Dr. Leighton Flowers was named the Director of Evangelism and Apologetics for Texas Baptists in 2018. In addition to preaching on a wide range of biblical subjects, Leighton regularly travels to churches of all sizes to conduct seminars that specialize on evangelism and apologetics. He has participated in debates with leading apologists and led training conferences for the Annual Convention, Conclave, Apologetic Conferences, and the SBC Annual Convention.

Previously, he served as the Director of Youth Evangelism for Texas Baptists for 13 years. In this position he oversaw the statewide youth leadership training camp called Super Summer and the Youth Evangelism Conferences impacting thousands of teenagers with evangelistic messages, missions mobilization and discipleship training. Leighton has also assisted in the oversight of such ministries as See You At The Pole, a worldwide prayer movement (began by his father, Chuck Flowers) which is impacting people not only in Texas but all around our world.

Leighton earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Theology from Hardin-Simmons University (1997); a Masters of Divinity with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (2000); and completed his Doctorate at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (2016).

Leighton and his wife Laura, a Licensed Therapist in Richardson, have four children (Colson, Cooper, Esther and Caden) and live in North Garland just outside of Dallas where he also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Theology for Trinity Seminary. Prior to coming on staff with Texas Baptists, Leighton served as a pastor in the local church for over 10 years. He and his family are active members of First Baptist Richardson.

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  1. Is God most glorified in destroying people in hell? The reason why I ask this is because dont Calvinists think that God gets atleast equal glory through his justice as well as his love? But we have to ask, isn’t the devil trying to keep the most glory from God by blinding people from Christ’s glory? 2 Corinthian 4:4. If the glory of his justice is equal to the glory of his love, then Satan is helping to bring more glory to God through the Calvinist reasoning. Since most people are going to hell, it would stand to reason that God would predestine most to heaven so he would get the ultimate glory, if Calvinism is true. But that’s not the case. What do you think of this reasoning? I could be wrong, give me your ideas.

    1. Does it not mention that it is fair for God to choose the precious stones from the pebbles like man does? Did not God roll the “Dice” at the time of His choosing? If a little later or earlier, would I be saved? We are dust with the breath of God as life, therefore, does a computer programmed artificial intelligence unit have a correct argument in saying to the human creator “the man would not choose the shiny object AI over me the pebble AI because it is unfair”? I don’t really know, but the issue is the bible seems to imply “God does all things”. I do not “get” salvation, I receive it as a “Gift”. Otherwise didn’t I do something to get it?

      I would like to believe in a more “lovely” doctrine, but I don’t see it at present. Doesn’t it say that God kept an adversary to test Israel in the Old Testament; then how do they have free will? Isn’t this pre-planning like a computer game with a story pre-designed, but with characters that are “playable by humans etc” that come to a good or bad end, but mostly the story is set already. If there is a decision to be made by me, when is it too late? What about the people who don’t hear the Gospel?

      People as far as I know generally do not explain these points in a simple text of a page or two, explaining logical and credible, biblical answers & that’s probably why Calvinism still exists(unless you know otherwise?text etc). I don’t like it, but that’s just the way it seems to be.

      Personally it seems God does not easily allow me to evangelise, in my personal limited opinion. I’m too weak mentally, or my computer fails, or my documents get lost or I feel it’s not my place; constant bombardment of “don’t do that”, “it”s not in my plan”, is what it feels like. Very similar to wanting to smoke or drink/sin etc but not doing it because of the feeling of being convicted to not do so by a “small voice”. Seemingly.

      If anyone can show me otherwise without a mountain of book reading, great, otherwise shouldn’t I stick with what seems logical, at least to me?

    2. This is my illustration. When I was a child my parents would discipline me strictly if I acted up. They took no pleasure from it and I myself had a hard time seeing how it was for my own good. Then I got older and I witnessed other children who weren’t disciplined the way I was. They were set up for failure. It did not please my parents to see them be failures. But I glorified my parents for their strict discipline for now I see an example of what life would
      Have been like for me without it. I could just as easily been born into a family that would not have cared to raise me. Sometimes it takes seeing that to remember that. Romans 9 is what that is teaching. We see others who would not repent and who were hardened and it humbles us, for we could have wound up in the same date. So while God takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked, when we as onlookers become terrified of his justice and humbled by his grace bring him glory.

    3. The minds of unbelievers are blinded because they do not receive the truth or seek it,it is not predestined blindness.Most of the philosophical arguments against determinism are unnecessary.All the evidence against this bad interpretation are the scriptures themselves. Jeremiah 32:35 (God declares that He did not put Baal worship in the hearts of His people and it was never one of His thoughts)or never entered in to His mind. Romans 9 is also unnecessarily disputed ,the mistranslated common Greek and bad contextual interpretation are to blame.He did not (prepare )vessels in advance for wrath.The text should be (ripe ) in advance.He did not (raise) the pharouh up to display his power it should be (preserved) .Nothing but proper interpretation of the text is needed. Works of the law according the the promise refers to circumcision not your ability to keep the law which no human can do.No flesh will glory in God’s sight is the same reference in that you can’t enter into God’s kingdom by mutilation. Hope this helps

      1. Hello Michael – and welcome.

        It appears to me many translations of scripture are simply exegetical strategies at attempting to get scripture to affirm what some man wants it to affirm. I would be better for man to let scripture speak for itself. But we should not be surprised to find man manipulating everything he puts his hands on – in order to get his way.


    4. 1st. First of all, God created hell for the Devil and his angels, not for man.
      2nd. God is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance.
      3rd. And I think the biggest reason that many don’t get saved, is that they plan to, some day?

    5. Ian Lohnes,

      God does not receive glory by causing a sinner’s unbelief but by being the good and holy God that He is. As the supremely holy and righteous judge of the universe, He can do nothing other than act in character with Himself in the execution of His just decree. He cannot even declare gulity sinners to be righteous in His sight through faith apart from a full satisfaction of His holy and righteous demands. The glory of one divine attribute never eclipses another or others of His attributes. The glory of God is the sum of His glorious attributes. If God is to be fully glorified, i.e, have all His glorious attributes fully displayed, then all of those attributes must be displayed, If God were only love, He would manifest His glory in saving everyone, but that is not the case. If God had decreed to justify every sinner, His glory, the sum of His glorious attributes would be less manifested, not more. He clearly manifested His glory and magnified His name in the destruction of the Pharoah and the Egyptian armies as much as in the deliverance of His chosen people.

    6. Let me ask, is the Creator of the Heavens and Earth so needy that He needs men to die for Him? I believe it is the other way round as all Christians must believe. Is the all-glorious Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, the Father of all mankind so desperate that He in fact creates men to suffer and scream in eternal torture so that He can obtain something that He does not already have – glory? Is this Eternal, all powerful superlatively intelligent being actually very limited, such that He needs something from men, and such that His love is also limited? Let’s not reverse the teaching of salvation and make men the saviors of God. God needs nothing and certainly needs nothing from mankind.
      In fact, His creation must inform us that He is already absolutely glorious. Any glory that exists in this whole universe comes from and must come from Him. We give Him nothing that He needs, and He certainly does not need glory because Her has all of the glory that is.

      Why then does God require that we glorify Him? Not for His sake, but for ours. We need to give glory to Him, because of our need of Him. We need to recognize His indescribable magnificence, power, intelligence, wisdom, purity and especially His great unlimited love and we desperately need to know personally the great salvation offered through His endless mercy. This knowing of God and giving glory to Him is our absolute need if we are to experience all that God would have us experience. Only as we give glory to God, as we become aware of His glory and our own filthy state, can we turn to Him in recognition of our sinfulness and desperation.

      God needs nothing from mankind, but because He loves, He desires that we know His glory and because of this turn to Him and seek forgiveness and salvation.

      1. Very good proposition – the idea of God’s priority being the garnering of glory to himself has always sat uneasily in my heart – I do believe the Holy Spirit it grieved and warns those who might be otherwise dazzled by the rhetoric and avalanche of Bible references. I also find John Piper’s terminology strange, words not given their proper meaning, almost as if he knows there is something wrong with his model but he has to keep smiling – the show must go on in those circles.

    7. It’s good that you’re thinking about these issues. Although God is glorified, in a sense, by executing judgment against those who reject His ways and salvation, God does not desire anyone to perish, which motivated the plan of redemption. To suggest that God is equally glorified by condemning unbelievers, on the one hand, and granting salvation to believers, on the other, suggests the possibility that God would have been equally glorified regardless of how many people go to Heaven or hell, i.e., if all theoretically went to Heaven, or all theoretically went to hell. This possibility seems counter-intuitive, since it would imply God would be equally glorified if there had been no plan of salvation at all (i.e., God was equally glorified in executing His judgment and sending all undeserving humanity to hell – Romans 3:23). So the next question is whether your inquiry seeks to “quantify” the glory of God as it would relate to executing judgment or granting mercy. I would suggest that although the Lord is certainly glorified in exercising any attribute of His holy nature, He is “more” glorified, or honored, in carrying out His mercy, i.e., granting salvation, within the various contexts and prerequisites that He has defined and decreed in accordance with His holiness and perfect justice. There is arguably additional glory to God when His perfect will is accomplished (mercy to the believers), as opposed to His allowable will (what He did not wish to occur, i.e. sin and consequent judgment). Certainly God is not glorified when people remain in unbelief, and He is glorified when people believe in His Son and are saved. Both of these possibilities occur via a person’s free will and choice. Thus, apart from God’s actions (implementation of mercy or execution of justice), God is more glorified when people choose Him and less glorified when people reject Him. Thus, there is a greater net glorification that results from human fulfillment of God’s prerequisites leading to demonstration of God’s mercy, compared to situations leading to His judgment. And there is additional glorification still when a Christian accomplishes more work for God and develops more of His character in their lives (i.e., 100-fold instead of merely 30). This is why Paul admonished believers in First Corinthians 1:31 and Second Corinthians 10:17, “Let him who glories, glory in the Lord.” In other words, any “glory” from a Christian’s works do not belong to the Christian, the glory belongs 100% to the Lord, which indicates the Lord is “more” glorified when people choose Him, repent, and work for him.

      1. Hello Robert and welcome.

        You do realize however – that in Calvinism – the THEOS is executing judgement on his own decrees.
        Since it is the case that creatures have no say in the matter of anything he designs them to be and do.

        Every impulse that comes to pass in their brains – does so infallibly and irresistibly – and he does not permit them to be/do otherwise.

        So in Calvinism creatures are blamed for not being what they are not permitted to be – and not doing what they are not permitted to do.


      2. Greetings. Your evaluation sums up the difficulty with the Classical Calvinist view on God’s sovereignty. They appear to suggest that in order for God to sustain the universe, He must control every atom in a way that would render useless the chemical properties of the atom that guide how it interacts with other atoms to produce the scientific realities of the universe. In a similar way, they believe that God controls every human thought in a way that would render the idea of human free will essentially meaningless. Although God’s power certainly sustains the existence of every brain cell, the properties of the human brain enable it to function without God directing the operation of every brain cell in a way that would render useless the chemical properties of the cell. Also, even though God sustains our capacity for free will, if we had no choice regarding our salvation, or regarding which car to purchase, etc., at that point there is no free will. Certainly, God is more glorified, or honored, in creating human beings who freely choose Him, compared to creating robots with no capacity to choose or reject Christ. A Calvinist might reply that although their view on God’s sovereignty and human free will may appear to present inherent contradictions, that there are spiritual realities God has chosen not to reveal that would render the Calvinist perspective non-contradictory. This argument is not persuasive, since a similar type of argument could be utilized to argue away many clear Christian teachings. This being said, although I don’t consider myself a Calvinist, there are many other elements of doctrine where I agree with the Calvinists and other Christian camps. Also, some theologians may consider themselves Calvinists, yet only agree with perhaps 80% or so of what Mr. Calvin taught.

