not all) family members. I was very angry at first, because in calvinism, it sounds like there is no need for Jesus to die on the cross. But now my heart goes out to these brothers and sisters, praying they will find Truth in God’s Holy Word. This site is a tremendous help. But nothing can lead us in Truth like reading the Bible, all of it.

    Derek, you said “I truly believe the Calvinistic belief leads to death and God leads no one to death.” Well said.
    To you and all (not many) the brothers and sisters who share the Truth of God’s Word here, a heart felt Thank You.

    1. Hello Shawn O’ and welcome
      We are all consistently learning and observing the unfortunate consequences of John Calvin’s doctrine.

    2. Hey Shawn! Thanks for reading! I am sorry you had to go through that pain. The pain of Calvinism tells us right there that it’s not from God. It is a man made belief. Prayer is the most powerful thing we can do. I am loving this site as well. It has brought all of us together to share and discuss about the love, truth, and freedom we all have in God and His word. I will pray for you and your family Shawn. God bless!

    3. Shawn O’, It’s amazing how prevalent Calvinism is once you start looking. (Sorry to hear you’ve got family members in it. Thankfully we got out when my kids were young enough that we could teach them about how wrong it is.) It just goes to show how sneaky it is, that it could infiltrate that deeply and broadly without us even realizing it.

  8. Thanks Heather! Yeah I am not a huge fan of ESV either but soooo many churches make it their main translation to teach from. If anything I would think the NLT would be the best translation to teach from as its seems like its written for a grade school reading level. Which is perfect for me because my high school English teachers all passed me with a 60% just to get me to move on lol. It’s funny really because I hated reading and now I love it and can’t stop haha.

    1. Hi Kenneth, I listened to the pastor’s answer to the question of if God predestining Judas to betray Jesus violated his free-will … and here are a few of my thoughts:

      This is a typical Calvinist answer (God decrees everything but is not the cause of sin, man still chooses to sin according to his sin nature and that’s why we are responsible for it, etc.). And it sounds good on the surface – like it’s saying we have free-will, we choose to sin, God doesn’t cause us to sin – until we analyze it to see what it’s REALLY saying. Calvinism has multiple layers that contradict each other. And we have to always dig past the first layer – the one they want us to see – to get to the heart of what they really believe.

      To a Calvinist, “decrees, foreknows, ordains, etc.” is really just about God preplanning something and then causing it to happen, and nothing else could have happened. This does not allow for real free-will. and it makes God the cause – the ultimate cause – of all sin. But they won’t admit it. Calvinists really think that just saying “God is not the author of sin” means that Calvinism doesn’t teach that God is the author of sin. But it does, and there’s no way around it – because in Calvinism, God is the only one who has the ability to determine/influence what happens, to choose between options, etc. (Which would make God the ONLY willful sinner there is.)

      Calvinists do all they can – word games, multiple layers, dancing in circles, etc. (Br.d. is great about exposing this) – to try to make it sound like they aren’t teaching what they are, which is that man has no free-will and that God causes all that happens, even sin and evil.

      Such as, the pastor said God didn’t make Judas choose what he did but that Judas was acting as a sinner, making choices according to his sin nature. This is supposed to sound like it confirms “free-will,” that people make choices.

      “According to his nature” is a key qualifier, revealing what they really mean. “We make choices” is not the same thing as “We make choices according to our natures.” It’s an important distinction. In Calvinism, God determined which nature we all would get (the regenerated one or the sinner/unregenerated one) and He determined what desires are built into each nature (the desire to repent/obey or the desire to sin/reject God) and we can only “choose” to do what the Calvi-god-determined desires of our Calvi-god-given nature tell us to do. And so a sinner who was given the sinner (unregenerated) nature will only have the desire to sin/reject God, and so that’s all they can “choose”. There are no other options.

      That’s not free-will at all. But they try to make it sound like it is. So deceptive. But then they say that since we “chose” it, God can hold us responsible for it, even though we had no ability/option to do anything differently.

      Likewise, the pastor said God didn’t “force” Judas to sin. They say God doesn’t “force” people to sin because, in Calvinism, our sin nature has built-in desires to sin (from God) that make us “desire” to sin all on our own, and so since we “desired” to do it, God didn’t have to “force” us to do it (even though that’s all we could desire to do, by Calvi-god’s plan). So deceptive! It’s like if I forced people to drink a magic potion that gave them the irresistible desire to kick puppies, but then when they got in trouble for kicking puppies, I said “But I didn’t force you to kick puppies; you were doing what you desired to do, and so you are responsible for it.” Calvinists put extra steps in between God and man’s sin, in order to obscure the fact that Calvi-god is the ultimate cause of all sin and evil.

      But the way I see it, God foreknows what we will choose to do in any situation, and so He foreknows how to work it all into His plans. And so He foreknew what Judas would be like and would choose, and He worked it into His plans. If Judas would have chosen something else, such as to not betray Jesus, God would have foreknown that too and would have found someone else who would willingly betray Jesus to accomplish God’s plans. This is how God can allow for free-will and get His plans accomplished. We make real choices, and God figures out how to work them into His plans. But in Calvinism, God only “foreknew” Judas would sin because God preplanned that Judas would sin, and Judas could not have chosen otherwise. This makes God responsible for sin, not mankind.

      Calvinist theology is really just a bunch of word games, smoke and mirrors, redefined words, etc.. The first layer sounds somewhat good, until we dig deeper. But sadly, most people don’t know to dig deeper. And by the time they realize something’s wrong – that a bad theology has infiltrated their church – it’s too late. At least that’s how it was in my church.

      Anyway, these are just a few of my thoughts about the pastor’s answer. It’s deception from beginning to end. And that’s how Calvinism keeps spreading.

      As a licensed counselor, I am particularly interested in and aware of the deception of Calvinism, how it spreads by manipulation and cult-like tactics, how it traps people with word games and mind games. In fact, the manipulation is one of the first things that alerted me to the fact that something was wrong with our new pastor. From the beginning, before he even revealed his Calvinist beliefs, he was painting people who would agree with him as humble and God-honoring, but he painted anyone who would disagree with him as unhumble, fighting God, unsubmissive, proud, etc. He was making sure that the congregation would look down on anyone who would question him, shaming people into keeping quiet. And I thought, “Why would he need to use manipulation to control what we think? Something’s not right here.” And it made me sit up and listen more closely, because red flags were going off. Sadly, almost no one else noticed or cared. And we were one of the very few to take a stand against it and eventually leave the church over it.

      When a theology has to use manipulation and shaming, something’s wrong.

      Anyway, God bless, and keep up the great research you’re doing into all this!

      1. Heather
        The typical Calvinist answer (God decrees everything but is not the cause of sin, man still chooses to sin according to his sin nature and that’s why we are responsible for it, etc.)
        And a critical issue with this answer from Calvinism – is the use of the word “Choice”
        In Calvinism – the word “Choice” does not have the same meaning that it does in NORMAL language.
        In Calvinism – there is no such thing as the creature having a “Choice” between any two CONTRARY options.
        Because there is no such thing as an option granted to the creature – that is CONTRARY to the decree.
        If it is is decreed that Calvinist_X will SIN at TIME-T – then SINNING at TIME-T is the only option granted.
        There is not option to [NOT SIN] at TIME-T – because the divine decree cannot be countervailed or falsified.
        That which is decreed is granted EXISTENCE – and its EXISTENCE is infallible
        That which is CONTRARY to the decree is NOT granted EXISTENCE – and its NON-EXISTENCE is infallible.
        So in Calvinism – Adam was not given a choice between [EAT] and [NOT EAT]
        Because – [NOT EAT] was not available to Adam
        The impulse within Adam’s brain – to [NOT EAT] was not granted EXISTENCE.
        So when the Calvinist appeals to man having a “Choice” he is using misleading language.
        It is logically impossible to choose that which does not EXIST to choose.
        And that which is not decreed – does not EXIST.

      2. Br.d.: In Calvinism – there is no such thing as the creature having a “Choice” between any two CONTRARY options.
        Because there is no such thing as an option granted to the creature – that is CONTRARY to the decree.”

        Yep! And yet what is the nonsensical answer Calvinists give when people disobey something God commanded: “Well, God decrees that we disobey His decrees.” It’s insane. And what a mess it makes of God’s character and commands and Word.

        Such as you pointed out “So in Calvinism – Adam was not given a choice between [EAT] and [NOT EAT]
        Because – [NOT EAT] was not available to Adam.”

        What damage this does to God’s character when we really think about it! God commanded Adam to not eat the fruit, yet the ability to not eat it was not available to Adam. So God commanded something He made impossible, but then He punished Adam for it.

        Not to mention that God (Calvi-god) really wanted/willed that Adam would eat the fruit for His glory, but then He commands the opposite. He commands what He doesn’t want, what’s not His Will. And He causes the opposite of what He commands. How contradictory!

        And so, which one was truly His Will then: what He commanded or what He “caused”? And then how can we ever trust that any command He gives is what He really wants us to do? Is “don’t murder” what He really wants, or is it just what He SAYS He wants but then when someone murders it’s because that’s what He REALLY wanted, even though He said “don’t murder”? And what does it matter anyway if it’s that He controls all we do and we couldn’t do anything differently?

        What a mess Calvinism makes of God, His character, His truth, His Word, etc.!

        As you said, Calvinists use misleading language. And this is how it escapes the notice of so many people – because it sounds good on the outside, until you really think about it, ask questions, dig deeper, and connect the dots. And this is why they have to use manipulation and shaming: to prevent people from asking questions, digging deeper and connecting the dots. This is what makes me so angry with Calvinism! The cult-like tactics they use to trap people and suck people in. A genuinely-godly theology should not have to resort to deceptive tactics like these.

      3. br.d
        Great points Heather!
        Over time – I’ve pointed these things out to a number of Calvinists.
        Some of them are resistant to it – because they want to believe they are granted CONTRARY “Choice”.
        They go throughout their days – making moment-by-moment “Choices” which if fact appear as CONTRARY options.
        Will I get up when the alarm clock goes off this Saturday morning – or will I sleep in?
        Will I have regular coffee this afternoon after lunch – or will have have decaf?
        Will I [SIN] or will I [NOT SIN] ?
        All of those – are by definition CONTRARY choices.
        And every Calvinist automatically assumes those as a part of his God given reality
        Which means – the Calvinist lives in a constant state of denial of his own doctrine.
        That is why Calvinist language over the centuries has evolved into a highly refined language of DOUBLE-SPEAK
        The Calvinist is forced to live in constant denial of his own doctrine.
        Calvinist language is a TAP-DANCE language of DOUBLE-SPEAK
        Any Christian who has the ability to discern it – and see it for what it is – will not want to be ensnared by it.

      4. Thank you Heather and BR.D! This is by far the best explanation. I was talking with my therapist about Judas before this video popped up in my email (again God always listening to me and sending things my way) and I discussed with him on whether Judas is saved or not. I have a feeling he is saved even though Judas hung himself. How incredible would it be for right after he hung himself Jesus was right there to embrace him in His arms as Judas wept feeling horrible for what he had done. What love, grace, and mercy that would be. This is how I picture the Fathers love.

      5. br.d
        Kenneth – I can see that you have a kind and compassionate heart!
        It will be fun to see how the Lord develops and uses your heart!
        br.d :-]

      6. Kenneth: “How incredible would it be for right after he hung himself Jesus was right there to embrace him in His arms as Judas wept feeling horrible for what he had done. What love, grace, and mercy that would be. This is how I picture the Fathers love.”

        I don’t know if Judas is saved or not, but I do believe God’s love, grace, and mercy is that big and beautiful, that no one is beyond His reach, that anyone – no matter how far they’ve fallen in life – can find forgiveness and healing and eternal life in Jesus. Something Calvinism denies to most people.

      7. Thank you Heather and BR.D! I was listening to Dr. Leighton Flowers podcast titled “Does the Law Accomplish its Purpose?”. I was trying to listen to another podcast but for some reason it kept cutting out on my phone. I’m a techy guy and I could not get it to work so I finally folded and decided to go into my podcast feed to listen to something else and this was right at the top. I hit play and immediately knew God wanted me to listen to this. Last week after I became firm in my belief “Provisionism” (I just now learnt about this term but it fits perfectly into what I learnt and studied so I will now call it that. I have heard it called Extensivism first from a pastor who left Calvinism after being in it for 30+ years) I was having all these thoughts rushing through my head about how the majority if not all the present day Christian documentaries, social media influencers, streaming platforms, etc. are created from Calvinism (AGTV, American Gospel) and Mormonism (Angel Studios, Vid Angel, Babylonian Bee). At this time I didn’t know anyone that believed what I did. But I do now thanks to this site and you all! Praise God! He always leads me to the right places and people. Anyways, I was like we really need to get this TRUE belief out there in documentaries, social media, streaming platforms, influencers, educators, colleges, study bibles, etc. I felt such a strong pull to this. I started thinking on how I could do this. I have been thinking about this for a week now. Now, comes in Dr. Leighton Flowers podcast that I just listened to today and he brought up this same concern and need. I was like YES!!!! I am ready to do this! I am amazing at finding people and connecting people. It is one of my gifts. I will move mountains to get things done and accomplished. Not boasting. I am sure you all think I am crazy but that’s ok. I am just so passionate about this and I want all to hear the truth about God’s love He has for them. I want this whole process to be about LOVE and not attacking the other side or the opposing view (like American Gospel did, that is not even Godly in my opinion, they bashed other pastors that did not line up with them so sad). I am not in this for my own fame or money. I own a very large construction company that God has greatly blessed and continues to bless. I gave the business to God a few years ago. Anyways I have income and God will always provide. He always has. I just want God’s love to be shown to all in a loving and truthful way. I am ready to do this and matter of a fact I have already started trying to list things out and start processing things. If any of you are interested in tackling this with me then reach out to me via my email derekparrent@gmail.com. I can not do this alone and I will need a team. I am not gifted in everything matter of fact I have like no gifts at all really lol but I do know I can gather gifted people, encourage, motivate, organize, plan, lead, and make things happen. I want to get a good Documentary out there on this and I want to be able to get current bloggers, influencers, pastors, and teachers that are “Provisionists” a louder voice to reach more people. I want to see God build up storehouses of His provisions for this. I want this solely built up by God and for His glory and love to shine. And most importantly I want to see people (ALL) give their life to Him.

      8. Thank you, Kenneth. You have a lot of passion and heart, and a great desire to reach people. I am sure God can and will use whatever you give Him. I pray He brings you the right people. If you do some sort of program, feel free to refer to anything on my anti Calvinist blog, to copy it and share it. I get no money from my blog, and so it doesn’t bother me if someone copies it. I just want to get the word out about the dangers of Calvinism, to reach as many people as possible. God bless your efforts. And I’m glad He’s been putting the things you need in your path to help you, like Leighton’s videos. 🙂

  9. Boy, I have really learned a bunch since I came here, Right from the start I found calvanism too hard to take, yet so many in the past went for it, but I doubt many were told the truth about it. Now today it seems to be in most churches. Thanks for all the great and revealing comments.

    1. br.d
      Yes! Thank you Bob!
      It is very gratifying to see how the Lord navigated you such that you see the issues so clearly.
      I think we understand the reason Calvinism has penetrated the church to the degree that it has – is because Calvinists have for many years understood they have to operate in a STEALTH manner in order to prevent believers from recognizing their doctrine for what it is.
      We need to be in continual prayer that the Lord will open the eyes of church leaders such that they can detect and recognize STEALTH practices as a red-flag and warning sign. Dishonesty in any form cannot possibly be of God.
      Thank you Bob!

  10. As a person with a couple of degrees in Astronomy, Cosmology,and World religions. I took those courses cause I wanted to really know where did it all come from,as I looked up at the stars and said surely someone was behind all of this. So, growing up as a Catholic I was introduced to God in the Bible,but they never mentioned Jesus as also God, just his son! They even told us not to read our bibles, as that would confuse us, I moved on and later was saved in my mid thirties by a Baptist Teacher, he told me so much about the Bible and for years there was not even a hint of Calvanism or determinism. I think if you dropped 10,000 bibles on an island with 10,000 people, not 1 after many years would come up with what thier preaching nowadays! What’s stunning to me as I read about Augustine, how is it that Sproul, Piper MacArthur don’t know about his connections with mannichean,neo platonism and Gnosticism which without a doubt he borrowed from.I don’t even think he knew Greek. Calvin himself was far from a saint, he tortured what he called heretics and committed all kinds of heinous acts. Luther wrote a book later in his life on the Jews and how they all should be exterminated, I found that hard to take as well, but I’m not sure he was a calvanist. Bottom line, is many of these church leaders sent good men to thier deaths because they didn’t agree so why would I follow Calvin who got all his ideas from Augustine who waffled back and forth. Do we really know if we are born with sin? Does it not say God made man and it was good! Now of course if we are not gods then we Will sin but born into it I’m not so sure.

    1. br.d
      Yes! These are all good points!
      Whenever we have a belief system which people have to evade elements of in order to retain or maintain – that should serve as a red-flag that something is wrong.
      When I watch R.C. Sproul for example – try to convince Calvinists that they have assurance of salvation – which is logically impossible in Calvinism – because it is humanly impossible to have assurance of something one cannot know.
      If I were to ask you – if you have assurance of the exact number of stars in the universe – you probably look at me like I was crazy for asking you that – because it is impossible for you to know the exact number of stars in the universe. So how can you have assurance of something you cannot possibly know!
      Salvation in Calvinism is 100% dependent upon the “good pleasure” of a god. And part of that god’s “good pleasure” is creating the vast majority of his creatures specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire. So every Calvinist has a statistical probability of being in that portion of humanity which Calvin’s god created specifically for eternal torment – for his “good pleasure”.
      Additionally – within Calvinism – all of the promises within scripture represent the ENUNCIATED will of god – which in most cases is the opposite of the SECRET will of god. So when a Calvinist reads “You are beloved of god” he is reading the ENUNCIATED will of god – which may very well be the opposite of the SECRET will of god. In which case – those promises are written for his condemnation.
      A Calvinist in his 20s can adamantly claim he has total assurance of salvation. And then in two years we learn he completely rejected Calvinism and completely rejected Christ and became a devout Atheist and died a devout Atheist.
      Was his assurance of salvation a TRUE assurance? Or was it a FALSE assurance?
      The Calvinist has to say – he had a FALSE assurance.
      Well – according to the doctrine of decrees – whatsoever comes to pass – was decreed to infallibly be.
      So it must have been decreed that he infallibly have a FALSE assurance of salvation.
      So there is a component of divine deception of the believer entailed within the doctrine.
      For R.C. Sproul to completely evade all of that evidence which a rational person would recognize tells you that Calvinist have to live in a mental state of denial.

  11. I meant born with sin, the Bible says the sins of the father are not past to the son, but its consequences most surely are. I still don’t understand Orginal Sin no matter how I try. God made all things Good.Right?

  12. One more thing, in John 3.16 I see no fine print telling me Jesus only meant salvation for some people! How can you twist that Scripture, world in Greek is cosmos everyone just as God commands All everywhere to repent. How clear can it be, and many want to rewrite what Jesus said, sure the road is narrow which means Christ is the only way.So even if you were born in a desolate barren area, or deep in some rain forest we all get light, and if we respond to that light God will give us the Light of Christ which Is in All men John 1 verse 9, John said an I reiterate Jesus enlightens Every person, not some or kinds of people. Paul underscores this and says no man has any excuse as we all have the Light of Creation around us and the Light of Conscience with in us! Calvanists better start reading the simple Gospel,as even many Jews who also stumbled and missed the messiah who has already came.calvanism has way too many flaws, they present the skin of the truth stuffed with falsehoods.Hello, Satan is at it again it seems, dividing the church, The father of lies!

