Our Beliefs

What is Provisionism?

Please watch this video to better understand why some of us prefer the label “Provisionism” over “Arminianism” or “Traditionalism.” The focus of this soteriological view is on God’s gracious and loving provision for every individual so that anyone may believe and be saved.

Here is a list of articles, statements and resources to help you better understand the “Provisionist” soteriological perspective:

Why are you sometimes called a “Traditionalist?”

Dr. Eric Hankins wrote a statement (see below) which references the “traditional” beliefs of the Southern Baptist Convention over the last 75-100 years. The label “Traditionalist” was used by some to distinguish our view from the more recent resurgence of Calvinistic beliefs within the convention. We recognize the shortcomings of this label which is why some prefer the term “Provisionism.”

We affirm:

A STATEMENT OF THE TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN BAPTIST UNDERSTANDING OF GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION

(Written by Dr. Eric Hankins. See a list of Southern Baptist professors, pastors and theologians who have signed this statement and the ever growing list of other biblical scholars who affirm the non-Calvinistic interpretation of the scriptures in the comment section below.)

Preamble

Every generation of Southern Baptists has the duty to articulate the truths of its faith with particular attention to the issues that are impacting contemporary mission and ministry. The precipitating issue for this statement is the rise of a movement called “New Calvinism” among Southern Baptists. This movement is committed to advancing in the churches an exclusively Calvinistic understanding of salvation, characterized by an aggressive insistence on the “Doctrines of Grace” (“TULIP”), and to the goal of making Calvinism the central Southern Baptist position on God’s plan of salvation.

While Calvinists have been present in Southern Baptist life from its earliest days and have made very important contributions to our history and theology, the majority of Southern Baptists do not embrace Calvinism. Even the minority of Southern Baptists who have identified themselves as Calvinists generally modify its teachings in order to mitigate certain unacceptable conclusions (e.g., anti-missionism, hyper-Calvinism, double predestination, limited atonement, etc.). The very fact that there is a plurality of views on Calvinism designed to deal with these weaknesses (variously described as “3-point,” “4-point,” “moderate,” etc.) would seem to call for circumspection and humility with respect to the system and to those who disagree with it.

For the most part, Southern Baptists have been glad to relegate disagreements over Calvinism to secondary status along with other important but “non-essential” theological matters. The Southern Baptist majority has fellowshipped happily with its Calvinist brethren while kindly resisting Calvinism itself. And, to their credit, most Southern Baptist Calvinists have not demanded the adoption of their view as the standard. We would be fine if this consensus continued, but some New Calvinists seem to be pushing for a radical alteration of this longstanding arrangement.

We propose that what most Southern Baptists believe about salvation can rightly be called “Traditional” Southern Baptist soteriology, which should be understood in distinction to “Calvinist” soteriology. Traditional Southern Baptist soteriology is articulated in a general way in the Baptist Faith and Message, “Article IV.” While some earlier Baptist confessions were shaped by Calvinism, the clear trajectory of the BF&M since 1925 is away from Calvinism. For almost a century, Southern Baptists have found that a sound, biblical soteriology can be taught, maintained, and defended without subscribing to Calvinism. Traditional Southern Baptist soteriology is grounded in the conviction that every person can and must be saved by a personal and free decision to respond to the Gospel by trusting in Christ Jesus alone as Savior and Lord. Without ascribing to Calvinism, Southern Baptists have reached around the world with the Gospel message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. Baptists have been well-served by a straightforward soteriology rooted in the fact that Christ is willing and able to save any and every sinner.

New Calvinism presents us with a duty and an opportunity to more carefully express what is generally believed by Southern Baptists about salvation. It is no longer helpful to identify ourselves by how many points of convergence we have with Calvinism. While we are not insisting that every Southern Baptist affirm the soteriological statement below in order to have a place in the Southern Baptist family, we are asserting that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are not Calvinists and that they do not want Calvinism to become the standard view in Southern Baptist life. We believe it is time to move beyond Calvinism as a reference point for Baptist soteriology.

Below is what we believe to be the essence of a “Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” We believe that most Southern Baptists, regardless of how they have described their personal understanding of the doctrine of salvation, will find the following statement consistent with what the Bible teaches and what Southern Baptists have generally believed about the nature of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

ARTICLES OF AFFIRMATION AND DENIAL

ARTICLE ONE: THE GOSPEL

We affirm that the Gospel is the good news that God has made a way of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for any person. This is in keeping with God’s desire for every person to be saved.

We deny that only a select few are capable of responding to the Gospel while the rest are predestined to an eternity in hell.

Genesis 3:15; Psalm 2:1-12; Ezekiel 18:23, 32; Luke 19.10; Luke 24:45-49; John 1:1-18, 3:16; Romans 1:1-6, 5:8; 8:34; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 4:4-7; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-16; 2 Peter 3:9

ARTICLE TWO: THE SINFULNESS OF MAN

We affirm that, because of the fall of Adam, every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin. Each person’s sin alone brings the wrath of a holy God, broken fellowship with Him, ever-worsening selfishness and destructiveness, death, and condemnation to an eternity in hell.

We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty (?) before he has personally sinned. While no sinner is remotely capable of achieving salvation through his own effort, we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.

Genesis 3:15-24; 6:5; Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 6:5, 7:15-16;53:6;Jeremiah 17:5,9, 31:29-30; Ezekiel 18:19-20; Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-18, 5:12, 6:23; 7:9; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 6:9-10;15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 20:11-15

ARTICLE THREE: THE ATONEMENT OF CHRIST

We affirm that the penal substitution of Christ is the only available and effective sacrifice for the sins of every person.

We deny that this atonement results in salvation without a person’s free response of repentance and faith. We deny that God imposes or withholds this atonement without respect to an act of the person’s free will. We deny that Christ died only for the sins of those who will be saved.

Psalm 22:1-31; Isaiah 53:1-12; John 12:32, 14:6; Acts 10:39-43; Acts 16:30-32; Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:10-14; Philippians 2:5-11; Col. 1:13-20; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 9:12-15, 24-28; 10:1-18; I John 1:7; 2:2

ARTICLE FOUR: THE GRACE OF GOD

We affirm that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative in providing atonement, in freely offering the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith.

We deny that grace negates the necessity of a free response of faith or that it cannot be resisted. We deny that the response of faith is in any way a meritorious work that earns salvation.

Ezra 9:8; Proverbs 3:34; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 19:16-30, 23:37; Luke 10:1-12; Acts 15:11; 20:24; Romans 3:24, 27-28; 5:6, 8, 15-21; Galatians 1:6; 2:21; 5; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:2-9; Colossians 2:13-17; Hebrews 4:16; 9:28; 1 John 4:19

ARTICLE FIVE: THE REGENERATION OF THE SINNER

We affirm that any person who responds to the Gospel with repentance and faith is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is a new creation in Christ and enters, at the moment he believes, into eternal life.

We deny that any person is regenerated prior to or apart from hearing and responding to the Gospel.

Luke 15:24; John 3:3; 7:37-39; 10:10; 16:7-14; Acts 2:37-39; Romans 6:4-11; 10:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20; 6:15; Colossians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:18

ARTICLE SIX: THE ELECTION TO SALVATION

We affirm that, in reference to salvation, election speaks of God’s eternal, gracious, and certain plan in Christ to have a people who are His by repentance and faith.

We deny that election means that, from eternity, God predestined certain people for salvation and others for condemnation.

Genesis 1:26-28; 12:1-3; Exodus 19:6;Jeremiah 31:31-33; Matthew 24:31; 25:34; John 6:70; 15:16; Romans 8:29-30, 33;9:6-8; 11:7; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2:11-22; 3:1-11; 4:4-13; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 7:9-10

ARTICLE SEVEN: THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

We affirm God’s eternal knowledge of and sovereignty over every person’s salvation or condemnation.

We deny that God’s sovereignty and knowledge require Him to cause a person’s acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ.

Genesis 1:1; 6:5-8; 18:16-33; 22; 2 Samuel 24:13-14; 1 Chronicles 29:10-20; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Joel 2:32; Psalm 23; 51:4; 139:1-6; Proverbs 15:3; John 6:44; Romans 11:3; Titus 3:3-7; James 1:13-15; Hebrews 11:6, 12:28; 1 Peter 1:17

ARTICLE EIGHT: THE FREE WILL OF MAN

We affirm that God, as an expression of His sovereignty, endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options), which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God’s gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.

We deny that the decision of faith is an act of God rather than a response of the person. We deny that there is an “effectual call” for certain people that is different from a “general call” to any person who hears and understands the Gospel.

Genesis 1:26-28; Numbers 21:8-9; Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 8:1-22; 2 Samuel 24:13-14; Esther 3:12-14; Matthew 7:13-14; 11:20-24; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 9:23-24; 13:34; 15:17-20; Romans 10:9-10; Titus 2:12; Revelation 22:17

ARTICLE NINE: THE SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

We affirm that when a person responds in faith to the Gospel, God promises to complete the process of salvation in the believer into eternity. This process begins with justification, whereby the sinner is immediately acquitted of all sin and granted peace with God; continues in sanctification, whereby the saved are progressively conformed to the image of Christ by the indwelling Holy Spirit; and concludes in glorification, whereby the saint enjoys life with Christ in heaven forever.

We deny that this Holy Spirit-sealed relationship can ever be broken. We deny even the possibility of apostasy.

John 10:28-29; 14:1-4; 16:12-14; Philippians 1:6; Romans 3:21-26; 8:29,30; 35-39; 12:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 1:21-22; 1 John 2:19; 3:2; 5:13-15; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 13:5; James 1:12; Jude 24-25

ARTICLE TEN: THE GREAT COMMISSION

We affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth. We affirm that the proclamation of the Gospel is God’s means of bringing any person to salvation.

We deny that salvation is possible outside of a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 51:13; Proverbs 11:30; Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:6; Acts 1:8; 4:12; 10:42-43; Romans 1:16, 10:13-15; 1 Corinthians 1:17-21; Ephesians 3:7-9; 6:19-20; Philippians 1:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:1-5

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Who supports the Non-Calvinistic interpretation?

Loraine Boettner, a respected Calvinistic Historian and Theologian, wrote “It may occasion some surprise to discover that the doctrine of Predestination was not made a matter of special study until near the end of the fourth century. The earlier church fathers placed chief emphasis on good works such as faith, repentance, almsgiving, prayers, submission to baptism, etc., as the basis of salvation. They of course taught that salvation was through Christ; yet they assumed that man had full power to accept or reject the gospel. Some of their writings contain passages in which the sovereignty of God is recognized; yet along side of those are others which teach the absolute freedom of the human will. Since they could not reconcile the two they would have denied the doctrine of Predestination and perhaps also that of God’s absolute Foreknowledge. They taught a kind of synergism in which there was a co-operation between grace and free will. It was hard for man to give up the idea that he could work out his own salvation. But at last, as a result of a long, slow process, he came to the great truth that salvation is a sovereign gift which has been bestowed irrespective of merit; that it was fixed in eternity; and that God is the author in all of its stages. This cardinal truth of Christianity was first clearly seen by Augustine, the great Spirit-filled theologian of the West. In his doctrines of sin and grace, he went far beyond the earlier theologians, taught an unconditional election of grace, and restricted the purposes of redemption to the definite circle of the elect.”

So, even by Calvinistic scholars own admission the Earliest Church Fathers did not teach the Calvinistic view of election, but in fact taught “the absolute freedom of the human will…a kind of synergism in which there was a co-operation between grace and free will.”   These Early Church Fathers include:

-Clement of Rome (AD30-100)
-Ignatius (AD30-107)
-Barnabas (AD100)
-Justin Martyr (AD 110-165)
-Irenaeus (AD120-202)
-Tatian (AD110-172)
-Tertullian (AD145-220)
-Clement of Alexandria (AD153-217)
-Origen (AD185-254)
-Hippolytus (AD170-236)
-Novatian (AD210-280)
-Archelaus (AD277)
-Alexander of Alexandria (AD273-326)
-Lactantius (AD260-330)

STUDY BIBLE

Some have asked if I recommend any particular study Bibles. I have not vetted any one fully but I have enjoyed The Peoples New Testament with Explanatory Notes – One Volume Edition (2 volumes in 1) [Hardcover] B.W. Johnson (ISBN-13: 978-0892251414, ISBN-10: 0892251417)

SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY

I recommend this Systematic Theology by Dr. James Leo Garrett

Also, below is an ever growing list of modern day scholars who do not affirm the Calvinistic interpretation of the scriptures:

AW Tozer
Howard Marshall
Doug Stuart
NT Wright
Gordon Fee
Scott McKnight
David Baker
William W. Klein
Grant Osborne
Robert Shank
David A. DeSilva
Bill T. Arnold
John Oswalt
Brian Abasciano (he helped with this list)
Ben Witherington III
Thomas Oden
C.S. Lewis
Craig Blomberg (not A or C, but probably leans slightly more A)
Craig Keener
Jack Cottrell
Gerald O. McCulloh (edited * “Man’s Faith and Freedom: The Theological
Influence of Jacobus Arminius”)
James Luther Adams (from “Man’s Faith and Freedom”)
Russell Henry Stafford (from “Man’s Faith and Freedom”)
Geoffrey F. Nuttall (from “Man’s Faith and Freedom”)
Roger Olson
Dale Moody
Paul Copan
James D. G. Dunn
Jerry Walls
Joseph Dongell
Clark Pinnock
Donald M. Lake
William G. Witt
A. Skevington Wood
Vernon C. Grounds
Terry L. Miethe
Richard Rice
John E. Sanders
Fritz Guy
Klyne Snodgrass
Robert Picirilli
F. Leroy Forlines
Matthew Pinson
Stephen Ashby
Chuck Smith
George Bryson
Greg Laurie
William Lane Craig
Billy Graham
Adrian Rogers
Michael Brown
Leonard Ravenhill
David Wilkerson
Bruce Reichenbach
David J. A. Clines
William G. MacDonald
James D. Strauss
C. Stephen Evans
Paul R. Eddy
William J. Abraham
A. Philip Brown II
Derek Prince
Jack Hayford
Gene L. Green
Gareth Lee Cockerill
James Leonard
John Wesley
Chrarles Edward White
Anthony Chadwick Thornhill
Aaron Sherwood
B.J. Oropeza
David Lewis Allen
Steve Lemke
Adam Harwood
Jerry Vines
Paige Patterson
Richard Land
Malcolm Yarnell
Bruce A. Little
Robert W. Wall
G. Walter Hansen
Philip H. Towner
Adam Clarke
John Lennox
Paul Ellingworth
William G. MacDonald
James Strauss
Philip Towner
John Wenham
Gary Habermas
Nigel Turner
Max Turner
Peter Cotterell (?)
Michael Brown
David Jeremiah
Dave Hunt
J. W. MacGorman
E. Y. Mullins
Herschel Hobbs
W. T. Conner
Frank Stagg
Fisher Humphreys
Bert Dominy
Ken Keathley
Norm Geisler
Alister McGrath
David Bentley Hart
Mike Licona

510 thoughts on “Our Beliefs

  1. Are you able to recommend a church in Houston, Tx. that utilizes expository preaching / teaching, that rejects contemporary music and is Gospel centered. Usually, this is a combination that is only found in a Calvinist setting.
    Thanks
    John Trimm

      1. Why do Calvinists/Reformists always use the New American Standard Bible 1995? Are some of the Scriptures worded differently as to help the cause?

      2. Hello Thomas,
        I was not aware they use that Bible.
        But the reason you suggest is quite common and comes part and parcel with human nature.
        When you listen to a person – in this case a Calvinist – quote a scripture -watch carefully to see what words they remove and replace with their own words.
        What you will notice is they have simply reworded the text to make it conform to their doctrinal teachings.
        The fact that they can so easily alter the text to conform to their doctrine doesn’t bother them at all because the practice is part of their doctrinal social structure.

      3. I was not aware of this. I use the NASB extensively but am not a Calvinist. My understanding is that their favorite translation is currently the ESV.

      4. I wish someone would answer John’s question, as I have noticed the same thing. It’s the reason I’ve even considered the Reformed faith, not that I have accepted it.

        Non Calvinists tend to be unserious, shallow, and sometime downright goofy, if you’ll pardon my saying so, and all over the map concerning morality. I saw one guy at VBS chasing a girl with a spray bottle of water saying “You’re a lost sinner, and this is the Holy Spirit”. I halfway expected lightning to strike the man.

