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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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471 thoughts on “About

  1. br.d , Am I correct in saying that According to Calvinism, Before the Foundation of the World, God Chooses some to be Predestined & Elect to Heaven, and Others to Endless Hell, not because of anything good or bad in the Person, or anything they did, but because God has his reasons known only to him ? What could those reasons be then ? Then how can a Calvinist Christian like Matt Slick of Carm.org or James White , and countless other Calvinist Christians be absolutely certain they are “Elect” and Predestined to Heaven, and Not Hell, and the Lake of Fire , do they ever worry about when they die and they see God they are told
    “Sorry, your name is Not in the Book of Life” and they say in response
    “But I was a born again Christian” I apologize if my Questions are a bit redundant, but it’s so difficult to properly interpret scripture, do you think Calvinism is based on a poor interpretation of the Bible, of verses taken out of Context, which viewed in their Historical and Biblical Contexts do Not Support Calvinism,
    What is your opinion of the famous preacher Jonathan Edwards and his infamous sermon
    “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” Do you believe Calvinism distorts the True Nature of God ?

    1. Jeffw
      Am I correct in saying that According to Calvinism, Before the Foundation of the World, God Chooses some to be Predestined & Elect to Heaven, and Others to Endless Hell

      br.d
      Correct!
      John Calvin
      -quote
      They are not found but *MADE* worthy of destruction

      Jeffw
      And not because of anything good or bad in the Person, or anything they did, but because God has his reasons known only to him ?

      br.d
      Correct!
      You will find this confirmed in the West Minster Confession – where it states explicitly that the infallible decree is NOT predicated on – or based upon – nor does it take into consideration – anything having to do with the CONDITION of the creature.

      Jeffw
      What could those reasons be then ?

      br.d
      John Calvin’s answer:
      -quote
      “For his good pleasure”

      Jeffw
      Then how can a Calvinist Christian like Matt Slick of Carm.org or James White , and countless other Calvinist Christians be absolutely certain they are “Elect” and Predestined to Heaven, and Not Hell

      br.d
      According to the doctrine – they can’t
      As a matter of fact – the only thing the doctrine permits them to have CERTAINTY of – is Calvin’s god will do what he pleases – according to his good pleasure.

      You will also find that “evil” is a RELATIVE concept in Calvinism
      An “evil” that is done by a creature – is declared “evil”
      An “evil” that is done by Calvin’s god – is declared “good”

      So in Calvinism “evil” is RELATIVE to who is committing it.

      Calvin’s god has absolute CERTAINTY of everything.
      In Calvinism the creature has what is called “a posteriori” knowledge (i.e. knowledge after the fact)
      And election is an exclusive SECRET only Calvin’s god knows.
      So the Calvinist only has CERTAINTY of his election after the fact (i.e. when he ends up in the lake of fire – or not)

      Jeffw
      Do they ever worry about when they die and they see God they are told
      “Sorry, your name is Not in the Book of Life” and they say in response

      br.d
      The Calvinist psychology has changed over the years.
      Calvinist leaders like John Piper and John MacArthur try very hard to obfuscate any NEGATIVE implications associated with the doctrine.

      You will notice Calvinism is called “Doctrines of Grace”
      That is simply a strategy the Calvinist uses to obfuscate aspects of the doctrine which would be troubling to the Calvinist.

      However, in previous generations – Calvinists would consider such obfuscations – a sign of intellectual dishonesty.
      They wanted to retain the doctrine with a much pristine manner.
      They wanted to be TRUE to the doctrine.
      So consequently – there was a pronounced degree of DREAD observable within Calvinist writings concerning their UNCERTAINTY of their eternal destiny.

      The historical name for this was “The dreaded false hope”

      Jeffw
      Do you think Calvinism is based on a poor interpretation of the Bible, of verses taken out of Context, which viewed in their Historical and Biblical Contexts do Not Support Calvinism,

      br.d
      Calvinism is a theology first and foremost
      And an inherent characteristic of a theology is that it is a theory looking for affirmation from scripture.
      And when the human mind falls into that process – it will naturally ignore data within scripture which conflicts with the theory.
      And verses that have little to nothing to do with any aspect of the theory – will be interpreted to ensure they do.
      And any verses which contradict the theory will be argued away.

      One way you can tell when this is happening is to read verses that are quoted by Calvinists when they are arguing for aspect of the theory.

      If you quietly wait and watch – you will find the Calvinist removing words from the text and replacing them with his own words.
      Those replacement words are designed to affirm his doctrine.
      Calvinists often do this quite unwittingly.
      At some point however someone will point it out to them – and since replacing words in the text serves as a tell-tale sign – they will be careful to stop doing it. But only because they got caught! :-]

      JeffW
      What is your opinion of the famous preacher Jonathan Edwards and his infamous sermon
      “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” Do you believe Calvinism distorts the True Nature of God ?

      br.d
      There is an interesting historical review of the reformed positions on various things by – a reformed scholar – Dr. Oliver Crisp
      He asserts that Jon Edwards caused a dramatic shift in reformed thinking – moving it into the domain of secular philosophy.
      Because Edwards – as a Calvinist – was highly influenced by secular philosophy.
      The current adaptation of “COMPATIBILISM” within Calvinism is a result of Edwards.

      Personally since Edwards is totally ensnared with Calvinistic thinking – I don’t find him of any value except to use a few of his quotes concerning Calvinism to illustrate Calvinist thinking.

      Remember – Calvinism is a social structure.
      And within its social structure – there is a totem-pole system of respected persons.
      Edwards is one of their respected persons.
      But in Calvinism – a respected person – is respected because they have the ability to persuade people
      They are not respected because they have the truth
      They are respected because they are deemed useful to draw people into the system.

      Once you learn to understand – Calvinism is a doctrine of “good-evil”
      And once you learn to recognize Calvinism is saturated with DOUBLE-SPEAK
      Then those things become a red-flag that something is wrong with it.

      In vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird.
      We teach you how to recognize Calvinism’s net – so that you don’t get captured by it! :-]

    2. Found you on YouTube-God Bless. Since Calvinists are predetermined for salvation, how do they really know they were chosen for salvation??? With a god of evil and good, are they sure? Sounds Gnostic to me.

      1. Welcome Ernest! Yes, many Calvinists struggle with assurance of salvation. And some high profile ones have recently rejected Christianity altogether.

        Here’s some interesting facts on Sproul. Sproul on assurance of salvation early and later and at the end. Early Sproul admits having times of doubts, and later on continues to believe it was possible he could end up in hell, and in the end hopes his love for Jesus is proof enough that he was saved.

        Early – https://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=02B1FCNU

        Later – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPze-TWWVr4

        At the end – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BOipuPD2uY

      2. Thanks Brian

        Yes – it would be quite natural for a Calvinist to struggle with assurance of salvation.

        Per Calvinism’s interpretation of “The wheat and the tares”

        1) The Calvinist is granted NO CERTAINTY of his election/salvation because that is a divine secre

        2) Calvin’s god specifically gives some Calvinists a FALSE SENSE of salvation

        John Calvin
        -quote
        But the Lord….instills into their minds such a SENSE of his goodness as can be felt WITHOUT the Spirit of adoption. (Institutes pg 342)

        John Calvin
        -quote
        …..he also causes those whom he illumines only FOR A TIME to partake of it; then he…..forsakes them….and strikes them with even greater blindness (Institutes 3.2.11)

        Thus divine deception of the believer is a part of the Calvinist belief system

        Consequently – the Calvinist is not permitted to know whether or not his PERCEPTION of salvation is a divinely decreed FALSE PERCEPTION.

        Calvinist_X will today claim that he has an assurance of his salvation.

        Calvinist_X will end up tomorrow as a an Atheist – and go to his death bed declaring there is no God.

        For all other Calvinists – this means Calvinist_X was never elect
        But he had a PERCEPTION of being elect for a period of time.

        And per the doctrine of decrees – that FALSE PERCEPTION was infallibly decreed.

      3. What the Calvinist is NOT telling you – about his assurance of salvation

        R.C. Sproul – 1st video – Assurance of salvation in Calvinism

        Minute 1:50
        -quote
        “if god promises eternal life for people who put their trust in him, it would be arrogance not to have the assurance of ***OUR*** future condition, because if I don’t have the assurance, what I would be doing actually, would be casting a shadow over the credibility of the promise of god.”

        Here is what R.C. is NOT telling you:
        1) In Calvinism – the “promise of god” is classified as the Enunciated will of god

        2) The Enunciated will of god – is NOT the same as the Secret will of god

        3) The election status of any individual is held behind a veil of the Secret will of god

        4) The Enunciated will of god – is in almost all instances the EXACT OPPOSITE of the Secret will of god

        5) When the Enunciated will of god is the EXACT OPPOSITE of the Secret will of god – it functions a FALSE REPRESENTATION of the Secret will of god.

        6) Consequently – each individual Calvinist – is granted NO ASSURANCE of whether or not any promise of god within scripture applies to himself as an individual.

        7) In Calvinism – the promises of god given to the elect – are applicable to the elect only. And only Calvin’s god knows WHO among the Calvinist fold are his elect.

        8) Whether or not a Calvinist “casts a shadow over the promise of god” is not UP TO the Calvinist – because WHATSOEVER comes to pass with every Calvinist is determined by infallible decree. Which means WHATSOEVER comes to pass within a Calvinist is not UP TO that Calvinist.

        CONCLUSION:
        John Calvin sums up the assurance that is granted to the Calvinist believer

        John Calvin
        -quote
        if he has DOOMED US TO DEATH it is vain for us to fight against it. (Institutes 3:23:12)

        The only assurance the belief system gives to the Calvinist – is the assurance that he may be DOOMED TO DEATH or NOT DOOMED TO DEATH.

        But the Calvinist is not granted an assurance of one over the other.

      4. Hello Ernest and welcome

        Ernest:
        Since Calvinists are predetermined for salvation, how do they really know they were chosen for salvation???

        br.d
        Very insightful Ernest!

        Yes – you are correct.
        1) In Calvinism – EVERYTHING is predestined – including every FALSE PERCEPTION which exists within the human brain.

        2) So in Calvinism – all FALSE PERCEPTIONS are established by infallible decree

        3) It is humanly impossible to countervail or overcome an infallible decree

        4) Consequently the human brain is not granted the ability to “Discern” a TRUE PERCEPTION from a FALSE PERCEPTION.

        5) This means the human brain is not granted the ability to “Differentiate” a TRUE PERCEPTION from a FALSE PERCEPTION.

        CONSEQUENTLY:
        The Calvinist brain is not granted the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE on any matter – because the Calvinist brain has no way of knowing whether his PERCEPTIONS on that matter are TRUE or FALSE.

        So we can now see an EPISTEMIC consequence of Calvinism’s EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (aka doctrine of decrees)

        In order for Calvin’s god to have FULL sovereignty – requires man have NO discernment.

        In Calvinism – if man were MERELY PERMITTED to discern TRUE from FALSE – he would be robbing Calvin’s god of an aspect of his divine sovereignty.

        Man would be robbing Calvin’s god of his divine right to DETERMINE every PERCEPTION within man’s brain.

        So as you insightfully recognized – the bottom line for the Calvinist – is that he is not permitted the function of discerning whether ANY matter is TRUE or FALSE.

        This is also confirmed – when we understand that in Calvinism – man is not granted the function of “Contrary” choice, or the ability to refrain.

        In order for the Calvinist brain to discern TRUE from FALSE on any matter – would require him to choose one over the other. And that would constitute a “Contrary” choice.

        His brain is not granted the function of “Contrary” choice.
        Thus his brain is not grated the function of discerning TRUE from FALSE on any matter

  2. br.d , but a tactic used by Calvinists to defend their Calvinism is when they say to the Non-Calvinist or Ex-Calvinist
    “You don’t truly understand Calvinism, or you never truly understood Calvinism Properly” could it be that we are setting up a False Dichotomy , it’s not either/or, perhaps a Mixture of Calvinism & Arminianism is True, a Hybrid system is the Truth, so in a sense “Both” are somewhat true , the problem as people have pointed out, we humans are Finite, while God is Infinite, and in this brief Earthly life, we humans can never fully understand and comprehend an Infinite God

    1. JeffW
      but a tactic used by Calvinists to defend their Calvinism is when they say to the Non-Calvinist or Ex-Calvinist
      “You don’t truly understand Calvinism,

      br.d
      Very true!
      However the Calvinist is human – and its critical to understand certain observable characteristics of his psychology.

      The Calvinist has an urgency to remain true to the doctrine.
      But the doctrine is Exhaustive Divine Determinism.
      And Exhaustive Divine determinism – rules out IN-determinism
      So he claims to reject IN-determinism
      And he claims that other Christians who accept IN-determinism have a false theology

      But then comes to rub
      The fire that keeps you warm – can also be the fire that burns you.

      There are aspects of Determinism which the Calvinist finds unpalatable.
      And the only other option from those unpalatable aspect – is what the IN-determinist Christian has.

      So the Calvinist uses language that allows him to tap-dance back and forth into both worlds.
      The world of Determinism – and the world of IN-determinism.

      As a consequence – his language becomes the language of DOUBLE-SPEAK.

      I have a dozen books written by Non-Calvinist authors – over many years – which all refer to the phenomenon of DOUBLE-SPEAK as a characteristic of Calvinist language.

      So when your language is a DOUBLE-SPEAK language – then the only people who are going to understand you are people who understand why your language is a DOUBLE-SPEAK language.

      So for those Non-Calvinists who don’t understand that aspect of Calvinist psychology – they are going to be confused by Calvinist statements.

      But once you learn to understand what the Calvinist is trying to escape from – from within his own doctrine – then you understand why he speaks a DOUBLE-SPEAK language.

      And once you learn the underlying propositions of Exhaustive Divine Determinism – then you understand the theology.

      So understanding Calvinism requires both understanding the logical implications of the doctrine – and the Calvinist need to escape those logical implications.

  3. br.d For Example the website, banneroftruth.org has an article headlined
    “Five Misunderstandings About Calvinism”
    AUTHOR
    Macleod, Daniel
    CATEGORY
    Articles
    DATE
    May 14, 2019 What is your reply ? to the Five Misunderstandings

    1. 1)
      This misunderstanding seeks to differentiate Calvinism from Arminianism – as far as I’m concerned is all focused on superficial issues.

      Remember how I likened Calvinism to a house.
      The foundation and the framework of the house is Universal Divine Causal Determinism.
      Sometimes called Exhaustive Divine Determinism.

      The foundation and the framework support all of the other members of the house.
      Calvinism’s TULIP which was developed many years after Calvin’s institutes – represents the external siding, windows, lighting, etc.
      These components are all cosmetic exterior components which must be supported by the foundation and the framework.

      So when Calvinists sight differences between Arminianism and Calvinism – the foundation and framework is never their focus.
      The underlying difference between Calvinism and Non-Calvinism (including Arminianism) is Exhaustive Divine Determinism is the foundation and framework of Calvinism – and it is not the foundation and framework of the other theologies.

      So fussing over cosmetic differences of two belief systems – is like comparing two different women because they have different shades of lipstick.

      So to call that a “misunderstanding” is a waste of time since it totally misses the main point of contention.

      2) The five points are the whole of Calvinism
      This one gets a little closer to pointing to what sets Calvinism apart from its alternatives – because it HINTS about the foundation and framework of the house of Calvinism (i.e. Exhaustive Divine Determinism)
      However – as far as it goes – is to just HINT about that main difference.

      3)
      This one has to do with the way Calvin’s god is depicted by Calvin and the Calvinist interpretation of scripture.
      With Calvinism – we have a divine potter of Roman’s 9 who creates/designs humans specifically as “vessels of wrath fitted for destruction”
      We have statements from Calvin such as “They are not found but MADE worthy of destruction.

      There is really no way to evade non-Calvinists looking at this picture and seeing a depiction of raw power for the sake of pleasure.
      That is why in this article they say “it is doubtful whether the charge can be sustained.”

      They actually know – all a Non-Calvinist has to do is connect some dots with their depiction of Calvin’s god – and this is the picture one gets.
      So the only way the Calvinist can get around this – is to point to NEBULOUS representations of divine benevolence.
      The reason those representations of divine benevolence are NEBULOUS is because they represent the exception and not the rule – when it comes to Calvinism’s depictions of divine intent.

      4)
      Later Calvinism is harsher than earlier
      This is an in-house issue between Calvinists

      From my observation – current Calvinism has a powerful urgency to NOT appear as a harsh belief system.
      It seeks to present itself as a system of divine benevolence – vs divine malevolence.
      John Piper is noted for representing a SOFT and benevolent version of Calvinism.
      John MacArthur names his ministry “Grace to you” rather than “Eternal torment in the lake of fire to you”

      But you and I both know – in Calvinism – the preponderance of humans are created specifically for the lake of fire.
      So these ministries are focused on painting a picture of divine benevolence – and OBFUSCATING divine malevolence.

      John Calvin would and did scoff at many representations of his doctrine by current Calvinists.
      If you read points of contention with Christians who disagreed with him in his day – you will see their points of disagreement are actually representations of many current Calvinists today.

      In other words – if Calvin were here today – he would be outraged and have some very harsh names for a large percentage of current Calvinist representations.

      From what I understand – Calvin was immediately followed by Theodore Beza – who was even more harsher than Calvin in temperment.

      Most of Calvinism today from my observation – represents a WHITE-WASHED version of Calvin’s Calvinism.
      As a matter of fact – the first sermon I ever heard from John Piper – he was complaining about people who claimed he white washed Calvinism. When he said that – I said to myself – there is probably some truth to it. And that was a 20 years ago – and I think that observation is correct. – he does present a white-washed version of Calvinism.

      Additionally – you have certain confessions which follow many years after Calvin’s death.
      Why do certain groups need to create their own special confession of what Calvinism is – when they have the institutes?
      Because they don’t like the harshness they find in Calvin’s representations.
      When they read the institutes in church – people get the picture of divine malevolence
      They leave that church and they don’t come back
      So the church has to create a SOFTER version of Calvinism.

      Consequently there are large numbers of Calvinists today – who claim to hold to confessions and distance themselves from Calvin.

      When I quote John Calvin to them – they will say
      “I am a Calvinist and we don’t believe that”

      That becomes a clear indicator – Calvinists today want a SOFT benevolent version of Calvinism

      5)
      Double predestination is predominantly another in-house disagreement
      This is another place where current Calvinists want to separate themselves from John Calvin’s Calvinism and create as SOFT version of Calvinism

      John Calvin
      -quote
      Some are pre-ordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation, and accordingly as each has been created
      for one of these ends, we [Calvinists] say he has been predestined to life or death.

      The only way a Calvinist today gets around that – is to DOUBLE-SPEAK his way around it.

      The same thing holds for the AUTHOR OF EVIL which is the picture clearly observed with Calvinism.

      Dr. William Lane Craig explains:
      -quote
      In the Reformed view – God MOVES people to choose evil, and they cannot do otherwise.
      God DETERMINES their choices – which MAKE them do wrong.

      If it is evil to make another person do wrong, then on this view God is not only the cause of sin and evil, but becomes evil Himself, which is absurd.

      By the same token, all human responsibility for sin has been removed.
      For our choices are not really UP TO US:

      God CAUSES us to make them.
      Nothing we do is UP TO US

      How the Calvinist thinks he can evade these logical consequences is a mystery to me..
      -end quote

      The way the Calvinist thinks he can evade these logical consequences is by using DOUBLE-SPEAK to talk his way around them.

  4. Why do you spend so much effort teaching what is wrong with other peoples theology instead of directly teaching Gods word without referring to those things? Then let your teaching without referring to what is wrong with other peoples theology speak for itself. I find more videos of you talking about what is wrong with other people than what is right with God. Most all the video’s are negative. I’m not saying your right or wrong in your theology just wondering why you don’t speak more on the Holiness of God vs the what’s wrong with Man theology, in other words, speaking of the Holiness of God without saying what wrong with others theology. Hope that makes sense.

    1. Hello Raf Bar and welcome
      Dr. Flowers – due to his schedule – is not here to directly interact with posters.
      You may more readily find him on face book – if you are a FB user.

      I think if I may venture to answer your question – its because of the destruction he sees that theology causes to people.
      If you could help people – and you had information useful to help them – would you?

      There is a large body of believers who thank Dr. Flowers on a consistent basis for helping them.
      I hope that helps you to understand.
      blessings!
      br.d

      1. I think what Dr. Flowers is doing IS also destructive because in most of his you YouTube video’s when I search his name is mostly putting Christian against Christian. According to Jesus putting brother against brother is a sin and seeing Dr. Flowers is a teacher … well he knows the Bible well enough. While God does allow for correction in the church, the way Dr. Flowers is going about it is not what Jesus teaches to do. When a non Christian see’s this “Battel Royal” Dr. Flowers is putting out there how do you think they see Christians. He might be helping some but he also may be hardening others. Jesus did call out the Scribes and Pharisees but this was different. They mostly believed in their works and outward appearances vs what Jesus taught about the inward man, the heart. Also Jesus came as Messiah and fulfilled the prophecies about Him and they still didn’t believe. And it’s recorded for us that Paul corrected Perter. However this is an example of what we should do. What does it say in Galations 2:11, Paul told Peter FACE TO FACE. Then according to Jesus teaching, in verse 14 we see Paul did it in front of the church and Peter was there. He didn’t correct Peter and the church while Peter was not there. Also in this case the gospel was at stake.

        My son is a new Christian and has been watching a lot of Dr. Flowers videos and he gets almost angry when he see’s something I believe goes against what Dr. Flowers points out is wrong (a negative teaching). Then I start to explain my point of view and scripture then things get heated. When I realize what Satan is doing (putting brother against brother) me being a Christian longer I back down and end the discussion.

        While I think debate is good, I don’t think 95% or so of your content debating when a debater from the other side is not there is not productive for the Kingdom of God. I’m not a Calvinist / non Calvinist, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian or whatever denomination, I’m a disciple of Christ and go to and am a member of a Christ following, God fearing church (which I wont mention the denomination because really it’s irrelevant in the Kingdom of God). In heaven there are not sections of Christians in Heaven, we are all brothers in Christ. I watched several of Dr. Flowers videos because my son was watching them so at least I could understand what my son was talking about. I had to quit watching them because of the negativity in them putting brother against brother. Also there were several videos where Dr. Flowers was trying to make a point and took the context of the single verse out of context, also leaving critical parts of a single verse out all together. I’m trying to get it across to my son to, one know the context of the passage, two know the audience the passage was given to, three know the literary style of the passage and four most importantly pray asking God for guidance. At least knowing this you can get a better understanding of God’s Word and then have a better understanding how to apply that to our lives to be more like Jesus.

        I watch teachings from a variety of teachers. The videos I look for are one that teaches Gods word without putting brother against brother. I also pay close attention to the three points I mentioned earlier that I asked my son to look for always praying for God’s guidance. This helps me see false teaching from good teaching. I’m not saying Dr. Flowers is a false teacher I think a lot of what he teaches is true it’s just the way he does it that I think is more destructive most than helpful others.

      2. Raf:
        I think what Dr. Flowers is doing IS also destructive because in most of his you YouTube video’s when I search his name is mostly putting Christian against Christian.

        br.d
        Dr. Flowers is mild compared to the name calling, angry, aggressive, scorched earth, accusations which are common fair for Calvinists against any Christian who disagrees with them.

        For example – you won’t find Dr. Flowers accusing Calvinists of being heretics and god haters.
        And I’m never surprised when Calvinists start attacking me like that.

        If you think Dr. Flowers is setting Christian against Christian – from my perspective – you ain’t seen nu-thin! :-]

        Raf:
        My son is a new Christian and has been watching a lot of Dr. Flowers videos and he gets almost angry when he see’s something I believe goes against what Dr. Flowers points out is wrong (a negative teaching).

        br.d
        Can you provide an example?

      3. Just because Dr. Flowers doesn’t do things to the degree another person, does that make it right. No, Jesus taught if you have hate towards someone you’ve committed murder in your heart. So if I hate someone its almost as bad to God as if I do kill someone. Now this may be a bad example but is just to say to the degree of sin someone does something in God’s eyes is still not right. I don’t see Jesus doing what Dr. Flowers is doing. What I see Jesus doing is going to the person that there teaching is incorrect and correcting them out of love. What I see Dr. Flowers doing is almost Anti Jesus like. We are to separate ourselves from the world and not act like the world acts. We are children of God, servants of the King and Jesus representative. That’s not to say God won’t use Dr. Flowers method to bring someone to knowledge. Even God used Joseph’s brothers for good even though they meant it for evil. This is not to say Dr. Flowers is evil but just an example.

        I won’t provide an example because that’s between God, my son and me per Jesus instructions. I mentioned it to show how the way the Dr. Flowers presents his material can hurt more than help. I think if Dr. Flowers would have presented his teaching without saying what was wrong with another persons theology then things would have gone differently with the discussions my son and I have. I just get this sense of hostility when I listen to his videos. I get Dr. Flowers passion because he had one world view now he has another. But that doesn’t need to come out in most his videos to Christians and Non Christians that can be seen around the world. One video was all he needed to explain why he changed, then moving forward teach his new view occasionally mentioning “this is what I used to believe and this is what I now believe” leaving titles out of it. Remember there are no denominations in Heaven and the only titles God uses are to identify basically only two groups of man (Yes Both Jew and Gentile also fall in either group). Saved and unsaved, with imagery of the same concept (Wheat/Tares, Sheep/Goats). Now there are different degrees of each group but just two. Just for age reference I’m in my mid 50’s and my son is in his mid 20s.

        The other thing I don’t understand in your reply is why Calvinism is brought up. I never mentioned Calvinism other than I don’t identify with any denomination. I don’t understand all of Calvinism although I’m aware of the world view/theology. I use world view because for some reason the world wants to make all these categories to have this “identity” The only “identity” I want is “Sinner, saved by grace through faith, by God’s mercy, washed by the blood of the lamb, clothed in Jesus righteousness, child of God, servant of the King, co-heirs in Christ” I suppose I could go on but I think you get the idea. I wouldn’t want to be identified by the labels of this world but rather by the labels God has given us. Our charge is to seek first the Kingdom of God and hunger and thirst after righteousness, to be Holy as He is Holy. Do I do it perfectly, no, none of us do. But with God’s spirit in the Christian we undergo God’s sanctifying work till one day we are with Him in Glory.

        μαρὰν ἀθά (Maranatha)!!!

        It’s not about us… It’s about “May God be glorified”.
        Sola Gratia
        Sola Fide
        Sola Scriptura
        Solus Christus!
        Soli Deo Gloria!

      4. Raf
        Just because Dr. Flowers doesn’t do things to the degree another person, does that make it right.

        br.d
        TRUE!
        But does the Lord teach us to point to a small example – while ignoring the blatant ones?

        Raf
        Jesus taught if you have hate towards someone you’ve committed murder in your heart.

        br.d
        Well – now you are ascribing hatred – which is totally unsustainable
        And to continue to forward it – is going to end up being more detrimental to yourself than anyone else.

        Raf
        I don’t see Jesus doing what Dr. Flowers is doing.

        br.d
        Well – as I said earlier – there is a large body of believers who do consider the information Dr. Flowers brings to the table – as liberating.
        And they will not hesitate to tell you – their perspective is the opposite of yours.

        But obviously their experience is the different from yours.

        Raf
        What I see Jesus doing is going to the person that there teaching is incorrect and correcting them out of love.

        br.d
        And turning over tables – and setting sacrificial animals free – and publicly denouncing the priests for turning the temple into a den of thieves.

        Raf
        What I see Dr. Flowers doing is almost Anti Jesus like.

        br.d
        Considering those who greatly appreciate his ministry – and who feel the information he provides has set them free – we would have to compare your feelings with theirs – and conclude you see through your own eyes – and they see through theirs.

        Raf
        I won’t provide an example because that’s between God, my son and me per Jesus instructions.

        br.d
        Strange reasoning!
        But you must do what you feel is correct.

        Raf
        The other thing I don’t understand in your reply is why Calvinism is brought up.

        br.d
        Calvinism in fact is the central focus.

        Dr. Flowers created SOT101 (this blog here) and dedicated it as a platform designed to inform Christians who would otherwise be lured into Calvinism by its strategically misleading language.

        Due to the success of SOT101, Dr. Flowers was asked to produce more content on Youtube.
        So Calvinism is the central focus of both SOT101 and his Youtube videos.

        I appreciated the rest of your post.
        Thank you

        Blessings to you also
        br.d

      5. br.d
        Well – now you are ascribing hatred – which is totally unsustainable

        Raf
        As I said it may have been a bad example but was just showing the degree of something does not make it right.

        br.d
        Well – as I said earlier – there is a large body of believers who do consider the information Dr. Flowers brings to the table – as liberating.

        Raf
        As I said God can use anything for good. However, if people are finding liberation from not having one world view and embracing another …. well I get my liberation from God, through Jesus by His Spirit. My peace comes from the Lord, not men.

        br.d
        And turning over tables – and setting sacrificial animals free – and publicly denouncing the priests for turning the temple into a den of thieves.