    1. br.d
      This question always reminds me of a part of Dr. Gordon Fee’s seminary lecture on Hermeneutics.
      Dr. Fee will look at his students and ask the question “What *INFORMS* your mind when you are reading scripture?”
      An example would be – a time in which people believed the earth was flat – or people believed the earth as the center of the solar system – and the sun orbits around the earth.
      Those people held those concepts as *unquestionable truth*
      They also held the scripture to be unquestionable truth.
      Accordingly – the unquestionable truth – that the sun orbits the earth cannot be contradicted by scripture which is also unquestionable truth.
      The concept of a geocentric model of the solar system was what *INFORMED* the mind of the reader while reading scripture. Consequently – the human mind is guaranteed to see a geocentric solar system within the data of scripture.
      And that mind will be unable to comprehend any alternative reading of the text.
      So in order to get a human mind to read EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (EDD) into the text of scripture – it must be first accomplished that the human mind be conditioned to accept EDD as unquestionable truth.
      As soon as that is accomplished – the human mind is guaranteed to *BEND* the text of scripture – in order to make it conform to what the mind accepts as unquestionable truth.
      There are of course many verses within scripture in which reading EDD into them results in a conclusion the Calvinist finds utterly unpalatable. Calvinist teachers understand this is going to be the case especially with young Calvinists.
      So the system includes teaching the young Calvinist mind – how to AUTOMATICALLY treat EDD *AS-IF* it does not exist – in order to evade an EDD reading of scripture which the Calvinist cannot possibly accept..
      So you are eventually going to observe what is called *AS-IF* thinking within Calvinism as a consequence of determinism.
      Here are a few quotes to show you how *AS-IF* thinking works
      Sean Carroll (Theoretical physicist – Atheist Determinist)
      Every person in the world, no matter how anti-free-will they are, talks about people *AS-IF* they make decisions.
      Stephen Hawking – (Atheist Determinist)
      I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined and that we can do nothing to change it look before they cross the street. (Black Holes, Baby Universes and Other Essays)
      Dr. William Lane Craig (non-Calvinist)
      Nobody can live *AS-IF* all that he thinks and does is determined by causes outside of himself.
      Evey determinist recognizes that he has to act *AS-IF* he has option(S) to weigh, and can decide on what course of action to take….. (Determinism is unlivable)
      John Calvin
      “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 you can see – a human consequence of Determinism is *AS-IF* thinking.
      The Determinist must treat his belief system *AS-IF* it is FALSE in order to retain a sense of human normalcy
      For the Calvinist this becomes compounded – because the Calvinist asserts EDD is what scripture teaches.
      And since he is forced to treat EDD *AS-IF* it is FALSE – it follows – he treats what scripture teaches *AS-IF* it is FALSE

  13. Very interesting observations, and I’m sure that’s exactly what happens to all of us in certain situations, especially when we are trying to understand the mind of God, and the best way to be connected with him l, as far as his Word teaches us in the Scriptures.So far as these Athiestic Scientists a few you mentioned who I know quite about, are you equating them with thier reasoning somehow like the Calvanists and thier conclusions, and both are doing the same things like Roman’s 1 is stating? IE they know the truth but want to do it thier way not Gods way? Now, you got me thinking that might be what thier up to.Also, What do you think about Augustine himself , I’m not so sure of him and I could say I might not trust him.

    1. br.d
      This reminds me also of Kevin Thompson – who has the Youtube channel “Beyond the Fundamentals”
      When he grew up he went into the military and became a intelligence officer.
      They were trained to think critically and rationally and scrutinize all data.
      When he retired from the military – he went into software development and became a project manager for a development team.
      At some point he had a burden to become a pastor – and decided to go to a seminary.
      By that time – he was not a young naive man anymore – but he also had a very analytical mind.
      He noticed the curriculum for his first classes did not have the students even touch a Bible
      The curriculum had the students focusing on certain Systematic Theology books which were required material.
      As he was studying this – he noticed these books often made very bold theological statements with absolutely no backing from scripture.
      He was not prepared for this and found it very unsettling.
      When the material would make some bold declaration – he would stop and say: “wait a minute! where does this author get that concept from? Because I don’t find it anywhere within scripture!”.
      He noticed they required the students to accept theological assertions unquestionably without any scriptural backing.
      When the curriculum finally did include scripture – the students were already mentally conditioned to interpret it according to what they had been taught in the previous material.
      At that point – he realized this seminary was pushing a theology – and he was seriously disheartened.
      Dr Flowers recently had a Youtube video – and a commenter who was listening to the video told everyone – he believed the Lord was calling him to ministry – and he contacted a certain seminary and they promised him the curriculum was not Reformed or Calvinist. They lied to him. He sold his home and moved his family to that state. And when he started his curriculum he discovered the seminary had lied to him.
      These are very sad testimonies!!!

  14. Well, I didn’t know all this has been going on But no marvel Sarah’s ministers come as Angels of light fooling the best of us.Many years ago , I got caught in the Apparitions of Mary but I was always on my guard, as I use to listen and learn from the Original Bible Answer man Walter Martin, he was truly a great defender of the faith and wrote a great book Kingdom of the Cults. Calvanism was not really in the air 40 years ago or if it was it was hidden and most were 3.4 point ones but today the hyper ones have taken over and I just can’t listen to Piper and MacArthur anymore, I just don’t get it. Do they really believe in what they are saying ? Many good pastors that I know think calvanism is an in house debate and we should not divide, I think it’s much more but most are still Christian’s, how do you feel BR

    1. br.d
      I think those pastors who make lite of Calvinism as a problem are hiding their heads in the sand for some reason – or they are simply not academically astute enough to understand foundational core of the doctrine.
      I met a couple of pastors who worry they are going to offend Calvinists or worry they are going to turn people away if they say anything. But Calvinists are doing the opposite. Behind the backs of those pastors – they are calling them semi-heretics or false teachers – etc etc etc – in order to draw people away from them.
      So pastors who are operating out of fear and hiding their heads in the sand are only sabotaging themselves and making their congregations vulnerable to the various forms of dishonesty which Calvinist ministries justify as “necessary evils” for the sake of what the Calvinist gospel.

      1. Yes Sir , you are right, but I hope some of what Ken Wilson has said wakes up many in the calvanistic camp. I heard him on Leightons show, and another one where he explained how Augustine completely flipped things around, back and forth between Free will and determinism but said if you read him in order chronological you can see his whole pattern of thought,an thier is no doubt he wound up in the deterministic arena. His infant baptism explanation imho was all wrong, all infants are saved as Jesus said -read the Bible! but Catholic clergy till this day say Sacred oral tradition trumps the Bible because they want to keep thier own traditions, indulgences relics etc Baptism cannot in any way save a person, only Christ can do that. I still argue that with some RC friends of mind that still hold that view. Peter himself in acts, rebukes that when he says baptizing is not washing away dirt, it’s a symbol and outward commandment to be a Christian so to speak. Calvanism is Man Centered.

      2. According to the latest polls 63% of Americans believe in Christianity,with Protestant at 40% and Catholic 21* other was 2% but 30% were non commital, back in 1970 it was only 2% non commitals. Walter Martin said back then, Organized Religion is not telling it like it is, and most people don’t know why they believe in What they believe and will fall for anything, Boy was he right, Satans calvanism is very responsible, as this prevents many people especially young to believe in that Gospel which is another perversion! Imagine listening to God does not love all people, really maybe he don’t love me!

      3. br.d
        I saw some very interesting news articles this week which outlined a number of gospel revivals of very significant size which I had no idea were going on.
        All of them were in countries outside of the U.S
        But I was looking at pictures of massive numbers of people getting baptized at the same time.
        In the thousands!
        The Lord is obviously doing things outside of the U.S. that he is unable to do within the U.S. probably because of the demonic forces which are currently in control of the U.S.
        When God sent Jonah to Nineveh – the road into the city was miles long filled with merchants on each side.
        As Jonah walked towards the city – he was preaching to these people – the coming destruction of the city.
        From what I understand – that road was so long – walking it took several days.
        As he was preaching – more and more people were becoming smitten with fear of divine judgement.
        And increasing numbers of citizens of the city believed the word which God sent Jonah to preach
        However – citizens of the city believing and repenting did not constitute the condition which God required – to repent of his judgement over the city.
        The condition he required was the leadership of the city – and the king of the city believing and repenting.
        It was not until the news reached the king and the people within his inner court that the king became smitten and repented before the Lord.
        That was the condition which the Lord required – and when that condition was met he repented of destroying Nineveh
        I believe that becomes a pattern for us to understand.
        God will bring judgement and destruction upon a nation – and what he requires is the leadership of that nation to be smitten and to repent of the evil they have given themselves to.
        The same principle can be found with the Kings of Israel and Judah
        The scripture says many times: ” And the king made the people to sin”
        Thousands of men in obedience to King Saul – followed him into battle and to their slaughter.
        We do not know if the current leadership of the U.S. will be smitten and repent of the wickedness and evils which have become saturated. Babylon the great has fallen and become the habitation of devils and unclean birds and every fowl spirit.
        But apparently the Lord is working outside of the U.S. and thousands of people are becoming smitten accepting deliverance.

      4. Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with you, and I must say you have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, no worries BR God is in control, And in the end He will triumph, Praise the Lord!

      5. br.d
        Thank you my friend!
        Very kind of you!
        And amen!!!!
        The Lord is in control!
        And he is wonderful!!! :-]

      6. Justin Martyr, says it All about any Calvinistic assertions. Quote: Unless Man is responsible for his ethical conduct, the entire ethical scheme of the Universe collapses, and with it the very existence of God Himself!

  15. So far as Total Depravity, CS Lewis hit the nail on the head. He said TD when the consequences are drawn,since we are TD Our idea of God is worth Nothing,and may turn Christianity into a form of Devil Worship! Also if Gods moral judgement differs from ours , say his black is our white, then we mean nothing by calling him Good while asserting his goodness is wholly other than ours,is really only to say God is what we know Not!! Piper himself, does not even include Lewis as An Arminian let alone a Calvanist as he stated on one of his shows. Lewis says it all!

    1. Yes!
      But I also see the “T” in Calvinism’s TULIP as a lie of omission.
      A lie of omission is communication designed to mislead by omitting critical facts – which if not omitted would not mislead.
      In this case – what the Calvinist is strategically omitting – is per the doctrine – the state of nature – including man’s nature – at every nano-second in time – is 100% meticulously predestined before man is created – and at any nano-second in time cannot possibly be other than what it was decreed to infallibly be.
      The Calvinist uses the “T” in the TULIP to FALSELY attribute man’s inabilities – and thus man’s eternal destiny – to the state of his nature – when the TRUTH is – the state of man’s nature at every nano-second in time – as well as his eternal destiny – are both FIXED and FATED by an infallible decree.
      Calvinists know this aspect of their doctrine is going to be rejected by the Non-Calvinist believer.
      So the “T” in the TULIP is a way of hiding an aspect of the doctrine they know Christians are going to reject.
      Calvinists themselves are uncomfortable with that aspect of the doctrine.
      So they like the TULIP because it functions as a kind of mask
      The underlying doctrine entails a component of divine malevolence towards mankind.
      The TULIP functions as a cosmetic mask
      It is designed to cover dark aspects of the face which Calvinists don’t want to see
      You can understand why that would be the case.

  16. So many people fell for it in the past the Huegenots, Puritans and many others but most people are like sheep, and I myself was in the Roman Catholic camp but I never heard that taught, but many of thier doctrines did not jive with Scripture. I was talking to the Bishop here in Sarasota,fl where I live, my wife still attends the church but it’s more conservative and allows for some Bible studies. I just went a few times and do most of my own studies with a few friends.There was a bulletin in that church about 2 years ago how calvanists are attending Catholic Churches and they are trying to accommodate them, and trying to teach the parishioners what it’s all about. Probably not good. Yet the RCC seemed to be against calvanism, yet consider Augustine the Top Theologian in thier writings even today! Interesting all the early church fathers everyone including Ireanaus called determinism evil and heretical. Where are we all heading BR

  17. Just a comment on Judas, a careful reading of the text is that God set the Stage for the Death of Jesus, but man himself carried it out. God Uses the Sins of people to work out His will. Remember Joseph, where his brothers were going to kill him, yet God intervened and they sold him into slavery in Egypt, then Joseph revealed himself to them and said You meant this for Evil, God meant this all for good! Again, when Jesus was curing the blind man, the apostles asked who Sinned this man of his parents that he was born blind, Jesus said neither him or his parents but this was to show the glory of god as many around saw Jesus healing the sick and new he was something special.Many times sickness and disease are the result of sin, as when Jesus healed the crippled, who was that way 38 years and he picked up his mat and walked around on the Sabbath day -Jesus again met him and said Stop Sinning or worse things can happen!
    God uses mankind’s sin and iniquities to fulfill his Will and that goes to show had wrong the calvanistic thought is, as God never violates a man’s free will, or forces anything upon us,He does not need too,but works thru our Choices to accomplish it all!

    1. br.d
      Good point Bob!
      In regard to your examples (Joseph and his brothers for example ) we can clearly see a stark difference between how that story looks within Calvinism vs how it looks to the NON-Calvinist Bible reader.
      Calvinism’s foundational core – is the doctrine of decrees

      John Calvin explains
      The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that *NOTHING HAPPENS* but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed. (Institutes 1. 16. 3)
      Thus it follows – the event of Joseph’s brothers killing Joseph cannot happen – unless that event is knowingly and willingly decreed by Calvin’s god – at the foundation of the world.
      If that event is NOT knowingly and willingly decreed – then it cannot happen.
      In such case – Calvin’s god knows that he did not grant existence to that event
      He knows it is a non-existent event.
      In such case – for Calvin’s god to INTERVENE in that event – would be to INTERVENE in an event which did not exist to INTERVENE.
      If Calvin’s god is a perfect being – then he knows it is logically impossible to INTERVENE in an event which will never exist – because it has not possibility of coming to pass.
      Calvin’s god can INTERVENE in himself prior to his decree.
      He can have the initial impulse to decree Joseph’s brothers will infallibly kill Joseph
      And then he can change his mind and INTERVENE in himself from making that his decree.
      But it can never be the case that he can INTERVENE in an event that does not exist to INTERVENE in.
      Therefore when a Calvinist tries to claim – Calvin’s god INTERVENED in Joseph’s brothers killing Joseph – that Calvinist is in denial of – and in contradiction – to his own doctrine.

      1. I see the logical traps that you present from there viewpoint, a classic case as you well put of Double-speak with just plain simple Theo- babble imho. All of this stems from periods way back early to refute sound biblical scriptures. I’m convinced now, that this Calvinistic thought especially today with high calvanists, definitely is pure Gnosticism and hatred of the Biblical God. At least some of that is going on. Direct scripture says God is not the author of evil and He never thought it. Yet some say that and much more, like decreeing rape, murder, incest, this has its roots in calvanism for sure. Satan must love it when he hears that. Piper can holds his hands high, but he is under the influence imho of Satan with comments such as these.who would conceive of saying God creates and causes heinous acts and evil!

    There is a major stumbling block which occurs between a Calvinist and a Non-Calvinist Christian in the process of dialog. That stumbling block has to do with standards which each party holds himself in compliance to.
    Concerning logic – and the rules of logic – and the standards which govern rules of logic – it is typically assumed people will conform themselves to an academic standard – in which a self-contradiction or a self-refuting position will be acknowledged as a falsehood.
    For a Bible-based individual conforming to this standard – a “False-Balance” is defined as any exchange in which a FALSEHOOD is treated AS-IF it is true.
    For example – In the process of a currency exchange – if one is presenting a “False-Weight” on a balancing scale – and that “False-Weight” is treated as a “True-Weight” then the result will be a “False-Balance”.
    So for the Bible based individual conforming to this standard within the arena of logical dialog – an exchange in which a self-contradiction or a self-refuting argument is presented and treated as-if it is true follows the same pattern – and thus equates to a false-balance.
    The Calvinist does not have the same value system. He allows himself the option of disregarding human standards in the arenas of logic or language. He holds himself aloof from those standards, often calling them “Human” standards which are to be disregarded, because he operates within the realm of divine revelation from God. And the God of the Bible stands above all human standards.
    The Calvinist therefore retains the option of disregarding human standards whenever he deems it necessary. It is very common for example – for a Calvinist to assert that a non-Calvinist is operating within the realm of -quote “Human logic” and that Calvinist operates within divine revelation. Therefore the non-Calvinist position must be counted as non-Biblical.
    This is also found in the arena of language, and is often observed when a Calvinist pastor will present himself to a church pastoral search committee – and craft statements designed to obfuscate any questions that would identify him as a Calvinist. This practice is fully justified because it is for the sake of the “TRUE” gospel.
    Therefore the Calvinist reserves the right to disregard standards of right and wrong – in both logic and in language -which normal people conform themselves to for the sake of honesty within any exchange.
    Within the arena of logical dialog – this becomes pronounced over the issue of self-contradictions and self-refuting arguments.
    Within any dialog based on logical reasoning – the Calvinist will often keenly identify self-contradictions made by Non-Calvinists – and correctly disqualify them as falsehoods. But when the self-contradiction is found within the Calvinist’s position – he cannot acknowledge it as a falsehood – because in his mind it is Biblical – and therefore must be treated AS-IF it is true.
    So a major stumbling-block in trying to have a rational dialog with a Calvinist is going to consistently occur – due to the fact that he stands aloof to human standards of logic and human standards of language when they do not fit his needs.
    And since he is commissioned by divine revelation – if you disagree – you are anti-Biblical

    1. I understand what your saying,as I just finished reading Ken Wilson’s book on Augustine which is a real mind opener, but do you feel the average Christian today believes in these bizarre insertions of God determining all events, especially limited atonement and God decreeing the fall of man and creating evil and doing evil? Do you think calvanistic preachers today, are trying to deceive people on purpose or just caught up wrongly in thier views? Leighton says that he respects and admires piper, Sproul , macArthur but just thinks thier wrong. Early in the church all fathers believed in free will, and man’s cooperation for salvation, yet gnostics we’re all deterministic and had some weird philosophies. I guess Satan blinded many eyes then as he is now.

      1. br.d
        Determinism – as you have identified – is a very radical belief system.
        Consider also the belief of Solipsism.
        A Solopsist is a person who believes his is the only real person on planet earth – and everyone else is a figment of his imagination.
        That’s a pretty radical belief system!!
        But the question is – can a person actually live coherently with it?
        I don’t know if you are familiar with Dr. Alvin Plantinga
        He is a nationally recognized Christian philosopher
        He also has a very fun sense of humor – and he enjoyed telling funny stories at the beginning of his lectures because they could often be extremely dry.
        He told this story of a time he was the guest of honor for a graduation ceremony in which he was to speak
        He was friends with the Dean of the College – and went there in advance of the event.
        While he was there – the Dean told him they had professor who was a Solipsist
        Alvin was very curious to know if that professor would treat him as a figment of his imagination.
        So he went to introduce himself to the professor
        As he is telling this as a fun story at the beginning of his lecture – he says – he thought it interesting to note – this professor treated him *AS-IF* he was a real person.
        This is actually the case – for all people who hold to radical belief systems.
        They hold the belief as TRUE – but they live *AS-IF* the belief is FALSE because the consequence of living coherently with such a radical belief is more of a price than they want to pay.
        Imagine a Solipsist husband who in his intimate moments with his wife – treats her as a figment of his imagination.
        Imagine him as a worker treating his boss or supervisor as a figment of his imagination.
        The consequences of living congruently with such a radical belief system!!!
        This is also the case with Determinism
        And that is why you would ask if Calvinists really can think congruently with its doctrine.
        The answer is NO!
        Just as the Solipsist must live *AS-IF* the dictate of his belief is FALSE – it is also the case – the Determinist must live *AS-IF* Determinism is FALSE.
        Here are some quotes to that affect
        Sean Carroll (Theoretical physicist Determinist)
        Every person in the world, no matter how anti-free-will they are, talks about people *AS-IF* they make decisions.
        Stephen Hawking (Determinist)
        I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined and that we can do nothing to change it look before they cross the street. (Black Holes, Baby Universes and Other Essays)
        William Lane Craig
        Nobody can live *AS-IF* all that he thinks and does is determined by causes outside of himself.
        Every determinist recognizes he has to act *AS-IF* he has option(S) to weigh, and can decide on what course of action to take….. (Determinism is unlivable)
        John Calvin
        “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 you see – Determinism is such a radical belief system – it is not possible for a person to live coherently with it – and still retain a sense of human normalcy. The consequences are simply too much for a Calvinist to bear.
        So you will constantly hear Calvinists claim there is no such thing as Libertarian choice
        But every Calvinist goes throughout his day living *AS-IF* he has Libertarian choice.