        This is but one of the strange, and silly things I’ve seen over the years in SBC churches that I doubt I would ever see at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley.

        I suspect many have been DRIVEN into the arms of Calvin because of these things.

        Please understand that I’m not meaning to insult, but to express real problems I and others like John are having with contemporary pop culture Christianity.

      5. Hello Brian,
        I understand!

        Years ago – Regent College released all of Dr. Gordon Fee’s seminary lectures into audio format and I purchased every one of them I could get my hands on. They were highly insightful and provided a perspective of serious Biblical scholarship.

        They still sell many of those lectures today.
        However, unfortunately, the prices for them have gone up significantly.

      6. In response to John’s question:

        If I understand right about John’s comment he wants to know why non-Calvin tend to be “unserious, shallow, and sometimes down right goofy.” He also states “one guy at VBS chasing a girl with a spray bottle of water saying you’re a loss center, and this is the Holy Spirit.”

        The first thing I noticed about Calvinists and yes my pastor is one (he’s a good guy even though we disagree on many theological issues), is that they believe God is all controlling, they’re not sure why God picked them before creation, and there is nothing you can do to earn salvation, but they always seem to be looking at your works and judging you.

        Christians sometimes called traditionalist and I do consider myself to be a traditionalist, believe the text of the Bible. I do not follow a bunch of old men in the 1500s trying to tell me I need to interpret the Bible like they want me too with their doctrine that goes against scripture.

        Going back to John’s question, Christians should be extremely happy, thankful, and having fun or “goofy” with the children at VBS well illustrating the importance of the Holy Spirit. Christians try to support each other in love, laughter, fellowship, and teaching. Our heavenly father has the same attributes and that is why we are also created with them.

        I don’t know much about Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, but all the attributes I stated above should be Evident in that church. If it’s not, and again I don’t know that church, you need to find a non-Calvinist church so that you can grow properly in the Lord. Don’t let anybody take away the joy that you have in Christ

      7. Hello Thomas and welcome

        I appreciated your comments.
        One thing you stated about Calvinists – I found very insightful – because many people are not insightful enough to identify the psychological consequences of the Calvinist belief system.

        Thomas:
        They [Calvinists] always seem to be looking at your works and judging you.

        The reason for this behavior pattern with Calvinists is 3-fold:

        1) Per the doctrine – the Calvinist has a god who creates/designs the vast majority of the human race – specifically for eternal torment – for his good pleasure. So the Calvinist has a god whose intentions for the beings he creates is for the most part malevolent, and to a very limited part benevolent.

        2) Per the doctrine – Calvin’s god’s intentions for believers follows this same pattern. He gives the MANY within the Calvinist fold a FALSE SENSE of election – while giving the FEW within the Calvinist fold a TRUE SENSE of election. Thus the MANY within the Calvinist fold represent a portion of those who have been created/designed for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

        3) Per the doctrine – the Calvinist is granted NO CERTAINTY of whether or not the divine intent for himself is benevolent or malevolent.

        Based on those 3 aspects of the doctrine – the Calvinist struggles internally with dread and doubt – concerning which is the case for himself.
        The natural human response to that situation – is to look for INDICATORS of the divine intent for every individual.

        So the Calvinist reads the behavior patterns of his fellow Calvinists – looking for INDICATORS of that one’s future destiny – the same way people read tea leafs looking for indicators of one’s future destiny.

        Blessings!

      8. I started responding but I dictate my messages on my iPhone and the wife turned up the volume on the television so I had to go to another room and I might’ve deleted what I dictated, sorry.

        The guy didn’t think Christian should be happy and joyful. They seem to be very controlling. About two weeks ago we had a guest speaker come, and of course he was a reformist. In his public talk he put down Catholics and traditionalist. They’re always looking and judging people to see if the Calvinist thinks that they’re saved. I hope the guy that was on your blog doesn’t lose the joy he has in Christ.

        They have so many holes through the theology. They believe that God picked them for an unknown reason and picked everyone else to go to hell. Then they say he is a loving God. God created all of us with common sense and that reasoning has no common sense at all. all they have to do is look at Ephesians and some of the other scriptures and it tells Christians why God pick them. It’s because they excepted Christ. That is what he foresaw. That’s another thing they constantly say excepting something is works. They always have a funny way of redefining words into definitions that do not make sense (they’re wrong).

        I commented earlier. I think a month ago about my pastor who is a Calvinist (Reformist) well I finally had a meeting with him and basically what he told me is his theology is what helps him to get to the gospel. Basically, it’s not how you get there as long as you get there. Super nice guy, very intelligent, but whenever I brought anything up it just didn’t register. I think there’s like a brainwashing that goes on when you go to a Calvinist school. I don’t know how to explain it because how can you believe in the things that they say when they don’t make any logic.

        I want to thank Dr. flowers for his YouTube channel and his two books God‘s provision of for all and the Potter.

      9. Hello Thomas
        I would ask you to try a simple test.

        As you are observing Calvinists of any stripe – I would ask you to look for indicators of DOUBLE-THINK.
        The outward expression of DOUBLE-THINK is going to be DOUBLE-SPEAK.

        So your primary observation will be statements which are essentially DOUBLE-SPEAK statements

        WHAT IS DOUBLE-SPEAK:

        William Lutz, an American linguist on DoubleSpeak:
        -quote
        “Doublespeak is language designed to make the unpleasant appear pleasant, the unattractive appear attractive, or at least tolerable.

        Doublespeak is not a slip of the tongue or a mistake in use of language. It’s exactly the opposite. It is language used by people who are very intelligent, and very sophisticated in the use of language. And know that you can do an awful lot with language.

        Doublespeak is not a matter of subjects and verbs agreeing; it is a matter of words and facts agreeing.

        Basic to doublespeak is incongruity, the incongruity between what is said or left unsaid, and what really is.
        It is the incongruity between the word and the referent, between seem and be, between the essential function of language—communication — and what doublespeak does — mislead, distort, inflate, circumvent, obfuscate.

        Double-speak works by taking advantage of the inherent implicitness of meaning conveyed through everyday language.

        It takes advantage of the fact that normal everyday language use is fundamentally cooperative.

        Doublespeak exploits these principles to do just the opposite: to appear like honest communication while actually hiding facts which are disturbing to the individual.“

    1. I don’t think contemporary music should be a barrier between you and a Gospel-centered, Biblically rooted church.

      Check out Seventh-day Adventists. They’re pretty solid, Biblically, and a typical rural SDA church will actually lean more towards traditional Christian music i.e. hymns.

      1. Jaime, I think you might want to look a little deeper into the SDA teachings. If it is not tying obedience to the Mosaic law as part of the gospel, they are at least wrongly tying it to sanctification. But the teaching of Romans, Galatians, and Colossians will help cure one’s loyalty to the teaching of E.G. White, imo.

      2. Jaime, “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”(Eph. 5:19; cf Col. 3:16). Also, this should be acapella music. *Mechanical instruments are not authorized in new testament worship.* The only instrument the early Christians were authorized to “twang” were the strings of the heart (making melody in your heart to the Lord)! “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

      3. Aidan,

        What’s all this talk about “not authorized”?

        Can we compare that cars aren’t authorized, since they rode donkeys and camels.

        How does John 4:24 equate to “not authorized”?

        Do you understand what “spirit and truth” means?

        It means “no rules”. Previously they had rules and locations.

        Hence the phrase “spirit of the law” vs. “letter of the law”.

        Jesus was talking to a woman at the well, where she said that her people (Samaritans) worshiped God on a mountain, but that Jews worship God in Jerusalem.

        That’s what sparked the conversation about spirit and truth.

        You can worship God while sitting on the toilet. It’s not about location, and it’s not about rules.

        But if we are going to discuss instruments, I was never a fan of ORGAN-ized religion. I’m into GUITAR-ized religion, of the electric persuasion.

        Ed Chapman

      4. Ed, John 4:24 doesn’t mean “no rules.” It means precisely the opposite! In John 17:17 Jesus prayed to the Father for His disciples, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” This means that the word of God is truth. Therefore if we “must worship in spirit and truth.” It must not only be with the “inner man”(in spirit) but also in keeping with what “God’s word” has determined!

        That’s what it means to “worship in spirit and truth.” 

      5. There are no rules. Point blank. Even in your desperate attempt with another John reference, that still fails.

        Besides, you left out the word spirit in your John 17:17 reference.

        Spirit of the law vs. Letter of the law.

        God judges the heart of the matter… the heart.

        That means that if your heart is to sing worship songs with a band, electric guitars, drums, tambourines, trumpets, bass, or new years eve noise makers, then by God that’s what God accepts as proper worship.

        Anything is proper worship if your heart is in it.

        If your heart is not into your mind of worship, then God won’t accept what the heart isn’t into.

        I’m not into Baptist 1370 hymns that put the congregation asleep. Worship is supposed to be fun, not boring. If you ain’t smiling and dancing in the aisle, then you got issues, dude.

        I’ve seen the newsboys 3 times, and if you don’t think we are worshipping God while being at a newsboys concert, then you are missing out, big time.

        Ed Chapman

      6. So, Aidan, since you are being DOGMATIC about worship in a capella, are you telling me that you only worship God on Sundays, and maybe Wednesday for a brief few minutes before and after the preacher preaches? You are not authorized to worship God at any other time but at church in a capella?

        By the way, my sister used to attend The Church of Christ, and that’s what they do, as well. They are about the only denomination that I know of that does that.

        I guess I gotta give up my car now, since automobiles were never authorized outside of a mule, because that’s what Jesus rode into town on, huh? And if the king rides a donkey, then what is authorized for us lowly Christians? A cow?

        Spirit of the law does not mean inner man of the law.

      7. I disagree. The discussion from John 4 dealt with “location”. And when you see that “location” used to be important for both Jews and Samaritans, that’s when Jesus chimed in with “spirit and truth”, showing that “location” didn’t matter anymore. No set location.

        You don’t have to go to Jerusalem to worship God. You don’t have to go to the mountain to worship God.

        No rules. But don’t misuse scripture to prove a point, especially when the word “prophecy” is the topic of the verses, regarding taking away words, trying to equate that with musical instruments. Or to obey commandments that we were never given, when the verses state to obey, otherwise, you just put yourself under the law of Moses.

        And since Aidan wishes to “obey”, in such manner, he just put himself under “works”, rather than “grace”. Both those words are exact opposites.

        Anything not of faith is a sin. But not so under the law of Moses. Any violation of commandments is a sin under the law.

        Abraham was before the law, so how did he do things? He was justified by what? Works, or Faith? What works? There was no Law of Moses during his time.

        Ed Chapman

      8. Hi Aidan – I think you know that the word “psalm” means a song sung with a stringed instrument. You might also know that there is no verse in the NT commanding the regulative principle, which is self-defeating for those who want to dogmatically impose that principle as a command to the church. And you might also know how much the NT points to the use of the OT as a good thing for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.

      9. Hi Brian – I think you know that its the context which determines the “instrument” that is to be used — and in this passage, it is the heart (Eph. 5:19). Also, if there is no “regulative principle” in the NT as you suggest, where does the command to assemble come from? And what about partaking in the Lord’s Supper on the 1st day of the week? Where does that come from? And, the very command to sing with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs — are these not a “regulative principle” imposed by the NT?

        Do you have rules for worship in the church you go to? If so, where do these regulative principles come from? From heaven or from men? If it doesn’t come from heaven then scrap it! But if you teach that men can go to the OT to instruct them for worship under the NT you are greatly mistaken!  How then will you object if they build an altar, wear priestly garbs, and use incense like in OT worship? Perhaps you could visit the Catholic Church for some ideas on that one!

        As for me, I think that I have pretty much established authority for acapella music in NT worship — and that’s as far as I’m prepared to venture.

      10. Thank you, Aidan, as usual, for your thoughtful reply. You need to look up the meaning of “regulative principle”. It says that only things commanded or are clear examples in the NT are morally right for Christians to do. The problem is there is no written command in the NT that says – “Do only the things commanded or are clear examples in the NT”.

        The regulative principle is a man-made tradition. The NT is indeed our final authority for faith and practice, and it teaches us how to use the OT. Yes we should obey NT commands. But there is no command that says only do what the NT commands. 👍

      11. I did already look it up! Your position then must be “the normative principle” which is the idea that anything not expressly forbidden by Scripture can be used in corporate worship. This only works if you have generic authority for a particular practice. But if there is absolutely no authority for something in scripture then it is an unauthorized practice. Don’t you know that the silence of the scriptures is “prohibitive” not “permissive?” (Heb. 7:13,14).

        You said:- “Yes we should obey NT commands. But there is no command that says only do what the NT commands.”

        You seem to be unaware that the NT commands are simply the Lord’s commands! When Paul wrote “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17) he meant that we must have the Lord’s authority for ALL that we do! The fact that Jesus “is head over all things to the church, which is His body” means that the body does only that which the head commands. Or to put it another way, what the NT commands since it is His word!

        And since you are so fond of referring to the OT lets see what it says about this principle:

        *Deut 4:2* “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, so that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I am commanding you.”

        *Deut 12:32* “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take anything away from it.”

        *Prov 30:6* “Do not add to His words lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.”

        And the same principle holds true in the NT:

        In *Luke 20:4* the question was asked “was it from heaven or from men?” If we only do what God’s word says then we know it is from heaven. Anything beyond His word is from men!

        *1 Cor 4:6* “..that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written,..”

        *Col 3:17* “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (i.e. by His authority).

        *1 Pet 4:11* “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God..”

        *Rev 22:18* “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;”

        *Rev 22:19* “and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”

        Yes we should only do what the NT has authorized us to do! Where the scriptures stop our teaching and practice must stop.

      12. Again, Aidan, thank you for your thoughtful reply. Yes, it is true that everything falls in some sense under the commands and examples of the NT. But there are many general positive commands in the NT which are not defined as to the parameters of their application. And you still have to give me a verse that says obedience must be only to things given specific examples or as commands with recognized parameters spelled out in the NT.

        You mentioned the command “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus”. A person playing an instrument in worship “in the name of the Lord Jesus” is fulfilling that command.

        No, it’s not either the regulative or normative principle. The normative principle also isn’t given as a command in the NT in any clear verse. Actually, the NT teaches a combination of both the regulative and normative principles, imo

        If you want to read my view in detail for NT ethics – https://www.academia.edu/9828617/The_Superiority_of_a_Dispensational_Approach_to_Ethics

        I’ve nothing more to add, because we both know how stubborn we both are. 😉

      13. Aidan,

        You’ve got some strange beliefs, buddy. I have yet to see the word “corporate” in the bible.

        Apparently, what is being missed by you in your CORPORATION is that the law of Moses came AFTER Abraham. I’m still trying to figure out why religious fokes call it a CORPORATE to begin with. I think that the bible just calls it CHURCH.

        The Law of Moses was given to the Jews only, not the Gentiles, so I have no idea why you are quoting UNRELATED to the conversation scripture from the Law of Moses to try to prove your point. It has no bearing on the topic we are discussing at all.

        You quoted the following:
        *Deut 4:2* “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, so that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I am commanding you.”

        *Deut 12:32* “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take anything away from it.”

        *Prov 30:6* “Do not add to His words lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.”

        That has nothing to do with us lowly Gentiles. That’s all Jew stuff, and that is the difference between LETTER of the law and spirit of the law.

        They had the letter, they had the do’s and don’t’s.

        They couldn’t eat meat offered to idols. Remember that command while reciting your above verses? But we can. 1 Cor 8 tells us we can. FREEDOM.

        Oh, and we can eat a ham sandwich and bacon. Keep the commandments? LOLOLOL. I’m not giving up my freedom for your dogma.

        And then, you use the following examples:

        *Rev 22:18* “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;”

        *Rev 22:19* “and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”

        ******************BUT YOU IGNORED THE WORD “PROPHESY” from both verses, indicating that you MISUSED those two references in order to try to prove your point. The book of Revelation is about PROPHESY of the end times, and that is what it is discussing. It has nothing at all to do with what you are trying to make a point of.

        The Catholics do that same tactic on the following:

        2 Peter 1:20
        Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

        They think it states that no one can interpret SCRIPTURE, except those who wear the dunce caps and dresses in Rome. But that’s not even close to what it states.

        It states that “PROPHECY, AS WRITTEN IN THE SCRIPTURE IS NOT ABOUT ME, OR YOU”. It’s about one person and one person alone, and that is Jesus.

        I am not a fan of those who misuse scripture as you just did here.