        Raf
        Not a good example, why did Jesus do what He did? There is a difference between incorrect teaching that does not send one to hell and what they were doing to the House of God. Next you’ll say God is not love because He poured His wrath out on Jesus due to our sin.

        br.d
        we would have to compare your feelings with theirs – and conclude you see through your own eyes – and they see through theirs.

        Raf
        Ummm, ok, Are you saying faith is feelings and seeing through our own eyes? You have me confused. Do a study of Matthew 5 and the Beatitudes. You don’t find peace in feeling good.

        br.d
        Strange reasoning!

        Raf,
        Jesus tells us to take our differences with our brother to our brother. How is that strange? You don’t have to answer but the differences that Dr. Flowers had with other teachers, how many times did he go to them and talk with them?

        As a footnote, I didn’t hear about Dr. Flowers till about a month ago when my son brought up one of his videos. I agree with some stuff he said and disagreed with other stuff because as I looked at context, the audience the referenced scripture was about and other scripture it didn’t match up to what the Bible says in it’s context. Until I saw him wearing a Provisionism or Provisionist shirt I never heard of that either. Based on my research this world view is new although based on some other world views from what I’m reading.

        I normally look for study videos / audio that as a disciple I can learn from, direct teachings to learn more on what it means to be like Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. With Dr. Flowers videos they were argumentative, and the more I watched it seemed he was almost hostile towards Christians that have a different world view than his. My question is why the hostility? Are all Calvinist Christians going to hell for what they believe? Are Non Calvinist Christians going to hell for what they believe? I think I just watched too many of his videos in a short period of time. What I should have done was pick one video compared the oppositional one that is being argued about then pray and ask God “How does one view vs the other view make me more like Christ?” Compare both to scripture, find Which one is more Biblical than the other. Who know maybe neither one does, or maybe they both are saying the same thing but just wording it different. I’ve seen that with other things, two people saying the same thing but arguing over what turns out to be nothing because they are saying the same thing. Satan works that way, if he can cause division he will. He doesn’t go after the unsaved, but Christians. The other reason we can’t go off of feelings.

        Face it with all the competing world views on Christianity out there there is going to be fault with them all some way or the other. Two competing ideas, typically one is right and one is wrong. What is true is they both think they are right.

        One example where I was confused would be the one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPhlAOpPqjA&list=WL&index=31 where he’s talking about being humble. Not one of his referenced scriptures proved what he is arguing about. When you read the below we probably agree that the church has unsaved people in it but the primary role of the, for lack of a better term, “corporate church” is to “Feed Jesus Sheep (Christians)”. Do people get saved in churches of course but again it’s not the primary role.

        He mentions 1 Peter and James for example, who was the audience of these letters? Were they letters to an unsaved congregation? Or was it to churches that would have already believed in Jesus, and these were letters for instruction. So, in these letters would they be telling people in the church (believers) to be humble. For 2 Chronicles Didn’t they humble themselves only after the chastisement of the Lord. It took Shemaiah the prophet to go to Rehoboam to tell him why king of Egypt came, because they had transgressed against the Lord. It was after what the Lord did that, they humbled themselves. In 2 Kings he left out part of the verse, he left out “when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse,” again sounds like they humbled themselves after chastisement, or threat of it. If you read before this verse, you get the whole context of the section, like verse 11 “Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes.” In Matthew 18 who is Jesus talking to, he’s talking to his disciples who were following Him. He was addressing the question they asked Him “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” The Chapter is addressing that a follower of Jesus (a believer) becomes childlike in that he depends on God like a child depends on a parent knowing we can’t take care of ourselves, humble not prideful. Same with Luke 18, humble not prideful, we are dependent on someone else. So really in most of these examples he used God did something first already to bring about a humble spirit. Just trying to understand this argument.

        God bless.

      6. Raf
        As I said God can use anything for good. However, if people are finding liberation from not having one world view and embracing another …. well I get my liberation from God, through Jesus by His Spirit. My peace comes from the Lord, not men.

        br.d
        I think you will agree – believers who are thankful for the information Dr.Flowers provides – see their liberation from God also.

        Raf
        There is a difference between incorrect teaching that does not send one to hell and what they were doing to the House of God.

        br.d
        That would be your perspective because you don’t see the particular damage done to God’s people
        One area of concern is leading young Christians into the sin of using dishonest language,
        I don’t think Jesus approves of that any more than de did the priests abusing the physical temple.

        Raf
        Ummm, ok, Are you saying faith is feelings and seeing through our own eyes? You have me confused. Do a study of Matthew 5 and the Beatitudes. You don’t find peace in feeling good.

        br.d
        To clarify – you were mentioning your own perspective about Dr. Flowers
        Those believers who appreciate his ministry obviously have the opposite perspective

        Raf,
        Jesus tells us to take our differences with our brother to our brother. How is that strange?

        br.d
        Oh I see what you mean!
        And what do we do when that doesn’t work – which is the case with Calvinism?
        And the damage that it causes simply persists from year to year.
        We have Calvinist pastors who lie to church boards in order to get themselves into churches that are non-Calvinist churches
        They eventually cause division – and an eventual church split
        And they refuse to acknowledge deceiving people is a sin.
        These are not temporary situations
        There is an unflinching tenacity to it that simply refuses to budge – even when Pastors beg them to be honest – they simply ignore it.

        To understand depth of it – you would actually want to talk directly with Dr. Flowers
        And by that conversation be able to understand why he believes the Lord is leading his efforts as his best option.

        Raf
        With Dr. Flowers videos they were argumentative, and the more I watched it seemed he was almost hostile towards Christians that have a different world view than his. My question is why the hostility?

        br.d
        I can’t help but believe he would say its more than just about having different beliefs.
        You were probably not aware – but the central focal point is informing Christians with information they can use to not get lured into deceptive teachings.

        Raf
        Are all Calvinist Christians going to hell for what they believe?

        br.d
        You might be surprised to know John Calvin taught that the majority of the church is divinely created as souls specifically designed to be vessels of wrath fitted for destruction – and divinely deceived by God – into a false sense of salvation during their life-time.

        br.d
        On the particular argument you mentioned – I’m not familiar with it – so I wouldn’t be a good source to answer your question.

        Rah
        God bless.

        br.d
        Appreciated!
        It was nice talking with you
        And thanks!
        God bless you also!

    2. br.d
      I can’t help but believe he would say its more than just about having different beliefs.
      You were probably not aware – but the central focal point is informing Christians with information they can use to not get lured into deceptive teachings.

      Raf
      I get everything your saying. Arming Christians with truth is very important and protecting them from deception. I agree 100% What I disagree with is the method. There is a way to arm with truth than to, for a lack of a different way to put it, set up a cage match between two Christians, where Dr. Flowers is in this corner and “Insert name here of who his argument is against or Calvinist” is in this corner, ding ding. This is the way of the world. I mean if your going to teach the truth, teach the truth. There is a way to do it without this “cage match” mentality (many people have done it) to get upvotes on YouTube or whatever, which as a Christian wouldn’t want any part of. If you say its not a cage match look at the the picture for this video when you do a search for “Dr. Leighton Flowers” in DuckDuckGo This for me was the first video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-TCokZKX8U. It shows Dr. Leighton Flowers with Boxing gloves on with a picture of John Calvin with boxing gloves on. But I get that too, that’s the way of the world.

      I say again, Face it with all the competing world views on Christianity out there there is going to be fault with them all some way or the other. Two competing ideas, typically one is right and one is wrong. What is true is they both think they are right. And yes Dr. Flowers has been wrong even in his new world view or his new Provisionism. Just like I know I’ve been wrong especially when I just look at one verse and take it out of context or out of the audience it was originally given to. I thank God that he showed me when I was wrong and ask that He continue to guide me in truth. God has guided my in understanding scripture and to look for at least these things, 1) context, 2) original audience (Like Jews, Gentiles, Galileans, time period), 3) literary style. there might be more but this has been a good foundation. I even got introduce to this big word, Hermeneutics. Will I get some stuff wrong in the future, I’m sure I will, I’m on this side of Heaven. Thankfully, in a way, I’m not called to be a teacher because I know if I spread untruth God’s judgement against me will be more. And hopefully in our discussion I have been true to God’s word and hope that if I have been true to His word, God willing, be used for His Glory.

      For me to go back and say what I see and unbiblical I’d have to find all the videos I watched and go back through them. That I am not going to do, I don’t think I could take any more. I will watch Dr. Flowers teachings that don’t involve this “cage match” mentality. because there is a lot of truth that Dr. Flowers does teach.

      I hope you understand it not so much the content as it is the method. The method seems more world like then God like. And that method can be destructive, not in all cases, but it can be. I also realize Dr. Flowers is not the only one to use this method. It just so happens my son has been watching a lot of his videos and when my son presents Dr. Flowers thoughts its also in the argumentative posture that Dr. Flowers uses vs sitting down and talking about scripture and looking at both world views to make a comparison. Then based on scripture which one is more biblical. Right now It’s hard for me to even talk with him about any of it with out him getting in the argumentative posture. So I’ll pray, give it some time then try again.

      1. I’m sorry to hear about the difficulty with your son.
        As a father of a grown son, I know how much that would seriously bother me!
        It would hurt me to the core!

        I think you have a kind and considerate heart.
        And I suspect your son probably gets that from you as well.

        Perhaps this is a temporary situation???
        Perhaps a phase your son is going through – where perhaps he sees you in some kind of adversarial role for some reason?
        So I can understand where you are coming from and your concern.

        I’m not so sure that Dr. Flowers is the key influence of that – because I don’t see others responding the same way to his videos.

        It sounds like there is something in Dr. Flower’s videos that your son is connecting with at this point.

        I wonder if your son has had dialogs with Calvinists and he finds Dr. Flowers videos have added to his ability to understand Calvinism and coherently respond to it.

        But I’m only guessing.

        Since I can see that you obviously care about your relationship with him – I’m hoping he will see your heart on the matter – and he’ll appreciate it.

        I’ll ask the Lord for that on your and your son’s behalf!!

        Thanks for sharing your heart with me!
        Very sincerely
        br.d

      2. I lied, I ended up watching another video my son posted. I have a questions. A lot of the videos seem to have this common theme, what happens first regeneration or my belief, is that one of the main disagreements between Calvinist and Provisionism? And the theme that seems to go along with this is God choosing us sovernly based on His will (Calvinism) or us choosing God based on our free will (Provisionism)? Is this correct so far? I don’t understand fully Calvanism or Provisionism. If this is all correct so far this is what I have pictured in my head.

        I’m standing before God, does God say “Come my son I chose you out of the world” Or does He say “Come my son, thank you for choosing me instead of Satan” Maybe my logic is flawed in this but based on what I’m hearing this almost seems the case.

        In my mind I’m trying to see which world view gives the most Glory to God alone. But to do that I’m trying to understand the two. When you search the webernet you get all kinds of answers. I figure Dr. Flowers having been a Calvinist and now Provisionism would have good insight to this.

        If I’m incorrect can you please explain at least this topic from both perspectives. Please don’t do it in an argumentive way. What I’m looking for is this is the Calvinist view and this is the Provisionism view. I’m not looking for what is wrong with one or the other, I just want facts. Maybe some links that explain both views that Dr. Flowers might recommend, again not an argumentive on but two separate videos one explaining the Calvinist view and one explaining the Provisionism view and neither one of them mentioning one or the other.

      3. a major problem seems to be men defining and dictating what brings more glory to God, and by implication boxing god into their definition. Given that Jesus was the most truly human ever do we think that when, for example, Matthew arose from his desk to follow Jesus, he expressed pleasure and delight at M’s response, or was he more like, “I made you do that”?

      4. Raf A lot of the videos seem to have this common theme, what happens first regeneration or my belief, is that one of the main disagreements between Calvinist and Provisionism?

        br.d
        No – that issue is more of an external manifestation of the underlying main disagreement.

        That which sets Calvinism apart from all other Christian Theologies is Universal Divine Causal Determinism.
        Sometimes called “Exhaustive Divine Determinism”

        I like using the analogy of a house
        In the house of Calvinism – the foundation and the frame-work are Universal Divine Causal Determinism.

        The other components of the house of Calvinism are things like siding, windows, doors, lighting etc.
        Those things are more COSMETIC in nature and they require being supported by the foundation and the frame-work.

        So for example – the TULIP in Calvinism – is a COSMETIC component.
        Many people debate over the TULIP as if it were the CORE of the doctrine – when the REAL core of the doctrine is hidden because it the CORE of the doctrine is its foundation and frame-work.

        The CORE proposition in Calvinism – is that whatsoever comes to pass is infallibly decreed at the foundation of the world before humans are created.

        This means everything that happens must be FIXED in the past – and meticulously determined by god.
        Nothing is MERELY PERMITTED to happen.
        Everything that comes to pass must be meticulously CAUSED by god.

        So accordingly – in Calvinism – a person is not regenerated because they CHOOSE to believe in Christ
        They are regenerated because it was CHOSEN for them – and it comes to pass infallibly.
        And they have NO CHOICE in the matter.

        Raf
        And the theme that seems to go along with this is God choosing us sovernly based on His will (Calvinism) or us choosing God based on our free will (Provisionism)? Is this correct so far?

        br.d
        Kind of yes!

        Freedom granted to the creature is a huge issue for Calvinism – because it is radically different from all of Calvinisms alternatives.
        In Calvinism – the creature is ONLY free to be/do what is divinely determined
        You are NOT FREE to be/do otherwise

        So for example:
        Adam was free to eat the fruit – because eating the fruit was determined to infallibly come to pass
        But Adam was NOT free to NOT eat the fruit – because doing so would falsify the infallible decree -which is NOT permitted.

        John Calvin puts it this way:
        -quote
        Hence they [humans] are merely INSTRUMENTS INTO WHICH god constantly INFUSES what energy he sees meet, and TURNS and converts to any purpose at his pleasure. (Institutes)

        Calvinist Paul Helm’s says:
        -quote
        Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by god, but every twist and turn of each
        of these is under the DIRECT CONTROL of God (The Providence of God pg 22)

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

        Raf
        I don’t understand fully Calvanism or Provisionism. If this is all correct so far this is what I have pictured in my head.

        br.d
        The CORE difference is that Calvinism is based on Universal Divine Causal Determinism – and all of its alternatives (including provisionism) do not accept that philosophy into their theology.

        Raf
        I’m standing before God, does God say “Come my son I chose you out of the world” Or does He say “Come my son, thank you for choosing me instead of Satan” Maybe my logic is flawed in this but based on what I’m hearing this almost seems the case.

        br.d
        In Calvinism – every impulse that comes to pass within the human brain is AUTHORED by god.
        So man has not choice in the matter of anything.
        So if a man appears to choose god in Calvinism – it is really the case that he actually had no choice.
        The impulse comes to pass within his brain infallibly.
        And an infallible impulse is impossible to resist.

        Raf
        In my mind I’m trying to see which world view gives the most Glory to God alone. But to do that I’m trying to understand the two. When you search the webernet you get all kinds of answers. I figure Dr. Flowers having been a Calvinist and now Provisionism would have good insight to this.

        br.d
        You will find Dr. Flowers quoting from A.W. Tozer on this topic

        quote
        God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures, He would be afraid to do so.

        Calvinism however holds to the opposite
        That sovereignty is defined as authoring every impulse that is permitted to come to pass in your brain.

        Raf
        If I’m incorrect can you please explain at least this topic from both perspectives. Please don’t do it in an argumentive way. What I’m looking for is this is the Calvinist view and this is the Provisionism view. I’m not looking for what is wrong with one or the other, I just want facts. Maybe some links that explain both views that Dr. Flowers might recommend, again not an argumentive on but two separate videos one explaining the Calvinist view and one explaining the Provisionism view and neither one of them mentioning one or the other.

        br.d
        I think perhaps I did that in my explanations above.
        Let me know if I missed something you were expecting.

      5. BR.D
        Are you a Provisionalist? In your reply, I didn’t see much of what you believe other than what you don’t believe.

        I never heard of “Universal Divine Causal Determinism” looking at the definition, Yea I don’t think God chooses what shirt I wear or what ice-cream I choose. In regards to “Free Will” I think Martin Luther explains it best, maybe not perfect but I think is most biblical. Quote from his letter on “the Bondage of the will”

        “But, if we do not like to leave out this term altogether, (which would be most safe, and also most religious) we may, nevertheless, with a good conscience teach, that it be used so far as to allow man a “Free-will,” not in respect of those which are above him, but in respect only of those things which are below him: that is, he may be allowed to know, that he has, as to his goods and possessions the right of using, acting, and omitting, according to his “Free-will;” although, at the same time, that same “Free-will” is overruled by the Free- will of God alone, just as he pleases: but that, God-ward, or in things which pertain unto salvation or damnation, he has no “Free-will,” but is a captive, slave, and servant, either to the will of God, or to the will of Satan. ”

        What I think is most important to understand is we either are a servant of Satan or a servant of God. There is no in-between. We can’t be a servant to ourselves. Were our will becomes bound is by the master we serve. When I say I’m a servant of God I say I forfeit my will to serve God in the things that relate to God, he is master. Now does that restrict my free will to choose chocolate ice cream over vanilla, no. I don’t know of one time in the Bible were Jesus said “I do my will” it is always I do the will of my Father. Did that mean choice to drink water or wine of the time period? I don’t think so. I think it was as it pertains to heavenly things and what was required to show who He was and what was required for our salvation. There might be other things that were the Father’s will but those are examples. So if Jesus did the will of the Father, am I greater than Jesus that as it relates to the things under God I have free will? Absolutely not.

        So now the question is do I choose God or does God choose me. Based on scripture God chooses us. If God does not choose someone does that put blame on God? Absolutely not. Everyone’s destination is hell already. If God chooses to “pardon” someone out of His mercy does that make God unjust? Absolutely not.

        The imagry God uses for this is a husband and a bride. Now don’t use our understanding of this, you have to use the audience this was given to, The people of Galilee. Do a study of weddings during this time period and area. You’ll see what I mean. I don’t want you to take my word for it that’s why I won’t explain it.

        As for Calvanism and Provisionalism, God reminded me that I don’t need to understand either world view because there are faults with both. They are man’s way they interpret scripture. Maybe it would be good to know the faults so I know what not to do or believe.

        I am a child of God, a servant of the King. Regardless of what the sequence of events that happened. What my focus is how to be a child of God, servant of the King. And to pray for what God’s will is for me? How can I be more like Jesus? How can He use me to bring others to Him?

        It’s not about me… But may God be glorified!!!

      6. Raf
        BR.D
        Are you a Provisionalist? In your reply, I didn’t see much of what you believe other than what you don’t believe.

        br.d
        I don’t go by that label – even though I understand and agree with the principle behind it.
        Basically – from what I understand – the “Provisionist” position is that the Lord will make a way for people to walk in himself.
        And that is called making a “Provision” for people.

        Raf
        I never heard of “Universal Divine Causal Determinism” looking at the definition, Yea I don’t think God chooses what shirt I wear or what ice-cream I choose. In regards to “Free Will” I think Martin Luther explains it best, maybe not perfect but I think is most biblical. Quote from his letter on “the Bondage of the will”

        br.d
        With Calvinism – 100% of whatsoever comes to pass – is solely and exclusively determined at the foundation of the world.
        And for Calvin – divine foreknowledge of what [X] will be – is lacking until divine determination of what [X] will be is made.

        Calvin says it this way:
        -quote
        He foresees *ONLY* as a consequence of his decree

        So if he does not decree that you wear a blue shirt – then you don’t wear a blue shirt.
        If he does not decree the impulse in your mind – to put on a blue shirt – then you don’t have that impulse.

        He foreknows that you will wear a blue shirt – simply because he knows he decreed that is what you would do.

        Calvinism rejects what is classically known as Libertarian Freedom for the creature.
        Libertarian freedom entails the ability to choose between [A] and [NOT A]

        But that form of choice entails at minimum 2 options [A] and [NOT A] from which the creature can select.
        In Calvinism – only one single option can be RENDERED-CERTAIN
        Therefore – man is never granted more than one single option for every event.
        And man has NO CHOICE in what that option will be.
        So essentially – the function of “CHOICE” (as we generally understand it) is not granted to humans in Calvinism.

        Raf
        “But, if we do not like to leave out this term altogether, (which would be most safe, and also most religious) we may, nevertheless, with a good conscience teach, that it be used so far as to allow man a “Free-will,” not in respect of those which are above him, but in respect only of those things which are below him: that is, he may be allowed to know, that he has, as to his goods and possessions the right of using, acting, and omitting, according to his “Free-will;” although, at the same time, that same “Free-will” is overruled by the Free- will of God alone, just as he pleases: but that, God-ward, or in things which pertain unto salvation or damnation, he has no “Free-will,” but is a captive, slave, and servant, either to the will of God, or to the will of Satan. ”

        br.d
        I appears that Luther – from this paragraph – is indicating that there are certain (higher) things in which man is not granted choice.
        But there are certain (lower) things in which man is granted choice.

        Raf
        What I think is most important to understand is we either are a servant of Satan or a servant of God.

        br.d
        In Calvinism – both Satan and man (whether saved or not) are instruments of god.
        And they think and do whatever he decrees them to thinking and do.

        Calvin explains:
        -quote
        men can deliberately do nothing unless he *INSPIRE* it. (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God pg 171–172)

        -quote
        “The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly, are, in all directions, held in by the hand of God as with a bridle, so that they can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as He…..COMMANDS; that they are not only bound by His fetters but are even *FORCED* to do Him service.” (Institutes I, 17, 11.)

        Raf
        There is no in-between. We can’t be a servant to ourselves. Were our will becomes bound is by the master we serve.

        br.d
        Yes – I would see that as a consistent Non-Calvinist position.

        In Calvinism all creatures – both human and demonic – are meticulously controlled by infallible decrees.

        Raf
        When I say I’m a servant of God I say I forfeit my will to serve God in the things that relate to God, he is master. Now does that restrict my free will to choose chocolate ice cream over vanilla, no. I don’t know of one time in the Bible were Jesus said “I do my will” it is always I do the will of my Father. Did that mean choice to drink water or wine of the time period? I don’t think so. I think it was as it pertains to heavenly things and what was required to show who He was and what was required for our salvation. There might be other things that were the Father’s will but those are examples. So if Jesus did the will of the Father, am I greater than Jesus that as it relates to the things under God I have free will? Absolutely not.

        br.d
        Some of this depends on what we mean by “free will”
        The belief that a person has the ability to choose between whether something is TRUE or FALSE – is traditionally classified as a Libertarian choice.

        Calvinism rejects Libertarian freedom.
        So in Calvinism – the reason the human mind perceives [X] as TRUE – is because god decrees the human mind to perceive that
        Even though god himself knows [X] is FALSE.

        He chooses what perceptions the human mind will have.
        So in Calvinism – the human mind is not in control of its perceptions.

        Raf
        So now the question is do I choose God or does God choose me. Based on scripture God chooses us. If God does not choose someone does that put blame on God? Absolutely not. Everyone’s destination is hell already. If God chooses to “pardon” someone out of His mercy does that make God unjust? Absolutely not.

        br.d
        So all non-Calvinists typically will say – God first chooses us – and then MERELY permits us to make a choice one way or another towards himself. He grants humans the function of choice.

        In Calvinism – god is the sole and exclusive choice maker.
        So if he chooses you to reject him – then your mind is not permitted to do anything but reject him.
        If he chooses you to accept him -then your mind is not permitted to do anything but accept him.

        Raf
        The imagry God uses for this is a husband and a bride. Now don’t use our understanding of this, you have to use the audience this was given to, The people of Galilee. Do a study of weddings during this time period and area. You’ll see what I mean. I don’t want you to take my word for it that’s why I won’t explain it.

        br.d
        Yes!
        The Non-Calvinist Christian will typically look at the man who proposes marriage to the woman – and leaves her free to make her own choice. He does not make the choice for her.

        In Calvinism – god does not grant choice to humans – so the bride is made to want the husband by infallible decree.

        Raf
        As for Calvanism and Provisionalism, God reminded me that I don’t need to understand either world view because there are faults with both. They are man’s way they interpret scripture. Maybe it would be good to know the faults so I know what not to do or believe.

        br.d
        Totally agree!!!
        We are all fallible and our reading of scripture is subject to human biases.

        Raf
        I am a child of God, a servant of the King. Regardless of what the sequence of events that happened. What my focus is how to be a child of God, servant of the King. And to pray for what God’s will is for me? How can I be more like Jesus? How can He use me to bring others to Him?

        br.d
        And in my mind – it is wonderful that he makes that available to us!!

        Raf
        It’s not about me… But may God be glorified!!!

        br.d
        Yes completely!
        If it were not for his loving kindness – I would be living in nothing by my own filth.

      7. br.d
        So if he does not decree that you wear a blue shirt – then you don’t wear a blue shirt.
        If he does not decree the impulse in your mind – to put on a blue shirt – then you don’t have that impulse.

        Raf
        In a way this is true. I want to wear a blue shirt, and that’s my will. But God does not want me to wear a blue shirt, who’s will will happen? Can my will overturn God’s will? Absolutely not. May it never be. Now in reality does God restrict what I choose to wear, probably not. Does God know I’ll wear a blue shirt? Sure, but God still grants me that choice which is what you said.
        —————————————–
        br.d
        both Satan and man (whether saved or not) are instruments of god.
        Raf
        This is true. In that God can use Satan or man or a Bible or a rock to accomplish His will. But because this is true I agree does not make your next sentence true unless He does will it to be so, our will never, never, never over power God’s will. This is not to say God will make someone sin, He won’t and can’t do that, but will He allow it, yes.
        br.d
        And they think and do whatever he decrees them to thinking and do.
        ———————————————-
        br.d
        Yes!
        The Non-Calvinist Christian will typically look at the man who proposes marriage to the woman – and leaves her free to make her own choice. He does not make the choice for her.

        Raf
        This is why I asked you to research weddings of the time period and location. The bride in most cases did NOT choose her husband, they were arranged. Typically it was the fathers of the man and woman that made the choice. Sometimes the man and woman didn’t even know each other. So it’s the Father that chooses the bride for the husband. If you do your research on weddings of this time period and location you will also see it’s imagery of Jesus return. It’s a wonderful illustration God gave us.

      8. Raf
        In a way this is true. I want to wear a blue shirt, and that’s my will. But God does not want me to wear a blue shirt, who’s will will happen?

        br.d
        The Calvinist system has two divine wills.
        One will is DETERMINATIVE
        In other words – it determines whatsoever comes to pass.

        This will is called the SECRET will.
        Because this will is to NOT REVEALED to mankind.

        This is the will which will determine whether you want to wear a blue shirt or not.
        You don’t get to make that choice yourself
        It is made for you.

        The other will – in Calvinism is often called the ENUNCIATED will
        This is the will that is expressed by what god communicates.
        Thou shalt not kill – for example.

        But the SECRET will can be the exact opposite of the ENUNCIATED will
        And when the SECRET will is the opposite of the ENUNCIATED will – then the ENUNCIATED will – functions as a FALSE REPRESENTATION of the SECRET will.

        For example – in Calvinism – the SECRET will was for Cain to murder his brother Able.
        And the SECRET will did not permit Cain to do anything else but murder Able
        The SECRET will – determined the impulses that would come to pass within Cain’s mind – to murder Able
        And no other impulses were permitted.

        But the ENUNCIATED will – was for Cain to do well
        So the ENUNCIATED will – in this case was the opposite of the SECRET will
        And so the ENUNCIATED will functioned as a FALSE REPRESENTATION of the SECRET will.

        Raf
        Can my will overturn God’s will? Absolutely not. May it never be. Now in reality does God restrict what I choose to wear, probably not. Does God know I’ll wear a blue shirt? Sure, but God still grants me that choice which is what you said.

        br.d
        Yes – that would be generally understood in most Christianity.
        However no by John Calvin.

        During John Calvin’s days publishing his writings there were other Christian thinkers whom he engaged with letters.
        They argued the position you currently hold.

        They disagreed with his doctrine about the divine will.
        They argued that god gives people choice to sin or not to sin – and that if they choose to sin – then god PERMITS them to sin.

        But Calvin saw this as an insult to divine control and sovereignty.
        For Calvin – god CAUSES man to sin by decreeing him to sin and the decree does not permit man any alternative.

        His response was to scoff at those who disagreed with him
        -quote
        If such a barren invention is accepted that Adam sinned because he had free choice, where will the omnipotence of God be, whereby he regulates all things according to his secret plan, which depends solely upon itself?

        Raf
        This is why I asked you to research weddings of the time period and location. The bride in most cases did NOT choose her husband, they were arranged. Typically it was the fathers of the man and woman that made the choice. Sometimes the man and woman didn’t even know each other. So it’s the Father that chooses the bride for the husband. If you do your research on weddings of this time period and location you will also see it’s imagery of Jesus return. It’s a wonderful illustration God gave us.

        br.d
        I understand that.
        But what I was pointing to – is the woman has a choice – doesn’t she?
        Is she given no choice of whom she will be married to?