      2. Yes and yes, Walter Martin as I mentioned before, also took on a person like that on stage when asked if he really exists, and Martin said to him can a person doubt that he doubts? We do exist, and it’s a non-sensical question. I do get exactly what your saying, any effort to deny Gods existence is futile. Any Physicist today, agrees that any Universe in a state of expansion, must have had a beginning and even Hawking admitted this brings on religious connotations.Too much information on the Big Bang, points to Gods reality, but Hawking states gravity can and will bring a Universe out of Nothing, yet where did gravity come from,but hawkings Nothing is something as even vacuums are teeming with particles. Everyone knows that information can only come from a mind, therefore a Super Intelligent is at work, that brought everything into being! Surely the first particle is not responsible for this vast Universe and Life itself. I wonder BR if these same atheistic scientists were just like those Gnostics that the Bible talked about.It takes more faith to be an atheist then a believer- God is the best explanation by far. Btw your use of as-if is spot on, it’s very telling as I think about it and has been around forever wow

    2. Ok I get what your saying, so when I hear James White rebuttals from a non -calvanists position, he definitely seems to be talking in this as-if lingo, because every time I try to listen to him, he seems to be beating around the bush and never really comes to any sound statements,ie im always left somewhat confused,and he also seems to be non sympathetic as Piper, Sproul (when alive) and especially MacArthur who shows no emotion whatsoever and thinks he is right 100%, in contrast leighton F gives one much better apologetics and is much more understandable and explains right from the scripture’s with biblical support.your thoughts? Thank you

      1. Bob
        every time I try to listen to James White he seems to be beating around the bush and never really comes to any sound statements
        Wonderfully said!
        Jesus commands us – in all of your communications – let your YEA be YEA and your NAY be NAY
        Jesus’ command is an excellent example of the law of non-contradiction.
        Since Determinism forces the believer into an *AS-IF* thinking pattern – we will observe a certain pattern of language
        If you look for it – as you did with James White’s statements – you will find the Calvinist will occasionally make explicit declarations in affirmation of Determinism. But if he is faced with the consequences of that declaration – he will never find those consequences acceptable.
        So he will follow his occasional *EXPLICIT* declaration congruent with Determinism – with a stream of in *INFERENTIAL* statements which are in contradiction to Determinism – and which do not exist within Determinism.
        For example – in James White’s dialog with William Lane Craig – he speaks about a point in time when he is a young man making decisions about what arena of life he will choose to go towards.
        His statements about having multiple options from which to choose are logically impossible in his belief system.
        His doctrine stipulates that at the foundation of the world – a THEOS was face with options from which to select in regard to every nano-second of James’ White’s life. And all options CONTRARY to that option selected at every nano-second were infallibly rejected.
        So there is no such thing as CONTRARY OPTION granted existence and made available for James White to choose from.
        So there you have another example
        He EXPLICITLY affirms Determinism with one statement – and then INFERENTIALLY denies Determinism within a stream of follow-up statements.
        That is exactly the pattern you will consistently observe within Calvinist statements.
        One EXPLICIT affirmation of Determinism – followed by a stream of INFERENTIAL denials of Determinism.
        And his brain is conditioned to flip back and forth between affirming and denying – so instantly that his brain is not cognizant of doing it.

      2. I go strictly by what the Apostles taught, and thier immediate successors, and they were All in agreement that man co-operated with God in the salvivic plan. So many scriptures, dominate the few that have a calvanistic flavor, but all together it does not show a determinism from God in any sense. Justin Martyr pushes back hard, against the Stoic determinism and says. Unless man is responsible for his own ethical conduct,
        then the whole ethical scheme of the universe collapses, and with it the very existence of God Himself! Barnard adds God foreknows everything not because events are necessary, or because God decrees men’s actions, but forseeing it all he ordains reward and punishment accordingly!
        Not one church father, agreed with a deterministic view of God in any sense of violating man’s free will, established clearly early in genesis when God set the tree in the garden. I don’t care how many calvanists try to soften there rhetoric, to get around what Calvin called Terrible and Dreadful, limited atonement is Not in Scripture and niether is Total Inability!

      3. br.d
        Yes! Well said!
        Prior to Augustine – Christians who were not Gnostics or NeoPlatonits did not have a Deterministic conception of Biblical ethics.
        For them – the God of scripture grants man choice between [RIGHT] and [WRONG]
        [RIGHT] and [WRONG] are by definition CONTRARY to each other
        They constitute CONTRARY options
        Man is granted choice between CONTRARY options.
        In Determinism (aka Calvinism) CONTRARY options are never granted to man.
        In Determinism – the choice between CONTRARY options is made at the foundation of the world.
        Where [RIGHT] is infallibly selected – [WRONG] is infallibly rejected – as that which will come to pass
        In such case [RIGHT] is granted existence within the domain of creation and thus available to man
        And [WRONG] is NOT granted existence within the domain of creation and thus NOT available to man
        CONTRARY options are never granted to man to choose between.
        All choices are made *FOR* man by a divine decree
        Man is not granted the function of choice

  19. Exactly BR, these kind of deterministic systems of thought, were considered Heretical, and today it’s morphed from a partial tulip, to full blown hyper one. In fact only 25% of the synod of Dort was 5 pointers,and most were 3-4 pointers and now even everyday calvanists are all over the place which shows it’s not from God. He is not the author of confusion or any respect or of persons.

    1. br.d
      Thanks for telling me that!
      I didn’t know most of them were 3 or 4 pointers!
      We can certainly understand why! :-]

  20. What I don’t understand is, why should they listen to Calvin and Augustine if the earliest church fathers were uninamous with free will, and also stated man’s co-operation with God for salvation? All through the Bible, God says choose choose in many passages.The prophets told the people to do good, some did , many didnt. God commands us to repent and believe, yet the calvanists state God decrees eveything so only some will repent and those are forced to do it! This all sounds like non sense, unless my whole thinking, is that right could be wrong or my whole reasoning is unsound, but if that’s is true how can the calvanistist even trust thier own reasonings because thier dead too, and they can’t Know thier saved. Rc Sproul battled, he said for years about this, but then said since he is right then he is saved-MacArthur said same but that thought can’t be known with certainty.Again calvanists practice Theo-babble for the most part. How is it that I loved Christ with all my being, and have repented m, yet I’m not a Calvinist! Something’s wrong with Calvanism.

    1. br.d
      Yes I would agree!
      Big questions are:
      1) What actually draws a person into Calvinism?
      2) Once a person is drawn into Calvinism and eventually gets glimmers of its problems – why in the world would they stay in it?

      A number of years ago – I read a number of books by cult experts.
      It was Robert Jay Lifton who identified a group-think phenomenon he called “Milieu control”
      Milieu control has to do with communication does and don’ts within a group.
      There are things which group members are not supposed to say – even if they think those things.
      And in Calvinism – we have the same phenomenon – which I personally call “Pius Dishonesty”
      Pius Dishonesty is a form of Dishonesty in which the believer actually lies to himself because acknowledging any of the dark aspects of the doctrine are deemed sinful and thus held as taboo.
      It is also fully justified for a Calvinist pastor to lie to a church pastoral search committee.
      He is supposedly lying to them for the sake of the gospel.
      So that becomes a form of “Pius Dishonesty”
      It was Margaret Singer who identified what she called “A Closed System of Logic” within many cult groups.
      And Calvinism does have its own closed system of logic
      It is a system in which self-contradictions are not allowed to be acknowledged
      Then there is Stephen Hassan – who came out of the Moonies – and wrote the book “Freedom of the Mind”
      I don’t believe Calvinism could ever be called a full-blown cult – but it appears to have some of the attributes which are common within such groups.

  21. Very interesting but yes that’s true in many paradigms especially in todays culture. Walter Martin over 30 years ago, in response to why many were leaving the church,said organized religion was not telling it like it is,and also watering down the Gosoel, and becoming more liberal and man centered.Now calvanism was hardly even talked about then. In fact when I first heard about it was 20 years ago, I had no idea that God determined all things, and that we have no responsibility at all to gain our salvation. I don’t think anyone I knew ever talked about it , and I’ve been to many discussions and debates about Jesus and God the Father. i said like you Who could buy into that? I asked how can you change John 3-16 into not all but all kinds etc , I immediately debated with anyone and I was called names like I believe in a weak God and knew nothing! Well, I was overwhelmed with being angry but more so, Sad that other Christian’s that I associated with bought into this especially Limited Atonement that even Calvin called Dreadful and Terrible. That alone was Enuff. I was overwhelmed with grief. That’s Not the God of scripture and Not the Jesus I knew and heard. Jesus never forced anyone but Persuaded many as he told Pilate with the Truth. Even Pilate and his wife were shaken.

    1. br.d
      Lesson #1:
      A sovereign god is the sole and exclusive determiner of what people are able to see.
      We have no ideal why people are not able to see that!
      Lesson #2:
      The most sacred truth the Bible teaches – is that everything is determined in every part by infallible decree.
      The Bible teaches you to go about your office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part.
      Lesson #3:
      The Calvinist must be diligent to do everything he can – to make Calvinism look favorable to people.
      All persons are dragged into Calvinism – by supernatural infallible decree.
      Lesson #4:
      All human choices are determined FOR humans and not BY humans – solely and exclusively by divine decree
      All humans are held accountable for the choices they make.
      If it wasn’t for DOUBLE-THINK – could the Calvinist think at all? ;-D

  22. Yeah, that’s what it all comes too – So, the Calvanist God made a race of Robots, and was responsible for making dead people come alive, but they have nothing to say about anything that truly matters. Micheal Brown in his debate with James White said to him, you can’t even know you are saved when pressed, he had no response.Brown then said read the scriptures,you Can know your saved by trusting In Christ, and I’ve been doing that for many years, That’s what Good News means -so again calvanism fails on all cylinders imho!

    1. Hello Bob,

      You pointed out that in Calvinism, “you can’t even know you are saved.” This is one of the things that’s most upsetting about Calvinism. Not only does it slam the door of heaven on most people (non-elect), but it necessarily contains the fundamental belief that the so-called elect cannot even know for sure they are saved. This is a natural end result of Calvinists believing that we cannot choose to put our faith in Jesus, that God causes the elect to believe.

      The Bible tells us what we need to do to be saved: believe (a choice we have to make). But Calvinists say we can’t believe. And so now they have no basis for their assurance of salvation – because they don’t think we can do the ONE THING God said we need to do to be saved.

      Not to mention that their Calvi-god is totally untrustworthy, saying one thing but meaning another, making it seem like we have a choice when we don’t (in Calvinism), causing people to commit the sins he commands them not to commit, and preventing them from doing the things he commands them to do (repent and believe). If this is the kind of tricksy god he is, how on earth could any Calvinist trust him about their election? If he is the kind of god who causes rape and murder and unbelief for his glory (after commanding people not to do it, and then punishing them for what he causes them to do), why would he not also be glorified to trick people into thinking they’re elect when they’re not? After all, he gets just as much glory for causing sin and unbelief as he does for causing good.

      Calvinism destroys God’s character and denies our ability to do the one thing we need to do to be saved, therefore it also destroys our trust in God and our ability to know we are saved … and then it tries to convince you that your fears about your eternal security are unfounded and overblown. Crazy! (And if God says that the one work we must do to be saved is to believe, but Calvinists say we can’t believe, then can anyone really be saved under Calvinism?)

      But the Bible tells us what we need to do to be saved: believe (put our faith in Jesus and commit to Him). And because we really do have a trustworthy God who says what He means and means what He says and who truly does want all people to be saved, we can trust that eternal life is offered to all and possible for all, which means that anyone can choose to believe in Jesus and know they are saved. If we do our part (believe, commit to Him), we can trust that He will do His part (give us eternal life). Because He said He would, and He is trustworthy.

      Calvinists have no such assurance. And so all they can do is constantly evaluate their works and their feelings to see if Calvi-god really did give them real faith/grace instead of fake, temporary faith/grace (evanescent grace). No wonder so many of the celebrity Christians who are renouncing their faith are coming out of Calvinist churches.

      Thanks for sharing your comments, Bob. I haven’t read them all yet, but I will when I can. God bless.

      1. Heather,excellent statement and covers it all, even every church father believed and fought back the gnostics and all talked about out free-will and ability to choose which is literally from Genesis 2 to Revelations-God declares he had no intentions to do evil and wishes All to repent and live. Jesus, in his earthly sojourn persuaded people to make right decisions, there was not a Hint of Calvinistic thought and the church fathers again agreed.

  23. Now i believe this video Sums it all up,and is crystal clear, AskDoctorBrown -Reconciling Gods Sovereignty and Man’s Free Will, I would like your thoughts Br and Thank You.

    1. br.d
      Ok – what Dr. Brown is appealing to – is classified as “Contrary Choice”
      Dr. Brown says: “God has given man a Will”
      But that is not the critical factor.
      The critical factor within Dr. Brown’s formulation is “Contrary Choice”
      Dr. Brown appeals to the principle of relying on “MAJOR THEMES” within the consistent narrative of scripture.
      The “MAJOR THEME” Dr. Brown is appealing to is “HUMAN CHOICE” which is consistent within the narrative of scripture.
      Dr. Brown is saying – from Genesis to Revelations the “THEME” of man being granted choice is presupposed throughout the whole narrative of scripture.
      The *KIND* of Choice Dr. Brown is appealing to is classified as “Contrary Choice”
      There are NECESSARY CONDITIONS which are required – in order for man to have “Contrary Choice”
      It is logically impossible to choose [X] when [X] is does not exist and is not available to choose.
      A man cannot choose to take a picture of bigfoot – if bigfoot does not exist.
      A man cannot choose to drink ice-cold water in the desert – if ice-cold water does not exist where that man is in the desert
      So a NECESSARY CONDITION for man to have “Contrary Choice” is the existence and “Options” available to man to choose.
      “Contrary Options” must exist in order to be available for man to choose.
      Dr. Brown then provides examples of “Contrary Options”
      – [YES] vs [NO]
      – [OBEY] vs [DISOBEY]
      The foundational core of Calvinism is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (EDD)
      “Contrary Options” cannot exist within EDD – any more than oxygen can exist within a perfect vacuum.
      EDD entails a world in which “Contrary Options” only exist at the foundation of the world prior to the decree.
      Take for example – the month in which you will be born
      There are 12 months in a year
      So Calvin’s god has Multiple Options from which to select – in his decision about which month you will be born.
      However – that decision entails ONE SINGLE OPTION to be selected – and all ALTERNATIVE options rejected.
      That ONE SINGLE OPTION Calvin’s god selects – and decrees to be infallible.
      That month for you to be born on – is thus granted existence within the domain of creation.
      That month will then be available as a month in which you can be born.
      All ALTERNATIVE options are infallibly rejected
      All ALTERNATIVE options are CONTRARY to the option which Calvin’s god selected
      All ALTERNATIVE options are CONTRARY to the decree
      That which is CONTRARY to the decree is not granted existence within creation.
      The NON-Existence of all CONTRARY options are established as infallible.
      Thus we can see – that in Calvinism – for every human event – and every human impulse – there is never granted more than ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED RENDERED-CERTAIN option.
      The way the Calvinist gets around this – is with *AS-IF* thinking – which is a byproduct of Determinism.
      Calvin’s god knows that he does not grant CONTRARY Options to man from which to choose.
      Calvin’s god knows CONTRARY options – are solely and exclusively available to himself alone in the exercise of divine sovereignty.
      Calvin’s god follows the pattern which is set by Calvin.
      Calvin goes about his office *AS-IF* nothing is determined in any part
      Thus Calvin treats Determinism *AS-IF* it is FALSE
      Calvin’s god follows the pattern set by Calvin
      Calvin’s god treats man *AS-IF* he grants CONTRARY Options to man – when he knows that is FALSE.
      Take Adam in the garden for example:
      Calvin’s god commands Adam to [NOT EAT] – knowing that the option for Adam to [NOT EAT] does not exist.
      That option was rejected at the foundation of the world – when Calvin’s god choose [EAT] as the option for Adam.
      In order for the Calvinist to hold Adam accountable – the Calvinist treats Determinism *AS-IF* it is FALSE
      The NECESSARY CONDITION for CONTRARY choice does not exist for Adam
      The Calvinist treats that fact *AS-IF* it is FALSE
      The Calvinist treats Adam *AS-IF* the option to [NOT EAT] was granted to Adam
      Now here is where the mental struggle occurs for the typical Calvinist.
      He wants to AUTO-MAGICALLY treat Adam *AS-IF* the option to [NOT EAT] was granted to Adam
      But his doctrine EDD tells him – CONTRARY options only exist for Calvin’s god and do not exist for man.
      So the Calvinist goes into a mental state of THOUGHT-BLOCKING
      He refuses to THINK about the logical implications of his doctrine
      He lives in a constant state of denial
      He becomes like a person who is trying to hypnotize himself – by repeating over and over and over – “Adam was granted the option to [NOT EAT] – because if he allows himself to come to grips with the consequence of his doctrine – he is like the stock investor – who invested his whole life in a certain stock which collapsed.
      The Calvinist has “Investors Bias”
      He cannot allow his mind to face the truth.
      So he continues to live in a world in which things do not exist – but he treats them *AS-IF* they do.

      1. Br.d.: “He cannot allow his mind to face the truth. So he continues to live in a world in which things do not exist – but he treats them *AS-IF* they do.”

        Exactly. And I wonder how many Calvinists – when they do begin to see the terrible truth of Calvinism – end up rejecting God and faith instead of just rejecting the Calvinism. I bet it’s got to be too mentally exhausting – when they’re that discouraged already – to take the time and energy to sift through Calvinism, to figure out what’s wrong about it and what the truth really is. And so they just toss the whole Bible out.

        I think Calvinism destroys the church from the inside out, but slowly and methodically, crumbling people’s faith bit by bit over time (underneath their denial and self-hypnotism, their efforts to talk themselves into faith) until they wake up one day and realize there’s nothing left to stand on.

        And it destroys the church from the outside because any sane person who hears what Calvi-god is like will want nothing to do with him. And they’ll see the obvious implication of Calvinism that since Calvi-god decides for us, it doesn’t matter what we think or believe. Whatever Calvi-god preplanned will happen, and there’s nothing we can do about it, so why bother thinking about it or caring?

        It’s really a sinister theology, using God’s Word and glory against Him, and using a Christian’s desire to be humble and theologically-intelligent against them (convincing them that humble, intelligent Christians accept God’s “sovereignty,” as Calvinist’s define it). It’s the subtleness of it, the slyness, that makes me all-the-more aggressive against it. People don’t realize that it’s not biblical, and their eternities and faith are hurting because of it. It’s sad.

      2. br.d
        Yes! So true Heather!!
        And you are right in tune with the concern that is burning in Dr. Flower’s heart right now!
        He is observing disenchanted Calvinists – who got drawn into a belief system by “hook-or-by-crook”
        Much of which entailed a MOUNTAIN OF PIOUS SEMANTIC FACADES which if a person eventually faces – will collapse.
        Calvinists are not just leaving Calvinism.
        They are leaving the faith altogether.
        An ALL-OR-NOTHING proposition often confronts the individual within the system’s social structure.
        If the system allows believers to readily choose a theological option outside of the system – how many people will take advantage of that option and leave it for an alternative embrace of Jesus without the baggage the Calvinist must bear.
        What would the consequence be to Calvinism’s social structure if people leaving it for a better option became a trend?
        However -if the individual believer’s faith in Jesus Christ collapses – the theology doesn’t suffer any consequence.
        The believers collapse is simply deemed as divine collateral damage.