      3. Nicely stated Robert!

        And on this statement:
        Also, some theologians may consider themselves Calvinists, yet only agree with perhaps 80% or so of what Mr. Calvin taught

        There is a very clear reason for that!
        Not eve Calvin could swallow the WHOLE camel ;-]


    8. I can’t help but ask why people continue to think God needs glory. He is infinitely glorious He has all of the glory that exists. The only problem is that Men – you and I, need to glorify Him in our minds, hearts and attitudes in order to be humbled and eventually saved. When the scriptures speak about giving God glory they are telling us to recognize Who He is and how absolutely magnificent and endlessly wonderfully glorious God really is. He gets no extra glory from this. Giving God glory is for our sake, not His.

      1. Hello colnunn1 and welcome

        Nice post!
        I totally agree!

        But as you may know – for a person to give God glory or not – entails a degee of LIBERTY that does not exist for humans in Calvinism.

        In Calvinism – everything that comes to pass is the consequence of infallible decrees
        Which are a manifestation of the divine will
        Which by its own nature is self glorifying.

        So in Calvinism – whatsoever comes to pass – infallibly glorifies the divine will.
        Which means – there is no such thing as any whatsoever coming to pass which does NOT give glory to the divine will

  2. Dear Leighton,
    Have you discussed 2 Peter 2:1, Romans 14:15 and 1 Corinthians 8:11.
    These Scriptures all prove that someone ‘for whom Christ died’ can still perish.
    Does not this clearly prove Calvinism is false? Calvinists believe that everyone ‘for whom Christ died’ will all saved.
    regards, Kyle

  3. Dr Flowers, it was nice to meet you at the convention in Dallas. I was a Calvinist for about nine years and have just recently came away from that doctrine. The Lord has used you and others to show me that God loves the whole world and not just a select few. Thank you for your ministry.

  4. I first listened today to the Pod Cast on the 5 Points/Reasons/Calvinism. What a Refreshing understanding of the Word! I have been a Believer in Christ (Yeshua) for 40 years and I have always thought in my Spirit that there had to be something in between these two Doctrinal teachings; Calvinism/Arminianism.

    My experience of the last twenty years with the Calvinist, has given me the sense that much of the Reformed experienced is referenced in the New Testament: “Having a Form of Godliness, they deny the power, thereof”.

    In addition, one of my thoughts is that there appears to be a sense of superiority, as the “Chosen Ones” and very little willingness to have in depth discussions on “The Faith once and for all delivered to the Saints”, in other words (Dead or Dying ).

    May the Lord bring all His people into an understanding of what is His Truth; “That none should perish, but that all that come to Him would inherit Eternal Life”. (paraphrase)

    Thank you again for the clarification.

    God is Good,

    Jeff Simmons

  5. I have read your work and would like very much to talk with you. But having said that there is an issue that I feel lead to address as a Methodist pastor. The Methodist do believe in corporate election. We believe all have been saved but not all are going to heaven. Because all are predestined through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for an individual to miss heaven one must deny what has been done on their behalf. We all start under grace. The question becomes when we arrive at the point in our lives where we must actively choose to acknowledge truth do we continue our lives declaring Him as truth or do we act on the false reality of this world as truth. If it’s not possible to reach that point and continue under grace them what is being suggested is once we reach that point we must step out from under His grace that we might re-enter His grace. Thus we are claiming we can leave grace by our own choice and then be brought back by the power of God. Peter actually did this. When Jesus asked His disciples who do men say that I am after several had replied He turned to Peter and asked him. Peter replied your are the Sin if God at which time Jesus replied man has not revealed this to you but the Holy Spirit. Just a short time later he would deny Christ three times. Question if Peter had not seen Christ resurrected would he have became the disciple that he did? What does it truly mean from Gods perspective to say we are born into sin? To truly understand one must be able to define sin from His perspective. He is truth. Truth is a person and the word truth is an explanation of His presence and nature. What it means to be born under sin is we are caught between two realities His presence and nature which is truth and a fallen version of creation which presents itself as truth. If truth, God, does not insert Himself to reveal Himself as truth could man deduce His existence apart from His presence. The answer to that is no! There is a place of total depravity the Bible calls it hell. So if election is corporate and we begin under grace can salvation be rejected? If election is corporate them the answer must be yes. If Peter had not seen the risen Christ after having declared Him the Son of God by the presence of the Holy Spirit then denying Him three times I contend he probably would have never found the courage on his own to ask forgiveness. One might say Peter had no choice after denying Christ but to continue but the Bible tells us it took Jesus appearing to him to put him back on the road for Christ. Some may say he was never saved until that point because Christ had not yet went to the cross but Christ going to the cross was the straw that broke their misguided ideals about whether type of Savior Christ was and is. I would like very much to hear back God Bless. dpigman@tgtel.com

    1. Meant to say when Peter was asked who do you say that I am Peter replied you are the Son of God

  6. Hello, the following is a reply from a reformed friend regarding Romans 8. Sorry if this is the wrong pplace for this question ” I dont know what to tell him at this point and nees some guidence. I simply don’t understand his method of interpretation. Romans 8:1 Therefore, I would have to stop right there and ask why is that word there. Paul has been saying that there is no hope of salvation in following the law, as Abraham was saved so shall everybody else be. The Jews were arguing against that and we read that as Paul lays it out for us. Faith over meriting salvation by works is Paul’s argument along with some other things like, we are all sinners whether Jew or gentile, we are all in Adam. Therefore can also be understood as consequently. In other words because of that, chapters 1-7 there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. So is this referring to the Israelite’s or the men of old? I don’t think so because the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set who free? The old testament saints? No, those who have faith (Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.) Romans 8:18 I think is the transition where Paul starts talking about suffering. He doesn’t think the sufferings here on earth are to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us. Who is the us? It is those who are in Christ. Not the children of Israel chosen for a noble cause. This suffering that we as believers go through may be very difficult but it is very, very insignificant to what we will be. Even the creation awaits this revealing of the saints. In verse 19 we read (sons of God) and in verse 21 we read (children of God) what group of people is this referring to? Those who are in Christ. Not the old testament saints. Jumping to verse 28 for the sake of my sleepiness, this verse anchors those who are in Christ that God works all things for the good to those that love God and are CALLED according to His purpose. So does verse 18-28 deal with the suffering old testament saint only? No it doesn’t it covers everybody who loves God. So everybody who loves God can trust that no matter what happens it’s going to work together for the good, according to God. Not only that, those who love God were foreknew, proginosko meaning God knew people, and those people He predestined to become conformed to Christ so that Jesus would be the firstborn, the preeminent one of all. Everyone in Christ will be like Him. Those whom God predestined He called, here is the call that always accomplishes it purpose because those whom God calls He justifies and those whom He justifies He glorifies. This is a chain of events that can not be broken. To respond to the past tense issue this simply speaks to the absolute certainty of God’s work. So I do not see anywhere in chapter 8 of Romans specifically talking about the people of Israel chosen for the noble cause, its just not there. I see Mr. Flowers attempt to make the elect of Romans 8:33 to be only Israel futile also an assault on the truth of the Scripture. In Love by your non-Calvinistic friend.😉”

  7. Dr Flowers

    I have kids about to start reading and want to get your opinion on actual text bibles and /or study resources for beginner readers that are not Calvinistic. Or at the very least, are there any translations for beginner readers you’d recommend that aren’t a collection of paraphrased bible stories?

    Any insight would be appreciated.

    John Davis
    Austin TX

  8. Hello Dr. Flowers, I watched some of your videos on youtube with interest. I have been interested to see several Calvinists come out of Calvinism and then accept the OSAS position. I have studied both Calvinism and OSAS, and fit into neither camp. I have not studied Arminianism much. I have come to the view, not that people can lose their salvation, but that they can reject it. I do not think anyone just finds out one day that they are lost. It is usually, if not always a process. Of course the OSAS position is that such a person was never saved in the first place. However, what I have searched for, for some time now is the history of where the OSAS position comes from. I cannot trace it very far back at all. I have written numerous church leaders who hold that position if they know where in history this view has been taught. Men like David Cloud respond to that by saying something like this, “Well, it is very simple. It comes from the NT.” I am not interested in whether someone believes it comes from the NT or not. I am interested in where in history, say between 150 AD and 1650 AD, this doctrine was ever taught. Would you know of this teaching appearing within those years?
    Blessings on your ministry,
    Pastor Phil Schlamp
    PS Oh, by the way, I have not received any answers yet other than those that lead back to Calvinism. Also, I am asking Dr. Rob Congdon the same question.

  9. Question can you tell me where did the Old Testament gentiles go after they died? Heaven or hell!

    1. This is from Calvin:

      “God,” says he, “had chosen them all as his people, but many of them fell from grace. Let us, therefore, take heed, lest the same thing should happen to us, being admonished by so many examples, for God will not suffer that to go unpunished in us, which he punished so severely in them.”

  10. Hi Dr. Flowers,

    Thank you for your labors for the spread of God’s kingdom. I recently listened to your Andy Stanley interview (I especially appreciated your encouragement to listen with charity). I tend to disagree with you on many things pertaining to the Doctrines of Grace–as I’m convinced of the reformed position myself–therefore, I found much to disagree with in your podcast.

    One thing I am curious about though, after cruising your site, is that you are a self-proclaimed former “5-pointer” yet you seem to take a stance that is wholly against the Doctrines of Grace. I can definitely understand someone not being convinced, or falling in another “soteriological camp,” but, in my admittedly brief overview of your site, you come across as if the reformed position has no biblical merit.

    Personally, I would be really interested in reading an article of yours that discusses the biblical warrant for the Doctrines of Grace–perhaps with commentary on why you would disagree with the individual doctrines as you go. ||Maybe this is out there in the archives and I just didn’t come across it|| Because, as you mentioned in the podcast, we’re all still Christians, and we may disagree on interpretation of these doctrines, but to assume that those who don’t agree with your position just aren’t reading their bibles–which, intended or not, is the feeling I get from your site–I think is irresponsible. If you think there is merit to both stances (which you must if you used to be convinced of the reformed view), it would be good (and charitable) for you to explain to your readers how one could read their bible with fervor and land in a different spot than you do.

    And I think this would be especially powerful from a person like yourself who has lived in both camps, so to speak. Just my two cents. Take it or leave it.


    1. Hi Matt, Leighton rarely stops by here to comment. You may have more “luck” or “providence” catching him on the FB Soteriology101 group site. But on this site you will find articles on everything you need to know about what Leighton thinks about each of the 5 points of Calvinism that he formally held to. He still holds to eternal security. And as one of the moderators of Leighton on this site, I would be happy to discuss any specific issue.

      You made it sound as if Doctrines of Grace are only the right way by reformed theology. I think that is the issue at hand here on this site. Leighton believes they have been defined incorrectly by reformed theology, as far as the TULI especially are concerned.

  11. Hello Dr. Flowers, I have found your resources and pod casts a treasure, as I am in the midst of battling Calvinism with my husband whom I love dearly for more than 22 years. It is a long 3 year battle and at times thought it would end my marriage and divide our family (3 children). I am just a simple wife, mother and speech-language pathologist who came to know the Lord at 18 with no Christian upbringing and I admit I do not have a great scriptural reference to back up all of our arguments about theology. I am a simple southern baptist believer who never put much thought into a systematic approach to how I was saved. My husband has always been in love with the Lord and loves deeper theological issues with debate (he used to look for JW to come to our door) and combined with the task of finding a new church home lead us to where we are now. He has a extremist personality to everything he does; and everything he does is done with 110%. I have so much more to my story and so so many questions to ask as I fear my marriage is beyond repair because of my husband’s staunch conversion to Calvinism and the reformed church we now attend. I have searched your website but I didn’t see an email-I would like to sit and clearly lay out my story from a wife’s perspective as honoring and respecting her husband when they are leading you down a spiritual path that you don’t agree with which is so very difficult and I fail daily. Thank you so much for what you do and teach. I had prayed for this for years. You give me hope. Sincerely, DB

    1. This is my first time on this website and was looking around when I stumbled across your post, and I just couldn’t pass it by. First of all, my family and I would be happy to pray about your situation. I know you sought council from Dr. Flowers and I don’t know how soon he will be able to respond – if at all, as he seems a very busy man from what I see so far. I thought that maybe I might be able to say something that would tide you over until he is able to respond.