      9. br.d
        The Calvinist system

        Raf,
        At this point in my life I’m not studying Calvinism. At some point I might to understand it because it apparently they even wear their underware backwards.

        br.d
        I understand that.
        But what I was pointing to – is the woman has a choice – doesn’t she?
        Is she given no choice of whom she will be married to?

        Raf
        No, she did not have a choice. You have to understand their customs. However she would give her approval to proceed with the marriage. No She did not have a choice of who she would marry, The Fathers arranged this. Now I suppose there were times when maybe the father passed away not sure what they did then. And I suppose this may have not been true 100% of the time but a very high percentage of the time.

        Also they were young according to our standards, Mary was about 12 they think when she was betrothed to Joseph who was 80 -90 years old I guess according to some writings but he could have been younger. Sounds like she didn’t know him either at first, this is not in the Bible but from other writings I guess. Mary they think was 15 when she had Jesus. This is irrelevant but some interesting “facts”.

        That’s why I say, to understanding scripture look for at least these things, 1) context, 2) original audience (Like Jews, Gentiles, Galileans, time period), 3) literary style. The Bible wasn’t written directly to us in that we are not the original people it was given to although it can be applied to us. There are things written that the people of the time knew what Jesus taught because he taught by using things they would understand from their daily life. 2000 years removed it’s hard for us to fully understand unless you have some historical context and still it’s hard for us to “fully” understand.

        I like hearing from teachers that do give the historical context, it brings it more to life when you can picture yourself with them as well a more depth in the meaning. It’s like understanding the original language. Our English does a poor job at giving the full meaning/picture that Hebrew or Greek. or Aramaic gives. I suppose that why we have so many denominations, people trying to put modern day meaning to a 1000, 1500, 2000 old meaning depending on the year, for us 2000, 3000 years + depending on when the old testament was written. But regardless God still gives insight to His word by His Spirit, so it’s knowable.

      10. Thank you Raf,
        I saw a documentary on this a few months ago.
        I’m going to find that and watch it again.

        Thanks! :-]

  5. br.d, So William Lane Craig is Not a Calvinist, would you say that Overall William Lane Craig is a Superb
    Christian Apologist , Some Pastors say that Jesus is Returning Soon, and while it’s true that
    “No One Knows the day or the hour” as Jesus himself says, however in Other parts of the New Testament we Christians are Told to Watch for the Signs that the Second Coming is Near, even though we cannot Know Exactly when Jesus will Return, Only God the Father Knows for Certain , I personally Hope Jesus Returns Soon, to End all Evil, Suffering & Injustice in America & The World Once and For All, Forever, it deeply upsets me all the Evil, Suffering & Injustice in America & The World, Myself and Countless Other Christians Hope Jesus Returns Soon to Make the World a Perfect Utopian Paradise, as I mentioned in my Blog about my Mother that you read..
    See Also the book, Heaven: by Randy Alcorn

    1. Hi Jeff
      I picked up on Dr. Craig a number of years ago
      I think he is a brilliant thinker.
      Sam Harris – the Atheist also says Dr. Craig is the only Christian who can put the fear of God into an Atheist!

      Dr. Craig – of course does not do that by being aggressive – he is actually a very mild mannered man.
      He does it because his reputation for logical thinking is world-renowned.

      You might be interested in checking out his video teaching series at this web-site “Reasonable Faith”
      There are a number of interesting topics he teaches on – which you might find interesting.

      And yes – as you do – I also wish for the Lord to come quickly. :-]

  6. br.d. What do you think of the Bible verse
    Deuteronomy 29:29
    The New International Version

    29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” The Verse and it’s Context , how does this Relate to Our Calvinism debate , how can we Prove if
    Calvinism is True or Not, or at least partially true, can it be scientifically tested, perhaps by the Laws of Physics, at the Quantum Level ,

    1. This part of the verse: “the things revealed belong to us” does not logically follow with Calvinism’s underlying core proposition.

      Remember – Calvinism is predicated on Exhaustive Divine Determinism.
      Determinism rejects the function of Libertarian choice for all creatures.
      Libertarian choice logically entails having at least 2 options available from which to select.

      2 options can be seen in a number of forms.
      They can be YES and NO
      They can be RIGHT and LEFT
      They can be FORWARD and BACKWARDS
      They can be UP and DOWN
      They can be TRUE and FALSE

      With Libertarian choice – the creature is permitted to choose from both of those options.
      But what is critically important is – both of those options must be available to the creature for the creature to be able select.

      That form of choice is logically excluded in Exhaustive Determinism (aka Calvinism)
      Because in Calvinism 100% of whatsoever comes to pass is solely and exclusively determined by a THEOS alone.
      Calvin’s god determines 100% of everything
      Leaving ZERO% any anything UN-determined
      Leaving ZERO% left over for the creature to determine.

      So if everything has already been determined *FOR* you – then there is nothing left over that is being made available for you to determine.

      You need to put your thinking cap on to understand how radical the implications are with that!

      You need to understand the principle of mutual exclusion.

      For example:
      Most American voters understand that a YES vote for Joe Biden mutually excludes a YES vote for Donald Trump.
      Because both options are not available to you.
      You only have one option to select from.

      This is the principle of mutual exclusion.
      The selection of one option mutually excludes the selection of the other option.

      Another example can be driving your car forward.
      You can put your car in gear and make it move forward
      But as soon as you do that – your car moving backwards is mutually excluded
      Or conversely – you can make your car move backwards
      But as soon as you do that – your car moving forwards is mutually excluded

      Now the same limitation applies to the infallible decrees in Calvinism.

      Calvin’s god can infallibly decree that your car move forward
      In Calvinist language – this would be said as “god RENDER-CERTAIN your car move forward.”

      But it is critical to understand – just as soon as he RENDERS-CERTAIN your car move forward – he has also automatically RENDERED-CERTAIN the exclusion of your car moving backwards.

      I hope you can understand that because its very important to understand.
      Its called the principle of mutual exclusion.

      Now how does that apply to our topic here?
      If Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN you will walk forward
      Then he has also RENDERED-CERTAIN that you walking backwards is excluded
      And what is excluded is NOT available to you.

      So just as soon as he RENDERS-CERTAIN you will walk forward – then walking forward is the only option he has made available to you.
      If you were to walk backwards -you would be falsifying an infallible decree – which is impossible.

      This again is because of the principle of mutual exclusion.

      Therefore in Calvinism – for everything that Calvin’s god RENDERS-CERTAIN there is every only one single RENDERED-CERTAIN option made available to the creature.

      Therefore in Calvinism – you do not have both forwards and backwards to choose from
      Because only one of these can be RENDERED-CERTAIN as your selection
      And you don’t get to choose what your selection will be

      You do not have both Left and Right to choose from
      Because only one of these can be RENDERED-CERTAIN as your selection.
      And you don’t get to choose what your selection will be

      You do not have both TRUE and FALSE to choose from
      Because only one of these can be RENDERED-CERTAIN as your selection
      And you don’t get to choose what your selection will be

      So you should be starting to see – that in Calvinism every Determination is made *FOR* you at the foundation of the world

      If it was RENDERED-CERTAIN that you select TRUE
      Then it is also automatically RENDERED-CERTAIN that you choosing FALSE is mutually excluded.
      Which means you choosing FALSE is not available to you.

      Therefore there is really no such thing as “things being revealed to you” in Calvinism
      Because that would entail the YOU (the creature) being permitted to determine something to be TRUE or FALSE for yourself.

      And the doctrine strictly states that 100% of everything is determined *FOR* the creature.

      Now you are starting to see how really radical the underlying core doctrine of Calvinism really is!!!!!
      It is so very radical – that the Calvinist – in order to live with it – must actually deny his own doctrine.

      So what is critical for you to understand about Calvinism – is that the doctrine is so radical – the Calvinist must deny it in order to live with it.

      In order to capture this – go back and read this a few times so that you can understand how radical Calvinism really is.

  7. Br.d, What do you think of the article on the website reformedreform.wordpress.com
    on December 5, 2015 headlined
    “Leighton Flowers and the Diminishing Arguments of the Anti-Calvinist Camp” Some have also said that Anti-Calvinist views Diminish God’s Glory, I’m so confused

    1. Hello Jeffw
      I hope this finds you well!

      Firstly – I take note of the approach presented by the author of this article.
      This approach is classically called PUFFERY – which comes from a PUFFER fish – who PUFFS itself up in order to make itself appear bigger than it actually is.

      Don’t be taken in by that strategy!
      People who follow such strategies are considered sophomoric – and are never taken as mature contributors on these discussions.

      So having observed that right off the bat – I had an expectation that what would follow would lack logical substance. :-]

      So here is the first quote from Dr. Flowers

      Dr. Flowers
      “As I have said before, we are either rightly standing in defense of God’s glory or God has sovereignly determined for us to be wrong for the praise of His glory”.

      So let’s unpackage the logic that Dr. Flowers is following with this statement:

      1) According to the doctrine “Whatsoever” comes to pass is the consequence of an infallible decree

      2) The term “Whatsoever” is considered a “UNIVERSAL” term – which means – “Without Exception”

      3) Consequently – everything without exception that comes to pass – is the consequence of an infallible decree

      4) By virtue of the fact that the decree is infallible – it follows – that which the decree establishes to come to pass – will come to pass infallibly.

      5) Nature is not granted the power to alter or affect or resist anything that is infallible

      6) Therefore man is not granted the power to alter or affect or resist anything that is infallible

      7) Since EVERYTHING WITHOUT EXCEPTION comes to pass infallibly – it follows this also includes every impulse that comes to pass within the human brain.

      8) Thus according to the doctrine – every impulse which comes to pass within the human brain – whether conscious or unconscious – will come to pass infallibly – and the human is powerless to alter, affect, or resist it.

      9) According to the doctrine – everything that is decreed – is expressly for the manifestation of divine glory.

      So Dr. Flower’s conclusion is LOGICALLY SOUND

      If it is decreed that a human be wrong – then that event will come to pass infallibly – and that event was for the express manifestation of divine glory.

      The author’s response:
      Leighton has used this line before, but he reduces down the issue so that he can easily defeat it. God’s decree does not negate man’s will or responsibility—I know he knows this, so I hate to see him continue to act like Calvinists don’t hold a compatibilist worldview. You’ll see what I mean as we go on.

      Here the author wants to MAGICALLY assume – that just because he waves a MAGIC WAND called “compatiblism” it MAGICALLY makes everything APPEAR just the way the Calvinist wants it to APPEAR

      Sorry to say that does not work.

      Stanford Encyclopedia – Compatiblism:
      -quote
      “Compatibilism is the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism”

      All that Compatibilism does – is to establish that “Freedom” must be COMPATIBLE with what is determined.

      So the only thing this buys for the Calvinist – is the fact that the impulse that is infallibly decreed to come to pass within the human brain is granted sufficient “Freedom” to come to pass within the human brain. Because that “Freedom” is COMPATIBLE with what is determined.

      But the human brain is NOT FREE to have any other impulse – than what is determined – because that impulse would NOT be COMPATIBLE with what is determined.

      Read this through a few times if you don’t get it right away.

      You will eventually understand it – and then you will recognize that the Calvinist author in that article is trying to use Compatibilism as a magic wand.

      You can figure this stuff out easily – if you apply yourself to it!

      Blessings!
      Br.d :-]

  8. br.d , I may have mentioned this before, I type so many great Biblical posts I sometimes lose track of all the Topics I post about . So I apologize if I’m being repetitive, a Pastor once told me and some other Christians in a Sermon about God’s
    “Perfect Will vs his Permissive Will” do you think Calvinism is more in line with God’s Perfect Will than Permissive Will, and would you say Christians who left the Calvinist belief system are overall Much Happier after leaving Calvinism , just like Many
    Jehovah’s Witnesses after leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses and becoming True Christians are Much Happier than were they were
    Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are very Happy they left the WatchTower Organization , I was Never a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon, but I’m personally Evangelical Protestant Myself

    1. Thank you Jeffw
      A very nice post!
      Well said!

      Just so that you know – in Calvinism – appeals to Divine Permissive Will – are totally misleading.
      When the Calvinist uses “Permissive” language – he is hiding an aspect of his doctrine he doesn’t want you to see.

      The best way to not be mislead by Calvinism’s “Permission” language is to understand the following formula:

      1) What is Divinely CAUSED is PERMITTED
      2) What is not Divinely CAUSED is NOT PERMITTED

      This makes perfect sense – when you understand the logical consequences of Exhaustive Divine Determinism

      1) If Calvin’s god does not PERMIT that which he infallibly decrees come to pass – he becomes a house divided against himself
      Therefore that which is Divinely CAUSED is PERMITTED

      2) The infallible decree cannot PERMIT any alternative – at pain of the infallible decree being falsified.
      Therefore what is not Divinely CAUSED is NOT PERMITTED.

      As a result – Calvinist language has evolved – and Calvinists use words like “Permit” and “Permission” as replacement words for the word “CAUSE” and “CAUSED”.

      The reason for this strategy should be obvious.
      The Calvinist is trying to make the belief system as appealing as possible.

      The Calvinist understands that if he clearly and plainly states – Calvin’s god CAUSES every sin and evil – Calvinism will be rejected by many Bible believing people – as it will be interpreted as Divine malevolence.

      So Calvinists use “Permission” language to obfuscate what they anticipate people will reject.

      Its a very pragmatic use of language
      But if you don’t understand the language – you are guaranteed to be mislead by it.

      Thanks Jeffw – your post was a blessing!

      br.d :-]

  9. br.d , My pleasure, some claim
    Calvinism leads to Fatalism,
    Some good articles I found are
    1. oakvalleyogden.org
    On May 8, 2019 has an article headlined
    “Calvinism: Fatalistic or Freeing?”
    2. thirdmill.org has an article by
    Joseph R. Nally Jr headlined
    “Is Calvinism Fatalistic?” this article says among other things that
    Arminianism is more Fatalistic
    While Christianity.com has an article headlined
    ” What Does it Mean That God Works in Mysterious Ways?” and it says
    In our minds, the way God weaves remarkable events in and through our lives may seem illogical and beyond our understanding. However, we walk by faith, not by sight. Christians know that God’s thoughts are above our thoughts and God’s ways are higher than ours.

    Annette Griffin

    What Does it Mean That God Works in Mysterious Ways?
    Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Whether it be a cold case television documentary, a clever theatrical caper, or a cozy whodunnit story, most of us enjoy the process of collecting clues about the unknown and piecing the bits together to discover the whole truth. But when we find ourselves in the middle of a personal mystery, the story is different. We typically like to be in control of our bits. When life begins to unravel in ways we can’t explain, the old adage “God works in mysterious ways” can become more baffling than beguiling.

    What Is the Meaning of ‘God Works in Mysterious Ways’?
    Certain truths are concrete, finite, and tangible. Mysteries are not. The very essence of a mystery makes it hard to grasp. You can’t put a mystery in a box or accurately predict its nature. Why? Because mysteries contain elements that are not yet clearly perceived.

    God’s ways are inscrutable, not because He’s trying to hide something from us, but because our limited human understanding lacks the capacity to grasp the full scope of His sovereignty.

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

    “God’s ways are not only higher than ours, but they are also better than ours. The big struggle we have is whether or not we will embrace them. There is a blessing and a hope that comes from embracing God’s ways. The good news is that the blessing comes even when you don’t understand what God is doing,” says Clarence L. Haynes Jr. God Works in Mysterious Ways” – Biblical Truth or Myth?
    Another online article uses the Bible verse
    Proverbs 16: 33 to show that God governs even the roll of the dice
    I think Calvinists, Arminianists,
    Provisionists at times have different definitions of Biblical and Theological terms such as Sovereignty, Predestination, etc, which further complicates matters , that the 3 groups define certain things differently,

  10. br.d, My pleasure, I found some additional good online articles, tell me what you think
    1. oakvalleyogden.org on May 8, 2019 has an article headlined
    “Calvinism: Fatalistic or Freeing?”
    2. thirdmill.org has an article by Joseph R. Nally Jr headlined “Is Calvinism Fatalistic?” this article among other things claims that
    Arminianism is the true Fatalistic Theology ,
    Christianity.com has an article headlined
    “What Does it Mean That God Works in Mysterious Ways?” which says:

    In our minds, the way God weaves remarkable events in and through our lives may seem illogical and beyond our understanding. However, we walk by faith, not by sight. Christians know that God’s thoughts are above our thoughts and God’s ways are higher than ours.

    Annette Griffin
    Contributing Writer
    2021 20 May

    Sherlock mystery with hat, pipe, and magnifying glass

    Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Whether it be a cold case television documentary, a clever theatrical caper, or a cozy whodunnit story, most of us enjoy the process of collecting clues about the unknown and piecing the bits together to discover the whole truth. But when we find ourselves in the middle of a personal mystery, the story is different. We typically like to be in control of our bits. When life begins to unravel in ways we can’t explain, the old adage “God works in mysterious ways” can become more baffling than beguiling.
    What Is the Meaning of ‘God Works in Mysterious Ways’?

    Certain truths are concrete, finite, and tangible. Mysteries are not. The very essence of a mystery makes it hard to grasp. You can’t put a mystery in a box or accurately predict its nature. Why? Because mysteries contain elements that are not yet clearly perceived.

    God’s ways are inscrutable, not because He’s trying to hide something from us, but because our limited human understanding lacks the capacity to grasp the full scope of His sovereignty.

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

    “God’s ways are not only higher than ours, but they are also better than ours. The big struggle we have is whether or not we will embrace them. There is a blessing and a hope that comes from embracing God’s ways. The good news is that the blessing comes even when you don’t understand what God is doing,” says Clarence L. Haynes Jr. God Works in Mysterious Ways” – Biblical Truth or Myth?”
    Plus another online article uses the Bible verse Proverbs 16:33 to show that God governs even the Role of the Dice,
    I think part of the problem in this debate between Calvinism, Arminianism, Provisionism, etc is that these groups
    define certain Biblical & Theological Terms differently, different definitions of terms such as Sovereignty, Election, Predestination, etc
    I still can’t help but wonder, which comes first, does God choose us first, or do we choose God first.?
    Does God Ordain Sin ? Both Good & Evil, For Example, if someone is tragically Robbed & Killed, in a big city like New York City, or Chicago, etc, did God ordain that the the person is tragically Robbed & Killed by the criminal ? For what purpose, is it all part of
    God’s “Master Plan” I know there is a difference between God Actively making something good or bad happen, and God passively allowing something, Good or Bad to Happen

    1. Thanks!
      When I get a chance – I’ll take a look at those articles.
      But I suspect they will all follow the same pattern of language usage that is strategically equivocal – in order to paint a cosmetic mask on top of the face of Calvinism.

      BTW: On the topic of appeals to mystery – and the fact that some things are “Inscrutable”
      We have to be aware of the underlying argument that predicates appeals to “inscrutability”

      Let me use an extreme example – so that you get the picture.
      —————————————————————————————
      Did you know – most people when they read the Bible – they don’t understand what it teaches about the moon?
      The bible teaches that the moon is made out of yellow and green cheese puffs

      I know that sounds unplausible and irrational
      But I now know its true – because that is what the Bible teaches.

      And the carnal mind perceives this truth as unplausible and irrational because the carnal mind cannot understand the things of god.
      Because the things of god are “inscrutable” to our finite human minds.

      You therefore must simply accept my claim as sacred divine truth.
      And if anyone disagrees – we can simply argue their disagreement fails – because divine truth is “inscrutable”.
      ———————————————————————————————————————————————–

      Do you see the problem here with this line of reasoning?
      All one has to do is Manufacture any claim they want to about god
      And when that claim is scrutinized and becomes contradiction – they simply escape that scrutiny by appealing to divine truth as “inscrutable”

      What we actually have going on here is called “Confirmation Bias”

      The Jehovah’s Witness can use the same exact argument to support their “Confirmation Bias”
      The Christian Science can use the same exact argument to support their “Confirmation Bias”
      The Muslim can use the same exact argument to support their “Confirmation Bias”

      And then we have:

      Calvinist-A who claims [X] is TRUE – and appeals to “inscrutable” to support his claim.
      Calvinist-B who claims [X] is FALSE – and appeals to “inscrutable” to support his claim.

      Now we know – LOGIC tells us that Calvinist-A and Calvinist-B cannot both be right at the same time – because they contradict each other.

      How do we resolve this without LOGIC?

      Well all we have to do – to get rid of the contradiction – is simply call the contradiction a NON-Contradiction – and say that it is “inscrutable”.

      Do you see the Pandora’s box that we open up with we appeal to the claim of “inscrutable” ?

      When someone has to appeal to the “inscrutable” argument – it should serve as a RED-FLAG that someone is blowing smoke in your face.
      And if you fall for it – you are the one who got tricked.

    2. Jeff – you asked me to look at this article and comment
      But I think it will be much more valuable to you – to put on your thinking cap – and answer some simple questions about things stated in this article.

      QUESTIONS:

      1) Is it not TRUE that in Calvinism – infallible decrees determine whatsoever will come to pass with humans?

      2) In Calvinism – is there any event which comes to pass – which is not specifically determined to do so – by an infallible decree?

      3) Are humans ever free or permitted to falsify or counter an infallible decree?

      4) Is it not TRUE that according to the doctrine – whatsoever IMPULSES come to pass within the human brain – do so infallibly?

      5) Is it possible for a human to resist an IMPULSE that comes to pass infallibly?

      6) In Calvinism – who is it that determines whether a human being will have the mental state of unshakeable confidence?

      7) In Calvinism – who is it that determines what a human being will know about god’s sovereignty?

  11. br.d , I thought about your 7 Questions, and still don’t have the answers, but just because God knows what will happen in the future, just because God Knows what Choices a Person will make in the future, that isn’t the same as God actually making the Choices for the person, making an Individual in his or her mind choose for example between going out to see a Movie, or staying at home, etc,
    With all the Suffering in America and Worldwide, I wonder when any Individual Suffers in Life, how can that Individual still Love God if they are Suffering Unbearably ? How and why should they still Love God if they are suffering Unbearably ?
    Some have said that the doctrine of “Once Saved Always Saved” is false, and that it is indeed possible for a Truly Saved Born again Christian to fall from Grace so severely that they can be forever lost and Not go to Heaven when they die, and that the doctrine
    of “Once Saved Always Saved” gives a false sense of over confidence to the Christian Believer , and is similar to when it
    Genesis 3:4 , Satan the Devil in the form of the serpent said to Eve “You will not die”

  12. br.d , I’m still pondering the 7 Questions you asked me on September 17, but also remember that there are different types of Calvinism, Not all Calvinists are 5 Point Calvinists, and adhere to all 5 points of T.U.L.I.P. , Some people are Hyper-Calvinists, etc
    Do you think that the “One Saved Always Saved” Doctrine is false, and that even if a Christian is Truly Born Again and Saved, it is possible for him or her to Fall Away from Grace, and Sin so Severely that they will go to Hell when they die, one Christian writer online said that
    “Once Saved Always Saved” is a false doctrine, and gives a false sense of security to the Believer, that they might interpret it as a
    “License to Sin” and that the “Once Saved Always Saved” doctrine is similar to the Bible verse
    Genesis 3:4 where Satan the Devil in the form of the serpent says to Eve “You will Not Die”
    Also, I think we can all agree that God Knows the Future, what choices any Individual will make 10, 20 or 30 years from now, what the World will be like 10, 20 or 30 Years from now, but God Knowing what Choices any Individual will make in the future is not the same as God directly causing or making a Human being make a Choice between let’s say going out to see a Movie, or staying home and sleeping . Or do you think Free Will is an illusion as some suggest, since humans are created in God’s image, doesn’t that imply that humans have some degree of Free Will and Freedom of Choice, even though God remains Sovereign, look at the Book of Job,
    God has unlimited power, Satan the Devil does Not, Satan can only do what God allows him to do , with God and us Humans, is it possible that we humans can only do what God permits ?
    Plus if some humans before they are born, before the Foundation of the World , if some of them are picked by God for Heaven when they die, and others for Hell , the Lake of Fire, what if a person who was Not picked by God to be Saved, hears the Gospel, is it possible they still might choose to accept Christ and go to Heaven when they die,
    With regards to preaching the Gospel, and beliefs in Fate, Destiny, if we humans go out into the nations and preach the Gospel, are we humans the cause that leads people picked by God to be Saved to hear about Christ and Accept Christ, that God needs us Humans preaching the Gospel to reach those who were already picked by God to be Saved, to make their Salvation come about, sort of like a
    “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”

    1. Jeff
      I’m still pondering the 7 Questions you asked me on September 17, but also remember that there are different types of Calvinism, Not all Calvinists are 5 Point Calvinists, and adhere to all 5 points of T.U.L.I.P. , Some people are Hyper-Calvinists, etc
      Jeff: Do you think that the “One Saved Always Saved” Doctrine is false…

      br.d
      I take the warning verses first LOGICALLY and then literally.
      Concerning the scripture being rational – let us look at the notions of “falling away” and “persevering”.

      Why would an individual be warned about “falling away” if the possibility of “falling away” does not exist?
      Are the authors of these texts irrational thinkers?

      In Calvinism – a person’s election status is either infallibly TRUE or it is infallibly FALSE.
      And it is a logical impossibility for something that is infallibly TRUE to “fall away” from being infallibly TRUE.
      And that which is infallibly TRUE does not have to “persevere” in order to remain infallibly TRUE.

      Alternatively – if a person’s election status is infallibly FALSE – then there is nothing to “fall away” from – and nothing to “preserver”.

      So on Calvinism – both “falling away” and “persevering” are about as logical as an infallible decree losing its infallibility.

      Jeff:
      Also, I think we can all agree that God Knows the Future, what choices any Individual will make …

      br.d
      Yes I agree.
      Divine omniscience is defined as perfect knowledge of the TRUTH-VALUE of all propositions that are available to know – past, present, and future.

      However you need to put on your thinking cap and logically examine whether the function of “choice” as it is NORMATIVELY understood exists for humans in Calvinism.

      Let’s take it one step at a time.
      In Exhaustive Divine Determinism (aka Calvinism) every human impulse and inclination is 100% meticulously decreed to come to pass.
      In such case every human impulse and inclination will come to pass infallibly.
      And anything that comes to pass infallibly is humanly impossible to resist.

      So in Calvinism – all impulses which come to pass within the human brain – do so irresistibly.
      And every impulse that will come to pass in the human brain is established before humans exist.
      So humans are not granted any CHOICE in the matter of what impulses and inclinations will come to pass within their brains.

      Now – let us examine the concept of “choice”.
      Choice – as it is NORMATIVELY understood – entails a decision between alternative possibilities – such as [YES] and [NO].

      Now – let us go to the foundation of the world as is stipulated in Calvinism – where every human impulse is determined.
      Let us say – there is a given human impulse that is infallibly decreed to come to pass at Time-T
      Let us say that impulse is decreed to be [YES]

      Now as soon as that [YES] is infallibly decreed to be that human’s impulse – then what happens to the possibility of that human’s impulse being [NO]?

      The person’s impulse being [YES] is what is decreed to come to pass infallibly .
      And that logically excludes the person’s impulse being [NO].

      So as soon as a person’s impulse is infallibly decreed – then all alternatives of that which is infallibly decreed are EXCLUDED.
      In this case – the person’s impulse is decreed to infallibly be [YES]
      And that impulse is RENDERED-CERTAIN

      And along with that – all alternatives of [YES] are EXCLUDED
      And their EXCLUSION is also RENDERED-CERTAIN

      This means that for every human decision – there is ever only one single RENDERED-CERTAIN option made available to the human.
      Thus there is never any possibility of a human having alternative options from which to select – because they are EXCLUDED

      So – since there is never any such thing as alternative possibilities available for humans to select from – then we no longer have the function “choice” as it is NORMATIVELY understood.

      So in Calvinism – humans do not have the function of choice
      What they have are inclinations
      And every inclination is predestined to come to pass infallibly and irresistibly
      And the human is given NO CHOICE as to what that inclination will be – and NO CHOICE as to whether he will have it.

      Allow yourself to review those logical steps a few times – so that you can understand how the logic works.

      1. br.d , I remember a Pastor once said to myself and other Protestant Christians in a Sermon that
        “God is Not Static but Dynamic” how can we relate that to our Discussion of Calvinism, Arminianism , etc,
        would you say Calvinism is more Static than Dynamic ?
        I wonder how can Christians truly Love God when at times they suffer unbearably in life , how can they truly Love God when they suffer unbearably at times, do you agree that God does Not want people to suffer,
        I’ve heard the argument that God wants us humans to suffer to a certain extent to grow spiritually , but that God never likes it when humans suffer, God doesn’t enjoy seeing humans suffer , I’ve read about some people who endure hardships that hate God, while others become Atheists, others stay faithful , in your opinion if some humans will be in Hell or the Lake of Fire Forever, does God stop loving them ?

      2. Hi Jeff,
        The issue of suffering is a hard one!
        Some of us are subject to suffering in a way that is insignificant compared to others and we don’t know why.