        We are FREE to worship God as we see fit. And that was the purpose of our 1st Amendment Rights in our Constitution, having come from the Church of England where they DICTATED how to worship.

        You need to get back to Abraham, if, of course, you are a son of Abraham, as the bible states. Letter of the law vs. spirit of the law. The words “OF THE” is key here, because it shows a freedom from the law, which you wish to return to, which was something that was never given to you to begin with.

        Ed Chapman

      14. Aidan,

        What is sin regarding a Christian? The same as it was regarding Abraham.

        Anything not of faith is sin.

        Abraham didn’t have the law of Moses telling him how to blow his nose, or cut his fingernails.

        We, as Abraham was, are not under the law of Moses. We are under the law of Christ:

        and being under the law of Christ is the law of faith. And in that law of faith is only 2 commandments. Love God and Love People.

        And John tells us that if we don’t love people, then we don’t love God. So, loving God is by loving people. After all, people is his creation.

        It’s obvious that you really don’t know the freedom that you have under the law of Christ.

        It is you who are ADDING to scripture by COMMANDING things that Jesus never said, by insinuating that instruments are unauthorized. And I’m gonna ask, BY WHAT AUTHORITY do you cite that instruments are not authorized? Just because you can’t find it written in the NT?

        The JW’s do that already regarding holidays and birthdays. And now you do the same thing as they do. Ughhhh.

        Ed Chapman

      15. As ever, Brian, it’s always a pleasure. I found your article interesting but didn’t read all of it. It looks like it would be suitable in a more general discussion. Also, I find the “regulative principle,” in the definition you gave to be too narrow in its scope for determining what is authorized and what is not. For example, what about “necessary inferences,” or what about “specific and general commands or statements,” and what about the “silence of the scriptures?” Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to include any of these principles of scripture for determining what is or isn’t authorized.

        At the start of this conversation I gave you a very specific NT verse (Eph. 5:19; cf, Col. 3:16) that under apostolic authority commands singing and making melody “with your heart to the Lord.” The careful student will discover THAT THE HEART IS THE INSTRUMENT in this verse. As we speak to one another in our songs, we must sing and make melody with our hearts to the Lord. I agree with the principle in your article that an apostolic charge in the NT supersedes what was instructed under the Old Covenant. This is precisely what we have here with no call for mechanical instruments anymore. As I’ve said, this indeed authorizes acapella music for the worship of the church AND gives no approval or authorization for anything beyond that. Unfortunately, you have been unable to produce any NT verse that would approve or affirm the use of mechanical instruments of music in the church today. Instead, you have appealed to the silence of the scriptures which is prohibitive rather than permissive in nature according to what we learn from Hebrews 7:13-14. Other than that, all you can do is give your opinion which in the end contradicts the main evidence found in the NT.

        You also misunderstand what it means to “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” which is very unfortunate even though I tried to explain it to you!

        Also, you said:  “Actually, the NT teaches a combination of both the regulative and normative principles, imo”

        Response: That’s funny because earlier you said that “The regulative principle is a man-made tradition.” ??? Well, if it is nothing more than a man-made tradition it is not something found in the NT. It is either one or the other, it can’t be both! And, if it is somehow taught in the NT, then it is not a man-made tradition but rather an instruction from heaven that men must obey.

        The music in the early church was vocal music. The Christians sang psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. The use of mechanical instruments of music arose centuries after New Testament times and without the approval of God. Christians today who wish to do that which is known to be pleasing to God will sing to Him without the use of mechanical instruments of music.

        Thanks for the conversation!

      16. Thank you for your reply, Aidan. We’ve given others some things to think about. Out of curiosity, does your congregation own a building for worship, and what NT verses would you use to support using buildings for worship? How about a baptistry? How about “church” weddings? Thanks.

      17. Hi Brian,
        Yes we do own our own building and have a baptistery, but we don’t have weddings at the church because some have a conscience against using the building for such. How do we establish scriptural authority for these and many other things?

        Step 1: By using the three basic ways in which the bible teaches us. Another way of stating this is three ways by which authority may be established. It should be clear from the outset that theses are not rules of interpretation which we impose upon the Scriptures, but rules which are found in the Scripture.

        THE BIBLE TEACHES IN THREE WAYS.
        The bible teaches by direct command, approved examples, and necessary inferences or conclusions.

        A. DIRECT COMMAND or STATEMENT. Examples: 1. All must repent (Acts 17:30; Acts 2:38,39) 2. You shall not murder (Ex. 20:13; Rom. 13:9).

        B. APPROVED EXAMPLES. By this we mean the practice of the people of God in the NT under the guidance of the apostles. This is sometimes called an “approved apostolic example.” 1. Assembling on the first day of every week (Acts 20:7) 2. Observance of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of every week (Acts 20:7) given a stamp of approval by the apostle Paul who joined them and preached.

        C. NECESSARY INFERENCE or IMPLICATION or CONCLUSION. This is something that is neither expressly stated nor specifically exemplified, yet is necessarily implied or inferred by the clear import and meaning of the language used.
        1. We infer from the language and context that Philip baptized the eunuch, rather than the eunuch baptizing Philip, though such is not specifically stated (Acts 8:38).
        2. Not all inferences or conclusions are necessary. For example, some infer infant baptism from the household baptisms of Acts 16:15,33. This is not a necessary inference but a forced one. There are many households without infants.

        THE CONTROVERSY OVER THE GENTILES AND THE LAW OF MOSES. The controversy over whether the Gentile Christians must keep the Law of Moses was settled by the use of these three methods (Acts 15). The apostles and elders appealed to this same threefold rule. It can easily be understood simply on the basis of logic.

        The question (vs. 5): Is it necessary for Gentile Christians to keep the Law of Moses (circumcision)? Observe how they reached their conclusion.

        A. NECESSARY INFERENCE.
        1. Peter drew many inferences from the things that occurred in (Acts 10:17,28,34,47; 11:17,18).
        2. Peter concluded that God made no distinction between Jews and Gentiles (Acts 15:7-9).
        3. James drew the conclusion, “Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God…” (Acts 15:19).
        4. No inference could be drawn that the Gentiles must keep the law. Such a conclusion would have been a forced one.

        B. APPROVED EXAMPLES.
        1. Peter said: God gave them the Holy Spirit, even as He did to the Jews (Acts 15:8).
        2. Barnabas and Paul: Related how God did many signs and wonders through them among the Gentiles (Acts 15:12).
        3. These examples showed the multitude that God had accepted the Gentiles WITHOUT obedience to the Law of Moses.

        C. DIRECT STATEMENTS OR COMMANDS FROM GOD.
        1. Peter related how he was commanded to go to the house of Cornelius so the Gentiles would hear the gospel and believe (Acts 15:7).
        2. James then cited the direct words of the prophets (Acts 15:15-18) to show how they agreed with this.
        3. God did not tell the Gentiles to keep the law of Moses.

        This is nearly like your article, but don’t worry, be patient, I’ll soon be getting to answering your questions.

      18. I’m guessing, Aidan, you don’t have ready answers so you’re going to have to do some research from your denominational traditions to find answers. Fine. But I think you see that my questions point to obvious conflicts with your rejection of using musical instruments for worship, since it is just like your use of a building for worship or baptistry for baptisms! But I look forward to your reply. 😀

      19. By the way, I’m not doing research, Brian, as you have assumed. But, just like the 20-page article you gave me to read to show how you establish authority for ethical decision-making, it takes time and preparation for people to understand how scriptural authority is established for any practice. This is stuff from the Scriptures that I have known for many years. Have you even properly read through what I posted?

        Did you know that Jesus used these three methods in His teaching? Obviously, He used direct statements/commands and OT examples to teach the truth. But, He even used the grammar in Exodus 3:6 to teach by way of “necessary inference” concerning the resurrection. And, what’s great is that the common people put two and two together and got it. Another example is when the disciples forgot to bring bread and He said beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. But when they didn’t understand Jesus rebukes them for their hardness of heart. He expected that they should have made the “necessary conclusion” by putting two and two together from previous examples (Matt. 16:5-12). They weren’t being spiritually minded at the time! When you think about it, Brian, these three ways are not only used in the bible, but people of the world use them in everyday life, all the time without realizing it. If you think hard enough you’ll see what I’m saying is true.

        And, do YOU not use a building with facilities for worship? If so, on what basis do you scripturally justify it? Otherwise, you are just following another tradition of men. I’ll see you in my next post!

      20. Still waiting Aidan! Yes I did read your view of ethical decision making. We actually agree on a lot. But it sounds like you are going to say there are verses that support the “necessary inference” that buildings and baptistries should be used for worship, but that only “spiritually minded” people like you can see those inferences are necessary! That smacks of gnosticism.

        In logic a “necessary inference” is based on two clearly stated true premises that must logically lead to one conclusion. I wait to read your proof where congregational owning of a building and use of a baptistry are necessary inferences based on two clear statements in Scripture.

      21. Hi Brian. It appears that I picked up on this conversation midway. I have been trying to get my theological bearing on the issue at hand. I am gathering one thing – that the arguments relates what is permissible for believers in the light of OT laws?

      22. Hi Ezekiel, There are some denonimations, like Aidan’s, who try to be loyal to what’s called the Regulative Principle – (wiki) “The regulative principle of worship is a Christian doctrine, held by some Calvinists and Anabaptists, that God commands churches to conduct public services of worship using certain distinct elements affirmatively found in scripture, and conversely, that God prohibits any and all other practices in public worship. The doctrine further determines these affirmed elements to be those set forth in scripture by express commands or examples, or if not expressed, those which are implied logically by good and necessary consequence.” One clear example is not to use musical instruments in worship, because the NT gives no command or example for it, though one could argue, imo, using instruments is “logically” implied as much as using building and baptistries are implied for worship.

        Others follow what’s called the Normative Principle – (wiki) “The normative principle of worship is a Christian theological principle that teaches that worship in the Church can include those elements that are not prohibited by Scripture. The normative principle teaches that whatever is not prohibited in Scripture is permitted in worship, as long as it is agreeable to the peace and unity of the Church. In short, there must be agreement with the general practice of the Church and no prohibition in Scripture for whatever is done in worship.”

        My view is that the normative principle must submit to the regulative principle, and that the regulative principle must include the normative principle. So it is not only what “is agreeable to the peace and unity of the Church”, but the practice that is “not prohibited by Scripture” must fit under some positive command of NT Scripture, a dozen of which are pretty general and universal (like do all with love, and do all in the name of Christ). This does limit the normative principle further, but also opens up the practice of the regulative principle more than some denominations like to, since their control of their members depends on obedience to their subjective use, imo, of the regulative principle.

      23. You are forgetting the time difference between us, Brian! I’m at work while trying to juggle answering your questions in a timely fashion. This is in real time, so I’m afraid you’ll have to be patient and wait. And, No! I wouldn’t say that a church should own a building for worship. The use of a building is simply an expedient to the command to assemble (1 Cor. 10:23). And stop playing the hypocrite by pretending that you don’t try to be “spiritually minded.” You don’t have to be spiritually minded to see a necessary inference. I made it clear that even the world use “necessary inferences” in their daily lives.

        And you don’t need two clear statements of scripture for a necessary inference. What two scriptures did Jesus use for the necessary inference in Exodus 3:6? Yet it was enough for the people, even His enemies, to make the necessary conclusion. You said your questions were “out of curiosity,” is that all it was, Brian? Let’s say you find that I’m being inconsistent with the truth, what would that prove? It would simply prove that I was inconsistent, but it wouldn’t change the truth. The truth would still remain the truth whether you recognized it or not!

      24. You have the time Aidan, to give lengthy replies to my recent interactions, but you do not have a quick reply to two simple examples I honestly asked about. I had figured your denomination must have met up with these questions before and so you would have had Scripture references handy to show from where they got their spiritual “inferences”.

        No – we will disagree on the meaning of “necessary inference”. It must be based on clear stated premises that, yes, even the common man can see are clear statements, even if they don’t believe the truth of them. Ex 3:6 is a good example. Jesus was using a clear statement that God made to Moses – “I am the God of Abraham…”, not “I was the God of Abraham”. He was making a logically necessary inference from that clear statement.

        Do you know how songs are composed for worship? I doubt that any were composed that you sing on Sunday that were composed without using musical instruments. Even the notation of musical notes are “instruments”, and hymn books are “instruments”, neither of which are commanded, have examples, or are necessarily inferred in the NT!

      25. I agree, I could have given much shorter answers to your questions, but your responses have confirmed that you first need to know and understand the biblical principles I would use to establish authority.

        You wrote: “Ex 3:6 is a good example. Jesus was using a clear statement that God made to Moses – “I am the God of Abraham…”, not “I was the God of Abraham”. He was making a logically necessary inference from that clear statement.”

        Response: So we are in agreement that you don’t need two passages of Scripture to establish a “necessary inference” as you had said in your previous post. As long as that is clear from here on in. As you said, “He was making a logically necessary inference from that clear statement.” That’s all I’m saying we should do too!

        Your last comment: “Even the notation of musical notes are “instruments”, and hymn books are “instruments”, neither of which are commanded, have examples, or are necessarily inferred in the NT!” Shows me , Brian, that you don’t use the biblical principles of General (Generic) and Specific authority, and the biblical principle of expediencies to determine what the church can or cannot not do. I was about to explain these things (short version) in my next post until we got side-tracked.

      26. Aidan, Jesus supplied the second statement in the logical inference – “God is God of the living and not of the dead.” Based on the OT statement and Jesus statement He made the necessary inference that there is indeed a resurrection of the dead. Yes, logical inferences are based on two premises that lead to a conclusion. Even when phrased as “if-then” there is an assumed middle statement “and the if premise is true”. The third law of logic is based on the excluded middle which means every logical inference is based on two premises that have the same middle statement. It cannot be excluded from either premise, and it only exists because there is always two premises in every argument used to point to a conclusion.

        Now you’re going to also have to give clear verses that establish what you mean by “the principles of General and Specific Authority”, and the “principle of Expediencies”, or I’m going to think those principles made up from outside of Scripture. Please give your biblical support for buildings and baptistries first! I think I have waited long enough! 😉 But the use of instruments and hymn books to be expedient aids in worship certainly seems good to me!

      27. Once we have established authority for something either by direct statement, approved example, or necessary inference (or a combination of these) the next question is, what kind of authority is it? All authority is either General or Specific authority. General authority “includes” while Specific authority “excludes.” What do I mean by that? Note the following:

        1. THE PRINCIPLE OF GENERAL AUTHORITY and how it “includes.”

        a. “Go” Matthew 28:19: — How?… [Walk, Ride, Fly, Sail, etc,] Which? –[God did not specify. He gave us the choice. Whatever is expedient. It could include any or all of these. No man has the right to bind a specific method]

        b. “Teach” Matthew 28:19-20: — How?…[Private, Public, or Classes, etc,] Which? –[God did not specify. He gave us the choice. Whatever is expedient. No man has a right to bind any specific arrangment or method].

        c. “Assemble” Hebrews 10:25: — Where?…[Home, Rented Building, Own Building, Outside, etc,] Which? –[God did not specify. Left to man’s judgment to select most expedient].

        d. “Sing” Ephesians 5:29; Colossians 3:16: — How?…[With book, Leader, By memory, Alto, Soprano, etc,] Which? –[ God did not specify but left the choice to man’s judgment for what is most expedient. No man has the right to legislate or specify]

        e. Noah “Make” an ark Genesis 6:14: — How?…[God did not specify what tools but left it up to Noah to include whatever tools or equipment would aid in building it once it did not violate any other command].

        2. THE PRINCIPLE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORITY and how it “excludes.”

        a. Noah’s Ark. Build it of “Gopher Wood” Genesis 6:14:
        Gopher wood excluded…[Oak, Popular, Cedar, Pine, etc,]. It excludes ANY SUBSTITUTION [God specified Gopher. No man had the right to add another kind. Such would NOT be expedients but additions, substitutions].

        b. “The water of cleansing,” Numbers 19:2.
        It says the ashes of a red heifer. A red heifer excluded…[Sheep, Goat, Pig, Camel, and every other colour of heifer]. God specified not only the kind of animal but even the colour. No man had a right to add another colour or kind. Such would not be expedients but additions, substitutions.

        c. “The Lord’s Supper” Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23.
        God specified the first day of the week…[The first day of the week excludes every other day]
        God specified the elements — bread, fruit of the vine. They exclude every other element…[Roast Lamb, Sweet Milk, etc,]

        d. Music. “Sing” Ephesians 5:19.
        Excludes every other “kind” of music. Instrumental music is another kind of music and is excluded by the fact that God specified “sing.” It excludes “playing” because playing is not “singing”…[Such would not be an expedient, but rather, an addition or substitution]. No man has the right to grant a liberty which God’s authority EXCLUDES.

        e. Collective Functioning. “The Congregation” (local church) Acts 14:23; 20:28; Phil. 1:1
        God has specified congregational government under elders or bishops. There is nothing larger or smaller in the NT scriptures. Man has to accept God’s arrangement and be satisfied or rebel against divine authority by substituting or adding some other organization.