      3. Br.d. “If the system allows believers to readily choose a theological option outside of the system ..”

        Yes, an unexpected quirk of Calvinism is that it allows the Calvinist believer to declare it “God’s Will” if they do leave the faith for something else. Because according to their theology, it was “ordained” by God and there’s nothing they could do to stop it. If they can fall back on it being “God’s Will” then what’s to stop them from leaving Jesus for something else (or from committing any sin for that matter)? Calvinism really does lead to hopelessness, to fatalism, in the end.

        For the record, I believe a true Spirit-filled believer can’t lose their salvation – the Holy Spirit will always be convicting them, trying to call them back into a proper relationship with God – but they can choose to walk away from God for a time, to live like an unbeliever, making a huge mess of their life. And so true Christians cannot lose salvation, but they can lose the proper relationship with God and eternal rewards.

        And I’m sure plenty of Calvinists are true believers, especially since many were Christian before being Calvinist. (Calvinism seems to spread more by turning Christians into Calvinists – taking over non-Calvinist churches – than by turning unbelievers into believers.) But I wonder how many Calvinists are truly saved if they came to faith under Calvinist teaching because Calvinism teaches you that God makes your decisions for you, that you can’t choose to believe in Jesus, that God has to give you faith. And so then how can they do the one thing God said they need to do to be saved? (I’m sure there are some who do truly get saved in Calvinism, but it’s probably because they tune out the darker layers of Calvinism and simply hear the surface layer we can all agree on.)

      4. BR After reading your comments again I see exactly now what you mean,so the calvanist is saying no other choice exists,but the one that God decreed.Everything else is a non- secquitor and free will is really an illusion! Augustine gave into that false logic,afer going back and forth with it, and it culminated in his debate with palagian -he then said all babies are born with original sin,and here comes baptism to wash away guilt and the Catholic Church embraced it, yet none of the church fathers ever talked about infants going to hell or baptizing them to remit sin.So Calvin picked it up and ran with it. Baptism cannot wash away any guilt or sin according to scripture. As Peter said only Christ can take away sin-no man made act, no matter how good can do anything to gain salvation. Augustine concluded, So therefore God must pick and choose what babies or people will go to heaven before they were born! Unbelievable but not true.God knows who will believe on Jesus and who won’t-that’s what all the fathers taught.calvanism is a false paradigm.

      5. Bob,
        In Calvinism free will is really an illusion!
        Libertarian Freedom for the creature is an illusion yes!
        But once again – the Calvinist has his own definition for “Free-will” which is an altered definition.
        Calvinism is founded on Determinism – as enunciated by the doctrine of decrees.
        And there is a *FORM* of freedom for the creature within that framework.
        For every [X] which Calvin’s god decrees to infallibly come to pass – Calvin’s god must grant “Freedom” sufficient for that [X] to come to pass.
        If Calvin’s god were to decree [X] to infallibly come to pass – and NOT grant [X] “Freedom” sufficient to come to pass – then Calvin’s god would be a house divided against himself.
        So there is a *FORM* of “Freedom” granted to the creature within Calvinism.
        “Freedom” and “Permission” work exactly the same way.
        If Calvin’s god were to decree [X] to infallibly come to pass – and NOT grant [X] “Permission” to come to pass – then Calvin’s god would be a house divided against himself.
        So Calvin’s god must grant every [X] which he decrees – both “Freedom” and “Permission” to come to pass.
        But there is no such thing as “Freedom” or “Permission” granted to creation to COUNTERVAIL an infallible decree.
        So there is NO “Freedom” and NO “Permission” outside of that which has been decreed.
        Where it is decreed Calvinist_X will perform [SIN-X] at TIME-T – we have two things:
        1) Calvinist_X is granted “Freedom” and “Permission” to perform [SIN-X] at TIME-T
        2) Calvinist_X is NOT granted “Freedom” or “Permission” to NOT perform [SIN-X] at TIME-t
        So this brings us back to Calvinism’s beguiling language practice
        The Calvinist knows – if he tells the TRUTH about what *KIND* of “Freedom” and “Permission” are granted to him – he knows the Bible reading Christian will reject Calvinism.
        So the Calvinist uses beguiling language
        He frames statements designed to paint FALSE PICTURES of “Freedom” and “Permission” which do not exist in Calvinism.

  24. Yes, I do agree with your analysis of the Calvanist mind-set, especially the part of Adam and Eve having the options to make choices-otherwise it’s all non-sensical. As we said before, the original Patristic Fathers understood that, and went so far as pushing back hard against a deterministic God and called it heresy.Yet most Calvinist’s today are either blinded, or they believe it all. We also have different degrees of it as well. Im amazed that many are falling for this, But I suspect we will see many more leaving it as time goes buy and they learn more. At least I hope so.

  25. Heather, I believe what your saying has already affected many, to either drop the faith or some heading toward atheism as a few have already done.Yet I have faith that many also with leave this calvanistic mindset and comeback once they grasp the terrible limited atonement and God does not love all! Insanity- of course HE does. Jesus is All about love and Paul has a whole chapter on it! God Bless

    1. Bob: “Yet I have faith that many also with leave this calvanistic mindset and comeback once they grasp the terrible limited atonement and God does not love all!”

      I agree. I think some Christians who leave the faith were never really Christian at all. But I think some who leave the faith – especially those in the spotlight, in a legalistic church, in Calvinism, etc. – only THINK they’re leaving the faith, leaving God. But what they’re really doing is trying to get away from the spotlight, the rules, “religion,” or a twisted theology. But they don’t realize yet that there’s a difference yet, and so they toss out faith and God when they really mean to just toss the bad parts (or to get away from the public eye, especially celebrity Christians). It may look like they are losing faith, but I think many are really just trying to find it, to find a more pure, genuine faith and a proper view of God and relationship with God as He really is, underneath the additional damaging layers mankind piles on top of it all (the rules, traditions, public opinions, bad theology, etc.).

      And in time, as the Holy Spirit continues to work on their hearts, to call them back, they will hopefully be able to see more clearly, to separate out the simple truths of the gospel and of God from the damage mankind does to it. And when they do, they’ll come back, but this time to a more pure version of faith, of God.

      It will take time for Calvinists to realize that what they’re really rejecting is the Calvinism, not God. It takes time to take off the Calvinist glasses, to reread the Bible as it really is and to understand God as He really is. (And hopefully they do so before they make big messes of their lives.) There almost needs to be “deprogramming” classes, like when helping someone leave a cult, to teach them to think accurately and to read the Bible without Calvinist lenses. It takes time and training to get into Calvinism, to adopt the Calvinist mindset; it’s going to take time and training to get out.

      I feel sorry for many Calvinists who are trapped in it, because many of them are good, God-fearing Christians who are just trying their best, who want to be humble and to honor God – and it’s used against them, to trap them into Calvinism. It’s sad.

  26. it would be good to have a calvinistic list of code words with the calvinistic meaning.
    like the “gospel” = five point of tulip

    1. Welcome Shawn O’ – You are asking for alot! 🙂 They love word games and switching definitions!

      1. Ed: “I’d still like a Calvinist definitin of Satan/Lucifer. Is it, “Employee”?”

        Or maybe “the baddest puppet”? 🙂

    2. br.d
      That is actually an excellent idea Shawn!!
      I will start developing a list
      But here are a few that I can think of right off the top of my head.
      They sometimes appear in “Code Language” or “Code Phrases” rather than “Code Words”.
      1) Permission language
      The term “Permit” is from the Latin “permettere” which is defined as: To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over. In Calvinism – for Calvin’s god to do any of these things is ANATHEMA. Calvin called the idea of his god letting go, letting loose, giving up or handing over “odious” which means disgusting.

      Calvin qualified the Latin definition which is then standard and understood definition for the term “Permission” and called it *MERE* or *BARE* “Permission” which he fiercely rejected.

      Then Calvin adopted an altered AD-HOC definition for the term “Permission” based on a statement made by Augustine – in which the term “Permit” is used as a replacement word for the term *CAUSE*

      – That which is divinely CAUSED is permitted
      – That which is NOT divinely CAUSED is NOT permitted.
      Consequently – Calvinists consistently use “Permission” language in a deceptive beguiling manner
      They user “Permission” language to *INFER* its Latin meaning – which John Calvin qualified as *MERE* or *BARE* permission. So Calvinists paint FALSE PICTURES of a form of permission which does not exist in their system.
      Then we have “Grace” language
      In the phrase “Doctrines of Grace” the term “Grace” is used in a duplicitous manner.
      Here again – the Calvinist creates an ALTERED AD-HOC definition for “Grace”
      In Calvinism the term “Grace” includes creating the vast majority of creatures specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire for Calvin’s god’s good pleasure. So “Grace” becomes “Evil” as well as “Good”.
      So we end up with “Good Grace” and “Evil Grace”
      Remember – Calvinism is a system of “Good-Evil” DUALISM
      Where “Good” and “Evil” are Co-Equal, Co-Necessary, and Co-Complimentary.
      We also have the word “Choice” used in a beguiling manner
      The term “Choice” is used by Calvinists in order to create a FACADE of CONTRARY “Choice” which does not exist for them.
      CONTRARY “Choice” is defined as “Choice” between CONTRARY options.
      CONTRARY options do not exist in Calvinism – because Calvinism is a 100% Predestined world – and a Predestined world EXCLUDES anything that is CONTRARY to that which is Predestined.
      Where Calvinist_X is decreed to infallibly perform [SIN-X] at TIME-T then the option to NOT perform [SIN-X] at TIME-T is infallibly EXCLUDED by the decree. The option to NOT perform [SIN-X] at TIME-T does not exist for Calvinist_X.
      Calvinists will use the word “Choice” to create a FACADE of “Choice” which does not exist for them.

      1. Good points, Br.d.

        I’ve got some to add (with a little tongue-in-cheek):

        In Calvinism, “faith” means “something God injects into the elected people after they are saved in eternity past, to cause them to believe in Jesus.”

        “Seek Me” means “you can’t seek God unless and until God causes you to seek Him.” (Same with “obey Me” and “repent” and “believe in Jesus.”)

        “Believe” is “the one thing you can’t do.”

        “God loves all people” and “God has grace on all people” both mean “If you’re elected, God will save you, but if you’re not elected then He’ll just give you food and water until you die and go to hell for the sins He caused you to do.”

        “Ordained, decreed, foreknew, foreknowledge, sovereign, all-powerful, omniscient, etc.” all mean “God preplanned, causes, controls everything to happen exactly the way it does, even our sins and all evils, and no one could have chosen to do anything differently.”

        “Free-will/choice” means “we freely choose to do the one thing God preplanned/causes us to do, and we had no option or ability to choose to do anything differently.”

        “Human Responsibility” doesn’t mean we actually have a choice about our actions, it just means “even though God predestined what we do and causes us to do it, He will still hold us responsible for it. And we can’t understand it because it’s a mystery, so we just have to accept it. Who are you, O man, to talk back to God anyway?”

        “Mystery/tension” is used to describe any contradiction, problem, or illogical idea created by Calvinism that they can’t make sense of or explain away. So they call it “mystery” and tell you that you shouldn’t look into God’s “mysteries” too closely because it’s not for us mere, lowly humans to figure out.

        A “sovereign, all-powerful God” means that “God must always use His supreme power all the time to preplan, cause, control everything that happens, even sin and evil, or else He’s not really a sovereign, all-powerful God.”

        “Humbleness” is “accept whatever your Calvinist preacher tells you without questioning it.”

        “Total Depravity” means “people are so terribly, horribly wicked inside that there is nothing inside us that can want God or seek God or choose God or want to do good. Unless God makes us do it. And He only makes the elect do it.”

        “Spiritually dead/dead in sin” means “your brains are as dead as a dead body’s brains, and so you can’t make any decisions on your own, so God has to make all decisions for you.”

        “Election/Predestination/Chosen” all mean – regardless of context and the intended meaning in the verse – that “God pre-chooses certain, specific sinners for heaven and causes them to believe, but everyone else is predestined for hell and cannot believe.”

        “Accept Jesus into your heart” is “unbiblical.”

        “Sin, Evil, Murder, Child Rape, etc.” is “something that God preplanned and causes for His glory.”

        John 3:16 is not an invitation to all people or instructions about how anyone can be saved; it’s merely a description of how the elect are saved.

        “The Gospel” is “Calvinism” and if we knew who the elect were, then we’d only have to share the gospel with them, not with everyone, because the Calvinist gospel (Calvi-Jesus) is only for the elect.

        “Justice” can be the same as injustice in Calvi-god’s eyes. “Who are we to judge what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s good and what’s evil? God defined things differently than we do, and so we can’t say it’s wrong for Him to cause sin but then punish us for it.”

        “Unity” means “do not push back against the Calvinism in your church or else you’ll be considered a divisive troublemaker.”

        Calvinists will do their best to hide what they really believe, to make us think they are saying the same thing we are. And they rely on our ignorance to give them time to subtly slip their Calvinism in, to stealthily reel us into Calvinism without us realizing it. (I’ve read about Calvinist pastors/Sunday School teachers bragging about how they subtly maneuvered the non-Calvinist people into Calvinism without them knowing it.)

        And if they can convince us that they are saying the same things we are and using words the same way we do … if we buy into their definitions of things like depraved, dead, sovereign, regeneration, faith, grace, etc. … if we let them convince us that there’s a deeper, “hidden” layer of meaning under what the Bible plainly says (a layer they have to teach us to see) … if we don’t question them deeply to expose what they really mean … if we don’t research the verses they use and compare it all to what the Bible plainly says, then they’ve already got us beat and we will become a Calvinist just like them.

        As Br.d. points out so well, it’s all in the language, in the subtleties.

      2. Heather,

        I love your list. You can add this one, too.

        For the “Election”, God used Dominion Machines, and as a noun, dominion means “Soveriegn”. And since we THINK that Dominion FLIPS votes…so much for “eternal security”!! LOL.

        Ed Chapman

      3. br.d
        Excellent points Heather!!
        I think we could eventually develop a comprehensive list! :-]

  27. Heather, Yes and very well said,and as I told BR.D what amazes me,if you go back to the original church fathers, from Polycarp pupil of the apostle John, not 1 believed in any Deterministic God, and stated mankind co-operated with God for Salvation with the Gospel. God even commands all men to repent and does not delight in the wicked and wish they would turn. I just cannot understand why so many learned people have accepted this. RC Sproul many years ago, sent me a book chosen by God and it had a glossary of all the big names that were calvanists and non- calvanists an there was like 100 on both sides of the isle. I read the book, and sent him a letter with all my pushback and Ligonier never responded. Right from the start I said this is Not the God of the Bible. What is the attraction-my goodness the major majority of the early calvanists were 4 pointers but today the Big ones are high ones and some off the charts like piper and others. I mean God decrees rape, murder and the Fall. The early church fathers would deem those as heretical for sure. Flowers is too good of a man as he says he still admires piper-I’m sorry I cannot, but I can’t say he is not a Christian as I’m my a sinner myself. Can you give me your thoughts on this.

    1. Bob: “I just cannot understand why so many learned people have accepted [Calvinism].”

      I agree. To me it shows that there is cult-like influences at work in Calvinism, manipulation and cult-like tactics that succeed in getting so many good, godly, educated Christians to buy into it.

      I’m assuming you would like me to share my thoughts on this part: “Flowers is too good of a man as he says he still admires piper-I’m sorry I cannot, but I can’t say he is not a Christian as I’m my a sinner myself. Can you give me your thoughts on this.”

      If this is what you want my comment on, I agree with you that I cannot admire the Calvinist theologians who are spreading what I believe is a theology contrary to the Bible, to the true gospel, and who are trapping unaware people into it with manipulation and shaming and cult-ish tactics. To me, that’s admiring a false teacher who spreads a false gospel that damages God’s character, people’s faith, that slams the door of heaven on most people, makes God the cause of sin and evil, and that destroys the church from the inside out. There’s nothing to admire there, no matter how sincere or educated or polite the Calvinist leaders might be. I think the bad far outweighs the good in Calvinism, and we need to take firm (but polite) stands against it so that we don’t look like we are compromising with it.

      If Calvinism is truth, it’s from God. If it’s not, it’s from Satan. And if it’s from Satan, then how could we compromise with it or be soft on it?

      Galatians 1:6-8: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”

      2 Cor. 11:13-15: “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”

      2 Timothy 2:15,4:3-5: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth… For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations …”

      But I do agree that we can’t say that they are not Christians. Only God (and maybe they themselves) know for sure. And our desire should be to help Calvinists see the truth, to get them out of Calvinism, and so while we should take strong stands about the theology, we should be more gentle and compassionate with the person, especially with the average, pew-sitting Calvinist who’s been trapped into Calvinism. (But I would take firmer stands against the leaders who are doing the trapping.)

      1. I’m not saying that Dr. Flowers is compromising with or soft on Calvinism. I’m saying that being too gracious towards Calvinism or its teachers might appear like compromising or being soft on it. That’s a risk that comes with any time we try to be kind and respectful to those we disagree with. It’s a difficult tight-rope to walk sometimes.

      2. Oops, had a typo. The second sentence should not have “if” in it. It should say: “I’m saying that being too gracious towards Calvinism or its teachers might appear like compromising or being soft on it.”

        Could the moderator fix that for me? Thank you

  28. Heather, thank you so much for your gracious response, and I agree with just about everything you laid out.Also I feel for the young and new Christian’s, who come to the church to hear the Gospel that they heard and read in the Bible, but then they get bits and pieces of the newest Calvanism, and think wait a minute, where is this and that found, so they hear a watered down version and slowly get an indoctrination of the determinism.Believe me, 20-25 years ago I heard nothing from pastors in southern baptist churches, on calvanism. If it was there and I’ve studied scripture for over 50 years then I was in a fog but I doubt it.I took up apologetics and argued and debated with many on the Diety of Christ and basic scripture. So today calvanists are very bold and more and more I see and here from the Hyper ones.Your a 100% correct on the latter as another Gospel, and we must defend the faith with gentleness and respect as you so aptly said, Thanks Heather

    1. You’re welcome, Bob. And I agree that Calvinists are becoming bolder. I think the new pastor at the church we recently left (because of Calvinism) wanted to be one of the bolder Calvinists, as if it’s a source of pride to believe what he does, as if it makes him more humble to accept worse things, such as when he gave a sermon about how babies who can’t repent go to hell (my words, not his, but he did say it in more words than that) and that childhood abuse was “ordained by God, for His glory, for your good, and to keep you humble.”

      My husband and I were very disturbed by much of what he taught, and yet we’d hear people in the congregation shouting out “Amen” about the very things we were bothered by. It was surreal. We confronted the elders to voice our concerns, but they sided with him, and then he only got more vocal about it, and so we knew we had to leave. It was a shame, but I wouldn’t have learned what I did about it unless it happened. So in that way, it was good.

      God bless, Bob. Thanks for your comments.

  29. Heather, many of my friends and thier families also have left thier churches, it’s so sad, when I’m in a debate with Calvinist’s , I point out and show them what the earliest church fathers believed, and i show them quote after quote of free will and thier total opposition to Determinism.I’d say 80% of them did not know this, or had a sketchy knowledge of the fact. Many were schocked that Augustine,flip-flopped and completely turned back to his original manechean and stoic positions or drew similar conclusions. I said to my good friend a calvanist, why did all of those earliest followers disagree boldly. Think about it I said. Btw he left C and said he was never comfortable with it’s precepts. Well nice chatting with you Heather I learned much.