      I would like to begin by reassuring you that God promises that He is our fortress and our refuge – even with respect to our spouse – and, He will rescue and deliver His children in times of trouble:

      Psalms 31:1-5
      31 In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
      2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
      3 Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
      4 Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
      5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.

      To keep things shorter, I would say that, in times of trouble, I do the best in getting through it only when I thank God for and in the trouble and then engage in self-examination just to make sure I’m not bringing any of my grief onto myself. Not all suffering is because we’re living for Jesus. Oftentimes, it’s because we’re not living fully according to His teachings – out of not knowing all of what these teachings are, out of not being properly trained, and out of thinking we don’t have to obey something.

      Two things I would recommend both you and your husband look closer at are these:

      1 Peter 3:1-7

      3 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

      7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

      Nowhere in this passage do I see a three-year, marriage-ending battle.

      Secondly, we see within the qualifications for church leadership that being overbearing is unwanted and displeasing to God:

      Titus 1:7
      7 Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless — not overbearing, not quick-tempered, ….

      There’s more to say about godly husband and wife interactions, but this should be a good start.

      As for resolving disagreements between any two Christians, I believe the Church overwhelmingly lacks the skills to achieve much unity and agreement; either between denominations, within denominations, or even within marriages. God showed me a very simple “formula” that I’d like to pass along:

      God’s children are supposed to: (1) agree to agree (not agree to disagree); (2) on God’s terms; (3) with His help (the Holy Spirit is supposed to teach us and illuminate our understanding while we study and humbly teach others and learn from others what the Bible says); (4) for His sake (not for our own credit or adulation); and, (5) in His timing (waiting on God to teach each of us what we each need to know in order to be in genuine agreement, which doesn’t always happen right away.)

      True and genuine unity and agreement between any two Christians – even to the mind and thought level – is possible, because all things are possible with God. As we read in the passage below, God expects it from us. So, if we live rightly before God and seek this unity and agreement, God will grant it.

      1 Corinthians 1:10-12
      10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

      You could substitute modern-day denominational names or philosophical slants for the names we see in verse 12. It’s all wrong. Aspiring to Calvinism, Arminianism, Catholicism, etc. is all wrong. It only leads to quarrels.

      One day, I believe all the great biblical scholars and theologians will be up in Heaven holding their head in their hands after being set straight by Jesus, all while saying the same thing: “I can’t believe I was that far off in what I believed and documented for others to follow. I feel bad for how much I misled people I was only trying to help.” Worse, they’ll regret how discouraging and damaging to the Church they had been by making people think they first needed to be able to explain their salvation, for example, in the same highfalutin terms as them before they could be “qualified” to feed their hungry neighbor.

      The devil has all of us all fighting instead of: serving others in God’s love (by doing everything God’s way) as we seek God to learn and understand His one Truth, as He makes it plain to us – directly and through our loving (vs. lording) leaders and teachers.

      Hope this helped.

    2. Wow, your story was as if I was reading my own story only being from a small town with no reformed church available. I have same background as you too. I was leaning towards Calvinism but it never felt right with my spirit. Finally I let go of it and just focused on God and my family. Grew in my relationship with Christ. I saw a change in my husbands personality leaning towards that elitist mentality that I often see in Calvinist. I will say our marriage was never in trouble per say, we will never agree on everything but in love discuss things. Iron sharpens iron. I am definitely not a patient person but God gave me a peace about it. I was in turmoil about it for 3 years. It took him longer, maybe 5 years. Never did I think my husband wasn’t saved. Who are we to say we understand it all. I don’t think I’ve ever commented on anything but just wanted to encourage you in your marriage. Be patient with him and pray for your marriage daily. Truly give it over to God. I know my husband would be more than willing to talk with your husband. 🙂
      Your sister in Christ 🙂

  12. I found your podcast on Spotify I find it very informative. When I was young minister I used to debate with James White on a reformed message board (doesn’t exist anymore). I presented him with Retroactive Theology and what I called the plain reading of the scriptures. Keep up the good work, if want more information about Retroactive Theology (not we’ll known) it is very effective in combating TULIP .

    1. HI Matthew, I”m interested in hearing more about ‘retrtoactive theology’–i just did a internet search and couldn’t find. I appreciate what you said regarding ‘the clear reading of the Word’. When watching theology debates the Calvinists have a tendency to use their own arguments vs letting the Word speak for itself. The problem I see overall with these debates on both sides is neither side gets to get to the point or get annoyingly pedantic.

      As an aside and just as important is that most mainstream churches continue with false teachings, such as ‘once saved always saved’ and the pagan belief that Hell is a place of eternal torment and ignore the multitude of verses that say ‘the punishment for sin is death’ that the wicked PERISH and are DESTROYED. They use two verses (Revelations and Luke) “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” , In Luke 13:28 neglecting to see the PLAIN reading of the text. First of all gnashing has several meanings, not just pain, but also deep regret and anger (think Stephen being stoned)–so to the rest of the verse: “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when they see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves are thrown out.” When do they weep? When they SEE Abraham Isaac and Jacob all the prophets getting into the kingdom of heaven, but they are cast out. They are clearly not in some burning torment. Also it is impossible for them to burn day and night forever since Revelations 20:14 says Hell and Death will be destroyed and that there will be no more night (Rev 22:5) because God will be there light, so following that to its logical conclusion they can’t burn day and night since there will be no more night and day (there can’t be night without day)! therefore TIME will cease to exist. Logically if time ceases to exist it is an impossibility for anyone to burn forever. And even if we didn’t have a multitude of verses saying destruction is the end of the man who rejects Christ (Malachi 4:3)–what would be a loving and merciful God’s point be ?–would eternity of eternal torment be justice for a human’s short life time of sin?

      1. Hell is forever and weeping and knashing is for eternity. Time does not move forward or backward. God created evil just as He created good. Isaiah 45:7. He is omnicient and only chooses some not all. Many are called but few are chosen. God ordains everything for His glory even evil. Do not question God, I did and found out I am just a lump of clay who is not chosen

      2. Lisa –
        –“Hell is forever and weeping and knashing is for eternity.” – True
        –“Time does not move forward or backward.” – Reality moves forward, the past is past, the future is future. Ps 90:2
        –“God created evil just as He created good.” That’s a lie from the evil one. God did not create moral evil. He only created the possibility for its existence… not the necessity.
        –“Isaiah 45:7.” Isaiah 45:7 YLT — “Forming light, and preparing darkness, Making peace, and preparing evil, I am Jehovah, doing all these things.” This is present tense divine activity, and gives no hint of an eternal predestination. Evil is not moral evil in this context but physical and temporal calamity.
        –“He is omnicient” True. But His omniscience is dynamic. His mind is not eternally immutably predestined from before creation to think things only work out one way.
        –“and only chooses some not all. Many are called but few are chosen.” True. But it does not say “have been chosen” eternally, immutably. They are being called and then added to the Elect One through faith… becoming one of His elect.
        –“God ordains everything for His glory even evil.” Misleading. You mean, I think, eternally immutably ordained…not present tense “ordains”. Yes, He is making decisions and choices even now between possibilities that exist in His infinite understanding. He’s not locked in and limited to all things only working out one way. Neither are you!

  13. Dr Flowers,

    I know this is a million to one shot and my comment will probably never be seen. But I have to try. I’m a recent convert to Christianity. I would love to maybe ask you a few questions via email. I promise I’ll keep them brief. Any chances of that happening?

    1. Patrick… Leighton rarely interacts on this blog site anymore. You’d have better possibility to connect with him on his FB page or Soteriology101 Facebook page.

  14. Are there any plans to release ‘THE POTTER’S PROMISE” on audio book format. For example in audible. I love to listen to books while walking and this would bbe a great benefit. Thanks for your minisrty!

  15. Having found contradictions in many both denominational/non-denominational churches overs the years I found in my searching several biblical scholars whom I self study and follow. Those include such as Michael Heiser, John Walton, Tremper Longman III, Dan Wallace, Craig Evans, Craig Keener, Ben Witherington, Darrell Bock, and several others. I have to tell you that your videos fill what I still lacked the ability to formulate against the gnawing in the pit of my stomach after listening to Allie Beth Stucky whom I was initially exposed to in following politics. It sent off several alarm bells and your YouTube videos helped me understand why. Heiser himself has good arguments regarding election etc., but as I’ve said you helped me with a more comprehensive working knowledge as it relates to everyday conversation and what I refer to as “pew speak.” I don’t mean that as an insult but as a distinctive. Thank you so much for starting me in an apologetic approach to combat what I believe is a misreading of actual biblical text turned into a dangerous theology. I pray I never unknowingly mislead anyone who seeks God’s word and your work gives me some confidence.

  16. In my search for the reasons why Augustine underwent such a sudden and extreme change in his teachings it seems likely very human considerations should be taken into account – hatred of his theological enemies, an ends justifying the means mentality and perhaps fear of losing what he had. Given that Paul warns against the doctrines of demons and of some arising from within the church to ravage the flock is there any evidence that Augustine had any kind of spiritual/demonic encounter that resurrected many of his old Manichaean beliefs and breathed new life (death!) into them. They certainly seem to have a more than human grip on many otherwise godly and thoughtful people. When people like Whitefield, Spurgeon and Lloyd Jones espouse Calvinism yet minister to people as if they had autonomous free-will one realise their godliness enabled their success despite, not because of, this part of their theology.

    1. Hello zoransulc and welcome

      Your post is insightful.

      From my perspective it makes perfect sense that Augustine’s thinking evolved the way it did. Firstly, he was born into wealth – which allowed him to take advantage of leisure, learning.

      Christian Gnosticism asserted a significant presence in its day and the Gnostic sect of Manichaeism flourished in the ancient world. Manichaeism spread with extraordinary speed through both the east and west, from North Africa to China. Being widely promoted by apostles, it reached Egypt at around 240 A.D., and Rome at around 280 A.D. Manichaean monasteries existed in Rome in 312 A.D. during the time of the Catholic Pope, Miltiades.

      Neoplatonism became widely influential at around the 3rd century A.D. and persisted until shortly after the closing of Plato’s Academy in Athens at around 520 A.D.

      English historian, Theodore Maynard, in The story of American Catholicism writes: “It has often been 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.”

      In the NeoPlatonist world-view, all things have an infinite, timeless, and unchangeable God as the cause of their existence. Some of the dualistic elements within Manichaeism were also shared, as NeoPlatonism was heavily influential among the Gnostics.

      These constructs would be imbibed by the Catholic NeoPlatonists, and Augustine would carry them forward, and in his eloquent writing, baptize them as Christian, just like the great god Pan.

    2. Those men did not minister to people “as if they had autonomous free-will,” but as if the Biblical doctrine of compatibilism is true. View God as perfectly sovereign and man as wholly responsible and you will have a theology robust enough to handle anything ministry with fallen human beings might throw at you.

      If you view those complementary Biblical truths as competing or mutually exclusive concepts, or reduce either side of the equation into insignificance, you end up with a distortion.