        CONCLUSION:
        In order for a thing to be authorized there must be either a DIRECT PRECEPT, APPROVED EXAMPLE, or NECESSARY INFERENCE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES: If that means of authority is GENERAL then anything included within the scope of the thing authorized is permissible. But if God has SPECIFIED the kind or method of execution then no substitute or addition is allowed but is excluded. In such cases God has left man no choice but to respect God’s stipulations by obeying His word or rebelling against divine authority by substituting or adding in his own will.

        One final point regarding buildings. I believe there are also enough EXAMPLES in the NT to show that churches assembled in homes and buildings including perhaps even a synagogue in James. With that said, I hope all of this suffices in showing you how to establish biblical authority for everything in the word of God.😀

      28. Aidan,

        With all due respect, Aidan, my friend, that’s gotta be the dumbest thing I’ve read since becoming a Christian, that you would even have to STRAIN AT A GNAT to even try to find authorized vs. unauthorized.

        For example, The Lord’s Supper is a metaphor that represents the Last Supper at Passover. They ate more than bread there. It was Passover, where the “required” meal included lamb, and a whole lot of other stuff, like bitter something or other, as well.

        However, some people from Catholics to various other protestant churches calls this Communion.

        You reference:
        1 Cor 11:23

        Was that Passover on SUNDAY? I think it was on Thursday night (Time “reckoning” to be Friday for the Jews (Nisan 15). See Luke 22:1. We break bread at my place 3 times a day, calling it Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Not just on Sunday.

        But my reference would be:

        1 Corinthians 11:17-34 is the COMPLETE story. But it seems that people are isolating the story down to a couple of verses only, thereby CREATING a ritual called, Communion.

        When you read the complete story, you will see that this is nothing more than a Chicken Dinner (with all the fixings), and with desert included (Apple Pie) CHURCH BANQUET with the teaching of ETHICS on how to conduct yourselves at the dinner table at this church banquet, and Paul uses the LAST SUPPER (Passover meal), as his example as how to be polite, and this church BANQUET is called The Lords Supper. It’s not about Bread or Wine. It’s about eating and drinking, tho.

        Again, this is about ETHICS, on how to conduct yourself at the dinner table. Something that mom should have taught you as a child in the first place.

        Let’s review:

        First, let’s see what Luke has to say regarding “do this is memory of me”:

        Luke 22:19
        Then Jesus took bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He handed it to them and said, “This is my body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do this in memory of me.”

        NOTE: It is important to note that none of the gospels indicate anything about “EVERYTIME YOU DRINK OF THIS CUP, DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME. But Paul mentions those exact words. Do you know what that tells me? That tells me that there is a MISSING testimony that never got put in the Canon of scripture of the GOSPELS. But that’s another topic.

        Now, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 (The COMPLETE story). Let’s do this in the NIV version, then you can go back to your favorite version of your preference.

        17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good.

        18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.

        19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.

        20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat,

        21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk.

        22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

        23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,

        24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

        NOTE: See Luke 22:19

        25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

        26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

        27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

        28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.

        29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.

        NOTE: DING DING. Verse 29 “body of Christ” is the “congregation”, not Jesus’ physical body. See Verse 31 below.

        30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

        31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.

        32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

        33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together.

        34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions.

        Conclusion:

        Is this really about a ritual called communion, or is it about a church banquet? A Chicken Dinner at Church! Or eating bread only?

      29. Thank you Aidan for another thoughtful reply, though I’m guessing you won’t see how inconsistent your 1d is with your 2d. Singing with an accompanying hymnbook is no different than singing with an accompanying instrument, in my spiritually minded inference. 😉

        Your reasoning might only exclude playing an instrument by itself as a way to fulfill the command to be filled with the Holy Spirit. There is no command that says, sing only a capella, or sing only when with other Christians. But you can infer that all singing, if it is to seek obeying the command to keep being filled with the Spirit, should be sung in the heart to the Lord, whether with or without hymnbooks or instruments.

        You left out giving proof for baptistries for some reason, but you don’t need to give me the verses now. I’ve pushed too much already, I think, and you have clarified what is or isn’t your denomination’s thinking on these types of things which are not commanded or given examples in the NT.

        And if the Scripture gives only examples of meeting in homes owned and lived in by believers then that seems to be the specific authority, according to your definitions, that purchased buildings by the group are to be prohibited.

        I hope the Lord helps you see the man-made traditions that your denomination has imposed upon Scriptures. I certainly know why denominations do that.

      30. Brian, you wrote: “Thank you Aidan for another thoughtful reply, though I’m guessing you won’t see how inconsistent your 1d is with your 2d. Singing with an accompanying hymnbook is no different than singing with an accompanying instrument, in my spiritually minded inference. ”

        Response:  I think the thoughtful reader will see that your perception of inconsistency on my part — grows out of your lack of knowledge concerning the nature of authority. When authority is established, it is either General or Specific. And, as explained in my previous post 1d is _general or generic_ while 2d is _specific authority._ Therefore there is no inconsistency between them. God has specified the kind of music He wants in worship, namely, “singing” — nothing more, nothing less. People might not realize this, but “instrumental music” is actually another _kind_ of music and is nowhere authorized in Ephesians 5:19, or Colossians 3:16 for that matter. Now, if the only kind of music God authorized in the NT is singing, then, “singing with an accompanying instrument” is not an expedient, but another kind of music that has NOT been authorized by God.

        But how is this different than “singing with an accompanying hymnbook?” Hymnbooks are simply used as an aid to expedite the generic command to sing. They in no way violate God’s command by adding ANOTHER TYPE of music into the worship of the church. It’s as simple as that!

        We have authority to baptize according to (Mt. 28:19; Mk. 16:16). But, because God did not SPECIFY WHERE to baptize He left it to man’s judgment to select what is most expedient. This is what makes us free to have a baptistery to baptize people in, or to baptize anywhere else for that matter. This of course does not mean that you must have a baptistery, but as I said, such is authorized under a GENERIC COMMAND where God has told us to baptize but HASN’T SPECIFIED WHERE. The baptistery has often proven to be most expedient (1 Cor 10:23).

        Regarding your contention on the purchase of buildings, and the examples that churches only met in homes! What trumps all of this is that Jesus has made it clear it is no longer the PLACE that matters but only that we worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:21-24). THEREFORE, NO MAN CAN LIMIT WORSHIP TO SOMEBODY’S HOUSE! It is also erroneous to assume that in order for a thing to be scriptural it must be “specifically authorized.”  Why? Because it leaves out the fact that all authority is either General or Specific and not just one thing.

        Let me just say in finishing, that there is no other way by which truth can be revealed except in at least one of these three ways, by express statement, approved example, or necessary inference! This is how the Bible directs us and reveals that His authority both _generic_ and _specific._ But I believe that I have already scripturally demonstrated these things enough for you to know the truth.

        Therefore, I would hope that the Lord opens your eyes to His word in this matter so that you might learn to accurately handle that word and come to the knowledge of the truth. 

        Thank you, Brian, for the time and opportunity.🙂 

      31. Aidan,

        You are wrong on all accounts, Aidan. You are just too stubborn to realize it.

        I will say it again, one last time:

        I am going to approach Ephesians 5:19 with sentence structure, from the KJV, and not any other version.

        Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

        Actually, I’m going to expand this, due to the semi-colon.

        18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

        19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

        20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

        21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

        Ah, yes, the complete sentence.

        Notice first, that the KJV in verse 19 states, “Speaking to yourselves”, rather than “speak to one another”.

        Then look up the Strong’s Concordance as it applies to the KJV for the word “yourselves” in Ephesians 5:19.

        Yourselves is a pronoun, but it is singular in this case, not plural. The “s” at the end of “yourselves” is indicating that the audience is more than one person, of course, but it is discussing a single persons action, not a group action.

        In other words, if the audience was only one person, it would state “speak to yourself”

        There are other Greek words for the plural use of “yourselves” *(G240), such as:

        John 6:43 Jesus G2424 therefore G3767 answered G611 and G2532 said G2036 unto them, G846 Murmur G1111 not G3361 among G3326 yourselves. G240

        and

        John 16:19 Now G3767 Jesus G2424 knew G1097 that G3754 they were desirous G2309 to ask G2065 him, G846 and G2532 said G2036 unto them, G846 Do ye enquire G2212 among G3326 yourselves G240 of G4012 that G5127 G3754 I said, G2036 A little while, G3397 and G2532 ye shall G2334 ➔ not G3756 see G2334 me: G3165 and G2532 again, G3825 a little while, G3397 and G2532 ye shall see G3700 me? G3165

        But Ephesians 5:19 “yourselves” is:

        Ephesians 5:19 Speaking G2980 to yourselves G1438 in psalms G5568 and G2532 hymns G5215 and G2532 spiritual G4152 songs, G5603 singing G103 and G2532 making melody G5567 in G1722 your G5216 heart G2588 to the Lord; G2962

        G1438 ἑαυτοῦ heautoû, heh-ow-too’; from a reflexive pronoun otherwise obsolete and the genitive case (dative case or accusative case) of G846; him- (her-, it-, them-, also (in conjunction with the personal pronoun of the other persons) my-, thy-, our-, your-) self (selves), etc.

        G846 αὐτός autós, ow-tos’; from the particle αὖ aû (perhaps akin to the base of G109 through the idea of a baffling wind) (backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the comparative G1438) of the third person , and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons:—her, it(-self), one, the other, (mine) own, said, (self-), the) same, ((him-, my-, thy- )self, (your-)selves, she, that, their(-s), them(-selves), there(-at, – by, -in, -into, -of, -on, -with), they, (these) things, this (man), those, together, very, which. Compare G848.

        G848 αὑτοῦ hautoû, how-too’; contracted for G1438; self (in some oblique case or reflexively, relation):—her (own), (of) him(-self), his (own), of it, thee, their (own), them(-selves), they.

        Next:

        Notice, if you will, the sentence structure of:

        “singing and making melody in your heart”.

        Notice, if you will, where the comma is not? There is not a comma after the word “singing”, or should I really say, there is not a comma before the word “and”.

        That is important, because this shows that the singing is “in your heart” as well as melody.

        If it were dealing with only melody in the heart, then there would be a comma before the word “and”. So, both singing and melody is in the heart, meaning that not a word is vocally spoken.

        The conclusion is, when taken into account the whole sentence beginning with verse 18, and ending with verse 21, this is not, I repeat not discussing Sunday Morning Worship Service at Church at all.

        This is discussing what to do outside of church. Again, there is two checks and balances to go from here. The first being the singular “yourselves”, and the other is that both singing and melody is in the heart, where there is no vocal cords used to sing.

        And that is today’s English lesson on sentence structuring, and definitions of words, and the use of commas.

      32. Aidan said:

        “d. Music. “Sing” Ephesians 5:19.
        Excludes every other “kind” of music. Instrumental music is another kind of music and is excluded by the fact that God specified “sing.” It excludes “playing” because playing is not “singing”…[Such would not be an expedient, but rather, an addition or substitution]. No man has the right to grant a liberty which God’s authority EXCLUDES.]”

        But I say:

        Let’s look at Ephesians 5:19, shall we?

        Ephesians 5:19
        Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

        This is not about a gathering at church on Sunday breaking bread. This is when you are outside of church by yourself. Speaking to yourselves in psalms, etc.

        It’s no different than hearing mom’s annoying humming in the car on a long trip.

        So, this shows that you are once again misusing scripture to attempt to prove your point.

        But in regards to “singing” (And I must note that I don’t believe that any instruments were made of Gopher Wood…lol).

        Psalm 33:2
        Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.

        1 Chronicles 13:8
        And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.

        1 Chronicles 15:16
        And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.

        1 Chronicles 15:19
        So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were appointed to sound with cymbals of brass;

        2 Chronicles 5:12
        Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:)

        2 Chronicles 5:13
        It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;

        2 Chronicles 30:21
        And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the Lord.

        Nehemiah 12:27
        And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.

        Psalm 33:3
        Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

        NOTE: Notice the word “new” above? Old fuddy duddy hymnals are out of date!

        Psalm 71:22
        I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.

        Psalm 98:5
        Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.

        Psalm 144:9
        I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.

        Psalm 147:7
        Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

        Psalm 149:3
        Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.

        Conclusion:

        If God had a problem with instruments, he would have commanded that they be stopped during worship in the Law of Moses.

        But again, you misused Ephesians 5:19, when it was not discussing worship IN CHURCH at all, but when you are NOT in church, and from the wording, it sounds as tho the person is BY THEMSELF, alone.

        Ed Chapman

      33. Aidan,

        Let’s expand Ephesians 5:19 for more clarification as to my conclusion that Ephesians 5:19 is when one is outside of a Sunday only breaking bread building:

        Ephesians 5:18-21
        18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

        19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

        20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

        21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

        Notice the period at the end of verse 21, whereas there is a semi-colon at the end of verses 18-20?

        Now, I know that Greek has no punctuation, but translators put them there. I trust the translators.

        The previous was the following:

        17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

        After verse 21 is the following:

        22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

        So, verse 19 cannot be isolated by itself, as it is of the same sentence as verses 18-21.

        And in reading the whole chapter, it’s discussing your Christian behavior/conduct outside of the church gathering on Sunday’s.

        It is amusing the conclusions people come up with, though.

        Ed Chapman

      34. Aidan,

        Speaking of punctuation:

        Ephesians 5:19
        Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

        Notice where the comma’s are not?

        There is no comma after the word “singing”. Singing and making melody is both “in your heart”, not with vocal cords.

        Now, if I were to put a comma after the word “singing”, then you make melody in your heart, singing with your vocal cords.

        But without a comma after the word “singing”, then both singing and making melody in your heart is what it states.

        The comma is important here.

        That, coupled with “speaking to yourselves”, is an extremely great indicator that it’s all done without speaking a word vocally.

        Ed Chapman

      35. Aidan,

        Well, your “Church of Christ” seems to use a different Bible Version than that of the KJV.

        Words matter.

        From one “Church of Christ” website defending what you are defending, it states that Ephesians 5:19 reads:

        speaking to one another in psalms

        But the KJV states:

        Speaking to yourselves in psalms

        Based on what I already laid out, your version can’t be correct, because of the Strong’s concordance use of the word “yourselves” is personal, not from one to another, and by personal, I mean singular personal pronoun.

        yourselves G1438

        Now, the plural form of “yourselves” is G5210, and that word isn’t used in Ephesians 5:19.

        Now, it needs to be known that the Strong’s Concordance is in conjunction with the KJV, which was translated from the original Greek manuscripts. Therefore, I couldn’t even begin to figure out how your translators got “speaking to one another” out of G1438.

        Eph 5:19
        Speaking G2980 to yourselves G1438 in psalms G5568 and G2532 hymns G5215 and G2532 spiritual G4152 songs, G5603 singing G103 and G2532 making melody G5567 in G1722 your G5216 heart G2588 to the Lord; G2962

        And, as I said before, based on the non-use of a comma after the word “singing”, then both singing and making melody in your heart is the proper rendering. Notice it doesn’t say FROM the heart, either, just “IN” the heart.

        So there is a check and balance here by two different means. The first, yourselves, the other, both singing and making melody in the heart.

        Greek words matter.

        Again, my sister dragged me to the Church of Christ when she was going thru her alcoholism sobriety phase. I know all about this. I just can’t remember what Bible version they used.

        I have nothing against acapella at all.

        I just have a problem with church’s that don’t know how to comprehend what they read from the bible.

        If worship isn’t from the heart, but rules, then that isn’t worship at all.