        I am reminded of Annie J. Flint who was born in the 1800s
        Annie’s parents died when she was very little and she ended up being taken care of by a Christian relative.
        As a Christian girl she thought her years of suffering in poverty were over as she grew to adult-hood.
        But she was to be afflicted with a physical condition – the only solution for was a sanitariam which she remained until her death

        While there she wrote these words:

        He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
        He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
        To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
        To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
        When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
        When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
        When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
        Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
        Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
        Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
        Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
        The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
        His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
        His power no boundary known unto men;
        For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
        He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

    1. I’m not familiar with those two terms in regard to Calvinism vs Arminianism.

      There is however in Calvinism the assertion that the THEOS is never “passive” in regard to his role in any event.

      This came up with Calvin’s – when Christian thinkers of his day responded to his institutes.
      They objected to the idea of a god whose CAUSAL role in sin and evil was “active”
      They appealed to a notion of divine permission.
      They argued that sins and evils were permitted which would entail a “passive” or “acquiescent” role in those events.

      But Calvin have none of that because for him it represent a compromise in divine sovereignty which is not thinkable

      However Calvin was reluctant to come right out and admit that his system logically concluded a god who is the sole and exclusive author of evil. So Calvin fell into back-pedaling language and became equivocal on the matter.

      In some statements he firmly asserts author of evil and in another statements he back-pedals.

      He deferred to Augustine on the notion of divine permission – and created an ad-hoc definition for divine permission – making it simply mean CAUSE.

      1) What Calvin’s god CAUSES he permits
      2) What Calvin’s god does NOT CAUSE he does NOT permit.

      But the terms “Static” vs “Dynamic” I’m not familiar with.

  13. br.d. It seems to me that Calvinism is a far more complicated Biblical & Theological Belief system than Arminianism ,
    some have criticized Calvinism as a form of Gnosticism or “Christian Gnosticism” do you agree ?
    I think a Major part of the problem for many American Christians, including myself at times, is that Many American Christians simply do not have the time to read and study the Bible & Theology in great detail, they are so busy with Work, their Social Lives, Sleep, it’s difficult for them make the time to read and study the Bible in Great Detail, the Bible is difficult to Interpret and Understand many times.
    What is your Opinion of Roman Catholic Apologetic Arguments, and Biblical Arguments for Roman Catholicism, used by
    Catholic Apologists, do you think those Catholic Apologists misuse the Scripture and take many verses out of Context to support their Views, Are there “Catholic Calvinists” Do you agree with Bible Alone, Scripture Alone Sola Scriptura ?

    1. Hi Jeff,
      Yes I think your analysis is correct – Calvinism is a much more complicated system
      Part of that is because it is a system that doesn’t really want to be rightly understood.
      I know that sounds strange – but you have to understand the psychological burdens which come with what logically follows with Exhaustive Divine Determinism.

      Take for example – the understanding that in Calvinism “whatsoever comes to pass is determined at the foundation of the world”

      Now that would have to include human inclinations.
      So just consider how you would feel to know that every inclination that will ever come to pass within your brain is predestined by an decree which will make it come to pass infallibly.

      Imagine how you would feel to come to grips with the fact that you have no choice in the matter of any inclination that comes to pass within your brain. And you have no choice as to whether or not your body will infallibly obey those inclinations.

      That is not what NORMAL people experience in their lives.
      Yet that is what logically follows from the doctrine.

      The obvious human response to that is to not accept it and instead look for ways to treat the doctrine AS-IF it is not what it really is.

      On Catholic doctrines – I don’t have sufficient knowledge about them to know.

      1. br.d , Right and you think Calvinism is in many ways Unbiblical and based on Non-Biblical Theology and Reasoning, but is there in a Sense a Double Standard with Calvinism, for Example if a Human being commits a Murder, Rape, Robbery or other crime, it’s also a Sin, but if God does the Exact same thing it isn’t wrong or a Sin if God does it, that anything God does is automatically Good and Not a Sin, but if human beings do the exact same thing, it’s a Sin and Wrong, similar to an Expression I heard
        a character portraying President Richard Nixon in a TV Commercial , the character portraying Nixon said
        “If the President does it, it isn’t a Crime”

      2. Hi Jeff,
        I certainly can’t see how double-mindedness can be Bible based since Jesus commands us to “Let your communication be yea yea or nay nay – for anything else comes of evil”

        In other words something cannot be TRUE simply when I want it to be TRUE – and then FALSE simply when I want it to be FALSE.

        And once one discovers the underlying foundational core of Calvinism – it soon becomes clear that Calvinist language is a “Yea-Nay” language – in which conceptions are asserted as TRUE – and then treated AS-IF they are FALSE.

        The doctrine for example – specifically stipulates that whatsoever comes to pass – is the consequence of a decree that is infallible.
        Which makes whatever is decreed to come to pass in the future – come to pass infallibly.
        And yet the Calvinist wants to treat future human actions AS-IF they are preventable.
        In the face of a doctrine which stipulates those actions are NON-EXISTENT without an infallible decree – and NON-PREVENTABLE with an infallible decree

        So this becomes one of many examples of how Calvinists end up treating their own doctrine AS-IF it is FALSE

        Their minds have become conditioned such that treating their own doctrine AS-IF it is FALSE is normalcy and Biblical to them.

        Are we supposed to conceive of that mental condition as from scripture?

        Unfortunately – it gets worse for them because the unsuspecting Calvinist soon learns to lower his standards of Christian ethics and lower himself into the language of sophistry, sometimes deceptive language, and often times misleading language – in order to make the system appear acceptable to the Non-Calvinist Christian world.

        So I often find myself feeling sorry for Calvinists because they appear to be captured.

        I once saw a drawing of a monkey with its hand in a glass jar.
        The jar was nailed to the floor
        The jar had a banana in it
        The monkey could get his hand into the jar and onto the banana
        But the mouth of the jar was not wide enough for him to get both his hand and the banana out of the jar.
        He didn’t want to remove his hand from the jar – because he would have to give up the banana.
        So he was captured by his unwillingness to let go of that which ensnared him.

        That is the way I see Calvinists.
        There is something about the doctrine they very much want.
        But they don’t want its logical consequences.
        And at the same time they can’t allow themselves to let go of it.
        So they’er minds are captured by it.

        They tell themselves – they have the doctrine
        But the doctrine actually has them.

  14. br.d What about this article on reformedbaptistdaily.wordpress.com headlined
    “Enabling Power of the Gospel?: A Response to Dr. Leighton Flowers”
    NOVEMBER 13, 2017 / DREW MERY
    How should we respond to this and other people who claim Dr. Flowers has a “bad” Interpretation of the Bible ?

    1. Hi Jeff,
      Do you really think anyone approaches any data (including the data of scripture) without biases and presuppositions?

      I suspect you know Calvinism – with its peculiar interpretations of scripture – is classified as a minority view within Christianity.

      Understood as interpretations heavily biased with presuppositions designed to affirm Exhaustive Divine Determinism.

      Then we have the degree to which an interpretation of scripture (as would be the case with any data) requires irrational thinking in order to be affirmed.

      If you examine Calvinism long enough – you will eventually discover a practice unique to Calvinism – in which the Calvinist holds certain essential elements of his doctrine to be TRUE.

      But in order to retain a sense of NORMALCY in his life and alignment with the general narrative of scripture – is forced to treat those essential elements AS-IF they are FALSE.

      One would have to ask the question – why would a Holy Spirit Inspired belief system be designed in such a way as to require the believer to treat it AS-IF it is FALSE?

      These are things you really need to give yourself time to resolve
      And you need to protect yourself from people who are more interested in drawing you into their system
      People who intuitively know if they let you discover TRUTH for yourself without them influencing your mind – you might decide to go in a different direction.

      I would hate to see you get ensnared in that way.

  15. br.d , Another article I found a minute ago is from , spirited-tech.com headlined
    “How to flunk Soteriology101?”
    APRIL 25, 2017. This article criticizes Dr. Flowers , and makes many points,

    1. br.d, Thanks, what are your thoughts on the points made in the spirited-tech.com article headlined
      “How to flunk Soteriology101?” I’m so confused, over who or what to believe, the thing is that there are so many interpretations of Scripture, how can we know which interpretation is correct ?

      1. let me see if Brian has the time to take a look at it.
        He is our resident Greek professor – so he’s a great resource.

        But you should know right up front that a Calvinist reading of scripture is going to be highly subjective.

        If you haven’t see this yet – another resource that you should consider looking at in the arena of the Calvinist use of scripture is
        Kevin Thompson – with “Beyond the Fundamentals”

        check out:
        h t t p s :// b e y o n d t h e f u n d a m e n t a l s . c o m /

        I put spaces in between the letters of the webs-site so the system wouldn’t cancel them out.

      2. Jeff,
        Oh this article – why don’t you pick out a point that you find the most troubling and let us know what it is.

      3. To answer your question of, “how can we know which interpretation is correct”:

        Well, how did Joseph know in Genesis 40 & 41? How did Daniel know in Daniel 2? How do you interpret John 16:13-14? In the following passage, does seeking and finding include seeking and finding the correct interpretation of a passage of Scripture?

        Luke 11:9-13
        9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

        11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
        NIV (Copyright 2005)

        How many of us always ask God FIRST when deciding what God intends a verse to mean?

        How many of us even agree to agree with each other (vs. agree to disagree, agreeably – a rationalization to ease the conscience, I believe)?

        1 Corinthians 1:10
        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.
        NIV (Copyright 2005)

        Do we divided Christians (into denominations and within denominations, marriages, board meetings, etc.) always start out (1) agreeing to agree, (2) on God’s terms, (3) with God’s help, (4) for His sake, and (5) in His timing?

        Or, do we:
        (1) think we don’t have to always agree, or only on the major tenets of the faith (which we can’t even agree on what the major tenets of the faith even are),
        (2) forget to consult Scripture, relying on our memories, tradition, what someone else said, etc.,
        (3) forget to ask God what a verse means or forget to ask God to help clear up any conflict, even as unimportant as the color of the carpeting in the sanctuary,
        (4) try to be the “go to,” “know more than everyone else” pillar of the church, who can’t be caught in a mistake or wrongdoing requiring confession and repentance – preferring to bend Scripture to what suits them and what bails them out, and,
        (5) wait on the Lord to answer our request for His interpretation, which might involve a few lessons along the way before we can appreciate His answer of the correct interpretation?

        Why would God give the “snake” or “scorpion” of different answers to different Christians who all asked Him to tell them what a verse means? Do they have willful, ongoing sin in their lives such that God has turned His back and ignores their request? Division comes from the devil or man’s feeble attempts to do things without God.

        It’s such a simple thing to humble ourselves and ask God to interpret each and every situation for us. (Or, is it?) My family notices the difference when we inquire of God in the Name of Jesus before knowing what to think, say, and do. I’m sure Joshua regrets having not done so back in Joshua 9, when he was fooled into making a treaty with the Gibeonites.

        After becoming a Christian, I ended up in a Calvinist Church. Once, I was told that you can’t lose your salvation, NO MATTER WHAT! I was conflicted, since I figured I could lose my salvation, just from the point of view of common sense and because the person who discipled me believed you could, as well. So did the other half of the church. Not EASILY lose my salvation, but, if I really no longer wanted to go to Heavan, I was sure I could “opt out” if my earlier decision to become a Christian. So I pleaded with God to show me just one verse that could clear up the whole matter for me. (I didn’t know the Bible that well, so it would be amazing if I even knew where to look or if I even could find a verse.) I soon “stumbled” upon 1 Tim 3:6:

        1 Timothy 3:2-7
        2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
        NIV (Copyright 2005)

        Recent convert? Same judgement as the devil? One verse showing the possibility that someone already converted (but is still on the milk and has not yet matured) could end up in the same place as the devil. Problem solved. Almost. It’s amazing how hard people worked to twist this verse to unbelievable levels of distortion or to “override” this verse with the preponderance of other verses that, even on their surface, could be better interpreted differently from how they were trying to use them to “combat” this verse that God showed me.

        I wasn’t shaken in my new belief because I knew it came from God. What helped me was that I was a former computer programmer, so I was very practiced at deciphering things and properly employing formal logic. I became able to spot “sloppy logic” a mile away. This sloppy logic seems to run rampant in today’s Church. I sometimes wonder if a course on formal logic held in churches all across the country would do the Church a world of good when it comes to the proper interpretation of Scripture. It wouldn’t replace inquiring of God, but it might make us better stewards of His Word.

        Hope that helps. May God bless you.

      4. Hello David and welcome

        A computer software programmer – when validating his program would be remiss to only validate it against that which is already a given.
        He must test it against all possible situations in which it will be faced.
        Your analysis failed to do that.

        We need to test it with what we are going to be faced with.

        In this case we are firstly faced with the foundational core of Calvinist doctrine – which stipulates that whatsoever comes to pass – is determined by infallible decrees – and thus comes to pass infallibly.

        Which must include all human PERCEPTIONS which come to pass within the human brain.

        So we must take into consideration the PERCEPTIONS of the Jehovah’s Witness, the Atheist, the Muslim and the leader of a cult movement.

        According to the doctrine – every PERCEPTION which comes to pass within these brains – is specifically decreed to be what it is.
        And comes to pass infallibly – and thus irresistibly.

        Additionally – those people are led to believe their PERCEPTIONS are TRUE
        And according to Calvinist doctrine – those beliefs are also the product of infallible decrees.

        So we ask the question:
        How do those brains know whether their PERCEPTIONS are correct or not?

        The answer:
        They dont!
        They are not granted the function of discerning their PERCEPTIONS TRUE or FALSE
        Their PERCEPTIONS are not UP TO them.

        Now let us go the Calvinist believer.
        According to the doctrine – whatsoever PERCEPTIONS that come to pass within their brains – are just as much the produce of infallible decree as the others we just mentioned.

        And John Calvin accordingly tells the Calvinist fold – that the majority of them are given a FALSE SENSE of election/salvation.
        Which according to the doctrine – it logically follows – the majority of Calvinists are totally depraved and incapable of accepting divine truth.

        Those who are NOT given a FALSE SENSE are
        -quote
        “A FEW grains hidden under a HUGE PILE of chaff”

        And for the majority:
        -quote
        “The Lord gives them a SENSE such as can be felt WITHOUT the spirit of adoption”

        -quote
        He ILLUMINES THEM FOR A TIME to partake of it – and the STRIKES THEM with greater blindness

        Question:
        How do those Calvinists believers know their PERCEPTIONS are correct?

        Answer:
        That function is not granted to them

    2. Point #1
      1. Always conflating Calvinism with determinism

      Here is the evidence:
      Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
      -quote
      Theological determinism is the view that God determines every event that occurs in the history of the world. ………

      Contemporary theological determinists appeal to various biblical texts (for example Ephesians 1:11) and confessional creeds (for example the Westminster Confession of Faith) to support their view.

      https://philnotesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/theological-determinism/
      -quote
      Theological determinism is the doctrine that God determines every event that occurs in the world. It is a feature of, amongst others, the Western theistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. John Calvin (1509 – 1564)

      https://themindlessphilosopher.wordpress.com/tag/theological-determinism/
      -quote
      Theological determinism is a belief professed by St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and the American philosopher, Jonathan Edwards.

      Now notice that the author actually does acknowledge Calvinism is Theological Determinism – in point #2

      Point #2:
      All of these points are nothing more than claims without evidence
      They need to provide quotes from Dr Flowers which clearly reveal the topic he is speaking about.

      Secondly – most of the points they say Dr. Flowers makes – which they disagree with – are in fact made by numerous Non-Calvinist Christian authors who over the years have examined Calvinism.

      On the rest of the points – why don’t you find one you find especially troubling and then we can discuss it.
      I think I can show you that Dr. Flowers is in fact correct – and the author of this article is simply complaining.

  16. br.d , Sometimes I wonder that if Determinism & Predestination, Destiny, Fate is true, can humans “Thwart” it to an extent ?
    Are Determinism, Predestination, Destiny & Fate Absolute in nature, I Think this following point is related to Calvinism, —
    For Example, I have personally known and heard of people who have always had a deeply uncomfortable unshakable deeply rooted ingrained gut feeling that they were just never meant to be Very Happy or Successful in this life, in various aspects of their lives, and very little can be done about it, that no matter how hard they try to succeed and be happy in this life, they cannot be successful or happy for various reasons. I think it’s very sad that Not everyone can be Happy or Successful in this Earthly Life,
    If some people cannot be Happy or Successful in this Earthly Life, that’s bad, and unfortunate, however in Heaven and in the World to Come, Everyone, Literally Everyone who is in Heaven and the New Earth should be Happy & Successful , not a single person should be
    Miserable, Unhappy or Unsuccessful, not even one person should be left behind, everyone should be happy & Successful , No Exceptions, All Human Beings have Needs.
    Plus if God does indeed Predestine some people to Hell & the Lake of Fire since before they were born, does that mean that God “Hates” those he Predestines to Damnation, does God “hate” them when they are in Hell or The Lake of Fire ? Plus what do you think is the Most Convincing Irrefutable Arguments & Evidence against Calvinism & T.U.L.I.P.
    Does Calvinism produce bad fruit ? and if so is there a tiny bit of beauty in Calvinism ?

    1. Jeff:
      Sometimes I wonder that if Determinism & Predestination, Destiny, Fate is true, can humans “Thwart” it to an extent ?

      DW: Not according to the doctrine. And not according to logic. Because in this case all events without exception are FIXED at the foundation of the world by infallible decree. Which makes all events come to pass infallibly. And it is logically impossible for something infallible to be changed to fallible – which is what thwarting would result in. So the answer would be no.

      Jeff:
      Are Determinism, Predestination, Destiny & Fate Absolute in nature, I Think this following point is related to Calvinism

      DW: There is a very subtle distinction in SEMANTICS here. There are 3 distinctions that are critical to understand.
      1) Yes – every event and movement of nature is “Fated” in Calvinism in the sense of being FIXED to come to pass by infallible decree.

      2) However technically there is a difference between that and what is known as “Fatalism”. In Fatalism – events are said to come to pass “Of necessity”. Determinism does not have events coming to pass “Of Necessity”. It has events coming to pass “Of Certainty”. So Calvinism is not “Fatalism”. So the distinction here is SEMANTIC in nature. The difference between “Fate” and “Fatalism”.

      3) Fatalism is often rejected by Calvinists who define it as a sense of impending doom. And Calvinism is a system of both divine benevolence as well as divine malevolence. The Calvinist interpretation of Romans 9 is of a divine potter who creates/designs the vast majority of his creatures specifically for eternal torment in the lake of fire. And that includes deceiving Calvinist believers with a FALSE SENSE of election. So the MANY are created/designed as vessels of wrath. But the FEW are created/designed as vessels of mercy. And no Calvinist is permitted to know what he was created/designed for. So since a FEW are created/designed as vessels of mercy – then Calvinism is not a 100% doctrine of doom.

      Jeff: if God does indeed Predestine some people to Hell & the Lake of Fire since before they were born, does that mean that God “Hates” those he Predestines to Damnation, does God “hate”

      DW: Calvinists have two schools of thought in this question.
      Calvinist A.W. Pink for example – very strongly declares – god does not love everybody.
      If you google “god does not love everybody” you are going to find Calvinist web-sites which assert this.

      Other Calvinists are concerned about how this may affect their ability to promote the doctrine.
      Or they are emotionally upset by the idea.
      So they will assert the opposite.

      But the bottom line in Calvinism – is many things appear in the form of “Good-Evil” pairs.
      – He decrees the FEW for salvation – he decrees the MANY for damnation
      – He decrees sinful and evil impulses to come to pass in the human brain – as well as good impulses

      So Calvinism is a system of “Good-Evil” DUALISM.
      Therefore there is both divine benevolence as well as divine malevolence.

      This characteristic BTW is very common with many pagan deities.
      The god’s ZEUS and PAN had this characteristic.
      And in many pagan religions – the deity appears in Male and Female forms.
      The Male form – representing divine malevolence – the female form representing divine benevolence.

  17. br.d, Thanks but what about when I typed
    “For Example, I have personally known and heard of people who have always had a deeply uncomfortable unshakable deeply rooted ingrained gut feeling that they were just never meant to be Very Happy or Successful in this life, in various aspects of their lives, and very little can be done about it, that no matter how hard they try to succeed and be happy in this life, they cannot be successful or happy for various reasons. I think it’s very sad that Not everyone can be Happy or Successful in this Earthly Life,
    If some people cannot be Happy or Successful in this Earthly Life, that’s bad, and unfortunate, however in Heaven and in the World to Come, Everyone, Literally Everyone who is in Heaven and the New Earth should be Happy & Successful , not a single person should be
    Miserable, Unhappy or Unsuccessful, not even one person should be left behind, everyone should be happy & Successful , No Exceptions, All Human Beings have Needs.” It’s also very sad when some people cannot be very happy or Successful in this Earthly Life because of things beyond their control, like they have a Mental illness, Physical Condition, things beyond their control, that prevent them from being happy or Successful in this Earthly Life, at least in Heaven and the New Earth they should be Happy & Successful, get what they want need and desire. Do you agree ?

    1. Yes!
      You have a kind and good heart Jeff!!

      And yes – I believe the God of scripture loves the creatures he creates and desires them to have the fullness in the life he designed for them.

      I agree – it is sad that we humans use our liberty in a self-sabotaging manner.
      That is what the scripture calls the “bondage of corruption”

      Revelations declares Jesus our “prōtotokos” PROTO-TYPE

      It does not yet appear what we shall be.
      For we know – when he shall appear – we shall be like him – for we shall see him as he is.

      And that is because we are “Beloved” in Him! :-]

  18. br.d Myself and other Christians agree, that when God gives the saved the things they want & desire in Heaven, and the New Earth, it should never be like that famous expression “Be Careful what you wish for” . That would then mean that the fulfilled wants & desires of Christians would backfire on them and create suffering , and in Heaven and the New Earth there is No Suffering , am I right ?

    1. Hi Jeff,
      I’ve never heard it put that way – but yes I think I can agree with that.
      The scripture says – our natures will be changed.
      We shall be like him (i.e. Jesus)

      The reason for the 5-fold ministry here on earth – is so that the body will no longer be children tossed two and fro by every wind of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men.

      But raised up into Him in all things.
      Into the measure of the stature of Christ.

      So that is what God intends for every believer.

      Although scripture – from my perspective – doesn’t go into any elaborate details about what believers will be like in Heaven – it sure seems like there is enough of what it does indicate to show that we will be of one mind with Jesus.

    2. Jeff – if you have the time – I would invite you to listen to a certain video by Kevin Thompson on Youtube
      The title of the video is:

      Calvinism’s Cognitive Failures: Complexity, Context, Scripts, Double Binds

      I would suggest you listen at the start where he asks himself – how did he get drawn into Calvinism after discovering what he knows about it today – and how can he help others from falling into the same trap he fell into.

      After getting a taste of that introduction – I would suggest you skip to minute 35 – to get the some of the meat of and potatoes.

      If you have time.

      Blessings,
      br.d

  19. Hi BRD (and others contributing to this site), after reading your discussion with RAF BAR I wanted you to know this site has helped me enormously. I came across Calvinism a few years ago and could not comprehend what the hell was going on. I thought I was misunderstanding everything they said because it didn’t make sense to me, it couldn’t make sense to me.

    In finding this site and similar resources I realised that rather than trying to understand Calvinism I needed to understand the bible better first and be sure of what I believed. It has been liberating as it has built confidence in what I understand of God because my understanding is grounded wholly in scripture and not my own beliefs or values, or that of others. Evidence is everything.

    I can empathise that staunch Calvinists, or even non-Calvinists who haven’t encountered the double speaking confusing Calvinist, may think this site is negative but they are not the intended audience here, I am, and I am thankful.

    1. Hello DanR
      Thank you so much for your wonderful testimony!!
      We so very much appreciate it!!

      If just a little understanding of the psychological consequences of Calvinism can be conveyed to people – and by that information they are empowered to not be ensnared by it – we are wonderfully delighted!

      May the Lord keep honoring your sincerity – and giving you further wisdom and insights.

      Blessings and sincere thanks
      br.d

  20. https://www.sbts.edu/southern-project/ Awhile back I commented on a video about the relationship between Calvinism and slavery. Since they were slaves, descended from Ham (even though even the curse was what they say, it was on Canaan, not all descendants of Ham), and God determines all thing, their enslavement was God decreed. l didn’t have a source, I was speaking from what the black community understood as I grew up. I ran across this SBTS post admitting to the SBC role in slavery, and apologizing, which I don’t understand. If it was decreed by God, why are you apologizing for God’s work? It’s weird.
    According to Islam, Allah determines all things, including guiding who he will to the truth, and leading away those he doesn’t will. How is this different than Calvinism’s idea of predestined election where God elects who He will, and reprobates, or at least doesn’t elect, who He wills? Hinduism is also a deterministic religion. new age, even many athiests believe in determinism, fatalism, etc. All of them believe in a god, gods, force or evolutionary progress, determines or decrees all thoughts and actions, good and evil.
    I’m not saying people Calvinists are saved, not my call. I honestly believe deep down many who cling to the authoritarian God, who determines who is saved, and of course they KNOW they are (how can they be sure? What if He determined them to think they are elect when they are not?), are actually afraid if it isn’t true, because they know their sin, they know the sins of our fathers, and they’re insecure inside. Deep down, they’re afraid they’re sin is great, but they have to convince themselves, no worry, I’m elect.
    I believe Jesus, and so I’m saved. I trust He’ll never leave nor forsake me. Not because He determined before the world existed, but because I take Him at His Word. Seems like there’s a man between the reformed believer, and God before Jesus., and his name is Calvin.

    1. Welcome Tamara! Yes, Calvinists apologizing for what they believe God decreed is an obvious example of the cognitive dissonance they must have to remain loyal to their man-made theology.

  21. http://people.loyno.edu/~history/journal/1993-4/Stanonis.html Another source on how Calvinism’s idea of predestination and determinism was used to justify slavery. “This Sacred Land”
    “For the most part, southern Baptists espoused the concept of an equalitarian and simplistic government. Ministers were self-supportive, providing for themselves and their families by farming. The use of slave labor, even on the homestead of a reverend, was not an uncommon practice in the South. One of the primary reasons southern theology slowly took on a proslavery tone is thus rather clear. Furthermore, Baptists in the South were conservative. The Bible was law. This marked the establishment of what is known as “old time religion,” the conviction that religious truths were not subject to change merely because of new scientific revelations or social whims. As time passed, the southern Baptists ‘concrete faith in the Scriptures combined with proslavery theology to forin a “solid”j ustification of this harsh institution. ”

    “Slavery had been a difficult issue to reconcile with religion during America’s Colonial Period. When slaves were introduced to Virginia in the 1600s, the colonial government labored to make slavery and Christianity compatible. The idea that baptism meant emancipation was reformed in order to allow masters to Christianize their slaves without having to worry about losing them. In 1682, all non-Christian servants in Virginia were defined as slaves. Despite the tolerance of slavery, most Baptists, such as the General Committee of the Virginia Baptists, believed until the late 1700s that this institution was an evil that needed to be removed. Time and consideration of the region’s economy, however, would bring an evolution in the South’s beliefs.

    One of the major tasks of the missionary societies was to spread the Gospel to the non-Christian slave population. This became especially true in the 1830s when a spirit of humanitarianism swept through New England. Although the South had used religion to support its purposes before abolitionism, the region now added emphasis to the practice. Black preachers had long been trained and censored by whites in order to maintain some control over the slaves. Well educated and powerful orators, African-American ministers frequently spoke to their congregations about the importance of obedience to their masters..”

    I wanted to include the last section, as the progressive left secular religion of the democrats still use black ”ministers” to control the black community that still has a plantation mentality. I know, grew up in it, but I’m off the plantation. I never fell for it, so you know, they tear up my black card so many times I can’t count. Race hustlers like Sharpton, Jackson, etc.

    1. And Tamara, the antebellum approval and defence of slavery among reformed theologians are also good examples of reformed theology’s poor understanding and interpretation of Scriptures.

      God clearly called slavery, based on kidnapping people and selling them as slaves, a crime punishable by death (Ex 21:16). That was the majority of slavery in the southern states up until the Civil War.

      Exodus 21:16 NKJV — “He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death.”

      1. This reminds me of the story Dr. Gordon Fee tells about when he met his wife to be.
        I believe the story goes – that she was the daughter of a pastor who taught that if a Christian women wore pants she would go to hell.

        The father used certain verses in scripture as his proof texts
        But the father was also a farmer

        And Gordon, who was a seminary student at the time noticed that her father in his farm practices was in direct disobedience to commands God had given within that same chapter of scripture.

        So that pastor could pull out whatever he wanted from any verse in scripture and claim it was “GOD’S WORD” while ignoring everything that was convenient for himself to ignore.