      1. But if the two are contradictory…..we cannot play philosophical games just to satisfy ourselves but present an absurdity to any thoughtful enquirer

      2. True. At the same time, we cannot demand that God (or man) explain deep mysteries to the satisfaction of the human intellect. Some things taught in scripture must be accepted as true even though they cannot be fully explicated by us. The mystery of the Trinity: God’s Being rightly described as both three and one. The mystery of the incarnation: our Lord rightly described as truly human and truly divine in nature. The mystery of Scripture’s inspiration: both divine and human in origin. The mystery of divine sovereignty and human responsibility: both overlapping in the equation of choice. Each of these may properly be expressed in the rhetorical form of a paradox, and they remain ultimately inscrutable since we are not given (in God’s revelation) the details on how they fit together. Aren’t these very kinds of mysteries and paradoxes essential to Christian faith?

      3. I would agree with this.

        However you do understand your position allows for one to reject Universal Divine Causal Determinism (aka Calvinism) and be fully consistent with your position. Of course one can also embrace it and still be fully consistent with your position. However that being said – I also agree with Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Alvin Plantinga who conclude that the rational end ethical problems that arise with the embrace of Universal Divine Causal Determinism represent a significant burden on the believer. Forcing the believer to live *AS-IF* determinism is FALSE – in order to retain an alliance with the language of scripture and retain normalcy in life.

        For example – there is no such thing as “Libertarian” thinking in a Deterministic world. In other words a world in which you are granted the “Liberty” to discern between TRUE vs FALSE. Because in Theological Determinism – a THEOS at the foundation of the world determines what your every perception. For the Muslim – the THEOS determines him to perceive his religion as TRUE and yours as FALSE. And for you – the THEOS determines your mind to perceive your religion as TRUE and his FALSE. And since the THEOS determines what you and the Muslim perceive – neither of you have any way of knowing whether what you perceive is actually TRUE or FALSE. Both of you have your perception of TRUTH totally determined by an external mind – by factors outside of your control. Therefore in a deterministic world there is no such thing as rational reasoning – which requires choosing between multiple options which exist as REAL. Doing so is logically excluded by determinism.

        As Calvinist Gregory Koukl of Stand to Reason ministries confirms:
        The problem with determinism, is that without freedom, rationality would have no room to operate. Arguments would not matter, since no one would be able to base beliefs on adequate reasons. One could never judge between a good idea and a bad one. One would only hold beliefs because he has been predetermined to do so. Although it is theoretically possible that determinism is true…..no one could ever know if it – if it were. Everyone of our thoughts dispositions and opinions would have been decided for us by factors completely out of our control. Therefore in practice, arguments for determinism are self defeating.”

        So for those Christians who appeal to mystery as you have described – the Non-Determinist Christian is in a much better position to live a rational life – coherent with the language of scripture – than the determinist Christian – who is forced to live *AS-IF* what he believes is FALSE.

      4. The thought occurs to me that both in the Garden (Did God say?) and in the wilderness (If you are …..) the devil questioned what was a fixed truth to the son/Son of God. He tried to prompt a speculation that would put Adam and Jesus at his mercy (Yield to my reasoning an all will be yours) but would actually lead to confusion – Adam would not become like God and fulfil his God given mandate to rule the world; Jesus would not actually be given rulership of the world for he would have made himself subject to the devil. We are told unequivocally that God is love, the Bible makes it crystal clear that throughout history God has appealed to the will of man to repent and return to faithfulness to him. If we now intrude this particular philosophical paradox and insist that determinism must be entertained, it brings confusion and if truly imbibed it prompts a range of unhealthy consequences in many;
        We practically ignore scriptures that don’t fit, or
        We reinterpret them to the extent that language loses its meaning,
        We lose reason, and thereby motivation, to obey God because we are told God’s will is inevitable no matter what we decide,
        We hide this “truth” from unbelievers pretending to all our hearers that God truly loves them when we know he doesn’t,
        We reveal this “truth” once they believe and place them in a position of potential disloyalty to their saviour if they reject it,
        We establish an elite, a de facto priesthood who claim the capacity to understand these things and to whom we must defer,
        We set up a tension within believers who are led by the Holy Spirit to fulfil Christ’s will to preach to all the world that John 3:16 says God loves to the extent of giving his Son, and yet have the knowledge that he only died for the elect. (The fact that many are able to overcome this is surely a case of the divine nature, we are made partakers of, overcoming human reason).
        God knows human capacity to understand and believe. The angel told the uneducated shepherds he was bringing good news, of a saviour, of a great joy which will be for all the people – but there is little to provoke great joy in the deterministic message. I fear that anything which entangles faith in God in a web of doubt and confusion, that only a certain few who disregard normal rules of linguistic communication can clarify, is suspect. Paul feared – “But I am afraid however that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be led astray from the simplicity and purity that is in Christ.” – should we not also?

      5. Wonderful post!
        Well said – and comprehensive!

        I would just add – we create a THEOS who deceives his people by leading them to believe his will is [A] while he SECRETLY withholds the TRUTH – that his will is [NOT A]. He commands man – while employing a SECRET supernatural power to NOT PERMIT man from doing what he commands. He then blames man for not doing what he did not PERMIT man to do.

        Additionally, the Gnostic/NeoPlatonist god has “Moral Dualism” where there is no delineating line between good and evil. He is made up of both good and evil. As Jonathon Edwards would put it – the glory of evil is necessary for the glory of good to shine forth. In this system good and evil are Co-Equal, Co-Necessary and Co-Complimentary. And this is why we observe in Calvinism – many things come in “good-evil” pairs. The divine potter designs vessels of wrath as well as vessels of mercy.

        Thus historically the primary controversy Reformed Theology has perennially faced is its inherent and underlying embrace of “Moral Dualism”.

      6. Thanks for your kind comment. Your Jonathan Edwards quote and similar sentiments noted in John Piper’s work makes me wonder what they really think love means. When talking to people about the various deities and spirits that, around the world, are allowed to rule their lives I ask which of these they would feel enthusiastic about welcoming into their innermost being. It’s one thing to placate or receive benefits from these beings but to be joined in spirit? Whatever one’s view on the correct application of Rev.3:20 Jesus does ask for rather than impose entry into lives. Those who know God aright have little problem with this – except perhaps with the surrender of their independence. I’m afraid Calvin’s god reminds me more of Allah and I’d have more than second thoughts about welcoming him in.

      7. I can surely understand how you would see it that way – as the Muslim religion (as Calvinism) is founded on Theological Determinism. And yes – and as you’ve well described – Calvinists have to do a lot of word juggling in order make the general narrative of scripture conform to a deterministic world. A double-think theology with a double-think THEOS. IMHO – “Double-Speak” (which is the outward expression of double-think) is a well recognized byproduct of Determinism/Compatibilism.

        Immanuel Kant in Critique of Practical Reason writes:
        “Compatibilism is a wretched subterfuge with which some persons still let themselves be put off, and so think they have solved lives problems with petty word-jugglery.”

        Dr. William James in The Dilemma of Determinism writes:
        “Compatibilism is a quagmire of evasion. The Compatibilists strategy relies upon stealing the name of freedom to mask their underlying determinism. They make a pretense of restoring the caged bird to liberty with one hand, while with the other they anxiously tie a string to its leg to make sure it can’t get beyond determinism’s grasp.”

        So you have good grounds and stand in the company of thinkers – to have come to you’re analysis.

      8. Hi Zornsulc,

        A great argument. I consider myself a critical thinker, yet I attended a PCA church for 7 years (Presbyterian Churches of America–conservative branch of the Presbyterian church) without knowing about Calvinism. I felt at home there more than any church I’ve ever attended. No folderol–no trying to be relevant. And without a doubt the most educated group of people I’ve ever encountered in a church setting. Music wasn’t ‘cookie cutter, e.g. You are the breath in my lungs…” You always knew what the point of the sermon was–no yelling or affectation. And yet it took me all that time before I discovered what the foundation of their belief system was–it wasn’t what was being said, it was what wasn’t. When I discovered Calvinism and TULIP I was like a Mormon finding out who Joseph Smith was. This discovery came at a woman’s study: I said I wanted to be more intentional about sharing the gospel and the response was “You do that in relationship”—other comments I can’t recall–all eyes were on me and I knew something was ‘off’-a wall went up. I said, “Yes, but Jesus said “GO [make disciples of all men]”. As I left I said to myself, “What’s going on here?” And immediately I knew I needed to research Calvinism. It took me a matter of minutes to realize I had been hoodwinked.


      9. Wonderful post Cyndi!
        I especially took note of this very insightful statement you made

        “it wasn’t what was being said, it was what wasn’t. ”

        You hit such a massive bulls-eye on that one!

        Here is wisdom:
        The Calvinist is not what he says – he is what he HIDES.

  17. Thank you Brdmod! And perfect saying, ” The Calvinist is not what he says – he is what he HIDES”. – how true!

    Calvinists ‘”deny the Christ that bought them’ on at least two accounts”; on one, saying He died for some and not all and on the other that all was decided before hand so essentially Christ died for nothing.

    “God demonstrated His great love in that while we were YET sinners He died for us.”



  18. Hi Mr. Flowers. My husband and I have appreciated so much your teachings on Calvinism through your podcast and the books you have written. I still have one burning question though. Often we hear that Calvinists are our brothers and sisters in Christ and just because we don’t agree on exactly how God’s love and sovereignty is displayed we are one in Christ. I struggle with this because when you look at the core differences between how we see God and preach His salvation, they are very different. Calvinists imply that God is less loving, selective and more deterministic towards humans, which paints a very different character of God from a God who we believe shows His love equally to all mankind and allows us to have the free will to choose if we will accept Him or reject Him. So, to my mind, are not Calvinists basically saying God is not as loving or kind or merciful as we believe Him to be. So then, is not the God they believe in different from the God we believe in? Also, the way they twist scripture is not also an offence against God’s word by changing the meaning that is central to the characterization of God and how He shows His love for the world. My husband and I attended a Calvinist church for a few years, and things started off fine but then they turned hostile towards us because we would not accept and claim TULIP. We were told we could not use our spiritual gifts in the church either. We got the sense that, even though they didn’t come right out and say it, they did not believe us to be truly saved. In some material they gave us to listen to the speaker actually said if you don’t agree with Calvinism then you don’t understand the gospel correctly. We heard John Piper say something similar to that as well and actually very forcefully state that those individuals will not be in Heaven. It seems like the Calvinists don’t really see us as brothers and sisters in Christ, whereas Non Calvinist churches do and prove this by allowing them to work and serve in their churches, as well as not discounting the good things they have to say and contribute to the Faith. Calvinists also have said that you Mr. Flowers are guilty of false teaching, therefore saying you are a false teacher. So, its confusing for me because are not Calvinists possibly the false teachers then? They are the ones that have to manipulate what scripture is saying, which the scripture warns about not doing? So, I don’t want to suggest that Calvinists might not be truly saved because of their understanding of how God’s involvement in Salvation works, but in teaching people a message that can actually make them want to turn away because there is less hope of deliverance and less concern from God about how He loves and values each of us, how do I reconcile this? They are preaching something wrong about who God is – they are tarnishing His character. Is the Jesus who died on the cross for the sins of the whole world the same Jesus who died on the cross for only the elected. Are these not two very opposite teachings and representations? So, is the God they believe in really the same God we believe and place our faith and trust in? The other thing I struggle with is because we have the Holy Spirit in us, teaching us truth, why then, do Calvinists who must also have the spirit have such a different understanding and basically belief system? For my husband and I, it’s not about being right but about getting it right. When we ventured on this journey of educating ourselves on Calvinism when faced with the prospect that we might not actually have it right, and therefore, not be truly saved, we went in with an open mind and heart to what God had to teach and show us. We believe 100% that God has confirmed over and over again that how we believe is correct. So if Calvinists are truly our brothers and sisters in Christ, how can the Spirit not testify the same understanding to us all? I understand that Christians don’t always agree on everything, but for me this is the one thing that matters – it has to do with our salvation and relationship with God. How can the foundation of our faith be so different – yet we are still one in the same?