        Isaiah 29:13/Matthew 15:8/Mark 7:6
        Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

        Seriously, Aidan, do you actually read Ephesians 5:19 as an event that happens in church on Sunday, or do you see it as an event that happens outside of church, while alone

        Ed Chapman

      36. Ed – ἑαυτοῖς – in Eph 5:19 is plural! Whether it is to yourselves as individuals or to yourselves as a group is not made clear. I think both are in view, starting with yourself and then including others. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

      37. Brian, the audience is plural, the action is singular. It can be proven by the nonexistent comma before the word ,”and” after the word “singing” bringing the conjunction “and” together with the word “melody in the heart”. Meaning that the singing is in the heart as well, not just the melody. That’s what makes it clear. This is not about corporate worship. Put the whole chapter together, especially the previous verses and the following verses, as verse 18 ends in a semicolon, and verse 19 ends in a semicolon, as well. You can’t isolate verse 19.

      38. Come on Ed! Are you saying you don’t have to be filled with the Spirit when singing hymns together, giving thanks together, submitting to one another. Verse 19 can’t be separated from 18, 20 and 21 either.

        At least you should admit you were wrong about the Greek word being singular. And you wonder why people avoid discussions with you. 🙄

      39. That’s not what Ephesians 5:19 is discussing. If it is, then put a comma after the word “singing”. Then it will say what you and Aidan imply.

      40. No, I’m not wrong with that Greek word being singular. The usage determines, and there is a rabbit trail to follow on that Greek word. The plural would be, in the English of the KJV as, “Ye, yourselves”, which is a different Greek word. Ye is plural of the you singular.

      41. The parallel passage Col. 3:16 makes it clear that this is among a group and that the action is reciprocal in nature. Teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, if memory serves.

      42. My comments are not being posted, but Aidan is making reference to colossians 3:16 as being a parallel verse, which many also do.

        But again, how does one ADMONISH another with a song? The word structure in the whole sentence needs to be broken up. Jesus is the word of God, and the word of God is what is written in scripture, and that is what admonishes us. The words used in colossians 3:16 is the same Greek word as used in Ephesians 5:19, which Ephesians 5:19 states, “yourselves”, but colossians 3:16 states as “one another”.

        Do you see the translation problem? Do we really admonish one another with a song? No, we don’t. The word of God admonishes us, which shows that this verse needs to be broken down from the Greek again, and using “yourselves”, instead of “one another”, and to use a conjunction before the mention of songs.

      43. Brian,

        When I said that verse 19 can’t be isolated, I was discussing verses 18-21, due to the semicolon. All of those things are relating to things outside of church. Not within the church service. Otherwise, we’ve got some serious wine drinkers coming to church. How do we submit ourselves, one to another, during church services? This is done outside of a church service setting.

      44. Brian,

        That same Greek word is used in several verses. Several. One of which is the following:

        Matthew 12:26
        And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself (G1438)…

        Himself.

        Matthew 6:34, itself;

        Matthew 3:9, yourselves;

        Matthew 8:22, their;

        Matthew 9:3, themselves;

        Matthew 9:21, herself;

        Matthew 23:37, her

        etcetera…

        My point, it’s not always plural. That’s why I discussed the rabbit trail to follow that one Greek word.

        In Ephesians, if the audience hearing Paul’s words was an audience of one, it would say. “yourself”, and that is not plural.

        When I look at things, I look at the whole spectrum before I speak.

        Ed Chapman

      45. Ed, you are only showing your ignorance of Greek inflected forms. 🙄 The endings tell you if the word, in this case the reflexive pronoun, is singular or plural. In Matt 6:34, ἑαυτῆς, is the Genitive Feminine Singular form.

        We are talking about, ἑαυτοῖς, in Eph 5:19, which is the Dative Masculine Plural form. The next closest use of it by Paul is in Eph 4:32. What do you think it means there – forgive yourself? 😂

        God wants us to be filled with the Spirit, not so we can be happy alone… but to be a blessing to others. I wonder how much personal interaction you have with other believers while you are filled with the Spirit. Go sing some hymns together with them today! 🤓

        And take some more NT Greek lessons before trying to point to it in support of your thinking.

      46. I stand by what I said, Brian.

        It is only plural based on the number of people that Paul is talking to. It’s not a group activity that he is discussing.

        For example, your Ephesians 4:32 states “one another”.

        The word “one” is singular.

        It doesn’t say forgive a group of people.

        Forgive each person, in other words.

        Another example is:

        Matthew 3:9
        And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father…

        That could be translated to, “Each of you, think not…”

        Singular person, but several people being spoken to, because everyone doesn’t think exactly the same words.

        I look to see how the word is used.

        And you still have that non-existing comma problem after the word sing to deal with.

      47. Brian,

        When I discussed Colossians 3:16 regarding “one another”, and I said that it should be “yourselves”, that is not related, as far as I’m concerned, to your Ehesians 4:32.

        And I already went over that.

        Look at the New Living Translation for Colossians 3:16.

        To me, that translation is what I believe is the correct rendition.

        Notice the word, Each?

        Colossians 316 (NLT)
        LET THE MESSAGE ABOUT CHRIST, IN ALL RICHNESS, FULL YOUR LIVES. TEACH AND COUNCIL EACH OTHER WITH ALL THE WISDOM HE GIVES. SING PSALMS AND HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS TO GOD WITH THANKFUL HEARTS.

        And that’s the way it should read, Brian.

        That makes more sense than to admonish someone by singing the admonishment… doesn’t it?

      48. Each one of you.

        Each is singular, you is plural. That’s the best example I can give, as to my uneducate Greek rendition of G1438, put in simple terms that a two year old, without a doctorate, can understand.

      49. I like how the “GOD’S WORD” translation does Ephesians 5:15-20.

        “15 So then, be careful how you live. Don’t live like foolish people but like wise people.

        16 make the most of your opportunities because these are evil days.

        17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord wants.

        18 Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

        ****

        19 by reciting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your own good. Sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts.

        ***

        20 Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

        ***

        And that’s the way I see Ephesians 5:19.

        This whole chapter is how to live your Christian walk… outside of Sunday morning church services.

        The whole chapter.

        For the life of me, I can’t understand why some are so dogmatic, thinking that verse 19 is about a church service setting.

      50. Aidan,

        You are not engaging with me, and that’s fine.

        However, the following fits this narrative perfectly:

        Matthew 23:24
        Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

        Check out the whole chapter. You are being a pharisee. Woe unto that line of thinking.

        Ed Chapman

      51. I’m sorry, but it is impossible for me to work and engage with two people at the same time! And besides, Brian is good cop, and you are bad cop. 😉

      52. Aidan,

        Ahhhh. Just call me, The Devil’s Advocate!

        Psalm 150:4
        Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

        2 Samuel 6:5
        And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.

        1 Chronicles 15:16
        And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.

        1 Chronicles 16:42
        And with them Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those that should make a sound, and with musical instruments of God. And the sons of Jeduthun were porters.

        2 Chronicles 5:13
        It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;

        2 Chronicles 7:6
        And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the Lord, which David the king had made to praise the Lord, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.

        2 Chronicles 23:13
        And she looked, and, behold, the king stood at his pillar at the entering in, and the princes and the trumpets by the king: and all the people of the land rejoiced, and sounded with trumpets, also the singers with instruments of musick, and such as taught to sing praise.

        2 Chronicles 29:26
        And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.

        2 Chronicles 29:27
        And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel.

        ***********ROCK AND ROLL*****************Note the word “Loud”.
        2 Chronicles 30:21
        And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the Lord.

        2 Chronicles 34:12
        And the men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and other of the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of musick.

        Nehemiah 12:36
        And his brethren, Shemaiah, and Azarael, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethaneel, and Judah, Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God, and Ezra the scribe before them.

        Psalm 68:25
        The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.

        Psalm 87:7
        As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.

        Psalm 150:4
        Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

        Isaiah 38:20
        The Lord was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the Lord.

        Amos 6:5
        That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David;

        Habakkuk 3:19
        The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

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

        If God had a problem with instruments, I think he would have let us know about it. Seems that a lot of God followers worshiped God using instruments of music. WORSHIPED with instruments of music!

        Ed Chapman

      53. Hi, Brian, just wanted to add this because I felt it was important to answer more fully.

        You wrote: “Yes we should obey NT commands. But there is no command that says only do what the NT commands.”

        Response: On the other hand, where is the verse that says we don’t have to only do what the NT commands? It might not be stated the way you have phrased it, but we are most certainly taught in the Bible only to do what God has commanded.

        Proverbs 30:5-6, says, “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” Notice that this applies to “Every word of God.” This, of course, covers the whole of the Bible, all of God’s word, not just the OT but the NT as well, “every word of God.” And what are we commanded NOT to do? “Do not add to His words.” Therefore, this certainly means that we cannot add doctrines and commandments of men to what God has commanded in the NT.

        Matthew 15:1-9 records a controversy with the Pharisees over the disciples not washing hands before eating. The practice of washing hands before eating was a religious obligation the Pharisees established by the “tradition of the elders.” There was nothing said in the law about such a practice, either positively or negatively. God did not forbid it, nor did He say anything close to the subject in the law. 

        The violation of the Pharisees was that they had added something “which the Lord had not commanded.” Again, I will say it, the violation of the Pharisees was that they had added something “which the Lord had not commanded.” Jesus rebuked them sharply, quoting Isaiah;

        “But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.”

        He also told them:

        “ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition.”

        This condition exists whenever man adds anything the Lord has not authorized in His word and then makes it a religious observance. There was nothing wrong with washing one’s hands before eating, itself; most people do! The wrong came in making something a religious ritual not authorized by God. Such is always the case when men add like so to the word of God. We override and make void the word of God by adding to it the doctrines and precepts of men. This pays nothing but lip service to God, and because of it, many will be condemned!

        In view of these passages, tell me then, can men add to what God has commanded in His word, or are we to do ONLY what God has commanded?

      54. Aidan, I don’t think continuing the discussion will help either of us or others. I will only repeat this one thing. Hymnbooks, baptistries, and pastor officiated weddings in a building owned by a congregation are not wrong, but they are traditions of men added to the Scriptures. I continue to wish you the best.

      55. Well then, Brian, it is very sad that you see nothing wrong with the traditions of men added to the Scriptures! And I continue to wish you the best as well.

  2. Thank you for responding back. My church was a traditional Baptist Church. Got a new Paster two years ago. Him and His wife are very nice people and the church voted him in. He never said anything about being a Reformist until about 9 months ago. He is attempting to change everything reformed. He gives a sermon that sound good, but I am now catching the Calvinist words in it. The rest of the church does not.

    I will probably end up leaving. I have brought up that when a person adds or takes away from the Gospel it becomes a different gospel and thus a false gospel. If a person believes that they were saved before Jesus Christ died on the cross or a person can not accept salvation. It becomes a false gospel.

    1. I would suggest that you confront the Calvinistic doctrines and demonstrate from your knowledge of Scripture why they cannot be accommodated in a Bible believing Christian congregation. It will be unfair to simply walk away from the church without outlining your well reasoned objection.

      1. I would not suggest that myself.
        The Calvinist pastor will play the role of the spider and you will play the role of the fly.

        Calvinism entails a very long tradition of a well developed expertise in DOUBLE-SPEAK

        If you are not prepared – and keenly discerning of exactly how to identify it within his statements – you are guaranteed to be deceived by it..

        And it takes time to understand the underlying doctrine – and how the Calvinist hides the doctrine behind a mask of word games

        Over the centuries numerous non-Calvinist authors have recognized this.
        And today we have Non-Calvinist pastors in denominations actually begging Calvinist pastors to stop using dishonest language.

        Ex-Calvinist Daniel Gracely
        -quote
        “Calvinist and Non-Calvinist do not share the same meaning of words….. Remember, Calvinism is merely the invoking of associative meaning, not real meaning. By ‘not real’ I mean that the meaning is destroyed in the overall thought of the clause or sentence.
        For, of course, at one level the Calvinist understands the general meaning of words. But when he strings them together in such a way that it forms an idea that is false”

        In other words – the practice involves using language that is designed to mislead.
        In order to not be misled – you will have to have an intense understanding of the aspects of the doctrine which Calvinist language is designed to hide. And without that familiarity you’ll be a drift in an ocean of highly evolved word games.

        He will twist you around his finger in 50 different ways you didn’t even see.
        And over time – as you start to get glimpses of the misleading language – if you share what you are seeing with others – you will be branded as having a rebellious spirit – and you will end up leaving anyway.

      2. Noted thanks. I think it all depends on the depth of one’s conviction on the errors advanced by the Reformed group and their grasp of Biblical theology. A trained pastor or scholar who is familiar with Calvinism will obviously discern the doctrinal errors no matter how semantics are engaged in concealing the tulip weed. What I meant to say is that walking away quietly wont be helpful. Other innocent and less discerning members of the congregation will suffer under the doctrinal deceptions. I agree with you that some teachers can be brutal if one is ill prepared in contending with them.

      3. Thanks Ezekiel!
        I totally understand

        Personally however, I would’t send a soldier into a battle which guarantees he’s simply going to get slaughtered.

        And yes I agree with you
        A scholar – Jerry Walls for example – who has a keen understanding of Universal Divine Causal Determinism – which is the underlying foundational core of the Calvinist system – would know exactly how to respond to the various language tactics and how they work to paint false pictures.

        As a matter of fact it was Dr. Jerry Walls who said: “If Calvinism didn’t depend so heavily upon misleading rhetoric – it would probably die in two years”

        And Dr. William Lane Craig said: “The Calvinist unfortunately and yet consistently fails to enunciate the radical distinctions of his belief system”

        So yes – the scholars understand the reality of the situation.

      4. BR D – could u provide names of resources that would help us identify the double-speak etc? I really want to be versed in this.

      5. Dr. LEIGHTON Has a lot of resources in his books ( I have purchased a few of them and find them very helpful) that Is sold on Amazon and on his website that can help you. Another one that I liked is called the Darkside of Calvinism by George Bryson.

        Dr. LEIGHTON Again has a lot of resources on his website that also goes into scripture supporting a provisional or traditional Christian view and then his videos talk about and guide you through ways to counteract the Calvinist misunderstanding of the Bible.

      6. Hello Thomas and welcome
        We appreciate your post.
        Very happy to know you were blessed by Dr. Flower’s book and work!

        Blessings
        br.d

      7. Hi Ivy – and sure.

        First lets get a good working definition of DOUBLE-SPEAK

        Dr, William Lutz, an American linguist, in an interview on CSPAN concerning his book DoubleSpeak
        -quote
        “Doublespeak is language designed to evade…..to make the unpleasant appear pleasant, the unattractive appear attractive, or at least tolerable.

        Basically, it’s language that pretends to communicate, but really doesn’t. It is language designed to mislead, while pretending not to.

        Doublespeak is not a slip of the tongue or a mistake in use of language. It’s exactly the opposite. It is language used by people who are very intelligent, and very sophisticated in the use of language. And know that you can do an awful lot with language.

        Doublespeak is not a matter of subjects and verbs agreeing; it is a matter of words and facts agreeing.

        Basic to doublespeak is incongruity, the incongruity between what is said or left unsaid, and what really is. It is the incongruity between the word and the referent, between seem and be,

        Between the essential function of language, which is trustworthy communication — vs what doublespeak does, which is mislead, inflate, circumvent, obfuscate.

        Double-speak works by taking advantage of the inherent implicitness of meaning conveyed through everyday language.

        It takes advantage of the fact that normal everyday language use is fundamentally cooperative.

        Doublespeak exploits these principles to do just the opposite: to appear like honest communication while actually hiding incriminating facts.
        ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

        So first take a look at the “T” in Calvinism’s TULIP

        The current “T” in Calvinism’s TULIP is strategically designed to mislead.
        It is designed to attribute man’s impulses and inclinations to man’s nature.
        This – in linguistic terms – is a lie of omission.

        A lie of omission – is a statement designed to mislead – by the strategy of omitting critical facts – which if not omitted would not mislead.

        The critical fact that is being obfuscated here – is the fact that per Calvinism’s doctrine of decrees – the TRUE “T” in the TULIP would not stand for Total Depravity – it would stand for TOTALLY PREDESTINED NATURE.

        Nature – including man’s nature – is 100% meticulously predestined – at every instance in time.
        And man has NO SAY and NO CHOICE in the matter of anything that is predestined.

        And since EVERYTHING is predestined – it follows – man has NO SAY and NO CHOICE in the matter of anything.

        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, Par. 3)

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

        So in Calvinism the TRUE cause of man’s impulses and inclinations are not man’s nature.
        Because NOTHING HAPPENS in nature – that is not knowingly and willingly decreed.