    There once was a gold merchant who lived out west in a gold mining town
    One day a customer came into the shop wanting to sell gold in exchange for money in order to buy provisions at the local store. The merchant pointed to a sign on the wall, which said: 1 ounce of gold equals $25 dollars.
    The customer agreed and the merchant went over to his balancing scales.
    There were two sets of weights near the scale. An old set and a new set.
    He picked up the old set and put it near the scale.
    He then pulled out a 5-ounce weight and showed it to the customer.
    Do you see the LABEL for 5 ounces? Yes the customer agreed.
    Do you agree this weight is 5 ounces? Yes the customer agreed.
    The merchant put the weight on the scale and instructed the customer to put his gold onto the scale.
    The merchant then gave the customer $125 dollars and took the gold.
    A few hours later – another customer came into the shop.
    He wanted to send a gift of 5-ounces of gold to his brother.
    The merchant again pointed to the sign on the wall which said: 1 ounce of gold equals $25 dollars.
    The customer agreed he would pay $125 dollars for 5-ounces of gold.
    The merchant went over to the scales and this time picked up the new set of weights.
    He pulled out a 5-ounce weight and showed it to the customer.
    Do you see the LABEL for 5 ounces? Yes the customer agreed.
    Do you agree this weight is 5 ounces? Yes the customer agreed.
    The merchant put the weight on the scale – and then balanced the scale with gold.
    He then put the gold into a pouch and the customer paid him $125 dollars.
    What these customers did not know – is that the old weight weighed one tenth of an ounce more than 5 ounces.
    So when buying gold – the merchant was cheating his customers. And the new weight weighed one tenth of an ounce less than 5 ounces. So when selling gold – the merchant was cheating his customers.
    Words are like weights. A noun functions as a LABEL for a person, place or thing.
    The word “Duck” for example – functions as a LABEL for a creature which has certain attributes.
    When people used words deceptively – they are creating FALSE WEIGHTS.
    The party in which they are communicating is mislead – because he is unaware a FALSE WEIGHT is being applied to certain words.
    When the Calvinist uses language in a beguiling manner – he is engaging in an exchange with someone.
    But he is using words which have FALSE MEANINGS which only he is aware of.
    This practice is called INSIDER language – or CLOAKED language.
    He gains an advantage over his audience because they are not aware words are being given FALSE MEANINGS.
    The Bible calls this process – a FALSE BALANCE.

  31. Brd, I was viewing a newer video on Leighton Flowers , where a calvanist invited him on his show, and I was somewhat taken back or maybe a little disappointed that leighton said, his show was not as important as other things besides soteriology that he was involved in, and still listens to Tim Keller and Piper and other calvanists. I know it’s an in house debate, but we have to be nice and gentle but it was like he was giving in somewhat or maybe I’m reading him wrong. I would not listen to any calvanist especially high ones-I’d like your thoughts and you can view that newer video. thanks

    1. br.d
      Hi Bob
      I think what you are seeing there – is the degree to which Dr. Flowers has to be pragmatic about how he divides himself up for various responsibilities he is faced with. He started out here at SOT101 many years ago and had the time to interact with Calvinists here in regard to the articles presented here. But that did not last long – because he soon found himself faced with other more pressing urgencies taking up his time.
      He primarily has to be faithful to the various responsibilities concerning his apologetics ministry.
      He additionally tries to be available to interact with many people on the Facebook platform.
      His youtube channel is an activity he often uses as a time filler when he has free time.
      In many cases with that channel – he is responding to requests made by numerous people.
      So it doesn’t surprise me that he is spread a little thin and can’t respond to everyone.
      Additionally – there are many Calvinists who simply present the same old arguments which have been successfully refuted 1001 times. So it is very likely he will be requested to engage with a Calvinist who has simply not done his homework.
      As you know – Calvinism has an extensive tool-box of talking-points – many of which are self-contradicting.
      And it is not unusual for a Calvinist to treat those talking-points as if they function as some kind of magic wand.
      All the Calvinist has to do is recite a talking-point no matter how irrational – and talking-ping magically proves a Calvinist position.
      I have had dialogs with large numbers of Calvinists who use Calvinism’s talking-points that way.
      They live in a fairy-tale world in which in which whatever they say is blindly accepted as unquestionable truth.
      For Dr. Flowers to publicly engage with such a person – might perhaps give that person the ability to wake up out of his fairy-tale world of magical talking-points.
      But interacting with that Calvinist doesn’t provide any value to Dr. Flower’s primary audience – because their thinking and understanding has matured way beyond that point of childish magical thinking.

      1. Brd, Thanks so much for that, and your spot on as for the rest. Now, I’ve been going on google and I see a bunch of calvanists, trying to say that the earliest church fathers were into the doctrines of Grace etc and some were determinists, and others were just subtle yet they did have a calvanist bent, but I’ve researched it deeply and again not 1 father believed that, and free will was always paramount in thier writings-So these people are lying or making things up and that’s a fact. Plus thier using funny statements to prove thier right.I’m not saying all of them but most for sure.

      2. br.d
        Yes – those arguments by Calvinists follow the same pattern of the Catholic church.
        However in the case of the RC the dishonesty was much more pronounced.
        The RC had priests acquire doctorates in archaeology – so that they could manipulate the dates of artifacts.
        I learned about this many years ago but I remember – for example – there was a plaque that was discovered which had the words: “Mother Mary We Pray to You In this hour” inscribed on it. The RC archaeologists classified its date to coincide with the time period of early church. Its dating was later discovered to have been falsified.
        John Calvin himself argued that the early church fathers were always talking about freedom of the will in Libertarian terms – and he rejected them as a reliable source on the subject.
        So any Calvinist today trying to argue for Determinism in the early church is in direct conflict with john Calvin on the subject.
        There is a PDF document written by Micah Currado, “Early Church Fathers on the Freedom of the Will and Romans 9 which I believe provides numerous quotes from the early church fathers. I believe you can google for it and read it.

  32. Hello!
    I’ve been reading through this post it’s comments a while and really enjoying everything said. It’s been super encouraging, something I’ve really needed over the past couple of weeks.
    I’d been going to house-churches for the better part of 10 years. That’s what I’m used to; knowing everyone intimately, having relationships with most, knowing and accepting and challenging our differences as needed. But recently my wife and I moved to a new area. So, naturally, we have to find a new church! I’ve been nervous/excited about it, but I’ve just been encouraging myself in the Lord, knowing that He wouldn’t lead us to move without a place to go and a people to commune with.
    Anyways, for the past few weeks we’ve been attending a church. Mostly, we like it! The one thing that I’ve struggled with is the preaching. Some of the things the pastor says feel very Calvinistic but some feel directly in contradiction with Calvinism—or at least determinism. I will likely do my due diligence to have a conversation with him and/or attend their membership class before really deciding if that’s where my wife and I are going to settle. We’ll pray and consult the Lord as well.
    But for now, I simply want to pose the question: do you think that non-calvinists can attend a church led by a Calvinist? That might seem like an extreme question, I would almost assume the answer would be “no,” but a lot more things make up a church then just the pastor or the preaching. There are likely those there who are not Calvinistic and I believe having community is a very, very important aspect of church-going. There isn’t a such thing as a perfect church anyways, Lord knows I’m not a perfect Christian just because I know Calvinism to be false. My heart is to love Calvinists well, and to that end, I don’t want to assume that I should disassociate with them on the grounds of our soteriological differences alone. I know they do believe some truth, and can practice righteousness well, despite disagreeing with them on major points. But I can’t say that I’m comfortable sitting under a spiritual leader whom I disagree with so vehemently.


    1. Hello Micah and welcome.
      Calvinism has many things which one who is not familiar with it will find almost shocking.
      Firstly – you have to understand – the foundational core of Calvinism – is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (EDD) as enunciated within Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees.
      John Calvin
      The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed. (Institutes 1. 16. 3)
      When you start to unpackage the implications of that doctrine – what you discover is – you cannot have in impulse in your brain that is not FIRST CONCEIVED and then knowingly and willingly decreed to infallibly come to pass within your brain.
      Calvin understood the psychological consequence this would have on the believer.
      If NOTHING HAPPENS that is not knowingly and willingly decreed – then the only way sinful evil impulses can come to pass within a human brain – is if those sinful evil impulses are knowingly and willingly decreed.
      Consequently – Calvinists face some very powerful concerns.
      1) The doctrine unflinchingly points to Calvin’s god as the DETERMINER of every sin and every evil
      2) What Calvin’s god decrees must infallibly come to pass
      3) All ALTERNATIVES of that which is decreed are NOT granted existence.
      4) The Calvinist is NOT the determiner of any impulse that will come to pass within his brain.
      Now when faced with those consequences – what do you think the believer’s response to those consequences will be?
      They are guaranteed to be evasion and denial.
      Dr. William Lane Craig puts it this way:
      Nobody can live *AS-IF* all that he thinks and does is determined by causes outside of himself.
      Every Determinist recognizes he has to act *AS-IF* he has option(S) to weigh, and can decide on what course of action to take…..
      (Determinism is unlivable)
      Sean Carroll (Theoretical physicist – Atheist Determinist) agrees:
      Every person in the world, no matter how anti-free-will they are, talks about people *AS-IF* they make decisions.
      John Calvin understood this issue and instructs the Calvinist
      “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)
      You will notice something which is consistent within all of those quotes.
      It is called *AS-IF* thinking.
      Because Determinism is such a radical belief system with such radical consequences the Determinist asserts his doctrine as TRUE
      But he is forced to treat his doctrine *AS-IF* it is FALSE in order to retain a sense of human normalcy.
      Consequently – this pattern of *AS-IF* thinking is ubiquitous within Calvinism because it is founded on EDD.
      I have around 13 quotes from NON-Calvinist book authors all describing Calvinist language as a language of DOUBLE-SPEAK.
      For example – when R.C. Sproul is asked why do some Christians reject Calvinism?
      The TRUTHFUL answer – is “Nothing happens that is not knowingly and willingly decreed”
      Therefore the reason Christians reject Calvinism is because it was knowingly and willingly decreed.
      And nothing CONTRARY to the decree is granted existence.
      But R.C. Sproul does not want to speak the truth – so he evades and denies the doctrine – and says it is because they do not understand the Bible.
      Now this is probably what you are observing with the pastor of the church you are speaking of.
      Every Calvinist pastor must engage in Calvinism’s DOUBLE-SPEAK.
      Every Calvinist pastor will craft statements designed to make the belief system APPEAR to what they know you will accept.
      They are not only trying to make the doctrine APPEAR acceptable to you.
      They are trying to make the doctrine APPEAR acceptable to themselves.
      In order to do that – they are in a constant state of DOUBLE-SPEAK.
      What are the consequences for you if you stay there?
      That depends on how intellectually honest you are and how rationally minded you are.
      You are eventually going to have conversations about the dark implications within the doctrine.
      The Pastor and others who want to defend Calvinism are going to claim you are creating strawmen – or distorting their belief system.
      It will eventually lead to some controversy in which you are the outsider who is causing trouble.
      The Pastor then has to make a decision about whether he needs to get rid of you.
      If he feels the need to get rid of you – don’t be surprised if he fabricates reasons – such as you are a rebellious person or you are in sin – etc.
      The bottom line is – you are at risk.
      And the risk is something that has the potential of being a very disturbing experience of you and your wife or your kids.
      You have to ask yourself if the Lord would want your family to be subjected to that risk.
      Personally – if it were me – I would find a congregation that is solidly NON-Calvinist.
      I personally don’t find anything of value in any Calvinist ministry that I can’t easily find somewhere else.
      Calvinists are unaware of it – but they are in a constant state of evasion and denial of the doctrine.
      And you can understand why.
      Knowing what I know about Calvinists – I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.
      I pray the Lord gives you wisdom!!

    2. Micah,
      Here are the quotes concerning Calvinism’s language – as a language of DOUBLE-SPEAK
      The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – in its article on Theological Determinism writes this concerning the language used by Calvinist Paul Helm:
      “Paul Helm, another staunch theological determinist of the Calvinist variety, simply says that God’s providence is ‘extended to all that He has created’ (1993, p. 39). The problem with such characterizations is that they are subject to multiple interpretations, some of whom would be affirmed by theological indeterminists.”
      Dr. William Lane Craig, in his interactions with Calvinist Paul Kjoss Helseth, in the authoring of the book Four Views on Divine Providence writes:
      “A A. Hodge’s six-point summary of the classical Reformed view of divine providence, quoted by Paul Kjoss Helseth under ‘The True View of Providence Summarized’ falls short of expressing the radical distinctives of the Reformed position that Helseth defends.”
      Dr. Jerry Walls, in his presentation What’s wrong with Calvinism states:
      “If Calvinists didn’t rely so heavily on misleading rhetoric, their theology would lose all credibility within two years.”
      Norman Geisler in his book Chosen but Free writes:
      “Some Calvinists use smoke-and-mirror tactics to avoid the harsh implications of their view” (pg 104)
      “This is done by redefining terms and Theological Doublespeak” (pg 261)
      Laurence M. Vance in The Other Side of Calvinism writes about:
      “The confusing labyrinth of Calvinist terminology” (pg 556)
      Micah Coate in his book The Cultish side of Calvinism writes:
      “Calvinists arguments are buried in theological and grammatical doublespeak.”
      Ronnie W. Rogers, in his book Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist writes:
      As mentioned in several places throughout this book, within Calvinism there is a problem of what I call doubletalk. But I am not implying immoral or clandestine trickery. Nor am I suggesting conspiratorial deceit. I must admit that upon reflection on my time being a Calvinist, I did the same thing. I did not do this out ill motive or intent to deceive, or because of a lack of desire to be faithful to the scripture. Nor do I ascribe this to my Calvinist brothers. As a matter of fact, I did it because I believed Calvinism and the Scripture; and this brought about conflicts, or at least unconscious responses to the conflicts, which I now see as doubletalk. This doubletalk obscured the harsh realities of Calvinism and the inconsistencies between Scripture and Calvinism. ”
      Authors David L. Allen, Eric Hankins, and Adam Harwood in their book Anyone Can Be Saved: A Defense of “Traditional” Southern Baptist Soteriology write:
      “This is a clear example of what I call Calvinism’s double-talk. By double-talk, I specifically and only mean thinking….speaking in such a way that obscures the disquieting realities of Calvinism. If a person accepts these realities, then he can be a knowledgeable and consistent Calvinist. But if one is unwilling to face them and accept them, he cannot be a consistent Calvinist. Additionally, I am not calling anyone a double-talker nor is my use of this term intended in any sense to be a pejorative.”
      Gilbert VanOrder Jr in his book Calvinism’s Conflicts: An Examination of the Problems in Reformed Theology writes:
      “Calvinists then have to resort to double-talk in order to explain how human responsibility is still involved even though it isn’t. If a man can do nothing to change his condition, then he cannot be held responsible for changing his condition”.
      Ex-Calvinist Daniel Gracely in his book Calvinism a closer look writes:
      “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 when he strings them together in such a way that it forms an idea that is false…
      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. Calvinist riders still ride out this scenario.”
      Francis Hodgson in his book The Calvinistic Doctrine of Predestination Examined and Refuted, 1855 writes:
      “The apology for this gross misapplication of language…..is found in their distressing emergency.
      In no other way can they, with any plausibility, meet their opponents.”

      1. Exactly Brd -James White another leading calvanist puts a more palatable twist on this heretical doctrine, when he says God decrees all these evils, because there really not evils(rape, murder incest etc) because they come from Him, and Gods secret Wisdom can only do Good, and adds that God also wills, that former calvanists who leave calvanism is also for His good purposes! Talk about double-speak. It’s incredible the more I hear these absurd things, the more crazier it gets. This is why every single early church father,Rejected Determinsm which later became the basis for Gnosticism, as even Augustine fell back into with his sudden departure from man’s free will.

      2. br.d
        Hello Robert and thank you.
        Yes – the delineating line between “Good” and “Evil” are blurred within Calvinism.
        For example:
        Calvin’s god decrees the children of Israel will throw their first-born into the fire of Moloch
        An infallible decree of what will come to pass within the domain of creation establishes 2 things:
        1) Only that which is decreed to infallibly come to pass is granted existence.
        2) Thus the children of Israel NOT throwing their first-born into the fire of Moloch – is NOT granted existence.
        Every decree represents s divine decision.
        So if Calvin’s god declares – that which he decrees “Never came into his mind” – he is obviously bearing false witness.
        But that’s ok – because he must have had a good reason for bearing false witness.

      3. Robert: “It’s incredible the more I hear these absurd things, the more crazier it gets.”

        Totally agree! Just when you think it can’t get any crazier, it does.

    3. Welcome Micah! The leadership is not qualified as pastors if they hold to the ULI of TULIP as sound doctrine and will keep others from preaching or teaching SS if those others also don’t hold to those unbiblical teachings. You could ask them about that!

    4. Hello Micah,

      Nice to hear from you. Thanks for commenting.

      When you said “Some of the things the pastor says feel very Calvinistic but some feel directly in contradiction with Calvinism…”, it made me wonder if he accepts Calvinism in his head but struggles with it in his heart. It seems a lot of people think they have to accept Calvinism but then they don’t talk like Calvinists because they aren’t comfortable with it and know how bad it sounds. I’d ask him directly where he stands on the 5 points of Calvinism. (But many Calvinist pastors will try to be evasive, so be prepared. And if he answers a question with a question – such as if you ask “Are you a Calvinist?” and he answers “Do you believe in God’s grace? Do you think God is sovereign? Do you think people can save themselves? Etc.” – then he’s a Calvinist who’s trying to hide it. Don’t let him turn the questions back on you. Keep pushing him till he answers clearly.)

      You asked if we think non-calvinists can attend a church led by a Calvinist. I can’t tell you what you should do because only you know the conditions at that church and the trade-offs, but I can tell you my experience.

      We were part of a great church for almost 20 years, raising our kids alongside many great families there. And we would have stayed there forever. (I come from a very unstable, broken home and always wanted to find a place to be a part of long-term, forever.) But then a Calvinist pastor took over and began pushing Calvinism. We were one of the very few who were disturbed by what he was teaching. However, we still would have been willing to stay if we knew that our efforts could lead to people talking about this issue, bringing it out in the open, helping others explore the Word for themselves to evaluate what the pastor was saying.

      But we came to realize that all the leadership was Calvinist (and that the pastor was turning everyone into Calvinists by requiring Calvinist Bible studies) and that the pastor would not tolerate opposition. He even preached a few times that the only possible responses we could have to his view of predestination is that we could “ignore it, get angry about it, or accept it.” No disagreement allowed. He made us all feel like if we disagree with him then we disagree with God and the Bible and that we are being proud, unhumble, resistant Christians who are trying to deny God’s glory and authority. (Ironic, because if Calvinism is true then God would be causing us to do those things, and we couldn’t not do them.)

      When we saw how he constantly manipulated people into Calvinism and twisted Scripture and when we realized that they would not allow disagreement or discussion on it, we knew we had to leave. We could not be a part of a church that spreads Calvinism because Calvinism (to our thinking) destroys the true gospel and Jesus’s sacrifice, replaces God’s truths with lies (making Scripture unreliable), damages God’s character by making Him the cause of sin, unbelief, evil (which makes Him untrustworthy at best, evil at worst), hurts people’s faith and their relationship with God, and declares most people un-save-able, closing the door of heaven on them.

      If that’s not worth dividing over, then nothing is. I don’t care what Calvinism gets right; if it gets the very heart of the saving gospel wrong and God’s character wrong, then it’s all wrong and very destructive to Truth. And we wouldn’t feel right about staying at a church like that, silently and passively allowing its spread, making it look like we support it when we don’t. We could not stand before God with a clean conscience if we did that. Too much is on the line. So we had to leave and shake the dust from our feet, even though we too have a heart for all our Calvinist friends who are still there.

      For us, to stay there wasn’t worth the risks because they were growing more and more hardened in their Calvinist views. But we do wish we could have alerted more people to what was going on under their noses before we left. We do regret that we didn’t do more to expose it. My husband still contemplates going back and passing out pamphlets against Calvinism or something. I, however, think we should just hand them over to themselves.