  19. I have a sincere question I am hoping someone can help me with. I can understand how someone could believe the Bible teaches Calvinism and feel they have to accept it because it is true. However, i can not understand why so many Calvinists seem excited about what they believe. To me, it would be a horrible truth to have to accept, why would anybody be happy about it? To me the idea that so many of the people we interact with every day are hell bound and there is nothing that can ever change, is absolutely horrible. Even worse to believe that God created these sentient feeling people who can suffer specifically for the purpose of being condemned and suffering for eternity. Why would anyone WANT to believe this?

    1. I agree with your sentiments, though the Calvinist would claim that whether you want to believe it or not, God is all powerful and we have no say in what they see as His rejection of most of mankind and His choosing to save only a handful. But I believe that when the scriptures tell us that God is Love, they mean that He is truly and totally love. He is not limited in any way that He chooses not to be, and to limit His love is to say that He is not truly love. No other noun is attributed to Him in the way that the noun “love” is. There are many adjectives used to describe Him, but “Love” is a noun not an adjective. It does not say that God is “loving”, or “One Who Loves”, or that He loves in a limited way. It tells us that God is Love, and tells us that Jesus and all of the loving things He did and taught was God in the Flesh – when we look at Jesus, we see God. He said “I and the Father are one etc…”
      When we look at Jesus, we see love in action. Even when He spoke truth to the religious leaders He did so to warn, rather than to condemn and when they crucified Him He prayed for them saying “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
      We’re told that God is not willing that any man should perish but that all men should repent. Does this indicate uncaring loveless neglect, or true love? John 3:16-17 tell us of His intention that men should believe and be saved. Why? Because God is Love.

    2. Calvinism is a theory from John Calvin who was born at the beginning of the 15th Century. There is no common sense to his theory or logic. I don’t need a hundred Scriptures to prove that he is wrong. Just one 2 Corinthians 5:15 KJV.
      God so loved the World, not just the elect, the world. As a buisiness transaction so to speak, or a buisiness offer, God could not justly allow Eternal darkness and punishment unless He gave them an opportunity first to avoid such damnation and a way of escape. I have shared Christ to people in a foreign country and they knew who Jesus was. I’m telling you that people willing stumble into hell, because they think that it is so very far away. It’s only one heart beat.

  20. I sometimes get a chuckle out of the so called know it all theologians who can come down on some like Bro Leightner who has kindly and most graciously shared his viewpoints on Calvinism. I actually went to Baptist Bible College with Dan Ferrell and was enjoying his teaching on Baptist Church History. I did not realize that he possibly might lean in the misguided teachings of John Calvin. Both Calvin and Armenius were born in the 15th Century. “I am simply a Bible believer.” John 3:16 is enough for me, but what about 2 Corinthians 5:15a And that He died for “all”, not some, not just the elect, but all. Another thing that is missing from the lack of logic or practicality of Calvinism is this, God could not and would not be able to allow a person to enter Eternal darkness and punishment, if he never offered them an alternative, no, that would go against every sense of fairness that John 3:16 conveys.!!
    I have personally shared Christ Salvation plan way more than 20,000 times in my lifetime. And Praise God hundreds of Souls have accepted Christ as their only Savior.
    I can fly an airplane, I can operate the biggest earthmovers made by Caterpillar and the biggest bull dozers, but I know Salvation better than anything that I know or do. I could teach God’s Simple plan of Salvation at Dallas Theological Seminary or any Bible College and never carry one note inside the classroom or find myself without material to share or Scriptures to enlighten the listeners. Salvation is Eternal from it’s beginning birth inside your Soul. Amen
    George Wagner

  21. At the beginning of my statement, I may have left out half of a word. I meant to say that some people will be critical towards someone like Bro Leightner. Who, in my opinion, you were very kind and approached this subject matter in a very respectful manner toward Brother Dan Farrell. He may disagree with you, but he cannot say that you were disrespectful.
    God bless you Special.!!


    George Wagner

  22. Dear Dr. Leighton Flowers,

    I saw your name on Paul Penley’s post about John Calvin. So I thought you might be interested in my letter to Alistair Begg below.
    Thank you. Comment if you care to.

    Also here is my flower of choice describing Calvin vs. tulip:

    “If we’re going to use a flower to describe both John Calvin and Calvinism, I was thinking: “What flower would I use?” Then it struck me “Dandelion!” I researched this flower and made some profound discoveries and parallels to Calvin, that make this the perfect choice. Here is the my list of ten reasons:

    1. The original name of this flower was French, just like Calvin. It was called dent de lion which means “lion’s tooth” because of the sharp edges of the leaves.

    2. It has 100 species, over 100 ministers were sent to France between 1555 and 1562, and Calvin’s Institutes of Christian closes each book with 100 aphorisms and there are more than a hundred million members in Calvinist churches.

    3. One dandelion flower has 150-200+ petals (florets), with up to 10 flowers, or 15 hundred to two thousand petals per plant enabling Calvinism to spread globally, 211 denominations.

    4. One dandelion produces an average of 15,000 seeds; approaching the number of pages in Calvin’s writings and the approximate population of Geneva during Calvin’s reign.

    5. Dandelion is also known as a “fortune-teller.”

    6. Dandelions have spread to reach every nation and continent on the earth except Antartica.

    7. One seed can blow 60 miles, then when it sprouts, up to another 60 miles until it reached the ends of the earth.

    8. It survives almost any kind of weather and I know of no weed more capable of taking over your entire green lawn and choking off the good grass because the leaves spread out horizontally against the good soil, sucking the nutrition from the grass, making it a thief.

    9. It is yellow, symbolic color of a coward for failing to minister to plague victims.

    10. It presents itself as flower, but is really a tare (weed), so it disguises itself as a friend to your church, which will be thrown into the fire when the Lord separates the wheat from the tares.”

    Should I add or subtract or amend any of the ten points?

    James Sundquist

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: James Sundquist
    Subject: Alistair Begg, John Calvin, Infant Baptism, and Musical Instruments in Worship
    Date: May 18, 2020 at 12:28:06 PM EDT
    To: ptautges@cornerstonemayfield.org, paultautges@delightingintheworld.org

    Dear Pastor Paul Tautges and Members of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church of Cleveland,

    Since Alistair Begg and Parkside Church are in Cleveland and you are in Cleveland, you should be alerted to the following letter I sent to Pastor Alistair Begg and every staff member. Not a single response, even after a followup, They state on their website that they will respond, then never do. They did respond with this acknowledgement: “We will respond to you as quickly as possible. Thank you” but then never do! I am a Christian journalist and author, and will so reflect their lack of response in my upcoming book on John Calvin.

    Thank you.

    Kindest regards in Christ,

    James Sundquist

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: James Sundquist
    Subject: Alistair Begg, John Calvin, Infant Baptism, and Musical Instruments in Worship
    Date: May 12, 2020 at 10:10:34 AM EDT

    Dear Pastor Steve and Members of Parkside Church,

    As you would already know, your pastor Alistair Begg refutes infant baptism and you employ musical instruments in worship. I AM GLAD!!! But what is baffling and confusing to me is that Alistair also glowingly promotes John Calvin. But Calvin burned people at the stake for opposing infant baptism and declared that use of musical instruments in worship is an abomination. Did you know that? This brings me to the following questions:

    1. Why would any kind of Baptist not totally reject John Calvin and have no association with even his name who burned people at the stake for opposing infant baptism? This is what you and I and Alistair look like were John Calvin to get his hands on us:


    2. As you know, The Netherlands is where Reformed Theology TULIP originated then spread throughout Europe, Africa, and America. But of the billions of tulips sold from there every year, wasn’t there at least one wise among them to inform them to inform them that a tulip has only 3 petals and to this day no one has exposed this?

    3. Conrad Mbewe a black leading pastor in Zambia is championing Calvinism taking over Africa. But Calvinism is responsible for white supremacy Dutch Reformed Church in Africa and corrupting Curse of Ham racism plague that also infected America my country. Can you explain this?

    4. Calvin banned and condemned the use of musical instruments in worship, calling it an abomination. So why do so many Reformed, and all other Baptist Denominations and so many other denominations, use musical instruments in worship in defiance of John Calvin? This was punishable according to Calvin, so I also wonder what would happen to you and all of the musicians in your church, and me as a guitarist who has ministered in concert in 43 States? (see my website below).
    But what does Calvin say about the Psalms?
    “Nowhere is the method of praising God delivered more fully; or are we stimulated more powerful to render him this office of godliness…sounds of string instruments…and song in four parts do not in the least suit the majesty of the Church, and only greatly displease God” John Calvin
    Another quote from Douglas Bond, citing Calvin:

    “John Calvin urged that “all human inventions in worship be removed and driven from us, which God himself justly abominates.” Far from aping the world, Christian men ought to stand against the impulse to reinvent worship so it looks and sounds like the world.”

    “Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting of lamps and the restoration of other shadows of the Law. The Papists therefore have foolishly borrowed this as well as many other things from the Jews.” John Calvin

    I look forward to your responses!!

    Thank you.

    Kindest regards in Christ,

    James Sundquist

    1. Dear Brother – I too believe that elements of Calvinism a wicked distortion of true Christianity – however your polemic seems like nothing more than the tiresome and totally unproductive braying that plagues the church. They have John White in scornful rhetoric – we do not need an equivalent. I suggest you spend more time proclaiming the truth graciously instead of adding more fuel to this particular fire.

  23. I so appreciate Leighton’s work. I think it’s wild to see how humble he stays in the face of White. Either way, I have been very blessed with the clarity that Leighton teaches with and the truth that he brings to these matters. I was actually studying the atheistic beliefs about predestination per biology and then met the parallel arguments that exist in theological thought. It interesting that atheist darwinists say that even rape and murder have evolutionary value due to their existence in society and therefore people are not accountable and free to their actions. There is a strong parallel in the theological argument as well in that we cannot be in control of thought and deed, but are predestined to have a will that we are unable to impact.

    1. Hello Jordan and welcome.

      Thanks for your post – you draw some illuminating parallels!

  24. So glad I found this page.
    I have felt like for some time that either I have been predestined for heaven or hell, and no say in the matter.
    I have found myself becoming hardened through that, and had felt like I could do nothing about it, because if I was predestined for destruction, what can I really do?
    This site and the youtube has given me hope. I hope I have not been hardened too much at this point.
    Many blessings.

    1. Hello Mike E. and welcome.

      I am sorry for you that you didn’t have the option to hear alternatives.
      Calvinists of course are going to present their unique belief system *AS-IF* it is the only true option.
      Unlike yourself – they learn to deal with the evilness of their system – by using mind blocking practices – which is essentially double-think.

      I thank the Lord – you were strong enough mentally to withstand falling for that!

  25. Dr. Flowers,

    I wrote this brief sermonette some time ago when I was still a five point Calvinist. What is the Arminian / transitionalist response to this?

    I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

    When Jesus said this, the people tried to lynch Him and throw Him off a cliff. Both of these miracles were done for heathen (Gentiles). There are many lessons in this text. What stands out to me is – the unconditional nature of God’s blessing and provision.

    God bestows his benefits to whomever He pleases. No man can complain about His actions, because no man deserves to receive any kindness from Him. God never punished anyone who did not deserve it and He never blessed anyone who earned it. Justice depends on certain rules; but divine generosity is unconditional.