        The “T” in Calvinism’s TULIP is designed to OBFUSCATE the truth.
        And it therefore fits the description of DOUBLE-SPEAK

      8. Here are some book Authors who acknowledge that Calvinist language is a language of DOUBLE-SPEAK

        The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – in its article on Theological Determinism writes this concerning the language used by Calvinist Paul Helm:
        “Paul Helm, another staunch theological determinist of the Calvinist variety, simply says that God’s providence is ‘extended to all that He has created’ (1993, p. 39). The problem with such characterizations is that they are subject to multiple interpretations, some of whom would be affirmed by theological indeterminists.”

        Dr. William Lane Craig, in his interactions with Calvinist Paul Kjoss Helseth, in the authoring of the book Four Views on Divine Providence writes:
        “A A. Hodge’s six-point summary of the classical Reformed view of divine providence, quoted by Paul Kjoss Helseth under ‘The True View of Providence Summarized’ falls short of expressing the radical distinctives of the Reformed position that Helseth defends.”

        Dr. Jerry Walls, in his presentation What’s wrong with Calvinism states:
        “If Calvinists didn’t rely so heavily on misleading rhetoric, their theology would lose all credibility within two years.”

        Norman Geisler in his book Chosen but Free writes:
        “Some Calvinists use smoke-and-mirror tactics to avoid the harsh implications of their view” (pg 104)
        “This is done by redefining terms and Theological Doublespeak” (pg 261)

        Laurence M. Vance in The Other Side of Calvinism writes about:
        “The confusing labyrinth of Calvinist terminology” (pg 556)

        Micah Coate in his book The Cultish side of Calvinism writes:
        “Calvinists arguments are buried in theological and grammatical doublespeak.”

        Ronnie W. Rogers, in his book Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist writes:
        As mentioned in several places throughout this book, within Calvinism there is a problem of what I call doubletalk. But I am not implying immoral or clandestine trickery. Nor am I suggesting conspiratorial deceit. I must admit that upon reflection on my time being a Calvinist, I did the same thing. I did not do this out ill motive or intent to deceive, or because of a lack of desire to be faithful to the scripture. Nor do I ascribe this to my Calvinist brothers. As a matter of fact, I did it because I believed Calvinism and the Scripture; and this brought about conflicts, or at least unconscious responses to the conflicts, which I now see as doubletalk. This doubletalk obscured the harsh realities of Calvinism and the inconsistencies between Scripture and Calvinism. ”

        Authors David L. Allen, Eric Hankins, and Adam Harwood in their book Anyone Can Be Saved: A Defense of “Traditional” Southern Baptist Soteriology write:
        “This is a clear example of what I call Calvinism’s double-talk. By double-talk, I specifically and only mean thinking….speaking in such a way that obscures the disquieting realities of Calvinism. If a person accepts these realities, then he can be a knowledgeable and consistent Calvinist. But if one is unwilling to face them and accept them, he cannot be a consistent Calvinist. Additionally, I am not calling anyone a double-talker nor is my use of this term intended in any sense to be a pejorative.”

        Gilbert VanOrder Jr in his book Calvinism’s Conflicts: An Examination of the Problems in Reformed Theology writes:
        “Calvinists then have to resort to double-talk in order to explain how human responsibility is still involved even though it isn’t. If a man can do nothing to change his condition, then he cannot be held responsible for changing his condition”.

        Ex-Calvinist Daniel Gracely in his book Calvinism a closer look writes:
        “Calvinist and Non-Calvinist do not share the same meaning of words….. Remember, Calvinism is merely the invoking of associative meaning, not real meaning. By ‘not real’ I mean that the meaning is destroyed in the overall thought of the clause or sentence. For, of course, at one level the Calvinist understands the general meaning of words. But when he strings them together in such a way that it forms an idea that is false…
        This is what I used to do as a Calvinist. I liken these non-sense statements, or propositions, to the riding of a rocking horse….. Thus, I would go back and forth in seesaw motion, lest on the one hand I find myself accusing God of insufficient sovereignty, or on the other hand find myself accusing God of authoring sin. All the while, there remained an illusion of movement towards truth, when in fact there was no real movement at all. At length I would allow the springs of dialectical tension to rest the rocking horse in the center, and then I would declare as harmonious propositions, which in fact, were totally contradictory to each other. Calvinist riders still ride out this scenario.”

        Francis Hodgson in his book The Calvinistic Doctrine of Predestination Examined and Refuted, 1855 writes:
        “The apology for this gross misapplication of language…..is found in their distressing emergency.
        In no other way can they, with any plausibility, meet their opponents.”

    2. Hi, Thomas,
      I would also suggest that if you are going to confront this, that you would first go to your new preacher privately. Go prepared, find out what he actually believes, try to reason with him and convince him of the truth from the scriptures, for his sake. This is probably going to involve more than one visit, but, in the end you might have to spell out what can’t be taught from the pulpit. And if he won’t listen to you in terms of not preaching his doctrines, then bring one or two other trusted witnesses with you, perhaps even one or two of the elders if you have them. If he listens to them, great, but if not, then ye bring it before the church. At least by then ye will have a fuller knowledge of where he is coming from.
      But, one way or the other, ye will still have to ask yourselves, ‘does the church still have a right to know who this man is, and what he represents?’ The approach I have outlined above might be the best way to minimize the possible damage here. It’s still early days, he has not rooted himself too deeply yet. You don’t want to be dealing with this 10 or 15 years down the road when the damage would be much greater. As we say over here, “a stitch in time saves nine.” But all of this is just my suggestion if you decide to confront this.

    3. I am in the midst of a pastoral confrontation myself — not over Calvinism, but over different matters. I agree with Aiden that you should first go privately to your pastor and ask a simple question: “are you theologically reformed?” If he answers affirmatively, then you approach your elders. It is their job to hold him accountable — not yours. You simply first ensure that you are walking on solid ground, not conjecture and assumptions, regarding his foundational theology.

      Once you have confirmed his beliefs, and assuming he confirms he is a Calvinist, leaving quietly without confrontation is not really Biblical in my opinion. It is being a peaceKEEPER instead of a peaceMAKER. You have an obligation to speak the truth in love as a Christian. First, if your church has a published statement of faith, and it is not Reformed, and it is not subject to revision on such a profound level as Reformed vs non-Reformed theology by the pastor, then I would first ask those that interviewed him whether those questions (“are you Reformed in your theology?”) came up during the interview process. If not, lesson learned: ask them in the future. If they did come up, and he answered evasively or opaquely, that too is a problem that must be addressed. Or if they came up, he answered truthfully, and was hired anyway, that too is a problem — not with the pastor but with your board.

      Pastors that quietly creep in unaware to bring Calvinism into churches is becoming more and more of a problem. I encountered it just this past weekend where a friend related a story about leaving an AofG church in the area for a variety of reasons. Among the reasons was that the young pastor described himself as a “Reformed Pentecostal”. And by that he meant theologically Reformed — not just “a cleaned up and redeemed sinner.” I was frankly shocked that he had made it into the pulpit because the AofG statement of faith is emphatically not Reformed. It made me very curious as to their vetting process. I am also concerned about those seeking pastoral jobs who aren’t more up-front about such beliefs in non-reformed churches such as Foursquare, Calvary Chapel, AofG, etc. If you are Reformed you know you are Reformed. Keeping that “under the hood” borders on deception. Not asking during the interview process borders on negligence.

      1. If you approach him with the question however – be personally prepared for him to not tell the truth – and be prepared for the congregation headed for a split.

        It happens

      2. It certainly does happen. But if it has to be dealt with, then the sooner the better seeing that he has not being there that long. Don’t wan’t to give time for the leaven to leaven the whole lump. The question in my mind is why aren’t the Elders dealing with this issue now that he has publicly admitted to being Reformed? Why leave it to this young man? — (he sounds like a young man to me). And, if the elders are not bothered about this preacher’s admission, then that group is already in trouble.

      3. I concur. The sooner this tulip weed menu is removed from the congregation’s stable of spiritual food, the better.

        My view is that a mature and well well instructed Christian congregation is more likely to summon its collective resolve in fighting heresy. The residual haemorrhage will be considerably low. For a congregation that still feeds on milk, false the teachers will easily drown them in heresy, hands down.

        This is where the distinction lies…

      4. Maybe his congregation doesn’t have an eldership yet, mine doesn’t. But I can tell you now that if a preacher came into our congregation and somewhere down the road admitted to being Reformed, the men would have a meeting with him and sort it out quickly. Even before we brought it before the congregation we would have consensus among the men who are the ones who make the final decision in the absence of elders. If we left it on the long finger the collateral damage would be huge.

      5. Thanks, Br.d, let’s hope we can keep it that way. But the hardest ones are when the wolves grow up among you – they are the ones that cause the most collateral damage.

      6. Yes – I remember a split in which two brothers came into a Non-Calvinist church at the same time.
        The church currently had no pastor.

        Those two became hyper zealous over all of the church activities
        And the other people appreciated their zeal and it didn’t take long before they became elders

        They then wanted to search for a pastor – and conveniently enough – had one they highly recommended.
        They then manipulated the pastoral search rules – not allowing any questions to be asked about Calvinism.
        Low and behold – the pastor they recommended just happened to be reformed.

        At first he told the congregation his theology was a secondary issue and should not divide anyone.
        But what he was actually doing was identifying members whom he could pull over to his side.
        After having accomplished that – he began to make life miserable for those who would not accept reformed doctrine
        They left

        And he and the two elders got what they wanted from the beginning.

      7. I suppose the lesson is that we have to be on the watch for wolves, even among elders.

        Matthew 7:15-20
        15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

        Acts 20:29-31
        29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking [h]perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

    4. Has he clearly confirmed he is Reformed or are you surmising?

      Does your church / denomination openly embrace or reject that theology?

      Those two questions should guide you. It is then a matter for the elders to deal with. If he lies or is evasive, that is frankly cause for immediate dismissal. It sounds as though adequate due diligence was not done 2 years ago and now the congregation is paying dearly for it. Yes, a split may ensue but there is always a risk that when you lovingly confront, it will not be received. It doesn’t relieve the elders, however, from their obligations to hold the shepherd accountable.

      1. Mrteebs
        Has he clearly confirmed he is Reformed or are you surmising?

        br.d
        In a casual conversation – tell your pastor that you love Dr. Flower’s youtube videos about Calvinism – and then watch his body language.
        :-]

        BTW: Thomas

        If you are not familiar with Dr. Flower’s Youtube videos on Calvinism – you might find them highly helpful.

        You’ll start to get a taste for what I’ve been describing concerning Calvinism’s strategical use of misleading language.

  3. I concur. The sooner this tulip weed menu is removed from the congregation’s stable of spiritual food, the better.

    My view is that a mature and well well instructed Christian congregation is more likely to summon its collective resolve in fighting heresy. The residual haemorrhage will be considerably low. For a congregation that still feeds on milk, false teachers will easily drown them in heresy, hands down.

    This is where the distinction lies.

    I reckon that Calvinism is one of the stealthiest of Gnostic soteriological constructs in Christian history. They are heavily tinged with confusing but well choreographed philosophical suppositions that easily escape prudence of the ordinary pew Christian.

  4. hallo Dr. Leighton flower, my name is Tommy, i am from indonesia. my english is not good, i wish you can understand what i say. i am a non-calvinist, i dont believe God had predestinate some people to go to the heaven and some to the hell, but how we can understand what John say in John 10:26
    “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.”
    some calvinist said that a person don’t believe in Christ because he is not Christ sheep not because he have free will, what do you think of that verse? tq Dr Leighton Flower

    1. Hello Tommy and welcome
      Dr. Flowers – due to his busy schedule – is not here regularly to interact with posters.
      You may more readily find him on Facebook if you are an FB user.

      As to your question concerning Calvinism – I hope you don’t mind if I provide a little information that will greatly help you to understand it.

      The underlying foundational core of Calvinism – and what separates Calvinism from its alternatives – is Exhaustive Divine Determinism.

      The idea is of a THEOS who at the foundation of the world – before creatures are created – determines what the state of nature will be – for every instance in time.

      And this includes the state of every human being’s nature at every instance in time
      So every nano-second of man’s nature is 100% meticulously predestined to come to pass infallibly.

      Therefore in Calvinism – if a person’s state of nature is that they believe – it is because that state of nature was meticulously determined.
      And since every human impulse is 100% meticulously predetermined – the human has no say in the matter of anything he will think, say or do.

      Humans in this case – have no say in the matter of anything concerning themselves or concerning anything external to themselves.
      Every impulse and perception which comes to pass within the human brain – does so infallibly
      And thus – all impulses and perceptions which come to pass within the human brain are totally irresistible to the human.

      So whatever the human “will” is – is also 100% meticulously predetermined *FOR* each human and not *BY* that human.
      In this case – man is said to have free will.
      But he is granted no say in the matter of what his will will be.

      That should help explain to you a great deal about how the Calvinist interprets scripture.
      For the Calvinist – all scripture interpretation – must conform to that understanding.

      Once you understand that underlying foundation – you then can understand how the Calvinist interprets any verse in the Bible.

      Blessings!
      br.d

  5. Do you guys know of a simple to use study book/workbook that introduces new believers to the Bible, Christianity, God, Jesus, and salvation. I know the watch tower has for Jehovah’s Witnesses ( I don’t recommend It) or “Foundations of Faith” by John MacArthur, but without the Calvin junk.

    I think this would be a good tool when witnessing to other people.

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hello Thomas Farrell and welcome

      I think we’ve had this question before.
      Brian – had a recommendation – lets see if he pipes in here.

      A book that I know of which I believe is very valuable is Gordon Fee’s “Reading the Bible for All its worth”

      Blessings
      br.d

    2. You can also try the study guide and 10-part video series “Foundations of Faith” by Rick Renner. The videos are on YouTube and 30-min each. Guaranteed TULIP-free. 😉

    3. Hi Thomas,
      We have an online Bible Correspondence Course that people can download. But I think you can order them as well if that suits better. It’s called “Know Your Bible.” If you want to have a look just type in churchofchrist.ie and click into “online resources.”

      Here are what the lessons are about:
      Lesson 1 – Distinguishing between the Old and New Testaments
      Lesson 2 – Sin and the blood of Christ
      Lesson 3 – Salvation
      Lesson 4 – The New Testament Church
      Lesson 5 – Denominationalism
      Lesson 6 – Baptism

      1. Hi Cannier,
        Have you tried going into our website http://www.churchofchrist.ie? Then just click into “online resources” at the top, it will bring you into where our Bible correspondence course is. These are Bible lessons in pdf format. All you have to do is download each one onto your home pc and complete each lesson using your bible. I can get the moderator here to give you my email if you are interested in doing these lessons.

        Regards, Aidan

  6. br.d. Do does Eternal Security for All true believers mean “Once Saved Always Saved” or do you believe It’s possible for a Truly Saved Christian to sin so severely that if they don’t repent and Change , ask for forgiveness that they can be lost Forever and doomed to Hell

    1. Hi Jeff
      For the NON-Calvinist Christian this question is typically found to be a personal position for each unique believer. Some believers read the warning verses in the N.T. and they are personally persuaded that those verses require a due-diligence for them to “make their calling and election sure”. Others may be persuaded that the only thing in jeopardy is the type of crown they will wear in heaven.

      Calvinism as you know – is founded on EXHAUSTIVE DIVINE DETERMINISM.
      Per the doctrine – Calvin’s god creates the vast majority of human creatures specifically for eternal torment in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure.

      And in Calvinism – a person does not do anything to deserve eternal torment – because for the Calvinist that would entail Calvin’s god looking down the corridor of time – OBSERVING what each person does – and then decreeing their eternal fate accordingly.

      And in Calvinism – that would entail Calvin’s god LEARNING THROUGH OBSERVATION what each person will be and do. And that for the Calvinist would be considered an insult and compromise to divine sovereignty.

      So in Calvinism – what makes a person “deserve” damnation is that Calvin’s god decides before he creates each person whether or not they will “deserve” damnation – because he determined to create/design them specifically for damnation.

      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)

      Additionally according to the doctrine – a percentage of Calvinists are specifically deceived by Calvin’s god – and given a FALSE SENSE of salvation/election.

      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)

      Calvinists have what they call “Perseverance” of the saints. But you have to understand – there is a “Dark Side” to “Perseverance” in Calvinism.

      In Calvinism – every event that is coming to pass over time – is coming to pass by infallible decree – and while that infallible decree is in effect – that event is “Persevering”

      So it LOGICALLY FOLLOWS in Calvinism – there are Calvinist believers who are given a TRUE faith and TRUE election – and that TRUE faith is “Persevering” by virtue of the decree which established it.