        A fine example of good exegesis if I do say so myself! 😀

  22. br.d, Happy New Year, best wishes for 2022, I found a few interesting articles online , Google them and let me know what you think,
    1. from growrag.wordpress.com an article is headlined
    “Leighton Flowers Knows Just Enough to be Dangerous: A Would-Be Critic of Calvinism”
    June 12, 2021 Bobby Grow
    2. From reformedbaptistdaily.wordpress.com an article by Drew Mery on November 13, 2017 is headlined
    “Enabling Power of the Gospel? A Response to Dr. Leighton Flowers”
    Some more thoughts, the website, evangelicalarminians.org looks interesting,
    Also, this Calvinism-Arminianism debate is so Complex, some have said it’s like that famous expression
    “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” meaning that it’s impossible for us finite humans to fully understand a finite God,
    I heard someone online say years ago that many Calvinists are the type of people that like to pull wings off bees , what do you think ?
    I honestly wish God made the Bible easier to Interpret and understand , I don’t know if you are a Star Trek fan, but the episode of
    Star Trek: Prodigy “Kobayashi” which aired on January 6, 2022 has one character say in a scene that
    “Language is Not just about Translation, but Interpretation” very true in Real Life !!! Especially when it relates to the Bible
    From a Calvinist perspective, I wonder, I wonder if my Non-Christian friends are automatically doomed to Hell & The Lake of Fire for all Eternity , for example if they were Not Chosen or Elected by God from Before the Founding of the World, if they are Not Elect, and if someone were to Present them with the Gospel, is there a Possibility that they would accept Christ and be Saved, and go to Heaven when they die, or is it 100 percent sealed that they are doomed to Hell, that even if they hear the Gospel , they will reject it, or if they accept it, they will Not be Saved, or there is a slight possibility they will be saved, is it “Written in Stone” in the Book of Life , can names be added and deleted from the Book of Life ? Again, I hope and pray Jesus Returns soon to End all Evil, Suffering & Injustice in the World, Once and For All, Forever , that no human being or animal will have to suffer, In Christ, Jeff W

    1. Hello Jeffw!
      Thank you and a happy new year to you also!

      On your articles – I ‘ve seen these before – and I can tell you – they are really nothing more than what we call PUFFER FISH
      In other words – they are arguments designed to APPEAR sound
      But under LOGICAL scrutiny – they completely collapse under their own weight.

      Why don’t you take a quote or two from one of those articles that you found most impressive and I can show you what I mean.

      On the appeal to things within scripture that we humans are not able to understand – you will find there is a pattern to the Calvinist use of that appea.

      It follows a model something like this:

      1) The Bible clearly teaches [insert utterly self contradicting propositions here] .

      2) So you are obligated ( because I speak Ex-Cathedra) to blindly believe every word I tell you without question

      3) And the justification I’m giving you for blindly believing utterly self-contradicting propositions – is that your brain has no ability to understand divine mysteries..

      You might must as well be a Jehovah’s Witness – if your’re going to fall for that line! 😀

      One of the problems with the Calvinist exegetical approach to scripture – is how self-contradicting it is.

      There are verses in scripture in which the Calvinist AUTO-MAGICALLY assumes Exhaustive Divine Determinism UNQUESTIONABLE DIVINE TRUTH – through which the verse must be understood.

      But then there are other verses – where if the Calvinist follows that same exegetical rule – he ends up with consequences that he is in no way prepared to live with.

      So the very Exhaustive Divine Determinism which treats as UNQUESTIONABLE DIVINE TRUTH in order to understand one verse – he ends up completely denying in his exegetical approach to another verse.

      If something is UNQUESTIONABLE DIVINE TRUTH – then it is UNQUESTIONABLE DIVINE TRUTH ALL the time – and not just when it gives the Calvinist the interpretation that he is comfortable with.

      In other words – if you’re going to make an exegetical rule – then that rule should be followed in ALL of your exegesis.

      But what we find – is the Calvinist asserting a proposition as UNQUESTIONABLE DIVINE TRUTH one minute – and then rejecting that same proposition the next.

      I can lead you through an example of that if you are interested.

      1. br.d Yes, gladly I would like you to lead me through an example, I’m always interested in learning more about the Bible & Theology, so basically you still agree that Calvinism distorts the nature & character of God

      2. br.d
        Ok, we can use the example of the Calvinist reasoning concerning 1 Timothy 2:3-4 “God desires ALL men to be saved”

        As you probably know – the Calvinist makes a distinction concerning the word ALL – to distinguish “ALL without distinction” vs “ALL without exception”.

        1) Does Calvin’s god desire the salvation of “ALL men without distinction” – YES
        2) Does Calvin’s god desire the salvation of “ALL men without exception” – NO

        And the reasoning behind this distinction follows:
        1) IF Calvin’s god desired “ALL men without exception” to be saved – THEN “ALL men without exception would be saved.”
        2) IF Calvin’s god desired “ALL men without distinction” to be saved – THEN “ALL men without distinction would be saved”

        Now the Calvinist further reasons
        IF Calvin’s god desired “ALL men without exception” to be saved – THEN we end up with Universalism

        But notice there is a HIDDEN underlying PRESUPPOSITION in this line of reasoning which is stated as:

        Whatever Calvin’s god desires – is whatsoever comes to pass.

        This HIDDEN underlying PRESUPPOSITION is based on EDD (Exhaustive Divine Determinism) (i.e. the doctrine of decrees) – which stipulates “Whatsoever comes to pass is infallibly decreed at the foundation of the world”

        Christian academia recognizes Calvinism as EDD (Exhaustive Divine Determinism)
        Sometime called “Universal Divine Causal Determinism”
        Sometimes called “Theological Determinism”

        That CORE aspect of the Calvinist doctrine which is unique to – and separates Calvinism from all other forms of Christianity is EDD (the doctrine of decrees)

        So the underlying PRESUPPOSITION which dictates the Calvinist interpretation of this verse is EDD
        In such case – EDD (Exhaustive Divine Determinism) functions as a UNIVERSAL UNQUESTIONABLE DIVINE TRUTH

        SO:
        We can see how the Calvinist requires EDD as a UNIVERSAL UNQUESTIONABLE DIVINE TRUTH for the interpretation of this verse

        But does he apply this same rule for his interpretation of all other verses?

        Let’s take Joshua 24:15 – “Choose you this day who you will serve”

        Does the Calvinist apply EDD (i.e. doctrine of decrees) as the UNIVERSAL UNQUESTIONABLE DIVINE TRUTH for this verse?
        No!
        As a matter of fact – the Calvinist interpretation of this verse serves as a denial of EDD (doctrine of decrees).

        If the Calvinist were consistent – and interpreted this versed through the lens of EDD then the Calvinist would have to conclude that this verse’s reference to humans having CHOICE is to be understood as Calvin’s god “ENUNCIATED” WILL only.

        In other words – it is Calvin’s god ENUNCIATED WILL that you “Choose this day who you will serve”
        But it is NOT Calvin’s god SECRET WILL that you “Choose this day who you will serve”

        The reason is because – per the doctrine of decrees *ALL* choices are solely and exclusively made at the foundation of the world.

        Thus:
        1) If it is chosen at the foundation of the world – that you will serve [god X] – then NO ALTERNATIVE is made available to you by virtue of infallible decree. You are RENDERED-CERTAIN to serve [god X].and the availability of any other option for you would not exist

        Or
        2) If it is chosen at the foundation of the world – that you will serve [god Z] then NO ALTERNATIVE is made available to you by virtue of infallible decree. You are RENDERED-CERTAIN to serve [god Z].and the availability of any other option for you would not exist

        As you can see – in either case – because it is LOGICALLY impossible to predestine more than one option for the creature – then in Calvinism there is ever only ONE SINGLE RENDERED-CERTAIN option for every human impulse, inclination, and event.

        Therefore a LOGICAL consequence of the EDD (the doctrine of decrees) is – the necessary condition of more than one option is rules out for the creature – because any ALTERNATIVE from that which is decreed is LOGICALLY impossible.
        And without the necessary condition of more than one option available to the creature – we don’t have the function of CHOICE.available to the creature.

        Therefore on EDD it LOGICALLY follows the creature is NOT granted the function of CHOICE
        All CHOICE is solely and exclusively the expression of divine sovereignty ALONE.

        Therefore – since per EDD (the doctrine of decrees) the function of CHOICE does not exist for humans – then it LOGICALLY follows that YOU being granted a CHOICE for anything cannot possibly be Calvin’s god SECRET will.

        The Calvinist must conclude that any verse expressing humans as having a CHOICE – must be interpreted as Calvin’s god’s ENUNCIATED will only.

        NOW:
        Is the Calvinist comfortable with an interpretation of scripture which concludes he is never granted the function of CHOICE?
        Not on your life!
        There is no such thing as a Calvinist who is comfortable – taking the doctrine of decrees to its LOGICAL conclusion – when it comes to the human function of CHOICE.

        So when it comes to any verse in scripture – that infers a human make a CHOICE – the Calvinist DENIES EDD (the doctrine of decrees) .

        But wait a minute – in the other verse – we are to understand that EDD (the doctrine of decrees) is UNIVERSAL UNQUESTIONABLE DIVINE TRUTH.

        Now all of a sudden – EDD is denied.
        Thus we have inconsistency in the Calvinist handling of the sacred foundational core of his doctrine.
        Sometimes he ASSERTS EDD
        Sometimes he DENIES EDD

        And that inconsistently quite naturally is going to manifest itself in the way he is going to interpret scripture.

  23. br.d , Another good article I found is on the website people.cs.ksu.edu
    headlined “Arguments against Calvinism and Predestination”
    by Ben Perry

    1. I just looked at Ben’s page.
      That article for me – s kind of pointing in the right direct – but from that article it is not clear that Ben recognizes that EDD (Exhaustive Divine Determinism) is the underlying foundational core – upon which the doctrine of predestination exists.

      If we are to liken Calvinism to a house – what we would see is EDD Exhaustive Divine Determinism – as the foundation upon which the whole house rests. As you know – the foundation a house rests on is typically under ground. So it is not what you see when you look at the house.

      What you typically see when you look at a house – are its windows – it siding – its lighting etc.
      Those are all EXTERNAL components on the house.
      They are cosmetic in nature.
      They are what you see when you look at the house.

      The TULIP in Calvinism – can be likened to windows, accenting, and siding on the house – because the TULIP is what the Calvinist wants you to see when you look at the house.

      The TULIP then – in Calvinism – functions as a COSMETIC SURFACE representation of the house.
      The underlying foundational core of the house is Exhaustive Divine Determinism.

      So not only is a person’s salvation determined at the foundation of the world – and NO ALTERNATIVE is permitted.
      But every impulse and inclination that comes to pass within the human brain is determined at the foundation of the world – and NO ALTERNATIVE is permitted.

      Therefore on Calvinism – when it comes to Adam in the garden.
      Adam’s action of eating the fruit was decreed to be that event which would infallibly come to pass
      No ALTERNATIVE action is permitted – because any ALTERNATIVE would invalidate the infallible decree – which is impossible.

      So on Calvinism – Adam’s action of eating the fruit – was the only action that was granted to Adam.
      And the impulse to eat the fruit within Adam’s brain – was the only impulse that was permitted to come to pass within Adam’s brain.

      All of this helps you to see how radical the underlying foundational core of EDD within Calvinism actually is.

  24. br.d, Then again, I found this article on the website, reformedbaptist.blogspot.com by Keith Throop headlined
    “The “God of Calvinism” is the God of the Bible” on September 5, 2007 Some Calvinists would claim that we Misrepresent what they believe, that we don’t understand Calvinism, and some Calvinists might claim they properly interpret Scripture, how can we show them that their Interpretation is Wrong ? This is so confusing,

    1. Hi Jeffw
      Calvinism – is more than just a theology.
      Its a social structure which retains very tight control over they way its adherents think
      Calvinists are taught to ignore aspects of the doctrine that are logically impossible and utterly self contradicting.

      Remember – the foundational core of Calvinism is Exhaustive Divine Determinism (i.e. the doctrine of decrees) which stipulates that NOTHING happens that is not knowingly and willingly decreed.

      In other words – if [X] happens – then the reason [X] happened was solely and exclusively because [X] was decreed to happen.

      So let [X] equal any event.

      Lets say [X] equals the act of a sin – which a specific Calvinist committed at a specific point in time.

      According to the doctrine – the reason that Calvinist performed that specific act at that specific point in time – is solely and exclusively because it was decreed that that act would be infallibly performed by that Calvinist at that specific point in time.

      And no ALTERNATIVE act is permitted – because any ALTERNATIVE of that which is infallibly decreed would falsify the infallible decree.

      Therefore it follows – the Calvinist does what he does – at every specific instance in time – not because he is the AUTHOR of any actions – but because every action – is specifically decreed at the foundation of the world – to infallibly come to pass.

      Now I would ask you to review anything that is written by Calvinists – especially on the internet – and ask yourself the question – does the Calvinist REALLY embrace his own doctrine?

      I think you will find – the answer is NO.

      The doctrine stipulates that everything is determined in every part.
      And yet the Calvinist lives *AS-IF* the doctrine is FALSE.

      Are we really supposed to believe that scripture teaches believers to go about their office *AS-IF* what scripture teaches is FALSE?

      The fact that the Calvinist has to live his life *AS-IF* his doctrine is FALSE – should serve as a red-flag for you that something is wrong with it.

  25. Mr. Flowers… I came across this by CS Lewis… sounds like the way Calvinists paint God is a lot like Screwtape describes Satan! Chilling!!! Note: the ‘Enemy’ is actually God…..

    To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself-creatures, whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.

    1. Hello Jane and welcome!

      Dr. Flowers – due to his schedule – is not here to interact with people directly.
      You may more readily find him on face-book – if you are an FB user.

      I liked your analogy from C.S. Lewis.
      And yes – I think you will find Non-Calvinists look at the Calvinists divine potter who creates the vast majority of his creatures specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure – and they do see something demonic about the Calvinist IMAGE of god.

      Blessings
      br.d

  26. br.d. in all the debates Dr. Leighton Flowers has had with James White , do you think Dr. Flowers is the better debater, or has won most of the debates ?

    1. br.d , I forgot to type what about the differences in Calvinist thought such as Compatiblism vs Determinism and Consistent vs Inconsistent Calvinism , ? I still hope Jesus returns soon to Eliminate all Evil, Suffering & Injustice in the World once and for All Forever…
      One Pastor I Know said many times that we are living in the “Last Days” and he pointed to tragic current events as Proof

      1. Yes – Compatibilism is adopted by Calvinism – because Compatibilism comes with Determinism

        Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
        – quote
        Compatibilism is the thesis that Free Will is COMPATIBLE with Determinism.

        Therefore it follows
        1) The Creature is “FREE” to be/do what has been determined – because that “Freedom” is COMPATIBLE with Determinism

        2) The creature is “NOT FREE” to be/do otherwise than what has been determined – because that “Freedom” is NOT COMPATIBLE with what has been determined.

        Therefore – as it pertains to Adam in the garden:
        1) Adam was FREE to eat the fruit – because Adam eating the fruit was what was determined (by infallible decree)

        2) Adam was NOT FREE to NOT eat the fruit – because Adam NOT eating the fruit was NOT determined (by infallible decree)

      2. Hello,

        I would like to share some interesting links and to ask your
        opinions about it:

        psychologytoday temptation-and-the-will

        I personally read this as denying the mere existence of the
        will, the fact that it requires efforts demonstrates that we
        exert our will against our natural inclinations. Natural
        inclinations are not our will, there are basically
        spontaneous automatic impulses. They could be changed by
        learning and yes learning requires some work.

        The National Library of Medicine:
        – “The value of believing in free will: encouraging a belief in determinism increases cheating”

        So indeed this determinism belief has bad consequences
        because it undermines conscience.

        – “Lydia Jaeger – Human Liberty Between Scientific Determinism and Liberty of Creation”

        I am interested of your thoughts on this subject

        Greetings

    2. Hi Jeff,
      Personally I have an aversion to thinking about dialogs like that – in terms of winners and losers.
      I know a lot of people tend to think about it that way – so its very common.
      But I personally like to approach such dialogs in terms of how rational and logically coherent a person’s thinking is.

      On that parameter I would say Dr. Flowers is consistently rational and consistently logically coherent.

      When you listen to Jame’s White’s arguments – ask yourself if his statements are representative of the Exhaustive Divine Determinism he claims to be defending.

      I think you will find – the vast majority of his statements are not logically coherent with the doctrine he is supposed to be represnting..

      Take for example – his assertion that in Calvinism – Calvin ‘s god “Prevented” Josephs brothers from killing Joseph.
      How in the world is that assertion logically coherent with the doctrine of decrees?

      Lets review:

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

      Ok then – per the doctrine of decrees:

      1) An event HAS NO POSSIBILITY OF HAPPENING unless that event is infallibly decreed.
      2) When an event is infallibly decreed – it is IMMUTABLE and CANNOT BE CHANGED

      So – unless Calvin’s god decrees Joseph’s brothers to kill Joseph – there is ABSOLUTELY NO POSSIBILITY Joseph’s brothers will do that.

      How is Calvin’s god going to restrain an event that he knows has NO POSSIBILITY of happening?

      And if he does decree Joseph’s brothers kill Joseph – then he CANNOT RESTRAIN them from killing Joseph – because he would be falsify his own decree. And in such case the decree would not be infallible.

      The only way Calvin’s god can restrain an event from happening – is to restrain himself from decreeing that event from happening.

      So the question is – why in the world is James White treating the doctrine of decrees *AS-IF* they don’t exist – when the doctrine of decrees is what James White is supposed to be defending???

      That is an example of how many statements James White makes – that are IN-CONGRUENT with the doctrine he claims to believe.

  27. br.d, Some Interesting book titles I found are
    1. The Cultish Side of Calvinism by Micah Coate
    2. Calvinism: None Dare Call it Heresy by Bob Kirkland D.D.
    3. A Defence of Calvinism by Charles H. Spurgeon today known as the “Price of Preachers”
    & 4. Deconstructing Calvinism Revised Edition Paperback – August 31, 2011
    by Hutson Smelley (Author), the Amazon description of Deconstructing Calvinism says

    “Does God love everyone? When Jesus died on the cross at Calvary, did he die for the sins of the elect only or for the sins of the whole world? Can anyone respond in faith to the gospel message? Or is the act of believing a gift of God only given to a subset of humanity called the elect so that the rest of humanity is unable to believe and destined to spend eternity apart from God? What does the term elect mean in the New Testament? These are fundamental questions about the God of the Bible and the salvation He provides in Jesus Christ. This book invites you to sit as an unbiased juror and consider the traditional principles of TULIP Calvinism as explained by the leading Calvinists in their own words, then to weigh their proffered Scriptural evidence to make your own determination. This book will address exegetically all of the most commonly cited proof texts for Calvinism, with a thorough consideration of the “pillar” passages like John 6:44, Romans 3 and 9, and Ephesians 1:4. This book will defend a middle ground position (called NULIF – “new life”) between TULIP Calvinism and Arminianism and demonstrate that you can tell people with confidence that God loves them, Jesus died for their sins, and they can be saved by trusting Christ for the forgiveness of their sins based on his finished work at Calvary. HUTSON SMELLEY is an attorney, Bible teacher and seminary student residing in Houston, Texas with his wife and seven children. He has a degree in Biblical Studies from the College of Biblical Studies, a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Houston, a M.S. in Mathematics from Texas A&M University, and a J.D. from the University of Houston. His website can be found at http://www.proclaimtheword.net.” I wonder if we can ever Scientifically Prove if Calvinism is True or partially-true in this life… Furthermore with Computer Technology & A.I. Artificial Intelligence becoming more and more advanced, I wonder if anyone, besides myself ever got the idea of having a Computer A.I. read the entire Bible and come to it’s Own Interpretation of Various Scriptures in Context, and come to it’s own Interpretation on various doctrines, that would be interesting what the A.I. would think on various Bible doctrines.. could an A.I. settle the debate on Calvinism-Arminianism once and for all ?

    1. br.d. I also forgot to type this other book title I found is
      1.”The Gnostic Origins of Calvinism”
      by Ken Johnson , If the Origins of Calvinism are Gnostic, in your opinion, does that automatically make Calvinism False ?

      1. I think you will find Kenneth Wilson’s book “Augustine’s Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to ‘Non-Free Free Will” better reading

        Dr, Wilson reads the original Latin – and examined all of the historic documents and writings of Augustine – which follow his life.

        We just remember – Augustine lives in a time period in which the Catholic church is in is embryo phase
        And if you know anything about the Catholic church – you know that it embraces many forms of paganism.

        English historian, Theodore Maynard, in The story of American Catholicism
        -quote
        “It has often be charged… that Catholicism has been overlaid with many pagan incrustations.
        Catholicism is ready to accept that charge – and to make it her boast.
        The great god Pan is not really dead, he is baptized.”

        Augustine lives and thrives as an authority figure within the Catholic monarchical system during this period of time.
        And it is simply reasonable to assume Augustine is also going to mix different religious systems into his theology

        Dr. Wilson details the chronology of Augustine transitioning from Gnosticism to NeoPlatonism – which he fell in love with and never gave up.

        So Augustine does mix non-Biblical religious concepts into his theology.
        And one such concept is DETERMINISM.

        Calvin – in his adoration for all things Augustine – swallows the camel.
        And we today have Calvinism – which is essentially Christianity predicated on Determinism – and containing “good-evil” dualism – which was part of both Gnosticism and NeoPlatonism.

    2. Personally I didn’t find “The cultish side of Calvinism” to be very persuasive.

      I did however enjoy Daniel Gracely’s book “A Closer Look at Calvinism”

      There is a section in Daniel’s book where he describes a phenomenon with Calvinist language.

      He called it “Calvinism’s Rocking Horse Language”

      -quote
      “Calvinist and Non-Calvinist do not share the same meaning of words

      Remember, Calvinism is merely the invoking of associative meaning, not real meaning.
      By ‘not real’ I mean that the meaning is destroyed in the overall thought of the clause or sentence.
      For, of course, at one level the Calvinist understands the general meaning of words.
      But he strings words together in such a way that it forms an idea that is false…

      This is what I used to do as a Calvinist.
      I liken these non-sense statements, or propositions, to the riding of a rocking horse…..

      I would want to affirm determinism and divine sovereignty.
      But as I rocked towards it – I would find myself accusing god of being the author of evil
      So then I would reverse direction and rock away from it.
      But then I found myself compromising determinism and divine sovereignty

      I would go back and forth in seesaw motion, lest on the one hand I find myself accusing God of insufficient sovereignty, or on the other hand find myself accusing God of authoring sin.

      All the while, there remained an ILLUSION of movement towards truth,
      When in fact there was no real movement at all.
      At length I would allow the springs of dialectical tension to rest the rocking horse in the center, and then I would declare as harmonious propositions, which in fact, were totally contradictory to each other.

      Calvinist riders still ride out this scenario.”
      -end quote

  28. br.d, If you scroll up to my Comment above dated, NOVEMBER 9, 2021 AT 7:22 PM about some people Not being Very Happy or Successful in this Current Earthly Life, that Makes me Sad. My Own Mother had her life Ruined by a Mental illness, Type I Bipolar Disorder, when she was 19 in 1969, it basically ruined her life, all her hopes and dreams, she died in September 2014 at the age of 63.
    Now, these days many people say “No One is Entitled to Anything” but is that a Biblical Statement ? Does the Bible agree with that Statement ? Is that a Christian View ? I was born in 1980, it’s so unfair and unjust how my Mother’s Life was basically ruined by her Mental illness, and she had various physical illnesses and other problems in her life. It makes me Cry,
    My Mother didn’t Work since 1979, the year before I was born, and she couldn’t collect Social Security Disability SSI, because Social Security said that because she was Living with and Married to My Father (Her Husband) and that because my Dad worked Full Time that she could no longer get Social Security Disability. However, While my Father Worked Full Time all these years, it wasn’t exactly a High Paying Job, my Family was Slightly above the Poverty Line. My Family lacked things that Many Other Families had, it was upsetting to see many other families with things my family didn’t have..
    I think the Rules for People like my Mother should have been Different and More Compassionate, Generous, that Social Security should have Given my Mother The Full Amount of Disability Money, the Full Amount of Money, regardless of the fact she was Living with and Married to my Father, and that he worked full time, Regardless of My Father’s Income. I believe and Know in my Heart that the Rules for the Social Security Administration and Government should have been More Filled with Compassion, Generosity, Love & Heart for My Mother and Others like her, The Social Security Administration should have given my Mother and others like her, the Full Amount, the Full Amount of Disability Money, until her death in 2014, regardless of her husbands income,
    I believe and Know in my Heart that the Government, Society overall, Church Organizations, Charitable Organizations, such as the Salvation Army, etc, should have done so Much More For my Mother and For Countless others like her. Anyone can become disabled.
    I hope and pray that in Heaven, my Mother and other’s like her can have the Happiness & Success they were unable to obtain in this Earthly Life .. It deeply upsets me the Suffering in America and Worldwide, I donate to Charity whenever I can, and do various other good deeds here and there to Help Others whenever I can. I even feed stray cats. Yes, I Know we Christians are Saved by God’s Grace alone, through Faith Alone, but I feel it’s important to Help Others… Truthfully If I had more, I would give more, Even More than I already do give to the Less Fortunate .
    I still think it’s Very Important and Urgent that Jesus Returns soon to Eliminate all Evil, Suffering and Injustice in the World, Once and For All, Forever

    1. I understand your strong feelings Jeff – and honor the fact that you have them.
      There is a sense in which the Lord might say – your mother did deserve better.
      Because – in the beginning – God created all of us – including your mother – to a life very much different than what we have.

      We are all suffering in what you probably know the scripture calls ‘The bondage of corruption”
      You mother and father IMHO are to be honored for the decisions they made.
      There are people who will do everything they can to milk the system and take as much as they can get.
      They will not hesitate to plot a dishonest way to take advantage of the SSI system.

      But your parents had a sense of honesty and decency about them that did not permit their conscience to be that way. They preferred to the honest and right thing – rather than lower themselves to dishonesty in order to game the system.

      And I suspect they raised you with those values as well.
      And I wonder if the sincerity and compassion you feel for your mother – is perhaps the very sincerity and compassion she gave to you by her example.

      God’s compassion is the great equalizer.
      I’m sure you remember Jesus speaking about the rich man and Lazarus.
      Lazarus was a beggar sitting at the rich man’s gate covered with sores and longing to eat what crumbs might fall from the rich man’s table.
      But in the end their situations were reversed by God’s compassion.
      The rich man – while he was alive – cared nothing for God’s compassion.
      He considered himself secure in his wealth.
      But he did not consider the great equalizer.

      Now God has also given the circumstances of your life to you as a gift.
      Some times the Lords allows us to experience things that affect us in very intense ways.
      People who are delivered from the grip of drug addiction will have a special compassion for those who suffer with it. And the Lord will use that compassion to minister his love through them.

      So you don’t know what the Lord has prepared for you and what love he may want to extend to others through you. And he uses the experiences he allows you to go through – as a way of letting you see kind of service of love he has prepared for you to be.

      All things work together for the good – for those who love him and who are the called according to his purpose.

      I hope you will be comforted in the knowledge that the Lord great love for you.
      br.d

  29. br.d, Thanks for your kind words, My Mother and countless others like her did deserve better treatment, More Compassion, Love, Generosity, from the Government, Social Security Administration, Church & Charitable Organizations, Society Overall . It’s about Quality of Life, what would you say is the biggest Problem with how Calvinists Interpret Scripture ? As compared to how Arminians and others Interpret Scripture, how can we know for certain if Calvinism is or isn’t in the Bible ?

    1. To answer your question about Calvinist thinking and Calvinism’s interpretation of scripture – lets step through it together:

      1) Calvinism’s foundational core doctrine – which is unique only to Calvinism – is Exhaustive Divine Determinism – expressed in the Calvinist vernacular – by the doctrine of infallible decrees.

      WHATSOEVER COMES TO PASS – was infallibly decreed at the foundation of the world

      Ok – so here is a question for you Jeff:

      If 100% of WHATSOEVER comes to pass within creation in the course of time was determined at the foundation of the world by Calvin’s god – what percentage of what comes to pass – is left UN-Determined by Calvin’s god?

  30. br.d Do you agree with this Physical Analogy I’m about to Give for Exhaustive Divine Determinism, so you are saying that basically before or at the foundation of the World according to Calvinism, would you say it’s like God tipping over one domino and then it causes all the other Dominos to fall in precise order. Or releasing a handball at the Top of a Hill and letting it roll al the way down. Or Putting a Slinky on a Staircase, letting it go and the Slinky goes down the staircase that type of thing. ? Do you agree with these examples Analogies I gave ?
    Is every thought, every choice, every action by Every Human Being in Human History Predetermined by God , is all of our “Free Will” or Freedom of Choice a Mere Illusion ? Are we Humans basically Puppets or Robots ? Do you think Evil & Sin is also a Creation of God ? As some speculate, some say Evil & Wickedness is Outside of God’s Plan, While others say Evil & Wickedness is a part of it , a Master Plan

    1. Jeff
      According to Calvinism, would you say it’s like God tipping over one domino and then it causes all the other Dominos to fall in precise order……

      br.d
      What you are describing is typically called Newtonian Mechanics – and is classified as Determinism

      However the typical Calvinist answer to this question – is that scripture does not FILL IN THE BLANKS concerning the **MECHANICS** of how energy or force is transferred from Calvin’s god to an object of creation.