    I have visited nations where many people dwell who have never heard the gospel. Many of them will die without ever having had access to a bible. Let that sink in- they will spend eternity in hell without ever having heard the name of Jesus one time. Why were you born in a nation with so much access to the gospel? Why were you born in this generation? Before the Gutenburg press in 1455, bibles were hand written. Bibles were not even widely available in English until the early 1600’s. We have been blessed by God -so much so that it is very difficult for us to truly realize it. What if you were born before Christ? Israel was the only nation with the knowledge of the one true God. …just a handful of people when you think about the entire world.

    We are blessed. Like the widow of Zarephath, we were chosen among many widows. Like Naaman the Syrian, we were chosen among many lepers. There is no room for boasting. All glory goes to God alone.

    1. Thank you very much for your post yakapo!

      Dr. Flowers – due to a heavy schedule – is not often here to interact with people who post.
      But you may find him on Facebook – if you are a facebook user.


    2. With regard to God’s blessings upon those particular people, (the widow and Naaman), were the result of people seeking God, trusting God and acting upon faith, not an unconditional result of God just randomly doing His thing. God acts when men seek truth and have hearts that desire to fit in with that truth. The fact that they were heathen (Gentiles) simply shows that God’s mercy is not limited to certain groups of people, but is available to all people of all races.

      We really do not know that the heathen have never heard the gospel. Is it not possible that God could have spoken to them in ways that they have rejected, or that some have believed what they have heard? Is it not possible that He does so today? We hear of people – especially Moslems today that testify that God spoke to them about Jesus and they have responded by seeking out Christians to hear the word of God. Is their response not evidence that they had hearts that responded to truth and is it not possible that people over the centuries could have had hearts that sought real honest truth? Are these people of the world to be limited to our understanding of the Word of God.? Is it not remotely possible that you might be wrong in this? Is God limited to reaching out in ways that only you can define as truth? Is it npt also possible that God can actually know the hearts of men and can know the condition of a heart as to desire for truth?

      Look at the Old Testament that speaks of Job and his compatriots who were not a part of God’s reaching out through Abraham and his lineage. What about the prophet to whom Abraham brought offerings? Did they not know about the Almighty God. There is no evidence that they heard the gospel. In fact the Nation of Israel did not hear the actual Gospel before the coming of Christ. “Had they known they would not have crucified the Son of God.” You limit God by believing that He can only save those that have heard the actual precise Gospel.

      All of the followers and believers such as Abraham who believed God and righteousness was imputed to him because of that belief, are saved through Christ even though they might not have even heard of Christ. God was pleased with them because they believed Him, not because they had heard the Gospel.

      1. If we take the definition of faith to encompass repentance from previous religious affiliation and deliberate belief to the point of commitment to obey and follow, rather than knowledge of a whole suite of doctrines, then partial knowledge surely may be sufficient. Where that partial knowledge is all that is available, as in Job, Abraham, Naaman, Ruth and all OT characters the fact that they have “done what they could” is credited to them. That is what Hebrews 11 is all about – with their partial knowledge they committed themselves and obeyed God. Post-Calvery, Resurrection and Pentecost the Holy Spirit will lead into the full truth all those who have begun by giving their all in the light of what they initially apprehended. When I saw Eastern Christians with some “interesting” doctrines willing to be brutally executed by ISIS rather than deny Christ I saw that faith was not getting your doctrines right, it was faithfulness to the One we know gave his life for us.

    3. You said; “What stands out to me is – the unconditional nature of God’s blessing and provision.” Then you claimed that no man can complain about God’s actions because we deserve punishment. I understand that you are asserting that God has the right to only be merciful to those He chooses and that no man can earn His mercy, nor boast of receiving salvation.

      You also pointed out that there are many people that never have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and I suppose your point may be that those many millions will therefore suffer without chance of delivery from condemnation.

      You also said; “What if you were born before Christ? Israel was the only nation with the knowledge of the one true God. …just a handful of people when you think about the entire world.”

      But, I wonder if we truly have all of the facts? I believe that there actually were people that knew God separately from those people you suggest were the only people with the knowledge of the One True God. Well before Noah, there were people that sought God and offered sacrifice to Him, starting with Adam’s sons. Around the time of Abram there were people such as Job and his friends who knew God and Job lived righteously in Uz. There were also the wise men who came from the East to visit the child Jesus. They were not a part of the nation of Israel, but they had a working knowledge of the One True God. There was also Melchisidek who also was not of Abraham’s line and yet was a priest of the Most High God. Who knows how many others of God’s people we know nothing about both then and now?

      None of the Old Testament people are seen to have known the actual details of the Gospel, (But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.) But we can be sure that any that were saved through faith in those days were saved through Jesus even though not aware of the full facts.

      Is it not possible that even today God knows of people with hearts that seek truth, even though not exposed to all the truth of the scriptures? How do we know that God doesn’t reach out to souls in deepest jungle or desert because they can’t be reached by missionaries? We’ve all heard stories of missionaries meeting with natives who have told of expecting someone to come to tell them the Gospel. True or not, why not? Many Moslems who never had heard the message of salvation have claimed to have been spoken to in sleep by Jesus and have turned to Christ. Is God’s outreach limited only to those you and I know about? I doubt it. Just because any that are reached out to by God haven’t heard the pure truth of the Gospel through a missionary does not mean that some uneducated isolated native cannot be saved by faith through Jesus. We don’t really know.

      You said that ‘No man can complain about His actions because no man deserves to receive any kindness from Him’, referring I suppose to the fact that all have sinned. But let me ask you, Why have all sinned? Isn’t it because we were born in a sinful state and had no say in the matter and still have no say in the fact that we were born that way? I also ask you “Did God know that we individuals would be born faulty and unable to live above our sinful nature? If so, does He not care?

      I believe that if Calvinists are correct and God chose to let you and I and our neighbour Joe be born so that we could not help but sin and then condemned us for being what He knew we couldn’t help but be, we might have somewhat to complain about. That is, unless somehow we each had a choice in the matter. Romans chapter 1 tells us that men actually do know of God’s existence because of the creation which is evident to them, but that they choose to ignore the evidence because they want to continue in sin.

      Psalm 19 tells us that The heavens declare the glory of God; and the skies reveal His handiwork. Day by day they speak about Him, and night after night reveals knowledge of Him. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

      So God does not leave us without evidence that testifies of His existence. If this is so, then is it not also possible that He actually wants men to repent and turn to Him – to seek and desire to know truth? Is it not also possible that though our hearts are wickedly deceitful above all things and unknowable by us, that He desires us to seek and desire truth?

      The fact is that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whoever simply believes in, trusts in and relies upon Him will be saved. Is it not possible that a man can believe in Jesus and be saved by Him without knowing the facts of His death and resurrection? The Old Testament followers of God did. This doesn’t sound to me like a God Who is limited in His love, nor a God Who condemns in order to gain glory for Himself.

      Why does the God of the Universe – the Creator Who is above our imaginings, NEED GLORY? He has all of the glory there is. He only wants us to glorify Him so that we will recognize our need of Him and turn to Him for Salvation. It’s about His love

      1. Hello colnunn1 and welcome

        l very much appreciate your conclusion.
        Its all about his love! :-]

  26. Leighton, I’m a colaborer with you in the BGCT. I’m down in San Antonio. Thank you for everything you do, and your fantastic leadership by example. I’d love to go hit the streets with you one day! I have a question for you.. This is something that I’ve been chewing on recently and I don’t know who better to ask.. I also think it could be a cool thing to put on youtube as I’m sure we have other colaborers that might be wondering the same thing…. My question is this…. Do you have any helpful tips to help discern wether someone believes a flavor of the prosperity gospel vs having more of a post-trib eschatology? I have encountered several brothers who up front seem to be in one camp or the other… and it’s not easy to tell which. Any helpful tips are much appreciated. Onwards and upward to our calling! -Nathan Clark-

    1. Hello Nathan and welcome.

      Dr. Flowers, due to a busy schedule doesn’t find himself here much these days to interact with people.
      But you may find him on Facebook if you are an FB user.

      In any case I’ll pass along your post to Dr. Flowers.

      Our sincere thanks for your kind words
      And blessings!

    2. Nathan,

      A few things that I have discovered regarding eschatology:

      Many are concentrating on the word “anti-“. Nothing wrong with that, except we need to bring the “UNBELIEVING” Jews in the picture, and way less focus on Christians. Maybe to the point of NO focus on Christians, really.

      It is the Jews who are looking for a CHRIST, not an anti-Christ. So the Jews are the focus, not the Christians.

      I could go thru all the proof texts as to WHY the Jews rejected Jesus, but that would take too much time.

      The Jews must believe that their Christ had come, and therefore, THAT Christ is the anti-Christ. Nero would not be able to convince them, even if he had lived beyond his suicide. No one is going to be able to convince them, except:

      Matthew 1:1 (Preface)
      The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David…

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

      Now, what nationality do you suppose the son of David is? Now, do a word search in the 4 gospels, “the son of David”, where people are crying out, “THOU SON OF DAVID”, etc. They know that their Christ is a Jew. Even the unbelieving Jews know that the Christ is a Jew. So any talk of Rome is outside the bounds, whether it be the 7th Day Adventists and others proclaiming that the anti-Christ is the Pope, or others claiming that it’s someone from the European Union, or the United Nations, et. al. The Anti-Christ must be Jewish, and circumcized, for the Jews to believe that their savior had come.

      In addition, a timeline of events is extremely important, and a common theme that I have found is: THE SIXTH SEAL.

      Jesus mentions that sixth seal in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. The sixth seal is found in Revelation chapter 6.

      NOTE: Seal number 7 is the Great Tribulation, as found in Revelation chapter 8-16. Seals 1-6, as found in Revelation chapter 6 is not the Great Tribulation. And a final note, chapter 7 of revelation is a BREAK between seal number 6, and the opening of seal 7.

      Peter mentions Seal Number 6, referencing Joel. This is due to the non-believing Jews mocking the believing Jews receiving the Holy Spirit.

      NOTE: We are SEALED with the Holy Spirit. Sealed is an important word, because, the Sealing of 144000 unbelieving Jews in Revelation chapter 7 is right after the 6th Seal of Revelation chapter 6. So this is what Peter is talking about in Acts 2, regarding the end days.

      Now it’s just a matter of connect the dots, from Jesus, and Peter, and Joel, and Revelation 6, and 7.

      Another NOTE: The latter part of Revelation 7, RIGHT AFTER the 144000 Jews are sealed. The People that John sees. They are located at the THRONE OF GOD. How many are there? They are the ones who CAME OUT OF…the NEXT CHAPTER, which the seal hasn’t even been opened yet. That is important, because this is the rapture, and Jesus mentions this also in Mark’s account of the end times.

      ******Notice, if you will, that Jesus doesn’t mention anything regarding the 7th Seal in regards to his end times prophesy. That is extremely important to see. Not one word.

      So, we escape the 7th seal. Seals 1-6 is not the Great Tribulation. Seals 1-6 is not the wrath of God. It’s just a prelude. They are just the OBVIOUS warnings that Jesus spoke of events PRIOR TO the rapture, and because Jesus never mentions anything of the 7th Seal, then the conclusion is…resurrection is NOT YET. So it can’t be rapture/resurrection.

      The destruciton of the temple in 70 AD is NOT, I repeat, NOT in relation to the end times prophesy. THAT generation did NOT SEE the rest of the things that Jesus indicated, regardless of the claims of those who think that they did.

      A JEW must walk into that Temple proclaiming to be God, not a Gentile.

      So, the 6th seal is the focal point to set the written timeline in order, before, and after, with clues mentioned by Peter from Acts 2, Joel, Jesus from Matthew 24 AND Mark 13, AND Luke 21, and Revelation chapters 6-7, and the realization that Jesus never mentions any event in seal number 7, and why? Because we are NOT APPOINTED unto the wrath of God.