      And there are also Calvinist believers who are given a FALSE faith and FALSE SENSE of election – and that FALSE SENSE is also “Persevering” by virtue of the decree which established it.

      FEW Calvinist believers are designed/created for heaven and are given TRUE election.

      MANY Calvinist believers are designed/created for damnation – and are given a FALSE SENSE of election salvation.

      They one’s given a FALSE SENSE of election salvation – are typically not permitted to discern they have been given a FALSE SENSE of election salvation.

      John Calvin explains
      -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*, we must leave to God alone the knowledge of his church, whose foundation is his SECRET election. (Institutes 4.1.4)

      So Calvinists believe in once saved always saved – but no Calvinist has any CERTAINTY that he is saved – because he could easily be among the *HUGE MULTITUDE* whom Calvin’s god gave a FALSE SENSE of salvation election – and not permitted to know it.

      According to the doctrine – a *HUGE MULTITUDE* of Calvinists go through their whole lives being divinely deceived by Calvin’s god about their salvation – and then at some point wake up in the lake of fire – for his good pleasure

  7. I can agree with the spirit of your stand but may I disagree with these:

    1. “We affirm that the penal substitution of Christ “: what about Christus Victor and overcoming the powers of evil and darkness (see e.g. Col 2:15)
    2. “We affirm that, because of the fall of Adam, every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin. Each person’s sin alone brings the wrath of a holy God”: only if it’s the sin that God is angry at and not the person because if it’s the person it would be internally at odds with itself i.e. the individual has inherited the consequent mess of the fall but God is still angry at this person who has necessarily fallen and is incapable of being sinless.

  8. All soteriological and theological considerations aside, Calvin was a terrible, terrible man. Note the pleasure he took from slowly torturing Servetus to death (and anyone else who disagree with his “christianity”. Are we really sure Calvin was even a Christian?
    Yes, yes, an ad hominem for sure…but a worthwhile and insightful one I say!

    1. Hello Marc and welcome
      And yes – from Calvin’s own statements about the affair – it becomes obvious he was driven by malice and revenge.

      Also many letters he wrote were retained. And some of those include letters to Catholic head-hunters telling them the where-abouts of protestants who openly disagreed with Calvin’s doctrines. Calvin wrote to the head-hunters to tell them where they could find those protestants and he asked them to kill them.

      There was also a type of paranoia about him.
      When a woman in the town would help a sick person and restore that person back to health – Calvin would claim she must have done it through witch-craft and have her killed.

      Calvin’s behavior and writings betray him as a man driven much more by the spirit the god of this world then by a Holy Spirit.

      1. Scripture teaches very clearly that we are to judge a tree based on its fruit. We are naturally inclined as humans to judge based on gifts and talents rather than fruit. There is a tendency to in Calvinist circles particularly (but not exclusively) to judge based on gifts. “Oh, he’s so eloquent!” “Oh, he’s such a gifted teacher!” (here, they even unwittingly admit it is all about gifts). What you rarely hear, however, is “Oh, he bears so much good fruit!”.

        Jesus went out of his way to illustrate the difference in Matthew 7:15-23. I would paraphrase the passage this way:
        – Judge the tree by its fruit
        – Even people operating in spiritual gifts (casting out demons, miracles, prophecy) are not exempt; they could conceivably do these things and yet be disqualified from entering heaven

        I do not assume that because Calvin had a logical mind, could generate volumes of theological treatises, and could rule Zurich with an iron fist that he was bearing good fruit. I consider Luther to have born much better fruit, in fact.

      2. br.d
        I would love to see a Calvinist married couple sitting in the pew just after the sermon was completed.

        And the husband turns to the wife and says “Those were really interesting impulses that Calvin’s made infallibly and irresistibly come to pass within the pastor’s brain today. I’ll be the pastor had no ideal that Calvin’s god was going to make him say all that! ;-D

      3. Also, please understand that I am not singling out Calvinists as being unfruitful or of judging based only on gifts. I am simply saying:
        1) Calvin is almost always held up admiringly based on his gifts – not his fruit (“Institutes” is not fruit)
        2) Calvin’s character is sketchy to say the least; pride got Lucifer kicked out of heaven and I detect more than a small amount of spiritual pride in Calvin. Just sayin’

    2. Hey Marc and BRDMOD. What is your source for saying that Calvin took pleasure in slowly torturing Servetus to death? I read about it at GotQuestions.org, which I halfway expected to deny the story or play it down… (and in a sense, they did play it down somewhat by contrasting the execution with those of the Spanish Inquisition). Their account says that Calvin tried to get the Geneva Council to execute him with the sword, but they refused and burned him at the stake. Would you mind giving your source for your version of the event? Thank y’all!

      1. Hello cannier
        I don’t remember ever stating Calvin took pleasure in slowly torturing Servetus to death.

        What I have stated on numerous occasions – is that it was obvious from Calvin’s statements about Servetus, that Calvin wanted Servetus dead – and had no reservations about letting people know it.

        Servetus took a copy of Calvin’s institutes and wrote critical comments in various places throughout it – and then mailed that copy back to Calvin. Those comments in all probability infuriated a John Calvin – who by that point in time enjoyed magistrates in Geneva who would punish anyone for the slightest offence against Calvin. Obviously he exercised a great deal of influence and authority over them.

        From Wikipedia:
        -quote
        Following his return to Geneva (1541-1564) Calvin introduced new forms of church government……despite opposition from several powerful families in the city who tried to curb his authority.

        Geneva records – during that time period – translated by Stefan Zewig, Eramus
        Compiled by Jack Moorman

        – During the pestilence of 1545 more than 20 men and women burnt alive for witchcraft.

        – 1542-1546 – 58 judgments of death and 26 decrees of banishment.

        – 1558-1559 – a total of 414 punishments.

        – One citizen smiled while attending a baptism: 3 days in prison.

        – One citizen fell asleep during one of Calvin’s sermons: sentenced to prison.

        – A workmen ate pastry at breakfast: 3 days on bread and water.

        – 2 citizens were caught playing skittles: prison.

        – A citizen was heard complimenting Castellio’s translation of the Bible: expelled from Geneva.

        – A girl was caught skating, a widow threw herself on the grave of her husband, a citizen offered his neighbor a pinch of snuff during Calvin’s church service: these were summoned before the Consistory, exhorted and ordered to do penance.

        – Two citizens talked about business matters while walking out of church: prison.

        John Calvin
        -quote
        If he [Servetus] comes [to Geneva], as far as my authority goes, I would not let him leave alive.
        (A letter from Calvin to Farel dated 1546)

        I think you get the picture.

      2. GotQuestions.org is a Calvinistic forum and I am not surprised by what you have reported concerning their explanation. Calvinists will always brush off legitimate criticism leveled at their founders.

      3. Hello Ezekiel and welcome
        Yes – I agree – and its understandable that they would.
        Within human social groups – we have a phenomenon sometimes called “Vicarious boasting”

        It is not unusual – that an individual person may find that belonging to a group or guild which perceives or touts itself as being superior (which is typical of Calvinism) gives to that individual person a persona he would not otherwise have outside of that group.

        The individual identifies himself with some corporate unit (church, guild, company, lodge, party, team, college, city, nation, etc.) – and by praise offered to that unit, he vicariously compliments himself.

        You may notice – one characteristic trait of Calvinism is the respecting of persons. Those persons may be Calvin, or Augustine, or Jon Edwards, or any other renowned Calvinist.

        By raising those respected persons up on a pedestal – the individual Calvinist vicariously raises himself up as a member of the respected guild.

        So it makes sense that with that as an emotional investment – a Calvinist is not going to want to acknowledge anything that would besmirch the sacred image – because any negative reflection would likewise be reflected back on that Calvinist.

        Blessings!
        br.d

      4. Hi Canny, I don’t know if Calvin was sadistic, but he certainly supported capital punishment for those he deemed heretics, which included those who rejected their infant baptism. Here’s some evidence.

        Calvin – statements pro capital punishment for heresy.

        In his Prefatory Address to the Institutes –
        “For I fear not to declare, that what I have here given may be regarded as a summary of the very doctrine which, they [the heretics] vociferate, ought to be punished with confiscation, exile, imprisonment, and flames, as well as exterminated by land and sea.”

        In Schaff’s Church History, vol VIII, para 157 – from Calvin’s Treatise Against Servetus –
        “Whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt. This is not laid down on human authority; it is God who speaks and prescribes a perpetual rule for his Church.”

        In his commentary on Christ’s command in Matt 13:30, “Let both grow together until the harvest” –
        “This passage has been most improperly abused by the Anabaptists, and by others like them, to take from the Church the power of the sword. But it is easy to refute them; …. I shall satisfy myself with replying, that Christ does not now speak of the office of pastors or of magistrates, but removes the offense which is apt to disturb weak minds, when they perceive that the Church is composed not only of the elect, but of the polluted dregs of society.”

        In his Letter 389 –
        “…papers and books of his Castalion [a heretic], in which an attempt was made to impugn our doctrine touching predestination, have been condemned with a prohibition to publish them on pain of death.”

        Responsio ad Balduini Convicia, Opera, IX. 575: (in Schaff, VIII, 137)
        “Servetus suffered the penalty due to his heresies, but was it by my will? Certainly his arrogance destroyed him not less than his impiety. And what crime was it of mine if our Council, at my exhortation, indeed, but in conformity with the opinion of several Churches, took vengeance on his execrable blasphemies? Let Baudouin abuse me as long as he will, provided that, by the judgment of Melanchthon, posterity owes me a debt of gratitude for having purged the Church of so pernicious a monster.”

  9. Do the Calvinists believe that everything we do is pre-determined by God? If so what role does Satan and/or Demons have? Are mans actions pre-determined even after he is born again? If so, is the role of the Holy Spirit in conflict with the predetermined sinful actions we do, so that the trinity is a house divided against itself?

    1. Welcome John! Yes they do, though it is very difficult to get them to admit that “pre-determined” means God is therefore the cause of every sin, including the ones believers commit after being born again.

    2. Hi y’all. I would like to add to John’s question, BrianWagner. Are there some “Reformed” who take more of a “SEMI”-determinism view? IOW, do they ALL generally believe that everything that comes to pass is ordained/determined by God? What about a leaf that falls from a tree in my backyard– do they believe that God determined THAT to happen?

      I’m curious as to how far they take God’s “determinism,” or whether it varies among those who call themselves “Reformed.” If ever you can provide a reference for your answer, I would very much appreciate it! Thank you!

      1. cannier
        Hello Hi y’all. I would like to add to John’s question, BrianWagner. Are there some “Reformed” who take more of a “SEMI”-determinism view?

        br.d
        Hello cannier
        I know you addressed your question to Brian – but if you don’t mind – I would give my 2 cents on this question

        One would assume that since Calvinism’s foundational core is founded on Exhaustive Divine Determinism (EDD) – the Calvinist would be logically consistent with it.

        But the truth is – the implications of EDD are such that no Calvinist can actually accept them.
        They are simply too radical to accept.

        Take another belief system as an example – and that is the belief in Solipsism.
        The fundamental doctrine of Solipsism is that the believer is the only living person who really exists – and everyone else he interacts with is a figment of his imagination.

        Now consider the consequences of that doctrine.
        What would a married man’s wife say about her husband treating her as a figment of his imagination?
        It doesn’t take much to understand – she is not going to find that demeaning – and not take kindly to it.
        If he is a recent believer – and he treats his wife according to the dictate of his belief – then the consequence could be a divorce.

        Or lets say he works in a company and has a boss or a supervisor.
        Neither his boss – or his supervisor are going to take kindly to a person under them who treats them *AS-IF* they are a figment of his imagination.

        Long story short – the Solipsist belief is not a belief that be lived without heavy consequences.
        Most Solipsists are careful to treat people *AS-IF* they are real in order to avoid those consequenes.

        What this means is – the Solipsist asserts his doctrine as TRUE – while treating it *AS-IF* it is FALSE.
        This is the consequence of embracing a belief system that is very radical.

        Determinism has the same exact effect for hits adherents.
        Both Atheist Determinists and Theological Determinists face the same consequences.
        And they both go about their office *AS-IF* Determinism is FALSE.

        Nationally recognized Theoretical Physicist – Sean Carrol – is a devout Atheist Determinist
        Sean Carrol
        -quote
        “People tend to say things like, I drink coffee. But I can DO OTHERWISE and not drink coffee.
        But is that TRUE for an Atheist Determinist? The answer is no!
        For an Atheist Determinist, the arrangement of universe determines everything I will do and I CANNOT DO OTHERWISE. But that is not a practical way of talking. So when I talk to people I speak *AS-IF* Determinism is FALSE.”

        Stephen Hawking – a staunch determinist in a presentation given at Lady Michel Hall Oxford
        -quote
        After looking at the matter for many years I believe Determinism is true
        But in order to live a normal life – I have concluded I must live AS-IF determinism is false.

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

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

        So you can see – Determinism is such a radical belief system – no one can live it coherently.
        And the Calvinist solution is to hold the doctrine of decrees as TRUE – while treating that doctrine *AS-IF* it is FALSE

        And this is the reason – Calvinist language is recognized as a language of DOUBLE-SPEAK.

      2. Welcome Canny! Like most theological groups, reformed theology has a variety of views on the same subject they say they agree on. They say they agree with the wording of the Heidelberg, Westminster, or London (Baptist) confessions, but when asked to explain specific words they will often reveal significant even contradictory sounding differences.

        But basically there are two views of determinism.
        One is called “hard determinism”, including the eternally foreknown movement of every atom and no freewill. The other is “soft determinism” or “compatibilism” which includes the eternally foreknown movement of every atom and of free will (meaning free to do, according to its nature, those foreknown movements).

        You can read about these views and the various nuances of each at monergism.com. But I recommend that you keep in mind there is no verse in Scripture, especially none of the verses the articles on that site may point to, that clearly teach everything was eternally immutably predestined before creation to work out only one way.

        They try to read that into various verses, but none of those verses have the two ideas of everything predestined or before creation. And there are many verses that clearly contradict that premise of the pre-creation pre-determinism of everything.

        Is God Himself really locked in and limited to a future where there are no possibilities still existing for Him to freely choose between? Does He know, can He know, of decisions that have not yet been made by Him?

  10. To BRIANWAGNER, BRDMOD, BR.D: I don’t see any way to reply to your replies to my questions, so I’ll say “Thank you” right here, if that’s OK. I appreciate y’all taking the time to address my questions.

  11. Thank you for this!!! I have spent many frustrating hours looking for non-calvinist commentaries that I can add to my logos software before I found this page. I thought I might be a calvinist until I learned what they believe. It’s popularity is disgusting and depressing.

    Can this list be maintained in alphabetical order? It would make things much easier as the list grows longer.

    1. Hello Maureen – and welcome
      Thank you for your comments.
      And unfortunately, I don’t be believe there is a way to sort topics in alphabetical order.

      I thank the Lord that he gave you discernment to not be ensnared by Calvinist talking points.
      You were delivered from Calvinism’s world of DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS.

      One piece of information that will help you understand what it means to survive as a Calvinist.
      The doctrine works to puff-up the religious ego.

      The consequence however – because the doctrine is so radical – the Calvinist mind becomes conditioned to treat the doctrine *AS-IF* it is FALSE in order to retain any sense of human NORMALCY.

      The Lord giving you wisdom not to get ensnared in it – saved you from its DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS

      1. This is completely off topic ,Leighton made a video discussing the translation issue concerning the Greek word apo & pro in certain scriptures. Ephesians 1 uses the word pro is this correct? Would the text be more accurate using from the foundation of the world? Please clarify this issue when you have the time please & thank you.

      2. Hello Michael,
        Brian teaches the Greek – lets see if we can get him to address this question.

        br.d

      3. Thank you Michael for the question. In Eph 1:4-5 the idea of before creation is clear, just like the idea from creation is clear in those other verses.

        The understanding of Eph 1:4 is focused more on how to understand “us in Him” as it relates to “before” creation. Maybe this will help.

        Eph 1, 4&5 Individual Election was not before creation!

        Determinists have always tried to read too much into these verses that Paul wrote in a context about blessings we now have, now that we are in Christ. Some of those blessings were given to Him (the only Elect one) before creation, to be shared with all who would later be joined to Him and become one of the elect in Him. The ones in verses 4 and 5 are such blessings… Verse four is not about being chosen in Christ, but chosen in Christ “to be” holy and blameless.

        The pronoun “us” is being used in both verses, 4&5, in a general reference, anachronistic sense, like me saying – “The Native Americans were chased by us before the Revolution so that they would live west of the Appalachian Mtn range.”