      So they would reject the idea of Calvin’s god **DIRECTLY** pushing over the first a domino.

      However, all Christian Philosophers acknowledge that Determinism has certain attributes
      1) Events occur by CAUSE & EFFECT principle
      2) Events come about within a CAUSAL CHAIN – which Calvinists typically call “Secondary Means”
      3) Events come to pass being CAUSED by ANTECEDENT FACTORS outside of human control
      In Calvinism’s version of Determinism – the ANTECEDENT FACTORS are infallible decrees.
      4) In Calvinism’s events come to pass infallibly – which is something nature does not have the power to do.
      So Calvin’s god must have his hand in every event – no matter how minuscule – by virtue of endowing every event to ensure it comes to pass infallibly

      However – Reformed confessions also state that all events are the product of infallible decrees.
      And the decrees originate –quote “Solely within himself”.

      So we definitely have some kind of TRANSMISSION process at work – where for example – Calvin’s god FIRST-CONCEIVES solely within himself – every impulse that will come to pass within your brain – and then RENDERS-CERTAIN each impulse by establishing them with a decree which make each impulse come to pass infallibly and thus irresistibly within your brain.

      Jeff:
      Is every thought, every choice, every action by Every Human Being in Human History Predetermined by God

      Br.d
      According to the doctrine of decrees – WHATSOEVER COMES TO PASS does so as the consequence of an infallible decree.
      And John Calvin states it as –quote “NOTHING happens – that is not knowingly and willingly decreed”

      That is why Calvinism is called **EXHAUSTIVE** divine determinism

      So yes – EVERY impulse that comes to pass within your brain and body – are the product of a decree and come to pass infallibly
      And thus every impulse that comes to pass within your brain is made irresistible to you

      Jeff: is all of our “Free Will” or Freedom of Choice a Mere Illusion ?

      br.d
      The function of CHOICE is an illusion for the Calvinist – because a NECESSARY CONDITION for CHOICE is the existence of more than one option made available to the creature from which to make a CHOICE.

      And the doctrine of decrees LOGICALLY EXCLUDES any ALTERNATIVE to that which is infallibly decreed.
      So there is ever only one single RENDERED-CERTAIN option granted to the creature for every impulse that will come to pass within its brain.

      And the creature is given NO CHOICE as to what that option will be.
      And the creature is given NO CHOICE as to what its role in that option will be.
      And the creature is not granted the ability to REFRAIN.

      Therefore
      No Option(s) + No Ability to Refrain = NO CHOICE

      However – on the topic of Freedom – there is a FORM of Freedom of the will within Exhaustive Divine Determinism – which is classified as COMPATIBILISM.

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

      In other words – creaturely freedom MUST be COMPATIBLE with that which Is DETERMINED.

      Thus with Adam in the garden
      1) Adam was granted FREEDOM to eat the fruit – because eating the fruit was DETERMINED and FIXED by infallible decree – which makes it COMPATIBLE with Determinism.

      2) Adam was NOT granted the FREEDOM to NOT eat the fruit – because NOT eating the fruit was NOT DETERMINED by infallible decree – which means it is NOT COMPATIBLE with Determinism.

      Additionally – Adam NOT eating the fruit would falsify the infallible decree
      And the Freedom to falsify an infallible decree is not granted to the creature.

  31. br.d , Also do you agree with this article from the Calvinist Christian website Carm.org by Matt Slick
    I”s the coronavirus a biblical plague from God?”
    by Matt Slick | Mar 23, 2020 | God, Questions

    We cannot say for certain whether or not the coronavirus (covid 19, Wuhan virus) is from God or not. It could be that God purposely sent it. But it could also be that it’s just the natural outcome of the effect of sin in the world – i.e., the failure of the Communist Chinese government. Various plagues, famines, and earthquakes happen because sin has affected the world physically. Remember, sin entered the world through Adam (Rom. 5:12), and once sin was here, we have catastrophes, wars, disasters, famine, plagues, disease, etc. They often appear indiscriminately and affect both the saved and the non-saved, the weak and the strong, the young and the old.
    Biblically, some plagues and afflictions were from God
    But we knew in the Bible when certain things were from God because it would tell us. We know, for example, that God sent the 10 plagues upon Egypt while freeing the Jews (Joshua 24:5; Exodus 7:25; 8:14, 17; 9:3, 18, 31; 10:13, 22; 12:29). God warned of penalties of sickness upon the people of Israel for their hostility to God (Lev. 26:21) and their murmuring against Him (Num. 11:31-33). God smote the Ashdodites with tumors because they had captured the Ark of God (1 Sam. 5:1-6). And, it is God who makes people mute, deaf, seeing, and blind,” (Exodus 4:11). But again, without direct revelation from God, we cannot know whether anything is directly from his hand or the general result of sin in the world.
    Is the coronavirus from God?
    When we ask whether or not the coronavirus is sent from God, we can answer both yes and no. God is the ultimate cause of the virus, but not the efficient cause. Let me explain. The ultimate cause of anything is God because he is the one who ‘ultimately’ created the universe. Nothing would happen to us if the universe didn’t exist, and it was God who brought the universe into existence. However, God is not the efficient cause of our actions. He does not put his hand on our hand, put our hand on the gun, make us pull the trigger, and then blame us. Instead, we are the efficient cause of our own actions. In other words, we are the ones who directly choose what we do, and we are the ones who are responsible for our actions. God is removed from being the efficient cause of our actions. Therefore, he is not responsible for them. We are. Nevertheless, God has ordained that the coronavirus occur. But, when I say ‘ordain,’ I must clarify that this does not necessarily mean that he directly caused it. It means that he willed to allow it to occur. After all, He works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11).
    But, we don’t have prophets today who can tell us whether or not any particular thing that occurs is from God or not.
    Conclusion
    We cannot say with certainty that the coronavirus is from God. But we can say that God has definitely permitted it to occur. Our job as Christians is to be smart and practice self quarantining so that it would not spread. we should also pray for one another and seek to be available to help each other when necessary. Pray for the wisdom of the leaders in the government to do what is right. And, finally, don’t forget to praise God during the bad times as well as the good. Trust him.”

    1. br.d , Slight Typo Error on my Part, the carm.org article above by Matt Slick is headlined
      “Is the coronavirus a biblical plague from God?” Plus do you think any of the Lost Books of the Bible, Books Not included in the Canon of Scripture, Such as the Book of Enoch or the Apocrypha Books relevant to our discussion of Calvinism, Arminianism, Provisionism, etc,
      What about the LXX ski The Septuagint ..? I’m thinking of Purchasing a New Bible, If I were to Purchase just one, what Translation do you suggest ?

      1. Before you purchase a new bible – perhaps you would consider getting your hands on a copy of Dr. Gordon Fee’s book “How to read the bible for all its worth”

        Part of what Dr. Fee reviews – is the different types of Bible translations.
        There is the Literal – and the Formal Equivalence, and the Dynamic Equivalence etc.

        You would do yourself a favor to understand how these differ from one another – and then use that information to make a better informed decision on what translation to buy.

    2. Again – according to the doctrine of decrees – WHATSOEVER COMES TO PASS – is FIRST CONCIEVED – quote “Solely within himself” and is then RENDERED-CERTAIN to come to pass – by infallible decree.

      Base on that premise – where would the doctrine of decrees stipulate covid comes from?

      Now when a Calvinist says “We cannot say for certain that the virus comes from god” this is called Calvinism’s *AS-IF* thinking mode.

      You should know by now – that the Calvinist has an emotional problem with the doctrine – because it SPECIFICALLY STIPULATES that WHATSOEVER comes to pass is – quote “Knowingly and willingly decreed”

      The Calvinist therefore finds his own doctrine unpalatable.

      As a coping mechanism – the Calvinist treats the doctrine *AS-IF* it is FALSE

      Take for example – the fact that in Calvinism – only Calvin’s god has CERTAINTY of whether you are elect or not.

      John Calvin
      -quote
      We are *NOT* bidden to distinguish between reprobate and elect – that is for God alone, not for us, to do . . .
      (Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV. 1. 3.)

      Secondly – in Calvinism – the MANY are specifically DESIGNED for eternal torment in the lake of fire

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

      Thirdly in Calvinism – Calvin’s god purposefully deceives believers with a FALSE SENSE of salvation

      John Calvin
      -quote
      But the Lord……. instills into their minds such A SENSE of his goodness as can be felt WITHOUT the Spirit of adoption.
      (Institutes pg 342)

      So you put these factors together and you end up with
      1) No Calvinist has any CERTAINTY of whether or not he was specifically DESIGNED for eternal torment in the lake of fire.
      2) He cannot trust his SENSES because Calvin’s god gives believers a SENSE such as can be felt WITHOUT the spirit of adoption.

      So in order to cope with the fear that you have a high probability of be DESIGNED for eternal torment – the Clavinist simply treats thse aspects of the doctrine *AS-IF* they are FALSE

      So the statement by CARM which states “We cannot say with certainty that the coronavirus is from God” is their way of denying their own doctrine of decrees – because the it is simply too unpalatable for them to acknowledge.

      Denying their own doctrine within their statements is highly common within Calvinism.

  32. Dear Leighton,

    I have been walking with the Lord for 7 years, and I go to a Pentacostal Church. My brother came to Christ 3 years ago, and I was the primary Proselytizer to convert him, not by my own merit but by the Grace of God. I say this not to brag on myself but rather to point out the pain I felt before he believed and my own relief when he came to believe.
    He had often mocked a mission trip I had taken or blasphemed to get a rise out of me. Now my brother goes to a Reformed Baptist church and for the last year has been studying the doctrines of Grace and Imstitutes of Calvin, and listening to many Reformed preachers like Sproul, Begg, and MacArthur. I have no disdain for him despite us disagreeing on whom election is given, and yet recently he has been making pretty blatant accusation of me not being saved. From off-handed comments throughout the day (softened with a sneering smile or chuckle, of which I’m expected to laugh at) to us engaging in theological debate and him just plainly stating that he doesn’t think I’m saved or elected.

    As a Christian, I expected to recieve persecution from nonbelievers, apostates, and even my own blood brother, but could never have prepared myself to recieve persecution from my brother in Christ. How do I preserve my relationship with my brother while still maintaining biblical integrity in the midst of adversity.

    May God continue to bless your ministry,
    Brandon.

    1. Hello Brandon and welcome.

      Your brother – if he embraces Calvinism – is just as much in a state of UNCERTAINTY concerning his salvation as you or anyone else – according the doctrine.

      1) No Calvinist is granted CERTAINTY of his election/salvation status
      John Calvin
      -quote
      We are *NOT* bidden to distinguish between reprobate and elect – that is for God alone, not for us, to do . . .
      (Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV. 1. 3.)

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

      2) Calvin’s god CREATES/DESIGNS the vast majority of humans specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure

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

      3) Calvinists are also part of that population of humans which are DESIGNED/CREATED for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his GOOD PLEASURE

      John Calvin
      -quote
      But the Lord……instills into their minds such a *SENSE* of his goodness as can be felt *WITHOUT* the Spirit of adoption. (Institutes pg 342)

      -quote
      ….. he *ILLUMINES ONLY FOR A TIME* to partake of it; then he ….. *STRIKES* them with even greater blindness (Institutes 3.2.11)

      4) The proportion of Calvinists who are NOT DESIGNED/CREATED for eternal torment in a lake of fire – are
      -quote
      A *SMALL* and contemptible number are hidden in a *HUGE MULTITUDE* and a *FEW* grains of wheat
      are covered by a *PILE* of chaff…(Institutes 4.1.4)

      5) No Calvinist can have confidence in the perceptions of election/salvation – because Calvin’s god gives them a SENSE such as can be felt WITHOUT the spirit of adoption.

      Therefore per the doctrine – the preponderance of Calvinists have the statistical probability of being divinely deceived by Calvin’s god – and given a FALSE SENSE of election/salvation.

      As a Calvinist – your brother – has a high probability of being infallibly decreed to live through all of his life – each day experiencing hundreds of divinely decreed FALSE PERCEPTIONS of being a person for whom Jesus Christ died.

      Thus it LOGICALLY FOLLOWS – it doesn’t matter if you accept Calvinism or not.
      Per Calvinism’s doctrine – accepting Calvinism guarantees nothing.

      Additionally what you should be aware of – is that because of the LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES of the doctrine – the Calvinist mind is conditioned to go about his office *AS-IF* those aspects of his doctrine are FALSE.

      So what your brother is exhibiting is the DOUBLE-MINDED state – which all Calvinists are conditioned to exist in.

      In other words – he doesn’t have anything over you!
      He doesn’t have any CERTAINTY of election/salvation
      And his mind is being conditioned to live in a state of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS.

      I would much prefer to be in your place than his any day! :-]

      Blessings
      br.d

  33. I was looking for a place to contact but cannot find one so I will leave a comment. I want to give a little of my testimony and then a question at the end.

    Long story short I grew up in a nondenominational church, saw a lot of things that I felt were very contradictive to scripture but also never actually received a good foundational teaching of scripture much less how to even study the Bible. I left church at about 18, returned to a new church that’s very different at 28 committed my life to Christ that same year (2020).

    Last November 2021, I heard the term calvinism on tiktok during a bunch of arguments between calvinist and non calvinist so I googled it. It was very intense and a lot of information so to kind of cut to the chase I asked my mom if she knew what it was and to break it down very simple. To my surprise her reply was “we are calvinist”. I had not heart the term my entire life but apparently was raised a calvinist, who knew… Anyways. I really battled with this because my experience and what lead me to commit my life to Christ, my understanding of Christ did not line of with calvinism. I ultimately came to the conclusion that I am NOT a calvinist, I cannot get on board with it. But so many people I know including most of my family are calvinist. This journey of learning more about Calvinism and theology in general has now brought me to wanting to learn apologetics.

    I’m a stay at home mom, studying school in a different field (childbirth and breastfeeding educator) so I do not plan nor currently have the ability to attend, even virtually, a theologial school, but I so desperately want to learn more about apologetics.

    Where would you recommend a stay at home mom to start? What resources/books/podcast etc would you recommend?

    Thank you!

    1. Hello Bethany and welcome

      Your testimony is not surprising.
      The TRUTH is – a lot of people attend a church that claims to be Calvinist.
      And some of the people in that church are in fact die-hard Calvinists.
      But a large percentage are not even aware of what the underlying foundational core of Calvinism really is.
      Instead they have been given a sugar-coated version of Calvinism in which a benevolent mask has been painted over its face – to keep them from seeing its REAL face.
      Because if they saw its REAL face – they would reject it and leave.
      And I suspect that is the case with your mom.

      The underlying foundational core of Calvinism is classified as a doctrine of UNIVERSAL DIVINE CAUSAL DETERMINISM
      Sometime called EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM – sometimes simply called THEOLOGICAL DETERMINISM.

      The underlying foundational core doctrine is summed up in Calvinism’s doctrine of infallible decrees.

      WHATSOEVER COMES TO PASS – is CAUSED to come to pass – by decree.
      And thus – whatever comes to pass – comes to pass infallibly.
      And that which comes to pass infallibly is IRRESISTIBLE to humans.

      The term WHATSOEVER means “Everything without exception”
      Accordingly then – every impulse that comes to pass within every human brain – comes to pass by divine decree
      Which means – every impulse that comes to pass within the human brain – comes to pass IRRESISTIBLY.

      So in TRUE Calvinism – there is no such thing as a Calvinist having an impulse come to pass within his brain – that he can call he own. Every impulse is AUTHORED by an external mind – and comes to pass within the Calvinsit brain – CAUSED by antecedent factors outside of the Calvinist’s control.

      As a matter of fact – EVERY event that comes to pass – down to the slightest vibration of a molecule – is CAUSED to come to pass – by antecedent factors outside of human control.

      I doubt very much your mom understands that aspect of Calvinism.
      The vast majority of Calvinist churches avoid telling people about what Calvinism REALLY is
      Because Calvinist pastors know – if they did TELL THE WHOLE TRUTH – their congregation would dwindle down to the few die-hard Calvinists who do know what Calvinism REALLY is.

      As to your question about resources – lets see if Brian here at SOT101 might know of resources that would be available to you in your area.

      BTW: I thank the Lord – he gave you discernment to see through the MASK that Calvinist’s wear.
      Blessings
      br.d

      1. Hello,

        I would like to share some interesting links and to ask your
        opinions about it:

        https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/one-among-many/202203/temptation-and-the-will

        I personally read this as denying the mere existence of the
        will, the fact that it requires efforts demonstrates that we
        exert our will against our natural inclinations. Natural
        inclinations are not our will, there are basically
        spontaneous automatic impulses. They could be changed by
        learning and yes learning requires some work.

        – “The value of believing in free will: encouraging a belief in determinism increases cheating”
        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18181791/

        So indeed this determinism belief has bad consequences
        because it undermines conscience.

        – “Lydia Jaeger – Human Liberty Between Scientific Determinism and Liberty of Creation”
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HEXaNLYbnA
        from https://theology.news/2019/08/17/conference-free-will-and-divine-action/

        I am interested of your thoughts on this subject

        Greetings

      2. Hello Emmanuel and welcome
        When you think through the logical consequences of Exhaustive Divine Determinism – you come to realize – the function that we call “learning” is logically excluded for the creature.

        Look at it this way
        The function of “learning” for the human mind logically requires the ability to Determine whether any proposition is TRUE or that proposition is FALSE.

        With EDD (Exhaustive Divine Determinism) it follows:
        1) All perceptions which come to pass within the human brain are AUTHORED by a mind that is external to the human mind. In Calvinism’s case the external mind is Calvin’s god.

        2) Calvin’s god functions as the mind which DETERMINES whether or not any perception that will come to pass within the human mind is a TRUE perception or a FALSE perception.

        3) If Calvin’s god decrees a FALSE perception to come to pass within a human mind – that decree is infallible – which makes it the case that that human mind is not permitted to DISCERN that perception as FALSE – because doing so would make nullify the decree which established that FALSE perception to exist within that human mind. And it is logically impossible to nullify an infallible decree

        4) This leaves the human mind with a subset of 2 infallibly decreed perceptions.
        – Perceptions which are decreed to infallibly be factually TRUE and perceived as such by the human
        – Perceptions which are decreed to infallibly be factually FALSE and perceived as TRUE

        5) If you examine (4) above you will notice that the human mind is left with two types of perceptions. And no ability to DISCERN the difference between a TRUE perception and a FALSE perception.

        6) Since the human mind’s ability to DISCERN the TRUTH-VALUE of any proposition is reliant up on one’s perception – and since in this case – the human mind is not permitted to DISCERN a TRUE perception from a FALSE perception – if follows – the human mind is not permitted the function of DISCERNING TRUE from FALSE on any matter.

        7) Since the human mind is not permitted to DISCERN TRUE from FALSE on any matter – this rules out the function of “Learning”.

        If this doesn’t make sense to you at first – read it through a few times.
        The implications of Exhaustive Divine Determinism are very radical.
        And the radical nature of them – keeps Calvinists from coming to grips with them.
        The Calvinist is simply not emotionally prepared to acknowledge them.
        So he doesn’t allow himself to think them through.

  34. So I ordered the 6 week class via PayPal, and haven’t gotten the class, yet I’ve been billed. Please check this out. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Rick. You should have gotten an email reply from your order that has the links to the videos so that you can download them, along with the handouts. Let me know in reply if this hasn’t happened.

  35. Hi, is it possible to have a few questions answered? I am new to the site and would like clarification on a few things regarding Calvinism. I would appreciate any feedback or links that would help me understand what the Bible teaches on certain subjects as I fear Calvinistic influence in my understanding. Thank you.

    1. Welcome Gianna. Certainly you can ask any question about Calvinism. And on this site you will find answers to about all of them is you do a search. What is your most pressing question right now?

    2. Hello Giann and welcome
      Yes – please feel free to ask questions here about Calvinism.
      There are significant aspects of Calvinism – that you are not going to get the WHOLE TRUTH about from Calvinists.
      So please feel free to ask.

      br.d

      1. First of all, I would like to thank Dr. Flowers for all of the available resources. I have listened to podcasts, YouTube videos, and read various articles in trying to understand biblical salvation. I believe his understanding of soteriology provides a closer representation of the character of God as revealed in Scripture. I am grateful for your ministry as it has cleared up misconceptions on my understanding of God. As mentioned I was influenced by Calvinism and have had a hard time breaking from those “proof texts.” And now, apologies for the long intro, but these are my questions. Please keep in mind I am not trying to nitpick but am trying to understand Provisionism. Also I apologize if I misrepresent your views, I would be grateful for clarification on areas I am incorrect.

        I have read on this site that Calvinism teaches that because the elect are chosen to be saved that they do not need repentance, faith, or the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross. However, I have heard MacArthur and I believe I’ve read in the Westminister articles that although God has chosen whom He will save, they are still required to follow His means of salvation. In other words, the elect still need to repent and place faith in Christs work on the cross, but they do so through God’s effectual call/irresistible grace. Is this the true Calvinistic teaching?

        Another question is with regards to God’s love for humanity. Calvinism teaches that God loves the elect with a saving love and the nonelect with a “general love.” He still provides a means of salvation for the lost, such as Christ’s work and the preaching of the gospel, but ultimately God does not work the “effectual call” in those that are nonelect. Can you please provide Scripture and resources to refute this?

        I think that the Calvinistic assurance of salvation is misrepresented on this site and sometimes through the comments, which I understand is not within your control. I understood the Calvinistic position to be that those who profess the faith require to make their calling and election sure, as well as to examine themselves whether they are in the faith. If their fruit is keeping with repentance, then they can be assured of salvation. And as mentioned, I’ve read comments on here that state a professing believer might reach heaven then be turned away because they are not elect. Again, I think this is a misunderstanding and something I’d like clarification on, see my first question. God’s means of salvation are repentance and faith in Christ’s work. When the elect get to heaven, they arrive because they are saved through God’s means, but again, means are met due to His sovereign election. So those who get saved, do so because God effectually works it. Ultimately, there will not be a person who wants to be saved but isn’t and there will not be a person who is lost that should have been saved. Those that are lost are so because they reject God, granted this is the Calvinistic God’s decree. I’m not sure if this is the same position Dr. Flowers holds or if I have misunderstood the Calvinistic position, but I would be grateful for a biblical explanation.

        Lastly, is there a study bible you recommend? I’ve had the Reformation and MacArthur study bible, I would love to pick up one more in line with what is taught here.

        I do apologize for the giant post, but I would like to fully break from Calvinistic soteriology if it is not true. And your site does a great job of refuting most points. The thing is that I haven’t seen these questions answered. And if they have, I would love to be directed to those resources.

        I apologize too if I have misunderstood your position or have used the wrong terminology to describe doctrinal positions, etc.

        Thank you very much and God bless!

      2. Hello gpulido

        You’ve posted a very long post – an I will have to address some of your statements in one at a time – and provide explanations – so my answers to your post may have to be separated into multiple responses

        gpulido:
        I have read on this site that Calvinism teaches that because the elect are chosen to be saved that they do not need repentance, faith, or the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross….. However, I have heard MacArthur…..

        br.d
        The first thing you need to understand – is that the foundational core of Calvinism is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM – as enunciated within Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees.

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

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

        So Calvinism – is not a theology of salvation – rather it is a theology concerning Calvin’s god’s relationship to creation.
        And the critical aspect of that relationship is that it is a relationship of meticulous control and divine sovereignty.

        In Calvinism – Calvin’s god is a divine potter who at the foundation of the world – first conceives of each individual person that he is going to create. And at that point he makes a decision about whether that person will be created and designed specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

        Those vessels that Calvin’s god created/designed for eternal torment – are not condemned to hell as a RESPONSE to anything that those people did or did not do.

        They were condemned to hell simply because it was Calvin’s god’s good pleasure to create/design them for that purpose as the expression of his meticulous control and divine sovereignty.

        In contrast to that – we have the Arminian view of divine judgement and human accountability.
        And we also have the Arminian view of divine foreknowledge.

        In the Arminian view of divine foreknowledge – we have what is called SIMPLE foreknowledge.
        The Arminian god looks down the corridor of time – and OBSERVES or FINDS what a person has become – and FINDS what a person has done in their life.

        The Arminian God then judges each person according to what he FINDS that person has become and what that person has done.

        That form of divine foreknowledge and that form of divine judgement is ANATHEMA to Calvin – because for Calvin the Arminian god is RESPONDING to the creature. He would be RESPONDING to what a given person has become and to what that person has done.

        For Calvin – a god who RESPONDS to the creature – is a god who lacks sovereignty because he is letting the creature DETERMINE what the creature will be and do. And Calvin’s god solely and exclusively DETERMINES EVERYTHING and does not let the creature DETERMINE anything.

        Therefore – Calvin’s god does not hold man accountable based on anything having to do with man.
        Calvin’s god holds man accountable – based on nothing more than his good pleasure and the exercise of his divine sovereignty.

        NOW:
        You must also understand that this would be an aspects of Calvinism which the average Bible reading person is going to reject.

        Calvinist ministers like John MacArthur understand – that if they TELL THE WHOLE TRUTH about Calvinism – to their audiences – there will be Bible reading believers in their audience who will reject what they are saying.

        Therefore Calvinist ministers like John MacArthur – will in many cases try to paint a picture of Calvinism that people will not reject. So Calvinist ministers like John MacArthur will not TELL THE WHOLE TRUTH. They will instead try to paint a picture of Calvinism – that they believe the audience will accept.

        So in regard to conditions and requirements which scripture sets on people – for their salvation – and for their judgement and condemnation – if a Calvinist minister tells people that Calvin’s god creates and designs people for the lake of fire – based on NOTHING having to do with the creature or the condition thereof – those people who hear that message are probably going to reject it. Therefore Calvinist ministers like John MacArthur will not tell the WHOLE TRUTH.

        It is critical to understand – that in Calvinism EVERYTHING is based on a divine decree.
        And the divine decree – is never in RESPONSE to the creature or the condition thereof – because that would represent a compromise in divine sovereignty.

        Westminster confession:
        -quote
        Although god knoweth whatsoever MAY or CAN come to pass upon all supposed conditions. Yet hath He NOT decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which WOULD come to pass upon such conditions.”

        So Calvin’s god does not decree a person will be condemned to hell because of the condition of the creature.
        He does not decree that person condemned to hell because they refused to accept Christ – or refused to repent etc.

        For Calvin that would be a situation where Calvin’s god would be RESPONDING to the creature – which would represent a compromise in divine sovereignty. He would be allowing the creature to be the DETERMINER of the creatures fate.

        Likewise – Calvin’s god does not depend on a person repenting or having faith – because once again – that would be Calvin’s god depending upon the creature or the condition thereof.
        It would represent Calvin’s god RESPONDING to the creature.
        And would again represent a compromise to divine sovereignty.

        Does that makes sense to you?

      3. Yes, that does make sense, thank you for your response.
        So, is it a fair statement to say that Calvinistic soteriology is ultimately derived from Calvin’s Institutes?
        I thought the 5 points (tulip) were a to Arminius’ disciples Remonstrance? Not sure if that is the correct term. I didn’t realize that the 5 points were part of a larger theology.
        It sounds like there is an overemphasis on God’s sovereignty in Calvin’s mind. Can you provide a biblical view of God’s sovereignty?

      4. gpulido
        So, is it a fair statement to say that Calvinistic soteriology is ultimately derived from Calvin’s Institutes?

        br.d
        Absolutely yes!
        However it must also be recognized – that dispositions among Calvinists has changed – since the days of John Calvin.
        One individual who was a staunch follower of John Calvin was Théodore de Bèze (1519-1605). It is even sometimes said that Théodore de Bèze was more of a strick Calvinist than John Calvin himself was.

        However as time went by – various Calvinists started to struggle with different aspects of the doctrine.
        When John Calvin was alive – there were Christian thinkers who disagreed with Calvin and he spent a lot of ink defending his doctrines. He could not afford to compromise or to be wishy-washy with his defense of his doctrines – because no one would take him seriously.

        Consequently – Calvin’s language in his writings is very much IN YOUR FACE with divine sovereignty.

        After Calvin’s death – Calvinists started to become uncomfortable with the IN YOUR FACE language within Calvin’s writings. And they started to distance themselves from Calvin’s writings – and develop their own writings which were designed to present a much more softer and gentler representation of divine sovereignty.

        A little over 100 years after Calvin’s death – Calvinists developed the TULIP which was distributed in the form of a booklet. It was essentially a marketing tool.

        Now if you know anything about marketing tools – you will know that marketing language is not designed to TELL THE TRUTH. Marketing language is designed to represent a product in the most favorable light. And that is what the TULIP was designed to do.

        The TULIP however – was designed to OBFUSCATE certain aspects of the doctrine – and in particular the doctrine of decrees.