      Here is a side note:

      Romans 4:15 (KJV)
      Because the law worketh wrath:

      Ed Chapman

    3. Nathan,

      In regards to Post Trib, in my view, that is LIKENED, if you will, to the Catholics purgatory on a different scale. WHO, other than the Catholics, believe in purgatory? So are we really to trust CHURCH FATHERS on eschatology matters who believe in a purgatory? No wonder some make fun of Darby, because they still trust Church Fathers.

      Ed Chapman

  27. Hello Mr. Flowers,
    Has anyone mentioned to you that all your videos prior to a month ago are no longer on your YouTube channel? Was this done on purpose or is this a mishap? I cannot find many of the videos i have favorited over the years which is a bummer since they are very well explained. Is there another channel perhaps? I am currently subbed to the Soteriology101 channel, and the oldest video is the one about Lydia.


  28. Hello Dr Flowers.
    I have listened to many of your discussions and lectures over the past couple years and have greatly appreciated your gracious spirit and well thought out responses to Calvinists’ arguments. I have learned much from reading your books, The Potter’s Promise and God’s Provision for All.

    I am currently reading a book by Randy Alcorn entitled, hand in Hand: The beauty of God’s sovereignty and meaningful human choice. He grew up as an arminian and later became a calvinist. He also is a gracious author that seeks to be a Berean examining the Scriptures that strengthen or weaken the various views ranging from hard-determinism to compatibilism to libertarianism to molinism. I believe he tries to be fair in his presentation though admittedly has come to embrace compatibilism as the best view that he belives harmonizes God’s sovereignty and meaningful human choice.

    My questions for you are:
    1) Are you familiar with his book and would you consider critiquing it on one of your podcasts?
    2) Or even have him on to discuss it someday as I suspect that you would view some of his argumentation differently than I have.

    Thank you for your hard work and gracious spirit about an important subject that can generate more heat than light. May the good Lord bless you richly as we move into a new year.
    Dave Moynihan

    1. Hello Dave,
      Dr. Flowers – due to a heavy schedule – not not here very often to address question or posts.
      However I took the liberty to forward your question to him personally.

      Blessings and sincere thanks

  29. In an age of so much emphasis on Calvinism, I would like to introduce you to an Arminian exegetical ministry.I am an evangelical pastor and professor who has produced exegetical commentaries on the entire Bible. They are available free online in 48 languages. I am active in
    1. E. Stanley Jones’ Ashram movement (approved teacher )
    2. the John Wesley Methodist Seminary in Monterrey Mexico (visiting professor )
    3. the OMS Emmaus seminary in Haiti (taught hermeneutics )
    4. the interdenominational seminary in Nova Sod, Serbia
    5. also taught at seminaries in Armenia, Russia

    I hope you will take the time to evaluate the quality and quantity of my exegetical, verse by verse Bible studies free online.
    Dr. Bob Utley
    Professor of Hermeneutics(retired)

  30. I’m curious about your thoughts on the Calvinist argument that “God brings everything to pass, even sin, and everything that comes to pass, including sin, serves to bring God glory” and how that contrasts with Romans 3:7-8

    1. Hello David – and welcome

      Questions having to do with the delineation between good and evil within the Calvinist model – are all based on a certain presupposition. And as you know – presuppositions which the human mind brings to scripture are always treated as Canon. A person perceives himself as “Comparing with scripture”.
      He perceives himself taking into consideration the “whole word of god”.

      But any Bible scholar worth his salt knows – there are always two steps involved in the interpretive process.
      1) The mind first takes whatever the presupposition is – and treats it as Canon.
      2) He then uses that “Canon” as a primary parameter – resulting in his interpretation of the *REAL* Canon of scripture.

      For example – there was a time in history in which the preponderance of Bible readers believed the sun orbits the earth
      And they treated that presupposition as Canon.
      So you can easily understand why they would interpret certain verses to affirm that concept as unquestionable truth.
      And that is whey they would behead you or and burn you at the stake as a heretic – if you disagreed.

      That is in fact the underlying reason why Nicolaus Copernicus did not allow his research to be published until after his death.

      So – when it comes to the interpretation of any verse in scripture – it is critical that one is able to discern the underlying presupposition which the reader automatically treats as Canon.

      In the case of the Reformed systematic – its foundational core – is the proposition of Universal Divine Causal Determinism.
      In Reformed vernacular:
      “Whatsoever comes to pass – does so infallibly and irresistibly – having been determined by infallible decree”

      Since the Reformed mind assumes this without question
      And if he is true to Calvin – then he assumes without question that god is the AUTHOR of evil:

      John Calvin:
      I have already shown clearly enough that god is the AUTHOR of *ALL* those things…..
      In the Old French of Calvin’s day – the word “Author” means “Originator”, “Instigator”.

      So the Calvinist is going to have that as his frame of reference when looking at any question of good vs evil.
      The inevitable result is the blurring of the delineating-line between good and evil.

      Therefore in Calvinism – good and evil are treated as:
      1) Co-equal
      2) Co-necessary
      3) Co-complimentary

      Jonathon Edwards expresses this when he asserts “Evil” as one of the necessary “parts” of divine glory.
      “The shining forth of god’s glory would be very imperfect both because the parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the other do, and also the glory of his goodness, love and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all.”

      So when you get down to it – it really doesn’t matter what verse you take into consideration.
      The Reformed mind is going to read every verse through the lens of a certain “Canonized” presupposition.
      And the Non-Reformed mind is therefore not going to come to the same conclusion.

      For me – its just that simple :-]

  31. Hey Dr. Flowers, I’m relatively new to your ministry. I’m sure this is something that you’ve already addressed but rather than searching all your videos I have a question/comment. I’ve debated calvinists before and many of them use texts of God hardening hearts. Aside from the fact that those verses are not referring to salvation, the thought occurred to me that, if those verses were referring to salvation they would definitely be portraying an anti Calvinist teaching! If God needs to harden someone’s heart to ensure that they don’t get saved that automatically assumes that they could have gotten saved if he didn’t… doesn’t it?

    1. Hello Adam and welcome

      Dr. Flowers – due to his schedule – is not here to interact with posters very often.
      You may more readily find him on FaceBook – if you are an FB user.

      On your question – I can tell you that Dr. Flowers has often commented on how little sense conceptions like these make in Calvinism – since everything in Calvinism at every instance in time 100% exhaustively determined.

      Calvin’s god is said to harden someone’s heart.
      But that person is someone whom Calvin’s god already meticulously determines 100% of anyway.
      What does it mean to “harden” something that you meticulously control?
      Its like designing a vessel to be a square vessel – and then saying you have decided to make it more square than it already is.

      And if that vessel is designed to be exhaustively totally depraved – then what is there to harden?

      blessings :-]

  32. Can you help exegete Philippines 1:6 in a decalvinized light?
    A short video on this would be awesome as I know this is one of the most used proof texts!

    This is what I have so far as a refute to the Calvinism claims made through this verse;

    Addressing the context, Paul is encouraging them about how they have persevered in their partnering with the Gospel in verse 4 and 5. Which leads me to believe that he might be specifically referring to their works and sanctification when he writes “began a good work in you” in verse 6. Verse 7 also implies this when Paul writes in what aspects he is talking about, “you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.”

    Also, I don’t wholeheartedly agree with the following, but a case could be made that Paul’s saying in verse 7; “it is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.” This could be an opinion of Paul and not an irrevocable truth claim about their salvation… I do not think to read it this way means we are stripping this verse of the status of God inspired. God still inspired this verse but possibly for another meaning/purpose, perhaps just as an encouragement to believers.

    **Addressing the individual parts;**
    For the first part, **“he who began a good work in you…”**. I’m assuming Calvinists are interpreting this to mean, “effectually regenerated you and determined, that you would repent before being created”, which again, I don’t think it is biblically consistent in the whole (despite Calvinism’s claim to systematic theology).
    As for the second part, “…will bring it to completion”. I have no problem with this, I believe God is at work within us as we ask him into our hearts and he is the reason we are able to succeed in sanctification. As far as how a Calvinist might interpret this to apply to eternal security; I lean toward the possibility that this does not exclude us being able to choose, though, I am not firm in my position on eternal security. I did in a previous post defend the possibility of apostasy. Though I do still lean that way, I might change positions on that (separate from Calvinism though). Presently, I do not believe you can “lose” your salvation but I think scripture often reads that you can “leave” your salvation through willingly rejecting repentance and clinging to sin (apostasy).

    1. Hi Skyler… I have not heard Calvinists use this verse in support of regeneration before faith or pre-creation predestination. They have other favorite ones for that false doctrine of theirs. 😉 But they have seen this verse used for perseverance of the saints or eternal security of those in Christ. I am not a Calvinist, and yet I do believe that regeneration, which comes through/after one’s personal exercise of faith, does make an everlasting change to that faith so that the everlasting child of God will never stop believing (1John 5:1, Phil 1:29).

    2. Hello Skyler
      One thing to bear in mind concerning Calvinism is that many things appear in the form of Good-Evil pairs.
      A divine potter designs some specifically as vessels of wrath – and he designs others as vessels of honor.
      He has one kind of love for vessels of honor – and a different kind of love for vessels of wrath
      He has an ENUNCIATED will – and a SECRET will.

      As you become more familiar with Calvinism you continue to see more things which appear in Good-Evil pairs.

      So it is the case of Philippians 1:6:
      ” god, who began the “good” “work” within you.”

      In Calvinism – whatsoever comes to pass does so infallibly by virtue of infallible decree.
      That includes all “Good” events and all “Evil” events.

      And in Calvinism Evil is declared to be a “part” of divine glory.
      Evil is the part – of how the THEOS glorifies himself.
      Therefore in that sense Evil is “good”.

      So for the Calvinist – words like “good work in you” can have two different meanings.
      “good work” could mean have a long life of sins and evils assigned to you as your “LOT” in life.
      “good work” could mean designing you for the lake of fire.

      Get what I mean?
      So in Calvinism – verses like Philippians 1:6 can always be taken two different ways.
      Calvinists may not be happy or willing to acknowledge that – but it comes with Exhaustive Determinism.

  33. Hi! Are there any recommendations of modern Calvinist-leaning books that thoroughly lay out that perspective? I do have a book of John Calvin’s writings that I want to read, but I’m hoping there is a modern Calvinist writer who can lay out the reasonings of their theology without throwing stones or misrepresenting opposing sides. I’m trying to form a fair representation of that Calvinist position so as to not be guilty of not understanding. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello Katie and welcome.
      There are current Calvinists who lay out their perspective.
      However what you are going to find is a mixed bag.
      First of all, it is critical to understand – the core and foundational aspect of Calvin’s doctrine, which makes it unique and therefore sets it apart from all other forms of Christianity – is its core foundation of Universal Divine Causal Determinism.

      In reformed vernacular: “Whatsoever comes to pass is the consequence of infallible decrees which occur at the foundation of the world”

      So the lens through which the Calvinist sees everything – and through which he reads scripture – is the concept that 100% of whatever comes to pass – including every impulse in your brain – is predetermined at the foundation of the world. And will come to pass infallibly. And that which comes to pass infallibly is irresistible to creatures. And that means every impulse that comes to pass in your brain comes to pass irresistibly.

      The problem with various Calvinist voices on the subject, is the degree to which they find that aspect palatable.
      There are Reformed groups who have evolved over the years, who did not find that aspect palatable, and sought to distance themselves from it. They wanted to create a softer more palatable Calvinism. The problem with that is the degree to which they distance themselves from that aspect of Calvin’s doctrine which makes it unique and sets it apart from other Christian theologies.

      So you will find, Calvinist voices which are logically inconsistent with the underlying core foundation of the doctrine.