      If you can work for good in that church, to bring this issue out in the open, to get people talking about it and exploring the Word for themselves, then maybe staying for now is good. But if you can have no positive influence there, then staying might just end up squashing the life out of you, suffocating your faith, destroying your enjoyment of God, leaving you feeling angry and hopeless every time you leave church on Sunday, poisoning your relationship with God – as it was doing to us when we tried to hold out as long as possible at our church, 6 years. You might be excited about a new church now, but if it is a Calvinist church, you won’t be excited for long, because you know that Calvinism is not the truth.

      I agree with brdmod: “The bottom line is – you are at risk. And the risk is something that has the potential of being a very disturbing experience of you and your wife or your kids. You have to ask yourself if the Lord would want your family to be subjected to that risk. Personally – if it were me – I would find a congregation that is solidly NON-Calvinist…. Knowing what I know about Calvinists – I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.”

      These are just my opinions, but of course God will lead you to know what to do and when to do it as time goes on and things become more clear. I hope you can have a positive influence on that church or others around you. It may just be that you were put there at this time to expose Calvinism and to help others find their way out of it. Maybe that will be some good that comes out of this situation. God bless. And thanks for sharing.

      1. Heather, your spot on and I too came from a broken family as well -raised Catholic, but most of us left because of Scriptural differences but at least they believed in the basics. Scripture says God is Good, yet in all of Calvin’s writings he does not mention once that God is love, no wonder with all his assumptions and almost all taken from Augustine who was a manichean and neo-playtonist who flipped flopped in the free will debate- finally accepting the Determistic God-that the early church fathers unanimously rejected when it came to salvation. Rc Sproul when he was alive quoted from Augustine exclusively, like he was the final interpreter of scripture.Yet scripture, over and over teaches man’s ability to choose from genesis to revelations. God even commands all people to Repent , why would he say that if calvanism is true? Why would God grieve over fallen Israelites and gentiles -didn’t he not decree it all. It’s non sensical.

      2. Robert: “Yet scripture, over and over teaches man’s ability to choose from genesis to revelations.”

        Yes, to me it’s so clear that I can’t see how anyone could conclude otherwise. Calvinists have to twist a whole bunch of clear verses to make them fit their misunderstanding of a very few. It never ceases to amaze me how strong a hold Calvinism has on so many people, when Scripture so clearly teaches the opposite all throughout.

      3. Yes , heaven rejoices to see one sinner who repents and Trusts in God. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the womb-that’s all of us. John 1verse 9 the Light of Christ is in all men. Yes, we are born with the propensity to sin an we will do what are parents do, but the sins of the father are not pass to the offspring, God created man and it was very good-so we are not created sinful as I understand (original sin) but of course we will sin and are evil next to God and his holiness, yet Jesus tells us that if our son ask for bread and fish, Will we give him a stone or a snake, No, Therefore we as evil beings can still do good but no comparison to what Jesus goes on to say about our father in heaven who is good will give us! This totally negates the calvanistic view! we have a free will which God gave us as evidenced in the Garden-and all of this is backed by the Earliest of church fathers -all of them!

      4. Robert: “Yes , heaven rejoices to see one sinner who repents…”


        But if Calvinism is true, then heaven should also be rejoicing over every sinner who doesn’t repent because Calvi-god causes it for his glory. But can they find a verse to back their view up, as clearly as the Bible verse that talks about how angels rejoice when a sinner repents? Of course not. Yet they will cling to their beliefs anyway with a pathetic “Who are we to question God? He is the Potter and can do whatever He wants with us for His glory.” It’s so sad – destroying God’s character and people’s souls under the guise of Christianity, using God’s glory against Him.

    5. Micah, Another thing to consider is that the longer you stay at that church, the more attached you’ll get to people (which will make compromise more enticing/likely) … and then the harder it will be to disentangle yourselves later if you need to. If we willingly stay in risky circumstances, we’ll pay a price later. If and when you know God is telling you to get out, do it quickly. No stalling or compromise or excuses. Just a word of caution.

  33. Heather, your so right and I just don’t get it,I do see God in scripture, calling out certain events that shall come to pass, and He also uses man’s evil ways to bring about His plans-yet you Never see God thwarting our free will, in fact scripture tells us to come to him, make good choices and you will be rewarded or punished-we are not dead cadavers and God just treats us like evil puppets, Reveiations says the Spirit says come, come and drink freely of the water of life.God forces no one -Judas was used by GOD, to carry out his purpose cause He knew Judas would do it.I cannot fathom, that God knowing what man would do, yet still Create us, and then send the major majority to hell forever, because somehow that would Add to his Glory, is unthinkable and I cannot worship a God like that -But I doubt the God of the Bible where scripture says he IS Love is anything like that. No wonder it was rejected by the first fathers and apostles,who never even hinted at this Insane Doctrine. God Bless

  34. What is the “casual” in casual divine determinism? I hear this term over and over, but I don’t know why it says casual?

    1. Hi Shawn… I think that’s a spelling error. You probably read causal determinism. Their idea is that everything is predeterimined, and they say that man freely does what his will naturally wants to do according to it’s greatest desire in the moment. They have a rough time responding to the logical conclusion that “what the will naturally wants” each time was also predeterimined, so how can it be called “free”?

      1. br.d
        Yes! Well said!
        And if I could add to that – Calvinists use the word “Naturally” in a misleading manner.
        Determinism – as a belief system – appears in 2 predominant forms.
        1) Natural Determinism – in which Nature is the sole and exclusive Determiner of whatsoever comes to pass
        2) Theological Determinism – in which a THEOS is the sole and exclusive Determiner of whatsoever comes to pass.
        The Atheist Determinist does not have a THEOS
        His Determiner is Nature
        So he is not misleading anyone to say event come to pass “Naturally” because for him events are Determined by Nature.
        However that is not the case in Calvinism
        In Calvinism events come to pass infallibly.
        Nature does not have the attribute of infallibility
        Nature cannot produce anything that is infallible.
        So in Calvinism – every movement of every atomic particle – must be specifically touched by the hand of infallibility – in order for that movement to be infallible.
        Therefore – in Calvinism – events do not come to pass “Naturally”
        Calvinists do not want to attribute *ALL* events to Calvin’s god – even though Calvin’s god is the AUTHOR of *ALL* events.

      2. br.d,

        When you used the word “naturally”, the first thing I thought of was Abbot and Costello. When the first baseman gets paid, “Who” picks up his check? Naturally! So Naturally picks up who’s check?

        OK, my attempt at Calvinist humor!

        Ed Chapman

      3. br.d
        Good one Ed!
        Always appreciate your sense of humor!
        You’re a “Natural” 😀

    2. br.d
      Hello Shawn
      Here is a statement from “Four Views On Divine Providence” – a book which in part – represents the Calvinist view.
      William Lane Craig
      What truly distinguishes the Calvinist view is that is is a form of divine causal determinism. The Calvinist thinks that God causally determines everything that happens.
      John Calvin
      The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that *NOTHING HAPPENS* but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed. (Institutes 1. 16. 3)
      John Calvin
      Men can deliberately do nothing unless he *INSPIRE* it. (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God pg 171–172)
      Calvinist Martyn Lloyd-Jones
      God’s decrees are not even determined in the light of what He knows people are going to do. They are absolutely unconditional. They do not depend upon anything except God’s own will.
      Calvinist Louis Berkhof
      “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)

      1. Exactly Brd, this is all Gnosticism which the early church fought against in every way. Manichean and Stoic ideas which Augustine went back and forth on himself and finally adhered too. Calvin said he could write a whole book just on Augustine himself, and adopted those ideas and in the end said All and Everything is Determined by God. He used babies as an example,and said thru sex parents carried the original sin-and if a baby was not baptized then God ordained that too happen-and if baptized he determined that as well.the Catholic Church even pushed back on that but they still honored Augustine as the number 1 Man how ironic as Brd said in a previous write up.

      2. br.d
        Yes – thank you Bob
        Personally – I see Augustine as appearing within the embryonic phase of the Catholic church – when it was taking to itself every form of paganism that existed.

        RC was not fighting against principalities and powers.
        It was embracing them – with the hopes of embellishing itself with those powers.
        As English historian, Theodore Maynard, in The story of American Catholicism writes:
        “It has often be charged… that Catholicism has been overlaid with many pagan incrustations. Catholicism is ready to accept that charge – and to make it her boast. The great god Pan is not really dead, he is baptized.”
        So I think what we can see here – is that Augustine simply baptized certain elements shared by both Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism – because for Augustine – those elements provided explanatory power.

      3. Exactly Brd I will add ,that the eastern Catholic Churches at that time , did not hold to Augustine in any way, and even pushed back against him,and also split with the CC on Mary being Protokos Mother of God. They asked so did She produce God? Both agreed that she did not -but it also caused division again. As you said BR, the CC embraced quite a few pagan ideas especially if Money was involved and made Much on Augustian baptism rights, where stated that parents could influence a babies destiny who was not baptized to be under there umbrella so to speak, especially the Rich who could help feed the poor but ultimately enriched the church.Like I said earlier, Calvin dissed the early church fathers at every turn in His debates -surely siding with Augustine. Now today we see a huge surge in high calvanism, which to me is poisoning Christianity and watering down the Gospel. Bottom line is Paul said, Faith is not a work over and over so we can Repent and believe, as God commands us to do, a Sole requirement for Salvation. God saves us if we believe and trust in Jesus!

  35. Okay, is exhaustive divine determinism the same as casual divine determinism? Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not trying argue a point. I do not believe God dictates our lives in such a way. I just want to make sure I’m using these terms correctly.

    1. br.d
      Dr. William Lane Craig – a number of years ago – used the more technical language
      Universal Divine Causal Determinism.
      The term “Universal” within philosophy means “everything” “without exception”
      Dr. Timothy Stratton more recently in his writings used “Exhaustive Divine Determinism (EDD)”
      They both mean the same thing.

    2. br.d
      BTW: I anticipate that eventually the Christian literature on this subject will eventually include the understanding that Exhaustive Divine Determinism does not grant the function of choice to humans.
      This aspect of Determinism is already well acknowledged by Atheist Determinists.
      But the Atheist Determinist does not have a THEOS (a god) as the *DETERMINER* of all things
      The Atheist has Nature as the *DETERMINER* of all things
      Nature is not a person.
      So the Atheist does not feel obligated to protect the moral or ethical image of Nature.
      Nature can cause things to happen that people would consider morally evil.
      And Nature cannot be considered immoral or evil because Nature is not a person.
      The Calvinist however does not have Nature as his *DETERMINER* of all things
      The Calvinists *DETERMINER* is supposed to be the God of scripture – who is holy and can do no evil
      Consequently – the Atheist does not feel an obligation to protect the image of his *DETERMINER*
      So Atheists don’t have an emotional problem acknowledging that Determinism does not grant humans the function of CHOICE.
      Everything is already pre-determined – which means everything is already pre-chosen for humans
      Which leaves nothing left over for humans to choose.
      The Calvinist has a very deep problem Acknowledging that however.
      He has a very intense need to protect the image of his theology.
      And acknowledging that his theology does not grant the function of CHOICE to humans – would be devastating to the image of his theology.
      For example – if Calvinist pastors told their congregations that in Calvinism humans are not granted CHOICE in the matter of anything – those pastors know – they would lose a large percentage of their congregations.
      So not having CHOICE in the matter of anything is not something Calvinists are willing to acknowledge.
      But it works this way:
      In Calvinism – every decree at the foundation of the world – entails a choice concerning what *WILL* be granted existence within creation vs what *WILL NOT* be granted existence within creation.
      So we will take Adam in the garden as an example
      1) Calvin’s god has 2 options concerning whether Adam will eat the fruit
      Option-A: Adam will infallibly [EAT]
      Option-B: Adam will infallibly [NOT EAT]
      2) Calvin’s god cannot decree both options – because each option negates the other – and Calvin’s god would be a house divided against himself.
      3) Calvin’s god cannot leave it *OPEN* for Adam to determine – because that would constitute a state of affairs in which something was NOT determined by Calvin’s god – which would falsify the doctrine of decrees (EDD)
      4) Calvin’s god *MUST* make a choice between those 2 options.
      5) That option which Calvin’s god selects – is granted existence – and the decree makes its existence infallible
      6) That option which Calvin’s god rejects – is NOT granted existence – and the decree makes its NON-existence infallible
      7) Consequently only *ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED RENDERED-CERTAIN OPTION* is granted to Adam.
      8) Adam does not have a choice between [EAT] and [NOT EAT] because the option to [NOT EAT] does not exist.
      In Calvinism – per EDD – for every human event – and every human impulse – there is never granted more than *ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED RENDERED-CERTAIN OPTION* and man is granted NO CHOICE in the matter of what that option will be – and no ability to refrain.
      And because the function of CHOICE entails making a selection between 2 possible options – it follows – in Calvinism man is not granted the function of CHOICE in the matter of anything.

    3. Brd, I must admit I’m puzzled why would many accept a calvanistic view,you have many smart preachers, who know the the History of the church, yet they embrace what Every early church father fought against and called some of it heretical! RCSproul, MacArthur, Albert Mohler.David Jeremiah and many others-everyone knows that it all pointed back to Augustine one man who had deep ties with gnostic religions no doubt. Free will was taught by All prior to Augustine , so what is the attraction to Determinism.I’m trying to figure out, with all of its non-sensical deductions taken to its logical conclusions.my only guess is that Calvanism seems to be for intellectuals and deep meanings, yet the first Apostles and church fathers went to thier deaths, defending the Simple Gospel, and all concluded Man co-operated with God for a better end to an earthy life, looking forever to be with the Creator where sin and suffering would be vanquished. Again scripture says John 1 verse 9 The light of Christ is in ALL men, not just for a forced election.Justin Martyr said if man has no choice then God does not exist for us.

      1. br.d
        Hello Bob
        Yes I agree – you pose a very interesting question.
        But I supposed your question goes along with the question of why anyone who thinks rationally – would totally give themselves to the beliefs of Mormons, or Jehovah Witness, etc
        And yet people do!
        Many years ago – I searched the same question regarding what type of people are attracted to cults.
        The answer – from a purely statistical basis – was very surprising.
        People who supposedly have very high IQs – such as professors, scientists etc are found within cults.
        What in the world are they thinking?
        What is it about that cult that draws them in – and keeps them captured by it?
        From my observation concerning Calvinism – I think what we have is a very young man in his 20s whose name is John Calvin – and who grows up in a predominantly Catholic society – which has just recently come under scrutiny – due to the increasing access to scripture.
        Martin Luther did not disagree with the RC until he was permitted access to the writings of the N.T.
        It was there that he was able to see the contrast between the N.T. and the RC.
        We are also at the advent of the invention of the printing press.
        At that period of time – illiteracy was the rule with the general population.
        And many people – if they had access to a newly printed copy of any of the N.T. would not be able to read it.
        So we have the advent of a new period of time – in which the RC is increasingly under scrutiny for deceiving the general public.
        At that point in time – there were certain “Shining lights”
        Erasmus was considered one of the “Shining Lights” of that period because of his work on scripture.
        Erasmus’ work was used by Martin Luther to create the German translation of the N.T.
        William Tyndal was known as the translator of the N.T into English.
        It is my current sense that young a very young and very aggressive John Calvin wanted to make a name for himself within the universe of “Shining Lights”
        A 20 year old well educated John Calvin – unfortunately looked to Augustine as his platform from which to accomplish his drive to become a “Shining Light”.
        Calvin found something personal within Augustine which worked well for him.
        Augustine was also a competitive personality.
        Unfortunately – that aspect of Augustine’s character lent itself to pulling Augustine in directions not for the urgency of finding truth – but for the urgency of satisfying his competitive nature.
        I believer Dr. Paul Maxwell – in his review of Augustine vs Calvin – provides insights into this weakness.
        Check out Dr. Maxwell’s youtube video presentation called
        “Is New Calvinism” a Theological Rip-Off?”
        Dr. Maxwell reviews the conclusions of current Augustinian scholars on the subject of Augustine’s weaknesses.
        Dr. Maxwell shows – Augustine’s ego drove Augustine into a corner from which his ego would not let him escape.
        And Calvin – who simply used Augustine as his platform for becoming a “Shining Light” unwittingly got lured into the trap which Augustine’s competitive ego got him ensnared in.
        Essentially – Calvin made a massive investment in Augustine – which he could not afterwards back down from.
        I think you will find statistically – that Calvinism is a belief system especially fitted for white anglo-saxon men – who have a desire to perceive themselves in a “special” light – and perceive themselves has walking in divine authority.
        So I think the characteristics of the male ego – provide a major draw for Calvinism.

      2. Well I think your probably right on those assumptions,and yes Augustine had his issues personally for sure-if he disagreed he would yell and pout and come down hard in opposition-Calvin mentions Augustine 4000+ times and just took it all in and that’s why it’s called Augustine-Calvanism. But I’m still astonished that so many believe it. Calvin many times knew what he was getting into, and at times even he was unsure if he was stating the right things.There is no doubt that God brought certain things to pass,but I see free choice from beginning to end -so many scriptures point to man’s will and Faith which again is not a work. Keep up the great work Brd you have taught me a lot.

  36. You are right. I had never come across an exegetical interpretation of Romans 9:30-33. It seemed as if those verses were divorced from the entire chapter. Something didn’t fit right. But it is true, you have to ask yourself, what did Paul want to say to the original reader? Put yourself in the sandals of a first century Christian Jew and ask: what does Paul want to tell me?
    Greetings from Texas, I graduated with a Bachelor of Theology with Pastoral emphasis and I follow the Soteriology101 Youtube channel, you guys are a great blessing.

    1. Welcome Jules! Good observations. Here is my take – Overview of Romans 9
      It would help if the context of Christ-like love for all the lost, demonstrated in Paul from verses 1-3 were recognized before reading the rest. Paul wished he was accursed for the salvation of his countrymen of Israel… not just any so-called elect among them.

      It would also help to note that no verse in the whole chapter mentions election before creation, but that there is a “seed” in Paul’s day that is currently being reckoned (present tense), according to verse 8 and created by faith in the promise (cf. 4:16).

      It also would help if it wouldn’t be skipped over so easily that God’s purpose in hardening Pharaoh is clearly stated – that God’s Name would spread over ALL the earth, according to vs 17.

      And it would be helpful to know the phrases “on whomever I will have mercy” and “on whomever I will have compassion” are literally translated as “on whom I should be having mercy and… on whom I should be having compassion” in verse 15. And also that God has mercy on whom He “wants to” is the clear translation in verse 18.

      That should lead the reader to wonder on whom then “should” God have mercy or on whom does God “want” to have mercy. It is easy to discover that He wants His mercy to be on a people who were not His “people” or His “beloved” before (9:25).

      This excludes the idea of a loved elect individual person before creation (besides Christ) being read into verses 25-26. But God will have mercy on those whom He grants His righteousness which they pursued and came to possess through faith (vs 32). In fact He will have some kind of mercy on all (11:32), giving all sufficient opportunity to hear His call to them to seek Him (10:18).

      The biggest confusion a Calvinist has is in seeing that God’s sovereign choice or rejection of individuals according to Romans 9 was indeed to help fulfill His promise of salvation in Christ, but those choices of individuals did not guarantee their personal salvation or damnation.

      The prophecies – The older will serve the younger, or Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated – did not guarantee the personal salvation of Jacob or of everyone else in Israel, nor did it guarantee damnation of Esau or of everyone else in Edom. Just like king Amon being in the “chosen seed” of David as a king of Judah didn’t guarantee his personal salvation (2Chr 33:22-23).

      But it is very interesting that there is evidence that Esau later became a believer in the promise that would be fulfilled through his brother Jacob, and interesting that God said that any Edomite was welcome to become believers also. Consider this evidence.

      Gen 33:4, 10 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept…. “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.”

      Deut 23:7-8 Do not despise an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you. Do not despise an Egyptian, because you resided as foreigners in their country. The third generation of children born to them may enter the assembly of the Lord.

      Whom does Esau remind you of in 33:4? Hint Luke 15:20.