        Take the “T” in the TULIP for example. It is designed to function as a lie of omission.
        A lie of omission is designed to mislead – by virtue of omitting critical facts – which if not omitted would not mislead.

        In this case the critical fact that is omitted is the fact that per the doctrine of decrees – the state of nature (including man’s nature) at every nano-second in time – is 100% meticulously predestined – before man is created.

        So every nano-second of every man’s nature is FIXED by infallible decree before that man is created – and cannot be otherwise than what is infallibly decreed.

        Additionally – Calvin’s god designs each individual for their eternal destiny before they are created.

        Calvinists today use the “T” in the TULIP to FALSELY attribute man’s destiny and man’s inability to man’s condition of depravity – when the TRUTH is – every individuals eternal destiny was FIXED at the foundation of the world – and nor impulse is permitted to come to pass within man’s brain that has not been specifically determined by infallible decree.

        So the “T” in Calvinism’s TULIP is designed to OBFUSCATE the fact that the decree is the CAUSE of man’s condition and the CAUSE of man’s eternal destiny.

        gpulido
        It sounds like there is an overemphasis on God’s sovereignty in Calvin’s mind. Can you provide a biblical view of God’s sovereignty?

        br.d
        Yes that is exactly the case!
        You might be interested in watching Dr. Flowers Youtube video in which he interviews Dr. Kenneth Wilson – who is an Augustinian scholar.

        The title of the youtube video is: “Was Augustine the first to introduce “CALVINISM” into the Church?”

        There is another good youtube video on Calvin and Augustine titled “Is “New Calvinism” a Theological Rip-Off?”

        And there is another good youtube video from Dr. Jerry Walls titled “What’s wrong with Calvinism” part 1 and part 2

        On your question about different views on divine sovereignty – there are primarily 4 prominent views

        1) Calvinism (Exhaustive Divine Determinism)
        2) Arminianism
        3) Open Theism
        4) Molinism

        Out of all of these 4 views – only Calvinism is founded on Exhaustive Divine Determinism
        Calvinism rejects the notion of “Libertarian” freedom

        The other 3 views incorporate some form of “Libertarian” freedom for the creature.

        Brian is your best bet here for scriptures – as is a teacher of the Greek N.T.
        Lets see if he will provide you with some scriptures

        But it needs to be born in mind – that the Calvinist is going to have the same exact scriptures.
        However the Calvinist is going to read Exhaustive Divine Determinism into the text of scripture – where other theologies will not.

      5. gpulido – you mentioned the aspect of what Calvinism calls “Irresistible grace”

        You must understand that in Calvinism ALL HUMAN FUNCTIONALITY is made irresistible.

        Again – John Calvin
        -quote
        The creatures…are so governed by the secret counsel of god, that NOTHING HAPPENS but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed. (Institutes, 1, 6, 3)

        So in regard to impulses which come to pass within the human brain and within the human body NOTHING HAPPENS that is not knowingly and willingly decreed

        Therefore – NO DECREE = NO IMPULSE within the human brain and human body.

        Thus in Calvinism – every impulse that will come to pass within the human brain and human body – will come to pass irresistibly.

        So in Calvinism “Grace” is irresistible.
        But also every sin and every evil is also irresistible

        So in Calvinism – ALL HUMAN FUNCTIONALITY comes to pass irresistibly.
        In Calvinism – man has NO CONTROL over any impulse that comes to pass within his brain or body.

        This is based on EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM
        Determinism is the thesis that whatsoever comes to pass – is determined by antecedent factors OUTSIDE OF MANS CONTROL

        So Calvinism’s doctrine of “Irresistible grace” is another example of how Calvinism does not tell the WHOLE TRUTH.

      6. gpulido
        Another question is with regards to God’s love for humanity…..

        br.d
        Hello gpulido
        Calvinism as a doctrine entails a form of DUALISM where things often appear in DUALISTIC form.
        In some cases they appear in the form of GOOD-EVIL

        Divine love is one of the things withing Calvinism which will appear in DUALISTIC form.

        In this case – you have what Calvinists often call: “Salvific” love vs “NON-Salvifict” love

        Remember – Calvin’s god is a divine potter – who at the foundation of the world – first conceives of every person whom he will create – and at that point he determines what that person’s eternal destiny will be.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        Some are pre-ordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation, and accordingly AS EACH HAS BEEN CREATED for one of these ends, we [Calvinists] say he has been predestined to life or death.

        So for the Calvinist – when the divine potter of Romans 9 creates a person specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure – the Calvinist will say – he loves that person with “NON-Salvific” love.

      7. gpulido
        I think that the Calvinistic assurance of salvation is misrepresented on this site and sometimes through the comments,

        br.d
        This is an issue that is very troubling to all Calvinists – and an issue in which Calvinist become very emotional – and very much in denial of their own doctrine.

        Let us look at 2 critical points.
        1) Calvin’s god – at the foundation of the world – first conceives – each individual and at that point determines whether that individual will be created specifically for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

        2) Calvin reads in the scripture about “THE MANY” and “THE FEW. And since in his mind – Calvin’s god creates/designs each person’s eternal destiny – it must therefore be the case that “THE MANY” within the total population of the world – are specifically designed for eternal torment.

        3) Calvin reads in scripture – the narrative of the WHEAT and the CHAFF. And since in his mind – Calvin’s god creates/designs “THE MANY” for eternal torment – then it must be the case that CHAFF are believers who at the foundation of the world – were designed for eternal torment.

        4) Within Calvinism – every person’s election is a DIVINE SECRET

        John Calvin
        -quote
        We are NOT bidden to distinguish between reprobate and elect – that is for god alone, not for us, to do . . .
        (Institutes 4. 1. 3.)

        John Calvin
        -quote
        We must thus consider both god’s SECRET ELECTION and his INNER call. For HE ALONE “knows who are his” (Institutes. IV. 1. 2.)

        John Calvin
        -quote
        God knows what he has determined to do with regard to us: if he has decreed our salvation, he will bring
        us to it in his own time; IF HE HAS DOOMED US TO DEATH, it is vain for us to fight against it. (Institutes 3:23:12)

        5) So in Calvinism – we have an interpretation of the WHEAT and the CHAFF – in which we have believers who are specifically designed as CHAFF. And these believer represent “THE MANY” within the population of believers.

        6) Calvin’s god deceives these believers – giving them a FALSE SENSE of salvation.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        But the Lord….instills into their minds such a SENSE of his goodness as can be felt WITHOUT the Spirit of adoption. (Institutes 3.2.11)

        -quote
        he also causes those whom he ILLUMINES ONLY FOR A TIME to partake of it; then he justly forsakes them……and strikes them with even greater blindness (Institutes 3.24.8)

        7) Within Calvinism – we have the teaching of the “ENUNCIATED” will of god – and the “SECRET” will of god. All promises within scripture to the believer are classified as the “ENUNCIATED” will of god. And the “ENUNCIATED” will of god – is very often the OPPOSITE of the “SECRET” will of god. Therefore – when a given Calvinist reads a promise to the believer within scripture – he has no way of knowing whether that promise is the opposite of the “SECRET” will of god for him personally.

        CONCLUSION:
        The Calvinist has NO CERTAINTY of whether or not he is created as CHAFF and thus designed specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire.

        The Calvinist does however have “Assurance”.
        The assurance he has – is that Calvin’s god will do with each Calvinist according to his good pleasure.
        And also the assurance that THE MANY within the Calvinist fold – have been created as CHAFF

      8. Giann, Thank you for doing some wide reading of things available on this site. You’ve asked some important question, but not about any specific Scriptures. It would be best to stick to Scriptures and not just whether a site believes one thing or another. Yes we acknowledge that Calvinist says the elect need to repent, but it only seems like playing out a decreed script which the elect cannot reject and the non-elect are scripted out of. So the word “need” as in “need repentance” loses meaning for the person is not really repenting with a free will that can choose otherwise.

        As for the misrepresentation of assurance in Calvinism… you really should give specific quotes to back up your claims, and just from the authors of posts, not from comments. But Calvinism does look to “their fruits” as a source of assurance, when real assurance can only come from God’s fruits produced through faith. But I’d be interested in discussing quotes from articles, not comments (unless their mine 😉 ). A good study Bible, imo, is the Nelson Study Bible, second edition, (with Radmacher’s notes).

        There is not effectual call that must be irresistibly followed for salvation. One of the best Scriptural arguments, imo is The warning is given, “Today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart.” Heb 3:7-8

        This warning passage in Hebrews makes no sense if Calvinism is applied to it. The Calvinist “elect” cannot harden once they hear, and the warning to the so-called elect would be deceitful for they will never be lost. The Calvinist “reprobate” cannot hear and the warning to the so-called reprobate would again be deceitful for it suggests there is hope for them if they repent, which they cannot do.

        Yes, there is also a warning of judicial hardening for rejecting to believe His voice, but that comes after a freewill rejection to receive the love of the truth – 2Th 2:9-12 NKJV – The coming of the [lawless one] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, 👉because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.👈

        And – Pro 29:1 NKJV – He who is often rebuked, [and] hardens [his] neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

        No-one is born reprobate. All are given a call to seek that they can understand and respond positively to. There is no excuse.

      9. Brian
        But Calvinism does look to “their fruits” as a source of assurance

        br.d
        YES!
        But please let me add to that – Calvin’s interpretation of the WHEAT and the CHAFF – is that Calvin’s god divinely deceives believers with a FALSE SENSE of salvation – which means he gives them infallible FALSE PERCEPTIONS.

        In such case – any PERCEPTION of “their fruits” would be a divinely decreed FALSE PERCEPTIONS.
        Those PERCEPTIONS are FIXED by infallible decree
        A FALSE PERCEPTION established by infallible decree – does not permit the human mind to discern it.
        That Calvinist will spend the rest of his life having FALSE PERCEPTIONS of salvation – established by infallible decree

        John Calvin
        -quote
        But the Lord….instills into their minds such a SENSE of his goodness as can be felt WITHOUT the Spirit of adoption. (Institutes 3.2.11)

        Brian
        This warning passage in Hebrews makes no sense if Calvinism is applied to it. The Calvinist “elect” cannot harden once they hear, and the warning to the so-called elect would be deceitful for they will never be lost.

        br.d
        YES!
        The Calvinist “elect” cannot harden once they hear – because doing so would falsify the infallible decree.
        And an infallible decree cannot be falsified.

        Brian
        The Calvinist “reprobate” cannot hear and the warning to the so-called reprobate would again be deceitful for it suggests there is hope for them if they repent, which they cannot do.

        br.d
        YES!

        Because the creature is NEVER PERMITTED to be or do other than that which is infallibly decreed.

        Thank you Brian!

      10. Another question I’d like clarity on..
        I was under the impression that the phrase “God ordains…” meant that God ultimately allows whatever happens to happen, meaning that He allows or rejects whatever comes to pass. So it can be said that “God wills” because ultimately He allowed or did not allow things to happen. Is this the true Calvinistic teaching? How does this differ from the Bible?

        Again, I’d really love for the truth of Scripture to saturate my mind and overcome the Calvinistic influence I’ve had growing in the faith.

      11. gpulido
        I was under the impression that the phrase “God ordains…” meant that God ultimately allows whatever happens to happen

        br.d
        Hello gpulid

        It has been acknowledged by Calvinists here at SOT101 that the term “ordain” within Calvinism – is synomnous with the term “Decree”

        What Calvin’s god decrees come to pass is what Calvin’s god “ordains”

        Now concerning the term “Allow” or “Permit” within Calvinism.
        This is significant point of contention for Calvinists – because – there is a NON-Calvinist understanding of the terms “Allow” and “Permit” and there is a Calvinist understanding of these terms.

        Many Calvinist pastors today are not comfortable with the Calvinist understanding of these terms.

        Again – this all boils down to the foundational core of Calvinism – which is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM – as enunciated within Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees.

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

        It should be obvious to you – that when Calvin says NOTHING HAPPENS this is a reference to divine permission.

        Any [X] that is NOT knowingly and willingly decreed – is NOT PERMITTED and thus NOT ALLOWED.

        Now let us look at definitions:
        The original definition for the term “Permit” is derived from the Latin “permettere” which is defined as:
        To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over.

        Calvin’s god does not do any of these things – because they would represent a compromise to divine sovereignty.

        Remember – the foundational core of Calvinism is EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM – sometimes called “Theological Determinism”

        In this form of Determinism we have a THEOS who is the sole and exclusive DETERMINER of whatsoever comes to pass.

        He determines 100% of whatsoever comes to pass – at the foundation of the world – before creatures are created.
        He does not leave anything left-over that is UN-DETERMINED
        He does not leave anything left over – for creation or for created beings to DETERMINE.

        He DETERMINES whatsoever will come to pass – in the form of infallible decrees.

        Determinism is the thesis that what comes to pass – is determined by antecedent factors outside of human control.
        In the case of Calvinism – those antecedent factors are infallible decrees.

        Concerning divine permission – then – it is ANATHEMA for Calvin’s god to “Let pass, let go, to let loose, give up, or hand over” anything – because to do so would be to NOT DETERMINE what those things will be.

        Therefore Calvinism has its own private definition for the terms “Permission” and “Allow” when it comes to Calvin’s god.

        John Calvin explains
        -quote
        When [Augustine] uses the term PERMISSION, the meaning which he attaches to it will best appear from a single passage (De Trinity. lib. 3 cap. 4), where he proves that the will of God is the supreme and PRIMARY CAUSE of all things….(Institutes 1, 16, 8)

        Therefore in Calvinism – the terms “Permit” and “Allow” are simply synonymous with CAUSE

        1) What Calvin’s god CAUSES by divine decree – Calvin’s god permits
        2) What Calvin’s god DOES NOT CAUSE by divine decree – Calvin’s god does NOT permit.

      12. Wow, that is not how “ordained” was presented by a Calvinist. Thank you for providing that.
        After reading the multiple responses, I’m starting to think that current Calvinists “water down” Calvinism and mix in other theology, whether that is intentional or not. So it becomes a more moderate, or as you’ve mentioned, an acceptable Calvinism to the unknowing.

      13. gpulido
        After reading the multiple responses, I’m starting to think that current Calvinists “water down” Calvinism and mix in other theology, whether that is intentional or not. So it becomes a more moderate, or as you’ve mentioned, an acceptable Calvinism to the unknowing.

        br.d
        YES! That is exactly correct!

        For example – there is a Calvinist who does Youtube videos name Allen Parr.
        And Allen is working to create a version of Calvinism – that contains a very heavy mixture of Arminianism in it.
        The reason for this is because he wants a softer gentler form of Calvinism.

        Dr. Flowers address a video that Allen made
        The title of Dr. Flower’s video is “Allen Parr on Double Predestination”
        Dr. Flowers in that video is analyzing Allen’s presentation of Calvinism – and Dr. Flowers is noting that Allen is trying to create a softer gentler form of Calvinism.

        As you dialog with Calvinists – and you quote statements from John Calvin today – you are very like to have Calvinist tell you they do not follow John Calvin. They are trying to distance themselves from John Calvin because Calvin does not blink when he tells you nothing comes to pass that is not knowingly and willingly decreed.

        We have an occasional Calvinist visitor here at SOT101 who belongs to a church – and his pastor is telling his congregation that they are Calvinists. But they are really a mixture of Arminianism and Calvinism.

        You will also find Dr. Flowers critiquing John MacArthur and John Piper and showing you where they are back-pedaling Exhaustive Divine Determinism in order to make Calvinism appear more acceptable to their audience.

        One example of Calvinist DOUBLE-SPEAK is on the topic of divine prevention.
        In a world in which every nano-second is meticulously determined by a divine being – what is there to prevent?

        1) No event can possibly come to pass – that was not infallibly decreed. And an infallibly decreed event cannot be prevented because doing so would falsify the decree

        2) The only events that can possibly be prevented – are events that are NOT infallibly decreed. And those events have no possibly of coming to pass.

        3) The only way Calvin’s god can prevent an event from coming to pass – is to prevent himself from decreeing that event come to pass.

        So divine prevention is a topic that Calvinists are very deceptive concerning.
        They very much want some kind of divine prevention within their belief system.
        But the doctrine of decrees does makes that logically impossible.

        A common argument by Calvinists is that Calvin’s god prevented Joseph’s brothers from killing Joseph.
        But the doctrine of decrees stipulates that NOTHING HAPPENS that is not knowingly and willingly decreed.
        So the only way Josephs’ brothers could kill Joseph – is if that event were infallibly decreed.
        And if it were infallibly decreed – then Joseph’s brother would not be granted any other option then to kill Joseph.

        Calvinists struggle with these aspects of the doctrine
        And they are constantly trying to invent DOUBLE-SPEAK arguments – designed to get around the doctrine of decrees.

      14. Here some answer for your next question Giann! Two Divine Wills

        As seen in the WCF there is a continued misunderstanding in Calvinists concerning how the Scripture defines the various aspects of God’s will, including the Calvinist rejection that God has a will/plan (boulema) that has conditional mutable elements in it, some going unfulfilled, and He has a will/desire (thelema) that has hierarchal aspects in it where some expectations are freely permitted to be disappointed so that an ultimate desire can be satisfied. That’s His plan.

        God has not planned (boulomai) for any to perish (2Pet 3:9), though because the plan has conditional mutable elements in it, some will. And He has planned for all to come to an opportunity of repentance which will lead to salvation if they freely repent and trust Him for His mercy.

        He desires (thelo) that all do get saved (1Tim 2:4) and come to a knowledge of His truth, but He has permitted that desire to go unfulfilled so that His ultimate desire for a love created from a freely accepted offer of His grace can exist with those created in His image.

        A clear example of his conditional plan and unfulfilled desires/expectations from it is seen in [Isa 5:1-4 NKJV] 1 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill. 2 He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So 👉He expected👈 [it] to bring forth [good] grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes. 3 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. 4 What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? Why then, when 👉I expected👈 [it] to bring forth [good] grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes?

        Calvinism teaches that God’s prescriptive will – His call and commands – are always righteous. But then they teach that He has a so-called decretive will that countermands that prescriptive will, and has predestined every unrighteous act.

        But according to Calvinism, God is still righteous when commanding any righteousness that He never intended and never aided to be fulfilled, but instead made sure those commands were broken in specific predestined unrighteous ways. Does that sound to you like something your God, or the God of the Bible would do?

      15. I appreciate the breakdown within the Scripture verses. It’s definitely clearer with the terms defined. With regards to your question, unfortunately that was my understanding of something God would do. My perception of God was marred by Calvinism and maybe more so due to the “deterministic” aspect of His decree.
        I’ve had a hard time wrestling with something brought up here before.. the “dual nature” if you will with regards to how God acts. Example, love for the lost vs saving love for the elect. When does evil it is considered evil, but if God does it or wills it, it is not considered evil because God ordained it in such a way that He is not the cause. Yet, even that is a paradox given what Calvin taught in the institutes. Thankfully, my perception of God’s character is shifting now due to the many resources provided on this site. I fear I blasphemed His character within my spirit due to my understanding of the Bible through a Calvinistic view. Thank you for your recommendation of the Thomas Nelson Study bible. I feel like I am in a place that I need to rediscover the character of God.

    3. It’s interesting how Giann Pulido asked about the Biblical view of specific soteriological matters and received little to no Biblical reference in the responses. Instead, long diatribes confirming the authors’ (mis)understandings of Calvinism. Giann, when you are seeking Biblical answers and are instead receiving dogmatic human opinions that perpetually spin like a whirlpool back into the exact same misunderstanding every single time, my thought is to turn to faithful expositors who are oriented toward the Bible, and also teachable, and right-dividers of the Word. There are plenty of Calvinists and non-Calvinists who fit this description in other places on the internet.

      1. theoparadox
        Instead, long diatribes confirming the authors’ (mis)understandings of Calvinism.

        br.d
        When a Calvinist tells you – you are “misunderstanding” Calvinism – what he is *REALLY* telling you is that you are not “understanding” Calvinism the way Calvinistm wants you to understand it.

        Of course Calvinist’s want Calvinism to be “understood” in a POSITIVE light!
        That is typically human – but not the WHOLE TRUTH.

        I am perfectly happy to let GPULIDO examine explanations provided here of the UNDERLYING FOUNDATIONAL CORE of Calvinism – and why Calvinists seek to OBFUSCATE the UNDERLYING FOUNDATIONAL CORE of the doctrine.

        GPULIDO is free to examine facts provided here – and compare them with the COSMETIC statements Calvinists make to paint their belief system as something it isn’t.

        Blessings!
        br.d :-]

      2. br.d
        BTW: theoparadox
        It is good that you are here – in that you could provide arguments concerning what you think is “misunderstood”.

        GPULIDO would then have the ability to read your arguments and my analysis of them.
        And he could see for himself how your argument collapse into self-contradiction.

        If you are willing to do that – that would be good for GPULIDO.

        The Lord will as always – work things out for the good!
        The offer is open.

      3. Theoparadox, I only recently saw Giann’s request for a biblical answer to one question in his first post. I have answered it above. I just saw a more recent question, which I will answer next. It would be helpful if you gave Scriptural answers to his questions instead of criticizing others for not adequately answering, from your perspective, don’t you think?

      4. br.d
        I was just thinking about Theoparadox’s claim of “diatribes” and observing how that is a good example of PROJECTION.

        A claim is nothing more than a claim – without evidence

        We are responding to questions with facts and evidence.
        Theoparadox’s response is to make a claim.

        The *REAL* diatribe is therefore within Theoparadox’s claim!

        I always get a kick out of how Calvinists use PROJECTION – to project their own condition onto others! ;-D

      5. Hi, I appreciate your comment. I did have a long blog post, so it may have taken time to properly address each subject. I did see that there were explanations from Calvin’s quotes, “human explanation” for lack of a better phrase, and also a breakdown of certain passages. I’m sure it would be tedious to properly elaborate on all of the major points of biblical soteriology. As mentioned, I was influenced by Calvinism in my understanding of God’s character and how He saves. I would love to learn more about other alternative views, etc. I see you mentioned there are other expositors, Calvinist and Non; would you be able to provide those resources?
        Also, is there a “form” of Calvinism that is considered more biblical? Especially when considering the 5 points.. I know someone commented about Allen Parr being a 4 point, but I’m wondering if that is more biblical acceptable or if there are other forms that are closer to what Scripture teaches.

      6. Gianna, I am assuming your last questions were for me. But you should add the name of the person you are addressing in each of your responses. Biblehub.com is a good resource to find expositors of various persuasions, though most are reformed in theology.

        Calvinism’s Tulip is not biblical though I usually post these verses to show my partial agreement with T and P.

        Pulling Petals Off the TULIP

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

        T – 1/2 pulled off
        Rom 11:32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. [The first part of this passage agrees with one part of Calvinism’s view of Total Depravity, but not the second part]
        John 1:9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

        U – Pulled off
        Rom 9:25 As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
        2Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning [His] promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing [planning] that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

        L – Pulled off
        1John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
        2Pet 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, [and] bring on themselves swift destruction.

        I – Pulled off
        Mark 7:14 When He had called all the multitude to [Himself,] He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand:”
        Heb 3:7-8 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,”

        P – 1/2 Pulled off
        Eph 1:13-14 In Him you also [trusted,] after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. [This passage agrees with one part of Calvinism’s view of Eternal Security, but not its rejection of carnality]
        Heb 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need [someone] to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes [only] of milk [is] unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, [that is,] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

        Gianna, I prefer answering questions about specific Scriptures tied to specific doctrines. If you could keep things focused on that, it would be much appreciated.

      7. Thank you for your response brianwagner. I apologize for the ambiguity in the comments. I assumed since the post says I am replying to “so-and-so” that the comments will automatically format them accordingly. I originally posted my response to Theoparadox, but I appreciate your feedback as well. I don’t mind if anyone jumps in, I just want to be led to biblical thinking. I also agree with br.d in that the offer is open for theoparadox to provide clarity regarding my misunderstandings of Calvinism.
        Br.d, brianwagner, your posts shed a great amount of light into what Calvin actually taught in his Institutes and I see his emphasis on God’s sovereignty, which is perhaps too much. And as I believe you have mentioned, Calvinists now “soften the blow” in their presentation of it. Now, I wonder if that is because theologians have spent more time comparing Calvin’s claims and interpretations with Scripture? Do you find that the Westminister Confession is more in line with Scripture versus Calvin’s writings? And based on your expertise, are there forms of Calvinism that are more in line with Scripture? I don’t want to harp on the 5 points because the fact has been made clear that Calvinism encompasses more than that, but I wonder if 4 point, 3 point (if there is such a thing) has more backing in Scripture?
        Brianwagner, I am wrestling with the T. I know you’ve provided a few examples, but as you know, there are many texts Calvinists use to backup their claims. I think Romans 6:16 is one, regarding the bondage of the will and how we are slaves to sin. Is that something Romans 6:16 or other verses teach?

      8. Gpulido
        And as I believe you have mentioned, Calvinists now “soften the blow” in their presentation of it. Now, I wonder if that is because theologians have spent more time comparing Calvin’s claims and interpretations with Scripture?

        br.d
        I know you posted this question to Brian Gpulido – but please let me jump in and provide what would be my little piece of the pie – in an answer to your question.

        Imagine if you will – a man you adopts the belief system of Solipsism
        This belief system stipulates that other people are figments of his imagination.
        Now imagine how his wife would feel if he treats her as a figment of his imagination during their intimate times.
        Will she appreciate the fact that in their intimacy together – he is treating her as a figment of his imagination?

        Or imagine how his supervisor or boss at work will respond – if he treats his supervisor or boss as a figment of his imagination.

        He is smart enough to know that if he treats his wife or his supervisor – or other people – as figments of his imagination – he is going to have to face consequences which could possibly surface in his marriage and his career.

        The automatic response to consequence avoidance is to treat AVOID treating people as figments of his imagination.
        He will risk living in contradiction to the belief system – in order to avoid those consequences.
        In contradiction to his doctrine – he will treat people *AS-IF* they are real.

        This only requires that he be LOGICALLY INCONSISTENT with his belief system.
        He can continue to hold to his belief system and still insist it is TRUE.
        His mind simply learns to treat his belief system *AS-IF* it is FALSE in order to avoid consequences

        Notice what we have here – is called *AS-IF* thinking.
        Treating something *AS-IF* it is TRUE
        Or treating something *AS-IF* it is FALSE.

        Now listen to these quotes concerning the belief system of Determinism

        Sean Carroll – Nationally recognized Theoretical Physicist and Atheist Determinist
        -quote
        Every person (i.e. Determinist) in the world, no matter how anti-free-will they are, talks about people *AS-IF* they make decisions.

        Stephen Hawking – Atheist Determinist
        -quote
        I believe Determinism is true. But I’ve come to realize I have to live *AS-IF* Determinism is false. (Q&A Oxford, Lady Mitchel Hall)

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

        John Calvin
        -quote
        All future events being uncertain to us *SEEM* in suspense *AS-IF* ready to take either direction.(Institutes 1. 16. 9)

        Here Calvin recognizes that in a 100% meticulously predestined world – there is no such thing as an event turning out any other way than what was predestined. It is a logical impossibility for any event to turn out one way or another.
        In such case – he instructs the reader to treat events *AS-IF* they can turn out one way or another.

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

        Here Calvin knows that what he is proposing is a direct contradiction to the doctrine of decrees which stipulates that EVERYTHING WITHOUT EXCEPTION is determined in EVERY PART.

        Never the less – he is instructing his readers to treat the doctrine of decrees *AS-IF* it is FALSE.

        *AS-IF* thinking is a human response to Determinism in order to avoid consequences.

        Both the Atheist Determinist – and the Theological Determinist (aka Calvinist) manifest *AS-IF* thinking.

        This is one of the reasons why Non-Calvinists can become very confused by Calvinist statements.
        They are not aware that in many circumstances – the Calvinist is speaking *AS-IF* Determinism is FALSE.

        It is impossible to be logically coherent with Determinism – and still retain a sense of human normalcy.
        It is also impossible to be logically coherent Determinism – and retain full continuity with scripture.

        I will provide an additional reason why Calvinists have an emotional reaction to the doctrine in an additional post

      9. Thank you brianwagner. Why is it that Calvinists teach that sinners are unable to believe or respond to the gospel without God’s intervention?

        Also, does this verse support determinism?

        11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
        12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:11-12, ESV)

        On face value it appears God does predestine according to His plan and works in such a way to ensure that plan.

      10. br.d
        I know Brian is going to answer this question.

        But you may also want to check out a youtube presentation – which includes an Excel file listing every place in the scriptures where the word “Predestine” is used – and the correct context in which that word is used.

        The title of the youtube video is: “Predestination: It’s Nothing Like You Were Told”

      11. Hi Giann, I find I become more convinced when I do my own exegesis of a passage, and look for the most normal meaning based on the normal rules of grammar and context. I find it helpful then to see the strongest arguments each side has for their favorite supporting verses, and their best arguments for the other side’s favorite ones.

        So if you’re looking for my best arguments on Eph 1:11, here’s what I have so far. Tell me what you think of it.