      Also, be aware that the prominent Calvinist voices today have an underlying urgency to make Calvinism as palatable as possible. So the way they enunciate Calvinist concepts comes out to be a tap-dance. They understand the radical nature of the underlying doctrine. And they understand non-Calvinists are going to observe its radical elements. So they are careful to obfuscate those radical elements in order to minimize rejection.

      Authors such as John Piper and John MacArthur, and R.C. Sproul fit that description.

      So the foundational core of the doctrine is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM.
      The critical point you will want to recognize, is these voices of Calvinism are going to present Calvinism in a NON-DETERMINISTIC light.

      As long as you can understand that while you are reading such authors – you will be in the best place to recognize the equivocal nature of modern Calvinist enunciations in order to understand it.

      In other words, the aspect of EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM is an aspect of Calvinism that seeks to hide behind a smoke screen of NON-DETERMINISTIC language. So as an astute observer, you will want to be keenly aware of that.


      1. Ok, that is really helpful information. I have recently come to the conclusion that my core issue with Calvinism is the idea of “exhaustive divine determinism”. I’m glad I seem to be on the right track.

        To be clear, I was never a Calvinist….I just couldn’t articulate why I couldn’t agree with it 🙂. My younger brother is, however; and it has prompted me to study for better answers. As of now, all I could say in response is “I don’t know”. He always seems to have the Bible on his side, and I just had a gut feeling something was wrong or misinterpreted.

        And that’s good advice to remember that the views differ based on what the individual Calvinist knows and/or can stomach. It’s already a confusing doctrine….the smoke screens aren’t going to make it easier.

        Thanks for the response, and I appreciate the work that you all are doing. It has been such a relief to find answers that I didn’t think would ever come!

    2. Katie,

      You are to be commended for seeking authoritative and accurate sources. Regrettably, you have now been offered an example of a skewed and highly inaccurate version of Calvinistic theology. For the kinds of portrayals you have requested, I would suggest Lorraine Boettner’s Reformed Doctrine of Predestination and the applicable chapters in Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. As a Calvinist who has studied the views of Calvin and the historical development of Reformed theology from Paul to Piper, I can tell you there is a great deal of balance in the more thoughtful and Biblically-consistent Calvinist thinkers. Biased observers will call this “inconsistency” simply because they are unable to see past the implications of determinism and their own misunderstandings of compatibilism. Your question suggests you are seeking something much more objective that will bring a genuine understanding and I believe you will find it in the resources I mentioned.


      1. THeoparadox
        Biased observers will call this “inconsistency” simply because they are unable to see past the implications of determinism

        Because they don’t treat Determinism *AS-IF* it is NOT Determinism
        Which is LOGICALLY incoherent :-]

        and their own misunderstandings of compatibilism

        Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Compatibilism:
        Compatibilism is the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism

        That is the ACADEMIC understanding of Compatibilism.

        But we also understand the Calvinist need to treat Determinism *AS-IF* it is NOT DETERMINISM
        Which would bring about a different “understanding” of Compatibilism

        Which of course – is also LOGICALLY incoherent. :-]

      2. Hey! Thanks so much for your response. I will definitely look into those recommendations. They sound like they could be what I’m looking for. 🙂

        I am personally inclined away from the Calvinist position because of the implications of determinism (as you’ve said). About a week ago I was encouraged to find Dr Flowers’ videos and heard what I think is a reasonable rebuttal to the Calvinist perspective. I’ll be the first to admit, though, that I don’t have a complete understanding of your side – at least not where I could represent it justly. I figure the best way to reach a conclusion is to examine both sides as presented by reasonable depiction.

        That being said, both yours and br.d’s inputs are much appreciated. I won’t pretend to be a neutral observer looking to be convinced either way. I am a fellow believer with serious questions about the implications of both sides. The more I study the debate, the more I realize that the Provisionist’s aren’t arguing so much from misunderstanding as they are from disagreement. That’s the heart of my study – what is the disagreement and what is the answer?

        God bless and thanks again!

      3. THEOparadox, thank you for your comments. It’s good we’re all thinking about these important issues. My questions to you are: how are you understanding the implications of determinism? How would one look past the implications of determinism when forming an understanding of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will and why is it important that a person overlook the implications of determinism when forming their view about God’s sovereignty and man’s free will? How do many people misunderstand compatibilism? Thank you for your reply and for your dedication to studying issues that are important to our Lord.

      4. Hi Robert,
        Here are some quotes concerning the natural human response to a belief in Determinism.

        Steven Hawking – at Lady Mitchell Hall Cambridge 1999 – Symposium On Determinism
        “As a determinist – the only escape I have, is since I don’t know what has been determined, I might as well live AS IF Determinism is false”

        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 THOUGH nothing were determined about any part.” (Concerning the eternal predestination)

        John Calvin
        “All future things being uncertain to us, we hold them in suspense, AS THOUGH they might happen either one way or another.”
        (Institutes Vol. i. p.193)

        Dr. Tomis Kapitan
        “To locate an inconsistency within the beliefs of a deliberating determinist now seems easy; for as a deliberator, he takes his future act to be yet undetermined. But as a determinist, he assumes the very opposite – that his future is already determined and fixed in the past, such that everything he does was previously determined by factors beyond his control. Thus the ascription of rational-inconsistency within the mental state of the deliberating determinist is secured.

        Dr. William Lane Craig
        Nobody can live AS IF all that he thinks and does is determined by causes outside himself. Every determinist recognizes he has to live AS IF he has multiple options [which are OPEN] and UP TO HIM from which to choose, and he can decide what course of action to take. Even though at the end of the day his belief system tells him everything is predetermined by factors outside of his control.

        Dr. John Rogers Searle
        “Actions are rationally assessable if and only if the actions are free [in the Libertarian sense].
        The reason for the connection is – that rationality must be able to make a difference.

        In other words, rationality is possible only where there is a genuine choice between…rational and irrational . . . [a choice between TRUE vs FALSE].

        If this act is completely predetermined, then rationality can make no difference.
        And in such case rationality doesn’t even come into play…” (Rationality in Action)

      5. BRD and Robert,

        Thank you both for your replies. My “short” answer is this:

        If God spoke to you and stated He predetermined and meticulously controls everything while also ensuring that human beings’ choices are free and meaningful, how would you respond? Would you tell Him that He cannot do that, or would you tell Him you cannot understand how He does that, but you trust Him to handle that which seems contradictory to you and is apparently mysterious beyond your ability to understand? Mainstream Calvinists believe that God actually has stated something like this in His Word and their response is the second one. Non-Calvinist Christians may dispute whether God’s Word actually says this (this is THE issue, ultimately), and, as a secondary concern, may claim that the concept is logically impossible. But Calvinists believe this is the plain meaning of God’s Word, rightly interpreted in light of the whole counsel of God. And for Calvinists, God saying it means it is not only possible but actual. For me, a very similar “apparent contradiction” and operation of faith occurs with regard to the Trinity, and again with the hypostatic union, so it is no great leap for me to think that God does something similar with regard to predestination and free will. In each case, He tells us that _______ occurs, but not how ______ reconciles with ______. The fact that we cannot fully reconcile two concepts does not mean God is incapable of reconciling them. And who are we to decide what God can and cannot logically reconcile?

        If you want my “long” answer, wait for my book! LOL.


      6. Theoparadox
        If God spoke to you and stated He predetermined and meticulously controls everything while also ensuring that human beings’ choices are free and meaningful, how would you respond?

        I would ask the following question:
        If it is TRUE that every impulse which comes to pass within my brain is meticulously predetermined *FOR* me by an external mind – and every impulse occurs infallibly and irresistibly – then isn’t it TRUE that “Freedom” I have is the same Freedom that a robot has.

        Would you tell Him that He cannot do that,

        According to your statement that he meticulously predetermined every impulse in my brain – if I did ask him that – and you didn’t like me doing that – you would be disliking what he meticulously predetermined.

        or would you tell Him you cannot understand how He does that,

        According to your statement that he meticulously predetermined every impulse in my brain – the only thing my brain would understand is whatever PERCEPTION he meticulously predetermined.

        but you trust Him to handle that which seems contradictory to you

        According to your statement the he meticulously predetermined every impulse in my brain – there is no such thing as me trusting him because that would entail a degree of mental autonomy the doesn’t exist for.my brain.

        and is apparently mysterious beyond your ability to understand?

        See answer prior to this one

        Mainstream Calvinists believe that God actually has stated “something like this” in His Word and their response is the second one.

        Something like this????
        Why can’t you use intellectually honest language.
        It is either TRUE or it is FALSE
        Let you Yea be Yea and your Nay be Nay – for anything else comes of evil

        Non-Calvinist Christians may dispute whether God’s Word actually says this

        Actually – your LOGICAL inconsistency as shown highlighted by my answers to your question above – shows that you are the one who disputes your own doctrine. Because you treat it AS IF it isn’t TRUE.

        But Calvinists believe this is the plain meaning of God’s Word, rightly interpreted in light of the whole counsel of God.

        Then why don’t you bight the bullet and accept the fact that your conception of freedom – according to your interpretation of scripture – is the same freedom that a robot has?

        And for Calvinists, God saying it means it is not only possible but actual.

        A LOGICAL impossibility is NOT LOGICALLY possible and therefore not actual.
        Not even Calvin’s god can make a human free to falsify an infallible decree.

        For me, a very similar “apparent contradiction” and operation of faith occurs with regard to the Trinity, and again with the hypostatic union,

        The Trinity and hypostatic union – have long ago been established as NON-contradictions.
        So this argument fails.

        so it is no great leap for me to think that God does something similar with regard to predestination and free will.

        You want to believe that you are FREE to falsify an infallible decree. which is LOGICALLY impossible
        Good luck with that! 😀

        The fact that we cannot fully reconcile two concepts does not mean God is incapable of reconciling them.

        Here you are LOGICALLY inconsistent with your own doctrine again.
        According to your statement that he meticulously predetermined every impulse in your brain – your brain is ONLY FREE to have impulses that are meticulously predetermined by an external mind. Accordingly – your brain is NOT PERMITTED any degree of mental autonomy.

        Accordingly – you believe what you believe – not because you reconciled it – but because an external mind determined your brain to believe it.

        And who are we to decide what God can and cannot logically reconcile?

        Again – this assumes a degree of mental autonomy which doesn’t exist for you.
        So you are the one who denies your doctrine.


        And blessings to you also! :-]

      7. Theoparadox
        On Exhaustive Divine Determinism (aka Calvinism) we have the following:

        1) 100% of whatsoever comes to pass is determined by infallible decree at the foundation of the world before creatures exist.
        2) Leaving ZERO% left UN-Determined
        3) Which according to simple math leaves ZERO% of anything to be left UP TO YOU to determine.

        Since ZERO% is UP TO YOU to determine – it LOGICALLY follows – your brain is NOT PERMITTED to determine TRUE from FALSE on any matter.

        Since that is the case in Exhaustive Divine Determinism – any arguments for or against Determinism are self-defeating.

        Calvinist Gregory Koukl explains
        The problem with determinism…….rationality would have no room to operate.
        Arguments would not matter, since no one would be able to base beliefs on adequate reasons.

        One could never judge between a good idea and a bad one.
        One would only hold beliefs because he has been predetermined to do so.

        Although it is theoretically possible that determinism is true…..no one could ever know if it were.
        Everyone of our thoughts dispositions and opinions would have been decided for us by factors completely out of our control.
        Therefore in practice, arguments for determinism are self defeating.”
        -end quote

        The idea that your brain is permitted the LIBERTY to determine TRUE from FALSE on any matter is a denial of your own doctrine.

        The bottom line is – Calvinists insist they believe in Determinism – but they really don’t. :-]

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