  37. Thank you Brian, brilliant !!! Esau reminds me the prodigal son.

    I remember that I started Christianity at the age of 8, now I am 36 and have two daughters, one 2 and the other 6 months. I had a distance from my Heavenly Father in my adolescence, I spent 2 years as a prodigal, seeing the presence and voice of the Holy Spirit calling me to return. God used discipline to bring me back and he succeeded, I came back repentant and from then on I experienced a re-affectionateness with God and a commitment to grow and serve him. I am currently in the ministry. Until that moment I did not know much about Calvinism until I entered the seminary for my theological academic preparation, since I began to read and study it I realized that something was not right, it seemed so convincing and attractive but deep down something told me that it was not consistent with the Bible, many of my friends were “caught” by Calvinism and now they are faithful to their belief system, except 3 friends who were not Calvinists who recommended me to read the book by Dr. Flowers and Ken Wilson and D.Phil. To make a long story short my friends and I became the “Arminians/Pelagians/Synergists/no robust theology” of the seminary. However we are happy to be provisioners. Thank you guys for all your work at Soteriology101.

  38. I’m so glad that Leighton Flowers started his broadcast on you tube. Right from the start, I just could never buy into that before the foundations of the world,God picked and chose some for eternal life, and dammed all the rest ,men, woman and babies to hell just because he could! I was into the Bible since I was 10 or so and now 75, raised a catholic, and finally attended Baptist churches and read everything I could, born in 1946 and the first I heard of calvanism was like 20 years ago. Not once did I hear any southern Baptist preacher even hint about it. I live in Sarasota Fl, and I would be hard pressed to find a regular church who doesn’t teach some ideas of Calvanism! A few Amish churches and Mennonite ones though don’t so I go there. But after I read on Augustine, who Calvin said he could write a book on, and found that not 1church father or apostle believed in a deterministic God, and talked and debated a real free will, I knew right then something was not right! In fact Calvin dissed all the Patristics Fathers who shed thier blood for thier beliefs and he sided with Augustine all the way. The church fathers bitterly fought and called those gnostics heretical even in thier debates-so now many are back in these heresies it appears to me. Now some would say these are secondary issues, and we should not divide-well I don’t know, and I want to be correct but the more I listen the worse it’s getting. May God forgive me, but something’s amiss with this theology and I see the big names like piper, Sproul MacArthur, Jerimiah and many others -I just don’t get it.

  39. Former Calvinist here. I had a fair question from a Calvinist leaning friend when I brought up 2 Tim 2:20-21. She asked how this applies when 2 Timothy is about believers not applicable to Rom. 9 vessels of wrath. Is it just the principle that a vessel status is not a necessarily a permanent one?

    1. Hi and welcome, Regen… Here are my thoughts. I am inclined to see Paul calling Timothy to mark and avoid false teachers, like the ones he just identified in vss 16-17. They are the vessels of dishonor… not that they were born that way, but they did become that way.

    2. br.d
      Hello Regen and welcome
      As a former Calvinist – you are probably well aware that Calvinism is founded on EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (EDD) as enunciated in Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees.
      So the underlying doctrine stipulates that the state of nature – including every man’s nature – at every nano-second in time – is 100% meticulously predestined by infallible decree – and at any instance in time cannot possibly be other than what it was decreed to infallibly be at that instance in time.
      So the whole business of man being born with a certain nature in Calvinism simply functions as a red-herring.
      Man’s nature is not a DETERMINING factor in anything – because that would constitute nature (rather than a divine decree) being the DETERMINING factor.
      Calvinists typically have two strategic reasons for denying divine determinism and punting instead to Natural Determinism.
      1) It evades the specter of a THEOS as the AUTHOR of every human impulse
      2) It allows the Calvinist to blame Nature (or the nature of man) as the DETERMINING factor of sins and evils.
      It is recognized as a Calvinist in denial of his own doctrine.
      But they tend to not be bothered by denying their doctrine because they convince themselves they are doing it for altruistic reasons.

  40. In relation to Romans 9:18 I understand that Paul is quoting Exodus 33:19 where Moses asks to see the glory of God and God responds that it does not depend on Moses’ desire but that God is independent and will show that mercy to whom He wants without have an obligation to anyone.
    Nor does God have the obligation to show his salvation to every Jew just for being part of Israel if they have not believed in the Messiah that God sent them. God does not have to forcefully include them when they themselves have been unbelievers. It is what I understand in these verses that are linked to verse 30.

    Gentiles who did not go after justice through the preaching of the gospel achieved justice. because they were chosen before the foundation of the world or because they were not hardened and put the “gift” of faith on them? NO. Through their faith in Jesus. But Israel, who was the chosen and adopted people, who went after a law of justice, did not reach that law, because their law was: keep the law, not eat pork, wash their hands before eating, be circumcised, and they said: “I don’t believe in that Jesus the Messiah” because I am righteous before God for my fulfillment of the religious law.

    1. brd.
      Hello Jules and welcome
      Here is an anecdotal (Not an exegetical) thought concerning the subject.
      Scholars will note within scripture – what they call “Human Identity Markers”
      Many years ago – as a young man – I happened upon a group of young adults sitting near a park.
      Their hair was multii-colored and glued up into spikes
      They had over-sized earrings.
      They had leather jackets.
      There was obviously dressed that way in order to separate themselves from everyone else in their own eyes.
      They wanted to be different.
      They wanted to be special.
      And they wanted to perceive themselves as different and special.
      The spiked and colored hair – and the earrings – and the leather jackets gave them a different “Identity”
      Those things then functioned as “Identity Markers” for them.
      N.T. Scholars will tell us that this same phenomenon existed within the social structure of the Jewish people.
      A Jewish man may walk around dressed in black – wearing a tiny bible strapped to his forehead.
      That is an “Identity marker”
      Jesus talked about “Wide Phylacteries” and the washing of pots, and paying a tithe of a tithe
      Those also function as “Identity Markers”
      For are large percentage of the Jewish population (food laws, circumcision, and sabbath keeping) functioned as 3 primary “Identity Markers”
      In my mind – there is a certain pride that comes with “Identity Markers”
      I personally see that pride – as what the Lord saw within the offering of Cain.
      Cain was bringing to God an offering – and in his heart – it was like he was almost demanding God honor his offering – because of how special and wonderful his offering was. His heart was not a heart of gratitude towards God. It was a heart of self-glorification. His offering functioned as an “Identity Marker” which he expected God to honor.
      Able on the other hand – looked to God – rather than to himself – as the source of life.
      His offering was an offering of thankfulness for God’s love and care.
      Jesus tells the parable of two men.
      One man is smiting his breast and saying to God – please forgive me because I am a sinner – dear God I need you!
      The other man is thanking God that he is not like the man who is a sinner – because he does “A”, “B”, and “C””
      One man comes to God with absolute disdain for himself – and neediness for God
      The other man comes to God – with honor for himself – and in his own self sufficiency.
      So for me – when Paul says “The Gentiles do by nature those things contained within the law” Paul is telling the Jewish people they have not done anything special to deserve to be honored by God because they can do works of the law – because even a Gentile can do by nature those things contained within the law.
      So some of the Jewish people – by doing works of the law – were essentially using that as an “Identity Marker” – just as Cain used his offering as an “Identity Marker”
      Those Jewish people expected God to honor their “Identity Markers” the same way Cain expected God to honor his offering.
      Coming to God with simple faith in the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice for us – is essentially coming to God with the same offering which Able brought to God.
      Coming to God with with some kind of “Identity Marker” (like works of the law for example) which makes me special and with which I expect God to honor – is essentially coming to God with the same offering which Cain brought to God.

      1. br.d

        Just a couple questions…

        1. Who told the Jews to keep the law, aka works, in the first place?

        2. Where did circumcision originate, and more importantly, WHY? Who told them to get circumcized?

        It was God who gave them identity markers. They didn’t just do it on their own. They were commanded in both 1 and 2.

        This is why, to me, that Romans 9 is incomplete until you put Romans 10 and 11 with it.

        Circumcision goes back to Abraham, not Moses. It was brought into the law, with the same rules as before the law. Circumcision was a token, or promissary note, or earnest money, if you will, to the PROMISED LAND of Canaan, with specific borders.

        Too many Christians negate out the promised land to the Jews making void their circumcision. Until we, as a church, acknowledge that the promise is TWOFOLD, we will never get it right.

        The Promised land is
        1. The physical land of Israel with specific borders for those born of Abraham thru Isaac.

        as well as being

        2. Heaven, or Eternal Life of those born of Abraham thru Jesus.

        I do believe that Galatians covers number 2, but we cannot negate out #1. But many Christians do. Mostly preterists, which is GROWING in popularity these days.

        So let’s finish Romans 9 with chapters 10 and 11.

        They are seeking righteousness by the works/deeds of the law, because that’s what God told them to do. He hasn’t given them eyes to see Jesus as their savior yet. And it isn’t based on anything that the Jews did, or did not do.

        Ed Chapman

      2. The Law or 10 commandments were given to show and keep the order of things, but no one could keep the commandments, so people needed Grace in order to be saved. God told the israelites to do many things like sacrificing specific aninmals cause without the shedding of blood there is no sacrifice for sins which came under the Law. The law was given that Grace might be sought-Grace was given so that the Law might be fulfilled. Romans 5-13 says without the Law sins are not counted! Peter and the jews had a tough time, understanding what jesus revealed later to Paul, that Grace came thru Christ alone, and no mixture of the law and grace could save anyone and was another Gospel. All people jews or gentiles are save only by Christ, He is the righteous one. Paul says no man has any excuse no matter where he is – Light is given to All men john 1 verse 9 so if a person responds to the light God gives him the light of Christ though he might not Know Jesus! Cornelius a Roman officer prayed to God and did not know Christ.We look back to our Savior and the people in the Old Testament, looked forward as Moses even wrote about the Savior, that was to come as Jesus told the pharasees. The blood sacrifies in the OT was a type and shadow pointing to the only one who could Save-as Titus said looking for that Blessed Hope the Great God our Savior Jesus Christ!

      3. Bob Free,

        If I were to title my comment reply here, I would title it, “The Law was a SETUP TO FAIL”

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

        Notice what it does not say? It does not say that the law was given so that sin might DECREASE.

        So, was the law given to give order to things? Or to PROVE A POINT that RIGHTEOUSNESS cannot be obtained by the law?

        What if some are NOT ALLOWED to “seek grace”? But that gets the Calvinists riled up that their doctrine is right. But it only concerns those under the law, not the general human.

        The one word that I don’t hear much of, is the word RIGHTEOUSNESS.

        I hear a lot about the words GRACE, THROUGH FAITH, but not the word “righteousness”.

        There are two ways to seek righteousness.

        NO LAW:

        Genesis 15:6
        And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

        WITH LAW:

        Deuteronomy 6:25
        And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.

        Gentiles NEVER sought righteousness, but OBTAINED it just by doing the same thing that Abraham did…believing God.

        Romans 9:30
        What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

        And you are right…Righteousness cannot be obtained by the law:

        Romans 9:31
        But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

        But God gave them the law, SO THAT SIN MIGHT INCREASE, not decrease! Right? A setup to fail.

        So, who do you think will get MORE GRACE in the end? Are the Jews actually allowed to seek the righteousness of God?

        Romans 10:3
        For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

        They are ignorant of God’s righteousness. They can’t submit to God’s righteousness until God wants them to.

        And that’s why I keep saying that Romans chapters 10 to 11 needs to complete Romans 9.

        Romans 10:10
        For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

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

        That verse is repeated in Romans 11:8

        Romans 11:5
        Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

        So, HOW can the Jews obtain Grace, if they are NOT ALLOWED to seek the righteousness of God, but only a “remnant”?

        And how are the remnant allowed, but not the rest? Was it something they did? Was it something they didn’t do?

        Does God still have something planned with the Jews later in time that we just don’t seem to think about, so that unfulfilled prophesy might come true?

        Many seem to have given up on the Jews. Christendom has a lot of contention with the Jews, and I’m not down with that!

        Let’s not be overzealous of the righteousness that we have, but they don’t. They CAN’T. And we did. But why can’t they? Why did we?

        Eventually, will they? YES. Romans 11 confirms.

        Ed Chapman

      4. Ed, God sets the standard of whats Good, and He is the highest good. He chose to make man and again scripture says it was good.We are not God, so we are going to do and say things that are not according to Gods good.He set a tree in the garden, and allowed man to exercise a free choice to love him or to reject Him, so that Love which God IS could be Understood, Love without choice does not exist where man is concerned.Again the Law was given to show mans weakness and need for a Savior-it was not a failure though it might seem that it was. How else could God have done it as some calvanists asked why could not God save everyone.But that again would be Robotic with no choice at all and again Love would be rendered useless! God chose the jews for Service and to bring the one Gospel of Grace thru them, yet as you say most rejected it but Paul asked did God fail.We all know that the majority of people will not believe because they dont think they need Him, God gave the jews and everyone the best of choices to accept Him so there is no excuse. No, God did not fail but we all have the ability to accept or reject. The Very early church fathers, everyone of them spoke about and wrote on mans free will, and choices and pushed back hard right up till Augustine and his gnostic assertions where for almost 10 years was a neo platonist and stoic believer. This is where calvin also bought into and quotes Augustine thousands of times and dissed and rejected the early church fathers and Strict Determinism.

      5. Bob Free,

        You had said:
        “God sets the standard of whats Good…”

        My response:
        Abraham didn’t have the law.

        When God formed Adam, God never sat Adam down to give him the law, either. There was only ONE commandment given to Adam, and that was to not eat of a tree that God created. If everything that God created was GOOD, what about that tree? Was it good, too?

        From my study, I have concluded that IGNORANCE IS BLISS. You can’t break a law that does not exist, hence, Romans 5:13, which is what you quoted.

        So, I bring Romans 5:20 to the table, that the law was a set up for fail. NO ONE was going to be able to obtain righteousness by the law.

        I think it is a HUGE mistake for people to say, as the article does, “Paul is very clear regarding why some are saved while others are “separated from Christ” (v 3). Those who are saved, “attained righteousness […] by faith” (v 31); those who are separated from Christ are separated because they pursued righteousness (or we might say, “pursued a right standing with God”) “as though it were by works” (v 32).”

        Why? Because THE LAW alone is what WORKS is…in the CONTEXT. Where did anyone come up with the idea of “pursued a right standing with God”??????, as if it was something OUTSIDE of the law?

        Further, you had said:
        “God gave the jews and everyone the best of choices to accept Him so there is no excuse. ”

        I’m SORRY, but I do not agree with that, and I’m NOT a Calvinist. There IS INDEED an excuse for the Jews. They can’t come to Jesus until Jesus wants them to come to Jesus.

        Romans 11:8 is a DIRECT quotation from Deuteronomy 29:4, which Moses penned that God has NOT EVER given them a heart to percieve, ears to hear, or eyes to see. And it’s NOT based on anything that they did, or didn’t do.

        They are STILL used by God in order to show God’s POWER…which gets back to Romans 9. The ones whose sins keep racking up sky high, all because of the law, which is good, condemns them…BUT…I will give mercy to who I want comes into play with them, SINCE the law was a setup to fail.

        They don’t get that FREE WILL that you discuss until…

        John 9:39-41 (KJV)

        39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

        40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

        41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

        And it was THIS reason that Lydia had her heart opened…she was a JEW who was already a God follower under the law of Moses. She is included in the REMNANT, which, by the way, pertains to JEWS ONLY.

        People get the wrong idea that the Jews have FREE WILL, to come to Jesus if they wanted to…they can’t.

        And THIS is the major malfunction in Christendom…for the Calvinists, because they think that ALL MANKIND is in the same boat as the Jews, and for the remainder who STILL thinks that there is NO DIFFERENCE between Jew and Gentile OUTSIDE of Christ.

        By the way, NOTE verse 41 above, on what Jesus said about BLINDNESS. How many sins do the SPIRITUALLY BLIND have? ZERO. How many sins do those who can see, and still reject Jesus have?

        I read the bible as a book, several times. And I see things that most refuse to see. And this is one of the topics that I have seen LONG BEFORE I even knew what Calvinism was, and I’m NOT a Calvinist.

        I believe that GENTILES have free will, but most are IGNORANT, and IGNORANCE is bliss, becasue SIN cannot be IMPUTED to them, even tho, for all have sinned. Babies do not go to hell, because there is NO SIN that can be IMPUTED to them, due to IGNORANCE. Mercy has nothing to do with it. They were never SEPARATED from God to begin with. Separation happens the moment you get GUILT for what you have done…whatever age that is, is the age of accountability.

        The Jews, they have Bar/Bat Mitzvah, which is when the law is first INTRODUCED to them. Gentiles never had that.

        But the law is our schoolmaster that brings us to Christ. That’s when we finally KNOW what sin is. Sin is the transgression of the law, and the law is the knowledge of sin. The law is OUR Tree that we eat from. Until then, even tho FOR ALL HAVE SINNED, what sin is IMPUTED to us?

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

        IDOL WORSHIPERS WERE IGNORANT, and so God WINKED at that. Worshiping OTHER gods got WINKED at.

        Does anyone ever look at this stuff…about WHEN the IMPUTATION of sin takes place to a person? Or, are they only considering, FOR ALL HAVE SINNED, and CONDEMNED unless they believe in Jesus? Because that’s NOT totally true. If it were true, all babies who died are in hell, because they were never, what’s the word? SAVED?

        No, they didn’t need to be saved, for they were never separated from God to begin with.

        Which brings me back to Adam and Eve. Were they SINNING before they ate of the tree? YES. But they didn’t KNOW IT, and due to IGNORANCE, they were INNOCENT, or, NOT GUILTY, and God was WITH THEM.

        The same goes for ABRAHAM, who was married to his sister, which is indeed a sin under the “GOOD” standards of THE LAW. Did God inform Abraham of that sin? No. As a matter of fact, brother and sister were promised a son, Isaac.

        WHEN is sin IMPUTED to a person? And…do the Jews REALLY have free will?

        Ed Chapman

      6. Ed,
        Too many Christians negate out the promised land to the Jews making void their circumcision.
        Ed – how can anyone make void a person’s physical circumcision?
        And is it your understanding – that Paul is voiding the circumcision of some Jewish person when he tells the Galatians they do not need to be circumcised in order to be saved?
        Until we, as a church, acknowledge that the promise is TWOFOLD, we will never get it right.
        It is possible – what you may be saying here is – the body of Christ is meant to be “One New Man”?
        But I’m not sure if that is what you are saying.
        There has been an demonically inspired anti-semitism especially with the RC against all things Jewish because the RC is a heavily pagan system.
        And today within Calvinism (which is a branch out of RC) we have replacement theology – which I see as a derivative that demonically inspired (and pagan in nature) antagonism against all things Jewish.

      7. br.d,

        You had said:
        Ed – how can anyone make void a person’s physical circumcision?

        My response:
        What was circumcision all about? A seal of promise of an inheritance of a small piece of real estate in the middle east for the descendents of Isaac. That’s all it was about.

        Abraham made his void by…

        Hebrews 11:16
        But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

        You also had said:
        Until we, as a church, acknowledge that the promise is TWOFOLD, we will never get it right.
        It is possible – what you may be saying here is – the body of Christ is meant to be “One New Man”?
        But I’m not sure if that is what you are saying.”

        My response:

        No, what I’m saying is that the SPIRITUAL story is being TOLD by the CARNAL story.

        The carnal story is…
        1. Promise land is the physical land of Israel with specific borders.
        2. The Promised seed is Isaac,

        Circumcision is the seal of the promise that the seed of Isaac, thru Jacob, would receive that land.

        And that carnal story is a PICTURE, or a TYPE/SHADOW of the REAL DEAL of ETERNAL LIFE in heaven with Jesus, where the SAME EXACT PROMISE IS…

        The spiritual story is…
        1. Promised land is HEAVEN, as noted in Hebrews 11:16
        2. Promised seed is Jesus, as noted in Galatians 3:16

        This is no different than seeing Jesus in the story of David, or seeing Jesus in the story of Solomon, etc.