        Ephesians 1:11 NKJV — In Him also we have obtained [when we were placed in Him through faith] an inheritance, being predestined [for that inheritance at that same moment we were placed in Him through faith] according to the purpose [with its conditional and unconditional parts] of Him who works [right now in the present] all things [that is, works with all things, not causing all things personally, because He doesn’t cause sin] according to the counsel [His plan with its conditional and unconditional parts] of His will [His desire… which includes wanting all to be saved and coming to a knowledge of the truth but not irresistibly caused].

        Think of it as being “in” the will. The inheritance is yours once you’re “in” the will. Even before you receive it personally, you are predestined for it once you are made a legitimate heir.

        A will/purpose can be written before any specific children are even born or adopted into the family, prescribing that all children born or adopted will be predestined for the inheritance in their future “after” they are born or adopted into the family but before the benefits are distributed. Once born or adopted, then they are “in” the will. That’s what corporate election means and being predestined to receive the inheritance.

        So the child can say once they are “in” the family – “I have obtained an inheritance that was predestined for me (generally speaking but now individually applied) in a will/purpose decided long ago for all those added to this family after they are added.

        The words “counsel of His will” mean God is not locked in and limited to a predestined plan with no conditions or possibilities, but that He can now still freely choose between possibilities, and permit man to choose between possibilities, as He “works” it all to demonstrate His love, truth, and righteousness.

      12. I was just thinking about Br.D’s claim of “projection” and observing how that is a good example of PROJECTION.

        A claim is nothing more than a claim – without evidence

        I pointed out a simple fact regarding the lack of Biblical references when answering a question, the evidence for which was documented right here in this thread.
        Br.D’s response was to make a claim and an accusation.

        The *REAL* projection is therefore within Br.D’s claim!

        I always get a kick out of how people who intentionally misrepresent Calvinism use PROJECTION – to project their own condition onto others! ;-D

      13. br.d
        Sorry that dog don’t hunt! 😀

        I specifically stated the “diatribe” as PROJECTION.
        Nice try but no cigar!

        BTW: The offer is still open for you to provide evidence for the claim of Calvinism being “misunderstood”

        When a Calvinist tells someone “You don’t understand Calvinism” it always reminds me of the girl whose boyfriend was violently beating her. And when her concerned parents question the boy’s behavior – her answer is: “You just don’t understand”

        They do actually understand.
        They just don’t understand it the way *SHE* wants them to understand it.

        So it would be great for everyone here if you could provide evidence – if you are willing.
        best for now
        br.d

      14. Giann – Couple of quick thoughts (btw, I think you are asking excellent questions! My time is somewhat limited but I will try to reply briefly where I can). A Calvinist I would recommend for Biblical exposition is Alistair Begg. Non-Calvinists would include Greg Laurie, David Jeremiah, and Bob Utley.

        On the bigger questions of Calvinism, I think the 4-pointers do the best job of classifying the various Biblical data concerning soteriology while keeping the philosophical propositions and hermeneutics in balance. What BR.D says about Calvinists’ underlying presupposition is certainly true of *some* Calvinists (generally those of the ultra-high or hyper variety). He does not seem to recognize the more moderate stream, which also has a well-developed Biblical and philosophical framework and posits one form or another of *compatibilism* rather than hard determinism as described insistently by BR.D (get ready for BR.D to respond with a quote often used by Dr. Flowers stating that compatibilism is “no less deterministic” than hard determinism, which completely misses the point. A screen door is no less a “door” than a submarine hatch, yet they are clearly different in design and effect). Having spent several years listening to Flowers and reading comments from BR.D, I am convinced that the inability (or unwillingness) to grapple with the reality of a rigorously thought-out Calvinistic *compatibilism* is the Achilles heel of their critique. Thus, the actual core issue is overlooked and one must go elsewhere to find non-Calvinist critiques or counter-proposals that actually deal with the kind of Calvinism that is most prevalent among today’s actual Calvinists (as well as many Reformed thinkers of the past).

      15. theoparadox
        What BR.D says about Calvinists’ underlying presupposition is certainly true of *some* Calvinists (generally those of the ultra-high or hyper variety).

        br.d
        Thank you theoparadox
        So let’s examine that!

        What I have been providing so far – is Calvinism in its original form – from John Calvin himself.
        And I’ve established the fact that as time has going by Calvinists have found Calvin’s IN YOUR FACE language concerning divine soverenty – to be unpalatable – and have consistently tried to produce a “softer gentler” form of Calvinism.

        So we can see here – theoparadox’s representation is simply another Calvinist attempting to distance himself from John Calvin.

        So according to theoparadox – John Calvin is an “ultra-high or hyper variety” Calvinist.

        However – all Reformed scholars are completely and totally aligned with John Calvin.
        You are not going to find a Reformed scholar anywhere – who is going to claim that John Calvin’s Calvinism is “ultra-high or hyper variety”

        Dr. James N. Anderson – Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte NC
        -quote
        “It should be conceded at the outset, and without embarrassment, that Calvinism is indeed committed to divine determinism”

        Reformed Biblical Training.org
        -quote
        Reformed theology stresses the sovereignty of god in virtue of which he has sovereignly *DETERMINED* from all eternity *WHATSOEVER* will come to pass,

        R.C. Sproul
        -quote
        “…if we don’t say that god predestines *ALL* things, we don’t have a god at all. (Doctrine of reprobation – ligonier.org)

        Dr. Guillaume Bignon – Reformed Scholar
        -quote
        Theological Determinism will be referred to as “the Calvinist view”, or simply “Calvinism”.

        Calvinist Tom Hicks – Founders Ministry
        -quote
        The [Westminster] confession, however, says that god decrees every act of human sin. God cannot know what something will be until He has first decreed what it will be.

        Calvinist William E. Wenstrom
        -quote
        The divine decrees are the eternal plan by which God has RENDERED-CERTAIN *ALL* the events of the universe, including both angelic and human history-past, present and future.

        Swiss Reformer Huldrych Zwingli
        -quote
        God is the “author, mover and instigator” of human sin.

        theoparadox
        He does not seem to recognize the more moderate stream, which also has a well-developed Biblical and philosophical framework and posits one form or another of *compatibilism* rather than HARD DETERMINISM as described insistently by BR.D

        br.d
        Here theoparadox argument fails – because it represents a FALSE DEFINITION.
        Hard Determinism – is the thesis that creaturely free will does NOT EXIST in any form.

        Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        -quote
        Hard determinism is a view on free will which holds that determinism is true, that it is incompatible with free will, and therefore that free will DOES NOT EXIST.

        For John Calvin – man is granted what is “CALLED” free will – but with a caviet
        -quote
        I willingly make this distinction, except in so far as it confounds necessity with compulsion.
        In this way then – man is said to have “Free” will, not because he has a “Free” choice…..but because he does not act by compulsion.

        For Calvin – man’s will is “Said” to be “free” in that it is not “FORCED” to be what it is – by divine compulsion.

        Dr. Paul Maxwel
        -quote
        For Calvin – humans do not have “free will” on the basis of any kind of “Freedom” that they have.
        Not because they have “Liberam” by which one can elect to choose.
        But because man has a will.

        So let us now correct theoparadox’s mistake – by providing an academic DEFINITION of “Compatibilism”

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

        Thus:
        1) Any freedom the creature is granted MUST be COMPATIBLE with that which is Determined.
        2) The creature is never granted the “Freedom” to countervail or falsify that which is Determined by infallible decree.

        So for example – here is how “Compatiblism” works with Adam in the garden
        1) Adam was “Free” to eat the fruit – because eating the fruit was COMPATIBLE with what was Determined Adam would infallibly do

        2) Adam was “NOT Free” to NOT eat the fruit – because NOT eating the fruit was NOT COMPATIBLE with what was Determined Adam would infallibly do

        3) The impulse within Adam’s brain to eat the fruit was “Free” to come to pass – because that impulse was COMPATIBLE with what was Determined to infallibly come to pass

        4) The impulse within Adam’s brain to NOT eat the fruit was NOT “free” to come to pass – because that impulse was NOT COMPATIBLE with what was Determined to infallibly come to pass.

        Thus the claim of “Hard” Determinism collapses.
        Hard Determinism does not exist in Calvinism.

      16. Theoparadox,

        I think it would be a lot easier just to debunk the doctrine of Original Sin, and be done with it, once and for all time, because both Doctrines of Grace, whether Calvin’s Irresistible, or the Arminian’s Prevenient, collapses, once debunked, meaning, you were not born spiritually dead, and you have Free Will. There is no need to be God’s puppet.

        Then you wouldn’t have a need to study Calvinism, or Non-Calvinism. They both fall apart…IF…you can debunk Original Sin. But you would have to RE-THINK the Romans 5 and 9-11 fallacy, especially about the Pharaoh, the Lydia debacle, and distinguish Romans 11:8 and Romans 15:21, but hey, ya, for there is no difference, huh?…oh, and David conceived in sin. 1 Cor 15:42-46 is also something to check out, paying close attention to PLANTED (sowed), and which came first. All of those issues does not mean what either side says it means. They both boast exe-Jesus, tho!

        But then, you might have to mention Satan a bit more, and I know how they both like to keep his name hush hush. And why the Jews were given the Law of Moses, but no one else was.

        You would find that you don’t fit any mold of anyone that originates in the family line of the Catholics, let alone the break-away’s. And you would be called all sorts of bad names, such as “Heretic”, and, oh, I like this one, “UNORTHODOX”.

        Ed Chapman

      17. Theoparadox, your name should be Theocontradiction. 😉

        Compatibilism is just a smokescreen term inviting people to believe in contradiction. If you believe God’s pre-creation decree was eternal (without beginning) and immutable (unable to change), and that it predestined everything to work out only one way, then freewill decisions become impossible. Because to be a true freewill decision, the free will must have at least two possible options available, and the free ability without inside or outside coercion influence, when it decides its choice of outcome!

        A predestined outcome before the free will even exists contradicts the possibility of a freewill choice being available to it ever!

        Do you believe God’s decree was eternal and immutable and the predestination of everything to work out only one way?

      18. Theoparadox, appreciate your feedback again. Do you agree that Calvin’s “Calvinism” is not biblical? Apologies if I misunderstood, but based on your comment, it appears you find “Moderate Calvinism” more biblical. Can you provide examples of how the two systems differ?

        Brianwagner, br.d, your feedback has been extremely helpful. Yet I’m not sure if I have seen this touched on, but who are the elect as described by Jesus in the NT. Do these elect differ from whom Paul references? Also, I know you mentioned we are elect in Christ, but does that only entail Corporate election? Are individuals elect and if so, when did God determine election? From what I understand, in Calvinism, God elected who would believe before creation, before the fall, and therefore, before anyone had committed sin in our sense of time. Granted, I think that God’s sense of time is different than ours due to His transcendence. Theoparadox, please feel free to chime in as well.

      19. br.d
        While you are waiting for an answer from Brian – and if you haven’t seen it yet – please review the youtube video from “Beyond The Fundamentals” which is titled: ELECTION: It’s Nothing Like You Were Told

        But it is very critical that you are aware of the phenomenon of DOUBLE-TALK within Calvinist language

        Here are quotes from book authors on the subject of Calvinist DOUBLE-TALK

        The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – in its article on Theological Determinism writes this concerning the language used by Calvinist Paul Helm:
        “Paul Helm, another staunch theological determinist of the Calvinist variety, simply says that God’s providence is ‘extended to all that He has created’ (1993, p. 39). The problem with such characterizations is that they are subject to multiple interpretations, some of whom would be affirmed by theological indeterminists.”

        Dr. William Lane Craig, in his interactions with Calvinist Paul Kjoss Helseth, in the authoring of the book Four Views on Divine Providence writes:
        “A A. Hodge’s six-point summary of the classical Reformed view of divine providence, quoted by Paul Kjoss Helseth under ‘The True View of Providence Summarized’ falls short of expressing the radical distinctives of the Reformed position that Helseth defends.”

        Dr. Jerry Walls, in his presentation What’s wrong with Calvinism states:
        “If Calvinists didn’t rely so heavily on misleading rhetoric, their theology would lose all credibility within two years.”

        Norman Geisler in his book Chosen but Free writes:
        “Some Calvinists use smoke-and-mirror tactics to avoid the harsh implications of their view” (pg 104)
        “This is done by redefining terms and Theological Doublespeak” (pg 261)

        Laurence M. Vance in The Other Side of Calvinism writes about:
        “The confusing labyrinth of Calvinist terminology” (pg 556)

        Micah Coate in his book The Cultish side of Calvinism writes:
        “Calvinists arguments are buried in theological and grammatical doublespeak.”

        Ronnie W. Rogers, in his book Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist writes:
        As mentioned in several places throughout this book, within Calvinism there is a problem of what I call doubletalk. But I am not implying immoral or clandestine trickery. Nor am I suggesting conspiratorial deceit. I must admit that upon reflection on my time being a Calvinist, I did the same thing. I did not do this out ill motive or intent to deceive, or because of a lack of desire to be faithful to the scripture. Nor do I ascribe this to my Calvinist brothers. As a matter of fact, I did it because I believed Calvinism and the Scripture; and this brought about conflicts, or at least unconscious responses to the conflicts, which I now see as doubletalk. This doubletalk obscured the harsh realities of Calvinism and the inconsistencies between Scripture and Calvinism. ”

        Authors David L. Allen, Eric Hankins, and Adam Harwood in their book Anyone Can Be Saved: A Defense of “Traditional” Southern Baptist Soteriology write:
        “This is a clear example of what I call Calvinism’s double-talk. By double-talk, I specifically and only mean thinking….speaking in such a way that obscures the disquieting realities of Calvinism. If a person accepts these realities, then he can be a knowledgeable and consistent Calvinist. But if one is unwilling to face them and accept them, he cannot be a consistent Calvinist. Additionally, I am not calling anyone a double-talker nor is my use of this term intended in any sense to be a pejorative.”

        Gilbert VanOrder Jr in his book Calvinism’s Conflicts: An Examination of the Problems in Reformed Theology writes:
        “Calvinists then have to resort to double-talk in order to explain how human responsibility is still involved even though it isn’t. If a man can do nothing to change his condition, then he cannot be held responsible for changing his condition”.

        Ex-Calvinist Daniel Gracely in his book Calvinism a closer look writes:
        “Calvinist and Non-Calvinist do not share the same meaning of words….. Remember, Calvinism is merely the invoking of associative meaning, not real meaning. By ‘not real’ I mean that the meaning is destroyed in the overall thought of the clause or sentence. For, of course, at one level the Calvinist understands the general meaning of words. But when he strings them together in such a way that it forms an idea that is false…
        This is what I used to do as a Calvinist. I liken these non-sense statements, or propositions, to the riding of a rocking horse….. Thus, I would go back and forth in seesaw motion, lest on the one hand I find myself accusing God of insufficient sovereignty, or on the other hand find myself accusing God of authoring sin. All the while, there remained an illusion of movement towards truth, when in fact there was no real movement at all. At length I would allow the springs of dialectical tension to rest the rocking horse in the center, and then I would declare as harmonious propositions, which in fact, were totally contradictory to each other. Calvinist riders still ride out this scenario.”

        Francis Hodgson in his book The Calvinistic Doctrine of Predestination Examined and Refuted, 1855 writes:
        “The apology for this gross misapplication of language…..is found in their distressing emergency.
        In no other way can they, with any plausibility, meet their opponents.”

      20. Giann, I much prefer dealing with specific Scriptures, as I said. And you need to get into the habit of doing your own word studies, like looking up every instance of elect, chosen, chose in the NT. If you know how to do Greek word studies using Strong’s numbers, so much the better.

        Here’s my grouping of verses that use the adjective, noun, and verb – ELECT or CHOSEN:
        A NT Word Study
        Used of the Saved
        Matt. 20: 16, 22:14, 24:22, 24, 31, Mark 13:20, 22, 27, Luke 18:7, Rom. 8:33, 11: 5, 7, Eph. 1:4, Col. 3:12, 1Thess. 1:4, Titus 1:1, Jam. 2:5, 1Pet. 1:2, 2:9, 5:13, 2 Pet. 1:10, Rev. 17:14

        Used of the Twelve Apostles (including Judas)
        Luke 6:13, John 6:70, 13:18, 15:16, 19; Acts 1:2, 24

        Used of other NT Christian Leaders
        Acts 9:15, 15:7, 22, 25, 22:14, Rom. 16:13

        Used of Christ
        Luke 9: 35, 23:35, 1Peter 2:4, 6

        Used of the Nation of Israel
        Acts 13:17, Rom. 9:11, 11:28, 2Tim. 2:10

        Used of Local Churches
        2John 1, 13

        Used of Angels
        1Tim. 5:21

        When studying the various contexts notice that elect does not always mean “chosen for salvation before the creation of the world.” One must ask if it ever means the choosing of an “individual” for salvation before the creation of the world. If one believes the answer to be yes, then in what way does any individual, who is most certainly a result of a historical chain of events, exist as a completed individual before history begins, and thus able to be chosen back then?

        And reality is sequential from God’s eternal relational nature. The past no longer exists for God, except as memory and the future does not yet exist for God except as a partly open plan in His mind.

  36. br.d
    Lets take theoparadox’s assertion – and examine it in the light of the event of theoparadox making his post.

    The time – at which theoparadox made his post was: SEPTEMBER 29, 2022 AT 7:41 AM

    For analysis – we will apply some LABELS
    – TIME-T we will label the exact time at which theoparadox made his post
    – WORDS-X we will label the exact words which theoparadox wrote in his post
    – WILL-X we will label as the state of theoparadox’s will in the process of writing his post at TIME-T

    Now – we must include the foundational core of Calvinism – the doctrine of decrees
    We want to make sure that what we have is something theoparadox cannot possibly disagree with.

    We don’t think he will disagree with any of these:

    Reformed.org
    -quote
    The decrees of god are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained WHATSOEVER comes to pass.

    monergism.com
    -quote
    The Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 7 defines the decrees of god to be “his eternal purpose according to the counsel of his own will, whereby he has foreordained WHATSOEVER comes to pass.

    ligonier.org
    -quote
    God has planned or decreed ALL things
    And thus THEY SURELY TAKE PLACE AS HE PLANNED, DECREED OR ORDAINED them.

    Ok – so lets go back to the foundation of the world – before theoparadox has been created – and where Calvin’s god is deliberating over WHATSOEVER will infallibly come to pass with theoparadox.

    We know that – whatever Calvin’s god decides to have come to pass with theoparadox at TIME-T will SURELY TAKE PLACE AS HE PLANNED, DECREED OR ORDAINED it.

    Now we use our labels:
    1) Calvin’s god MUST make a decision about whatsoever will come to pass with theoparadox at TIME-T
    2) Calvin’s god has at least 2 options

    Option_A) theoparadox’s WILL-X will infallibly be – that theoparadox will write WORDS-X at TIME-T

    Option_B) theoparadox’s WILL-X will infallibly be – that theoparadox will NOT write WORDS-X at TIME-T

    Now – Calvin’s god can select either of those two options to infallibly come to pass.

    HOWEVER:
    – Calvin’s god cannot decree both options come to pass – because one option falsifies the other – and the decree would thus not be infallible

    – Calvin’s god cannot leave theoparadox’s WILL-X OPEN for theoparadox to determine – because that would falsify the doctrine of decrees Calvin’s god MUST make a selection between Option_A and Option_B

    3) Per the doctrine of decrees – in order for theoparadox’s WILL-X to be what it is at TIME-T – Calvin’s god must decree it.

    4) Calvin’s god selects Option_A.
    theoparadox’s WILL-X will infallibly be – that theoparadox will write WORDS-X at TIME-T

    5) By divine selection – Calvin’s god has granted into existence – theoparadox’s WILL-X to infallibly be – that theoparadox will write WORDS-X at TIME-T

    6) By divine rejection – Calvin’s god has NOT granted into existence theoparadox’s WILL-X being OTHERWISE

    7) theoparadox is granted NO CHOICE in the matter of what his WILL-X will be

    8) theoparadox’s WILL-X is granted not ability to BE OTHERWISE than what it was decreed to be.

    CONCLUSIONS:
    – theoparadox’s WILL-X was granted FREEDOM that is COMPATIBLE with that which was determined by infallible decree
    – But the infallible decree DID NOT grant FREEDOM for theoparadox’s WILL-X to countervail or falsify the infallible decree.
    – Thus the infallible decree DID NOT grant FREEDOM for theoparadox’s WILL-X to BE OTHERWISE than that which was determined by infallible decree.

    – theoparadox was granted NO CHOICE in the matter of what WILL-X would be at TIME-T because at the foundation of the world – all ALTERNATIVES were rejected – and thus NO ALTERNATIVE was granted existence.

  37. I just saw an episode of Joel Webbon’s Right Response ministry where the question was being asked if John Piper was disqualified from ministry/eldership because of his son Abraham walking away from the faith. Joel’s position and the position of a lot of his commenters is that John Piper is disqualified because of how his adult son lives. They are hanging that on 1 Timothy 3:17 and Titus 1:5-9 and saying that because Piper is an elder and his son walked away, that Piper failed at managing his household well and keeping his children submissive (ESV language).

    What do any of you think of this notion? And how does that fit in with the Calvinistic idea that election is the province of God in His “sovereignty” and nothing that John Piper did or does affects that? How, then is John Piper disqualified from eldership because of the life his son had decreed to him since “before the foundations of the earth?” How can John Piper be judged guilty for the “sovereign decree” upon Abraham Piper’s life?

    1. Hello Eric
      There are a couple of things to consider here.
      But for the most part – because Calvinists are professing Christians – we automatically assume they are going to be consistent with their belief system. But this is simply not the case.

      The Calvinist is just as human as anyone else.
      And when he wants to assert [X] – he will look for a justification within his doctrine or within scripture to do so.
      Similarly – when he wants to deny [X] – he will look for a justification within his doctrine or within scripture to do so.

      Calvinists are famous for having to have things both ways.
      Having [X] be TRUE when they need it to be TRUE – and FALSE when they need it to be FALSE
      I wouldn’t anticipate such an accusation against John Piper will get much travel.

      Blessings!
      br.d

    1. Hello Steve and welcome

      We understand that in Calvinism – humans are not granted the function of “Choice”
      They are not granted “Choice” in the matter of anything.

      Per the doctrine
      1) *WHATSOEVER* comes to pass within creation – is granted existence by decree which is infallible – and thus its existence is established as infallible.

      2) Nothing other than that which is granted existence by infallible decree is granted existence. Especially any ALTERNATIVE of that which is decreed. Because any ALTERNATIVE of that which is decreed – would falsify the decree – which is not granted to creation.

      3) Thus – in Calvinism – for every human event and every human impulse – there is never granted but *ONE SINGLE PREDESTINED RENDERED-CERTAIN option.

      4) Thus – in Calvinism – the option of “Choice” is not granted to the creature

      5) Every impulse that comes to pass within the human brain – is determined by factors (i.e. infallible decree) totally outside of the brains control

      6) Humans are granted NO CHOICE in the matter of any impulse that will come to pass within their brain – and NO ABILITY to refrain.

      7) If it a sinful impulse is decreed to come to pass within your brain at TIME-T – then that is the only impulse granted to you at TIME-T. And you are not granted a “Choice” in the matter.

      CONCLUSION:
      In Calvinism – any perception of having a “Choice” between two available options – constitutes a predestined FALSE perception.
      So if you have any perceptions throughout the day – in which you perceive yourself as having “Choice” between multiple options – and you have the perception that you are granted a “Choice” between one option vs another – then you are experiencing an infallibly decreed illusion.

      Blessings!
      br.d

  38. Your view depends upon a straw man assumption that T.U.L.I. P originates with John Calvin and his interpretation is correct. The major tenets of Calvinism were embraced and taught hundreds of years prior to Calvin as they can be seen in the writings of Augustine and I would argue prior to that in the writers of the scriptures. I do not believe either John Calvin system or Augustine’s view correctly portray the scriptural view of T.U.L.I.P in every detail. I would argue the basic tenets of TULIP strictly upon scriptures.

    1. Hello Mark and welcome

      Mark
      Your view depends upon a straw man assumption that T.U.L.I. P originates with John Calvin and his interpretation is correct.

      br.d
      Actually TULIP did not originate with John Calvin at all
      The TULIP originated approximately 80 years after Calvin’s institutes.
      Calvin himself would probably have rejected the TULIP – because it works to obfuscate the underlying foundational core of the doctrine – which is the doctrine of decrees.

      The “T” in the TULIP for example – functions as a lie of omission.
      A lie of omission – is a statement designed to mislead by virtue of omitting critical facts – which if not omitted would not mislead

      The critical fact which the “T” in the TULIP omits is the fact that in Calvinism – the doctrine of decrees stipulates – the state of nature (including every individual person’s nature) at every nano-second in time – is 100% meticulously predestined at the foundation of the world – and cannot possibly be OTHER than what it was predestined to infallibly be.

      Creation (including man) is given NO SAY in the matter of that which is decreed at the foundation of the world before creation is created.
      Therefore man is given NO SAY and NO CHOICE in the matter of whatsoever the state of his nature will be at any nano-second in time.

      Additionally – every individual’s eternal destiny is FIXED by infallible decree at the foundation of the world – and cannot be other than what it was decreed to infallibly be.

      The “T” in the TULIP is designed to OBFUSCATE those critical facts – and present a FALSE ATTRIBUTION – that man is the cause of the state of his nature – and that man is the cause of his eternal destiny – when the TRUTH is – man’s nature at every nano-second in time as well as man’s eternal destiny are both determined by factors (i.e. infallible decrees) totally outside of man’s control.
      The “T” in the TULIP is designed to make Calvinism APPEAR to be other than what it really is

    2. Mark
      I do not believe either John Calvin system or Augustine’s view correctly portray the scriptural view of T.U.L.I.P

      br.d
      Augustine is noted in academia – as being the primary conduit of the mixture of NeoPlatonism (the doctrines of Plotinus) into Christian doctrine.

      Augustine corresponded by letter to a close friend Nebridius, who praises how Augustine’s letters -quote “speak of Christ, Plato and Plotinus”. The recognition of intense syncretism here is unavoidable.

      NeoPlatonism was essentially – doctrines of Plato – reshaped into religious form.
      NeoPlatonism included the Greek belief in Determinism
      NeoPlatonism included a DUALISTIC system of “Good-Evil” where “Good” and “Evil” are co-equal, co-complimentary, and co-necessary.

      That is why the foundational core of Calvinism – is classified as EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM (EDD)
      And the DUALISTIC system within Calvinism – is why so many things consistently appear in the form of DUALISTIC PAIRS within Calvinist representations of the doctrine.

    3. Mark,

      Your comment brings me to question, who is the one and only person responsible for coining the belief system as Calvinism, if calvinism really isn’t calvinism?

      Obviously, someone years ago, beyond our reach of time, concluded that John Calvin had something to do with it.

      But if John’s belief isn’t what calvinism even is… then can you proclaim whose belief that it is that modified John Calvin’s belief?

      I’m mean, why call it calvinism, if it really isn’t calvinism. Call it something else, and pass the word out to those who call themselves calvinists. They do call themselves calvinists. And as such, they should be the ones being accused of the famous STRAWMAN… not us.

      However, moving on. I don’t believe in original sin, a doctrine that began with augustine.

      I can prove that, too.

      Both Calvinism, or TULIP for you, and Arminianism relies on that one doctrine that augustine came up with.

      Take that doctrine away, and your TULIP falls apart, and Wallah, you have free will.

      And your Romans 5 falls apart.

      And it was david’s mom that was in sin, in which David was conceived, not Adam’s sin.

      We all die a natural death because Adam never ate of the Tree of life.

      But here is the thing… Adam was going to die, no matter if he didn’t sin, or if he did sin. That tree of life is the only means by which he could have lived eternally, including after the fall, because God had to block access to that tree after the fall, so that Adam would not live forever in a fallen state. Meaning that Adam is not in hell.

      Sacrifice restored the union… that animal that God killed shed blood before God made fruit of the looms for them to wear.

      You do believe in original sin, and your belief in TULIP proves it.

      TULIP can’t exist without original sin.

      Ed Chapman

    4. Welcome Mark. I disagree completely that TULIP is clearly Scriptural, especially ULI, which are contradicted by clear Scriptures. He’s my take.

      Pulling Petals Off the TULIP

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

      T – 1/2 pulled off
      Rom 11:32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. [The first part of this passage agrees with one part of Calvinism’s view of Total Depravity, but not the second part]
      John 1:9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

      U – Pulled off
      Rom 9:25 As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
      Romans 8:9 NKJV — But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

      L – Pulled off
      1John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
      2Pet 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, [and] bring on themselves swift destruction.

      I – Pulled off
      Mark 7:14 When He had called all the multitude to [Himself,] He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand:”
      Heb 3:7-8 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,”

      P – 1/2 Pulled off
      Eph 1:13-14 In Him you also [trusted,] after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. [This passage agrees with one part of Calvinism’s view of Eternal Security, but not its rejection of carnality]
      Heb 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need [someone] to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes [only] of milk [is] unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, [that is,] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

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