        Another similar example would be the Levites in David’s day who were chosen to carry the ark. David said, as recorded in 1Chr 15:2 – “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.”

        Any Levite that day could have said to another Levite – “God chose us in Aaron, before Israel entered the promised land, tgat we should carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.” Of course, he would not have had the ridiculous thought that God had his name written down in a book during Aaron’s time, along with the names of all future Levites. He would not think that he individually or physically would be ministering before the Lord forever in this special task as a priest. He would just be using the “us” as a pronoun of reference with a corporate connection because of the promise made to Aaron, and because of his being added into Aaron’s lineage by physical birth.

        We say, with Paul, we have the same privileges/blessings granted to the Son of God before creation that would go to any in His lineage. This is just like a written will grants privileges to children not yet conceived or even thought about, the privileges granted to Jesus before creation were made available then to all who would be born again through personal faith. Those inheritance privileges are now ours individually, since we are now individually joined to Him by spiritual birth through our personal faith. We now have the blessing to stand holy and blameless before God as one of God’s chosen in the Chosen One – Christ, and we are now predestined for the inheritance that all sons receive.

        ********
        Questions to ask a determinist:
        When God supposedly “chose” you before creation, were you unchosen at some point and then chosen, according to the normal meaning of that word? What did God see when He supposedly chose you… just your name, your life up to some point where He decided He wanted to get involved noticeably to you, or your whole life forever and all His involvement in it already? In other words, what does “you” mean when He chose “you” back then before you even existed? Trying to answer these questions will hopefully help a determinist see they are being dogmatic about a premise – determinism – that Paul wasn’t even trying to teach about in this passage, and which is illogical when using the words “chose… before the foundation of the world”, if no actual choice of any individuals, who didn’t even exist back then, was made.

        Here’s a good 10min video discussion in support of this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FxHfnqLBmg

  12. Hi, just to comment that William G MacDonald, Phillip Towner and Michael Brown are mentioned twice on the list

    1. Hello David, and welcome
      Thank you very much for pointing that out!!

      I’ll pass that on to the content developer.
      We greatly appreciate!

      blessings
      br.d

  13. Hello Dr. Flowers,

    I would like to recommend Norman Geisler as one of the non-Calvinistic scholar, because of His soteriology view does not adhere to Calvinistic TULIP. Thank you

    1. Welcome Eka! Geisler certainly has not made some Calvinists happy by his critique of it in Chosen but Free. I wish he had had a clearer understanding of God’s foreknowledge. Exhaustive definite foreknowledge of the future (including who will be the elect) before creation, which I believe was Geisler’s view, only confirms a deterministic view compatible to Calvinism in the end.

    2. Hello Eka and welcome

      Dr. Flowers – due to his schedule – is not here to interact with people posting comments.
      You may more readily find him on Face-Book – if you are a FB user.

      Blessings!
      br.d

      1. Yes, Eka, though I think both of those theologians have not thought enough about biblical teaching on foreknowledge, imo.

      2. WOW WOW WOW. So this list is just the people you personally think are good enough theologians who have “thought enough about biblical teaching on foreknowledge”?

        I requested a while ago that John Lenox be added. You refused. Despite the fact that Dr.Flowers has repeatedly praised his view on his YouTube channel. John Lenox book “Determined to Believe, The Sovereignty of God, Freedom, Faith, and Human Responsibility” has even been recommend by Dr. Flowers. I suspect that John Lenox will never read these comments but if he ever did it will not help Dr. Flowers get the interview with him that he has also repeatedly said he wants.

        How can you say that he thought enough when his book is sold all over the world in many languages. He is not only a theologian but has multiply doctorate in science he is more than qualified. Especially as you have put people like Ravi Zacharias on the list. Do you really feel that the people on the list have thought more about biblical teaching on foreknowledge?

        Both John Stott and John Lenox are greater theologians and scholars than most of the list. I ignored it when you refussed previously to put John Lenox on the list. However is this list now a list of who you like not a “list of modern day scholars who do not affirm the Calvinistic interpretation of the scriptures:”?

      3. Sorry Andy … But I think you are over reacting. The “list” in this thread was made back in 2015. I’m sure Leighton would add others to it today, like Lennox, which he learned about since that list was made.

        My comment was a personal one, not disagreeing that Lennox and Stott or Geisler were anti Calvinism. I was only pointing out my opinion that if one hasn’t thought through the implications of holding a traditional view of foreknowledge, they don’t yet see how it undermines their anti determinism view.

        Leighton knows how I disagree with him on this.

        Your request was probably not seen by Leighton who rarely visits anymore this blog page that he started. You would have better opportunity sharing your request for an updated list when you find and respond to a recent comment of his on Facebook, or by commenting during any of his live online sessions that he has from time to time.

  14. br.d
    I’m not familiar with John Stott

    But since the list is stated as those who do not agree with the Calvinistic interpretation of scripture – then it would seem to be perfectly logical that John Lenox would be on the list – simply because he fits into that category..

    I would guess – John Lenox is not on the list as an oversight and the list hasn’t been updated.

    Is there somewhere on the web that you could point me to – so that I could find out who John Stott is?

    Thanks
    br.d

    1. Thank you for the very quick reply.

      It is very logical that John Lenox is on this list as he has a book which is sold all around the world which is against “the Calvinistic interpretation of scripture”. BTW this book is literally sold all over the world and translated in many languages. It could be argued it is one of the best sold books opposed to Calvinism.

      I am not sure you can say it is an “oversight” as back in JULY 22, 2021. I requested Lenox be added and you refused stating “I personally haven’t found any of John Lenox’s arguments convincing.” But I will be gracious and except that it is hard to get over personal opinions.

      With John Stott. You really do not know who he is? He is an English Anglican cleric and theologian who was noted as a leader of the worldwide evangelical movement. He was one of the principal authors of the Lausanne Covenant in 1974. In 2005,

      Even the secular “Time magazine” ranked Stott among the 100 most influential people in the world the only evangelical to be listed as higher was Billy Graham.

      You just need to type his name into google and you get hundreds of pages on him.
      But here is his wikipedia page:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stott
      Here is his own website:
      https://johnstott.org/
      Here is a list of all the books he has written
      https://langham.org/who-we-are/about_john_stott/bibliography-of-john-rw-stotts-books/

      His book the “The Cross of Christ” is one of my all time favorite books. It is in defense of Penal Substitution.

      Thank you again for your quick reply. It is a good reminded that just because someone is famous to most of the world does not mean everyone will know them.

      1. Andy
        I am not sure you can say it is an “oversight” as back in JULY 22, 2021. I requested Lenox be added and you refused

        br.d
        You totally got the wrong idea!
        I did not refuse – because I am not a content developer or decision maker.
        So content is not mine to refuse or accept.

        I simply gave you my personal opinion about John Lenox

        Anyone who posts here – wishing to address Dr. Flowers for anything – including a request for a content change – is always told that Dr. Flowers does not have time to interact here – and that person is instructed to look for Dr. Flowers on FaceBook.

        So if you requested a content change – and I responded to your comment – and you thought because I responded that I was a content decision-maker – then somehow you go the wrong idea.

        If I gave you the impression I was a content decision-maker – then I appologize.
        But I certainly would not have given anyone that idea on purpose.

      2. br.d, I owe you an apology, you are correct, it did not even occur to me that the moderator would not have rights to edit the site. This belief led me to interpret the lack of change to be because you were refusing based on personal opinion. I am sorry. I have written to Dr. Flowers. You showed a real gracious heart in the way you dealt with this. (Maybe Dr.Flowers should give you some editorial power 😉 ).

      3. br.d
        Thank you Andy!
        You showed a very gracious heart in your response
        My sincere thanks!

  15. Hi, thanks for the ref. to a Systematic Theology; could you also suggest exegetical works on Ephesians and Romans, please? These two letters are often where the discussion lands?

    1. Welcome Daffy. You can find Lange’s Commentary on Bible Hub .com. Even though it’s old, and he’s Lutheran, and Reformed in theology, he’s exegetical and gives various views, even if he disagrees with them. That will show you some passages which should not be used dogmatically because of grammatical options. And you might find yourself agreeing with one of the options Lange did not.

      Books in the recent Zondervan Commentary Series, EGGNT, Exegetical Guide to the Greek NT, are worth purchasing. They too are exegetical, but try to give the various grammatical choices in verses usually argued over. I liked the one on Ephesians. I haven’t worked through much of the Romans one yet. 🤓

  16. Hi, can someone help me. There is a very popular young and angry Calvinist in the country I serve in who I often have to counter the teaching of. He often likes to show how smart he is by using big terms. Usually I am able to counter this but occasionally he uses terms I do not know, I can look them up but recently he talked about “soteriological reductionism” in positive terms but without explaining in anyway what it is and although I understand each word on their own am unsure what together them may specifically be referring too. Maybe I am just being dumb but if anyone can explain please do. Thank you.

    1. Don’t be afraid, Andy, to ask such people who try to debate by jargon to give you their definition of those terms and an example. Ask – “What do you believe ‘soteriological reductionism’ (or whatever term they use) means and give me a good example.” Then ask them if they think the Scripture clearly teaches that idea, and where in Scripture it is clearly taught.

      My guess, in this case, is they might be trying to say that a specific verse or wording of Scripture is a type of “soteriological reductionism” and that he must bring further dogmatic understanding to that verse and wording from his theology to really make sense of it. Is that what he is doing?

      1. I agree and in a debate I would do this. I have met the man a few times, but in this case it was a post he wrote which some of the young people here were discussing. I am the Director a Mission School and I often have to explain this man’s errors. Sadly he is admired more for using big terms with unclear meaning. Young naive people often admire those who use the bigger words or terms and think if you do not know what they mean you clearly are no as wise as them.

      2. Tell them, Andy, they only have to read some philosophy to realize it is a game of terms that people argue over the meanings and tend to keep modifying the meanings so that they can tell their followers that the other philosophers just don’t get it right. 😉

      3. Andy,

        I just did a Google search of the term. I admit that I had never heard the term, either. Seems that Calvinists are famous for creating new jargon that no one has ever heard of before.

        But it appears that the term has been around since at least 2008. Probably sooner than that, tho. From my google search, a blog post with comments came up regarding said topic, opposing it.

        Someone likened it to a “Cross-less” ideology, if that makes sense.

        In any case, do a Google search…you will find it.

      4. Many years ago – I had this same experience with Calvinists.
        But I soon learned that manipulating language is Calvinism’s strong suite
        And Calvinism’s greatest weakness IMHO is logical thinking.

        If you are a logical thinker – you will eventually discover – Calvinists have created a large library of talking-points – which – if you are a logical thinker – you will discover are self-contradicting.

      5. Hello Andy and welcome.

        I agree with Brian.
        In my years of dialog with Calvinists – they are very inventive – and can invent all sorts of ideas which in many cases only they know what they are talking about.

        So I would agree with Brian.
        Simply ask him what he means – and have him explain it.

        But one thing you should be extremely careful for.

        Calvinists are experts in playing games with words.
        They will take words which have a STANDARD meaning – which all people commonly understand and take for granted – and the Calvinist will create HIDDEN meanings for those words.

        They will then put those words into sentences – in such a way as to lead people to assume the STANDARD meaning for the word – when they secretly have a HIDDEN meaning.

        This is called INSIDER language.
        It is designed to mislead people who are OUTSIDERS and who are not anticipating HIDDEN meanings for words that are common within language.

        There is a large amount of SEMANTIC MAGICIANRY in Calvinism
        So you are very wise to be asking about words Calvinists use!

        Don’t hesitate to ask any question here!!

        Blessings
        br.d

    2. One more thing to consider Andy

      I would suggest you not approach Calvinists with the idea of getting into debates with them.

      A debate is often times like a boxing match – and the focus is not on the discovery of TRUTH – or a desire for TRUTH. Debates are most often all about winning.

      When you get into debates with Calvinists – they are not going to be focused on TRUTH.
      They are going to be focused on winning.
      And when that happens – everyone loses.

      It is best to have dialogs with Calvinists – and avoid giving the appearance of being combative.

      I personally – approach Calvinists from the stand-point of sound logic.
      If a Calvinist makes a statement which commits a logical fallacy – I simply detail the fallacy.
      There is no intention of insulting them – just informing them of the fallacy committed.

      I communicate what is logically follows with every proposition.

      I learned years ago – that Calvinism is a DOUBLE-MINDED belief system.

  17. In your opinion, can we still gain value from reading popular Calvinist pastors’ books, if one knows what to look out for? Or will it all slowly start to blend, potentially causing confusion and deception?

    1. Welcome Pam. Good question. There is no substitute for reading the Word. And even when reading good Calvinist authors writing on other subjects then Soteriology it is good to see what Scriptures they point to in support, and if they are using them correctly according to grammar and context.

      I tell students to take the time to look up references listed in a text of a book in support of a point the writer is making and suggesting that Scripture supports it. They will soon be surprised to find too often the Scripture does not clearly support what they are trying to prove.

      1. Thank you for this. I don’t usually look up references—trusting that they are accurate. However, this will be something that I will put into practice from here on out. I appreciate the advice.

    2. Hello Pam and welcome.
      I would most definitely and categorically say no – because of the strategically misleading nature of Calvinist language.

      Calvinist language is designed to manufacture masquerades of things which do not exist within the belief system.

      This is why Calvinist language has been observed for many years as a language of double-speak.

      For the average Christian who is not familiar with the underlying foundational core of the Calvinist system – there is no way the mind can discern where and when a Calvinist statement is designed to paint a false picture.

      Calvinists themselves are conditioned to assert aspects of the doctrine as TRUE – while treating those things *AS-IF* they are FALSE.

      The Calvinist is taught that the foundational core of Calvinism is what the Bible teaches.

      And he is also silently conditioned to treat the foundational core of Calvinism *AS-IF* it is FALSE in order to retain a sense of human normalcy and human person-hood.

      Consequently – the Calvinist is conditioned to treat what (for him) the Bible teaches *AS-IF* it is FALSE.

      No believer in his right mind – who is aware of that consequence – would want to give himself over to it.

      1. Thank you so much for this perspective; it’s definitely helping me to look at this from a different angle. Also, thank you for answering my question.

      2. br.d
        Thank you very much Pam
        It was a very well thought out question!
        And a very appropriate concern for a sincere Christian

    1. Hello Michael and welcome.
      To your question – one would have to have a more clear understanding about what you mean by it – in order to address it.

      You will find – we don’t apply “positive” vs “negative” judgement onto labels.
      That – for example – is a practice of the “Woke” belief system – where people are manipulated “positive” and “negative” labels.

      We do however acknowledge that certain beliefs will have a “positive” vs “negative” affect on an individual. But that is in relation tho whether a belief system is “beneficial” vs “detrimental” for the individual who adopts it.

      Thanks
      br.d

      1. Hey Michael,

        From my experience on this blog, with all the debates between Calvinists and Non-Calvinists, I have yet to see anyone defend Zionism here. I’m not of either camp (Cal vs. Non-Cal). I’m non-denomination. I am a Christian, just not of the Original Sin believing Christians, who metriculated from the Catholic Jew hating line.

        However, I am a Zionist, big time.

        Zionism, however, comes generally from the dispensation camp. I believe in a rapture, but I believe in a mid trib rapture at the end of the 6th seal, not the “come up hither” from chapter 4, but after the 6th seal, before the 7th Seal in chapter 7.

        What you generally find here between Cal and non Cal is “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile”, which I consider and conclude to be a different topic, but they don’t.

        Ed Chapman

      2. Hi Michael,
        It depends on what you mean by Zionist.
        There is no particular fondness for the Jewish people in Calvinism – if that is what you mean.

        Calvinism came out of Catholicism
        But it retains Catholic characteristics.
        And you may know – Catholicism has historically been noted as anti-semitic
        If you google for it you will probably find articles to that effect.
        Luther was also anti-semitic
        And we should be able to see where it gets that from.

    1. Michael,

      I did a blog post not long ago which explains why I am a Zionist that you might want to consider:

      https://chapmaned24.wordpress.com/2021/11/25/preterism-debunked-with-one-reference-conntect-the-dots/

      I do note that you indicate that you are not a Zionist, so that has me curious as to why you want to know about Calvinism’s take on the subject. From what I’ve seen in most of all of Christendom, there are not that many Zionists out there at all. But I am one. And it baffles me that there aren’t more.

      Ed Chapman

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