        Eternal life is our inheritance. And it begins with Abraham.

        Galatians 3:7
        Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

        But that physical land to the circumcized Jews…that is their promised inheritance, and nothing can break that promise, and it is NOT dependent on the obedience, or disobedience of the Jews at all.

        Abraham was a sinner, too! For all have sinned. I never read where Abraham repented of sin…did you?

        But we do know what Abraham’s sin was, from the law of Moses. But for some reason, God neglected to inform him.

        Romans 3:20
        …for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

        Is our salvation dependent on the law? I ask that due to…is the physical land of Israel dependent on the obedience of that law? Well, WHEN was the promise? Before the law, or after?

        Romans 4:14
        For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

        The law is not of faith, so if you take the law away, the promise is STILL IN EFFECT, therefore, it has nothing to do with the law at all. We are not under the law. We never were. They are. But circumcision was before the law, BROUGHT INTO the law. The promise can’t be voided.

        But when you are under Christ, that small piece of real estate is UNDERSTOOD as the bigger picture of Hebrews 11:16, in which a Jew would VOLUNTARILY void his circumcision as it is now meaningless.

        I think a lot of people don’t understand what circumcision was all about, including that they think their inheritance is based on obedience to the law, or, not sinning.

        Ed Chapman

      8. br.d
        Ed – can you recommend a book or a teacher that explains your point of view here?

      9. br.d,

        By the way, Preterists goes way beyond “replacement” theology. They preach that the Jews had their chance at that land, and blew it, because they were disobedient.

        But they neglect several references, such as:

        Exodus 32:7-14 (Especially verse 13)
        7 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:

        8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

        9 And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:

        10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

        11 And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?

        12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.

        13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.

        14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.


        Deuteronomy 30:1-5 (Which was long before they even got there)
        1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee,

        2 And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;

        3 That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.

        4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:

        5 And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.

        Coupled with Ezekeil 36 and 37, which explains that God is GOING TO bring them back, not for their sake, but for God’s sake, and that the twelve tribes will have their kingdom restored, for which one preterist told me that due to intermarriage, there is no such thing as twelve tribes anymore, and therefore, any thought of God returning twelve tribes is a pipe dream.

        I responded with, “And I thought God was all powerful and all knowing that he knows the hairs on your head, and the stars in the universe, but he can’t seem to find 12 tribes?”

        In any case, yes, replacement theology is a huge problem, but preterists go well beyond that. And preterism is GROWING in the Calvinist circles.

        Ed Chapman

  41. Hello Br.d and Chapman, thanks for your answers, thanks for the contributions, I took on the task of rereading Romans 9-11 and not isolating Romans 9 as if Paul made a parenthesis indicating how God saves people (as Calvinists do ). I see in effect the doctrine of judicial hardening in these chapters.
    I also believe that there is anti-Semitism on the part of some Christians and I believe that the replacement theory is also heretical, since there are so many unfulfilled promises given to Israel and not to the church.

    But i have a question

    Certainly the promise of land, nation and blessing were given to Abraham before the law and these promises cannot be undone, and the sign of circumcision was given before the law. But what is it that many Christians don’t understand about circumcision? (I include myself)

    Second question

    Champaned24 you said: “They can’t come to Jesus until Jesus wants them to come to Jesus.” Do I understand that it refers to judicial hardening? Is this hardening still valid? for what purpose? reach the fullness of the Gentiles? Will this hardening be dissolved until the periods of the great tribulation when Israel recognizes Jesus as Messiah?

    I see purpose of judicial hardening in these verses from Romans.

    Romans 11:28-32
    Regarding the gospel, they are enemies for your advantage, but regarding election, they are loved because of the patriarchs, since God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable. As you once disobeyed God but now have received mercy through their disobedience, so they too have now disobeyed, resulting in mercy to you, so that they also may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may have mercy on all.

    They are sincere doubts brothers, thank you very much for the contributions and the questions that you also direct because we start to think.

    Jules A.

    1. Hi Jules,

      If you would notice, I never used the word, “Judicial”. Judicial would be adjudicating a violation of law. Since the promise was made before the law, the promise is not based on the obedience of law.

      Moses had to rebuke God because if this thought:

      Exodus 32:7-14 (Especially verse 13)
      7 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:

      8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

      9 And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:

      10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

      11 And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?

      12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.

      13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.

      14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

      You had asked:
      ” But what is it that many Christians don’t understand about circumcision? (I include myself)”

      I would say that you got it right when you said:
      “these promises cannot be undone”, and that “replacement theory is also heretical, since there are so many unfulfilled promises given to Israel and not to the church.”

      From what I’ve encountered, people are only reading the NT, instead of BOTH the Old and New, in order to find the origin of circumcision. So when they read things like Paul saying that circumcision means nothing, etc., they don’t get it, as to WHY it means nothing to a Christian. They don’t get that it means a LOT to the Jews who are not Christians. For a reason. Land. And they will get that land. Ezekiel 36-37, Exodus 32:13, Deuteronomy 30:1-5 all confirm.

      I must say that I do find your Romans 11:28-32 quote to be NOT WHAT MINE STATES.

      Yours uses the word, “disobey”, and “disobedience”. My KJV uses the words, “not believed”, and “unbelief”.

      The future UNFULFILLED promises to the Jews INCLUDE a guy that they’ve WAITED so long for…a Messiah, which is interpreted Christ. They don’t see Jesus as that guy. For a reason. This guy, whoever he is, is the ANTI-CHRIST. And a temple in Jerusalem is needed for that.

      And it is for that reason that God will be bringing the unbelieving Jews BACK to their homeland, becasue this anti-Christ will be a Jew, and the Jews are being USED to SHOW THE POWER OF GOD in defeating the evil forces.

      Why do I conclude that the anti-Chist will be a Jew? Because, for one, they Jews are still looking for a Messiah. And two:

      Jesus asked the Pharisees, (Who didn’t believe in Jesus to begin with)…

      Matthew 22:42
      Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.

      Now see Matthew 1:1
      1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David

      I get a kick out of those who proclaim that the Pope is the anti-Christ! They don’t like Jews very much. And will the Jews actually accept someone who proclaims Jesus? I don’t think so. I also get a kick out of those who think that a world leader from the UN or US or EU will be the anti-Christ.

      And since an apostle to the Jews wrote Revelation, I believe it is TO the Jews, about the Jews, for the Jews, by an apostle to the Jews. But, let others think what they will.

      In any case, since there is FUTURE prophesy…there MUST BE Jews to COME BACK to Israel, and they will be UNBELIEVING Jews.

      In which, 12,000 from each tribe will MAGICALLY be SEALED with the Holy Spirit, making them believers instantaneously. And there is a purpose for them AFTER THE RAPTURE of the rest of THE CHURCH, as they get left behind to preach to other Jews.

      Now, how can that happen if ALL the Jews came to Jesus RIGHT NOW? Prophesy would not come true.

      This is like Peter trying to stop Jesus from getting to the cross, by defending Jesus. Peter got scolded, because the mission of Jesus was that cross. Get behind me Satan…right? When the story is over, the fat angel will sing! LOL. Until then, there is MUCH for the Jews to accomplish, for which MERCY will come to the Jews, as you state, which gets us BACK to Romans 9, when it talks about mercy, and WHY. They are being used to show God’s Power.

      Ed Chapman

  42. Thank you Ed Chapman.

    First of all it is true, you never mentioned the term “judicial” that I concluded or came to that conclusion.

    Oh, now I understand the point that you mention about circumcision, thank you very much for the passages that you share to facilitate understanding, I am going to study them very carefully.

    You know I agree that I have heard time after time that the Catholic Pope was the antichrist and that the woman riding the beast was the Roman Catholic Church, mainly from the Calvinists I have heard this position. But I also objected to this interpretation, and I also acquired that he would have to be a Jew because of what Daniel said in chapter 11:37 “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”

    I concluded that the antichrist would have to be of Jewish origin but apostate and also homosexual since he has no inclination for women. But you have very well complemented other reasons why it is very convincing that he is of Jewish origin, of course because only a Jew can persuade his own people to return to Israel by proclaiming himself as the promised messiah.

    It’s interesting!

    I just had a talk with an amillennialist Calvinist friend and with replacement theology who argued that the identity of the 144,000 was the church and not Israel because the tribe of Dan was missing, and I shared that right in apocalypse 14 it clearly says that the identity of These sealed ones are Jews, males, virgins and there is no reason to attribute that they are the church. Also as if that were not enough in Ezekiel 48 the tribe of Dan is the first to receive land inheritance in the millennium. Although this friend entered exegetical gymnastics because he also maintains that we are already in the millennium.

    Thanks for this answer Ed, blessings!

  43. Rom 9:12,13.
    It was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” This quote from Genesis 25:23, is listed first by Paul. God is telling Rebecca there are two nations and two peoples in her womb and the older will serve the younger. God does NOT mention love or hate towards either of Rebecca’s sons before or after their birth.
    The context is two nations, two peoples, and service order. The law of First Mention should be applied, when Jacob and Esau are mentioned together in scripture, it is speaking of nations, peoples or service order.

    Romans 9:13 is quoting Malachi 1:2,3 where it says “Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated”. The context is nations. Israel and Edom. 1000 years after Jacob and Esau died.

    When I used to read Romans 9:12,13, I would lump these two O.T. references together as if they were written together somewhere, without ever looking to see who said what, or where it was written. I think many Christians also do this, never giving it a thought. When they are told it’s about unconditional election, they fall for it, without
    ever checking any verses.

    I’m very thankful for this site.

    1. br.d
      Thank you Shawn
      That is very much appreciated!!
      May the Lord continue to bless and shine his glorious light of truth on you!

    2. Hi Shawn, I’m thankful for this site too. And glad you found it.

      You said, “I think many Christians also do this, never giving it a thought. When they are told it’s about unconditional election, they fall for it, without ever checking any verses.”

      And I think this is exactly how Calvinism spreads. We let them tell us how to interpret the Bible (let them put Calvinism glasses on us first) and then – voila – we begin to see it that way.

      Plus, since they are very insistent that they are just “preaching Scripture,” that they are “biblical” and “hold the Bible in high regard”, we believe them, never even thinking that we should double-check them. After all, these Calvinist preachers/theologians went to seminary, read big theology books, wrote big theology books, understand Greek, speak well, and they are coming out in mass numbers. So why would we doubt or question them?

      And they are very good about setting it up from the very beginning that if you question or doubt their theology, you are a bad, unhumble Christian. They make you feel like there’s something wrong with YOU – not their theology – if you disagree with them. This is why I say that Calvinism spreads by cult-like methods.

      God-willing, though, more Christians are waking up to the fact that we need double-check what we are being taught, comparing it all against the plain truths of Scripture. We need more Bereans like you! God bless!

      1. br.d
        The Lord is blessing us today through his people whom he is calling and growing into his nature!
        Thank you Heather!!

      2. Oh, I hope so, Brdmod! Having seen so many leaders and churches fall over the years, we’re all learning that we need to be more discerning, more aware, more critical-thinking about things. And I guess that’s the good that comes from the bad.

        And for me, after watching academically-high-and-lofty, theologically-complex Calvinism take over our church (and feeling the heart go out), it made me want to get back to the basics, to the simple, beautiful truths of Scripture again. And it’s been refreshing.

        Have a great week/weekend! And thanks for all you do here!

  44. Please forgive me if this question has been discussed already. After reading Romans 9, Leighton’s book, and this site’s articles about it, I have a comment about the chapter.
    My question is, would Leighton consider having an article about Romans 9 is another light?

    The alternate interpretation offered here helps to call Calvinism into question. I am going to continue to not be a calvinist.

    But what about the lessons that can be learned from the character of God that ARE positively taught in Romans 9-11. I feel like the example of how God worked to bring about his purposes in the various analogies are also lessons for us today

    I heard a story that made me think of Romans 9. I will explain it making it short. There was a young teacher who ran into his old teacher. This teacher had shown him mercy when he was a young student. The student had stolen a watch and the teacher had the students all close their eyes while he went around checking pockets. The watch was found, returned, and the boys was not shamed. As a grown man, he thanked the old teacher for how he handled the situation. It had inspired the boy to change and to later become a teacher.

    I shared this story with my son, but I added a twist. The same outcome could have come through the boy’s theft being made known. The boys may have been treated with love the consequences of his theft. He may have appreciated his teacher and how he handled the judgment of his wrong. He may have decided to change and become a good teacher after the inspiration of his teacher who brought consequences but guided him toward good.

    The boys could have changed after getting mercy or after getting wrath. This is a picture of mercy and judgement that we can all relate to.

    I think about these types of lessons that Romans 9 can offer us. So much more than just keeping us from Calvinism. I would like to read an article that focuses on good applications from Romans 9.

    1. Hello aguilar,
      Firstly – we take note of the kindness and sincerity in your thinking.
      And what we observe with people who have been conditioned over time to embrace Calvinism – is a pronounced lack of those attributes.
      The reason for that is because Calvin’s god is a god who creates humans specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire for his good pleasure. There is a very pronounced degree of divine malevolence within Calvinism.
      Consequently – after a person becomes conditioned to accept that degree of divine malevolence – they become callous and harsh and judgmental and in many instances without compassion for others.
      Concerning your question – I know for sure that Dr. Flowers would say – one does not have to adopt Calvinism in order to derive the benefit you suggest – because the NON-Calvinist completely accepts all aspects of divine providence over creation.
      Yes there are lessons learned about God which most definitely are positively taught in Romans 9.
      But they are not the god of Calvinism.
      Because the god of Calvinism creates people for the express purpose of eternal torment in a lake of fire for his good pleasure.
      Additionally – Calvin’s god creates the vast majority of believers specifically for eternal torment as well.
      In Calvinism – these are called CHAFF believers.
      Calvin’s god creates a large percentage of believers to be CHAFF believers.
      These believers he gives a FALSE SENSE of salvation.
      John Calvin
      But the Lord….instills into their minds such a sense…..as can be felt WITHOUT the Spirit of adoption. (Institutes 3.2.11)
      He also causes those whom he ILLUMINES ONLY FOR A TIME to partake of it; then he….strikes them with even greater blindness (Institutes 3.24.8)
      Creating the vast majority of believers specifically for eternal torment – for pleasure – is not what the Apostle Paul has in mind – for the lessons learned by his letter to the believers in Rome.
      So Dr. Flowers has pity on the poor unfortunate person who gets lured into Calvinism.

    2. Hi Aguilar, That’s a good anecdote and a good idea about highlighting the positive side of Romans 9. The older I get, the richer God’s Word gets. There are so many wonderful things to be found in it the deeper we dig. God bless!

  45. HI there. Just ran across this on the Christian Post. Once again, the author of this article seems to make the same tired points of “you just don’t understand Calvinism.” He quotes Calvin and Augustine but leaves out Bible references and of course, when he does, they’re without proper context. Has Leighton ever written an opinion piece for the Post? It’s just so frustrating to keep hearing this one -sided argument! God bless you all for all you do on behalf of Provisionism and it’s logical Biblical systematic to theology!

    Article from christianpost.com – titled: calvinism-and-free-will-it-aint-what-you-probably-think

    1. Hello St Louis Cardinal and welcome
      Yes – the most critical thing to understand about Calvinism – is that many concepts (such as “free Will”) are NOT what NORMAL people have as an understanding of those things.
      In Calvinism – per its doctrine of decrees – there is no such thing as “Freedom” granted to creation to countervail or falsify an infallible decree.
      Every instance in time – represents a snap-shot – of 100% meticulously predetermined state – granted into existence by an infallible decree. And that state of affairs within the domain of creation – cannot possibly be other than what it was decreed to be.
      Now concerning “Freedom” in Calvinism.
      If Calvin’s god decrees [X] will infallibly come to pass – then he must grant [X] “Freedom” to come to pass.
      If he does not – then he is countervailing his decree – and he would be a house divided against himself.
      So Calvin’s god MUST grant both “Permission” and “Freedom” to that which he decrees.
      However – there is NO FREEDOM granted to creation – to countervail an infallible decree.
      Consequently – man’s “Freedom” is limited to ONLY that which has been decreed.
      Man is NOT FREE to have any impulse in his brain that was not FIRST CONCEIVED within Calvin’s god’s mind – and then MADE to come to pass infallibly within man’s brain.
      So for example – with Adam.
      Adam was granted “Freedom” to eat the fruit – because eating the fruit was decreed
      But Adam was NOT granted “Freedom” to NOT eat the fruit – because NOT eating the fruit would countervail an infallible decree.
      Not only that – the impulse within Adam’s brain could only be that impulse which was infallibly decreed
      And NO ALTERNATIVE impulse would be granted existence within Adam’s brain.
      So what you will find with Calvinists – is that they will always assert where they are granted “Freedom”.
      But they will totally obfuscate where they are NOT granted “Freedom”
      If it is decreed that a sinful evil impulse will come to pass in their brain – then they are “NOT FREE” to have any ALTERNATIVE impulse in their brain.

    2. Hello St. Louis,

      I just read the article, and yeah it made me roll my eyes. Calvinists are always trying to make it seem like they believe in a real kind of free-will in order to absolve God of responsibility for our sins, but what they really believe in is a puppet kind of free-will, that the puppet “freely” chooses to do what the puppet-master planned for them to do and causes them to do, and they couldn’t do anything differently.

      But if the puppet has no ability to choose anything else, no options to choose between, then they have no free-will in their decisions. And yet Calvinists keep acting like they do. Desperate!

      Personally, I think most of Calvinism’s theology (most of the hundreds and hundreds of pages in their systematic theology books) is simply them trying to answer their own self-created conundrum: “How can we say that God causes all evil without actually saying that God causes all evil?”

      But since they can’t satisfactorily or biblically answer it, they end up creating more and more contradictions, illogical conclusions, and attacks on God’s truth and character. It’s sad. And pathetic. (And, dare I say, demonic?)

      I found it kinda ironic – and yet wholly accurate – that the author of that article (Robin) said this: “Reformed theology is oftentimes labeled Calvinism, but the truth is its doctrines pre-dated Mr. Calvin by at least 1,200 years as Augustine taught the same things.”

      Notice that Robin admits that Calvinist theology has been around since the 4th century, taught by Augustine – NOT since the first century, taught by the New Testament writers.

      “Unholy doctrines, Bat Man!” That’s telling. Augustine and Calvin, not Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, or Paul! The 4th and 16th century, not the first!

      It’s also telling that Calvinists always have to direct us to Calvinist literature in order to help us find Calvinism in the Bible, instead of just directing us to the Bible itself, such as Robin does in the article. And it’s telling that Calvinists have to spend so much time talking/educating themselves into Calvinism (often while fighting it every step of the way), as Robin did.

      And I think it’s deceptive when he says “In general (and I mean at a high level as there are always endless nuances in Christian teaching), Reformed theology is in agreement with all basic teachings of Christianity including God, Christ, creation, sin, Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, grace, Jesus’ second coming, and the eternal state.”

      The differences between Calvinism and non-Calvinism are not “nuances.” They are deeply critical, fundamental differences which completely change the nature of God, Jesus’s death, the gospel, salvation, how we live and pray, etc. (Personally, I think Calvinists use the lie that Calvinism is a “minor/secondary-level issue, not the primary one” to get the church to compromise and let its guard down so that they can covertly and stealthily hijack it.)

      And, sure, Calvinism “agrees” with basic Christian concepts of God, Christ, sin, Christ’s sacrifice, grace, etc. But the problem is that it also redefines them, qualifies them, or adds unbiblical layers to them until it becomes something completely different, totally contrary to the plain, commonsense teachings of Scripture.

      Same words, different definitions. Hijacking the language to sucker people in. A mark of a cult.

      (Oh, and I hate when I see Calvinists use quotes from C.S. Lewis. Makes me want to yell, “Get Lewis’s name out of your mouth!”)

      Anyway, these are just a few thoughts I had while reading that pathetic attempt to defend Calvinism.

      Blessings to you, St. Louis Cardinal! And happy holidays!

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